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How toxic materials in the water at Camp Lejeune affected soldiers, survivors, and families
Soldiers and families stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina Marine Corps Base from August 1953 through December 1987 might have been exposed to toxic water due to the dumping of oil, industrial wastewater, and radioactive chemicals into storm drains.
At the Tarawa Terrace family housing units, the drinking and bathing water might possibly have been contaminated with one or more of the following toxins:
- Perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry-cleaning solvent;
- Trichloroethylene (TCE), a degreaser;
- Benzene, an industrial solvent; and,
- Vinyl chloride, a colorless, flammable gas used in plastics.
The levels of PCE and TCE found in the water during this time period exceeded the parts per million allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as mentioned in the Safe Drinking Water Act.
As chemicals from several local businesses adjacent to the Camp Lejeune military base leaked into water supplying the Tarawa Terrace drinking water system, veterans, workers, and families were exposed to health-threatening conditions.
Although the base shut down the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant in 1987 because of toxic contamination, the damage had already been done and senior base officials sought to cover it up from the media.
More and more soldiers and families are coming forward thanks to two pieces of legislation
In response to the diagnoses of deadly conditions suffered by those stationed, living, and working at the military base, Congress outlined a couple of specific pieces of legislation over the years that paved the way for justice and compensation to those affected.
H.R.1627 - Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 was the first piece of legislation specifically designed to improve the living conditions of all those affected in the following ways:
- Homeless matters;
- Education matters;
- Healthcare matters;
- Housing matters;
- Retroactive benefits;
- Memorial, burial, and cemetery benefits; and,
- Other business-related benefits.
The second piece of legislation, H.R.2192 - Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021, is a bill which stated that affected individuals could sue and recover damages from the federal government for harmful exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
The second bill specifically prohibited the federal government from asserting immunity and protection from litigation in response to lawsuits filed by veterans, survivors, and families.
The Direct Case Justice team believes that victims, survivors, and families of exposure to toxic poisonings from Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base should receive compensation and justice as outlined in both H.R.1627 - Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 and H.R.2192 - Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021.
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