Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuits

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is part of the Honoring Our PACT Act that was passed by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, August 2, 2022, and President Joe Biden signed it into law on Wednesday, August 10, 2022. The new legislation will allow victims of the toxic water at Camp Lejeune to file Camp Lejeune lawsuits and sue the government for lost wages, medical costs, and pain and suffering. 

Those eligible to file Camp Lejeune lawsuits include injured veterans, their family members, civilians, or a legal representative of someone injured by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. They must have resided, worked, or been otherwise exposed (including in utero exposure) to the Camp Lejeune water contamination for at least 30 days beginning on August 1, 1953, and ending on December 31, 1987. Some of the illnesses linked to the Camp Lejeune water contamination include:

  • Bladder cancer 
  • Breast cancer 
  • Esophageal cancer 
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Infertility  
  • Kidney cancer
  • Leukemia 
  • Lung cancer 
  • Miscarriage 
  • Multiple myeloma 
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes 
  • Neurobehavioral effects 
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 
  • Renal toxicity 
  • Scleroderma 
  • Parkinson’s disease

If you suffer from other illnesses or are unsure if you would qualify to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, contact the toxic water contamination lawyers at Herman Herman & Katz. We understand the complexities of the Camp Lejeune legislation and are available to answer any questions that you may have about how to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. Camp Lejeune victims have faced years of extensive health problems and wrongful death, and it’s time for justice to be served. Our firm has years of experience handling toxic contamination lawsuits, including the BP oil spill, which is widely considered the worst pollution disaster in American history.

Keep reading our Camp Lejeune legal guide to learn more about Camp Lejeune’s history, the health effects of water contamination, legislation, and how to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.

Camp Lejeune NC Sunset

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination History

Camp Lejeune is a U.S. Marine Corps base in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Established in 1942, it’s well-known as an elite training center for military personnel, and its location provides fast deployments when needed. The 246-square-mile property has everything active-duty and retired Marines and their families need; there are schools, daycares, medical facilities, shopping centers, restaurants, banks, theaters, and other amenities.

But for more than three decades, Camp Lejeune was also home to a hidden danger – contaminated water – and the health effects of toxins discovered in several wells have been linked to severe illnesses and deaths. Now, civilians, veterans, and families that lived and worked at Camp Lejeune are close to seeking compensation and justice for their suffering and losses.

In 1974, the Marine Corps knew about the dangers that solvents presented to human health. They were ordered to dispose of chemicals at Camp Lejeune properly, but whether that occurred is unclear.

Water testing at Camp Lejeune officially began in 1980, at which point scientists identified and shared concerns that harmful chemicals were affecting test results, indicating that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were present. Many scientists said the level of contamination was the highest they had ever seen. Some of the levels of toxins in Camp Lejeune’s water supply were over 3,000 times the limit for what is considered safe to consume by today’s standards.

While the water tests at Camp Lejeune found VOCs in the wells that provided the majority of the drinking water in 1982, it took three years for the most contaminated wells to be shut down. What’s worse was the discovery that these wells had been contaminated for decades, and an estimated one million people were exposed to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water.

From 1953 to 1987, those living and working at Camp Lejeune drank, bathed, and cooked with highly contaminated water. Trichloroethylene, tetrachloroethylene, vinyl chloride, benzyne, and other harmful chemicals that pose risks to human health were discovered. These toxins have been associated with several cancers and other serious health conditions.

The source of contaminants in the water at Camp Lejeune were waste disposal sites, leaky underground fuel storage tanks, and industrial spills. An off-base dry cleaner improperly disposed of solvents for years, and the solvent used to clean machinery on-base may have also been a source.

Camp Lejeune veterans and other victims who suffered illnesses linked to water contamination at Camp Lejeune can now hold the U.S. government responsible. With the Justice for Camp Lejeune Act being signed into law on August 10, 2022, a deserved legal avenue for compensation and justice is now available to Camp Lejeune water contamination victims.

Those who developed health conditions associated with exposure to toxic water should consult with the legal team at Herman, Herman & Katz. Our Louisiana mass tort lawyers have extensive experience representing victims of water contamination and can help you get the compensation you deserve under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.

hand in a protective glove collects a sample of water in a test tube.

Health Effects of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination

The Camp Lejeune water contamination health effects are life-changing and, for many, fatal. Adverse birth outcomes, cancers, and other chronic health conditions have been associated with the VOCs and other chemicals found in the Camp Lejeune water wells.

Female infertility and miscarriage. Renal toxicity, aplastic anemia, Parkinson’s disease, neurobehavioral effects, and scleroderma. Bladder, liver, kidney, and breast cancer. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma. These are just some of the health effects linked to the toxins in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water.

Other possible symptoms and illnesses caused by water containing high VOC levels include low birth weight, eye defects, and impaired immune systems.

Several factors may affect the health problems and the types of cancers victims develop from Camp Lejeune water contamination:

  1. When the exposure occurred (age, during pregnancy).
  2. How much and how long you were exposed.
  3. How the exposure occurred (ingested, inhaled, absorbed).
  4. Personal health and habits.

Unfortunately, water contamination doesn’t typically cause immediate or noticeable symptoms. People could be exposed for years without their knowledge and discover it when it’s too late. Such is the case of the staggering number of stillbirths by mothers who lived at Camp Lejeune. There is even a cemetery at Camp Lejeune called “Baby Heaven” dedicated to babies born with fatal birth defects and others that died from leukemia and lymphoma.

Those who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for 30 or more days between 1953 and 1987 face greater risks of serious health conditions. Filing a Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuit can help pay for medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages. If you’re a veteran, family member, or civilian worker harmed by toxic water at Camp Lejeune, contact Herman, Herman & Katz to discuss your legal options.

Camp Lejeune Legislation for Victims of Water Contamination

In 2012, President Barak Obama signed the Janey Ensminger Act, which allowed military personnel to access medical coverage associated with a list of illnesses linked to Camp Lejeune contaminated water through the VA. The Act offered disability benefits to veterans, but overall, it’s severely limiting; those harmed or the families of loved ones who died were prevented from seeking additional compensation, and civilians were completely left out.

Even with the Janey Ensminger Act, there has been little that victims of Camp Lejeune’s toxic water could do on a legal level. There is financial help for medical costs, but no one has been able to sue the government for the illnesses and wrongful deaths linked to contaminated water at the military base. However, that will soon change.

On August 2, 2022, the Honoring Our PACT Act, which includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act was passed by the U.S. Senate. When President Biden signed the new bill into law on August 10, 2022, individuals were given the ability to file Camp Lejeune lawsuits. The lawsuits are likely to contend that exposure to the dangerous toxins in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune caused illnesses and deaths. The government should have known the risks and done more to protect victims.

Camp Lejeune lawsuits may allege negligence and failure to warn. After all, the slow response when VOCs were discovered in the wells at Camp Lejeune in 1982 put thousands more people at risk when they remained operating for three years. The sheer number of people exposed to water contamination could lead to a class action lawsuit, or the cases may be consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL).

The Honoring Our PACT Act will allow victims to sue the government and also provide better protection and avenues for military personnel to seek healthcare coverage when exposed to toxins while in service or training. Many veterans have developed illnesses because of their service, like those harmed by VOCs in the water at Camp Lejeune.

Thanks to the Honoring Our PACT Act, toxic exposure will be recognized as a “cost of war.” It will cover medical costs for 23 respiratory illnesses and cancers linked to toxins military members may be exposed to, giving easier access to VA benefits and support for those who selflessly served our country.

Business man signing official contract

Legal Options for Camp Lejeune Victims

Numerous cancers and other conditions are linked to toxic water exposure at Camp Lejeune. These health conditions may cause serious illnesses and permanent disabilities and are sometimes fatal. Seeking financial compensation for not just medical bills but wrongful death, pain and suffering and other damages can alleviate the burden and harm victims and their families experience. It also holds the government responsible for any failures on their part.

At Herman, Herman & Katz, we represent victims of water contamination, helping them receive the compensation they deserve for what they’ve suffered and may suffer in the future. We’re relentless in our pursuit of justice and will go the extra mile in your toxic water lawsuit to secure financial compensation for your suffering.

Our experienced team can help you navigate the complex legal process of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act as part of the Honoring Our PACT Act. A two-year window to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit is expected, so it’s important to consult with the attorneys at Herman, Herman & Katz sooner than later. Contact us online or call 1-844-943-7626 for a free consultation today.