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How water exposed to toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune affected soldiers, workers, and families
Due to the dumping of oil, industrial wastewater, and radioactive chemicals into storm drains, soldiers, workers, and families stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina from August 1953 through December 1987 might have been exposed to toxic groundwater.
The groundwater at the Tarawa Terrace housing units could possibly have been contaminated with one or more of the following toxins at seriously elevated levels:
- Benzene, an industrial solvent;
- Perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry-cleaning solvent;
- Trichloroethylene (TCE), a degreaser; and,
- Vinyl chloride, a colorless, flammable gas used in plastics.
The levels of both chemicals PCE and TCE found in the groundwater during this time period exceeded recommended safe levels allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as outlined in the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Several local businesses adjacent to the Camp Lejeune military base leaked elevated levels of toxic chemicals into the Tarawa Terrace drinking water system water supply–this meant that veterans, workers, and families living there were exposed to health-threatening conditions.
Although the base shut down the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant in 1987 when it found out about the toxic contamination, the damage to peoples’ health had already been done and senior base officials then made the decision to cover it up.
Camp Lejeune soldiers, workers, and families are coming forward because of Congressional legislation
In response to the reports of serious health conditions suffered by those on the base, Congress acted by passing two specific pieces of legislation that would open the door for justice and compensation to those affected.
The first piece of legislation was called H.R.1627 - Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 and was enacted to improve several areas of living conditions for those affected in ways that concerned:
- Retroactive benefits;
- Memorial, burial, and cemetery benefits
- Homeless matters;
- Education matters;
- Healthcare matters;
- Housing matters; and,
- Other business-related benefits.
The second piece of legislation was referred to as H.R.2192 - Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021, and stated that affected individuals could not only sue and recover damages for harmful exposure to contaminated water, but specifically prohibited the federal government from asserting immunity and protection from litigation in response to lawsuits filed by those affected.
The Shield Justice Online team believes that victims of exposure to toxic poisonings suffered at Camp Lejeune military base should receive compensation and justice, as allowed by 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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