For decades, thousands of military personnel and their families suffered exposure to toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps situated in North Carolina.
The water was laced with hazardous chemicals like TCE and PCE, and the effects of this exposure have been devastating.
This article will delve into the history of Camp Lejeune water contamination, exploring how and when the water became contaminated, the impact on the health of military personnel and their families, the response from the government, and the ongoing legal battle for justice.
Table of Contents
The Origins of Camp Lejeune
According to the US Marine Corps, Camp Lejeune was established in 1941 as a training facility during the rush to bolster the US military to face the challenge of WW2.
Located in eastern North Carolina, the base covers over 240 square miles and is home to thousands of military personnel and their families.
The base has played a crucial role in training Marines for World War II, the Korean War, and beyond.
However, despite its significance to the US military, the base was hiding a dark secret.
Camp Lejeune’s water supply was polluted with toxic chemicals for decades, exposing service members and their families to serious health risks.
The Discovery of Contamination
The contamination of Camp Lejeune’s water supply went undetected for decades.
It wasn’t until the early 1980s that military officials began to realize that industrial practices and improper waste disposal were contaminating the water.
The discovery of high levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the drinking water led to investigations that uncovered alarming levels of contamination.
The primary contaminants were trichloroethylene (TCE) and perchloroethylene (PCE), both known to cause serious health problems.
The military eventually acknowledged the contamination, but it was a long time coming, and thousands of people had already been exposed to the toxic water.
The discovery of the contamination marked the beginning of a long and painful class action Camp Lejeune lawsuit. More and more people have been discovering the link between their chronic illness and their stay at Camp Lejeune today.
Law firms like TorHoerman Law, LLC offer these people free consultations to help build their cases and take them on as clients to help them get the right compensation.
The Health Impact
The health impact of Camp Lejeune’s water contamination has been devastating. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exposure to the toxic chemicals in the water has been linked to a wide range of cancers, including bladder cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, liver cancer, lung cancer, as well as other health issues like Parkinson’s disease, cardiac problems, and damage to the nervous system.
Studies have also linked the contamination to miscarriages, birth defects, and developmental delays in children born to mothers who were stationed at Camp Lejeune.
The health impact of the contamination has been widespread and long-lasting, with many people continuing to suffer the effects of exposure years later.
The response to Camp Lejeune’s water contamination has been controversial and contentious. When the contamination was first discovered in the early 1980s, the military was slow to react.
The base’s residents were not notified of the contamination, and it took years for the military to acknowledge the problem.
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, in 2012, the President signed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act.
This act provided healthcare and compensation to veterans and their families who had stayed at least a month in Camp Lejeune between August 1953 and December 1987, even if their health troubles were not directly related to the water contamination at the camp.
The Fight for Justice
The fight for justice for Camp Lejeune’s residents has been ongoing for decades. In the years following the finding of the contamination, veterans and their family members began to speak out about the devastating impact of the toxic water.
According to Reuters, over 100 lawsuits have been filed by those affected or their family members.
In 1999, the military established a program to provide medical care to affected residents, but many argue that the program has not gone far enough.
In recent years, there have been renewed hard work to hold the military and the responsible parties accountable for the contamination.
In 2020, a federal judge ruled that the military was responsible for the contamination and ordered it to pay out millions of dollars in compensation to victims.
The fight for justice continues, with many calling for more accountability and compensation for those affected by the disaster.
The Legacy of Camp Lejeune
The legacy of Camp Lejeune’s water contamination is a tragic one. The contamination has had a profound impact on the health and lives of thousands of people, and the effects of the exposure continue to be felt decades later.
The disaster has sparked a national conversation about the responsibilities of the military and the government to protect the safety and health of those who serve our country.
It has also raised questions about the environmental impact of military activities and the need for greater oversight and regulation.
While progress has been made in providing compensation and support to those affected by the contamination, many argue that more needs to be done to address the long-term impact of the disaster and avoid similar incidents from happening in the future.
The Camp Lejeune water contamination is a tragic event that has left a lasting impact on the lives of thousands.
While progress has been made in providing compensation and support, the fight for justice continues.
The legacy of the disaster serves as a reminder of the need to protect our service members and their families and to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.