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Many people might have heard of the PACT act that was signed into law recently on August 8, 2022, by President Joe Biden. Within the PACT act is another act, known as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which seeks justice, compensation, and settlement for the victims of the Camp Lejeune toxic water contamination between 1953 and 1987.
This water contamination led to many diseases, including certain cancers and long-term health problems. You can check this website for a breakdown of these different diseases, and how they impacted the lives of victims. You can also check this website for more information. Below is also some more information about the 15 diseases the Department of Veterans Affairs recognizes are linked to toxic water from Camp Lejune, and what to do if you or a loved one were impacted by toxic water.
What is Camp Lejeune’s Water Contamination?
Camp Lejeune is located in North Carolina, off the banks of the New River and Stones Bay. It continues to be used as a training base for the United States Marine Corps, training recruits to become Marines. This is also the only military base in the United States that trains female Marines as well.
Camp Lejeune’s location allowed Marines and other military personnel to train for water combat scenarios. Unfortunately, the water at the military base was filled with toxins and solvents. These toxins included:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Perchloroethylene (PCE)
- Vinyl chloride
- Other compounds
These solvents were found in two wells located on the military base. These two wells provided water for the base, including homes and hospitals located within the base. It’s estimated that as many as one million people were exposed to this toxic water between 1953 and 1987. It wasn’t until 1987 that the wells on the base were finally closed off.
What Diseases Resulted From Toxic Water Contamination?
While there might be many diseases and long-term health effects that went unreported, the VA now recognized 15 specific diseases that resulted from the toxic water contamination at Camp Lejeune. These 15 diseases include:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Female infertility
- Hepatic steatosis
- Kidney cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Neurobehavioral effects
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Renal toxicity
There are many stories of women losing their infants while on base, and many people suffering from cancer and diseases long after they had left the military. Sadly, many of these diseases take a while to manifest after exposure. Some people might not have realized there was a direct link between these diseases and the water they were using for everyday life at Camp Lejeune.
How Can Victims Seek Compensation?
If you or someone you know suffered from one of the diseases listed above, you can now seek VA disability benefits and file a civil lawsuit. VA disability was once only offered to military members but is now being offered to the victims of the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. This includes civilian contractors and family members that continue to struggle with the long-term effects of the heavily polluted water at Camp Lejeune.
Victims must first file a claim online, via fax, or by mail with the Department of Veterans Affairs. They must prove the following:
- They suffered or continue to suffer from one of the above-listed diseases due to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune
- They worked, lived on, or were exposed to toxic water for a period of 30 days or more between 1953 and 1987
- They did not receive a dishonorable discharge from the military
Once a person receives a VA disability, they can then file a civil lawsuit. Their settlement will be offset by any VA disability compensation they receive.