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Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Deaths

The story of Camp Lejeune water contamination is a story of gross negligence that resulted in perhaps thousands of deaths over the years. The drinking and bathing water at the U.S. Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune was severely contaminated for over three decades, causing many illnesses and wrongful deaths.

If you’re looking to file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit, read ahead to learn about the details of the contamination and the deaths it caused. 

What Is the Camp Lejeune Story?

Camp Lejeune is a Marine Corps base in Jacksonville, North Carolina. Between August 1953 and December 1987, the tap water at the base was contaminated with harmful chemicals that were present in quantities 240 to 3,400 times higher than acceptable safety standards. 

It is estimated that between 700,000 and one million people, including Marines, military personnel, civilian contractors, and their families, were exposed to these contaminants. Many residents later developed serious health ailments such as cancer and Parkinson’s disease. The contamination was finally discovered in the 1980s–since then, the federal government has sponsored extensive studies to uncover the damage this water caused to people’s health. 

Because the contamination was caused due to negligence on the part of the U.S. Marine Corps, those affected and the family members of those who died due to related illnesses filed lawsuits against the government. 

What Contaminated the Water at Camp Lejeune?

Over seventy contaminants have been identified in the water at Camp Lejeune. Of these, the most common were volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as trichloroethylene (a degreaser) and perchloroethylene (a dry cleaning solvent).

What Are the Health Impacts of Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune?

Water contamination at Camp Lejeune has been associated with multiple illnesses, including:

  • Bladder cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Liver cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 

The U.S. Department for Veteran Affairs (VA) compensation for Camp Lejeune water contamination is offered to anyone who lived at the camp for at least thirty days between August 1953 and December 1987 and was diagnosed with any one of these eight conditions. 

According to the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs also provides free healthcare for the fifteen conditions listed below:

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

How Many People Died From Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune? 

It is difficult to calculate exactly how many people died from the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. However, a comparative analysis between deaths at two U.S. Marine Corps camps (Camp Lejeune and Camp Pendleton) showed that there was a higher likelihood that people in Camp Lejeune died from kidney cancer, liver cancer, esophageal cancer, cervical cancer, Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.

 

Overall, 8,964 people who resided at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 died between 1979 and 2008. However, it is unclear how many of them died directly due to exposure to the water contamination at the camp.  

What Are the Legal Options for Family Members of Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Victims?

Due to the serious health complications and illnesses caused by the water contamination in Camp Lejeune, many people lost their health and even lives. While many family members of the victims brought wrongful death lawsuits against the government, the statute of repose in North Carolina barred any meaningful action. 

Recently, however, the U.S. Congress and Senate have passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act in August 2022, which may soon be approved by President Joe Biden. Once the act is approved, family members of victims will be able to go to court to file for damages for wrongful death, as well as Camp Lejeune water contamination-related heart disease and other serious illnesses. 

What to Do if a Family Member Died From Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune

If you feel that a family member who resided at the Camp Lejeune base between August 1953 and December 1987 died due to an illness related to the water contamination, you should seek legal advice from a qualified lawyer, such as those at Strom Law, who will help you determine the viability of your case and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

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