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Between at least 1957 and 1987, residents of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune were unknowingly exposed to colorless, toxic chemicals. Sources conflict on the chemicals’ origin, but Camp Lejeune’s drinking water contained trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, and other volatile organic compounds. These chemicals are often used in dry-cleaning machines, as industrial solvents, and to manufacture plastic products. Armed service men and women and their families unknowingly drank, bathed, and relied on water with toxicity concentrations 240 to 3,400 times what is permitted by law. Former residents developed various cancers, autoimmune conditions, and neurological conditions, including:
While today, Camp Lejeune’s drinking water is safe and heavily monitored, due to eventual detection and cleanup efforts, the harm it caused prior residents has left lasting effects.
At least 850 lawsuits have been filed in connection with Camp Lejeune’s water contamination. North Carolina law prohibits lawsuits after ten years from the last pollution occurrence or the sale of a polluted property, generally prohibiting claims after 1997. Federal law also imposes a two-year statute of limitations from the date the harm is discovered.
However, legislation is shifting in support of claimants. Since July 2012, medical care funding has been approved for affected military and family members. Injuries related to the contamination are presumed to have arisen from service. Additionally, lawmakers have been working to lower the lawsuit barriers. North Carolina has been seeking to dismantle their ten-year prohibition. At the federal level, legislation was introduced in January 2022, potentially extending the statute of limitations for Camp Lejeune claims. Soon, new claimants may be able to bring suit, with fewer barriers to compensation.
If you lived at Camp Lejeune from August 1, 1953 to December 31, 1987 and have been diagnosed with any of the above cancers or serious health conditions, please give our firm a call to talk to our attorneys. With federal legislation pending, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries.