From 1953 through 1987, the drinking water at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base in North Carolina was contaminated with poisonous chemicals. Millions of marines have been impacted by this water contamination. United States Marine Corps (USMC) service members and their families living at the base bathed in and ingested tap water that was contaminated with harmful chemicals at concentrations from 240 to 3400 times levels permitted by safety standards. Several former base residents have later developed cancer and other deadly ailments, which many blame on the contaminated water.
U.S. Government Ignores Victims for Decades
For decades after the discovery of the contaminated water, victims were ignored by the US government. It was not until July 18, 2012, that Congress passed the Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. It granted specific health benefits to any veteran who served on active duty at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, for at least 30 days between January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987.
Veterans and their family members were eligible for hospital care and medical services through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), as long as they suffered from one of a list of “approved” diseases.
This law applied only to health care and not disability compensation. In January 2017, the VA published a new rule that made it easier for veterans, reservists, and National Guard members to obtain disability benefits if they suffered from one of eight diseases associated with the contaminated water.
The eight diseases included:
Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
Victims Finally Find Compensation Through the PACT Act of 2022
On August 10, 2022, President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act of 2022 into law, allowing military veterans and families harmed by contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune to file lawsuits against the federal government. Marines and family members, who were at the base between the years of 1953 to 1987, are eligible for benefits.
The PACT Act encompasses the Camp Lejeune Justice Act along with other legal matters involving toxic exposures related to military service. The new measure signed into law gives service members more power to sue over the issue.
This act also expands health care benefits to millions of veterans exposed to toxic burn pits during their military service. Apparently, burn pits were commonly used to burn waste — including trash, munitions, hazardous material, and chemical compounds — at military sites throughout Iraq and Afghanistan until about 2010.
If you or somebody you know are victims of this tragedy, contact the offices of O’Connor Law. Our attorneys and staff are on call and ready to help you receive the compensation and security that you need. Please call 800-518-4LAW (519) to talk to one of our attorneys.