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If you or a loved one suffered health problems or cancer from contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, you may be eligible for substantial financial compensation. The time to act and protect those legal rights is NOW. Let us assist you in obtaining 100% of all compensation you are entitled to. Consultations with us are ALWAYS CONFIDENTIAL and at NO COST to you. In person, by phone or zoom – whatever is most convenient. Don’t delay. Contact us for a free immediate consultation.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) establishes limits for bacteria and pollutants in water and controls the quality of drinking water in the public water supply. But occasionally, public drinking water is contaminated with dangerously high concentrations of microbes and pollutants. After being removed by the water treatment facility from the source water, the germs and chemicals might still enter the water at its sources or while it is flowing through the distribution system.
When this happens, water can become toxic to those who consume it. Water can be polluted in many different ways, mainly through companies dumping chemical waste into the waterways. At Camp Lejeune, the drinking water was tested and found to have cleaning solvents that contaminated the water. This can cause a series of short and long-term issues. If you or someone you know consumed water while stationed at Camp Lejeune, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at the Law Office of John W. Redmann can go over your case during a free consultation.
For the Marines, Camp Lejeune is an essential base. It is one of the largest and busiest sites in the Corps and was established in 1941 on the Atlantic coast of North Carolina. In the 1970s, the EPA referred to Lejeune as a “major polluter.” The Corps claims that throughout its early years, it disposed of waste and materials in accordance with accepted practices of that time. According to records, the Marines discharged industrial wastes and oil into storm drains.
A dry-cleaning establishment that discharged dry cleaning chemicals into the drains was a substantial source of water contamination. Tetrachloroethylene, sometimes known as PCE, is one among those. Marines on base also frequently used a solvent with possible carcinogenic properties and diverse industrial uses to clean equipment, which they disposed of in nearby runoffs.
In the late 80s, the public became aware of the contamination, which had been occurring since the 1950s. This caused the EPA to open an inquiry. However, these results were tainted with inaccurate information.
Since the 1980s, the Marine Corps has insisted that the contaminants identified in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune were unregulated. That is only partially accurate, though. The EPA did not control organic solvents like PCE in the early 1980s. However, dangerous compounds in water were prohibited by Department of Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery regulations that were in effect at the base. Additionally, organic solvents were known to be dangerous. In the 1970s, other military installations closed solvent-contaminated wells.
In October 1980, military chemists started analyzing Camp Lejeune’s drinking water seriously as harsher environmental rules grew closer. There were many water wells on the base. That month treated water had trace amounts of organic chemicals, or solvents. However, according to archives, the Marines claim they didn’t receive results until 1982. After receiving the results, Camp Lejeune did nothing to look into the contamination’s origin. Additionally, in October 1980, an Army laboratory started examining the Hadnot Point water system in Lejeune for a chemical by-product of chlorination that might be hazardous. However, other compounds interfered with the testing and results.
Veterans from Camp Lejeune and other victims who contracted diseases due to tainted water at Camp Lejeune can now hold the US government accountable. Victims of Camp Lejeune water poisoning now have a justifiable legal path to restitution and justice after the Justice for Camp Lejeune Act was enacted into law on August 10, 2022.
After this act, veterans have been contacting attorneys to file a case for water contamination. A recent article has stated that there have been 5,000 cases filed thus far, and there could be as many as 500,000 by the end of next year. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), up to one million people may have been exposed to contaminants at Camp Lejeune, which is why the projected amount of lawsuits is so high.
Due to the high amount of suits, it is likely this will turn into a class action case. A class action is a type of lawsuit where one of the parties is a group of individuals who are collectively represented by one or a few members of the entire group.
President Biden signed the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (PACT) of 2022 into law on August 10, 2022. This law enables veterans to claim compensation for ailments caused by exposure to contaminated water.
The PACT Act standardizes VA’s new procedure for assessing and identifying presumption of exposure and service connection for a variety of chronic conditions when the evidence of a military environmental exposure and the associated health risks is strong overall but difficult to establish on an individual basis. This clause of the PACT Act is directly related to victims of Camp Lejeune.
PACT mandates the VA seek an unbiased assessment of this procedure as well as outside opinion on the situations it will evaluate utilizing this framework. The new procedure is based on data, is open to the public, and enables VA to quickly decide on important exposure-related policy matters. The VA’s decision-making regarding environmental exposures has already undergone a significant change as a result of this new procedure, ensuring that more veterans can obtain the care they require.
The health effects associated with water contamination vary greatly and can even cause fatalities. Some of the health issues that have been reported by veterans include, but are not limited to:
There are other health effects that may not be reported or are not yet linked to the water contamination. Health professionals are looking into studies showing low birth weight, eye conditions and defects, as well as respiratory and immune system issues.
Unfortunately, most people do not notice or experience any symptoms right away when their water is contaminated. People could be exposed for years without realizing it and only learn about it when it’s too late. The shockingly high proportion of stillbirths among mothers who resided at Camp Lejeune illustrates this, as well as unexplained fatalities and a growing number of cancer patients who resided at Camp LeJeune.
Veterans, family members, and others who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, are now eligible to receive compensation for illnesses brought on by tainted water thanks to a comprehensive bipartisan law that was signed into law on August 10, 2022. This includes people who have previously requested benefits from the VA.
To file a claim, one must have resided, worked, or been otherwise present at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1937, and must have suffered some sort of physical harm as a result of the base’s contaminated water in order to be eligible. Veterans, civilian employees, contractors, and family members of veterans are also entitled to submit claims, as is anyone who was exposed while still in the womb. Family members can even open a wrongful death claim for loved ones that were affected by the water contamination.
Previous to the PACT Act, veterans had filed for disability for Camp Lejeune water contamination because this was their only source of relief. According to a news article, the Department of Veteran Affairs did not handle these cases properly and nearly half of the cases denied or delayed benefits to over 20,000 affected veterans.
According to a study released Thursday by the VA Office of Inspector General, out of 57,500 claims submitted since 2017 for illnesses linked to water contamination at the site that lasted more than 30 years, the VA dismissed 17,200 “prematurely” rather than requesting more information.
These denied or delayed claims may now be eligible to file a lawsuit against the U.S. government for their exposure to toxic chemicals in the water.
Exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune has been related to a number of malignancies and other diseases. These medical diseases can lead to fatalities as well as significant illnesses and long-term disability. The burden and misery experienced by victims and their families can be lessened by pursuing financial compensation for damages such as wrongful death, pain and suffering, and other losses in addition to medical expenses. Additionally, it holds the government accountable for any shortcomings on its part.
If you or a loved one has experienced any health issues while stationed at Camp LeJeune during the applicable time period, you may have a case for toxic water contemplation. It is important to document any health issues for evidence of water poisoning. Contact The Law Office of John W. Redmann to speak to an attorney regarding Camp Lejeune water contamination.
We offer a free consultation and can be reached at (504) 500-5000 or through our online form.