Camp Lejeune, a U.S. Marine Corps training base in North Carolina, has been at the center of a long-standing water contamination issue. From 1953 to 1987, the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with toxic chemicals like benzene, vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene, and tetrachloroethylene, leading to serious health consequences for Marines, their families, and others exposed to the water. Recent developments in the Camp Lejeune water contamination litigation have resulted in settlements totaling $1.45 million. However, these payouts have resolved only six lawsuits brought by individuals who developed illnesses after living or working at the base. There are still more than 147,000 other individuals awaiting resolution of their Camp Lejeune water contamination claims.
The Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Issue
Between 1953 and 1987, the water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune was contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other hazardous chemicals. These contaminants were found in two water treatment plants that supplied the Marine Corps Base: the Tarawa Terrace Treatment Plant and the Hadnot Point Treatment Plant. The presence of toxic chemicals like tetrachloroethylene (PCE), trichloroethylene (TCE), vinyl chloride, and benzene in the water posed significant health risks to those who consumed it. It is estimated that over one million individuals, including civilian workers, veterans, and their families, may have been exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. This includes individuals who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
Illnesses Linked to the Contaminated Water Supply
Exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune has been linked to various serious health conditions. Research studies have shown an increased risk of developing certain illnesses among those exposed. These include:
- Cancer – The contaminated water has been associated with an elevated risk of bladder cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, esophageal cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, lung cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and leukemia.
- Birth defects and reproductive issues – Pregnant women exposed to the contaminated water may face a higher risk of miscarriage, infertility, and birth defects in their children.
- Neurological disorders – There is evidence linking exposure to the toxic chemicals with an increased risk of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
- Other health effects – The contaminated water has also been associated with aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, renal toxicity, scleroderma, and other serious adverse health effects.
Camp Lejeune Settlement Payouts
In recent developments, settlement payouts totaling $1.45 million have been issued for Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits. These payouts provide compensation to individuals who have been diagnosed with specific illnesses linked to the contaminated water. The settlements have resolved six claims presented by individuals who allegedly suffered water contamination injuries while living, working, or serving at Camp Lejeune. The settlement payouts include the following:
- Parkinson’s Disease – One individual who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease received a settlement payment of $250,000.
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – A settlement payment of $300,000 was awarded to an individual diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
- Leukemia – Three individuals who were diagnosed with leukemia received settlement payments ranging from $150,000 to $300,000.
- Bladder Cancer – One individual diagnosed with bladder cancer received a settlement payment of $150,000.
It is important to note that these settlement payouts are just a fraction of the total number of claims presented for compensation. The Camp Lejeune water contamination litigation is expected to become one of the largest mass torts in U.S. history, with thousands of claims still pending.
Research Raises Concerns About Exposure Risks
Numerous research studies have been conducted to establish the link between the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and the associated health effects. These studies have provided compelling evidence supporting the claims of those affected by the water contamination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that children at Camp Lejeune had higher rates of birth defects and childhood diseases, including leukemia and neural tube defects. Additionally, the CDC has identified elevated risks for various cancers and neurological disorders among individuals stationed at the base.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has conducted studies on specific birth defects, childhood cancers, and other conditions associated with exposure to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water. Their findings align with those of the CDC, further substantiating the link between the water contamination issue and adverse health effects in exposed individuals.
Seeking Compensation for Camp Lejeune-Related Illnesses
The Camp Lejeune water contamination issue has had devastating consequences for those exposed to the toxic chemicals in the water. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 allows individuals to file lawsuits seeking compensation for the harm caused by the contaminated water at the Marine Corps base. So far, settlement payouts totaling $1.45 million have been awarded to individuals who have suffered injuries and developed illnesses as a result of the contaminated water. However, there are more than 147,000 other Camp Lejeune water contamination claims that remain unresolved.