Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Investigation

The Issue

High concentrations of toxic chemical solvents were discovered in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water, This information, however, was not disclosed to the public until two decades after it was discovered

The chemicals involved are known to cause birth defects as well as a multitude of medical conditions including –

  • Bladder cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Kidney cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Liver cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease.

Who Is Affected?

According to a recent estimate, as many as 500,000 people over a thirty year period were exposed to these toxins while living or working at the North Carolina U.S. Marine training facility.

Who Qualifies?

Anyone who was exposed to the toxic water for a minimum of 30 days during a period spanning August 1, 1953 to December 31, 1987  and has experienced health issues is eligible for compensation.

Camp Lejeune Justice Act Awaits Senate Approval

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act was passed in the House on March 3, 2022, with bipartisan support. It now awaits Senate approval.

If the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is approved by the Senate, the legislation will allow those who have experienced health issues as a result of on-base water contamination to pursue litigation.

The bill was put forward within the Honoring our PACT Act of 2021, which is a more expansive act improving benefits for veterans that have been exposed to toxins.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act passed the House in a 256-174 vote. A total of 222 Democrats and 34 Republicans were voted in favor of the act.

“Anybody who served in the United States Marine Corps, and went for combat training, probably went to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina,” Rep. Cartwright told The Hill, “So this is not just a North Carolina issue; it’s a national issue,” he stated, noting the widespread effects of the tainted water at Camp Lejeune, and the national importance of water contamination on military installations.

Currently, the larger PACT Act continues to stall in the Senate. Reportedly, the bill was initially passed in both the House and the Senate. However, a small clerical error sent the bill back to the House. Now, members of the Senate have objected to minor issues of the bill, reports Precision: PR Newswire. Activists have urged the Senate to pass the PACT Act as quickly as possible, in the interest of getting help to the veterans exposed to toxic chemicals in the course of their military service. Proponents of the bill say that delaying its passage could risk the lives of millions of veterans exposed to toxins at Camp Lejeune and other military sites.

Update – September 6, 2023

The U.S.  Department of Justice  and the  U.S. Department of the Navy on Wednesday  announced that an elective option has been finalized to  help veterans  and others  exposed  to  contaminated  water on the  Camp  Lejeune  Marine  base get compensation  for certain diseases  on a  faster basis.

Since the  Camp  Lejeune Justice Act was signed  into  law  last year,  more than  93,000  claims  have been filed  with  the  Navy  Department.  Under the  settlement framework,  government officials said they can make  offers to  claimants  whose  diseases  have  been found  by the Agency  for Toxic Substances  and Disease Registry to be connected  to the  chemicals  found  in the  waters  at Camp Lejeune.

“The elective  option  is  a  critical  step  in bringing  relief to qualifying  claimants  impacted  by the contaminated  water at Camp  Lejeune,  who  will  now have an avenue  for receiving quick  and early resolution  of claims  under  the  Camp Lejeune Justice Act,”  Associate Attorney General Vanita  Gupta said in a statement.

More  than  a million veterans,  service members  and their families  are  estimated to have been exposed  to  the  chemicals in the base’s drinking water from mid-1953 through  1987.

Last year,  President Joe Biden signed  the Camp  Lejeune  Justice Act.  Under the law, individuals  have a two-year window  to sue the  federal  government  in the  Eastern District of North  Carolina  and recover damages  for harm from exposure to  the water.

About  1,100  lawsuits  have already been filed in North  Carolina federal court.

The settlement payment offers will be tiered based on the types of disease and length of exposure to the  water, according to the government.

The ATSDR has substantiated  evidence that the chlorinated  solvents and other contaminants in the North Carolina base’s drinking water caused  kidney,  liver  and bladder cancer, as well as leukemia  and non-Hodgkin’s  lymphoma,  according to the  government. Claims for those diseases  will  receive  offers of either $450,000, $300,000 or $150,000.

Diseases for which  the  ATSDR has possible evidence of causation  – multiple myeloma, Parkinson’s disease,  kidney disease  and systemic sclerosis -will  result in settlement offers of $400,000, $250,000 or $100,000,  according to the  officials. Those offers  will  also depend  on the length  of exposure.

Death  claims will  receive an additional  $100,000.

The payments aren’t affected  by U.S.  Department of Veterans Affairs disability  benefits  or medical care,  according to the  government.

The process to file a claim is voluntary and does not require a lawyer, according  to the Justice Department..

The settlement framework was not the  result of negotiations  with  plaintiffs  attorneys,  officials  said.

The department will also screen administrative claims and the lawsuits that have already  been filed and will offer settlements  in cases that qualify,  according to  the  officials

Trials in the  previously filed lawsuits  are  expected to  start  in 2024.

“We recognize this  takes  a whole-of-government response, and along with  DOD and DOJ, we are linked  with  Veterans Affairs and other federal  agencies to support a  fair and streamlined process,” Under Secretary  of the  Navy  Erik  Raven said in a statement.  “We are  committed  to ensuring  that every valid Camp Lejeune  claim is resolved fairly  and as expeditiously  as possible.”

Multiple forms of cancer have been linked to contaminated drinkng water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. 

Camp Lejeune veterans, their family members and civilian workers were exposed to cancer-causing chemicals released into the public water supply over a 35 year period. As a result, Camp Lejeune cancer lawsuits are being pursued against the U.S. Government for their failure to address the rampant water contamination on the marine base.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 now allows claims and settlements to be pursued for a limited time by Veterans, Family Members or Contractors who have been:

  • Diagnosed with certain cancers caused by Camp Lejeune water, as well as neurological disorders and other diseases;
  • After living or working at Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station New River for at least 30 cumulative days between August 1953 and December 31, 1987

Find out if your family may be eligible for Camp Lejeune cancer settlement benefits by filling out the form on this page.