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How toxic materials in groundwater at Camp Lejeune affected soldiers, workers, and families
Due to the dumping of oil, industrial wastewater, and radioactive chemicals into storm drains, soldiers, workers, and their families stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina Marine Corps base from August 1953 through December 1987 might have been exposed to toxic groundwater.
The Tarawa Terrace family housing units might possibly have had drinking and bathing water contaminated with one or more of the following toxins:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE), a degreaser;
- Perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry-cleaning solvent;
- Benzene, an industrial solvent; and,
- Vinyl chloride, a colorless, flammable gas used in plastics.
During this time period, the levels of both chemicals PCE and TCE found in the groundwater exceeded recommended safe levels allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as outlined in the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Veterans, workers, and families were exposed to health-threatening conditions as chemicals from several local businesses adjacent to the Camp Lejeune military base leaked into water supplying the Tarawa Terrace drinking water system.
Although the base shut down the water treatment plant in 1987 when it was made aware of the toxic contamination, the damage to peoples’ health had already been done–then, senior base officials decided to cover it up rather than face the problem.
Soldiers, workers, and families are coming forward thanks to the following legislation
In response to the reports of serious health conditions suffered by those on the base, Congress acted by passing two specific pieces of legislation that opened the door for justice and made compensation available to those affected.
H.R.1627 - Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 was the first piece of legislation specifically designed to improve the living conditions of all those affected in the following ways:
- Healthcare matters;
- Housing matters;
- Retroactive benefits;
- Homeless matters;
- Education matters;
- Memorial, burial, and cemetery benefits; and,
- Other business-related benefits.
The second piece of legislation–referred to as H.R.2192 - Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021–stated that affected individuals were eligible to sue and recover damages for harmful exposure to contaminated water.
The house resolution also prohibited the federal government from asserting immunity and protection from litigation in response to those lawsuits.
The National Justice Assistance team believes that soldiers, workers, and their families suffering exposure to toxic poisonings from Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base should receive compensation and justice.
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