The United States is widely believed to be a very patriotic country. An important part of patriotism, of course, includes taking care of our veterans and their families. While our political machinery sometimes moves more slowly than we would hope, many hearts and minds are in the right place.
It is with this backdrop that we take a look at the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, including why it was passed and who it is designed to help.
Historical perspective of Camp Lejeune
Camp Lejeune (officially named Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune) is a Marine Corps base located in Jacksonville, North Carolina. According to the Marine Corps website for the base, the Department of the Navy purchased the initial tract of land in 1940 to construct an amphibious training facility on the East Coast. The base was constructed in 1941, during World War II. It was first named after Major General John Lejeune in 1942. The name of the base was amended slightly in 1944, to take its present form.
Camp Lejeune is still active and performs important training functions for our military. Like most military bases, Camp Lejeune is a community in its own right. It contains housing, a commissary, dining, recreational, and many other facilities for Marines and their families.
Unfortunately, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was first contaminated early in the 1950s and the wells with the most contaminated water were not closed until 1985. The ATSDR reports that two of eight water treatment plants located on the base contained volatile organic compounds (VOCs). You can read more about VOCs on the EPA website.
According to information provided by the National Library of Medicine, the major contaminants in the Camp Lejeune drinking water were trichlorethylene and tetrachloroethylene, but other chemicals were present (which they list).
Resulting health problems
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, science and medicine have demonstrated an association between exposure to the Camp Lejeune water contaminants and the subsequent development of various diseases. The VA lists the following specific medical conditions that might support eligibility for disability benefits:
- Kidney cancer
- Bladder cancer
- Liver cancer
- Adult leukemia
- Multiple myeloma
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 has been signed by President Biden and passed into law. The law allows certain individuals harmed by Camp Lejeune drinking water to seek legal relief. The claimants must have been exposed to the contaminated water for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. Importantly, the legislation does not limit recovery to military personnel. However, there are limitations on when and where a claim can be filed.
Call with questions
The attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield believe that one of society’s greatest obligations is caring for those who are harmed or injured while serving in the country’s armed services. If you believe that you or a family member is suffering harm due to exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, give us a call to discuss your circumstances. We will provide you with a free consultation, answer your questions, and help you determine the best way to move forward.