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Water Contamination at Camp Lejeune Exposed Veterans and Civilians to Toxic Chemical Compounds Linked to Increased Risk of Cancers and Other Serious Health Conditions

Lived or Worked at Camp Lejeune?

According to a report from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Camp Lejeune was a site of toxic water contamination in the United States beginning in the early 1950s. For years, ATSDR has been studying the health effects of exposure to the toxins present in the Camp Lejeune water supply.

Camp Lejeune Water Contaminants

The ATSDR has identified four specific types of volatile organic compounds that were present in the contaminated wells at Camp Lejeune, namely:

  • Trichloroethylene (TCE)
  • Tetrachloroethylene, also known as perchloroethylene (PCE or PERC)
  • Vinyl Chloride
  • Benzene

Types of Medical Issues Associated With Camp Lejeune Water Toxins

According to the ATSDR, certain exposures to the contaminated water at the Camp Lejeune facility during the relevant time frame, 1953 to 1987, may be associated with an increased risk to develop various severe medical diseases and disorders, including:

  • Various cancers, including bladder, breast, esophageal, kidney, and lung cancers, as well as leukemia, multiple myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,
  • Reproductive problems like infertility, miscarriage, and birth defects, including spina bifida,
  • Blood disorders like blood cancers or myelodysplastic syndromes; and
  • Other conditions include hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease), renal toxicity, central nervous system disorders, and neurobehavioral disorders.
Medical issues associated with Camp Lejeune Water Toxins
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Help from the Honoring Our PACT Act

Since the conditions at Camp Lejeune have come to light, several laws have been enacted to help surviving veterans and their families struggling with the effects of toxic water exposure.

In 2012, President Obama signed the Janey Ensminger Act. The Act required the ATSDR Administrator to investigate the connection between water contamination at Camp Lejeune and the health effects experienced by those who lived or worked on the base.

U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (D-PA-8) introduced the Camp Lejeune Justice Act in March 2021, a version of which President Biden signed into law on August 10, 2022, as part of the larger Honoring our PACT Act. The Act broadens access to care for veterans exposed to toxins in several service settings. The Act also gives injured veterans and their families another avenue to seek compensation for the harm they have suffered from toxic water exposure.

Honoring Our PACT Act

What Does the Honoring Our PACT Act Do?

The Pact Act will provide health care and benefits for millions of veterans and their survivors who were injured due to exposure to toxic chemicals.

Specifically, the Act expands the conditions eligible for support and enhances the processes available to seek compensation:

  • Veterans injured by toxic exposures may seek expanded medical benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs for a greater number of medical diagnoses;
  • Veterans, families and certain residents of Camp Lejeune who claim they were harmed by toxic exposures, under certain circumstances, may now seek compensation through the federal court system;
  • Veterans enrolled in VA healthcare may also obtain screening for conditions linked to toxic exposures.

With respect to Camp Lejeune exposures, veterans, family members and residents must have been on site for no less than 30 days from August 1, 1953 through December 31, 1987 and diagnosed with certain qualifying health conditions, such as:

  • Adult leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • And several others…

Please note that certain claims with be subject to a two year statute of limitations from the date the bill takes effect.

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