Water contamination at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune exposed an estimated one million people to carcinogenic substances over a span of more than 30 years. While Camp Lejeune is located in North Carolina, most Marines who served there originally came from other states, including California. For Marines located in North San Diego County, this leaves the question, “Can I file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit while stationed at Camp Pendleton?”
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021 was passed in March 2022, allowing victims who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and later developed adverse health conditions to file a lawsuit. Two years from the passing of the act, all Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits will be consolidated in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of North Carolina. You can file your claim from any state, although you will likely need the guidance of an experienced attorney.
What Contaminated the Water at Camp Lejeune?
Multiple volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were found in Camp Lejeune’s drinking water between 1953 and 1987. The four most prevalent VOCs were as follows:
- Trichloroethylene (TCE)
- Perchloroethylene (PCE)
- Vinyl chloride (VC)
The above chemicals are all known human carcinogens that can cause the development of cancer and other serious diseases. Anyone who worked or lived at Camp Lejeune was exposed to these toxic substances by drinking, showering, bathing, washing their hands, and doing the dishes.
What Caused the Contaminated Drinking Water?
Experts believe that the water contamination at Camp Lejeune began as early as 1953 and was not discovered until 1982. Even then, no affected wells were shut down until Nov. 1984. One of the two affected water-treatment plants that serviced the base was later completely shut down in 1987. Several sources contributed to the contamination of Camp Lejeune’s drinking water, including:
- Dry-cleaning chemicals that were improperly disposed of
- Underground storage tank leaks
- Industrial site spills
- Improperly handled drum dumps
- An open storage pit
- A former fire training area
The dry-cleaning chemicals can be traced back to ABC One-Hour Cleaners, an off-base dry-cleaning company that began operating in 1953. However, an on-base dry-cleaner is also believed to have contributed to the contamination, both through improper disposal of chemicals as well as unintended leaks.
Illnesses Linked to Camp Lejeune Water Contamination
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have identified dozens of adverse health effects linked to exposure to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Below are the cancers that victims of contaminated water are at risk for:
- Bladder cancer
- Brain cancer
- Breast cancer
- Cervical cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Ovarian cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Soft tissue cancer
While these cancers all range in severity and life expectancy after diagnosis, the reality is that any cancer diagnosis is devastating. Treatments can be just as debilitating as the illness itself, with many victims struggling with the physical, emotional, and financial aspects of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and more.
The impact does not end at cancer diagnoses, either. Other illnesses that the CDC and VA link to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune include:
- Aplastic anemia
- Birth defects
- Cardiac defects
- Choanal atresia
- End-stage renal disease
- Eye defects
- Fetal death
- Generalized hypersensitivity skin disorder
- Impaired immune system functions
- Liver cirrhosis
- Low birth weight
- Neural tube defects
- Neurobehavioral performance deficits
- Neurological effects
- Oral cleft defects
- Parkinson’s disease
- Short-term memory problems
- Visual perception defects
Developing cancer or another serious illness after being unknowingly exposed to carcinogenic substances is a devastating experience. The physical effects on your body may be extensive, limiting your ability to enjoy and engage in your life as you once did. At Frost Law Firm, PC, our attorneys are prepared to stand by veterans and their families who have been wrongfully harmed by contaminated water.
Who Was Affected?
Anyone who spent at least 30 days at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 was exposed to VOCs via the contaminated water. In addition to veterans and current Marines, family members who lived in enlisted-family housing or who visited the base for shopping or recreation were also exposed. Other places of exposure include:
- Base administrative offices
- Naval Medical Center Camp Lejeune
If you are unsure whether you or your loved ones might have been exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, do not hesitate to reach out to us at Frost Law Firm, PC. We can help review your military service and travel records to determine whether you were present at Camp Lejeune during the water contamination crisis.
Filing a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit While Stationed at Camp Pendleton
It does not matter where you are currently stationed or if you have since retired and are no longer on active duty. You can file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit regardless of your location within the United States. California Marines and veterans who are located at Camp Pendleton or elsewhere in California have the right to file a lawsuit if they developed severe or adverse health conditions as a result of exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
At Frost Law Firm, PC, we work with Marines and veterans alike who are ready to seek justice for the harms they suffered while in service of their country. To help prove your claim, we’ll use some of the following information:
- Military service records
- Medical records
- Travel records
- Discharge or separation documents (including DD Form 214)
Work With a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawyer From Frost Law Firm
Frost Law Firm is a tireless advocate for Marines, veterans, and their families who have been harmed during their years of service. If you were previously stationed at Camp Lejeune and are now located at Camp Pendleton or elsewhere in California, we can help.
Our expert attorneys will help you explore whether you have a case and, if so, how to move forward with your Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit. We understand that this may be one of the most difficult periods of your life, which is why we are dedicated to providing the most compassionate and knowledgeable guidance possible.
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