Chemicals, Contamination, & Compensation

A deeper look at what was in the water, related illnesses and symptoms, and the avenues for recovery.

Where it Began

The Camp Lejeune water contamination problem occurred at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, from 1953 to 1987. During that time, United States Marine Corps personnel and families at the base bathed in and ingested tap water contaminated with harmful chemicals. Tests showed that the water had contaminant levels between 240 to 3,400 times over what’s considered safe today.

What Exactly Was in the Water?

The main chemicals involved in the contamination were volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including:

– Perchloroethylene (PCE): A chemical used in dry cleaning.

– Trichloroethylene (TCE): A cleaning agent for metal parts.

– Vinyl chloride: A chemical building block for making various plastic products.

– Benzene: A component found in crude oil and gasoline.

The chemicals contaminating the groundwater at Camp Lejeune have been linked to many health problems including the below:

  • Kidney Cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Leukemias
  • Liver Cancer
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Scleroderma/Systemic Sclerosis
  • Cardiac Birth Defects
  • Lung Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Birth Defects
  • ALS
  • Myelodysplastic Syndromes
  • Bile Duct Cancer
  • Brain Cancer
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Gallbladder Cancer
  • Intestinal Cancer
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Death
  • Many Other Conditions

Areas of Compensation

If you’ve suffered injuries due to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, you might be eligible to receive compensation for the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of companionship, consortium, enjoyment of life, and earning capacity
  • Permanent disability
  • Other compensatory damages

Elective Option Explained

The Elective Option (EO) for Camp Lejeune offers an alternative method for settling claims under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. This option is for those who were around the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days and then got a serious health issue, known as a ‘Qualifying Injury,’ within 35 years after they were last there. This program is limited and only applies to a small group of cases; it does not take into consideration the severity of the person’s injury. Individuals are not required to accept an EO offer and can have their administrative claim fully considered if they choose to reject it.

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