Congress recently passed The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (“CLJA”), a law creating a new cause of action for those injured by exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in between 1953 to 1987. Over the course of four decades two of the eight wells at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune were contaminated with dangerous toxins known to cause cancer and other serious health issues.  These wells supplied contaminated drinking (and bathing) water to military families in base housing, the daycare, the school, the hospital, and servicemembers and civilian workers on base.

Who Can File a Camp LeJeune Water Contamination Claim?

Persons who lived, worked, or were stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 may have been exposed to toxic chemicals and water contamination and suffered health problems. Anyone who worked or lived at Camp Lejeune for 30 days or more between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 is eligible to bring a claim.  “Anyone” includes veterans, civilian workers, or their family member who were at the base for a month or longer during the covered time period. If someone in your family lived or worked at Camp Lejeune but has since died, their personal representative or next of kin is eligible to bring a claim on behalf of their loved one’s estate.

All claims under the CLJA must be filed with JAG within two years, or by August 9, 2024 – two years from  the date President Biden signed the PACT Act (which contains the Camp Lejeune Justice Act) into law.

What Was In the Water at Camp Lejeune?

Water contamination at Camp Lejeune was investigated in the 1980s. That investigation led to Camp Lejeune being named an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund site on October 4, 1989. Two of the eight water treatment plants at the base were contaminated. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a federal public health agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, identifies these two water treatment plants as the sources of the contamination:

  1. The Tarawa Terrace Water Treatment Plant was contaminated by PCE (perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene). An off-base drycleaning firm, ABC One Hour Cleaners, was dumping their PCE waste illegally, which ended up in the water treatment plant.   
  • The Hadnot Point water treatment plant was contaminated primarily by TCE (trichloroethylene).  PCE, benzene and TCE degradation products trans-1,2-DCE (t-1,2-dichloroethylene), and vinyl chloride were also found in Hadnot Point water. These contaminants came from a variety of sources including waste disposal sites, leaking underground storage tanks, and industrial area spills.

What Illnesses Are Associated with Camp Lejeune Water Contamination?

According to the ATSDR, the following diseases are associated with the chemicals that were found in Camp Lejeune’s water:

  • Adult-onset leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Bladder cancer
  • Cardiac defects
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Parkinson’s disease

Additional presumed injuries resulting from the contaminated water include:

  • Breast cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Female infertility
  • Hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease)
  • Lung cancer
  • Miscarriage
  • Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Neurobehavioral effects
  • Renal toxicity
  • Scleroderma

Potentially related diseases resulting from the contaminated water include:

  • Appendix cancer
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Brain cancer
  • Bile duct cancer
  • Birth defect
  • Cardiac defects
  • Central nervous system cancer
  • Cervical cancer
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Cognitive disability
  • Congenital malformation (microephaly)
  • Conjoined twins
  • End stage renal disease
  • Eplilepsy
  • Gallbladder cancer
  • Hodgkins lymphoma
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Kidney damage
  • Nerve damage
  • Oral clet defect
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Rectal cancer
  • Sinus cancer
  • Soft tissue sarcoma
  • Spinal cancer

What Kind of Claim Will be Filed?

The PACT Act creates a new civil action for those injured through exposure to toxins in the water at Camp Lejeune. A federal claim and potentially a civil lawsuit for money damages will be filed against the government for these injuries. A strict two-year time limit from the passage of the law means all claims must be filed on or before August 9, 2024.

If you or a family member previously filed a federal claim or civil lawsuit for injuries caused by Camp Lejeune water contamination, and lost, you or that person’s estate may be eligible to refile a claim under the new CLJA.

What Can You Do?

Thornton Law Firm has represented thousands of persons exposed to toxins since its founding in 1978.  For five decades, the firm has served those injured by harmful exposure to chemicals, pesticides, asbestos, lead paint, PFAS, and cigarettes.  In addition to representing those suffering personal injuries as a result of their exposures, Thornton Law Firm leads groundbreaking litigation on behalf of children born with severe birth defects as a result of their parents’ toxic exposures.  The firm’s long experience representing victims of toxic exposures has given our lawyers invaluable insight into the key aspects of each toxic case, including exposure and causation, and helped us build relationships with leading medical experts in these areas. If you believe you have been injured as a result of working, living or serving at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987, please contact 888-491-9726 to speak with one of our Camp Lejeune lawyers.