We all need access to clean and safe drinking water. Unfortunately, this was not the case for over one million people who were exposed to toxic drinking water at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base from the 1950s to the 1980s. The toxic water contained volatile organic compounds like Benzene, Trichloroethylene, Vinyl Chloride, and Perchloroethylene. These compounds are human carcinogens that can cause cancer and other severe illnesses.
After it was discovered that the water was contaminated, the department of defense and other branches of the federal government conducted extensive research on it to determine the long-term effects of the chemicals on the residents. The studies indicated that the victims who were exposed to the toxic liquid have a higher risk of developing prostate, kidney, liver, breast, and cervical cancer.
In addition to that, the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the CDC identified many health issues that have been linked to ingestion of the toxic liquid such as different types of cancer and other illnesses like eye defects, birth defects, fetal death, impaired immune system functions, and neural tube defects.
What caused the toxicity?
Some of the sources that caused the toxicity include dry-cleaning chemicals that were not properly disposed of, industrial site spills, underground storage tank leaks, an open storage pit, improperly handled drum pumps, and a former fire training pit.
Who was affected?
People who spent at least 30 days at the Marine Corps base between 1953 and 1987 were exposed to the contaminated water. Thus, veterans, marines, and their family members who either visited or lived in enlisted-family housing were exposed. In addition, there are areas where victims may have been exposed to carcinogenic compounds like the barracks, base administrative offices, and the Naval Medical Center.
Therefore, anyone who either worked or lived at the base was exposed to the toxic compounds by showering, drinking, bathing, doing the dishes, and washing their hands.
Filing a lawsuit
If you were exposed to the carcinogenic compounds at the base and you developed severe health conditions as a result, you have the legal right to file a lawsuit against the liable party regardless of where you’re currently stationed. Furthermore, if you retired and are not on active duty anymore, you can also file a lawsuit and seek compensation for any health issues that you developed after ingesting the carcinogenic compounds.
If you want to begin the legal process, you should reach out to a qualified attorney who can help you review your travel records and military service to determine whether you were present at the base during the Camp Lejeune water contamination crisis. If you are eligible for compensation, your attorney will help you seek justice for the harm you suffered while serving your country. However, for the attorney to prove your claim, you will need to provide documents such as your military service records, travel records, medical records, and discharge or separation documents.
If your health was affected by the toxic liquid between the 1950s and the 80s while serving your country, don’t hesitate to exercise your legal rights by seeking compensation for the losses you have incurred.
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