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Toxic Water Exposure at Camp Lejeune

From at least 1953 to 1985, Camp Lejeune veterans and their families were exposed to numerous toxins by exposure to water contaminated by deadly industrial pollutants. Today, after years of deliberation, denial and lawsuits, the Veterans Administration is finally taking these claims seriously.

The base began testing its water for trihalomethanes (carcinogens used as solvents or refrigerants) in 1980 in response to new regulations from the EPA. When they found a deadly cocktail of dangerous chlorinated hydrocarbons, quite possibly leaked into the supply from an off-base dry cleaning company, military personnel neglected to take immediate action. It took five years and the constant pleading of USMC-hired chemists to finally get the wells closed down. During that time, more chemicals were found in the water, including tetrachloroethylene (a carcinogen and hazardous skin irritant), benzene (which causes bone marrow failure, aplastic anemia and leukemia) and vinyl chloride (which causes of bone deterioration and liver failure). In 2007, a retired Marine master sergeant found a 1981 document describing a radioactive dump site near a Camp Lejeune rifle range. The report stated that the waste was laced with isotopes known to cause cancer.

Until 2009, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) refused to admit to the alarmingly high levels of benzene present in Camp Lejeune well water caused by a gradual leak of 800,000 gallons of fuel near the well that served Hadnot Point, where officer’s quarters and the base hospital were located.

For years, Marine Corps officials denied this heinous oversight. Marine veterans and their families didn’t that they had consumed contaminated water until Congress required the military to notify affected service members beginning in 2008. Since then, the Department of Defense has released thousands of documents about water contamination at Camp Lejeune.

If you are a veteran or family member of a veteran who has suffered cancer or other health problems after living at Camp Lejeune, call (888) 883-2483 today or contact us online. There is no cost or obligation to discuss your case with a lawyer.