The story of Camp Lejeune

Camp Lejeune is a Marine Corps base located just outside Jacksonville, North Carolina. It was a known dumping ground for toxic chemicals such as the industrial degreasers perchloroethylene (PCE) and trichloroethylene (TCE) which polluted the groundwater.

Anyone who ingested or used the local drinking water was exposed to these chemicals from 1953 to 1987. This exposure led to multiple injuries including cancers, miscarriages, and childhood Leukemia. It is estimated there are at least one million victims who resided at Camp Lejeune during the 30 year period now spread across the country. At the same time, the government knew about the contamination but covered it up until the ATSDR reported on the chemicals found in the water supply in 1997.

Servicemembers exposed to the toxic chemicals banded together and sought justice for the injuries they sustained and the family members they lost. They gathered stories, documented the numerous deaths, and compiled timelines throughout the decades exposing the truth of Camp Lejeune to the greater population. Their efforts led to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act being signed into law on August 10 2022.

Known Injuries

There are numerous injuries associated with the Camp Lejeune water contamination with more possibly on the way.

CANCERS

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Liver Cancer
  • Leukemia

OTHER INJURIES

  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
  • Aplastic Anemia
  • Other Myelodysplastic syndromes
  • Cardiac Birth Defects
  • Hepatic Steatosis (Fatty Liver Disease)
  • Miscarriage
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Renal Toxicity
  • Scleroderma

THOSE AT RISK

Anyone in or around Camp Lejeune is likely to have been exposed to toxic chemicals. This includes:

  • Veterans
  • Guardsmen
  • Military Families

Victims are eligible for legal compensation if they can prove they spent at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune between January 1 1953 and December 31 1987.

Legal Efforts

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act was signed into law on August 10, 2022. Victims can now file for damages against the US government 35 years after the contamination ended.

There are countless victims of Camp Lejeune spread across the country from servicemembers to their families. Only now, after multiple years of fighting and countless man hours, can they finally get the justice they deserve.

JANUARY 1953

The industrial degreasers PCE and TCE are dumped at Camp Lejeune by a local dry cleaning business. They slowly seep into the ground and contaminate the drinking water.

1953-1987

A cemetery is established for the rising number of infant and child deaths. The plot of land is nicknamed “Baby Heaven.”

1985

Two wells known for containing PCE and TCE are shut down, beginning cleanup efforts.

1994

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) drafts an assessment recommending more research on preterm births and fetal deaths at Camp Lejeune. Navy officials push back and attempt to stall their efforts.

AUGUST 1997

The ATSDR reports on the toxic chemicals they found at Camp Lejeune and the injuries exposure could cause. The story is reported nationwide.

JUNE 2007

Marines testify on Capitol Hill about the contamination talking about their families, their injuries, and their betrayal by the US Marine Corps.

AUGUST 10 2022

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act 2022 is signed into law under the Honoring Our PACT Act allowing veterans and their families to file for damages against the US government.

References

“Baby Heaven: The Cemetery.” Justice for Lejeune. Accessed August 30, 2022. https://justiceforlejeune.org/baby-heaven.

“Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Health Issues.” United States Department of Veterans Affairs, March 7, 2022. https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/hazardous-materials-exposure/camp-lejeune-water-contamination/.

Dean, Jessica, and Ali Zaslav. “Senate Passes Bill to Help Veterans Affected by Burn Pits.” CNN. Cable News Network, August 2, 2022. https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/02/politics/senate-vote-burn-pits/index.html.

Ensminger, Jerome. “Jerry Ensminger (Janey).” Semper Fi Always Faithful. Accessed August 29, 2022. http://semperfialwaysfaithful.com/blog/22-jerry-ensminger-janey.html

Partain, Mike. “Mike Partain.” Semper Fi Always Faithful. Accessed August 29, 2022. http://semperfialwaysfaithful.com/blog/23-mike-partain.html.

“Perchloroethylene.” ChemicalSafetyFacts.org. Accessed August 29, 2022. https://www.chemicalsafetyfacts.org/perchloroethylene/.

Roig-Franzia, Manuel. “’A Trust Betrayed: The Untold Story of Camp Lejeune’ by Mike Magner.” The Washington Post. WP Company, April 4, 2014. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-trust-betrayed-the-untold-story-of-camp-lejeune-by-mike-magner/2014/04/04/34e273cc-b423-11e3-8020-b2d790b3c9e1_story.html.

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