Camp Lejeune Water Contamination & Asbestos: Help for Veterans

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Military barracks

Contaminated drinking water and asbestos put military personnel, their family members, and civilian workers at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune at risk of life-threatening diseases like cancer. But the U.S. government, military, and attorneys are working to right these wrongs. Learn more if you developed an illness from Camp Lejeune water poisoning or asbestos exposure.

New Bill May Provide Justice to Camp Lejeune Veterans & Loved Ones

A bill with bipartisan support called the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 seeks to help people exposed to toxic chemicals in contaminated drinking water at this historic North Carolina base, and who later developed severe illnesses. This bill will allow people to file legal claims and get compensation for the harm they suffered if it passes.

August 10, 2022 UPDATE on the Status of Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022

President Joe Biden signed the PACT Act — which includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act — into law on August 10, 2022. President Biden had previously said he would support the bill if it passed. The Senate had passed the PACT Act bill on the evening of August 2 with an 86-11 vote.

This is a huge win for U.S. veterans and family members harmed by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. An official White House press release said that this was the “significant expansion of benefits and services for toxic exposed veterans in more than 30 years”.

Camp Lejeune water contamination health issues include:

  • Many types of cancer: Leukemia, liver cancer, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and more
  • Noncancerous illnesses: Parkinson’s disease, anemia, birth defects, scleroderma, heart deformities, and more

The Mesothelioma Veterans Center will continue to monitor the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 closely and provide updates as to when President Biden is expected to sign it into law.

In the meantime, veterans who developed asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma after serving in the military can pursue benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and legal compensation.

Our team is ready to help veterans with mesothelioma get VA benefits and legal aid. File now below.

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Harmful Substances at Camp Lejeune

Camp Lejeune Drinking Water

Almost 1 million people were exposed to cancer-causing materials called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in parts of Camp Lejeune’s water supply. The contamination started in the 1950s and wasn’t resolved until the late 1980s.

VOCs found in contaminated water at Camp Lejeune include:

  • Benzene
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE)
  • Tetrachloroethylene (PCE)
  • Vinyl chloride

All of the VOCs listed above definitely or probably cause cancer, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry (ATSDR). These VOCs can also cause noncancerous illnesses like Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, and more.

What type of illness a person might develop from VOCs depends on when they were exposed, how long they were exposed, and other factors.

The proposed Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 would allow anyone who lived or worked at the camp for 30 days or more between August 1953 and December 1987 to seek compensation if they got sick. People who were exposed as unborn babies can pursue compensation too.

Asbestos Used on Camp Lejeune

VOCs weren’t the only cancer-causing substances found at Camp Lejeune. Many of the base’s structures contained asbestos.

Every branch of the U.S. military once used asbestos since it was a good insulator and fireproofing material. Military buildings, vehicles, construction materials, and ships all used asbestos between the 1930s and early 1980s.

However, asbestos is now known to cause many life-threatening diseases, including cancer.

Asbestos exposure can lead to:

Asbestos was used in pipes, ovens, and many more structures on Camp Lejeune. Even some buildings that made up Camp Lejeune’s Naval Regional Medical Center contained asbestos.

Anyone exposed to asbestos could develop mesothelioma or other life-threatening diseases later in life. Veterans at greatest risk worked with asbestos daily for months or years as part of their Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) and in civilian jobs.

Addressing the Health Crisis at Camp Lejeune

The federal government has been trying to help veterans and families who got sick from Camp Lejeune’s drinking water for years.

For example, the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 allowed veterans and loved ones to get free medical care for qualifying illnesses such as leukemia, bladder cancer, and scleroderma. This act went into effect in 2017.

Did you know?

The proposed Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 would expand the assistance available to U.S. veterans, their families, and civilians even more. Any of these people could file water contamination lawsuits and get financial payouts as part of this bill.

The government also has programs for veterans with asbestos-related diseases linked to exposure at Camp Lejeune or any other part of their military service.

Veterans with mesothelioma are often eligible for VA benefits, including disability benefits and VA health care. That means they can get health care at little to no cost and monthly payouts worth over $3,000 as part of their VA benefits. U.S. veteran and VA-accredited attorney Eric Hall can help you file for mesothelioma VA benefits right now.

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Filing a Camp Lejeune Cancer Lawsuit

U.S. veterans and their families deserve justice if they developed serious illnesses from serving on Camp Lejeune. While we cannot undo the past, federal and legal aid can help right the wrongs.

Veterans that developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases from serving on Camp Lejeune or other military installations can pursue VA benefits right now. These veterans can also file legal claims to get financial compensation by working with skilled attorneys.

Further, veterans, loved ones, and civilians could be able to file Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits and get financial payouts in the near future.

The Mesothelioma Veterans Center remains hopeful that the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 will give victims the financial help they deserve.

Veterans Support Team
Christopher Dryfoos PhotoWritten by:

Contributing Author

Christopher Dryfoos is a journalist and member of the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA). As the grandson of the U.S. Navy’s first forensic pathologist, he aims to help veterans with mesothelioma access needed care.

View 4 Sources
  1. Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry. (2017, January). Camp Lejeune Water Factsheet. Retrieved June 09, 2022, from https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/hac/pha/MarineCorpsBaseCampLejeune/CampLeJeune_Water_Factsheet_508.pdf
  2. Congress.gov. (2021). H.R.2192 - Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021. Retrieved June 9, 2022, from https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/2192/text?r=215&s=1
  3. Fact sheet: President Biden signs the PACT Act and delivers on his promise to America's Veterans. (2022, August 09). Retrieved August 15, 2022, from https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/08/10/fact-sheet-president-biden-signs-the-pact-act-and-delivers-on-his-promise-to-americas-veterans/
  4. US Department of Veterans Affairs. (2013, December 09). Camp Lejeune: Past Water Contamination. Retrieved June 9, 2022, from https://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune/