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How toxic materials in the water at Camp Lejeune affected soldiers, survivors, and families
From August 1953 through December 1987, soldiers and families stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina Marine Corps Base may have been exposed to highly-toxic groundwater due to oil, industrial wastewater, and radioactive chemicals being dumped into storm drains.
At the Tarawa Terrace family housing units, the drinking and bathing water might possibly have been contaminated with one or more of the following toxins:
- Perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry-cleaning solvent;
- Trichloroethylene (TCE), a degreaser;
- Benzene, an industrial solvent; and,
- Vinyl chloride, a colorless, flammable gas used in plastics.
The levels of PCE in the water during this period grossly exceeded the amount allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safe Drinking Water Act.
As chemicals from several local businesses adjacent to the Camp Lejeune military base leaked into water supplying the Tarawa Terrace drinking water system, veterans, workers, and families were exposed to health-threatening conditions.
In 1987, the military base shut down the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant because of PCE contamination of the drinking water–however, the damage had already been done and senior base officials sought to cover it up.
More and more soldiers and families are coming forward thanks to two pieces of legislation
In response to the diagnoses of serious and in some cases deadly conditions suffered by military soldiers, camp workers, and families, Congress outlined a couple of specific pieces of legislation that might offer some justice and compensation to those affected.
H.R.1627 - Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 was the first piece of legislation specifically designed to improve the living conditions of all those affected in the following ways:
- Homeless matters;
- Education matters;
- Healthcare matters;
- Housing matters;
- Retroactive benefits;
- Memorial, burial, and cemetery benefits; and,
- Other business-related benefits.
The second was called H.R.2192 - Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021–a bill which stipulated that certain individuals could sue and recover damages for harm from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
The second bill specifically prohibited the federal government from asserting immunity and protection from litigation in response to lawsuits filed by veterans, survivors, and families.
The Shield Justice Team believes that victims, survivors, and families of the toxic poisonings from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina should be allowed compensation and justice as outlined in both H.R.1627 - Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 and H.R.2192 - Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021.
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