What Happened at Camp Lejeune?

Following the passage of the PACT Act in early August, there has been a bit more attention on what happened at Camp Lejeune many years ago, and on the injustice done to Marines and their families there.

Between 1953 and 1987, as many as 1 million military service members and their families may have been harmed by contact with dangerous contaminants in the drinking water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. That harm includes a number of debilitating or deadly health conditions that impacted people who lived and worked at the base during that time. 

According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina was established in 1942. But it wasn’t until 40 years later, in 1982, that the Marine Corps discovered volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the drinking water provided by two of the eight water treatment plants on the military base. 

Water from the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant was primarily contaminated by PCE (perchloroethylene or tetrachloroethylene), while water from the Hadnot Point water treatment plant was contaminated mostly by TCE (trichloroethylene). Other contaminants in the drinking water included PCE and benzene and TCE degradation products trans-1,2-DCE (t-1,2-dichloroethylene) and vinyl chloride, according to the ATSDR.

As a result, devoted servicemembers and their loved ones stationed at the location during those years were exposed to extremely harmful chemicals that may have caused birth defects and miscarriage, cardiac problems, Parkinson’s disease, forms of cancer including multiple myeloma, leukemia, bladder, lung, or breast cancer, as well as other health conditions.

At Phillips Law Group, we are horrified by this outrageous injustice to our veterans and we are committed to helping to make things right. 

Thanks to the passage of the PACT Act, marines or their family members who were stationed at Camp Lejeune — and others who worked there — between 1953 and 1987 for 30 or more days can now bring legal action against the United States government for toxic water exposure.

It is nothing short of a tragedy that the exposure occurred and that it took so long for it to be brought to the light, and we are outraged for our veterans. If you were stationed at Camp Lejeune or lived or worked there before 1988, or know someone who was, please don’t hesitate to contact Phillips Law Group to learn about all of your legal options.

We invite you to read the update on Camp Lejeune water contamination.