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How water exposed to toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune affected soldiers, workers, and families
Soldiers and families stationed at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina Marine Corps Base from August 1953 through December 1987 might have been exposed to toxic water due to the dumping of oil, industrial wastewater, and radioactive chemicals into storm drains.
The groundwater at the Tarawa Terrace housing units could possibly have been contaminated with one or more of the following toxins at seriously elevated levels:
- Benzene, an industrial solvent;
- Perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry-cleaning solvent;
- Trichloroethylene (TCE), a degreaser; and,
- Vinyl chloride, a colorless, flammable gas used in plastics.
The levels of PCE and TCE found in the water during this time period exceeded the parts per million allowed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as mentioned in the Safe Drinking Water Act.
Several local businesses adjacent to the Camp Lejeune military base leaked elevated levels of toxic chemicals into the Tarawa Terrace drinking water system water supply–this meant that veterans, workers, and families living there were exposed to health-threatening conditions.
Although the base shut down the Tarawa Terrace water treatment plant in 1987 because of toxic contamination, the damage had already been done and senior base officials sought to cover it up from the media.
Camp Lejeune soldiers, workers, and families are coming forward because of Congressional legislation
In response to the diagnoses of deadly conditions suffered by those stationed, living, and working at the military base, Congress outlined a couple of specific pieces of legislation over the years that paved the way for justice and compensation to those affected.
The first piece of legislation was called H.R.1627 - Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 and was enacted to improve several areas of living conditions for those affected in ways that concerned:
- Retroactive benefits;
- Memorial, burial, and cemetery benefits
- Homeless matters;
- Education matters;
- Healthcare matters;
- Housing matters; and,
- Other business-related benefits.
The second piece of legislation, H.R.2192 - Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021, is a bill which stated that affected individuals could sue and recover damages from the federal government for harmful exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune 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 USA Consumer Network team believes that victims of exposure to toxic poisonings suffered at Camp Lejeune military base should receive compensation and justice, as allowed by 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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