Camp Lejeune Contamination: Important Information for Veterans!

Last month, the United States House of Representatives passed a bill that would bring to light a change to the general rule that the United States government is not liable for injuries to service members.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 will allow service members and military families to seek financial compensation for the injuries and illnesses they may have suffered as a result of the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

What Happened? Are Victims Being Helped?

In the 1980’s, the United States government discovered that there were dangerous chemical compounds within the groundwater at the Marine Corps Base in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, this would mean that for over 30 years, more than a million people (soldiers, their family members, civilians, employees) all drank and bathed in this contaminated water.

There has been a significant amount of scientific research made available that points to the association between exposure to this water and the contaminants found within it, and the development of certain types of cancers and diseases. Many officials do believe that the contamination at Camp Lejeune is one of, if not the most devastating water contamination case in the history of our country.

In an effort to respond and hopefully mitigate the situation, the Department of Veterans Affairs has established presumptive service connection and cost-free health care for the service members who qualify — anyone exposed to the contaminants from Camp Lejeune between August 1st, 1953 and December 31st, 1987.

Unfortunately, albeit a grand gesture on their behalf, these benefits often fall short of providing both service members and their families with an equal amount of compensation in relation to what they’ve been through. Hopefully, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 can work to actively help these victims and their families due to the ability to now bring pursue a claim against the government.

Camp Lejeune
Veterans and their family members have been protesting and working to shed light on the devastating situation at Camp Lejeune for years.

What is The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022? 

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is a proposed bill that would allow military families the ability to seek justice for the injuries and damages caused by the water contamination at Camp Lejeune.

The bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, and on Tuesday, June 14th, the U.S. Senate voted to pass a cloture motion on the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022. This motion works to limit debate related to the bill and to fast-track the final approval process for the act, which is now the part of the Honoring Our Pact Act (HOPA).

With that said, the motion or action that was taken does not guarantee that the Camp Lejeune Justice Act will become a law, but it’s a positive step in the right direction for everyone involved. There’s also a great deal of bipartisan support for the act itself, as both Sen., Patty Murray and Sen., Marco Rubio spoke out in support of the Camp Lejeune Act in an effort to push it forward.

“They shouldn’t be fighting their own government to be compensated for the wrongdoing of their own government. And always the opposition to it is money. But, you know, my view of it is that we owe these people for their pain and suffering after serving our country and being hurt by the negligence of government.” – Sen., Marco Rubio.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 is quite unique from the standpoint that it exposes the federal government to lawsuits, a process they are most typically immune from. This all came about due to the result of the United States Supreme Courts opinion in the 1950 case Feres v. United States, 340 U.S. 135, where it was established that it’s not possible to bring a claim against the government based upon any service-connected conditions or injuries, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act looks to carve out an exception to the Feres ruling.


Camp Lejeune
Official map of Camp Lejeune Disability Benefit Coverage Area from that shows the benefit coverage area, the area which constitutes no benefit coverage, and water surrounding the location.

Camp Lejeune Water Contamination History 

For decades, the military actively allowed carcinogens and other pollutants to reach the water supply at Camp Lejeune. The source of the contamination was found to be a dry-cleaning facility, industrial spills, waste disposal sites and leaking underground storage tanks. 

The contaminated water wells were not shut down until 1985. 

Studies on the effects of the water at Camp Lejeune found that there was “sufficient evidence” which pointed to chemicals in the water causing kidney cancer, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, cardiac defects, bladder cancer, liver cancer and Leukemia, among other types of cancer and diseases. 

In 2014, a study compared the rate of mortality of Navy and Marine Veterans from Camp Lejeune to that of those who served at Camp Pendleton from 1975 to 1985. 

The study found that personnel at Camp Lejeune during that period had developed an increased risk of death related to cancers of the cervix, esophagus, kidney, and liver, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. 

Camp Lejeune water was also linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer, kidney cancer and kidney disease according to a study conducted in 2018. 

The Department of Veterans Affairs now offers disability benefits as well as health benefits to active duty, Reservists, and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune for at least thirty days between 1953 and 1987 and who left the service under conditions other than a dishonorable discharge. 

• VA Disability Benefits:

The VA (Veterans Affairs) also now acknowledges a presumptive service connection for Veterans who served at Camp Lejeune during the dates above and developed any of the following: 

  • Adult Leukemia 

  • Aplastic Anemia 

  • Bladder Cancer 

  • Kidney Cancer 

  • Liver Cancer 

  • Multiple Myeloma 

  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 

  • Parkinson’s Disease 

If you served at Camp Lejeune and have contracted an illness that is not listed above, you may also be eligible for disability benefits. You would need to present evidence of the medical link between your condition and your exposure on base. 

• VA Health Benefits:

The VA (Veterans Affairs) offers health care benefits for Veterans and families of Camp Lejeune for these conditions: 

  • Bladder Cancer 

  • Breast Cancer 

  • Esophageal Cancer 

  • Female Infertility 

  • Hepatic Steatosis 

  • Kidney Cancer 

  • Leukemia 

  • Lung Caner 

  • Miscarriage 

  • Multiple Myeloma 

  • Myelodysplastic Syndrome 

  • Neurobehavioral Effects 

  • Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 

  • Renal Toxicity  

  • Scleroderma 

Camp Lejeune
Decades after consuming contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune, victims who suffered adverse health effects may be allowed to recover monetary damages from the US Government.

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