Water contamination at Camp Lejeune during August 1953 through December 1987 took its toll on military members and their families. As a result, Congress passed the Janey Ensminger Act in 2012, which allows Camp Lejeune victims to file for veterans disability compensation.
Even before the Janey Elsinger Act, people suffering from Camp Lejeune water contamination filed lawsuits against the U.S. government. Laura Jones was one of these people. She was a military service member’s wife, stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1980 to 1981. Twenty years later, doctors diagnosed her with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but it wasn’t until 2005 that she learned about the Camp Lejeune water contamination. By 2009, she filed her lawsuit against the government.
The court ruled on her case, setting a precedent that Veterans Today discussed in a 2011 article. In the case, the government had motioned for case dismissal because Jones didn’t file the suit within the legal deadline, which was 10 years. However, Federal Eastern District Judge Terrance Boyle ruled that the legal deadline did not apply to latent diseases. A latent disease is one that takes years to develop after exposure. Jones hadn’t even been diagnosed with cancer within the 10 years after her contamination exposure. Nor was she aware of the contaminations then either. The judge dismissed the government’s motion and the case moved forward.
Many suffered from serious diseases and the following diseases are covered by the Act: cancer of the esophagus, lung, breast, bladder or kidney, multiple myeloma, leukemia, myleodysplasic syndromes, renal toxicity, hepatic steatosis, female infertility, miscarriage, scleroderma, neurobehavioral effects and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Surveying is still going on to determine what diseases the Camp Lejeune water contamination caused. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry began surveying Camp Lejeune residents and employees in 2011 and has a target date to complete its survey in 2014.
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