What Happened in Camp Lejeune?
Camp Lejeune is a Marine Core Base (MCB) and a Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) in Onslow County, North Carolina. It was established in 1942 and was used to train soldiers for military operations and humanitarian missions. At this base, the most severe case of water contamination occurred and has affected people for decades. Many say that the case of water contamination at Camp Lejeune is the most detrimental case to ever exist in the United States.
The contamination began because this base was used as a pollution dump; industrial waste, toxic chemicals, and oil were all disposed of at this base. These pollutants were poured into the base’s storm drains, regardless of the known possible outcomes. This dumping lasted for 35 years, from 1952 to 1987, effectively ruining the local water supply. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) eventually labeled Camp Lejeune as a substantial polluter on October 4th, 1989, placing it on the National Priorities List (NPL).
Together, the EPA, the Navy, and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (INDEQ) banded together. They created an agreement called a Federal Facility Agreement (FFA) in 1991, beginning the journey to clean up Camp Lejeune. Regardless of their efforts, thousands of people had already been affected by the contamination, causing horrible illnesses that are detrimental to the quality of life.
Illnesses Related to the Camp Lejeune Contamination
There is a range of ailments that have sprouted from the pollution of Camp Lejeune’s water supply. A list of cancers, birth defects, and other illnesses have all been researched and found to be a product of the contamination. Below, you will find lists of each section.
Birth Defects and Reproductive Health Conditions:
- Female Infertility
- Fetal Death
- Low Birth Weight
- Cardiac Birth Defects
- Major Malformations
- Neural Tube Defects
- Brain Cancers
- Breast Cancers
- Pancreatic Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Bladder Cancer
- Ovarian Cancer
- Prostate Cancer
- Rectal Cancer
- Kidney Cancer
- Liver Cancer
- Lung Cancer
- Soft Tissue Cancer
There have also been ties to neurological diseases such as Parkinson's disease and autoimmune diseases like Scleroderma. Those who lived on this base for 30 days or more are extremely susceptible to any one of these illnesses. They could be contracted through both drinking water and shower water, creating multiple ways for people to fall victim to the diseases.
In August of 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Honoring our PACT Act of 2022 into action. This act also signed in something called the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, specifically allocating resources to helping victims of the horrific experiences had in Onslow County.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act specifies that anyone who lived on the base from August of 1953 to December of 1987 will be able to seek legal action and potentially recover significant monetary compensation. This means that the victims, or their family members, can possibly sue for the damages incurred from the irresponsibility of the government.
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