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I had throat cancer, and I have bladder cancer from the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
Kelly Carter, Camp Lejeune resident: 1977-1981
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I was born in Camp Lejeune. I have appendix stenosis, which is one of the covered illnesses of the water contamination. I also have other illnesses that keep me in constant pain every day.
Teresa Anderson, Camp Lejeune resident
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As a military dependent, I joined my father in Camp Lejeune while he was stationed there (1960s to 1971). I am now suffering breast cancer, multiple surgeries, radiation, and hair loss.
Debra Ormeno, Camp Lejeune resident
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GET INVOLVED

Take action now!

If you or someone you love has been affected or has passed away from Camp Lejeune water contamination, contact our team to share your story and help us push Congress to pass the H.R.2192 – Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021—a bill that will allow victims to seek justice for themselves and their families. We’ll also send regular updates about the legislation so you can be ready to make your claim if the bill is passed.

THE PROBLEM

Thousands of veterans, civilians and family members have suffered decades with debilitating deformities or death due to the water contamination at Camp Lejeune. Up to a million Marines were exposed over 35 years to cancer-causing volatile chemicals in their drinking water supply that leached into ground wells on base during this time span.

Up until April of 2007, Camp Lejeune meant nothing to me other than a name on my birth certificate. That all changed when I was diagnosed with male breast cancer out of the blue. …The very moment I came  out the womb, I was exposed.  Of course, all of the time from conception to birth, I was exposed through my mother drinking the water as well.  You just couldn’t escape it.

– Mike Partain, breast cancer survivor and son of a Marine veteran, Homasassa Springs, Fla.

Among the diseases suffered by victims poisoned by Camp Lejeune’s water: Rectal cancer, bladder cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, renal cancer, liver cancer, brain cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and leukemia.

So many children died as a result of the contamination that a cemetery known as “Baby Heaven” was built on the base. Two to three babies sometimes were laid to rest in a single grave.

THE CURRENT PROBLEM

In a shocking turn of events, in January 2019 then-Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer announced the VA was denying the remaining civil claims by individuals exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune. Spencer said it was a difficult decision but suggested that claimants could go to Capitol Hill to seek legislation providing restitution. In his announcement of the VA’s decision, Spencer stated, “We are denying the claims to free everybody to take their own course of action.”

However, there currently exists an anomaly in the application of North Carolina law in the federal court system which is preventing those who were exposed to toxic water on the base from getting their day in court; in any other state, victims could file their claims. The state of North Carolina has attempted to correct the issue but at this point, as suggested by the VA, Congress must step in to provide a legislative remedy.

Newborn Mike Partain with his mother. A bottle of Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water is in the bottle in the left foreground. Photo provided.

THE WATER

Camp Lejeune was a military base which housed Marines and their families. The water came from more than 100 wells, treated at eight facilities before it reached the residents’ homes to supply them with fresh drinking water. However in 1976, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency called Camp Lejeune one of America’s major polluters when levels of chemical toxins had skyrocketed higher than ever seen before.

Despite numerous reported leakages, it took until 1982 for the government officials to test out these leaks on behalf of thousands who were affected by its toxic waste. In the years since, experts have agreed that hundreds of tons of toxic and cancer-causing chemicals created the nation’s worst case of water contamination at Camp Lejeune.

  • FACT: The Veterans Administration has confirmed that toxic water consumed by base residents and workers led to illness, disease and, ultimately, death. Research also has shown that the water caused birth defects in thousands of babies.
  • FACT: Chemicals in the groundwater far exceeded acceptable norms. PCE was 20 times above permissible levels and TCE was 280 times above permissible levels.

THE QUIRK IN THE LAW

In 2012, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed the “Janey Ensminger Act,” legislation named for a career Marine master sergeant’s 9-year-old daughter who died in 1985 of leukemia.  The act currently provides limited health care relief for Camp Lejeune veterans, but no relief or reimbursement for military dependents for the debilitating health impacts from the base’s pollutants.

In 2017, the federal government agreed, in a legal action, to pay approximately $2 billion for eight of the 30 documented cases of diseases that were identified by the VA. But the federal government still does not have the capacity to cover healthcare costs and damages incurred from the extraordinary number of toxic water-induced illnesses. Why? Because of a quirk in the law.

North Carolina currently enforces a 10-year statute of limitations that prohibits any additional payouts to families. The statute was amended to expand the statute for future cases, but does not apply retroactively, which makes it impossible for victims to seek damages in the State of North Carolina, the home of Camp Lejeune.

NEXT STEP

Only Congress can correct this injustice to Marines, their families and civilians who worked at Camp Lejeune.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021 is a bill that, if passed, would allow service members, families and civilian workers at Camp Lejeune who consumed or bathed in the base’s water for at least 30 days between 1953 and 1987 to file a claim for damage.

“It’s a matter of honesty.  It’s a matter of integrity.  It’s a matter of just being moral and understanding the hurt and pain of others.  In other words, walk in my shoes. … I believe congressmen with this bill are going to do what is right to do, what is good to do, what is moral to do.  And try to give some type of relief to hurting people who have suffered and who are still suffering from the water supply system.

– Retired Navy Commander Bruce Hill of Lake City, Fla. He served as a chaplain at Camp Lejeune. He has leukemia and received chemotherapy at one point every day for five years. His wife died in 2012 of cancer.

Hill and his wife. Photo provided.

MEDIA

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Latest News

Toxic Water Contamination Victims & Veterans Groups Call on Congress to Urgently Pass the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021
24Aug

Toxic Water Contamination Victims & Veterans Groups Call on Congress to Urgently Pass the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021

Legislation would allow tens of thousands to exercise their right to legal action Jacksonville, NC (August 24, 2021) — The Lejeune Justice group today announced a coalition of 12 leading Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and victims impacted by toxic water contamination who are demanding Congressional action. In a letter sent to the U.S. House Armed […]

Murphy, others reintroduce bill to provide compensation for victims of contaminated water near Camp Lejeune
20Aug

Murphy, others reintroduce bill to provide compensation for victims of contaminated water near Camp Lejeune

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bill that could provide a pathway for compensation to past victims of contaminated water around Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune has been reintroduced in Congress. The bipartisan measure, known as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021, was introduced in the House last week by Rep. Greg Murphy, a Republican who represents […]

Rep. Rouzer to Armed Services Committee: Support Camp Lejeune water victims
17Aug

Rep. Rouzer to Armed Services Committee: Support Camp Lejeune water victims

More than 30 years after contaminated wells were shut down at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, victims continue to petition Congress for action. With more than 50 backers in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2021 is the bill Camp Lejeune toxic water victims and survivors need passed. “Inclusion of […]