Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is based in Jacksonville, North Carolina, just north of Wilmington. Over a million employees, service members, and their families spent time on the base. The camp’s water supply was contaminated with cancer-causing solvents that were 200 to 3,000 times the levels permitted by safety standards. Some of the pollutants identified in Camp Lejeune water include trichloroethylene (TCE), a solvent used for cleaning munitions; tetrachloroethylene (PCE), a solvent used by a near-by dry cleaning facility that cleaned military uniforms; vinyl chloride (VC), a chemical that results when TCE and PCE degrade in groundwater; and benzene, a chemical used in plastics, resins, nylons and other synthetic materials. All of these chemicals are colorless and lethal and should never be consumed.
The water contamination also affected those who were stationed at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River. The chemical contamination affected those directly exposed by drinking, bathing, and cooking with the water but also in utero exposure. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that between 500,000 and 1 million people were exposed to the contaminated water supply from 1953 to 1987.
Members of the military, military family members, contractors, civilians, and anyone else who served, worked, resided, or was otherwise exposed (including in utero exposure) and subsequently developed a variety of diseases are covered by the Act. The following diseases are some of the types of injuries resulting from exposure to the contaminated water:
Qualifying Health Conditions: