Countless individuals have started filing Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits thanks to the signing of the PACT Act into law last month. The PACT Act contained the overdue Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, which permits individuals affected by the contaminated water at the military base from 1953 to 1987 to seek legal recourse. Now that the act has removed obstructions, the U.S. Navy recently reported that over 5,000 claims have been filed thus far.
Thousands of Camp Lejeune Lawsuits Filed
Over the last month, the Office of the Judge Advocate General of the Navy’s Tort Claims Unit in Norfolk, Virginia, has received over 5,000 Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits. Filing with the office is the first step for those previously stationed at Camp Lejeune and family members in seeking justice for injuries caused by toxic water. From 1953 to 1987, marines, families of those serving, and workers in Camp Lejeune were exposed to highly toxic chemicals in the water supply, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), benzene, Perchloroethylene (PCE), Trichloroethylene (TCE), and vinyl. Experts estimate that these chemicals originated in nearby fuel plants and dry-cleaning operations that polluted soil and groundwater.
Throughout the years, various operations hired to test the water at Camp Lejeune repeatedly informed the U.S. Marine Corps that the water contained unsafe levels of chemicals. Water at Camp Lejeune tested positive for PCE levels up to 215 ppb and TCE levels as high as 1,400 ppb, while the safe drinking water standard set by the EPA is only 5ppb. Lawsuits allege that prior Camp Lejeune residents developed a series of injuries due to the prolonged exposure to toxic water at the military base. Severe adverse health effects linked to the chemicals identified in the water supply include cancer, autoimmune disease, multiple sclerosis, neurobehavioral effects, birth defects, miscarriages, renal toxicity, infertility, and much more.
Hundreds of Thousands of Claims Possible in Camp Lejeune Litigation
Health agencies estimate that nearly one million people may have suffered exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. With 5,000 claims filed in just a month, legal experts expect that we might see as many as 500,000 claims filed. Previously, a North Carolina statute prevented victims from filing claims after ten years. However, the act has created a two-year period for military members, their families, and contractors to file claims. Currently, the 3M litigation regarding veterans injured by 3M’s defective dual-ended earplugs is the largest mass tort in history, with over 300,000 lawsuits filed to date. However, if estimates prove correct, Camp Lejeune litigation could surpass 3M.