The Camp Lejeune Lawsuit: How Veterans and Their Families Are Seeking Justice

Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune on North Carolina’s Atlantic coast has been the site of what some scientists consider the worst public water contamination in US history. The EPA conducted an investigation of the base’s water in the 1980s, and thousands of Marine Corps, state, and federal documents detail the extent of the contamination.

Countless veterans and their families have suffered from serious health conditions like cancer, neurological disorders, and birth defects. It’s a tragedy that has affected so many lives, and the families of the victims are seeking justice. 

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the Camp Lejeune lawsuit and explore the efforts being made to hold those responsible accountable.

The Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Crisis

Between the 1950s and the 1980s, the drinking water at Camp Lejeune was contaminated with a variety of toxic chemicals, including benzene, vinyl chloride, and trichloroethylene (TCE). These chemicals were dumped into the ground or released from leaking underground storage tanks on the base.

Environmental stewardship at the base lagged behind other military bases of the time, and the EPA referred to Camp Lejeune as a “major polluter” in the 1970s. 

While the Marines claim to have disposed of their waste in ways that were common at the time, records tell a different story. It seems that they dumped oil and industrial wastewater into storm drains and even buried potentially radioactive materials. 

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And it doesn’t end there. They also housed a daycare center in a former malaria control shop, where dangerous pesticides were mixed and stored. 

The contamination was not discovered until the late 1990s, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that up to 900,000 people were exposed to the toxic water during this time. As a result, thousands of veterans and their families have suffered from various health problems.

The Camp Lejeune Lawsuit

In 1999, a group of veterans filed a class-action lawsuit against the US government and several companies responsible for the contamination. The lawsuit alleged that the government and the companies knew about the contamination but failed to take appropriate action to protect the health and safety of those stationed at Camp Lejeune.

Since then, the lawsuit has been through several stages of litigation. In 2012, Congress passed the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act, which provides medical care for veterans and their family members who were exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune. 

As a result, law firms like TorHoerman Law have secured over $4 billion in monetary compensation for those who have suffered injuries through no fault of their own due to the Camp Lejeune lawsuit.

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Seeking Justice for Veterans and Their Families

While the lawsuit has been ongoing for over two decades, many veterans and their families are still seeking justice. They want accountability for the government and the companies that allowed the contamination to occur in the first place. 

They also want compensation for the health problems they’ve experienced as a result of their exposure to the toxic water.

There have been some victories along the way. In 2015, the US Department of Justice reached a $2.2 billion settlement with the companies responsible for the contamination. This settlement provides funds for medical care and compensation for those affected by the toxic water.

Additionally, the VA has recognized several health conditions as presumptively service-connected for veterans who were exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. 

This means that veterans with these conditions do not need to prove a connection between their illness and their military service to receive disability benefits.

Health Problems Associated with the Contamination

The health problems associated with Camp Lejeune water contamination are numerous and serious. The toxic chemicals in the water have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, neurological disorders, and birth defects.

Cancer: The most common cancers associated with the Camp Lejeune water contamination include leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and breast cancer. According to the VA, veterans who were exposed to contaminated water are more than twice as likely to develop these types of cancer compared to veterans who were not exposed.

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Neurological Disorders: Exposure to the toxic chemicals in the water has also been linked to several neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). These conditions can cause significant physical and mental impairment, making it difficult for veterans and their families to lead normal lives.

Birth Defects: Pregnant women who were exposed to the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune may have an increased risk of having a child with a birth defect. Studies have shown that the toxic chemicals in the water can cross the placenta and affect fetal development. Birth defects associated with the contamination include spina bifida, cleft palate, and heart defects.

Other Health Problems: In addition to the health problems listed above, exposure to the toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune has been linked to a variety of other health problems, including liver damage, kidney problems, and immune system disorders.


The Camp Lejeune lawsuit is an ongoing battle for justice for veterans and their families. While progress has been made, many are still seeking accountability and compensation for the health problems they’ve experienced due to their exposure to toxic chemicals in their drinking water. It’s important that we continue to support these individuals and work toward a resolution that provides them with the justice they deserve.

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