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Exposure to Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water in Utero

We’ve heard a great deal in recent months about the contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and its cancer-causing ill effects on veterans. But a less-often talked about concern associated with water contamination at Camp Lejeune is the effect it had on unborn babies. Clear evidence proves that many children born to mothers who served, worked, or lived at the camp during pregnancy suffered birth defects as a direct result of exposure. Now, thanks to the PACT Act of 2022, which brings new avenues for compensation to those suffering severe health impacts from their Camp Lejeune water contamination exposure, women and children who suffered adverse effects can finally gain the justice and financial compensation they deserve. Our Missouri Camp Lejeune lawyers can help you navigate the claims process. 

What Happened at Camp Lejeune?

Thousands of marines and their families have served and lived at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, an ideal location for amphibious assault training and deployment. But by the end of the 1980s, testing revealed that the population of the base had been drinking, cooking, and bathing in contaminated water for decades. Between 1953 and 1987, two water treatment plants serving the base and surrounding housing communities contained alarmingly high concentrations of contaminants leaked from nearby underground chemical waste storage tanks. The harmful volatile organic compounds from solvents and other toxic substances found in the wells at the camp include the following:

  • Perchloroethylene (PCE)
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE)
  • Benzene
  • Vinyl Chloride

According to the CDC, research from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) clearly links adverse birth outcomes with PCE, TCE, Vinyl Chloride, and Benzene, including birth defects.

What Outcomes Resulted From Exposure to Camp Lejeune’s Contaminated Water in Utero?

The ATSDR study clearly demonstrates links between toxic exposure at Camp Lejeune during the first trimester of pregnancy with many negative health outcomes. Besides higher instances of preterm birth, low birth rate, and inhibited fetal growth, the study reveals higher-than-average instances of babies born with neural tube defects including spina bifida, anencephaly, and encephalocele. The study links these conditions to exposure to TCE. The longer the exposure in utero, the higher the likelihood of neural tube defects in infants. Benzene exposure may also cause neural tube defects.

Mothers with first-trimester exposures to PCE and vinyl chloride had higher instances of babies with leukemia or non-Hodgkin lymphoma compared to unexposed pregnant mothers.

Tests of the water at Camp Lejeune revealed levels of these contaminants up to an astounding 2,000 times the EPA limits in water systems supplying drinking and bathing water to the following areas of the camp and surrounding communities:

  • The base camp and main barracks
  • Tarawa Terrace Housing
  • Knox Trailer Park
  • Hospital Point
  • Midway Park
  • Berkley Manor
  • Paradise Point

Thousands of families have suffered the ill effects linked to exposure to Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water in utero, including negative birth outcomes, birth defects, preterm births, stillbirths, miscarriages, and female infertility. As far back as 2015, a VA committee affirmed through critical reviews and evaluations that the water at Camp Lejeune caused birth defects. Now, these families can finally gain the justice they deserve.

What You Can Do If You or a Family Member Suffered From Exposure to Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune During Pregnancy

In 2022, a bipartisan bill known as the PACT Act (Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxins) and the part of the PACT Act known as Justice for Camp Lejeune, finally put in place a law allowing victims of Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water to file claims for compensation for their injuries, including birth defects.

If you or a loved one were born with a neural tube defect or other birth defects with severe impacts on quality of life after spending 30 or more consecutive days at Camp Lejeune during pregnancy in the years between 1953 and 1987, you have a strong case for a claim. A team of skilled Arizona Camp Lejeune attorneys with years of experience in this type of legal claim can help you gain the justice you deserve. 

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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.