The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is a law that Congress passed in 2022. This act covers veterans and their family members who served at the U.S. Marine Corps Base at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, during specific periods.
The purpose of this act is to provide medical care to those who were exposed to contaminated drinking water while stationed there between 1953 and 1987 or lived there with children born with congenital disabilities during this period.
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What Is the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act is a federal law passed by President Biden in August 2022. The act is regarding exposure to contaminated water. Several studies have shown that veterans and their families exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 faced several health consequences, including congenital disabilities, cancers, adult leukemia, and more.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act enables veterans to claim compensation for health problem treatments and other difficulties they faced during the time. Hence, anyone stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 for at least 30 days can file a lawsuit under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
Only the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina has jurisdiction over actions brought under the Act. The Act prevents the U.S. Government from asserting immunity to lawsuits in response to claims against it. The law also overrules North Carolina’s statute of repose that sets a ten-year limit on filing tort claims.
What Diseases Are Covered by the Camp Lejeune Justice Act?
Contaminated water exposure at Camp Lejeune can lead to numerous diseases. Hence, knowing what conditions are covered under this act is vital to file a lawsuit if you suffer from these diseases.
Leukemia is a type of cancer that occurs when the bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells. These cells multiply uncontrollably, forming a blood or bone marrow tumor. The symptoms of leukemia include fatigue, fever, and weight loss.
Exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE) and benzene in the water at Camp Lejeune is associated with the development of leukemia. TCE and benzene chemicals are known carcinogens that cause certain types of cancer. When they enter your body, they can damage your cells and DNA. Even small amounts of exposure can increase your risk of developing leukemia as an adult.
Aplastic Anemia and Other Myelodysplastic Syndromes
In the case of aplastic anemia, the bone marrow stops producing enough new blood cells. This is because of exposure to chemicals or radiation that damage or destroy stem cells in the bone marrow. If your body doesn’t produce enough red blood cells, you can’t carry oxygen throughout your body. Sometimes, this can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, and dizziness.
The most common cause of aplastic anemia is exposure to toxic chemicals such as benzene and pesticides. Benzene was found at high levels in the water supplied to Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. This means that veterans may have developed such problems after exposure to contaminated water and can claim compensation for the same.
Bladder cancer is a common type of cancer that affects the urinary system. It is thought to be caused by exposure to environmental carcinogens and can be found in the bladder or urethra. In most cases, the disease is not fatal if caught early. Bladder cancer is one of the most common cancers in men and women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. Data shows that around 90% of individuals with bladder cancer are over 55.
The majority of bladder cancers are adenocarcinomas, which begin in glandular tissue. Transitional cell carcinomas are more common in women than men and occur in the bladder wall lining.
There are several risk factors for developing bladder cancer, including:
- Family history of bladder cancer
- History of smoking or asbestos exposure
- Exposure to certain chemicals (e.g., aromatic amines)
- Occupational exposure
Water contaminated with TCE, benzene, Tetrachloroethylene (PCE), or vinyl chloride can cause bladder cancer and even increase the risks of cancer-related deaths. Studies performed on the water sample collected from Camp Lejeune show that it increased the cancer death risks among those exposed.
Kidney cancer develops in one or both kidneys. Kidney cancers can be benign or malignant, primary or secondary. Benign tumors rarely spread to other parts of the body and are not considered life-threatening unless they grow so large that they put pressure on surrounding organs and may cause problems with urination.
Malignant kidney cancers usually spread to other organs, such as the lungs, liver, bones, and brain. Hence, they are life-threatening. If you don’t treat malignant kidney cancers on time, they can be fatal.
Long-term exposure to TCE can lead to the development of kidney cancer. Since TCE was found at high levels in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, it is a disease covered under the Camp Lejeune Justice Act.
Liver cancer can develop in several forms. For example, Hepatocellular carcinoma begins in the primary type of liver cell (hepatocyte). Similarly, intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma and hepatoblastoma are some other, but rarer, types of liver cancers.
Liver cancer is a rare disease, and studies have established a strong link between exposure to vinyl chloride and the development of rare types of liver cancer. In fact, studies have also shown that occupational exposure to vinyl chloride can lead to liver cancer.
A person must have at least 10% abnormal plasma cells in the bone marrow to be considered multiple myeloma. These abnormal plasma cells are produced by an overproduction of a protein called monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).
Multiple myeloma can spread through the bloodstream and infect other organs, such as the kidneys, spleen, and liver. The disease often progresses with increasing symptoms such as bone pain and kidney failure. Treatment varies depending on how far along you are in your multiple myeloma diagnosis. Some people may only require medication, while others will need surgery, radiation therapy, and medicine.
Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative brain disorder that affects movement and muscle control. It can be caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to chemicals like TCE or genetic factors. The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease are often mild for many years until the condition progresses more rapidly.
Parkinson’s disease is a slow, progressive condition that worsens over time. Symptoms include tremors in the hands and fingers, stiffness or slow movement (bradykinesia), muscle rigidity (rigidity), and impaired balance when walking. The symptoms may interfere with daily activities such as brushing teeth and eating food because of the loss of coordination between hand movements required to perform tasks like these.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act covers many other diseases. If you or your loved one was stationed at Camp Lejeune and are facing any of the listed conditions, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other expenses. Look for the right attorney to help you with the lawsuit and claim the compensation.
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