The U.S. Senate passed a bill that enables reparations for military, families and civilians who were exposed to toxic chemicals in the drinking water at the Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (H.R. 2192) allows anyone who lived or worked at the base for at least 30 days between 1952 and 1987 to file lawsuits against the U.S. government for toxic water exposure.
The bill was necessary due to a strict law in North Carolina that prohibited lawsuits beyond a 10-year state of repose. Because the water contamination was not reported publicly until the late 1980s, Camp Lejeune victims have been unable to file lawsuits until now.
Around 900,000 military veterans, their family members, children, unborn babies, and civilians were exposed to dangerously high levels of toxic chemicals in the drinking water.
These chemicals included highly-toxic trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), vinyl chloride (VC), benzene, and more.
Exposure to these chemicals is linked to many types of cancer, female infertility, leukemia, miscarriages, stillbirths, birth defects, neurobehavioral effects, Parkinson’s disease, and more.
One of the saddest places is “Baby Heaven” a stretch of ground near Camp Lejeune where hundreds of babies were buried.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act was combined with the Honoring our PACT Act of 2021, which provides health benefits to military veterans with health problems related to burn pits, radiation and Agent Orange.
The Senate passed the bills in a sweeping 84-14 vote, with 14 Republicans voting no, including both of North Carolina’s senators.