The U.S. House of Representatives have passed new legislation that would allow veterans to file a lawsuit for health problems linked to water contamination at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
The bill has moved to the U.S. senate for approval.
Until now, lawsuits have been barred by a statute of limitations in North Carolina and other immunities provided to the government.
If passed by the U.S. Senate and enacted into law, the Camp Lejeune Justice Act would open a two-year timeframe for veterans and their families to file new lawsuits.
The bill would allow around 1 million veterans, family members, and their children to file lawsuits if they were exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.
In the 1980s, investigators found extremely high levels of toxic chemicals in the water at Camp Lejeune, such as PCE, TCE, vinyl chloride, and benzene. Most of the chemicals were traced to leaking underground storage tanks and an off-base dry cleaning company.
Exposure to these chemicals has been linked to many health problems, including leukemia and lymphoma, other cancers, infertility, miscarriages, birth defects, skin disease (scleroderma), and more.