The Camp Lejeune water contamination crisis is a significant environmental disaster in US military history. Service members and their families stationed at the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina were exposed to a toxic brew of chemicals in their drinking water, causing health issues like cancer, birth defects, and neurological disorders.
Exposure to toxic chemicals in contaminated water can cause a variety of neurological defects that can affect individuals differently. These defects include concentration problems, confusion, coordination problems, depression, fatigue, headache, learning and behavioral disorders, motor function difficulties, and sensory disturbances.
In this article, we will explore the impact of the Camp Lejeune water contamination crisis on service members and their families, as well as the challenges of holding corporations accountable for military pollution and the connection between military pollution and national security.
The Psychological Toll of Contamination
Living in a contaminated environment can take a severe psychological toll on individuals. For service members and their families housed at Camp Lejeune, the stress and anxiety of living with the knowledge that their drinking water was contaminated with toxins can have long-lasting effects on their mental health.
Even if they didn’t experience any physical symptoms, the constant fear of developing an illness or the guilt of potentially exposing their families to harmful chemicals could be debilitating.
Research has shown that long-term exposure to environmental toxins can have a range of psychological effects, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It’s important to note that mental health issues resulting from exposure to toxins may not manifest for years after exposure. This delayed onset can make it difficult for service members and their families to connect their symptoms to their time at Camp Lejeune.
Holding Corporations Accountable
The Camp Lejeune water contamination crisis has highlighted the challenges of holding corporations accountable for pollution on military bases. Military contractors like Dow Chemical and Grace were responsible for manufacturing and disposing of the toxic chemicals that contaminated the base’s water supply.
However, suing these corporations can be difficult due to legal barriers like the Feres Doctrine, which prevents active-duty service members from suing the government for injuries that occurred during their service.
According to the Jurist, President Biden signed the Honoring Our PACT Act into law in August of last year. This groundbreaking legislation includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA), which aims to address the Feres doctrine. Under this act, individuals who have been harmed by the toxic water at Camp Lejeune, including veterans and civilian employees, can pursue legal action. This is a significant step towards providing justice and support for those affected by the water contamination crisis at Camp Lejeune.
While the Camp Lejeune lawsuit payout per person cannot be predicted, this legislation provides hope for the victims and their families. It sends a clear message to military contractors and corporations that they must be held accountable for their actions, even when they occur on military bases.
The Impact of Camp Lejeune
The Camp Lejeune water contamination crisis has had a significant impact on the families of service members. Many family members were exposed to contaminated water through their use of on-base housing or through their use of the base’s recreational facilities. As a result, they may have developed serious, life-threatening health problems.
Caring for loved ones with these conditions can be emotionally and financially draining. Many family members have had to take time off work to care for sick loved ones, and the cost of medical care and treatment can be overwhelming. Additionally, navigating the VA system to receive care and compensation can be a complicated and frustrating process.
Personal injury law firms such as TorHoerman suggest that affected individuals and their families should seek legal assistance to understand their rights and explore legal options. They may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages caused by the Camp Lejeune water contamination.
Military Pollution and National Security
The Camp Lejeune water contamination crisis highlights the connection between military pollution and national security. When service members and their families are exposed to environmental toxins, it can impact their health and readiness to serve. The Department of Defense (DoD) has recognized this connection and has taken steps to reduce pollution on military bases.
After the toxic chemicals were first discovered, it took over a decade for the Department of Defense to acknowledge that the water at the Camp Lejeune Marine base in North Carolina was contaminated, as noted in a WHQR article.
However, there is still much work to be done. The military continues to use and dispose of hazardous chemicals, and many military bases are located near vulnerable communities. Addressing military pollution is not only a matter of protecting the health and well-being of service members and their families but also a matter of national security.
In conclusion, The Camp Lejeune water contamination crisis underscores the devastating impact of environmental pollution on service members and their families. The long-term health effects resulting from exposure to toxic chemicals can be severe, making it difficult for individuals to connect their symptoms to their time at the base.
While the passage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act and Honoring Our PACT Act is a step towards accountability and justice for those affected, more needs to be done to address military pollution and its impact on national security. It is imperative that we continue to prioritize the health and well-being of service members and their families by ensuring that military bases are free from hazardous chemicals and pollutants.