President Joe Biden on has signed into law a bill expanding health care benefits to millions of veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits during their military service. The bill also includes the Camp Lejeune Justice Act which allows for benefits and injury lawsuits for thousands of veterans and their family members who were exposed to the toxic water at Camp Lejeune NC.
The bill is a major bipartisan victory for Congress and addresses an issue that is personal to the President. Biden has said he believes there may have been a connection between the brain cancer that killed his 46-year-old son, Beau Biden, and the burn pits Beau was exposed to during his military service.
Burn pits were commonly used to burn waste – including trash, munitions, hazardous material and chemical compounds – at military sites throughout Iraq and Afghanistan until about 2010. These massive open-air burn pits, which were often operated at or near military bases, released dangerous toxins into the air that, upon exposure, may have caused short- and long-term health conditions, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Toxic smoke, thick with poison spreading through the air and into the lungs of our troops. When they came home many of the fittest and best warriors that we sent to war were not the same. Headaches, numbness, dizziness, cancer. My son Beau was one of them,” Biden said.
Beau Biden was an Iraq war veteran who served as the attorney general of Delaware and died of brain cancer in 2015.
The Honoring our Pact Act also includes The Camp Lejeune Justice Act. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act will provide long-overdue judicial relief to victims of water contamination at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
Veterans, family members and civilian contractors who live, worked or were in utero at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987, had regular exposure to contaminants in the drinking water on the base.
Routine water testing found that drinking water sources at Camp Lejeune were contaminated with toxic chemicals including:
Scientific and medical evidence has shown a significant association between exposure to these chemicals and development of certain diseases later in life. For many years Camp Lejeune victims have suffered with no relief from the US government which was aware of the contamination for decades, yet covered it up to protect themselves from liability. When they finally acknowledged the contamination and the link to illness, injury and death, the hid behind statutes of limitations and other red tape that protected them from liability while millions of our veterans and their families suffered.
The above contaminants are known carcinogens and are proven to be harmful to humans. Contamination of the water Camp Lejeune was found to have up to 300 times acceptable levels of these contaminants in some instances. The government knew about this yet covered it up and hid behind legal loopholes. Finally justice is coming for potentially millions of our veterans and their families who lived and worked at Camp Lejeune.
How does the Camp Lejeune Justice Act affect those who lived or worked there?
Veterans, family members and civilian contractors who lived, worked or were in utero at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune or Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) New River in North Carolina between 1953 and 1987 will now be eligible for additional VA benefits and additionally will be eligible to file personal injury lawsuits against the US government. These lawsuits can be filed regardless of how long ago the victim was diagnosed, even if they have passed. The Camp Lejeune Justice Act will reset the statute of limitations to 2 years from the date it is signed into law and it will void the North Carolina Statute or Repose. Even if someone died 30-40 years ago, their family members will still be able to file a claim on their behalf.
What Injuries will be eligible for personal injury lawsuits?
Due to the severe toxicity of the chemicals and contaminants in the water at Camp Lejeune, a wide range of injuries will qualify. The illnesses listed below include some but not all eligible injuries and illnesses.
Any Blood Cancers Including:
Any Organ Cancer Including:
Other Non-cancer Injuries:
Locations of Camp Lejeune Toxic Drinking Water
To be eligible to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit, you must have lived or worked at the Camp Lejeune military training facility. The facility spans 246 square miles near Jacksonville, North Carolina, and includes the following locations:
Those eligible to collect financial compensation in a Camp Lejeune lawsuit include military members, civilians, family members, and anyone who developed health conditions or congenital disabilities from in utero exposure.