Babies And Kids: Forgotten Victims Of Camp Lejeune Poisoned Water
When we think about exposure to toxic chemicals, or poisoned water, such as the kind of poisons that infected the water at Camp Lejeune from the 1950s to the 1980s, we often think of the diseases that soldiers, servicemembers, and staff at the camp may have contracted.
But as innocent as the soldiers were, who had no idea the water that was supposed to be helping them was actually poisoning them, there is one group of people—victims—that are even more innocent: Their children, and newborns.
Birth Defects and Newborn Deaths
Birth defects from the toxic water at Camp Lejeune haven’t gotten as much publicity as the injuries to those who actually served at the camp have gotten, but their stories are no less tragic. A recent article tells the story of a woman whose child was born with severe defects.
The child had a malformed eye, a deformed hand, and a cleft palate that left the child unable to breathe on her own power. The baby was only seven weeks old when she died in her mother’s care.
Stories of children of Camp Lejeune servicemembers diagnosed with various cancers abound. Cancer that inexplicably develops in children, and spreads to other parts of the body, is commonplace with kids whose parents were exposed to Camp Lejeune water.
Toxic Water and Chemical Seepage
The cause of the defects for all these children was the child’s parents’ exposure to toxic water at Camp Lejeune.
Back in the 1950s, there was little awareness of how toxic chemicals can seep into a water system. Leaking dry cleaners, dumping of toxic chemicals, and leaks that came from chemical storage tanks all shared ground and soil with the water that was being used by everybody—servicepeople and employees—at the camp.
This is no small claim; one soldier says in an article that every member of the Marine Corp east of the Mississippi river may have spent time at Camp Lejeune during the time period that veterans and employees can sue for damages (victims must have spent at least 30 days at or in the camp, anytime from 1953-1987).
An informal survey found that victims of contaminated water who are now suing the government were overwhelmingly enlisted soldiers, with a small number of officers. But anybody—soldier, employer, contractor, or otherwise—that meets the time criteria, can try to get compensation for injuries or disease caused by toxicity at the camp.
Cases Slow to Resolve
Despite a new law that now allows sickened servicemembers (or their children) to sue, the military has been slow to resolve cases. That means that many servicemembers will have to proceed to take their case to court, and possibly, all the way to trial. The U.S. Navy says that no cases have been settled, as the Navy says it is still conducting “initial evaluations.”
Call the Tennessee Camp Lejeune Justice Act lawyers at Fox Farley Willis & Burnette, PLLC, today for help if you were stationed or worked at Camp Lejeune, and may have gotten ill or diseased.