The law offices of Anderson Pangia & Associates, PLLC (offices in Washington, D.C. and Winston Salem, North Carolina) and Smorto, Persio, Webb & McGill (of Ebensburg, Pennsylvania), filed on Monday July 6 a lawsuit arising from the toxic drinking water contamination at Camp Lejeune. The lawsuit alleges that the United States Government, through agents within the Department of Defense, knowingly exposed hundreds of thousands of Marines, sailors, their family members, and civilian employees to highly contaminated drinking water on the base at Camp Lejeune, while at the same time actively disseminating disinformation to those exposed in an effort to minimize the significance of the exposure.
The complaint, filed in federal court in the Eastern District of North Carolina, attaches numerous documentary exhibits in support of its allegations that the government knowingly, recklessly and/or negligently violated its own standards, rules and regulations by permitting the exposure to continue after the government was specifically warned the drinking water was "highly contaminated with . . . solvents!" and advised that "these appear to be at high levels and hence more important from a health standpoint. . . " The lawsuit alleges that the Department of the Navy had regulations in place as early as 1963 which prohibited the contamination and which would have averted it had those regulations been obeyed; subsequently in 1974 the Commanding General of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina put in place additional regulations governing the proper disposal of the very same chemicals which were discovered later to be contaminating the drinking water; had these regulations been obeyed, the contamination likewise would have been prevented. This same 1974 base order declared these "organic solvents" to be hazardous, the lawsuit states.
Many scientists have called the drinking water contamination at Camp Lejeune the worst in the nation's history. The contaminated drinking water was consumed by an estimated one million people.
The lawsuit alleges that exposure to the toxins caused numerous health problems including cancers, reproductive disorders and birth defects, among other maladies.