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Camp Lejeune vet files first lawsuit seeking damages for exposure to toxic chemicals

The first lawsuits under the PACT Act were filed Thursday, one day after the passage of new protections for those exposed to toxic chemicals at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

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CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — The first lawsuits under the PACT Act were filed Thursday, one day after the passage of new protections for those exposed to toxic chemicals at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.
President Joe Biden on Wednesday signed the PACT Act, which encompasses the Camp Lejeune Justice Act along with other legal matters pertaining to toxic exposures related to military service. The new measure signed into law gives service members more power to sue over the issue.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act benefits veterans and families possibly harmed by exposure to toxic chemicals in the drinking water on the North Carolina military base after investigators found the water was contaminated with volatile organic compounds and more than 70 other highly toxic substances.

The contaminated water, which was used for cooking, drinking and bathing, could impact the health of people who lived, worked or served at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987.

Common injuries, diseases and illnesses resulting from the contamination include various cancers, miscarriage, leukemia, Parkinson’s Disease and birth defects.

One person has already filed suit against the U.S. government, saying he developed cancer after serving at the base in the 1980s.

For years, WRAL Investigates has followed the story about the Camp Lejeune water contamination victims. Earlier this year, WRAL Investigates spoke with families about their efforts to try to convince the Veterans Administration that their post-service illnesses were linked to their time in the military.

The PACT Act also expands health care benefits to millions of veterans exposed to toxic burn pits during their military service.

The bill was personal to Biden, who believes there could be 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, CNN reports.
According to CNN, 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.
WRAL senior multiplatform producer Mark Bergin contributed to this report.
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