From the 1950s through the 1980s, military, civilian contractors, other employees and their families stationed at Camp Lejeune Marine Corps base in North Carolina were provided tainted drinking water containing poisonous levels of industrial chemicals. Studies conducted have confirmed that the exposure of these toxic elements can cause birth defects, miscarriages, infertility, cancer, and other diseases.
In the 1980s, environmental regulations forced the Marine Corps to further test their water supply systems at Camp Lejeune, which showed the water was flooded with toxic chemicals – Trichloroethylene (TCE), Perchloroethylene (PCE), and benzene. These highly toxic chemicals were in the water for on-base family housing, barracks, administrative offices, the base hospital, and schools. To further put this into perspective, the water supply on base was often a thousand times higher than what the EPA maximum safety standards.
Once the water contamination issue was discovered, the USMC ignored the issue and continued to allow residents and workers consume the contaminated water. In 1987, the facility was finally shut down. From 1953 to 1987, it is estimated that 750,000 to 1,000,000 people consumed the toxic water at Camp Lejeune over the 35-year period.