Throughout U.S. history, military service members have put their lives on the line to serve their country. However, these same service members should not have to unnecessarily or unknowingly put their health at risk – especially with life on a military base.
Yet, that is exactly what happened on some bases across the country. The contaminated water supplies on at least a couple of bases are now leading veterans and their families to face serious diagnoses of cancer and other debilitating conditions.
Another base under scrutiny for toxic exposure
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is conducting a new investigation into the water supply at the former U.S. Army base at Fort Ord in California. While Fort Ord was in operation, thousands of service members, their families and civilians working on-base could have been exposed to toxic, cancer-causing chemicals in the drinking water.
Unfortunately, these concerns are nothing new. A 1990 report from the Environmental Protection Agency listed this location as one of the most polluted places in the country, according to AP News. The report from three decades ago included citations about dangerous levels of toxins in the drinking water.
Officials on and off the base knew about these issues. Yet they did nothing to protect the people living or working there.
What happens now?
Military families connected to Fort Ord will likely have to wait for the results of the new investigation into health concerns to know if they can move forward and potentially seek compensation. However, there is hope.
As we covered in a previous blog post, Fort Ord is not the only military base in the news for water contamination issues. Toxic water supplies at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina also led to various cancer diagnoses and other health conditions in veterans, their loved ones, and civilians who worked on-base.
The Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA), signed into law by President Biden on August 10, 2022, allows individuals to seek compensation from the government if they:
- Lived on-base at Camp Lejeune;
- Worked on-base at Camp Lejeune (including both service members and civilians);
- For at least 30 days;
- Between 1953 and 1987; and
- Received diagnoses of illnesses presumed or believed to be related to toxic exposure there.
The CLJA offers hope for justice to military families in similar situations. It is critical to keep up to date on the results of these investigations to determine the next steps.
Veterans’ Benefits cannot cover everything in these stressful, unimaginable cases. Service members, their families, or civilians who worked on a military base and were exposed to toxic chemicals on the home front while serving our country deserve justice and reasonable compensation.