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Fort Dix Water Contamination Lawsuit

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Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, more commonly known as Fort Dix, is a military base with a rich history starting with World War I. More recently, it has reopened to train the National Guard and Military Reserve and represents the US Air Force Expeditionary Center.

It has recently come under fire due to legal claims of water contamination from firefighting foam. This foam contains forever chemicals like polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) causing toxic exposure and health risks to the body, as well as environmental hazards impacting water quality. 

Those who served on the tri-service base or Fort Dix airport may have been directly exposed, as well as loved ones or others living in the immediate area.

Updates on Fort Dix Water Contamination Lawsuits

Victims in the thousands are filing their own lawsuits against the federal government, including family members of military personnel due to health conditions from hazardous chemicals in the drinking water near Fort Dix.

In 2022, the PFA levels are found to be below 2 ppt. The updated Environmental Protection Agency safe limit is 0.004. Without up-to-date testing, levels are found to be undetectable.

Studies show that nearby communities to Fort Dix, such as Pine Lake, had high concentrations of PFAs in the hundred ppt range, much higher than the safe limit. These lakes are near the military base of Fort Dix and aquifers provide drinking water to those on the base and near the area.

The state of New Jersey officially files a lawsuit against the federal government regarding dangerous contaminants leaking into the environment and water supply.

The official report by the Annual Water Consumer Confidence indicates PFAs were found in drinking water as high as 5.1 ppt for PFOS specifically.

The Environmental Working Group shows a PFAS contamination map indicating Fort Dix had PFA contaminant levels in the thousands while active military service members were stationed there.

New Jersey environmental law set maximum legal limits for PFAs found in surface water and therefore drinking water. Previous samples tested at Fort Dix were found to be as high as 200,000 ppt, while the legal, safe limit was set at 13-14 ppt.

PFAs caused by a fire suppressant were officially recognized as a contaminant at Fort Dix after 21 different testing sites around the area revealed elevated levels of the substance along with other contaminants such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA).

Fort Dix disposed of pesticides, waste, and other chemicals at nearby landfills and pits, resulting in groundwater contamination. With contaminants found, the military base was named a Superfund site (contaminated) and cleanup was ordered.

Fort Dix Lawsuit Eligibility Criteria

Typically, nearby residents and military personnel of Fort Dix (or their family members) can qualify for a water contamination lawsuit if they meet certain medical conditions. Contacting a legal team is incredibly important, but as a generality, eligibility for a lawsuit is determined based on:

  • PFAS Exposure Duration: How long you were exposed to PFAS contamination. A good rule of thumb is at least six months of toxic exposure. PFAS contamination builds up in the body, so the longer the exposure, the more solid your case may be.
  • Related Health Problems: A Fort Dix water contamination lawsuit typically includes illnesses such as bladder cancer, thyroid disease or cancer, testicular cancer, kidney cancer, or other serious health conditions. Relevant medical records can be brought to a legal team to determine if you have a case.
  • Proximity to Fort Dix: If you served in the military at Fort Dix, had a family member who served, or simply lived in the area, this increases the risk of exposure and therefore can confirm eligibility.

Toxic Chemicals in Fort Dix Drinking Water

Fort Dix, also known as Camp Dix at Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst, is a military training facility and tri-service base located about 16 miles south of Trenton, New Jersey. Training exercises involving fire, including jet fuel fires at Fort Dix airport, required the use of fire suppressants such as firefighting foam. 

This led to PFAS contamination and toxic exposure on military bases, personnel, and those living in the surrounding areas. This led to Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst becoming a superfund site according to the Environmental Protection Agency. 

EPA has confirmed that these chemicals can cause serious health problems from ulcerative colitis to bladder cancer, which resulted in numerous aqueous film-forming foam lawsuits. [1]

PFAS, also known as polyfluoroalkyl substances, are synthetic chemicals linked to serious adverse health effects when exposed for at least six months. They are typically found in firefighting foam commonly used in military training, as they resist heat. The PFAS exposure lawsuit is in response to the health concerns created by exposure to PFAS.

TCE is short for trichloroethylene, which was previously used at Camp Dix for cleaning purposes, specifically grease removal for metal. Military personnel could have been exposed to this chemical, which can cause health problems such as liver cancer and other types of cancers, according to the CDC. [2]

Tetrachloroethylene is the scientific name for PCE. Contaminated military bases such as Fort Dix use this in industrial solvents like degreasing and paint thinning. It has been detected in the air and water on the military base. The EPA confirms that toxic exposure can cause many types of cancer including non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. [3]

Benzene is another volatile organic compound found near waste disposal sites on the Fort Dix military base, particularly the Dix Area Sanitary Landfill site. The CDC finds that it can be found in drinking water and causes leukemia and other problems. [4] It typically results from dumped jet fuel.

Due to Fort Dix’s frequent use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), many other contaminants such as zinc, chromium, cadmium, mercury, nickel, dichloroethane, and methylene chloride. Consulting with a law firm can help you understand if the chemicals you were exposed to are related to the PFAS exposure at military bases.

Health Risks Associated With Contaminated Water

When exposed to water contaminants, you can experience a range of symptoms [5]. These symptoms can be a sign of a more serious condition, like cancer [6].

  • Frequent or painful urination, constant need to urinate, or burning during urination can be a sign of bladder or kidney issues, including bladder cancer [7].
  • Unexplained weight loss, feeling bloated, right upper abdomen pain, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, and more can be signs and symptoms of liver cancer [8] from PFAS exposure.
  • Night sweats, swollen lymph nodes, fever, chills, low energy, and more can be signs and symptoms of cancers like lymphoma [9].
  • Contaminants can reduce vaccine effectiveness [10], which protects you and your children from many different diseases, such as polio.
  • Hair loss, weight problems, mental health issues like anxiety, fatigue, heat intolerance, and more can be signs of thyroid issues [11], including thyroid disease and thyroid cancer [12].

How to File a Fort Dix Water Contamination Lawsuit

If you’re concerned about your or a loved one’s PFAS exposure due to military service or proximity to Fort Dix, it’s important to understand what you need to get the legal process started. An attorney with a specialty in environmental and personal injury law will walk you through these steps:

  • Reach out to a personal injury law firm to explain your case, have it evaluated, and confirm that you are eligible for the water contamination lawsuit.
  • To prove your eligibility legally, you will need proof. This includes medical papers and proof of military service at Fort Dix (if applicable; otherwise, proof of proximity is needed).
  • Your attorney will file a lawsuit against those responsible. This includes chemical manufacturers, the government, and others.
  • Both parties may agree to a settlement, or the lawsuit may have to go to trial until a verdict (decision) has been made.
  • Awarded financial compensation can help with lost wages, medical expenses, and other costs resulting from PFAS exposure.  

Evidence Needed to Support Your Claim

Your legal team will work with you to gather substantial evidence to help prove your lawsuit or complaint in court. This can include:

  • Proof of Fort Dix station: Service members who are filing a lawsuit will need documentation showing time at the military base, such as directives or discharge papers.
  • Medical Records: These prove your diagnosis, symptoms, and treatments for any health problems resulting from exposure.
  • Proof of Toxic Exposure: In addition to medical records, any type of proof of exposure, such as toxicology reports, to aqueous film-forming foam or any other type of chemical. 
  • Environmental evidence, expert testimonies, and witnesses (if applicable) can also help add evidence to your claim.
  • Diagnosis Information: Any medications or treatments related to your disease from exposure, including prognoses, can help add weight to your claim.

You Have a Limited Time to File a Fort Dix Lawsuit

If you feel you have sufficient evidence or may qualify for a claim, it is imperative to contact a legal team as soon as possible. The time you have to file a lawsuit depends on the statute of limitations in the state of exposure. In New Jersey, this is generally two years from the date of disease diagnosis. 

The statute of limitations varies by state, however. Lawsuits against contaminated military bases, such as Fort Dix and Camp LeJune, typically have been filed two years from the date of medical diagnosis. 

Lawsuits themselves can take several months or in rare cases years, so it’s important to call an attorney as soon as possible to ensure you’re complying with the statute of limitations.

Fort Dix Lawsuit Settlement Evaluation

If you’re curious about how much compensation you can receive, on average, previously settled water contamination lawsuits have seen $100,000-$300,000. This can depend on many factors, such as exposure time, medical effects, and the type of contamination.

Many class-action lawsuits for PFAS exposure have been awarded billions of dollars, but this amount is split across all of the injury victims instead of just yourself. 

Contact a Fort Dix Water Contamination Lawyer Today!

Jonathan Rosenfeld, Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers have an impeccable track record of receiving settlements from all types of personal injury cases, including environmental ones such as Fort Dix water contamination from poly-fluoroalkyl substances. 

We also have a contingency fee policy by which injured parties don’t pay any upfront charges or out-of-pocket expenses for our legal services. Instead, our law firm collects its fees from the settlement amount.

Contact us today at (888) 424-5757 or use our online form to get started with your free consultation. 

Resources: [1] Environmental Protection Agency, [2] Center for Disease Control, [3] Environmental Protection Agency, [4] Center for Disease Control, [5] Center for Disease Control, [6] National Cancer Institute, [7] National Cancer Institute, [8] MD Anderson Cancer Center, [9] Mayo Clinic, [10] National Library of Medicine, [11] Cleveland Clinic, [12] National Library of Medicine

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