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Health Care Bill for Camp Lejeune Vets, Families Moves Forward

For Immediate Release: 
Thursday, June 9, 2011

Washington, DC – Today’s Senate committee vote to provide medical care for veterans and families made ill by contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune marks an important advance in the effort to address health problems of an estimated 750,000 Americans.

“This is a big win for the hundreds of thousands who are still waiting for this country to do right by them, “said Alex Rindler, Government Affairs Assistant at Environmental Working Group. “EWG applauds the tireless efforts of Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and their staffs for fighting for veterans like Jerry Ensminger and their families, but there is still much work to be done.”

Burr and Hagan are sponsors of the “Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act of 2011,” which was approved today by unanimous vote of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. It now goes to the full Senate.

At least 70 men who lived or were conceived at Camp Lejeune have been diagnosed with male breast cancer, a rare disease with an incidence rate of approximately one per 100,000. High incidences of birth defects and childhood illnesses have also been attributed to evidence of in utero exposure to chemicals found in the water.

Environmental Working Group, along with Erin Brockovich and a host of national and state organizations including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Blue Green Alliance, and Breast Cancer Fund, has urged Congress to take action on behalf of these Americans.

Pollution at Camp Lejeune is the largest incident of environmental contamination at any U.S. military facility on record. It is the subject of the award-winning documentary Semper Fi: Always Faithful.

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EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.
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