07.28.09

Burr Bill Would Provide Care for Lejeune Vets Exposed to Water Contaminants

Bill gives VA health care to servicemembers, veterans, and family adversely affected by contamination

Today, Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, introduced the Caring for Camp Lejeune Veterans Act of 2009, legislation that would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to provide health care toveterans and their family members who have experienced adverse health effects as a result of exposure to well water contaminated by human carcinogens at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

"Thousands of Navy and Marine veterans and their families who lived on Camp Lejeune have fallen ill with a variety of cancers and diseases believed to be attributable to their service at the base before it was designated a Superfund site in 1988," Senator Burr said. "We owe those who are sick the benefit of the doubt and the health care they need."

A recent National Research Council report on the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune assessed that there are numerous adverse health effects associated with human exposure to the chemicals known to have been in water at Lejeune. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry is conducting scientific studies to further understand the extent of human exposure on Camp Lejeune and planning human health surveys to determine the frequency of certain illnesses among former Camp Lejeune residents.

Senator Burr's bill would allow a veteran or military family member who was stationed at Camp Lejeune during the time the water was contaminated to receive needed health care at a VA facility.

"Camp Lejeune veterans and their families deserve closure on this tragic situation," Senator Burr added. "While we continue to seek more answers, this bill is a step towards providing the Lejeune veterans and their families the respect and care they deserve."