Washington, DC - Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, introduced legislation with Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) to help communities determine whether there is a connection between "clusters" of cancer, birth defects and other diseases, and contaminants in the surrounding environment.

Senator Boxer said: "Whenever there is an unusual increase in disease within in a community, those families deserve to know that the federal government's top scientists and experts are accessible and available to help, especially when the health and safety of children are at risk. I am pleased to introduce this bipartisan legislation that will enable communities to get the answers they need as quickly as possible."

Senator Crapo said: "As a two-time cancer survivor, I know that cancer can come from many sources. This legislation may provide the answers to questions that many families face when confronting disease, and it's important that we find ways to help Americans fully understand disease clusters. Through increasing federal agency coordination and accountability and providing more resources to affected communities, families will have more information and tools to maintain health and well-being."

Throughout the country, there are communities that experience unexpected increases in the incidence of birth defects, cancer and other diseases. The legislation, S. 76, is designed to:

• Strengthen federal agency coordination and accountability when investigating these potential certain "clusters" of disease;
• Increase assistance to areas impacted by potential disease clusters; and
• Authorize federal agencies to form partnerships with states and academic institutions to investigate and help address disease clusters.

The legislation being introduced today is supported by the Trevor's Trek Foundation, co-founded by Charlie Smith and Susan Rosser with Trevor Schaefer, who survived after being diagnosed with brain cancer seven years ago at the age of 13. Trevor and his family have worked to raise awareness of disease clusters and their possible links to toxins in the environment, and to help build support for legislation to assist communities experiencing suspected disease clusters.