WASHINGTON, DC – An amendment to support military families who were potentially exposed to highly contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina was approved today as part of the 2007 Defense Authorization Act, which passed the Senate 96-0. The amendment was authored by Senators Elizabeth Dole, R-N.C., and Jim Jeffords, I-Vt. The amendment will help those exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune Marine base, which closed the contaminated wells in 1985. The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has found that at least 100 babies exposed in utero to the contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune suffered birth defects and cancers, including spina bifida, leukemia and cleft palates. The Dole-Jeffords amendment requires a comprehensive National Academy of Sciences study to be completed within 18 months to evaluate the strength of the link between TCE and PCE exposure and adverse health impacts for pre-natal, childhood and adult exposures at Camp Lejeune. In 2004, Jeffords called for an investigation of the contamination, and for full notification of those affected. The amendment also requires the Marine Corps to notify those potentially affected by the contamination so they can learn what happened, how it may have affected them, and what steps they may consider taking now to minimize the potential health impacts. “I am hopeful that this study will provide the information these families need to answer questions that have lingered for far too long,” said Jeffords, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “This is the minimum that our government should be doing to address the grievous failure on the part of the Marine Corps to adequately protect its service members and their families.”