Washington – U.S. Sen. Jim Jeffords, I – Vt., today expressed deep concerns about the results of a report commissioned by the U.S. Marine Corps on the health impacts of the drinking water contamination at the Marine Corps base at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The contamination, which likely began in the 1950s, was first detected in October 1980, yet the Marines did not begin closing the wells until late 1984. Jeffords called for the creation of a independent commission earlier this year. "The panel report confirms that the Marine Corps knew of the contamination for four years before closing the drinking water wells. Marines and their families deserve much better. The Marine Corps should now do the right thing by notifying and providing appropriate assistance to people who were affected," Jeffords said. A federal report released last year showed that children conceived or born at the marine base before 1985 suffer from cancer and birth defects at more than twice the normal rate. Estimates of the number of individuals exposed while living at base housing range from 50,000 to 200,000. As indicated in the attached timeline, while the Environmental Protection Agency debated setting the health-based limit for these contaminants at between 5 and 500 parts per billion, the Marines repeatedly found levels in the thousands. Jeffords, the ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, has called on the Secretary of Health and Human Services to expand the scope of the on going in-utero study to include all Marine Corps personnel and their dependents who lived at the affected base house areas of Camp Lejeune between 1968 and 1985. Jeffords has also asked that all Marines and their families that lived in the affected base housing during that time period be notified about the contamination and the potential health effects. The commission report can be found at: http://www.usmc.mil/camplejeune/clbwatersurveyinfo.nsf