- Dole NEWS RELEASE!
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole
United States Senate w Washington, DC 20510
For Immediate Release: August 1, 2007 Contact: Katie Hallaway, 202-224-2999
Amy Auth, 202-224-7905
Dole Introduces Bill to Protect Against TCE Water Contamination
Washington, D.C. – Sen. Elizabeth Dole, along with four of her colleagues, today introduced legislation to help protect our most susceptible populations, such as pregnant women, infants and children, against the negative health impacts of drinking water contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE), a chemical commonly used in degreasing agents, paint and spot removers and adhesives. According the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), TCE is the most widespread water contaminant in the nation and can be found in soil and groundwater in every state. Drinking water from Camp Lejeune wells, which were closed between 1985 and 1987, was contaminated with TCE, among other chemicals.
“Drinking water contaminated with TCE can lead to serious health problems and even terminal illness for those exposed, particularly babies in utero, infants and children,” said Dole. “We can and must take the necessary steps to protect people and avoid senseless tragedies.”
Dole’s legislation would require the EPA to establish a health advisory for TCE and a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation, which is a legally enforceable public water system standard, to limit TCE levels. The bill also would require EPA to prepare an Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) inhalation reference concentration (RfC) for TCE vapor exposure. IRIS is an electronic database containing information on human health effects that may result from exposure to various chemicals in the environment, and an RfC would provide an estimate of how much TCE vapor exposure would create an appreciable risk for harmful effects.
At Camp Lejeune, government estimates show that over three decades, as many as 1 million people living and working at the base may have been exposed to contaminated drinking water. The U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has found that babies exposed in utero to the drinking water developed leukemia and other cancers, as well as birth defects, such as spina bifida and cleft palate.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Dole has fought to help bring forward the facts about the Camp Lejeune water contamination and to expedite the notification of potential victims. Dole included a provision in last year’s defense authorization bill that called for a National Academies of Science study of the health impacts of TCE in the drinking water and homes at Camp Lejeune.
Earlier this month, Dole filed an amendment to the defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2008 that would require the Secretary of the Navy to identify and directly notify former and retired Marines, their families and civilian employees who lived and worked at Camp Lejeune from 1958-1987 of their possible exposure to contaminated drinking water