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RALEIGH, NC (AP) – A US senator from North Carolina has filed a bill to make more Marines and their families eligible for health care for illnesses suffered because of toxic drinking water at Camp Lejeune.

Republican Sen. Richard Burr said he filed the bill Wednesday to extend coverage back to 1953, four years earlier than the law now covers. In January, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said drinking water was unsafe for human consumption as far back as 1953.

The change could make tens of thousands more Marines and their relatives eligible for government health care.

Co-sponsors of the bill are Democratic senators Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Bill Nelson of Florida and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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