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NAPLES, Italy — Completion of a Naples health assessment report has been delayed until late March, Navy officials said this week.

Originally, release of the report — on Phase I of the Navy’s assessment to determine if living in Naples is detrimental to one’s health — was planned for November, then pushed to January.

But the completion of the report was delayed because some of the results led to additional testing of homes in the region, officials said.

When the study began in February 2008, the Navy took water and soil samples of 166 off-base homes.

Results from those findings prompted the Navy to expand the testing to all homes under consideration for leasing, which added some 230 homes to the study.

The Navy’s health assessment was prompted by concerns over decades of illegal trash burning, dumping of toxic waste, garbage collection strikes and numerous reports of rising cancer rates and respiratory problems.

"This is the first time the U.S. Navy has undertaken an environmental evaluation of this scale," said Cmdr. Jeff McAtee, Navy spokesman for the health study.

"Working out unexpected details of this complex task in a foreign country has made it extremely difficult to accurately predict timelines."

When completed, the report will be released in two volumes.

"The first volume will include information related to data results and the collection process," McAtee said.

"The second volume will cover interpretation of the data, including risk assessment information."

Environmental health officials from the Virginia-based Navy and Marine Corps Public Health Center are in Naples this week to discuss the study, along with "ongoing and completed Italian health studies," with command leaders.

To date, findings have prompted the Navy to provide all off-base residents with free drinking water for cooking, drinking and brushing teeth.

New leases now require landlords to provide bottled water to tenants.

The command also has suspended leasing in several areas, although more than 300 servicemembers, civilians and family members still live in those areas.

Phase 2 of the survey began last month, with officials concentrating on analyzing whole regions rather than individual homes.

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