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CDC says water at Marine base linked to birth defects

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A long-awaited study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a link between tainted tap water at a US Marine Corps base in North Carolina and increased risk of serious birth defects and childhood cancers.

The authors of the study on Camp Lejeune released late Thursday by the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry warned it is based on a small sample size and cannot prove exposure to the chemicals caused specific individuals to become ill.

But the study did conclude that babies born to mothers who drank Lejeune tap water while pregnant were four times more likely than women who lived off-base to have such serious birth defects as spina bifida. Babies whose mothers were exposed also had a slightly elevated risk of such childhood cancers as leukemia, according to the results.

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