A long-awaited study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a link between tainted tap water at a U.S. Marine Corps base in North Carolina and increased risk of serious birth defects and childhood cancers.
The study released late Thursday by the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry is based on a small sample size and cannot prove exposure to the chemicals caused individual illnesses. It surveyed the parents of 12,598 children born at Camp Lejeune between 1968 and 1985, the year most contaminated drinking water wells were closed.
The study looked back in time and was designed to see if there was a link between exposure to certain chemicals and certain health problems that developed later.
The study concludes that babies born to mothers who drank the tap water while pregnant were four times more likely than women in similar circumstances who did not consume the water 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.
The CDC was able to confirm 15 cases of spina bifida and anencephaly, 24 oral clefts and 13 cancers.'
More than 100 cases of birth defects and...