Tainted tap water at a U.S. Marine Corps base in North Carolina is linked to an increased risk of certain childhood cancers and serious birth defects, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The study was released by the CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry and involved interviews with the parents of 12,598 children born at Camp Lejeune between 1968 and 1985, CBS News reported. Researchers used 1985 as the cut-off date because most contaminated drinking water wells were closed by that time. The tea sought to determine if there was a connection between exposure to certain chemicals and specific health issues that developed later in life.
The CDC concluded that babies born to mothers who consumed the tap water at the Marine Corps base in North Carolina while pregnant were at a four-fold increased risk of being diagnosed with birth defects such as spina bifida, when compared to women who did not consume the water. Babies whose mothers drank the water were also at a slightly increased risk of developing childhood cancers, such as leukemia, CBS News reported.
In all, more than 100 cases of birth defects and childhood cancers were reported; the CDC was only able to confirm 52 cases through medical records, according to CBS News. The CDC confirmed 24 oral clefts, 15 cases of spina bifida and anencephaly, and 13 childhood cancers.