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By Kelly Twedell FAYETTEVILLE, North Carolina (Reuters) - Water pollution at the Camp Lejeune military base in North Carolina has been linked to increased risk of birth defects and childhood cancers, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A study released by the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substance & Disease Registry on Thursday confirmed a long-suspected link between chemical contaminants in tap water at the Marine Corps base and serious birth defects such as spina bifida It also showed a slightly elevated risk of childhood cancers including leukemia. Dr. Vikas Kapil, a medical officer and acting deputy director of the CDC agency that produced the study, said it surveyed the parents of 12,598 children born at Lejeune between 1968 and 1985, the year most contaminated drinking water wells at Camp Lejeune were closed.