updated 4/28/2009 4:38:05 PM ET 2009-04-28T20:38:05

In an abrupt reversal, the U.S. government is disavowing a report that had reassured Marines and their families there was little or no increased cancer risk for adults who drank contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.

Officials say they want to redo their 1997 health assessment because of omissions and inaccuracies. Among other problems, it did not examine benzene, a cancer-causing chemical found at the base in the early 1980s.

Health officials say as many as 1 million people may have been exposed to the tainted water from the 1950s until the wells were closed in 1987.

William Cibulas of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry said Tuesday the agency "can no longer stand behind the accuracy of the information in that document."

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