CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Military service members who served at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina are more likely to develop Parkinson's disease due to contaminated water exposure, a new study found.
The report, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found the risk of developing Parkinson's was 70% higher for veterans stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1975 to 1985. That's compared to veterans stationed at Marine Corps bases without water contamination. Researchers also found Camp Lejeune veterans have a significantly higher risk for several prodromal features of Parkinson's.
The findings suggest that exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE) in water may increase the risk of Parkinson's disease. Millions of people worldwide have been and continue to be exposed to the contaminant, according to the study. Trichloroethylene was among several harmful chemicals found in the water, as well as perchloroethylene, benzene and vinyl chloride.
Multiple TV and radio ads from law firms across the country have been circulating in recent months, offering to help people who were exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune get financial compensation. Members of the military, their families and civilians who were on the base were exposed to toxic chemicals from 1953 to 1987.
"Remarkably, among veterans without Parkinson's disease, residence at Camp Lejeune was associated with a higher risk of several clinical diagnoses that are well-established prodromal features of PD," the study says.
Researchers said the water supply at Camp Lejeune was contaminated by several volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Levels were highest for TCE, with monthly median values greater than 70-fold the allowed amount.
The study says that wells on Campe Lejeune that provided water to the base were contaminated by on-base sources, including leaking supply tanks, industrial spills and waste disposal sites (largely TCE) and an off-base dry cleaning business.
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