U.S. military personnel serving at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina (pictured), had a much higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study published Monday. File Photo by Alexis C. Glenn/UPI | License Photo
May 15 (UPI) — U.S. military personnel serving at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina had a much higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study published Monday.
Marines and their families stationed at the camp and exposed to its toxic water for decades until the late 1980s had a 70% higher risk of developing the progressive neurological disorder, according to the study published in JAMA Neurology.
Parkinson’s is a progressive disease, starting slowly when brain cells begin dying but progressing without any known cure.
Military service members and their families, as well as civilian contractors, were exposed to toxic water at the base between 1953 and 1987. Many developed other illnesses and complications over the years, and some were deadly.
Monday’s data finds people who drank the contaminated water were at a much higher risk of developing Parkinson’s compared to those stationed at other military bases in different parts of the country.
It wasn’t until 1987 that testing under the Clean Water Act found contaminants such as trichloroethylene, or TCE, a known carcinogen, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Testing also found tetrachloroethylene, a likely human carcinogen, in addition to other hazardous compounds.
Veterans spent an average of two years stationed at Camp Lejeune.
“Wells that provided water to the base during this period were contaminated by on-base sources, including leaking underground storage tanks, industrial spills, and waste disposal sites (largely TCE) and an off-base dry-cleaning business (largely PCE),” the study’s co-authors wrote in the publication.
The study was funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Camp Lejeune Act passed last year is part of a larger piece of legislation enacted by President Joe Biden to address conditions faced by military veterans exposed to toxic burn pits.
Veterans exposed to the camp’s toxic water are encouraged to apply for aid through VA. Anyone who spent more than 30 days at the facility between 1953 and 1987 is also encouraged to get in touch with the association. » …