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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Toxic Water Contaminants Implicated in Parkinson's Disease


Trichloroethylene (TCE) is used as an industrial solvent in many processes and products you might find around your home, such as in coffee decaffeination, dry cleaning, adhesives and spot removers.1

Unfortunately, the chemical has a specific gravity of greater than 1 when it works its way into the ground water and soil there are disastrous results.2 In a May 2023 study, greater incidence of Parkinson’s disease, cancer and additional health issues have been linked to the contamination of the Camp Lejeune Marine Corps water supply with TCE.3

The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) estimates that TCE is present in 9% to 34% of all drinking water in the U.S.4 Repeated exposure has been linked with liver, kidney, immunological, endocrine and developmental effects in humans.5

Over the last 30 years, the Environmental Protection Agency has failed to complete the cleanup and remediation of the contaminated of soil and water at Camp Lejeune.6 How did we reach this point and what can be done to protect your health from the toxic chemicals that plague our water supply?

Systemic Pollution and Contamination of Our Water Supply

The globalist cabal and technocrats who warn of climate change fail to convey the reality that water pollution and scarcity pose an imminent threat to life. While they consistently propose measures that increase their power and reduce your quality of life and freedom, they are strangely non-responsive when it comes to maintaining access to a supply of clean, pure water.

Groundwater aquifers are being rapidly depleted and water contamination is endemic. In just a single week in September 2022, E. coli contamination was found in Baltimore,7 toxic arsenic levels were discovered in New York City,8 and in Jackson, Mississippi,9 180,000 people were left without running water due to a water system breakdown.

Years of industrial pollution and waste have loaded our nation’s water supply with arsenic, nitrate, pharmaceutical drugs, pesticides, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and microplastics.10

Atop of this mismanagement, the endocrine-disrupting chemical fluoride is intentionally added to the water supply. Although the upper limit of the recommended level of fluoride was dramatically cut from 1.2 mg/L to 0.7 mg/L11 in 2011, the chemical has been linked to reduced cognitive function in recent years.

Many cities have aging waterway infrastructure. Even when it is functioning, wastewater facilities fail to remove an estimated 93% of drug compounds. According to the U.S. Geological Survey,12 80% of waterways test positive for pharmaceutical solutions. Agricultural fertilizer, animal manure and soil erosion contribute to the waterways being overloaded with phosphorus. This creates harmful algae blooms that draw oxygen from the water and create dead zones.13

This is only a brief summary of the scandalous mismanagement of the planet’s water supplies. And while algae blooms, arsenic, and crumbling lead pipes get the headlines, the widely used industrial solvent TCE is a hidden health time bomb.14 TCE has done untold damage to the environment over the last century and could have a direct impact on your health.

The Ignominious History of TCE

Commercial production of TCE began in Germany in 1925, with the U.S. following suit in the same year.15 Originally touted as a miracle anesthetic, it lacked the harsh aroma of ether and was thought to do less liver damage. Largely replaced by halothane16 by 1956, TCE was still used as a self-administered analgesic during childbirth despite concerns about fetal toxicity.17

In 1977, it was finally banned as an anesthetic in the U.S. By that time, short term exposure was linked to headaches, nausea and incoordination. Longer exposure was linked to central nervous system exposure, hepatorenal failure, increased cardiac output and death.18

At the same time women were given self-administered TCE as an anesthetic during birth, this “miracle” chemical was also being marketed as an industrial degreaser, which allowed TCE to permeate the U.S. water supply.

The popularity of TCE briefly faded in favor of the less toxic, but ozone destroying 1,1,1-Trichloroethane. The Montreal Protocol19 gave TCE new life as a commercially viable product.20 The long-term consequences of the rampant use of TCE as an industrial degreaser are serious.

TCE has been detected at 771 Superfund sites across the U.S.21 It poses a threat to water and air quality. At Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant exposure to TCE occurred during showering from ingestion and inhalation of the water and absorption through the skin, a reminder that toxic water is harmful through most exposures. TCE readily volatilizes in hot water and can off gas into enclosures through the soil.22

While not as famous as New York’s infamous “Love Canal,” indoor vapor intrusion and polluted water exposure from a toxic TCE ground water plume have plagued residents of the McCook Field neighborhood in Dayton, Ohio for 90 years. The auto parts plant was opened by Chrysler in the 1930s and by the EPA’s account:23

“The potential for dangerous contaminant vapors from the Behr Dayton Thermal VOC Plume Superfund Site to accumulate in homes and businesses located in the McCook Field and Old North Dayton neighborhoods continue. The vapors could be adversely affecting the health of those living and working in the area.”

A May 2023 study24 detected increased risk of Parkinson’s disease (PD) among personnel stationed at Camp Lejeune. The exact triggers of PD remain unknown. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, genetics, head trauma, environmental exposure are thought to play a role, and TCE-contaminated water may be one of them.

Camp Lejeune TCE Pollution

Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps Base Camp at the mouth of the New River on the Atlantic Ocean in North Carolina, is likely the site of the largest TCE contamination and scandal in the U.S. According to the National Research Council (US) Committee on Contaminated Drinking Water at Camp Lejeune:25

“In the early 1980s, two water-supply systems on the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina were found to be contaminated with the industrial solvents trichloroethylene (TCE).”

It was determined that drinking water at the base was contaminated between 1953 and 1985.26 Studies found several cancers among Marine and Naval personnel and civilian workers who were likely exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.27

Exposure to TCE through the drinking water included three routes: ingestion, inhalation, and dermal absorption. A Marine in training may consume as many as 6 liters of water daily but the combined dose from inhalation and dermal exposure were likely higher.28

Most recently, a May 2023 study29 detected increased risk of Parkinson’s disease among personnel stationed at Camp Lejeune. A cohort study of 340,489 service members found the risk of PD was 70% higher for those stationed at Camp Lejeune versus those stationed at California’s Camp Pendleton.

Former Lejeune residents who did not have PD also showed significantly higher rates of PD-like symptoms.30 These included mood disorders, resting tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement, sleep disturbances, cognitive impairment and postural instability.31

Justice for the Camp Lejeune Survivors

The TCE contamination dated back to the 1950s and was detected during the 1980s in two of eight water treatment facilities.32 The first lawsuits against the U.S. government were filed in 2009. In 2012, the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act was passed by Congress. It created a $2.2 billion fund to compensate survivors.

Eligible veterans must have served for 30 days or longer at Camp Lejeune between January 1, 1957 and December 31, 1987. It is estimated than 500,000 to 1 million individuals were exposed to the contaminated water. The law compels the VA to provide health benefits to eligible veterans and family members who have any of the 15 specific medical conditions listed below.33 Parkinson’s disease was added to the list in 2023.34

Bladder cancer

Breast cancer

Esophageal cancer

Female infertility

Hepatic steatosis

Kidney cancer

Leukemia

Lung cancer

Miscarriage

Multiple myeloma

Myelodysplastic syndromes

Neurobehavioral effects — now includes Parkinson’s disease

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Renal toxicity

Scleroderma

Failure of Clean-Up Efforts a Harbinger of Future Problems With Water Supply

The first step that was taken to resolve the water contamination was shutting down the wells in 1985. The discovery of TCE in the water supply led to this and other chemicals, such as vinyl chloride and benzene, to be added to the Safe Drinking Water Act in 1989.

Perhaps the most alarming aspect of the story is the follow-up. The EPA’s efforts to clean the soil and mitigate the damage have been alarmingly ineffective. Over 30 years, ABC Cleaners dumped thousands of gallons of solvents into the septic system, which leaked into adjacent aquifers.35 The 1-acre lot where the three-building ABC Cleaners complex once stood, remains saturated with toxins.

In 1993, the EPA implemented a plan to address the ABC Cleaners contamination and remove toxins from the ground water by pumping out the aquifers and treating the soil using in situ vapor extraction.36 Vapor extraction draws polluted water and funnels it through a filter.37

The water and vapors generated are treated and released into a nearby creek. Issues were rampant, yet ABC Cleaners remained in business and continued their poor handling of solvents.38 Only the immediate area could be treated and the equipment itself proved unreliable, with the crucial air stripper failing.39 Only 700 pounds of contamination were removed from the ground by 2003 and the plume of solvents had expended.

Five years later in 2008, topsoil and ground water contamination on the grounds of ABC Cleaners had been reduced but the solvent plume was spreading further beneath the surface. In 2011, the ground water extraction system was shut down and Hurricane Irene destroyed the soil vapor extraction system.

The buildings were condemned and destroyed in ensuing years. The ground slab of concrete remains to prevent the contaminated soil from being exposed and a fence was placed around the property. Still monitored and now a Superfund site, thirty years of cleanup have proven to be a complete disaster. Toxic off gassing into local residences and the inexorable spread of the soil and water toxins remaining serious concerns for local residents.

Protecting Your Health With Pure Water

The Camp Lejeune disaster should serve as a cautionary tale. Protecting your access to pure and clean water must be a priority when regulators have proven inefficient, and the technology is overmatched by the sheer volume of toxins emitted into our waterways.

With crumbling infrastructure and bad actors polluting waterways, my feature on how to properly filter your water is an important read. Keep in mind that filtering your bathing, cooking, and drinking water should be the goal. Ideally, you will have a system that offers a wide variety of methods, including reverse osmosis, ion exchange, and carbon block filters.

My feature on how to secure your water supply in an emergency is another must-read. I recommend rain barrels as a simple fail safe. These catchment systems can be used to irrigate and are invaluable if you are unable to filter or access tap water.

In the linked article I share water purification strategies, including how to keep your rain barrels clear of debris, use a leaf filter, and treat the water once monthly with bleach to secure your supply even in times of drought. Remember, protecting yourself from contaminated water is even more important than stocking up on non-perishable food items.

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