Risk of Parkinson’s Disease 70% Higher in Camp Lejeune Veterans

Risk of Parkinson’s Disease 70% Higher in Camp Lejeune Veterans

A new study discovered that service members who were stationed at Camp Lejeune were 70% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease compared to veterans not exposed to contaminated water. Trichloroethylene (TCE), a chemical found in high levels in the base’s water supply, has been linked to Parkinson’s disease. While the data is still evolving, this study provides insight into the troubling connection between TCE at Camp Lejeune and Parkinson’s disease.

Trichloroethylene (TCE) in the Water Supply at Camp Lejeune

Trichloroethylene (TCE) is an industrial solvent and degreaser that was present at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Known for its ability to dissolve various substances, TCE was extensively used at the base for cleaning metal parts and degreasing equipment and machinery. However, the military base improperly handled and disposed of TCE, contaminating the base’s water supply.

The maximum limit for TCE in drinking water is 5 parts per billion (ppb). Water testing at Camp Lejeune uncovered amounts of TCE as high as 1,400 ppb at a base hospital tap, 1,148 ppb at an elementary school, and 18,900 ppb in a water well. Research has linked drinking water contaminated with TCE to kidney cancer, lymphoma, testicular cancer, developmental delays, liver cancer, and more. Yet, evidence is growing that exposure to TCE can increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating brain disorder.

Study Finds TCE at Camp Lejeune Increases Risk of Parkinson’s Disease

Recently, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, set out to examine Parkinson’s disease rates in Camp Lejeune veterans. The study focused on veterans exposed to the water polluted with TCE and other volatile compounds between 1975 and 1985. Researchers compared veterans stationed at Camp Lejeune to those stationed at Camp Pendleton in California, which did not have contaminated water. Meanwhile, the study noted that the water at Camp Lejeune had incredibly high concentrations of TCE. In fact, the base had monthly median values greater than 70-fold the accepted amount of TCE.

The study’s findings were published in JAMA Neurology on May 15, 2023. The researchers examined health records for over 340,000 service members stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1975 and 1985. They then compared their health records from 1997 until 2021 with those of Camp Pendleton veterans to see who developed Parkinson’s or other diseases. The study concluded that Camp Lejeune veterans had a 70% higher risk of Parkinson’s disease than those not exposed to contaminated water. Camp Lejeune veterans also had a significantly higher chance of preliminary Parkinson’s symptoms, including tremors, anxiety, and erectile dysfunction.

Implications of Camp Lejeune Parkinson’s Study

This study is hot off the heels of another study associating TCE with a 500% increased risk of Parkinson’s. Both studies highlight the need to clean up sites contaminated with TCE to protect the public.

It is important to take these steps to protect future generations from TCE. However, it is also crucial to help those already touched by this dangerous chemical. That is why people who served, lived, or worked at Camp Lejeune are filing Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits. Individuals exposed to contaminated water at the base between 1953 and 1987 may be eligible to file a claim. Contact The Lake Law Firm today at (888) 525-3529 to find out if you or a loved one qualify.