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Toxic Chemicals Hiding in Our Daily Lives

A study published online in Environmental Health by the Boston University School of Public Health revealed that exposure to the organic solvent tetrachloroethylene (PCE) during pregnancy and early childhood may increase an individual’s risk of developing a variety of diseases.

Diseases linked to PCE exposure include:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Birth defects
  • Addiction to illicit substances
  • Vision problems

It’s Important to Know the Facts About Toxic Exposure.

You might think the study has nothing to do with you; after all, how often is the average person exposed to PCE? But consider this: The study was based on a group of individuals in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, whose water supply was unknowingly contaminated with the neurotoxin for a period of almost 30 years.

The contamination began in the 1960s due to the use of PCE in water pipe installation. Researchers found that individuals in Cape Cod who were exposed to the water tainted by PCE were 50% to 60% more likely than the average American to have used illicit substance such as cocaine. Other health observations included poor vision, risky behaviors, and birth defects.

Are You at Risk for PCE Exposure?

While thousands of people in Cape Cod were unknowingly exposed to the dangerous chemical for decades, the truth is that they are not the only ones who are exposed to chemicals. PCE is actually a common contaminant found in drinking water; the BU study estimates that the neurotoxin impacts about 8% to 38% of water sources.

In addition, many other individuals knowingly deal with PCE on a daily basis, as subjection to the chemical is a normal part of their jobs. The Boston University report states that around 650,000 people are exposed to PCE through their jobs. PCE is not only commonly used in industrial workplaces for metal degreasing, textile processing, and other purposes; it is also one of the chemicals used to dry clean clothing.

The connection to dry cleaning was raised in the study, with disturbing results. The study revealed that there is some evidence that children of dry cleaners may have higher instances of psychiatric disorders than the average population. This could very well be symptomatic of their more frequent exposure to the neurotoxin PCE.

Are You or Your Loved Ones in Harm’s Way?

Toxic chemicals are prevalent in so many places in today’s world that it is easy to suffer toxic exposure without even being aware of it. Unknowing exposure is particularly dangerous because you are unable to address it. This can sometimes lead to extended periods of exposure that may last for months or even years. As in the case of families and individuals in Cape Cod, the unknowing exposure may even last for decades.

So what can you do? It’s important to stay vigilant. Look for changes in your environment and in your water. Does your water taste different? Are there higher rates of certain illnesses or disorders in your area? Don’t be afraid to ask questions, to pressure your local health officials, or to order independent testing. If you were exposed to any type of dangerous chemical and you believe you have a case, don’t hesitate to speak with an attorney.

Call a Houston Toxic Exposure Lawyer

Whether encountered on the job or in your water supply, if you have been injured due to exposure to a harmful substance such as PCE, you need to seek representation with an experienced Houston personal injury attorney as soon as possible.

At Arnold & Itkin, we have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for sick and injured clients, and we can help you as well. Contact a Houston toxic exposure lawyer from our firm today.