Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Exposures to solvent early in life could lead to drug abuse: Study

Study reports high-risk behaviors in people who
were exposed to dry cleaning chemical early in life.
A new study has found that adults who were exposed to contaminated drinking water before birth and during early childhood were more likely to show risky behaviors later on in life.

The study focused on water that was contaminated with tetrachloroethylene (PCE), an industrial solvent.

Those who were exposed early in life were far more likely to use cigarettes, drugs and alcohol, the researchers found.

Previous animal and human studies reported similar changes in human behavior.

Tetrachloroethylene (PCE) is a solvent that is used in many industries, as a metal degreaser and as dry cleaning fluid.

The chemical was used in the vinyl lining in water supply lines in the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts, exposing residents in 100 towns and cities to the solvent.

For the study, researchers contacted Cape Cod residents in their late 20s and early 30s and asked about their drug and cigarette use.

Those participants with the highest PCE exposure were 60 times more likely to use two or more illicit drugs as a teenager or young adult than those with no measurable PCE exposure. The risk for cocaine use was twice as high.

Since it wasn’t possible to confirm exactly how much PCE each individual was exposed to, more studies may be needed, the researchers say.

Source: Environmental Health News

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