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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

BU Study: Health Risks Higher after Early Exposure to PCE-Contaminated Water

Prenatal and early life exposure to contaminated drinking water raise the risk of epilepsy and certain types of cancer, particularly cervical cancer, according to a new study by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Health, is the latest in a series of studies by BUSPH researchers of the health effects of exposure totetrachloroethylene (PCE), which leached into public drinking water in some Massachusetts towns from a vinyl liner put in water distribution pipes.

Previous research has indicated that prenatal and early childhood exposure to PCE has long-term impacts on health, including mental illness, the occurrence of drug use and other risky behaviors, visual deficits, and congenital anomalies such as neural tube defects.

In the new study, no increases in risk were observed for obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or hypertension. But individuals with early-life PCE exposure had an elevated risk of cancer, particularly cervical cancer. Those findings were based on 31 cancer cases among participants in the study.

The risk of epilepsy also was higher among people with early exposure to PCE-contaminated water.

To read more about the study, go to: