Georgia Site of Naval Ordnance Plant Contaminated with PCBs and Trichloroethylene

Georgia is the site of a Naval ordnance plant that is contaminated with the dangerous toxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and trichloroethylene.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is investigating the potential toxic contamination at a Naval ordnance plant site in Macon, Georgia, said WMGT, and has scheduled a meeting to discuss a proposal to include Allied Industrial Park to the National Priorities List. Both PCBs and Trichloroethylene are contaminating the Macon site, according to the EPA.

Placement on the National Priorities List—a list of all known uncontrolled hazardous waste sites nationwide—means that the government’s Superfund will handle the Allied Industrial Park cleanup, explained WMGT. The EPA and the Georgia Environmental Protection Division are expected to provide additional details at a news conference scheduled for later today.

We’ve long written about links between various substances and Parkinson’s disease, recently writing that an international study found a link between the industrial solvent, trichloroethylene, and the progressive, degenerative central nervous system disorder, Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease usually affects motor skills and speech, among other functions and, while not fatal, complications can be deadly. The cause is unknown and there is no cure. About 180 in every 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease.

Researchers found a massive six-fold increased risk for developing Parkinson’s in people exposed to trichloroethylene (TCE) in the workplace. And, although mostly banned worldwide, TCE is used as a degreaser. TCE was used in paints, glue, carpet cleaners, and dry-cleaning solutions and was banned in the food and pharmaceutical industries in most areas of the world the 1970s. Although still used as a degreaser, in 1997, TCE was banned as an anesthetic, skin disinfectant, grain fumigant, and coffee decaffeinater in the U.S.

As we’ve long explained, PCBs include some 200 compounds and are a class of very toxic chemicals ubiquitously found in construction materials and electrical products in many buildings built from the 1950s until 1978, when they were phased out. In addition to being a skin irritant, PCBs have been linked to some cancers, as well as a variety of adverse health effects to the immune, reproductive, nervous, and endocrine systems. PCBs also accumulate in the environment, presenting serious health issues.

PCBs do not easily degrade and do bioaccumulate, infiltrating plants, crops, fish, and small organisms, ultimately reaching those who eat these products. Because of this, nearly every human being on the planet carries some PCBs in his/her body, which can be passed from mothers to children during pregnancy and in breast milk. PCBs can remain in our bodies for many years; the longer we live, the more these toxins build in our systems, increasing in strength over time.

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