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More than 1.3 MILLION Californians could be drinking water containing chemicals linked to Parkinson’s disease

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More than 1.3 MILLION Californians may be drinking tap water containing high levels of chemicals linked to cognitive problems and Parkinson’s disease

More than 1.3 million Californians could be consuming high levels of manganese, enough to cause cognitive impairment in children and Parkinson-like symptoms in adults.

The discovery was made by researchers at the University of California – Riverside (UCR), who found that the mineral was thriving in untreated pits throughout the Central Valley.

The study inspected private wells and public water systems – with almost half of affected residents living in disadvantaged communities – and found that almost 89% are likely to access heavily contaminated water. to manganese.

While manganese is found in water supplies around the world, the United States is one of the only countries that does not enforce a maximum level.

The research comes as the University of Los Angeles may have discovered a link between lithium in drinking water and autism.

The study found that more than 1.3 million people living in the Central Valley region could be exposed to high levels of manganese in drinking water.

Samantha Ying, UCR soil scientist and lead researcher on the study, said in a statement: “This is a relatively small number of people, compared to the total population of the state, who receive water. contaminated.”

“But for them, the health risks are high.”

Recent studies have shown that exposure to excessive levels of manganese can trigger Parkinson-like neurological symptoms when the mineral accumulates in the basal ganglia area of ​​the brain.

The team notes that residents could take matters into their own hands by purchasing treatment options ranging from oxidation and precipitation filters to water softeners, chlorination and reverse osmosis systems.

However, such water quality monitoring devices can cost up to $400 per year.

“You can buy manganese filters, but many people can’t afford them. We hope people in these communities can be subsidized to buy treatment options,” Ying said.

The team chose to investigate Central Valley because it is recognized as one of the most productive and economically important agricultural regions in the United States and is home to one-third of the state’s domestic well users. .

“These analyzes demonstrate the need for additional well monitoring programs that assess Mn and increased access to point-of-use treatment for domestic well users who are disproportionately burdened with the costs associated with water treatment,” reads the study published in Environmental Science & Technology.

Experts have found levels are high enough to cause cognitive impairment in children and Parkinson-like symptoms in adults

Experts have found levels are high enough to cause cognitive impairment in children and Parkinson-like symptoms in adults

The lithium in drinking water study found that pregnant women who drank water contaminated with the mineral had a moderately higher risk of their offspring being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

The study’s lead author, Beate Ritz, said in a statement, “All drinking water contaminants with the potential to affect human brain development deserve careful consideration.”

“In the future, anthropogenic sources of lithium in water may become more prevalent due to the use and disposal of lithium batteries in landfills that may contaminate groundwater. The results of our study are based on high-quality Danish data, but need to be replicated in other populations and regions of the world.

Ritz worked with Danish researchers who analyzed lithium levels in 151 public aqueducts in Denmark, roughly half of the country’s water supply.

The team pulled from a national database to find the systems provided to homes with pregnant mothers from 1997 to 2013, then compared 12,799 autism diagnoses to 63,681 children who had no diagnosis. of autism.

The results showed that the diagnosis of autism increased accordingly with higher lithium levels.

“Compared to the lowest quartile of recorded lithium levels – in other words, those at the 25th percentile – lithium levels in the second and third quartiles were associated with a 24-26% higher risk of autism. , the team shared in a press release.

“In the highest quartile, the risk was 46% higher than in the lowest quartile.”

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