Original Article

Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 77-81

First online:

Association between clinical symptoms and lymphocyte abnormalities in a population with chronic domestic exposure to industrial solvent-contaminated domestic water supply and a high incidence of leukaemia

  • V. S. ByersAffiliated withCancer Research Campaign Laboratories, University of NottinghamDepartment of Dermatology, University of California
  • , A. S. LevinAffiliated withDepartment of Dermatology, University of California
  • , D. M. OzonoffAffiliated withSchool of Puplic Health, Boston University
  • , R. W. BaldwinAffiliated withCancer Research Campaign Laboratories, University of Nottingham

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An unusually high incidence of leukaemia and recurrent infections was noted in children exposed in utero to domestic water supply contaminated with industrial solvents including trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene and 1,2-transdichloroethylene. Medical and laboratory investigations were carried out on 28 family members of the patients with leukaemia with particular emphasis on the immunological system to determine if they displayed symptoms associated with acute or chronic exposure to these chlorinated hydrocarbons. The principal organ systems affected were neurological, immunological and cardiological. Damage to these systems was found in all subjects by history, physical and laboratory parameters. Damage to the immunological system was manifest by altered ratios of T lymphocyte subpopulations, increased incidence of auto-antibodies, increased infections and recurrent rashes.