An interesting article has appeared recently detailing a possible relationship between prenatal or early childhood exposure to water contaminated with tetrachloroethylene (also known as perchloroethylene) (PCE) and later risk of bipolar disorder and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The results, whilst preliminary, seemed to suggest a relationship between early PCE exposure and later diagnosis with the requirement for further study.
PCE exposure is, according to the US EPA, an important issue in terms of possible risks to health including cancer and reproductive issues.
In autism research circles, PCE hs cropped up on previous occasions. Most recently as part of this study which looked at the effects of PCE on mice and seemed to indicate some parallels with equivalent symptoms noted in cases of autism.
What perhaps makes the study by Guariglia and colleagues more interesting was their focus on a small township called Brick in New Jeresy which, quite a few years earlier, had the subject of quite a lot of interest in the autism community as a potential 'hotspot' for cases of autism. A summary of this story can be found here.
Whilst studies looking at association are fraught with methodological difficulties, particularly those looking at events separated by several years, the cumulative data on PCE exposure would indicate that further investigations are required in this area.