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  • Tuesday, November 08, 2005

    Possible suicide link with industry

    From EurekAlert!:

    CHAPEL HILL -- Sustained elevation of the suicide rate in a North Carolina county may be linked to releases of hydrogen sulfide and other airborne chemicals from a nearby paper mill and possibly other industrial sites, a new study led by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill psychiatrist indicates. The findings are being presented today (Nov. 7) to the 18th Annual U.S. Psychiatric and Mental Health Congress in Las Vegas.

    This is the second study to propose a possible link between increased suicide rates in a North Carolina community and chemical exposures from nearby industry. Many of the same authors of the new research previously presented a study suggesting a possible link between an increased suicide rate in a community in Salisbury and chronic low-level exposure to hydrogen sulfide and other potential neurotoxins released from nearby asphalt plants and petroleum remediation sites.


    In animal studies, hydrogen sulfide has been shown to be a neurotoxin, altering levels of brain chemicals such as serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, aspartate, GABA and glutamate, the authors reported. "We speculate that hydrogen sulfide may serve as a marker for other potentially neurotoxic compounds being released in this mountain valley," [Dr. Richard H.] Weisler said.

    Other chemical releases reported by the paper mill include carbon disulfide, dimethyl disulfide, dimethyl sulfide and methyl mercaptan.


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