Criteria for the recognition of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) were applied to 362 subjects exposed to trichloroethylene, trichloroethane, inorganic chromium, and other chemicals in water obtained from wells in an industrially contamined aquifer in Tuscon, Arizona. Their antinuclear autoantibodies were measured by fluorescence (FANA) in serum. Ten patients with clinical SLE and/or other collagen-vascular diseases were considered separately. Results were compared to an Arizona control group, to published series, and to laboratory controls. Frequencies of each of 10 ARA symptoms were higher in exposed subjects than in any comparison group except those with clinical SLE. The number of subjects with 4 or more symptoms was 2.3 times higher compared to referent women and men. FANA titers >1:80 was approximately 2.3 times higher in women but equally frequent in men as in laboratory controls. ARA score and FANA rank were correlated with a coefficient (cc) of .1251, r2= .0205 (p < 0.036) in women and this correlation was almost statistically significant in men cc = .1282, r2= .0253 (p < 0.059). In control men and women neither correlation was significant. Long-term low-dose exposure to TCE and other chemicals in contaminated well water significantly increased symptoms of lupus erthematosus as perceived by the ARA score and the increased FANA titers. © 1992 Academic Press, Inc.
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