A study has linked trichlorethylene (TCE), a chemical commonly used for dry cleaning, to Parkinson’s disease. Researchers have previously linked Parkinson’s disease to exposure to toxins, such as pesticides and air pollution. Now scientists at the University of Rochester believe a commonly used chemical, trichlorethylene (TCE), may also cause Parkinson’s disease. More than 8.5 million people worldwide have Parkinson’s disease, a condition of the nervous system that causes movement disorders, such as tremors, stiff limbs, and cognitive problems.

Doctors still do not understand why Parkinson’s disease arises. However, the disease has been linked to low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the body. Also, people with certain risk factors, such as age and previous traumatic brain injury, are more likely to develop the disease. Also, researchers believe exposure to certain toxins, such as pesticides and air pollution. Now, researchers at the University of Rochester are providing further evidence by linking Parkinson’s disease to a commonly used chemical, trichlorethylene (TCE). The study is published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.

What is TCE?

TCE is a colorless liquid chemical that does not occur in nature. Its smell resembles that of chloroform. This chemical can be found in a variety of products and industries, including:

commercial dry cleaning
metal degreasing
cleaning wipes
stain removers for clothes and carpets
spray adhesives

You can be exposed to TCE by using a product containing TCE or by working in a factory where the chemical is present. Additionally, TCE can leach into the water, air and soil around where it is used or disposed of, contaminating what we breathe, eat and drink.

Symptoms of exposure to high amounts of TCE are:

facial numbness

Previous studies have linked prolonged exposure to TCE to an increased risk of kidney cancer, liver cancer, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

TCE and Parkinson’s disease

Dr. Ray Dorsey, professor of neurology at the University of Rochester and lead author of the study, says he and his team decided to research a link between TCE and Parkinson’s disease as they prepared to write their book called Ending Parkinson’s Disease.

TCE is a known carcinogen, it causes cancer. It is also linked to miscarriages, neural tube defects (including babies born without a brain), congenital heart disease, and many other medical conditions. It has also been around for 100 years and its toxicity has been known for at least 90 years.

Evidence from case studies

For this study, Dr. Dorsey and his team conducted a literature review. They compiled seven case studies of people who developed Parkinson’s disease after being exposed to the chemical at their workplace or in the environment. Among these case studies is NBA player Brian Grant, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 36. According to the researchers, he was likely exposed to TCE during his childhood when his father was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The camp’s water supply systems were contaminated with TCE in the early 1980s.

The researchers also profiled a sea captain who had served at Camp Lejeune and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 30 years later. The research team also shed light on late US Senator Johnny Isakson, who served in the Georgia Air National Guard, who used TCE to degrease aircraft. Senator Isakson was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2015.

Currently, the world literature on trichlorethylene and Parkinson’s disease is limited to 26 studies based on a PubMed search. In view of the widespread use and pollution by TCE and perchlorethylene (PCE), which are widely used in dry cleaning, and the increase in the number of cases of Parkinson’s disease, there is a need for more research. It is important to note that most people are unaware of their exposure because they never experienced it and it happened decades ago.

How to reduce your exposure to TCE?

To reduce exposure to TCE, TCE and PCE should be banned according to the researchers because TCE “poses an unreasonable risk to human health. We no longer drive the cars or airplanes of the 1920s, when commercial production of TCE began, because engineers developed safer alternatives. Chemists can do the same.

Second, the public, especially those who live near contaminated sites, should be informed, contained and prevented from entering homes, schools and workplaces with relatively inexpensive remediation systems, similar to those used for radon (radioactive gas).

TCE has a number of known adverse health effects and several studies over the past few decades have suggested that exposure to TCE was a risk factor for Parkinson’s disease, even though the exposure did occur. decades before the onset of the disease.

For people looking to reduce their exposure to TCE, most exposures to TCE occur through inhalation. Indoor air quality can be improved by increasing ventilation or using air filters with activated carbon, although more sophisticated systems used for radon mitigation are more recommended. Since drinking water can be contaminated with TCE, the easiest way to reduce TCE levels is to filter drinking water using activated carbon filters. Whole-house water filtering systems can help prevent additional exposure when bathing, washing dishes, or other household uses. Also, avoid using consumer products that contain TCE. Check that paint strippers, stain removers, adhesives, degreasers and sealants, among others, do not contain TCE in the ingredient list.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.