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Trichloroethylene And Parkinson’s Disease

Trichloroethylene Is A Risk Factor For Parkinsonism Study Shows

Parkinsons: A Man-Made Disease? – Ray Dorsey, MD
A new study found strong evidence that trichloroethylene is a risk factor for parkinsonism, a group of nervous disorders with symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. TCE is a chemical widely used in industry that is also found in drinking water, surface water and soil due to runoff from manufacturing sites where it is used.

Parkinson’s disease, the most common neurodegenerative movement disorder caused by aging, can also be caused by pesticides and other neurotoxins. A new study found strong evidence that trichloroethylene is a risk factor for parkinsonism, a group of nervous disorders with symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease.

TCE is a chemical widely used in industry that is also found in drinking water, surface water and soil due to runoff from manufacturing sites where it is used.

Led by Don M. Gash and John T Slevin, of the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY, researchers conducting a clinical trial of 10 Parkinson’s disease patients came across a patient who described long-term exposure to TCE, which he suspected to be a risk factor in his disease. TCE has been identified as an environmental contaminant in almost 60 percent of the Superfund priority sites listed by the Environmental Protection Agency and there has been increasing concern about its long term effects.

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What Is Parkinsons Disease

Parkinsons disease a progressive disorder of the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. The disease commonly starts out with barely noticeable tremors or shaking in one hand. Other signs and symptoms of Parkinsons include:

  • Loss of automatic movements

Parkinsons also causes stiffness and gradually slows down a persons movement. The disease may also affect cognitive function and can eventually cause memory loss and dementia.

Generally, people in the early stages of Parkinsons can remain independent, even though they may eventually have difficulty doing daily tasks. Health professionals say physical activity and dieting can help to slow down symptoms.

Bay Area Solvent Study

Objective/Rationale: Chlorinated solvents are commonly used in a variety of occupations. The solvents trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene have been associated with an increased risk of Parkinsons disease in small studies in humans. This study of mechanics with occupational exposure to solvents will collect preliminary information to support a future prospective investigation of the association between chlorinated solvent exposure and risk of PD.

Project Description: In this pilot study, a subgroup of the mechanics who have enrolled in the Bay Area Solvent Study will be invited to participate in an in-person evaluation, including a neurologic examination, and interviews collecting histories of lifetime health and occupation. Some of those participating in the in-person assessment will be invited to undergo a brain scan using a chemical called DaTSCAN. DaTSCAN binds to the dopamine transporter . In PD, DaTSCAN binding is reduced in a specific brain area affected in PD, the striatum. Lifelong exposure to the solvents TCE, PERC, and other risk factors will be estimated for each participant, using the information provided in the interview. Analyses will test whether mechanics with exposure to these solvents have changes on their neurological exam or lower striatal dopamine transporter binding.

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Tce Linked To Cancer And Chronic Conditions

Scientific research shows exposure to trichloroethylene can cause kidney cancer. Some evidence suggests TCE exposure is associated with an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and liver cancer.

TCE has toxic effects on the liver, kidneys, central nervous system, immune system and male reproductive system. Research indicates it also causes developmental problems in unborn children.

Trichloroethylene exposure has also been associated with certain chronic conditions including autoimmune hepatitis, Parkinsons disease, scleroderma and skin disorders.

Inhaling TCE in high concentrations can negatively affect the heart, liver and kidneys, and it may cause confusion, unconsciousness and even death from arrhythmia or an abnormal heart rate.

What Is Tce Used For


Trichloroethylene is a halogenated hydrocarbon . These hydrocarbon compounds have at least one hydrogen atom replaced by a halogen atom, such as chlorine, fluorine, or bromine. Emil Fischer first synthesized TCE in 1864, and over the last 100 years, the chemical has had much industrial usage. Due to its age and widespread use, tce chemistry is one of the most severe environmental contaminants. New research suggests that TCE is a direct causative factor for several diseases, including liver cancer, pancreas cancer, and prostate cancer. TCE is also shown to damage fetal cardiac development and cause neurotoxicity. Trichloroethylene has also been found as a risk factor in the development of common neurodegenerative disorders such as ALS, MND, Alzheimers, and most recently Parkinsons disease.

However, there is still some variance across multiple epidemiological studies assessing TCE-related exposure and risk for developing PD. Also, there is still a degree of uncertainty about how Trichloroethylene causes toxicity to neurons, prevent neurogenesis and damage the dopaminergic system.

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Parkinson’s Disease Risk Greater In Those Exposed To Trichloroethylene

Symptoms of disease may appear 10 to 40 years following exposure


A novel study in twins found that exposure to trichloroethylene — a hazardous organic contaminant found in soil, groundwater, and air — is significantly associated with increased risk of Parkinson’s disease . Possibility of developing this neurodegenerative disease is also linked to perchloroethylene and carbon tetrachloride exposure according to the study appearing today in Annals of Neurology, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Neurological Association and Child Neurology Society.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates that as many as 500,000 Americans have PD and more than 50,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. While there is much debate regarding cause of PD, studies suggest that genetic and environmental factors likely trigger the disease which is characterized by symptoms such as limb tremors, slowed movement, muscle stiffness, and speech impairment. Several studies have reported that exposure to solvents may increase risk of PD, but research assessing specific agents is limited.

In a release issued on September 28, 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency announced that TCE is carcinogenic to humans.

This study is published in Annals of Neurology. Media wishing to receive a PDF of this article may contact .

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The Rise Of Parkinson’s Disease

Neurological disorders are the worlds leading cause of disability. And the fastest growing of these conditions is not Alzheimers but Parkinsons disease.

  • The number of people with Parkinsons disease more than doubled from 1990 to 2015 and could double again by 2040. An aging population alone does not account for this rise.
  • Air pollution, metal production, certain industrial chemicals, and some synthetic pesticides are linked to Parkinsons. Yet we are doing little to manage known risk factors.
  • The authors contend that the United States should ban trichloroethylene, paraquat, and other chemicals linked to Parkinsons, which many other countries have already done.

From 1990 to 2015, the number of people living with Parkinsons more than doubled from 2.6 million to 6.3 million, according to a 2015 study in Lancet Neurology. By 2040, the number is projected to double again to at least 12.9 million, a stunning rise .

The number of people with Parkinsons disease more than doubled between 1990 and 2015 and is projected to double again by 2040.

Figure adapted from E. R. Dorsey and B. R. Bloem, 2018.

Figure adapted from R. Dorsey et al., 2020.

The number of people who succumb to Parkinsons each year has been increasing steadily.

Data from: U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics System, Mortality Data.

Christophe Vander Eecken / Reporters / Science Source

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Trichloroethylene Linked To Parkinsons Disease

Trichloroethylene is a chemical that is heavily used in the manufacture of a variety of products. Whilst versatile, it poses health risks to those exposed to it. It has been linked to an increased risk for Parkinsons Disease, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and liver cancer.

Trichloroethylene is a chlorinated solvent that is commonly used for a variety of applications, from the pharmaceutical to the aerospace industry. It is used in the automotive and metal industry for degreasing. The textile industry uses trichloroethylene to extract greases, oils, fats, waxes and tars on cotton, wool, and other fabrics additionally, it is used for dyeing and finishing. Trichloroethylene can also be found in some household products, such as adhesives, varnishes, wood finishes, carpet cleaners, and paint and stain removers. It is also commonly used as a spot remover by commercial dry cleaners.

Nausea Death

Trichloroethylene is a known carcinogen. Over the recent decades, TCE has also been linked to Parkinsons disease.

Linked To Parkinsons Disease

Ending Parkinson’s: A prescription to end this neurological pandemic

Various medical studies have linked Parkinsons disease to TCE. In a 2008 study, researchers led by Don M. Gash and John T. Slevin of the University of Kentucky, results showed a strong potential link between chronic TCE exposure and parkinsonism.

. Trichloroethylene Is A Risk Factor For Parkinsonism, Study Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October28, 2020 from

Another study, conducted by Dr. Samuel Goldman and Dr. Caroline Tanner of The Parkinsons Institute in 2011, found that individuals regularly exposed to TCE had six times the risk of developing Parkinsons Disease.

. Parkinsons Linked to Industrial Solvent. Retrieved October 30, 2020 from

Luxner, Larry. . Dutch Neurologist Warns of Parkinsons Pandemic Linked to Toxic Chemicals. Retrieved October 30, 2020. from

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Oral Ingestion Of The Environmental Toxicant Trichloroethylene In Rats Induces Alterations In The Gut Microbiome: Relevance To Idiopathic Parkinsons Disease



Microbial alterations within the gut microbiome appear to be a common feature of individuals with Parkinsons disease , providing further evidence for the role of the gut-brain axis in PD development. As a major site of contact with the environment, questions have emerged surrounding the cause and effect of alterations to the gut microbiome by environmental contaminants associated with PD risk, such as pesticides, metals, and organic solvents. Recent data from our lab shows that ingestion of the industrial byproduct and environmental pollutant trichloroethylene induces key Parkinsonian pathology within aged rats, including the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons, -synuclein accumulation, neuroinflammation, and endolysosomal deficits. As TCE is the most common organic contaminant within drinking water, we postulated that ingestion of TCE associated with PD-related neurodegeneration may alter the gut microbiome to a similar extent as observed in persons with PD. To assess …

Symptoms And Causes Of Parkinsons

Parkinsons is not a kind disease. It is progressive, moving through ever more debilitating stages over time.

  • Stage One: Individuals experience mild symptoms that generally do not interfere with daily activities. Tremor and other movement symptoms occur on one side of the body only. Patients may also experience changes in posture, walking and facial expressions.
  • Stage Two: Symptoms worsen, including tremor, rigidity, and other movement symptoms on both sides of the body. The person is still able to live alone, but daily tasks are more difficult and lengthier.
  • Stage Three: This is considered mid-stage. Individuals experience loss of balance and slowness of movements. While still fully independent, these symptoms significantly impair activities such as dressing and eating. Falls are also more common by stage three.
  • Stage Four: Symptoms are severe and limiting. Individuals may stand without help, but movement likely requires a walker. People in stage four require help with daily activities and are unable to live alone.
  • Stage Five: Stiffness in the legs may make it impossible to stand or walk. The person requires a wheelchair or is bedridden. Around-the-clock nursing care is needed for all activities. The person may experience hallucinations and delusions.

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Legal Ruling On Tce In Parkinsons Case Is A Game

A former Australian serviceman has been the first to receive the Navys acknowledgement that exposure to the industrial chemical trichloroethylene during his service caused him to develop Parkinsons disease. The recent decision by the Veterans Entitlements Appeal Board could have far-reaching consequences for many Australian institutions and industries, including the possibility of class action lawsuits.

Keith Bailey served in the Australian Navy for 36 years. During his career, Keith used a product called Turco Solv to clean motor parts on ships. This metal cleaner contained , a powerful industrial solvent and degreaser. Keith regularly, and for extended periods of time, used Turco Solv to clean engine parts and wash himself down to remove grease from his skin at the end of the day.

In 2016 the Department of Veterans Affairs formally recognised exposure to trichloroethylene as a cause of Parkinsons. This decision was based on a major international study from 2011 which found significant association between TCE exposure and Parkinsons, suggesting the chemical likely resulted in a six-fold increase in the chances of developing the disease. The study also found a lag time of up to 40 years between trichloroethylene exposure and the onset of Parkinsons identifying a critical window of opportunity to potentially screen for and slow the disease before symptoms appear.

View the ABC 7.30 report video below.

Occupational Trichloroethylene Exposure And Parkinsons Disease Risk

TCE and Parkinson

S. Goldman, P. Quinlan, C. Meng, K. Comyns, G.W. Ross, K. Marek, C. Tanner

Session Time: 1:45pm-3:15pm

Location: Exhibit Hall C

Objective: To assess whether occupational exposure to the solvent trichloroethylene is associated with increased risk of Parkinsons disease .

Background: Severe solvent intoxication can rarely cause an acute parkinsonian syndrome, but epidemiologic studies of solvent exposure and PD risk are inconsistent. A PD cluster was previously identified in manufacturing workers exposed to the common degreasing solvent TCE, and TCE induces specific PD-like neuropathology in an animal model . Our group reported increased risk associated with occupational exposure to TCE in a study of twins discordant for PD . We sought to replicate this finding in a second population.

Methods: We recruited PD cases and matched controls from North American movement disorders centers . Occupational interviews collected information about industry/tasks/processes/materials for jobs since age 10. A blinded industrial hygienist and preventive medicine physician estimated TCE exposure likelihood , intensity and duration , and estimated cumulative exposure. We pooled SOLVENTS with a prior case-control study in a large male twin cohort that used identical exposure rating procedures. We assessed risk using generalized estimating equations adjusting for age, smoking, study, and twin-relatedness.

To cite this abstract in AMA style:

Mov Disord.

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Trichloroethylene Exposure Leads To Litigation

Trichloroethylene is an industrial solvent primarily used to degrease metal parts. This chemical compound is made in laboratories and doesnt occur naturally, and scientific evidence shows it is toxic to humans and the environment.

TCE exposure is known to cause cancer, chronic health conditions and even death in those who inhale high concentrations.

People and communities affected by TCE contamination may be eligible to file trichloroethylene lawsuits against companies responsible for exposure or contamination. Individuals with TCE-caused illnesses who file personal injury claims may receive compensation to cover medical expenses and lost wages. If you lost a loved one to a condition caused by TCE, you may qualify to file a wrongful death claim.

Cities, counties and states may hold companies responsible when operations lead to trichloroethylene contamination. Many companies have been forced to pay fines and fund multimillion-dollar cleanup projects through trichloroethylene litigation.

Health Effects Of Tce

The effects of TCE largely depend on two factors: the method and length of exposure. You can be exposed to TCE in one of the following ways:

  • Inhalation: The most common form of exposure, inhalation of TCE affects the central nervous system, and results in symptoms like dizziness, headaches, confusion, euphoria, facial numbness, and weakness.
  • Ingestion: This most likely occurs from drinking from a contaminated water supply, if TCE has infiltrated ground water. This may cause damage to your digestive organs, including
  • Physical contact: While possible, this is least likely to do the lasting damage as inhalation or ingestion. Physical contact to your skin may result in burning, dryness, or rash, while eye contact may result in burning, tearing, or problems with your eyesight.

Moderate exposure to TCE may result in headaches, dizziness, facial numbness, confusion, or sleepiness. High TCE exposure has also been linked to conditions in the kidney and liver and may affect the rhythm of your heartbeat.

The most concerns research links human exposure to TCE to certain cancers, particularly in the kidney, liver, cervix, and lymphatic system. Animal studies have also shown a prevalence of lung, liver, kidney, and testicular tumors and lymphoma.

Presumptive Conditions based on Camp Lejeune Exposure

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Other Chemicals That Can Cause Parkinsons Disease

Paraquat, an herbicide that has been used in everything from commercial agriculture to home groundskeeping, has also been linked to an increased risk for Parkinsons disease.

Paraquat became a popular alternative to Roundup weed killer after Roundup became associated with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and other cancers.

Unfortunately, Paraquat is not the safer alternative it was once thought to be, as studies have linked Paraquat to Parkinsons disease after direct or environmental exposure.

Those at increased risk of Parkinsons disease due to Paraquat exposure include:

  • Agricultural workers
  • Property owners whose water is contaminated with Paraquat

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Does Trichloroethylene Cause Cancer

Trichloroethylene is classified as a carcinogen and cancer of the cervix, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, autoimmune diseases, cholangiocarcinomas, renal cell carcinoma, lung cancer, and cancer lymphatic system, male breast tissue cancer, fetal cardiac defects, and lead to mitochondrial dysfunction. The direct relationship to developing Parkinsons has been overlooked because exposure to TCE can happen decades before it manifests itself and cancer. While some exposed patients can show symptoms immediately, most others may unknowingly live or work in contaminated areas for most of their adult lives before developing any symptoms related to Parkinsons disease.

Patients living in sites already known to be contaminated with hazardous materials such as TCE are especially at high risk of exposure. Some countries such as Canada already heavily regulate TCE, and the chemical is also banned in the EU without special permits. It is estimated that over 1 Billion pounds of toxic chemicals are still used annually around the world. In 2018, more than 120 Million pounds of TCE were released into the environment, mainly from industrial sites, which contaminate soil, water, and air. It is estimated that trichloroethylene products can be found in over 25% of groundwater in developed nations, with that number possibly doubling for developing nations.

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