Could A Common Household Chemical Be Linked to Rising Parkinson’s Rates?

A potentially blockbuster report via The Guardian.

“Most cases of Parkinson’s disease are considered idiopathic – they lack a clear cause. Yet researchers increasingly believe that one factor is environmental exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE), a chemical compound used in industrial degreasing, dry-cleaning and household products such as some shoe polishes and carpet cleaners.

To date, the clearest evidence around the risk of TCE to human health is derived from workers who are exposed to the chemical in the work-place. A 2008 peer-reviewed study in the Annals of Neurology, for example, found that TCE is “a risk factor for parkinsonism.” And a 2011 study echoed those results, finding “a six-fold increase in the risk of developing Parkinson’s in individuals exposed in the workplace to trichloroethylene (TCE).” ‘

TCE has been a known carcinogen for decades, but it had not been linked to Parkinson’s until recently. Once hailed as a new anesthetic, it was soon found to have a number of toxic side effects and was largely banned. Further studies later linked it to various forms of cancer. While TCE hasn’t been used in decades, it remains a problem due to groundwater contamination and other environmental exposures.

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