Trichloroethylene, a chlorinated solvent, could be responsible for the rise in cases of Parkinson’s disease.
- Trichlorethylene, a solvent used to degrease metals and dry clean clothes, is a known human carcinogen.
- Research has reported that exposure to this chemical is associated with a 500% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
- This solvent also pollutes outdoor air, contaminates groundwater and contaminates indoor air.
Currently it is used to remove paint, degrease metals and dry clean clothes. Trichlorethylene is a solvent for synthetic or natural substances such as fats, oils, fats, waxes or resins. According to the cancer center, Léon Bérard, this chemical is a proven carcinogen in humans for kidney cancer. “Some data also show an increased risk of liver cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma following exposures to trichlorethylene. However, the level of evidence remains limited for these associations, and the corresponding mechanisms of carcinogenesis are not identified”, can we read on center website.
Parkinson’s: trichlorethylene, an invisible cause of the disease?
In a recent study, scientists from the University of Rochester (USA) hypothesize that trichlorethylene could be an invisible cause of Parkinson’s disease. “The link between this colorless chemical and neurodegenerative pathology was first established in 1969”they wrote in the works published in the journal Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.
According to the team, a small epidemiological research revealed that exposure to trichlorethylene in the context of work or leisure was associated with a 500% increased risk of suffering from this degenerative condition of the nervous system. “In numerous animal cohorts, the chemical mimics pathological features of Parkinson’s disease”she added.
Exposure to trichlorethylene: decades before the onset of symptoms
In the study, researchers profiled seven people, ranging from former NBA basketball player Brian Grant, to a Navy captain, to a former US senator, who developed Parkinson’s disease probably after working with the chemical or being exposed to it in the environment. The sporty one “was diagnosed at the age of 36. He was likely exposed to trichlorethylene when he was three years old and his father worked at the Marine base at Camp Lejeune.” For the adults cited, decades often elapsed between exposure to the solvent and the onset of symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
The chemical pollutes outdoor and indoor air
Exposure is not limited to people who work with the chemical. According to scientists, trichlorethylene pollutes outdoor air, contaminates groundwater and contaminates indoor air. They explain that the molecule, like radon, evaporates from soil and groundwater and enters homes, workplaces or schools, often undetected.
In a statement, the authors propose a series of actions to deal with the threat posed by trichlorethylene to public health. They note that contaminated sites can be remediated and indoor air exposure can be mitigated by vapor remediation systems similar to those used for radon. The team also recommends further studies to better understand how the solvent contributes to the occurrence of Parkinson’s disease and other pathologies.