Could a Common Cleaning Substance Be The Cause of Parkinson’s?

  • Parkinson’s disease affects over 8.5 million individuals globally.
  • Parkinson’s disease has been linked by researchers to exposure to pollutants including pesticides and air pollution.
  • Trichloroethylene (TCE), a substance often used, is thought by researchers at the University of Rochester to be a possible cause of Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease, a nerve system disorder that causes movement disorders, such as tremors, rigid limbs, and cognitive deficits, affects more than 8.5 million individuals worldwide. Reliable Source.

Parkinson’s disease still has no known cause, according to doctors. Low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the body, however, have been connected to the disease. Also, persons are more prone to acquire the illness if they have certain risk factors, such as age and prior traumatic brain injury (Trusted Source).

Researchers also think that exposure to some pollutants, like pesticides and air pollution (Reliable Source). Now, researchers from the University of Rochester are adding more proof by discovering a connection between Parkinson’s disease and trichloroethylene, a widely used chemical (TCE).


Describe TCE (Trichloroethylene)

TCE is a chemical that is a colorless liquid that does not exist in nature. It is well known to smell like chloroform. This ingredient can be found in a variety of products and establishments, including:
  • industry-wide dry cleaning
  • metal scrubbing
  • wiping cloths
  • carpet and garment stain removers
  • Lubricants
  • aerosol adhesives
Using TCE-containing products or working in a TCE-containing plant are two ways people can be exposed to the chemical.
TCE can also pollute our air, water, food, and drink by oohing into the soil, water, and air near where it’s used or disposed of. High situations of TCE exposure can beget the following symptoms
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • confusion
  • nausea
  • facial paralysis
Long-term TCE exposure has been linked to an elevated risk of kidney cancer in previous studies. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, liver cancer, and reputable source Reliable Source.

Parkinson’s illness and TCE

As he prepared to write his book, Ending Parkinson’s Disease, University of Rochester professor of neurology and study’s lead author, Dr. Ray Dorsey, said he and his group decided to look into a connection between TCE and Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Caroline Tanner, one of my co-authors on this work and a colleague, informed me of TCE and Camp Lejeune. According to Dr. Dorsey, a Reliable Source. She and her colleague, Dr. Sam Goldman, another (research) co-author, had undertaken a twin study that showed a 500% greater risk of Parkinson’s disease in twins with occupational or recreational exposure to TCE. I saw no end in sight the more I looked into the incidence of TCE and its connection to Parkinson’s illness.
Added him:
Because it causes cancer, TCE is a known carcinogen. It also has a connection to miscarriages. Neural tube abnormalities, reliable source Congenital heart disease, numerous other medical conditions, Reliable Source (including infants born without brains). Moreover, it has been used for at least 90 years and has been around for 100.

The Use of Case Studies as Proof

Dr. Dorsey and his group reviewed the literature in preparation for this investigation. They collected seven case studies of people who were exposed to the chemical at work or in the environment and later got Parkinson’s disease.
One of the case studies features NBA player Brian Grant, who was 36 when he was given a Parkinson’s diagnosis. Researchers claim that he most likely came into contact with TCE as a young child while his father was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
Early in the 1980s, TCE contamination was discovered in the camp’s water supply systems. A Navy captain who served at Camp Lejeune and was later given a Parkinson’s diagnosis 30 years later was another person studied by the researchers.
Also, the study team drew attention to the late U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, who served in the Georgia Air National Guard and used TCE to clean airplanes. In 2015, Senator Isakson received a Parkinson’s disease diagnosis.
According to a PubMed search, there are now only 26 papers available in the world’s literature on trichloroethylene and Parkinson’s disease, according to Dr. Dorsey. Further study is required due to the rise in Parkinson’s disease and the widespread use of TCE and perchloroethyleneTrusted Source (PCE), which are both used in dry cleaning and cause pollution. We demand that.
The seven people contribute to the body of literature—the largest previous case series consisted of three cases—and show the variety of ways people can be exposed to the chemical at work or in the environment, he continued. “Most people are oblivious, which is important because they were never informed of the exposure and it happened decades ago.

How can People Reduce Their Exposure to TCE?

Dr. Dorsey suggested that the United States should outlaw TCE and PCE on a societal level to reduce people’s exposure to TCE. The EPA determined that TCE “poses an undue danger to human health” in January 2023, he added. It came to the same conclusion regarding PCE a month earlier. Because safer alternatives have been created by engineers, we no longer use automobiles or aircraft that were in use in the 1920s, when commercial production of TCE started. Chemists have the same options.
Dr. Dorsey continued, “Second, we need to alert the public, particularly those who live close to polluted sites, confine them, and stop the passage of harmful gases into homes, schools, and workplaces with reasonably priced remediation devices, similar to those used for radon.”
The Green Science Policy Institute’s Dr. Ariana Spentzos, Ph.D., a fellow in science and policy who was not involved in this research, was also interviewed by MNT. It is not surprising, according to Dr. Spentzos, that this study discovered a connection between TCE exposure and Parkinson’s disease. She clarified:
TCE exposure has been linked in numerous studies to risk for Parkinson’s disease, even from exposures decades before the development of the condition. TCE has several recognized negative health impacts. Even the Department of Labor has acknowledged the connection between Parkinson’s disease and TCE exposure in its guidelines on workers’ compensation.
Dr. Spentzos noted that the majority of TCE exposure is through inhalation for those looking to reduce their exposure. Increasing ventilation or employing air filters can both help to enhance the quality of the air inside a building. Although more advanced devices are utilized for radon mitigation, Trusted Source with activated carbon is the most advised, she explained. The simplest solution to lower TCE levels is to filter your drinking water with activated carbon filters because up to 30% of the country’s drinking water may be TCE-contaminated. Whole-house water filtration systems can help prevent further exposure to activities like bathing, washing dishes, and other domestic chores.
Dr. Spentzos also advised against utilizing any consumer goods that contain TCE. Verify that TCE isn’t listed as an ingredient in any paint strippers, stain removers, adhesives, degreasers, or sealants, among other goods.


According to researchers at the University of Rochester, trichloroethylene (TCE), a chemical commonly used in various products and establishments, may be a possible cause of Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease affects more than 8.5 million individuals worldwide and has been linked by researchers to exposure to pollutants such as pesticides and air pollution. Researchers have discovered a connection between Parkinson’s disease and TCE, a substance found in industry-wide dry cleaning, metal scrubbing, carpet and garment stain removers, lubricants, aerosol adhesives, and wiping cloths, among other things. TCE can be toxic in high doses and can result in various symptoms, including dizziness, confusion, and nausea, among others. 
Long-term exposure to TCE has also been linked to an elevated risk of kidney cancer, liver cancer, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, among other medical conditions. The researchers collected seven case studies of individuals who were exposed to TCE at work or in the environment and later developed Parkinson’s disease. Dr. Ray Dorsey, there is a need for further research due to the rise in Parkinson’s disease and the widespread use of TCE and PCE. Furthermore, Dr. Dorsey suggested that the United States should outlaw TCE and PCE on a societal level to reduce people’s exposure to TCE.

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