Parkinson’s Disease Risk Linked to Exposure to Industrial Cleaner

A new study has found a link between a once popular metal cleaner and increased risks of developing <"">Parkinson’s disease. According to Science Daily, the chemical, trichloroethylene (TCE), was used to clean automotive components. The study, just released, will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, Canada from April 10 to April 17, 2010.

“This is the first time a population-based study has confirmed case reports that exposure to TCE may increase a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease,” said study author Samuel Goldman, MD, with the Parkinson’s Institute in Sunnyvale, California, quoted Science Daily. Dr. Goldman is also a member of the American Academy of Neurology. “TCE was once a popular industrial solvent used in dry cleaning and to clean grease off metal parts, but due to other health concerns the chemical is no longer widely used,” Dr. Goldman added.

Researchers looked at the job histories of 99 pairs of male twins in which only one twin was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, said Science Daily. The twins were identified from the World War II-Veterans Twins Cohort study. Said Science Daily, twins were used because they are both identical or similar genetically and present an “ideal population for evaluating environmental risk factors,” said Science Daily.
According to the study, those workers who were exposed to TCE experienced a five and a-half times greater likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease versus those who were not exposed to TCE, said Science Daily. The workers’ job histories included jobs in dry cleaners, or as machinists, mechanics, or electricians, said Science Daily.

Last year we wrote about a link between certain cancers and contaminated Camp Lejeune water. Camp Lejeune is a Marine Base in North Carolina. To date, about 40 men who were Marines or are sons of Marines and who lived at the Marine base, have been diagnosed with breast cancer. This issue is of importance because the men are claiming high exposures to a variety of chemicals, including TCE in Camp Lejeune’s tap water, according to CNN, previously. The men either lived or served at the camp between the 1960s and 1980s, said CNN, which pointed out that, according to government records, Camp Lejueune’s water was contaminated for some 30 years.

The Marine Corps argues that no link has been made between the contaminated water and the resultant diseases, said CNN. Regardless, Richard Burr (Senator—North Carolina), the ranking Republican on the committee, along with Kay Hagan (Democratic Senator—North Carolina) are seeking legislation to mandate that the Department of Veterans Affairs pay medical costs for Marines and their families exposed to the contaminated Camp Lejeune water.

According to MyFoxDC, the Camp’s water was contaminated from 1957 to 1987 by a
TCE—used as a degreasing solvent—and PCE, a component used in dry cleaning. The government describes TCE as a possible carcinogen, said MyFoxDC, which noted that the water was likely tainted by a dry cleaner located next to the camp and so-called industrial activities that took place at Camp Lejeune.

Since it began its investigation in 2001 of the water at the Marine base, links have turned up between the chemically contaminated water and some cancers, said Fox.

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