Read the full story from the University of Rochester.
A common and widely used chemical may be fueling the rise of the world’s fastest growing brain condition–Parkinson’s disease. For the past 100 years, trichloroethylene (TCE) has been used to decaffeinate coffee, degrease metal, and dry clean clothes. It contaminates the Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune, 15 toxic Superfund sites in Silicon Valley, and up to one-third of groundwater in the U.S. TCE causes cancer, is linked to miscarriages and congenital heart disease, and is associated with a 500 percent increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.
In a hypothesis paper in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, an international team of researchers—including University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) neurologists Ray Dorsey, MD, Ruth Schneider, MD, and Karl Kieburtz, MD—postulates that TCE may be an invisible cause of Parkinson’s. In the paper they detail the widespread use of the chemical, the evidence linking the toxicant to Parkinson’s, and profile seven individuals, ranging from a former NBA basketball player to a Navy officer to a late U.S. Senator, who developed Parkinson’s disease either after likely working with the chemical or being exposed to it in the environment.