Trichloroethylene (TCE), a chemical, has been linked by some researchers to Parkinson’s disease. Dry cleaning, degreasing, and even decaffeinating coffee have all been common uses for TCE.
According to recent study, the chemical’s capacity to reach the brain and harm cell mitochondria may be the root of the problem.
The authors claim that the chemical’s influence might be “enormous” given how commonplace it is in the environment. TCE should be outlawed, and people should be shielded from more exposure, as suggested alternatives.
According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, the substania nigra, a region of the brain that includes cells that create the neurotransmitter dopamine, is affected by Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative condition.
Parkinson’s disease patients endure tremors, slowness of movement, limb stiffness, and balance issues.
Muhammed Ali and Michael J. Fox are two well-known public celebrities who suffer with the illness.
According to the authors, up to a third of the groundwater in the United States has TCE pollution. The chemical is additionally present in Camp Lejeune, a Marine Corps base, and 15 Superfund sites in Silicon Valley.
What is trichloroethylene (TCE)?
TCE is a chemical that is a colourless liquid that does not exist in nature. It is well known to smell like chloroform.
This substance can be found in a wide range of goods and businesses, such as:
- industry-wide dry cleaning
- metal scrubbing
- wiping cloths
- carpet and garment stain removers
- aerosol adhesives
Using TCE-containing products or working in a TCE-containing plant are two ways that people can be exposed to the chemical.
TCE can also contaminate our air, water, and food and drink by leaking into the soil, water, and air near where it is used or disposed of. High levels of TCE exposure can cause the following symptoms:
- facial paralysis
Link between TCE and Parkinson’s disease
According to the study, which was published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, there may be a “invisible” cause of Parkinson’s disease that is related to the widespread use of TCE.
Dr. James Beck, Chief Scientific Officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation, commented on the study, saying, “We have known for some years that TCE exposure and Parkinson’s disease are related. I believe that this opinion piece effectively highlights the risks associated with TCE exposure.
The researchers’ findings are discussed in the study together with the evidence tying TCE to Parkinson’s disease.
TCE is lipophilic, as the scientists explain in their research, which means that it has a propensity to dissolve in fatty tissues. This makes it simple for it to enter the brain and other bodily tissues where it can wreck havoc with cell mitochondrial function. This sort of toxin is extremely toxic to dopamine-producing cells, which may help to explain how exposure to TCE might cause Parkinson’s disease.
Seven other people, including the late Senator Johnny Isakson, are also profiled. Isakson employed TCE to degrease aircraft during his time in the military; as a result, he eventually developed Parkinson’s disease as well as renal cell carcinoma, a cancer associated to TCE exposure.
The matter was initially brought to his notice, according to co-author Dr. Ray Dorsey, when his colleague, Dr. Caroline Tanner, told him about the exposures at Camp Lejeune.
TCE poses a “enormous” risk to the general public’s health, he claimed. “At one time, it was used by 10 million Americans, including printers, embalmers, mechanics, dry cleaners, chip manufacturers, engineers, painters, metal workers, pilots and others. It has been absorbed into the environment by millions more people.
Avoiding exposure to TCE
The issue of TCE contamination, according to Dorsey, requires a few actions. It must be prohibited first, along with tetrachloroethylene (PCE), another industrial solvent.
Second, home remediation systems such to those used for radon must be deployed to alert and protect persons who are at danger of exposure.
The connection between TCE and Parkinson’s disease, he added, has to be explored further through research. People can be exposed to TCE through contaminated soil, food, water, air, or direct skin contact, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
You are most likely to become exposed by drinking polluted water, but you can also become exposed through the air as it is released from contaminated water, as a third of all groundwater may be affected.
Working in a sector where TCE is manufactured or utilised, like the degreasing business, is a significant additional method that you could be exposed to it. It can enter the body by coming into direct touch with the skin or by inhaling the vapours.
You may also be exposed through contaminated soil, such as that found in landfills. Moreover, TCE can enter your body through the consumption of contaminated foods or contact with consumer products that contain it.
According to the CDC, TCE is a common solvent used in a variety of products, including cold metal cleaners, adhesives, lubricants, paints, varnishes, paint strippers, and paints. Labels for these goods should include instructions on how to reduce exposure.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also mandates that your company give you a material safety data sheet (MSDS) outlining the dangers and proper handling techniques for any chemicals you use at work.
When exposed to TCE
A doctor can check for TCE in your blood, breath, or urine if you’ve recently been exposed to the substance, according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
It can also be tested for in the environment you have visited. But, once you’ve been exposed, there is no cure to get it out of your system. Either your breath will expel it or your kidneys will excrete it into your urine.
They advise avoiding any known toxic regions, such as those with tainted water, soil, or air.
You should always use items containing TCE in well-ventilated areas with the appropriate personal protective equipment, such as chemical-protection gloves, safety goggles, and respirators, in addition to adhering to any safety advice on such products.
High TCE exposure can, in the short term, irritate people and even make them pass out or become fatally ill. If you have been exposed to the chemical extensively, it is crucial to seek immediate medical care.
The individual should also be transferred to clean air, and any contaminated clothing should be taken off, if it’s safe to do so. If the skin or eyes have been exposed, thoroughly rinse them with water.
Kidney cancer and Parkinson’s disease have both been associated with long-term TCE exposure. The ATSDR advises that the greatest form of protection is to shield yourself from exposure altogether.
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