Common Chemical Strongly Linked to Parkinson's
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of Smithsonian Magazine
Posted: June 4th, 2023
A study of military veterans has shown the strongest evidence yet that the widespread chemical trichloroethylene (TCE)–used in spot removers, office products and dry-cleaning–is linked to Parkinson's disease. The research focused on service members who were stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between 1975 and 1985, when levels of TCE in the base's water reached 70 times higher than the Environmental Protection Agency's limit. After accounting for demographic factors, Camp Lejeune veterans were 70 percent more likely to develop the movement disorder than service members stationed at Camp Pendleton in California, where the water was uncontaminated. The large study, published last week in the journal JAMA Neurology, adds to a handful of smaller, earlier papers that found a link between TCE and Parkinson's. TCE, which can be in liquid or vapor form, has been commonly used since the 1920s, including as an inhaled surgical anesthetic and in several cleaning products. Today, it's primarily used in making refrigerants and degreasing metal equipment. The chemical breaks down slowly and can be detected in the air, water and soil. It's also found in one-third of U.S. drinking water. The Camp Lejeune drinking water was contaminated with TCE and other chemicals from 1953 to 1987, per the study, due to leakage from underground storage tanks, industrial spills, waste disposal sites and a dry-cleaning business.
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