New Twin Study Links Tricholorethylene (TCE) Exposure and Parkinson’s Disease

A study released in March 2010 found that exposure to the industrial chemical tricholorethylene (TCE) is associated with a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD). TCE is a solvent that was widely used in the dry cleaning profession and to clean grease off metal such as auto parts. Use of TCE has all but stopped due to concerns over adverse health affects.

The March study involved extensive examination of the job histories of 99 sets of twins in which one of the twins had PD. Results of the study showed that the twin exposed to workplace TCE was five and a half times more likely to have PD than the twin not exposed to the chemical. Those faced with workplace TCE exposure had worked as machinists, dry cleaners, electricians, mechanics, etc.

Twins were used as test subjects because their genetics are similar, which serves as the perfect measure of comparison for evaluating environmental affects. Study participants were men identified from the World War II-Veterans Twins Cohort study.

Author of the study, Samuel Goldman, MD, stated that “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.” A member of the American Academy of Neurology, Dr. Goldman is affiliated with the Parkinson’s Institute in Sunnyvale, California.

About Parkinson’s Disease

PD is a chronic, progressive movement disorder for which there is no cure. It occurs when the cells in the substantia nigra region of the brain begin to die, impeding the ability to send information to the parts of the brain that control movement and coordination.

The primary symptoms of Parkinson’s include:

  • Tremor – affecting the legs, arms, hands, jaw and face
  • Rigidity – stiffness of the trunk and limbs
  • Bradykinsea – slowness of movement
  • Postural instability – difficulty with balance and coordination

Although there is no cure for PD, there are many treatments available to combat its symptoms and allow patients to have the best quality of life possible. Treatments include medication such as L-dopa, carbidopa, benserazide and Stalevo. In some patients, surgeries such as deep brain stimulation may be performed. Finally, rehabilitation to improve speech and mobility are believed to help stave off the debilitating symptoms of PD.

Although PD is not a fatal disease, it progresses with time and lowers life expectancy. In the late stages of the disease, PD sufferers may experience complications such as pneumonia, choking and fatal falls.

Some people may live with PD for 20 years or more. However, the disease may progress more quickly in some people. The progression of the disease in any one person is impossible to predict. With treatment, many people with PD can live productive lives for many years.

Potential TCE Lawsuit

Companies that have exposed their employees to TCE may be held liable for medical expenses, lost income and other financial burdens that may have resulted from their practices. If you believe that you are someone you love may have been harmed by exposure to TCE or any other defective drug, contact AWKO Law at (844) 794-7402. The Pensacola personal injury attorneys of Aylstock, Witkin Kreis & Overholtz handle national litigation across the United States for victims injured by defective pharmaceuticals and medical devices.