Common industrial cleaner = risk of Parkinson’s Disease


Marine Camp Lejeune – Feds said TCE in drinking water wasn’t dangerous for 3 decades
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Workers exposed to tricholorethylene (TCE), a chemical once widely used to clean metal such as auto parts, may be at a significantly higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a study just released.

“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… “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.”

For the study, researchers obtained job histories from 99 pairs of twins in which only one of the twins had Parkinson’s disease. All of the twins were men and identified from the World War II-Veterans Twins Cohort study. Scientists used twins in the study because they are genetically identical or very similar and provide an ideal population for evaluating environmental risk factors.

The study found workers who were exposed to TCE were five and a half times more likely to have Parkinson’s disease than people not exposed to the chemical. Those who were exposed to TCE had job histories including work as dry cleaners, machinists, mechanics or electricians.

Thanks a lot, folks. One more thing for me worry about – in hindsight.

To say that TCE was popular is an understatement. I think the first three jobs I had just out of school – all in local industry back East – all used TCE for one thing or another. Certainly for cleaning metal parts before welding or assembly.

Of course, back then, we used cyanide powder for case hardening steel. I wonder how long some of my buddies from the heat-treating department at GE lived?

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