-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Exposure to the industrial
solvent trichloroethylene (TCE) appears to greatly increase the
risk of Parkinson's disease, and exposure to two other solvents
also boosts the chances of developing the neurodegenerative
disorder, a new study indicates.
As many as 500,000 people in the United States have Parkinson's
disease and more than 50,000 new cases are diagnosed in the country
each year. Some research suggests that genetic and environmental
factors might trigger Parkinson's, and several studies have
reported that exposure to solvents may increase the risk.
In this new study, U.S. researchers interviewed 99 pairs of
elderly twins about their lifetime occupations and hobbies.
Exposure to TCE was associated with a sixfold increased risk of
Parkinson's disease. Exposure to perchloroethylene (PERC) and
carbon tetrachloride (CCI4) were also associated with increased
The study was led by researchers at The Parkinson's Institute in
Sunnyvale, Calif., and was published Nov. 14 in the journal
Annals of Neurology.
"Our findings, as well as prior case reports, suggest a lag time of up to 40 years between TCE exposure and onset of [Parkinson's], providing a critical window of opportunity to potentially slow the disease process before clinical symptoms appear," said Dr. Samuel Goldman and colleagues in a journal news release.
While this study focused on job-related exposure, the solvents
are common in soil, groundwater and the air in the United States.
For example, TCE is detected in up to 30 percent of the nation's
drinking water supplies, according to the researchers.
"Our study confirms that common environmental contaminants may increase the risk of developing [Parkinson's], which has considerable public health implications," Goldman and colleagues said.
All three solvents linked to Parkinson's are used extensively
worldwide and TCE is a common agent in paints, adhesives, carpet
cleaners and dry-cleaning solutions. In the United States, millions
of pounds of TCE are released into the environment each year.
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