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Imagine slipping into your favorite outfit — only to find an unsightly stain that refuses to budge. In the world of dry cleaning, this is where the magic of trichloroethylene, known as TCE, comes to the rescue. TCE has been the go-to solution for professional cleaners for decades, boasting its remarkable stain-removing powers and ability to leave our cherished garments looking fresh and pristine.

It is also a widely used solvent employed in a number of industrial, consumer, military, and medical applications, including removing paint, correcting typewriting mistakes, cleaning engines, and anesthetizing patients. 

However, amidst its impressive feats lies an intriguing and concerning revelation — trichloroethylene (TCE) has been linked to the rise in Parkinson’s disease, the world’s fastest-growing brain condition.

Trichloroethylene (TCE): The Pervasive Health Threat

Trichloroethylene (TCE) serves numerous sectors and military applications. Despite declining usage, TCE continues to hold a firm grip on various industrial processes. However, the real concern lies in its widespread contamination, reaching even the most toxic sites identified by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This pervasive infiltration also affects military bases, including Camp Lejeune, burdening these areas with TCE’s presence. [1,2]

TCE has the potential to contaminate soil and groundwater, leading to the formation of underground rivers or plumes that can spread over long distances and migrate over time. Apart from its water-related risks, volatile TCE has the ability to evaporate easily, infiltrating people’s homes, schools, and workplaces, often without detection. [1]

This vapor intrusion poses a significant threat, potentially exposing millions of individuals residing, learning, and working near former dry cleaning, military, and industrial sites to toxic indoor air. Vapor intrusion first came to light in the 1980s when radon, which also evaporates from the soil, was found to enter homes and elevate the risk of lung cancer. [3]

TCE and Parkinson’s Disease: Exploring the Connection

While aging represents the most significant risk factor for Parkinson’s disease (PD) development, the predicted growth rate of PD incidence outpaces that of normal aging, which implies external or environmental factors are partially involved, in conjunction with genetics, sex, and race. This is further supported by age-standardized prevalence rates that describe an increase in the disease within populations of newly industrialized countries that are exposed either through occupation or as environmental contaminants.

Numerous studies have provided compelling evidence linking Parkinson’s disease to the widely used solvent TCE. According to a paper published in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, the initial connection was established in 1969 when a 59-year-old worker, exposed to TCE for over three decades, developed PD symptoms.[1]

A more recent and alarming epidemiological study published in 2012 found that occupational or hobby-related exposure to TCE was associated with a staggering 500% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. This highlights the significant impact TCE exposure can have on the risk of developing this debilitating neurodegenerative disorder. [4]

Globally, TCE consumption is projected to rise by 3% annually, with China now accounting for half the global market, and it’s linked to increasing rates of PD in that region. This escalating consumption and widespread use of TCE raise concerns about potential health and environmental impacts. [1,5]

Other Environmental Factors That Influence Parkinson’s Disease

Other than TCE, other environmental factors can influence the development of Parkinson’s disease. Understanding their impact is crucial for promoting brain health and potentially reducing the risk of Parkinson’s. Below, we will explore some of the key environmental factors associated with the disease.

  • Pesticides: Exposure to certain pesticides containing rotenone and paraquat, commonly used in agriculture and gardening, has been linked to an increased risk of PD. [6]
  • Metal Elements: Elevated levels of certain metals like manganese, mercury, and aluminum have been associated with an increased risk of PD. Be cautious with potential sources of exposure, such as contaminated water, certain seafood, and aluminum cookware. [7]

  • MPTP (1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine): MPTP is a neurotoxin that can cause PD-like symptoms. It is not typically encountered in daily life, but accidental exposure has occurred through illicit drug use. Avoid recreational drugs and be cautious with unknown substances. [8]

  • Solvents: Exposure to various solvents, often found in industrial settings, has been linked to an increased risk of PD. Take safety precautions when using or being around solvents, and use protective gear when necessary. [9]

  • PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyls): These industrial chemicals were once widely used in electrical equipment and have since been banned due to their environmental persistence and health risks. However, PCBs can still be found in the environment and in certain products. [10]

My Personal RX for Proactive Parkinson’s Disease Prevention

I can’t stress enough the significance of being mindful of harmful toxins and chemicals in our daily lives, especially when it comes to preventing devastating diseases like Parkinson’s. Let’s take proactive steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones with my personalized prescription for your overall health:

  • Choose eco-friendly cleaning products: Opt for natural and organic products whenever possible. Reduce exposure to pesticides, herbicides, and other synthetic chemicals in your environment.

  • Educate yourself: Download my free Toxic Ingredient Guide, empowering you to make informed choices and steer clear of harmful substances lurking in everyday products.

  • Keep your diet rich in antioxidants: Include a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains in your diet. These foods are rich in antioxidants, which can help protect brain cells from oxidative stress.

  • Avoid smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for various diseases, including Parkinson’s. If you smoke, seek support to quit and enjoy a healthier life.

  • Support your body: Strengthen your body’s natural defense against toxins with Liver Support supplements, which help promote healthy liver function and detoxify harmful substances like TCE From our bodies.

  • Stay informed: Stay updated with the latest research and advancements in public health and Parkinson’s disease prevention. Participate in clinical trials or studies that investigate potential preventive strategies.

Acknowledging the risks associated with substances like TCE and taking proactive measures for public health protection from TCE are crucial steps on our path forward. While these tips may offer potential risk reduction benefits, it’s important to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice and recommendations. Parkinson’s disease is complex, and early detection and appropriate medical care are essential for effective management and treatment.


  1. Dorsey, E. R., Zafar, M., Lettenberger, S. E., Pawlik, M. E., Kinel, D., Frissen, M., Schneider, R., Kieburtz, K., Tanner, C. M., De Miranda, B. R., Goldman, S., & Bloem, B. R. (2023). Trichloroethylene: an invisible cause of Parkinson’s disease? Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, 13(2), 203–218. https://doi.org/10.3233/jpd-225047 
  2. Common dry cleaning chemical linked to Parkinson’s | Journal of Parkinson’s Disease. (n.d.). https://www.journalofparkinsonsdisease.com/common-dry-cleaning-chemical-linked-parkinson%E2%80%99s 
  3. Cernansky, R. (2016). It Came From Beneath: Detecting and Mitigating Vapor Intrusion. Environmental Health Perspectives, 124(8). https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.124-a141 
  4. Goldman, S., Quinlan, P., Ross, G. W., Marras, C., Meng, C., Bhudhikanok, G. S., Comyns, K., Korell, M., Chade, A., Kasten, M., Priestley, B., Chou, K. L., Fernandez, H. H., Cambi, F., Langston, J. W., & Tanner, C. M. (2011). Solvent exposures and parkinson disease risk in twins. Annals of Neurology, 71(6), 776–784. https://doi.org/10.1002/ana.22629 
  5. (2020) C2 Chlorinated Solvents S&P Global’s Chemical Economics Handbook. S&P Global. https://www.spglobal.com/commodityinsights/en/ci/products/c2-chlorinated-chemical-economics-handbook.html 
  6. Tanner, C. M., Kamel, F., Ross, G. W., Hoppin, J. A., Goldman, S., Korell, M., Marras, C., Bhudhikanok, G. S., Kasten, M., Chade, A., Comyns, K., Richards, M., Meng, C., Priestley, B., Fernandez, H. H., Cambi, F., Umbach, D. M., Blair, A., Sandler, D. P., & Langston, J. W. (2011). Rotenone, paraquat, and Parkinson’s disease. Environmental Health Perspectives, 119(6), 866–872. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1002839 
  7. Inam, U., Zhao, L., Yang, H. T., Muhammad, F., Alwayli, D., Wang, X., & Li, H. (2021). “Metal elements and pesticides as risk factors for Parkinson’s disease – A review.” Toxicology Reports, 8, 607–616. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.toxrep.2021.03.009 
  8. Sian, J. (1999). MPTP-Induced Parkinsonian Syndrome. Basic Neurochemistry – NCBI Bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK27974/ 
  9. Ohlson, C., & Hogstedt, C. (1981). Parkinson`s disease and occupational exposure to organic solvents, agricultural chemicals and mercury–a case-referent study. Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 7(4), 252–256. https://doi.org/10.5271/sjweh.2549 
  10. Hatcher-Martin, J. M., Gearing, M., Steenland, K., Levey, A. I., Miller, G. W., & Pennell, K. D. (2012). Association between polychlorinated biphenyls and Parkinson’s disease neuropathology. Neurotoxicology, 33(5), 1298–1304. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuro.2012.08.002 

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