Study links solvents' exposure to Parkinson’s disease

November 16, 2011

Sunnyvale, CA – Exposure to certain chemical solvents may increase a worker’s risk of Parkinson’s disease, according to a study from the Parkinson’s Institute, a nonprofit research organization.

Researchers analyzed the occupational histories of 99 sets of twins in which one twin developed Parkinson’s. According to the study abstract, the researchers found a link between the neurodegenerative disorder and exposure to the industrial solvents trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene.

The risk for developing Parkinson’s was 6 times greater for participants exposed to TCE and 9 times for those exposed to TCE or PERC, according to a press release from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which funded the study.

TCE is commonly used to degrease metal parts, and PERC is used by most dry cleaners. The study appeared online Nov. 14 in the Annals of Neurology and builds on preliminary research conducted by the institute presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual conference in 2010, which found higher rates of Parkinson’s among males exposed to TCE.