The petro-chemical industry likes to portray itself as the progenitor of our rapidly-advancing technological society, but it will come as little surprise to some that there is a price to be paid, principally to the health of our planet and our selves. Neil Bowdler reports on a new study showing a six-times greater likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease after exposure to trichloroethylene (once used as a general anesthetic), for BBC News:
An international study has linked an industrial solvent to Parkinson’s disease.
Researchers found a six-fold increase in the risk of developing Parkinson’s in individuals exposed in the workplace to trichloroethylene (TCE).
Although many uses for TCE have been banned around the world, the chemical is still used as a degreasing agent.
The research was based on analysis of 99 pairs of twins selected from US data records.
Parkinson’s can result in limb tremors, slowed movement and speech impairment, but the exact cause of the disease is still unknown, and there is no cure.
Research to date suggests a mix of genetic and environmental factors may be responsible. A link has previously been made with pesticide use.
The researchers from institutes in the US, Canada, Germany and Argentina, wanted to examine the impact of solvent exposure – specifically six solvents including TCE.
They looked at 99 sets of twins, one twin with Parkinson’s, the other without.
Because twins are genetically very similar or identical and often share certain lifestyle characteristics, twins were thought to provide a better control group, reducing the likelihood of spurious results.
The twins were interviewed to build up a work history and calculate likely exposure to solvents. They were also asked about hobbies.
The findings are presented as the first study to report a “significant association” between TCE exposure and Parkinson’s and suggest exposure to the solvent was likely to result in a six-fold increase in the chances of developing the disease…
[continues at BBC News]