Parkinson’s: Could a Common Cleaning Chemical Cause it?

Parkinson’s disease consists in a condition affecting the nervous system that causes movement issues, such as tremors, stiffened limbs, and cognitive problems.

There is still not a specific reason why Parkinson’s occurs. However, the disease has been linked to low levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the body.

Additionally, people with certain risk factors, such as age and past traumatic brain injury, and exposure to certain toxins, such as pesticides and air pollution are more likely to develop the condition.

Researchers from the University of Rochester are adding additional evidence by finding a link between Parkinson’s disease and a commonly-used chemical called trichloroethylene (TCE). TCE is a colorless liquid chemical that does not occur in nature. It is known to have a chloroform-like odor. This chemical may be found in a variety of products and industries and can leach into the water, air, and soil around where it is used or disposed of, contaminating what we breathe, eat, and drink.

Dr. Ray Dorsey, said he and his team decided to research a link between TCE and Parkinson’s disease while preparing to write his book, Ending Parkinson’s Disease. “TCE is a known carcinogen. It is also linked to miscarriages, neural tube defects, congenital heart disease, and multiple other medical disorders. It also has been around for 100 years and its toxicity has been known for at least 90.” 

For this study, they compiled seven case studies of individuals who developed Parkinson’s disease after exposure to the chemical from either the workplace or the environment.

“Currently, the world’s literature on trichloroethylene and Parkinson’s disease is limited to 26 studies based on a search on PubMed,” Dr. Dorsey said. “Given the widespread use and pollution with TCE and perchloroethylene, widely used in dry cleaning, and the rise of Parkinson’s disease, more research is needed. We call for that.”

Through a literature review and seven illustrative cases, the study postulates that this ubiquitous chemical is contributing to the global rise of Parkinson’s  and that TCE is one of its invisible and highly preventable causes. Further research is now necessary to examine this hypothesis.


Dorsey, E. R., Zafar, M., Lettenberger, S. E., Pawlik, M. E., Kinel, D., Frissen, M., Schneider, R. B., Kieburtz, K., Tanner, C. M., De Miranda, B. R., Goldman, S. M., & Bloem, B. R. (2023). Trichloroethylene: An Invisible Cause of Parkinson’s Disease? Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, 13(2), 203–218.

Medical news today [Corrie Pelc ]. (2023, March 16). Parkinson’s: Could a common cleaning chemical cause the disease? Https://Www.Medicalnewstoday.Com/Articles/Cleaning-Chemical-Tce-May-Cause-Parkinsons-Disease. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from

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