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xx Trichloroethylene & Parkinson's Disease Link
« Thread started on: Nov 15th, 2011, 9:02pm »

A study has found a link between those who suffer from Parkinson's Disease and trichloroethylene.



WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- A novel study in twins found that exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE) -- a hazardous organic contaminant found in soil, groundwater, and air -- is significantly associated with increased risk of Parkinson's disease (PD). Possibility of developing this neurodegenerative disease is also linked to perchloroethylene (PERC) and carbon tetrachloride (CCI4) exposure, according to the study appearing in Annals of Neurology on Monday.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke estimates that as many as 500,000 Americans have PD and more than 50,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. While there is much debate regarding cause of PD, studies suggest that genetic and environmental factors likely trigger the disease. Several studies have reported that exposure to solvents may increase risk of PD, but research assessing specific agents is limited.

The current epidemiological study, led by Samuel Goldman and Caroline Tanner with The Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale, California, investigated exposure to TCE, PERC and CCI4 and risk of developing PD. The team interviewed 99 twin pairs in which one twin had PD and one didn't, inquiring about lifetime occupations and hobbies. Lifetime exposures to six specific solvents previously linked to PD in medical literature -- n-hexane, xylene, toluene, CCI4, TCE and PERC -- were inferred for each job or hobby.

The findings are the first to report a significant association between TCE exposure and PD -- a more than six-fold increased risk. Researchers also found that exposure to PERC and CCI4 tended toward significant risk of developing the disease. "Our study confirms that common environmental contaminants may increase the risk of developing PD, which has considerable public health implications," commented Goldman in a statement.

TCE, PERC and CCI4 have been used extensively worldwide, with TCE noted as a common agent in dry-cleaning solutions, adhesives, paints, and carpet cleaners. Despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banning the use of TCE as a general anesthetic, skin disinfectant, and coffee decaffeinating agent in 1977, it is still widely used today as a degreasing agent. In the U.S., millions of pounds of TCE are still released into the environment each year and it is the most common organic contaminant found in ground water, detected in up to 30 percent of drinking water supplies in the country.

In a release issued on Sept. 28, 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that TCE is carcinogenic to humans.

And here is an excerpt about trichloroethylene from Wikipedia:

Some are exposed to TCE through contaminated drinking water. With a specific gravity greater than 1, trichloroethene can be present as a dense nonaqueous phase liquid if sufficient quantities are spilled in the environment. Another significant source of vapor exposure in Superfund sites that had contaminated groundwater, such as the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant, was by showering. TCE readily volatilizes out of hot water and into the air. Long, hot showers would then volatilize more TCE into the air. In a home closed tightly to conserve the cost of heating and cooling, these vapors would then recirculate.

The first known report of TCE in groundwater was given in 1949 by two English public chemists who described two separate instances of well contamination by industrial releases of TCE.[21] Based on available federal and state surveys, between 9% to 34% of the drinking water supply sources tested in the U.S. may have some TCE contamination, though EPA has reported that most water supplies are in compliance with the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) of 5 ppb.[22] In addition, a growing concern in recent years at sites with TCE contamination in soil or groundwater has been vapor intrusion in buildings, which has resulted in indoor air exposures, such is in a recent case in the McCook Field Neighborhood of Dayton, Ohio.[23] Trichloroethylene has been detected in 852 Superfund sites across the United States,[24] according to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). Under the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, and as amended [25] annual water quality testing is required for all public drinking water distributors. The EPA'S current guidelines for TCE can be found here. It should be noted that the EPA's table of "TCE Releases to Ground" is dated 1987 to 1993, thereby omitting one of the largest Superfund Cleanup sites in the nation, the NIBW in Scottsdale, Arizona. The TCE "released" here occurred prior to its appearance in the municipal drinking wells in 1982.[26]

In 1998, the View-Master factory supply well in Beaverton, Oregon was found to have been contaminated with high levels of TCE. It was estimated that 25,000 factory workers had been exposed to it from 19502001.[27]

As of 2007, 57,000 pounds, or roughly 19 tons of TCE have been removed from the system of wells that once supplied drinking water to the residents of Scottsdale.[28] One of the three drinking water wells previously owned by the City of Phoenix and ultimately sold to the City of Scottsdale, tested at 390 ppb TCE when it was closed in 1982. (see East Valley Tribune, April 6, 2007, "Feds to Examine Superfund Site" by John Yantis) Some Scottsdale residents who received their water bills from the City of Phoenix throughout the 1960s and 70's were understandably confused as to whether they indeed had been consuming contaminated water when information about the Superfund site was first disseminated. The City of Scottsdale recently updated their website to clarify that the contaminated wells were "in the Scottsdale area" and to delete all references to the levels of TCE discovered when the wells were closed as "trace".[29]

A spot was then ultimately chosen to receive and treat the contaminated drinking water known as the Central Groundwater Treatment Facility. Then 1989, as now, this treatment facility (CGTF) is situated on land adjacent to Pima Park and the Siemens facility documented as one of the Potentially Responsible Parties at the corner of Thomas and Pima roads. Close proximity to this park did not appear to enter into Motorola's calculations when asserting that it would save money to remove the carbon air filters in 2007. (See East Valley Tribune, October 5, 2007, "Motorola wants to axe filters at Superfund site" by Ari Cohn)

Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune[30] in North Carolina may be the largest TCE contamination site in the country. Legislation could force the EPA to establish a health advisory and a national public drinking water regulation to limit trichloroethylene.[31]

For over twenty years of operation, the US-based multinational Radio Company of America (RCA) had been pouring toxic wastewater into a well in its Taoyuan, Taiwan facility. The pollution from the plant was not revealed until 1994, when former workers brought it to light. Investigation by the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration confirmed that RCA had been dumping chlorinated organic solvents into a secret well and caused contamination to the soil and groundwater surrounding the plant site. High levels of TCE tetrachloroethylene (PCE) can be found in groundwater drawn as far as two kilometers from the site. An organization of former RCA employees reports 1375 cancer cases, 216 cancer deaths, and 102 cases of various tumors among its members.[32][33]

Trichloroethylene is a cleaning solvent that was used to clean military weapons during the Gulf War. There are reports associating exposure to this solvent with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis [34], and also with a neurologic syndrome resembling Parkinson's disease [35].

An international study published in 2011 has found a six-fold increase in the risk of developing Parkinson's in individuals exposed in the workplace to trichloroethylene. The study found a lag time of up to 40 years between exposure to TCE and the onset of Parkinson's. No statistical link was found with the other solvents examined in the study (toluene, xylene, n-hexan).[36]

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