Can trichloroethylene (TCE) cause Parkinson’s disease (PD)?

In a paper published online on March 14th 2023 in the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, researchers suggest that a common chemical, TCE, may be a key reason for the dramatic increase in Parkinson’s disease (PD).

Lead investigator Ray Dorsey, MD, professor of neurology, University of Rochester, US has called PD “the world’s fastest-growing brain disease,” and said it “may be largely preventable”.[1] TCE has been used in industry, commerce, military, and medicine, including producing refrigerants, cleaning electronics, and degreasing engine parts.

It has also been used in dry cleaning, although a similar chemical (perchloroethylene [PCE]) is more commonly used. However, the authors note that in anaerobic conditions, perchloroethylene often transforms into TCE “and their toxicity may be similar.” TCE is also found in consumer products such as paint removers and aerosol cleaning products and it was used to decaffeinate coffee until the 1970s.

TCE affects those who work with it, but it also pollutes outdoor air, taints groundwater, and contaminates indoor air. It is present in a substantial amount of US groundwater and it “evaporates from underlying soil and groundwater and enters homes, workplaces, or schools, often undetected,” the researchers note.


[1] What’s Driving the ‘World’s Fastest-Growing’ Brain Disease’? (