Parkinson's is the world's fastest-growing neurological disorder. This chemical compound could be to blame

According to the National Cancer Institute, trichloroethylene (TCE) is found in "cleaning wipes, aerosol cleaning products, tool cleaners, paint removers, spray adhesives, and carpet cleaners and spot removers." It was also used as an anesthetic until it was banned in the United States in 1977. "Prolonged or repeated exposure of trichloroethylene causes kidney cancer. Some evidence suggests that it may be associated with an increased risks of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and, possibly, liver cancer."

TCE could also be behind the alarming rise in Parkinson's Disease, says Ray Dorsey, a neurologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center and author of Ending Parkinson's Disease. Over the last 10 years, the number of people with Parkinson's in the United States has increased 35%, according to The Guardian. "We think over the next 25 years it will double again," Dorsey told the paper.

From The Guardian:

Its known relationship to Parkinson's may often be overlooked due to the fact that exposure to TCE can predate the disease's onset by decades. While some people exposed may sicken quickly, others may unknowingly work or live on contaminated sites for most of their lives before developing symptoms of Parkinson's.

The EPA estimates that 250m lb of the chemical are still used annually in the US, and that in 2017, more than 2m lb of it was released into the environment from industrial sites, contaminating air, soil, and water. 

Image: Wellcome Trust, CC BY-4.0