Many folks expose themselves without even realizing it
Parkinson’s disease (PD) affects roughly 10 million people around the world. This makes it the second most common neurological disorder after Alzheimer’s disease—and the most common movement disorder.1,2
It begins slowly with mild symptoms, like tremors or shaking in the hands, arms, or legs. The signs can be so subtle that it can be difficult to get an accurate, early diagnosis. Many patients even shrug off or ignore these early signs, leading to further delays in diagnosis and treatment.
But over time, the symptoms worsen and become harder to ignore, as they may impair walking, speaking, and even cognition.
The actor Michael J. Fox has been a terrific advocate for the disease since he was diagnosed more than 30 years ago. And he has certainly helped raise awareness, funding, and research.
Nevertheless, we still have no effective cure. And there’s no real consensus about what causes the disease. But there has been some important progress on both fronts, even within the past few months…
In fact, according to brand-new research published by a leading scientific journal, there’s a hidden environmental risk factor that may increase your risk of developing Parkinson’s by a staggering 500 percent!
Worse yet? YOU may expose yourself—and your family—to it… without even realizing it.
“The status quo is not working”
Scientists with the University of Rochester (UR) have been studying Parkinson’s disease for a long time. And, according to Ray Dorsey, M.D., UR’s lead Parkinson’s researcher, we’re in the midst of a huge “Parkinson’s pandemic” that he says will only worsen if we don’t get serious about changing how we prevent and treat it.
In fact, in a recent interview, Dr. Dorsey urged for change. He commented, “From 1990 to 2015, the number of individuals with Parkinson’s disease globally has doubled and absent change will double again in the coming generation. The status quo is not working. The medical community must develop new approaches to better understand this complex disease.”3
We know that certain genetic factors (as well as a history of head trauma) can increase your risk of developing PD. But according to Dorsey and his team, those don’t account for the majority of cases. And, according to the famed Mayo Clinic, environmental factors only pose “small” risks.
But Dr. Dorsey and his team think otherwise. In fact, a few years ago, they began looking closely at an environmental toxin called trichloroethylene (TCE)…
Common chemical “cleans” more than your clothes
TCE is a colorless, liquid chemical that smells a bit like chloroform.4,5 Scientists first generated it in a lab back in 1864, and commercial use began in the 1920s.
Today, you can find it in tons of consumer cleaning products, including:
- Commercial dry-cleaning agents
- Metal degreasing agents
- Cleaning wipes
- Stain removers for clothing and carpeting
- Spray adhesives
Until the 1970s, it was even used to decaffeinate coffee… and as an inhaled anesthetic! And during the 70s and 80s, about 10 million Americans worked in factories with the chemical or other organic solvents daily.
Plus, we now know even if you don’t use (or work near) a product made with TCE, it can STILL get into your system by leaching into the environment and contaminating your food, water, and the air you breathe!
Have you ever heard about the contamination of the water-supply systems around the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina in the 1980s? It involved TCE and another solvent called perchloroethylene (PCE).
Today, U.S. veterans and their families have filed more than 100 lawsuits alleging the water tainted with TCE and PCE caused serious health problems, including Parkinson’s.6
But, as Dr. Dorsey and his team found, the dangers of TCE go far beyond the anecdotal connections uncovered at Camp Lejeune…
For the new study, they found 26 previously published scientific studies involving TCE. And most notably, they discovered a small, but revealing study that linked TCE exposure to a 500 percent increase in risk of developing PD. They also uncovered numerous, formal case studies linking TCE and Parkinson’s.
Lastly, they pinpointed evidence documenting how TCE affects the body, which is key for getting buy-in from the regulatory world.
It turns out, there’s solid evidence that TCE causes chronic inflammation, harms tissues, crosses the blood-brain barrier, and causes problems with your mitochondria (your cells’ energy factories). Dorsey and his team said this mitochondrial dysfunction may be what eventually leads to Parkinson’s, as your neurons rely on healthy mitochondria to function properly.
Well, no wonder the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) admitted in January 2023 that TCE “poses an unreasonable risk to human health.”
Incredibly, despite the EPA’s admission and all of the published scientific evidence, TCE is still legal in the U.S. And—it’s everywhere…
In fact, experts estimate that TCE currently contaminates up to 30 percent of the drinking water in the country!
It’s such a widespread problem, you may think exposure is inevitable.
But you CAN reduce your TCE exposure—and potentially lower your Parkinson’s risk—by making a few simple lifestyle changes…
Reduce your exposure to TCE
Until the EPA decides to act, TCE will continue to contaminate our environment and pose a threat to your health. But these seven science-backed steps can help you reduce—or ELIMINATE—your exposure.
- Invest in a quality water filter. Since up to 30 percent of the country’s drinking water contains TCE, using a good water filter is an absolute MUST. Fortunately, there are lots of different options—ranging from inexpensive pitchers to higher-priced ones you install on your faucet or under the sink. (Some people even have whole-house water filtration systems.) Another option is drinking natural spring water from glass bottles. (But that gets expensive.)
- Open your windows. COVID-19 taught us a lot about indoor air quality. And now we know that TCE can waft into the indoor air you breathe from common household products. So, make sure to regularly open your windows to improve ventilation. I also recommend investing in an air purifier. I personally use one at home, at my desk in the office, and when I travel to remove toxins from the air.
- Add some plants to your space. As I explained in my April 2023 newsletter, plants can help clear the air in your home of those ubiquitous, toxic chemicals. In fact, NASA conducted a major study back in 1989 and found that a number of plants are very good at removing TCE specifically—including English Ivy and Bamboo Palm.7 Not to mention, having plants around can improve sleep, productivity, physical health and healing, lower heart rates, blood pressure, and reduce stress and cortisol levels.8
- Check for TCE on product listings. Always check the ingredient list of any product you use in your home. Common culprits include paint strippers, stain removers, adhesives, degreasers, and sealants. If you find products that contain TCE in your home, try to find a safe way to dispose of it. And since the EPA considers it a “hazardous waste,” follow local laws.
- Look for safer household products. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes a helpful online resource called EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning. You can also look up cleaners and other household products on their website to view their safety ratings.
You might even opt to make your own natural cleaners at home, like I do, using vinegar, baking soda, and warm water. You can also add some essential oils—like lemon, orange, tea tree, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, cinnamon, or pine oils.
Not only do these oils make great natural deodorizers, but many of them also have antimicrobial and antifungal properties—so you can use them to clean and sanitize virtually every surface in your home.
- Look for an organic dry cleaner. Since so many dry-cleaning agents contain TCE, look for a business that uses safe, non-toxic ingredients to clean your clothes. Or better yet, skip the dry cleaning and wash and iron your clothes at home the old-fashioned way!
- Cut the crud. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), processed foods can contain TCE because of the solvents used to clean the equipment. So, here you have just another reason to cut out all processed and packaged foods from your diet!9
In my view, we’ve come a long way in recent years to better understand what causes Parkinson’s disease. And we now know it’s not just a matter of genetics or traumatic brain injuries… because environmental factors DO play a role (no matter what the Mayo Clinic says)!
Therefore, you should take steps, starting TODAY, to remove TCE from your environment. It could potentially lower your risk of ever developing this devastating disease.
For dozens of other articles about how to prevent, treat, and even REVERSE this chronic disease, simply go to my website, www.DrPescatore.com, and type “Parkinson’s disease” in the search box on the top right of the page.
- “Parkinson’s disease.” Mayo Clinic, accessed 4/23/23. (mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/parkinsons-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20376055)2. “Parkinson’s disease.” Subcell Biochem. 2012;65:389-455. doi.org: 10.1007/978-94-007-5416-4_16.
- “UR Named National Center of Excellence for Parkinson’s Research.” University of Rochester Medical Center, 10/3/18. (.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/ur-named-national-center-of-excellence-for-parkinsons-research)
- “Parkinson’s: Could a common cleaning chemical cause the disease?” Medical News Today, 3/16/23. (medicalnewstoday.com/articles/cleaning-chemical-tce-may-cause-parkinsons-disease)
- “Trichlorethylene: An Invisible Cause of Parkinson’s Disease.” Journal of Parkinson’s Disease, 2023; 12(2): 203-218. doi.org/10.3233/JPD-225047
- “More than 100 lawsuits filed in U.S. court over Camp Lejeune water after waiting period passes.” Reuters, 2/13/23. (reuters.com/legal/litigation/more-than-100-lawsuits-filed-us-court-over-camp-lejeune-water-after-waiting-2023-02-14/)
- “20 Best Air-Purifying Plants to Infuse Greenery Into the Home.” Good Housekeeping, 4/21/23. (goodhousekeeping.com/home/gardening/a32552/houseplants-that-purify-air/)
- “5 Benefits of Indoor Plants.” Newsweek, 11/22/22. (newsweek.com/5-benefits-indoor-plants-1761103)
- “Where is Trichloroethylene Found?” Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, accessed 4/23/23. (atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/trichloroethylene/where_found.html)