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

Originally published at: Parkinson's is the world's fastest-growing neurological disorder. This chemical compound could be to blame | Boing Boing


Probably not that simple (there’s no shortage of other nasty chemicals in circulation), it certainly doesn’t seem to be harmless though.


Well that’s lovely, since we’ve all amped the hell out of our cleaning wipes usage recently.


Useless stat: “Over the last 10 years, the number of people with Parkinson’s in the United States has increased 35%…”

From what to what? 100 to 135? 459,698 to 620,592? 4.8 million to 6.48 million?


They, luckily, do not contain trichloroethylene.

Large portions of downtown Palo Alto, where I used to live, do, thanks to HP.


Interestingly, the population of the US over 60 has also increased by about the same number. (34%)

65 and Older Population Grows Rapidly as Baby Boomers Age (

Coincidence? No clue, but does cause me to wonder about these stats.


I have noticed struggles with Parkinson’s coming up in newspaper obituaries more frequently over the last few years. It may just be greater awareness/ more diagnoses or just an inreasing elderly population, though.

Whatever’s going on, prolonged exposure to trichloroethylene isn’t going to contribute to longevity.


Entirely anecdotal, but I know 2 people in my extended orbit who have it…


trichloroethylene (TCE)

I tried to pronounce it, and seems I summoned the Devil & his minions instead.


I think as a society we really need to reckon with these kinds of chemical exposures and how they are fucking with us. I wish we have a fully funded and robust EPA that could deal with these chemicals that have delayed effects. It’s part of the problem of eroded trust in institutions I guess.


Cue Big Chem spokespeople saying “Correlation is not causality! Correlation is not causality!”


A century from now, when it’s too late and everything’s royally fucked, we will understand how much we ruined the planet and our own lives in the short term pursuit of profit and convenience.


I guess you’re saying we will understand in full detail? Because honestly, I had a general impression how much we were ruining the planet and our own lives in the short term pursuit of profit and convenience a while ago.


There’s a great movie called A Civil Action with John Travolta that dramatized a court battle where companies had dumped TCE into the local water system.


My father died from Parkinson’s. It was a brutal, slow, hopeless death.

We suspected, and the doctors also posited, that his exposure to chemicals may have been the cause, or exacerbated its onset and severity. He kept lots of old banned stuff around in his workshop. I worry that all of us growing up were also exposed to it just from it being stored in the garage.

Lately I have been thinking about all the other chemicals I get exposed to regularly. Some of my hobbies that include refinishing may be over now-- it’s just not worth being exposed to weird solvents and lacquers anymore.

Also this: The US military is poisoning communities across the US with toxic chemicals | US news | The Guardian


Fun fact: A Parkinson’s diagnosis can only be confirmed after you are dead and your brain is autopsied. Until then, it is a clinical diagnosis based on a neurologist’s observation of your symptoms and a few physical movement tests. They can rule out other factors via MRIs and see if there is a dopamine uptake problem with a test called a DaTscan, but right now a true confirmation can only be made by taking a look at the inside of your brain after you are dead.

I was diagnosed with the very early onset stage of Parkinson’s this year. Last October I noticed that my right hand was slightly trembling as I was writing and I couldn’t control it no matter how much I tried. Luckily for me right now, this comes and goes and isn’t a constant tremor, but there is no rhyme or reason as to when it starts or stops. I saw a neurologist in February, had an MRI to rule out brain cancer or a tumor, and have a pending second opinion visit. It could be Parkinsonisms (diseases that look like Parkinson’s but don’t destroy the brain as horribly), but right now we’re sticking with the Parkinson’s diagnosis.

I turned 50 last November. I’m an English teacher. I guess all that red ink was carcinogenic.


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The recent attempt to dismantle the EPA probably had little effect on this. For the most part, enforcement of industrial compliance with federal regulations is left to the individual state EPAs. What the USEPA does is (a) do the analysis of the chemicals that leads to the limit guidelines – they already did this on TCE 20 years ago; (b) coordinate with states, who are responsible for almost all of the actual compliance monitoring; (c) do occasional individual spot inspections of suspected major violators; and (d) bring enforcement actions (fines, lawsuits) for violations. Most of (b) in turn is really left to the companies, who are supposed to have processes in place to monitor themselves. In 4 years it is unlikely that many companies dismantled their self monitoring, or that states were able to cease their enforcement efforts, especially given that most of the working staff of the EPA (not the political appointees) would have still been doing their thing.

I confess that when I went to work for the EPA many years ago I was a bit surprised by (b), given how likely it was that a major employer in a state would have leverage over that state’s government.


What I meant was the larger ‘WE’, as in “the world.” The average person probably doesn’t think about it ever, even if you and I do.


I am sorry.