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  • Writer's pictureKirk Hartley

TCE Link to Parkinson’s?

As Kirk said below, “the march of science continues, and so does its impact on tort litigation” … this time with respect to a possible link between TCE exposure and Parkinson’s disease.

In January The New York Times reported on a University of Kentucky study which examined links between Parkinson’s disease and exposure to TCE. While the study found that “trichloroethylene, used extensively in industry and the military and a common environmental contaminant, joins other mitochondrial neurotoxins, MPTP (1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine) and some pesticides, as a risk factor for parkinsonism” apparently the researchers would not provide enough of a link for the workers with Parkinson’s to pursue compensation. The lead researcher, Dr. Gash, was quoted in the NYT:

“Was it the trichloroethylene?” Dr. Gash asked. “It could have been. But it could have been other things, too,” including a genetic predisposition to the disease. Implicating TCE requires ruling out other potential causes, he said — something that could take years.

Of course plaintiff attorneys have been pursuing a link between Parkinson’s and Parkinson’s-like conditions and manganese fumes from welding rods for several years now. Given that the pool of potential plaintiffs relating to TCE exposure is probably at least as large as the pool of potential welding plaintiffs, I suspect plaintiff attorneys will be watching this research closely.

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