Toxic Exposure

TCE Exposure Now Linked to Parkinson's Disease in Recent Studies

August 9, 2023
Joseph Lanni

Table Of Contents


What is TCE?

Trichlorethylene, also known as TCE, is a toxic chemical that has been determined to be a “known human carcinogen” by scientists, medical doctors, the International Association for the Research of Cancer (IARC), and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A “carcinogen” is a chemical or substance that causes cancer. The IARC determined that TCE was a “known human carcinogen” in an extensively researched report in 2011 based on numerous scientific studies. TCE was listed as a “known human carcinogen” by the U.S. government in the 14th Report on Carcinogens to Congress in 2016.

TCE was and still is used in massive quantities by many industries and the U.S. government (particularly the military) as a solvent and degreaser. Many of the corporations, businesses and government agencies that used TCE in their industrial and technical operations improperly disposed of it resulting in pollution and contamination of the surrounding land, water and indoor air. More than 700 hazardous chemical waste sites containing huge quantities of TCE have so far been identified in the United States. Many of those toxic waste sites are located in and around former and current factories, manufacturing plants, technical research facilities, and military installations. For example, the water supply at a U.S. Marine Base known as Camp Lejeune in North Carolina was heavily polluted by TCE and exposure to the contaminated water was determined to have caused or contributed to cancers and other serious illnesses, including Parkinson’s disease, suffered by former military personnel and their family members who lived at the base during 1953 - 1987. Other examples include the massive pollution by TCE and other toxic chemicals in the soils and groundwater in Long Island, N.Y., at Brookhaven National Laboratory and the former Grumman Aircraft research, development, assembly and repair plant.

TCE was initially determined to be toxic to humans in the 1940s. For example, scientists and doctors found that TCE exposure through inhalation of vapors causes acute central nervous system (CNS) impairment (the CNS is the brain and spinal cord); it was also associated with cardiac arrythmias, liver dysfunction, chronic kidney impairment, and even kidney failure.

Scientists began to warn that TCE may cause cancer in the 1970s. The scientific evidence that TCE caused cancer grew stronger and stronger over the ensuing decades until it became undeniable with the IARC’s report in 2011. Subsequently, the EPA’s 2016 report reiterated the IARC’s findings that TCE caused cancer. The continued extensive scientific research on TCE has determined that exposure can cause kidney cancer, liver cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, multiple myeloma, bladder cancer, leukemias, aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, and Parkinson’s disease.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs lists the foregoing serious diseases as “presumptive illnesses” caused by TCE exposure. Indeed, Congress recently passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act authorizing former Marines and their dependents who lived on the base during 1953 – 1987 and developed these “presumptive illnesses” to bring lawsuits against the federal government for monetary damages.

Numerous scientific studies, including the reports by the IARC and EPA, have found that TCE is carcinogenic and toxic through the exposure routes of inhalation, trans-dermal contact, ingestion and vapor intrusion. What that means is that TCE can make you sick, including cause you to develop cancer, if you (1) breathe TCE fumes in, (2) get TCE on your skin, (3) drink TCE contaminated water or eat TCE tainted food, (4) shower, bathe or wash with TCE polluted water, or (5) live in a house or work in a building where vapors come off the TCE pollution in the soils or groundwater and get trapped inside the structure.

TCE has been and is commonly used by electricians, plumbers, HVAC technicians, machinists, sheet metal workers, tool & die workers, telephone linemen, telecommunications workers, computer technicians, laboratory technicians, aircraft/computer/machinery/electrical equipment/photographic equipment assembly line workers, aircraft mechanics, auto and truck mechanics, heavy equipment mechanics, chemists and carpenters among other occupations.

The U.S. government recently moved to regulate TCE production and exposure; however, those measures haven’t been made into law despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that this toxic chemical is extremely harmful to people. Large industrial corporations have extensively lobbied the U.S. government to block the implementation of regulations designed to protect ordinary citizens from exposures to and illnesses caused by TCE. Recently, Minnesota banned TCE use entirely due to its hazardous health effects and some states are moving in the same direction because the federal government has been too slow to act.

TCE is Now Considered to Cause or Contribute to Parkinson’s Disease and Parkinsonism

Most recently, scientific studies have associated TCE exposure to the development of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and Parkinsonism in humans. This is not surprising news since science and medicine has long known that acute and chronic TCE exposure could cause severe central nervous system impairment. For those who do not know, Parkinson’s disease is a central nervous system (i.e., brain) disorder that causes involuntary movements including tremors, shaking, stiffness, and ambulation, gait, gross motor and fine motor deficits. PD causes severe impairment of coordination and mobility; it can progress to the point where it results in severe or complete disability in daily activities.

In 1969, the first clinical study proposed that TCE exposure might be linked to Parkinson’s disease after a woman who worked with it for 33 years developed the seriously disabling illness despite having no family history of the disease. The woman’s brain imaging showed severe depigmentation and degenerative changes raising suspicion about the possibility of a definitive link between her TCE exposure and PD.

Subsequently, additional studies that were considerably larger and more extensive showed the same results. A recent study published in JAMA Neurology in May 2023 showed the strongest scientific evidence yet to support the correlation between TCE exposure and Parkinson’s disease and Parkinsonism. Researchers analyzed a large cohort of former Marines who were stationed at Camp Lejeune. The study compared former Marines who were exposed to the massive TCE pollution of the water supply while stationed at Camp Lejeune to those stationed at bases that were not contaminated. The data showed that those who were exposed to TCE were 70% more likely to develop Parkinson’s than those who were not.

The JAMA study’s results show that TCE exposure through groundwater and soil pollution increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease or Parkinsonism. The implications of the JAMA study are that TCE exposure may have impacted millions of people worldwide who have a markedly increased risk of developing PD. Some of those at risk people have developed PD.

While a substantial number of Parkinson’s cases are determined to be caused by a genetic defect, in many cases TCE exposure can cause or contribute to PD or Parkinsonism or, at the very least, trigger the onset of its clinical manifestations. Whether the Parkinson’s patient has a family history of PD is one indication that there is a genetic basis for the illness. Another factor consistent with a genetic cause for PD development is a positive test for the presence of certain genes associated with the disease.

Well known TCE Clusters

Some well-known TCE clusters include:

1. Camp Lejeune in North Carolina

Camp Lejeune is a Marine base on the North Carolina coast. From 1953 to 1987, Camp Lejeune’s water supply was heavily contaminated with the known human carcinogen trichloroethylene (TCE) and, to a lesser extent, other carcinogens known as tetrachloroethylene (PCE or “perc”), benzene, and vinyl chloride. Decades after the water pollution occurred, former Marines and their dependents stationed at Camp Lejeune for more than 30 days suffered high rates of cancer, PD, birth defects, and other serious illnesses that were linked to these toxic chemicals. As previously stated, Congress passed and President Biden signed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act in Summer 2022. The Act allows former Marines and their dependents on the base to bring lawsuits against the U.S. government for illnesses caused by the massive toxic chemical pollution at this military installation. We have brought lawsuits by former Marines who were stationed at Camp Lejeune and later developed liver cancer, kidney failure, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

2. Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York

Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy and has been operated by government contractors who are large corporations. It is located in Suffolk County, NY. BNL has a long history of recklessly disregarding EPA regulations. In fact, the EPA made BNL a Superfund site in 1989 and cited the lab for violations of the Clean Air Act, Safe Drinking Water Act, Toxic Substance Control Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act in 1998 due to its improper disposal of TCE, PCE, benzene and many other toxic chemicals and substances. As a result, BNL’s land, groundwater, buildings and facilities became extensively polluted and contaminated with these chemicals and substances. Lab employees were unknowingly exposed to TCE and other toxic chemicals for decades; some have developed the same illnesses listed among the federal government’s “presumptive illnesses” (see above). We have brought lawsuits by former BNL employees against the contractors who worked with TCE or were directly exposed to it and later developed kidney cancer, kidney failure, liver cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

3. Hubbard’s Path Shopping Center Site in New York

Our firm filed a toxic chemical exposure lawsuit against the former owners of the Hubbard’s Path Shopping Center in West Babylon, NY. The former owners of the property include Vornado Realty Trust and its corporate subsidiaries. We have uncovered evidence showing that the former owners of this shopping center knew that the soil, groundwater and indoor air in the buildings on this property had been contaminated by PCE, TCE and other toxic chemicals as a result of environmental assessments in 2007, 2004 and perhaps earlier than that; however, they never did anything to clean up the pollution and never advised the tenants, workers or customers about the hazardous conditions on the property. The current owners of the shopping center learned about the toxic chemical pollution and rapidly acted to inform tenants and clean up the property. We recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of a shop owner who developed multiple myeloma due to substantial PCE and TCE exposure from the indoor air in the store he ran for many years.

4. Haight Farm NYS Superfund Site in New York

We are currently investigating the Haight Farm Superfund Site in Holley, NY, a rural upstate farming community. During the period 1969 – 1984, a manufacturing company in Rochester, NY, paid a property owner to take 55 gallon drums of waste TCE used in its factory and improperly dump this toxic chemical onto his land. The TCE illegally dumped onto the land seeped into the aquifer that served the needs of approximately 800 people living on the farms in the area. The farm houses used water supplied by wells drawing from the polluted aquifer. In fact, families with young children on the nearby farms used the contaminated water for drinking, cooking, bathing, clothes washing and garden and crop irrigation. The local children played in the farm fields and in a creek overlying the polluted aquifer. Residents who lived nearby this illegal toxic waste dump became ill. Some of the children who lived on the farms are now adults who have developed illnesses associated with TCE exposure including Parkinson’s disease.

TCE Exposure Lawsuit

If you or someone you know was exposed to trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (PCE), benzene, vinyl chloride, PFAS or PFAO and have developed cancers or serious illnesses from these toxic chemicals, contact me, Joseph Lanni, at The Jacob Fuchsberg Law Firm to see if you are eligible to file suit.

We can help you file suit to receive monetary compensation for your illness, including conscious pain and suffering, emotional distress, past and future lost wages, and past and future medical expenses among other damages.

Contact me today at 212.869.3500 for a free consultation.

Let our family help yours.


Dorsey, Ray, E., et. al. "Trichlorethylene: An Invisible Cause of Parkinson's Disease?" Journal of Parkinson's Disease 13, (March 14, 2023): pp. 203-218.

Goldman, Samuel M., et. al. "Risk of Parkinson Disease Among Service Members at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune." JAMA Neurology (May 15, 2023): pp. E1-E9.

Sullivan, Will. "Common Chemical Strongly Linked to Parkinson's: Service members stationed at Camp Lejeune, where water was contaminated, had a 70 percent greater risk of developing the movement disorder, new study finds." Smithsonian Magazine, May, 23, 2023,

Wadman, Meredith. "Widely used chemical strongly linked to Parkinson's disease." AAAS Science Journal, May, 15, 2023,