Last week saw a momentous breakthrough in ongoing work to stop the use of trichloroethylene (TCE), a harmful chemical known to cause serious health issues including a 500 percent increased risk of Parkinson’s disease.
Due in part to nearly a decade of advocacy by The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) and Parkinson’s advocates nationwide — including an in-person meeting with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in September to plead our community’s case — EPA has announced a proposal to ban nearly all uses of TCE within one year.
“I applaud the Biden-Harris administration and EPA for following the science and proposing a ban of this extremely harmful chemical — eliminating TCE wipes out a known Parkinson’s risk factor,” said Ted Thompson, JD, senior vice president of public policy at MJFF. “This outcome is a testament of the power of advocacy by those living with Parkinson’s and the people who love them. The Parkinson’s community has sent countless emails, signed petitions, submitted personal testimony and made phone calls to get us here. Together, we will continue to do everything we can to protect future generations from harmful environmental risk factors.”
How our advocacy has moved the needle
For many years, MJFF has actively lobbied against the use of toxic chemicals like TCE and paraquat and advocated for reducing or eliminating other environmental risk factors our military servicemembers, veterans and others may encounter. An estimated 10 to 12 percent of all Parkinson’s patients have served in the military, and a growing body of research points to harmful environmental triggers such as Agent Orange, TCE, and others as the potential cause of their disease. In addition to this advocacy, MJFF has been supporting research on the link between solvent exposures and PD for more than a decade.
What happens next
- EPA will accept public comments on the proposed rule between October 31, 2023, and December 15, 2023 — submit your comment.
- MJFF will submit a comment to the EPA to urge them to move forward with the ban.
- EPA will also host a public webinar for anyone who wants to learn more about the proposed rule — register for the webinar.
Sign up for the Parkinson's Policy Network to stay informed about future opportunities to advocate for policy change that makes a difference for the Parkinson’s community. As always, thank you for helping MJFF do whatever it takes to better treat and prevent Parkinson’s — and ultimately, to cure this disease.