GERMANY: Parkinson’s disease caused by solvents is not an occupational disease

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The Medical Advisory Council of Experts at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) has decided not to include this disease in the list of occupational diseases because the current state of knowledge is not sufficient to fulfill the legal requirements under §9 in Book VII of the Social Security Code. 

The reasons in detail are the following:

  • It is not yet fully understood how Parkinson’s disease arises.
  • Although statistical analyses have shown that people suffer more frequently from Parkinson’s than persons not exposed, the studies refer to solvents in general not to individual substances.
  • When substances were considered separately, the number of exposed individuals was too small to be taken into account.
  • Studies on the duration and intensity of exposure are also insufficient.
  • In animal experiments, as regards trichloroethenen only, evidence was found that it can cause Parkinson’s disease. Here again, the available data are insufficient. Admittedly, poisoning with certain solvents could cause Parkinson-like symptoms but these have nothing to do with the “real” disease.

The medical Advisory Council awaits the results of further medical and epidemiological research.

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