Effects of Trichloroethylene to the Kidneys



Effects of Trichloroethylene to the Kidneys

Toxins hinder the normal functioning of the body by interfering with the mechanism through which the body organs and systems operates. Different toxins affect different body organs including the kidney. This research paper involves a review of an article that discusses the effects of trichloroethylene on kidneys. The article being reviewed is titled “Mechanisms of Toxicant-Induced Acute Kidney Injury”. The article is to be found in a journal called Science Direct. The article examines how the functions of the kidney are impaired by trichloroethylene due to the injuries caused by this toxicant to the kidney.

Trichloroethylene as well as its metabolites has been identified to be toxic to the kidneys as it has been found to trigger the development tumors in the kidneys and the toxin is therefore responsible for the development of kidney cancer (Kacew & Lee 2013). Studies done in animals and humans relating to the effect of trichloroethylene to the kidneys have revealed similar results. In these studies, rats and humans were exposed to trichloroethylene and the damage to both was similar. In both, the proximal tubule was damaged.

Evidence from mechanistic, experimental as well as epidemiologic studies has shown that trichloroethylene has the potential to cause cancer of the kidney. In these studies, male and female rats were exposed to the toxin the results obtained showed that male rats were more at risk of developing tumors as compared to female rats. Studies in humans showed that exposure to trichloroethylene activated the development of cancerous cells (Lash, 2014). Studies conducted on animals showed that trichloroethylene operates as a complete carcinogen. The effect of trichloroethylene is prevalent al all the stages of cancer development starting from tumor formation, promotion as well as progression. The speed at which the development and progression of the disease largely depends on the dosage in terms of concentration as well as the time that one is exposed to the toxicant.

The most common type of cancer that is associated with trichloroethylene is the renal clear cell carcinoma. The toxin stimulates the activation of VHL which helps in suppressing the gene responsible for the formation of tumor. Evidence from studies has shown that there is a very close relationship between trichloroethylene and mutation of the VHL especially in human beings. In certain studies, it has been determined that exposure to high concentrations leads to mutation of the renal cancer cells.

In addition to explaining the mechanism through which trichloroethylene causes renal cancer, the article as well explains how trichloroethylene gets into the human body. Trichloroethylene is among those toxicants that are found within the environment in large quantities owing to their varied uses. Trichloroethylene is used both at home as well as in the industries. In addition, trichloroethylene is also to be found in the metabolites and this increases the chance of exposure. It is estimated that tens of millions of pounds of trichloroethylene are released in the environment each year in the United States alone. These figures clearly indicates that the level of exposure to this chemical is quite high within the population.


Regulation of cosmetic products

The Food and Drug Administration does not control the chemicals that are used in a perfume to enhance its safety contrary to what many people think. Although the law requires the companies that produce cosmetic to indicate in the label the chemicals that have been used, the same law allows companies to keep secret of the chemical formula that have been used to make fragrances (Cheryl, 2010). Cosmetics producing companies can take advantage of this lapse and introduce dangerous chemicals in their products. There should be a body that is mandated to administer the cosmetics industry fully in order to enhance the safety of the consumers. This role should not be given to FDA as cosmetics do not fall under food or drug. A new regulatory body should be created to promote the safety of cosmetics.














Cheryl, S. (2010). Trichloroethylene Health Risks–State of the Science.” Environmental Health


Perspectives Supplements 108(2) 56-72

Kacew, S., & Lee, B. M. (2013). Lu’s basic toxicology: Fundamentals, target organs, and risk

assessment (6th ed.). New York, NY: Informa Healthcare.

Lash, H. (2014). Mechanisms of Toxicant-Induced Acute Kidney Injury, Science Direct Journal,

7(4) 81-115