In another cautionary tale about the potential danger of toxic pesticides, scientists have published a new study on further evidence of a possible link between Parkinson's disease and long-term chemical exposure. As the UK's Guardian reports, a study of more than 300 people with the neurological disease found that sufferers were more than twice as likely to report heavy exposure to pesticides over their lifetime as family members without the disease.
The American-led research is being published in the journal BMC Neurology. As the Guardian points out, this isn't the first study that suggests a link between pesticides and Parkinson's, which many doctors think is probably often the result of complex interactions between genes and environmental triggers. A survey of more than 10,000 people with the disease, undertaken by the Parkinson's Disease Society (PDS), suggested that 9% had long-term pesticide or herbicide exposure.
In the BMC Neurology study, both insecticides and herbicides were found to significantly increase risk of Parkinson's. The researchers cited two specific insecticide classes, organochlorines and organophosphorus compounds, as being significantly associated. However, they noted that consuming well-water and living/working on a farm were not associated with Parkinson's.
A recent study published in the Annals of Neurology had drawn a link between workers exposed to the industrial solvent trichloroethylene, or TCE, and Parkinson's Disease.
It's true that much more research needs to be done to understand the underlying factors of Parkinson's disease, let alone work towards a possible cure. It's also true that much more needs to be learned about the extremely complex interactions of the tens of thousands of synthetic chemicals in our environment, how they play off each other, and how they react with natural phenomena.
This latest study is one more reason to be as judicious as possible with pesticides, both around the home and down on the farm. Given what we do know now, it does certainly seem that organic agriculture poses less risk to future generations.
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