Parkinson’s disease linked to pesticides
This article came from The Ecologist. Although the European Union court has recently banned the weedkiller Paraquat (see below), in the US, agriculture corporations, land companies, and banks have more of a stranglehold on government, and have enabled continued use of dangerous agricultural chemicals, despite their proven health hazards.
However, on occasion, community action prevails. Two SF Gray Panthers members have a friend who teaches elementary school in Watsonville, California. For several years, a farm adjoining the playground had been treated with methyl bromide, associated with testicular cancer. Community pressure had been unable to dissuade the farmowner to stop or persuade city government to pressure the farmer to stop. Finally, the teachers organized a school boycott that completely emptied the classrooms and cut the school system of a big part of its Average Daily Attendance funding from the State. Within days, the farmer agreed to stop treating his fields.
Date: 24/04/2007 Author:News
The link between exposure to chemical pesticides and Parkinson’s disease has become even clearer, following the release of data from two new studies, ENN (Environmental News Network) reports.
Scientists have demonstrated that farm labourers who are exposed to the weedkiller ‘paraquat’ are two to three times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, the degenerative brain condition that leads to paralysis.
A second study showed that animals exposed to paraquat develop a build-up of the protein alpha-synuclein in their brains. Alpha-synuclein has been linked to cell death in Parkinson’s patients
Although the increased risk of Parkinson’s disease in farm workers has been suspected for some time, the link is difficult to prove statistically owing to the long periods of time between the initial exposure to pesticides and the onset of illness. These new studies made a breakthrough by determining pesticide exposure through examination of farm records, determining when pesticides had been bought.
Recent research has suggested that by 2030, the number of people suffering from Parkinson’s in the world’s 15 most populous countries could rise to 8.7 million, an increase of more than 4.6 million on today’s figures.
Some more references
Environmental News Network report, “Pesticides linked to Parkinson’s disease”
Farmworker Justice’s EyeOpener report on how Paraquat exposure increases risk for Parkinson’s Disease among farmworkers applying the pesticide and their spouses.
American Journal of Epidemiology, Pesticide Exposure and Self-reported Parkinson’s Disease in the Agricultural Health Study.
Exposure To Environmental Toxics Accelerates Age-related Parkinson’s Disease In Mice
EU Court Bans Weedkiller Paraquat
An example of partnership between academic researchers and community organizations to protect farmworkers and the environment