Quantcast

Pesticides & Parkinson’s—Connection Clearer than Ever

Pesticide Action Network

By Margaret Reeves

This kind of evidence can't be ignored. Scientists report that the risk of Parkinson’s Disease is significantly greater for individuals with a history of exposure to pesticides. They reached this conclusion after reviewing data from six decades of research.

The results were strongest for exposure to weedkillers and insecticides—not so strong for those pesticides designed to kill disease-causing fungi. And the risk was greatest when exposure was associated with work activities, such as applying pesticides in the field.

Many studies have linked pesticides and Parkinson’s in recent years, including one in 2006 that found individuals who applied pesticides more than 400 days in their lifetime had nearly double the risk of Parkinson’s, compared to those who had applied pesticides for fewer days.

More recently we reported on a study showing that the combination of commonly used pesticides can triple Parkinson's risk, and another identifying the mechanism through which pesticide exposure may trigger onset of the disease.

Strong evidence from population studies

This latest review is significant because it looked at (and compared) a range of population studies.

The three types of studies reviewed include:

1. Case–control studies, in which people with the disease are compared with disease-free individuals that are otherwise similar

2. Cohort studies, which evaluate the risks of acquiring the disease among people disease-free individuals who share other characteristics such as age, occupation or exposure within a defined period

3. Cross-sectional studies, which describe all individuals in a selected population, often used to describe absolute or relative risks of a disease.

One 2009 study in California’s Central Valley showed a link between pesticide-contaminated drinking water and development of Parkinson's. The Central Valley is notorious for having some of the highest rates of pesticide use in the country. Researchers found that high levels of well-water contamination with methomyl, chlorpyrifos and propargite increased the relative risk of Parkinson's by 70–90 percent.

For me, this issue hits close to home. Two members of my immediate family have struggled with Parkinson's. Although my grandmother didn't spend a lifetime on a farm, she did spend a few years. It just makes me wonder—could her disease have been prevented?

For more information, click here.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Microsoft's main campus in Redmond, Washington on May 12, 2017. GLENN CHAPMAN / AFP via Getty Images

Microsoft announced ambitious new plans to become carbon negative by 2030 and then go one step further and remove by 2050 all the carbon it has emitted since the company was founded in 1975, according to a company press release.

Read More
Nestlé is accelerating its efforts to bring functional, safe and environmentally friendly packaging solutions to the market and to address the global challenge of plastic packaging waste. Nestlé / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Nestlé, the world's largest food company, said it will invest up to $2 billion to address the plastic waste crisis that it is largely responsible for.

Read More
Sponsored
Yellow soft shell D-vitamin capsule held to the sun. Helin Loik-Tomson / iStock / Getty Images

By Margherita T. Cantorna

Winter is upon us and so is the risk of vitamin D deficiency and infections. Vitamin D, which is made in our skin following sunlight exposure and also found in oily fish (mackerel, tuna and sardines), mushrooms and fortified dairy and nondairy substitutes, is essential for good health. Humans need vitamin D to keep healthy and to fight infections. The irony is that in winter, when people need vitamin D the most, most of us are not getting enough. So how much should we take? Should we take supplements? How do we get more? And, who needs it most?

Read More
The common murre population in Alaska has been decimated by an ocean heatwave. Linda Burek / iStock / Getty Images Plus

An expanse of uncommonly warm seawater in the Pacific Ocean created by a marine heatwave led to a mass die-off of one million seabirds, scientists have found.

Read More
Climate activists hold a banner after climbing atop the roof of the entrance of the building as they protest outside offices of Youtube during the tenth day of demonstrations by the climate change action group Extinction Rebellion, in London, on Oct. 16, 2019. PAUL ELLIS / AFP / Getty Images

By Dana Drugmand

You don't have to look far to find misinformation about climate science continuing to spread online through prominent social media channels like YouTube. That's despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are driving the climate crisis.

Read More