New research adds to previous evidence that pesticides may cause Parkinson's disease
The results of a study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience add weight to previous studies implicating pesticides as a cause of or contributor to Parkinson's disease.
In the study, researchers fed rats intravenously a pesticide called "rotenone," and observed as the rats exhibited Parkinson's Disease symptoms.
Rotenone is used on home-grown fruits and vegetables and for killing unwanted fish in the nation's lakes and rivers. It is called an "organic" pesticide because it is extracted from the dried roots, seeds and leaves of various tropical plants, including the Jewel vine, derris and hoary pea. Like many plants that produce what are in effect their own pesticides, these plants apparently evolved to produce the compound as a way of warding off insects and other pests.
Don't be confused by the label "organic pesticide" however; the use of Rotenone is prohibited under the California Organic Foods Act of 1990, and should continue to be prohibited under federal organic definitions -- unless chemical manufacturers are ultimately successful in their massive, well-financed attempts to convince the USDA to water down "organic" definitions.
Researchers of this study caution that the results may not apply to real life situations, since the study was conducted on animals and may not apply in any way to humans, and since the mode of exposure (injecting it into the rats' jugular veins) does not in any way duplicate human exposure to the pesticide.
At VegSource, we deeply question the value of any animal studies, believing in most cases the results gained do not apply to humans, and the cruelty is not justified.
Regarding Parkinson's Disease, a great deal of previous research has shown that human exposure to pesticides and herbicides used in commercially grown foods appears to cause or contribute to Parkinson's.
• In human studies of workers exposed to paraquat and other herbicides and pesticides, researchers found a statistically significant correlation between exposure to such substances and Parkinson's Disease. Am J Ind Med, 1990, 17:3, 349-55
• In another study, researchers found a significant association between Parkinson's Disease and having had an occupation in which subjects were exposed -- through handling or directly -- to pesticides. Mov Disord, 1994 Jan, 9:1, 69-75
• Researchers in Italy observed acute and persistent parkinsonism after use of another herbicide called "diquat," which is also used in commercial fish agriculture. Neurology, 1992 Jan, 42:1, 261-3
• Another similar study of 130 Parkinson's Disease sufferers compared to 260 healthy, randomly selected individuals, found that "previous occupational herbicide use was consistently the only significant predictor of Parkinson's Disease risk." Neurology, 1992 Jul, 42:7, 1328-35
• Another large scale study found Parkinson's Disease was positively associated with insecticide exposure, past residency in a fumigated house, and herbicide exposure. Neurology, 1993 Jun, 43:6, 1150-8
• Other researchers found: "our results have the important implication that exposure to environmental toxins such as paraquat may induce Parkinson's disease." J Neural Transm, 1999, 106:1, 1-21
• Researchers in another large study reported: "there was a significant association of occupational exposure to herbicides and insecticides with Parkinson's Disease, but no relation was found with fungicide exposure." Neurology, 1998 May, 50:5, 1346-50
• Researchers concluded low-dose exposure to environmental pollutants like pesticides during the neonatal period could lead to Parkinson's Disease. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 1993 Oct, 122:2, 258-64
• A recent review of published studies between the relationship between pesticides and Parkinson's Disease was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers concluded "environmental toxins [such as pesticides and herbicides] may contribute to the pathogenesis of Parkinson's Disease." JAMA, 1999 Dec, 282:23, 2200
Of special note is that one lobbying group in Washington, called Guest Choice, which generally defends all manner of commercial chemicals, pesticides and toxic substances in our foods, is now accepting this latest study showing that Parkinson's Disease can be caused by pesticides. When a group funded by the food and chemical industries acknowledge such a danger, you know that there's a serious problem out there!
Dr. Tim Greenamyre at Atlanta's Emory University, who lead the team conducting the most recent study showing pesticides are implicated in Parkinsons, suggested that farmers and public health agencies reconsider pesticide usage.
Until then why risk your health by being part of a 50-year-young experiment with commercial farming - which is in acutality a relatively new and untested system relying heavily on chemicals and pesticides?
To preserve your health, do what's known to be safe and eat as much as possible the way humans have been eating for millions of years -- organically.
And perhaps even more important is to avoid animal products, which have been shown to contain high levels of pesticide residues.