Ucc Study Investigates Potential Link Between Pesticides And Parkinsons Disease
A research team based at University College Cork is seeking volunteers from the farming community in Ireland as part of its study into a potential link between the use of pesticides and Parkinsons Disease.
Parkinsons disease is one of the most common degenerative brain disorders, it affects 1 in every 100 of people aged over 60. Over the next 20 years, the number of people living with Parkinsons is estimated to double from 6.5 million to 13 million. At present around 12,000 people in Ireland are living with Parkinsons.
Our research team is investigating the possible link between Parkinsons and pesticide exposure on Irish farms, stated Professor Aideen Sullivan of UCCs Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience.
In laboratory settings, certain pesticides can cause Parkinsons symptoms in rodents. Research in several other countries has established a link between pesticide use and the risk of developing Parkinsons. Large studies conducted in the United States show that individuals with Parkinsons are twice as likely to report exposure to pesticides in their lifetime.
Other studies have found that individuals who have prolonged exposure to pesticides have a 70% higher rate of developing Parkinsons. In France, the highest rates of Parkinsons are in areas of vineyards, specifically those with high fungicide use. There is no data on the use of specific types of pesticides and their relationship to Parkinsons in Ireland, she said.
Now Studies In The Field
Meanwhile, in the Normandy fields and apple orchards, or the vineyards of Bordeaux, the Pestexpo team has demonstrated that farm workers are much more exposed to pesticides than previously thought.
And worse – the protection equipment simply doesn’t do the job. Perplexingly, in some cases, wearing coveralls or gloves might actually increase exposure.
“Farm workers are required to wear protective equipment but if they don’t, it’s their fault”, says researcher Isabelle Baldi. “And this is unacceptable because it means that we are rejecting a collective responsibility that starts from the moment a substance is put on the market.”
Alain Garrigou, professor of ergonomics at the University of Bordeaux, found data showing that pesticides can pass through plastic at the intramolecular level – not only because of holes, tears, or seams in the clothing.
“Pesticides have an exceptional penetration capacity,” said Garrigou. “They are peculiar chemicals that are made to kill, but above all they are made to penetrate plant and animal cells.”
This phenomenon is called permeation. “There is no such thing as dedicated pesticide protection clothing,” said Garrigou.
Fifteen years ago, Garrigou and Baldi detailed their findings and worries in an “alert note”.
That, however, is still based on confidential industry data and doesn’t take into account the French findings.
What Else Do We Know
As scientists try to learn whats at the root of Parkinsons, theyre looking far and wide to pick up clues where they can.
Theyve found that people with Parkinsons tend to have something called Lewy bodies in their brain. These are unusual clumps of a protein called alpha-synuclein. The protein itself is normal, but the clumps are not. And theyre found in parts of the brain that affect sleep and sense of smell, which could explain some symptoms of Parkinsons not related to movement.
Your gut may also have a part in it, as some of its cells make dopamine, too. Some doctors think that this might be where the earliest signs of Parkinsons show up, but that idea needs more research.
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Does Trichloroethylene Cause Cancer
Trichloroethylene is classified as a carcinogen and cancer of the cervix, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, autoimmune diseases, cholangiocarcinomas, renal cell carcinoma, lung cancer, and cancer lymphatic system, male breast tissue cancer, fetal cardiac defects, and lead to mitochondrial dysfunction. The direct relationship to developing Parkinsons has been overlooked because exposure to TCE can happen decades before it manifests itself and cancer. While some exposed patients can show symptoms immediately, most others may unknowingly live or work in contaminated areas for most of their adult lives before developing any symptoms related to Parkinsons disease.
Patients living in sites already known to be contaminated with hazardous materials such as TCE are especially at high risk of exposure. Some countries such as Canada already heavily regulate TCE, and the chemical is also banned in the EU without special permits. It is estimated that over 1 Billion pounds of toxic chemicals are still used annually around the world. In 2018, more than 120 Million pounds of TCE were released into the environment, mainly from industrial sites, which contaminate soil, water, and air. It is estimated that trichloroethylene products can be found in over 25% of groundwater in developed nations, with that number possibly doubling for developing nations.
Importance Of Parkinsons Advocacy
Not to be all doom and gloom. This is a serious issue that affects a lot of people with PD and other diseases including myself. Personally, I feel that scientific research is closing in on certain causes for developing PD and the acknowledgment by our government agencies.
I encourage you to be your own advocate. Stand up for your rights to a healthy environment and ask questions of those that include positions of influence and demand answers. Although these are two examples of recognized links to PD, I realize there are other case studies of intentional or unintentional toxic contamination of our environment. If we take action today, we can make the future better for our children and grandchildren.
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What Herbicide Is Linked To Parkinsons
Parkinsons disease is caused by the loss of dopamine-releasing nerve cells in the part of the brain called substantia nigra. Dopamine helps coordinate movement in the body.
So when these nerve cells are impaired, our motor function is affected. Thats when hallmark Parkinsons disease symptoms including difficulty balancing, tremors, and slowed movement start to set in.
But aside from biological and genetic factors, research has shown that environmental exposure to toxicants such as pesticides, pollutants, and herbicides may also trigger Parkinsons disease.
In fact, aside from trichloroethylene, several environmental factors have also been associated with the development of the disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the popular herbicide known as Paraquat is a highly toxic substance which can put people at risk for severe poisoning in case of exposure.
Research has also suggested that people exposed to this herbicide may develop Parkinsons disease. In fact, the first Paraquat lawsuit back in 2017 was filed in behalf of agricultural workers and farmers who subsequently developed Parkinsons after occupational exposure to the substance.
The potentially harmful herbicide has since been banned in more than 50 countries, including China, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and other European Union nations. However, to this day, it is still widely used by farmers as a weed killer in the United States.
Healthy Polish Farmers And 61 German Patients
There are huge discrepancies between European countries regarding their response to occupational diseases – for agricultural workers in particular – our cross-border investigation has exposed.
In Poland, 2.3 million people employed in agriculture lead a very healthy life – if official registers are to be trusted. Farmers and farmworkers are the largest groups to receive compensation for occupational disease. Infections from tick bites account for 80 percent of compensation paid out. The last time a work-related cancer was registered was in 2010. There has not been a single registered case of intoxication with chemical substances, even acute, over the last decade. Farmworkers are denied a permanent monthly pension if the authorities can show they did not use personal protective equipment.
In Germany, confidential government documents obtained by this investigation show that the Medical Advisory Board of Experts for Occupational Diseases, which depends on the German Federal Ministry of Labour, has been discussing whether Parkinson’s disease caused by pesticides should be on the official list of occupational diseases… for more than twelve years. As long as it isn’t on the list, affected farmworkers cannot obtain compensation.
Since 2010, 61 patients with suspected occupational Parkinson’s disease due to pesticides have registered with the German responsible employers’ liability insurance association SVLFG. None of these claims has been recognized to date.
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The Link Between Parkinson Disease And Farming
This Weeks Question: Is it true that farmers are more likely to get Parkinson disease?
Although genetics is very important in Parkinson disease , many researchers believe that environmental exposures also increase a person’s risk of developing the disease. There are studies that show that farmers and other agricultural workers have an increased risk of getting PD.
PD was first described in 1817 by Dr. James Parkinson, a British physician. It affects 1 in 100 people over the age of 60. It can also affect younger people. The average age of onset is 60. Research suggests that PD affects at least 500,000 people in the United States.
PD is a complex disorder of the central nervous system. It is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the United States, after Alzheimer’s.
The defining symptoms of PD include tremor, slowness of movement, rigidity, and impaired balance and coordination. As these symptoms become more pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing simple tasks. They also may experience depression, difficulty sleeping and other problems.
The progression of symptoms in PD may take 20 years or more. In some people, however, the disease progresses much more quickly.
In the early 1960s, scientists determined that the loss of brain cells was causing PD. The cells that were depleted produced dopamine, a chemical that helps control muscle activity. Today, PD is treated with drugs and surgery.
Researchers Think These Factors May Be Linked To Parkinsons
Dorsey and others called for a shift in current funding for biomedical research from treatment to prevention, and for further advocacy. The new policies should seek to reduce the prevalence of chemical exposure, among other goals, and mimic the efforts of smoking prevention campaigns, which have led to a steep drop in lung cancer.
If we care, we can prevent millions of people from ever developing these debilitating and deadly diseases, Dorsey said. If we educate the communities were supposed to serve, we can have them be mobilized and change the course of all these diseases.
Its a daunting task, said Walter J. Koroshetz, MD, director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and co-moderator of the symposium, but I think its time to start now.
He said the institute has launched an office for exposome research, which will be conducted in close collaboration with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
These cumulative exposures are an existential threat in our modern environment, and we as neurologists and neuroscientist must focus our attention on this under-recognized and growing issue, said Frances E. Jensen, MD, president of the American Neurological Association, and chair of the symposium.
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High Risk Of Parkinson’s Disease For People Exposed To Pesticides
In April 2009, researchers at UCLA announced they had discovered a link between Parkinson’s disease and two chemicals commonly sprayed on crops to fight pests.
That epidemiological study didn’t examine farmers who constantly work with pesticides but people who simply lived near where farm fields were sprayed with the fungicide maneb and the herbicide paraquat. It found that the risk for Parkinson’s disease for these people increased by 75 percent.
Now a follow-up study adds two new twists. Once again the researchers returned to California’s fertile Central Valley, and for the first time have implicated a third pesticide, ziram, in the pathology of Parkinson’s disease. Second, instead of looking just at whether people lived near fields that were sprayed, they looked at where people worked, including teachers, firefighters and clerks who worked near, but not in, the fields.
They found that the combined exposure to ziram, maneb and paraquat near any workplace increased the risk of Parkinson’s disease threefold, while combined exposure to ziram and paraquat alone was associated with an 80 percent increase in risk. The results appear in the current online edition of the European Journal of Epidemiology.
“Our results suggest that pesticides affecting different cellular mechanisms that contribute to dopaminergic neuron death may act together to increase the risk of PD considerably,” said Ritz, who holds a joint appointment in the UCLA Department of Neurology.
Neurotoxicity Of Pq Mptp And Other Dopamine Congeners
Several studies suggest that systemic administration of PQ can cause neuronal damage and a parkinsonian-like syndrome in experimental animals . The linking mechanism between PQ exposure and Parkinsons disease is suggested by the alleged chemical similarity between this compound and others known to cause a parkinsonian syndrome, particularly MPTP. MPTP can reproduce most of the biochemical, neuropathological and clinical characteristics of human parkinsonism in both human and non-human primates, with the notable exception of Lewy body formation. MPTP toxicity has been studied in cell systems in mice and in non-human primates. In rats, dopaminergic neurodegeneration is observed at high doses, whereas mice have become the most commonly used species for MPTP studies as they develop a dopaminergic degeneration that may be related to human parkinsonism.
Mechanisms of PQ and MPTP toxicity. PQ can cause an oxidative stress either intracellularly by redox cycling or by activation at cell surfaces by the NADPH oxidase . Mitochondria can be affected indirectly or directly by PQ. In neurons the effects of PQ are believed to be primarily cytosolic. MPTP is converted to its toxic metabolite MPP+ and then sequestered through the dopamine transporter in dopaminergic neurons in which it primarily affects complex I, promoting oxidative stress and mitochondrial damage
It is apparent from this analysis that the initial targets and toxicity mechanisms of PQ and MPP+ differ .
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Risk Of Paraquat Poisoning
This report revealed scientific studies finding that “paraquat increases the likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease.” In addition, the study found a correlation between the toxic chemical and the increased risk of paraquat poisoning and oxidative stress.
In other research by the same team, farmworkers had an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease if exposed to toxic paraquat herbicides for five or more years. This toxic herbicide is widely used and often causes harmful side effects on those exposed to it. Those with Parkinson’s disease should avoid exposure at all costs.
A study conducted in New York as part of the Agricultural Health Study examined whether or not exposure to pesticides, including Paraquat, was connected to Parkinson’s disease.
The study concluded that although there was an association between using the chemical and contracting Parkinson’s disease, other factors might be contributing to this link.
However, that evidence was insufficient to implicate the dangerous chemical as the cause of Parkinson’s disease in humans.
More research is necessary to determine why farmers who use this herbicide are more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. Still, we know that the link exists due to animal and human studies.
This link between paraquat and Parkinson’s disease should draw serious attention. In addition, farmers should consider using other pesticides that don’t have such harmful side effects.
Hiring A Paraquat Lawsuit Lawyer To Resolve A Paraquat Herbicide
Has your doctor told you that exposure to toxic Paraquat could cause Parkinson’s? Did you work with the weed and grass killer and develop rashes through skin absorption or inhalation?
At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, our paraquat attorneys have a proven track record of representing injured victims harmed by the popular herbicide. Our personal injury lawyers will review your paraquat case and advise you of your legal options.
Contact our paraquat lawyers today at 424-5757, or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with your paraquat lawyer remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
Our law firm accepts all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures you do not pay the legal fee until your paraquat attorney successfully resolves your legal issue through a negotiated paraquat settlement or jury award.
Contact our law firm today to file a Parkinson’s disease paraquat lawsuit.
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Environmental Causes Of Parkinsons Disease
The latest scientific research on the causes of Parkinsons disease indicates that long-term environmental exposure to certain chemicals may actually be a primary contributing factor. Environmental exposure works in combination with genetics as there are certain people who are genetically predisposed to develop PD from exposure to toxic chemicals in their environment.
Ongoing research on the link between chemical exposure and Parkinsons disease has begun to definitively identify a handful of specific chemicals that appear to be associated with PD. The two chemicals with the strongest evidence of a causal link to Parkinsons are chlorinated solvents, and pesticides and herbicides.
Chlorinated Solvents and Parkinsons Disease
There is strong evidence showing that prolonged exposure to chemicals known as chlorinated solvents can lead to PD. The most common type of chlorinated solvent linked to Parkinsons is trichloroethylene . TCE is a chemical solvent that is widely used by many different industries. TCE is used in commercial dry cleaning, and it is a common metal cleaner and solvent used on heavy machinery.
Pesticides and Herbicides Cause Parkinsons Disease
Environmental Factors In Parkinsons Disease
Here are environmental factors that may play a role in the development of Parkinsons disease:
Although environmental exposure to these and other toxins is of continued research interest, its hard to determine if any one substance is a culprit. Most often, individual cases of Parkinsons disease result from a complex interplay between genetics and environmental and other factors.
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How Does Environment Come Into It
Your environment is a hard one to pin down. Partly, thats because it covers a lot of ground. Its everything thats not your genes, which could mean where you live, what you eat, chemicals youve come into contact with, and more.
Not only that, but it could take years for the effects from something in your environment to show up. So far, doctors have a lot of clues but no smoking gun. So you could have people who live or work in an area around chemicals tied to Parkinsons, but many of them dont get it.
Some research shows links between Parkinsons and:
- Agent Orange, a chemical used to destroy trees and crops in the Vietnam War.
- Certain chemicals used in farming, such as insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides.
- Some metals and chemicals used in factories, such as manganese, lead, and trichlorethylene .
These can come into play based on where you live, what you do for work, or if you served in the military. Sometimes, these chemicals seep into well water, so thats one more way they can affect you.