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What Chemicals Can Cause Parkinson

Parkinson’s Disease Due To Toxic Exposure On Military Bases

Does Paraquat Exposure Cause Parkinson’s Disease?

Chemical exposure through drinking water can lead to a variety of chronic health conditions that worsen over time and require years of medical management.

It was in the 1980s that volatile organic compounds such as trichloroethylene and perchloroethylene , PFAS, including perfluorooctanoic acid , and perflurooctane sulfonate , aromatic solvents such as benzene, and other organic compounds such as vinyl chloride were detected in groundwater at hundreds of military bases nationwide.

Six hundred and seventy-eight this is the number of U.S. military installations with a known or suspected per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances release, according to the Environmental Working Group’s updated analysis of Defense Department records.

Among the ever-expanding group of synthetic chemicals, PFOS and PFOA are the two most notorious members. These substances have been linked to several types of cancer, weakened childhood immunity, kidney and thyroid disease, and other serious health problems at fairly low doses.

PFOS and PFOA were traced to the firefighting foam that was used for decades at military facilities and contaminated potable water sources on the bases and in neighboring communities. The chemicals from firefighting foam stay and spread in the environment, and have become a major contributor to drinking water contamination across the nation.

What Are The Surgical Treatments For Parkinsons Disease

Most patients with Parkinsons disease can maintain a good quality of life with medications. However, as the disease worsens, medications may no longer be effective in some patients. In these patients, the effectiveness of medications becomes unpredictable reducing symptoms during on periods and no longer controlling symptoms during off periods, which usually occur when the medication is wearing off and just before the next dose is to be taken. Sometimes these variations can be managed with changes in medications. However, sometimes they cant. Based on the type and severity of your symptoms, the failure of adjustments in your medications, the decline in your quality of life and your overall health, your doctor may discuss some of the available surgical options.

Preventions/lifestyle For Parkinson’s Disease

Some natural remedies and preventions are very helpful in the cure for Parkinson’s disease :

  • Physical exercises – Various researches have shown that regular aerobic exercise might reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Regularize bowels.
  • Do regular yoga, pranayama and meditation.
  • Caffeine intake – people who drink caffeine, which is found in coffee, tea and cola have low chances of Parkinson’s disease as compared to others who dont drink coffee.
  • Turmeric – Turmeric acts as one of the important Parkinson’s natural remedies. This spice contains curcumin, an antioxidant ingredient. It may help to prevent the clumping of a protein involved in Parkinson’s disease.
  • Flavonoids – A high intake of various antioxidants such as flavonoids may lower the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Flavonoids are present in berries, apples, some vegetables, tea, and red grapes.
  • Avoiding toxins – Exposure to herbicides, pesticides, and other toxins may increase the risk of neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s disease.

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The Danger Of Paraquat Today

The United States banned DDT, Agent Orange, and heptachlor in the 1970s and 1980s. However, the United States has not banned all pesticides linked to Parkinsons. The one with perhaps the strongest link to the disease is still in widespread use: paraquat.

The United States has not banned all pesticides linked to Parkinsons. The one with perhaps the strongest link to the disease is still in widespread use: paraquat.

Paraquat has been used as a pesticide since the 1950s and is marketed as an alternative to the worlds most popular weed killer, glyphosate, more commonly known as Roundup. Paraquat takes care of weeds that not even Roundup can kill. Today, it is used on farm fields across the United States, and its use continues to increase. The pesticides primary uses are for corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, and grapes.

Portraits of several Parkinsons patients show the many faces of people with the diagnosis. It affects people from all walks of life.

Robert Dein

In the laboratory, paraquat reproduces the features of Parkinsons disease. In a 1999 study in Brain Research, A. I. Brooks of the University of Rochester and colleagues gave paraquat to mice, and their activity decreased. Paraquat also killed dopamine-producing nerve cells in the rodents substantia nigras. The greater the amount of paraquat administered, the greater the number of nerve cells lost.

Table adapted from:

Figure adapted from R. Dorsey et al., 2020.

Contact Texas Attorneys Investigating Roundup Cases

What Chemicals Cause Parkinson

If you have questions about whether roundup caused your Parkinsons Disease, call us for a free initial consultation and explanation of your legal rights.

The attorneys at Herrman & Herrman P.L.L.C. offer more than 100 years of legal experience in representing people who have been harmed by unsafe products. Our legal team is ready to fight hard for the full compensation that you will need after a Parkinsons Disease diagnosis.

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Metal Elements And Pesticides As Risk Factors For Parkinson’s Disease

Common miRNA association between Parkinson’s Disease and pesticides exist.

Pesticide-deregulated miRNAs affect PD-related molecules, e.g. -synuclein.

There exist an association between essential, non-essential metals and PD.

UPS and mitochondrial impairment, oxidative stress, gene mutation and -Syn aggregation are prime mechanisms involved in essential, non-essential metals neurotoxicity in PD.

Parkinson’s Disease Treatment In Ayurveda

The Ayurvedic treatment for Parkinson’s disease is called Kampavata. It is important to know the cause of the disease for Parkinson treatment in Ayurveda. It is a Vata vitiated disease.

The Ayurvedic treatment of this disease can be done with the help of some ayurvedic medicine for Parkinson’s disease and Panchakarma therapies such as abhayagam, swedana, nasya, shirodhara and vasti, etc to remove toxicity from the body. Digestive fire is increased slowly and strength is given to the nervous system.

Ayurvedic Parkinson’s disease treatments are potent enough not only to curb further degeneration but also to strengthen the nervous system. By these ayurvedic therapies, the speed of movement improves slowly. The target of the Ayurvedic treatment is not to cure the disease but to provide relief from the symptoms like tremors, rigidity, and depression.

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Other Causes Of Parkinsonism

“Parkinsonism” is the umbrella term used to describe the symptoms of tremors, muscle rigidity and slowness of movement.

Parkinson’s disease is the most common type of parkinsonism, but there are also some rarer types where a specific cause can be identified.

These include parkinsonism caused by:

  • medication where symptoms develop after taking certain medications, such as some types of antipsychotic medication, and usually improve once the medication is stopped
  • other progressive brain conditions such as progressive supranuclear palsy, multiple systems atrophy and corticobasal degeneration
  • cerebrovascular disease where a series of small strokes cause several parts of the brain to die

You can read more about parkinsonism on the Parkinson’s UK website.

Page last reviewed: 30 April 2019 Next review due: 30 April 2022

Do Chemicals Cause Parkinsons Disease

Can pesticides cause Parkinson’s disease?

Short answer: The best available scientific evidence suggests that a few chemicals, including some pesticides, increase risk of Parkinsons disease, but only a small fraction of cases are believed to be caused by any sort of environmental exposure.

Longer answer: The first chemical demonstrated to cause Parkinsons disease is MPTP, as discussed here and in the fascinating book, The Case of the Frozen Addicts. MPTP, or more precisely its metabolite MPP+, is an exceptionally potent toxin that selectively kills dopaminergic neurons by poisoning their mitochondria. This is not a case of slightly increased risk it quickly and irreversibly causes symptoms essentially indistinguishable from idiopathic Parkinsons disease.



It is highly unlikely that you will come in contact with these molecules at the present time. Rather alarmingly, however, in the 1970s, MPP+ was apparently developed, and field tested, as a herbicide under the name Cyperquat, by Gulf Oil Chemicals Company .

Of much greater concern are widely used pesticides, which have been demonstrated to increase risk of Parkinsons disease with varying strengths of evidence. Some of the strongest evidence is for rotenone, thousands of tons of which have been used to kill unwanted fish and various agricultural pests it has even been used to kill head lice on humans.


Another pesticide worth highlighting is paraquat, due to its chemical similarity to MPP+.


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One Of The First Studies To Look At Human Cells

The researchers used stem cells from patients with Parkinsons disease who had a mutation in the gene responsible for encoding the -synuclein protein.

At least 30 alterations in this gene have been associated with Parkinsons, and -synuclein protein clumps are a well-documented, albeit poorly understood, hallmark of the disease.

For the new research, the scientists also worked with normal embryonic cells that they modified using genetic editing to replicate the -synuclein genetic mutation.

Prof. Ryan explains why using human cells makes this study particularly valuable. Until now, he says, the link between pesticides and Parkinsons disease was based primarily on animal studies as well as epidemiological research that demonstrated an increased risk among farmers and others exposed to agricultural chemicals.

We are one of the first to investigate what is happening inside human cells, explains Prof. Ryan.

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that go on to individualize into specific types of cells. Prof. Ryan and his colleagues used the two types of stem cells to derive dopamine-producing nerve cells from them.

Then, they exposed these dopaminergic neurons which are known to be affected the most by Parkinsons disease to the two pesticides.

How Is Parkinsons Disease Treated

There is no cure for Parkinsons disease. However, medications and other treatments can help relieve some of your symptoms. Exercise can help your Parkinsons symptoms significantly. In addition, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech-language therapy can help with walking and balance problems, eating and swallowing challenges and speech problems. Surgery is an option for some patients.

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What To Do If Youre Affected

If you or a loved one have used Roundup or were exposed to Roundups dangerous ingredient, glyphosate, and later developed Parkinsons disease, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact a personal injury attorney in your area who has experience in chemical exposure or herbicide cases. They can help review your situation and advise to whether you could win back some damages.

Advancing Age And Parkinsons Disease


Age is perhaps the biggest risk factor for the onset of Parkinsons disease. The average age at which people will develop this movement disorder is 60. This is not usually something that affects younger people. The brain ages as people get older.

Even without external factors, cells in the substantia nigra can die on their own as an individual ages, causing symptoms to develop as the person gets older.

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What Are The Other Forms Of Medicines That Can Cause Parkinsons Disease

Some of the other common medicines which can cause Parkinsons disease may include some forms of anti-depressants, anti-nausea drugs, drugs used for the treatment of vertigo, drugs used for epilepsy and anti-arrhythmics. It should be remembered that not all drugs in these classes may cause signs of Parkinsonism. The doctor generally makes the patient aware of the side-effects before prescribing a certain form of drugs. Nevertheless, it is important from the patients part to ask about the side-effects of the prescribed medicines.

Specific Pesticides And Their Link To Pd

The evidence that pesticide use is associated with an increased risk in PD, begs the question are there specific pesticides that are most concerning? When data is collected on this topic in large populations, often the participants in the study are unaware of which specific pesticide exposures they have had. This makes it difficult to determine which pesticides to avoid.

Some studies however were able to investigate the risks of specific chemicals. A recent review summarized the current state of knowledge on this topic. The chemical with the most data linking it to an increased PD risk is paraquat, with exposure associated with a 2-3 fold increased PD risk over the general population.

One particularly comprehensive study investigated exposure to 31 pesticides and their association with PD risk. From that data emerged paraquat and rotenone as the two most concerning pesticides.

  • Paraquats mechanism of action is the production of reactive oxygen species, intracellular molecules that cause oxidative stress and damage cells.
  • Rotenones mechanism of action is disruption of the mitochondria, the component of the cell that creates energy for cell survival.

Interestingly, both mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress are common themes in our general understanding of what causes death of nerve cells in PD.

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Are People That Use Pesticides More Likely To Get Parkinsons

In occupational terms, there is more limited research. The most relevant evidence comes in the form of a recent systematic review and meta-analysis, which has identified at least a 50% increase in risk with occupational exposure to pesticides.

We know that Parkinsons affects more men than women, and occupational exposures to pesticides and chemicals is often listed as just one of the reasons for this imbalance. However, not everyone who is exposed to risk factors for Parkinsons go on to develop the condition.

But research in the news may help to explain why.

This study used stem cells, some of which carried a mutation in the alpha-synuclein gene, and used them to make dopamine producing brain cells in the lab. They then exposed these new brain cells to paraquat and maneb, or rotenone to assess what effect these chemicals had.

The team, led by Professor Ryan, discovered that the pesticides altered the way mitochondria move around, and believe this could affect the energy levels of the cell. And we already know that the dopamine producing brain cells that are lost in Parkinsons are particularly sensitive to problems with mitochondria.

But more importantly, the cells that contained genetic changes were more affected by the pesticides. This highlights that our genetic makeup likely plays a huge role in how susceptible we are to toxin exposure in our environment, and may help to explain why most people exposed to these chemicals do not go on to develop Parkinsons.

Can Toxic Substances Cause Parkinsons Disease

Is Parkinson’s disease related to pesticide use? | DW Documentary

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Who Are At Risk Of Developing Drug Included Parkinsonism

Some patients may be at a higher risk of developing medication-induced Parkinson

ism than others. Some of the risks include-

Women: Women are seen to be two times as much at risk of having drug inducing Parkinsons disease than men.

AIDS Patients: People with AIDS are at a higher risk.

Family History: Patients having a family history Parkinsons disease are at a higher risk of having drug induced Parkinsonism.

Elderly: Since elder people are usually on multiple medicines, they are at risk of having drug induced Parkinsonism.

How Environmental Factors Could Cause Parkinsons Disease

Scientists differ about the extent that brain cells are impacted by environmental factors. However, the statistics associated with the disease show that the environment can play a very large role in whether parkinsons disease develops.

Most often, it is exposure to toxic chemicals that could play a role in the development of Parkinsons disease. Usually, these combine with genetic factors to produce the conditions that cause Parkinsons.

Increasing scientific evidence suggests that Parkinsons may be caused by environmental factors such as exposure to herbicides such as Paraquat.

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Trichloroethylene Linked To Parkinsons Disease

Trichloroethylene is a chemical that is heavily used in the manufacture of a variety of products. Whilst versatile, it poses health risks to those exposed to it. It has been linked to an increased risk for Parkinsons Disease, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and liver cancer.

Trichloroethylene is a chlorinated solvent that is commonly used for a variety of applications, from the pharmaceutical to the aerospace industry. It is used in the automotive and metal industry for degreasing. The textile industry uses trichloroethylene to extract greases, oils, fats, waxes and tars on cotton, wool, and other fabrics additionally, it is used for dyeing and finishing. Trichloroethylene can also be found in some household products, such as adhesives, varnishes, wood finishes, carpet cleaners, and paint and stain removers. It is also commonly used as a spot remover by commercial dry cleaners.

Nausea Death

Trichloroethylene is a known carcinogen. Over the recent decades, TCE has also been linked to Parkinsons disease.

How Is Parkinsons Disease Diagnosed


Diagnosing Parkinsons disease is sometimes difficult, since early symptoms can mimic other disorders and there are no specific blood or other laboratory tests to diagnose the disease. Imaging tests, such as CT or MRI scans, may be used to rule out other disorders that cause similar symptoms.

To diagnose Parkinsons disease, you will be asked about your medical history and family history of neurologic disorders as well as your current symptoms, medications and possible exposure to toxins. Your doctor will look for signs of tremor and muscle rigidity, watch you walk, check your posture and coordination and look for slowness of movement.

If you think you may have Parkinsons disease, you should probably see a neurologist, preferably a movement disorders-trained neurologist. The treatment decisions made early in the illness can affect the long-term success of the treatment.

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