While the root causes of Parkinson's disease are still largely unknown, a mounting body of evidence suggests toxins in our environment may be most responsible for its manifestation. A new study by a team of a researchers from Duke and the University of Miami has demonstrated that exposure to pesticides is a significant contributor. The study focused on family members who shared a predisposition to Parkinson's and concluded that those who developed the disease were more likely to have been exposed to pesticides than their relatives.
Pesticides basically come in two flavors: organophosphates and organochlorides. Organochlorides (which were also the main ingredient in early nerve gasses like sarin) have largely disappeared since DDT was banned in the 1970s. Organophosphates stepped in to take their place because they degrade more quickly than the persistent organochlorides. The downside, however, is that organophosphates have a greater acute toxicity. Both compounds kill pests by disrupting their nervous system. In the eyes of the molecule, we are no different from a roundworm or a boll weevil.
Surprisingly, no correlation was found between drinking well water or living or working on a farm, which are two common indicators of exposure. And while the link between Parkinson's and pesticides has been shown in previous studies, what this research illuminates is that genetic predisposition is not necessarily a marker for developing the disease. The next step: understanding the biological mechanisms for how pesticides bring Parkinson's about.
Are you serious, releasing human-made chemicals designed to kill living beings may be dangerous to humans too? Could it be that we will find more links between disease and toxic chemicals if we continue searching? Would it be smarter to consider doing more research BEFORE we release those materials into the environment rather than asking those who get sick to prove that they are in this condition because of the toxins?
Many questions. Obvious answers. Yet - no action for the sake of a healthy economy. I hope it can be shown that having healthy people is beneficial for a healthy economy. Of course I am talking about healthy people EVERYWHERE, not just where we reap the benefits of abusing our living space and powerless people somewhere else.
Go ahead, tell me to "lighten up"! And, yes, I know, this is not a "helpful" comment. I will be more helpful some other time.
Sorry, feeling bitter.
Practical Advice to Pollute Less