New Study Links Pesticides to Parkinson’s Disease

Rotenone and paraquat, two forms of pesticide, may increase the risk of Parkinson’s disease, according to the findings of new research. 

Scientists at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the Parkinson’s Institute in Sunnyvale, California, conducted a study that was published late last month in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The findings suggest a strong link between Parkinson’s disease and the two pesticides, with people who used rotenone or paraquat being twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease when compared to those who were not exposed.

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Rotenone is a pesticide, insecticide and fish poison that is being phased out in the United States and is currently only used to kill invasive fish species. Paraquat is one of the most widely used pesticides worldwide, but in the U.S. it can only be used by certified applicators and has long been suspected of having Parkinson’s disease links. Neither pesticide is currently approved for home garden or residential use.

The study’s authors used the Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) Study by the National Institutes of Health to find 110 people with Parkinson’s disease and 385 control subjects. They looked at exposure to more than 30 different pesticides. The researchers found that people who worked with Paraquat and Rotenone were 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than those who did not work with the pesticides.

The researchers believe that mitochondrial dysfunction or oxidative stress could be associated with Parkinson’s disease and that certain pesticides can affect those mechanisms.

Parkinson’s Disease is caused by the death of dopamine-producing cells and causes severe tremors, limb rigidity and other symptoms. The progressive neurodegenerative disease is eventually fatal and about 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with the condition each year, with about 1 million Americans currently suffering from the ailment.

2 Comments

  • MoseJanuary 4, 2023 at 10:08 pm

    I started pick en cotton in the 60th n they as the cotton grew they spay It from the air

  • RobertSeptember 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    I'm a Pest Control Adviser lic by state of Calif. Have just been diagnosed with Parkinson's. I'm in early stage and still working. One chem I have used a lot is paraquat (gramoxone). I was informed of ultimate danger if ingested but not connection to Parkinson's. My job was to check fields after use to check results. For example as a defoliant/dessicant on cotton fields prior to picking [Show More]I'm a Pest Control Adviser lic by state of Calif. Have just been diagnosed with Parkinson's. I'm in early stage and still working. One chem I have used a lot is paraquat (gramoxone). I was informed of ultimate danger if ingested but not connection to Parkinson's. My job was to check fields after use to check results. For example as a defoliant/dessicant on cotton fields prior to picking and other uses as a herbicide. My neurologist informed me there is no test for Parkinson's.It is a clinical analysis and I have all the symptoms. She wants me to wait until symptoms get worse because medication only works for certain length of time before it is no longer effective. Very scary

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