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Link Between Parkinson's and Pesticides

Over the years, several studies have pointed to a link between Parkinson's disease and exposure to pesticides.

Parkinson's is a chronic, irreversible disease that affects 1% of people over the age of 65 worldwide. Actor Michael J Fox and boxing legend Mohammed Ali are sufferers. The illness occurs when brain cells that produce a chemical called dopamine malfunction and die. Symptoms include tremors, stiffness, slow movement, and poor coordination and balance.

New research at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland had revealed that the more pesticides gardeners are exposed to, the more likely they are to develop the degenerative brain disease.

Anthony Seaton and his team in Aberdeen interviewed 767 Parkinson's sufferers and 1,989 healthy people about risk factors for Parkinson's, including their use of pesticides.

They found that people with Parkinson's were more likely to have used pesticides. Amateur gardeners were 9% more likely to suffer from the disease than non-pesticide users. Farmers were 43% more likely.

Your healthiest option is to not use any pesticides at all in your garden or around the house. Check with your local nursery, garden supply store or pest exterminator for non-toxic substances that can control insects on your property.

If you find that you must use chemical pesticides, be sure to wear protective clothing. If you are spraying, also wear a mask that will screen out chemicals in the air you breathe.

Source: Coghlan, A, Exposure to Pesticides Can Cause Parkinson's, New Scientist, May 26, 2005