Two pesticides associated with Parkinson's disease: study

February 12, 2011

New research shows a link between use of two pesticides, rotenone and paraquat, and Parkinson's disease. People who used either pesticide developed Parkinson’s disease approximately 2.5 times more often than non-users.

The study was a collaborative effort conducted by researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, and the Parkinson's Institute and Clinical Center in Sunnyvale, Calif.

"Rotenone directly inhibits the function of the , the structure responsible for making energy in the cell," said Freya Kamel, Ph.D., a researcher in the intramural program at NIEHS and co-author of the paper appearing online in the journal . "Paraquat increases production of certain oxygen derivatives that may harm cellular structures. People who used these or others with a similar mechanism of action were more likely to develop Parkinson's disease. 

The authors studied 110 people with Parkinson’s disease and 358 matched controls from the Farming and Movement Evaluation (FAME) Study to investigate the relationship between Parkinson’s disease and exposure to pesticides or other agents that are toxic to nervous tissue. FAME is a case-control study that is part of the larger Agricultural Health Study, a study of farming and health in approximately 90,000 licensed pesticide applicators and their spouses. The investigators diagnosed Parkinson's disease by agreement of movement disorder specialists and assessed the lifelong use of pesticides using detailed interviews.

There are no home garden or residential uses for either paraquat or rotenone currently registered. Paraquat use has long been restricted to certified applicators, largely due to concerns based on studies of animal models of Parkinson's disease. Use of rotenone as a pesticide to kill invasive fish species is currently the only allowable use of this pesticide.

"These findings help us to understand the biologic changes underlying Parkinson’s disease. This may have important implications for the treatment and ultimately the prevention of ," said Caroline Tanner, M.D., Ph.D., clinical research director of the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center, and lead author of the article.

Explore further: Can you taste carbohydrates? Beware, they may end up on your waist

More information: Tanner CM, Kamel F, Ross GW, Hoppin JA, Goldman SM, Korell M, Marras C, Bhudhikanok GS, Kasten M, Chade AR, Comyns K, Richards MB, Meng C, Priestly B, Fernandez HH, Cambi F, Umbach DM, Blair A, Sandler DP, Langston JW. 2011. Rotenone, paraquat and Parkinson’s disease. Environ Health Perspect; doi:10.1289/ehp.1002839 [Online 26 January 2011].

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Moebius
3 / 5 (4) Feb 12, 2011
This is why it gets me upset that free market forces have gotten the definition of organic changed over the years to be looser and looser and allow the use of some pesticides so that more and larger companies can call their products organic. While I think it is still a better choice I have my doubts as to how 'organic' it really is these days.

A good example of lobbying to change definitions is Skippy peanut butter. Look at the label and it says zero trans fat. Read the ingredients and you'll see it is still made with partially hydrogenated oils, a chemically made trans-fat. The food industry got the FDA to make the definition of zero to be some quantity that isn't zero so they could label foods zero trans fat when they aren't really zero.
Doug_Huffman
not rated yet Feb 12, 2011
Peanut butter, organic? "Peanut waste to taste" or Peanut, Waste to Taste.
Moebius
1 / 5 (2) Feb 12, 2011
If there is a Stop & Shop in your area try their store brand Nature's Promise crunchy organic peanut butter, it is the best PB I've had period. Smucker's organic crunchy is pretty good too.

What is ironic is that they don't put zero trans fat on their label and they really ARE zero trans fat.
ormondotvos
not rated yet Feb 13, 2011
Your friendly government paid pot farmers to spray their fields with paraquat a couple decades back. Now we can all pay for treating Parkinson's?

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