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Pesticides and Parkinson’s – Alarming News for California’s Central Valley

Published: June 23, 2011

Our agriculturally centered region may hold a danger to residents. UCLA neurologist Benate Ritz has published a study in Europe showing that exposure to a trio of pesticides may have cumulative and overlapping effects on brain cells. Rates of Parkinson’s disease were three times higher in study participants who worked for long periods near fields using all three of the cited pesticides.

Previous research had pointed to two of the chemicals as having a possible link to Parkinson’s. The new study has added Ziram to the list of potentially troublesome agents. In animal studies this chemical has been shown to destroy neurons that produce dopamine. The loss of these cells is associated with Parkinson’s in humans.

This is another reason to move away from the reliance upon deadly toxins in modern industrial agriculture. It has been known for decades that our current methods of large scale monoculture bring about a reliance on chemical quick fixes to deal with insect and fungal pests. So long as we insist on food that is cheap in the short term (and whose cost fails to account for environmental and health problems) this problem will remain.

For this reason we endorse buying produce and meat that is produced locally by smaller scale operations. The use of “organic” products has merit despite the confusion of terminologies and occasional dubious health claims. Who knows, such methods may actually save some people from Parkison’s disease induced by ag chemicals. This deserves some thought.