Ziram Pesticide Exposure Increases Parkinson’s Disease Risk

We recently reported that the risk for Parkinson’s disease was linked to two toxic substances: Rotenone and paraquat. That link was made in research in which people who used either pesticide developed <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/parkinsons_disease">Parkinson’s disease some 2.5 times more than nonusers, according to a Science Daily report. Now, says, Fair Warning, the same team identified a third pesticide link – ziram – to the disease.

The research is a collaboration between the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), an arm of the National Institutes of Health, and the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center in Sunnyvale, California. Parkinson’s Disease is a central nervous system disorder that affects motor skills and speech.

The team found that people who only worked near farms in which chemicals are sprayed—which means that nonworkers, including firefighters and teachers—are also at significant risk for developing Parkinson’s disease, wrote Fair Warning.

The third pesticide identified, ziram, is a fungicide, and seems to hurt brain cells involved in Parkinson’s disease, but in different ways than rotenone and paraquat.

“Rotenone directly inhibits the function of the mitochondria, the structure responsible for making energy in the cell,” said Freya Kamel, Ph.D. previously, quoted Science Daily. Kamel is a researcher in the intramural program at NIEHS and co-author of the paper, which was published online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. “Paraquat increases production of certain oxygen derivatives that may harm cellular structures. People who used these pesticides or others with a similar mechanism of action were more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease,” added Kamel.

Citing prior Los Angeles Times reports, Fair Warning noted that earlier animal studies determined that ziram destroyed those neurons that use dopamine, a chemical transmitter that sends messages to the brain. The damage from ziram takes place in those cells that work in brain areas that manage motor function, which leads to tremors, unsteady ambulation, and difficulty moving, all symptoms of Parkinson, said Fair Warning.

The emerging study, published in European Journal of Epidemiology, found that those exposed to the three pesticides, just by working near areas sprayed with the toxins, are posed with a threefold increased risk of developing the neurological disorders versus those who experience less exposure, wrote Fair Warning. The study results also suggest that the chemicals, “may act together to increase the risk of PD considerably,” said Dr. Beate Ritz, senior author of the study and a UCLA epidemiology professor, in a news release, quoted Fair Warning.

The study included 703 people–362 were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, who resided in California’s Central Valley from 1974 to 1999; the area is considered, said Fair Warning, “heavily agricultural.” The researchers estimated exposure levels to the pesticides and determined how that exposure correlated to Parkinson’s.

This study proved that even those not in direct contact with the deadly chemicals are at risk. “This stuff drifts,” Ritz said. “It’s borne by the wind and can wind up on plants and animals, float into open doorways or kitchen windows — up to several hundred meters from the fields,” quoted Fair Warning.

Researchers have long believed that pesticides may cause Parkinson’s; experiments found that chemicals—specifically maneb, a fungicide and Paraquat, an herbicide—do, in fact, cause Parkinson’s-like symptoms in animals. The results of another study of 319 Parkinson’s patients and 200 nonParkinson’s-affected relatives found that people diagnosed with Parkinson’s are more than two times likelier to report pesticide exposure over people not diagnosed with the disease. In that study, insecticides and herbicides—specifically citing organochlorines, organophosphorus compounds, chlorophenoxy acids/esters, and botanicals—were responsible for increased risk of developing Parkinson’s.

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