the holistic radical

April 8, 2008

Pesticides and Parkinson’s: If the Western Way of Life is So Great, Why Is It Killing Us?

When is the system going to change, when are we going to stop needless suffering?

When consumers, through their actions, tell the market how to act. Don’t wait for the government–where’s, say, the FDA on this? Buy organic!

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Study Links Parkinson’s Disease to Long-Term Pesticide Exposure
By Alok Jha
The Guardian UK

Friday 28 March 2008

Scientists have found further evidence of a link between Parkinson’s disease and long-term exposure to pesticides.

A study of more than 300 people with the neurological disease – which can affect movements such as walking, talking and writing – found that sufferers were more than twice as likely to report heavy exposure to pesticides over their lifetime as family members without the disease.

Previous studies have pointed to a possible link between pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s and public authorities are trying to work out whether these risks should be classed as significant. A £906,000 project to study the links launched in 2006 by the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for example, is due to report this summer.

Variations in several genes have been identified that contribute to the disease, but these defects are rare and only account for a small proportion of the incidence of the disease, which afflicts around 120,000 people in the UK. The majority of cases are thought to be a result of an interaction between genes and the environment.

Lifetime Exposure

The new research, led by American scientists, looked at the lifetime pesticide exposure of 319 Parkinson’s patients and more than 200 of their relatives without the disease. The results, published today in the journal BMC Neurology, showed that people with Parkinson’s were 1.6 times as likely to report an exposure to pesticides in their lifetimes compared with the controls.

In addition, people with the Parkinson’s were 2.4 times as likely as people without the disease to report heavy exposure to pesticides, classed as more than 215 days over a lifetime.

The strongest associations were between people with Parkinson’s who had been exposed to herbicide and insecticide chemicals such as organochlorides and organophosphates. No links were found between Parkinson’s disease and drinking well-water or living or working on a farm, two commonly used proxies for pesticide exposures.

“In this dataset, these tended to be people who used a lot of pesticides in their homes and in their hobbies,” said William Scott of the University of Miami, who took part in the study. “There were not many people who routinely used pesticides for their occupation.”

Though the evidence is growing, the researchers said that there was not enough biological evidence yet to conclude that Parkinson’s was definitely caused by pesticide exposure. The biological mechanism linking the two is still unknown. The researchers added that future genetic studies of Parkinson’s could consider the influence of pesticides, because exposure to these chemicals may trigger the disease in genetically predisposed people.

Key Role

Kieran Breen, director of research at the Parkinson’s Disease Society (PDS), said: “The association between pesticides and Parkinson’s has been recognised for some time, and this study supports this link and strengthens the fact that pesticides play a key role.”

The PDS has carried out a survey of more than 10,000 people with Parkinson’s and preliminary results show that 9% had long-term pesticide or herbicide exposure, which is defined as exposure for more than a year.

“Of the 3,000 carers surveyed, most of whom were family members, less than 2% had had similar exposure,” said Breen. “This demonstrates that pesticides may be contributing to nerve cell death in some people with Parkinson’s, but is unlikely to be the only cause.”

Symptoms of the disease first tend to appear when a patient is older than 50, and can include tremors and muscle rigidity. The Parkinson’s Disease Society estimates that around 10,000 new diagnoses of the disease are made every year in the UK.

http://www.truthout.org/issues_06/033108HA.shtml

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April 2, 2008

More ammunition: Yes, you really do want to eat organic

Do you need more proof or do you want to keep believing the current system is just fine?

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Tracing Pesticides in Children From Ingestion to Elimination

by Cathy Sherman (see all articles by this author)

(NaturalNews) If a child eats conventionally grown produce, will it affect his or her health? Recent research revealed that pesticides do show up in the urine of children after consuming non-organic foods. Though the study did not look at whether or not some of the chemicals stay in the tissues and cause damage, other research says they do.

Researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle and Emory University in Atlanta, headed by Chensheng Lu, tested urine samples from 21 children in the Seattle area who ate conventionally grown foods and then ate similar organic varieties for five days, before returning to seven more days of conventional foods. To be extra certain, the organic foods were tested and found to be free of chemicals.

Urine samples were collected twice daily for a period of 7, 12, or 15 consecutive days during each of the four seasons. It was found that levels of organophosphates, a family of pesticides resulting from the creation of nerve gas agents in World War II, could be identified in the urine during the time conventional produce was eaten. Within eight to 36 hours after switching to organic versions, the pesticides in the urine disappeared.

Previous studies have found a correlation between pesticides and neurological problems in the brains of rats. Dr. Theodore Slotkin of North Carolina’s Duke University has written up the results of several such studies. He found that brain development and behavior were both negatively impacted after exposure to organophosphates, especially chlorpyrifos, one of the pesticides in the recent study.

Andrew Schneider, writing in the Seattle P.I. quotes Lu, who says “more research must be done into the harm these pesticides may do to children, even at the low levels found on food… In animal and few human studies, we know chlorpyrifos inhibits an enzyme that transmits a signal in the brain so the body can function properly. Unfortunately, that’s all we know.

“It is appropriate to assume that if we – human beings – are exposed to (this class of) pesticides, even though it’s a low-level exposure on a daily basis, there are going to be some health concerns down the road,” said Lu, who is on the Environmental Protection Agency’s pesticide advisory panel.

We do know that toxins affect children differently than adults, as they are still developing and are thus more fragile neurologically. Some pesticides contain potent neurotoxicants, which work by disrupting an organism’s nervous system. There are studies which have found that exposure to pesticides affects growth and neurological development. So it would seem very likely that ingestion of pesticide residue in young children especially would lead to negative effects on health and development. At the very least, there must be an effect to the liver and kidneys for the extra work they are forced to do.

Consider what a teacher’s curriculum guide from Yale University states:

“-A young child’s renal system is not fully developed. For example, a newborn’s kidneys are immature compared to an adult’s, making it more difficult for the infant to eliminate toxic waste. This can lead to a greater buildup and increases their vulnerability.

-A young child’s brain, nervous system, immune system, and other organ systems are still developing and are therefore most susceptible to abnormalities and malfunctions.

-When children are exposed to toxins, there is more time for resulting damage to occur than when adults are exposed. To elaborate, if a series of events have to occur before the toxic effects of chemicals present, then it is more likely that those events will occur someday if the children are exposed early in life as opposed to exposure much later.

-Due to the rapid cell growth in children, they appear to be more susceptible to some carcinogens than adults are.”

Because of such concerns, the Food Quality Protection Act required that by 2006, the EPA was to complete a comprehensive reassessment of the 9,721 pesticides permitted for use. They were to determine safe levels of pesticide residues for all food products.

Even though this law’s passage resulted in a lowering of pesticide amounts applied to foods intended for children, many critics still consider the levels too high for safety. The other concern is that there are no restrictions on imported foods.

This effect was born out by the study, as higher levels of pesticides were found in the children’s urine in the fall and winter, when consumers rely more on imported fruits and vegetables.

Other critics point out that because of this and the EPA’s too lenient restrictions, more needs to be done. They state that it only makes sense to strengthen the limits on such exposure to pesticides at a time when children are evidencing more behavior, learning and neurological problems.

According to Schneider, Lu does not believe children should only eat organic. For Lu’s family, which includes two sons, about 60 percent of the diet is organic. “‘Consumers,’ he says, ‘should be encouraged to buy produce direct from the farmers they know. These need not be just organic farmers, but conventional growers who minimize their use of pesticides.’”

To help consumers make choices as to which foods to buy as organic, the Environmental Workers Group produced a ranking. In this list, the higher the number, the lower the amount of pesticides found in that item. So if a family can only buy some organic produce, the priority would be peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, celery, nectarines and strawberries, etc.

The Full List: 43 Fruits & Veggies

RANK FRUIT OR VEGGIE SCORE

1(worst) Peaches 100 (highest pesticide load)

2 Apples 96

3 Sweet Bell Peppers 86

4 Celery 85

5 Nectarines 84

6 Strawberries 83

7 Cherries 75

8 Lettuce 69

9 Grapes – Imported 68

10 Pears 65

11 Spinach 60

12 Potatoes 58

13 Carrots 57

14 Green Beans 55

15 Hot Peppers 53

16 Cucumbers 52

17 Raspberries 47

18 Plums 46

19 Oranges 46

20 Grapes – Domestic 46

21 Cauliflower 39

22 Tangerine 38

23 Mushrooms 37

24 Cantaloupe 34

25 Lemon 31

26 Honeydew Melon 31

27 Grapefruit 31

28 Winter Squash 31

29 Tomatoes 30

30 Sweet Potatoes 30

31 Watermelon 25

32 Blueberries 24

33 Papaya 21

34 Eggplant 19

35 Broccoli 18

36 Cabbage 17

37 Bananas 16

38 Kiwi 14

39 Asparagus 11

40 Sweet Peas-Frozen 11

41 Mango 9

42 Pineapples 7

43 Sweet Corn-Frozen 2

44 Avocado 1

45 (best) Onions 1 (lowest pesticide load)

Note: A total of 44 different fruits and vegetables were ranked, but grapes are listed twice because they looked at both domestic and imported samples. – Pesticides in Produce by Environmental Working Group

As is often the case, moderation and balance are the best policies. Whether your family can afford to go 60-40, 70-30, or 50-50, the above chart can help determine how you spend your precious organic dollars. Whatever the case, the move toward organic can be shown to result in lower levels of pesticides entering our bodies and those of our children.

Sources:

Chensheng Lu, Dana B. Barr, Melanie A. Pearson, and Lance A. Waller; Dietary Intake and Its Contribution to Longitudinal Organophosphorus Pesticide Exposure in Urban/Suburban Children.
((http://www.ehponline.org/members/2008/1…)

Schneider, Andrew: “Harmful Pesticides Found In Everyday Food Products”. Seattle P.I., January 30, 2008. ((http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/349…)

Robinson, Kelley N.: “Food Pesticides and Their Risks To Children”.
((http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/un…)

Environmental Working Group Shopper’s Guide: (http://www.foodnews.org/index.php)

About the author

Cathy Sherman is a freelance writer with a major interest in natural health and in encouraging others to take responsibility for their health. She can be reached through www.devardoc.com.

http://www.naturalnews.com/z022897.html

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