A controversial pesticide is linked to Parkinson’s disease, according to a culmination of over two decades of medical and scientific research. The research has linked one of the longest used and most common pesticides, paraquat, to Parkinson’s.
Britain, Europe, and China have already banned the substance, but it is still sprayed on some crops in the United States.
In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a regulatory filing that stated the potential dangers of paraquat, although the filing gained little attention. “There is a large body of epidemiology data on paraquat dichloride use and Parkinson’s disease,” the EPA stated.
The filing was released as a result of the EPA figuring out whether or not paraquat should be banned in the U.S. The decision may not happen until 2018, or even later.
China banned the pesticide in order to “safeguard people’s lives,” yet in the United States, paraquat use continues to rise.
Paraquat amounts of use on soybean fields have quadrupled since 2006, according to the Department of Agriculture.
The link between paraquat and Parkinson’s was suspected over two decades ago. Since then more studies have been done, and a particularly groundbreaking study in 2011 has confirmed that link.
The study, which was conducted by the Parkinson’s Institute and the National Institutes Of Health, involved farmers and their spouses, and others who handled pesticides.
The researchers found that those who had contact with paraquat were 2.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s.
In 2012, another study showed that paraquat exposure made the participants 11 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
Paraquat is not the first pesticide to be linked to Parkinson’s. Research from the American Academy of Neurology found that the pesticide ‘heptachlor epoxide’ in milk is also linked to Parkinson’s disease.