Pesticides are neurotoxins (neu·ro·tox·in: a poison that acts on the nervous system) which overstimulate brain cells, causing miscommunication between them and eventually, cell death. This is how pesticides kill insects: the creature’s brain and nervous system becomes so scrambled it shuts down and the insect dies.
Definitive links exist between pesticide use and the rise of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease as well as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – ALS – or known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Pesticides are classified as those used to control insects, weeds and fungi and are known as insecticides, herbicides or fumigants.
Organophosphates are commonly used on food, in household pesticide and insecticides as well as lawn and garden chemicals. Organophosphates have been shown to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and ALS.
You might know some of these pesticides by their brand names: Sevin Dust, Malathion (used in mosquito control) Round-Up (glyphosate) and Diazinon.
Elevated serum levels of pesticides in humans, along with a rise in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, point to a link in neurological damage in those consistently exposed.
Though most Alzheimer’s research has focused on genetic factors, scientists have found that only half the cases are linked to heredity. The other half increasingly points to use of pesticides in past decades. DDT, banned over 40 years ago, remains in the body and has been found in about 75-80% of the population. In Alzheimer’s patients the levels of DDE, (DDT when broken down) were 4.18 times higher.
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurological disorder. Nerve cells in the brain regulating dopamine – which controls movement – are damaged to the point where they cannot produce the chemical. Less than 1% of Parkinson’s cases can be attributed to genetics and researchers are finding a solid link to exposure to pesticides. Scientists in the UK in studies ranging from 1983-2005, found a substantial link to pesticide and herbicide exposure in Parkinson’s patients.
- Research conducted in the U.S. found that those consistently exposed to low levels of pesticides and herbicides were twice likely to develop Parkinson’s.
- A Harvard study found that long-term pesticide exposure, even at low levels, shows a 70% increase in the disease over those who had limited contact.
- Gardeners who routinely use pesticides such as Sevin Dust, are 50% more likely to develop Parkinson’s than those who grow organic gardens.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease, affecting motor control and is always fatal. Over time patients lose motor control and in later stages, may become totally paralyzed.
Pesticides cause oxidative stress which in turn can lead to an array of health issues: Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS, cancer, chronic fatigue, heart and blood vessel disorders, atherosclerosis, heart failure, heart attack and inflammatory diseases.
With mounting evidence against pesticides, isn’t it time you think twice before using them?
There are no “safe” pesticides.