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Daily News Blog

15
May

Glyphosate in Roundup Linked to Parkinson’s Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2020) New research out of Japan’s Chiba University suggests that exposure to glyphosate, the active ingredient in the most commonly used pesticide worldwide (Roundup), may be a risk factor in the development of Parkinson’s Disease. The ubiquity of glyphosate use in agriculture — which leaves residues of the toxic chemical in food — may mean that exposures to it represent a significant risk factor for the disease. Glyphosate is already implicated or proved in the development of numerous health anomalies, including cancer. Beyond Pesticides recognizes that pesticides play a variety of roles in causing or exacerbating negative health outcomes, including Parkinson’s Disease (PD). Transitioning pest management — in agriculture, land management, and household and personal care contexts — to nontoxic and organic approaches is the critical step away from bathing humans and the Earth in harmful chemicals.

The researchers in this subject study, out of the Chiba University Center for Forensic Mental Health’s Division of Clinical Neuroscience, sought to investigate whether exposures to glyphosate could impact dopaminergic neurotoxicity in the brains of mice. They found that exposures to glyphosate in adult mice intensified a type of neurotoxicity associated with PD. [The abstract for the research paper, titled “Glyphosate exposure exacerbates the dopaminergic neurotoxicity in the mouse brain after repeated administration of MTPT,” is available online; once published, the paper will be available through Science Direct.]

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive and neurodegenerative brain disease that impacts motor function; it manifests primarily in symptoms such as trembling, loss of muscle control, stiffness, and poor coordination. These may be intermittent, especially in early stages of the disease, and typically intensify over time. PD can also cause cognitive changes and decline, constipation, poor sleep, fatigue, anxiety and/or depression, sexual dysfunction, paresthesias, and other impacts. Approximately one million people in the U.S. have Parkinson’s Disease, with 50,000–60,000 new diagnoses annually; globally, 7–10 million people live with PD. The disease affects 50% more men than women.

PD occurs when dopamine production and transport are compromised; dopamine is a primary neurotransmitter (though not the only one) mediating motor function. The disease ensues when dopaminergic nerve cells (i.e., those activated by or sensitive to dopamine) in a region of the brain called the substantia nigra, or SNr, are damaged or destroyed and can no longer produce dopamine. The SNr is a motor nucleus located in the midbrain, whereas another brain structure relevant to the study’s findings — the striatum — is part of the basal ganglia. Some neurons from the SNr terminate in the striatum, which also plays a role in voluntary movement.

What causes the damage or destruction of the dopaminergic cells is still unknown, but there is evidence that (especially chronic) pesticide exposures may be at work. Both the herbicide paraquat and the pesticide rotenone have been identified as involved in the pathology of the disease. According to a 2018 research paper, “Estimated Residential Exposure to Agricultural Chemicals and Premature Mortality by Parkinson’s Disease,” people exposed to glyphosate have a 33% greater risk of premature mortality from Parkinson’s.

In experimental research on PD, exposures to neurotoxicants have repeatedly produced neuronal death, in both in vitro and in vivo systems. (Many such studies have used 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine [MPTP] because it reliably induces dopaminergic neurotoxicity.) The team administered, to four groups of adult male mice, “drinking water” that was variously treated: (1) water with only saline added, (2) water with glyphosate plus saline, (3) water with MPTP, and (4) water with glyphosate and MPTP, for 14 days. The brains were then evaluated immunohistochemically.

The researchers found that the exposures to glyphosate exacerbated the reduction of DAT (dopamine transporter) immunoreactivity in the striatum, and the reduction of TH (tyrosine hydroxylase) positive cells in the SNr after MPTP administration. Translation: the exposure to glyphosate appears both to worsen the ability of local neurons (in the SNr and striatum) to produce and transport dopamine effectively, and to intensify the neurotoxicity of other extrinsic chemicals (in this case, MPTP).

Based on this experiment, the research paper concludes, “Given the widespread and growing use of glyphosate in the world, it is likely that glyphosate exposure may increase [the] risk of the onset of PD later in life . . . . and may be an environmental risk factor for PD . . . although further study is needed. . . . Therefore we must pay attention to glyphosate exposure in adults.” Why the authors did not advocate “paying attention” to these exposures across the lifespan is puzzling, given that chronicity of exposure may build risk over time.

People are exposed to glyphosate directly, through handling and application; and indirectly, through residue in food or contamination of drinking water. So widespread is its use that exposure to it is nearly unavoidable in the U.S. Rural and vocational experiences seem to present particular risks: occupational pesticide exposure, farming, well water consumption, and residential pesticide use have all been linked to elevated rates of Parkinson’s Disease. The concerns about glyphosate exposure and health outcomes, whether PD, NHL (Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma), or other anomalies, are especially acute for those who encounter glyphosate regularly, typically through work and work sites.

In September, 2019, sixteen organizations representing health, environmental, farmer, and farmworker communities joined together to call on EPA to remove glyphosate from the marketplace. The groups cite a combination of high-profile lawsuits, environmental impacts, increasing reports of weed resistance, and growing public concern over the health effects of glyphosate in their comments on EPA’s interim reregistration review decision for the chemical. This new data adds to the heightened level of public health concern associated with glyphosate (Roundup) use.

Avoidance of exposure to glyphosate is best achieved in several ways: consuming organic food as much as practicable; avoiding use glyphosate products in home gardens or on lawns; paying attention to water quality reporting for local water supplies; encouraging farmworker protections; and advocating with supermarkets, garden centers and hardware stores, farmers, golf courses, school districts, and local and state decision makers for nontoxic, organic land management and agriculture. Follow Beyond Pesticides coverage of glyphosate through the Daily News Blog and the journal, Pesticides and You, and become a supporting member of an organization dedicated to information on pesticides, and advocacy on moving to less- and nontoxic practices for a safer world.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304394020303025

 

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15 Responses to “Glyphosate in Roundup Linked to Parkinson’s Disease”

  1. 1
    D. Nielsen Says:

    My father died of Multiple Myeloma, and every year he would go to the fruit farms and pick peaches, apricots, etc. He sampled them as he picked them, brought bushels of fruit home, and bottled them or put them in containers in the freezer. I did some minor reading about MM and found that there was concern about pestisides playing a role in developing MM. Just after my father died, I read an the obituary of a farmer who died of MM.
    I became interested in the weed killer Roundup, especially after there was more attention in the press, although limited, about the connection between Roundup and cancer diagnoses. My neighbor was a big advocate of using Roundup, and every chance she got, she would praise it’s use to the skies. I use to express my concern about it’s possible dangerous effects on our health, but she of course ignored it. It’s the best and works great she would pronounce whenever given the chance. I began to see significant changes in the way she walked … very stiff and with no ease of movement. She is very independent and when I made mention of my concerns about how she was walking and moving, she just waved me off and said she was just getting old. As the months passed, everyone in the neighborhood noticed that she was having a very hard time doing anything. One day I confronted her and almost begged her to go to the doctor, and she became very quiet and stated, “What if I have ALS?” As I had said many times before this, you need to find out, maybe it’s something else and there may be help for you. She finally went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease about 5 or 6 months ago.
    The medications she began taking have made a big difference in her affect and mobility.
    I KNOW my father died as a result of subjecting himself to pesticides for many years when he went to pick fruit. If I was a betting woman, I would bet a lot that Round Up has played a big role in giving my friend Parkinson’s Disease.
    This is just another example of how our environment is being poisoned, and we pay the price with tragic health problems and death. My father was very healthy, and my friend use to be on the go all the time, and actually continued to push herself when we all could see that she could barely walk.
    It’s even more of an example of how the big multi-million/billion dollar corporations are very successful in making sure we either don’t know the facts or up their phony, happy little advertisemetns for the products that are slowly killing us.
    Let’s see …. weeds or death. Hmmm.

  2. 2
    Rebecca Nichols Says:

    My husband has Parkinson’s and he has used round up every summer for 30 years

  3. 3
    Jerilyn Sheldon Says:

    My husband was an avid gardener and also used Roundup for many years. He passed away due to Parkinson’s but now I think that his use of Roundup was actually the cause of his death.

  4. 4
    Linda Ewton Says:

    I have used round up many years for weed control and I have diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

  5. 5
    Patty Barrett Says:

    My hubby used roundup commercially for his job with the city for 30 years. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s two years ago. Forced to retire early. We are at a loss as to what to do? No history of Parkinson’s in family.

  6. 6
    Connie Johnson Says:

    I used Roundup for weed control in my yard from 1987-1998. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease June 19,2019 I’ve had my DNA done and it is not genetic. Therfore I believe it is environmental. Do I have a case?

  7. 7
    Sharon Poole Says:

    My Dad was a farmer & welder all his life. He used Roundup since it first came out (of course no masks were ever worn during application on crops. He is 85 and shakes terrible and his voice is now very weak also. It would really be nice to find out if the correlation is tied to glyphosate.

  8. 8
    R Docherty Says:

    I have used Round up for as long that I have iqnqa my home in Allentown Pa
    Recently diagnosed with PD recently

  9. 9
    Tammy Sharp Says:

    My husband used Round up regularly around our home and his mothers for many years. He passed away from Parkinson January 22 2020.

  10. 10
    Molly Holt Says:

    My parents used Roundup on their gardens and around their house for years. They have both been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

  11. 11
    tom Says:

    does roundup cause parkinsons? does truegreen use it? is there a class action lawsuit pending, where do i go for info on that?

  12. 12
    Laura Says:

    My husband was a volunteer land management worker at a nearby nature preserve. He worked on many Saturdays, cutting and spraying stumps of honeysuckle. Glyphosate was used. Another gentleman on the team died of NHL. Now my husband has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I don’t know if this is something I need to pursue…the justice and legal side of this challenge in our lives.

  13. 13
    Susan Lee Says:

    I have Parkinson’s disease I was diagnosed with it 2 years ago grew up as my dad being Walter ever Bi-lo produce. He owns farm land and Henderson North Carolina in the home I was raised in is a farmhouse with in farming produce acres and acres for stores I had to help with it my entire life. Why can I do?

  14. 14
    Renee Moad Says:

    My dad was diagnosed with Parkinsons in 1997, and passes in 2009. Are the children of the victims allowed to be part of the class action lawsuits?

  15. 15
    ANNE M BIRD Says:

    I used round up for23 years in home gardening and was diagnosed with early-onset PD at 50. I was otherwise very active and healthy. I am so glad I did not ever have my children help me with spraying the roundup! I would like to be involved in a class action lawsuit!

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