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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Paraquat' Category


European Union Bans Paraquat

(Beyond Pesticides, July 13, 2007) A European Union (EU) court banned the toxic weedkiller paraquat Wednesday, accepting arguments from the Swedish government that it does not meet EU health standards. Paraquat is the main ingredient in Swiss-based Syngenta’s Gramoxone – one of the world’s three most widely used weedkillers. Paraquat has been linked to reproductive effects and to Parkinson’s disease. Although paraquat had already been banned in 13 countries, including Sweden, Denmark, and Austria, in 2003, the Commission of European Communities (CEC) had issued an order approving the use of paraquat. Sweden challenged this order and the judges, in a previous decision, ruled that the CEC’s action showed a “disregard” of proper procedures. In the new ruling, the Court of First Instance criticizes EU regulators for not checking more carefully whether paraquat could harm humans and animals before authorizing it for sale in 2003. The court said the European Commission – which regulates herbicides and pesticides – was mistaken when it found no signs that the chemical could cause nervous system diseases such as Parkinson’s and that regulators failed to review existing studies on paraquat – even though the chemical producers that asked for approval had not mentioned the adverse […]



Studies Strengthen Link Between Pesticides and Parkinson’s

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2007) Three recent studies were presented earlier this month at the Parkinson’s Disease Environmental Research meeting in California strengthening the theory that pesticides increase risk of the disease. The studies clarify how pesticide exposure can lead to the development of Parkinson’s. Two pesticides named in the studies are paraquat and dieldrin, both of which have been linked to Parkinson’s in the past. The three new studies, however, combine information from human and animal studies to show how exposure can lead to onset of the disease. As William Langston, M.D., founder of the Parkinson’s Institute, told Reuters, “All of these pieces really look like they are coming together now.” The first study examined a cohort of 80,000 licensed private pesticide applicators and spouses. Researchers found farm workers exposed to paraquat had twice the expected risk of Parkinson’s. The second and third studies address a protein called alpha-synuclein. The second study shows the protein builds up in rodents exposed to paraquat. The third study connects this protein to Parkinson’s by finding that the protein kills the dopamine-producing brain cells affected by the disease. One common difficulty in tracking pesticide-induced diseases is the amount of time that passes between […]



Study Sheds Light on Pesticides’ Link to Parkinson’s Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, February 8, 2007) Investigators at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have shed new light on the suspected role of pesticides in the development of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The study, “GST expression mediates dopaminergic neuron sensitivity in experimental parkinsonism” appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (January 31, 2007), illustrates the mechanism of nerve cell damage by pesticide exposure. The enzyme that prevents damage to the substantia nigra, the part of the brain where nerve cell damage associated with PD occurs, is called GST pi (“pie”). This enzyme stands like a sentry at the crossroads of several biochemical pathways, any one of which can lead to PD. GST pi protects the nerve cell from death caused by either environmental toxics, such as pesticides, or a self-destruction process called apoptosis (cell suicide), triggered by certain stressful conditions in the cell. If GST pi levels are reduced or this enzyme is overwhelmed by toxics, these nerves are at increased risk of death, according to studies in mouse models. GST pi is one of a family of similar enzymes that eliminate free radicals generated by pesticides and other chemicals. Two members of this family are present in the brain, […]