Research shows a link between the use of rotenone and paraquat and Parkinson’s with people exposed to either 2.5 times more likely to get the degenerative illness.

The chemicals are not used in domestic gardening but paraquat, especially, is one of the most commonly used industrial herbicides in the world.

The chemicals are most commonly used on large-scale farming and people working on the sites or living nearby can be exposed to the chemicals.

The study, a collaborative effort between National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and The Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Centre in California, first appeared online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

“Rotenone directly inhibits the function of the mitochondria, the structure responsible for making energy in the cell,” said co-author of the research paper Freya Kamel.

“Paraquat increases production of certain oxygen derivatives that may harm cellular structures.

“People who used these pesticides or others with a similar mechanism of action were more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.”

The authors studied 110 people with Parkinson’s disease to investigate the relationship between it and exposure to pesticides or other agents that are toxic to nervous tissue.

Luke Walsh

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