Dragocson, Esgram, Preeglox, Tota-Col and Katalon are names that sound like they should be in science fiction novels. You’ll find them, instead, on the labels of pesticides that contain paraquat, one of the most popular herbicides in the world. We’ve known for a while that long-term exposure to paraquat increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Now a new study suggests that if paraquat exposure is combined with exposure to two other pesticides, the risk of Parkinson’s disease triples.
Learning more about environmental factors that affect the development of this neurological disease is important because its incidence appears to be increasing. Now, an estimated 17 of every 100,000 people are diagnosed with it. Farmers are among those at increased risk.
The two pesticides that don’t go well with paraquat, maneb and ziram, are used to kill fungi. Maneb is found in two products: DB-Green L and Agsco Dustret “A”. Ziram is found in a product called Ziram fungicide.
While exposure to all three pesticides increased risk the most, exposure to ziram and paraquat, without maneb, still managed to increase risk by 80%. Exposure to maneb and paraquat also was worse than exposure to the individual chemicals.
Contact with these pesticides in the workplace increased risk more than exposure at home. Unsurprisingly, exposure at both workplace and at home was worse than exposure at one place or the other. It looks like these compounds may be able to act together to increase the damage to brain cells that causes Parkinson’s disease.
Most people know they should limit their exposure to pesticides. You can improve your chances of maintaining good health by learning what pesticides are used near your home and increasing your efforts to limit exposure. And be sure to avoid unnecessary exposure to multiple products with names that belong in science fiction novels.