New York: A second scientific study has linked agricultural pesticides to a series of conditions that cause cause brain damage including epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, according to scientists.
The study carried out by the Energy & Environmental Research Center at the University of Dakota says that chemicals routinely used by farmers around the world can result in diseases of the neurological system.
The study which was funded by the US Department of Health, tested rats and revealed damage to the brain and to the gastrointestinal system. The research team is now evaluating how humans are exposed to pesticides in order to establish what measures are needed to minimise any adverse effects.
It is concentrating on the effect of pesticide spraying, rather than consumption of fruit and vegetables.
In a EERC statement said: “During the first year of research, laboratory testing on rats demonstrated that the areas of the brain showing change following pesticide exposure are the same areas involved in multiple sclerosis.
‘Results also show pesticide exposure damages the same brain areas linked to epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. Pesticides can also cause severe damage to the gastrointestprovideinal system and cause neurological dysfunction.’
Director Dr Gerald Groenewold said: ‘The results of this study are phenomenally relevant to our region and have global implications.’
He added: ‘One of the most efficient routes that people are exposed to pesticides is through airborne particles, including pesticides carried on tiny bits of pollen. Within the next few years, this EERC-led partnership will be able to objective answers to globally critical questions related to the potential relationship between pesticides and the incidence of neurological diseases.’
Research by a team from Harvard School of Public Health in June reached similar findings.
It found that respondents who were in contact with pesticides in 1992 were 70 per cent more likely to develop Parkinson’s within the next ten years.
‘We have been highlighting for years the significance of exposure to airborne pesticides.
‘There has never been an adequate exposure assessment in the UK or the EU for the long-term exposure of people who live near regularly sprayed fields.’