Study directly looks at pesticide effect on human cells: Most of the previous studies were based on either animal studies or on epidemiological data. The Guelph scientists say they are the first to investigate the effect of the agrochemicals on human cells. The experiment used stem cells from people with Parkinson's disease that had a mutation in a gene called synuclein that's highly associated with an increased risk of Parkinson's.
In addition, the study used normal embryonic stem cells in which the risk- associated mutation was introduced by gene editing. From the two types of stem cells, Professor Ryan and his team made dopamine-producing neurons—the specific nerve cells affected in Parkinson's disease—and exposed them to the two pesticides. Because of that exposure, energy-producing parts of the cells were prevented from moving to where they were needed, depleting the dopamine-producing cells of energy. Neurons from the Parkinson's patients and those in which the mutation was introduced were impaired at doses below the lowest observed effect level previously reported by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency. By comparison, higher doses were needed to impair function in normal neurons. The upshot: people with a predisposition for Parkinson's disease are more affected by these low level exposures to pesticides and therefore more likely to develop the disease.
Farmers and those living near farms at greater risk: This is one of the reasons why some people living near agricultural areas are at a higher risk,' said Professor Ryan. He said the findings indicate that public health officials need to reassess current acceptable levels for these two agrochemicals. 'This study shows that everyone is not equal, and these safety standards need to be updated in order to protect those who are more susceptible and may not even know it.'
Source: The study was published in the journal Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.
Dr. MJ Wegmann thoughts: The two most likely pesticide exposure points in our lives are the application of pesticides in and around the house on the lawn and the weeds. And the second is, hidden exposure is in the fruit and vegetables we consume. Make sure you wash and peel your fruit and vegetables to minimized your exposure to pesticides.
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Dr. MJ Wegmann,