May 26 2005
New "Parkinsonís" research highlights flaws in regulatory controls for pesticides
A new study released today warning of the increased risk of developing Parkinsonís disease highlights again the flaws in regulatory controls for pesticides says leading pesticides campaigner Georgina Downs.
The study involved nearly 3,000 people in five European countries and found that gardeners had a 9 per cent greater risk of contracting the disease than people who had not come into contact with pesticides. However, high-exposure users, such as farmers were 43 per cent more likely to get the disease.
Ms. Downs states "This is a very significant study and highlights again that the controls that are currently in place for pesticides are not as strict as the Government, industry and others perceive them to be."
Ms. Downs points out other high-exposure groups, such as people living near fields that are regularly sprayed, will not be wearing protective clothing, especially as there is currently no legal obligation to warn people before any spraying application to enable them to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves.
The Chairman of the Advisory Committee on Pesticides, Professor David Coggon has stated that the study did not identify individual pesticides and said, "Itís possible that just one or two are causing it, but slipped through the regulatory net."
In response to this Ms. Downs states that "This is completely unacceptable when we are talking about the protection of peopleís health. There are inherent uncertainties and serious data gaps in the current risk assessment processes, as pesticides are only tested one at a time. With the "cocktails" of pesticides that are currently used, particularly in agriculture, then the culprit may not just simply be "one or two" pesticides that may be causing it, but the synergistic effects from repeated exposures to innumerable mixtures of hazardous chemicals, many of which have neurotoxic capabilities. This is especially applicable for pesticide users and people who live near regularly sprayed fields."
Ms. Downs points out that the only way to truly protect public health and prevent any illnesses and diseases that may be associated with pesticides is to avoid exposure altogether through the widespread adoption of sustainable non-chemical and natural methods as an alternative to chemical pest control.
Notes to Editors:-
- The Geoparkinson study, funded by the European Commission, involved volunteers in Scotland, Italy, Sweden, Romania and Malta. For further information see the New Scientist magazine published today 26th May 2005
- For further information on Georgina Downsí campaign regarding the effects of pesticides on people in agricultural areas see www.pesticidescampaign.co.uk
- Ms Downs continues to receive emails and letters from people all over the country reporting clusters of acute and chronic long-term illnesses and diseases in communities surrounded by sprayed fields. Cases of Parkinsonís disease along with other neurological conditions are among the diseases that have been reported to Ms. Downs
- The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution (RCEP) is currently carrying out a study to assess the risk to people from crop-spraying and pesticide exposure. See www.rcep.org.uk for further information on the RCEP study
Contact: Georgina Downs
Telephone: 01243 773846
Mobile: 07906 898 915