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    • #23308
      Mary Beth Skylis

      My dad used to regularly spray Round Up on the weeds around his home. He also worked on freighters and an engineer, where he’s pretty sure that he was exposed to asbestos. There seem to be tons of different kinds of toxins that we can easily expose ourselves to. And I’ve always wondered if toxins can cause us to develop sicknesses down the road. Were you exposed to toxins during your life? If so, do you think they had anything to do with Parkinson’s?

    • #23422
      Clive Varejes


      I was also exposed to Round Up on a regular basis.

      I had a small holding, 42 acres, where we used to ride and stable horses, and RoundUp was our go to ‘formula’  to kill off all the weeds and dangerous shrubs.

      Strangely enough, after reading your comment, somewhere in the back of my mind I semi recall that there was a class action against RoundUp ( Beyer?) in this regard.





    • #23447

      Hello Mary Beth

      I have been exposed to small amounts of glyphosate but by far the biggest toxin for me is asbestos. In the 60s, 70s and and early 80s I used to build with asbestos cement sheeting although I used to cut it with hand tools, minimising the dust.

      If I were a candidate for asbestos related diseases it should have happened by now. Regardless, I doubt there is any PD link with asbestos.

      Keep those discussions coming.

    • #23449

      I was exposed to DDT several summers as a child. My parents and our neighbors in Michigan would contract with a spray plane to spray DDT to control the mosquitos. We thought it was great fun to run behind the spray plane and play around in the DDT mist.

    • #23462

      I worked in the horticulture industry in various capacities for many years so was exposed to a range of chemicals including herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. Apart from that there were naturally occurring toxins (e.g. molds etc) in soil, potting mix and water as we did not wear masks or gloves for a good several years when I started in the industry.
      Also lived in an agricultural area for 10+ years where, although we strove to manage our 20 acres organically, we were surrounded by people who used a range of chemicals some of which were applied by aerial spraying; I remember working outside on more than one occasion and being hit by a cool fine mist of spray from a plane spraying neighbouring fields. Never found out what was being used in those sprays. The sprays would have also landed on our roof from which we collected the rainwater which we used for bathing and drinking (no first flush diverter in those days!).
      There is also a childhood memory of travelling internationally on planes in the early 1970s and sitting in our seats while a masked and gloved worker walked up the aisle spraying two aerosol cans throughout the plane before we were allowed to disembark. I remember asking my mum why the worker was wearing a mask when we just had to breathe it in and being told that he would spray all the planes that landed but we were only travelling on one so our level of exposure was “safe”.

      Living in tropical areas where malaria was common as a child, I suspect that some kind of mosquito control was used in places but I have no idea what that was or how widespread it was.

      Plenty of exposure to toxins! I have no doubt that they had some kind of effects but who is to say what? And why have I developed PD when others I worked and lived with have not? I would love to know the answers.

    • #23470
      John Humphreys

      There is such a mixture of ideas here. Without being too categorical, but wearing my “I’m a biochemist with PD who keeps up to date with things” hat ….

      1). Glyphosate (Roundup) has been allegedly associated with lymphoma. The evidence is fairly feeble and it’s the best herbicide to use if you have to use any (as I am a 99% organic wildlife gardener). No know link with PD. The weedkillers that **are** possibly linked to PD are diquat and paraquat.

      2). Insecticides associated with PD – and this is a strong correlation – are the organophosphates, like malathion.

      3) Asbestos is only associated with a rare lung cancer called mesothelioma.

      Don’t forget that our bodies have superb abilities to de-toxify a lot of man-made chemicals. This is not to say that PD isn’t triggered by a combination of environmental factors. I worry most about the use of plastics in things we eat and drink. Endocrine disrupters and all that.


      John H

      • #24094
        Mary Beth Skylis

        John, thank you so much for sharing your expertise. This is a topic I find to be particularly interesting. Do you think that any of those toxins might’ve impacted you during your life?

    • #23472

      Thanks John – very interesting!

      I certainly paraquat is something that I have come into contact with repeatedly as is malathion (used in South Australia extensively against Mediterranean Fruit Fly when I lived there).

    • #23473
      Alan M

      Hi Mary Beth:

      I worked in a roo skin factory in Narangba, Australia for one year — handling stains, thinners, and treated (tanned) roo skins for overseas markets.  They make gloves, hats, purses, wallets, etc. out of this product.   Carcinogenic, possibly.  Maybe even related to my PD.

    • #23502
      John Citron

      As a kid I was exposed to Chlordane, Malathion, and other garden poisons. My dad used to cover everything with Chlordane to keep the carpenter ants from invading our house and also used it in the garden to keep the rose beetles at bay. The Malathion came out when the tent caterpillars invaded the shrubs and pine trees. We also used to spray this along the edge of the woods to keep the mosquitoes from invading in the summertime.

      The exposure may have come from me helping. Unlike my younger brother who was too young to do this, I was out there in the garden helping out and I used to handle the spray nozzle for the liquid mixtures. The spray was controlled by pressing my finger on a hole in the nozzle and the poison would run down my hands. This was in addition to any spray back caused by a breeze or hitting the side of the house. I can still mentally smell the Chlordane and Malathion to this day.

    • #23533
      Jane Bachmann

      I was exposed to DDT as a teenager living in Massachusetts during the 50s. As an adult in Arizona we did our own pest control, using a hose end sprayer to apply it to the exterior of the house.  One time I recall the pesticide running down my arms when I was spraying.

      • #24095
        Mary Beth Skylis

        That’s such a chilling image, Jane. Do you suspect that your experience with toxins has anything to do with Parkinsons?

    • #23556
      Elspeth Watt

      My husband was exposed to Toluene which he used in cleaning engine parts but it is also used in the clothing industry. It has known links to PD so we assume this is the cause for him – but of course we don’t really know

    • #23702
      John Ollinger

      I drove a delivery truck for a hardware store for four years. Malathion, rotenone, and arsenate of lead are three that I remember. (Good customers were sold banned insecticides we had in stock). I also painted a couple of cars in a makeshift spray booth and inhaled a lot of lacquer thinner.

    • #23728
      Alan Tobey

      Here’s an unusual case: an endotoxin may have triggered my PD. For the ten + years before I became a PD warrior in 2009, I suffered from undiagnosed non-Celiac gluten intolerance, during which I produced large quantities of gliadin antibodies (reacting to one of the components of wheat) that as a side effect caused digestive upsets. When the intolerance was finally discovered there was no treatment except avoiding dietary wheat, But when I did that, my immune system continued to churn out the gliadin antibody for weeks at least. And in an unfortunate turn, the antibody also reacts with other proteins —- including some that trigger PD. Several things had to line up for that to happen —- lucky me.

      • #24096
        Mary Beth Skylis

        Alan, I’m so sorry that you struggle with gluten intolerance. That sounds like such a hard thing to live with. How did you manage to get to the bottom of the matter?

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