Pesticide in Milk May Be a Risk Factor for Parkinson’s

Research published in Neurology analyzed the effects of heptachlor epoxide — a pesticide commonly used in milk until the 1980s — in association with the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s.

Heptachlor was commonly used as a pesticide between 1960 and 1970, but its commercial sale wasn’t banned until 1988, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The effects of heptachlor on humans are not well known; however, the EPA has found it causes convulsions, difficulties with pregnancy, and liver and kidney damage in rats.

The study, led by Dr. R. D. Abbott of Shiga University of Medical Science in Otsu, Japan, examined more than 449 male participants of Japanese-American heritage over a period of 30 years. The average age of participants was 54 at the beginning of the study. After the participants died, the researchers of the study performed autopsies of their brains in order to analyze the substantia nigra and levels of heptachlor epoxide.

The substantia nigra plays an important role in Parkinson’s research. According to the US National Library of Medicine, “Nerve cells in the substantia nigra send out fibers to tissue located in both sides of the brain. There the cells release essential neurotransmitters that help control movement and coordination.”

The study found heptachlor epoxide in 90 percent of participants who drank milk regularly, compared with 63 percent for participants who did not drink milk at all. The study also found that nonsmokers who drank two cups of milk per day had 40 percent fewer brain cells. 

However, Dr. Abbott noted in an American Academy of Neurology press release, “The researchers do not have evidence that the milk participants drank contained heptachlor epoxide.” He also stated, “The study does not show that the pesticide or milk intake cause Parkinson’s disease; it only shows an association.”

Parkinson’s disease is a severe neurological disorder in which cell death in the brain causes significant health issues, including reduced movement, muscle control and balance, according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Approximately one million Americans have Parkinson’s, with roughly 60,000 new cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year.


However, there are a few ways you can begin your pathway to possible Parkinson’s prevention:

  • Increase your folic acid (folate) intake by eating more raw, fresh vegetables. Folic acid deficiency may have an association with Parkinson’s, according to a study published in the Journal of Neurochemistry (2002).
  • Avoid any pesticides. Though heptachlor epoxide has been banned, steering clear of all pesticides is a safe bet.
  • Keep your iron and manganese levels balanced. Some research has associated excess iron and manganese levels with Parkinson’s. Talk to your doctor or nutritionist about how to achieve this balance.

Adding a few essential nutrients to your diet in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables, and avoiding items that may increase risk factors, are perfect places to start. Preventive knowledge is often the best way to reduce your risk for many of the chronic diseases out there.

Recommended Articles

Online Loan Companies Are No Easy Fix for Desperate Borrowers

If there is one thing that most Americans need right now, its more money. Online loan companies know this — and it's dangerous for many of us. Since the financial

investing in a volatile market

Investing in a Volatile Market for Long-Term Gains

Investing in a volatile market gives everyone the jitters. Novices, in particular, tend to sell in a panic and then wait for the right time to re-enter the market. Selling

Legumes: Nutrient Dense and Delicious, but Watch for These Preventable Side Effects

Legumes: Good or bad for you? The answer is, a little of both. And at the end of the day, what really matters is how your unique body feels when

4 Keys to Successful Retirement Planning

Retirement planning gives you the freedom to live life to the fullest. You can afford to have all the necessary comforts and amenities of life, go on a vacation occasionally,

Do Seniors Need Life Insurance Coverage?

Do seniors need life insurance coverage? Your golden years should be about enjoying the memories of one’s lifetime. Yet the reality of life is that we struggle to pay our bills

Better Investment Than a Casino? Probably a Fitness Club

We all aspire to be healthier. Who doesn’t aspire to lose weight and exercise more as an annual New Year’s resolution? Yet well-intentioned aspirations and actions are not the same

Top 7 Job Interview ‘Don’ts’ to Remember

Preparing for a job interview can be stress-inducing. Job interview tips and tricks are all over the Internet, but few of them share the things you should absolutely not do.

Ward Off Cancer and 11 Other Things This Asian Plant Can Do for Your Health

Recently, noni has been gaining popularity, and is often promoted as a plant that has a wide range of health benefits. Noni is a small evergreen native to the Pacific

Will Stocks Just Keep Going Up? Evidence Suggest It’s Possible

Are we in in a stock market bubble? One major brokerage house recently published an in-depth report on this very topic. It looked at a multitude of previous stock market

Why Renting vs. Owning in Retirement Might Be Better

Most retirees live on fixed incomes and have limited savings, so renting vs. owning in retirement is a real debate. Home ownership and maintenance, especially during the retirement years, can

5 Ways to Make Money by Investing in Farmland

Real estate, mutual funds, bonds, and stocks are popular investment opportunities. It is smart if you are focused on all or some of these investments, but you might be ignoring

Your Heartburn Medicine Might Give You a Heart Attack

The symptoms of heartburn can make you feel like your heart is on fire, but taking medication to soothe it may put you at a higher risk for a heart