Pesticides, herbicides, solvents, heavy metals, and organic pollutants are environmental factors that could cause Parkinson’s disease, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Others include where someone lives, what they do for a living, the foods they eat, and whether they suffered a head injury. According to this study in Acta Neuropathologica Communications, a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) can be responsible for a more than 50% higher risk of developing Parkinson’s.
Scientists studying the disorder do not know exactly what causes it, so research continues. However, some professionals in the science and medical communities believe environmental factors, along with genetic factors, can lead to a diagnosis.
Environmental Factors Can Include Exposure to Chemicals and Metals
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurodegenerative brain disorder of the nervous system that causes motor impairment and other complications. The disease makes it hard for a person to perform steady movements or keep their balance. Tremors, stiffness in the limbs or trunk of the body, and slow movements are a few of the disorder’s symptoms.
People who handle chemicals and metals or work in environments where others use them could suffer health conditions as a result. Below is more information on why some scientists say environmental factors can cause Parkinson’s disease.
Pesticides and Herbicides
Some say pesticide and herbicide use is broadly linked to increased risks of developing Parkinson’s. For example, paraquat, a chemical found in some weed killer products, could increase Parkinson’s risks. Agriculture workers and landscapers are at risk of exposure to the chemical because they work with it or around it regularly.
According to the National Toxicology Program (NTP), more than 450 cases showed a link between paraquat exposure and the development of Parkinson’s disease, mainly among agricultural workers. Also, the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health: Part B, Critical Reviews reports that based on nine controlled studies, Parkinson’s was 25 percent more likely to occur among those exposed to paraquat.
The colorless, odorless herbicide is banned in many countries but is legal for use in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says paraquat products should be labeled for restricted use, which means only commercially licensed users should handle them. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), someone can suffer paraquat exposure by mistakenly swallowing it or eating food tainted with it. You can also get paraquat poisoning via skin exposure.
Paraquat is not the only chemical that is linked to Parkinson’s. Exposure to glyphosate, an ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup, can also be a related factor to the disorder, as a study published in Internal Medicine says.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, high exposure to metals in some industries, such as welding, can contribute to the development of Parkinson’s. However, there does not appear to be a definitive answer to this yet.
An analysis published in Neuroepidemiology acknowledges prior research about the possible links of on-the-job exposure to certain metals and Parkinson’s. However, the authors of the analysis say research results are mixed. Some studies assert that prolonged metal exposure is a risk factor, but not all have come to that conclusion. The studies considered whether metals, such as manganese, copper, lead, iron, mercury, zinc, and aluminum, among others, can be risk factors.
Some studies show that exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE), a chemical compound in degreasers, dry cleaning products, detergents, and other everyday products, can also be among the possible causes of Parkinson’s.
A study published in Annals of Neurology concluded that exposure to the industrial solvent could raise Parkinson’s disease risks. Another study published in Neurological Clinics also noted that animals exposed to the solvent developed Parkinsonian features. The study also concludes that risk factors in the environment could affect people already genetically predisposed to Parkinson’s.
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What to Do if You Think Environmental Factors Led to a Parkinson’s Diagnosis
If you think you have Parkinson’s disease, you should see your doctor for an exam. A medical professional can conduct the tests you need to confirm if you have the condition. Symptoms of the disorder include:
- Tremors or uncontrollable shaking, particularly in the hands
- Changes in speech, including slurred speech
- Tight or stiff muscles in your limbs or trunk of your body
- An inability to maintain your balance or posture
- Slower movements because of a struggle to control your movements
- Difficulty with writing, using utensils, or other tasks involving the use of your hands
Seeking Legal Help for Parkinson’s Compensation
You could hire a personal injury attorney to seek awards if you developed Parkinson’s due to firsthand or secondhand exposure to harmful environmental factors at your job or another site. Our attorneys can help you seek compensation that helps pay your current and future medical expenses. This includes the medication and equipment you need to manage your illness.
You could also recover awards for lost income and benefits if you had to take another job or stop working. You could also request compensation for pain and suffering, inconvenience, reduced quality of life, lost companionship, and more. Our attorneys can help you gather evidence, build your compensation case, and hold the liable party accountable for your losses.
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The environmental factors that could cause Parkinson’s disease are unique to each case. You may have legal grounds to bring a case against the parties who are responsible for your medical condition. We can answer your questions and review your legal options at no charge.
If you hire an attorney from Ben Crump Law, PLLC to represent you, we will work on your case on contingency and receive payment only if we recover awards for you.
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