Are your strawberries and peppers causing Parkinson's?

November 12, 2013
Volume 10    |   Issue 46

Pesticides used on food crops are closely regulated for safety, although there are those among us who would argue that none are really safe. Now the unthinkable has occurred: One chemical known to be carcinogenic and to cause lasting neurological damage slipped through the cracks and was approved by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

This chemical, methyl iodide, can cause the same kind of movement disorders that have been attributed to Parkinson's disease. In fact, if you eat a lot of strawberries and peppers - two foods sprayed with methyl iodide - what you think is Parkinson's disease may actually be pesticide poisoning.

Regulation of the more than 30 million pounds of fumigant pesticides applied annually to California crops is difficult, and it falls to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation to approve what can and can't be used. But considering the risks of methyl iodide, from causing Parkinson's-like symptoms to impairing fetal development or even leading to fetal death, the Department seems to have made the wrong call about this chemical. Many groups are concerned about this chemical and the implications that it raises about the Department's registration process.

In a case study, researchers looked at the risk-governance approach used during the approval process and found some serious issues. They looked at letters, hearing transcripts, reports, internal memos, and other documents prior to making several recommendations to better protect public health. The group suggested developing required comprehensive testing data-sets tailored to the proposed pesticide. For methyl iodide, no one examined whether the chemical caused development neurological toxicity, nor was there information about the chemical's impact on groundwater and air quality.

Plus, while methyl iodide is definitely dangerous on its own, it could pose even more risks when combined with other chemicals, yet the Department didn't evaluate these risks. This is particularly concerning as methyl iodide will likely be mixed with chloropicrin in practice, and chloropicrin was actually used as a chemical weapon during World War I because it's so dangerous when inhaled.

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The researchers also made several other suggestions for improvement, leading John Froines, co-author of their report and professor emeritus of environmental health sciences at UCLA's Fielding School to conclude, "Good science, carefully used, is central to good decision-making. In this case, despite the laudable efforts of the Department of Pesticide Regulation staff scientists, a variety of factors stood in the way of that. Data gaps, narrow framing of the scientific issues and unrealistic assumptions regarding exposures stand out. These are issues that must be addressed to ensure appropriate pesticide regulation in California."

UCLA School of Law professor and fellow study author Timothy Malloy, continued, "Pesticide regulation in California is flawed. Until we find a safer alternative to chemical pesticides, it is extremely important that the evaluation of new pesticides is thorough. If consumers, workers and the environment are to be protected from the adverse effects of pesticides, the approval process needs to be based on comprehensive data, objective evaluation and meaningful participation of all relevant parties."

There's no doubt that we need better tests, but something will always slip through the cracks and appear to be safe when it's not. We all need a way to remove toxic chemicals from our bodies. Thankfully, this is possible using PectaSol Detox Formula. You can also limit your exposure to these dangerous chemicals by eating organic foods that aren't sprayed with these pesticides in the first place.

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


University of California, Los Angeles (2013, September 23). Pesticide regulation in California is flawed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from

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