You've heard me tell you to watch what you put into your body.
But what you put into your body isn't just limited to what you eat and drink. Many of the toxins we're exposed to gain entry through our environment.
And some environments are more hazardous than others.
A new study shows that regular on-the-job exposure to pesticides increases your risk for Parkinson's disease.
The study, published in June in the Annals of Neurology, doesn't identify the cause of Parkinson's so much as a risk factor that we all need to be aware of – especially those of us who work around these chemicals.
French researchers followed 800 adults, some with Parkinson's disease and somewithout, who worked on farms and in the course of their jobs were exposed to fungicides, herbicides and insecticides.
While the researchers found an increased risk between occupational exposure to pesticides and the risk of developing Parkinson's disease, the highest risk came among those who worked around insecticides, especially organochlorine insecticides such as DDT.
In fact, men who worked with organochlorine insecticides had twice the risk as men with no on-the-job exposure. Even more significantly, the Parkinson's risk increased as a worker's exposure to these chemicals increased.
The study did not look at any impact pesticides around the home may have on Parkinson's risk.
This is not the first study to come up with this kind of link.
Lab research, including a study published in Nature Neurscience back in 2000, has found that rats injected with the insecticide rotenone are more likely to develop an animal equivalent of the disease.
The French researchers say the overall risk of getting Parkinson's is still small, even among workers exposed regularly to insecticide.
But if you're concerned about risk factors, this one is hard to ignore. If you work with these chemicals, limit your direct exposure as much as possible and follow all the proper safety procedures when handling them. When you do this kind of work for a living, there's always a danger of complacency, so remain vigilant.
For the rest of us, it's a good time to take a look at everything we're exposed to on a regular basis, especially those chemicals you've been around so much you've stopped noticing them.
Toxins can cause a number of illnesses, diseases and conditions, and the challenge isn't just identifying them – but avoiding them, day after day.