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Heptachlor Epoxide associated with Parkinson’s

Posted by: admin at 11:49 am on December 10th, 2015

  • parkinson's disease
  • heptachlor
  • pesticides
  • milk

Q:

Can you please explain what Heptachlor Epoxide is and is it true it has been associated with Parkinson’s? Also, what is the exposure?

A:

Heptachlor Epoxide is a man made compound that looks like a white powder and is created when a substance called heptachlor is released to the environment and mixes with oxygen according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Between the 1960’s and the 1970’s, heptachlor was used to kill termites found in the home and farmers used it to kill insects found on farm crops, especially corn. Bacteria and animals break down heptachlor to form heptachlor epoxide, with approximately twenty percent of heptachlor being converted within hours to heptachlor epoxide, in the environment and in the body.  Studies have found a connection between the consumption of diary products and a higher risk of developing Parkinson disease, the neurodegenerative disorder that affects motor neurons in the brain. This recently published study, in Neurology, a peer reviewed medical journal, found that men who reported drinking more than two glasses of milk a day (16 oz) showed the thinnest nerve networks in these areas, suggesting compromised function of these nerves, compared to men who drank little or no milk. The study, conducted by Dr. R. D. Abbott of the Shiga University of Medical Science in Japan, states that milk drinkers also had residues of specific organochlorines called heptachlor epoxide. The chemical was found at very high levels in the milk supply in the early 1980’s in Hawaii, where it was used in the pineapple industry to kill insects. Although the commercial sale of heptachlor was banned in the United States in 1988, and found in milk at that time, heptachlor tends to be persistent, remaining in soil and water for many years. According to Medical News Today, nonsmokers who drank more than two cups of milk per day had forty percent fewer brain cells than people who drank less than two cups of milk per day. While the study does not show that the pesticides or milk intake caused Parkinson’s, it does confirm an association. For more information regarding Parkinsons disease, Heptachlor and milk consumption, please visit the American Academy of Neurology web site, aan.com and the Centers for Disease Control website, CDC.gov. Just a note about Parkinson’s, men are one and a half times likely to have Parkinson’s than women and the onset begins around the age of sixty.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. Henry David Thoreau