In a study recently published in Neurology, it was found that a certain pesticide used in the 1980s could possibly cause Parkinson’s disease. What’s even more alarming is the fact that the said pesticide, heptachlor epoxide, is also found in milk.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that long-term exposure to heptachlor epoxide can have hazardous effects on animals. However, studies on its effects on humans are still limited.
A 1991 study about dementia and brain aging, the Honolulu-Asia Aging study, discovered that “residues of heptachlor epoxide were found in 90% of people who drank the most milk, compared with 63% of those who did not drink any milk,” as reported by Medical News Today. Those who consumed more than two cups of milk daily were also found to have fewer brain cells.
The study was conducted with the help of 449 Japanese-American participants. They were autopsied to check “whether they had lost brain cells in the substantia nigra area of the brain.” Loss of brain cells is a symptom of Parkinson’s disease.
On the other hand, the most recent study found that “among those who had smoked at some time, there was no association between milk intake and loss of brain cells, supporting previous studies suggesting that smokers have a lower risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.”(1)
While the study found significant correlations between the pesticide and milk, there is still “a lack of evidence that the milk participants drank contained heptachlor epoxide.”
Dr. Honglei Chen of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences suggested that researchers use this current research for purposes of conducting further “epidemiological studies.”