Parkinson’s-Linked Weedkiller Affecting Low-Income Latino Families

( – A new analysis has determined that low-income Latino families in California are being affected by paraquat, a weedkiller used on U.S. farmland.

The weedkiller is banned in sixty countries but is allowed in the United States in some places except golf courses. The government still allows it to be used on crops, which affects farmers and those who live in communities close to the farms.

Most of the paraquat used in California is sprayed in five counties, with a population that is over seventy percent Latino. The non-profit Environmental Working Group has spoken out about the risks associated with the people living near these areas and the communities being affected.

Said the EWG’s policy director, Scott Faber, “We were shocked when we saw, in particular, how these five communities are disproportionately exposed and are disproportionately Latino and poor.”

Paraquat is linked to non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, kidney disease, and respiratory damage. A single teaspoon is lethal to human beings; despite this, the Environmental Protection Agency has not looked into these symptoms as the country still uses this product on crops.

Research has also found that it can cause a decrease in dopamine levels, which is a common symptom linked to Parkinson’s.

Nearly all California farmers are Latino and the herbicide was spread over areas that had over eighty percent Latino population as well.

“No one should be exposed to pesticides at that level,” Rabine, the author of the analysis said.

Experts say that the substance stays in the dirt and moves through the air, which means that it can travel or expose more people in an area. Research has shown that those living within a third of a mile of the herbicide are twice as likely to develop Parkinson’s.

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