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Picture © Will Fuller 2007

Parkinson's, Pesticides and Gardening

Gardening & Parkinsons

Many studies have shown the correlation between exposure to pesticides and the onset of Parkinson's Disease. However it is not always clear that it is the long-term low-level exposure to pesticides that is the risk. There is a huge variety of insecticides, herbicides and fungicides that are used in Gardening. Lawn treatments, Wood treatments, Weed killers, Ant killers, Fly sprays to name but a few.

So what can we do?

Go Organic

Ask at the garden center whether that plant you want has been treated with pesticides? Is there an organic alternative? Note however that Rotenone, derived from the Derris plant, is an organic pesticide that has been proved to cause Parkinsonism when injected into rats.There are a number of safe ways that you can protect your plants against attack.

Take care of your plants
Healthier plants have better defences against attack.
Mix them up.
Having a large area of the same plant invites trouble. It gives a substantial single food source for any pests that attack that plant. Variety in the plants spreads the risks.
Rotate your crops
If you keep planting the same crop in the same place then any parasites that can live in the soil will keep attacking. Rotation can mean next season they don't have any food source.
Physical barriers
Installing physical barriers can be very effective, a net can provide 100% security against birds and a slug trap filled with beer will send most of our slimy friends to an early alcoholic demise.
Bring in reinforcements
If its alive something will want to eat it. Do your best to enourage the right predators to keep your pests in check.

Read the label
If you do need to use chemicals then always read the label and take all precautions stated.