Pesticide Poisoning and the Global Epidemic of Parkinsonism

Poisoned Land: The Rural Rise of Parkinsonism

DW (2021)

Film Review

In the age of Covid, it so happens that the pandemic of Parkinson’s Disease is genuine. The global incidence of Parkinsonism, a severely disabling neurological disorder (involving tremors, difficulty moving, walking and swallowing, pain, incontinence, dementia and depression) is soaring.

As elsewhere California’s Central Valley, which grows 25% of America’s vegetables are grown, is experience multiple clusters of the disease. Owing to a 1970s California law, all farmers in the state must report all pesticide. At present, this register reveals a 75% increase of Parkinsonism in residents living adjacent to fields using toxic pesticides.

Scientists are investigating two dozen pesticides for a possible causative role in Parkinson’s disease. The herbicide Paraquat and the fungicide Mangozeb have both been banned in the EU.

German farmers interviewed in the film continue to use pesticides despite being aware of the risk. They say they can’t afford not to use them unless the German government bans cheap imports from other countries that also use pesticides.

In France, Parkinsonism has been listed as an occupational disease (owing to its link to pesticide use) since 2012. French vineyards spray their grapes with pesticides 30-40 times a year, and French wine has been found to contain between nine and sixteen different pesticide residues.

Other studies have found pesticides in milk and air studies of big cities and pristine old growth forests.

I had problems with the sound quality of the YouTube video. The film can also be seen at