An important breakthrough in ongoing work to ban paraquat, an herbicide thought to increase Parkinson’s risk by 100 to 500 percent, depending on overall exposure has been made. The Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) and the Parkinson’s community have long made it a priority to eliminate this troubling environmental trigger of Parkinson’s.
Now, due in part to years of effort by Parkinson’s advocates nationwide – including amassing more than 100,000 signatures on a petition to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and logging tens of thousands of emails and phone calls to Congress – EPA has agreed to reconsider the evidence that paraquat causes brain damage and other harm. This could lead to the chemical being banned in the United States, as it already has been in more than 50 other countries.
“While a lot of work remains, this is a very positive development and a testament to the community’s work on this matter,” says Ted Thompson, Senior Vice President of Public Policy at MJFF. “For years, EPA has declined to discuss potential changes to its position on paraquat. Through years of community advocacy efforts, EPA has now come around and agreed to take another look at its paraquat assessments, creating a new opportunity to push for needed protections.”
What happens next: EPA will prepare new analyses of paraquat’s risks and cost-benefit balancing. The agency will accept public comment on these new analyses, which are expected to be proposed around a year from now. MJFF will continue to keep you informed of future opportunities for patient and family advocacy to keep pushing for the ban.
WERE YOU EXPOSED? Earthjustice, on behalf of The Michael J. Fox Foundation and other petitioners (partners in the suite), is suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its decision to re-register use of the toxic herbicide paraquat. As part of this process, it can be helpful for the EPA to hear from those impacted by paraquat use. MJFF is collecting stories of people who believe their Parkinson’s was caused by direct paraquat exposure in the United States through agricultural work. You can learn more and share your story at: https://michaeljfox.quorum.us/campaign/43041/
HOW CAN YOU TAKE ACTION? Public policy is a critical piece to solving the Parkinson’s puzzle. By helping policymakers understand what patters to people with Parkinson’s and sharing your story, you play a critical role in shaping legislation that affects the entire community.
Grassroots advocacy is how we get it done. With your help, together, we can influence decision-making in Washington D.C. to improve quality of life for all people with Parkinson’s. You can join the Michael J. Fox’s policy network to make a difference in the search for better treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s. Sign up at this link: https://www.michaeljfox.org/advocacy
PPMI: THE STUDY THAT COULD CHANGE EVERYTHING The Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) is the landmark study from the Michael J. Fox Foundation. It gathers information over time to learn more about how brain disease starts and changes and how to stop it. Now it needs you.
PPMI is on a mission to understand who is at risk for Parkinson’s – the world’s second most common brain disease – in order to protect everyone from the disease. The more people who join PPMI and share health data online, the faster we could change everything about how brain diseases like Parkinson’s are diagnosed, treated, and ultimately prevented. You can learn more about the study in detail at this link: https://ppmi.study.myachievement.com/ppmistudy/?utm_campaign=pn_cid%3Dpn-a1b1R00000AQ68T
Whether or not you have Parkinson’s, you can help. This is also an excellent way for spouses and family members to contribute to your advocacy. PPMI offers four key ways you can get started with the study.
Have you been Recently Diagnosed? PPMI sites are enrolling people diagnosed with Parkinson’s within the past two years and not yet taking PD medication. Cal 1.877.525.PPMI to learn more. You can also find your local PPMI site at this link: https://www.michaeljfox.org/connect-ppmi-team
Age 60+ without Parkinson’s Age is a risk factor for Parkinson’s disease. So is smell loss. PPMI is asking everyone without PD age 60+ and older in the U.S. and Canada to take a scratch-and-sniff test. You can request a smell test today at this link: https://mysmelltest.org/mjffsite
Do you Act Out Your Dreams? Some people may punch, kick or yell while asleep. This condition is called REM sleep behavior disorder or RBD. It can be a risk factor for brain disease. If you have RBD, call 1.877.525.PPMI.
Anyone Age 18+ in the U.S. Anyone age 18 and older in the U.S. – with and without Parkinson’s—can join PPMI. Share valuable data on health and wellness in the online platform. Start sharing with PPMI online at this link: https://ppmi.study.myachievement.com/ppmistudy?utm_campaign=pn_cid%3Dpn-a1b1R00000AQ68T
Teichholtz, Holly. Chief Marketing Officer. “Breaking News: EPA to Reconsider Paraquat” December 23, 2022. https://www.michaeljfox.org/news/breaking-news-epa-reconsider-herbicide-paraquat Accessed 2/7/2023.