Causes of Parkinson’s Disease: A Different Viewpoint

Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive neurological condition in which the dopamine-making neurons of the brain become damaged and no longer produce adequate amounts of dopamine. Lower than normal levels of dopamine contribute to symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. These symptoms include tremors, stiffness, rigidity, walking abnormalities, and balance concerns. 

Modern science has not definitively pinpointed the exact cause of Parkinson’s Disease. One known factor for some people is a genetic predisposition to develop Parkinson’s Disease. However, many scientific studies conclude there is substantial evidence to support that environmental toxins may be the causes of Parkinson’s Disease. 

Environmental Toxins contribute to the causes of Parkinson’s Disease. 

Environmental toxins can enter the body through the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and through products on our skin. When certain toxins build up in the body, they wreak havoc on gene function and cellular health. Certain toxins are known to contribute to the causes of Parkinson’s Disease by damaging the dopamine pathways, which leads to lower amounts of dopamine production in the brain. 

This article highlights some of the environmental toxins that contribute to the cause of Parkinson’s Disease. 


Manganese and Heavy Metals
Mold and Mycotoxins
Herbacides: Paraquat, Glyphosate, Agent Orange
Pesticides (Insecticides): Rotenone and Permethrin
Solvents: trichloroethylene

Manganese and Heavy Metals

Many studies link certain heavy metals to the potential cause of Parkinson’s Disease. Manganese, lead, mercury, and copper have been linked to the development and progression of Parkinson’s. (1) 

Manganese is a trace mineral that is healthy for our bodies in small amounts. Many enzymes in our bodies require manganese to function. Our bodies cannot make Manganese on our own, so we obtain it from foods or supplements we eat. However, long-term exposure to too much manganese causes neurotoxicity and creates a condition that resembles Parkinson’s Disease. (2) Certain occupations, like welding, increase the risk of exposure to manganese. This exposure increases the risk of developing Parkinsonism. 

Lead, mercury, and copper enter the body through food, water, and the air. At a certain threshold, these heavy metals can cause oxidative brain damage. When there is enough cellular damage to the dopamine-producing cells of the brain, Parkinson’s Disease will develop. Continued exposure to these heavy metals can contribute to the cause of Parkinson’s Disease. 

What can you do: 

Reduce Exposure: One of the first steps in reducing heavy metals is to investigate if you are currently exposed to any heavy metals. Do you actively consume any heavy metals or manganese in your daily habits? These can come through water, food, paints, metal-work jobs, or hobbies. Are you protecting yourself with filters, masks, and organic foods?

Specialty Testing: Specialty Testing can determine if you have heavy metals internally. Depending on the testing results, specific detox and chelation therapies may be appropriate to safely remove heavy metals from the body. 

Heavy Metal Detoxification: When considering a heavy metal detox program, you must consider the safety of heavy metal detoxification. Eliminating heavy metals too quickly or too much in circulation can cause more cellular damage. You always want to be supervised and evaluated by a medical professional. Chelation therapy using EDTA and DMSA can aid in detoxification from heavy metals. 

Schedule your Complimentary Consultation 

Mold and Mycotoxins

Molds are living organisms that are part of the fungi kingdom. There are many different species of mold, and they grow in damp or humid conditions. Mold can grow in water-damaged buildings, areas of water leaks, grains, fruits, veggies, and more. As mold grows, spores and fragments can enter the air. Mold can produce mycotoxins, a toxic mold metabolite capable of causing human disease. 

Ochratoxin A is a type of mycotoxin from the Aspergillus and Penicillium families. Ochratoxin A is typically found in water-damaged homes and buildings. This mycotoxin can have adverse neurological effects. Studies show that Ochratoxin A can lead to considerable oxidative damage to many areas of the brain. This damage may contribute to the cause of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. (3) 

Side View Of A Shocked Young Woman Looking At Mold On Wall

What you can do:

Reduce Exposure: Reducing or eliminating current exposure to mycotoxins can help reduce the levels of Mycotoxins in the body. Testing the air in your home, workspace, and car may help to see if you have existing mold in places where you spend a lot of time. If you are currently exposed to mycotoxins, working with a mitigation company to safely eliminate the mold is critical. 

Specialty Testing: Specialized urine testing can inform you if you have any mycotoxins built-up internally in the body. A comprehensive mycotoxin test will test for over 30 mycotoxins known to cause illness. This information can help a professional healthcare worker safely guide a patient to detoxify the body from mycotoxins. 

Mold Detoxification: If mycotoxin testing reveals elevations in internal mycotoxins, many ways exist to help remove those toxic compounds from the body. Specific binders, like charcoal and cholestyramine, will bind and remove internal mycotoxins. Antioxidants like Vitamin C, NAC, and glutathione help protect the body from the oxidative damage that mycotoxins cause. Ochratoxin A has been found in sweat, indicating that saunas, designed to make you sweat, maybe a powerful detox therapy for high levels of Ochratoxin A. 

Schedule your Complimentary Consultation 

Herbacides: Paraquat, Glyphosate, Agent Orange

Herbicides are a type of pesticide commonly known as weed killers. They are used to control weeds while leaving desired plants unharmed. 

Paraquat: Paraquat is the most widely used herbicide in the world and a well-known potent neurotoxin for humans. You may be aware of the many lawsuits against Paraquat due to its contribution to Parkinson’s Disease. PQ exposure has been linked to an increased risk and possible cause of Parkinson’s disease. (4) 

Glyphosate: Glyphosate is an herbicide used to control the growth of unwanted weeds. In studies, animals exposed to glyphosate have significantly damaged dopaminergic cells and neurotoxicity. Other studies reveal that people exposed to glyphosate, even those not working with glyphosate professionally, have high levels of urinary light filament protein, which indicates neuron damage. Glyphosate also causes neuroinflammation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and oxidative damage. All these can contribute to the cause of Parkinson’s Disease. (5) 

Agent Orange: Agent Orange is an herbicide that the U.S. military used for chemical warfare. The Health and Medical Division of the National Academy of Sciences concluded in a report in 2009 that Agent Orange used in the Vietnam War is associated with the development of Parkinson’s Disease. As a result, Veteran Affairs recognizes that Agent Orange and other herbicides can contribute to the cause of Parkinson’s Disease (6) 

Pesticides (Insecticides): Rotenone and Permethrin

Pesticides are products with chemicals that prevent, kill, or repel a pest, often for growing crops or other plants. Although these products serve a purpose, many are toxic to the human body and brain.

Rotenone: Rotenone is a pesticide that damages the mitochondria, the part of the cell that makes energy. Rotenone is often labeled as a natural pesticide because it is derived from plants. Many home gardeners use rotenone because it is considered a “natural” pesticide. Nevertheless, it has been linked in animal studies to induce Parkinson’s. It may be a contributing cause of Parkinson’s Disease in humans. (7) 

Permethrin: Permethrin is an insecticide that can kill mosquitos, scabies, and lice. Several studies demonstrate an association between insecticides and Parkinson’s Disease. In studies, extended exposure to permethrin resulted in a decrease in dopamine uptake, which results in less stimulation of dopamine nerves. Permethrin exposure caused an increase in DNA fragmentation (DNA damage) and cellular apoptosis (cellular death) (8). These effects can contribute to the cause of Parkinson’s Disease.

What you can do:

Reduce Exposure: Reducing or eliminating exposure to pesticides and herbicides will help reduce levels of these substances’ toxic compounds. You can minimize exposure by eating organic foods, peeling fruits and vegetables when possible, washing fruits and veggies well before eating and using more natural products for pest control in gardens and lawns. 

Specialty Testing: Specialized testing can offer information about your internal picture of pesticides and herbicides. Urine testing will detect metabolites of many pesticides and herbicides. This information will help a medical provider develop a plan to detoxify these damaging substances from the body. 

Pest / termites control services on wood stair in the new house that have termites signs inside it

Pesticide and Herbicide Detoxification: If internal testing reveals pesticides or herbicide metabolites, someone can do a lot to reduce this from the body. Detoxification therapies like sauna, colon hydrotherapy, and IV glutathione can aid the body in processing and eliminating these chemicals. Supplements that support the liver and kidney will also help reduce internal pesticides and herbicides. 

Schedule your Complimentary Consultation 

Solvents: trichloroethylene

Trichloroethylene: Trichloroethylene is widely used as an industrial solvent. Its functions include decaffeinating coffee, degreasing metal parts, and dry cleaning clothes. Trichloroethylene was first linked to a cause of Parkinson’s in 1969. Since then, studies speculate that those with occupational or hobby exposure to Trichloroethylene have a 500% increased risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease. (9) 

What you can do: 

Reduce Exposure: Exposure to Trichloroethylene (TCE) doesn’t only occur with those who work with the chemical. TCE can contaminate groundwater, indoor air, and outdoor air. A good water and air filtration system can help to minimize exposure to TCE. 

Specialty Testing: Specialized testing can detect TCE in the urine for only up to approximately 10 hours after exposure, but its metabolite, trichloroacetate, can be detected for roughly a week after exposure. 

Solvent Detoxification: TCE is metabolized through the liver and kidneys. However, the process of metabolism may encourage cancer growth in both the kidney and liver. (10) Therefore, a priority is protecting the liver and kidneys with any detox plan. 

Schedule your Complimentary Consultation 

Environmental Toxins can be a Cause of Parkinson’s Disease. 

In the past 30 years, the number of people diagnosed with Parkinson’s has doubled and will likely double again by 2040. Although genetic factors do contribute to the cause of Parkinson’s Disease in some patients, the majority of people who develop Parkinson’s disease do not carry any of those genetic mutations. Several environmental toxic chemicals, like heavy metals, mycotoxins, herbicides, pesticides, and solvents, have been linked to Parkinson’s Disease. Given the growth rate of Parkinson’s, it is likely that environmental toxins play a significant role in its cause. 

When toxic chemicals enter the body, they weaken the health of your cells. By causing oxidative damage, altering gene function, damaging mitochondrial function, and inducing neuroinflammation, toxic compounds contribute to the cause of Parkinson’s Disease. At The Parkinson’s Plan, we have walked many patients through environmental detoxification. We have the tools and experience necessary to help you reduce your environmental toxic exposure and help reduce internal toxic substances. 

Schedule your Complimentary Consultation


  1. Pyatha S, Kim H, Lee D, Kim K. Association between Heavy Metal Exposure and Parkinson’s Disease: A Review of the
    Mechanisms Related to Oxidative Stress. Antioxidants (Basel). 2022 Dec 15;11(12):2467. doi:
    10.3390/antiox11122467. PMID: 36552676; PMCID: PMC9774122.
  2. Olanow CW. Manganese-induced parkinsonism and Parkinson’s disease. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2004 Mar;1012:209-23. doi:
    10.1196/annals.1306.018. PMID: 15105268.
  3. Sava V, Reunova O, Velasquez A, Sanchez-Ramos J. Can low level exposure to ochratoxin-A cause parkinsonism? J
    Neurol Sci. 2006 Nov 1;249(1):68-75. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2006.06.006. Epub 2006 Jul 14. PMID: 16844142.
  4. Tong Tong, Weixia Duan, Yudong Xu, Huihui Hong, Jia Xu, Guanyan Fu, Xue Wang, Lingling Yang, Ping Deng, Jingjing
    Zhang, Haotian He, Gaofeng Mao, Yuanqiang Lu, Xiqin Lin, Zhengping Yu, Huifeng Pi, Yong Cheng, Shangcheng Xu,
    Zhou Zhou, Paraquat exposure induces Parkinsonism by altering lipid profile and evoking neuroinflammation in the
    midbrain, Environment International, Volume 169, 2022.
  5. Bloem BR, Boonstra TA. The inadequacy of current pesticide regulations for protecting brain health: the case of
    glyphosate and Parkinson’s disease. The Lancet. 2023;7(12).
  6. Administration UD of VA Veterans Health. | Veterans Affairs.
    Research on Parkinson
  7. He Q, Wang M, Petucci C, Gardell SJ, Han X. Rotenone induces reductive stress and triacylglycerol deposition in
    C2C12 cells. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2013 Dec;45(12):2749-55. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2013.09.011. Epub 2013 Oct
    5. PMID: 24104397; PMCID: PMC3846609.
  8. Elwan MA, Richardson JR, Guillot TS, Caudle WM, Miller GW. Pyrethroid pesticide-induced alterations in dopamine
    transporter function. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2006 Mar 15;211(3):188-97. doi:
  9. Trichloroethylene Toxicity: What Is the Biological Fate of Trichloroethylene in the Body? | Environmental
    Medicine | ATSDR. Published February 9, 2021.
    Biological Fate
  10. Dorsey ER, Zafar M, Lettenberger SE, Pawlik ME, Kinel D, Frissen M, Schneider RB, Kieburtz K, Tanner CM, De
    Miranda BR, Goldman SM, Bloem BR. Trichloroethylene: An Invisible Cause of Parkinson’s Disease? J Parkinsons
    Dis. 2023;13(2):203-218. doi: 10.3233/JPD-225047. PMID: 36938742; PMCID: PMC10041423.
  11. McKnight S, Hack N. Toxin-Induced Parkinsonism. Neurol Clin. 2020 Nov;38(4):853-865. doi:
    10.1016/j.ncl.2020.08.003. Epub 2020 Sep 9. PMID: 33040865.

By: Dr. Darlyn Dragg