Neurotoxicity

Many different chemicals can have negative effects on the nervous system. These effects are very varied and can include anything from dizziness and nausea, to narcosis, memory loss, irritability, lack of coordination, to changes which can cause the degeneration of the nervous system e.g. Parkinson’s disease.

The vast list of chemicals which can have adverse effects on the nervous system includes: formaldehyde, benzene, ethylene glycol, pyrethroids, lead, xylene, styrene, toluene, mercury, cadmium, PCBs, acetone, acetonitrile, acrylamide, aliphatic hydrocarbons, alkanols, aluminium, ammonium, aniline, aromatic hydrocarbons, butanol, butyl acetate, carbon tetrachloride, chromium oxides, chlorobenzene, chlordane, O-dichlorobenzene, DDT, diphenylamine, ethanol, glycerol, hexane, polybromides, pine oil, trichlorobenzene, trichloroethylene, vinyl chloride etc.

One proven effect, peripheral neuropathia, has been linked to chemicals such as acrylamide, arsenic, carbamates, ethylene oxide, phenvalerate, lead, mercury, methyl n-butyl ketone, n-hexane, pyrethrins or pyrethroids, organophosphates, 1,1-dichloroethane, maneb, ditiocarbamates, manganese, PCBs, pesticides, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, benzene, cadmium, dioxins, methylene chloride, solvents, styrene, toluene, tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, xylene, triethylin etc.

Research into the effects of the majority of these toxins has been conducted in a work environment; however, exposure to many of them can also occur in the home.

Many scientific studies which have associated Parkinson’s disease with pesticides have referred mainly to pesticide sprayers, farmers etc. However, as many of the toxins used in agriculture can be found in the food we eat, some research also links the disease to an exposure to pesticides in the home.  

According to scientific research, there are other substances in our homes which we may be exposed to e.g. in the food and water we consume. This is the case for PCBs and trichloroethylene. Trichloroethylene, although it has been linked to this disease from chemical exposure at work, it is also used in household products such as stain removers, dry cleaning products, correction fluid, metal cleaners, degreasing products and carpet cleaners.

Chemicals associated with Parkinson’s disease include: manganese, pesticides, aluminium, lead, mancoceb, maneb, n-hexane, organophosphates, PCBs, pyrethrins and pyrethroids, and rotenone.

It is also worth noting the less obvious, yet equally as important, effects which other chemicals listed on this website can have on the nervous system, for example, regarding the effects of chemical exposure during pregnancy.