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Pesticide Exposure May Be Potential Risk Factor for Developing ALS

Posted on May 11, 2016 by Disability Help Group

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive disease that causes a slow loss of voluntary muscle control. This condition, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, affects an estimated 12,000 people in the United States. About five to 10 percent of these cases are hereditary while the remaining 90-95 percent have no clear cause.

Scientists at the University of Michigan have a new focus for further study on external causes of ALS. A recent study, published in JAMA Neurology, found exposure to pesticides, either at home or in the workplace, could increase the lifetime risk of ALS. In the study, researchers took full assessments of 101 patients with ALS and 110 patients without ALS. The data collected included occupational and residential pesticide exposure and blood samples screened for pollutants.

After assessing the sample data, researchers found the patients with ALS had a higher presence of pesticides in their blood samples and admitted high levels of pesticide exposure in their residential or occupational environments. The most prevalent pesticide type in the test was Organochlorine Pesticides (OCPs). OCPs include DDT, a pesticide the United States banned in 1972.

This study is only a basic look at the mechanisms that cause the disease to develop. Researchers note they still have much work to do before they can release a valid conclusion and warn against pesticide exposure.

ALS Meets Compassionate Allowance Standards

Lou Gehrig’s disease is one of several progressive and fatal diseases that automatically qualify a person for Social Security disability benefits. You can expedite your benefits application through the Compassionate Allowances program. This means that your benefits application merely has to show a diagnosis confirming the fatal disease to be automatically approved.  

Contact the Disability Help Group at 800-800-2009 to schedule a consultation with one of our disability advocates.