The blowing of the wind provides some of life’s pleasures. Whether it is a breeze on a sunny day or an exciting gale before a storm, we enjoy the stimulation and aliveness of the various winds that clear the air and lift our senses in different ways from day to day. But winds can also carry pesticides and that is a different matter, the very embodiment of the expression “an ill wind that blows no good.” It is hard to imagine that the air we breathe can be a risk to our health. It is unreal to think that a drive in the countryside can provoke nervousness and depression from pesticides carried on the wind. I have had reports from patients, especially those who were unusually sensitive to organophosphate pesticides, such as malathion, diazinon, chlorpyrifos and dursban, to name a few. Measurement of plasma cholinesterase, which is destroyed by these chemicals, provides convincing evidence of low cholinesterase. Pesticides bring it down, too low to control acetylcholine neurotransmitter activity. Out of control acetylcholine overstimulates synapses and thus causes nervousness and a myriad of physical symptoms: tremor, asthma, stomach upset, frequent urination, headache, insomnia, nightmares, temper outbursts—and eventual memory loss.
Read more: Pesticides and You