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Pesticide Exposure Associated With Parkinson’s Disease

Last Updated: June 11, 2009.

Pesticide exposure, in particular organochlorine insecticide exposure, is associated with the development of Parkinson's disease among agricultural workers in France, according to a study published online April 13 in the Annals of Neurology.

THURSDAY, June 11 (HealthDay News) -- Pesticide exposure, in particular organochlorine insecticide exposure, is associated with the development of Parkinson's disease among agricultural workers in France, according to a study published online April 13 in the Annals of Neurology.

Alexis Elbaz, M.D, of the Institut de Veille Sanitaire in Saint-Maurice, France, and colleagues analyzed data on 224 agricultural workers with Parkinson's disease and 557 people without the disease who were members of the same health plan. Exposure to pesticides (insecticides, fungicides and herbicides) was assessed for each subject and logistic regression used to analyze the relation between Parkinson's disease and exposure to those three broad categories. Further analysis was carried out for 29 particular pesticide families by chemical classification.

Researchers found a positive association between professional pesticide use and Parkinson's disease (odds ratio, 1.8). For men, the disease risk was associated most with insecticide exposure (odds ratio, 2.2), particularly organochlorine insecticides (odds ratio, 2.4). The authors further note that the pesticide-Parkinson's disease associations were stronger and exhibited a dose-effect relation in men who were older at the time of disease onset.

"Our results lend support to an association between Parkinson's disease and professional pesticide exposure and show that some pesticides (i.e., organochlorine insecticides) may be more particularly involved," the authors write.

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