Does exposure to pesticides, herbicides, or other pollutants increase the risk of developing Parkinson disease (PD)?

Updated: Jan 24, 2019
  • Author: Robert A Hauser, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

A meta-analysis of 89 studies, including 6 prospective and 83 case-control studies, found that exposure to pesticides may increase the risk for PD by as much as 80%. [3, 4] Exposure to the weed killer paraquat or to the fungicides maneb or mancozeb is particularly toxic, increasing the risk for PD about 2-fold. Many of the agents studied are no longer used in the United States and Europe; however, some are still found in developing parts of the world. [3, 4]

In case-control studies, PD was associated with exposure to any type of pesticide, herbicide, insecticide, and solvent, with risks ranging from 33% to 80%. [3, 4] Increased PD risk was also associated with proxy conditions of exposure to organic pollutants, such as farming, well-water drinking, and rural living. In addition, risk seemed to increase with length of exposure. [3, 4]


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