Daily News Archive
June 19, 2006
Finds That Pesticide Use Increases Risk of Parkinson's in Men
(Beyond Pesticides, June 19, 2006) Mayo Clinic researchers
have found that using pesticides for farming or other purposes increases
the risk of developing Parkinson's disease for men. Pesticide exposure
did not increase the risk of Parkinson's in women, and no other household
or industrial chemicals were significantly linked to the disease in
either men or women. Findings will be published in the June issue of
the journal Movement
"This confirms what has been found in previous studies: that occupational
or other exposure to herbicides, insecticides and other pesticides increases
risk for Parkinson's," says Jim Maraganore, M.D., Mayo Clinic neurologist
and study investigator. "What we think may be happening is that
pesticide use combines with other risk factors in men's environment
or genetic makeup, causing them to cross over the threshold into developing
the disease. By contrast, estrogen may protect women from the toxic
effects of pesticides."
The investigators identified all those in Olmsted County, Minn., home
of Mayo Clinic, who had developed Parkinson's disease between 1976 and
1995. Each person with Parkinson's disease was matched for comparison
to someone similar in age and gender who did not have the disease. The
researchers conducted telephone interviews with 149 of those with Parkinson's
and 129 of those who did not have the disease, or a proxy for these
people, to assess exposure to chemical products via farming occupation,
non-farming occupation or hobbies. The investigators were unable to
determine through these interviews the exact exposure levels of these
individuals or the cumulative lifetime exposure to pesticides.
Overall, the study found that the men with Parkinson's were 2.4 times
more likely to have had exposure to pesticides than those who did not
have Parkinson's. Women who had Parkinson's, on the other hand, had
a far lower frequency of exposure to pesticides than men with the disease.
According to the Mayo Clinic, this study was undertaken due to conflicting
results from previous studies of pesticides and other chemical products
and risk for Parkinson's. Funding for the study came from two grants
from the National Institutes of Health.
Parkinson's disease is a common neurological disorder that can occur
randomly or as the result of inherited gene mutations. Numerous past
studies have found connections between Parkinson’s disease and
pesticides and other environmental toxins, but this study is the first
to explain how genetic factors affect the connection. Read more about
the evidence for pesticide’s link to Parkinson’s in Beyond
Pesticides Daily News archives.
ACTION: Write to U.S.EPA Acting Administrator Stephen
Johnson to let him know that they have a duty to alert the public
to the scientific findings (laboratory and epidemiologic) that link
pesticides with Parkinson's disease. In addition, urge these EPA officials
to initiate an urgent and expedited review of pesticides' link to Parkinson's.