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Pesticide Exposure May Raise Parkinson's Risk, Study Suggests

Farming, country living could play a role, researchers say

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Alan Mozes

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, May 28 (HealthDay News) -- Prolonged exposure to pesticides, bug and weed killers, and solvents appears to raise the risk for developing Parkinson's disease, a new study says.

Italian investigators who reviewed more than 100 prior studies found exposure to such agents boosted Parkinson's disease risk by anywhere from 33 percent to 80 percent, they reported in the May 28 issue of the journal Neurology.

"Due to this association, there was also a link between farming or country living and developing Parkinson's in some of the studies," study leader Dr. Emanuele Cereda, of the IRCCS University Hospital San Matteo Foundation in Pavia, said in a journal news release.

Some studies specifically explored how home or work environment affected disease risk. Where individuals got their water also was the subject of some investigations.

Exposure either to the weed killer paraquat or the fungicides maneb and mancozeb appeared to double the risk for Parkinson's, a progressive movement disorder, the researchers found.

"We didn't study whether the type of exposure, such as whether the compound was inhaled or absorbed through the skin, and the method of application, such as spraying or mixing, affected Parkinson's risk," Cereda said. "However, our study suggests that the risk increases in a dose response manner as the length of exposure to these chemicals increases."

Although the research found a link between certain chemicals and Parkinson's, it didn't prove they actually cause the disorder.

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