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A recent report in a leading peer reviewed medical journal, Neurology, again concludes that exposure to pesticides and solvents is linked to a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The report evaluates the results of 104 studies from around the world.

Parkinson’s is a progressive degenerative disease that affects a person’s ability to control and coordinate their muscle movement. This deterioration is caused by the gradual reduction in brain levels of dopamine.

The research found that people exposed to bug or weed killers and solvents had an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease of between 33 to 80 percent compared to people who were not exposed to them. PD risk was increased by exposure to any-type of pesticides, herbicides, and solvents. Exposure to paraquat or maneb/mancozeb was associated with about a 2-fold increase in risk. It’s been known for years that these pesticides are associated with higher levels of Parkinson’s, but they are still widely used.

Farmers and those living in rural areas tended to have higher exposure levels to pesticides and herbicides. The greater the exposure, the greater the risk.

The study was funded by the Grigioni Foundation for Parkinson’s Disease and the IRCCS University Hospital San Matteo Foundation. The report, by Emanuele Cereda from the IRCCS University Hospital San Matteo Foundation in Pavia, and Gianni Pezzoli of the Parkinson Institute – ICP in Milan, is published in the 28 May issue of  Neurology.

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