Household organophosphorus pesticide use and Parkinson's disease

Int J Epidemiol. 2013 Oct;42(5):1476-85. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyt170. Epub 2013 Sep 20.


Background: Household pesticide use is widespread in the USA. Since the 1970s, organophosphorus chemicals (OPs) have been common active ingredients in these products. Parkinson's disease (PD) has been linked to pesticide exposures but little is known about the contributions of chronic exposures to household pesticides. Here we investigate whether long-term use of household pesticides, especially those containing OPs, increases the odds of PD.

Methods: In a population-based case-control study, we assessed frequency of household pesticide use for 357 cases and 807 controls, relying on the California Department of Pesticide Regulation product label database to identify ingredients in reported household pesticide products and the Pesticide Action Network pesticide database of chemical ingredients. Using logistic regression we estimated the effects of household pesticide use.

Results: Frequent use of any household pesticide increased the odds of PD by 47% [odds ratio (OR)=1.47, (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.13, 1.92)]; frequent use of products containing OPs increased the odds of PD more strongly by 71% [OR=1.71, (95% CI: 1.21, 2.41)] and frequent organothiophosphate use almost doubled the odds of PD. Sensitivity analyses showed that estimated effects were independent of other pesticide exposures (ambient and occupational) and the largest odds ratios were estimated for frequent OP users who were carriers of the 192QQ paraoxonase genetic variant related to slower detoxification of OPs.

Conclusions: We provide evidence that household use of OP pesticides is associated with an increased risk of developing PD.

Keywords: California; Environmental exposures; Parkinson’s disease; United States; household pesticide use; organophosphorus pesticides; paraoxonase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aryldialkylphosphatase / genetics
  • California / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Household Products / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / metabolism
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / toxicity*
  • Organothiophosphates / metabolism
  • Organothiophosphates / toxicity
  • Parkinson Disease, Secondary / chemically induced*
  • Parkinson Disease, Secondary / epidemiology
  • Parkinson Disease, Secondary / genetics
  • Pesticides / metabolism
  • Pesticides / toxicity*
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population / statistics & numerical data


  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Organothiophosphates
  • Pesticides
  • Aryldialkylphosphatase
  • PON1 protein, human