Occupational exposures and Parkinson's disease mortality in a prospective Dutch cohort

Occup Environ Med. 2015 Jun;72(6):448-55. doi: 10.1136/oemed-2014-102209. Epub 2015 Feb 23.


Objectives: We investigated the association between six occupational exposures (ie, pesticides, solvents, metals, diesel motor emissions (DME), extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) and electric shocks) and Parkinson's disease (PD) mortality in a large population-based prospective cohort study.

Methods: The Netherlands Cohort Study on diet and cancer enrolled 58,279 men and 62,573 women aged 55-69 years in 1986. Participants were followed up for cause-specific mortality over 17.3 years, until December 2003, resulting in 402 male and 207 female PD deaths. Following a case-cohort design, a subcohort of 5,000 participants was randomly sampled from the complete cohort. Information on occupational history and potential confounders was collected at baseline. Job-exposure matrices were applied to assign occupational exposures. Associations with PD mortality were evaluated using Cox regression.

Results: Among men, elevated HRs were observed for exposure to pesticides (eg, ever high exposed, HR 1.27, 95% CI 0.86 to 1.88) and ever high exposed to ELF-MF (HR 1.54, 95% CI 1.00 to 2.36). No association with exposure duration or trend in cumulative exposure was observed for any of the occupational exposures. Results among women were unstable due to small numbers of high-exposed women.

Conclusions: Associations with PD mortality were observed for occupational exposure to pesticides and ELF-MF. However, the weight given to these findings is limited by the absence of a monotonic trend with either duration or cumulative exposure. No associations were found between PD mortality and occupational exposure to solvents, metals, DME or electric shocks.

Keywords: Occupational exposure; Parkinson's Disease; Prospective cohort study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Electricity / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Fields / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Metals / toxicity
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Parkinson Disease / etiology
  • Parkinson Disease / mortality*
  • Pesticides / toxicity
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Vehicle Emissions / toxicity


  • Metals
  • Pesticides
  • Vehicle Emissions