We studied the role of environment in the development of Parkinson's disease (PD) in China, where industrialization is relatively recent and the population geographically stable. Using a case-control method, we investigated the relationship between PD and exposure to the following factors before disease onset: place of residence, source of drinking water, environmental and occupational exposure to various agricultural and industrial processes. Occupational or residential exposure to industrial chemicals, printing plants, or quarries was associated with an increased risk of developing PD. In contrast, living in villages and exposure to the common accompaniments of village life, wheat growing and pig raising, were associated with a decreased risk for PD. PD cases and controls did not differ with respect to other factors investigated. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that environmental exposure to certain industrial chemicals may be related to the development of PD.