Occupational pesticide use and Parkinson's disease in the Parkinson Environment Gene (PEG) study

Environ Int. 2017 Oct;107:266-273. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2017.04.010. Epub 2017 Aug 2.


Objective: To study the influence of occupational pesticide use on Parkinson's disease (PD) in a population with information on various occupational, residential, and household sources of pesticide exposure.

Methods: In a population-based case control study in Central California, we used structured interviews to collect occupational history details including pesticide use in jobs, duration of use, product names, and personal protective equipment use from 360 PD cases and 827 controls. We linked reported products to California's pesticide product label database and identified pesticide active ingredients and occupational use by chemical class including fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides. Employing unconditional logistic regression, we estimated odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals for PD and occupational pesticide use.

Results: Ever occupational use of carbamates increased risk of PD by 455%, while organophosphorus (OP) and organochlorine (OC) pesticide use doubled risk. PD risk increased 110-211% with ever occupational use of fungicides, herbicides, and insecticides. Using any pesticide occupationally for >10years doubled the risk of PD compared with no occupational pesticide use. Surprisingly, we estimated higher risks among those reporting use of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Conclusions: Our findings provide additional evidence that occupational pesticide exposures increase PD risk. This was the case even after controlling for other sources of pesticide exposure. Specifically, risk increased with occupational use of carbamates, OPs, and OCs, as well as of fungicides, herbicides, or insecticides. Interestingly, some types of PPE use may not provide adequate protection during pesticide applications.

Keywords: Case control study; Occupational pesticide use; Parkinson's disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • California / epidemiology
  • Carbamates / adverse effects
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Fungicides, Industrial / adverse effects*
  • Herbicides / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / adverse effects
  • Insecticides / adverse effects*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / adverse effects
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult


  • Carbamates
  • Fungicides, Industrial
  • Herbicides
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Insecticides
  • Organophosphorus Compounds