A case-control study of occupational and environmental risk factors for Parkinson's disease in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy

Neurotoxicology. 1998 Aug-Oct;19(4-5):709-12.


A questionnaire-based case-control study was carried out on 86 patients with neurologist-confirmed idiopathic Parkinson's disease (PD) and 86 controls similar in sex and age. The control group was recruited in outpatient specialist centers of the same University Hospital (glaucoma, psoriasis vulgaris, essential arterial hypertension and renal diseases). Exposure was defined as occupational or residential contact with a given factor for at least 10 consecutive years prior to the onset of PD. Smoking habits were defined by exclusion of those subjects who never smoked. The following risk factors were identified: cranial trauma (OR: 2.88; 95% CI: 0.98-8.49), well water use (OR: 2.78; 95% CI: 1.46-5.28) and occupational exposure to industrial chemicals (OR: 2.13; 95% CI: 1.16-3.91). Among industrial chemicals, only organic solvents were identified as significant risk factors for PD (O.R. : 2.78, 95% C.I. : 1.23-6.26). Whereas no exposure to neurotoxic metals occurred among controls, making the assessment of the O.R. impossible, exposure pesticides and herbicides was similar in the two groups (O.R. : 1.15; 95% C. : 0.56-2-36). Smoking habits was negatively associated with PD (OR: 0.41; 95% CI: 0.22-0.75), confirming the "protective" role of tobacco smoking suggested by many studies. As a whole, these results support the role of environmental factors in the etiology of PD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chemical Industry*
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology