Objectives Previous research has indicated that occupational exposure to pesticides and possibly airborne endotoxin may increase the risk of developing Parkinson disease (PD). We studied the associations of PD with occupational exposure to pesticides, specifically to the functional subclasses insecticides, herbicides and fungicides, and to airborne endotoxin. In addition we evaluated specific pesticides (active ingredients) previously associated with PD.
Methods We used data from a hospital-based case-control study, including 444 patients with PD and 876 age and sex matched controls. Exposures to pesticides from application and re-entry work were estimated with the ALOHA+job-exposure matrix and with an exposure algorithm based on self-reported information on pesticide use. To assess exposure to specific active ingredients a crop-exposure matrix was developed. Endotoxin exposure was estimated with the DOM job-exposure matrix.
Results The results showed almost no significant associations. However, ORs were elevated in the higher exposure categories for pesticides in general, insecticides, herbicides and fungicides, and below unity for endotoxin exposure. The analyses on specific active ingredients showed a significant association of PD risk with the fungicide benomyl.
Conclusions This study did not provide evidence for a relation between pesticide exposure and PD. However, the consistently elevated ORs in the higher exposure categories suggest that a positive association may exist. The possible association with the active ingredient benomyl requires follow-up in other studies. This study did not provide support for a possible association between endotoxin exposure and PD.