Pesticides and Parkinson’s: Possible Link Must Be Investigated

Is there a link between the use of occupational pesticides and Parkinson’s disease? That’s what we’d like to know.

People with Parkinson’s disease have been found to have significantly higher blood levels of a particular pesticide than healthy people or those with Alzheimer’s disease, say researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

A study recently published in the Archives of Neurology found a link between use of pesticides in a person’s occupation, such as farming and other agricultural work, and development of Parkinson’s disease. Three chemical compounds were found to be associated with a three-fold increase in risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Researchers said, “Occupational use of pesticides was associated with an almost 80 percent greater risk of parkinsonism. Growing evidence suggests a causal association between pesticide use and parkinsonism.”

In a press release, Dr. Dwight German, senior author of the paper, said “There’s been a link between pesticide use and Parkinson’s disease for a long time, but never a specific pesticide. This is particularly important because the disease is not diagnosed until after significant nerve damage has occurred. A test for this risk factor might allow for early detection and protective treatment.”

Pesticides are widely used across the agricultural sector, putting agricultural workers at increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. This cannot be ignored! More research is needed and we must act now to protect our agricultural workforce.

Please urge President Obama to ask the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to investigate a link between occupational pesticide use and American workers, and to develop new policies to protect workers accordingly.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the central nervous system manifesting primarily by tremor, trembling, rigidity, stiffness, slowness of movement, postural instability, and impaired balance and coordination.

Early symptoms can be subtle, gradually increasing over time. As the disease progresses, people with Parkinson’s may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing simple tasks, taking a physical and emotional toll on the patient and the family. Although it also occurs in younger people, it is usually diagnosed in people over age 50, with an increased frequency in people over age 60.

There are approximately 1.5 million people in the United States with Parkinson’s disease. There is no one specific test for Parkinson’s disease; diagnosis generally comes after a series of tests, elimination of other conditions, clinical history, and neurological examination. Although there are treatment options, there is no cure.

That’s why we need to urge President Obama to ask the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to investigate a link between occupational pesticide use and American workers.

Care2 Action Items

  • Test Your Knowledge of Parkinson’s Disease and get the results: Test #1 and Test #2

Read the full press release from UT Southwestern Medical Center

For more information on Parkinson’s Disease, visit The American Parkinson’s Disease Association

Photo: IRRI images via creative commons


LMj Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

LMj Sunshine
James Merit5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Azel Beckner
Azle B6 years ago

Malathion and Parathion are neurotoxins from the organophosphate group. They are used in some apartments but are not recommended for any place indoors. These may be the pesticides written about in the article. It is not clear what pesticides are causing the problem.

Loesje vB
Loesje Najoan6 years ago

Very terrible...people dying from fruits and vegetables with pesticide.

Rhonda J.
Rhonda J.7 years ago

If you like this article, please sign my petition to improve pest management practices in our school district:

June H.
June Higgins7 years ago

It cannot be stressed enough that we need toxins out of our environment. Diseases that never existed in the 40's and 50's, or were rare, are now seen in epidemic proportions. We know that pesticides are harmful. Yet, they continue to be legal in the US, and banned in other countries. Parkinson's is a horrific disease. I have taken care of many Parkinson's patients who could not even swallow food. We need to stop the use of these toxic chemicals. "If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck." Although our government would probably say that there needs to be a study on this, (at the tax payers expense). We should use the studies performed in other countries. They already have the proof, and our results will be no different. Unfortunately it will cost a million dollars or more) and a million lives (or more) before someone finds out in the US. How sad for the people affected. How sad that this is the way our government operates.

Ann G.
Ann G7 years ago

My grandmother has Parkinson's, and I can tell you that it is no picnic! Her decreased mobility means that at times she must use a wheelchair, and her decreased balance/coordination has caused her to fall- once, she broke her hip. This link needs to be investigated.

Tammy Smith
T Zabel7 years ago


Christine W.
Past Member 7 years ago

There are so many diseases as a result of civilization. Pesticide creators, are most definitely contributors to these horrible diseases. Go natural with your lawn if you have one. I had to fight for a wee meadow, but it was worth it, deer came to feed.

Mary C.
Mary C7 years ago

Let me guess. This means MORE torturing of animals for something we KNOW is harmful.