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Pesticides and Parkinson's 'linked'

30th May 2007

Exposure to pesticides may increase the risk of contracting Parkinson's, a study has revealed.

Researchers at Aberdeen University found that high levels of exposure to pesticides increased the risk of developing the disease by 39 per cent.

Low level exposure also raised the risk by nine per cent.

The study, which was reported in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, interviewed 959 people with Parkinson's and other similar conditions.

Individuals answered questions on their lifetime occupational and recreational exposure to pesticides, as well as to a variety of substances including solvents, iron, copper and manganese.

Dr Finlay Dick, the lead researcher, said: "What we have shown in the study is that with increasing risk to exposure to pesticides, the risk of Parkinson's disease increases.

"This doesn't prove that pesticides cause Parkinson's disease - but does add to the weight of evidence of an association," he added.

Symptoms of Parkinson's include unsteadiness and tremor in the hands or arms, as well as problems with speech or movement.

One in five hundred develop the disease, which is incurable.