Parron, T., Requena, M., Hernandez, A. F., & Alarcon, R.; “Association between environmental exposure to pesticides and neurodegenerative diseases;” Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, 2011, 256(3), 379-385; DOI: 10.1016/j.taap.2011.05.006.


Preliminary studies have shown associations between chronic pesticide exposure in occupational settings and neurological disorders. However, data on the effects of long-term non-occupational exposures are too sparse to allow any conclusions. This study examines the influence of environmental pesticide exposure on a number of neuropsychiatric conditions and discusses their underlying pathologic mechanisms. An ecological study was conducted using averaged prevalence rates of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, cerebral degeneration, polyneuropathies, affective psychosis and suicide attempts in selected Andalusian health districts categorized into areas of high and low environmental pesticide exposure based on the number of hectares devoted to intensive agriculture and pesticide sales per capita. A total of 17,429 cases were collected from computerized hospital records (minimum dataset) between 1998 and 2005. Prevalence rates and the risk of having Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and suicide were significantly higher in districts with greater pesticide use as compared to those with lower pesticide use. The multivariate analyses showed that the population living in areas with high pesticide use had an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease and suicide attempts and that males living in these areas had increased risks for polyneuropathies, affective disorders and suicide attempts. In conclusion, this study supports and extends previous findings and provides an indication that environmental exposure to pesticides may affect the human health by increasing the incidence of certain neurological disorders at the level of the general population. FULL TEXT