Is DDT an organochlorine

Parkinson's after pesticide use

Farmers who use pesticides are at twice as high a risk of developing Parkinson's as their colleagues who do not use such chemical clubs. With this result, the team from Inserm, the state institute for health research and from the University of Pierre and Marie Curie underpins the results of previous epidemiological studies. However, they did not investigate the relationship between cause and effect. A void that the French survey now fills. Alexis Elbaz, neuroepidemiologist at Inserm, led the study:

"Our work confirms that there is a link between Parkinson's disease and occupational exposure to pesticides. That the risk increases with the number of years that exposure has taken and the amount of pesticide someone has been exposed to In other words, the more long-term exposure to pesticides, the greater the risk of developing Parkinson's. "

224 farmers with Parkinson's disease participated in the study. And 557 colleagues without Parkinson's syndrome. In extensive interviews on the farms, it was determined in detail whether and, if so, which pesticides they used, for how long, how often, in what quantities. The products were divided into three groups: insecticides, herbicides and fungicides. Previous studies had not yet determined whether a family of pesticides specifically increases the risk of Parkinson's, says Alexis Elbaz:

"In the men we studied who deal with pesticides at work, it was mainly insecticides, especially from the family of organochlorine compounds, that increase the risk of Parkinson's."

The family of organochlorine compounds includes, for example, DDT or lindane. Both products that are now banned for use in agriculture. DDT worldwide, as enshrined in the Stockholm Convention 2004; Lindane, at least in the northern hemisphere. In Germany, the use of lindane in the fight against head lice was banned last December. However, farmers in the southern hemisphere continue to spray DDT on their fields, illegally. And the World Health Authority is again relying on this product to fight malaria. These products are characterized by a long half-life in the environment. The French researchers studied people who had massive occupational exposure to pesticides. They were not able to determine a threshold value for the amount of pesticides above which the risk of Parkinson's disease increases. The fact that the insecticides from the family of organochlorine compounds appear to be the most risky, the researchers attribute in part to the fact that these products were used most frequently. They do not want to rule out the possibility that other pesticides may increase the risk of Parkinson's disease. Elbaz:

"However, the scientific results that we have at our disposal do not allow us to make any statements about the effects of contact with lower levels of pesticides, such as those in the environment or in food. This requires further studies."

The researchers recommend farmers who use pesticides: Training, protective clothing and careful handling.