AMATEUR gardeners are at an increased risk of developing Parkinson's disease as a result of exposure to pesticides, a new study has shown.
Researchers who studied almost 1,000 people in five European countries, including Scotland, found the risk of developing the disease increased according to the level of exposure.
Those who had been exposed to low levels of pesticides - such as gardeners - were found to be 1.13 times as likely to have Parkinson's, compared with those who had never been exposed. Professionals, exposed to high levels - such as farmers - were 1.41 times as likely to be affected.
Previous studies have already pinpointed a potential link between the use of pesticides and Parkinson's. But the new study has shown for the first time that the risk of developing the neurodegenerative disease increases according to the level of exposure.
Dr Finlay Dick, a senior lecturer in the department of environmental and occupational medicine at Aberdeen University Medical School, which carried out the research, said the findings were based on a study of 959 people suffering from parkinsonism, including Parkinson's disease, and 1,989 controls in five European countries. "We have been able to show that the higher the exposure, the greater the risk," Dr Dick said.
He said the figures equated to a 9 per cent higher risk factor for low-level exposure and a 39 per cent increased risk for higher exposures.
Source - Scotsman