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Parkinson’s and Pesticides

The development of Parkinson’s disease is the result of an interaction between individual genetic susceptibility and environmental factors. For nearly 40 years, research has documented the association between pesticide exposure and the development of the disease, particularly in farmers.

First victory in March 2021, the Quebec government finally recognized Parkinson’s disease as an occupational disease, thus recognizing the harm caused to people exposed to pesticides who developed Parkinson’s disease.

The government could go even further in its solidarity with those who, sometimes at the expense of their health, feed us and maintain our land. Following the example of France, it could develop a compensation fund for all victims who have not contributed to a protection plan due to a lack of information on the dangerous nature of these products.

Today, there are 25,000 people with Parkinson’s disease in Quebec. This number is estimated to double by 2040, as in all countries who practice industrialized agriculture.

From 2000 to 2019, no less than 8 meta-analyses concluded that pesticide exposure nearly doubles the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Occupational exposure doubles to triples the risk of developing the disease. In Quebec, pesticide applicators and grain producers are particularly at risk. Personal protective equipment, while effective against acute reactions, does not limit the risk of disease.

Farmers are not the only ones concerned. Exposure in the home is sometimes higher than occupational exposure, but it is not subject to any regulations. Thirty days of lifetime exposure to herbicides in the home multiplies the risk by 1.7. Residential exposure within 500 meters of a site that uses a combination of rotenone, maneb, and ziram almost doubles this risk.

Children are especially at risk

Pesticide exposures during the neurodevelopmental phases (fetus, childhood and adolescence) contribute to the development of Parkinson’s disease by damaging the dopaminergic system and increasing its sensitivity to subsequent exposures. Exposure during childhood increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease by up to 6 times.

Parkinson’s disease has been recognized as an occupational disease in France since 2012 and in Sweden since 2017. Quebec has become the third territory to apply this recognition. This is a great victory, but the fight does not end there.

Glyphosate-based pesticides

Glyphosate-based pesticides, including Roundup, are the best-selling pesticides in the world and in Quebec. They have become the symbol of our dependence on pesticides. More than glyphosate, it is our entire dependence on pesticides that we condemn.

It is urgent to act, both for our farmers and for biodiversity.

Since 1992, the Quebec government has been aiming to reduce the use of pesticides and their impacts, but has not taken the necessary actions to achieve this. Thirty years later, in the face of successive failures and after the evidence of simple, effective and inexpensive solutions that were agreed upon during the 2019 parliamentary commission on pesticides, it is time to take action.
Vigilance OGM is launching the #sortirduglyphosate campaign to put pressure on the different levels of government that are able to act.

To convince them, we need your mobilization: sign the petition and participate in future calls to action that the campaign will propose.

If you are concerned by this cause, whether you are a farmer or not, you can join our citizen mobilization for the cause by contacting us at

Press release in PDF format: click here
Read the report on pesticides (available in french only) : click here

Make a donation

Want to reach out to people in Quebec affected by Parkinson’s disease?
Make a donation to our organization today.

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