Parkinson's disease: Evidence for environmental risk factors


  • Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Dr. Kieburtz was a paid consultant to the defendants in the welding rod litigation.

    Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.

Correspondence to: Dr. Karl Kieburtz, Center for Human Experimental Therapeutics, University of Rochester Medical Center, 265 Crittenden Boulevard, CU 420694, Rochester, NY 14642, USA;


Parkinson's disease (PD) has no known cause. Although recent research has focused particularly on genetic causes of PD, environmental causes also play a role in developing the disease. This article reviews environmental factors that may increase the risk of PD, as well as the evidence behind those factors. Enough evidence exists to suggest that age has a causal relationship to PD. Significant evidence exists that gender, tobacco use, and caffeine consumption are also associated with the development of PD. Other environmental factors (pesticide exposure, occupation, blood urate levels, NSAID use, brain injury, and exercise) have limited or conflicting evidence of a relationship to PD. Future research must not neglect the impact of these environmental factors on the development of PD, especially with respect to potential gene-environment interactions. © 2013 Movement Disorder Society