Does paraquat cause Parkinson’s disease? An academic review of reviews says ‘no’

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Credit: Shutterstock
Credit: Shutterstock

To examine the extent to which a consensus exists in the scientific community regarding the relationship between exposure to paraquat and Parkinson’s disease, a critical review of reviews was undertaken focusing on reviews published between 2006 and the present that offered opinions on the issue of causation. 

Systematic searches were undertaken of scientific databases along with searches of published bibliographies to identify English language reviews on the topic of paraquat and Parkinson’s disease including those on the broader topic of environmental and occupational risk factors for Parkinson’s disease. 

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Of the 269 publications identified in the searches, there were twelve reviews, some with meta-analyses, that met the inclusion criteria. Information on methods used by the reviewers, if any, and source of funding was collected; the quality of the reviews was considered.

No author of any published review stated that it has been established that exposure to paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease, regardless of methods used and independent of funding source. 

A consensus exists in the scientific community that the available evidence does not warrant a claim that paraquat causes Parkinson’s disease. 

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Related article:  Viewpoint: Meta-review of 266 studies concludes weedkiller paraquat doesn’t cause Parkinson’s disease
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