A study involving 614 middle-aged vineyard workers has found that those who were exposed to pesticides were five times as likely to perform more poorly on cognitive tests compared to those not exposed, and twice as likely to show cognitive decline over a two-year period.
Participants were in their 40s and 50s and had worked for at least 20 years in the agricultural sector. One in five had never been exposed to pesticides as part of their job; over half had been directly exposed, and the remainder had been possibly or certainly indirectly exposed. Educational level, age, sex, alcohol consumption, smoking, psychotropic drug use and depressive symptoms were taken into account.
(2011). Neurobehavioral effects of long-term exposure to pesticides: results from the 4-year follow-up of the PHYTONER Study.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 68(2), 108 - 115.