Pesticides and ALS Risk
Be careful if you’ll be gardening this summer. A study in JAMA Neurology indicates that being exposed to pesticides could increase the risk Lou Gehrig’s disease.
The study asked 156 patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and 128 control patients whether they had been exposed to pesticides at different time periods in their lives: “ever exposed,” “exposed in the last 10 years,” “exposed between 10 and 30 years ago,” “exposed more than 30 years ago.”
The New York Times reports that, “Exposure to pesticides at any time was associated with a fivefold increased relative risk for A.L.S. compared to no exposure.”
The study’s senior author warns this is association, not proof of causality. “We found that people with A.L.S. were five times more likely to have been exposed to pesticides, but we don’t want people to conclude that pesticides cause A.L.S.,” says Dr. Eva L. Feldman, a professor of neurology at the University of Michigan.