Occupational exposures and parkinsonism among Shanghai women textile workers

Harvey Checkoway, Sindana Ilango, Wenjin Li, Roberta M. Ray, Caroline M. Tanner, Shu Ching Hu, Xin Wang, Susan Nielsen, Dao L. Gao, David B. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Endotoxin, a contaminant of cotton dust, is an experimental model for parkinsonism (PS). Methods: We investigated associations between exposures to endotoxin, solvents, magnetic fields, and night shift work, and neurologist-determined PS among Shanghai women textile workers, including 537 retired cotton factory workers ages ≥50 years and an age-matched reference group of 286 retired textile workers not exposed to cotton dust. Repeat exams were conducted 2.5 years after enrollment among 467 cotton workers and 229 reference workers. Results: We identified 39 prevalent PS cases and 784 non-cases. No consistent or statistically significant associations were observed for endotoxin, solvents, magnetic fields, or shift work with PS risk, severity, or progression. Conclusions: Despite the null findings, additional studies of endotoxin exposure and risk of PS in other well-characterized occupational cohorts are warranted in view of toxicological evidence that endotoxin is a pathogenic agent and its widespread occurrence in multiple industries worldwide.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)886-892
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018


  • endotoxin
  • magnetic fields
  • parkinsonism
  • shift work
  • textile industry


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