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Use of Agricultural Pesticides and Lung Cancer Risk in the Agricultural Health Study Cohort

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Abstract: We examined the relationship between 45 common agricultural pesticides and lung cancer incidence in a prospective cohort study of 52,395 private pesticide applicators, 4,916 commercial pesticide applicators and 32,347 spouses of farmer applicators from Iowa and North Carolina with no prior history of lung cancer. Data were collected by means of self-administered questionnaires completed at enrollment (1993-1997). Cancer incidence was determined through population-based cancer registries from enrollment through December 31,2001. A lung cancer standardized incidence ratio (SIR) was computed for the applicator cohort and the spouse cohort separately. Odds Ratios were computed for individual pesticides. A lung cancer SIR, 0.46 (95% CI, 0.40-0.52) and 0.59(95% CI, 0.28-1.09) was observed for the AHS private applicators and commercial applicator cohorts respectively. A lung cancer SIR, 0.36 (95% CI, 0.25-0.53) was observed for spouse of private applicators. This significantly lower risk of lung cancer was due to an extremely low cigarette smoking prevalence in the cohort. Several pesticides showed a significantly increased risk of lung cancer with increasing use of the pesticides and this excess could not be explained by the age of the applicator, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, diets low in vegetable consumption, previous non-malignant lung disease, diesel exhaust, educational level, a family history of lung cancer, or state of residence. Non-farm jobs associated with the use of asbestos and lead were also observed to be associated with an increased risk of lung cancer. Age, cigarette smoking, diets low in vegetable consumption, previous non-malignant lung disease, diesel exhaust, not completing high school, or living in the state of North Carolina were all associated with a significant excess risk of lung cancer.

Although this work was reviewed by EPA and approved for publication, it may not necessarily reflect official Agency policy.
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Citation:Alavanja, M., M. Dosemeci, C. Samanic, J. H. Lubin, C. Lynch, C. Knott, J. Barker, J. A. Hoppin, D. P. Sandler, J. Coble, K. W. Thomas, and A. Blair. Use of Agricultural Pesticides and Lung Cancer Risk in the Agricultural Health Study Cohort. Presented at AHS National Advisory Panel Meeting, Baltimore, MD, February 26-27, 2004.
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Contact: Liz Hope - (919) 541-2785 or hope.elizabeth@epa.gov
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Division: Human Exposure & Atmospheric Sciences Division
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Branch: Exposure Measurements & Analysis Branch
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Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
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Presented: 02/20/2004
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Last Updated on Monday, October 22, 2007
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