Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Occupational Exposure to Pesticides and the Incidence of Lung Cancer in the Agricultural Health Study

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Occupational Exposure to Pesticides and the Incidence of Lung Cancer in the Agricultural Health Study

Article excerpt

Introduction

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related death in the United States (American Cancer Society 2017) and in the world (Torre et al. 2015). Lung cancer mortality and incidence is lower among farmers in the United States than among the general population (Blair et al. 1993; Blair and Freeman 2009) potentially because of the low prevalence of smoking among U.S. farmers (Alavanja et al. 2004; Blair et al. 1992). Nonetheless, increased lung cancer mortality among licensed pesticide applicators has been reported (Barthel 1981; Becher et al. 1996; Blair et al. 1983; MacMahon et al. 1988; Pesatori et al. 1994), raising the possibility that exposure to certain pesticides may increase the risk of lung cancer among farmers. Only a few epidemiologic studies have assessed exposure to specific pesticides (Austin et al. 1989; MacMahon et al. 1988; Pesatori et al. 1994). MacMahon et al. (1988) reported a slight increase in the lung cancer standardized mortality ratio (SMR) [SMR = 135; 90% confidence interval (CI): 114, 158] among pesticide applicators and termite control operators exposed to chlordane and heptachlor. Blair et al. (1983) also observed an excess of lung cancer among termite and other structural pest-control applicators. Using banked serum samples from 919 residents of Charleston, South Carolina, Austin et al. (1989) did not find an association between serum DDT levels and respiratory cancer mortality among 19 cases. In a small, nested case-control study of structural pesticide workers in Florida, Pesatori et al. (1994) observed suggestive positive associations for diazinon [odds ratio (OR) = 2.0; 95% CI: 0.7, 5.5], carbaryl (OR = 4.2; 95% CI: 0.6, 27.2), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) (OR = 2.6; 95% CI: 0.5, 14.3), and propoxur (OR = 12.4; 95% CI: 1.05, 100.3); no associations were observed for malathion, chlorpyrifos, parathion, or chlordane. We previously reported positive associations between select pesticides and the occurrence of lung cancer in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) (Alavanja et al. 2004). Of the 50 pesticides evaluated, 7 (dicamba, metolachlor, pendimethalin, carbofuran, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and dieldrin) showed some evidence of positive associations with lung cancer incidence. Pesticide-specific analyses of diazinon (Jones et al. 2015) and metolachlor (Silver et al. 2015) that evaluated lung cancer risk, among other cancer sites, have recently been published from the AHS. Jones et al. (2015) reported increased lung cancer incidence among male pesticide applicators with the highest exposure category of lifetime days of diazinon use [rate ratio (RR) = 1.60; 95% CI: 1.11, 2.31; [P.sub.trend] = 0.02] as well as with i ntensity-weighted lifetime days of diazinon use (RR=1.41; 95% CI: 0.98, 2.04; ptrend = 0.08). Silver et al. (2015) found no association with either lifetime days or i ntensity-weighted lifetime days of metolachlor use.

Herein, we have used the AHS to investigate associations between lifetime use of 43 pesticides and the incidence of lung cancer with an additional 414 lung cancer cases and 10 years of follow-up beyond an earlier evaluation (Alavanja et al. 2004) and with updated information regarding more recent pesticide use and cigarette smoking status.

Methods and Materials

The AHS has been described previously (Alavanja et al. 1996). Briefly, we enrolled 57,310 restricted-use pesticide applicators residing in Iowa [commercial and private (farmer) = 36,792] and North Carolina (private applicators = 20,518) between 1993 and 1997 (AHS data release: P1REL201209.00, P2201209.00, and AHSREL201304.01). Vital status through 31 December 2011 was ascertained via linkage with state mortality files and the National Death Index. First primary, incident lung cancer cases that occurred between enrollment and 31 December 2010 in North Carolina and 31 December 2011 in Iowa were identified via linkage with the Iowa and North Carolina state cancer registries. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.