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Am J Ind Med. 2003 Feb;43(2):227-33.

National Health Interview Survey mortality among US farmers and pesticide applicators.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida 33136, USA.



The mortality experience of pesticide-exposed workers across the US has not been thoroughly studied.


Cox regression mortality analyses adjusted for the complex sample survey design were performed on mortality-linked 1986-1994 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) data.


Nine thousand four hundred seventy-one farmers and pesticide applicators with 571 deaths were compared to 438,228 other US workers with 11,992 deaths. Age-adjusted risk of accidental death, as well as cancers of the nervous and lymphatic/hematopoietic systems, was significantly elevated in male and female pesticide-exposed workers; breast, prostate, and testicular cancer mortality risks were not elevated.


Compared to all other workers, farmers and pesticide applicators were at greater risk of accidental mortality. These pesticide-exposed workers were not at an increased risk of cancers possibly associated with exposure to estrogen analogue compounds, but were at an increased risk of hematopoietic and nervous system cancers. NHIS mortality follow-up represents an important occupational health surveillance instrument.

Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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