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Am J Epidemiol. 2004 Feb 15;159(4):373-80.

Cancer incidence among pesticide applicators exposed to alachlor in the Agricultural Health Study.

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Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD 20852, USA.


The authors evaluated the incidence of cancer among pesticide applicators with exposure to alachlor in the Agricultural Health Study, a prospective cohort study of licensed pesticide applicators in Iowa and North Carolina. A total of 49,980 pesticide applicators are included in this analysis; 26,510 applicators (53%) reported use of alachlor on the enrollment questionnaire. Detailed pesticide exposure and other information were obtained from a self-administered questionnaire completed at the time of enrollment (1993-1997). Poisson regression analysis was used to evaluate the exposure-response relations between alachlor and cancer incidence controlled for the effects of potential confounding factors. A total of 1,466 incident malignant neoplasms were diagnosed during the study period, 1993-2000. Among alachlor-exposed applicators, the authors found a significant increasing trend for incidence of all lymphohematopoietic cancers associated with lifetime exposure-days (p for trend = 0.02) and intensity-weighted exposure-days (p for trend = 0.03) to alachlor. The risks of leukemia (rate ratio = 2.83, 95% confidence interval: 0.74, 10.9) and multiple myeloma (rate ratio = 5.66, 95% confidence interval: 0.70, 45.7) were increased among applicators in the highest alachlor exposure category. Our findings suggest a possible association between alachlor application and incidence of lymphohematopoietic cancers among applicators in the Agricultural Health Study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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