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Mortality and tumour morbidity among Swedish market gardeners and orchardists.

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  • 1Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.


In order to investigate possible effects of exposure to pesticides, mainly fungicides and insecticides, we studied a cohort of 2370 subjects, who, during the period 1965-1982, had been members of a horticulturists' trade association (market gardeners and orchardists). Compared to a regional reference population, total mortality (542 deaths; standardized mortality morbidity ratio, SMR = 0.8; 95% confidence limits, CLs = 0.7, 0.9) and mortality due to malignant tumours (133 deaths, SMR = 0.9; CLs = 0.7, 1.0), and cardiovascular and respiratory deaths were somewhat decreased. Suggestive excesses in mortality were seen for mental disorders and tumours of the stomach, skin and nervous system. The tumours of the nervous system were in particular excess in the young and middle-aged horticulturists (below age 60; six cases, SMR = 2.9; CLs = 1.1, 6.2). During the period 1965-1986, the total tumour morbidity was slightly decreased (255 cases; SMR = 0.9; CLs = 0.8, 1.0), as were gastrointestinal and respiratory tract tumours. The incidence of melanomas was increased (15 cases, SMR = 2.1; CLs = 1.2, 3.5), and tumours of the female genital organs, myelomas, and brain tumours (12 cases, SMR = 1.5; CLs = 0.8, 2.7) were slightly numerically elevated. Brain tumours in the young and middle-aged horticulturists (11 cases, SMR = 3.2; CLs = 1.6, 5.7), including meningiomas (four observed, SMR = 6.8; CLs = 1.9, 17.4), were increased, especially in the period 1975-1979. The mortality and tumour morbidity patterns in gardeners and orchardists, analysed separately, were similar to the patterns in all the horticulturists.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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