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Int J Epidemiol. 1996 Dec;25(6):1117-24.

Cancer incidence among Icelandic pesticide users.

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  • 1Institute of Occupational Medicine, Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine, Beijing, People's Republic of China.



This study was done to examine the cancer risk among pesticide users in Iceland.


We have followed a cohort of 2449 licensed pesticide users, students from a horticultural college, members of a pension fund for market gardeners, horticulturists and vegetable farmers up until the end of 1993 in the Icelandic Cancer Registry of cancer incidence. The observed number of cancers was compared with expected values calculated on the basis of cancer incidence for males and females in Iceland.


The standardized incidence ratio (SIR) for all cancer sites was 0.80. Among females the increased incidence for cancer of lymphatic and haematopoietic tissue was significant (SIR = 5.56, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.12-16.23). The incidence of rectal cancer was three times that expected (SIR = 2.94, 95% CI: 1.07-6.40), and this cancer was even more predominant among the licensed pesticides users (SIR = 4.63, 95% CI: 1.49-10.80). All cancers of the rectum were adenocarcinoma, however, one was adenocarcinoma in villous adenoma and one adenocarcinoma in tubulo-villous adenoma.


The results provide some support for the suggestion that pesticide exposure may lead to cancer of the lymphatic and haematopoietic tissue in females. We suggest that some of the pesticides to which the licensed pesticide users were exposed may lead to rectal cancer.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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