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Exposure to Pesticides and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Canadian Women

Hu, J; Desmeules, M

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000276426.61939.df

Evidence and Risk Assessment Division, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, Public Health Agency of Canada, Canada.


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Exposure to pesticides is recognized as an important environmental factor associated with increased risk of cancer. The study examines the association between exposure to pesticides and the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in Canadian women.

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Material and Methods:

Mailed questionnaires were completed by 789 incidents, histologically confirmed cases of NHL, and 2492 population controls between 1994 and 1997 in 8 Canadian provinces. Measurement included information on socioeconomic status, lifestyle habits, diet, occupation, or nonoccupational exposure to pesticides and years of exposure. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were derived through unconditional logistic regression.

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Exposure to pesticides had an increased risk of NHL. Compared with no exposure to pesticides, the OR was 1.5 (95% CI, 1.1–2.0). ORs increased with increasing exposure in years to pesticides (OR, 1.2 for 1–3 years exposure and 1.5 for >3 years). It was notable that 65% Canadian women exposed to pesticides at home and 30% in both at home and at work. Only 5% women exposed to pesticides at work.

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Case-control and cohort studies have given particular attention to agricultural pesticide use and risk of NHL. Most studies were focused on men. A number of studies reported that occupational exposure to pesticides increased the risk of NHL. We found that nonoccupational exposure to pesticides may play a major role in the etiology of NHL in Canadian women. Our findings add to the evidence that exposure to pesticides increased the risk of NHL.

© 2007 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.