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Hodgkin Lymphoma, Multiple Myeloma, Soft Tissue Sarcomas, Insect Repellents, and Phenoxyherbicides

Pahwa, Punam PhD; McDuffie, Helen H. PhD; Dosman, James A. MD; McLaughlin, John R. PhD; Spinelli, John J. PhD; Robson, Diane; Fincham, Shirley PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: March 2006 - Volume 48 - Issue 3 - p 264-274
doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000183539.20100.06
Original Articles

Objective: The objective of this study was to determine if there is an additional risk of developing Hodgkin lymphoma, multiple myeloma, or soft tissue sarcoma as a consequence of exposure to a combination of phenoxyherbicides, rubber gloves, DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), and sunlight compared with each of the individual chemicals.

Methods: This was a population-based study of men with specific cancers and age, province-matched control subjects.

Results: No additional risk from these combinations of exposures of developing these three types of tumor was found in contrast to non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Conclusions: The mechanisms by which phenoxyherbicides contribute to the risk of multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma may be different.

From the Institute of Agricultural Rural and Environmental Health (Dr Pahwa, Dr McDuffie, Dr Dosman), University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan, Canada; Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute (Dr McLaughlin), University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada; Cancer Control Research (Dr Spinelli), British Columbia Cancer Agency, British Columbia, Canada; retired, formerly Saskatchewan Cancer Agency (Ms Robson), Saskatchewan, Canada; and retired, formerly Division of Epidemiology, Prevention and Screening (Dr Fincham), Alberta Cancer Agency, Alberta, Canada.

Address correspondence to: Helen H. McDuffie, PhD, Institute of Agricultural Rural and Environmental Health, 103 Hospital Drive, P.O. Box 120, R.U.H., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan S7N 0W8, Canada; E-mail:

Copyright © 2006 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine