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Cancer Incidence in a Cohort of Licensed Pesticide Applicators in Florida

Fleming, Lora E. MD, PhD, MPH, MSc; Bean, Judy A. PhD; Rudolph, Mark MS; Hamilton, Kara MPH

Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine: April 1999 - Volume 41 - Issue 4 - p 279-288
Original Articles

This study is a standardized incidence ratio (SIR) analysis of cancer incidence of licensed pesticide applicators in Florida, compared with that of Florida's general population. Through extensive data linkages, 33,658 applicators were assembled who had 1266 incident cancers and 279,397 person-years from January 1, 1975, to December 31, 1993. Disease risk from ethanol and tobacco use were significantly decreased. Among males, prostate cancer (SIR = 1.91; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.72-2.13) and testicular cancer (SIR = 2.48; 95% CI, 1.57-3.72) were significantly elevated. No confirmed cases of soft tissue sarcoma (STS) were found, and the incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was not increased. There were few female applicators; nevertheless, cervical cancer incidence (SIR = 3.69; 95% CI, 1.84-6.61) was significantly increased, while the incidence of breast cancer was significantly decreased. Cancers that have been associated with estrogen disrupters were found in male, but not female, pesticide applicators. The lack of soft tissue sarcoma is at odds with prior literature associated with the use of phenoxy herbicides.

From the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Fla.

Address correspondence to: Lora E. Fleming, MD, PhD, MPH, MSc, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami School of Medicine, PO Box 016069 (R-669), Miami, FL 33101.

This work was presented in part at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Epidemiology Research (SER) in Chicago, IL, June 24-26, 1997.

© 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.