Agricultural use of organophosphate pesticides and the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among male farmers (United States)

Cancer Causes Control. 2001 Aug;12(6):509-17. doi: 10.1023/a:1011293208949.


Objective: Data from three population-based case-control studies conducted in Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota were pooled to evaluate the relationship between the use of organophosphate pesticides and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) among white male farmers.

Methods: The data set included 748 cases of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and 2236 population-based controls. Telephone or in-person interviews were utilized to obtain information on the use of pesticides. Odds ratios (OR) adjusted for age, state of residence, and respondent status, as well as other pesticide use where appropriate, were estimated by logistic regression.

Results: Use of organophosphate pesticides was associated with a statistically significant 50% increased risk of NHL, but direct interviews showed a significantly lower risk (OR = 1.2) than proxy interviews (OR = 3.0). Among direct interviews the risk of small lymphocytic lymphoma increased with diazinon use (OR = 2.8), after adjustment for other pesticide exposures.

Conclusions: Although we found associations between the risk of NHL and several groupings and specific organophosphate pesticides, larger risks from proxy respondents complicate interpretation. Associations, however, between reported use of diazinon and NHL, particularly diffuse and small lymphocytic lymphoma, among subjects providing direct interviews are not easily discounted.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diazinon / poisoning
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / poisoning*
  • Logistic Models
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / chemically induced*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Midwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Odds Ratio
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Insecticides
  • Diazinon