Background: Livestock farmers are more likely to be exposed to a variety of different farming hazards than crop farmers. An analysis of occupation and industry-coded U.S. death certificate data from 26 states for the years 1984-1993 was conducted to evaluate mortality patterns among crop and livestock farmers.
Methods: Cause-specific proportionate mortality ratios (PMRs) were calculated using a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) computer program designed to calculate sex and race specific PMRs for occupations and industries in population-based data.
Results: Among white male (WM) livestock farmers, there was a significantly higher mortality from cancer of the pancreas, prostate and brain, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), multiple myeloma, acute and chronic lymphoid leukemia, and Parkinson's disease. WM crop farmers showed significantly higher mortality risk for cancer of the lip, skin, multiple myeloma, and chronic lymphoid leukemia.
Conclusions: These disease trends suggested that livestock farmers might be exposed to more carcinogens or agricultural chemicals than crop farmers.