Occupational exposure to pesticides and risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Am J Epidemiol. 2005 Nov 1;162(9):849-57. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwi292. Epub 2005 Sep 21.


Pesticide exposure may be a risk factor for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but it is not certain which types of pesticides are involved. A population-based case-control study was undertaken in 2000-2001 using detailed methods of assessing occupational pesticide exposure. Cases with incident non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in two Australian states (n = 694) and controls (n = 694) were chosen from Australian electoral rolls. Logistic regression was used to estimate the risks of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma associated with exposure to subgroups of pesticides after adjustment for age, sex, ethnic origin, and residence. Approximately 10% of cases and controls had incurred pesticide exposure. Substantial exposure to any pesticide was associated with a trebling of the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (odds ratio = 3.09, 95% confidence interval: 1.42, 6.70). Subjects with substantial exposure to organochlorines, organophosphates, and "other pesticides" (all other pesticides excluding herbicides) and herbicides other than phenoxy herbicides had similarly increased risks, although the increase was statistically significant only for "other pesticides." None of the exposure metrics (probability, level, frequency, duration, or years of exposure) were associated with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Analyses of the major World Health Organization subtypes of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma suggested a stronger effect for follicular lymphoma. These increases in risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma with substantial occupational pesticide exposure are consistent with previous work.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated / toxicity
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / chemically induced
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Organophosphates / toxicity
  • Pesticides* / toxicity
  • Phenols / toxicity
  • Risk Assessment


  • Hydrocarbons, Chlorinated
  • Organophosphates
  • Pesticides
  • Phenols