Purpose: Livestock farming has been recognized as a risk factor for chronic bronchitis (CB). The role of crop farming, however, has been less studied. We sought to assess the role of a large range of farming activities on the risk of CB in the French agricultural cohort AGRICAN (AGRIculture and CANcer).
Methods: Data on respiratory health and farming activities were collected by questionnaire from 2005 to 2007. Associations between farming activities and self-reported doctor's diagnosis of CB were estimated by a logistic regression adjusted for confounders.
Results: CB was reported by 1207 farmers (8.4%). Two farming activities were associated with CB: cattle raising (odds ratio [OR] 1.24, 95% confidence interval 1.03-1.48), and potato production (OR 1.33, 95% confidence interval 1.13-1.57). Associations were more pronounced in small-scale cattle raising and in large-scale potato production, in particular among the longest exposed workers (≥20 years). Pesticide poisoning and exposure to pesticides in potato farmers were significantly associated with CB risk (OR 1.64 and OR 1.63, respectively).
Conclusions: This analysis suggests that other agricultural settings not previously reported, such as potato production, may be a risk factor for CB. The nature and circumstances of exposure to hazardous agents need to be further explored.
Keywords: Agriculture; Animals; Bronchitis; Chronic; Crops; Pesticides.
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