Multiple myeloma and glyphosate use: a re-analysis of US Agricultural Health Study (AHS) data

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Jan 28;12(2):1548-59. doi: 10.3390/ijerph120201548.

Abstract

A previous publication of 57,311 pesticide applicators enrolled in the US Agricultural Health Study (AHS) produced disparate findings in relation to multiple myeloma risks in the period 1993-2001 and ever-use of glyphosate (32 cases of multiple myeloma in the full dataset of 54,315 applicators without adjustment for other variables: rate ratio (RR) 1.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.5 to 2.4; 22 cases of multiple myeloma in restricted dataset of 40,719 applicators with adjustment for other variables: RR 2.6, 95% CI 0.7 to 9.4). It seemed important to determine which result should be preferred. RRs for exposed and non-exposed subjects were calculated using Poisson regression; subjects with missing data were not excluded from the main analyses. Using the full dataset adjusted for age and gender the analysis produced a RR of 1.12 (95% CI 0.50 to 2.49) for ever-use of glyphosate. Additional adjustment for lifestyle factors and use of ten other pesticides had little effect (RR 1.24, 95% CI 0.52 to 2.94). There were no statistically significant trends for multiple myeloma risks in relation to reported cumulative days (or intensity weighted days) of glyphosate use. The doubling of risk reported previously arose from the use of an unrepresentative restricted dataset and analyses of the full dataset provides no convincing evidence in the AHS for a link between multiple myeloma risk and glyphosate use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycine / toxicity
  • Health Surveys
  • Herbicides / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Myeloma / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • United States

Substances

  • Herbicides
  • glyphosate
  • Glycine