An update of mortality among chemical workers potentially exposed to the herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid and its derivatives

J Occup Med. 1993 Dec;35(12):1208-12.


Four years of additional mortality follow-up through 1986 are reported for a previously studied cohort of 878 chemical workers who were potentially exposed to 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and its derivatives between 1945 and 1983. Observed mortality was compared with expected levels based on death rates of the US population and of 36,804 "unexposed" workers from the same manufacturing location. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) was a particular focus of the study because of a suggested association with 2,4-D exposure in some case-control studies. For the total observation period, the standardized mortality ratios for all causes and for malignant neoplasms were 92 and 91, respectively. Analyses using the internal comparison group yielded virtually identical results. The initial study had found two deaths from NHL, both of which occurred under circumstances (ie, short latency and modest exposure) which made it less plausible that they were related to 2,4-D exposure. No new deaths from NHL were observed in the extended follow-up period and mortality for this cause showed a nonstatistically significant excess (standardized mortality ratio, 196; 95% confidence interval 24 to 708) for the total observation period. Analyses by production area, and by two different measures of exposure, combined with two different approaches to account for latency, did not show patterns suggestive of a causal relationship between exposure to 2,4-D or its derivatives and any particular cause of death.

MeSH terms

  • 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid / adverse effects*
  • 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cause of Death*
  • Chemical Industry*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / chemically induced
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / mortality
  • Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / mortality
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology


  • 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic Acid