The role of agricultural pesticide use in the development of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in women

Arch Environ Health. Sep-Oct 1993;48(5):353-8. doi: 10.1080/00039896.1993.9936725.


Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has been found to be associated with agricultural pesticide use in men, but little is known about the risk in women. In a recent population-based, case-control study conducted in eastern Nebraska, no increased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was found in women who had ever lived or worked on a farm (odds ratio [OR] = 1.0). Neither the use of insecticides (OR = 0.8) nor herbicides (OR = 0.7) on the farm was associated with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; however, the number of women who mixed or applied pesticides was small, particularly in comparison to men on farms. Small nonsignificant associations were observed among the women who personally handled insecticides (OR = 1.3) or herbicides (OR = 1.2). Women who personally handled organophosphate insecticides had a significant 4.5-fold increased risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Use of chlorinated hydrocarbon insecticides was associated with an OR of 1.6; however, the use on dairy cattle was associated with a 3-fold increased risk. Pesticide-related risks were greater among women with a family history of cancer, particularly a history of lymphatic or hematopoietic cancer among first-degree relatives.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / epidemiology
  • Agrochemicals / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Herbicides / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / adverse effects*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / chemically induced*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nebraska / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis
  • Odds Ratio
  • Risk Factors


  • Agrochemicals
  • Herbicides
  • Insecticides