Cancer and other causes of death among male and female farmers from twenty-three states

Am J Ind Med. 1993 May;23(5):729-42. doi: 10.1002/ajim.4700230507.


Occupation and industry codes on death certificates from 23 states for 1984-1988 were used to evaluate mortality risks among white and nonwhite, male and female farmers. Proportionate mortality and proportionate cancer mortality ratios were calculated using deaths among nonfarmers from the same states to generate expected numbers. Among farmers there were 119,648 deaths among white men, 2,400 among white women, 11,446 among nonwhite men, and 2,066 among nonwhite women. Deficits occurred in all race-sex groups for infective and parasitic diseases, all cancer combined, lung cancer, liver cancer, diseases of the nervous system, multiple sclerosis, hypertension, and emphysema. As reported in other studies, white male farmers had excesses of cancer of the lymphatic and hematopoietic system, lip, eye, brain, and prostate. Excesses of cancers of the pancreas, kidney, bone, and thyroid were new findings. Regional patterns were evident, particularly among white men. Significant excesses for accidents, vascular lesions of the central nervous system (CNS), and cancers of the prostate tended to occur in most geographic regions, while excesses for mechanical suffocation, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and cancers of the lip, brain, and the lymphatic and hematopoietic system were limited to the Central states. Increases among nonwhite men were similar to those in white men for some causes of death (vascular lesions of the CNS and cancers of the pancreas and prostate), but were absent for others (lymphatic and hematopoietic system, lip, eye, kidney, and brain). Women (white and nonwhite) had excesses for vascular lesions of the CNS, disease of the genitourinary system (white women only), and cancers of the stomach and cervix (nonwhite women only). Cancer of the buccal cavity and pharynx was slightly elevated among women, and white women had nonsignificant excesses of multiple myeloma and leukemia. Excesses for leukemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma occurred among white men and women, but not among nonwhites. Excesses for several types of accidental deaths were seen among all race-sex groups.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / epidemiology
  • Agricultural Workers' Diseases / mortality*
  • Cause of Death
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Racial Groups
  • United States / epidemiology