Hohenadel K, Harris SA, McLaughlin JR, Spinelli JJ, Pahwa P, Dosman JA, Demers PA, Blair A. Exposure to multiple pesticides and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in men from six Canadian provinces. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 2011; 8(6):2320-2330.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) has been linked to several agricultural exposures, including some commonly used pesticides. Although there is a significant body of literature examining the effects of exposure to individual pesticides on NHL, the impact of exposure to multiple pesticides or specific pesticide combinations has not been explored in depth. Data from a six-province Canadian case-control study conducted between 1991 and 1994 were analyzed to investigate the relationship between NHL, the total number of pesticides used and some common pesticide combinations. Cases (n = 513) were identified through hospital records and provincial cancer registries and controls (n = 1,506), frequency matched to cases by age and province of residence, were obtained through provincial health records, telephone listings, or voter lists. In multiple logistic regression analyses, risk of NHL increased with the number of pesticides used. Similar results were obtained in analyses restricted to herbicides, insecticides and several pesticide classes. Odds ratios increased further when only ‘potentially carcinogenic’ pesticides were considered (OR[one pesticide] = 1.30, 95% CI = 0.90–1.88; OR[two to four] = 1.54, CI = 1.11–2.12; OR[five or more] = 1.94, CI = 1.17–3.23). Elevated risks were also found among those reporting use of malathion in combination with several other pesticides. These analyses support and extend previous findings that the risk of NHL increases with the number of pesticides used and some pesticide combinations.