• Fleming, Lora E (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Pesticides are chemicals used since ancient times to destroy or control
pests. Although the primary hazard to humans associated with pesticide
exposure is acute poisoning, there has been considerable concern
surrounding the possibility of pesticide carcinogenicity and other chronic
health effects in humans. The pesticides which have generated the greatest
concern for possible carcinogenicity include the herbicides (chlorophenoxy
acids and chlorophenols), heavy metals (especially arsenicals), petroleum
products (polyaromatic hydrocarbons), organochlorines, and fumigation
agents (EDB, Methyl Bromide). This is important given the huge volume of
pesticides now used throughout the world in agriculture, industry and in
homes; in addition, there is concern with regards to the environmental and
food residue contamination from pesticides which could lead to mass
chronic low-level exposure. Under EPA since 1970, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide
Act (FIFRA) has required that persons who buy or use restricted-use
pesticides must be certified as competent pesticide applicators or must be
directly supervised by a certified applicator. The State of Florida has
computerized records of over l6,000 certified pest applicators for over 10
years and paper records for up to 25 years. In addition, as a highly
agricultural and tropical state, Florida is a major pesticide user. The proposed study will be retrospective cohort analyses of the cancer
incidence and general mortality, with a nested (synthetic) case control
study of cancer incidence, among a cohort of the Florida certified
pesticide applicators with occupational pesticide exposure. Cancer
incidence since 1980 will be obtained by limiting the data from the pest
applicator licenses with the Florida Cancer Data System (FCDS). Mortality
information will be obtained through the Florida Vital Statistics Death
Linkage. In a nested (synthetic) case control study, exposure and relevant
risk behavior data will be sought through the distribution of a
questionnaire to selected cases of incident cases of cancer and a random
sample of matched applicators as controls. Information concerning specific
pesticide use, race/ethnic status, and possible confounding factors (such
as tobacco use) will be obtained. Analyses will evaluate total cancer
incidence and specific cancer incidences compared to age and sex adjusted
state and national rates. In addition, risks for specific cancers
associated with pesticide exposure will be evaluated, controlling for
confounding variables such as tobacco use and using an internal cohort
control group. Finally, cause specific mortality and cancer incidence
experience of this cohort with national and internal comparisons will be
evaluated. Because the greatest exposures to pesticides occur in the occupational
setting, this study should adds to the body of knowledge concerned with
pesticides and their health effects in humans. Results from the study
(i.e. specific cancer and other mortality rates, protective equipment use,
and other risk factors) can be incorporated into existing mandatory
educational programs of the Florida Department of Agriculture Bureau of
Pesticides to prevent future illness in this and similar workforces.
Effective start/end date9/30/933/31/97


  • National Institutes of Health: $53,832.00


  • Medicine(all)


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