Solid waste and pancreatic cancer: An ecologic study in Florida, USA

Gary G. Schwartz, Halcyon G. Skinner, Robert Duncan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: Other than cigarette smoking, modifiable risk factors for pancreatic cancer have not been consistently identified. This study explored the ecologic relationship between pancreatic cancer incidence and measures of cigarette smoking, income, and solid waste collection for Florida's 67 counties. Methods: We used Florida's population-based cancer registry to compare county-specific incidence rates of pancreatic cancer among Whites to median household income, the per county prevalence of cigarette smoking, and to measures of per capita municipal solid waste collected. Results: County-specific incidence rates for pancreatic cancer ranged from 0 to 8.1 per 100,000 per year and were significantly correlated with income (r = 0.35), cigarette smoking (r = 0.39), and solid waste (r = 0.47). The correlation between pancreatic cancer and solid waste was largely attributable to one sub-component of solid waste, yard trash (grass clippings, and tree and shrub trimmings) (r = 0.42). Using a stepwise regression procedure, only cigarette smoking and yard trash remained significant in the model. Conclusions: These data suggest that some factor associated with grass and tree trimmings, e.g. insecticides and herbicides, may increase the risk for pancreatic cancer. This hypothesis is consistent with several reports of pancreatic cancer and insecticide exposure in individuals and may suggest new avenues for research in pancreatic cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-787
Number of pages7
JournalInternational journal of epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Epidemiology
  • Florida
  • Incidence rates
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pesticides
  • Solid waste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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