Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 16, Issue 7, pp 823–830 | Cite as

Lymphohematopoietic Cancers in the United Farm Workers of America (UFW), 1988–2001

  • Paul K. Mills
  • Richard Yang
  • Deborah Riordan



Agricultural risk factors for lymphohematopoeitic cancers (LHC) in Hispanic farm workers in California were examined in a nested case–control study embedded in a cohort of 139,000 ever members of a farm worker labor union in California.


Crop and pesticide exposures were estimated by linking county/month and crop specific job history information from union records with California Department of Pesticide Regulation pesticide use reports during the 20-year period prior to cancer diagnosis.


A total of 131 LHC diagnosed in California between 1988 and 2001 were included in the analysis. Analyses were conducted by gender and subtype of non-Hodgkins lymphoma (nodal, extra nodal) and by leukemia histology (lymphocytic, granulocytic). Odds ratios were calculated by stratification and by unconditional logistic regression. Risk for all LHC was elevated in workers cultivating vegetables (OR = 1.67, 95% CI = 1.12–2.48). Risk of leukemia was associated with exposure to the pesticides mancozeb (OR = 2.35, 95% CI = 1.12–4.95) and toxaphene (OR = 2.20, 95% CI = 1.04–4.65) while NHL risk was increased in association with 2,4-D (OR = 3.80, 95% CI=1.85–7.81). Risk of leukemia was particularly elevated among female workers and for granulocytic versus lymphocytic leukemia for several chemicals. No associations were noted for multiple myeloma.


California farm workers employed where mancozeb and toxaphene were used had an increased risk of leukemia compared to farm workers employed elsewhere. Employment in farms using 2,4-D was associated with an increased risk of NHL.


epidemiology farm workers leukemia lymphoma pesticides 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Blair, A, Zahm, SH 1995Agricultural exposures and cancerEnviron Health Perspect103205208PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Colt, J, Stallones, L, Cameron, L, Dosemeci, M, Zahm, SH 2001Proportionate mortality among U.S. migrant and seasonal farm workers in twenty-four statesAm J Indust Med40604611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Stubbs, A, Harris, J, Spear, R 1984A proportionate mortality analysis of California agricultural workers, 1978–1979Am J IndustMed6305320Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Mason TJ, McKay FW, Hoover R, et al. (1975) Atlas of Cancer Mortality in U.S. Counties, 1950–1969. DHEW (NIH) Pub. No. 76–1204. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing OfficeGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Zahm, SK, Ward, MH, Blair, A 1997Pesticides and CancerOccup Med: Sta Art Rev12269289Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hardell, L, Eriksson, M, Lenner, P,  et al. 1981Malignant lymphoma and exposure to chemicals especially organic solvents, chlorophenols and phenoxy acids: A case–control studyBr J Cancer43169176PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hoar, SK, Blair, A, Holmes, FF,  et al. 1986Agricultural herbicides use and risk of lymphoma and soft-tissue sarcomaJAMA25611411147CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Zahm, SH, Weisenburger, DD, Babbitt, P,  et al. 1990A case–control study of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and the herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) in eastern NebraskaEpidemiology1349356PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cantor, KP, Blair, A, Everett, G,  et al. 1992Pesticides and other agricultural risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among men in Iowa and MinnesotaCancer Res5224472455PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    DeRoos, AC, Zahm, SH, Cantor, KP,  et al. 2003Integrative assessment of multiple pesticides as risk factors for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma among menOccup Environ Med60E11CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Mills, PK, Kwong, S 2001Cancer Incidence in the United Farm workers of America (UFW), 1987–1997Am J Ind Med40596603CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Morris C, Cohen R, Perkins C, et al. (1999) Cancer in California, 1988–1996. Sacramento, CA: California Health Department Of Health Services, Cancer Surveillance SectionGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (1986) Summary Staging Guide for the Cancer Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Reporting (SEER) Program. Bethesda, MD; U.S. Public Health Services, National Institute of HealthGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (1992) SEER Extent of Disease - 1988 Coding Instructions, Second Edition. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. NIH Pub. No. 92–2313Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Jaro, MA 1995Probabilistic record linkages of large public health databasesStat Med14491498PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    California Department of Pesticide Regulation (2000) Pesticide use reporting: an overview of California’s unique full reporting system. Sacramento, CA: California Department of Pesticide RegulationGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Mantel, N, Haenszel, W 1959Statistical aspects of the analysis of data from retrospective studies of diseaseJ Natl Cancer Inst22719748PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Mantel, N 1963Chi square tests with one degree of freedom: extensions of the Mantel-Haenszel procedureJ Am Stat Assoc58690700Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Breslow, NE, Day, NE 1980Statistical Methods in Cancer Research, Vol. 1. The analysis of case control studiesInternational Agency for ResearchLyon, FranceGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, Version 11.2001. Chicago, IL. 20. SPSS.Google Scholar
  21. 20.
    USDA (1997) Census of Agriculture, 1997, Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    California Department of Pesticide Regulation (2001) Website available at : tables04.htm
  23. 23.
    Kristensen, P, Andersen, A, Irgens, LM, Laake, P, Bye, AS 1996Incidence and risk factors of cancer in Norwegian agricultureScand J Work Environ Health221426PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Cerhan, JR, Cantor, KP, Williamson, K, Lynch, CF, Torner, JC, Burmeister, LF 1998Cancer mortality among Iowa farmers: recent results, time trends, and lifestyle factors (United States)Cancer Causes Control9311319CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Donham, KJ, Berg, J, Sawin, RS 1980Epidemiologic relationships of the bovine population and human leukemia in IowaAm J Epidemiol1128092PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Blair, A, White, DW 1985Leukemia cell types and agricultural practices in NebraskaArch Environ Health40211214PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Brown, LM, Blair, A, Gibson, R,  et al. 1990Pesticide exposures and other agricultural risk factors for leukemia among men in Iowa and MinnesotaCancer Res5065856591PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Sperati, A, Rapiti, E, Settimi, L, Quercia, A, Terenzoni, B, Forastierie, F 1999Mortality among male licensed pesticide users and their wivesAm J Indust Med36142146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Pearce, NE, Sheppard, RA, Howard, JK,  et al. 1986Leukemia among New Zealand Agricultural workers. A cancer registry-based studyAm J Epidemiol124402409PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Nanni, O, Amadori, D, Lugaresi, C,  et al. 1996Chronic lymphocyte leukemias and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas by histologic type in farming-animal breeding workers: a population case–control study based on a priori exposure matricesOccup Environ Med53652657PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Blair, A, Zahm, SH 1991Cancer among farmersOccup Med3335354Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Schroeder, JC, Olshan, AF, Baric, R,  et al. 2001Agricultural risk factors for t(14;18) subtypes of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomaEpidemiology12701709CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs, Health Effects Division, Science Information Management Branch (2004) Chemicals Evaluated for Carcinogenic Potential. July 2004Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) (2002) Agricultural Bulletin Board on Data Collection, Dissemination, and Quality of Statistics. URL available at:http://apps.
  35. 35.
    Ronco, G, Costa, G, Lynge, E 1992Cancer risk among Danish and Italian farmersBr J Ind Med49220225PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Settimi, L, Comba, P, Carrieri, P,  et al. 1999Cancer risk among female agricultural workers: A multi-center case–control studyAm J Indust Med36135141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Folsom, A, Zhang, S, Sellers, T, Zheng, W, Kushi, L, Cerhan, J 1996Cancer incidence among women living on farms: findings from the Iowa Women’s Health StudyJ Occup Environ Med3811711176CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Rothman KJ, Greenland S (1998) Ecologic Studies. In: Modern Epidemiology. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott-Raven PublishersGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul K. Mills
    • 1
    • 2
  • Richard Yang
    • 1
  • Deborah Riordan
    • 1
  1. 1.Cancer Registry of Central California/Public Health InstituteFresnoUSA
  2. 2.Fresno Medical Education ProgramUniversity of CaliforniaSan FranciscoUSA

Personalised recommendations