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High incidence of lung cancer in persons with chronic professional exposure to pesticides in agriculture

, : High incidence of lung cancer in persons with chronic professional exposure to pesticides in agriculture. Zeitschrift für Erkrankungen der Atmungsorgane 146(3): 266-274

In an epidemiological study in the Neubrandenburg district among 316 long-term exposed pesticide workers the incidence of tumors was investigated. There were 30 cases of tumors, of which 11 were lung cancers. The incidence of lung cancers was in contrast to age-specific population twenty times higher. The average exposure against pesticides amounted to 14.1 +/- 4.7 (6-23) years, the latency period between exposition start and tumor manifestation to 17.9 +/- 6.0 (6-23) years. The exposure occurred mainly to the following agents: herbicides, such as derivatives of phenoxyacetic acid (2,4 D and MCPA); insecticides, such as chlorinated hydrocarbons (DDT, HCH and Toxaphen), organic phosphorus compounds (Parathion) and organic nitro derivatives (DNOC) as well as fungicides, such as copper containing and organic synthetic agents. Between 1950 and 1956 some pesticide workers were also exposed to arsenic containing agents. As the workers were exposed to various chemical compounds simultaneously or alternatively, no carcinogenic effect can be determined by specific individual pesticides. The investigations are discussed in detail on the today knowledge about cancer hazards associated with exposure to pesticides, and respective conclusions are drawn for preventive measures.


PMID: 1023529

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