Hoppin, Jane A., Umbach, David M, London, Stephanie J., Alavanja, Michael, & Sandler, Dale P.; “Chemical Predictors of Wheeze among Farmer Pesticide Applicators in the Agricultural Health Study;” American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 2002, 165, 683-689; DOI: 10.1164/rccm.2106074.
Pesticides may contribute to respiratory symptoms among farmers. Using the Agricultural Health Study, a large cohort of certified pesticide applicators in Iowa and North Carolina, we explored the association between wheeze and pesticide use in the past year. Self-administered questionnaires contained items on 40 currently used pesticides and pesticide application practices. A total of 20,468 applicators, ranging in age from 16 to 88 years, provided complete information; 19% reported wheezing in the past year. Logistic regression models controlling for age, state, smoking, and history of asthma or atopy were used to evaluate associations between individual pesticides and wheeze. Among pesticides suspected to contribute to wheeze, paraquat, three organophosphates (parathion, malathion, and chlorpyrifos), and one thiocarbamate (S-ethyl-dipropylthiocarbamate [EPTC]) had elevated odds ratios (OR). Parathion had the highest OR (1.5, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.0, 2.2).
Chlorpyrifos, EPTC, paraquat, and parathion demonstrated significant dose–response trends. The herbicides, atrazine and alachlor, but not 2,4-D, were associated with wheeze. Atrazine had a significant dose–response trend with participants applying atrazine more than 20 days/year having an OR of 1.5 (95% CI 1.2,1.9). Inclusion of crops and animals into these models did not significantly alter the observed OR. These associations, though small, suggest an independent role for specific pesticides in respiratory symptoms of farmers. FULL TEXT