Occup Environ Med 60:798-801 doi:10.1136/oem.60.10.798
  • Original article

Cancer risk in offspring of male pesticide applicators in agriculture in Sweden

  1. Y Rodvall1,
  2. J Dich2,
  3. K Wiklund3
  1. 1Stockholm County Council and Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  2. 2Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  3. 3Department of Oncology-Pathology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Y Rodvall
 Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Norrbacka level 3, SE-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden;
  • Accepted 17 December 2002


Aims: To explore cancer risk from date of birth until 1994 in children, born 1958 or later, of Swedish male pesticide applicators.

Methods: Records of male pesticide applicators licensed 1965–76 were linked to the Multigeneration Register. The records of their offspring were then linked to the Swedish Cancer Registry and the Cause of Death Register.

Results: In total 51 cases of cancer were observed, which is significantly lower than the expected 73.0 (standardised incidence ratio (SIR) 0.70, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.92). Tumours of the nervous system was most common, amounting to 20 cases, 39% of all cancer cases (SIR 1.01, 95% CI 0.62 to 1.56). A statistically significant reduced risk for leukaemia was found (SIR 0.43, 95% CI 0.19 to 0.86). For non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, three cases were observed and 4.8 expected (SIR 0.63, 95% CI 0.13 to 1.83). For Hodgkin’s disease, five cases were observed versus 3.7 expected (SIR 1.36, 95% CI 0.44 to 3.17). Two cases of testicular cancer were observed and 1.7 expected (SIR 1.19, 95% CI 0.13 to 4.28).

Conclusions: None of the a priori hypotheses of increased risk of tumours of the nervous system, kidney cancer, leukaemia, lymphoma, soft tissue sarcoma, and testicular cancer in children of male pesticide applicators could be confirmed.


  • Financial support: Swedish Council for Social Research