Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Exposure to non-arsenic pesticides is associated with lymphoma among farmers in Spain
  1. E van Balen1,
  2. R Font1,
  3. N Cavallé2,
  4. L Font3,
  5. M Garcia-Villanueva4,
  6. Y Benavente1,
  7. P Brennan5,
  8. S de Sanjose1
  1. 1Servei d’Epidemiologia i Registre del Càncer, Institut Català d’Oncologia, Barcelona, Spain
  2. 2Centro Nacional de Condiciones de Trabajo, Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene en el Trabajo, Barcelona, Spain
  3. 3Hematologia, Hospital Verge de la Cinta, Tortosa, Spain
  4. 4Patologia, Ramon y Cajal y Universidad de Alcalá, Madrid, Spain
  5. 5International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr S de Sanjose
 Servei d’Epidemiologia i Registre del Càncer, Institut Català d’Oncologia, Gran Via Km 2.7, 08907 L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain; s.sanjose{at}


Objectives: To estimate the risk of lymphoma among farmers in Spain.

Methods: This is a multicentre case control study conducted in Spain. Cases were subjects diagnosed with lymphoma according to the World Health Organization (WHO) classification in four hospitals between 1998–2002. Hospital controls were frequency matched to the cases by sex, age, and centre. All subjects were interviewed about jobs ever held in lifetime for at least one year and the exposures in those jobs were recorded. The risk of lymphomas among subjects ever having had a job as a farmer was compared with all other occupations. Farmers were analysed according to the type of farming job performed: crop farming, animal farming, and general farming. Occupational exposure was summarised into 15 main categories: organic dust, radiation, contact with animals, PAH, non-arsenic pesticides (carbamates, organophosphates, chlorinated hydrocarbons, triazines and triazoles, phenoxy herbicides, chlorophenols, dibenzodioxin, and dibenzofuran), arsenic pesticides, contact with meat, contact with children, solvents, asbestos, soldering fumes, organic colourants, polychlorinated biphenyls, ethylene oxide, and hair dyes.

Results: Although farmers were not at an increased risk of lymphoma as compared with all other occupations, farmers exposed to non-arsenic pesticides were found to be at increased risk of lymphoma (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.1 to 2). This increased risk was observed among farmers working exclusively either as crop farmers or as animal farmers (OR = 2.8, 95% CI 1.3 to 5.8). Risk was highest for exposure to non-arsenic pesticides for over nine years (OR = 2.4, 95% CI 1.2 to 2.8).

Conclusions: Long term exposure to non-arsenic pesticides may induce lymphomagenesis among farmers.

  • NHL, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • PCB, polychlorinated biphenyl
  • lymphoma
  • occupation
  • pesticides
  • farming

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Published Online First 6 June 2006

  • Competing interests: none.