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Pesticide use and incident hyperthyroidism in farmers in the Agricultural Health Study


Background Few studies have evaluated associations between pesticides and hyperthyroidism.

Objective We evaluated associations between specific pesticides and incident hyperthyroidism in private pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study.

Methods We used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate HRs and 95% CIs for associations between pesticide use at enrolment and hyperthyroidism (n=271) in 35 150 applicators (mostly men), adjusting for potential confounders.

Results Ever use of several pesticides (organophosphate insecticide malathion, fungicide maneb/mancozeb, herbicides dicamba, metolachlor, and atrazine in overall sample and chlorimuron ethyl among those ≤62 years) was associated with reduced hyperthyroidism risk, with HRs ranging from 0.50 (95% CI 0.30 to 0.83) for maneb/mancozeb to 0.77 (95% CI 0.59 to 1.00) for atrazine. Hyperthyroidism risk was lowest among those with higher intensity-weighted lifetime days of using carbofuran and chlorpyrifos (ptrend ≤0.05).

Conclusions Observed associations between pesticides and decreased risk of hyperthyroidism warrant further investigation.

  • pesticides
  • hyperthyroidism
  • Agricultural Health Study
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