Brain Cancer Mortality among French Farmers: The Vineyard Pesticide Hypothesis

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ABSTRACT.In this study, the authors assessed the contribution of vineyard pesticides to brain cancer mortality among agricultural workers. A pesticide exposure index (PEI) in vineyards was calculated for 89 French geographical units (départements). The authors estimated standardized mortality ratios among male farmers and farm laborers aged 35-74 y for the years 1984-1986. Poisson regression models, which were fitted to the ecological data, included random effects. Mortality from brain cancer among farmers was significantly higher than mortality for the overall population (standardized mortality ratio = 1.25, p < .001). Univariate analysis revealed a significant link with pesticide exposure in vineyards (relative risk = 1.10; 95% confidence interval = 1.03, 1.18), as did multivariate analysis(relative risk = 1.11; 95% confidence interval = 1.03, 1.19). These results corraborate the evidence that pesticides in vineyards contribute to mortality from brain cancer among farmers.

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