Hypothyroidism and Pesticide Use Among Male Private Pesticide Applicators in the Agricultural Health Study

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Abstract

Objective:

Evaluate the association between thyroid disease and use of insecticides, herbicides, and fumigants/fungicides in male applicators in the Agricultural Health Study.

Methods:

We examined the association between use of 50 specific pesticides and self-reported hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and “other” thyroid disease among 22,246 male pesticide applicators.

Results:

There was increased odds of hypothyroidism with ever use of the herbicides 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid), 2,4,5-T (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid), 2,4,5-TP (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy-propionic acid), alachlor, dicamba, and petroleum oil. Hypothyroidism was also associated with ever use of eight insecticides: organochlorines chlordane, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), heptachlor, lindane, and toxaphene; organophosphates diazinon and malathion; and the carbamate carbofuran. Exposure–response analysis showed increasing odds with increasing level of exposure for the herbicides alachlor and 2,4-D and the insecticides aldrin, chlordane, DDT, lindane, and parathion.

Conclusion:

There is an association between hypothyroidism and specific herbicides and insecticides in male applicators, similar to previous results for spouses.

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