The effect of pesticides on human health is still controversial, particularly as regards long-term health effects like cancer. The literature does suggest, however, that they could be involved in the occurrence of brain tumors, although the results concerning residential exposure are scarce.
Our objective was to investigate the association between residential proximity to agricultural pesticides and brain tumors among adults in France by using a geographical information system.
CERENAT is a population-based case-control study carried out in France in 2004–2006. We used two geographical data sources on agricultural land use to create exposure scores based on crop surface areas near the residence, for open field crops, vineyards and orchards. Conditional logistic regression for matched sets was used to estimate Odds Ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI).
We found a significant association between meningioma and proximity to open field crops above the 75th percentile (OR 2.30 95%CI 1.04–5.10). Non-significant associations were also found with proximity of vineyards above the 95th percentile (OR 1.90 95%CI 0.41–8.69) and orchards above the 95th percentile (OR 5.50, 95%CI 0.49–61.94). No significant association was found between glioma and proximity to agricultural land. Further investigations are needed, particularly to improve the quality and availability of geographical data on agricultural land use.