Study: Pesticide applicators’ cancer risk is low

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June 20, 2013

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June 20, 2013


MERSEYSIDE, ENGLAND—The U.K.’s government’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE), considered to be “the national independent watchdog for work-related health, safety and illness,” recently released its results of the Pesticide Users Health Study (PUHS).

According to the HSE website, the PUHS was established to “monitor the health of men and women who are certified to apply pesticides on a commercial basis under the 1986 Control of Pesticides Regulations. An analysis of deaths occurring between 1987 and 2005 among members of the PUHS is presented in this report.

“There were 1,628 deaths among 59,085 male and 3,875 female pesticide users during the follow-up period. Compared with the population of Great Britain, the pesticide users had lower than expected mortality from all causes, and in particular from all cancers combined, cancers of the digestive organs, cancers of the respiratory system, and non-malignant diseases of the nervous system and sense organs, and of the circulatory, respiratory, and digestive systems. There was some evidence of excess deaths from multiple myeloma in men and women, and possibly also from testicular cancer.

“Deaths from all external causes (accidents and injuries) combined were lower than expected when compared with the general population. However in men, deaths from ‘injury by machinery’ were higher than expected.”

The HSE says that the study is continuing. A PDF of the full report is available for download here.

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