Cancer incidence among pesticide applicators exposed to cyanazine in the Agricultural Health Study

Shannon M. Lynch, Jennifer A. Rusiecki, Aaron Blair, Mustafa Dosemeci, Jay Lubin, Dale Sandler, Jane A. Hoppin, Charles F. Lynch, Michael C.R. Alavanja*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background: Cyanazine is a common pesticide used frequently in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s. Animal and human studies have suggested that triazines may be carcinogenic, but results have been mixed. We evaluated cancer incidence in cyanazine-exposed pesticide applicators among the 57,311 licensed pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS). Methods: We obtained detailed pesticid eexposure information from a self-administered questionaire completed at enrollment applicators had ≥ 6 years of exposure at enrollment, and approximately 85% had begun using cyanazine before the 1990s. We used adjusted Poisson regression to calculate rate ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) of multiple cancer sites among cyanazine-exposed applications. We calculated ptrend values, and all statistical rests were two-sided. Two exposure metrics were used: tertiles of lifetime days of exposure (LD) and intensity-weighted LD. Results: A total of 20,824 cancer-free AHS applicators reported ever using cyanazine at enrollment. Cancer incidence comparisons between applicators with the lowest cyanazine exposure and those with the highest exposure yielded the following for the LD metric: all cancers, RR = 0.99 (95% CI, 0.80-1.24); prostate cancer, RR = 1.23 (95% CI, 0.87-1.70); all lymphohematopoietic cancers, RR = 0.92 (95% CI, 0.50-1.72); non-Hodgkin lymphoma, RR = 1.25 (95% CI, 0.47-3.35); lung cancer, RR = 0.52 (95% CI, 0.22-1.25). Conclusions: We did not find any clear, consistent associations between cyanazine exposure and any cancer analyzed. The number of sites was small for certain cancers, limiting any conclusion with regard to ovarian, breast, and some other cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1248-1252
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Agricultural Health Study
  • Cancer
  • Cyanazine
  • Farming
  • Herbicide
  • Pesticides
  • Triazine herbicide


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