Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and agricultural use of the insecticide lindane



Data from population-based case-control studies of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among white men from Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota were pooled to evaluate potential risks from environmental exposures in more detail, while controlling for potential confounding factors. These data provided the opportunity to evaluate the risk of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma from potential exposures to lindane, a pesticide that causes cancer in laboratory animals and has been associated with human cancer in a few epidemiologic investigations. This pooled data set includes 987 individuals with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and 2,895 population-based controls. Information was obtained by telephone or in person interviews, which included detailed questions on farm practices and agricultural use of chemicals. Logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) adjusted for age, state of residence, and subject or proxy interviews. Reported use of lindane significantly increased the risk of non-Hodgkin's's lymphoma by 50%. Some use characteristics were suggestive of an association. ORs were greater among persons who first used the pesticide 20 years before diagnosis (OR = 1.7) than more recently (OR = 1.3), among those who reported more frequent use (OR = 2.0 for use 5 or more days per year versus 1.6 for fewer than five days per year), and from use on crops (OR = 1.9), rather than from use on animals (OR = 1.3), although these differences were not statistically significant. On the other hand, ORs were lower when based on direct interviews (OR = 1.3) than on data from proxy respondents (OR = 2.1) and adjustment for potential confounding by use of 2,4-D and diazinon reduced the ORs associated with lindane use from 1.5 to 1.2 and 1.3, respectively. Lindane does not appear to be a major etiologic factor in the development of non-Hodgkin's's lymphoma, although a small role cannot be ruled out. Am. J. Ind. Med. 33:82–87, 1998. Published 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.