We report a population based case–control study of exposure to pesticides as risk factor for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Male and female subjects aged 18–74 years living in Sweden were included during December 1, 1999, to April 30, 2002. Controls were selected from the national population registry. Exposure to different agents was assessed by questionnaire. In total 910 (91 %) cases and 1016 (92%) controls participated. Exposure to herbicides gave odds ratio (OR) 1.72, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.18–2.51. Regarding phenoxyacetic acids highest risk was calculated for MCPA; OR 2.81, 95% CI 1.27–6.22, all these cases had a latency period >10 years. Exposure to glyphosate gave OR 2.02, 95% CI 1.10–3.71 and with >10 years latency period OR 2.26, 95% CI 1.16–4.40. Insecticides overall gave OR 1.28, 95% CI 0.96–1.72 and impregnating agents OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.07–2.30. Results are also presented for different entities of NHL. In conclusion our study confirmed an association between exposure to phenoxyacetic acids and NHL and the association with glyphosate was considerably strengthened. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.