Mortality in a cohort of pesticide applicators in an urban setting: sixty years of follow-up.

Department of Animal and Human Biology, University of Rome La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.
International journal of immunopathology and pharmacology (Impact Factor: 1.62). 01/2006; 19(4 Suppl):61-5.
Source: PubMed


The study is a further follow-up of a cohort of 168 urban pesticide applicators of the municipality of Rome who were first employed in 1946. An earlier analysis of the mortality of this group concerned the deaths observed up to 1987, and showed a significant excess in mortality from liver cancer. In this report we present an updated follow up of the mortality of the cohort, which comprises the total of 85 deaths for the entire period of observation, corresponding to 5227 person/years. The living status of each member of the cohort was ascertained through the official records up to 2005. For the 85 deceased individuals, the primary cause of death was coded according to the 9th Revision of the ICD. Standardized mortality ratios (SMR) were calculated on the basis of the age, sex, and cause specific mortality rates prevailing during the same calendar years in the province of Rome. The SMR from all causes for the whole cohort was 103.8 (90 %CI 86 124). The SMR for all cancers was 106.0 ( 90 % CI 75-146). An increased risk was observed for the exposed for cancer of the gallbladder (SMR 723.8 90% CI 129-2279), of the liver (SMR 596.3, 90 % CI 204-1365) and for cancer of the nervous system (SMR 529.2, 90 % CI 144-1368). All increases were statistically significant, but no association was found between the increased risk of these cancers and the longer duration of exposure. The increase in risk of the three cancers mentioned above (liver, nervous system and gallbladder), was further increased, when the analysis was restricted to the workers exposed prior to the 1978 ban of DDT and products containing arsenic.

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    ABSTRACT: Along with the wide use of pesticides in the world, the concerns over their health impacts are rapidly growing. There is a huge body of evidence on the relation between exposure to pesticides and elevated rate of chronic diseases such as different types of cancers, diabetes, neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson, Alzheimer, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), birth defects, and reproductive disorders. There is also circumstantial evidence on the association of exposure to pesticides with some other chronic diseases like respiratory problems, particularly asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cardiovascular disease such as atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease, chronic nephropathies, autoimmune diseases like systemic lupus erythematous and rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and aging. The common feature of chronic disorders is a disturbance in cellular homeostasis, which can be induced via pesticides' primary action like perturbation of ion channels, enzymes, receptors, etc., or can as well be mediated via pathways other than the main mechanism. In this review, we present the highlighted evidence on the association of pesticide's exposure with the incidence of chronic diseases and introduce genetic damages, epigenetic modifications, endocrine disruption, mitochondrial dysfunction, oxidative stress, endoplasmic reticulum stress and unfolded protein response (UPR), impairment of ubiquitin proteasome system, and defective autophagy as the effective mechanisms of action.
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