Study Finds Pesticide Use Increase Risk of Brain Tumors

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2007)

The results of a recent study indicate that farm workers and persons exposed to high levels of pesticides have an increased risk of developing brain tumors, especially gliomas – a tumor of the nervous system, commonly found in the brain. The study, “Brain tumours and exposure to pesticides: a case-control study in southwestern France,” published online in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, suggests that not only are occupational pesticide exposure risks high, but indoor domestic uses of pesticides also increase the risk of developing brain tumors.

Researchers conducted a population base control study with 221 incident cases of brain tumors and 442 individually matched controls selected from a population in Gironde, France between May 1999 and April 2001.The findings show that farm workers were three times more likely to develop gliomas, while persons treating indoor plants were approximately two and a half times more susceptible. However, the study was unable to identify individual pesticides or families of pesticides associated with this health risk.

These findings add to the mounting evidence linking pesticide exposure to adverse human health effects. Recent studies have linked pesticide exposure to the increased likelihood of developing Parkinsons disease. Other health effects include vision problems, cancer, and respiratory difficulties. Earlier this year, conservation groups reopened a lawsuit in federal district court against the Environmental Protection Agency aimed at speeding up the removal of several pesticides that pose serious health risk to farm workers.