People who apply certain pesticides double their chance of developing multiple myeloma, compared with individuals in the general population. Data culled from a U.S. Agricultural Health Study found higher rates of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance in 678 individuals who applied certain pesticides, compared with a control population. MGUS is a precancerous condition that can lead to multiple myeloma (Blood 113:6386-6391, 2009).
The participants (median age 60) were farmers in Iowa and North Carolina who were licensed to apply restricted-use pesticides. The researchers found a significantly increased risk of MGUS among users of dieldrin (5.6-fold increase in risk), carbon-tetrachloride/carbon disulfide (3.9-fold increase in risk), and chlorothalonil (2.4-fold increase in risk).