Renal disease linked to chronic pesticide exposure in U.S. farmworkers
A study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine has found that chronic exposure to specific pesticides is associated with end-stage renal disease in licensed pesticide applicators. The study utilized data from 320 participants in the Agricultural Health Study from North Carolina and Iowa. All of the cases were male licensed pesticide applicators diagnosed with end-stage renal disease between their initial enrollment in the 1990s and December 2011. Associations between end-stage renal disease and lifetime use of 39 different pesticides, high-level pesticide exposures and pesticide exposure that resulted in a medical visit or hospitalization were calculated. Use of the herbicides alachlor, atrazine, metolachlor, paraquat, and pendimethalin as well as the insecticide permethrin were all associated with end-stage renal disease. Furthermore, pesticide exposure that resulted in medical treatment was also significantly associated with end-stage renal disease. “Our findings support an association between end-stage renal disease and chronic exposure to specific pesticides, and suggest pesticide exposures resulting in medical visits may increase the risk of end-stage renal disease,” the authors conclude.