Pesticides may up asthma in farmers

Farmers who use pesticides are more likely than nonusers to develop as adults, a U.S. study shows.“Pesticides, particularly organophosphate insecticides, may increase the risk of asthma,” Hoppin and colleagues conclude.

The farmers who grow up on farms were about half as likely to have allergic asthma (and about 20% less likely to have non-allergic asthma) compared to women with children were not farm. However, the use of pesticides was more strongly associated with allergic asthma among farm women.

This effect is particularly strong for 60% of rural women who grew up on a farm. People who grew up on a farm have a reduced risk. Pesticide users have less protection, find Jane A. Hoppin, SCD, National Institute of Health Sciences’ environment, and colleagues.

Their report appears in the current January 1 issue of American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care.

Asthma is under control? Sign up today for WebMD Allergies and Asthma newsletter and breathe throughout the year.

Hoppin team collected self-reported by women 25 814 farms in Iowa and North Carolina. These data contain detailed information on pesticide use and if, as adults, had physician-diagnosed allergic or nonallergic asthma.

The use of any pesticide in the company of a woman increases the risk of allergic asthma by 46%, but does not increase the risk of allergic asthma. Even so, the risk was not huge. Only 181 of 14,767 pesticide users reported having allergic asthma.

Ten of the 31 pesticides analyzed are related to allergic asthma, including two herbicides (2,4-D and glyphosate), seven insecticides (carbaryl, Coumaphos, DDT, malathion, parathion, permethrin on animals, and drilled) and a fungicide ( metalaxyl).