Cancer incidence among triazine herbicide manufacturing workers

Academic Article


  • This study evaluated cancer incidence and prostate specific antigen (PSA) testing among workers at a plant in Louisiana (LA) that made atrazine and other triazine herbicides. The study covered the time period 1985 through 1997 and included 2045 subjects, of whom 757 worked for the company that owned the plant and 1288 were contract employees. Linkage with a population-based cancer registry and review of death certificates and plant medical records identified cancer cases. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) compared subjects' cancer incidence rates with those of a regional general population. Plant medical records provided data on the proportion receiving PSA tests among male company employees. Subjects had 46 observed and 40 expected cases of all cancers combined (SIR = 114, CI = 83-152) and had 11/6.3 prostate cancers (SIR = 175, CI = 87-312). The prostate cancer excess was greater in actively working company employees (5/1.3, SIR = 394, CI = 128-920) than in contract employees or inactive company employees (6/5.0, SIR = 119, CI = 44-260) and was limited to men under 60 years of age. Of the 11 prostate cancer cases, nine were diagnosed at an early clinical stage. From 1993 to 1999, the proportion of male company employees who had at least one PSA test was 86% for those who reached 40 years of age while actively working and was 98% for those who reached 45 years of age. The observed prostate cancer increase may have been due to the frequent PSA testing of actively working company employees. There is no epidemiologic or other information that clearly supports a causal relation between atrazine and prostate cancer.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • MacLennan PA; Delzell E; Sathiakumar N; Myers SL; Cheng H; Grizzle W; Chen VW; Wu XC
  • Start Page

  • 1048
  • End Page

  • 1058
  • Volume

  • 44
  • Issue

  • 11