Projects

Are pesticides a health hazard for farmers?

Evaluating potential hazards for the Agricultural Health Study (AHS)

Challenge

Despite a lower overall mortality rate than the general population, farmers experience an excess of certain cancers, such as leukemia, myeloma, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and cancers of the lip, stomach, skin, brain, and prostate. Other conditions, like asthma, neurological diseases, and adverse reproductive outcomes may also be related to agricultural exposures.

The National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and the Environmental Protection Agency launched the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) in 1993 to evaluate a connection between these health outcomes and potentially hazardous substances prevalent in farming communities.

Solution

Since 2002, Westat has followed nearly 90,000 registered pesticide applicators in Iowa and North Carolina and their spouses to determine how environmental exposures from pesticide application may put them at increased risk for cancer. The study will also investigate the role of lifestyle, diet, and genetic factors as contributors to cancer risk.

As the coordinating center, we develop the annual study update, maintain the master database of study participants and participation in substudies, trace participants, identify and verify disease outcomes, and build analytic datasets. Previously we collected biospecimens, dust, and GPS measurements for a biomarker substudy within the AHS that was completed in 2018. Since the completion of that substudy, we have been building analytic datasets and tracking specimens and requests for specimens.

Results

This research will identify factors that affect the risk of various types of cancers and other adverse health conditions in farming populations.

The list of publications for the AHS is available at https://aghealth.nih.gov/news/publications.html.

Insights

Deep Dive with Our Experts

view all insights
  • Perspective

    Highlights of Westat at AAPOR 2024

    May 2024

    We’ve returned from the 79th Annual American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Conference, held May 15-17 in Atlanta, where we caught up with colleagues…

  • Expert Interview

    PMGE: Blueprint for Culturally Responsive Evaluations

    May 2024

    Long known for its cutting-edge studies, the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE), a department of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), has…

  • Perspective

    Westat @ AAPOR 2024

    May 2024

    Westat experts are excited to head to Atlanta May 15-17, 2024, for the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) 79th Annual Conference. We’re proud…

Projects

Keep Reading

view all projects

How can we help?

We welcome messages from job seekers, collaborators, and potential clients and partners.

Get in Contact

Want to work with us?

You’ll be in great company.

Explore Careers
Back to Top