Online Program

Is Childhood Leukemia Incidence in Florida Linked to Pesticide Exposure?

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Brian Anderson, MPH, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Florida International University, Miami, FL
Janvier Gasana, MD PhD, Environmental & Occupational Health, FIU Stempel College of Public Health and Social Work, Miami, FL
introduction: Leukemia is one of the most common types of cancer among Hispanic children, accounting for roughly one-third of all cases.  Incidence of acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is prevalent in many agricultural states, including Texas, California and Florida.  The study we report on here provides a detailed overview of results of broad-based descriptive studies done on the disease itself and on its relationship to pesticide exposures.

methods and materials:  During the study period of 1998-2008, ALL was analyzed in Florida by gender, time period and region.  Studies were researched using PubMed and NIH databases.  Associations between parental occupational exposures to pesticides and risk of leukemia in their children were examined in population-based, case-control studies.  All reported cases of ALL among children ages 0-15 were identified at the Cancer Registry and compared to population controls.

results:  The cases of leukemia characterized through methods represented an overall age-standardized incidence rate of 36.1 per million person-years, and cases of ALL accounted for 75% of all the reported cases of leukemia.  A linear regression model identified a significant excess of ALL for Hispanic groups in all geographical regions.  Data was compared with results from the Northern California Children’s Leukemia Study and Agricultural Health Study.


discussion:  There is strong evidence that a positive correlation exists between pesticide use and childhood ALL rates in Florida.  These rates are comparable with those of Costa Rica and Mexico City.  Further epidemiological research is needed in this area to assess biomarkers, biological processes associated with leukaemogeneses, exposure and susceptibility

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the incidence of leukemia among children in Florida, analyzing the rates of the various counties throughout the state.

Keyword(s): Child Health Promotion, Environmental Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the author of papers and presentations from research conducted at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Among my interests have been child health and topics related to environmental justice.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.