Increased exposure to pesticides and colon cancer: Early evidence in Brazil

Martin, Francis L orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-8562-4944, Martinez, Edson Z., Stopper, Helga, Garcia, Sergio Britto, Uyemura, Sergio Akira and Kannen, Vinicius (2018) Increased exposure to pesticides and colon cancer: Early evidence in Brazil. Chemosphere, 209 . pp. 623-631. ISSN 0045-6535

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Environmental factors may increase colon cancer (CC) risk. It has been suggested that pesticides could play a significant role in the etiology of this malignancy. As agriculture is one of the mainstays of the Brazilian economy, this country has been the largest pesticides consumer worldwide. The CC burden is also increasing in Brazil. Herein, we examined data from the Brazilian Federal Government to determine whether CC mortality and pesticide consumption may be associated.
Database of the Ministry of Health provided CC mortality data in Brazil, while pesticides use was accessed at the website of Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources. The CC mortality in the Brazilian states was calculated as standard mortality rates (SMR). All Bayesian analysis was performed using a Markov chain Monte Carlo method in WinBUGS software. We observed that colon cancer mortality has exhibited a steady increase for more than a decade, which correlated with the amount of sold pesticides in the country. Both observations are concentrated in the Southern and the Southeast regions of Brazil. Although ecological studies like ours have methodological limitations, the current dataset suggests the possibility that pesticide exposure may be a risk factor for colon cancer. It warrants further investigation.

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