Relationship between Exposure to Pesticides and Occurrence of Acute Leukemia in Iran

  • Maryam, Zakerinia (Hematology Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Sajad, Amirghofran (Kish International Branch, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Maral, Namdari (Ophthalamology Department, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Zahra, Lesan (Adult Hematology-Oncology Ward, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Sima, Pooralimohamad (Adult Hematology-Oncology Ward, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Zeinab, Attabac (Pediatric Hematology Research Center, Oncology Ward, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Zahra, Mehravar (Pediatric Hematology Research Center, Oncology Ward, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Fariba, Ebrahimi (Pediatric Hematology Research Center, Oncology Ward, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Sezaneh, Haghpanah (Hematology Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences) ;
  • Davood, Mehrabani (Stem Cell and Transgenic Technology Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences)
  • Published : 2015.02.04


Background: One of the causes of acute leukemia can be exposure to certain chemicals such as pesticides. This study determined the relationship between exposure to pesticides and the occurrence of acute leukemia in Fars province, south of Iran. Materials and Methods: Between April 2011 and April 2013 in a case-control study conducted in Nemazee Hospital in Shiraz, Southern Iran; 314 subjects diagnosed with acute leukemia (94 pediatric cases and 220 adults) were enrolled to determine any correlation between exposure to pesticides and the occurrence. Controls (n=314) were matched by sex and age. Results: There was a history of exposure to pesticides among 85% of pediatric cases and 69% of their controls and 83% of adult cases and 75% of their controls while 87.5% of pediatric cases and 90% of adult cases reported exposure to intermediate and high doses of pesticides and among the controls, the exposure to low doses of pesticides was 70.5% and 65%, respectively. Exposure to indoor pesticides was seen among most of cases and controls. Being a farmer was at a significantly more increased risk of developing acute leukemia in comparison to other jobs, especially for their children. Conclusions: Exposure to pesticides was shown to be one of the most important causes of acute leukemia. It seems that there is a need to educate the people on public health importance of exposure to pesticides especially during school time to reduce the risk of malignancies during childhood.


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