Farm Workers Who Use Pesticides Likely To Develop Blood Disorder, Multiple Myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a rare cancer, yet blacks are twice as likely to be diagnosed with multiple myeloma than whites. The most at-risk population are actually people who are directly exposed to pesticides. This includes agricultural and farm workers who apply pesticides, and other people in the immediate area during and right after pesticides are spread.

According to U.S. researchers, people who apply pesticides have double the normal risk of developing a precancerous blood disorder called MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance).

Characterized by an abnormal level of plasma protein, the disorder requires lifelong monitoring because it can lead to multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in the bone marrow.

The study looked at 678 men, aged 30 to 94, in North Carolina and Iowa who apply pesticides and compared them to more than 9,000 men from the general population in Olmsted County, Minn.

No cases of MGUS were found among