An extensive multi-year federal Agricultural Health Study (AHS) recently found no consistent association between atrazine and cancer rates among farmers, farm spouses and pesticide applicators.

In 1993, the AHS began to investigate the relationships between apsects of living and working on a farm -- including hazardous substance exposures and cancer risk -- and relationships with other health problems. Most of the cancer research focused on more than 20 pesticides including atrazine.

The AHS included 89,000 farmers, pesticide applicators and spouses. The study examined types and frequency of pesticides that individuals had been exposed to, along with the degree of protective equipment used. Participants also submitted individual health records including cholesterol amounts, blood pressure and disease diagnosis. Scientists statistically corrected for factors like use of smoking and chewing tobacco -- factors proven to cause cancer.

Three branches of the federal government contributed toward this study, including the National Institute of Health, of which the National Cancer Institute is part of, along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Tim Pastoor, toxicologist and principal scientist with Syngenta Crop Protection, said this new study confirms numerous other research findings about the safety of atrazine use.

"The report's conclusion was very straight forward that 'there was no consistent association between atrazine use and any form of cancer,'" said Pastoor. "It is one of the largest studies ever done on the health of individuals workign with pesticides."

For more information on the results of the study, visit, www.agsense.org.