Cancer mortality in workers exposed to dieldrin and aldrin: Over 50 years of follow up

Ludovic G P M Amelsvoort, Jos J M Slangen, Shan P. Tsai, Geert Jong, IJmert Kant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: Dieldrin and aldrin, pesticides widely used until the 1970s, have been under suspicion of being carcinogenic. In this study, overall and cause-specific mortality was assessed in a cohort of 570 employees occupationally exposed to the pesticides dieldrin and aldrin to investigate the long-term health effects, in particular carcinogenic effects. Methods: All of the employees worked in the production plants between January 1954 and January 1970 and were followed for cause-specific mortality until 30 April 2006. Based on dieldrin levels in blood samples taken from 343 workers during the exposure period, the total intake of dieldrin was estimated for each individual subjects in the cohort. The estimated total intake ranged from 11 to 7,755 mg of dieldrin, with an average of 737 mg. Results: Two hundred and twenty-six workers had died before 30 April 2006 compared with an expected number of 327.3, giving a standardized mortality ratio (SMR) of 69.0 (95% confidence interval (CI): 60.3-78.7). Overall cancer mortality was also significantly lower than expected (SMR: 76.4, 95% CI: 60.8-94.9). Also, none of the specific cancer sites showed a significant excess mortality and no association between exposure level and cancer mortality was found. Conclusion: The results from this study support findings from other epidemiological and recent animal studies concluding that dieldrin and aldrin are not likely human carcinogens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-225
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Aldrin
  • Carcinogenicity
  • Cohort
  • Dieldrin
  • Epidemiology
  • Exposure
  • Occupation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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