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Discovering the causes of cancer and the means of prevention

Use of Remote Sensing Data and a Geographic Information System (GIS) in Cancer Epidemiology

The possible link between occupational exposure to certain pesticides and the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma raises a concern about nonoccupational exposures. Methodologic projects were designed to investigate the feasibility of using remote sensing data and a Geographic Information System (GIS) to reconstruct general environmental exposures. These projects linked satellite imagery data on cropping patterns with U.S. Department of Agriculture information on agricultural chemical use to estimate pesticide application on farmland adjacent to residential communities. We further linked crop maps to pesticide use data in California to estimate pesticide levels in homes. For five of the seven pesticides evaluated, residences with crops and agricultural pesticide use within 1,250 meters in the previous year had significantly higher pesticide concentrations than homes with no pesticide use nearby.

For more information, contact Dr. Mary Ward.

Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch - Research Areas