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Agricultural Health Study (AHS)

Logo of the agricultural health study

The Agricultural Health Study works to understand how agricultural, lifestyle, and genetic factors affect the health of farming populations. This prospective cohort study of approximately 90,000 participants includes licensed private pesticide applicators and their spouses in Iowa and North Carolina, and commercial applicators in Iowa.

The study is a collaborative project of the National Cancer Institute, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. 

Since it began in 1993, the study has included three cohort-wide interviews to obtain information on agricultural practices and pesticide use, other occupational exposures, lifestyle factors, diseases, and medication use, and one cohort-wide interview focused primarily on updating information on non-cancer health outcomes. Cancer incidence has been ascertained via linkage to population-based cancer registries in the study states, and mortality through linkage to state mortality registries and the National Death Index. Mouth rinse samples including buccal cell DNA, were collected from 39 percent of the cohort.

In addition, there have been a number of targeted sub-studies, focused on specific scientific questions. These studies include information on pesticide exposure monitoring from a sample of farms and the collection of a variety of biologic tissues from selected samples of participants. Collaborative ventures with extramural investigators are encouraged.

Visit the website for Agricultural Health Study participants and collaborators.

View Agricultural Health Study Publications.

For more information, contact Dr. Laura Beane Freeman or Dr. Jonathan Hofmann.

Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch - Research Areas