Date of Conferral





Public Health


Raymond M. Panas


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third leading cancer diagnosis in the United States, and second in Ohio, for both men and women. In 2019, there were an estimated 145,000 cases of new CRC diagnoses and will lead to more than 50,000 deaths. Results from a systematic review indicate that chlorpyrifos use in agriculture is linked to the incidence of breast and lung cancers and has a possible association with CRC. Grounded in the social-ecological model, this study investigated the association between exposure to chlorpyrifos and CRC rates in agricultural communities in Ohio. The quantitative cohort design method utilized secondary data from the Ohio Cancer Incidence Surveillance System and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention SEERS database, with a sample of 147,039 CRC cases in Ohio. Mann-Whitney test results (p = 0.875) and Kruskal-Wallis results (p = 0.382) indicated no statistically significant difference between CRC rates compared to chlorpyrifos usage. Spearman correlation analysis results (p = 0.709) showed no statistically significant correlation between chlorpyrifos usage and CRC rates. Wilcoxon Signed Rank test results (p = 0.000 and p = 0.001) indicated a statistically significant difference between CRC rates for agricultural counties in Ohio and those for the United States and for Ohio overall, respectively. The findings from this study should be used as support for future research in areas with elevated CRC rates. Public policy change should include local health department monitoring and reporting of chemical pesticide usage rates in their respective areas, as well as community education on the risks associated with exposure to pesticides and CRC development.

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