Geospatial Assessment of Pesticide Concentration in Ambient Air and Colorectal Cancer Incidence in Arkansas, 2013–2017

Lihchyun Joseph Su, Sean G. Young, Josephine Collins, Eryn Matich, Ping Ching Hsu, Tung Chin Chiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Exposure to various agricultural pesticides has been linked to colorectal cancer (CRC), mostly among farmworkers and applicators. Given the potential pesticide drift in ambient air, residents near farmland may be exposed to carcinogenic pesticides even if they are not actively engaged in pesticide application. Pesticide air pollution at the county level was estimated using the 2014 National Air Toxics Assessment. CRC incidence data were acquired from the Arkansas Central Cancer Registry for 2013–2017. We ran ordinary least squares (OLS) regression models, finding significant spatial autocorrelation of residuals for most models. Using geographically weighted regression (GWR) we found age-adjusted CRC incidence rates vary in an increasing west-to-east gradient, with the highest rates in the Arkansas Delta region. A similar gradient was observed in the distribution of the population living below the poverty line and the population percentage of Black people. Significant associations between Trifluralin (crude model only), Carbon Tetrachloride, and Ethylene Dibromide with CRC incidence rates in OLS models only explained 5–7% of the variation and exhibited spatial autocorrelation of residuals. GWR models explained 24–32% (adjusted r2 9–16%) of CRC incidence rate variation, suggesting additional factors may contribute to the association between pesticides and CRC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3258
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Ambient
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Geospatial
  • Pesticide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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