Relation of Breast Cancer and Malathion Aerial Spraying in Arica, Chile

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Gertrudis Cabello; Mario Valenzuela-Estrada; Patricia Siques; Julio Brito; Eduardo Parra; Ursula Valdivia; Claudia Lavin; Alejandra Manríquez & Alejandro Ortega


Breast cancer mortality has been increasing in Arica Chile where it has surpassed the national rates 11 times between 1990 and 2010. The city of Arica was sprayed with the organophosphrous pesticide malathion in order to control the Mediterranean fly 33 years ago. Moreover we have demonstrated that a malathion treatment induces the formation of breast carcinomas in Sprague Dowley female rats. The objective of this work was to find a relationship between malathion aerial spraying and the increased mortality rate due to breast cancer that has been observed in Arica in recent years. We extracted city data bases with all breast cancer cases diagnosed from 1995 to 2005 from the Dr. Juan Noe Crevani Hospital of Arica city and Ernesto Torres Hospital of Iquique. The number of patients was 100 in Arica and 58 in Iquique, nearby city that has never been sprayed with malathion which had a similar population than Arica in those years. The statistical analysis of the characteristics of the sample related to breast cancer risk showed that there is no significant difference between women from Arica and from Iquique. Nevertheless the patients with more times of exposure to malathion were 5.7-times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer (OR= 5.7; p<0.02). In addition, metastases were found in 30.5% of the malathion-exposed group and only in 16% in the group never exposed (p<0.05). This study suggests that the increase in the mortality rate due to breast cancer occurring in Arica has a significant correlation with the exposure to malathion sprayed over the city more than 30 years ago.

KEY WORDS: Pesticides; Organophosphates; Cholinesterase inhibitor; Metastases; Population health.

How to cite this article

CABELLO, G.; VALENZUELA-ESTRADA, M.; SIQUES, P.; BRITO, J.; PARRA, E.; VALDIVIA, U.; LAVIN, C.; MANRÍQUEZ, A. & ORTEGA, A. Relation of breast cancer and malathion aerial sprinkling in Arica, Chile. Int. J. Morphol., 31(2):640-645, 2013.