Agrichemicals, chemicals used to maximize crop and animal production, can lead to water quality concerns when these chemicals run off into surface and groundwater after precipitation events. In Nebraska, one such chemical is atrazine, a suspected carcinogen. This study evaluated the association between atrazine in surface and groundwater, in relation to the incidence of pediatric cancer in Nebraska watersheds over 30 years (1 January 1987 to 31 December 2016). The watersheds were grouped into four categories based on the average atrazine concentration over the study period, using quantile classification. The associations between atrazine (ground/surface) and pediatric cancer after adjusting for social vulnerability index (SVI) variables, using pediatric population as offset, were compared using a generalized linear model (GLM) assuming a negative binomial distribution. The results from the GLM approach suggested positive associations between watersheds with higher atrazine concentration and a higher pediatric cancer incidence rate ratio. In this study, the associations were evaluated using atrazine measurements obtained from non-drinking water sources as a proxy measure. Further research is necessary to establish the causal relationship between atrazine and pediatric cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2727
JournalWater (Switzerland)
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 1 2021


  • Atrazine
  • Herbicides
  • Pediatric cancer
  • Water quality
  • Watersheds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Aquatic Science
  • Biochemistry


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