Increased Childhood Cancer Risk Linked to Pesticides in the Home, Study Finds

Increased Childhood Cancer Risk Linked to Pesticides in the Home

After a federal judge recently overturned the EPA’s approval of a controversial pesticide, there’s more bad news for the agrochemical industry, as a new study finds pesticide use in the home may increase the risk of certain types of childhood cancer.

According to the research, published in the forthcoming October issue of the journal Pediatrics, children who were exposed to insecticides inside the home were more likely to develop the most common types of childhood cancer: the leukemia risk increased to 47 percent and 43 percent for lymphoma.

The researchers looked at data from 16 studies on pesticide exposure and children’s risk of cancers.

“Childhood cancers are increasing year by year in this country, (and) there is disagreement about what is contributing to that, but pesticides have always been on the radar,” lead researcher Chensheng Lu, an associate professor of environmental exposure biology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, told CNN.

According to Lu, the research confirms that pesticides “may play a role, possibly a significant role,” in childhood cancer risks, even though the research wasn’t able to conclude that pesticides are a definite cause of the cancers in children.

The study pointed toward both insecticides used in the home that children may inhale, as well as those that are ingested. “In general, children younger than age 12 appear to be most vulnerable to the possible cancer-causing effects of pesticides,” CNN explains.

Pesticides and herbicides have been linked to numerous health issues. California’s EPA recently made a move to list the herbicide glyphosate as a probable risk for cancer.

Other studies have found a connection between pesticide exposure and neurological issues, behavioral issues, and attention disorders, as well as headaches, nausea, and skin issues.

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Image of child via Shutterstock