Caution: Home Pesticides & Your Child’s Risk For Cancer

PesticideChildren exposed to insecticides at home may have a slightly increased risk of developing leukemia or lymphoma, a new review finds.

The analysis, of 16 studies done since the 1990s, found that children exposed to indoor insecticides had an elevated risk of developing the blood cancers. There was also a weaker link between exposure to weed killers and the risk of leukemia.

The findings, reported online Sept. 14 and in the October print issue of Pediatrics, do not prove that chemical pesticides directly contribute to the cancers. And if they do, researchers said, several questions remain.

“We don’t know ‘how much’ exposure it takes, or if there’s a critical window in development,” said senior researcher Chensheng (Alex) Lu, an associate professor of environmental exposure biology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.