Daily News Archive
Leukemia and Pesticide Applications
(from October 1, 2002)
A study published in the September 2002 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives shows significant associations between childhood leukemia and exposure to pesticides. The researchers found a "critical window of exposure" to pesticides used in the home associated with leukemia in children. They found an especially high risk for development of leukemia correlated with use of pesticides in the child's environment during their second year of life. The highest risk observed was associated with exposure during the mother's pregnancy.
The scientists studied 162 patients newly diagnosed with leukemia, all between the ages of 0 and 14, from 1995 to 1999. The 162 matched control cases were selected at random from the birth registry. With each child, the researchers looked at the use of professional pesticide applications in their homes that took place from one year before birth to three years after. Such pesticide applications showed a significant link to risk of childhood leukemia. Insecticides were associated with the highest risk, as were pesticide applications that took place indoors. In addition, frequency of exposure to pesticides was also linked with increased risk.