Increased risk of children’s cancer due to pesticides

Increased risk of children’s cancer due to pesticides

Study finds links to certain types of children's cancers due to exposure.

Researchers recently looked at 16 previously completed studies to examine a potential link between pesticides used in houses and the increased risk of childhood cancers, and found some alarming associations.

The analysis of the data revealed that children that had been exposed to indoor insecticides were 47 percent more likely to have childhood leukemia than those children that had not been exposed to the chemicals, according to an article on livescience.com.

The results also showed a link to childhood lymphoma, with exposed children being 43 percent more likely to develop the disease.

Study author Chensheng Lu, of Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts, cautioned parents that they should avoid the use of these types of chemicals in areas where children spend a lot of time, and reminded them that pesticides are used to kill organisms.

The researchers specifically looked at three types of pesticides, indoor, outdoor and herbicides.  While the analysis did not find any link between outdoor pesticides and children’s cancer, it noted that there was a 26 percent increase in the likelihood of childhood leukemia in children that were exposed to herbicides.

Earlier research has suggested that children’s health may be more at risk in exposure to pesticides than adults, possibly because the young immune system is still developing and they may not be able to detoxify and excrete pesticides as well as adults.

Additionally, studies have shown exposure to pesticides could be harmful to the respiratory, gastrointestinal, nervous and endocrine systems of children.

The researchers warned that because of the increased use of pesticides, policies need to be developed to minimize the exposure of young children to the chemicals, and parents, teachers and doctors should become familiar with the common types of pesticides and aware of the potential for their health.

The result of their findings was published in the journal Pediatrics on September 14.

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