Indoor pesticides 'significantly increase' risk of child cancers – study

© Charles Platiau
The risk of developing blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma increases significantly in children exposed to pesticides indoors, a recent meta-analysis has shown. A correlation between pesticide exposure and childhood brain tumors has also been observed.

Children who are exposed to indoor insecticides – by either breathing in or eating them – are more likely to be diagnosed with the two types of blood cancer, which are among the most common childhood cancers. Such exposure is associated with a 47 percent higher risk of childhood leukemia, while the risk of lymphoma grows by 43 percent.

A significant increase in risk of leukemia – by 26 percent – was also associated with herbicide exposure, the study published in the Pediatrics journal, showed.

Also observed was a positive but not statistically significant association between childhood home pesticide or herbicide exposure and childhood brain tumors,” the researchers said.

However,according to the analysis, no association between the use of outdoor insecticides and childhood cancers has been found.

The research looked at children's exposure to three types of pesticides – indoor insecticides, outdoor insecticides and herbicides, determined through parent interviews. It examined the results from 16 previous international studies that have compared healthy children and young cancer patients. The largest of those studies included nearly 1,200 children with cancer, Live Science reported.

Remember that pesticides are designed and manufactured to kill organisms,” the author of the study, Chensheng Lu, told Live Science. Ingredients that kill insects could also be causing genetic mutations in human cells, the researcher said.

READ MORE: Hazardous chemicals found in nearly 75% of child car seats – study 

To confirm the findings, additional research is needed, the latest analysis concluded, adding that "meanwhile preventive measures should be considered to reduce children’s exposure to pesticides at home."