A significantly increased risk of
non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is associated with in utero and early childhood
exposure to pesticides, according to a report in the December 1st issue of
Cancer. While the risk is well known for adults, according to the authors,
this is the first study that provides evidence of risk among children.
Dr. Jonathan D. Buckley, from the University of Southern California, Los
Angeles, and colleagues from the Children's Cancer Group compared data
collected from 268 children with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma or leukemia with data
collected from a cohort of matched randomly selected controls.
Forty-nine of the 268 patients had lymphomatous leukemia. The remaining
patients had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, 38% were lymphoblastic, 28% had
Burkitt's lymphoma, 12% had non-Burkitt's lymphoma, and 19% had large cell
In telephone interviews, the researchers asked the mothers of the patients
and the controls about pesticide exposure 1 month before the pregnancy,
during the pregnancy and any pesticide exposure the child may have had
Dr. Buckley's group found a significant association between non-Hodgkin's
lymphoma and the use of pesticides in the home for most days (odds ratio
7.3). They also found an association between non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and
pesticide exposure caused by professional exterminators (odds ratio 3.0) and
from postnatal exposure (odds ratio 2.4).
Although Dr. Buckley and colleagues have demonstrated an association between
pesticide exposure and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in children, they were unable
to pinpoint any particular chemical agent.
Thanks to Reuters Health
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