Children are at risk of developing cancers when they are exposed to household pesticides from sprays, according to a new study.
Previous studies have shown that pesticides may affect kids’ health more than adults’ health because children’s immune systems are still developing. Earlier reports found that pesticide exposure was linked to respiratory, stomach, nerve and hormone problems in young ones.
The researchers analyzed published research on children’s exposure to insecticides inside and outside the house and links to childhood cancers. They looked at 16 studies conducted between 1993 and 2013, focusing on three types of pesticides, indoor insecticides, outdoor insecticides and herbicides.
The study concluded that children exposed to indoor insecticides were tied to a 47 percent increased risk of childhood leukemia and a 43 percent increased risk of childhood lymphomas, which are cancers of the lymphatic system.
Moreover, the scientists found a slightly increased risk of childhood cancers with the use of outdoor herbicides, but the association was only significant for leukemia. The outdoor exposure was not as strong as indoor exposure because people tend to spray more insect killers at home.
“When you apply pesticides so close to where kids are and they spend so much time in the household, I’d really be concerned about their exposure,” said Chensheng Lu, a lead researcher from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston.
More research is needed to determine how exposure to those chemicals may be linked to childhood malignancies. However, the parents should keep in mind that many pesticides are meant to be deadly to insects and pests.
There are pesticides in food, insect sprays, and products for controlling rodents. People with children are encouraged not to use toxic pesticides in the home, garden or places where children play. IMAGE/ iStock