Insecticide Usage in Homes a Cancer Risk for Children

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Marji_160915_2According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, exposure of insecticides in the household can place children at risk of developing cancers.

The study was conducted by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. It set out to determine if a link could be found between pesticides and cancers in children from previous studies.

Researchers identified 277 studies that met the criteria for inclusion in the analysis—out of these studies, 16 were analyzed more closely.

Chensheng Lu, the study’s senior author, suggests that the worst insecticide exposure that a child could experience indoors is from a fogger or spray can—mainly because people will be close to the spray when indoors, and there is little dilution compared to when the sprays are used outdoors.

Lu suggests that children are usually vulnerable because a child’s liver is not fully developed yet, so they wouldn’t have the capability to detoxify pesticides.

Pesticides can be found in everything from insect repellants to lawn products to even food. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises to only use pesticides indoors when necessary. When pesticides are used, the air may still contain pesticide residue long after it is applied—so people are warned to stay away from it for the recommended amount of time mentioned on the label.

The study authors admit that the number of papers analyzed was low; however, they conclude that their findings suggest that children exposed to insecticides indoors is significantly linked with an increased risk of childhood cancers.

Sources for Today’s Article:
Lu, C., et al., “Residential exposure to pesticide during childhood and childhood cancers: A meta-analysis,” Pediatrics September 14, 2015, doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-0006.
Vernon, J., “Bug sprays in the home a cancer risk for children,” Medical News Today web site, September 16, 2015;