Originally published August 18 2009
Home Pesticides Linked to Childhood Cancers
by S. L. Baker, features writer
(NaturalNews) Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a malignant disease of the bone marrow, is the most common cancer diagnosed in children. In fact, nearly one third of all pediatric cancers are cases of ALL. Although this form of cancer can be cured in many cases, in the worst case scenarios the cancer crowds out normal cells in the bone marrow, metastisizes to other organs and takes the lives of about 15 percent of the youngsters it attacks. What triggers so many kids, usually between the ages of three and seven, to develop this cancer in the first place? A new study just published in the August issue of the journal Therapeutic Drug Monitoring raises the suspicion that commonly used household pesticides are the cause.
Previous studies in agricultural areas of the US have shown strong associations between pesticides and childhood cancers but this is the first research conducted in a large, urban area to look at the connection. The study, conducted between January of 2005 and January of 2008, involved 41 pairs of children with ALL and their mothers and a control group of 41 matched pairs of healthy children and their mothers. The volunteer research subjects were all from Lombardi and Children's National Medical Center and lived in the Washington metropolitan area.
Urine samples collected from the children and their mothers were analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to look for metabolites that provide evidence of household pesticide exposure. Specifically, the scientists were looking for metabolites associated with the pesticides known by their chemical name as organophosphates (OP). The researchers found evidence of the pesticides in the urine of more than half of all the participants, but levels of two common OP metabolites, diethylthiophosphate (DETP) and diethyldithiophosphate (DEDTP), were significantly higher in the children who suffered from cancer. What's more, the mothers who participated in the study filled out questionnaires that revealed more moms whose kids had cancer used pesticides (33 percent) than did the mothers in the control group (14 percent) whose youngsters were cancer-free.
"We know pesticides -- sprays, strips, or 'bombs,' are found in at least 85 percent of households, but obviously not all the children in these homes develop cancer. What this study suggests is an association between pesticide exposure and the development of childhood ALL, but this isn't a cause-and-effect finding," the study's lead investigator, Offie Soldin, PhD, an epidemiologist at Lombardi, said in a statement to the media. "Future research would help us understand the exact role of pesticides in the development of cancer. We hypothesize that pre-natal exposure coupled with genetic susceptibility or an additional environmental insult after birth could be to blame."
While the scientists aren't ready to flat out say pesticides cause cancer, when you look at the big picture and see what is already known about the havoc pesticides appear to cause in the human body, it makes sense for parents and parents-to-be to ditch pesticides -- for their own health and for the health of their children. For example, NaturalNews has previously reported on the link between residential pesticides and childhood brain cancer (http://www.naturalnews.com/026155_pesticides...), and the strong association between a serious pre-cancerous blood condition and exposure to pesticides (http://www.naturalnews.com/026626_pesticides...).
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