Household exposure to pesticides and risk of childhood acute leukaemia (PDF)

Occupational and Environmental Study, 2006 Feb;63(2):131-4.

Menegaux F, Baruchel A, Bertrand Y, Lescoeur B, Leverger G, Nelken B, Sommelet D, Hemon D, Clavel J.

INSERM, U170, IFR69, Villejuif, France.

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the relation between childhood acute leukemia and household exposure to pesticides.

METHODS: The study included 280 incident cases of acute leukemia and 288 controls frequency matched on gender, age, hospital, and ethnic origin. The data were obtained from standardized face to face interviews of the mothers with detailed questions on parental occupational history, home and garden insecticide use, and insecticidal treatment of pediculosis. Odds ratios were estimated using unconditional regression models including the stratification variables parental socioeconomic status and housing characteristics.

RESULTS: Acute leukemia was observed to be significantly associated with maternal home insecticide use during pregnancy (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.2 to 2.8) and during childhood (OR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.4), with garden insecticide use (OR = 2.4, 95% CI 1.3 to 4.3), and fungicide use (OR = 2.5, 95% CI 1.0 to 6.2) during childhood. Insecticidal shampoo treatment of pediculosis was also associated with childhood acute leukemia (OR = 1.9, 95% CI 1.2 to 3.3).

CONCLUSION: The results reported herein support the hypothesis that various types of insecticide exposure may be a risk factor for childhood acute leukemia. The observed association with insecticidal shampoo treatment of pediculosis, which has never been investigated before, requires further study.

* The study aim to investigate an association between pesticide use and childhood leukemia by type of pesticide used (Home Insecticide, Garden Pesticide (insecticide, herbicide, and fungicide) and time of exposure (Pesticide Use During Pregnancy and Pesticide Use During Childhood).

* In the Home Insecticide Use group, there was significant associations amongst those who “Ever” used During Pregnancy, OR = 1.8, 95% CI: 1.2, 2.8, and for those who use During Childhood, OR=1.7, 95% CI: 1.1-2.4.

*In the overall Garden Pesticide Use group, there were significant associations for those who “Ever” used During Childhood, OR = 1.7, 95% CI: 1.1, 2.7.¬† When the Garden Pesticide Use was subdivided into Insecticide, Herbicide and Fungicide, significant associations were found with Insecticide, OR= 2.4, 95% CI: 1.3, 4.3, and Fungicide, OR= 2.5, 95% CI: 1.0, 6.2).

*There were no significant associations found between Leukemia and Garden Pesticide Use During Pregnancy but the number of cases and controls in that group were small.

* Significant associations were also found between childhood leukemia and the use of Insecticidal Shampoo to treat Pediculosis, OR=1.9, 95% CI: 1.1, 3.2. When the insecticidal shampoo was subdivided into pyrethroid based, organochlorine based and organophosphorous based, there were significant associations with pyrethroid based, OR=2.0, 95% CI: 1.1, 3.4, but insignificant associations for the other two (again the number of cases and controls were too small).