Kids may be protected from some diseases when parents use insecticides to keep homes free of cockroaches and other infection-bearing insects. However, these chemicals may cause damage in other ways, even contributing to the incidence of childhood leukemia, according to a new study revisiting a suspected link between pesticides and the disease.
There is evidence that radiation and certain genetic conditions increase the risk of leukemia, says study leader Xiaomei Ma of the University of California, Berkeley. Besides these, the causes are largely unknown.
Anecdotal links between pesticides and childhood leukemia emerged in the late 1970s. Since then, surveys have shown a modest statistical association connecting the disease with agricultural and household pesticides. However, scientists have not been able to specify the riskiest types of pesticide exposure nor have they determined the ages when children are most vulnerable. Researchers estimate that U.S. residents deposit