New study finds correlation between specific pesticides and central nervous system tumors in children

"Policy interventions to reduce pesticide exposure in individuals residing near agricultural fields should be considered to protect the health of children."

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A new study and first of its kind found direct evidence that links pesticide exposure to childhood central nervous system tumors. The study, which was published in Environmental Research, was used “to estimate effects for a large number of specific pesticides in relation to CNS tumor subtypes.”

The research examined data from the California Cancer Registry regarding certain types of cancer cases in children who were born between 1998 and 2011, who lived in rural areas, and found that exposure to pesticides chlorthalonil, bromacil, thiophanate-methyl, triforine, kresoxim-methyl, propiconazole, dimethoate and linuron all increased tumor risk.

“Policy interventions to reduce pesticide exposure in individuals residing near agricultural fields should be considered to protect the health of children,” Beate Ritz, coauthor and UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health epidemiology professor, said.

The study identified 667 cases of childhood central nervous system tumors and 123,158 controls and “compared these cases to data from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (CDPR) Pesticide Use Reporting (PUR) system to identify whether chemicals classed as possible carcinogens by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had been sprayed within 2.5 miles of the their homes at birth,” EcoWatch reported. The researchers determined that some of the pesticides studied had an increased tumor risk of as much as 2.5 times.

The study also revealed that “in addition to the negative health effects of pesticides on workers there are large numbers of pregnant women and young children living adjacent to treated fields who may experience detrimental health effects as well,” Dr. Christina Lombardi, study co-author and epidemiologist with the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said.

“Our results suggest that exposure to specific pesticides may best explain the results of previous studies that reported relationships between broader pesticide types and central nervous system tumors.” Julia Heck, PhD, study coauthor, said.

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