Aphids are frequently controlled by chemical compounds so that it could be not so unusual that you may interact with insecticides, for instance, after a general treatment of your home for spiders, insects or termites.
A new study published by Elizabeth Milne et al. in the journal Cancer Causes & Control reveals that women exposed within a year of pregnancy are almost twice as likely to have a child that develops a brain tumor. Interestingly this result is not due to household applications of insecticides by homeowners, but the study examines the role of pesticides applied by professional pest control applicators that use insecticides in proper amounts and protocols.
This study reports data from more than 3 hundred of families in Australia and it clearly shows that, for instance, termites treatment by professional applicators brings to a 50% greater risk if mothers and fathers are exposed either in the year before or during pregnancy.
Surprisingly, this effect is not related only to mother’s exposure, but also to father’s exposure to chemicals. If previous studies showed that insecticide treatments were linked to childhood brain tumors and childhood leukemia, here we have evidence that home exposure to insecticides can be as much as dangerous than occupational exposures. Therefore, preconception pesticide exposure, and possibly exposure during pregnancy, is associated with an increased CBT risk and it may be advisable for both parents to avoid pesticide exposure during this time.
As reported in the website Beyond Pesticides, a 2009 study from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development found the pesticide permethrin in 89% of the 500 homes randomly selected for sampling, whereas other studies found at least five pesticides in the air of 60% of 29 homes occupied by pregnant Hispanic women and the presence of piperonyl butoxide (PBO, an organic compound used as pesticide synergist) in 75% of homes occupied by pregnant women in inner-city New York.
At the same time, a further study links chemicals used in some lice treatment products and pet collars to childhood brain tumors. In particular, scientists correlated the exposure to organophosphorus- and carbamate-type insecticides to a child’s gene variations that might alter the way the child breaks down pesticides in the body. While general insecticide exposure increased the risk of tumors, if a child was not able to neutralize AChE inhibitors (nerve-damaging organophosphorus insecticides are AChE inhibitors) due to a genetic trait, they were even more likely to develop brain tumors. Researchers found that a child’s genetic variations did not seem to increase the risk of childhood brain tumors independently, but when coupled with exposure to organophosphorus insecticides, and possibly carbamate insecticides, the risks increased significantly.
Try to avoid insecticide exposure in your community taking into account that the presence of some insects in your home and garden is not so dangerous as some insecticides could be for your children.
Greenop KR, Peters S, Bailey HD, Fritschi L, Attia J, Scott RJ, Glass DC, de Klerk NH, Alvaro F, Armstrong BK, & Milne E (2013). Exposure to pesticides and the risk of childhood brain tumors. Cancer causes & control : CCC PMID: 23558445