Indoor Pesticides Linked to Childhood Cancers

Indoor exposure to household insecticides is linked to a significant increase in childhood leukemia and lymphoma, according to a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health published in the October issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Society of Pediatrics.

Lead researcher Chensheng Lu, associate professor of environmental exposure biology at Harvard, said exposure could be during pregnancy or even stem from the mother’s exposure before she becomes pregnant.

The research found children exposed to indoor insecticides were 47 percent more likely to have leukemia and 43 percent more likely to have lymphoma.
Early exposure might also increase the risk of cancer later in life.

Children are more vulnerable to damage from pesticide exposure than adults are.
The researchers also found an increased risk of childhood cancers associated with outdoor herbicides but the association was only documented as significant for leukemia.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor pesticides are used for controlling mosquitos, cockroaches, bed bugs, ants, germs, mice and termites. They are also used on pets for flea and tick control.

The Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Committee has announced Danforth-area farmer Harold Wilken has been named the outstanding sustainable farmer of central Illinois. A formal announcement will be made in January at the Specialty Growers Association convention in Springfield.

Wilken is an organic farmer with about 2,300 acres in Iroquois County. He began converting from chemical to organic farming in 2002 with 32 acres leased from Herman and Marlene Brockman.

In making the announcement, Walt Gregory, chairman of the Illinois Sustainable Agriculture Committee, also said the committee has been eliminated from the state budget under Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“When I was first named to this committee 20 years ago, we had a budget of $1 million a year,” Gregory said. “We’ve been in existence for 56 years. We werer down to $250,000 in 2013 and nothing in 2016.”

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