Yikes! Flea Collars and Bug Sprays Are Possibly Linked to Childhood Cancers

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September 22, 2015 | By Asher Fogle | Good Housekeeping

Keeping pests out of your home may come at a big risk to your kids, says a new study.

Strapping a flea collar on the family pet or spraying your kitchen for ants is putting your child at an increased risk of certain cancers, a new study has found.

In the study, which was published in Pediatrics, researchers analyzed the results of 16 different studies of children exposed to indoor pesticides. And they found that exposure to indoor insecticides is associated with a 47% greater risk of childhood leukemia and 43% increased risk of childhood lymphomas.

The biggest culprits:  professional pest control, indoor flea foggers, flea and tick pet collars, and various roach and ant sprays. In contrast, outdoor pesticides and weed killers were linked to boosting the odds of brain tumors by 26%.

Researchers do note that only a small number of studies were analyzed, and they emphasize that though the research shows an increase in risk, these diseases are still uncommon — though increasing.

“The incidence of childhood leukemia and lymphoma has increased in recent years, and that prompted us to look at this issue,” lead author, Chensheng Lu, an associate professor of environmental exposure biology at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, told The New York Times. “But the risks can be managed as long as parents think, before using pesticides, about better ways to make a house pest-proof or pest-free. That’s a far more important message.”

[h/t The New York Times]

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