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Occup Environ Med. 2006 Feb;63(2):131-4.

Household exposure to pesticides and risk of childhood acute leukaemia.

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  • 1INSERM, U170, IFR69, Villejuif, France.



To investigate the relation between childhood acute leukaemia and household exposure to pesticides.


The study included 280 incident cases of acute leukaemia and 288 controls frequency matched on gender, age, hospital, and ethnic origin. The data were obtained from standardised face to face interviews of the mothers with detailed questions on parental occupational history, home and garden insecticide use, and insecticidal treatment of pediculosis. Odds ratios were estimated using unconditional regression models including the stratification variables parental socioeconomic status and housing characteristics.


Acute leukaemia was observed to be significantly associated with maternal home insecticide use during pregnancy (OR = 1.8, 95% CI 1.2 to 2.8) and during childhood (OR = 1.7, 95% CI 1.1 to 2.4), with garden insecticide use (OR = 2.4, 95% CI 1.3 to 4.3), and fungicide use (OR = 2.5, 95% CI 1.0 to 6.2) during childhood. Insecticidal shampoo treatment of pediculosis was also associated with childhood acute leukaemia (OR = 1.9, 95% CI 1.2 to 3.3).


The results reported herein support the hypothesis that various types of insecticide exposure may be a risk factor for childhood acute leukaemia. The observed association with insecticidal shampoo treatment of pediculosis, which has never been investigated before, requires further study.

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