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Daily News Archive
From March 7, 2001

Study Links Nervous System Tumors to Paternal Occupational Pesticide Exposure

A new study published in the February 2001 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives (vol. 109, no. 2), finds an increased risk of nervous system tumors related to paternal occupational exposure to pesticide, work as a painter, and an increased risk of leukemia related to wood work.

Maria Feychting and her colleagues at the Institute of Environmental Medicine and Depart of Occupation Health in Stockholm, Sweden conducted the cohort study to test whether paternal occupation exposures before conception have an effect on the occurrence of childhood leukemia and nervous system tumors, the most common childhood cancers. The study comprised of 235,635 children born to married couples in 1976, 1977, 1981, and 1982. Data was compiled by linking records to the Swedish 1975 and 1980 censuses, the Swedish Cause of Death Registry, the Swedish Cancer Registry, and a job-exposure matrix constructed specifically for this study.

The study finds an increased risk of childhood nervous system tumors for paternal pesticide exposure with a 2.36 increased risk. Paternal exposures to pesticides identified by the study are related to agricultural, horticultural, forestry, or livestock occupations.

The authors state that because the study focuses on paternal exposure immediately prior to conception, the increased risk related to pesticides "may be explained by exposure of the child after birth. Most of the pesticide exposure came from agricultural work, which means that the child may have lived on a farm and received direct exposure."

Paternal exposure occurs either by the father exposing the mother who then exposes the child transplacentally or by genetic alteration in the father's sperm before conception.

Several other studies have also reported an increased risk of childhood tumors related to pesticide exposure. For more information, contact Beyond Pesticides/NCAMP.