(HealthDay News) — For children, exposure to indoor insecticides is associated with an increased risk of childhood leukemia and lymphomas, according to a study published online September 14 in Pediatrics.

Mei Chen, PhD, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis to examine the correlations between residential childhood pesticide exposures and childhood cancers. The meta-analysis included data from 16 studies.

The researchers found that the risks of childhood leukemia and childhood lymphomas were significantly increased with childhood exposure to indoor but not outdoor residential insecticides (odds ratios, 1.47 and 1.43, respectively). Herbicide exposure was also associated with an increased risk of leukemia (odds ratio, 1.26). Childhood home pesticide or herbicide exposure also correlated with childhood brain tumors, although the association was not statistically significant.

“Additional research is needed to confirm the association between residential indoor pesticide exposures and childhood cancers,” the authors write. “Meanwhile, preventive measures should be considered to reduce children’s exposure to pesticides at home.”

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