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A Chemical in Your Home May Increase Childhood Cancer Risk



A study finds indoor pesticides, which are present in most American households, may be putting children at increased risk of childhood leukemia and lymphoma. The worst offenders include roach and ant sprays, along with chemicals used by professional pest control services and flea foggers. Even flea and tick pet collars are highly implicated. Fortunately, nature provides some non-toxic alternatives.

The research published in Pediatrics examined the results of 16 studies involving childhood exposure to pesticides. They concluded indoor pesticides were linked to a 47 percent increase in leukemia and a 43 percent increase in lymphoma. Exposure to outdoor pesticides like weedkillers was associated with a 26 percent greater risk of brain tumors.

Interestingly, some of the studies included in the research team’s analysis indicate the children at the most risk are those who were exposed while in the womb as well as those whose parents were exposed before they were conceived. This suggests pregnant women or couples who plan to have a child should avoid home pesticides.

“The incidence of childhood leukemia and lymphoma has increased in recent years, and that prompted us to look at this issue,” says senior author Chensheng Lu. “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.”

Other Pesticide Risks

Exposure to pesticides may also raise the risk of other cancers such as prostate and bladder; however they have not been studied as much and the research is difficult because the malignancies takes longer to develop, notes Lu. Aside from cancer, some studies show pesticides are associated with lower IQ and a higher risk of ADHD in children.

Natural Pest Control

Lu advocates repairing cracks and crevices though which insects enter the home. In addition, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) provides the following information on non-toxic methods of pest control that involve the use of certain herbs and botanicals.

  • Ants: Determine the spot where ants are getting inside your home. Put cayenne pepper and/or citrus oil along the entry area.
  • Cockroaches: Make a catnip tea and spray it along baseboards, the back of cabinets and behind counters.
  • Fleas: Add garlic and brewer’s yeast to your pet’s food.
    You can also make a lemon solution to apply to your pet. Slice a lemon and place in a glass. Add one cup of boiling water and soak overnight. The next day, take the lemon slices out and massage the water into your pet’s fur.
  • Moths: Place cedar chips in areas where these pests are a problem.

Fleas can be an extra big dilemma for pet owners, so here are more measures to include in your flea-fighting regimen. Mother Earth Living recommends bathing pets in cedar oil shampoo. They also advise treating the carpet with diatomaceous earth by brushing it in, letting it sit for four days, and then vacuuming up the dead fleas.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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