Previous epidemiological studies have suggested that exposure to pesticides during pregnancy may have a possible role in the development of childhood brain tumors. In a new International Journal of Cancer analysis, researchers found a link between maternal residential pesticide use--particularly insecticides--and the risk of childhood brain tumors.
The analysis included 437 malignant childhood brain tumor cases and 3102 controls from two French studies. Pesticide use was associated with a 1.4-times increased risk of childhood brain tumors.
The investigators noted that many pesticide compounds are classified as probable carcinogens, and there is evidence that some insecticides can pass through the feto-placental barrier.
"Although such retrospective studies cannot identify specific chemicals used or quantify the exposure, our findings add another reason to advise mothers to limit their exposure to pesticides around the time of pregnancy ," said Nicolas Vidart d'Egurbide Bagazgoïtia, lead author of the study.