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Review of Data Shows ‘Association’ Between Leukemia & Pesticides

The web site http://www.empowher.com/leukemias/content/childhood-leukemia-and-pesticide-exposure picked up on an April report yesterday that slipped through the cracks for us concerning the association between leukemia and household pesticides: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/716413.

After examining the available data from 1950 to 2009, researchers concluded that the incidence of leukemia was higher for those years in homes where household pesticides such as weed and insect killers are used. The report also stated that more work is needed to verify “potential exposure–response relationships, and to assess specific pesticides and toxicologically related subgroups of pesticides in more detail.”

Though other reports have since made a stronger case about the associations between certain forms of cancer and pesticides, this one reviewed the widest body of available data. It’s findings cannot be dismissed.

Among the recommendations:

The authors suggest:

1. Public health policies to minimize occupational pesticide exposure for pregnant women.
2. Reducing the amount of pesticide used for “cosmetic” purposes. The authors acknowledge the need for some pesticides to reduce health hazards from infestations, but suggest that a beautiful yard or garden may not be worth the risk of childhood leukemia. Unfortunately, there are few data on the differences between herbicides and insecticides in terms of risk.
3. Further studies of residential pesticide use to see which ones present the most significant risk.

Many thanks to writer Linda Fugate for her work.

About The Author

Paul Tukey

An international leader of the green movement, Mr. Tukey is a journalist, author, filmmaker, TV host, activist and award-winning public speaker, who is widely recognized as North America's leading advocate for landscape sustainability and toxic pesticide reduction strategies.

Number of Entries : 1023
  • Roz Lynn Dorf

    Paul — I finally got to see your documentary. I am in love with Dr. June and Michael, the Mayor.

    So much has happened since my interview in April. Caliber Cote was spread on April 23, and I tasted it for at least 5 days. In 2005, I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease, so I asked my doctor to be put on the state sensitivity list.

    The president of the HOA resigned in May. We now have co-presidents.

    In June and July people put up signs and barriers asking their units not to be sprayed. The landscape company respected the requests. People hand pulled weeds. In July I organized a pull/pool party and a group of about 20 hand-pulled weeds around the property.

    The board refused to sponsor the effort or event, and no board members attended. Those who attended drank beer and ate snacks I provided, had fun, met someone new and bonded.

    In August we received an e-mail form the board asking people not to put up signs and barriers, and if they did, it would not matter. In August the co-presidents and manager tore down barriers and made sure the entire turf was sprayed with Quin Star and the rock beds with Round-up at the same time. There is video showing them supervising the spraying. The company supervisor was not present for the fist time.

    I had to evacuate the property for 5 hours, but my hyper-thyroid was affected, even though I wore a mask. Since the spraying I can’t sleep past 4;00 a.m., even with sleeping pills.

    I have been in verbal and e-mail contact with the Colorado Department of Agriculture and sent statutes and case law — I have been a paralegal for 33 years — but it’s falling on deaf ears.

    Can’t wait to meet you in Boulder.

    Roz

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