Background: The association between pesticide exposure and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) in adults has been the subject of numerous case-control and cohort studies. However, to the authors' knowledge, data regarding pesticide exposures in children diagnosed with NHL have been lacking.
Methods: The Children's Cancer Group conducted a study comparing 268 children who developed NHL or leukemia with bulk disease with a group of matched, randomly selected regional population controls. The telephone interviews of both the case and control mothers included selected questions regarding occupational and home exposures to pesticides around the time of the index pregnancy and exposure of the child.
Results: A significant association was found between risk of NHL and increased frequency of reported pesticide use in the home (odds ratio [OR] = 7.3 for use most days; trend P = 0.05), professional exterminations within the home (OR = 3.0; P = 0.002), and postnatal exposure (OR = 2.4; P = 0.001). Elevated risks were found for T-cell and B-cell lymphomas; for lymphoblastic, large cell, and Burkitt morphologies; and in both young (age < 6 years) and older children. There was an increased risk of NHL with occupational exposure to pesticides (OR = 1.7) that was not significant overall, but that was significant for Burkitt lymphoma (OR = 9.6; P < 0.05).
Conclusions: The results of the current study provide further evidence linking pesticide exposure to the risk of NHL, but the authors were unable to implicate any specific agent.