Paternal occupational exposures and childhood cancer

Environ Health Perspect. 2001 Feb;109(2):193-6. doi: 10.1289/ehp.01109193.


The objective of the study described here was to test the hypothesis that paternal occupational exposure near conception increases the risk of cancer in the offspring. We conducted a cohort study based on a population of 235,635 children born shortly after two different censuses in Sweden. The children were followed from birth to 14 years, and cases of cancer were identified in the Swedish Cancer Registry. Occupational hygienists assessed the probability of exposure to different agents in each combination of the father's industry and occupation as reported in the censuses. We also analyzed individual job titles. We compared the cancer incidence among children of exposed fathers to that among children of unexposed fathers using Cox proportional hazards modeling. The main findings were an increased risk of nervous system tumors related to paternal occupational exposure to pesticides [relative risk (RR) = 2.36; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.27-4.39] and work as a painter (RR = 3.65; 95% CI, 1.71-7.80), and an increased risk of leukemia related to wood work by fathers (RR = 2.18; 95% CI, 1.26-3.78). We found no associations between childhood leukemia and paternal exposure to pesticides or paint. Our results support previous findings of an increased risk of childhood brain tumors and leukemia associated with certain paternal occupational exposures. Some findings in previous studies were not confirmed in this study.

Publication types

  • Comment
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Leukemia / chemically induced
  • Leukemia / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Nervous System Neoplasms / chemically induced
  • Nervous System Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Paternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sweden / epidemiology