Occupational exposure to pesticides in mothers and fathers and risk of cancer in the offspring: A register-based case-control study from Sweden (1960-2015)


Maternal and paternal occupational exposure to pesticides was linked to leukemia in the offspring in some previous studies. Risks for other cancers, particularly from maternal exposure, are largely unknown. We examined the association between maternal and paternal exposure to pesticides and childhood cancer in a Swedish register-based case-control study (1960-2015). Cancer cases <20 years old were identified from the Cancer Register (n = 17313) and matched to controls (1:25) on birth year and sex. Employment history of each biological parent around the child's birth was retrieved from six censuses and a nationwide register, and exposure to any of herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides was evaluated using the Swedish job-exposure matrix (SWEJEM) in 9653/172194 mothers and 12521/274434 fathers of cases/controls. Adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were estimated from conditional logistic regression models for any cancer, leukemia, lymphoma, central nervous system [CNS], and other solid tumors. We found an OR of 1.42 (95% CI 0.78, 2.57; 12 exposed cases) for lymphoma and 1.30 (95% CI 0.88, 1.93; 27 exposed cases) for other solid tumors associated with maternal occupational exposure to pesticides. No associations were observed between maternal exposure and leukemia or CNS tumors, or paternal exposure and any of the cancers examined, except for a potential association between pesticides exposure and myeloid leukemia (OR 1.15 [95% CI 0.73, 1.79; 22 exposed cases]). Although these findings merit further investigation, they indicate that parental exposure to pesticides may lead to higher risks of childhood cancer even in settings of low exposure.

Authors: Marios Rossides, Christina-Evmorfia Kampitsi, Mats Talbäck, Hanna Mogensen, Pernilla Wiebert, Giorgio Tettamanti, Maria Feychting
; Full Source: Environmental research 2022 Jul 6;113820. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.113820.