Maternal exposure to household chemicals and risk of infant leukemia: A report from the Children's Oncology Group

Megan E. Slater, Amy M. Linabery, Logan G. Spector, Kimberly J. Johnson, Joanne M. Hilden, Nyla A. Heerema, Leslie L. Robison, Julie A. Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective: Utilizing data from the largest study to date, we examined associations between maternal preconception/prenatal exposure to household chemicals and infant acute leukemia. Methods: We present data from a Children's Oncology Group case-control study of 443 infants (\1 year of age) diagnosed with acute leukemia [including acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML)] between 1996 and 2006 and 324 population controls. Mothers recalled household chemical use 1 month before and throughout pregnancy. We used unconditional logistic regression adjusted for birth year, maternal age, and race/ethnicity to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: We did not find evidence for an association between infant leukemia and eight of nine chemical categories. However, exposure to petroleum products during pregnancy was associated with AML (OR = 2.54; 95% CI:1.40-4.62) and leukemia without mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene rearrangements (''MLL-'') (OR = 2.69; 95% CI: 1.47-4.93). No associations were observed for exposure in the month before pregnancy. Conclusions: Gestational exposure to petroleum products was associated with infant leukemia, particularly AML, and MLL- cases. Benzene is implicated as a potential carcinogen within this exposure category, but a clear biological mechanism has yet to be elucidated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1197-1204
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments The authors would like to thank Cindy K. Blair and Michelle A. Roesler for their helpful comments and suggestions. This research is funded by National Institutes of Health Grants R01 CA79940, T32 CA99936, U10 CA13539, and U10 CA98543, U10 CA98413, P30 CA77598 (University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer


  • Chemical
  • Epidemiology
  • Infants
  • Leukemia
  • Prenatal


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