Maternal occupational pesticide exposure during pregnancy and/or paternal occupational pesticide exposure around conception have been suggested to increase risk of leukemia in the offspring. With a view to providing insight in this area we pooled individual level data from 13 case-control studies participating in the Childhood Leukemia International Consortium (CLIC). Occupational data were harmonized to a compatible format. Pooled individual analyses were undertaken using unconditional logistic regression. Using exposure data from mothers of 8,236 cases, and 14,850 controls, and from fathers of 8,169 cases and 14,201 controls the odds ratio (OR) for maternal exposure during pregnancy and the risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) was 1.01 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.78, 1.30] and for paternal exposure around conception 1.20 (95% 1.06, 1.38). For acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the OR for maternal exposure during pregnancy was 1.94 (CI 1.19, 3.18) and for paternal exposure around conception 0.91 (CI 0.66, 1.24.) based on data from 1,329 case and 12,141 control mothers, and 1,231 case and 11,383 control fathers. Our finding of a significantly increased risk of AML in the offspring with maternal exposure to pesticides during pregnancy is consistent with previous reports. We also found a slight increase in risk of ALL with paternal exposure around conception which appeared to be more evident in children diagnosed at the age of 5 years or more and those with T cell ALL which raises interesting questions on possible mechanisms. What's new? When parents are exposed to pesticides during pregnancy or conception, does this increase the risk of leukemia in their child? The answer is yes. Using pooled individual level occupational pesticide exposure data from 13 case-control studies the authors found an increased risk of acute myeloid leukemia with maternal exposure during pregnancy and a slightly increased risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia with paternal exposure around conception. The next step is to get more detailed information on pesticide types and protective measures during application before conclusive recommendations for pesticide use in the workforce can be made.
- pooled analysis