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Study Finds Pesticide Link to Childhood Leukemia

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WASHINGTON - Patients with childhood leukemia have elevated levels of household pesticides in their urine, according to a new study by the Georgetown University Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center.

"In our study, we compared urine samples from children with ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) and their mothers with healthy children and their moms," said study researcher Offie Soldin.

"We found elevated levels of common household pesticides more often in the mother-child pairs affected by cancer," said Soldin, an epidemiologist at the center, who led the research published in August's issue of Therapeutic Drug Monitoring.

"We shouldn't assume that pesticides caused these cancers, but our findings certainly support the need for more robust research in this area," she said.

Between January 2005 and January 2008, the study tested 41 pairs of children with ALL and their mothers, and 41 pairs of healthy children and their mothers.

Pesticides were found in the urine of more than half of the study's participants, but levels of two OP metabolites -- diethylthiophosphate (DETP) and diethlydithiophosphate (DEDTP) "were higher in the children with ALL."

Pesticides are prevalent in the environment and can easily be absorbed through the skin or through respiration.

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