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The Danger of Household Insecticides Confirmed in Recent Study: What You Can Do Instead

A study by French researchers has found that using insecticides -- either in the home or garden -- increases the risk of childhood leukemia.

Your child's risk of harm from pesticide exposure is highest while you're pregnant and in the early years of his or her life.

The study, published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, included 280 children who had been newly diagnosed with acute leukemia and another 288 children without the disease. After interviewing each child's mother it was found that:

  • Children exposed to home insecticides while in the womb or after birth had almost twice the risk of acute leukemia as those who were not.

  • Children exposed to garden insecticides and fungicides had double the risk of acute childhood leukemia.

  • Children who had been exposed to insecticidal shampoos to treat head lice had almost double the risk.

A 2002 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives found similar findings. Along with noting that children exposed to professional pest control from one year before birth to three years after birth had a significantly increased risk of leukemia, the study found that:

  • Insecticide exposure early in life appears to be worse for the child than exposure later in life.

  • The highest risk came from exposure during pregnancy.

  • The more frequent the exposure, the higher the risk.

Pesticides Increase Risk of Non-Hodkin Lymphoma

Yet another study, published in the journal Cancer, found that children exposed (either in utero or after birth) to household insecticides or professional extermination chemicals within the home were three to seven times more likely to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma than children not exposed.

The risk of one type of lymphome, lymphoblastic lymphoma, increased by 12.5 times after exposure to household pesticides.

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7 Reasons to Avoid Conventional
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"A limited number of these compounds may be capable of inducing lymphoma, particularly when used around the home," said chief researcher Jonathan D. Buckley, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., from the Department of Preventative Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Children Especially at Risk from Insecticides

Exposure to pesticides, says Dr. Donald Mattison, of the March of Dimes, can cause many short- and long-term problems, including:

  • Nervous system disturbances
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle weakness
  • Respiratory agitation
  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Forgetfulness
  • Confusion
  • Depression

"Children are more vulnerable to the effects of pesticide exposure because their internal organs are still developing and maturing," said Dr. Mattison.

Further, because they play on the floor or lawn and put objects into their mouths, they may be exposed to increased amounts.

And the List Goes On

Avoid using dangerous pesticides for aesthetic purposes like dandelions in your lawn -- the health risks are not worth it!

The potential health effects of pesticide exposure do not end yet. Studies by the National Academy of Sciences and the Environmental Working Group have found that children exposed to carcinogenic pesticides are at a high risk of future cancer. And animal and human studies of individual pesticides have also uncovered the following risks:

  • Fertility problems

  • Brain tumors

  • Birth defects

  • Irritation to skin and eyes

  • Hormone or endocrine system problems

Protecting Your Child and Family From Dangerous Insecticides

While it would be difficult to reduce your child's pesticide exposure to an absolute zero, you can significantly reduce it. One of the most important things to be aware of is to avoid using conventional lice treatments on your child.

"Preparations like Rid and Kwell ... are definitely toxic to people," says Dr. Andrew Weil, MD. That's because they contain pediculicides, which are potent pesticides and insecticides designed to poison lice, but that can be absorbed directly into your child's scalp.

Keep Your Pets Safe From
Pesticides Too: Avoid
Commercial Flea Treatments!

Flea and tick control products can be extremely hazardous, some containing highly noxious nerve gas. Still, these products have approval to be sold because the claim is that the amount of such hazards is minimal in the products. Flea collars and tags are literally soaked in chemical pesticides, emitting a continuous toxic cloud into the air, not only for your pet, but for you and your family.

Choose Flea 'n Tick B Gone instead: It's 100-percent safe and does not contain harmful pesticides or chemicals.

  • 100% pesticide free
  • Non-toxic
  • Clinically proven to be highly effective
  • A Great Value! Eliminates the need for collars, bombs, foggers, powders etc. and is economically priced
  • Can also be used on bedding and pet areas of the home -- Simply lightly spray in these areas
  • Reduces vet and medicinal costs
  • Can safely be used as a preventive against fleas and ticks: regular use can naturally break life cycle of fleas
  • Controls other in-home pests
  • Reduces risk of infections, dermatitis and itching
  • Safely removes fleas, ticks, lice and other pests

Read More and Order Now!

If your child does come home with a case of head lice, we recommend you use Lice B Gone™, a safe, non-toxic, 100 percent pesticide-free multi-enzyme shampoo made from natural plant sources. This extra-strength formula has been clinically proven to effectively remove lice and nits without harmful pesticides or irritating chemicals.

Along with avoiding conventional lice treatments, we also recommend using the following strategies:

  • Buy certified organic fruits, vegetables and meats (be sure to wash produce, particularly commercially grown produce, thoroughly before eating using a diluted soap solution).

  • Avoid the use of toxic pesticides in your home and yard (opt for natural pesticides that you can find in your local health food store instead).

  • If you are pregnant, nursing or have children in your home, never use pesticides in your home or garden.

  • Avoid using conventional flea and tick collars and sprays on your pets. Instead, we recommend the 100 percent non-toxic and pesticide-free Flea 'n Tick B Gone.

  • Don't use pesticides for aesthetic purposes like dandelions in your lawn.

  • Don't use chemical bug repellants or lice shampoos.

Recommended Reading

Organophosphates: What You Don't Know Can Indeed Hurt You

Warning: Phthalates in Cosmetics, Toys & More Can Pose Health Dangers


EurekAlert January 16, 2006

Environmental Health Perspectives. 2002 Sep;110(9):955-60

Child's Exposure to Pesticides Hikes Lymphoma Risk

CBS News: Protect Your Kids Against Pesticides

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