According to a meta-analysis by the Harvard School of Public Health, young children exposed to insecticides inside their homes may be slightly more at risk for developing leukemia or lymphoma during childhood. The article, published in Pediatrics in October 2015, found that children exposed to indoor pesticides had a higher risk of developing blood cancers.
“We don’t know ‘how much’ exposure it takes, or if there’s a critical window in development. Is the window during pregnancy? Or even before pregnancy? That will take a much deeper investigation,” said senior researcher Chensheng (Alex) Lu, an associate professor of environmental exposure biology at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
If you have children or are planning to have children, there are certain precautionary measures you can take:
- If you are pregnant, have babies or young children, do not use pesticides indoors. If residential pesticides must be used, do not be present when they are being sprayed/ used.
- Some essential oils can be used as natural pesticides that are safer for your family. Peppermint, citronella, eucalyptus and neem oil are among many that can ward off bugs naturally and effectively. These natural products can be found in more kid-friendly, “natural”, commercial bug sprays nowadays. Some people make their own but make sure you consult a specialist/ herbalist as essential oils must be diluted if placed or sprayed directly on skin.
- When outdoors, use natural mosquito/ insect repellents. Protect your skin by wearing light, long-sleeve shirts and pants. Pull your socks over pant cuffs.
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