Abstract environmental factors such as pesticides, pollution, and


This study aims
to figure out if environmental factors such as pesticides, pollution, and or
living locations are linked to childhood cancer. The environment is said to
have an impact on one’s development, for not only a child but their parents as
well. Further exploration of how environmental factors can be detrimental to a
child’s life is important to understand. In this analysis, it is aimed to
examine associations between the environment, residential childhood pesticide,
and pollution exposures and childhood cancers.

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Are pesticides,
and other environmental factors linked to cancer? I find this topic interesting
as I suffer from a chronic illness, and I have since birth. I am the only one
in my family to have Neurofibromatosis, therefore I am a spontaneous mutation.
I have always wondered where my genetic makeup went wrong. I have always
considered the fact that it could be environmental, as my mother and father
grew up near farmland.

Children are very
vulnerable as they begin to develop from the moment of contraception.
Environmental factors play a key role in their development and lifespan. Most
Children love to play outside, some play in the mud, others play with flowers.
While this idea seems harmless, it could be the start to a dangerous beginning,
that could potentially cause a child to lose their life.

This study
highlights that as a society we are seeing an increase in the number of
childhood cancers. There is a theory that environmental factors, such as
pesticides, may be to blame. For the purpose of this study, childhood cancer,
location, the use of indoor and outdoor pesticides will be further

For many years
the link between high polluted locations, pesticides, and cancers has been of
utmost concern. According to an article, Pesticide-Induced Diseases: Cancer,
most commonly agriculture has been tied to pesticide-related illnesses.
Nineteen out of thirty commonly used lawn pesticides and twenty-eight out of forty
commonly used school pesticides have a link to cancer. Even with the growing
body of evidence linking environmental exposures to cancer in recent years, a
study in May of 2010 by the President’s Cancer Panel finds that our idea of the
impact of environmentally-induced cancer is greatly underestimated
(“Pesticide-Induced Diseases: Cancer”).

Review of Literature


Studies have
found higher levels of pollution or pesticides inside homes than outdoors—even
in homes where pesticides aren’t used—primarily because people track them in on
their shoes. Adults who walk around barefoot, or kids who crawl on the floor,
may absorb those chemicals through the skin. (Main, 2017). Chemicals can
trigger cancer by disturbing DNA, harming the growth of genes and can cause
tissue to deteriorate. Pesticides, by their very nature, are designed to kill
living organisms. They include insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and
biocides, amongst others (Main, 2017). In fact, one of the most dangerous weed
killers is, 2,4-D. This dangerous toxin is studied to cause cancers, such as
sarcomas and blood cancer.

According to
Pesticide and Cancer: The “Love Affair” Continues by Ty Bollinger Pesticides
that are believed to be safe are not. There are 70 different pesticides that
toxic leave residue (Bollinger, 2016). Pesticides are used in our schools and
public lands. Pesticides are sprayed on agricultural fields and different
woodlots. These harming chemicals can be found in our air, our food, our soil,
our water and even in women’s breast milk. Many wonder how a women’s breast
milk could be contaminated by these harsh chemicals, it is because what we put
into our bodies, is what comes out of our bodies. A woman who eats vegetables
or fruits with the toxic presided with then has that toxin in her breast milk.
Pesticides can even affect a woman’s eggs, which would then affect the child.

Pesticides affect
different people differently. Children may be more sensitive to some pesticides
than adults. Compared to adults, they breathe in more air and eat more food
relative to their body size, increasing their exposure. When they play on
floors, lawns or put objects in their mouths, they increase their chance of
exposure to pesticides used in yards or lawns. Children’s developing bodies may
not break down some chemicals as effectively as adults.

Farmers that use
pesticides have higher rates of prostate cancer. Women who work with pesticides
tend to from ovarian cancer. Farmers cannot control pesticides once they are
airborne contaminants. Babies, pregnant women, the elderly and those with
pre-existing medical problems are particularly vulnerable to the effects of
pesticides. Especially if their immune system is extremely weak.

In a study
conducted by Chen et al, with subjects between the ages of 9 and 19 years of
age. It was noticed that children exposed to indoor residential pesticides like
herbicides had a higher rate of leukemia and lymphomas. 95% of the case study
had childhood brain tumors, or cancer-related illnesses and 5% did not (Chen et
al 2015.). From this, the research came to the conclusion that in-home
pesticides are detrimental for children.

Another study
relating to a link between pesticide exposure and childhood cancer is a
research study by Niehoff et al. In this study, they followed their 2,134
subjects for five years. While the did not find a relation to childhood cancer;
they did find an alarming rate in women with breast cancer. In fact, 1.3 women
had “premenopausal breast cancer” (Niehoff et al, 2016.). Although the study
created by Niehoff et al did not find a correlation; it is believed that other
forms of environmental factors may have a linkage to childhood cancer and
should be observed.

In a WordPress article,
“Poisoning Our Children,” it tells the story of a family who aims to raise
awareness about pesticide exposure. Parents, Jean-Marie Kauth, and Craig W.
Colling lost their eighteen-year-old daughter due to a pesticide that was
intended to kill mosquitos. According to the article, the eighteen-year old’s
parents were unaware of the mosquito repellant, chlorpyrifos near their home
(J. M. Kauth and C. W. Colling, 2017). Chlorpyrifos is very dangerous,
especially for children. This commonly used repellent is known to cause
neurological damage in young children.


There are various
components in the environment that are said to expose individuals’ to cancer,
especially, children. One factor relates to families who live near highways or
areas with high traffic. The emission that comes from vehicles is known to be a
major component of harming one’s health. Studies have shown that this health
risk can cause cancer. Studies have also shown that children who are exposed to
pollution are more precepted to leukemia, and or neurological disorders
(Spycher et al, 2015).

A Case-control
study by Tabrizi, Hosseini, and Khyavi involved twenty-two children diagnosed
with cancer and 100 children (the controlled group) who did not have cancer.
All 122 subjects were under ten years of age and reside in Tehran. The
researchers all would take into account if the children with cancer had parents
that smoked, or not. Of those with childhood cancer (8) 36% had an underlying
disease (14), 63.63 did not. (10) 45.45% had a family background with cancer
(12) 54.54% did not. (3) 13.63% live in polluted areas (19) 86.36 did not.
Finally (13) 59.09% came from a smoking parental household, and (9) 40.90% did
not. Of those in the controlled group, 14% had an underlying disease, 86% did
not. 2% had a family background with cancer, 99% did not. 40% live in polluted
areas, 60% did not, lastly, 22 came from a smoking parental household, and 78%
did not. (Tabrizi, Hosseini, and Khiyavi, 2017).

The researchers
stated that higher rates of pollution whether they are outdoor or indoor have
an impact on citizens. The researchers understand that smoking and second-hand
smoke is also a cause of cancer, therefore that is put into consideration
(Tabrizi, Hosseini, and Khiyavi, 2017).

From researching
other studies conducted by other researchers, we are able to come to the
understanding that while pesticides are the most leading cause of childhood
cancer, pollution is a factor as well. People who live in urban locations are
most exposed to pollution, from motor vehicles to factories. The pollution is
airborne, this is toxic to the environment and individuals as well.



In the article by Bollinger, it states that while farmers had
lower death rates, cancers like leukemia and sarcomas were overall higher.
Studies have shown that this could be due to their working conditions, they are
exposing themselves to high levels of pesticides on their farms, and in their
homes as well (Bollinger, 2016). Farmers in low-income locations have been
studied to be poisoned by harmful presidents. In fact, in an article by
Jennifer Runkle, she explains that there were over 20 million cases of
pesticide poisoning (Runkle, 2014).

Geography is a
major component when studying children with cancer. Families who live in large
cities, polluting industries, or areas with major construction sites are also
seen to have higher cases of cancer in children. In this study, it is informed
that there were 148.0 cases of cancer per 1,000,000 children (Ortega-García et
al, 2017). In Spain, childhood cancer is the main cause of death in children.
Research on environmental, geographical and childhood cancer has showcased that
pesticides are associated with the high death rates in children. In this study,
a 1 km buffer was created to examine which location had the highest crop rates,
or areas near farmland. It was shown that high amount children who live in
locations near farms had a cancer-related illness (Gómez-Barroso et al, 2016.).

From researching
other studies conducted by various individuals in different locations, people
are able to understand that location is a prime factor in the use of
pesticides, and high rates of cancer. While environmental exposures are
correlated with pesticide, it is important to examine what locations are more
subjected to pesticides. Those who live in rural areas have a higher chance of
being exposed to areas with an increasing amount of pesticides than those who
live in urban locations.


To find a
conclusion to the research question, meta-analysis is the appropriate method to
find a given answer. A meta-analysis allows the study to involve both
qualitative and quantitative methods, from various selected research studies to
come to one conclusion.

To begin the
study, it is important to choose a sample of children with cancer, and those
who do not. In order receive data that is close to finding the unanswered
question, a collection study involving a child’s available address, and the
commonality to what cancer they have. After all the information is gathered,
the next step in the study is to examine those who live in highly polluted
areas against those who do not. Another methodology used is a descriptive
qualitative study, from researching various studies people are able to
understand that environmental factors like location, pollution, and pesticides
all have a correlation to childhood cancer.


Each research
study has its own theme, but in the end, they all have one commonality. The
environment can have a negative impact on a child’s health. Whether it is
pesticide exposure from indoor and outdoor chemicals, everyday insect
repellent, living on a farm or living in a city. Each research study was both a
descriptive qualitative study and quantitative study as well. While other
studies may not have gone into depth mathematically, they discussed how cancer
had increased rapidly the past 5 years. Though I wish it were possible,
airborne toxins from polluted locations will be more difficult to fix. If more
individuals are aware of the negative impact on pesticide usage, lives could
potentially be saved. Unfortunately, pesticide poisoning will not be eradicated
until the Certification Standards for Pesticide are re-evaluated.

There are strong
scientific research studies that have evidence stating that pesticide exposure
can be detrimental to one’s life. If a pregnant mother eats a product with the
residue of one of many toxic chemicals, not only is she at risk, but her child
is as well. Exposure to this every day besides have a very high chance of having
long-lasting effects on adults and children’s body.

Farm Workers use
pesticides because some kill weeds prevent insects from eating the product, and
even cause the vegetable or fruit to grow bigger than normal. Farmers and other
corporations make a profit from selling produce. Soon farm workers will see a
decline in their finances, and scientists will continue to see a rapid increase
in cancers around the world. Everyday pesticides are not beneficial, they
create many environmental, and health hazards.

We far too
advanced of a culture to continually allow our children to suffer and die from
cancer. Greater standards regulating the use of pesticides need to be put into
place. Though there is not a definite answer, the evidence is showing that
pesticide exposure is a key contributor to this disturbing trend. Thousands of
men, women, and children die from cancer yearly. We should be eradicating
cancerous toxins, and not putting them on our foods, and into the air. There is
no agriculture without mouths to feed.