Diesel Fumes Linked To Childhood Brain Tumors, Study

Researchers have found a link between brain tumors in children and their parents’ exposure to diesel exhaust fumes before birth.

AsianScientist (Dec. 24, 2012) – Researchers have found a link between brain tumors in children and their parents’ exposure to diesel exhaust fumes before birth.

The study, published this month in the International Journal of Cancer, was conducted by researchers at The University of Western Australia-affiliated Western Australian Institute for Medical Research (WAIMR) and the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (TICHR).

Childhood brain tumor is the leading cause of cancer death in children and most occur before the age of five. Lead author Assistant Professor Susan Peters said while malignant brain tumors were recognized as the leading cause of cancer mortality in children, the risk factors for childhood brain tumors, despite decades of research, were largely unknown.

“This work on the occupational hazards faced by parents of children with brain tumors was part of a wider study led by TICHR, which also looked at other factors which may be involved in children developing brain tumors,” Peters said.

The research team gathered data from parents with children in all ten pediatric oncology units across Australia. Parents of 306 children with childhood brain tumors and 950 people in the control group completed detailed occupational histories.

Fathers who worked near diesel-powered equipment including cars, trucks, other heavy machinery, and generators at about the time of conception had children who faced an increased risk of developing a childhood brain tumor. There was also an increased risk for mothers exposed to diesel exhaust fumes any time before the birth of their child.

Diesel fumes – listed as a human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer – were the only engine exhaust fumes found to have a link to childhood brain tumor in their study.

The researchers are now looking at other occupational exposures, including pesticides and solvents, and their possible link to childhood brain tumors.

The article can be found at: Peters S et al. (2012) Parental Occupational Exposure to Engine Exhausts and Childhood Brain Tumours.


Source: UWA; Simone Ramella/Flickr/CC.
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