By Narelle Towie – Science Network WA.
Children born to parents who work with paints, glues and other industrial solvents are more likely to develop brain tumours, WA researchers have found.
Brain cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in children under 10 years, according to the Cancer Council, and more than 115 new cases are diagnosed each year.
For the first time, scientists have compared the occupations of 306 parents whose children were diagnosed with brain tumours against 950 couples whose offspring do not have cancer.
They found the children of men who worked with chlorinated and petroleum-based solvents, such as those found in degreasers and cleaning chemicals, were at a higher risk of developing brain tumours.
The five-year study, led by University of Western Australia epidemiologist Dr Susan Peters, was part of a larger nationwide investigation into environmental and genetic risk factors run by the Telethon Kids Institute.
Dr Peters said her work showed that solvents containing chemicals called aromatic hydrocarbons posed the greatest risk. Children born to men who worked with toluene or xylene—used in paint thinners, adhesives and lacquers—in the year before conception were four times as likely to develop a brain tumour, according to the study, published in the British Journal of Cancer.
Men working with benzene in the year before conception were twice as likely to have a child who developed a brain tumour. The new research also showed that women working with chlorinated solvents, such as trichloroethylene, at any time before the child’s birth, increased their risk of having their baby develop brain cancer…read more.