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Ontario Family Physicians Systematic Review

by aseligmann — last modified Jul 27, 2010 12:00 AM
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Is there solid scientific evidence to show that pesticide exposure is harmful to human health? Sometimes this question is thought to have a controversial answer, especially among health professionals. However, the Ontario College of Family Physicians just completed a year-long systematic review of published research and concluded that there are "consistent links to serious illnesses."

Is there solid scientific evidence to show that pesticide exposure is harmful to human health? Sometimes this question is thought to have a controversial answer, especially among health professionals. However, the Ontario College of Family Physicians just completed a year-long systematic review of published research and concluded that there are "consistent links to serious illnesses."

How was the study conducted?

The Ontario College of Family Physicians reviewed all scientific research about pesticides and human health published between 1992 and 1990. No studies of laboratory animals were included; most of the scientific literature used in this review involved people exposed to pesticides at work or at home. Based on several criteria, including the quality of the research, the group selected almost 300 studies to include in the review. 

What did the study find?

The study found "positive associations between solid tumours and pesticide exposure," 23 out of 27 studies showing "associations between pesticide exposure and NHL [the cancer non-Hodgkin's lymphoma]," 14 out of 16 studies showing "associations between pesticide exposure and leukemia," and "a remarkable consistency of findings of nervous system effects of pesticide exposures." The Ontario College of Family Physicians recommends that doctors advocate for "reduction of exposure to all pesticides," including "organic methods of lawn and garden care and indoor pest control."

News Release and the complete study