Term of Award

Spring 2001

Degree Name

Master of Public Health

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)


Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Helen Graf

Committee Member 1

A. Barry Joiner

Committee Member 2

Judith McLaughlin


The purpose of this study was to determine if children who have been diagnosed with leukemia had more types and frequency of exposure to pesticides than a matched control group of children that have not been diagnosed with leukemia. Parents of children with leukemia were asked to complete a telephone interview regarding their child's diagnosis and age at diagnosis, place and type of residence, use of household and lawn pesticides, and the duration of the child's exposure to these pesticides. A control group was sampled and matched with the case group by the child's current age, gender, and rural or urban county of residence. The control group's parents were asked the same questions regarding pesticide use and their child's exposure to them. Five of the thirteen hypothesis regarding pesticide exposure were found to be statistically significant. These five were: mother exposed to pesticides at work (OR 2.17, 95% CI 1.61-2.93), parents who followed mosquito trucks (OR 3.75, 95% CI 1.00-14.05), Live near a golf course (OR 3.57, 95% CI 1.13-11.25), live near an agricultural area (OR 0.26, 95% CI 0.08-0.82), and home treated for ants and roaches (OR 0.36, 95% CI 0.25-0.54). In every hypothesis exposure item except living near an agricultural area, children with leukemia were exposed more than children without leukemia to these conditions. Additional findings of household-related exposures, concerning year the house was built and type of flooring were insignificant factors for this study. Furthermore, in response to an open-ended question, parents listed their concerns about other types of exposures and identified several types of pesticides as possible contributing factors. Recommendations emanating from this study include the need for parent education on pesticide use and dangers, improved regulations for labeling of pesticides, and further research on this topic.

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