Cancer Causes & Control

, 22:1575 | Cite as

Parental occupational exposure to exhausts, solvents, glues and paints, and risk of childhood leukemia

  • Alison ReidEmail author
  • Deborah C. Glass
  • Helen D. Bailey
  • Elizabeth Milne
  • Bruce K. Armstrong
  • Frank Alvaro
  • Lin Fritschi
Original paper



It is unknown whether parental occupational exposure to chemicals before during and after pregnancy increases the risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in the offspring. Few studies on this topic have assessed maternal exposures.


In an Australian case–control study of ALL in children aged <15 years, parents were asked about tasks they undertook in each job using a set of job-specific modules (JSMs). An expert reviewed the likelihood of exposure to exhausts, solvents, glues, and paints. Exposure was examined in each job 2 years, 1 year and anytime before birth of the child, and up to 1 year after birth of child.


Solvent exposure was similar for case and control mothers in all time periods. More case mothers had moderate/high exposure to exhausts than control mothers anytime before the birth of the child (p = 0.010). Exposure to moderate or substantial levels of exhausts by mothers (OR = 1.97 95% CI 0.99–3.90) or fathers (OR = 1.37 95% CI 1.01–1.86) before the birth increased the risk of ALL in their offspring. Exposure to paints, pigments, glues, and resins was similar in case and control parents.


We found little evidence that parental occupational exposure to solvents, glues, and paints was associated with childhood ALL. There was some evidence ALL was associated with exhaust exposure.


Childhood leukemia Exhausts Solvents Parental occupational exposure 



The authors thank Derry Houston for allocating the job specific modules. Aus-ALL was funded by The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Grant (254539). Alison Reid was supported by NHMRC Capacity Building Grant (546248), Helen Bailey was supported by NHMRC Post Graduate Scholarship (513934), Elizabeth Milne by NHMRC Career Development Award (513910), and Lin Fritschi by NHMRC Fellowship (513706).

Conflict of interest

None declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison Reid
    • 1
    Email author
  • Deborah C. Glass
    • 2
  • Helen D. Bailey
    • 3
  • Elizabeth Milne
    • 3
  • Bruce K. Armstrong
    • 4
  • Frank Alvaro
    • 5
    • 6
  • Lin Fritschi
    • 1
  1. 1.Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, M519The University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.Monash Centre for Occupational and Environmental EpidemiologyMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  3. 3.Telethon Institute for Child Health ResearchUniversity of Western AustraliaPerthAustralia
  4. 4.Sydney School of Public HealthUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  5. 5.Department of OncologyJohn Hunter Children’s HospitalNew LambtonAustralia
  6. 6.School of Medicine and Public HealthUniversity of NewcastleCallaghanAustralia

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