Study: Canine Cancers Linked To Common Lawn Chemicals

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
Alarming research links canine malignant lymphoma (CML) with lawn pesticides, and has may have implications to the impact of chemicals on humans as well.

Yards and lawns literally stay underfoot of pets much of their time, and now new information from Tufts University shows that pesticides used in lawn chemicals are linked to two types of canine cancer. The chemicals that contained 2, 4-D particularly raised concern, as researchers found that lawn chemicals can travel in the soil to yards and even inside homes. Dogs whose owners do not spray their yards with pesticide have given urine samples that show chemicals within, and the researchers believe their results can have meaning in future studies of human cancers.

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The six-year study asked dog owners questions about the use of pesticides, particularly those professionally applied. Based on the results of the questions, they found that the risk of canine malignant lymphoma (CML) was 70% higher in those who used lawn pesticides. They also found that in those who reported they used self-applied insect growth regulators, risk of cancer in their dogs was higher.

Previous research has proven herbicides can also cause CML, and that herbicides that contained 2, 4-D doubled the risk of CML in dogs whose owners used 2, 4-D four or more times per year.

Certain breeds that include Beagles, Shetland Sheepdogs, Scottish Terriers, West Highland White Terriers, and Wire Hair Fox are also more at risk for bladder cancer due to a genetic predisposition. Animals are exposed to the chemicals from inhalation, ingestion or contact with skin. There is no known time period that being away from affected areas has been proven to protect the pets.

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The results showed that chemicals were detected in grass residues from sprayed lawns as well as from untreated lawns, which leads researchers to believe that chemicals can ‘drift’ from nearby sprayed areas. Other studies have shown that homes have been found to have 2, 4-D contamination inside before and after application of pesticides, suggesting that pets absorb chemicals in their paws and track them throughout the house. The results of that study were such that it was suggested the removal of shoes at the door when entering the home can make a difference in indoor chemical residue levels.

Researchers are motivated by the connection to do further research with the correlation in humans. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma’s histology and epidemiology are similar to that as CML, and exposure to 2, 4-D has been linked. The widely known pesticide Round-Up is best known for the 2, 4-D ingredient and accusations of increased resistance in weeds due to its use are common.

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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