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According to research by the Children’s Oncology Group, a National Cancer Institute-backed coalition devoted exclusively to researching and understanding cancers in youngsters, the risk of developing “sporadic” retinoblastoma increased substantially when fathers and mothers were exposed to workplace chemicals such as paints, pesticides, and metals, Heck and her colleagues found. Retinoblastoma is a type of cancer that starts in the retina, the back part of the eye and accounts for about 6 percent of cancers in children under the age of 5 and about 3 percent of cancers in children under age 15.
“Retinoblastoma is an embryonal tumor, meaning that it arises from tissues of the embryo,” Julia Heck from the Fielding School of Public Health at UCLA told Reuters Health via email. “Six to ten percent of retinoblastoma is ‘familial’ where the child inherits a mutated gene from a parent. The remainder is ‘sporadic’ meaning that these are new mutations that occur in a child's eye cell, which end up causing the cancer.”
The entire report can be found online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.