The childhood cancer, called neuroblastoma, occurs most often in infants and children. It starts in nerve tissue and by the time it is diagnosed has usually spread to other parts of the body.
A study published in the July 15 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology compared the results of interviews with 472 fathers of children with the cancer with interviews with 445 fathers of healthy children. Men who reported being exposed to diesel fuel and other chemicals at work (including lacquer thinner, turpentine and wood dust) had a greater risk of having children with neuroblastoma.
The study's authors suggest that the chemical exposure could damage the men's sperm. There was little evidence that exposure to the chemicals among mothers had the same effect.
Neuroblastoma is the third most common type of cancer in children, affecting 1 out of 80,000 to 100,000 children under the age of 15.