Women exposed before birth to the banned pesticide DDT may have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure later in life, according to a study published today, according to the March 12, 2013 Environmental Health News article by Lindsey Konkel, "DDT linked to high blood pressure in women."
Banned in 1972 in the United States, DDT was widely used to kill insects for three decades. It may be still used in other countries. The study of San Francisco Bay Area women is the first to link DDT exposure in the womb to hypertension, which raises the risk of stroke and heart disease. In Africa, DDT is sprayed on trees and plants to fight mosquitoes that carry malaria.
In the Sacramento and Davis areas, new findings at the University of California, Davis, show that DDT could be affecting the part of the human body that keeps blood pressure under control. Check out the study published on March 12, 2013 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
If you read research studies of people who work daily at spraying the ground or trees with pesticides, many with high blood pressure also have had higher exposures to DDT than those with normal blood pressures. How DDT affects the body is that it interferes with hormones, disrupts fertility, and may have a link to diabetes and preterm delivery of babies.
When a pregnant woman is exposed to DDT, the pesticide is absorbed by the placenta and goes into the fetus. Researchers can test the pregnant woman's blood shortly before or after the birth of her baby. And exposure to DDT before birth can change a baby's health outcome for the child's entire lifetime. When babies whose mothers were exposed to DDT were tested many decades later in the research, 111 of the daughters, 21 percent, reported having been diagnosed with hypertension. Overall, the women in the highest two-thirds of prenatal DDT exposure were 2.5 to 3.6 times more likely to develop high blood pressure before age 50 than women in the lowest one-third of exposure.
It's well known that in women exposed to toxins over a lifetime develop high blood pressure after menopause at higher rates, and men develop hypertension also in midlife. But what was always thought was that hypertension runs in families. You inherit the genes that predispose you to have higher blood pressure (or faster heart rates) from close relatives, from your family history of health results not caused by accidents or non-genetic incidients. But that may only be partly accurate. Pesticide exposure while you were developing in the uterus has a lot to do with what you develop later.
There's a long-term health issue when chemicals are sprayed and pregnant women are exposed to them in the environment. You can't blame hypertension solely on the Western diet. Nearly a third of adult U.S. women have hypertension, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence in postmenopausal women is much greater than in premenopausal women.
The researchers found that the association between DDT and high blood pressure held after noting some factors known to raise the risk of hypertension, including age, race, body mass and diabetes status
What the public still wants to know are other factors that raise blood pressure besides family history such as excess salt in the diet, which wasn't tested or included in the research results. So much high blood pressure remains undiagnosed across groups of people exposed to DDT before birth. If you lived in New York, for example, in the early 1950s, trucks would stop in front of your house and spray the trees. The plants on your windowsill would curl over limp after the spraying, and numerous female children eight or nine years old, inhaling the DDT from partially opened windows would end up bleeding from their vagina for a day or two without any other signs of beginning puberty. Then the symptoms would disappear, not to return until the early teens when normal puberty might begin.
They might have remembered the spraying of the DDT in the early 1950s, but few would connect it to high blood pressure at eighteen and again at age fifty and beyond. But they would have connected the hypertension to a family history of hypertension among their mother and grandmother. What they'd never realize is whether or not their own mothers and grandmothers were exposed to DDT spraying when pregnant. So often it's just passed off as genetic predisposition. Were you exposed before birth to the banned pesticide DDT? If so, you may have a greater risk of developing high blood pressure later in life, according to that new study published on March 12, 2013.
If DDT raises the blood pressure of an entire population, it would have large public health consequences
DDT remains in the environment and keeps showing up in some foods because DDT breaks down slowly. People born today still carry a history of past exposures to chemicals sprayed on anything in the environment. You can't control over your past exposures. So doctors continue to look at risk factors that can be changed.
You can change what you eat, weigh, your time spent sedentary, and your stress. The new research focused on exposure to the chemical DDT for babies in utero and how it could be linked to hypertension later in life. Research came from the University of California, Davis and the Public Health Institute in Berkeley.
In the study, first researchers looked at data from a San Francisco study on child health and development that detailed about 15,000 women in the San Francisco area who donated samples of blood serum collected during pregnancies between 1959 and 1967. They found that women born during the time that the pesticide was still legal in America (pre-1972) are significantly more likely to suffer from hypertension now as adults.
Not mentioned in the study is the history of why people have normal blood pressure in areas of the world not sprayed with pesticides, including DDT. For example, if people wonder why those in the West have a situation where the blood pressure rises as they age and why in other places on Earth, such as the Amazon River area, blood pressure remains the same as people age, it could be because isolated peoples living in the Amazon area far from civilizations didn't have much exposure to pesticide spraying of DDT or any other pesticides pre-1972.
You can't change your pre-birth exposure history to pesticides
What you can do now is to protect your health in the present moment. If your exposure to DDT before you were born, while you were still developing in your mother's womb has knocked out your body's ability to properly regulate your blood pressure, you can do whatever it takes to keep your blood pressure at the healthiest number that works for your long-term health outlook and your present quality of life. You can't change the past environment. But you can help your body to get rid of wanted pesticides with the proper diet and lowest exposure to environmental toxins in the present.
You'd want to find out what can safely detox your body based on foods, plant extracts, and anything to help your system be able to regulate your blood pressure, and for this you'd have to speak with a variety of professionals trained in detoxing the chemicals in your body that are harming you without making you sicker or destroying your system. The study of San Francisco Bay Area women is the first to link DDT exposure in the womb to hypertension, which raises the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Think about your own research. And for the present, you can work to reduce the number of chemicals in the environment that destroy health. For example, what are those planes spraying over your backyard when you see those daily chemtrails that are simply not a condensation of air, but trickle down in vertical lines or strings that look like white smoke and destroy your backyard fruit trees? Think about what is in your environment for the next generation. That's why research is helpful when you look at what you and your parents were exposed to in the past, present, and will be in the future.
Contaminated water used to dilute pesticides could be responsible for viruses entering the food chain, warn scientists
A new study, published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology investigated whether contaminated water used to dilute pesticides could be a source of norovirus infection. Norovirus is abbreviated by scientists as hNoV. Farmers use various water sources in the production of fresh fruits and vegetables, including well water and different types of surface water such as river water or lake water – sources which have been found to harbor the norovirus (hNoV).
Check out the study's abstract, "Persistence of human norovirus in reconstituted pesticides — Pesticide application as a possible source of viruses in fresh produce chains," original research article published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology, Volume 160, Issue 3, January 1, 2013. Pages 323-328. Authors are Katharina Verhaelen, Martijn Bouwknegt, Saskia A. Rutjes, Ana Maria de Roda Husman.
One possible cause of the norovirus outbreak may be the watered-down pesticides on vegetables and fruits if the water is full of norovirus from waste water runoff from animal waste that washes the produce with that 'dirty' water, according to the March 12, 2013 news release, "Pesticide application as potential source of noroviruses in fresh food supply chains." The application of pesticides on fresh produce may not only be a chemical hazard, but may in fact also be a microbiological risk factor.
You also may want to check out this new study that looks at how dirty the water that washes off the pesticides on produce is and how much norovirus may be in it, one possible cause of the outbreaks of norovirus, also known as stomach flu or gastroenteritis that felled the queen of England recently as well as Hillary Clinton, and other public figures in the news felled by the so-called "winter vomiting bug."
The norovirus swept Europe, went across the USA, and caused many people, including a convention of journalism students in Canada as well as cruise ship guests to spend at least 62 hours with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. The study is, "Persistence of human norovirus in reconstituted pesticides — Pesticide application as a possible source of viruses in fresh produce chains" by Katharina Verhaelen, Martijn Bouwknegt, Saskia A. Rutjes and Ana Maria de Roda Husman, and appearing in the International Journal of Food Microbiology published by Elsevier.
Human norovirus (hNoV), also known as the winter vomiting bug, is one of the most common stomach bugs in the world. The virus is highly contagious, causing vomiting and diarrhea, and the number of affected cases is growing. Currently there is no cure. Sufferers have to let the virus run its course for a few days.
It can close hospital wards and schools in some areas and stop a cruise ship from continuing to various ports. It also can break out at various hotel buffets in top resorts and restaurants. But is it caused by filthy water used to wash the pesticides from vegetables and fruits? It's sometimes mistaken for salmonella bacteria on produce.
The consumption of fresh produce is frequently associated with outbreaks of hNoV but it remains difficult to identify where in the supply chain the virus first enters production.
To test this theory, eight different pesticides were analyzed in the study; each was diluted with norovirus (hNoV) contaminated water. The researchers tested whether traces of the virus were present in the samples after the two elements were combined. Results showed that the infectivity of the norovirus was unaffected when added to the pesticide samples. In other words: pesticides did not counteract the effects of the contaminated water.
The authors conclude that the application of pesticides on fresh produce may not only be a chemical hazard, but may in fact also be a microbiological risk factor; both having consequences on public health. Check out the study in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.
Also please subscribe (free) to my various nutrition, health, or cultural media columns such as the Sacramento Nutrition Examiner column, Sacramento Healthy Trends Examiner column, Sacramento Holistic Family Health Examiner, Sacramento Media & Culture Examiner column, and my national columns: National Senior Health Examiner column, National Children's Nutrition Examiner column, and National Healthy Trends Examiner column.
Follow Anne Hart's various Examiner articles on nutrition, health, and culture on this Facebook site and/or this Twitter site. Also see some of Anne Hart's 91 paperback books at: iUniverse, and Career Press. Or see the author's website. Please follow my columns on Pinterest or Pinterest Sacramento Nutrition Examiner.
For more info: browse my books, How Nutrigenomics Fights Childhood Type 2 Diabetes & Weight Issues (2009). Or see my books, How to Safely Tailor Your Foods, Medicines, & Cosmetics to Your Genes (2003), How to Open DNA-driven Genealogy Reporting & Interpreting Businesses. (2007), or Do You Have the Aptitude & Personality to Be A Popular Author: Creative Writing Assessments - IUniverse. (2009). There also are available Hart's numerous paperback novels with some also available as E-books.