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Even More Harmful Effects of DDT

written by: Niki Fears•edited by: Niki Fears•updated: 4/30/2009

DDT and its harmful effects including an increase in obesity

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    Dichlorodiphenyl Trichloroethane, more commonly known as DDT is a toxic substance that was synthesized for use as a pesticide in the late 1800's before the harmful effects of such chemicals were fully known. During WWI when the diseases of malaria and typhus began to run rampant, the effects of DDT as an insecticide, particularly on the mosquitoes and lice that were spreading these deadly diseases, were discovered. Afterwards its use became wide spread among commercial agriculturists in the US and around the world. It was not until the release of Silent Spring, written by Rachel Carson in 1962 that people became aware of the devastating effects that this deadly chemical was having on the environment and human health, leading to cancer and a wide array of other problems.

    Due to these facts, many have sought to eliminate the use of DDT and a ban was placed on the chemical in the US in 1973. However, that has not ceased its use in its entirety and even thought it was banned in this country, once released the chemical remains in the environment for a very long period of time and new studies that revealed that in addition to the other problems that exposure to DDT can pose, exposure by mothers who were to DDT while they were pregnant may be putting their children at a higher risk for obesity. The study also revealed that the female children of mothers exposed to DDT had higher rates of diabetes, began puberty at an earlier age, and had to breast feed for a shorter amount of time in their own pregnancies. And of course, the increased rate of obesity also puts patients at a higher risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and an array of other medical problems.

    This Michigan study is a vital issue not only for the fight against DDT but it is also further proof that pesticides, toxins, and other environmental chemicals do indeed have a relation to the increasing number of people who are having trouble maintaining a healthy weight and that such chemicals do can actually affect the health of a child in the womb even into their adult years. Which means that we all need to be paying more attention to what is being put into our food, our water supplies, and our air because if we are not mindful of what we are doing it just may come back to haunt us in some very unpleasant, even deadly ways.