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Today's Smorgasbord of Ag Chemicals Poses Special Risks to Children's Health

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Health Issues page  and our Appetite For a Change page.

 It can no longer be denied that environmental chemicals are having a significant impact on human health, and that impact even starts while you're still in the womb.

 New research has revealed that exposure while in the womb to DDT, a pesticide banned in 1972 after close to 30 years of use, increases women's risk of high blood pressure decades later.

In Utero DDT Exposure More Than Triples High Blood Pressure Risk

 Like many environmental toxins, DDT passes freely through the placenta during pregnancy, where it gains direct access to the developing fetus. Past studies have linked DDT to high blood pressure, decreased fertility, premature delivery and diabetes in adults, but this is the first study to reveal its health risks when exposure occurs prenatally.

 The research revealed that women exposed to the most DDT before birth were 2.5 to 3.6 times more likely to develop high blood pressure before the age of 50 than those with the lowest prenatal exposure.1

 Although DDT has been banned in the US for decades, it still persists in the environment, including in the food chain. And that is just one chemical that babies are exposed to before birth  When the Environmental Working Group (EWG) tested blood samples from newborns, they found an average of 200 toxins,2 including:

     • 180 that cause cancer in humans or animals
     • 217 that are toxic to your brain and nervous system
     • 208 that cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests

 "The dangers of pre- or post-natal exposure to this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins have never been studied," EWG wrote, but as the featured study revealed, we may now be seeing a rise in human health problems that began during the most crucial stages of early development.

Babies are Especially Vulnerable to Toxic Exposures

 No one knows what happens when a developing fetus or young child is exposed to hundreds of chemicals, but we'll likely be finding out whether we like it or not, as this is occurring daily.

 What is known, however, is that children experience greater exposure to chemicals pound-for-pound than adults, and though the blood-brain barrier is fully formed at birth,3 its function may be immature, which may allow greater chemical exposures to reach their developing brain.

 Children also have lower levels of some chemical-binding proteins, according to EWG, which allows more of a chemical to reach their organs, while systems that detoxify and excrete chemicals in adults are not fully developed. These factors, coupled with the fact that a child will be around for 80 years or more, allowing more than enough time for chemicals to do their damage, signals a major challenge for kids born today.


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