Pesticides banned more than 40 years ago still causing sperm abnormalities and miscarriages, study finds

The life-altering side effects caused by endocrine mimickers can no longer be ignored. Mounting evidence continues to emerge, blaming chemical exposure for a diverse array of health problems, including cancer, infertility, birth defects, neurological disorders, diabetes and many others.

A new study joins an extensive collection of research linking sperm abnormalities to organochlorine chemicals, such as DDE and PCBs – both of which are known hormone mimickers, chemicals found in everyday products that impersonate our body’s endocrine system, resulting in many of the chronic illnesses and diseases plaguing Americans today.

Endocrine disruptors are found in cosmetics, shampoos and conditioners, laundry detergents, metal can linings, cleaning products, plastics, flame retardants, pesticides and more.

Organochlorine chemicals once again linked to reproductive disorders

Published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, the study found that hormone-disrupting chemicals are responsible for increasing the risk of sperm aneuploidy in males, which, according to the Cornucopia Institute, typically results in an abnormal number of X or Y chromosomes in sperm.[1,2]

Research shows sperm aneuploidy negatively impacts pregnancy rates, often causing at least 50 percent of recurrent pregnancy losses.[3]

Scientists reached their conclusions after observing the blood serum and sperm quality of 90 men, aged 22-44, from the Faroe Islands, a self-governing group of islands controlled by Denmark.

The Cornucopia Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting sustainable and organic agriculture reports:

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Faroe islanders consume a high seafood diet that often consists of pilot whale, integral historically as a food source for the Faroese people. However, this practice exposes the Faroese to higher than average levels of environmental contaminants. For the study, data on umbilical cord blood and blood serum at age 14 was available for 40 of the participants, allowing a [sic] researchers to measure lifetime impacts.

Scientists found that concentrations of DDE and PCBs in participants are correlated with increased rates of sperm aneuploidy. The levels of organochlorine chemicals in the body at age 14 were especially associated with increased rates of aneuploidy in adult age; however, chemical levels in umbilical cord blood had no significant correlation with adult aneuploidy.

Chemical exposure in womb may cause health problems in adulthood

“Exposure to these chemicals in adolescence may lead to reproductive problems years later,” said the study’s lead author, Melissa Perry, ScD, MHS, who is also chair of the Environmental and Occupational Health program at George Washington University.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time we’re learning that early exposure to endocrine disruptors can cause serious health issues later on in life. The Endocrine Society recently announced that the health complications caused by hormone mimickers sometimes originate in the early stages of fetal development, but don’t arise until adulthood.[4]

The Endocrine Society also compared the harm caused by hormone disruptors to that of diabetes and obesity – the biggest public health threats of the 21st century.

Industrial chemicals banned more than 40 years ago are still hurting Americans

What’s even more disturbing about the researchers’ latest findings is that the chemicals linked to reproductive failure were banned more than four decades ago.

DDE (dichlorodiphenyldicholorethylene), the breakdown chemical of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), a pesticide that was banned in 1972, is still very much present in nature due to its resistance to environmental degradation. DDT was used as an agricultural pesticide and to exterminate mosquitoes.

PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), a group of manufactured organic chemicals that exist as tasteless and odorless oily liquids or solids, were widely used as insulation material, coolants and lubricants in transformers, capacitors and other electric equipment. The manufacturing of PCBs was halted in 1977 for the same reason as DDE, because of its tendency to build up in the environment.[5]

Because they are not broken down through chemical, biological or photolytic processes, persistent organic pollutants (POPs) remain in nature long-term, bioaccumulating in animals as they move up the food chain from prey to predator – which is likely why some Faroese islanders (who often feast on whale) tested positive for high concentrations of organochlorine chemicals.

“DDT and other pesticides like it continue to linger in our environment and contaminate our food,” said Dr. Perry. Another study published this year found that DDT may be reemerging as a result of soil erosion in farm fields, but a large source of exposure is through meat consumption, says Cornucopia.

“Most people can reduce their exposure to PCBs and DDT by cutting back on foods that are high in animal fats and choosing fish wisely,” added. Dr. Perry.








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