Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–February 1, 2012. Pesticides could be suppressing vitamin D levels in people, leading to deficiency and disease, say scientists. This comes from a new study which discovered that adults with high serum concentrations of organochlorine pesticides, such as DDT, have lower vitamin D levels, further proving that these chemicals have a long-lasting impact on human health. While not widely appreciated, some organochlorine pesticides continue to be used in the U.S., resulting in exposure through our diet, environment, and prescription drugs, while most organochlorine pesticides have been banned in the U.S. and much of the world.
“We have known for many years that DDT causes egg shell thinning,” says David Carpenter, PhD, director of the Institute for Health and Environment at the University of Albany, New York. “Since egg shell thickness is regulated by vitamin D, this study shows that the same suppression of vitamin D occurs in humans.”
However, organochlorine uses do continue in the U.S., although EPA has proclaimed that they represent unreasonable risks. Under an agreement EPA negotiated in July 2010, most currently approved endosulfan crop uses will end in 2012, including over 30 crop uses plus use on ornamental trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. About 12 other crop uses will end over the following four years. Of these 12, the last four endosulfan uses will end on July 31, 2016.
Organochlorines have been linked to a number of adverse effects to human health, including birth defects anddiabetes. One study found a correlation between organochlorine metabolites in fatty tissue and an increased risk ofnon-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The most infamous member of this class of pesticides if DDT. A long line of recent studies associated with the negative health effects of DDT include breast cancer and autism. Despite the fact that DDT was banned in the U.S. in 1972, concentrations of this toxic chemical’s major metabolite, DDE, have remained alarmingly high in many ecosystems, including surface waters, the arctic, and even U.S. national parks.
In response to the growing evidence linking pesticide exposures to numerous human health effects, Beyond Pesticides’ Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database captures the range of diseases linked to pesticides through epidemiologic studies.