Pesticide linked to 3 generations of disease describes his latest work. Methoxychlor was a pesticide introduced in 1948 after DDT was banned in this country. Believing that it was safer than DDT, it was used widely in the 1970s on “crops, ornamental plants, livestock, and pets.” However, methoxychlor proved not to be safer. In 2003 it was banned in the US because of its toxicity and effects on the endocrine system, especially the reproductive system.
In the experiment, pregnant rats were exposed to methoxychlor. The incidence of kidney disease, ovarian disease, and obesity were seen down two more generations, ie even in the grandchildren of the rats who were exposed and with no further exposure. The technical name for this is “transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.” In other words, environmental exposures in one generation can affect the health of offspring even two generations later.
What does this mean for us? Dr. Skinner wonders if the exposures during the last 30 years of the last century could be related to the epidemic of obesity and other diseases we are now experiencing.
This story also validates the need for testing chemicals before they are released to the public. This “precautionary principle” could potentially save many lives if we were not to allow toxic chemicals to be released. Presently, all of us are the guinea pigs or lab rats in this terrible experiment. Thousands of chemicals have been released in the past few decades yet the vast majority have not been tested for their effects on humans, especially on children.
At the very least, this work suggests that the fewer pesticides one gets exposed to, the better. This means don’t use pesticides, especially on a regular basis. Eat organic foods whenever available. Use environmentally friendly soaps, cosmetics and cleaning products.
Contact my office if want to evaluate how pesticides might be affecting your health.