How a Chemical Banned 40 Years Ago is Still Threatening Heart Health
Can a chemical that was discontinued 40 years ago pose a risk to your health today? The answer is yes, as research on one group of women finds exposure to polychlorinated pesticides like DDT contributes to their risk of heart disease. Although banned, DDT continues to be widely prevalent in the environment and food supply.
In the study, scientists assessed the fat tissue concentrations and blood concentrations of these pesticides in a group of 121 obese women, 48 of whom were postmenopausal and 73 of whom were premenopausal. Glucose and cholesterol levels were also tested. Using the data they collected, the researchers calculated the women’s 10-year risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
The results showed that premenopausal women with greater amounts of the pesticides in their fat tissue had an increased risk of elevated glucose levels. In addition, premenopausal women with greater amounts of the pesticides in their blood had more inflammation, along with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. No significant correlations were found in postmenopausal women.
Researcher Diana Teixeira, Ph.D. concludes, “Our findings show that endocrine-disrupting chemicals tend to aggravate complications of obesity, including inflammation and cardiovascular disease risk, in premenopausal women.” The study was published in the Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
How Is DDT Harmful?
DDT and related pesticides cause harm by mimicking the action and hindering the function of the human hormone estrogen. Studies have linked these chemicals to birth defects, a higher risk of diabetes and decreased fertility.
“After the body breaks down DDT along with similar pesticides, chemical remnants called metabolites accumulate in women’s fat tissue,” says Teixeira. “When higher amounts of these environmental estrogens collect in the fat tissue, it can compromise the protective effect the body’s natural estrogen has on a premenopausal woman’s heart health. This leaves women at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease and inflammation.”
How Can You Reduce Your Exposure?
Teixeira tells Daily RX News that environmental estrogens are found in many things we encounter every day, including detergents, plastic food wrappers, canned goods, cosmetics, hair dyes, auto exhaust and cigarette smoke. She recommends the following lifestyle changes to reduce exposure.
• Choose organic foods over-processed or refined food.
• Avoid plastic food storage containers.
• Maintain a healthy weight.
• Read labels of health and beauty products to avoid products containing these chemicals.
• Use nontoxic household cleaners.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.