During the 1960’s DDT, a commonly used pesticide for insect control was discovered to be toxic to humans and wildlife.
As a result, farmers and landscapers turned to a chemical called Methoxychlor, which was considered a safe alternative to DDT.
Now, new research argues that exposure to the pesticide could cause diseases three generations later in offspring who were never actually exposed to the Methoxychlor themselves.
How Is Methoxychlor Linked To Diseases In Third Generations?
Biologist Michael Skinner of Washington State University discovered that rat fetuses exposed to Methoxychlor during the first trimester of pregnancy showed the possibility of passing along kidney disease, ovary disease and obesity to their children. This propensity was elevated for three generations.
Methoxychlor was banned in 2003, after it was found to be reproductive toxin which led to infertility in animals.
However, it can still leave its mark on a population decades after exposure has ended. The great-great grandchildren of a woman exposed to Methoxychlor may still be suffering from exposure.
Is Methoxychlor Still Being Used As A Pesticide?
The European Union (E.U.) banned the pesticide in 2002 and the U.S. followed suit in 2003. However, a ban only ends production of the chemical.
Any privately owned stocks of the chemical can still be in use, so banned chemicals can take year to be phased out entirely.
According to the Environmental Working Group, Methoxychlor, was found in water supplies in Iowa after 2004.
While most developed nations banned the chemical, Methoxychlor is still widely used in Mexico and South American countries, which is where most of the U.S. gets a significant portion of produce.
Mexico is the second largest provider of agricultural products to the U.S.
The potential for this pesticide to wreak havoc on our health remains to be seen in generations to come. It becomes increasingly difficult to trace the source of our ailments to Methoxychlor.