A 52-year study of women and their daughters has found that a mother’s exposure to DDT in pregnancy may lead to a daughter’s four-fold increased risk of developing breast cancer before age 52.
The insecticide DDT was banned in the United States in 1972, but the damage it has done, especially to daughters born in the 1960’s, is still part of our world today. The chemical was banned due to numerous studies that have linked it to birth defects, miscarriage and reduced fertility. But this latest study is chilling.
Over the course of 52 years, scientists followed a group of moms and daughters. Those moms who had high levels of DDT. The new study, published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, is truly scary.
Between 1959 and 1967, DDT was very common and was found in animal fats as well as in milk, butter, cheese and other products in the food supply. It was also in a number of consumer products. During that time, scientists collected blood from mothers to test their DDT levels. Later, they saw how the higher levels of DDT corresponded to the likelihood that the daughters born to those mothers developed breast cancer in their 40’s and 50’s.
It just goes to show how careful we all have to be. You just never know what environmental toxins might be doing.
As the daughter of a woman who developed breast cancer in her 40’s and who died at 45, I am particularly fascinated by this study. My maternal grandmother and my mother as well as one of my aunts all developed breast cancer. Though I was gene tested, I tested negative. I have always wondered whether it was something all three were exposed to. And now this study leads me to believe that is possible.
As a mom with two daughters myself, I think all the time about what I put into my body and what goes into theirs. All the organic fruits and vegetables and dairy products might seem more expensive, but now I am every so grateful that we have been living that way. This study is very real. One cannot simply dismiss it with an “everything causes cancer.”
The link is just too direct. It’s so sad and horrible.