Science still catching up on DDT harms

Kristin Schafer

Two recent studies report new evidence of the harms of a very old pesticide.

It’s that pesky, persistent and infamous chemical, DDT. Nearly 40 years after its use in agriculture was banned in many countries around the world, it’s still present in our environment, food and bodies at levels that harm human health. And children, once again, are especially vulnerable.

According to researchers in Spain, when mothers are exposed to higher levels of DDT breakdown products during pregnancy, their babies are more likely to develop lung infections in their first year. And scientists in Korea report that exposure to DDT remnants may cause vitamin D deficiency, which is in turn linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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