DDT exposure presents an increased risk for Alzheimer’s. DDT was first introduced through farming and agriculture in efforts to control mosquitoes in the 1940s. Health officials have known for decades that DDT adds an increased risk to the environment and humans. A new study released information that shows the severity how exposure increases risks.
The Jan. 27 issue of JAMA Neurology reports while DDT was banned in the U.S. in the early 1970s people living with Alzheimer’s have levels of DDT metabolite called (DDE) that are four times higher than adults without it.
The study’s authors along with the World Health Organization caution consumers to the fact DDT is still making its way into the U.S. In 2014, DDT is used in foods imported from other countries using DDT to help control the spread of diseases like malaria contracted from fish coming from polluted waters. It is also used on crops producing imported fruits and vegetables. This explains reasons for the increase of exposure to U.S. consumers.
Research shows DDT stays in the environment for long periods taking decades to break down. Americans consuming imported foods where DDT is still used and the length of time it stays in the environment are contributors to 80% of blood samples showing traces in healthy Americans.
Even with 80% of Americans having traces of DDT and DDE, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention say the levels are up to ten times lower than reported in studies done in the 1970s. Despite the fact that levels are lower today findings point to the fact that DDT presents an increased Alzheimer’s risk.
While genetics offer a link for Alzheimer’s to present in family lines, these findings strongly suggest that other triggers also serve as contributing factors. Researchers site eight to 10 years as a half-line for DDT. An added problem is consistent exposure through diet where people can be affected by DDE as they age. Making age the largest risk factor for Alzheimer’s researchers said. This significantly affects a large part of the population and can be used as an indicator for increasing rates.
By 2015 Alzheimer’s, which is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S., is expected to triple in numbers. The numbers are estimated to affect 14 million baby-boomers. The numbers are an indicator that Americans should better research food choices and have blood work performed to determine levels of exposure. Organically grown fruits and vegetables were not listed as a better option, possibly future studies will discuss possible ways to reduce risk to further exposure.
Alzheimer’s Researchers, Dr. Steven T. Kekosky of the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville and Dr. Sam Gandy from Mount Sinai Alzheimer’s Disease and Research Center in New York City, say “These conclusions should be considered as preliminary until there is independent confirmation in other populations.”
With the projected increase in cases, Americans will want to reduce DDT exposure. It can be hard to understand just how this works when there are healthy people with high levels of DDE while there are low levels are found in people living with Alzheimer’s. For now, it appears DDT presents increased Alzheimer’s risk with exposure.
By C. Imani Williams