New research links exposure to common pesticides with compromised vitamin D levels that can cause deficiencies and disease, according to a study published in a recent issue of the journal PLoS One.
The study, titled “Associations between Organochlorine Pesticides and Vitamin D Deficiency in the U.S. Population,” was conducted by researchers at the University of Minnesota, the University of Oslo, Norway, the National University in Korea and CHA University, Gumi, Korea and looked at blood levels of organochlorine pesticides in nearly 1,300 adults throughout the U.S. The results showed strong correlation with low levels of vitamin D pre-hormones and detectable levels of the pesticides in the bloodstream. According to study researchers, eggshell thickness is affected by vitamin D, and DDT exposure can cause eggshell linings to thin, but the correlation is not exactly clear on how the pesticides affect vitamin D levels.
DDT is currently used to control mosquito populations in countries where mosquito-born illnesses such as malaria and dengue fever pose serious threats to human health.
Organochlorine pesticides, such as DDT and beta-hexachlorocyclohexane were actually banned in the U.S. more than 30 years ago, but levels of the toxins are still widely found in people—even those born after they were banned—because the chemicals do not easily breakdown in the environment, accumulating instead into the fat cells of animals and can be passed along the food chain. Organochlorines are endocrine disruptors and can be incredibly harmful even at low levels. They’re connected to an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.
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