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Avoiding Other Banned Pesticides

Industrial pollutants in the food supply may help explain the link between dairy consumption and Parkinson’s disease.

December 10, 2009 |
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Supplementary Info

Sources Cited

Kanthasamy AG, Kitazawa M, Kanthasamy A, Anantharam V. Dieldrin-induced neurotoxicity: relevance to Parkinson's disease pathogenesis. Neurotoxicology. 2005 Aug;26(4):701-19.

Bruner-Tran KL, Yeaman GR, Crispens MA, Igarashi TM, Osteen KG. Dioxin may promote inflammation-related development of endometriosis. Fertil Steril. 2008 May;89(5 Suppl):1287-98. Epub 2008 Apr 18.

Diamond MP, Wirth JJ, Saed GM. PCBs enhance collagen I expression from human peritoneal fibroblasts. Fertil Steril. 2008 Oct;90(4 Suppl):1372-5. Epub 2007 Sep 20.

Jones OA, Maguire ML, Griffin JL. Environmental pollution and diabetes: a neglected association. Lancet. 2008 Jan 26;371(9609):287-8.

Everett CJ, Mainous AG 3rd, Frithsen IL, Player MS, Matheson EM. Association of polychlorinated biphenyls with hypertension in the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Environ Res. 2008 Sep;108(1):94-7. Epub 2008 Jul 7.

Humblet O, Birnbaum L, Rimm E, Mittleman MA, Hauser R. Dioxins and cardiovascular disease mortality. Environ Health Perspect. 2008 Nov;116(11):1443-8. Epub 2008 Jul 22.

Lee DH, Jacobs DR, Kocher T. Associations of serum concentrations of persistent organic pollutants with the prevalence of periodontal disease and subpopulations of white blood cells. Environ Health Perspect. 2008 Nov;116(11):1558-62. Epub 2008 Jul 3.

Nishijo M, Tawara K, Nakagawa H, Honda R, Kido T, Nishijo H, Saito S. 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin in maternal breast milk and newborn head circumference. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol. 2008 May;18(3):246-51. Epub 2007 Jun 6.

Stewart PW, Lonky E, Reihman J, Pagano J, Gump BB, Darvill T. The relationship between prenatal PCB exposure and intelligence (IQ) in 9-year-old children. Environ Health Perspect. 2008 Oct;116(10):1416-22. Epub 2008 May 28.

Boucher O, Muckle G, Bastien CH. Prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls: a neuropsychologic analysis. Environ Health Perspect. 2009 Jan;117(1):7-16. Epub 2008 Aug 14.

Sagiv SK, Nugent JK, Brazelton TB, Choi AL, Tolbert PE, Altshul LM, Korrick SA. Prenatal organochlorine exposure and measures of behavior in infancy using the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale (NBAS). Environ Health Perspect. 2008 May;116(5):666-73.

Glynn A, Thuvander A, Aune M, Johannisson A, Darnerud PO, Ronquist G, Cnattingius S. Immune cell counts and risks of respiratory infections among infants exposed pre- and postnatally to organochlorine compounds: a prospective study. Environ Health. 2008 Dec 4;7:62.

Karmaus W, Osuch JR, Eneli I, Mudd LM, Zhang J, Mikucki D, Haan P, Davis S. Maternal levels of dichlorodiphenyl-dichloroethylene (DDE) may increase weight and body mass index in adult female offspring. Occup Environ Med. 2009 Mar;66(3):143-9. Epub 2008 Dec 5.

Hertz-Picciotto I, Jusko TA, Willman EJ, Baker RJ, Keller JA, Teplin SW, Charles MJ. A cohort study of in utero polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) exposures in relation to secondary sex ratio. Environ Health. 2008 Jul 15;7:37.


Image thanks to C. G. P. Grey.


Anyway, DDT was banned in 1972, and replaced by the insecticide dieldrin, subsequently found to be so toxic it was outlawed just two years later in 1974. But it’s still around and appears to be why every single prospective study on dairy consumption and Parkinson’s disease shows more milk means more Parkinson’s. “Though dieldrin has been banned, humans continue to be exposed to the pesticide through contaminated dairy products and meat due to the persistent accumulation of the pesticide in the environment.”
What else can these persistent pollutants do? Just looking at the research published over the last year, linked to endometriosis, fibrosis, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular mortality, and even gum disease.
When pregnant women eat lots of animal products they risk having babies with smaller brains, lower intelligence, poorer attention span, other cognitive impairments, and more pediatric respiratory infections. The more of the DDT metabolite DDE women are exposed to, the fatter their daughters may become when they grow up. “Prenatal exposure…may contribute to the obesity epidemic in women.”
Toxic waste exposure in the diet, may even result in fewer men in the world. Pregnant women exposed to the most PCBs were 33% less likely to have a boy, and we’re not sure if that’s because the PCBs damage male sperm or male embryos, but if having a baby girl is more important than your health, bulking up on your PCBs may do it for you: Fish and other aquatic animals provide about three-quarters of human PCB dietary exposure. And the same with dioxins.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

To help out on the site please email

Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out theother videos on dairy productspesticides, and Parkinson's. Also, there are1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos--please feel free to explore them as well!

For some context, please check out my associated blog posts: Pollutants in Californian Breast TissueApple Peels Turn On Anticancer Genes, and Avoiding Dairy to Prevent Parkinson's

  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the other videos on dairy products, pesticides, and Parkinson’s. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

  • Moshe Sherf

    If Dieldrin is accumulated in the environment – does is exists in plant foods as well?

    • DrDons

      Dieldrin and similar type chemicals are fat soluble and are much more prevalent and concentrated in animal products and are seen in greater concentration in humans consuming more animal products… see So although they can be present in some plants they are much less. Washing plants and going organic whenever possible will further lower the amount of exposure. Vegans have about 2% of exposure as those who are non vegans see.. There is some good news as some of these compounds are decreasing in the environment… the bad news is that new chemicals seem to taking their place. Practicing the precautionary principle and following a low-fat plant-based diet with B12 supplement is the best approach.

  • lorenza

    Dear doctor, I have a severe case of endometriosis, 10 years ago I’ve had a duoble intestinal resection (all the sigma, the ileocecal valve and 20 cm of large intestine)
    I am trying to become a vegetarian, with the full agreement of my doctor, but sometimes it is hard because fibres irritate my bowels.
    I am increasing antioxidants, probiotics (see dr. Klaper), but are there some foods that can help both my intestine and especially my fight against endometriosis?
    I red a lot about foods that could have caused endometriosis (an excess of red meat), but what should I eat if I already have it?
    Thank you so much, for being so simple in your explanations and for always giving tha source of all the infomation you give!!
    An Italian fan, Lorenza’72, Udine, Italy

    • Megann19

      Dear Lorenza,
      I am going to help address the bowel issues you are likely to be having after your intestinal resection; most particularly the resection involving the ileocecal valve. The irritation you are reporting, I would be willing to bet, is related to food moving through your intestines faster, causing you to be prone to a looser stool. It would make sense that fiber would irritate you, because certain types of fibers speed things up even more. There are 2 basic types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Most foods naturally contain a blend of both. For you, the insoluble fiber would be the type of fiber you would want to avoid in large amounts. Either check the label to determine how much insoluble fiber is in a food relative to the soluble fiber and/or get a small book you can use as a pocket guide, which lists this information. Avoid foods that contain more than 2 grams of insoluble fiber per serving. Soluble fiber, on the other hand, can be helpful as it generally slows digestion, promoting a firmer stool. Also, certain fiber supplements can be helpful such as psyllium and other soluble fibers (pectin, dextrins, etc) (NO insoluble fiber supplements). If they don’t help, you might give a product called “Concentrated Flax Lignans” a try ( This is a special product that is very difficult to find anywhere other than online. It is not very expensive and I have found it to be very helpful. As always, run it by your doctor. I hope this helps!

      • Megann19

        And don’t forget that you can absolutely follow a vegetarian diet and lifestyle, regardless of your symptoms. It would not be more difficult, and it is the absolute best way of protecting your intestinal health (and the probiotics don’t hurt either!!) and to protect your health in general!!

  • lorenza

    I hope dr.Greger will answer to my question about specific nutritional suggestions for patients with endometriosis.
    Megann19 thank you so much for your suggestions, I am learning to choose foods depending on their insoluble fiber amount!

    • David Meyer - This lady cured her endometriosis with a 100% plant-based diet with no vegetable oils. 

      you might want to ask your question to Dr. McDougall in an email.  He is really good about replying and has experience curing this disease.

    • sue

      after years of stomach issues, and allergy tests showing I was allergic to dozens of foods. when i started paying attention to my diet, i was able to eliminate the problems. The processed foods made it more difficult to eat the good things. I went vegan, and also paid attention to my pain when I ate grains. If i felt pain the next morning, I knew to eliminate the pasta or the rice. It became easier to eat the veggies without problems. I found that the probiotics unfortunately irritated my stomach and the problems were gone when I cut that out. My rule is to choose foods of the highest amount of nutrition and so that eliminates all items in a box or can. Processes involving chemicals to manufacture the food, will not be listed in the ingredients on the box but can still make it difficult for you to digest it.  Fruits and veggies(non-gmo) have been the best choices for me.

  • Lady from eastern Europe

    Dear dr Greger,

    I cured myself from endometriosis with low-fat high-fiber vegan, nonrefined diet, but still I struggle with vitiligo. Is there a dietary treatment for this disease?

    Lady from eastern Europe

  • Audrey

    Hello, I have a question about endometriosis. I’m going to have a laparoscopy to remove it but I want to make sure I address the root cause, i.e. the conditions under which it grows to start with. Any advice on diet? What I already found what confusing at best: some say dairy is good, some others absolutely discourage it, same for soy, etc…
    Many thanks for your help.

  • MikeB

    Not sure if this is the best location for this question, but I am having trouble finding any links to Pulmonary Fibrosis. My friend’s father was recently diagnosed with Cardio Pulmonary Fibrosis and so I was wondering if you have found any nutritional links or food based treatments for Cardio Pulmonary Fibrosis? Thanks!