DDT in Umbilical Cord Blood

DDT in Umbilical Cord Blood
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Are pregnant women who eat fish, other meat, and dairy still passing along the pesticide DDT—even decades after it was banned?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Just because mothers have a certain level of industrial pollutants in their fat tissue or bloodstream doesn’t necessarily reflect what they’re passing on to their child. So, researchers last year decided to measure pesticide levels right out of umbilical cord blood—at delivery, as soon as you cut the cord. They squirt a little in a vial before they tie it off.

318 mothers studied, and even now, decades after it was banned, “…almost all [umbilical cord blood] samples (95%) showed detectable DDT residues.” Not exactly the first thing we want to be passing along to our newborns.

The most common DDT residue found was a derivative called DDE, which was found most closely associated with the mother’s consumption of three types of foods. Because organochlorine pesticides are attracted to fat, they accumulate in foods of animal origin. “[M]eat, fish, and dairy products were associated with… [the presence of] DDE in umbilical cord serum.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to andrechinnnetzwerg; and Alexander N via flickr

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Just because mothers have a certain level of industrial pollutants in their fat tissue or bloodstream doesn’t necessarily reflect what they’re passing on to their child. So, researchers last year decided to measure pesticide levels right out of umbilical cord blood—at delivery, as soon as you cut the cord. They squirt a little in a vial before they tie it off.

318 mothers studied, and even now, decades after it was banned, “…almost all [umbilical cord blood] samples (95%) showed detectable DDT residues.” Not exactly the first thing we want to be passing along to our newborns.

The most common DDT residue found was a derivative called DDE, which was found most closely associated with the mother’s consumption of three types of foods. Because organochlorine pesticides are attracted to fat, they accumulate in foods of animal origin. “[M]eat, fish, and dairy products were associated with… [the presence of] DDE in umbilical cord serum.”

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Images thanks to andrechinnnetzwerg; and Alexander N via flickr

Nota del Doctor

The reference to pollutants in mothers’ fat is from Pollutants in Californian Breast Tissue. The dozens of chemicals found in the bodies of pregnant Americans is explored in CDC Report on Environmental Chemical Exposure. For more on which foods appear most contaminated, see Food Sources of Flame Retardant Chemicals. I have dozens of other videos on eating for healthy pregnancies, including Dangerous Advice From Health Food Store EmployeesPreventing Childhood Allergies; and Pregnant Vegans at Risk for Iodine Deficiency. Even if we do pass a load of pollutants on to our babies, how long does it take their bodies to get rid of them? That’s covered in How Fast Can Children Detoxify from PCBs?

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Protecting Our Babies From PollutantsApple Peels Turn On Anticancer Genes; and Head Shrinking from Grilling Meat.

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