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DDT Study Funds Startling Links to Cancer

GUEST: Barbara Cohn, study author, PhD, and researcher at the Public Health Institute in Berkeley, CA.

In a groundbreaking study of the links between the pesticide DDT, and cancer risk, scientists have found that women who were exposed to the chemical in-utero, were nearly 4 times more likely to get breast cancer than the general population. Previous studies had not found such a link, because they examined direct exposure, not in-utero exposure. In a nutshell, pregnant women were exposed to DDT and gave birth to daughters who suffered the consequences.

The study examined blood taken from 20,000 pregnant women in Oakland, California, between 1959 and 1967, when DDT was commonly used and accumulated in foods and other parts of our environment. Of the 9,300 daughters born from those pregnancies, 118 developed breast cancer.

While DDT was banned in the US in 1972, many countries continue to use the chemical.

To learn more about this issue, visit phi.org.