Pesticide DDT linked to diabetes, obesity and slow metabolism

A mouse study from the University of California, Davis found that pregnant mice exposed to DDT, a pesticide, increased the risk for obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and other conditions in female offspring later in life.

Although DDT was banned in the U.S. in the 1970s, it's still used to control malaria in countries like India and South Africa.

In the study, researchers gave female mice doses of the pesticide that would be comparable to those experienced by people living in areas where DDT is regularly sprayed.

“The women and men this study is most applicable to in the United States are currently at the age when they’re more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, because these are diseases of middle-to-late adulthood,” said lead author Michele La Merrill, assistant professor of environmental toxicology at UC Davis.

Slow metabolism, glucose problems, obesity

Exposure to DDT before birth was linked to slower metabolism, increased risk for metabolic syndrome, obesity, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

DDT also appeared to lower tolerance to cold temperatures.

“As mammals, we have to regulate our body temperature in order to live,” La Merrill said. “We found that DDT reduced female mice’s ability to generate heat. If you’re not generating as much heat as the next guy, instead of burning calories, you’re storing them.”

The study is published in PLOS One.

Source: UC Davis
Image courtesy of satit_srihin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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