Chemicals from 1947 continue to cause health problems

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Ancestral exposures to the pesticide methoxychlor may lead to adult onset kidney disease, ovarian disease and obesity in future generations. The pesticide has a multigenerational, long term effect.

From the grandmother to the great grandchildren

“What your great-grandmother was exposed to during pregnancy, like the pesticide methoxychlor, may promote a dramatic increase in your susceptibility to develop disease, and you will pass this on to your grandchildren in the absence of any continued exposures,” said Michael Skinner, WSU professor and cofounder of its Center for Reproductive Biology.

Methoxychlor banned in 2003 but effects live on

Also known as Chemform, Methoxo, Metox or Moxie, methoxychlor was developed in 1948 and used popularly through the 1970s as a replacement for DDT. Many countries continue to use it on crops, ornamental plants, livestock and pets. Because of its toxicity and ability to disrupt functioning of the endocrine system, it was banned in 2003 in the US. Methoxychlor can act like estrogen and disrupt the reproductive system.

Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance

Skinner and his research team exposed gestating rates to methoxychlor and saw an increase in incidence of kidney disease, ovary disease and obesity in offspring during the next three generations. Even though DNA and gene sequencing remains unchanged, it may be that the chemical is affecting the way some genes are turned off and on. This process is called transgenerational epigenetic inheritance.

Reduced fertility, obesity and adult onset disease

They were also able to discern that a majority of transgenerational disease can be transmitted through the mother. Although they were able to identify mutations in the sperm of great-grandchild male rats as well. These findings have implications such as reduced fertility, obesity and increased adult onset disease for those exposed to the chemical and their offspring.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, PLOS ONE


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