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February 13, 2014

DDT: Still Threatening the Health of Your Community

What we put in the earth stays with us for a long time, and will continue affecting our health for decades to come. According to a recent article published by Environmental Health News, at least one study shows that exposure to the now-banned pesticide DDT is correlated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Fly Jinx - 220/365

Josh Mazgelis captioned the photo above, “At our camp we have a collection of old bottles and cans that have been around forever. Besides the nostalga factor it’s fun to see the way products were marketed. I love the proper housewife spraying the toxic chemicals. Ah, the insight of science.”

Researchers tested patients with late-onset Alzheimer’s in Atlanta and Dallas, as well as control groups, and found that patients with high levels of DDE (the breakdown product of DDT) were more likely to have the disease than those with small amounts of DDE in their systems. Though the study was small and limited, it illustrates that environmental issues may have long-term repercussions regarding human health. This research follows a large field of work relating pesticides with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s.

Improving our environmental health must start today. Though many dangerous pesticides have been banned for years in the United States, such as DDT, the chemical is still heavily used in malaria-infested places such as Africa. There are also newer chemicals in use that have potential dangers to our bodies that we will not be aware of for years. To avert long-term consequences from chemical or pesticide use, efforts should begin right at home. We need to be more careful with the chemicals that we use daily to treat our homes and yards. This is especially important when it comes to food and water sources, such as home gardens and local bodies of water.

Kenya - Spraying bacteria substance

Spraying an eco-safe biopesticide in Kenya as an alternative to DDT. Photo via Global Environment Facility.

There are ways to get out and develop small projects that can have big impacts on our environment. Creeklife’s platform can be used to begin sharing important local issues that are threatening our watersheds and well-being. Some folks might even be interested in helping address the needs and cleanup efforts of EPA Superfund sites. In addition, getting rid of trash in and around water sources will reduce the effect of pollutants and toxins from plastic. Projects like this creekside cleanup in Ohio and North Carolina’s Upper Neuse are helping to protect environmental health alongside the health of local communities.

It is important to generate more conversations in every community. Share Creeklife projects in order to bring your friends and neighbors together to improve our natural resources today!

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Posted by Mark Contorno.

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