Banned pesticides linked to endometriosis
|Author: William Hudson - CNN Medical Producer|
Date: Thursday, November 7th, 2013
|Return to Archive|
Women with higher levels of pesticides in their blood are also more likely to have endometriosis, according to a new study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition in which tissue normally lining the uterus’ interior walls also grows outside the uterus, commonly to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or pelvis –- causing pelvic pain and infertility.
“It affects women during their reproductive years and it could be that as many as 10% of women during reproductive ages have endometriosis,” says Victoria Holt, a researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington and lead study author.
More than 5 million women have endometriosis, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Women's Health.
“What we know about endometriosis is that it's an estrogen-driven disease. Women who have more estrogen are more likely to have it," Holt says.
Once in the body, some organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) are believed to mimic estrogen, possibly contributing to endometriosis.
For the study, researchers measured OCPs in blood serum samples from 248 surgically-confirmed endometriosis cases and 538 women without diagnosed endometriosis.
Overall, 90% of all women had detectable levels of one such pesticide, called beta-HCH, in their blood.
Compared to women in the lowest quartile, women in the upper 50% for beta-HCH levels were 2.5 times more likely to have ovarian endometriosis.
Another organochlorine pesticide – Mirex – increased the risk of endometriosis overall by 50% when comparing women in the highest category of exposure to those with the lowest exposures, the study suggested.
Eight other organochlorine pesticides measured in the study showed no clear correlation with endometriosis.
"Women in this study were likely exposed simply on the basis of their chronically ingesting contaminated food,” says Dr. Leo Trasande, associate professor of Environmental Medicine, NYU School of Medicine.
Organochlorine pesticides were widely used in the United States from the 1940s through the 1960s, but the Environmental Protection Agency now restricts their use, along with the United Nations’ Stockholm Convention.
However, after all these decades, these pesticides are still present in the environment and can accumulate in the food chain.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, beta-HCH has a half-life of seven years in the body – where it is stored in fat. It can be found in some dairy products, fatty foods and fish. It's also still produced as a by-product of some lice shampoos and lotions. The FDA recommends using a safer alternative first; California banned one product in 2002.
“What piqued our interest is that these chemicals are so highly persistent and take years to degrade in the environment. We detected these chemicals in the blood of women despite their being banned or severely restricted in the United States for the past several decades,” says Kristen Upson, a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and study author.
“More broadly, this speaks to the reality that often chemicals are introduced into the market without much in the way of safety testing,” says Trasande.
“And then many decades later, we find out the unfortunate consequences of this hazardous exposure.”
- All Categories
- Academic Outreach
- Continuing & Professional Development
- Distance Learning
- Summer Sessions
- Winter Term
- Career & Workforce Development
- Lifelong Learning
- Society for Lifelong Learning
- WKU On Demand
- Study Away
- Faculty-Led Study Abroad
- Center for Faculty Development
- Cohort Programs
- Dual Credit
- Conferencing & Catering
- All Categories
- March 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS October 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2012 E-Newsletter
- April 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS November 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2012 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS March 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2013 E-Newsletter
- JUNE 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS May/June 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2013 E-Newsletter
- Archived CHHS News
- CHHS October 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2013 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS April 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS December 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2014 E-Newsletter
- CHHS January 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS February 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS November 2015 E-Newsletter
- CHHS October 2015 E-Newsletter
- December 2015 ICYMI
- January 2016 ICYMI
- MAY 2016 ICYMI
- February 2016 ICYMI
- CHHS July 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2016 E-Newsletter
- CHHS September 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS August 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS July 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS June 2011 E-Newsletter
- CHHS May 2011 E-Newsletter
Parking Lot and Road Closings
Five Ways to Cheat the Hill
Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,