Great Lakes boat captains who eat more fish
have higher levels of the DDT byproduct
DDE in their blood and a significantly higher
risk of diabetes than other captains, according
to a study conducted by researchers from
the Wisconsin Division of Public Health,
funded by the Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) and Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), and published in the journal
Environmental Health Perspectives.
DDE is produced
when bottom feeders ingest the potent pesticide
DDT and break it down slightly in their
bodies. When these fish are eaten by larger
fish, the toxin moves up the food chain
until consumed by humans. Like DDT, DDE
accumulates in the fat cells of living organisms.
DDT was banned from the United States in
the early 1970s for its destructive effects
on the reproductive systems of wildlife,
residue from pesticide used decades ago
still persists in lakes across the country.
To make matters worse, many other countries
worldwide continue to use the toxin.
gets thrown up in the atmosphere and can
be deposited by rain and snow attached to
particles which settle at the bottom of
the lakes," said Bruce
Fowler of the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances
and Disease Registry. "The toxins
are released by Asia and settle in North
America. The jet stream carries a lot of
things besides temperature and rain."