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Pesticides Increase Risk of Heart Attacks

Happy Earth Day! As such, I'll discuss another recent study related to the environment. A month ago I covered a ground-breaking study that showed the use of common pesticides/herbicides cause pathogenic bacteria to develop antibiotic resistance (click HERE for that discussion). Now this new study shows that pesticide exposure could contribute to an increased risk for heart attacks and inflammation in obese premenopausal women.

This study on women demonstrated that endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and not necessarily obesity itself, could play a role in the later development of heart conditions.

“Some chemicals used in consumer products or manufacturing (eg, plastics, pesticides) have oestrogenic activities; these xenoestrogens… have recently emerged as a new risk factors for obesity and cardiovascular disease,” said the study's lead author.

The study showed that premenopausal women with higher concentrations of environmental oestrogens in the fat tissue were more likely to have higher average blood sugar levels, a risk factor for both obesity and diabetes. Women with higher levels of oestrogens in their blood also tended to have more inflammation and were at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

“…We found that xenoestrogens are positively associated with markers of impaired metabolism and with CVD risk in younger, premenopausal women,” wrote the researchers. “If these findings are reproducible in different populations, it means that as early as possible, any effort to reduce exposureto xenoestrogens would be necessary to decrease the social burden of cardiometabolic disease.”

The researchers examined the effects of exposure to polychlorinated pesticides such as DDT. Although DDT (largely used as an agricultural insecticide) was banned in many countries in the 1970s, it still persists in the environment and food supply.

According to an assessment from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in March, pesticide residues in raw and processed foods clearly exceeded legal limits in 1.5% of European foods in 2013--levels high enough to warrant sanctions against the food business operators responsible, it said.

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Source: Inflammatory and Cardiometabolic Risk on Obesity: Role of Environmental Xenoestrogens

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