Dioxin is an industrial pollutant linked to cancer and reproductive disorders. For this study, the researchers used a particular dioxin called TCDD - a major component of the herbicide Agent Orange made infamous by the Vietnam War as well as recent events in agribusiness.
"Not only does the individual exposed get the disease," says senior author Michael Skinner, "but it's transmitted to great-grandchildren with no exposure."
Higher Rates of Disease Across Generations
In a 2011 study, researchers determined that pregnant mice had offspring (three generations) that experienced fertility problems. The 2012 Washington State study reinforces those findings and marks the diseases that resulted through generations.
- First generation offspring experienced higher rates of prostate disease and two types of ovarian diseases compared to control groups.
- Third generation rats experienced eight times greater rates of abnormalities in puberty.
- Forty-seven percent of third generation females experienced early puberty, compared to 6 percent in the control group.
- Third generation male and female rats had increased rates of kidney and ovarian disease, respectively.
- The great-grandkids had sperm with modified gene expression in 50 regions of DNA.
The researchers add, however, that their study still pertains to "human populations that are exposed to dioxin and are experiencing declines in fertility and increases in adult onset of disease, with a potential to transmit them to later generations."
Where does Dioxin Come From?
Nature can produce dioxin - such as through volcanoes and forest fires - but human activities by far result in more emissions. Such activities include but are not limited to:
- Trash incineration
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics production
- Bleaching of paper, cotton, diapers, and feminine hygiene products
- Monsanto and Dow herbicides, which the EPA has admitted as being the seventh greatest source of dioxin in the U.S.
But that hasn't stopped the company from pushing the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to approve their dioxin-containing 2,4-D herbicide resistant GMO crops. Go figure, they are responsible for these "superweeds" in the first place.
Environmental Health News