For the past 25 years, tens of millions of Americans in hundreds of cities and towns have been drinking tap water that is contaminated with low levels of insecticides, weed killers and artificial fertilize.
For the past 25 years, tens of millions of Americans in hundreds of cities and towns have been drinking tap water that is contaminated with low levels of insecticides, weed killers and artificial fertilizer. They not only drink it, they bathe and shower in it, thus inhaling small quantities of farm chemicals and absorbing them through the skin.
The most common contaminants are caramate insecticides (aldicarb and others), the triazine herbicides (atrazine and others) and nitrate nitrogen.
Now a group of biologists and medical researchers at the University of Wisconsin in Madison has completed a five-year experiment. Combinations of these chemicals at levels similar to those found in the ground water of agricultural areas of the US have produced measurable detrimental effects on the nervous, immune and endocrine (hormone) systems of male mice. In the five-year experiment, thyroid hormone levels [of] rose or fell depending upon the mixture of farm chemicals put into the drinking water. PCBs and dioxins can have similar effects. The research has direct implications for humans.
Proper levels of thyroid hormone are essential for human brain development prior to birth. Some studies have shown that attention deficit and/or hyperactivity disorders in children are linked to changes in the levels of thyroid hormone in the blood. Children with multiple chemical sensitivity have abnormal thyroid levels. Irritability and aggressive behavior are also linked to thyroid hormone levels.
"This is a time when Americans are searching for the causes of violence in society," says Dr Warren Porter, head researcher at Wisconsin University. "No one seems to be asking whether pesticides, fertilizers and toxic metals are affecting young people’s mental capacity, emotional balance and social adjustment."
--Excerpted from Rachel’s Health and Environmental Weekly (#648)