The harmful pesticide, Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), is a colorless and tasteless synthetic compound that was vastly used in agricultural areas around the world. Recently, a six-decade long study conducted by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that there is a 40-year long correlation between the exposure of DDT and the diagnosis of breast cancer in women. Current research is beginning to show that high levels of DDT exposure increases the risk of breast cancer for women through the age of 54. The timing of the exposure of DDT is found to be imperative in terms of an early diagnosis and treatment.
Because it is a chemical that is highly soluble in water, DDT became infamous because of its environmental impact; its long life and low decay rate made it difficult to dispose of. Due to DDT’s harmful effects, its use would be banned in most countries around the world during the 1970s, including the United States in 1972. It is still used in Africa and Asia to fight malaria. Because it is hard to destroy, traces of DDT is still found in environments where it had been banned for years.
DDT is an endocrine disruptor, which is a chemical that interferes with the human body’s hormones, possibly leading to tumors and cancer. Researchers found that the chance of breast cancer increases for a woman if she is exposed to DDT while her body is going through a hormonal stage, or when the breast tissues are growing and developing.
Women who have been exposed to DDT before the age of 14 were found to have an increased risk of premenopausal breast cancer, with the highest risk to women who have been exposed before the age of three. Women exposed to DDT after the age of 14 showed an increased risk of breast cancer after menopause, but not before the age of 50. If a woman was exposed after infancy by twice the amount of DDT, their risk of postmenopausal breast cancer triples.
Researchers have found that by going back 40 years from a woman’s breast cancer diagnosis, they could approximate her first DDT exposure. By implementing this research for women, doctors can detect breast cancer at its earliest stage, increasing a woman’s chance for a positive outcome.
If you have been exposed to DDT and were diagnosed with breast cancer, contact a Wilmington environmental lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Our experienced lawyers will fight for you and obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us at 302-656-5445 or contact us online for a free consultation. With offices in Georgetown and Wilmington, Delaware, we proudly serve our clients throughout the state, including New Castle County, Sussex County, and Dover.