According to new reports, Alaskan fish is presenting high levels of DDT and other insecticides, exposing both children and adults to higher cancer risks. As for the children living in by the Eastern Alaska Mountain Range, whose diet is mainly composed of fish, the threat is higher as even small amounts of DDT and hexachlorocyclohexane boosts the risks of cancer, as reported by Lab Manager.
The DDT and organochlorine pollutants (OCPs) reach in the fish’s bloodstream via glacial meltwater which absorbed these chemicals over the time. According to Kimberley Miner, research assistant professor at the University of Maine Climate Change Institute, the risks of cancer due to DDT, organochlorine pollutants (OCP), and hexachlorocyclohexane is higher in children who consume contaminated fish than it is in adult populations.
“This secondary impact of climate change will be felt most strongly by children, and needs to be addressed in a comprehensive way,” said Miner, the principal author of the study titled “A screening-level approach to quantifying risk from the glacial release of organochlorine pollutants in the Alaskan Arctic,” published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology.
DDT In Alaskan Fish Exposes Children, As Well As Adults, To Higher Cancer Risks
Kimberley Miner and her colleagues Karl Kreutz, Shaleen Jain, and Seth Campbell, all from the University of Maine, as well as researcher Anna Liljedahl from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, carried out the new study to estimate, for the first time, the risks of cancer triggered by organochlorine pollutants (OCP), DDT, hexachlorocyclohexane, and other insecticides.
DDT, in particular, has been used across the US as a pesticide for insect control until the EPA banned it in 1972. Also, OCPs have been banned in several countries around the world after scientists linked it to cancer, coma, tremors, confusion, fatigue, headache, nausea, blurry vision, and death.
Even though Alaskan fish contaminated with DDT exposes children and adults, as well, in Alaska to higher cancer risks, the researchers found out that health risks from drinking meltwater are negligible for adults and children.