It is possible your grandmother could be making you sick
If you’re sick, blame your great-grandmother. That’s the implication of a recent study into genetic inheritance done at Washington State University. Researchers discovered that exposure to a certain pesticide—methoxychlor—can lead to diseases in offspring up to three generations later. Specifically, they found correlations between methoxychlor exposure in ancestors and heightened risk of ovarian diseases, kidney diseases, and obesity in descendants.
The risk was mainly transmitted through females. This makes sense because methoxychlor binds to some of the same receptors as estrogen, the female reproductive hormone. Methoxychlor debuted in 1948, and saw widespread use in the 1960s as a substitute pesticide for DDT. It was used on crops, livestock, and even pets. But like DDT, methoxychlor was eventually banned after it was found to be harmful to people. But not before thousands—maybe millions—of our ancestors were exposed to its toxic effects.
In short, “What your ancestors were exposed to could radically affect the kind of diseases you get,” says Dr. Michael Skinner, the lead author of the study. Skinner’s been at this type of science for 15 years, and has studied the generation-skipping disease effects of exposure to plastics, fungicides, pesticides, DDT, hydrocarbons, dioxins, and BPA.
It’s long been known that genetic and epigenetic effects can skip generations and have detrimental effects—in other words, that what happened to our grandparents and great-grandparents can negatively affect us (whether it was toxic exposure, disease, or famine). It’s an unsettling reality, but there’s no sense in worrying about things we can’t change. The best we can do is learn from the mistakes of the past and prevent them from being repeated in the future, protecting our grandchildren and their grandchildren in the process.
That’s why at Rest Easy Pest Control we only use pesticides that have been thoroughly tested and determined to be non-toxic for humans.