Evidence is growing of the effect of strong pesticides on the development of type 2 diabetes and Alzheimers disease after studies find a significantly higher risk of each condition in people with higher exposure to the pesticide DDT.
The latest research links DDT with Alzheimer’s disease, finding that patients with Alzheimer’s disease had levels of DDE, a broken down form of DDT, that were on average 3.8 times higher than participants without the form of dementia.
The clinical study, carried out by Rutgers University in New Jersey and Emory University in Atlanta, reviewed 86 people with Alzheimer’s disease and 79 people without Alzheimer’s disease but with similar ages and backgrounds.
The findings become even more significant as a study published in February last year, by the University of Granada in Spain, showed that people with higher concentrations of DDE in the body had a four times higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
DDT is a strong pesticide which was commonly used in the twentieth century. It was banned in the United States in 1972 but a ban in the UK did not exist until 1984. The pesticide is still used in countries such as India and countries where malaria is a problem.
DDT and DDE are not metabolised easily by the body, allowing them to remain stored in the fat and liver of fish, mammals and humans for decades. In addition, levels of these chemicals get larger the higher up the food chain they go.
In addition to the links being found with type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, animal experiments have shown DDT can cause chronic problems on the liver, kidneys and immune and nervous systems.

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