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Global surveillance of DDT and DDE levels in human tissues.

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Montrose Research Corporation, VA Hudson Valley Health Care System, Montrose, New York, USA.

Corrected and republished in


The organochlorine insecticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) was initially introduced for control of vector-borne discases It was banned in the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1972 because of potential harmful effects on humans, wildlife and the environment. Since it is a potential human carcinogen, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) has recently restricted the use of DDT in developing countries until alternative methods of vector control are sought. DDT and its metabolite, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethylene (DDE) are lipid soluble, and bioaccumulate more in human adipose tissue, than breast milk and serum. This article is a review of DDT and DDE levels in human tissues from different countries in the world. Data on p,p'-DDT and p,p'-DDE levels in human adipose tissue, breast milk and serum were selected from more recent literature. It was discovered that countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America with more recent exposure to DDT and DDE have higher levels in human tissue than in Europe and the United States. The global concern for DDT and DDE is the environmental spread and persistence in the food chain. Hypothetically, there is a potential risk of harmful effects of DDT and DDE to human health. UNEP has cautiously taken action to protect human health, the environment and the earth from further destruction by persistent organic pollutants. Further exposure to DDT should be prevented to achieve this goal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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