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DDT off the Coast of California: LA Times Cites PHI Research on the Chemical’s Multi-Generational Effects on Women’s Health

Federal regulators found that pollution off the California ocean coast from dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) could be far worse and reaching than what scientists predicted. The LA Times reports on the health detriments and historical effects of DDT on marine life and multiple generations of women affected by this chemical, citing research from PHI’s Child Health and Development Studies.

ocean coast

“After an exhaustive historical investigation into the barrels of DDT waste reportedly dumped decades ago near Catalina Island, federal regulators concluded that the toxic pollution in the deep ocean could be far worse — and far more sweeping — than what scientists anticipated.

In internal memos made public recently, officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined that acid waste from the nation’s largest manufacturer of DDT — a pesticide so powerful it poisoned birds and fish — had not been contained in hundreds of thousands of sealed barrels.

Most of the waste, according to newly unearthed information, had been poured directly into the ocean from massive tank barges.

Although shipping records noted the number of discarded barrels, regulators say the word “barrel” appeared to refer to a unit of volume, rather than a physical barrel. Further review of old records revealed that other chemicals — as well as millions of tons of oil drilling waste — had also been dumped decades ago in more than a dozen areas off the Southern California coast.

“That’s pretty jaw-dropping in terms of the volumes and quantities of various contaminants that were dispersed in the ocean,” said John Chesnutt, a Superfund section manager who has been leading the EPA’s technical team on the investigation. “This also begs the question: So what’s in the barrels? … There’s still so much we don’t know.”

These revelations build on much-needed research into DDT’s toxic — and insidious — legacy in California. As many as half a million barrels of DDT waste have not been accounted for in the deep ocean, according to old reports and a UC Santa Barbara study that provided the first real glimpse into how the Los Angeles coast became a chemical dumping ground.

Public calls for action have intensified since The Times reported that dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, banned in 1972, is still haunting the marine environment today. California sea lions, critically endangered condors, as well as multiple generations of women continue to be affected by this pesticide in mysterious ways. Numerous federal, state and local agencies have since joined with scientists and environmental nonprofits to figure out what’s going on 3,000 feet underwater.”

Read the full article by clicking on the link below. Learn more about PHI’s study on DDT and the generational health impacts for women.

Originally published by Los Angeles Times


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