Epigenetics is the study of how our genes are modified due to lifestyle and environmental factors. These chemical markers are passed on from one generation to the next. What Grandma ate, how much she ate, what she drank, where she lived, where she worked, what she smoked, what she breathed, what she cleaned her home with, etc. influence your health today.
Lessons We Can Learn from the Multi-Generational Effects of DDT
Take for example DDT. DDT was banned in the US in 1972, yet the effects of its widespread use in agriculture is still evident today in 2019.
The effects on human health of DDT are found in people that were never exposed to the pesticide and were born after the ban.
Researchers William P Kabasenche and Michael K Skinner explain:
A variety of environmental factors that include toxicants, nutrition and stress have been shown to induce the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease [1,2] (Figure 1). Examples of such environmental compounds include pesticides [3,4], fungicide vinclozolin , hydrocarbons (jet fuel) , dioxin , and the plasticizers phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA) . Nutritional effects such as
high fatdiets and caloric restriction can also promote transgenerational abnormalities . Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance requires the germline (sperm or egg) transmission of epigenetic information that alters disease or phenotype, in the absence of direct environmental exposures . Transgenerational phenomenon have been demonstrated in humans , rodents , worms , flies , and plants . Therefore even though you have never had a direct exposure, your ancestors’ environmental exposures may influence your disease development (Figure 1)…
A recent study examined the epigenetic transgenerational actions of the most common historically used insecticide DDT (dichlorodiphenyltoxichloroethane) . Observations demonstrate that DDT has the ability to induce the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of obesity, kidney, testis and ovary disease .DDT, epigenetic harm, and transgenerational environmental justice
In particular, researchers found DDT to promote obesity in rats of the third generation (“
Why We Need to Be Concerned about the Multi-Generational Effects of Glyphosate and Round-Up
The current agricultural chemical of concern is glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Round-Up. It has already been proven to cause cancer with many lawsuits involving 11,200 plaintiffs. 1 Earlier this year, a jury awarded $2 billion to an Oakland couple. 4 According to “Assessment of Glyphosate Induced Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Pathologies and Sperm Epimutations: Generational Toxicology”:
The current study using a transient exposure of gestating F0 generation female rats found negligible impacts of glyphosate on the directly exposed F0 generation, or F1 generation offspring pathology. In contrast, dramatic increases in pathologies in the F2 generation grand-offspring, and F3 transgenerational great-grand-offspring were observed. The transgenerational pathologies observed include prostate disease, obesity, kidney disease, ovarian disease, and parturition (birth) abnormalities. Epigenetic analysis of the F1, F2 and F3 generation sperm identified differential DNA methylation regions (DMRs). A number of DMR associated genes were identified and previously shown to be involved in pathologies. Therefore, we propose glyphosate can induce the transgenerational inheritance of disease and germline (e.g. sperm) epimutations. Observations suggest the generational toxicology of glyphosate needs to be considered in the disease etiology of future generations.Assessment of Glyphosate Induced Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Pathologies and Sperm Epimutations: Generational Toxicology
The authors conclude:
“Therefore, glyphosate appears to have a low or negligible toxic risk for direct exposure, but promotes generational toxicology in future generations.”
Future generations will be negatively affected by today’s use of Roundup. Even if you don’t use the chemical yourself, it is still present in your body including breastmilk. Large legal settlements are just the beginning. We need to ban glyphosate-containing products immediately. As we’ve seen with DDT, the effects will last for many, many generations.
Given the evidence that glyphosate causes cancer in the current generation, what might be the multi-generational effects?
A study published in the April 23, 2019 edition of Scientific Reports is the first rigorous study on the effects of Roundup on future generations.3https://beyondpesticides.org/dailynewsblog/2019/05/weed-killer-glyphosate-linked-to-multi-generational-adverse-health-effects/