Women’s Health Issues Linked to Insecticide Exposure, Too

It’s no secret that insecticides are wreaking havoc on the planet, killing the bees that pollinate a large percentage of the world’s food population. Still, if you can’t manage to get yourself worked up over the well-being of bees, maybe you’ll be moved for the sake of women’s health instead.

Newly publishedresearch in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism shows that women’s reproductive health is vulnerable to chemicals commonly found in insecticides: DDT and phthalates. Scientists attributed exposure to these chemicals with 145,000 cases of endometriosis and over 56,000 cases of uterine fibroids in European women.

Endometriosis is a condition where uterine tissue develops in other parts of the body, which can be quite painful. Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that form in the uterus that cause fertility problems. Each of these conditions is increasingly common the majority of women in the world are impacted by at least one of these disorders and environmental factors seem to play a part in the growing rate.

While the health problems alone should be cause for concern, even people more obsessed with “the bottom line” should pay attention to this scientific discovery. The researchers estimate that these chemicals are costing the EU $150 billion because of these particular reproductive health issues. Once you begin to calculate doctor visits, medical procedures, fertility treatments and days of missed work, the figure adds up quickly.

Keep in mind that’s just looking at two of the issues. “Although these two gynecological conditions affect millions of women worldwide, we recognize that this analysis only reflects the tip of the iceberg,” said Leonardo Trasande, a New York University professor who worked on this research. “A growing body of evidence suggests EDC exposure is linked to a broader range of female reproductive problems, including polycystic ovary syndrome, infertility and pregnancy complications.”

In other words, that $150 billion is probably a fraction of the cost if researchers were to have looked at other women’s health issues, too. Heck, consider the non-sex specific health problems that have been connected to pesticides: cancer, asthma, hormone disruption, skin conditions, memory loss and loss of motor skills. At a certain point, it becomes pointless to attach a price to use of insecticide because it’s clearly causing too much damage to excuse.

It’s important to note that correlation does not equal causation; while the study shows strong links between the chemicals and endometriosis and uterine fibroids, that is not the same thing as saying the chemicals are absolutely responsible. At the same time, it’s also worth noting the extensive amount of research that shows the correlations between chemicals and the aforementioned health consequences. Eventually, it’s irresponsible to dismiss these repeated findings.

Though the study focused on women in Europe, DDT and phthalates are found in chemicals and even some plastics all over the world. We put ourselves in danger by using these toxins in order to grow food more easily. The damage these substances cause can’t possibly be worth the tradeoff. The time to ban these products is now.

Photo Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture


Danuta W
Danuta W7 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Louise R
Past Member 7 months ago

thanks for sharing

Sue H
Sue H7 months ago

All living things are Still at risk because our "government" doesn't give a damn. :(

Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Neville B.
Neville B2 years ago


As far as I know, DDT and phthalates - which are the culprits here, NOT 'generic pesticides' - do not occur naturally. While the information in the link is welcome, needful even, using it as a 'cherry-picked' tool to try and torpedo 'organic' farming in an article about the serious consequences to human health through abuse of two probable factors is misleading. You'd have been better served by pointing out the use of phthalates in medicines! Why the US is still using (high levels of?) DDT I don't know, unless it's profiting someone very nicely of course.

Neville B.
Neville B2 years ago

Dear Bill Arthur, I agree that picture use on here is condescendingly sloppy, but don't see the relevance to Canada of this US article, where it's still used?

You are so right about 'Facts being troublesome', and therefore should have said "...SOME 'organic' growers..."

Also, why did you only skim the information in your own link (a summary of the actual study, itself limited in its sampling)? Just because there isn't a 'perfect' solution do you think we should just give up on better alternatives?

Do you think it's all about pesticide use, and not virulence and secondary, etc, effects of pesticides, and their support mechanisms like GMO, or that local life hasn't built up some measure of resistance to local plants, and not synthetics?
Do you realise that different farmers have different needs and standards, which are not addressed in this study? All but one of the (small scale) organic growers I know don't use any pesticides; he uses nicotine solution, and says so.
Do you think the link is saying that there is an equal amount of natural and synthetic pesticide being used, so that both have equal concentrations of carcinogenics?
Do you think that all cancers are equal, and equally diagnosable and treatable? The link does not address this.

Neville B.
Neville B2 years ago

Their free blindfolds have a Woodrow Wilson lining, and they can't see this evidence, or anything else.

Nature L.
Nature L2 years ago


Janis K.
Janis K2 years ago

Thanks for sharing