Sydney: Banned agricultural pesticide DDT, which can cause cancer, is still widely found in human bodies, new research claims.
In a study of 146 human milk samples, most of the Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) were from the DDT (Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) group, said noted environmental researchers Tze Wai Wong of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
"Finding them in human milk indicates that these pollutants are still present in food chain, which means that they`re highly persistent and have a slow decline rate.
"...They are still being used in some countries in food production - neither of which is good news for consumers," says Wong, according to a statement of CRC for Contamination Assessment and Remediation of the Environment.
Wong explains that human uptake of dioxins (chemical compounds) and other POPs is mostly from contaminated food products that originate from places with heavily polluted soil and water.
Dioxins can also enter the body through contaminated air.
Countries that burn their waste, like Japan or China, are particularly susceptible to dioxin contamination of food, as it is often released through burning.
"We suspect that high concentrations of DDT will be found in communities which consume large amounts of seafood, dairy products, cattle and poultry, as animals tend to bioconcentrate these toxins," he says.
These findings were presented at the CleanUp 2011 Conference in Adelaide.