Environmental toxin poisoning can last generations

When Washington State University researchers exposed pregnant rats to low-levels of dioxin, the first generation offspring had more prostate disease and two types of ovarian disease than control groups. Kidney disease, precocious puberty and ovarian disease were more prevalent in the great-grandchildren with abnormalities in puberty being nearly eight times higher in the third generation females. Third generation male rats had 27 percent higher incidence of kidney disease with telltale modifications to gene expression in sperm in 50 regions of DNA as a result of their ancestors’ dioxin exposure. 

’Not only does the individual exposed get the disease, but it’s transmitted to great-grandchildren with no exposure’, says Michael Skinner of Washington State University (Published in the journal PLoS One).

"The study is a nice demonstration of the large scope of damage from a low-dose dioxin," said Jennifer Wolstenholme, a biochemist at the University of Virginia. ’One of the most interesting findings’, she said, ’was that multiple organ systems were affected in the rats’. Abby Benninghoff, who specializes in epigenetics at Utah State University says, "The cause of the higher rates of disease in these [third generation animals was not due to direct exposure, but rather through transmission of changes in the code that regulates gene expression."

Dioxins are industrial waste products which scientists have known for decades to cause cancer, reproductive disorders, kidney disease and other health problems. Dioxins are formed as a result of commercial combustion processes such as municipal waste incineration and from burning wood, coal or oil fuels and are transported by air and water long distances to be found throughout the world.

Up to 95 percent of dioxin exposure in humans occurs through the diet. Small amounts of dioxin exposure occurs from breathing air with trace amounts of dioxins and from skin contacting air, soil, or water.
The study of Epigenetics has shown conclusively that factors such as poor diet, environmental toxins, stress and hormones such as oestrogen can damage the environment of the DNA and block the transcription and expression of messages. This damage is however reversible. Indole 3 carbinol and sulphoraphanes have been shown to help correct damage due to environmental toxins. 

October - December Cancer Watch 2012
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