By Dan Shapley
Scientists will study any links between persistent organic pollutants like PCBs, chlordane, DDT and other pesticides and human fertility problems, low birth weight and other reproductive issues. The Texas A&M study will build on research that shows low level, persistent exposure to these chemicals affects the reproductive success of many wildlife species -- from tree swallows to otters. People are most often exposed to the chemicals from eating foods, like certain species of fish. All people are exposed to low levels in the surrounding environment, and because the body does not excrete the chemicals easily, the bioaccumulate -- meaning people, at the top of the food chain, have the potential to accumulate large and potentially damaging doses. Researchers have already identified the importance of limiting chemical exposure to babies
in utero and in early childhood, and this study will look at the effects -- if any -- of some common pollutants on reproduction itself, according to a story in the June 2 Houston Chronicle.