Study Shows Effects
on the Immune System Associated wtih Living Near a Pesticide Dump Site
A recent study, published in the December 2000 edition of Environmental Health Perspectives (Vol. 108, No. 12), shows that residents living near a pesticide dump site in Aberdeen, North Carolina experience higher levels of pesticide plasma contamination and effects on the immune system. The study, conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina, was designed as a part of a larger study to evaluate effects on the immune system in a community living near a Superfund site containing organochlorine pesticides (lindane, DDT), volatile organic compounds and metals.
Each of 302 residents
of Aberdeen and neighboring communities provided a blood specimen, underwent
a skin test, and answered a questionnaire. Blood specimens were analyzed
for organochlorine pesticides, immune markers, and micronuclei. DDE, a
breakdown product of DDT, was detected in the blood in a significant number
of participants. Residents who lived closer to the dump sites also experienced
effects on the immune system, including decreased mitogen-induced lymphoproliferative
activity. Residential location was not consistently associated with frequency
of micronuclei or skin test responses.