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Common farm chemical has impact for generations

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When I was traveling in Vietnam back in 2002, doctors said to be very cautious about eating root vegetables there, especially those grown in the Mekong Delta.

The problem, they said, was that the chemicals sprayed by the US decades earlier still had an impact on food. Even at that time, it was not uncommon to see young kids with serious birth defects that were related to Agent Orange, even though the US had left Vietnam many years earlier.

With that in mind, this study is not terribly surprising. The tests still need to be continued, but it should open a few minds to some of the issues we are facing due to problems in the food chain. It defies logic to think that spraying chemicals on everything won't eventually impact humans.

When pregnant rats are exposed to a common crop chemical, their descendants three generations later show more anxiety and stress than the offspring of unexposed peers, US researchers said.

The study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the animal model may provide an explanation for the mounting number of cases of anxiety disorders, autism and obesity among humans in recent years.

"We are now in the third human generation since the start of the chemical revolution, since humans have been exposed to these kinds of toxins," said lead author David Crews of the University of Texas.

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