Women heavily exposed to DDT during childhood are five times more likely to develop breast cancer, according to a new study. Those born between the years 1945 and 1965— when the pesticide was used routinely in the US to kill mosquitoes—likely suffered the greatest exposure, reports the Los Angeles Times. The research suggests that as this generation ages, breast cancer rates may rise.
"This does speak to the baby boomer generation," said one scientist. Two-thirds of women with invasive breast cancer are 55 or older when diagnosed. This was the first study to examine pesticide exposure closer to the time women's breasts were developing. "The public health significance of DDT exposure in early life may be large," the authors cautioned.