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Archive for the 'Biomonitoring' Category


25
Apr

Study Finds Substantial Risks to Honey Bees During and After Crop Pollination

(Beyond Pesticides, April 25, 2017) Past use of agricultural pesticides puts honey bees at risk across multiple growing seasons, according to research from scientists at Cornell University in New York. According to lead author Scott McArt, PhD, “Our data suggest pesticides are migrating through space and time.” Honey bees, which over the past decade have experienced unsustainable declines over 40% each year, are at great risk from exposure to a range of pesticides, chiefly the neonicotinoid class of insecticides. This new research adds to calls from beekeepers, environmental groups, and progressive farmers to transition agriculture away from pesticide-dependent practices. Cornell researchers conducted a massive study that analyzed both the pollen source and pesticide residue found therein for 120 experimental hives placed near 30 apple orchards in New York State. The landscapes surrounding each orchard were classified based on the amount of natural area or agricultural land that was present. Scientists analyzed risk to honey bees by collecting information about pesticide use during the growing season as well as the amount of pesticide contamination in “beebread,” pollen tightly packed unto pellets by bees used as food or in the production of royal jelly. “Beekeepers are very concerned about pesticides, but there’s […]

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04
Apr

Pyrethroid Insecticides Cause Premature Puberty in Boys

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2017) Exposure to commonly used pyrethroid insecticides results in the early onset of puberty in boys, according to a study presented at the 99th meeting of the Endocrine Society in Orlando, Florida this week. Pyrethroids, which exhibit endocrine disrupting properties, have the ability to interfere with the proper regulation of the human body’s hormonal system. This research is the first to investigate not only the association between pyrethroids and accelerated puberty, but also the causal mechanisms involved in the physiological changes taking place within the human body. For the study, Jing Liu, PhD, and colleagues from Zhejuang University in China, analyzed the urine in 463 Chinese boys aged 9 to 16 for the presence of metabolites from the pyrethroid insecticide cypermethrin. Results show that a 10% increase in the metabolite 3-PBA is associated with a roughly 4% increase in luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones, which facilitate puberty and sperm production. The author’s note that, “Boys with increased urinary levels of 3-PBA have a significantly increased risk of earlier pubertal onset, in which the odds of being in an advanced pubertal stage are increase by 73% to 110%.” The study, acknowledging the limitation in determining causality, further investigates the […]

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14
Mar

EPA to Investigate Civil Rights Abuses Over Pesticide Use in Hawaii

(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2017)  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is opening an investigation into whether the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) and the state Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) are discriminating against Native Hawaiians in their administration of the state’s pesticide program. The investigation comes after a number of local community groups, represented by the nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice, filed a complaint in September 2016 asking EPA to take action against systemic abuses of Native Hawaiian peoples. Local efforts to protect pesticide-exposed communities have been repeatedly stymied by giant pesticide corporations operating on the island, which filed lawsuits that ultimately struck down local laws. EPA’s investigation will focus on the state’s activity on the islands of Kauai and Moloka’i. “The External Civil Rights Compliance Office will investigate whether in administering the pesticides program and the leasing and licensing of the state land program the HDOA and/or ADC discriminated on the basis of race and/or national origin against farm workers and residents of West Kauai and Molokai, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and EPA’s implementing regulation,” wrote Lilian Dorka, director of EPA’s External Civil Rights Compliance Office(ERCO), in a letter to Earthjustice. Under Title […]

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21
Feb

Take Action: Bill Will Eliminate Permit Requirement to Spray Pesticides into Waterways

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2016) The Agriculture Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill last week that will eliminate protections from toxic pesticides for the nation’s waterways. The bill now moves on to the full House for a vote and the public has an opportunity to let Representatives hear the concerns about weakening local protection of waterways from toxic pesticides. HR 953, The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (code for the sponsors and supporters as legislation to eliminate environmental protection of water quality), is the committee’s latest effort in a multi-year string of attempts to rollback common sense protections for the public waterways all Americans use for swimming, fishing, and other forms of recreation. The bill would repeal the Clean Water Act requirement that those who apply pesticides to waterways, with an exemption for farm use pesticides not directly deposited into waterways, obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Last May, at the height of fears over the Zika epidemic, the same Committee ushered through the same bill under another misleading name, The Zika Vector Control Act. Pensive lawmakers and the public saw through the ruse, and the bill was defeated. But, like previous iterations, including the 2015 Sensible Environmental […]

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13
Feb

Herbicide Use Contributes to Declines in Monarch Populations

(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2017)  A study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and others  attributes the reduced number of overwintering monarch butterflies –a reduction of 27% from last year—to herbicide use and other factors. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), in conjunction with U.S. and Mexican environmental groups, has been leading the effort in tracking monarch butterflies.  Their recently released 2016-2017 study concluded that the population of monarch butterflies decreased 27 percent from last year’s population, which had marked an increase from dangerously low levels over the previous three years.  Overall, this marks an 80 percent decline in monarch population from the 1990’s.  Researchers have estimated that within 20 years the monarch butterfly migration could collapse altogether. The study was conducted in December of 2016 when the colonies of monarchs are expected to be at their peak population in Mexico.  Monarch populations are gauged by the area of land they inhabit, rather than counts of butterflies.   Thirteen butterfly colonies were observed, recorded and tracked using geographic information systems software.  The researchers found that the butterflies occupied 2.91 hectares of forest, which re presents a 27.43 percent decrease in population compared to the 4.01 hectares of forest they inhabited during the […]

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07
Feb

Ruling Affirmed in Colorado Pesticide Trespass Case

(Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2017) After years of legal battle, the Colorado Court of Appeals last week affirmed a ruling that Colorado rancher, James Hopper, must serve two days in jail and pay a $7,500 fine for spraying pesticides that drifted unto his neighbor’s farm in violation of a 2012 court order protecting his neighbors. In 2012, organic farmers Rosemary Bilchak and her husband Gordon MacAlpine, were granted a permanent injunction prohibiting pesticide applications within 150 feet of the property line in order to reduce pesticide drift. Last week’s decision bolsters a legal precedent that wafting pesticides can constitute a trespass against which adjacent landowners and people with health sensitivities are protected. The legal battle began in 2011 when Mr. Hopper obtained his Colorado pesticide applicator’s license and applied the adulticide Fyfanon, which contains the organophosphate insecticide malathion, to kill mosquitoes on his property. However, the pesticide drifted onto Ms. Bilchak and Mr. MacAlpine’s organic vegetable farm. In 2012, a District Court Judge ruled that they have a right not to have their property invaded by other people or things, and prohibited Mr. Hopper from fogging for mosquitoes within 150 feet of his neighbor’s property or allowing the pesticides to drift, […]

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06
Feb

California Regulators Sued for Allowing Increased Use of Toxic Fumigant without Public Input

(Beyond Pesticides, February 6, 2017) California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) rules that allow greater use of the highly toxic fumigant Telone, while decreasing protections for the public, have been challenged in California court. On January 31, attorneys representing Juana Vasquez, a farmworker in Ventura County, along with Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR) and Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), filed suit in the Superior Court of California against the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR). The suit claims that CDPR failed to follow required public procedures in developing new rules for 1,3-Dicholopropene (1,3-D), which is an active ingredient in the product Telone and has many documented health risks, including cancer and kidney and liver damage. In October 2016, CDPR released new rules that allow the continued use of Telone and decrease protections for public health by permitting increased usage. CDPR and many news outlets reported the rule change as a tightening of the restrictions, but in reality, the new rules increase the previous annual cap from 90,250 pounds to 136,000 pounds per township, a defined area of 6×6 miles. These new rules went into effect on January 1, 2017, allowing for 1,3-D’s continued use in strawberry fields, vineyards, almond […]

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01
Feb

North Miami Passes IPM Plan in Response to Local Activism

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2017) Last week in North Miami, the City Council took a significant step that could reduce pesticide use in the community. The Council adopted an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy modeled after a plan developed by San Francisco in the mid-90’s. The plan does not ban pesticides and herbicides, but instead aims to reeducate citizens and county workers on least-toxic pest management strategies with the goal of eliminating toxic pesticide use on city property.  The IPM plan does not address pesticide use on private property, due to state preemption of local authority. With the passage of the North Miami’s resolution, city operatives will now be asked to give preference to available, safe and effective non-pesticide alternatives and cultural practices. As stated in the resolution’s Integrated Pesticide Management Program Guidelines, the goal of the policy is “to eliminate the application of all Toxicity Category I and Category II pesticide products by January 2018.” On top of eliminating certain pesticide categories, the resolution also calls for staff training and expert consultants, both of which have the potential to help ease the transition in pursuit of the 2018 goal, and priority will be given to efforts to reduce or eliminate pesticide use near […]

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06
Dec

Pesticide Exposure Alters Bacterial Diversity in the Mouth

(Beyond Pesticides, December 6, 2016) A new study released by researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle finds that exposure to organophosphate insecticides is associated with changes in oral bacterial diversity, particularly for exposed farmworkers. The study provides insight into the far-reaching changes pesticide exposure can cause to the human body, which are not captured by current risk assessment models used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Although past research has investigated the impact of pesticide exposure on the gut microbiome, this is one of the first studies to look at oral bacterial diversity. For the study, scientists took oral swabs from 65 adult farmworkers and 52 non-farmworker adults in the Yakima Valley of Washington State. Swabs were taken both during the spring/summer, when exposure to pesticides is high, as well as winter, when lower exposure is expected. At the same time the swabs were taken, researchers also took blood samples of individuals in the study. Scientists focused on exposure to the organophosphate insecticide Azinphos-methyl (AZM), which at the time of the study (2005-2006) had not begun its cancellation proceedings. Results show that farmworkers have greater concentrations of AZM in their blood than non-farmworking adults in the area. It […]

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21
Nov

Holistic Weed Management Benefits Farmers and the Environment

(Beyond Pesticides, November 21, 2016) The potential benefits of “weeds” have long been ignored, but a new study attempts to quantify the benefits of all species within an agricultural system, including the undesirable ones. The study, Integrating Insect, Resistance, and Floral Resource Management in Weed Control Decision-Making, by Cornell University scientists, assesses and updates holistic integrated pest management practices. In a discussion with the Cornell Chronicle, lead author of the study, Antonio DiTommaso, Ph.D., states, “Managing crop pests without fully understanding the impacts of tactics —related to resistance and nontarget plants or insects— costs producers money.” The authors introduced a weed management decision framework that accounts for weed benefits and illustrates that by allowing low levels of weeds in a cropping system, a farmer can increase crop yields and provide numerous ecosystem services. In a case study of an herbicide-tolerant corn cropping system, which had been controlled primarily with glyphosate,  the authors demonstrated that the European corn borer (ECB) could be reduced  through holistic management decision making. The  data suggest that, “Milkweed plants harboring aphids provide a food source (honeydew) for parasitoid wasps, which attack ECB eggs.” By maintaining low densities of milkweed in the corn field, farmers allow beneficial […]

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04
Oct

Former Undisclosed Ingredients in Pesticide Products Found in Fish, Birds, and Dolphins

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2016) Chemicals previously used as  inert ingredients in pesticide formulations have been detected in a wide range of North American wildlife species, according to research published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. The compounds, perfluroalkyl phosphinic acids (PFPIAs), were widely used as anti-foaming agents in pesticide formulations until 2006, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took regulatory action to cancel  their use, citing “human health and environmental risks of concern.” However, the chemicals continue to be used today in consumer goods, including carpet cleaning formulas. While scientists did not find what they would consider high concentrations of the chemicals in wildlife, the ubiquity of the detections was found to be most concerning. Researchers detected the presence of PFPIAs in the blood of 100% of animals sampled. This includes northern pike in Montreal, Canada, cormorants from the Great Lakes, and bottlenose dolphins from Sarasota Bay, Florida. “We aimed for diversity: air-breathing versus water-breathing, differences in habitat, different taxonomic groups,” Amila O. De Silva, PhD, coauthor of the study, said to CNN. Part of the reason for the wide range of detection lies with the properties of these chemicals. They are highly stable and resist degradation from […]

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22
Sep

United Nations Addresses the Alarming Rise of Antibiotic Resistance

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2016) Yesterday, the United Nations (UN) gathered to address the alarming rise of antibiotic resistance at a day-long meeting in New York. The UN General Assembly, made up of delegates from 193 countries, has only convened health-related meetings on three other issues: Ebola, HIV, and noncommunicable diseases. According to the World Health Organization, which collaborates with the UN on health-related priorities, “Antimicrobial resistance has become one of the biggest threats to global health, such as human development.” At this high-profile meeting, Heads of State and Heads of Delegations addressed the urgency of the situation and discussed multisectoral approaches to addressing antimicrobial resistance. This UN meeting elevated the discussion to a historic level and led to the approval of a declaration, but did not result in legally binding actions and failed to include language to eliminate excessive antibiotic use in animal agriculture. In an interview with Vox, Kevin Outterson, Professor of Law at Boston University, stated that “it has taken 15 years to get [antimicrobial resistance] back on the global agenda” since the UN last tried to take action in September 2001. Experts are warning that we may be entering or have already entered a post-antibiotic era […]

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01
Sep

Maryland Begins Spraying for Zika before Finding Infected Mosquitoes

(Beyond Pesticides, September 1, 2016) With the apparent mosquito transmission of the  Zika virus in Florida, local officials around the United States have been feeling pressure to step-up preemptive mosquito spraying, prior to the virus actually emerging  locally in infected mosquitoes. The Zika virus has been contributing to public anxiety in the U.S. for several months and, because of this, the state of Maryland has started spraying with hazardous insecticides. The state has made targeting mosquitoes its  number one priority, while many argue that the state’s spraying  puts the well-being of residents at risks. As of August 24, there are 77 travel-associated cases of Zika in the state of Maryland. Without a finding of infected mosquitoes in the state, the Maryland Department of Agriculture’s (MDA) Mosquito Control Program is focusing its  control actions on female (the ones that bite) aedes albopictus, commonly known as Asian tiger mosquitoes, the most common type of mosquito in Maryland that studies indicate “has the potential” to transmit the Zika virus. MDA’s Mosquito Control Program implements the state’s mosquito management, which is conducted in accordance with an undefined  Integrated Pest Management (IPM)  program; basing the  approach broadly on prevention, monitoring, and control of mosquitoes. As […]

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24
Aug

Banned Chemicals Linked to Increased Autism Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, August 24, 2016) Researchers at Drexel University report that higher levels of some organochlorine compounds during pregnancy are associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID). The organochlorine compounds under study have long been banned in the U.S., and include pesticides like DDT, underscoring how pervasive and persistent these chemicals are, and their continued impact on human health. The research is reported in the study  Polychlorinated Biphenyl and Organochlorine Pesticide Concentrations in Maternal Mid-Pregnancy Serum Sam ples: Association with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability,  which examines whether prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) influences offspring risk of ASD and intellectual disability without autism (ID). According to the research, children born after being exposed to the highest levels of organochlorines during their mother’s pregnancy are roughly 80 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism when compared to individuals with the very lowest levels of these chemicals. The team looked at a population sample of 1,144 children born in Southern California between 2000 and 2003. Data was accrued from mothers who had enrolled in California’s Expanded Alphafetoprotein Prenatal Screening Program, which is dedicated to detecting birth defects during pregnancy. Participants’ children were […]

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22
Aug

Town Bans Land Application of Sewage Sludge, or Biosolids

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2014) The Town Board in Wheatfield, New York unanimously voted last month to amend its biosolids law to ban any application of sewage sludge and other similar materials from the treatment of municipal wastewater to any land in town, even for those who already have permits from the state. The law reasons that the potential contamination of groundwater, surface water, and soil, as well as the potential for air pollution, poses an unreasonable risk to town residents, public health, and the environment. Biosolids, otherwise known as sewage sludge, are composed of dried microbes previously used to process wastewater in treatment plants. The material is increasingly being used in conventional agriculture, but its application is explicitly forbidden in organic production. This is because the sludge can contain high concentrations of toxic contaminants, such as pesticides, detergents, estrogenic hormones, antibiotics, dioxins, PCBs, flame retardants, and heavy metals. A 2002 study revealed the material to be associated with an increased prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus infections, a condition known to cause skin rashes and respiratory problems, for people located in close proximity to biosolid application sites. More recently, new research adds to existing evidence of the hazards of sewage sludge […]

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13
Feb

Revisions to Human Testing Rules Finalized

(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2013) After years of scrutiny and criticism, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Administrator Lisa P. Jackson signed amendments strengthening existing standards for human research involving pesticides submitted by third parties for consideration in EPA decisionmaking. These amendments apply to studies involving the controlled exposure of participants to pesticides, with the hope that these “tougher” new standards will decrease the number of intentional human dosing studies conducted for pesticides. Even though EPA stated in 2001 that it will not consider or rely on human studies in its regulatory decisionmaking, subsequent industry pressure resulted in EPA invoking the Common Rule (40 CFR 26 – Protection of Human Subjects) for third-party intentional dosing studies. The agency promulgated new rules and made revisions to these rules, stemming from the lawsuit and settlement by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) et al., to broaden and refine rules relating to human research involving pesticides. In 2010, EPA published the proposed rule to amend EPA’s protocol for the testing of pesticides on humans. Now finalized, the rule strengthens EPA’s 2006 rule, Protections for Subjects in Human Research. Now prohibited is testing on nursing and pregnant women, children, as well as testing on […]

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16
Jan

Elevated Chlorpyrifos Residues Detected in Indigenous Children

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2013) Children living near chemical-intensive or conventional plantations in Costa Rica are exposed to twice as much of the insecticide chlorpyrifos compared to children living near organic plantations, a study reports. More than half the children, mostly from indigenous tribes- Ngäbe and Bribri – have a  higher daily exposures than allowed under U.S. federal standards. Chlorpyrifos is linked to neurological effects, especially in children, and is still permitted for use on crops. The study,  Indigenous children living nearby plantations with chlorpyrifos-treated bags have elevated 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPy) urinary concentrations, was lead by Berna van Wendel de Joode, PhD  (Central American Institute for Studies on Toxic Substances (IRET), Universidad Nacional, Heredia, Costa Rica). It was conducted in Costa Rica’s banana and plantain plantations in the Talamanca region, and  targeted villages situated nearby to the plantations where blue bags treated with chlorpyrifos are routinely used to protect banana and plantain crops from pests. Two villages under study are near plantations that use chlorpyrifos-treated bags, while the organic village is near several plantations  that use little or no insecticide. For 140 children, aged 6 — 9, mostly indigenous Ngäbe and Bribri, parent-interviews and urine samples were obtained. Chlorpyrifos’ environmental levels […]

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27
Nov

Leading Pediatrics Group Issues Warning and Recommendations on Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, November 27, 2012) On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a landmark policy statement, Pesticide Exposure in Children, and an accompanying technical report on the effects of pesticide exposure in children. In the documents, released in the December 2012 issue of Pediatrics magazine and online on November 26, AAP makes note of the current shortfalls in medical training, public health tracking, and regulatory action on pesticides. Acknowledging the risks to children from both acute and chronic effects, AAP’s report provides recommendations to both pediatricians and government health agencies. AAP’s policy statement comes on the heels of an October 2012 report citing the benefits of eating organic food in order to reduce pesticide exposure. Lead authors on the documents for the AAP’s Council on Environmental Health are James R. Roberts, MD, MPH, Medical University of South Carolina, and Catherine J. Karr, MD, PhD, University of Washington. AAP’s statement notes that, “Children encounter pesticides daily and have unique susceptibilities to their potential toxicity.” The report discusses how kids are exposed to pesticides every day in air, food, dust, and soil. Children also frequently come into contact with pesticide residue on pets and after lawn, garden, or household pesticide […]

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04
Oct

CDC Releases Updated Tables for National Report on Human Exposure to Chemicals

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2012) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released updated tables for its Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, which was released in 2009. The new data includes updated tables for 119 chemicals and tables for 34 new chemicals, including updates for 2,4-D and triclosan and their metabolites. New metabolites of organophosphorous insecticides are added for the first time. Notably, the report found that concentrations of four metabolites of organophosphates generally increased among nearly all groups CDC measured, while levels for two generally decreased. Organophosphate pesticides, such as chlorpyrifos, are highly toxic to humans and the environment. Chlorpyrifos is a frequent water contaminant and a long range toxicant, exposing communities and polluting pristine areas far from where it was applied. Volatilization drift ””the evaporation of the pesticide after application”” is also part of the problem for chlorpyrifos. A 2009 study found the pesticide to have significant impacts on the growth and development of amphibians miles away from the site where it was first applied. A USGS study in 2007 concludes that the breakdown products of chlorpyrifos are up to 100 times more toxic than the original. The Updated Tables, September 2012, […]

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12
Sep

Prenatal Exposure to Widely Used Pesticide Ingredient Linked to Childhood Cough

(Beyond Pesticides, September 12, 2012) Expectant mothers exposed to the pesticide additive piperonyl butoxide (PBO), widely used in synthetic prethroid insecticides and those ending in “thrin” (popular in mosquito spray programs), during pregnancy pass to their children a heightened risk of noninfectious cough at ages 5 and 6, according to researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH). These findings support the premise that children’s respiratory system is susceptible to damage from toxic exposures during the prenatal period. Researchers outfitted 224 expectant mothers with air monitors during their third trimester of pregnancy and measured the levels of PBO and permethrin in the air around them. Then, once the children were 5 and 6, the same two chemicals were measured from air samples collected inside their home. Results showed that children exposed to PBO in the womb were at increased odds of reporting cough unrelated to cold or flu. Researchers found no correlation between prenatal or childhood exposure to permethrin, however they pointed out that this may be because PBO is easier to measure in air samples than permethrin. Coauthor of the study, “Prenatal exposure to pesticide ingredient piperonyl butoxide and childhood cough in an urban cohort,” Dr. Rachel […]

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14
Oct

New Research Links Pesticides to Cardiovascular Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, October 14, 2011) Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden have found that environmental toxicants such as dioxins, PCBs, and pesticides can pose a risk for cardiovascular disease. The results of the study, entitled “Circulating Levels of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Carotid Atherosclerosis in the Elderly,” show a link between exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including several organochlorine pesticides, and the development of atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart disease. The study will be published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, and a version of it is available online ahead of print. Cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes, are the most common cause of death in industrialized countries, and the most important underlying cause of these diseases is atherosclerosis. Unbalanced blood fats, diabetes, smoking, and high blood pressure are traditionally recognized risk factors for atherosclerosis. Previous studies have also reported possible links between cardiovascular disease and high levels of persistent (long-lived and hard-to-degrade) organic environmental toxicants, such as dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and pesticides. These compounds are fat-soluble and can therefore accumulate in vessel walls. However, no earlier studies have investigated possible links between exposure to these compounds and atherosclerosis. Of the POPs that were screened […]

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20
Jun

Organochlorine Pesticides Linked to Adverse Birth Effects

(Beyond Pesticides, June 20, 2011) In a study published this week in the journal Pediatrics, researchers report findings that link mothers’ exposure to organochlorine pesticides during pregnancy with infants’ sizes at birth. The trend shows that the more mothers are exposed to the pesticides during pregnancy, the higher the chances are for reduced birth weight and length of their newborns. Comprising a total of 494 women and infants in Valencia, Spain from the years 2003-2006, the study evaluates umbilical cord blood for residues of four pesticides or pesticide degradates: DDT, DDE, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and beta-hexachlorocyclohexane. The results show that a 10-fold increase in pesticide concentrations in the blood corresponds to a reduction in birth weight of 2-4 ounces. Additional results are correlated to specific pesticides. Higher concentrations of DDT results in a reduction in head circumference of 0.26cm, which the researchers call a “significant decrease.” Additionally, a decrease of 0.39cm in birth length is correlated with each 10-fold increase in concentration of HCB. The researchers note several concerns related to the findings, aside from the results themselves. Since people are exposed to a wide variety of chemicals in general throughout their everyday lives, higher pesticide exposure could betray higher exposure […]

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12
May

Groups Submit Policy Recommendations to Strengthen Environmental Right to Know

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2011) Beyond Pesticides joined 112 organizations in endorsing a 102-page set of environmental right-to-know recommendations, which OMB Watch presented on Tuesday, May 10 to the Obama administration. The recommendations, collaboratively drafted by advocates from across the country, aim to expand access to environmental information, equip citizens with data about their environmental health, and empower Americans to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from toxic pollution. The recommendations are contained within a report titled An Agenda to Strengthen Our Right to Know: Empowering Citizens with Environmental, Health, and Safety Information, drafted as part of the Environmental Information Initiative project. OMB Watch compiled the report following a year of work that culminated in a conference of almost 100 environmental, health, and safety advocates held in November 2010. Sean Moulton, OMB Watch’s Director of Federal Information Policy, said, “Many of the recommendations laid out in the report are ambitious, but they are also needed. Environmental and right-to-know advocates believe that much more information, presented in more searchable and usable formats, is necessary in order to adequately protect Americans’ environmental health.” Three key priorities are woven throughout the recommendations: 1. Environmental justice must always be considered — Minority and […]

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