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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'DDT' Category


07
Jun

Insecticide-Resistant Fruit Flies Show Reproductive Difficulties

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2017) Fruit flies that developed a genetic resistance to the insecticide DDT have lower success at mating than those without similar changes, according to a study published last month in the journal Behavior Genetics. The results were surprising to researchers, given that the resistance developed through changes to a single allele (a variation of a single gene). “It is amazing that even if all the genes are exactly the same, having this one gene expressed at a higher level has all these effects,” said Professor Nina Wedell, PhD, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation on Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall, UK to Phys.org. The study raises possible concerns about the effect of pesticide exposure to non-target (not the focus of pesticide use) insects that are integral to a healthy ecology and food web. In conducting their investigation, researchers studied the biological fitness costs associated with the development of an insecticide resistance gene. After scientists bred resistant flies in the lab, they set up a series of “competitive mating trials,” comparing both courtship behavior and the impact of size on male fruit flies’ mating success. In general, resistant males were found to be smaller than flies that […]

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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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10
Nov

Pesticide Exposure Linked to Abnormal Sperm Development

(Beyond Pesticides, November 10, 2015) Exposure to organochlorine chemicals, such as DDE and PCBs, is linked to increased rates of sperm abnormalities that may lead to fertility problems, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. This is the latest study in a long line of research implicating endocrine (hormone)-disrupting chemicals in reproductive diseases. Researchers investigated this issue by observing the blood serum and sperm quality of 90 men, aged 22-44, participating in health studies in the Faroe Islands, an archipelago under  Denmark’s control that is  located between Iceland, the UK and Norway. Faroe islanders consume a high seafood diet that often consists of pilot whale, integral historically as a  food source for the Faroese people. However, this practice exposes the Faroese to higher than average levels of environmental contaminants. For the study, data on umbilical cord blood and blood serum at age 14 was available for 40 of the participants, allowing a researchers to measure lifetime impacts. Faroese participants were screened for sperm aneuploidy, a condition which usually involves an abnormal number of X or Y chromosomes in sperm, and is suspected as contributing to congenital abnormalities and up to 50% of early pregnancy losses. […]

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19
Jun

DDT Exposure in Utero Directly Linked to Development of Breast Cancer Later in Life

(Beyond Pesticides, June 19, 2015) A new study directly links exposure to dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) in utero to the development of breast cancer later in life. Published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the study looked at data that were taken from a California program that  evaluated  samples from women during 1960s, when DDT use was popular. DDT is known to be an endocrine disruptor, and is linked to serious health effects. Although DDT has been banned for many years, residues still linger in certain areas of the U.S. and continue to cause environmental and health hazards. The recent study, titled DDT Exposure in Utero and Breast Cancer,  focuses on 118 mothers who were members of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan from 1959-1967 and had daughters that were diagnosed with breast cancer by their 50s. Stored blood samples from these mothers gave researchers an idea of how much DDT they were exposed to during pregnancy or soon after giving birth. They found that elevated levels of DDT in the mother’s blood led to a four-fold increase in the daughter’s risk of developing breast cancer. Among those with cancer, 83% had a form of cancer called estrogen positive breast cancer, which […]

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15
Jun

DDT Still Pervasive in Small Michigan Town

(Beyond Pesticides, June 15, 2015) A community in central Michigan is still dealing with the fallout of a pesticide company that produced DDT nearly half a century ago. St. Louis, MI, a city about one hour north of the state capital Lansing, has long dealt with contamination left behind by the Velsicol Chemical Corporation, which manufactured pesticides in the town until 1963, when it left  and  abandoned loads of DDT in its wake. DDT, known for accumulating in food webs and persisting for decades in soil and river sediment, was banned in the U.S.  in 1972, but problems associated with its prevalent use until that time still plague the community to this day. This situation  has led to a multi-million dollar clean-up effort at taxpayers’ expense  by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). EPA took control of the Velsicol plant as a Superfund site in 1982, but decades-long delays in the cleanup of the old chemical factory have left songbirds, and potentially people at risk nearly thirty years later. After years of complaints from residents, researchers  recently reported  that robins and other birds are dropping dead from DDT poisoning. The dead robins and other […]

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01
Apr

Pesticide Residues on Foods Shown to Affect Sperm Quality

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2015) According to a new study from Harvard University researchers, eating fruit and vegetables containing pesticide residues adversely affect men’s fertility, leading to fewer and poorer quality sperm. The study, published online in the journal,  Human Reproduction, adds to a growing body of research that finds pesticide exposures give rise to impaired reproductive function, including reduced sperm counts, sperm quality and reduced fertility in exposed men. The results of this study also underscore the importance of an organic diet in reducing pesticide exposures. The study, “Fruit and vegetable intake and their pesticide residues in relation to semen quality among men from a fertility clinic,” believed to be the first to  look into the consumption of fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue in relation to semen quality, and conducted by researchers at Harvard University’s TH Chan School of Public Health, found that men who ate the greatest amount of fruit and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue had a 49% lower sperm count and a 32% fewer normally formed sperm than those who consumed the least. Jorge Chavarro, MD, assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology and co-author of the study, said, “We found […]

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30
Jan

Persistent Organic Pollutants, Pesticides Linked to Early Menopause

(Beyond Pesticides, January 30, 2015) Extensive exposure to common chemicals may be linked to an earlier start of menopause, according to a new study out of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Researchers of the study found that women whose bodies have high levels of these chemicals, including three pesticides, experience menopause two to four years earlier than women with lower levels of the chemicals. The pesticides found to have a significant correlation with an early start in menopause were p,p’-DDE (a metabolite of DDT), β-hexachlorocyclohexane (a byproduct of the production of lindane), and mirex. All three pesticides are organochlorine insecticides or their breakdown products that have been banned for use  in the U.S., but continue to persist in the environment and in the food chain. The study, Persistent Organic Pollutants and Early Menopause in U.S. Women, published this week in the journal PLoS ONE, investigates the link between levels in blood and urine of 111 endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), or chemicals that interfere with the body’s hormonal activity, and focused on known reproductive toxicants or persistent environmental contaminants. The findings suggest a significant association between 15 chemicals —nine polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs, which are industrial products), three pesticides, two […]

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11
Nov

Herbicide-Induced Erosion Releases Banned Pesticides in Sediment

(Beyond Pesticides, November 11, 2014) An international team of scientists has uncovered a new mechanism through which long-banned pesticides such as DDT may reemerge in our environment. Although a number of more recent studies have focused on the role that climate change is playing in the movement of older toxic chemicals, this study highlights the unknowns associated with pesticide use, showing the unexpected impacts that can occur when pesticide use patterns change. The study, “Long-term relationships among pesticide applications, mobility, and soil erosion in a vineyard watershed,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), analyzed 100 years of sediment records collected from a lake near a French vineyard. Scientists were able to create a historical record of pesticide use in the region, and reconstruct erosion patterns seen over time. According to the study, the historical record lined up well with the restrictions and prohibitions on various pesticides that occurred over the years. That is, until the 1990s. Results show that increases in soil erosion line up with an influx of DDT into the lake. But the increase in soil erosion also lined up with the introduction and increase use of post-emergent herbicides such as glyphosate, the […]

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10
Oct

Neonicotinoids Called “Bigger Threat” to Environment than DDT

(Beyond Pesticides, October 10, 2014) Many officials are no longer mincing words as they tie the global decline in bee populations with  mounting  evidence pointing to neonicotinoid pesticides. “All the science is not done, but everything that I have before me. . .  suggests to me that this is the biggest threat to the structure and ecological integrity of the ecosystem that I have ever encountered in my life, bigger than DDT, ” said Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller, of Ontario, Canada, as he released his annual report. The Annual Report of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, which has been released since 1994, has in recent years found particular scrutiny falling on neonicotinoids. Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, more commonly known as DDT, was banned in Canada and in the United States in 1972, following a massive environmental movement spurred by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which documented the adverse environmental effects resulting from the indiscriminate use of pesticides. Mr. Miller called bees the “canary in the coal mine” on neonicotinoids, and said the impact of the pesticides is “clearly more wide scale” in the ecosystem. Neonicotinoids  are chemically similar to nicotine and are pesticides that are toxic to a broad range of insect pests. They […]

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14
Aug

Report Finds Banned, Illegal Pesticides in Popular Indian Tea Brands

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2014) Pesticides are not the first thing to pop into mind when peering into a hot mug of steaming, pale green or murky black tea first thing in the morning. A recent report published by Greenpeace India announced the results of an investigation that tested for pesticide residues in branded tea. The verdict? Nearly 94% of the tea samples tested contained at least one of 34 different pesticides, while over half contained a toxic cocktail of more than 10 different pesticides. The residues found include DDT, which was banned for use in agriculture in India since 1989, and endosulfan, which was banned in 2011 by the Indian Supreme Court. Over half of the 49 samples contained illegal pesticides — either those that are not approved for use in tea cultivation or exceeded recommended limits. These pesticides include ones that have been long banned from agriculture and use in tea cultivation (DDT and triazophos), suspected mutagens and neurotoxicants (monocrotophos), and insecticides associated with the global decline in bee populations (neonicotinoids like thiacloprid and thiamethoxam). The most frequently detected pesticides include thiamethoxam (78%), cypermethrin (73%), acetamiprid (67%), thiacloprid (67%), DDT (67%), deltamethrin (67%), dicofol (61%), imidacloprid (61%), and […]

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07
Aug

Legacy of DDT Still Poisoning Birds and People in Michigan

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2014) Residents of St. Louis, Michigan aren’t used to seeing large excavators and dump trucks haul piles of dirt from their front yards or entire blocks of big, neighborhood trees felled. What they are used to seeing are dead birds ””sometimes even spontaneous, mid-flight deaths of the birds”” and because of a toxic series of events, disasters, and delays spanning decades, the two sights are inextricably connected. As one St. Louis resident described to the Detroit Free Press, dozens of dead robins and blackbirds had been collected from her backyard in the 18 years she has lived there, with the most recent just a couple weeks ago. This experience and other similar stories from the area prompted researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) to start figuratively and literally digging. Matt Zwiernik, Ph.D., an environmental toxicologist at MSU, and volunteers collected 29 dead birds, including 22 robins, last year from a nine-block residential area in St. Louis. The scientific sampling was only a small portion of the dead birds they could have collected, Dr. Zwiernik explained to reporters at the Detroit Free Press, as time, distance, logistics, and access to property sometimes limited collection efforts. Nevertheless, it […]

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05
Aug

Banned Pesticide DDT with Lingering Residues Again Linked to Obesity and Diabetes

(Beyond Pesticides, August 5, 2014) A new study finds that female mice exposed in utero to the pesticide DDT are at greater risk for obesity and type-2 diabetes, adding to a growing body of literature linking metabolic diseases to pesticide exposure. The study, titled Perinatal Exposure of Mice to the Pesticide DDT Impairs Energy Expenditure and Metabolism in Adult Female Offspring, was published in the journal PLoS One. Researchers measure and compare metabolic abnormalities in female mice that were exposed in utero to DDT against a control group of those that were unexposed. After exposure, the two groups were then fed high-fat diets for 12 weeks in adulthood. Females exposed to DDT around the time of their birth were more likely to develop insulin sensitivity, glucose intolerance, high cholesterol, and metabolic complications that could result in liver disease. These results suggest that DDT exposure in and around the time of gestation cultivates conditions that increase an individual’s likelihood of accumulating excess fat over the course of one’s lifespan. Additionally, the results find that changes in the way fats and carbohydrates are metabolized can increase the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which is a precursor to type-2 diabetes. The researchers’ observations […]

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15
Apr

Fish from Alaskan Wilderness Contaminated with Banned Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, April 15, 2014) A new study released last week by the National Park Service on contaminant use in Alaska, found traces of pesticides in fish ””pesticides which have long been banned and likely never been used within the Alaskan wilderness areas. Researchers examined three Alaskan parks renowned for their remote, pristine and protected wilderness ””Lake Clark National Park, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Katmai National Park”” only to find that contaminants, including PCBs at concentrations exceeding those in the lower 48 states. The study, Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Fish from Western US and Alaska National Parks””Spatial Distribution and Health Thresholds, published in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association, sought to compare contaminant level found within fish across the nation. Generally, researchers found that Alaskan fish were more likely to have traces of older chemicals, while those in the lower 48 tended to be dominated by newer chemicals. The most commonly detected chemicals are PCBs, endosulfan, sulfate and p,p’-DDE, a breakdown product of DDT.  Some of these long-banned chemicals actually exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) guidelines for human subsistence on fish and wildlife. Among those exceeding acceptable levels, dieldrin, chlordane, and p,p’-DDE have been […]

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13
Mar

Pesticides Linked to 30% Decline in French Men’s Sperm Count

(Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2014) Part deux of a 2012 study finding that sperm counts in French men had decreased 30% over the past 16 years came to a second startling conclusion in a 2014 analysis: the cause for those dramatic decreases may be pesticides. 2012 Sperm-Count Study Published in the scientific journal Human Reproduction, the landmark 2012 study showed an alarming 30 percent decrease in sperm counts across France between 1989 and 2005. Because the data for the 2012 study were drawn from Fivnat ””a French assisted reproduction technology database”” researches made sure to limit analysis to 26,600 sperm samples from otherwise virile 35-year-old men whose partners’ fallopian tubes were either blocked or missing. This control was added to ensure that the each couple’s infertility was due to these latter problems and not a problem with the man’s sperm. Broken down, the 2012 studies identified a 1.9 percent continued annual dip in sperm concentration and also found that there was a significant 33.4% decrease in the percentage of normally formed sperm over the entire 16-year period. At the time of release, the 2012 study’s authors wrote: “To our knowledge, it is the first study concluding a severe and general […]

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29
Jan

Higher Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease Linked to Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2014) People with high levels of exposure to the banned insecticide DDT are four times more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease than people with low levels, according to a new study of patients in Georgia and Texas. The research is among the first to report a connection between Alzheimer’s disease, which is the world’s most common neurodegenerative disease, and chemicals in the environment. The traces of the insecticide found in the study’s Alzheimer’s patients are comparable to the amounts found in most Americans today. Although it was banned more than 40 years ago in the U.S., DDT still persists in the environment worldwide and is still used today in developing countries for malaria abatement programs. “Our findings suggest that genetically susceptible individuals with higher levels of DDT exposure may be more at risk,” said Jason Richardson, PhD, a Rutgers University researcher who led the study. The case-control study consisting of existing samples from patients with Alzheimer’s disease and control participants from the Emory University Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center measured serum levels of DDE in 79 control and 86 Alzheimer’s disease cases. Levels of DDE, a […]

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13
Nov

Climate Change Increases Storm Severity and Toxic Chemical Hazards

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2013) As the world sheds tears from reading the reports of human suffering and looks on in horror at the pictures of devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, the debate of whether increased occurrences of super-storms like Haiyan are just over the horizon because of man-made climate change have also taken up residence in the headlines. Coupled by coverage of the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the leak of a draft summary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report on the impacts of global warming, the world is clearly paying attention. As the wide array of demonstrated effects and impacts of climate change are discussed on the world stage and world leaders attempt, once again, to create a meaningful plan to mitigate risks and even potentially avoid some of the most extreme threats, an important and even more deadly consequence of climate change lurks in the background: increased toxic chemical exposure. In a collection of studies and scientific reviews released earlier this year in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, scientists investigated a wide range of global climate change issues and toxicological impacts on the […]

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28
Oct

Multi-generational Effects of DDT Linked to Obesity

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2013) Scientists at Washington State University (WSU), in a laboratory study,  determined that exposure to the insecticide DDT ””banned in the U.S. since 1972, but still used today in developing countries for malaria abatement programs””impacts multiple generations, ultimately contributing to obesity three generations down the line. The study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, provides the scientific community with new information on multi-generational impacts of pesticide exposure. Lead researcher Michael Skinner, PhD., professor of biological sciences at WSU, and colleagues exposed pregnant rats to DDT to determine the long-term impacts to health across generations. The study, Ancestral dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) exposure promotes epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of obesity, finds that the first generation of rats’ offspring developed severe health problems, ranging from kidney disease, prostate disease, and ovary disease, to tumor development. Interestingly, by the third generation more than half of the rats have increased levels of weight gain and fat storage. In other words, the great grandchildren of the exposed rats are much more likely to be obese. “Therefore, your ancestors’ environmental exposures may influence your disease development even though you have never had a direct exposure,” the study finds. Previous studies have demonstrated that exposure to […]

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16
Oct

Banned Pesticides Threaten Illinois River Otters

(Beyond Pesticides, October, 16 2013)   Researchers at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the University of Illinois Urbana—Champaign have found that organochlorine pesticides and other organochlorine compounds like polychlorinated biphenyls (PBCs) are still contaminating river otters in the state, even though these chemicals have been banned for decades. Surprisingly, the levels detected are the same or higher than those detected in otters 20 years ago, highlighting the need to understand the exposure of wildlife and humans to organochlorine compounds despite their ban. In order to see what chemicals might be affecting otters, if any, the researchers examined the bodies of 23 river otters collected between 2009 and 2011. In the published study, River otters as biomonitors for organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, and PBDEs in Illinois,  scientists looked at liver concentrations of 20 organohalogenated compounds once used in agriculture and industry. The average concentrations of dieldrin, an insecticide that was used across the Midwest before being banned in 1987, actually exceeded those measured in river otters collected from 1984 to 1989. Liver concentrations of PCBs and DDE -a breakdown product of the banned DDT – were also similar to those in an earlier study showing that contamination has not decreased […]

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18
Sep

Is Long Banned DDT Still Threatening Endangered Birds?

(Beyond Pesticides, September 18, 2013) DDT, a pesticide banned in 1972, is behind the mystery surrounding the reproductive problems of dozens of endangered condors. This is according to a peer-reviewed paper written by 10 condor experts, including biologists from the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara zoos and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The researchers, who spent six years studying the reproductive problems, including eggshell thinning, in California condors have “established a strong link” to DDT in the birds’ food source. Condors are large scavenger birds with wingspans up to 10 feet and were reintroduced to California’s coast in 1997 after a century-long population decline. However, in 2006 biologists began observing thinning shells in many condor nests. Over the next six years, scientists observed condors feeding on dozens of sea lions, and found that in Big Sur, California, condor populations had low hatching success ”” just 20-40 percent. In contrast, 70-80 percent of southern California condors in the Tejon area had hatched successfully over the same time. The southern California condors are inland, and sea lions are not a food source. According to the study published in the journal, The Condor, the outer crystalline layer of shells was absent or […]

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23
Apr

Report Finds an Increase in Pyrethriod Pesticides in California Waters

(Beyond Pesticides, April, 23, 2013) A report released by the Surface Water Ambient Montioring Program (SWAP) has found in California that “detection of pyrethroid pesticides in sediment increased from 55 percent of the statewide samples in 2008 to 85 percent in 2010.” The findings are among the results of the Stream Pollution Treads, or SPoT, monitoring program, an annual assessment of pollution in streams in California. The report also found that stream beds in urban areas have higher levels of pyrethroids that those in agricultural areas. The SWAP report summarizes results of the 2009 and 2010 annual surveys and compares those results to the 2008 SPoT data. Beyond the 30 percent increase of pyerthriods detected in sediment, the percentage of highly toxic samples increased from 6 percent to 67 percent when toxicity tests were conducted at a colder temperature that more closely matched the normal surface water temperature in average watersheds. These results, according to the report, “suggest that current monitoring may underestimate the occurrence of parathyroid-associated toxicity using the standard protocol.”   The report also acknowledges that some pyrethroids, such as bifenthrin, may persist longer than others, and the chronic impacts of these pesticides may be underestimated by some […]

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01
Mar

Scientists Warn of Sperm Count Declines Linked to Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2013) In a literature review published in Toxicology last week, researchers found that environmental and occupational pesticide exposure was strongly associated with declines in sperm count. Researchers Sheena Martenies, BS, and Melissa Perry, ScD., MHS., determined that of the 17 studies evaluated, 15 of them reported significant associations between pesticides and semen quality. The researchers counted semen quality according to concentration of sperm over an area, their motility and ability to move, as well as their shapes. Researchers targeted studies on DDT, HCH, and abamectin, grouping pyrethroids and organophosphates by class. What they found was striking: almost all the studies reported a decrease in sperm concentration; decreased motility was also reported though less frequently; while morphological changes were not strongly associated in studies””only two indicated any changes to sperm shape. These findings build on a growing body of evidence that pesticide exposure at environmental or occupational levels diminished sperm health. In addition to the U.S. findings,  studies conducted on French, New Zealander, Indian, Tunisian, and Israeli men have all found decline in sperm count. Some studies record a drop by approximately 50% between 1940 and 1990, no small amount. These results might not be surprising as […]

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08
Feb

DDT Metabolite Linked to Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

(Beyond Pesticides, February 8, 2013) A recent study conducted at the University of Granada, Spain and published in the Journal Environmental Research proposes a link between exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in food, air, and water and prevalence of type 2 diabetes in adults, regardless of age, gender, and body mass index. The paper concludes that people with higher concentrations of DDE, the break down product of DDT, are four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to other participants in the study. Increased rates of type 2 diabetes are also associated with exposure to beta-hexachlorocyclohexane, a break down product of the toxic chemical lindane, which in still allowed for use in agriculture and certain formulations of products used to treat lice and scabies. The study was carried out by analyzing the concentrations of specific POPs in adipose, or fat, tissue of 386 adults undergoing non-cancer-related surgery in Spain. According to one of the authors of the study, Juan Pedro Arrebola, “Human adipose tissue acts as an energy reservoir and has an important metabolic function. However, adipose tissue can store potentially harmful substances, such as POPs.”    The study found that as concentrations of POPs grows in […]

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21
Mar

Dangerous Levels of DDT Still Plague San Francisco Bay

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2012) A half-century after California officials discovered that large amounts of the pesticide DDT had been discharged into a San Francisco Bay canal, the chemical is still poisoning fish and posing a threat to human health despite numerous cleanup attempts. After years of limited success with clean-up, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a three-year plan to pinpoint the cause of continuously high DDT levels and engage the surrounding community in cleanup and education efforts. The former plant and the adjacent canal, called the Lauritzen Channel, an inlet of the greater San Francisco bay, is one of the most polluted places in the nation. DDT levels have not decreased in the channel even after numerous dredging and other mitigation measures. In fact concentrations have increased. By 2011, DDT concentrations exceeded 1994 levels and some fish have DDT levels in their tissues hundreds of times higher than their counterparts in the rest of the San Francisco Bay. EPA said earlier this month it is launching a three-year plan to help unravel the mystery of why cleanup attempts are failing, and will work with the city to increase awareness among anglers who rely on bay fish […]

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