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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Paraquat' Category


10
Nov

GAO Report Sounds Alarm Again on Poor Pesticide Controls

(Beyond Pesticides, November 10, 2014) According to a new Government Accountability (GAO) report, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not test food for several commonly used pesticides with established tolerance levels —including glyphosate, one of the most commonly used pesticides in the U.S. This and other disturbing findings documented in GAO’s report,  Food Safety: FDA and USDA Should Strengthen Pesticide Residue Monitoring Programs and Further Disclose Monitoring Limitations,  issued last Thursday, sounds an alarm that GAO began sounding  in the 1980’s in several reports that identify shocking limitations of  FDA’s approach to monitoring for pesticide residue violations in food. GAO sharply criticizes FDA for not using statistically valid methods consistent with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards to collect information on the incidence and level of pesticide residues. In fact, GAO states that it “was unable to find publicly available estimates of the overall toxicity or risk associated with the use of agricultural pesticides in the United States.” According to GAO, FDA is testing less than one-tenth of one  percent of all imported fruits and vegetables and less than 1 percent of domestic fruits and vegetables.  The report is also critical of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) […]

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07
May

Report Finds Numerous Schools Near Toxic Pesticide Fields

(Beyond Pesticides, May 7, 2014) A new report from the California Department of Public Health finds 36 percent of public schools in the state have pesticides of public health concern applied within a quarter mile of the school. Persistent and toxic pesticides like chlorpyrifos, methyl bromide, and malathion are among the pesticides found to be applied near schools. The report also finds that Latino children are also more likely to attend schools near areas with the highest use of pesticides of concern. The report, “Agricultural Pesticide Use near Public Schools In California,” released this month, looked at 2,511 schools in the 15 California counties with the highest overall use of farm pesticides in California for 2010, and finds that counties in the southern part of the Central Valley had the most schools near farms where pesticides were applied. Fresno County had the highest number of schools —131 — with pesticides applied nearby. Five percent of schools are within a quarter mile of where the highest volumes of pesticides are used: 2,635—28,979 pounds of active ingredient. Latino children are 46 percent more likely than white children to attend schools where pesticides of concern were applied nearby. The report’s findings are being […]

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13
Jan

With Legalization of Marijuana, Chemical-Intensive Production Practices Questioned

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2013) As medical and recreational production of marijuana in the U.S. increases, new and complicated questions have risen over how to limit consumers’ exposure to pesticides through marijuana consumption. Many growers are facing limited institutional knowledge and economic forces that could lead to the unnecessary use of pesticides. States are also still wrestling with the adequate  regulation of production and testing practices. Exposure to pesticides from marijuana consumption may also be more harmful than exposure through food consumption when consumed through inhalation. As marijuana consumption becomes more widely legalized, many are calling for  stronger safety standards for marijuana production. Alan Schreiber, Ph.D., President of the Agriculture Development Group, believes that the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Washington will lead to immense demand for pest prevention research. Currently, growers of marijuana lack institutional assistance from federal agencies or state agricultural extension services, which have limited understanding of marijuana production. There is a concern that the lack of  field research and increased demand may lead to heavy pesticide use. In Washington, the state will allow the equivalent of 46 acres to be grown for recreational use, a factor that Dr.. Schreiber says will drive most […]

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30
May

Study Shows Pesticides Dramatically Increase Risk of Developing Parkinson’s Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, May 30, 2013) New research published in the journal Neurology further supports the causative link between pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s disease. Emanuel Cereda, M.D., Ph.D., of the IRCCS university Hospital San Matteo Foundation in Pavia, Italy, and coauthor Gianni Pezzoli, M.D., analyzed 104 studies published between 1975 and 2011 to determine the link between pesticides and solvents to Parkinson’s disease. The researchers analyzed exposure using information on proximity to large farms likely to use pesticides, likelihood of well water consumption, and occupations that cause greater exposure to pesticides and solvents used to kill weeds, insects, fungus, and rodents. Overall, researchers found exposure to pesticides increased the risk of developing the disease by 33%  to 80%.   Some pesticides were considered to be of higher risk than others, with weed killers like paraquat and fungicides maneb and mancozeb causing twice the risk for development of Parkinson’s disease. While risk increased the longer people were exposed to pesticides, researchers indicate there is still a need for further research on the chemical threshold for harm to the brain. The study builds on recent research that has linked Parkinson’s disease to pesticide exposure. In a 2011 article published in the journal Molecular […]

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14
Nov

Head Injury and Pesticide Exposure Increases Risk for Parkinson’s Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, November 14, 2012) For years, scientists have shown that pesticide exposures are linked to the onset of Parkinson’s disease. Now a new study by researchers at University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) finds that exposure to pesticides and suffering a head injury are associated with a three-fold increase in one’s chances of developing Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, and occurs when nerve cells in the substantia nigra region of the brain are damaged or destroyed and can no longer produce dopamine, a nerve-signaling molecule that helps control muscle movement. People with Parkinson’s disease have a variety of symptoms, including loss of muscle control, trembling and lack of coordination. Over time, symptoms intensify. At least one million Americans have Parkinson’s and about 50,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. The study, “Traumatic brain injury, paraquat exposure, and their relationship to Parkinson disease,” published in the journal Neurology surveyed more than 1,000 adults ages 35 and older who lived in central California. Some 357 of the participants were diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Participants with the disease were nearly twice as likely as those without the disease to report having had a head injury in […]

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28
Jun

Study Offers Insights into Link between Parkinson’s and Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 28, 2011) Recent studies have linked Parkinson’s disease to pesticide exposure. In a new article published in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration, researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine take some of the first steps toward understanding this link and unraveling the molecular dysfunction that occurs when proteins are exposed to environmental toxins. The study, “Oxidation of the cysteine-rich regions of parkin perturbs its E3 ligase activity and contributes to protein aggregation,” helps further explain recent NIH findings that demonstrate the link between Parkinson’s disease and two particular pesticides — rotenone and paraquat. “Fewer than 5 percent of Parkinson’s cases are attributed to genetics, but more than 95 percent of cases have unknown causes,” said Zezong Gu, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences. “This study provides the evidence that oxidative stress, possibly due to sustained exposure to environmental toxins, may serve as a primary cause of Parkinson’s. This helps us begin to unveil why many people, such as farmers exposed to pesticides, have an increased incidence of the disease.” Scientists previously understood that Parkinson’s is associated with oxidative stress, which is when electronically unstable atoms or molecules damage cells. The MU study yields […]

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31
May

Pesticide Exposure Near Workplace Linked to Parkinson’s Disease Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, May 31, 2011) A study has found that people whose workplaces were close to fields sprayed with chemicals — not just those who live nearby — are at higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD). The pesticide chemicals in question include two fungicides -maneb (in the ethylene bisdithiocarbamate (EDBC) family and ziram (in the dimethylthiocarbamate family)- and the herbicide paraquat that appear to raise the risk of developing the movement disorder. In a study published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, entitled, “Parkinson’s disease risk from ambient exposure to pesticides,” a team of researchers led by UCLA neurologist Beate Ritz, PhD found that exposures to the trio of pesticides are actually higher in workplaces located near sprayed fields than they were in residences. And the combination of exposure to all three pesticides, which act in different ways to harm brain cells involved in Parkinson’s disease, appears to be cumulative, the team led by Dr. Ritz concludes. The study found that the combined exposure to pesticides ziram, maneb and paraquat near any workplace increased the risk of Parkinson’s disease threefold, while combined exposure to ziram and paraquat alone was associated with an 80% increase in risk. The researchers estimate […]

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17
Feb

Report Shows Government-Industry Conflict in Pesticide Research

(Beyond Pesticides, February 17, 2011) According to a recent investigative report, a company known for conducting scientific research for the pesticide industry has, in an attempt to refute research linking pesticides to Parkinson’s disease, paid a U.S. government agency, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), to prove that certain pesticides are safe. According to the report, the company, Exponent Inc., is a member of CropLife America, a trade group that represents pesticide manufacturers, and also has worked regularly for Syngenta, which makes paraquat, one of the chemicals it is looking prove as safe. Specifically, the company is looking to refute the research which shows that even small amounts of agricultural chemicals, maneb and paraquat, when combined, can raise the risk of Parkinson’s disease. According to the report, managing scientist of Exponent, Laura McIntosh, PhD, said in an interview that the company donated the money and sought participation at NIOSH to enhance the credibility of its study of maneb and paraquat; they wanted to make their research “bulletproof.” NIOSH is a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Generally, government agencies are supposed to be unbiased, and federal ethics rules prohibit employees from accepting money […]

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16
Feb

New Studies Reveal Many Pesticides Block Male Hormones, Others Linked To Parkinson’s Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, February 16, 2011) Many agricultural pesticides —including some previously untested and commonly found in food— disrupt male hormones, according to new tests conducted by British scientists. Meanwhile, U.S. researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found that people who used two specific varieties of pesticide were 2.5 times as likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. Pesticides Impact Male Hormones Evidence suggests that there is widespread decline in male reproductive health and anti-androgenic pollutants, also known as endocrine disruptors, may play a significant role. Thirty out of 37 pesticides tested by the researchers at the University of London altered male hormones, including 16 that had no known hormonal activity until now. There was some previous evidence for the other 14. Most are fungicides applied to fruit and vegetable crops, including strawberries and lettuce. The study, “Widely Used Pesticides with Previously Unknown Endocrine Activity Revealed as in Vitro Anti-Androgens,” is published in Environmental Health Perspectives. The British researchers screened the chemicals using in vitro assays, which use human cells to check whether the pesticides activate or inhibit hormone receptors in cells that turn genes on and off. Scientists, however, are uncertain what actually happens in the human body at the […]

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18
Nov

Report Finds GM Crops Increase Pesticide Use and Resistant Weeds

(Beyond Pesticides, November 18, 2009) A report released yesterday and authored by Charles Benbrook, PhD, chief scientist at The Organic Center (TOC), finds that the rapid adoption by U.S. farmers of genetically modified corn, soybeans and cotton has promoted increased use of pesticides, an epidemic of herbicide-resistant weeds, and more chemical residues in foods. The report, “Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use in the United States: The First Thirteen Years,” explores the impact of the adoption of genetically modified (GM) corn, soybean, and cotton on pesticide use in the United States, drawing principally on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The most striking finding, is that GM crops have been responsible for an increase of 383 million pounds of herbicide use in the U.S. over the first 13 years of commercial use of GE crops (1996-2008). The report identifies, and discusses in detail, the primary cause of the increase–the emergence of herbicide-resistant weeds. The steep rise in the pounds of herbicides applied with respect to most GM crop acres is not news to farmers. Weed control is now widely acknowledged as a serious management problem within GM cropping systems. The rise in herbicide use comes as […]

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16
Sep

Occupational Use of 2,4-D, Permethrin Triple the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, September 16, 2009) A new study published in the September issue of Archives of Neurology reports that the risk of Parkinsonism doubled with increased occupational exposure to pesticides, including eight agents associated with experimental Parkinsonism. These data add to the growing number of studies that lend credence to a causative role of certain pesticides in neurological disorders. The study, “Occupation and Risk of Parkinsonism: A Multicenter Case-Control Study,” set out to investigate occupations, specific job tasks, or exposures and risk of parkinsonism in collaboration with eight movement disorders centers in North America including, the Parkinson’s Institute, CA, Department of Neurology, Baylor College of Medicine and Department of Neurology, Beth Israel Medical Center, New York. The investigation focused on five occupations previously suggested as posing an increased risk of Parkinsonism: agriculture, education, healthcare, welding, and mining. This examination of toxicant exposures included solvents and pesticides putatively associated with Parkinsonism. 519 people with Parkinson’s disease and 511 similar people who did not have Parkinson’s were studied. Overall, the study finds that those whose jobs involve using pesticides are 80 percent more likely to develop the condition. The data reveals that any exposure to the herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) almost triples […]

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07
Aug

Pesticide-Contaminated Well Water Linked to Increased Risk of Parkinson’s

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2009) A recent study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives has added to evidence that certain pesticides significantly increase one’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD). Researchers found that rural residents who drank private well water within 500 meters of fields sprayed with certain pesticides had an increased – up to 90 percent – risk of developing PD, and those with Parkinson’s “were more likely to have consumed private well water, and had consumed it on average 4.3 years longer.” The study evaluated more than 700 people, including carefully chosen controls, in Fresno, Kent, and Tulare counties. 17 percent reported drinking private well water between 1974 and 1999. Researchers focused on wells’ proximity to agricultural fields sprayed with pesticides, since private wells are not regulated, and many are shallow enough to be contaminated by pesticides seeping into groundwater. Researchers looked at 26 pesticides and six in particular, “selected for their potential to pollute groundwater or because they are of interest for PD, and to which at least 10% of our population were exposed.” Those are: diazinon, chlorpyrifos, propargite, paraquat, dimethoate, and methomyl. Propargite exposure was most closely correlated with incidence of PD, with a 90 […]

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16
Mar

Residential Exposure to Agricultural Pesticides Increases Risk to Parkinson’s Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, March 16, 2009) Exposure to a mixture of the fungicide maneb and the herbicide paraquat significantly increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, according to a new University of California, Berkeley study, “Parkinson’s Disease and Residential Exposure to Maneb and Paraquat from Agricultural Applications in the Central Valley of California.” Published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the study findings show that exposure to both pesticides within 500 meters of an individual’s home increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s by 75 percent. For individuals 60 years of age or younger at the time of diagnosis, there is a more than four-fold increase in risk of the disease when exposed to a combination of maneb and paraquat and a more than doubling of risk when exposed to either maneb or paraquat alone. The Berkeley researchers used geographic information systems that analyzed data from California Pesticide Use Reports and land-use maps to calculate historical residential exposure to agricultural exposure to the two pesticides. From 1998 to 2007, the researchers enrolled 368 incident Parkinson’s disease cases and 341 population controls from California’s Central Valley and developed potential exposure estimates incurred between 1974 and 1999. Also published this month by some of […]

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02
Mar

Gene-Pesticide Interactions Linked to Parkinson’s Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2009) Pesticide exposure and genetic variability in the dopamine transporter (DAT), a protein that plays a central role in dopaminergic neurotransmission of the brain, interact to significantly increase the risk factor for Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) researchers. The population based case-control study, “Dopamine Transporter Genetic Variants and Pesticides in Parkinson’s Disease,” builds on the existing body of evidence of animal data and epidemiological studies that link exposure to pesticides, including gene-pesticide interactions, to Parkinson’s disease. The UCLA researchers, looking at incident Parkinson’s disease cases in three rural counties in Central California, find DAT increases the risk of Parkinson’s when individuals have occupational or residential exposure to pesticides. This is the first epidemiologic study of Parkinson’s disease that relies on pesticide data that is from a record-based source versus recall-based data relying on individuals’ memory. The second most common neurodegenerative disease affecting more than one million people in the U.S., Parkinson’s disease occurs when nerve cells in the substantia nigra region of the brain are damaged or destroyed and can no longer produce dopamine, a nerve-signaling molecule that helps control muscle movement. The new UCLA study is […]

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16
Oct

Marijuana Growing Operations Pollute Federal Lands with Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, October 16, 2008) Some of America’s most pristine natural places are contaminated with toxic pesticides from illegal marijuana growing operations. Recent busts in the 1800 square mile Sequoia National Park revealed the use of imported and banned herbicides and insecticides in intensive growing sites. Rat poisons, or rodenticides, were also scattered around to kill small animals who might be tempted to nibble a plant. CNN reports that “millions of dollars are spent every year to find and uproot marijuana-growing operations on state and federal lands, but federal officials say no money is budgeted to clean up the environmental mess left behind after helicopters carry off the plants,” and this environmental mess is severe. The extent of marijuana growing on federal lands is unknown, but seven hundred grow sites were discovered in California in 2007-2008. Many of these operations are run by Mexican marijuana growing cartels and the chemicals used are illegally imported from Mexico. It is estimated that 1.5 lbs of fertilizers and pesticides is used for every 11.5 plants. For the five million plants uprooted in California in 2007, this amounts to over 650,000 lbs of fertilizers and pesticides. Agent Patrick Foy of the California Department of […]

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07
Jan

Sri Lanka To Phase-out Paraquat Use

(Beyond Pesticides, January 7, 2008) Sri Lanka started restricting the use of paraquat at the start of the new year and plans to have the herbicide completely banned within the next three years. According to Assistant Director of Agriculture K.B. Gunarathne, the decision was made in response to “the high rate of deaths due to paraquat poisoning caused by its inherent toxic properties.” Four to five hundred Sri Lankans die as a result of paraquat poisoning each year, and misuse of the herbicide is especially high in farming communities. Most paraquat poisonings occur as impulsive injections of chemical stored in or near the home, and injection of paraquat has a mortality around 65%, much higher than other agrochemicals. Also unlike other agrochemicals, Paraquat has no proven antidotes, and supportive care is relatively ineffective at preventing death. A substantial reduction of poisoning deaths is unlikely to be achieved by focusing solely on in hospital care. Sri Lanka will phase out paraquat in a series of steps, the first of which took place on January 1, 2008. Starting this year, the maximum concentration of paraquat ions in paraquat formulations will be 6.5%. In October 2006, the Pesticide Registrar mandated a reduction in […]

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13
Jul

European Union Bans Paraquat

(Beyond Pesticides, July 13, 2007) A European Union (EU) court banned the toxic weedkiller paraquat Wednesday, accepting arguments from the Swedish government that it does not meet EU health standards. Paraquat is the main ingredient in Swiss-based Syngenta’s Gramoxone – one of the world’s three most widely used weedkillers. Paraquat has been linked to reproductive effects and to Parkinson’s disease. Although paraquat had already been banned in 13 countries, including Sweden, Denmark, and Austria, in 2003, the Commission of European Communities (CEC) had issued an order approving the use of paraquat. Sweden challenged this order and the judges, in a previous decision, ruled that the CEC’s action showed a “disregard” of proper procedures. In the new ruling, the Court of First Instance criticizes EU regulators for not checking more carefully whether paraquat could harm humans and animals before authorizing it for sale in 2003. The court said the European Commission – which regulates herbicides and pesticides – was mistaken when it found no signs that the chemical could cause nervous system diseases such as Parkinson’s and that regulators failed to review existing studies on paraquat – even though the chemical producers that asked for approval had not mentioned the adverse […]

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24
Apr

Studies Strengthen Link Between Pesticides and Parkinson’s

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2007) Three recent studies were presented earlier this month at the Parkinson’s Disease Environmental Research meeting in California strengthening the theory that pesticides increase risk of the disease. The studies clarify how pesticide exposure can lead to the development of Parkinson’s. Two pesticides named in the studies are paraquat and dieldrin, both of which have been linked to Parkinson’s in the past. The three new studies, however, combine information from human and animal studies to show how exposure can lead to onset of the disease. As William Langston, M.D., founder of the Parkinson’s Institute, told Reuters, “All of these pieces really look like they are coming together now.” The first study examined a cohort of 80,000 licensed private pesticide applicators and spouses. Researchers found farm workers exposed to paraquat had twice the expected risk of Parkinson’s. The second and third studies address a protein called alpha-synuclein. The second study shows the protein builds up in rodents exposed to paraquat. The third study connects this protein to Parkinson’s by finding that the protein kills the dopamine-producing brain cells affected by the disease. One common difficulty in tracking pesticide-induced diseases is the amount of time that passes between […]

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08
Feb

Study Sheds Light on Pesticides’ Link to Parkinson’s Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, February 8, 2007) Investigators at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have shed new light on the suspected role of pesticides in the development of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The study, “GST expression mediates dopaminergic neuron sensitivity in experimental parkinsonism” appearing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (January 31, 2007), illustrates the mechanism of nerve cell damage by pesticide exposure. The enzyme that prevents damage to the substantia nigra, the part of the brain where nerve cell damage associated with PD occurs, is called GST pi (“pie”). This enzyme stands like a sentry at the crossroads of several biochemical pathways, any one of which can lead to PD. GST pi protects the nerve cell from death caused by either environmental toxics, such as pesticides, or a self-destruction process called apoptosis (cell suicide), triggered by certain stressful conditions in the cell. If GST pi levels are reduced or this enzyme is overwhelmed by toxics, these nerves are at increased risk of death, according to studies in mouse models. GST pi is one of a family of similar enzymes that eliminate free radicals generated by pesticides and other chemicals. Two members of this family are present in the brain, […]

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