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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Birth defects' Category


23
Dec

72 Toxic Inert Ingredients No Longer Used in Pesticide Products Cancelled, 300 Others Still Not Listed on Labels

(Beyond Pesticides, December 23, 2016) The Environmental Agency (EPA) has finalized a proposal to ban 72 inert (or secret hazardous) ingredients from use in pesticide formulations following a long fight with environmentalists who, in 2006, asked that pesticide product labels disclose any of 371 inert ingredients that could be in products. While this finalization is a step in the right direction, ultimately the move is viewed by advocates as inadequate. The original petition, submitted by Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides, along with Beyond Pesticides, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and nearly 20 other organizations, called on the agency to require disclosure of inerts. To put the announcement in perspective, EPA is acting on 72 inert ingredients that are no longer being used, such as turpentine oil, and nitrous oxide. An inert ingredient is defined as any ingredient that is “not active,” or specifically targeted to kill a pest. According to a 2000 report produced by the New York State Attorney General, The Secret Ingredients in Pesticides: Reducing the Risk, 72 percent of pesticide products available to consumers contain over 95 percent inert ingredients and fewer than 10 percent of pesticide products list any inert ingredients on their labels. The report also found […]

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06
Oct

Nitrate Pollution in Groundwater Linked to Birth Defects, Cancers and Thyroid Problems

(Beyond Pesticides, October 6, 2016) According to a report published last week by the Iowa Environmental Council (IEC), the associations between elevated levels of nitrate in drinking water and health risks go well beyond the “blue-baby syndrome” and nitrate concentrations lower than the drinking water standard may be harmful through long-term exposure. The lead author of the report, Ann Robinson, Agricultural Policy Specialist at IEC, stated that the focus was on “significant findings that multiple studies have associated with nitrate in drinking water, including birth defects, bladder cancer and thyroid cancer.”  Nitrate is a common groundwater contaminant that is sourced mainly from chemical fertilizers and animal waste. Nitrate is a common contaminant of drinking water, particularly in agricultural areas where nitrogen fertilizers are used. In 1962, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the drinking water standard of 10 mg/L of nitrate to prevent blue baby syndrome, a fatal infant blood disease. In addition to Iowa, the U.S. Geological Survey has also identified the following states as areas with high risk clusters from nitrate contamination to groundwater: Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. The report reviewed studies conducted in the U.S., Canada, and Australia […]

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16
Sep

Take Action to Ban Atrazine: EPA Must Protect Wildlife!

(Beyond Pesticides, September 16, 2016) Tell EPA to ban all uses of atrazine in the United States! Atrazine, widely used on food and feed crops, golf courses, and residential lawns, is a potent endocrine disruptor that is  strongly associated with birth defects, cancer, sex reversal and hermaphroditism in many different animals. The European Union and other countries have banned atrazine, however EPA continues to put U.S. citizens and the environment in harm’s way, allowing nonstop use of this toxic chemical. Sign Beyond Pesticides’ petition to ban atrazine by October 5, 2016. Atrazine is the second-most widely used pesticide in the U.S., with over 73 million pounds applied each year. Atrazine has washed into surface water and leached into groundwater, spurring community water utilities  across the U.S. to file class-action lawsuits to remove the pesticide from drinking water supplies. Even at levels established as “safe” or acceptable by EPA drinking water standards, atrazine is linked to endocrine-disrupting effects. EPA is not adequately assessing the effects of atrazine by using high dose testing models, which are not appropriate for hormonally-active substances  that  often show effects at minute doses. Studies by Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley,  and others have shown 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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27
Jul

Colombia Cautiously Declares End to Mosquito-Borne Zika Epidemic

(Beyond Pesticides, July 27, 2016) In South America, Colombia has officially declared an end to its Zika epidemic. The country, which previously had the highest cases of suspected Zika virus infection after Brazil, with a total of more than 99,721 people infected since September 2015 have registered a drop in the number of infections to 600 new cases a week, down significantly from a peak of more than 6,000 cases a week in February, according to health officials. Fernando Ruíz, M.D., Deputy Minister of Health and Service Provision in Colombia, said the numbers signaled that the epidemic had given way to an endemic phase of the disease, in which it continues to be present but spreads much more slowly. This news arrives following the publication of Zika Virus Disease in Colombia —Preliminary Report, which suggests that infe ctions late in pregnancy may pose less risk to the fetus than widely feared. The report follows thousands of women in Colombia who have had symptoms consistent with Zika virus disease during pregnancy to try to better understand the risk the virus poses. At the time of the report, the country had only seven official cases of microcephaly, a birth defect marked by […]

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04
Aug

Bee and Bird-Toxic Pesticides Found in Food Served at Congressional Dining Hall

(Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2015) Nearly every food available for purchase at the U.S. Congressional Dining Hall contains detectable levels of neonicotinoids (neonics), chemical insecticides implicated in the global decline of wild and managed pollinators. The results of a new study, performed by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, reveals how reliance on these toxic chemicals can both directly and indirectly affect  our food supply. Authors of the study hope the results will build Congressional support for the Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2015, which would suspend the use of neonics while an independent review analyzes the chemical’s effects to birds, pollinators, and other wildlife. Researchers for the study conducted two rounds of food testing, the first in January, and the second in May 2015. Approximately half of samples were taken from the House Longworth Cafeteria and half from Senate Dirksen Cafeteria in Washington, D.C. In total, 66 food samples were tested for the presence of neonicotinoids. Of that, 60, or 91% of samples tested positive for one neonic, and 47, or 71% of samples had two or more neonics present. “We were surprised to find that most foods contained multiple neonicotinoids, […]

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22
Jul

Carcinogenic Glyphosate Linked to DNA Damage, as Residues Are Found in Bread

(Beyond Pesticides, July 22, 2015) Months after the World Health Organization (WHO) formally associated the world’s most widely used herbicide  -glyphosate (Roundup)- with cancer, one of the world’s leading experts on cancer risk, and co-author of the WHO’s report, Christopher Portier, PhD, told a scientific briefing in London that the herbicide can damage human DNA, which could result in increased cancer risks. This finding comes on the heels of a call by the Soil Association for a United Kingdom (UK) ban on the use of glyphosate after finding residues of the chemical in bread. Earlier this spring, the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as Group 2a “probable” human carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in laboratory animals. Since then industry has hit back defending its champion product, even attempting to undercut the WHO’s findings with an industry-based  assessment that reached the opposite conclusion, based on classified industry reports.  Now an internationally recognized scientist, Dr.  Portier, former associate director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, (NIEHS) and director of the Office of Risk Assessment Research at NIEHS, reiterated WHO’s findings at the UK Soil Association scientific briefing in Westminster on July 15. During his presentation, […]

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25
Jun

Atrazine and Glyphosate To Be Analyzed by EPA for Impacts on 1,500 Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, June 25, 2015) The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Tuesday that it will analyze the effects of two of the most commonly used pesticides in the United States, glyphosate and atrazine, along with atrazine chemical-cousins propazine and simazine, for their impacts on 1,500 endangered plants and animals. The announcement marks an agreement between EPA and Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) on a proposed settlement amending a 2010 court order that  established a schedule to complete effects determinations for 75 chemicals on 11 species in the San Francisco (SF) Bay Area. According to EPA, 59 of the 75 pesticides have been evaluated and subject to  effects determinations, however for the remaining 16 pesticides, EPA and CBD agreed that it would be more efficient and environmentally significant to complete nationwide effects determinations, rather than limit their focus to the SF bay area listed species. The agency has committed to completing the assessments by June 2020. The initial lawsuit was filed by CBD in May 2007 against EPA for violating the Endangered Species Act by registering and allowing the use of scores of toxic pesticides in habitats for 11 San Francisco Bay Area endangered species without determining whether the chemicals […]

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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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04
Jun

Pyrethroid Pesticide Use Increases Rates of ADHD in Adolescent Boys in New Study

(Beyond Pesticides June 4, 2015) Another study has found links between a commonly used household pesticide and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and young teens. Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found an association between pyrethroid pesticide exposure and ADHD, particularly in terms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. These results reinforce the findings of a study led by a research team at Rutgers University earlier this year that found links between the pesticide deltamethrin and ADHD. In 2001, over concerns about adverse health consequences, the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency banned several commonly used organophosphate (organic compounds containing phosphorus) pesticides from residential use due to the chemicals neurotoxic properties. The ban led to the increased use of pyrethroid pesticides, which are now the most commonly used pesticides for residential pest control and public health purposes. Pyrethroids, like deltamethrin, are commonly used in the home,  office buildings,  and on vegetable crops, gardens, lawns and golf courses. This shift to predominantly using pyrethroids is troubling, as they have oft been promoted as a safer choice than banned organophosphates, despite the fact that they pose many real threats to human health. Many recent studies show significant concern with this class of chemicals, […]

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21
May

California Department of Pesticide Regulation Report Raises Concerns Over Increased Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2015) The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) published its Annual Pesticide Use Report last week, which finds that overall pesticide use for agricultural purposes has increased by 3.7 percent between 2012 and 2013. Pesticide use increased by 6.4 million pounds in 2013, the most recent data available, making for a grand total of 178 million pounds of pesticides used annually in California’s agricultural industry. The study also revealed several insights on trends in pesticide use, the most troubling of which is the increased use of organophosphates, and more specifically, the insecticide chlorpyrifos. This raises concerns that, absent aggressive efforts by CDPR to ban chlorpyrifos’ use in food production, industry reliance on the pesticide may continue to  increase. Chlorpyrifos was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for nearly all residential uses in 2000, but since then has remained widely available for agricultural use. Efforts to limit the agricultural use of chlorpyrifos in the state of California have been in the works since the fall of 2014, and a regulation Designating Chlorpyrifos as a Restricted Material was recently adopted by California’s DPR.  The new regulation classifies as  ”˜restrictive use’  all pesticide products containing the organophosphate  insecticide […]

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13
May

Montgomery MD Councilmembers Ask County Hospitals to Ban Landscape Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, May 13, 2015) In a letter sent this week, two Montgomery County Councilmembers are requesting that hospitals in the county assume a leading role in increasing awareness of the health concerns regarding pesticides by voluntarily agreeing to eliminate their use on hospital grounds. The letter states that this step  would help to reduce pesticide exposure for some of the county’s most vulnerable residents, and would increase awareness in the  community of pesticides’  potential harmful effects. Currently, Montgomery County is considering a bill that would limit the non-essential pesticide use on county property. On Monday, Council President George Leventhal, who chairs the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee, and Councilmember Roger Berliner, who chairs the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, wrote to the leaders of the five organizations that operate hospitals in Montgomery County and asked them to voluntarily stop using pesticides on the grounds of their respective facilities. The text of the letter can be found here. In Monday’s press releases from the their’ offices,  Councilmembers Leventhal and Berliner said, “We are writing today to ask that hospitals in our County assume a leading role in increasing awareness of the health concerns regarding pesticides by voluntarily […]

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13
Mar

Exposure to Hormone Disrupting Chemicals Costs Billions in Lost Brain Power

(Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2015) Exposure to endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals (EDC) results in approximately € 150 billion ($162 billion) in health care costs in the European Union each year, according to panels of scientists tasked by the EU Commission to study their impact. “The shocking thing is that the major component of that cost is related to the loss of brain function in the next generation,” Philippe Grandjean, M.D. of Harvard University, one of the report’s authors, told the Guardian. EDCs, contained in common household products such as detergents, disinfectants, furniture, plastics, and pesticides, interfere with the body’s hormone system either by mimicking naturally produced hormones, blocking hormone receptors in cells, or effecting the transport, synthesis, metabolism or excretion of hormones. These impacts can result in devastating effects on one’s health, including behavioral and learning disorders, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), birth defects, obesity, early puberty, infertility, cardiovascular disease, and childhood and adult cancers. Nearly 100 percent of people have detectable amounts of EDCs in their bodies, according to the introductory guide to EDCs published by the Endocrine Society and IPEN. “Our brains need particular hormones to develop normally —the thyroid hormone and sex hormones like testosterone […]

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21
Aug

Antibacterial Soap Exposes Health Workers to High Triclosan Levels

(Beyond Pesticides, August 21, 2014) In case there wasn’t enough news about the hazards of the ubiquitous antibacterial chemical triclosan in the past week, another study published Tuesday finds additional risks associated with exposure to the pesticide. The study, Health Care Worker Exposures to the Antibacterial Agent Triclosan, led by researchers at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) finds that washing hands with antibacterial soap exposes hospital workers to significant and potentially unsafe levels of triclosan. In the study, published in the August issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers analyze urine samples from two groups of 38 doctors and nurses at two hospitals, identified as Hospital 1 and Hospital 2. Hospital 1 used an antibacterial soap containing 0.3 percent triclosan, while Hospital 2 used plain soap and water. Workers at Hospital 1 had significantly higher levels of triclosan in their urine than workers at Hospital 2. “Antimicrobial soaps can carry unknown risks, and triclosan is of particular concern,” said co-investigator Paul Blanc, MD, a professor of medicine at UCSF who holds the Endowed Chair in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. “Our study shows that people absorb this chemical at work and at home, depending on the products […]

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19
Aug

FDA Questioned Triclosan’s Safety in Colgate’s Total Toothpaste in 90’s

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2014) Newly released documents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reveals that regulators expressed concerns over the safety of triclosan in Colgate Total toothpaste during the product’s registration in the mid-1990s. This information was provided to the public by FDA after a Freedom of Information Act request by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and was posted on the agency’s website after inquiries from Bloomberg News. In addition to health effects previously identified by Beyond Pesticides, these documents raise concerns about the use of triclosan as an anti-gingivitis agent in toothpaste; a use which is not currently under scrutiny as FDA conducts its long-awaited health review of the chemical. Although FDA is requiring manufacturers of triclosan-containing soaps to prove that their products are not hazardous to humans and more effective than regular soap and water, triclosan formulated in toothpaste was not subject to a similar requirement as FDA had indicated that the chemical is effective as an anti-gingivitis agent. Colgate Total is the only brand of toothpaste on the market that still contains triclosan; GlaxoSmithKline, producer of Aquafresh and Sensodyne, removed triclosan from its toothpaste in 2009. And a focus on safer products seems […]

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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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16
Jul

Assessment of Triclosan Hazards Supports Call for Canadian Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, July 16, 2014) The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and Clean Production Action (CPA) released a comprehensive assessment of the hazards posed by triclosan and its chemical cousin triclocarbon Thursday, calling on the Canadian Government to create a comprehensive phase-out plan for these harmful antibacterial chemicals. The report, which finds that the chemicals are accumulating in the waters of the Great Lakes, also suggests that the U.S. and all provinces and states bordering the Great Lakes should prohibit use of the chemicals. The two antibacterial chemicals are commonly used in consumer products ranging from liquid soaps and toothpaste to kitchen cutting boards, and have come under increased scrutiny amidst human health concerns and lack of efficacy. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has been calling for a ban on the household use of triclosan since 2009, and in 2012, the Canadian government declared triclosan as toxic to the environment. In the U.S., Beyond Pesticides has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its counterpart, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (which regulates non-cosmetic products with triclosan) for years to immediately ban triclosan from consumer products, citing endocrine disruption, and other human health concerns. Last December,  FDA announced  it […]

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15
Jul

Comprehensive Review Finds Clear Health Benefits of Organic Food

(Beyond Pesticides, July 15, 2014) More nutritional antioxidants, far fewer toxic pesticides; those are the results of a comprehensive meta-analysis on organic foods published yesterday in the British Journal of Nutrition.  Led by Carlo Leifort, Ph.D, at England’s Newcastle University, the analysis is a scientific rebuttal to a previous Stanford University review published in 2012, which found that there was little difference between the nutritional content of organic food over conventionally grown produce. Both studies found there to be fewer pesticides in organic products. While Stanford University’s review only looked at 200 studies, Dr. Leifert and his team of researchers expanded the scope of their meta-analysis to 343 studies, and also employed more robust analytic tools by analyzing the standardized mean differences of the data from the various studies. It shows very clearly how you grow your food has an impact,” said Dr. Leifert to The New York Times. “If you buy organic fruits and vegetables, you can be sure you have, on average, a higher amount of antioxidants at the same calorie level.” Antioxidants, compounds such as phenolic acids, flavanones, stilbenes, flavones, flavonols and anthocyanin, have been linked to lower risks of cancer and other diseases. For many, news […]

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02
Jul

Few Doctors Educate Pregnant Women on Dangers of Environmental Toxins

(Beyond Pesticides, July 2, 2014) According to a new study, few obstetricians offer their pregnant  patients advice on how to avoid environmental toxins that might harm their babies, even though doctors recognize that exposure to chemicals like pesticides, bisphenol-A (BPA), and metals can affect  a pregnancy. The study recommends that the medical community improve medical education and training, develop recommendations for prevention and less toxic alternatives, as well as lend support to policy change. The first of its kind study of prenatal counselling, published in the journal  PLOS ONE, Counseling Patients on Preventing Prenatal Environmental Exposures – A Mixed-Methods Study of Obstetricians, found that U.S. obstetricians and gynaecologists feel they lack the medical education and training, and evidence-based guidelines and tools for communicating potential environmental risks to patients. Exposure to environmental toxins, the researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) found, is rarely discussed with pregnant patients, even though a national survey shows that 80 percent of physicians agree they should play a part in reducing patients’ exposure to toxins. But, of the 2,500 respondents, only one in five routinely asked  their  patients about these exposures, and just one in 15 said they received training on the harmful […]

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24
Jun

Close Proximity to Pesticide-Treated Fields Increases Risk of Autism

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2014) Research from the University of California, Davis CHARGE (Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment) study finds that pregnant women who lived within a mile of agricultural fields treated with insecticides are more likely to have their child develop autism. The results of the CHARGE study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, strengthens calls from public health and environmental groups urging regulators take a precautionary approach to agricultural chemicals and institute increased protections for those who live, work, or go to school near pesticide-treated fields. The CHARGE study looked at pregnant women’s addresses to determine their location relative to fields treated with pesticides. For women who lived less than one mile from crops sprayed with organophosphate insecticides during their pregnancy, researchers found the likelihood of their child being diagnosed with autism increased 60%. Women in the second trimester living near fields treated with chlorpyrifos, a widely used organophosphate insecticide banned for household use in 2001, are 3.3 times more likely to have their children diagnosed with autism. In response to a legal petition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012 instituted risk mitigation measures for chlorpyrifos, including reduced application rates and no-spray buffer zones […]

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05
Jun

EPA’s Response on Pesticide Drift and Children’s Health Challenged

(Beyond Pesticides, June 5, 2014) Environmental advocacy groups filed an Administration Objection and a court appeal last week in order to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) refusal to quickly correct errors in pesticide registrations and immediately implement measures to protect children from exposure to dangerous pesticides that drift from fields during and after application. EPA’s continued refusal to protect children’s health from pesticide drift is being criticized by numerous environmental, health, and farmworker advocacy groups. The groups, which include  United Farmworkers, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, Pesticide Action Network of North America, Sea Mar Community Health Centers, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Farm Labor Organizing Committee, originally filed a petition back in 2009 titled “Pesticides in the Air””Kids at Risk: Petition to EPA to Protect Children from Pesticide Drift (2009).” The petition asked that the agency properly comply with an existing law that requires EPA to protect children’s health from exposure to pesticides that drift from fields and orchards. After a more than four-year wait and a court appeal, EPA finally provided a response last March. These groups object to EPA’s recent response to their 2009 petition on the basis of two issues, […]

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26
Apr

Report Describes Dangers Female Farmworkers Face in the U.S.

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2013) Female agricultural workers experience the same hardships as their male counterparts, but have additional responsibilities and danger at home and in the field, according to a report released by the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP). While women make up only 22 percent of agricultural labor in the U.S., AFOP makes a strong argument that women face disproportionate burdens, while at the same time earning less for their labor: On average they earn  just over $11,000 per year compared to male agricultural workers who earn $16,000. Through hundreds of interviews and focus groups of female farmworkers in California and Florida, AFOP revealed some of the most dangerous  conditions associated with farm work, among the worst being pesticide exposure. Carmela, a farmworker from Florida, indicated in the AFOP report that, “More than anything else, we have problems with pesticides. Sometimes they put us to work right after they’ve sprayed the pesticides. And this is bad for us because when we go in the field and start working with the plants, it gets in our eyes. It makes your head hurt too.” According to the EPA’s “Pesticide Industry Sales and Usage: 2000 and 2001 Market Estimates,” female […]

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02
May

In-Utero Pesticide Exposures Linked to Brain Abnormalities

(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 1012) New research published online at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that babies exposed in the womb to a commonly used insecticide have brain abnormalities after birth. The insecticide, chlorpyrifos (used in agriculture, mosquito control, and golf course management) , is well documented as inducing neurodevelopmental abnormalities in infants exposed in their mother’s womb, including ADHD, cognitive deficits, and serious learning, behavioral or emotional disorders. Entitled, “Brain anomalies in children exposed prenatally to a common organophosphate pesticide,” the study investigated associations between chlorpyrifos exposure and brain morphology using magnetic resonance imaging in 40 New York City children. It found significant associations of prenatal exposure, at standard use levels, with structural changes in the developing human brain, including enlargement of superior temporal, posterior middle temporal, and enlarged superior frontal gyrus, gyrus rectus, cuneus, and precuneus along the mesial wall of the right hemisphere. These areas of the brain impacted are related to attention, language, reward systems, emotions and control may be affected by the chemical. Twenty high-exposure children (upper third of chlorpyrifos concentrations in umbilical cord blood) were compared with 20 low-exposure children. The children, ages 6-11 years, considered to have a high […]

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