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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Birth defects' Category


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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09
Apr

Study Finds Common Pesticides Linked to Lower Birth Weight

(Beyond Pesticides, April 9, 2012) A new study finds that exposure of pregnant women to organophosphate (OP) pesticides —a widely used class of pesticides in North American agriculture— may affect both length of pregnancy and birth weight. Environmental Health Perspectives published the paper, “Associations of Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticide Metabolites,” last Thursday, April 5, 2012. The study, by a Simon Fraser University researcher, finds that the population of 306 women in Cincinnati, Ohio, is representative of the type of exposures most North American women and their children experience. Although the use of OPs in Canada and the U.S. has declined in recent years, exposures remain widespread, and these findings add to growing evidence about the harmful effects of low-level exposures to environmental toxicants. The researchers collected urine from each of the women in Cincinnati twice during their pregnancies for organophosphate metabolites as well as other factors that could influence the fetus’ health, including exposure to second hand smoke, race, and poverty. Women with higher levels of organophosphates were found to have pregnancies that were three to four days shorter and babies that were about â…“ pound lighter on average than women with lower levels of pesticides. “For an individual […]

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09
Dec

New Research Links Propoxur to Abnormal Neurodevelopment in Children

(Beyond Pesticides, December 9, 2011) A recent study published in the journal NeuroToxicology has found a positive link between exposure to the pesticide propoxur and poor motor development in infants. At the age of two, children exposed to propoxur in the womb experience poor development of motor skills, according to a test of mental development. The study joins numerous others that consistently show birth defects and developmental problems when fetuses and infants are exposed to pesticides. The study, undertaken by researchers at Wayne State University in Michigan, the University of the Philippines, and Davao Regional Hospital in the Philippines, is entitled “Fetal exposure to propoxur and abnormal child neurodevelopment at 2 years of age.” It examines levels of exposure to multiple pesticides in pregnant women living in areas of high pesticide use in the Philippines. Pesticide exposure was monitored by measuring the pesticide content of hair and blood for both mothers and children. The researchers then compare these exposure levels to adverse outcomes regarding the health of the infants once they were born. To accomplish this, the team used a method called path analysis modeling in order to determine what effects the pesticides might have on fetal development. The striking […]

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25
Jul

Study Links Birth Defects to Pesticides, Coal Smoke

(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2011) Exposure to certain pesticides and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the womb has been linked to neural tube defects, which lead to conditions such as spina bifida, according to researchers at Peking University in China. The study finds elevated levels of the organochlorine pesticides DDT, alpha-hexachlorocyclohexane (a lindane contaminant) and endosulfan, as well as PAHs in the placentas of women who had babies or aborted fetuses with such birth defects. The study, “Association of selected persistent organic pollutants in the placenta with the risk of neural tube defects,” was published July 8, 2011 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While most organochlorine pesticides are banned or restricted, they still continue to cause problems decades after their widespread use has ended. This study reinforces the need for a more precautionary approach to regulating pesticides and industrial chemicals. Once released into the environment, many chemicals can affect health for generations, either through persistence or genetic means. PAHs are a group of over 100 different chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil and gas, garbage, or other organic substances like tobacco or charbroiled meat. PAHs are usually […]

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20
Jun

Organochlorine Pesticides Linked to Adverse Birth Effects

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

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13
Jun

Report Finds Regulators Mislead Public on Glyphosate and Birth Defects

(Beyond Pesticides, June 13, 2011) A new report released early last week shows that industry regulators have known for a long time that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the world’s best selling herbicide, RoundUp, causes birth defects. The report, “RoundUp and Birth Defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?” published by Earth Open Source, says that regulators misled the public about the safety of glyphosate for over 20 years. According to the report, the German government has known since 1998 and the EU Commission’s expert scientific review panel has known since 1999 that glyphosate causes malformations. As recently as last year, however, the German Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety told the Commission that there was no evidence of glyphosate causing birth defects. Meanwhile, these actions by industry and regualtors that have kept the public in the dark, the authors point out, has seriously endangered public health. Considering that Monsanto, as well as other producers of genetically engineered (GE) seeds are now pushing for glyphosate-tolerant crop approval in Europe, this is particularly disconcerting. If the Commission grants the approval as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had done for GE alfalfa and sugar beets in the […]

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29
Mar

Study Links Prenatal Atrazine Exposure to Adverse Birth Outcomes

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2011) According to a French study published March 2, 2011 in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives, prenatal exposure to the herbicide atrazine is linked to small head circumference and fetal growth restriction. The authors say the study “raises particular concerns for countries where atrazine is still in use.” Atrazine is a widespread contaminant in drinking water and is linked to various birth defects, endocrine disruption and cancer, even at concentrations below EPA standards. Although it has been excluded from re-registration in the European Union because it is found above allowable thresholds in groundwater, it is still one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. and around world. The study, “Urinary Biomarkers of Prenatal Atrazine Exposure and Adverse Birth Outcomes in the PELAGIE Birth Cohort,” used a case-cohort design nested in a prospective birth cohort conducted in the Brittany region from 2002 through 2006. It collected maternal urine samples to examine pesticide exposure biomarkers before the 19th week of gestation. Quantifiable levels of atrazine were found in urine samples from 5.5% of 579 pregnant women, and various metabolites were identified in 20-40% of samples. The presence versus absence of quantifiable levels of atrazine […]

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16
Nov

Prenatal Proximity to Certain Crops Linked to Reduced Head Circumference

(Beyond Pesticides, November 16, 2010) A French study published November 15, 2010 in the journal Environmental Health finds that pregnant women living in a municipality where peas or potatoes are grown have an increased risk of giving birth to an infant with a small head circumference. Head circumference also tends to be lower where wheat is grown, but not to statistically significant degree. The study finds no association between head circumference and proximity to other crops. The study’s authors suggest that pesticides, specifically organophosphates (OPs), are a possible cause. OPs were applied to most of the area devoted to pea and potato crops, but used less frequently in areas growing corn and wheat. The study, “Impact on fetal growth of prenatal exposure to pesticides due to agricultural activities: a prospective cohort study in Brittany, France,” utilized a prospective birth cohort of 3421 pregnant women in a French agricultural region (Brittany, 2002-2006) through gynecologists, ultrasonographers, and maternity hospitals during routine prenatal care visits before 19 weeks of gestation. The national agricultural census in 2000 provided the percentages of the municipality area devoted to cultivation of corn, wheat, colza, peas, potatoes, and fresh vegetables. The link between exposure to pesticides and birth […]

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10
Feb

Herbicide Atrazine Linked to Rare Birth Defect

(Beyond Pesticides, February 10, 2009) Living near farms that use the weed killer atrazine increases the risk of a rare birth defect, according to a study presented February 5, 2010 at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Chicago. Gastroschisis, a rare birth defect in which an infant’s intestines stick out of the body through a defect on one side of the umbilical cord, affects 1 in 5000 babies born in the U.S. each year. Babies with this condition have problems with movement and absorption in the gut, because the unprotected intestine is exposed to irritating amniotic fluid. Surgery is required to repair this defect. The rate of gastroschisis has risen 2- to 4-fold over the last three decades, especially in areas where agriculture is the primary industry, according to Sarah Waller, PhD, of the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues. Dr. Waller’s team studied the potential link between atrazine and the birth defect because, as they note in their conference abstract, “During the last 10 years, the highest percentage per population of gastroschisis was in Yakima County, in the eastern part of the state, where agriculture is the primary industry.” Overall, Washington state has about double […]

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03
Dec

Use of Insect Repellent Associated With Birth Defect

(Beyond Pesticides, December 3, 2009) Pregnant women should reconsider applying insect repellent after a study finds a link to an increasingly common birth defect. European researchers have found an association between mothers who used insect repellent in the earliest phase of pregnancy and an increased rate of “hypospadias” in the penises of their male children. Hypospadias is the condition where the opening of the penis is in the wrong place – usually back from the tip and on the underside – and often requires corrective surgery. The condition is thought to affect around one to two baby boys in every 500. According to a report published online November 30 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine and entitled “Use of biocides and insect repellents and risk of hypospadias,” infants born to mothers who used insect repellent during the first trimester of pregnancy are more likely to have hypospadias (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.06 to 3.11) after adjusting for other factors. The research includes 471 babies with hypospadias and 490 acting as a comparison group. Their mothers were asked a series of questions, including whether they had been exposed to insect repellents and biocide chemicals, such as pesticides or weedkillers. They were asked […]

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17
Nov

Low-Level Pesticide Exposure In Utero Linked to Impacts on Behavior and Hormones

(Beyond Pesticides, November 17, 2009) According to a new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, exposure to low levels of the organophosphate insecticide chorpyrifos during pregnancy can impair learning, change brain function and alter thyroid levels of offspring into adulthood for tested mice, especially females. The study, “Long-term sex selective hormonal and behavior alterations in mice exposed to low doses of chlorpyrifos in utero,” was led by Beyond Pesticides board member and professor of zoology and environmental toxicology, Warren Porter, PhD. Read the full analysis of the study on the Rodale Institute website. On June 8, 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Dow AgroSciences, reached an agreement to stop the sale of most home, lawn and garden uses for chlorpyrifos because of its health risks to children. However, its use continues in agriculture. According to advocates, this new study provides further evidence for the need to ban chlorpyrifos and fully protect farmworkers, their families, and rural communities from the toxic hazards of this outdated, unnecessary pesticide. According to the Rodale Institute, which provided part of the funding for the study, “The new animal study accentuates the risk of ultra-low levels of the common pesticide chlorpyrifos to cause […]

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28
Jul

Pesticide-Chemical Mixtures Affect Sex Organ Development

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2009) A new study by researchers at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark shows that exposure to a mixture of pesticides and other chemicals has a synergistic effect on the development of male sex organs. Synergy occurs when the effect of multiple chemicals is greater than the sum of the individual effects. The study, “Synergistic Disruption of External Male Sex Organ Development by a Mixture of Four Antiandrogens,” was published July 15, 2009 in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives. The researchers designed their study to determine the consequences of simultaneous exposure to multiple “antiandrogens.” An antiandrogen, or androgen antagonist, is any of a group of hormone receptor antagonist compounds that are capable of preventing or inhibiting the biologic effects of androgens, male sex hormones, on normally responsive tissues in the body. Disrupting the action of androgens during gestation, certain chemicals present in food, consumer products and the environment can induce irreversible malformations of sex organs among male offspring. The team investigated the effects of mixtures of a widely used plasticizer, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), used in medical devices such as IV bags and tubing, beauty products, PVC toys, vinyl shower curtains, car seats, […]

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22
May

Review Highlights Organic Benefits to Fetal and Child Development

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2009) A balanced, organic diet – both before and during pregnancy – can significantly reduce a child’s likelihood of being overweight, obese or developing diabetes. That, according to a literature review of over 150 scientific studies assembled by The Organic Center (TOC), an organic industry research institute focused on the science of organic food and farming. The TOC review”That First Step: Organic Food and a Healthier Future” documents that exposure to pesticides during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth, low-birth weight, neurological problems and diabetes. Outlining six ways in which a balanced organic diet can contribute to healthy development, the report also examines how enzymes found in organic foods can slow and even reverse aspects of the aging process. With the time between initial conception to the early years of development being the most critical in establishing lifelong health, a well-balanced diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables helps establish healthy food-taste preferences, promotes healthy patterns of cell division and largely eliminates exposures to approximately 180 pesticides known to increase the risk of developmental abnormalities. Furthermore, this combination of reducing pesticide exposure and consuming nutrient-dense organic foods can help people manage weight and prevent diabetes. […]

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01
Apr

Birth Defects Linked to Pesticide Exposure at Time of Conception

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2009) A study published in the April 2009 issue of the medical journal Acta Paediatrica reports that the highest rates of birth defects for U.S. babies arise when conception occurs during the spring and summer months, when pesticide use increases and high concentrations of pesticides are found in surface waters. The study entitled, “Agrichemicals in surface water and birth defects in the United States” is the first study to link increased seasonal concentration of pesticides in surface water with the peak in birth defects in infants conceived in the same months. Researchers analyzed all 30.1 million births in the U.S. between 1996 and 2002. A strong association between higher rates of birth defects among women whose last menstrual period was in April, May, June or July and elevated levels of nitrates, atrazine and other pesticides in surface water during those same months was found. The correlation between the month of last menstrual period and higher rates of birth defects is statistically significant for half of the 22 categories of birth defects reported in the Centers for Disease Control database from 1996 to 2002, including spina bifida, cleft lip, clubfoot and Down’s syndrome. “Elevated concentrations of pesticides […]

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14
Jan

Fish Mutations Linked to Pesticide Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, January 14, 2009) Two-headed bass found in the Noosa River are at the center of a controversy surrounding pesticide drift from neighboring farms in Queensland, Australia. The pesticides, endosulfan and carbendazim, have been implicated in the contamination of the river, which has yielded thousands of chronically deformed fish. Experts believe that the mutated fish, which survive only 48 hours after hatching, are the victims of pesticide drift from neighboring macadamia nut farms that routinely use endosulfan and the fungicide, carbendazim. Aquatic health expert and vice-president of the Australian College of Veterinarian Scientists’ Aquatic Animal Health Chapter, Matt Landos, PhD, has been investigating the phenomenon and concludes that there were no other probable causes to explain the fish and larval mortality. Dr. Landos documented evidence and completed a report which was sent to the state’s Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries last year. “The timing between the mist spraying and the affected larvae fits hand in glove,” Dr. Landos said. His report also found that chickens, sheep and horses raised at nearby fish hatcheries are also recording abnormally high levels of fetal deaths and birth defects. Gwen Gilson, who runs a Boreen Point fish hatchery, says she has observed […]

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11
Sep

Hearing Begins in North Carolina Pesticide Violations Case

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2008) The North Carolina Pesticide Board has begun hearing evidence in a case from 2004 over suspected pesticide violations that were investigated after three female Ag-Mart farmworkers gave birth to babies with severe birth defects. In 2006, the family of Carlos Herrera Candelario, who was born without arms or legs, sued Ag-Mart over illegal pesticide exposure resulting in the boy’s birth defects. The case was settled out of court, with Ag-Mart agreeing to pay the medical expenses of the boy for life and provide him with a permanent income, but insisting that the settlement was not an admission of guilt. The current hearing will look at whether Ag-Mart’s farm manager, Jeff Oxley, is indeed guilty of over 200 violations, including forcing workers into the field too soon after dangerous pesticides were applied. The hearing is significant because the company insists that adequate practices are and have been in place to ensure workers are not exposed to pesticides, even though the testimony of Ag-Mart employees runs counter to this claim. This hearing could do a great deal to elucidate the truth about farmworker pesticide exposure, an important issue for the thousands of workers who plant and harvest […]

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28
Mar

Ag-Mart Settles Birth Defect Case

(Beyond Pesticides, March 28, 2008) Three years ago, Carlos Candelario was born without arms or legs and with spinal and lung deformities, birth defects caused by his mother’s exposure to multiple pesticides while working in Ag-Mart Produce fields during her pregnancy. His parents, Francisca Herrera and Abraham Candelario, sued the company in 2006, and last week’s settlement will provide for Carlos for the rest of his life, pending a judge’s approval. “I am as gratified about this case as any I’ve ever handled,” said attorney Andrew Yaffa. “This child has tremendous needs and needed somebody willing to speak on his behalf. Every medical need will be taken care of as a result of this settlement.” Ag-Mart has a history of state pesticide violations and use of extremely toxic pesticides (although in 2005, the company did agree to discontinue use of chemicals linked to reproductive risks, excepting methyl bromide, which is still in use). The company grows “UglyRipe” heirloom tomatoes and Santa Sweets grape tomatoes in a chemical-intensive operation. Ms. Herrera and Mr. Candelario worked alongside other migrant workers in North Carolina and Florida fields at the time of Ms. Herrera’s exposure. Both Florida and North Carolina have published reports on […]

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