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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Endocrine Disruption' Category


19
Aug

Mosquito Fogging Kills Hundreds of Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2015) Local fogging for  mosquito control turned tragic for a Palo Alto, California beekeeper who lost hundreds of honey bees from his backyard hives. The beekeeper, who also produces organic honey, now fears his honey is contaminated. The fogging, which occurred last month, was in response to positive tests for West Nile virus in mosquito samples. Many mosquito control pesticides are toxic to honey bees and given the declining populations of pollinators, vector control officials are being asked to carefully consider the risks associated with pesticide spraying. According to the local NBC affiliate, beekeeper Rondolph Tsien believes he was not given sufficient time to protect his bees from the mosquito fogging and, despite trying to cover his hives with a tarp to protect his bees from drifting pesticides, many were lost. A mosquito sample tested positive for West Nile virus about one mile from Mr. Tsien’s home, putting his property in the catchment area for fogging. Mr. Tsien worries the surviving bees will produce contaminated honey that can no longer be labeled organic. A Santa Clara County Vector Control representative stated during an interview that the county uses  an “extremely low dose” of pesticides during fogging […]

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07
Aug

Childhood Development Hurt By Preconception Exposure to Environmental Stressors

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2015) Parental exposure to environmental stressors, such as pesticides, before a child is conceived can alter the way genes are expressed in the mother and father, ultimately harming the child’s health when those genes are passed down to the next generation, according to an article published in the Endocrine Society’s journal Endocrinology. “In regard to environmental stressors, a good start lasts a lifetime,” said Philippe Grandjean, M.D., Ph.D. Dr. Grandjean is Professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Southern Denmark and Adjunct Professor of Environmental Health at the Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and an author of the article. “Unfortunately, current testing paradigms do not properly assess the impact of risk factors during vulnerable exposure windows. Without new policies and guidelines, we cannot have a universal healthy start for children.” The article, titled Life-Long Implications of Developmental Exposure to Environmental Stressors: New Perspectives, summarizes the newest science and key insights from the 4th  Conference on Prenatal Programming and Toxicity (PPTOX IV). More than 300 people attended the event in Boston, MA in October 2014. The meeting featured poster presentations discussing the impact of chemical, physical, and biological environmental stressors on the interconnected […]

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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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20
Jul

Monsanto-Supported Group Attempting to Undercut Roundup Cancer Finding, According to Report

(Beyond Pesticides, July 20, 2015) In response to  the recent cancer classification of glyphosate (Roundup)  by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization,  an industry-based  assessment has reached the opposite conclusion based on classified industry reports has concluded that Monsanto’s glyphosate is not carcinogenic.   According to The Guardian, the assessment by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessments (BfR) is based almost solely on industry science and classified industry reports. Three scientists on Germany’s scientific panel on pesticides work for the pesticide industry. Monsanto objected earlier this year, when IARC announced in a preliminary report that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen based on laboratory animal studies. BfR and IARC’s findings have been released during a pivotal time, as a decision on whether to extend the license for glyphosate’s use in Europe is currently pending, and these studies are sure to be incorporated into the decision making process. According to The Guardian, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is delaying the release of its  opinion on glyphosate to take the full IARC report into account. The Guardian reports that BfR’s research relied heavily on unpublished reports provided by the […]

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08
Jul

Despite Known Hazards, EPA Waits Decades for Manufacturers to Withdraw Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2015)  Last week, after decades of review and known toxic hazards, especially to children, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accepted a proposed cancellation for  a number of indoor uses (including food establishments) and tolerances of propoxur, a carbamate insecticide known for its toxic effects to  children. EPA has received a Section 6(f) request under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) from the registrant of propoxur to voluntarily cancel certain uses of the carbamate insecticide. The request from the manufacturer, Wellmark International, requests cancellation of  indoor aerosol, spray and liquid formulations of propoxur, indoor crack and crevice use, and all use in food-handling establishments.  EPA previously agreed to an April 1, 2016 phase out of propoxur in pet collars, but has continued to leave open these other avenues of exposure. The agency will begin accepting comments on its  proposal once it has been published in the Federal Register, which is expected to occur within 10 days of the prepublication signature date. It should be noted that EPA engages in lengthy negotiations with pesticide manufacturers, as is the case with propoxur (see recent announcement on chlorpyrifos), rather than pursuing rigorous regulatory standards through its cancellation or […]

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06
Jul

EPA at Odds with Scientists on Endocrine System Effects of Weedkillers Atrazine and 2,4-D

(Beyond Pesticides, July 6, 2015) With the release of its  Tier 1 screening results  for the first 52 pesticide chemicals (active and inert ingredients) evaluated under  the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is at odds with a large body of scientific evidence worldwide that identifies many of these chemicals, most notably the herbicides  2,4-D  and  atrazine,  as interacting with the endocrine system or acting as endocrine disruptors. Independent scientific data has shown these chemicals to interfere with the hormone system. EPA’s EDSP is a multi-step process used to ensure that exposure to chemicals does not result in adverse human health and environmental effects that canoccur from the disruption of hormones. The two-tiered screening and testing system requires that EPA identify which chemicals are able to interact with the endocrine system, specifically with three hormonal pathways — estrogen, androgen, and thyroid — in Tier 1. Tier 2 is designed to go one step further, requiring EPA to determine endocrine effects across taxa (e.g. mammals, birds, amphibians, and invertebrates) as well as potential effects on non-endocrine systems (e.g. neurological, immunological, hepatic, and renal).  According to EPA, Tier 1 screening data are the best way to determine […]

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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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28
May

EU Regulators Bow to Pressure from American Trade Lobby on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2015) The same day that trade representatives from United States met with Secretary-General Catherine Day of the European Commission (EC), she sent a letter to the EC’s Environment Director-General Karl Falkenberg telling him to scrap draft criteria that could have led to a ban on over 30 endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemical (EDCs) in the European Union (EU). As reported by The Guardian, with resources obtained by Pesticide Action Network- Europe (PAN-Europe), the U.S. Chambers of Commerce and European-based chemical manufacturers (including Dupont, Bayer, and BASF) pushed to change the EC’s criteria for evaluating EDCs because they fear it would impede EU-US negotiations on  the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Two regulations, one concerning “plant pest protectants” (EU 1107), and another on biocidal products (EU 528), should prohibit from use chemicals categorized as having endocrine disrupting properties that may cause adverse effects in humans. However, last year, when the EC released a roadmap for evaluating EDCs, recommendations fell far short of what health advocates assert that EU regulations require. Earlier this year, the Guardian reported that a scientific paper that would have adequately established ways to identify problematic EDCs was suppressed by EU officials at the […]

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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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07
May

Tests Confirm Rare Cancer in Susquehanna River Smallmouth Bass

(Beyond Pesticides, May 7, 2015) The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has confirmed that a rare malignant tumor was found on a smallmouth bass caught in the Susquehanna River by an angler late last summer. The finding was confirmed by two independent laboratory tests, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Aquatic Animal Health Laboratory at Michigan State University.  Although it only represents one individual fish from the overall population, it provides additional evidence —which includes the prevalence of intersex fish discovered last summer”” that the health of the fish community residing in the river is being compromised, according to PFBC executive director John Arway. Though the findings do not point to a specific cause for the cancer found on the smallmouth bass (SMB), agricultural pesticides, particularly endocrine disrupting chemicals, that have been found in the watershed, likely play a part in the rampant disease issues in SMB in the Susquehanna River. “As we continue to study the river, we find young-of-year and now adult bass with sores, lesions and more recently a cancerous tumor, all of which continue to negatively impact population levels and recreational fishing,” Mr. Arway said. “The weight-of-evidence continues to build a […]

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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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05
Feb

Investigation Finds Industry Efforts to Quash Science and EU Ban of Endocrine Disruptors

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2015) A brewing  battle in the European Union (EU) over removing from the market  Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC)s has  heated up. An investigative report in  The Guardian  reveals that a European Union (EU) scientific paper, prepared to assist in the development of new mandatory EDC risk assessment standards, was never made public. According to the report, EU Commission sources say the release of the paper was quashed as a result of chemical industry pressure and political influence. At the core of the debate lies two EU regulations, one concerning biocidal products (EU 528/2012) and the second on “plant pest protectants” (EU 1107/2009). Both of these regulations required the EU Commission to produce draft measures concerning specific scientific criteria for the determination of endocrine disrupting properties by December 14, 2013. Under the regulations, chemicals within the biocidal and plant pest protectant categories that are  categorized as having endocrine disrupting properties that may cause adverse effects in humans would be prohibited from use in the market place. As noted in the purpose and subject matter of the biocidal regulations, “The purpose of [the] Regulation is to improve the functioning of the internal market through the harmonization of the […]

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30
Jan

Persistent Organic Pollutants, Pesticides Linked to Early Menopause

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

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09
Jan

U.S. and EU Trade Proposal Threatens Human Health and Environment

(Beyond Pesticides, January 09, 2015) New closed-door international trade agreement proposals between the U.S. and EU could weaken pesticide standards and threaten the U.S. organic food industry. Set forth by European and U.S. trade associations, the proposals were met  with strong disapproval by numerous non-governmental organizations (NGO) and non-profits. Beyond Pesticides and over a hundred other European and U.S.-based organizations signed on to a letter in July 2014 calling for increased transparency of negotiating proposals and  the exclusion of chemical regulations from the entire scope of the prospective Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The proposals are recommended by the trade associations CropLife America and the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) —which represent major agricultural chemical manufactures like Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, and DuPont Crop Protection— with claims that the policy would help reduce or get rid of trade barriers and help promote regulatory cooperation and achieve the goals of the TTIP. According to a new Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) report, however, these proposals push for anemic pesticide residue limits in the EU, which are currently some of the strongest ones in existence and have influenced more stringent standards around the world, including the U.S. The groups recommend […]

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23
Dec

USDA Reports Pesticide Residues on Over Half of Food Tested

(Beyond Pesticides, December 23, 2014) The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has posted a report on its data from the 2013 Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary, concluding that although over half of the food tested by the agency for pesticide residues last year showed detectable levels of pesticides, these levels are below the tolerances established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and do not pose a safety concern. The residues reflect a pesticide use and exposure pattern that raises hazard scenarios that are not fully evaluated by EPA for chemical mixtures, synergistic effects, impacts  on  people and environments  with high risk factors, and certain critical health endpoints, such as endocrine disruption  . Excluding water, of the 9,990 samples analyzed, 23.5 percent had one pesticide detected and 36 percent had more than one pesticide. Residues exceeding tolerances were detected in 0.23 percent (23 samples out of 9,990) of the samples tested. Of these 23 samples, 17 were imported and 6 were domestic. Residues with no established tolerances were found in 3.0 percent of samples, of which 50.2 percent were domestic and 49.2 percent imported. According to USDA, “The Pesticide Data Program provides reliable data through rigorous […]

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08
Oct

The Touch, the Feel, of GE Cotton?

(Beyond Pesticides, October 8, 2014) After headliners like genetically engineered (GE) Roundup-Ready corn and soybeans failed to deliver on claims of decreased pesticide use and environmental sustainability, instead leading to the rise of “superweeds,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved more dangerous, 2,4-D-resistent versions   shortly after. Now after the predictable failure of Roundup-Ready cotton, USDA is set to approve dicamba-tolerant GE cotton, coming soon to a t-shirt near you.   Feeling a bit itchy now? Join us in telling USDA the solution to “superweeds” is NOT more GE crops and increased herbicide use! Act by October 10, at midnight! USDA’s proposal to deregulate and allow into the environment yet another GE variety will inevitably lead to damaging effects on non-GE crops, native plant species, and environmental biodiversity. USDA acknowledges that the purpose of dicamba-tolerant cotton “is to provide growers with an additional in-crop weed management option to manage [glyphosate resistant] broadleaf weed species,” but introducing crops resistant to other chemical technologies like dicamba may provide short-term relief from resistant weeds, but is not a long-term, sustainable solution to burgeoning weed resistance. This current proposal also includes dicamba-tolerant soybean, as well as a stacked tolerance to the herbicide glufosinate. Contrary […]

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03
Sep

In Coverup of Illegal Pesticide Use, Applicator Gets Two Year Prison Sentence

(Beyond Pesticides, September 3, 2014) The U.S. Justice Department sentenced Steven A. Murray, a pesticide operator with Bio-Tech Management in Pelham, Georgia, to two years in prison last week after as a result of charges related to a cover up illegal pesticide applications made at over 100 nursing homes. Mr. Murray pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, three counts of false statements, two counts of mail fraud, and 10 counts of unlawful use of a registered pesticide. In addition to being sentenced to two years in prison, Murray was subject to a $7,500 fine. His company was placed on three years of probation and also required to pay a $50,000 fine. From October 2005 to June 2009, Mr. Murray and Bio-Tech provided monthly pest control services to hundreds of nursing homes in several southern states including Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama by spraying pesticides in and around their clients’ facilities. Bio-Tech employees routinely  applied  the pesticide Termidor indoors, contrary to the  manufacturer’s  label  instructions, and then created false service reports to conceal that illegal use. After the Georgia Department of Agriculture made inquiries regarding Bio-Tech’s illegal use of Termidor and other pesticides, Mr. Murray directed several of […]

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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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12
Aug

Triclosan Found in Pregnant Mothers’ Bodies Transfers to Fetus

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2014) The presence of triclosan in soaps and consumer products ranging from cutting boards to pencils means constant exposure to a chemical linked to a wide range of adverse health effects. New data to be presented at the 248th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, reveals that 100% of pregnant women in a multiethnic urban population in Brooklyn, New York tested positive for triclosan in their urine. In half of the pregnant women tested, the chemical also showed up in umbilical cord blood. “We looked at the exposure of pregnant women and their fetuses to triclosan and triclocarban, two of the most commonly used germ-killers in soaps and other everyday products,” says study co-author Benny Pycke, Ph.D at Arizona State University. “We found triclosan in all of the urine samples from the pregnant women that we screened. We also detected it in about half of the umbilical cord blood samples we took, which means it transfers to fetuses.” In 2004, Beyond Pesticides published The Ubiquitous Triclosan, sounding the alarm on the rising use of an antibacterial chemical never adequately evaluated for adverse effects by the U.S. Food and […]

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08
Aug

New Wave of Herbicide-Tolerant Crops Awaiting Likely U.S. Approval

(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2014) Despite the continued documentation of weed resistance all over the United States, as well as the world, another line of herbicide-tolerant crops developed by Monsanto is currently in the pipeline awaiting likely approval by U.S. regulators. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on Tuesday, which, according to regulators, will pave the way for the approval of new  genetically modified cotton and soybean plants tolerant to a mixture of the herbicides glyphosate and dicamba. Monsanto’s new soybean and cotton crops were developed to withstand their new herbicide formulation, called Roundup Xtend, which combines the pesticides dicamba and glyphosate. The “Roundup Ready Xtend crop system” was developed to curb the proliferation of millions of acres of weeds that have grown resistant to Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup, which has been used on the company’s biotech corn, soybeans, and cotton. Weed resistance due to cropping systems dependent on herbicides has been documented for years, making APHIS’ conclusions in the EIS all the more alarming. A report that Beyond Pesticides published 12 years ago, “The Environmental Risks of Transgenic Crops: An Agroecological Assessment is the failed pesticide […]

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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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