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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Nervous System Effects' Category


09
Jan

Neurotoxic Flea Collar Pesticide Upheld, EPA Issues Warning on Children’s Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2017) After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its recent human health risk assessment for the organophosphate insecticide (OP) tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) on December 21, 2016, the agency announced it was allowing the continued use of the neurotoxic chemical to which children are widely exposed through pets’ flea collars and other flea treatments. According to EPA, ” TCVP is used as a direct animal treatment to livestock (i.e., cattle, horses, poultry and swine) and their premises, in kennels, outdoors as a perimeter treatment, and as a flea treatment [including flea collars] on cats and dogs.” In its announcement on January 4, 2017, EPA states, “We advise consumers to take certain precautions when handling TCVP products in residential areas. These precautions are listed on TCVP product labels, including: not allowing children to play with TCVP pet collar products, keeping TCVP spray and powder products out of reach of children, and washing hands thoroughly with soap and water after handling.” Advocates have raised concerns related to similar decisions on flea collars in the past in which EPA has issued warnings to mitigate risks, despite its inability to ensure children’s safety. Children typically come into close contact with pets and their […]

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21
Dec

Cases of Pesticide Poisoning Up in California, Including Agricultural and Residential Areas

(Beyond Pesticides, December 21, 2016) A California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) report of all pesticide related illnesses in the state in 2014 identifies 1,685 cases “potentially involving health effects from pesticide exposure,” combining exposures from agricultural and non-agricultural use. Of the 798 cases associated with non-agricultural use, 18% of them (146 cases) involved exposure in children under 18 years old. The exposure rates are alarming, and only strengthen efforts by local activists in counties like Tulare to protect children from pesticide exposure. According to the report, Tulare County has the highest number of reported illnesses related to pesticide exposure at 78, followed by Santa Cruz County with 67. The report, Summary of Results from the California Pesticide Illness Surveillance Program 2014, provides a summary of illnesses identified by the Pesticide Illness Surveillance Program (PISP), a program under DPR. Of the 1,685 cases potentially involving health effects from pesticide exposure reported, DPR epidemiologists determined that 1,073 of those cases were “at least possibly associated” with pesticide exposure, representing a 5% decrease from 2013. However, even though the number of associated cases decreased in 2014, PISP did see a 14% rise in the number of associated episodes, defined as “an event in which a single source […]

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15
Nov

EPA Revises Process, But Maintains Proposal to Stop Use of Neurotoxic Chlorpyrifos in Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, November 15, 2016) Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated its assessment of the toxic organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos, keeping in place a decision made last year to revoke food residue tolerances and effectively eliminate its use in agriculture. The agency indicated the change was necessary after a Scientific Advisory Panel convened by the agency suggested additional data to support its decision. This change opens up a 60-day public comment period, but EPA has said that it will make a final decision no later than March 31, 2017. “The revised analyses indicate that expected residues of chlorpyrifos on food crops exceed the safety standard under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA),” EPA noted in its announcement.  “In addition, the majority of estimated drinking water exposures from currently registered uses, including water exposures from non-food uses, continue to exceed safe levels even taking into account more refined drinking water exposures. “ To explain the decision to the public, EPA has put together a FAQ page on its website. EPA’s proposal to revoke chlorpyrifos’ food tolerances stems from a petition and lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Pesticide Action Network North American nearly ten […]

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29
Jul

Study Adds to Findings that Link Prenatal Pesticide Exposure to Lower IQs

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2016)  A study released earlier this week finds lower IQ (intelligence quotient) in children born to mothers who during their pregnancy were living in close proximity to chemical-intensive agricultural lands where organophosphate pesticides were used. This study adds to the body of scientific literature that links prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides with lower IQ’s in children. Organophosphate pesticides, a relatively older generation of highly neurotoxic pesticides still widely used on farms in California, have been associated with a  broad range of diseases  in both children and adults.  This  latest study  supports health and environmental advocates’ call to eliminate these toxic pesticides in agriculture and move toward safer, sustainable, and organic management practices. The study, titled  Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticide Use and IQ in 7-Year-Old Children, looks at 283 women and children from the agricultural Salinas Valley who are enrolled in the long-term Center for the Health of Mothers and Children in Salinas (CHAMACOS) study. Specifically, researchers looked at pregnant women living within one kilometer of agricultural fields where organophosphate pesticides were used. They found that at age 7, the children of those women had declines of approximately two IQ points and three verbal reasoning […]

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25
Jul

Oregon Prohibits 14 Horticultural Products Used in Marijuana Production, Not Labeled as Containing Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides July 25, 2016) The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) last week issued 12 notices of statewide detainment and stop sale and removal orders for horticultural pesticide products that contain active ingredients not listed on the label. The orders call for the product manufacturers to immediately cease all sales, offers of sale, or other distribution in Oregon. This is the latest effort by a state with a legalized marijuana market to try to  curb the use of illegal pesticides in cannabis production, a practice that poses potential health threats to consumers, creating a regulatory challenge for state officials in states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal and or recreational purposes. Because the U.S. government classifies cannabis as a narcotic, the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) does not register pesticide products for use in its production, leaving consumers exposed to hazardous pesticides through inhalation, ingestion, and dermal absorption without any evaluation of potential health effects. The products in question are commonly used in horticulture and hydroponics, including cannabis production. The 12 notices cover 14 products sold in Oregon that were also identified by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) in late June as containing undeclared pesticide active ingredients. In an […]

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27
Oct

Lawsuit Challenges EPA on Toxic Herbicide Cocktail for GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2015) Late Friday,  a coalition of public health, conservation and food safety groups filed their opening brief in the ongoing legal challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of the herbicide Enlist Duo for use on genetically engineered corn and soybeans. Enlist Duo, a blend of glyphosate and 2,4-D, was approved on October 15 for use on genetically engineered (GE) crops, despite concerns for human and environmental contamination. The challenge was originally brought in November 2014, shortly after the EPA approved the controversial herbicide for 6 Midwest states. Since then, EPA has expanded its approval to a total of 15 states, with more expected. Counsel from the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Earthjustice are jointly representing Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, CFS, the Environmental Working Group, the National Family Farm Coalition, and Pesticide Action Network North America. “The Enlist Duo approval violated the laws protecting our communities, land, and farms,” said George Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety senior attorney, counsel in the case. “Regulators bowed to the chemical industry, but we are committed to holding them accountable.” The groups argue that in its approval of Enlist Duo, a combination of the herbicides […]

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09
Sep

Ten-Year-Old Suffers Traumatic Brain Injury After Home Treated with Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides September 9, 2015) A young Florida boy and his family are reeling after a routine termite treatment resulted in a devastating outcome. Ten-year-old Peyton McCaughey of Palm City, Florida has been in the hospital for weeks following a severe reaction to chemicals used to fumigate his family’s home. According to news reports, the  fumigation was performed by Sunland Pest Control, a subcontractor of Terminix. The Florida Department of Agriculture has since issued a “Stop Work Order” while it  investigates the company in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state Department of Health. After returning to their home hours after the Terminix subcontractor told them it was safe to enter, the whole family became very ill. While the parents and the 7-year-old daughter recovered, the young boy’s condition continued to worsen. “He was having some uncontrollable muscle movements, couldn’t stand up, couldn’t speak, so they took him to a local walk-in and the doctor quickly recognized it was probably poisoning from a treatment,” said Peyton’s uncle, Ed Gribben. Current reports indicate that the boy has likely suffered brain damage and has lost all muscle control, rendering him unable to stand or speak. He remains in a […]

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29
Apr

Industry Backed Legislation Directs EPA to Allow Hazardous Pesticide in Food

(Beyond Pesticides, April 29, 2013) Dow AgroSciences, one of the nation’s largest pesticide makers, along with various food companies, have persuaded several members of Congress to endorse a bill that directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reverse a proposed phase out of sulfuryl fluoride, a highly toxic food fumigant and potent greenhouse gas. If passed, the bill would make the U.S. one of only two western nations to allow sulfuryl fluoride on food, increase the number of American children ingesting unsafe levels of fluoride, and create a food poisoning risk for consumers who  purchase food that contains permissible levels of the fumigant. The  Pest Free Food Supply Act, H.R. 1496, sponsored by Rep. Tom Graves (R-GA) and 14 others, seeks to prevent the proposed  phase out  of sulfuryl fluoride from taking effect. The phase out, which EPA proposed in January 2011, was prompted by a  joint petition from the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), Environmental Working Group (EWG) and Beyond Pesticides. In seeking to prevent the phase out from taking effect, the bill’s sponsors have adopted Dow’s widely discredited talking points on the safety and necessity of sulfuryl fluoride fumigation. The public should know: ”¢ Of the few western nations […]

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10
Dec

Study Reveals: Organophosphate Pesticides Cause Lasting Damage to Brain and Nervous System

(Beyond Pesticides, December 10, 2012) Long-term low-level exposure to organophosphate pesticides produces lasting damage to neurological and cognitive functions, according to researchers at University College London (UCL). This research pulls data from 14 studies over the past 20 years, including more than 1,600 participants, in order to provide a quantitative analysis of the current literature on these dangerous chemicals. Lead author of the study, Sarah Mackenzie Ross, Ph.D., notes, “This is the first time anyone has analyzed the literature concerning the neurotoxicity of organophosphate pesticides, using the statistical technique of meta-analysis.” UCL’s systematic review, published in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology, comes to an unsettling conclusion about the hazards of constant low-level occupational exposure to organophosphates. The study notes, “The majority of well designed studies found a significant association between low-level exposure to [organophosphates] and impaired neurobehavioral function which is consistent, small to moderate in magnitude and concerned primarily with cognitive functions such as psychomotor speed, executive function, visuospatial ability, working and visual memory.” In other words, low-level exposure had significant detrimental effect on working memory and information processing. The researchers are hopeful that the results of their analysis will be used to inform governments performing reviews on the […]

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15
Jun

New Research Confirms Neurotoxicity of Pesticide Synergist PBO

(Beyond Pesticides, June 15, 2012) Researchers at the Duke University School of Medicine have developed a laboratory screening system for detecting neurotoxic chemicals and successfully tested it on more than 1,400 potential toxicants. The study confirms the high toxic activity of the chemical piperonyl butoxide (PBO), a chemical “synergist” used to increase the potency of more than 700 insecticides, including synthetic pyrethroids widely used in mosquito and community spray programs and for home use. The study, entitled “The Insecticide Synergist Piperonyl Butoxide Inhibits Hedgehog Signaling: Assessing Chemical Risks,” was published in the May 2012 edition of the journal Toxicological Sciences. The testing shows that PBO disrupts a biological signaling system that is “critical in neurological development,” the researchers reported in the abstract of their paper. The study finds that the disruption of this critical pathway “may be the molecular basis for profound developmental defects in children exposed in utero to PBO.” Piperonyl butoxide is not itself classified as a pesticide, but companies combine it with insecticides to increase their potency. PBO came into widespread use when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) phased out chlorpyrifos and other organophosphate pesticides nearly a decade ago after determining that they posed a risk […]

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13
Apr

Children of Flower Workers Show Effects of Secondary Pesticide Exposures

(Beyond Pesticides, April 13, 2012) A study has found that the children of flower plantation workers in Ecuador are neurologically affected by the pesticide residues that their parents unwittingly carry home on their clothes, tools, and skin. The study documents significantly reduced activity for the essential enzyme acetycholinesterase (AChE) in children whose parents work on flower plantations compared to others whose parents do not. The two main classes of pesticides that the researchers identify as used in the region’s flower production, organophosphates and carbamates, are known to suppress the enzyme’s activity. AChE activity is crucial to healthy neurological functioning in humans and its suppression during childhood can hinder nervous system and cognitive development causing immediate and long-term impairment. In the study, Lower acetylcholinesterase activity among children living with flower plantation workers (Environ Res. 2012 Apr;114:53-9. Epub 2012 Mar 10), children whose parents work on a flower plantation are more than three times more likely to be in the group of lowest AChE activity. Additionally, the children who live the longest with a flower plantation worker are four times more likely to have lower enzyme activity than children who never live with a plantation worker. The researchers obtained their results by […]

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11
Aug

Research Shows Commonly Used Pesticides Produce Greater Toxic Effect When Mixed

(Beyond Pesticides, August 11, 2011) A combination of eleven different kinds of commonly used pyrethroids were tested on mice in a new study which found that, at real-world exposure levels, the insecticides can produce heightened toxicity that is equal to the sum of each insecticide’s individual effect. The mixture of similar-acting insecticides works by over-stimulating electronic channels in the mouse’s brain cells and eventually causing death. This study adds to the growing body of research on the toxicity of pesticide combinations in nature and showcases the need for policy change because the current risk assessment approach to regulating pesticides fails to look at chemical mixtures and synergistic effects. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently regulates on a chemical-by-chemical basis, but as this study demonstrates, interacting chemicals can have synergistic effects at very low levels, where a “chemical cocktail” of multiple interacting chemicals combine to have greater effects than expected. Pesticides can also have a cumulative “toxic loading” effect both in the immediate and long term. Researchers exposed mice brain cells to eleven different food-use pyrethroid insecticides either singly or in a mixture in the study entitled ”Additivity of pyrethroid actions on sodium influx in cerebrocortical neurons in primary culture.” […]

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02
Aug

High Cost of Environment Related Childhood Diseases Estimated in MI

(Beyond Pesticides, Aug 2, 2010) A new report conducted by an Ann Arbor, Michigan based coalition of health and environmental groups estimates that children’s exposure to toxic chemicals, including pesticides, cost Michigan billions of dollars each year. The study examines the costs associated with four environmentally related childhood diseases: lead poisoning, asthma, pediatric cancer, and neurodevelopmental disorders. Treating these four disorders costs the state of Michigan an average of $5.85 billion annually. The study, “The Price of Pollution: Cost Estimates of Environment-Related Childhood Disease in Michigan” was released in time for the US House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings on the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010, an overhaul of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Using conservative estimates researchers consider direct costs such as medical treatment, as well as less direct costs such as parent wage losses. The study also notes the substantial emotional costs to families dealing with these potentially life threatening or debilitating conditions which cannot be quantified. Lead poisoning is found to be the most costly of the diseases studied, costing on average $4.85 billion annually, followed by childhood asthma, pediatric cancer, and neurodevelopmental disorders. These four disorders alone cost the state of Michigan 1.5% […]

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12
Aug

Study Finds that Mosquito Repellent DEET Affects Nervous System

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2009) A new study examining the effects of the mosquito repellent DEET on insects, mice and human proteins reports that the chemical interferes with a prominent central nervous system enzyme. This effect is magnified when exposure to DEET is combined with exposure to certain other pesticides. Entitled, “Evidence for inhibition of cholinesterases in insect and mammalian nervous systems by the insect repellent deet,” and published in BioMed Central (BMC) Biology, the study utilized toxicological, biochemical and electrophysiological techniques to show that DEET is not simply a behavior-modifying chemical, but that it also inhibits cholinesterase activity in both insect and mammalian neuronal preparations. The researchers examined DEET’s effects on mosquitoes, cockroach nerves, mouse muscles, and enzymes purified from fruit flies and humans. Applications of DEET slowed or halted the actions of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme is crucial for regulating nerve impulses in both insects and mammals, and once its functions are disrupted, neuromuscular paralysis, leading to death by asphyxiation result. In humans, symptoms include headache, exhaustion and mental confusion together with blurred vision, salivation, chest tightness, and muscle twitching and abdominal cramps. The study also investigated the consequences of DEET interactions with carbamate insecticides on the […]

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