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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Obesity' Category


20
Oct

New Study Shows Reduction of Persistent Pollutants in Breast Milk, Though Concerns Remain

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2016) Researchers at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Murdoch University recently released a study whose findings show that levels of pesticides in breast milk have dropped significantly over the past forty years, though some major concerns remain. Published in the international journal Chemosphere, the research shows a 42-fold decrease in levels of pesticides detected in breast milk, and ties the reduction to government efforts to prohibit persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Australia, which has lead to decreased exposure over time. Led by UWA’s internationally renowned human lactation researcher Emeritus Professor Peter Hartmann, Dr. Donna Geddes and Murdoch’s Associate Professor Robert Trengove, the study is a testament to the positive impact banning pesticides can have on the health of individuals, especially vulnerable populations like infants, but also shows that there is a long way to go before our bodies are void of any bioaccumulated toxic residues. Researchers often study breast milk because it can bioconcentrate, or accumulate, persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Multiple studies on breast milk have been performed throughout the years, many of them confirming the fact that common toxic chemicals, such as glyphosate and triclosan, build up in our bodies over time. Most […]

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14
Sep

Legacy Contaminants Found in Swallow Eggs around the Great Lakes

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2016) According to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), high concentrations of dioxins and furans have been detected in tree swallow eggs collected near several sites around the Great Lakes. Other chemicals detected include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which were at background levels. The study is part of efforts to clean up a toxic chemical legacy around the Great Lakes, and the researchers believe their results are critical to regulators to assess “bird or animal deformity or reproductive problems” The study, “Concentrations and spatial patterns of organic contaminants in tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) eggs at United States and binational Great Lakes Areas of Concern, 2010—2015,” used tree swallows to quantify current exposure to organic contaminants across all five Great Lakes including 59 sites within 27  Areas of Concern (AOCs)  and 10 nearby  locations. The Great Lakes Areas of Concern refers to a U.S.-Canada  Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement  (Annex 1 of the 2012 Protocol) that  defines AOCs as “geographic areas designated by the Parties where significant  impairment of beneficial uses  has occurred as a result of human activities at the local level.” An AOC is a location that has […]

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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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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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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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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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05
Aug

Banned Pesticide DDT with Lingering Residues Again Linked to Obesity and Diabetes

(Beyond Pesticides, August 5, 2014) A new study finds that female mice exposed in utero to the pesticide DDT are at greater risk for obesity and type-2 diabetes, adding to a growing body of literature linking metabolic diseases to pesticide exposure. The study, titled Perinatal Exposure of Mice to the Pesticide DDT Impairs Energy Expenditure and Metabolism in Adult Female Offspring, was published in the journal PLoS One. Researchers measure and compare metabolic abnormalities in female mice that were exposed in utero to DDT against a control group of those that were unexposed. After exposure, the two groups were then fed high-fat diets for 12 weeks in adulthood. Females exposed to DDT around the time of their birth were more likely to develop insulin sensitivity, glucose intolerance, high cholesterol, and metabolic complications that could result in liver disease. These results suggest that DDT exposure in and around the time of gestation cultivates conditions that increase an individual’s likelihood of accumulating excess fat over the course of one’s lifespan. Additionally, the results find that changes in the way fats and carbohydrates are metabolized can increase the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which is a precursor to type-2 diabetes. The researchers’ observations […]

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31
Jan

Featured Keynote: “Maverick” Scientist to Speak at National Pesticide Forum, April 11-12

(Beyond Pesticides, January 31, 2014) Michael Skinner, Ph.D.,  author of the landmark study that links exposure to the insecticide DDT with multi-generational effects, ultimately contributing to obesity three generations down the line, is joining an impressive array of speakers at Beyond Pesticides’ 32nd National Pesticide Forum, April 11-12 in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Skinner’s groundbreaking research on transgenerational effects of pesticides has created quite a stir within the scientific community and backlash from the industry. A professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University, Dr. Skinner has published over 240 peer-reviewed publications and has given over 237 invited symposia, plenary lectures and university seminars. His  research focuses on the investigation of gonadal growth and differentiation, with emphasis in the area of reproductive biology. His current research has demonstrated the ability of environmental toxicants to promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of disease phenotypes due to abnormal germ line epigenetic programming in gonadal development. Science Magazine has dubbed Dr. Skinner “The Epigenetics Heretic.” The article, published January 24, explores the controversy surrounding his recent findings, industry challenges to his research,  as well as the significance: “To those who don’t flatly dismiss Skinner’s findings, he has raised a tantalizing glimpse of […]

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28
Oct

Multi-generational Effects of DDT Linked to Obesity

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2013) Scientists at Washington State University (WSU), in a laboratory study,  determined that exposure to the insecticide DDT ””banned in the U.S. since 1972, but still used today in developing countries for malaria abatement programs””impacts multiple generations, ultimately contributing to obesity three generations down the line. The study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, provides the scientific community with new information on multi-generational impacts of pesticide exposure. Lead researcher Michael Skinner, PhD., professor of biological sciences at WSU, and colleagues exposed pregnant rats to DDT to determine the long-term impacts to health across generations. The study, Ancestral dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) exposure promotes epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of obesity, finds that the first generation of rats’ offspring developed severe health problems, ranging from kidney disease, prostate disease, and ovary disease, to tumor development. Interestingly, by the third generation more than half of the rats have increased levels of weight gain and fat storage. In other words, the great grandchildren of the exposed rats are much more likely to be obese. “Therefore, your ancestors’ environmental exposures may influence your disease development even though you have never had a direct exposure,” the study finds. Previous studies have demonstrated that exposure to […]

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09
May

Review Highlights Dangerous Health Effects of Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, May 9, 2013) A review of the scientific literature of the toxic effects of glyphosate, one of the most popular weed killers in the U.S. and the active ingredient in Roundup, links the herbicide  to a wide range of diseases and suggests  that more research is needed. The review, conducted by a scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), looks at the mechanisms through which the adverse effects may be happening and points to  the chemical’s inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, which plays the crucial role of detoxifying xenobiotics. Thus, glyphosate can enhance the negative effects of other environmental toxicants on the body. Authors argue that this has been a critically overlooked component in research on glyphosates’ toxicity to mammals. We “have hit upon something very important that needs to be taken seriously and further investigated,” Stephanie Seneff, PhD, lead author and research scientist at MIT, told Reuters. Not surprisingly, Monsanto, the developer of Roundup, the leading product containing glyphosate, has attempted to discredit the study, claiming that its product has a long track record of being safe – read Another Bogus “Study.” However, Beyond Pesticides has assembled  extensive documentation on the human health and environmental risks […]

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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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02
Dec

Study Finds Controversial Pesticide May Contribute to Obesity

(Beyond Pesticides, December 2, 2008) Tributyltin (also known as TBT), a ubiquitous pollutant that has a potent effect on gene activity, could be promoting obesity, according to an article in the December issue of BioScience, the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. The chemical is used in antifouling paints for boats, as a wood and textile preservative, and as a pesticide on high-value food crops, among many other applications. Tributyltin affects sensitive receptors in the cells of animals, from water fleas to humans, at very low concentrations–a thousand times lower than pollutants that are known to interfere with sexual development of wildlife species. Tributyltin and its relatives are highly toxic to mollusks, causing female snails to develop male sexual characteristics, and it bioaccumulates in fish and shellfish. Recent research has found it in deep-sea squids and octopods, and it has been banned for maritime use by an international treaty. The harmful effects of the chemical on the liver and the nervous and immune systems in mammals are well known, but its powerful effects on the cellular components known as retinoid X receptors (RXRs) in a range of species are a recent discovery. When activated, RXRs can migrate into […]

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25
Aug

Wood Preservative Contaminant Linked to Childhood Obesity

(Beyond Pesticides, August 25, 2008) A recent study by Spanish researchers has found a connection between an ncreased risk of childhood obesity and exposure to the organochlorine pesticide and contaminant hexachlorobenzene (HCB) before birth. Entitled “Exposure to hexachlorobenzene during pregnancy increases the risk of overweight in children aged 6 years,” the article was published online by Acta Paediatrica at the end of July. Found as a contaminant in the wood preservative pentachlorophenol, widely used in the U.S., HCB is extremely persistent in the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says it “has been listed as a pollutant of concern to EPA’s Great Waters Program due to its persistence in the environment, potential to bioaccumulate, and toxicity to humans and the environment.” Researchers studied 405 infants in Menorca, Spain. They measured persistent organic pollutants (HCB, PCBs, p,p’-DDE, and p,p’-DDT) in their cord blood and then measured each child’s height and weight at 6.5 years of age. “Overweight” was defined as the 85 percentile or higher on the US National Center for Health Statistics/WHO reference body mass index (BMI). They also took into account information about the mothers, such as age, education, socio-economic status, smoking, alcohol use, weight, and diet. All 405 […]

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