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Report Finds Pesticide Residues in Hawaii’s Waterways

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2014) A statewide pilot pesticide sampling project has found over 20 different types of pesticides in Hawaiian waterways, some of which are no longer registered for use in Hawaii. State officials believe the pesticides, many detected in urban areas, are from residential and golf course applications. These preliminary findings help highlight the need for local oversight of pesticide use, currently a controversial issue in the state. Conducted in partnership with the Hawaiian Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Hawaiian Department of Health, the survey-study finds herbicides like glyphosate (Roundup) and atrazine, as well as a fungicide that is no longer registered for use in the state, contaminating the state’s waterways. The study measured pesticides in surface waters and in sediment at multiple locations in Hawaii. 25 herbicides, 11 insecticides and 6 fungicides were detected, with atrazine the most commonly found. This pilot survey responds to growing community concerns about the impacts of pesticides on local communities and ecosystems, and provides preliminary information on pesticide residues in state waterways. Recently, Kauai County passed an ordinance —Ordinance 960—  that requires public disclosure of pesticides used and the location of genetically engineered (GE) crops, as […]

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Researchers Find Further Proof of a Link between Pesticides and Parkinson’s

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, January 8, 2013) Neurologists at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have published their latest research linking pesticide exposure to Parkinson’s disease. Appearing in the online edition of PNAS, the UCLA scientists’ work details the series of events that can occur after individuals are exposed to the pesticide benomyl, which was phased out in 2001. Researchers believe their findings on the series of events the pesticide sets in motion could be applicable even to Parkinson’s patients who have not been exposed to benomyl. According to scientists, exposure to benomyl prevents the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) from keeping in check a naturally occurring toxin in the brain called 3,4-Dihydroxyphenylacetaldehyde (DOPAL). Without ALDH regulating DOPAL, the toxin accumulates, damages neurons, and increases an individual’s risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. Researchers postulate that this process may be occurring in people with Parkinson’s who were never exposed to pesticides. The findings of this research provide insight into possible treatments to slow the disease, such as developing new drugs to protect ALDH activity. Although the exact cause of Parkinson’s is still unknown, until this research scientists were focusing in on the protein a-synuclein as a pathway to the disease. The protein, present […]

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Study Links Pesticide Exposure to Skin Cancer

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2010) While most previous literature on melanoma has focused on host factors and sun exposure, new research shows a link between several pesticides and this deadly form of skin cancer. Epidemiologists from University of Iowa, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Cancer Institute found that agricultural workers who apply certain pesticides to farm fields are twice as likely to contract melanoma, providing support for the hypotheses that agricultural chemicals may be another important source of skin cancer risk. The study, “Pesticide use and cutaneous melanoma in pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Heath Study” was published last month in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. It examines cancer rates in 56,285 pesticide applicators in Iowa and North Carolina as part of the federal government’s Agricultural Health Study, a large, long-term study of pesticide applicators and their spouses. Researchers asked the pesticide applicators how often they were exposed to 50 pesticides and compared their cancer rates. Each person’s exposure was then approximated by adding up the total days that the workers had been exposed and using information from survey results on how the chemicals were applied and what protective equipment was being used. The pesticides that […]

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New Study Links Pesticide Use to Thyroid Disease in Women

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, February 22, 2010) Wives of agricultural pesticide applicators have a significantly increased risk of developing thyroid disease, according to the new study, “Pesticide Use and Thyroid Disease Among Women in the Agricultural Health Study,” published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Using data collected from more than 16,500 female spouses from Iowa and North Carolina enrolled in the Agricultural Health Study from 1993 to 1997, the researchers show that 12.5 percent of the women have thyroid disease, 6.9 percent have hypothyroidism and 2.1 percent have hyperthyroidism; whereas, the national average is 5 percent and 1 percent, respectively. Thyroid disease is more common in women than men and is the second most common hormone disorder affecting women of childbearing age. According to the study results, ever use of a fungicide shows a slight increased risk (odds ratio (OR) 1.4) and ever use of an organochlorine insecticide shows a 1.2 OR for hypothyroidism. Ever use of the fungicide benomyl shows a more than tripling of risk to hypothyroidism, whereas the fungicides maneb and mancozeb show a more than doubling and the herbicide paraquat shows a nearly doubling of risk. Maneb and mancozeb also show a more than doubling of risk […]

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Study Links Rhinitis to Pesticide Exposure

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, December 1, 2009) A new study published in the November 2009 issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, adds rhinitis, the inflammation of the mucous lining of the nose, to the long list of ailments linked to pesticide exposure. “Rhinitis associated with pesticide exposure among commercial pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study,” examined data from 2,245 Iowa commercial pesticide applicators and evaluated the association between rhinitis and 34 pesticides used in the past year. Seventy-four percent of commercial pesticide applicators in the study reported at least one episode of rhinitis in the past year (current rhinitis), compared with about 20-30% of the general population. Pesticide exposure and rhinitis were assessed at enrollment using two self-administered questionnaires. The first, completed at enrollment, obtained detailed information on use of pesticides on the market at the time of enrolment as well as smoking history, current agricultural activity and demographics. The second questionnaire, sent one month later, more detailed information on the pesticides, as well as medical history, including rhinitis, conjunctivitis, sinusitis and asthma. Respondents reported using 16 herbicides, 11 insecticides, five fungicides and two fumigants in the past year. Five of the pesticides were significantly positively associated with current rhinitis: the […]

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New Study Links Parental Pesticide Exposure to Leukemia

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

(Beyond Pesticides, August 28, 2007) In a new study published in the August 2007 issue of the Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health (Vol. 33, No. 4), researchers from the Central American Institute for Studies on Toxic Substances (IRET) in Costa Rica find parental exposure to pesticides linked to the increased risk of leukemia. IRET researchers, based at the National University of Costa Rica in Heredia, identified cases of childhood leukemia (N=334), in 1995-2000, on the Cancer Registry and the Children’s Hospital. Population controls (N=579) were drawn from the National Birth Registry. Interviews of parents were conducted using conventional and icon-based calendar forms. An exposure model was constructed for 25 pesticides in five time periods. Mothers’ exposures to any pesticides during the year before conception and during the first and second trimesters are associated with the risk [odds ratio (OR) 2.4, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.0-5.9; OR 2.2, 95% CI 2.8-171.5; OR 4.5, 95% CI 1.4-14.7, respectively] and during anytime (OR 2.2, 95% CI 1.0-4.8). An association is found for fathers’ exposures to any pesticides during the second trimester (OR 1.5, 95% CI 1.0-2.3). An increased risk with respect to organophosphates is found for mothers during the first […]

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New Pesticides Added to Toxic Trade List

Friday, March 30th, 2007

(Beyond Pesticides, March 30, 2007) A committee of experts advising the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has recommended adding endosulfan and tributyl tin compounds (TBT) to a list of substances that are considered so harmful they can only be traded in special circumstances. On March 27, 2007, the United Nations said that the toxic chemicals would only be allowed to be exported to countries that have explicitly chosen to permit them, a measure aimed at protecting humans and the environment in developing countries. Endosulfan, a chemical sprayed onto food crops and cotton, and TBT, used in “antifouling paint” for ships’ hulls, are already banned in many countries. However, they may be traded freely in countries lacking tight environmental regulations. According to David Santillo who works at the research center for Greenpeace at Britain’s Exeter University, “It’s great that these two have been added to the list so countries have the choice whether to import them or not.” Endosulfan has been linked with testicular cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, and defects in male sex organs. According to a recent study conducted in Costa Rica’s mountain forests, findings show that surprisingly high concentrations of pesticides are […]

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