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Common Household Pesticides Again Linked to Behavioral Problems in Children

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, March 7, 2017) Another study, published by a team of French scientists in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, links childhood behavioral problems to pyrethroid insecticide exposure. Synthetic pyrethroids are a class of insecticides that have increased in use over the past decade due to assumptions that they pose fewer risks to human health than older pesticide chemistries, such as organophosphates. However, this latest study is part of a growing body of research showing that pyrethroids share similar neurocognitive health concerns as these older pesticides. .   In this research, scientists investigate the interplay between pyrethroid exposure and behavioral problems through a longitudinal cohort study, which tracks levels of pyrethroid metabolites, or breakdown products, in the urine of mothers beginning between six and 19 gestational weeks and then in their children up through six years of age. Children’s behavior is measured through a screening questionnaire known as the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). SDQ measures how social a child is (altruism), whether the child has difficulty sharing problems or asking for help (internalizing disorders), as well as how defiant or disruptive a child is (externalizing disorders). The study controlled for a number of confounding factors, such as weight, education, location (rural or […]

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Major Supermarket Bans Bee-Toxic Pesticides in Produce Production

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

 (Beyond Pesticides, January 20, 2016) Aldi Süd, the German supermarket chain with stores in the U.S., has become the first major European retailer to ban pesticides toxic to bees, including the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, from fruits and vegetables produced for their stores. Aldi has requested suppliers comply at the earliest possible time. In light of the growing pollinator crisis and due to public pressure, retailers in Europe and the U.S. are slowly beginning to make the switch away from bee-toxic pesticides. Beginning January 1, suppliers of fruits and vegetables to Aldi suppliers will have to ensure that their cultivation practices do not include the following eight pesticides identified as toxic to bees (thiamethoxam, chlorpyrifos,  clothianidin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, fipronil, imidacloprid and sulfoxaflor) to meet  the new requirement. According to a press release from Greenpeace, the chemicals are used on various commodities in Europe  —thiamethoxam (used in lettuce and endive), chlorpyrifos, clothianidin (used in kohlrabi, herbs, Brussels sprouts, head cabbage, cauliflower and kale), cypermethrin (leek, head cabbage and leguminous vegetables), deltamethrin (cauliflower, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, pea, head cabbage, tomato and lettuce),  imidacloprid (applied to apples, peaches, apricots and lettuce). Sulfoxaflor was recently granted regulatory approval in Europe, despite calls […]

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Pyrethroid Pesticide Use Increases Rates of ADHD in Adolescent Boys in New Study

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides June 4, 2015) Another study has found links between a commonly used household pesticide and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and young teens. Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found an association between pyrethroid pesticide exposure and ADHD, particularly in terms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. These results reinforce the findings of a study led by a research team at Rutgers University earlier this year that found links between the pesticide deltamethrin and ADHD. In 2001, over concerns about adverse health consequences, the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency banned several commonly used organophosphate (organic compounds containing phosphorus) pesticides from residential use due to the chemicals neurotoxic properties. The ban led to the increased use of pyrethroid pesticides, which are now the most commonly used pesticides for residential pest control and public health purposes. Pyrethroids, like deltamethrin, are commonly used in the home,  office buildings,  and on vegetable crops, gardens, lawns and golf courses. This shift to predominantly using pyrethroids is troubling, as they have oft been promoted as a safer choice than banned organophosphates, despite the fact that they pose many real threats to human health. Many recent studies show significant concern with this class of chemicals, […]

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Changes to Canadian Aquaculture Rule Raises Pesticide Concerns

Friday, February 20th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2015) A broad-based coalition is urging Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper to put a stop to proposed changes to federal aquaculture regulations, citing damage to the environment and existing businesses. The proposed amendments to the federal Fisheries Act would exempt the aquaculture industry from provisions that “prohibit the release of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish.” Coalition members are worried that the changes will result in pesticides routinely being dumped into the Bay of Fundy,  located between the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and remove Environment Canada’s role in aquaculture activities, said spokeswoman Maria Recchia, the executive director of the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association. Aquaculture, which refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of aquatic organisms such as fish, shellfish, and plants, provides half of the world’s seafood. According to  Food and Water Watch, offshore aquaculture follows an industrial agriculture model which grows thousands of animals in a confined environment. For fish, however, this confined space is in the ocean, meaning all of the waste products from the operation flow directly into the ocean. This includes excess feed and chemicals that are used, such as antibiotics and pesticides, to treat or prevent […]

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Commonly Used Pyrethroid Pesticide Increases Risk of ADHD

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2015) A study led by a Rutgers University research team finds that the commonly used pesticide deltamethrin increases the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, adding to a mounting body of scientific research linking pesticide exposure to the disorder. Rutgers scientists, along with colleagues from Emory University, the University of Rochester Medical Center, and Wake Forest University discovered that mice exposed to the pyrethroid insecticide deltamethrin in utero and through lactation exhibit several features of ADHD, including dysfunctional dopamine signaling in the brain, hyperactivity, working memory, attention deficits and impulsive-like behavior. The study, Developmental pesticide exposure reproduces features of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was published Wednesday in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). ADHD is estimated to affect 8—12% of school-age children worldwide. ADHD is a complex disorder, and though is strong scientific evidence that genetics play a role in susceptibility to the disorder, no specific gene has been found that causes ADHD and scientists believe that environmental factors, such as pesticide exposure, may contribute to the development of the behavioral condition. “Although we can’t change genetic susceptibility to ADHD, there may be modifiable environmental factors, including […]

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Report Finds Banned, Illegal Pesticides in Popular Indian Tea Brands

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2014) Pesticides are not the first thing to pop into mind when peering into a hot mug of steaming, pale green or murky black tea first thing in the morning. A recent report published by Greenpeace India announced the results of an investigation that tested for pesticide residues in branded tea. The verdict? Nearly 94% of the tea samples tested contained at least one of 34 different pesticides, while over half contained a toxic cocktail of more than 10 different pesticides. The residues found include DDT, which was banned for use in agriculture in India since 1989, and endosulfan, which was banned in 2011 by the Indian Supreme Court. Over half of the 49 samples contained illegal pesticides — either those that are not approved for use in tea cultivation or exceeded recommended limits. These pesticides include ones that have been long banned from agriculture and use in tea cultivation (DDT and triazophos), suspected mutagens and neurotoxicants (monocrotophos), and insecticides associated with the global decline in bee populations (neonicotinoids like thiacloprid and thiamethoxam). The most frequently detected pesticides include thiamethoxam (78%), cypermethrin (73%), acetamiprid (67%), thiacloprid (67%), DDT (67%), deltamethrin (67%), dicofol (61%), imidacloprid (61%), and […]

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Another Study Finds Rootworms Resistant to Genetically Engineered Corn

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, September 3, 2013) For the past several years, corn rootworms  have  been widely reported to exhibit resistance  to corn genetically engineered (GE) with the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin. A  new report by  University of Illinois researchers found the resistant corn rootworm  in two of the state’s counties significantly damaged by western corn rootworm. The increasing lack of efficacy of GE corn, developed with the claim that it  is specifically designed to protect corn from rootworm, calls into question the efforts of agrichemical companies to patent new forms of GE crops. The report by Joe Spencer, PhD, and Michael Gray, PhD,  identifies significant damage from western corn rootworms in farm field that were planted with GE corn that contain a Bt protein referred to as “Cry3Bb1,” which has been inserted into nearly one-third of the corn planted in the United States. This version of Bt corn was introduced by Monsanto in 2003, and was touted as a way to reduce insecticide use against rootworm pests. Evidence was gathered in two Illinois counties, Livingston and Kankakee, after fields that had severe root pruning and lodging were brought to the attention of Drs. Spencer and Gray. Dr. Gray was quoted in […]

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Seafood Company Commits To Limit Pesticide Use

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2013) Norwegian seafood production company, Marine Harvest, has committed to certify its salmon farms by 2020  to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) Salmon Standard, with the condition that they  begin tightening restrictions of pesticide use and move from caged systems in coastal waters to closed containment systems. As the world’s largest producer of farmed salmon, responsible for 25% to 30% of the global salmon and trout production the move marks an important shift toward sustainable production of their fish products. The ASC Salmon Standard, an accreditation scheme developed and promoted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), requires members to  diminish the use of toxic chemicals, address sourcing of feed ingredients, diminish the transmission of disease to wild salmon populations, control the escape of farmed salmon, reduce the use of antibiotics and genetically engineered products, and finaly address the labor issues on salmon farms. As of now Marine Harvest has only committed to accredit its fish farms within the United Kingdom, although they also produce fish in Norway, Canada, the Faroe Islands, Ireland and Chile. The company’s move follows on the heels of recent media attention that revealed the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) had  found up […]

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Scotts Miracle-Gro Caught Again, This Time a Record $12.5m Penalty Levied for Pesticide Violations

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2012) Lawn company giant, Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., pleaded guilty to numerous charges of misleading consumers with unapproved labels and falsifying insecticide registrations, including using toxic chemicals in wild bird food. Scotts was ordered to pay $12.5 million in criminal fines, the largest penalty ever set under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Scotts admitted to using Storcide II and Actellic 5E to prevent insects from damaging the bird food in storage, even though it knew both chemicals were toxic to birds, fish, and other wildlife. In 2008, Scotts Miracle-Gro ceased sales of the tainted birdseed but not before 70 million units of the pesticide-tainted food was sold. The sentence imposed in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, includes a $4 million criminal fine, the Justice Department said. Separately, the company agreed to pay more than $6 million in civil penalties to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and contribute $500,000 to organizations to protect bird habitats and restore and protect 300 acres of land to prevent runoff of pesticides into waterways —valued at $2 million. EPA has identified more than 100 products produced or sold by Scotts Miracle-Gro that violated the federal pesticide laws over […]

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Research Shows Commonly Used Pesticides Produce Greater Toxic Effect When Mixed

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

(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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Deltamethrin Approved for New Brunswick Salmon Fisheries

Monday, October 25th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, October 25,2010) In an effort to control sea lice in farmed Atlantic salmon Health Canada has approved a request by the province of New Brunswick to use the pesticide Alphamax, whose active ingredient is deltamethrin. The high concentrations of salmon in aquaculture facilities has lead to major problems with sea lice, a type of parasitic crustacean that attaches to the fish. Health Canada has approved the use of the restricted pesticide deltamethrin through December of this year. While many salmon farmers are pleased, the decision by Canada’s federal agency has many local fishermen concerned about the effects the pesticide will have on fish and shellfish populations. “Basically we are shocked in a nutshell,” said Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association project manager Melanie Sonnenberg, adding, “Dsappointed doesn’t cover it.” The use of deltamethrin will be restricted to tarped cages or well boats, boats with large holds. Treatment would involve placing fish in the boats, bathing them in Alphamax and releasing them back into cages along with the treated water. The industry is ready to start using the treatment in the Bay of Fundy. Fish farmers have been challenged in controlling sea lice outbreaks this summer, particularly in the upper Passamaquoddy […]

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Pyrethroids Found to Impair Bee Reproduction

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2010) A study investigating the sublethal effects of pyrethroids, bifenthrin and deltamethrin on honeybees finds that the chemicals significantly impair the pollinators’ reproduction. The researchers also point out that the concentration of each pesticide that produced adverse effects in the experiments was at or below those that bees could encounter while pollinating treated crop fields. “Effects of sublethal concentrations of bifenthrin and deltamethrin on fecundity, growth, and development of the honeybee Apis mellifera ligustica” published in the March issue of Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry, investigated the effects of the two pesticides at sublethal concentrations on fecundity, growth, and development of honeybees were examined with the feeding method for a three-year period (2006-2008). It was shown that both bifenthrin and deltamethrin significantly reduced bee fecundity, decreased the rate at which bees develop to adulthood, and increased their immature periods. Queens in the control group in 2006 laid a little more than 1,200 eggs each day, compared to not quite 900 a day in the bifenthrin group and roughly 600 per day in the deltamethrin group. In general, the hatch rate of pyrethroid-exposed eggs was also significantly depressed. The success rate of hatchlings, that is the share that […]

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CDC Issues Fourth National Report on Body Burden of Toxic Chemicals

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, December 16, 2009) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published its Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals – the most comprehensive assessment to date of the exposure of the U.S. population to chemicals in our environment. CDC measures 212 chemicals in people’s blood or urine – 75 of which have been measured for the first time in the U.S. population. One of the new chemicals included in this report is triclosan, a common and hazardous antibacterial agent. In this Fourth Report, 75 new chemicals were added. Chemicals in the Fourth Report include metals such as lead, cadmium, uranium, mercury, and speciated forms of arsenic; environmental phenols such as bisphenol-A (BPA); acrylamide; perfluorinated chemicals; polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs); polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); volatile organic compounds such as benzene, styrene and methyl tert-butyl ether; pesticides; phthalates; and dioxins, furans and related chemicals. The data analyzed in the Fourth Report are based on blood and urine samples that were collected from approximately 2400 people who participated in CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2003 through 2004. NHANES is an ongoing national health survey of the non-institutionalized U.S. population that includes collecting and […]

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Ohio Asks EPA to Allow Unregistered Pesticide Use for Bedbugs

Friday, November 13th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2009) The Ohio Department of Agriculture is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow an unregistered use of the neurotoxic and cancer causing insecticide propoxur in homes to fight bedbugs in what state officials are describing as an ”˜emergency’ situation. The chemical, o-isopropoxyphenyl methylcarbamate, is in the carbamate family and classified as a probable human carcinogen (Group B2) by EPA, and listed as a known human carcinogen by the state of California. Though EPA allows emergency exemptions for unregistered pesticide uses in agriculture and for public health reasons under a controversial waiver program (Section 18, Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, 40 CFR Part 166), it rarely issues such an exemption for an indoor pesticide use. Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati are all experiencing a surge of bed bug infestations. According to Richard Pollack, a Harvard University public health entomologist, this is probably due to the fact that bedbugs are becoming resistant to many pesticide products that are used today. The use of broad spectrum insecticides, which kill common household insects such as cockroaches, ants and other insects including bed bugs, has resulted in insect resistance to these chemicals. Many of the chemicals used against […]

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Urban Insecticide Use Linked to Decline of Delta Ecosystem

Friday, July 17th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, July 17, 2009) High levels of pyrethroid pesticides in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, the number one river system on America’s Most Endangered Rivers List of 2009, has been linked to heavy urbanization in the region. Leading a study to understand the collapse of the delta’s ecosystem, University of California-Berkeley toxicologist Donald Weston, Ph.D. found that these pesticides most likely reached the river from urban storm drains, collecting household pesticide disposal and runoff from lawns of 1.4 million residents in the Sacramento region. Five years ago, a study by Dr. Weston and his colleague Michael J. Lydy, Ph.D of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale found that synthetic phyrethroids were collecting in river and creek sediments at levels that are toxic to bottom dwelling fish. Current research holds that there are enough pyrethroids to kill tiny shrimp, which are said to be the first link in the aquatic food chain. Pyrethroids are synthetic versions of pyrethrin, a natural insecticide found in certain species of chrysanthemum. It initially came on the market as a ”˜safer’ alternative to the heavily regulated and highly toxic organophosphates, such as diazinon and chlorypyrifos. Despite the fact that there are plenty of effective pest control […]

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Call For Action Against Bed Bug Resurgence

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, April 16, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) convened the first ever National Bed Bug Summit (April 14-15, 2009) to solicit recommendations from scientists, state and local officials, pest control operators and the general public on how to tackle the resurgence of the blood sucking insects. Bed bugs have rebounded in significant numbers for the first time since World War II, partly due to increased global travel and their increasing resistance to commonly used pesticides. Bed bug outbreaks have tripled since 2005, according to a survey of 800 pest control firms across the country, infesting apartment buildings, college dormitories, hospital wings, homeless shelters and top-rated hotels. Bedbugs outbreaks have been reported in at least 27 states, including Honolulu, San Francisco, Cincinnati, Chicago, Houston and Miami. In 2006, a Chicago woman sued a New York hotel for $20 million after suffering more than 500 bed bug bites. Persistent outbreaks are normally concentrated in low-income neighborhoods, where people cannot afford to replace or professionally clean bedding and soft furnishing. Both New York and San Francisco have passed city legislation to help control the spread of the bugs. In San Francisco, the legislation centers on landlord and tenant rights while […]

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Pyrethroid Pesticides Found in Homes and Daycare Centers

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, November 3, 2008) A new study, Pyrethroid pesticides and their metabolites in vacuum cleaner dust collected from homes and day-care centers (doi:10.1016/j.envres.2008.07.022), by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Exposure Research Laboratory finds concentrations of 13 synthetic pyrethroids and their degradates in indoor dust collected from homes and childcare centers in North Carolina and Ohio. The study results show the extent to which hazardous pesticides are present in indoor environments and threaten the public’s health, especially the health of children. With 85 vacuum cleaner bags analyzed, permethrin was present in all 85 dust samples, at least one pyrethroid pesticide was found in 69 samples and phenothrin was found in 36 samples. According to the study findings published in the November issue of the journal Environmental Research, the median concentration of permethrin in the samples is 1454ng/g of dust. Excluding permethrin, pyrethroid conectrations are less than or equal to 100ng/g of dust. The majority of the metabolites are present in more than half of the dust samples. This is not the first time researchers have found pesticides in dust in homes. A study published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health (208: 193-199) also found that […]

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High Pesticide Residues Found In European Food

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2008) Fruits, vegetables and cereals sold throughout the European Union (EU) contain record levels of pesticides, according to an official report to be published later this month by Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe. Almost half of fruits, vegetables and cereals are now contaminated with pesticides –a substantial increase on the level seen just five years ago. These findings come at a time when industry and farmers have begun to intensify their opposition to proposed restrictions on toxic pesticides. Five of the pesticides most common in the food chain are classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, or disruptive to the hormonal system. The findings come just days before politicians in Brussels are set to debate new EU pesticide legislation —-including a proposal to eliminate the most hazardous pesticides from use in food production. But despite evidence of widespread food contamination, efforts to reduce dietary exposure to hazardous pesticides are being fiercely contested by the pesticides industry. “These are the worst pesticide results we’ve ever seen,” said Elliott Cannell, Coordinator of PAN Europe. “A record proportion of fruits and vegetables are contaminated, while 23 pesticides were detected at levels high enough to present an acute risk to public health, according […]

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