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Common Pesticide Exposure Alters Behavior of Fish and Amphibians

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2016) Exposure to common pesticides at levels often found in the environment can have subtle but significant impacts on the behavioral health of fish, amphibians and other aquatic invertebrates. According to researchers at Northern Arizona University, who analyzed data from nearly 40 experiments to reach their conclusion, fish and amphibians swam 35% slower and were 72% less active after pesticide exposure. Chemical Class Type Example Pesticides Carbamates Insecticide Carbaryl, Aldicarb Organochlorine Insecticide DDT, Endosulfan, Chlordane Organophosphates Insecticide Diazinon, Chlorpyrifos Organotins Biocide Tributyltin Phosphonoglycines Herbicide Glyphosate, Glufosinate Pyrethroids Insecticide Permethrin, Bifenthrin, Esfenvalerate Triazines Herbicide Atrazine, Simazine The study, published in Science of the Total Environment, found that the overall effect on aquatic wildlife varied based on the chemical class the animals encountered. While pyrethroids, carbamates, and organophosphates resulted in a significant decrease in swim speed, triazines and phosphonoglycines showed no overall effect. Pyrethroids, carbamates, organophosphates, organochlorines, and organotins decreased activity, while phosphonoglycines had no overall effect, and triazines actually increased activity. “I didn’t think that we would see [an effect] across such a wide range of pesticides so consistently, but we did,” said study co-author, Catherine Propper, PhD to KNAU, “and that leads to some concerns about […]

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Study Adds to Evidence of Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Intersex Fish

Monday, January 4th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, January 4, 2016) A study published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) found large-scale evidence of intersex in smallmouth and largemouth bass in the Northeast United States, an indicator of endocrine disruption. The study, published in the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, looks at 19 U.S. National Wildlife Refuges and is the first reconnaissance survey of this scope. The study found that the prevalence of testicular oocytes across all samples was 85% and 27% for male small- and largemouth bass, respectively. Intersex occurs when one sex develops characteristics of the opposite sex. In the case of this study, researchers found testicular oocytes ””female eggs found inside male testicles””in male smallmouth and largemouth bass. The study explains, “The presence of oocytes in the testes of male gonochoristic fish has been used as an indicator of estrogenic exposure.” The source of the estrogen is hard to pinpoint, but pesticides are often cited as a cause given that they widely pollute waterways that  fish populate. Those chemicals have properties that disrupt the endocrine system and affect the reproductive system, causing development issues such as testicular oocytes. According to USGS, “Intersex is a global issue, […]

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Fresh Produce Tainted With Illegal Pesticides

Friday, October 23rd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 23, 2015) Tests on produce collected by California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) for 2014 show high levels of  illegal toxic pesticide residues. The CDPR report found 1 percent of produce containing an excess amount of pesticide residues, and an additional 5.5 percent of produce tested contained illegal residues of pesticides that are not allowed for use on that product. Additionally, the data shows residues of a banned  chemical, which was taken off the market  over 20 years in the U.S. due to health concerns related to farmworker exposure. These findings showcase issues related to  system-wide failure in  enforcement. Advocates stress that violations may continue to occur due to inadequacies in regulations governing enforcement authorities, which include warnings or low fines for violators. In raising concerns about the safety of food grown with chemical-intensive methods, advocates point to the need to expand the transition to organic agriculture for better protection of public health and safety. The highest percentage of illegal pesticides was found on cactus pads and cactus fruit imported from Mexico. Some of the other tainted fruit and vegetables include limes, papaya, summer squash, tomatillos, chili peppers, and tomatoes, also from Mexico, ginger imported from China, […]

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California Fines Six Firms for Repeated Pesticide-Tainted Crop Violations

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, August 6, 2015) On July 28, the California Department of Pesticide (DPR) released a statement announcing recent sanctions for six California import firms who repeatedly violated pesticide regulations. Since December of last year, these six firms have been selling imported products that have been tainted with pesticides not approved for production or sale in the United States, including DDE, imidacloprid, chlorpyrifos, and the long-banned endosulfan. The fines range from $10,000 to $21,000. The six firms responsible for selling fruits and vegetables containing illegal pesticide residues are: Top Quality Produce, Inc. 623 Vineland Avenue, La Puente, CA 91746 will pay $10,000. On 5 separate occasions, the company sold produce such as Longan imported from Thailand, Burdock Root imported from Taiwan and Lychees imported from China with illegal pesticide residues. The produce was sold between November 2013 and July 2014. Yi Bao Produce Group, 3015 Leonis Blvd, Vernon CA 90058, will pay $15,000. On 7 separate occasions, the company sold produce imported from China such as Ginger, Taro Root, Longan and Fragrant Pear with illegal pesticide residues. The produce was sold between March 2013 and September 2014. Primary Export International Inc. 143 Mitchell Ave., South San Francisco, CA 94080, will […]

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

Friday, January 9th, 2015

(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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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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Pesticide Production Leaves a Legacy of Poisoning and Contamination

Monday, June 30th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, June 30, 2014) Decades later there are still horrifying impacts from a legacy of dumping in the environment tens of thousands of pounds of chemical waste used in the production of pesticides. The production  by the Hooker Chemical Company of C-56, the progenitor of many now banned organochlorine pesticides, has resulted in contamination and hardship. Beyond Pesticides has long advocated for the elimination of hazardous synthetic pesticides, due to unnecessary risks that put the health of both people and entire communities in jeopardy. Long after the Depression Era in Montague, MI, there were still many families who were left jobless and looking for any means to bring back a better life. The town decided to stimulate the local economy by recruiting Hooker Electrochemical Company; a chemical manufacturer originally based in New York, where it had been using an old canal bed for disposal of waste in the 1940s and was looking for a new site to build a chlor-alkali plant. Ninety-six percent of local residents signed the petition to bring them in. The situation was perfect for Hooker, which needed the vast underground reserves of salt and the lake water in the town for cooling during its industrial […]

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Fish from Alaskan Wilderness Contaminated with Banned Pesticides

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, April 15, 2014) A new study released last week by the National Park Service on contaminant use in Alaska, found traces of pesticides in fish ””pesticides which have long been banned and likely never been used within the Alaskan wilderness areas. Researchers examined three Alaskan parks renowned for their remote, pristine and protected wilderness ””Lake Clark National Park, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Katmai National Park”” only to find that contaminants, including PCBs at concentrations exceeding those in the lower 48 states. The study, Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Fish from Western US and Alaska National Parks””Spatial Distribution and Health Thresholds, published in the Journal of the American Water Resources Association, sought to compare contaminant level found within fish across the nation. Generally, researchers found that Alaskan fish were more likely to have traces of older chemicals, while those in the lower 48 tended to be dominated by newer chemicals. The most commonly detected chemicals are PCBs, endosulfan, sulfate and p,p’-DDE, a breakdown product of DDT.  Some of these long-banned chemicals actually exceed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) guidelines for human subsistence on fish and wildlife. Among those exceeding acceptable levels, dieldrin, chlordane, and p,p’-DDE have been […]

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Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals May Target Fish Hearts

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2014) According to a new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, chemical contaminants in waterways that mimic estrogen -endocrine disruptors- target developing heart valves in fish and impair the growth of fish hearts. The study illustrates that these hormone-mimicking compounds, which include some pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and other household chemicals often found in sewage effluent and runoff that flows into waterways, are being linked to mounting science that show serious human and environmental adverse effects. Researchers from the Fish Health Branch of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Carnegie Institution for Science exposed zebrafish embryos to water from 19 sites in the Susquehanna, Delaware, Allegheny and Shenandoah watersheds. Water from 16 of the sites triggered proteins in the fish that were estrogen receptors, indicating that the rivers contained endocrine disrupting chemicals. These receptors are attached to DNA, which turn genes on and off. While such activity is common in the liver, this is the first experiment to show estrogenic activity in heart valves. “This tells us that endocrine-disrupting chemicals could lead to improper heart development. We were quite surprised, since this is something that others hadn’t observed before,” said study co-author Luke Iwanowicz, PhD, and research […]

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GAO Report Questions Adequacy of EPA’s Conditional Pesticide Registration System

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2013) In a report released Monday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) finds that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s use and oversight of conditional registrations is lacking and unreliable. Conditional registration allows pesticides onto the consumer market without all the required data to assess the chemical’s safety. This has created many serious human and environmental health problems, including bee decline, tree death and potential increases in human health risks. GAO recommends that EPA better track conditional registrations, however, Beyond Pesticides and other concerned groups urge the agency to cancel registrations until all relevant data is submitted and reviewed. According to the findings of the GAO’s report, EPA’s system for tracking pesticides with conditional registration is unreliable and thus, the total number of conditional registrations granted is unclear.   This lack of a reliable system for managing conditional registrations constitutes an ”˜internal control weakness’ because the agency lacks an effective mechanism for program oversight and decision making, according to federal internal control standards cited by GAO. The report states, “The extent to which EPA ensures that companies submit additional required data and EPA reviews these data is unknown. Specifically, EPA does not have a reliable system, such […]

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Third Time in Three Years – Pesticides Believed to be Cause of Fish Kills in Canada

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, July 31, 2013) Environmental officials are investigating why dozens of dead fish are washing up on the banks of two rivers in western Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), Canada. For the third time in three years, dead fish have been spotted rising to the surface of Barclay Brook where thousands of fish died in 2011 and 2012 after pesticides from farmers’ fields ran off into the water.   Almost exactly one year ago, when more than 2,000 dead fish were scooped from the near two-mile stretch of Barclay Brook, dead fish again began washing up on the banks of the same river in western P.E.I. following heavy rains last Friday. About a dozen were found the day of the rains, but officials and volunteers with the local watershed group have since found more than 100. The nearby Mill River also experienced a fish kill, with the first dead fish reported being washed up on Monday. P.E.I. Department of Environment and Environment Canada officials are investigating the fish kills. Government spokesman Wayne MacKinnon says pesticide run-off could be the cause of the latest fish kill, but water samples collected on the weekend have yet to be tested. Dale Cameron, a […]

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Chinese Herbs Found To Be Tainted With Pesticides

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, June 25, 2013) Traditional Chinese herbs, widely regarded for their medicinal properties, may not be as therapeutic as they seem. In fact, according to a new report released by Greenpeace East Asia, they may be toxic to your health. This news isn’t just disturbing for the Chinese people who live and work around where these toxic herbs are produced, but also for the entire global export market for Chinese alternative medicines, valued at $1.46 billion in 2010. The Greenpeace report found pesticides in 48 out of their 65 samples of traditional Chinese herbs, which included plants such as wolfberries, honeysuckle, the San Qi flower and chrysanthemum. Of these samples, the researchers discovered 51 different kinds of pesticide residues, with 32 of the samples tested containing traces of three or more different pesticides. In 26 samples, residues from pesticides that have been banned for use in agriculture in China were found, including phorate, carbofuran, fipronil, methamidophos, aldicarb and ethoprophos. This report isn’t the first where Chinese exports have been singled out for presence of pesticide contamination. In April 2012, Greenpeace released a report found that Unilever’s Lipton tea bags made in China contain pesticide residues that exceed the  European […]

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EPA Allows Highly Toxic Endosulfan Residues on Imported Chinese Tea

Monday, February 11th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced its decision to allow residues of the cancer causing insecticide endosulfan on imported Chinese teas until July 31, 2016. Its decision to provide “additional time to transition to an alternative to endosulfan” raises serious concerns of further exposure to the toxic carcinogen for farmworkers and consumers. In May 2011, EPA proposed to revoke all tolerances for endosulfan, as, “It can pose unacceptable health risks to farmworkers and wildlife and can persist in the environment.” The agency proposed transition time that would allow growers time to adopt alternatives, with the last four uses ending on July 31, 2016. For tea, EPA proposed an immediate revocation, since there is little if any endosulfan used in tea production in the U.S. However, the Chamber of Commerce of the Zhejiang International Tea Industry filed a complaint indicating that it would need five years or less to find feasible alternatives to endosulfan. It also indicated that it was unable to provide comment on the tolerance revocation ruling as the EPA did not provide proper notice to the World Trade Organization. In acknowledging this oversight, EPA will allow endosulfan residues of 24 parts […]

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Celebrate an Organic Hanukkah

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2012) This year, December 8th marks the beginning of Hanukkah, the Jewish holiday known as the “Festival of Lights.” Hanukkah is a time for lighting the menorah, spinning the dreidel, eating good food, and spending time with loved ones””not a time for toxic chemicals to be making their way into your family’s holiday food. Latkes, or potato pancakes, served with apple sauce are the traditional food eaten on Hanukkah. But both potatoes and apples are foods that are typically high in pesticides. According to Beyond Pesticides’ Eating with a Conscience database, potatoes that are grown with toxic chemicals show low pesticide residues on the finished commodity, however, there are 78 pesticides with established tolerance for potatoes, 30 are acutely toxic creating a hazardous environment for farmworkers, 69 are linked to chronic health problems (such as cancer), 17 contaminate streams or groundwater, and 70 are poisonous to wildlife. Potatoes have been found to contain residues of the pesticides thiabendazole, endosulfan, and aldicarb ””all 3 of which are hazardous, especially to children. Similarly, there are 109 pesticides with established tolerance for apples, 38 are acutely toxic, creating a hazardous environment for farmworkers, 91 are linked to chronic health […]

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Study Shows Children at Risk from Cumulative Exposure to Pesticides

Monday, November 26th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, November 26, 2012) The U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) risk assessment process does not account for cumulative dietary exposure to the multitude of pesticides on conventional foods. The agency typically analyzes the exposure risk associated with each pesticide on an individual basis, except for those determined to have a common mechanism of toxicity. In light of these gaps in America’s regulatory process, researchers at UC Davis and UCLA in Cancer and non-cancer health effects from food contaminant exposures for children and adults in California: a risk assessment conducted an analysis of the toxics children and adults are exposed to through a normal diet. Rainbow Vogt, Ph.D., lead author of the study published in the journal Environmental Health, explains, “We focused on children because early exposure can have long-term effects on disease outcomes.” Researchers preformed their risk assessment by estimating exposure to food contaminants based on self-reported food frequency data for eleven toxic compounds- acrylamide, arsenic, lead, mercury, chlorpyrifos, permethrin, endosulfan, dieldrin, chlordane, DDE, and dioxin. Data was drawn from the 2007 Study of the Use of Products and Exposure-Related Behavior, which examines behaviors that influence exposure to toxicants in the home environment. Normal consumption patterns were then measured […]

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Decision to Ban Hazardous-to-Farmworker Pesticide Stands

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, September 4, 2012) After considering comments from growers and other stakeholders, including over 2,000 emails generated from Beyond Pesticides’ supporters on the recent proposal to reverse a decision to end the use of the organophosphate insecticide azinphos-methyl (AZM), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has once again come to the conclusion that the chemical presents health risks to workers and can cause negative ecological impacts, while effective alternatives to this insecticide are available to growers. The agency has decided to maintain the initial September 30, 2012 date for cancellation of the remaining uses of AZM, on apples, blueberries, sweet and tart cherries, parsley, and pears. Though this represents a victory for farmworkers and health and environmental advocates, EPA has decided to allow growers to use only existing stocks of AZM in their possession for another year, through September 30, 2013, citing unusually bad weather conditions throughout 2012. All the required mitigation measures now reflected on AZM labeling will remain in effect during this use. Distribution or sale of AZM after September 30, 2012 remains prohibited. Due to industry pressure, the agency initially announced that it was conducting a new risk-benefit analysis (analysis of the impacts of cancellation) and […]

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After Years of Delay, EPA Finally Begins Phase Out of the DDT-Era Pesticide Endosulfan

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, August 2, 2012) Following the phase-out announcement two years ago, and after many years of pressure from environmental and international groups concerned about the chemical’s health effects, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally begun the process of phasing out the use of the highly toxic endosulfan –an organochlorine insecticide in the same chemical family as DDT. The phase of endosulfan uses began on July 31, 2012 and will continue through July 31, 2016. In 2010, EPA negotiated a long phase-out agreement with endosulfan’s manufacturers that allows uses to continue through 2016, even though EPA concluded that endosulfan’s significant risks to agricultural workers and wildlife outweigh its limited benefits to growers and consumers, and that there are risks above the agency’s level of concern for aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, as well as birds and mammals that consume aquatic prey that have ingested endosulfan. This is an egregious example of how EPA uses phase out and existing stock provisions in negotiating with industry on removing known hazards from the market, placing economic interests over the protection of public health. In 2010, EPA decided that data presented in response to its 2002 reregistration eligibility decision (RED) demonstrated that risks […]

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Pesticides Blamed for Fish Kill on Canadian Coast

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, July 11, 2012) Hundreds of dead fish have been found in Prince Edward Island, Canada, the second in two years, prompting concerns about the use of pesticides in the province’s agriculture industry, and the effectiveness of mitigation measures to reduce pesticide runoff. It is believed that pesticide runoff from nearby agricultural fields after heavy rains are to blame for the massive fish kill. More than 2,000 fish have been scooped from the near two-mile stretch of Barclay Brook in Coleman since last Thursday following heavy rainfall, more than triple the amount of fish that washed up on the same shores of the brook last year, although the current discovery is concentrated in a smaller area. It is believed the actual number of dead fish is much higher, as predators and river currents would have quickly taken away the remains of other fish. Barclay Brook is part of the Trout River watershed, the scene of a devastating fish kill last July that mainly wiped out large fish. An investigation is underway to determine the exact cause of the fish kill, given that water temperature and oxygen levels were within acceptable ranges and the fish looked healthy and well-fed. As […]

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EPA Proposes to Reverse Decision to End Azinphos-Methyl Use

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, July 5, 2012) After a 2006 cancellation of uses due to unreasonable risks to farmworker health and the environment, and a 6-year phase out scheduled to conclude this September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting a risk-benefit analysis to make a determination whether to keep in place or amend the cancellation order for the organophosphate azinphos-methyl (AZM), citing new information on the economic costs of using alternatives. In 2001, EPA found that insecticides azinphos-methyl (AZM) posed unacceptable risks to farmworkers and announced that 28 crop uses were being canceled, seven crop uses were to be phased-out over four years, and eight crop uses were to be allowed to continue under a “time-limited” registration for another four years. Farmworker advocates challenged that decision in federal court citing that EPA failed to take into account the costs of poisoning workers, exposing children, and polluting rivers and streams. A settlement agreement effectively stayed the legal challenge pending EPA’s reconsideration of the “time limited” uses of AZM. In November 2006, EPA decided that AZM poses unreasonable adverse effects and issued a final decision to cancel AZM, but allowed continued use on some fruit crops (apples, cherries, pears) for six more […]

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Study Shows Harmful Effects of Long-Term Pesticide Exposure

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21st, 2012) A new study details the toxic effects of long-term exposure to commonly used agricultural pesticides. Results indicate an increased likelihood of moderate to severe blood toxicity and a reduced total number of bone marrow cells, which can lead to degenerative diseases like aplastic anemia. The study, entitled “Pesticide Induced Alterations in Marrow Physiology and Depletion of Stem and Stromal Progenitor Population: An Experimental Model to Study the Toxic Effects of Pesticide” is published in the online version of the Journal of Environmental Toxicology . The experiment, led by researchers at the Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry and Medical Biotechnology, exposed a group of mice to a mixture of organochlorine, organophosphate and pyrethriod pesticides, including a preponderance of the chemicals cypermethrin, and chloropyrofos. The exposed mice showed an overall reduction in the ability of their bodies to produce bone marrow cells. Bone marrow, the soft flexible tissue found in the interior of bones, is a storehouse for stem cells. While the exact mechanism is unknown to researchers, the study reveals that the microenvironment in which stem cells develop is somehow deranged by pesticides. This derangement prevents the maturation of stem cells into every […]

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Endosulfan Found in Bone Marrow of Children with Blood Cancers

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, February 22, 2012) Researchers have found high levels of endosulfan, a highly toxic organochlorine pesticide, in the bone marrow of children, including those suffering from hematological malignancies (blood cancers) in areas using the pesticide. Children who have endosulfan in their bone marrow have 7.5 times more risk of developing blood-related cancer compared to those with no detectable pesticide in the bone marrow. While the findings are based on research in India, the insecticide is still used in the production of dozens of crops in the U.S., even though EPA found that exposure to the chemical exceeds the agency’s acceptable risk criteria and announced in 2010 a six-year negotiated phase-out plan with industry that stretches from 2012 to 2016. Following a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2008, which cited EPA’s glaring omission in not considering risks to children, EPA announced in 2010 that it would, instead of stopping exposure to a known hazard immediately, phase-out over a six year period all uses of endosulfan in the U.S. Rather than regulating a stop use, EPA astounded many in the environmental and public health community by negotiating a long phase-out agreement with manufacturers that allows some […]

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Pesticides Linked to Vitamin D Deficiency

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2012) Pesticides could be suppressing vitamin D levels in people, leading to deficiency and disease, say scientists. This comes from a new study which discovered that adults with high serum concentrations of organochlorine pesticides, such as DDT, have lower vitamin D levels, further proving that these chemicals have a long-lasting impact on human health. While not widely appreciated, some organochlorine pesticides continue to be used in the U.S., resulting in exposure through our diet, environment, and prescription drugs, while most organochlorine pesticides have been banned in the U.S. and much of the world. Exposure to low doses of organochlorine pesticides has been previously linked to common diseases like type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D deficiency has similarly been associated with a rise in chronic diseases, but the two have been studied separately by researchers in different fields. The study, “Associations between Organochlorine Pesticides and Vitamin D Deficiency in the U.S. Population,” compared serum concentrations of organochlorine (OC) pesticides with serum concentrations of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D), a vitamin D pre-hormone, which is used to assess vitamin D levels in the body. It concludes that background exposure to some OC pesticides can lead to […]

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Six Largest Pesticide Manufacturers Stand Trial at International People’s Court

Monday, December 5th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2011) On December 3, the 27th anniversary of the Bhopal pesticide plant disaster in Bhopal, India, a trial began in an international people’s court in India involving the world’s six largest pesticide companies: Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow and Dupont. These companies, collectively known as the “Big 6,” are cited by prosecutors for their human rights violations, including internationally recognized rights to life, livelihood and health. Beyond Pesticides joined Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and others in signing a joint statement demanding that these companies be held accountable for their human rights violations, which was presented at the trial. The trial, hosted by PAN International, is facilitated by the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PTT), an international opinion tribunal independent from State authorities. The prosecution’s 230-page indictment outlines the global threats to human rights. It begins: The victims and survivors of [pesticide industry] aggression are the poor peasants, small-scale farmers, agricultural workers, rural women, children, and indigenous and agricultural communities around the world. They are at the mercy of the expanding power of the agrochemical [corporations] and are losing their control over their seeds and knowledge, and suffering debilitating physical and chronic effects due to pesticide poisoning, including coping […]

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