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Daily News Blog

16
Nov

Pesticide Use Found to Surpass ‘Planetary Boundaries’ for Resistance

(Beyond Pesticides, November 16, 2018) Pesticides and biocides used to control bacterial infections in humans and weeds and pests in agriculture are surpassing ‘planetary boundaries’ within which human civilization can continue to thrive and develop, according to a review by an international team of scientists working on the Living with Resistance project.  The study reinforces warnings that have largely gone unheeded by government regulators, as the world continues to sleepwalk its way into a cavalcade of resistance crises entirely of our own making. “Without new approaches, going to hospital in the future will increasingly become a gamble. More patients will get unlucky, and become infected with untreatable or hard to treat bacteria. This is an urgent risk to human society,” says study coauthor Søgaard Jørgensen, PhD in a press release. Scientists focused in on six different forms of resistance. Antibiotic resistance was split between gram negative bacteria (such as E. coli, P. aeruginosa, Salmonella) and gram positive bacteria (such as S. aureus, Clostridium) due to their divergent resistance mechanisms. Pesticide resistance was split between herbicides in general, herbicide resistant crops, insecticides in general, and genetically engineered (GE) crops that produce their own insecticide. In their . . .

15
Nov

Neonicotinoids Found to Change Frog Behavior

(Beyond Pesticides, November 15, 2018) Neonicotinoids are widely known for their link to declining pollinator populations, but new research finds that the ill effects of these chemicals also extends to amphibian populations. In a study published late last month, scientists from the National Wildlife Research Center in Ottawa, Canada found that chronic exposure to real-world levels of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid limits the ability of juvenile wood frogs to escape a predator attack. This research adds additional evidence that neonicotinoids are harming aquatic food chains, and reinforces calls for U.S. regulators to follow the science and adequately restrict these toxic pesticides. Researchers investigated the impact of neonicotinoids on the post-tadpole life stage of wood frogs, which has been identified as critical to sustaining viable populations of the species. Rather than determine acute impacts that assess how lethal a pesticide is, scientists opted to observe how wood frog behavior changes as a result of chronic, real-world exposure scenarios. In particular, scientists sought to figure out whether exposure resulted in an altered behavioral response to the presence of a predator. As tadpoles, wood frogs were chronically exposed to real world levels of imidacloprid (1, 10, and 100 . . .

14
Nov

Monarch Population Loss Tallied at 80% since 2005

(Beyond Pesticides, November 14, 2018) Monarch butterflies are in the midst of a staggering decades-long population decline that has rapidly accelerated since 2005, research published by an international team of scientists and the University of Florida last month indicates. According to data meticulously collected by researchers, monarchs making their way to central Florida after emerging from their breeding grounds in Mexico have declined by 80% over the last decade and a half. This is roughly the same time frame at which beekeepers began to see precipitous declines in managed honey bee colonies. Researchers point to industrial development and increasing pesticide use as factors that have accelerated the decline of this iconic species. “A broad pattern is that 95 percent of corn and soybean products grown in the U.S. are Roundup Ready crops that resist glyphosate,” said study coauthor Earnest Williams, PhD, of New York’s Hamilton College in a press release. “That has a national impact. What’s really needed are patches of native vegetation and nectar sources without pesticides. It’s not just for monarchs but all pollinators.” Beginning in 1985, renowned monarch expert Lincoln Brower, PhD and his team monitored monarch populations at a pesticide-free . . .

13
Nov

Help Beyond Pesticides Eliminate Toxic Pesticides and Grow Organic Solutions!

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2018) We are living in extraordinary times that call for bold action. We face serious public health and environmental challenges and know that we must work to advance local, state, and federal action. Our program relies on your support, which elevates independent science to call for action. While the November 6 election results offer some important opportunities in our communities, state, and nation, we continue to face the power of the pro-pesticide lobby and those seeking to weaken the integrity of organic standards in the Farm Bill. Please consider a donation to Beyond Pesticides because your support is critical to the ongoing challenges, as we leverage the opportunities. Check out our 2017 annual report, which captures the importance of our program in supporting the adoption of policies and practices at a time when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is curtailing its program, reversing previous decisions to restrict pesticide use, and ignoring scientific findings. Your support enables us to continue our critical work at a critical time. In our annual report, we share our strategy for effecting the changes necessary to protect health and the environment in 2018 and moving . . .

09
Nov

Liver and Kidney Damage Tied to Exposure to the Organophosate Insecticide Malathion

(Beyond Pesticides, November 9, 2018) A Tunisian study (published in January 2018) on the effects in pre-pubertal mice of exposure to malathion — an organophosphate pesticide first registered for use in the U.S. in 1956 — demonstrates significant distortion of liver and kidney biochemistry and function in the animals. Deleterious effects include compromise of feeding ability, metabolism performance, neurologic deficits, reduction of overall body weight, and simultaneous increases in the weights of livers and kidneys, with structural anomalies and lesions in those organ. Organophosphates (OPs) have raised alarm bells for years. Some, such as chlorpyrifos and diazinon, have had their registrations cancelled for household uses because of the extreme health risks to children, but agricultural, golf course, and “public health” (mosquito control) uses remain commercially available and in use. Recently, Beyond Pesticides reported on research whose investigators support — and called publicly for — a worldwide ban on the compounds because of the serious health and environmental risks they pose, particularly for children. Beyond Pesticides has written extensively on OP pesticides, including malathion and chlorpyrifos. Both are used widely in agriculture. Chlorpyrifos has been the subject of quite a ping-pong match in recent years: a . . .

08
Nov

Study Confirms Chemical-Intensive Production Contaminates Organic with Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, November 8, 2018) Two months after publishing its first series of tests, part two of an Environmental Working Group (EWG) study finds residues of Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, in all General Mills’ Cheerios and PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats products sampled. Health advocates are expressing concern about the consequences of chronic glyphosate exposure, and say U.S. federal agencies must limit the herbicide’s use on oat-based breakfast foods regularly marketed to children. In addition, organic itself is under threat, as chemical-intensive management practices undermine the future of the growing organic movement. In this second round of testing, EWG scientists purchased products around San Francisco and Washington DC. 28 samples of conventional and 16 samples of organic oat products were collected. Approximately 300 grams of each General Mills and PepsiCo product were packaged and shipped to Anresco Laboratories, in San Francisco. Detected glyphosate residues were compared to EWG’s own health benchmark of 160 parts per billion (ppb). This benchmark is based on risks of lifetime exposure and what EWG scientists consider allowable and protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety.  EWG’s results detected glyphosate residues in all 28 samples of conventionally grown oat . . .

07
Nov

Brazilian Researchers Link Rise in Colon Cancer to Increase in Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, November 7, 2018) Brazil’s rapid industrialization of its agricultural sector may be coming at the cost of resident health, according to a new study published in Chemosphere by an international team of scientists. The researchers link the rise in the country’s pesticide use since the turn of the century to significant increases in colon cancer, particularly in the country’s most intensive agricultural southern regions. With the recent election of far right president Jair Bolsonaro, who has supported policies that would loosen Brazil’s pesticide regulations, advocates are concerned the county’s farming industry is moving in an unsustainable direction. Researchers note that as Brazil’s agriculture industry has grown over the last two decades, it has become the world’s leading consumer of pesticides. In the year 2000, roughly 160 million tons of pesticides were used in the country. By 2012, that number reached nearly 500 million tons. Scientists compared pesticides sold to standard mortality rates (SMR) in each Brazilian state. SMR measures mortality by comparing observed mortality to expected mortality when adjusting for age and gender. A rate above one indicates that there is excessive mortality. Despite improvements in detection and treatment, colon cancer . . .

06
Nov

Coconut-Derived Insect Repellent More Effective than the Hazardous DEET

(Beyond Pesticides, November 6, 2018) Scientists working for USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Lincoln, Nebraska have discovered natural compounds derived from coconut oil that are more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, bed bugs and other insects. Given the long-lasting efficacy of the compounds researchers tested, commercialization could make the regular use of toxic insect repellents, like DEET, obsolete. Advocates are praising USDA researchers for the results, indicating that this is exactly the type of research government agencies should be funding and promoting. It is important to note that USDA scientists did not find coconut oil itself to be an effective repellent. Lab equipment was used to analyze and isolate medium chain fatty acids within coconut oil for their repellent properties. Scientists zeroed in on a blend of C8 (caprylic acid), C10 (capric acid), and C12 (lauric acid) fatty acids as the most effective repellent mixture. Individually, only C12 exhibited anywhere near the same efficacy as the specific blend identified. The study indicates that more research is needed to understand why coconut oil itself was ineffective, and how the synergy between the fatty acid combinations resulted in such effective repellency. To . . .

05
Nov

Vote on Tuesday –and take a friend with you

(Beyond Pesticides, November 5, 2018) As you know, the stakes in this midterm election are high. Many races are too close to call and will be decided by voter turnout. As we have read, our vote  will make a difference!  The stakes are high. People and the environment are being poisoned. Pollinators are disappearing. Waterways are being contaminated. Biodiversity is threatened. Children –especially farmworker children—are suffering brain damage, and pesticide exposure is linked to the increase in ADHD and autism. Pesticide exposure is implicated in cancer, Parkinson’s disease, reproductive dysfunction, diabetes, learning disabilities, and more. We need people in elected positions — from local officials to national offices — who will listen to constituents who know the need for protection from pesticides and understand the urgent need to adopt of organic practices. Learn about your candidates and vote! What more we can do. Take someone with you to the polls. Offer assistance to your neighbors who need help getting to the polls. Offer to watch children of those who need childcare. If you want to do even more, contact candidates to see how you can help with canvassing or phone banking. Make a . . .

02
Nov

Scientists Call for Ban on Organophosphate Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, November 2, 2018) A group of leading toxics experts, who published a paper in the journal PLOS Medicine on their research on organophosphate exposure during pregnancy and impacts on child development, are calling for a ban on organophosphate pesticides. The study evaluates current science on the risks of this class of compounds, produced by Corteva Agriscience (formerly Dow AgroSciences); its conclusions warn of the multitude of dangers of organophosphates for children, and makes recommendations for addressing these risks. The experts conclude that: (1) widespread use of organophosphate (OP) pesticides to control insects has resulted in ubiquitous human exposures; (2) acute exposures to OPs is responsible for poisonings and deaths, particularly in developing countries; and (3) evidence demonstrates that prenatal exposures, even at low levels, put children at risk for cognitive and behavioral deficits, and for neurodevelopmental disorders. Among the authors’ recommendations are these: Governments and subsidiary agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), should phase out chlorpyrifos and other organophosphate pesticides; ban non-agricultural uses of OP pesticides (including in household products); monitor watersheds and drinking water sources of human exposure; promote the use of integrated pest management (IPM) through incentives and training; and . . .

01
Nov

Bumblebees Shown to Suffer Reproductive Failure after Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2018) A new study offers fresh evidence that wild bumblebee pollinators are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides, finding that exposure to these compounds interferes with mating success and population stability. Researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, measuring real-world harms of neonicotinoids, indicate that the impacts they found to bumblebee “reproducers,” namely queen and drone (male) bees, does not bode well for the array of plant species that relies on them. Though advocates warn that destabilizing managed pollinators could threaten U.S. food production and exports, with food prices increasing as cost of bringing pollinators to farms increases, the study’s authors and advocates insist that the impacts of such widespread poisoning of wild bees could be felt well beyond agriculture. Researchers in the lab compare behavioral and psychological responses of virgin queens, workers, and male Bombus impatiens from multiple colonies to field-realistic doses of the neonicotinoid clothianidin. While every bee was given a replenishing supply of pollen based on body weight and energy demands, four distinct concentrations of diluted analytical-grade (pure) clothianidin (including a control with no pesticide added) were mixed into a nectar-like . . .

31
Oct

Massachusetts Residents Raise Health Concerns about Creosote Railroad Ties in Their Community

(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2018) Residents in the town of Great Barrington, MA are concerned about the health effects that could result from creosote-coated railroad ties stored in their neighborhood. According to a report in the Berkshire Eagle, soon after the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MDOT) parked a load of railroad ties along tracks that cut through a neighborhood, community members began to complain about the smell. Creosote is a mixture of thousands of different chemical compounds. Derived mainly from coal tar and regulated as a pesticide by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the material represents a significant hazard that puts people and the environment in danger, and can be readily replaced by safer, alternative materials. “I would want to roll up my windows immediately,” Beth Rose told the Berkshire Eagle. Another Great Barrington resident, Jeanne Bachetti, told the paper, “I started to smell them right after they moved [them] in there. Sometimes we get a propane smell from [nearby] AmeriGas, so I couldn’t tell. Then it dawned on me — that’s not gas.” MDOT is currently in the process of a project to upgrade roughly 40 miles of freight line, . . .

30
Oct

Organic Food Consumption Lowers Cancer Risks

(Beyond Pesticides, October 30, 2018) The conclusion of a recent population-based cohort study of 68,946 French adults brings promising, though perhaps predictable, news. Greater consumption of organic food — as opposed to food produced conventionally, with use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers — is associated with a reduction in overall cancer risk, and reduced risk of specific cancers, namely, postmenopausal breast cancer and lymphomas. The NutriNet-Santé Prospective Cohort Study was published on October 22 in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. It is important to remember that correlation is not causation; but the findings were strong enough that researchers concluded that more research is not only warranted, but also, could “identify which specific factors are responsible for potential protective effects of organic food consumption on cancer risk.” The project tracked subjects — who were 78% female and 44.2 years old, on average — for 4.5 years. Those subjects reported the frequency of their consumption of 16 organic food products as “never, occasionally, or most of the time.” Those included: fruits, vegetables, soy-based products, dairy products, meat and fish, eggs, grains, legumes, breads, cereals, flour, vegetable oils, condiments, ready-to-eat meals, cookies, chocolate, sugar, marmalade, dietary supplements, and . . .

29
Oct

Urgent: Help Protect the Integrity and Meaning of the USDA Organic Label

(Beyond Pesticides, October 29, 2018) Protect the integrity of the organic standard setting process that determines whether a synthetic substance will be allowed in food labeled organic. Help stop an attack on the meaning of the organic label in the Farm Bill, which may be voted out of conference committee by the end of November. By changing the substance review process, a provision will open the floodgates to allowed synthetic chemicals in organic production, handling, and processing under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). OFPA incorporates values and principles that build and regenerate soil, protect pollinators and biodiversity, eliminate toxic pesticide use, and contains a default provision that strictly limits synthetic chemicals in certified organic products. This will all change with the Farm bill amendment. Ask your U.S. Representative and Senators to tell Farm Bill conferees to reject Section 10104(e) National Organic Standards Board in the Senate Farm Bill (S.3042), a provision that will increase the use of synthetic substances in organic food production. OFPA incorporates language that ensures that the process for allowing synthetic chemicals in organic production, handling, and processing is very rigorous. This meets a public expectation that food labeled . . .

26
Oct

Judge Reduces Award, But Upholds Verdict in Roundup Case Against Bayer’s Monsanto

(Beyond Pesticides, October 26, 2018) California Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos is upholding a jury’s verdict that exposure to the herbicide glyphosate caused school groundkeeper Dewayne Johnson to develop cancer. The ruling comes after concern that Judge Bolanos would intervene and overturn the entire monetary award to Mr. Johnson. However, in her final ruling, the Judge decided only to reduce the punitive damages to the same amount the jury awarded in compensatory damages, $39 million. This ruling reduced the total amount awarded to Mr. Johnson from $289 million to $78 million. While attorneys for Mr. Johnson are disappointed in the reduction, they are pleased that the judge did not take further action. “Although we believe a reduction in punitive damages was unwarranted and we are weighing the options, we are pleased the court did not disturb the verdict,” Diana McKinley, Mr. Johnson’s spokeswoman, told the Associated Press (AP). Bayer, which finalized its merger with Monsanto earlier this year, is vowing to continue its nationwide defense against the over 8,000 cases the company inherited from its former rival currently working their way through the courts. A tentative ruling from Judge Bolanos earlier this month . . .

25
Oct

Bees’ Medicine Chest Should Include Sunflower Pollen, Study Finds

(Beyond Pesticides, October 25, 2018) A study published last month in Scientific Reports finds that eating sunflower pollen significantly reduces protozoan infection in bumblebees. Studying ecosystem services and what she calls “floral rewards,” evolutionary ecologist Lynn Adler, Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts Amherst says sunflowers may provide a long sought after solution for improving bees’ immune system response to both disease and parasites. The researchers studied the protozoan Crithidia bombi, a common parasitic infection of bumble bees, known to impair learning and foraging, shorten lifespan and destabilize colony hierarchies by impacting queen bee behavior. From the outset of the study, Dr. Adler says, “the more sunflowers were grown at the farm, the lower the Crithidia load for the bees at that farm.” Knowing pollinators eat pollen as a source of protein and healthy fats, Dr. Adler hypothesized that both pollen and nectar might have medicinal effects against disease and parasites. However, her experiment did not show consistent results with nectar. After bees in the lab were starved for 4-6 hours, researchers fed individual worker bees from small colonies a drop of fructose fluid containing 6,000 Crithidia cells, being the approximate concentration bees may . . .

24
Oct

Dolphins in Gulf of Mexico Contaminated with “Inert,” but Toxic, Pesticide Product Ingredients

(Beyond Pesticides, October 24, 2018) Bottlenose dolphins found along Florida’s west coast contain detectable levels of phthalates, chemicals used in plastics, cosmetics and as inert ingredients in pesticide products, research published in the journal GeoHealth last month indicates. The study, published by scientists from the College of Charleston, South Carolina, is the first to find detectable levels of these toxic industrial byproducts in dolphins. Given the transient nature of urinary detection, the findings indicate that dolphins and other marine mammals are at increased risk of health effects related to phthalate exposure. Scientists sampled a total of 17 dolphins found in Sarasota Bay, FL over the course of two years. Of the 17, phthalates were detected in 12 individuals, or 71% of dolphins. The type of phthalates discovered was indicative of the source of the contaminant. With researchers detecting mono‐(2‐ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP) and monoethyl phthalate (MEP) most frequently. While MEHP is associated with plastic pollution, MEP is a breakdown product of diethyl phthalate (DEP), a compound that has been used in pesticide products as an inert ingredient. “These chemicals can enter marine waters from urban runoff and agriculture or industrial emissions, . . .

23
Oct

Chief Minister of Sikkim State in India Urges World to Adopt Organic Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, October 23, 2018)  The Chief Minister of the Sikkim state in northeast India, Pawan Chamling, addressed a news conference in the Italian Parliament on October 15 to issue a call for a complete, global transition to organic agriculture by 2050. Citing the increasing dangers of climate disruption and its impacts, Mr. Chamling said that such conversion to pesticide- and petrochemical-free practices would reduce carbon emissions by 50%. The call for banning pesticides in communities and countries nationwide is gaining increasing traction, as the shift to organic land management is increasing exponentially. The town of Mals, Italy (93 square miles in area, encompassing ten villages and hamlets, as well as farmland, home to 5,092 people) passed a ban on a ballot initiative with 75% in favor and 69% of the electorate voting. In 2013, the country of Bhutan adopted completely organic practices  throughout its nation. Although not affecting agricultural pesticide use, towns across the U.S. are adopting measures that stop pesticide use community-wide. Ordinances in the cities of Ogunquit, South Portland, and Portland, Maine and the City of Takoma Park, Maryland are examples of city-wide pesticide bans. A petition in Switzerland calls for the banning of pesticides . . .

22
Oct

Take Action: Tell California Department of Pesticide Regulation to Ban Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2018) The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is accepting comments on its proposal to classify chlorpyrifos as a toxic air pollutant. The classification would require DPR to develop control measures that adequately protect public health. What happens in California affects all of us because products of California agriculture are available all over the country –and the world. In addition, policies set by the state of California are often examples for other states and the federal government. Tell California Department of Pesticide Regulation to ban chlorpyrifos. California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) states: Under the Toxic Air Contaminant Identification and Control Act (AB 1807, Chapter 1047, Statutes of 1983) and its implementing regulations (Title 3, California Code of Regulations, Section 6864), one of the criteria for identifying a pesticide as a TAC is if its concentration in the air exceeds one-tenth of the level that has been determined to be adequately protective of human health. The draft TAC document shows that bystanders can be exposed to modeled air concentrations of chlorpyrifos that exceed one-tenth the protective level, and thus meet the criteria for TAC identification. OEHHA’s findings below serve . . .

19
Oct

EPA Considers 300,000-Acre Expansion of Bee-Toxic Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, October 19, 2018) Pollinator advocates and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) are imploring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deny Bayer CropScience’s application for use of “Sivanto,”a pesticide product with the active ingredient flupyradifurone, a chemical the company claims is safer for bees, but poses the same risks at the notorious bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides. If approved, Sivanto would be sprayed in tobacco-growing states along 300,000 acres in the southeast U.S., areas home to more than three dozen species protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Bayer’s proposal for expanded uses comes after EPA’s own assessment indicated risks to endangered species, and despite the fact that the agency has not undergone an ESA mandated consultation with federal wildlife agencies. For the countless flying insects, birds, and bats already under significant threat from neonicotinoids, adding another systemic insecticide to the mix will only make the situation worse. Bayer AG is characterizing flupyradifurone as being harmless to honeybees. However, flupyradifurone, being a systemic pesticide, can negatively impact many non-target species.  In fact, flupyradifurone impacts honey bee brains in a similar way to neonicotinoids, as it impairs learning, memory and the honey bees’ affinity for . . .

18
Oct

Study of Rural New York State Homes Finds Pesticides in Every Sample Tested

(Beyond Pesticides, October 18, 2018) Pesticide residue doesn’t announce itself –it isn’t colored, it doesn’t glow or reflect light, and after an initial application doesn’t put out a discernible odor – but it is likely ubiquitous in rural U.S. homes, according to a study published by Cornell University researchers late last month. The study is a warning specifically to households with young children, who are at increased risk of health effects from even minute levels of pesticide exposure. “Numerous health problems occur from exposure to pesticides, such as cancer, birth defects, leukemia and ocular [vision-related] toxicity, among a number of other health issues,” said Joseph Laquatra, PhD, coauthor of the research. “Households with crawling toddlers should be concerned, as toddlers will accumulate pesticide residues on their hands and then ingest them due to hand-to-mouth behaviors.” Researchers focused in on 132 households in rural counties of New York State that agreed to test for pesticide residue inside their home. Wipe samples were collected from both carpeted and non-carpeted areas, and tested for pesticides used commonly as part of agricultural production in the region. The pesticides analyzed included 15 compounds ranging from organophosphates like chlorpyrifos and malathion, . . .
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