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Daily News Blog

07
Aug

Regulators Ignore Mosquito Resistance to Pesticides, Promoting Disease Transmission

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2023) Why is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowing the use of pesticides under the “unreasonable adverse effects” to health or the environment standard of the federal pesticide law (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act [FIFRA]) if the pesticides quickly lose their efficacy? Pest resistance to pesticides is a well-known biological mechanism that becomes problematic when farmers are faced with crop failure and economic loss. It becomes especially threatening when the goal is to manage insects that are a disease vector and when the regulatory process ignores nonchemical management strategies that are efficacious and sustainable.

Tell EPA, Governors, and Congress that given the certainty of pesticide resistance, ecologically-based mosquito management must replace a reliance on pesticides.

Insect resistance to insecticides has been an issue since the introduction of DDT in the 1940s. Although most countries currently ban DDT use, several currently used insecticides pose the same threat. In fact, resistance is predicted by elementary population genetics, and the speed of its evolution is directly related to the toxicity—that is, strength of selection pressure—and inversely related to the generation length of the organism. When that target organism of the pesticide is a disease vector, like West Nile Virus, the consequences of EPA’s failed regulatory review process to calculate target organism (e.g., mosquito) resistance are not merely economic—they pose a threat to public health. The threat is effectively caused by the reliance on chemical-intensive management strategies by virtue of the registration of the toxic chemicals instead of focusing public attention on sustainable nonchemical management practices that focus of preventing breeding and underlying conditions that contributes to the unwanted organism(s).

Areawide, indiscriminate spraying of insecticides causes resistance to develop among many organisms. Mosquitoes have become increasingly resistant to synthetic pyrethroids, in addition to other classes of insecticides, such as carbamates and organophosphates. For example, a study published in Pest Management Science finds resistance to insecticides like pyrethroids is jeopardizing attempts to control the mosquito Aedes aegypti, the primary vector of dengue fever. Prevention of disease outbreaks is threatened by reliance on chemical biocides—whether to antibiotics, antimicrobials, or pesticides—to which pathogens and their vectors develop resistance.

Resistance is an entirely normal, widely known, and expected phenomenon. Organisms evolve under the strong selection pressure of constant pesticide use, exploiting beneficial genetic mutations that give them a survival advantage. Another component of resistance is learned behavior, which allows mosquitoes to escape pesticides. As resistance grows in all areas in which biocides are used, including agriculture and medicine, it often leads to an increase in pesticide use, with implications for human health—including cancer, endocrine (hormone) disruption, reproductive dysfunctionneurotoxicity, and kidney/liver damage—and the ecosystem.

Thus, resistance demonstrates the need for sustainable and effective strategies to combat the growing disease burdens. These strategies must start with an understanding of the ecological and social conditions leading to the spread of the diseases and their vectors. They must abandon the doomed pesticidal approach, which take resources from successful ecological approaches, poison humans, and disrupt healthy ecosystems that keep mosquito populations in balance with predators.

In view of the impacts of relying on pesticides for managing insect transmission of disease vectors, their use constitutes unreasonable adverse effects on humans and the environment, which should result in the cancellation of their registrations.

Tell EPA, Governors, and Congress that given the certainty of pesticide resistance, ecologically-based mosquito management must replace a reliance on pesticides.

Letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

All harms resulting from pesticides are unreasonable if no benefits ensue from their use. So, why is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowing the use of pesticides under the “unreasonable adverse effects” to health or the environment standard of the federal pesticide law, Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), if the pesticides over short periods of time lose their efficacy on the target organism because of the well-known biological mechanism of chemical resistance? This is particularly problematic when the goal is to manage insects that are a disease vector and we are ignoring nonchemical management strategies that are efficacious and sustainable.

Insect resistance to insecticides has been an issue since the introduction of DDT in the 1940s. Although most countries currently ban DDT use, several currently used insecticides pose the same threat. In fact, resistance is predicted by elementary population genetics, and the speed of its evolution is directly related to the toxicity—that is, strength of selection pressure—and inversely related to the generation length of the organism. When that target organism of the pesticide is a disease vector, like West Nile Virus, the consequences of EPA’s failed regulatory review process to calculate target organism (e.g., mosquito) resistance are not merely economic—they pose a threat to public health. The threat is effectively caused by the reliance on chemical-intensive management strategies by virtue of the registration of the toxic chemicals instead of focusing public attention on sustainable nonchemical management practices that focus of preventing breeding and underlying conditions that contributes to the unwanted organism(s).

Areawide, indiscriminate spraying of insecticides causes resistance to develop among many organisms. Mosquitoes have become increasingly resistant to synthetic pyrethroids, in addition to other classes of insecticides, such as carbamates and organophosphates. For example, a study published in Pest Management Science finds resistance to insecticides like pyrethroids is jeopardizing attempts to control the mosquito Aedes aegypti, the primary vector of dengue fever. Prevention of disease outbreaks is threatened by reliance on chemical biocides—whether to antibiotics, antimicrobials, or pesticides—to which pathogens and their vectors develop resistance.

Resistance is an entirely normal, widely known, and expected phenomenon. Organisms evolve under the strong selection pressure of constant pesticide use, exploiting beneficial genetic mutations that give them a survival advantage. Another component of resistance is learned behavior, which allows mosquitoes to escape pesticides. As resistance grows in all areas in which biocides are used, including agriculture and medicine, it often leads to an increase in pesticide use, with implications for human health—including cancer, endocrine (hormone) disruption, reproductive dysfunction, neurotoxicity, and kidney/liver damage—and the ecosystem. 

Thus, resistance demonstrates the need for sustainable and effective strategies to combat the growing disease burdens. These strategies must start with an understanding of the ecological and social conditions leading to the spread of the diseases and their vectors. They must abandon the doomed pesticidal approach, which take resources from successful ecological approaches, poison humans, and disrupt healthy ecosystems that keep mosquito populations in balance with predators. 

In view of the impacts of relying on pesticides for vector control, their use constitutes unreasonable adverse effects on humans and the environment, which should result in the cancellation of their registrations.

Thank you.

Letter to Governor:

All harms resulting from pesticides are unreasonable if no benefits ensue from their use. So, why are we allowing the spraying of toxic pesticides if over short periods of time they lose their efficacy on the target organism because of the well-known biological mechanism of chemical resistance? This is particularly problematic when the goal is to manage insects that are a disease vector and we are ignoring nonchemical management strategies that are efficacious and sustainable.

Insect resistance to insecticides has been an issue since the introduction of DDT in the 1940s. Although most countries currently ban DDT use, several currently used insecticides pose the same threat. In fact, resistance is predicted by elementary population genetics, and the speed of its evolution is directly related to the toxicity—that is, strength of selection pressure—and inversely related to the generation length of the organism. When that target organism of the pesticide is a disease vector, like West Nile Virus, the consequences of EPA’s failed regulatory review process to calculate target organism (e.g., mosquito) resistance are not merely economic—they pose a threat to public health. The threat is effectively caused by the reliance on chemical-intensive management strategies by virtue of the registration of the toxic chemicals instead of focusing public attention on sustainable nonchemical management practices that focus of preventing breeding and underlying conditions that contributes to the unwanted organism(s).

Areawide, indiscriminate spraying of insecticides causes resistance to develop among many pests. Mosquitoes have become increasingly resistant to synthetic pyrethroids, in addition to other classes of insecticides, such as carbamates and organophosphates. For example, a study published in Pest Management Science finds resistance to insecticides like pyrethroids is jeopardizing attempts to control the mosquito Aedes aegypti, the primary vector of dengue fever. Prevention of disease outbreaks is threatened by reliance on chemical biocides—whether to antibiotics, antimicrobials, or pesticides—to which pathogens and their vectors develop resistance.

Resistance is an entirely normal, expected phenomenon. Organisms evolve under the strong selection pressure of constant pesticide use, exploiting beneficial genetic mutations that give them a survival advantage. Another component of resistance is learned behavior, which allows mosquitoes to escape pesticides. As resistance grows in all areas in which biocides are used, including agriculture and medicine, it often leads to an increase in pesticide use, with implications for human health—including cancer, endocrine (hormone) disruption, reproductive dysfunction, neurotoxicity, and kidney/liver damage—and the ecosystem. 

Thus, resistance demonstrates the need for sustainable and effective strategies to combat the growing disease burdens. These strategies must start with an understanding of the ecological and social conditions leading to the spread of the diseases and their vectors. They must abandon the doomed pesticidal approach, which take resources from successful ecological approaches, poison humans, and disrupt healthy ecosystems that keep mosquito populations in balance with predators. 

In view of the impacts of relying on pesticides for vector control, our state should move towards sound ecologically-based mosquito management. Information about this approach is available from websites of Beyond Pesticides and the city of Boulder, CO.  (https://ow.ly/q9cE50Pt4nb)

Thank you.

Letter to U.S. Representative and Senators:

All harms resulting from pesticides are unreasonable if no benefits ensue from their use. So, why is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowing the use of pesticides under the “unreasonable adverse effects” to health or the environment standard of the federal pesticide law, Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), if the pesticides over short periods of time lose their efficacy on the target organism because of the well-known biological mechanism of chemical resistance? This is particularly problematic when the goal is to manage insects that are a disease vector and we are ignoring nonchemical management strategies that are efficacious and sustainable.

Insect resistance to insecticides has been an issue since the introduction of DDT in the 1940s. In fact, resistance is predicted by elementary population genetics, and the speed of its evolution is directly related to the toxicity—that is, strength of selection pressure—and inversely related to the generation length of the organism. When that target organism of the pesticide is a disease vector, like West Nile Virus, EPA’s failure to calculate target organism (e.g., mosquito) resistance is not merely economic—it poses a threat to public health. The threat is effectively caused by the reliance on chemical-intensive management strategies by virtue of the registration of the toxic chemicals instead of focusing public attention on sustainable nonchemical management practices that focus of preventing breeding and underlying conditions that contributes to the unwanted organism(s).

Areawide, indiscriminate spraying of insecticides causes resistance to develop among many organisms. Mosquitoes have become increasingly resistant to synthetic pyrethroids, in addition to other classes of insecticides, such as carbamates and organophosphates. For example, a study published in Pest Management Science finds resistance to insecticides like pyrethroids is jeopardizing attempts to control the mosquito Aedes aegypti the primary vector of dengue fever. Prevention of disease outbreaks is threatened by reliance on chemical biocides—whether to antibiotics, antimicrobials, or pesticides—to which pathogens and their vectors develop resistance.

Resistance is an entirely normal, expected phenomenon. Organisms evolve under the strong selection pressure of constant pesticide use, exploiting beneficial genetic mutations that give them a survival advantage. Another component of resistance is learned behavior, which allows mosquitoes to escape pesticides. As resistance grows in all areas in which biocides are used, including agriculture and medicine, it often leads to an increase in pesticide use, with implications for human health—including cancer, endocrine (hormone) disruption, reproductive dysfunction, neurotoxicity, and kidney/liver damage—and the ecosystem.

Thus, resistance demonstrates the need for sustainable and effective strategies to combat the growing disease burdens. These strategies must start with an understanding of the ecological and social conditions leading to the spread of the diseases and their vectors. They must abandon the doomed pesticidal approach, which take resources from successful ecological approaches, poison humans, and disrupt healthy ecosystems that keep mosquito populations in balance with predators. In view of the impacts of relying on pesticides for vector control, our nation should move towards sound ecologically-based mosquito management. Information about this approach is available from websites of Beyond Pesticides (https://ow.ly/q9cE50Pt4nb) and the city of Boulder, CO.

In view of the impacts of relying on pesticides for vector control, their use constitutes unreasonable adverse effects on humans and the environment, which should result in the cancellation of their registrations. Please ensure that EPA does not continue to approve these pesticides that threaten human and ecological health.

Thank you.

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