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Daily News Blog

04
Mar

Take Action: Federal Food Program Asked to Stop Feeding Children Pesticides that Contribute to Obesity

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2024) With 14.7 million children and adolescents in the U.S. recognized as obese by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the established connection with endocrine disrupting contaminants, including many pesticides, Beyond Pesticides is calling on federal food assistance programs to go organic. The problem of childhood obesity is higher in people of color and, as a result, is an environmental justice issue. According to CDC, the prevalence of childhood obesity is “26.2% among Hispanic children, 24.8% among non-Hispanic Black children, 16.6% among non-Hispanic White children, and 9.0% among non-Hispanic Asian children.”

While childhood obesity is recognized as a serious problem, the National School Lunch Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—although improved by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010—still provides lunches laced with obesogenic pesticides. To take meaningful steps against childhood obesity, school lunches must be organic. The program served 4.9 billion meals in fiscal year 2022 in over 100,000 public and nonprofit schools, grades Pre-Kindergarten-12.

Contrary to popular opinion, the blame for the obesity epidemic cannot be attributed solely to diet and exercise broadly, but relates directly to pesticide and toxic chemical exposures, including residues in food, that may lead to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney failure, a breakdown of cartilage and bone within joints, and other metabolic disorders. An increasing body of research shows that exposure to certain pesticides and environmental contaminants initiates various changes in metabolism leading to obesity—not only in the exposed person, but also in offspring. According to medical researchers, obesity “is a complex disease which has reached pandemic dimensions” and multigenerational effects. The prevalence of obesity increased three-fold from 1980 to 2019.

While childhood obesity is recognized as a serious problem, the National School Lunch Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—although improved by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010—still provides lunches laced with obesogenic pesticides. To take meaningful steps against childhood obesity, school lunches must be organic.

>> Tell USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to require organic school lunches. Tell EPA not to register pesticides that contain obesogens.

The failure of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prevent exposure to obesogens and carry out its statutory mandate to evaluate endocrine disrupting pesticides, puts the public, especially children, at risk. In addition, EPA does not consider and promote nontoxic and beneficial alternatives, such as organic food production—which the agency could do under its mandate to protect against “unreasonable adverse effects” to people and environment in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Environmental obesogens are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that “may increase adipose tissue deposition, expand adipocytic size, regulate appetite and satiety, and slow metabolism to induce the occurrence of obesity.” A recent review of the literature finds, “Environmental obesogens have the potential to induce adipogenesis, increase energy storage, and interfere with appetite and homeostasis within the neuroendocrine system, thereby promoting the development of obesity. Since the obesogen hypothesis was proposed in 2006, more than 50 chemicals have been identified as environmental obesogens. Furthermore, the increasing usage of newly developed chemical products has led to the detection of increasing amounts of new contaminants in the environment, which may have obesogenic effects and cause potential risks to human health.”

The current list of identified environmental obesogens includes pesticide active ingredients such as chlorpyrifos, atrazine, organotins, and triclosan, as well as contaminants and other ingredients that may be found in pesticide products such as dioxins, phthalates, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), alkylphenols, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In addition to the effects of a single obesogen, two or more obesogens may have a synergistic effect, as shown by the interaction of tributyltin (TBT) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS).

>> Tell USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to require organic school lunches. Tell EPA not to register pesticides that contain obesogens.

Letter to Food and Nutrition Service Deputy Under Secretary Stacy Dean, USDA Secretary Vilsack, and Members of Congress:

Consistent with the mission of the Food and Nutrition Service to end hunger and obesity through the administration of 15 federal nutrition assistance programs including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and school meals, it is important that school lunches be free of chemical obesogens. The only way to ensure this is to require that school lunches be prepared with organic ingredients.

Contrary to popular opinion, the blame for the obesity epidemic cannot be attributed solely to diet broadly, but relates directly to pesticide and toxic chemical exposures, including residues in food, that are known as obesogens and associated with a number of related health conditions— high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels collectively known as the “metabolic syndrome.” Metabolic syndrome increases risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Avoiding pesticide exposure is a good way to avoid obesogens, so organic food should be part of every strategy—including school lunch programs—designed to provide healthy nutrition to children.

Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the U.S., leading to a host of health problems in childhood and later in life. Juvenile obesity is highest in Hispanic, African American, and lower income groups, which provides an opportunity for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) school lunch program to have a positive impact.

Environmental obesogens are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that “may increase adipose tissue deposition, expand adipocytic size, regulate appetite and satiety, and slow metabolism to induce the occurrence of obesity.” A recent review of the literature finds, “Environmental obesogens have the potential to induce adipogenesis, increase energy storage, and interfere with appetite and homeostasis within the neuroendocrine system, thereby promoting the development of obesity. Since the obesogen hypothesis was proposed in 2006, more than 50 chemicals have been identified as environmental obesogens. Furthermore, the increasing usage of newly developed chemical products has led to the detection of increasing amounts of new contaminants in the environment, which may have obesogenic effects and cause potential risks to human health.”

The current list of identified environmental obesogens includes pesticide active ingredients such as chlorpyrifos, atrazine, organotins, and triclosan, as well as contaminants and other ingredients that may be found in pesticide products such as dioxins, phthalates, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), alkylphenols, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In addition to the effects of a single obesogen, two or more obesogens may have a synergistic effect, as shown by the interaction of tributyltin (TBT) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS).

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP)—as a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential childcare institutions to provide “nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day”—must play a leadership role in removing hazardous chemicals from the meals it feeds to children. In providing free or reduced cost lunches to qualified children, NSLP is an excellent way to ensure that children can receive obesogen-free meals. However, since many pesticides are obesogens, those school lunches must be organic.

Please initiate policy requiring organic school lunches.

Thank you.

Letter to EPA:

Contrary to popular opinion, the blame for the obesity epidemic cannot be attributed solely to diet broadly, but relates directly to pesticide and toxic chemical exposures, including residues in food, that may lead to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney failure, a breakdown of cartilage and bone within joints, and other metabolic disorders. An increasing body of research shows that exposure to certain pesticides and environmental contaminants initiates various changes in metabolism leading to obesity—not only in the exposed person, but also in offspring. According to medical researchers, obesity “is a complex disease which has reached pandemic dimensions” and multigenerational effects. The prevalence of obesity increased three-fold from 1980 to 2019.

Environmental obesogens are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that “may increase adipose tissue deposition, expand adipocytic size, regulate appetite and satiety, and slow metabolism to induce the occurrence of obesity.” A recent review of the literature finds, “Environmental obesogens have the potential to induce adipogenesis, increase energy storage, and interfere with appetite and homeostasis within the neuroendocrine system, thereby promoting the development of obesity. Since the obesogen hypothesis was proposed in 2006, more than 50 chemicals have been identified as environmental obesogens. Furthermore, the increasing usage of newly developed chemical products has led to the detection of increasing amounts of new contaminants in the environment, which may have obesogenic effects and cause potential risks to human health.”

The current list of identified environmental obesogens includes pesticide active ingredients such as chlorpyrifos, atrazine, organotins, and triclosan, as well as contaminants and other ingredients that may be found in pesticide products such as dioxins, phthalates, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), alkylphenols, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In addition to the effects of a single obesogen, two or more obesogens may have a synergistic effect, as shown by the interaction of tributyltin (TBT) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS).

The inability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prevent exposure to obesogens through the use of pesticides is one more failure of the agency to carry out its mandated regulation of endocrine disrupting pesticides. It is evidence of a failed pesticide regulatory system that does not consider and promote nontoxic and beneficial alternatives, such as organic agriculture—which the agency could do under its mandate to protect against “unreasonable adverse effects” to people and environment in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Please ensure that pesticide risk assessments include the harms arising from exposure to obesogens. Please also ensure that the baseline against which “benefits” of pesticides are measured is organic agriculture.

Thank you.

 

 

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8 Responses to “Take Action: Federal Food Program Asked to Stop Feeding Children Pesticides that Contribute to Obesity”

  1. 1
    Sean San José Says:

    Contrary to popular opinion, the blame for the obesity epidemic cannot be attributed solely to diet broadly, but relates directly to pesticide and toxic chemical exposures, including residues in food, that may lead to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney failure, a breakdown of cartilage and bone within joints, and other metabolic disorders. An increasing body of research shows that exposure to certain pesticides and environmental contaminants initiates various changes in metabolism leading to obesity—not only in the exposed person, but also in offspring. According to medical researchers, obesity “is a complex disease which has reached pandemic dimensions” and multigenerational effects. The prevalence of obesity increased three-fold from 1980 to 2019.

    Environmental obesogens are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that “may increase adipose tissue deposition, expand adipocytic size, regulate appetite and satiety, and slow metabolism to induce the occurrence of obesity.” A recent review of the literature finds, “Environmental obesogens have the potential to induce adipogenesis, increase energy storage, and interfere with appetite and homeostasis within the neuroendocrine system, thereby promoting the development of obesity. Since the obesogen hypothesis was proposed in 2006, more than 50 chemicals have been identified as environmental obesogens. Furthermore, the increasing usage of newly developed chemical products has led to the detection of increasing amounts of new contaminants in the environment, which may have obesogenic effects and cause potential risks to human health.”

    The current list of identified environmental obesogens includes pesticide active ingredients such as chlorpyrifos, atrazine, organotins, and triclosan, as well as contaminants and other ingredients that may be found in pesticide products such as dioxins, phthalates, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), alkylphenols, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In addition to the effects of a single obesogen, two or more obesogens may have a synergistic effect, as shown by the interaction of tributyltin (TBT) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS).

    The inability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prevent exposure to obesogens through the use of pesticides is one more failure of the agency to carry out its mandated regulation of endocrine disrupting pesticides. It is evidence of a failed pesticide regulatory system that does not consider and promote nontoxic and beneficial alternatives, such as organic agriculture—which the agency could do under its mandate to protect against “unreasonable adverse effects” to people and environment in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

    Please ensure that pesticide risk assessments include the harms arising from exposure to obesogens. Please also ensure that the baseline against which “benefits” of pesticides are measured is organic agriculture.

    Thank you.

  2. 2
    Marcia Hoodwin Says:

    Stop using pesticides that contribute to obesity and make people sick.

  3. 3
    Susan Kepner Says:

    It is all about the HEALTH of our children!

  4. 4
    Lynn Ricci Says:

    My heart hopes SO much that the RIGHT thing is done so that ALL living can live their live.

  5. 5
    Toni Noll Says:

    STOP USING PESTICIDES!!!

  6. 6
    Robin Pinsof Says:

    Protect our children from pesticides!!

  7. 7
    Paula Morgan Says:

    I am angry, concerned, and care about the health of our kids. Due to pesticides, the over use of so many chemical compounds, our food is not as nutritious as it was 100 years ago. This is what we term, the modern age. But is it? I don’t think so. We kill wolves which protect the soil. We kill so many other animals due to having these ignorant killing contests. We must stop. We need animals to get through this climate crises.
    We need whales, and every other living species. Yet we are killing everything for stupid reasons. Entertainment? We have too much of that! We must also work together to improve our lives by improving the lives of others!

  8. 8
    Joseph Quirk Says:

    Contrary to popular opinion, the blame for the obesity epidemic cannot be attributed solely to diet broadly, but relates directly to pesticide and toxic chemical exposures, including residues in food, that may lead to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney failure, a breakdown of cartilage and bone within joints, and other metabolic disorders. An increasing body of research shows that exposure to certain pesticides and environmental contaminants initiates various changes in metabolism leading to obesity—not only in the exposed person, but also in offspring. According to medical researchers, obesity “is a complex disease which has reached pandemic dimensions” and multigenerational effects. The prevalence of obesity increased three-fold from 1980 to 2019.

    Environmental obesogens are endocrine-disrupting chemicals that “may increase adipose tissue deposition, expand adipocytic size, regulate appetite and satiety, and slow metabolism to induce the occurrence of obesity.” A recent review of the literature finds, “Environmental obesogens have the potential to induce adipogenesis, increase energy storage, and interfere with appetite and homeostasis within the neuroendocrine system, thereby promoting the development of obesity. Since the obesogen hypothesis was proposed in 2006, more than 50 chemicals have been identified as environmental obesogens. Furthermore, the increasing usage of newly developed chemical products has led to the detection of increasing amounts of new contaminants in the environment, which may have obesogenic effects and cause potential risks to human health.”

    The current list of identified environmental obesogens includes pesticide active ingredients such as chlorpyrifos, atrazine, organotins, and triclosan, as well as contaminants and other ingredients that may be found in pesticide products such as dioxins, phthalates, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), alkylphenols, and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In addition to the effects of a single obesogen, two or more obesogens may have a synergistic effect, as shown by the interaction of tributyltin (TBT) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS).

    The inability of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prevent exposure to obesogens through the use of pesticides is one more failure of the agency to carry out its mandated regulation of endocrine disrupting pesticides. It is evidence of a failed pesticide regulatory system that does not consider and promote nontoxic and beneficial alternatives, such as organic agriculture—which the agency could do under its mandate to protect against “unreasonable adverse effects” to people and environment in the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

    Please ensure that pesticide risk assessments include the harms arising from exposure to obesogens. Please also ensure that the baseline against which “benefits” of pesticides are measured is organic agriculture.

    Thank you.
    Joseph Quirk

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