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Daily News Blog

22
Apr

On Earth Day, Especially, Take Action to Ensure a Sustainable Future

On Earth Day, the future of the planet and the health of all its inhabitants come into focus as childhood cancer remains a leading cause of death from disease among kids! Take action to ensure a sustainable future for them & our communities!

(Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2024) Today, on Earth Day, the future of the planet and the health of all its inhabitants come into focus from numerous human and ecosystem health perspectives, with particular concern for the health of the next generation—as childhood cancer continues to be a leading cause of death from disease among children. Many studies demonstrate an association between environmental or occupational pesticide exposure and the risk of childhood cancer in offspring.

Taking Action in Your Community: On Earth Day, Beyond Pesticides invites communities to join together in its nationwide campaign to convert parks to organic land management practices through the Parks for a Sustainable Future program. Through this program, Beyond Pesticides works with park managers, bringing hands-on horticultural support to eliminate petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers and instead nurture soil organisms to cycle nutrients naturally while creating resilient landscapes that resist weeds, insects, and disease. This program outlines the steps to become a parks advocate and how Beyond Pesticides works with communities committed to safe parks and playing fields for communities, children, and pets.

One major impetus for the Parks program are the many studies that find prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental toxicants increases disease susceptibility. For decades, studies have long demonstrated that childhood and in-utero exposure to the U.S.-banned insecticide DDT increases the risk of developing breast cancer later in life. Risks from exposure to pesticides and other toxic chemicals during pregnancy include: pesticides and children’s sleep disorders; prenatal exposures to a multitude of chemicals; insecticides and childhood leukemia; insecticides and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.

Taking Action on Policy:
Tell EPA to ban carcinogenic pesticides. Tell your Congressional Representative and Senators to support S. 269 and H.R. 5085, the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2023 (PACTPA).

A study published in Environmental Research suggests occupational (work-related) exposure to pesticides among nonpregnant women and men may increase childhood cancer risk for offspring. Low levels of pesticide exposure during pregnancy or childhood cause adverse health effects from metabolic disorders to mental and physical disabilities. Moreover, several studies demonstrate an association between environmental or occupational pesticide exposure and the risk of childhood cancer, specifically focusing on leukemia. Acute leukemia is the most common type of childhood cancer, accounting for one of three cancer cases in children ages 0 to 14. Although the disease is rare, incidents have been steadily increasing among adolescents over the last 30 years.

Researchers at the National Institute of Pediatrics and National Polytechnic Institute found positive associations between pesticide exposure and heightened risk of certain childhood cancers. The finding is derived from a meta-analysis of 174 studies published between 2013 and 2023 and reported in the International Journal of Molecular Science. The authors note, “Although [pesticide exposure] association with childhood cancer has not been fully demonstrated, we found that more than 80% of the epidemiological studies show positive associations [with forms of childhood cancer].”

Even household cleaners, many of which are pesticides, can increase nephroblastoma (kidney cancer) and brain tumor risk in children. Furthermore, long-term exposure to organophosphate (OP) pesticides increases adverse health and cancer risks, specifically among women. Since DDT and its metabolite DDE residues, current-use pesticides, and other chemical pollutants contaminate the environment, exposure to these chemical mixtures can synergize to increase toxicity and disease effects.

A literature review published in Ciência & Saúde Coletiva finds environmental exposure to all classes of pesticides (fungicides, herbicides, insecticides) has an association with childhood astrocytoma (brain/central nervous system [CNS] tumor). CNS tumors represent half of all malignant neoplasms (tumors) in children.

A 2024 Environmental Research study found an association between adverse neurodevelopment (brain function and development) among infants and exposure to the herbicide glyphosate during pregnancy, which becomes more pronounced at 24 months. Glyphosate-based herbicides were also found to induce oxidative stress-induced damage in the brain after prenatal, early life, and postnatal exposure, leading to reduced melatonin levels that ultimately disrupt circadian rhythm and lead to sleep disorders later in life, according to a 2023 study in Antioxidants.

In addition to maternal/prenatal exposure to herbicides, children experience exposure to pyrethroid insecticides early in life as levels significantly increase after birth leading to degenerative neurotoxic impacts later in life, according to a study published in Frontiers in Public Health in 2023. Moreover, pediatricians strongly agree that pregnant mothers and young children should avoid pesticide exposure during critical development periods.

The state of pesticide regulation and of research into pesticide impacts is inadequate and like nothing so much as a game of “whack-a-mole.” A single pesticide or class of pesticides is studied, a paper is written, and policy makers and regulators may or may not pay attention. Then another one happens, and another, and another, ad infinitum. The pattern of “progress” is similar on the regulation side: individual pesticides registered (aka, approved) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are reviewed “on the regular” — but only every 15 years, barring an emergent and urgent concern. Given the cascade of discovery of harmful impacts over the past couple of decades, 15 years has become a very long window in which to allow continued use without review.

When EPA undertakes more timely review due to an urgent concern, it still considers one chemical at a time. Even more fundamentally, its approach to regulation, in the face of evidence of harm, is often characterized by tweaking the use of toxic pesticides “at the margins” — requiring a change to the text on a pesticide label, reducing the time frame in which a compound can be used, restricting application to trained applicators, or other piecemeal actions that are generally wholly inadequate to reducing the health and environmental harms of these compounds being unleashed into the environment.

EPA also continues to fall short on multiple research and regulatory fronts, failing to consider synergistic impacts, multiple exposure vectors, and endocrine disruption effects, among others. In addition, the agency is far too dependent on industry-generated research, influenced by agrochemical industry lobbying, and sometimes, in downright collusion with industry.

It is unconscionable to continue tweaking restrictions on pesticides with known hazards and broad uncertainties about the effect of mixtures, synergistic effects, and cumulative risk, given the availability of organic systems that eliminate those hazards economically and solve the looming environmental threats. Buying, growing, and supporting organic land management can reduce human and environmental contamination from pesticides. Organic agriculture has many health and environmental benefits, which curtail the need for chemical-intensive agricultural practices. Numerous studies find that pesticide metabolite levels in urine significantly decrease when switching to an all-organic diet.

Globally, cancer is one of the leading causes of death, with over eight million people succumbing to the disease every year. Notably, the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) predicts a 67.4 percent rise in new cancer cases by 2030. Thus, it is critical that both government officials and the public understand the health implications of pesticide use and exposure on humans, especially when pesticides increase chronic disease risk.

Some elected officials are attempting to take action. The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2023 (PACTPA), S. 269 and H.R. 5085, addresses many of the controversial issues with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which governs the registration and use of pesticides in the U.S.

Tell EPA to ban carcinogenic pesticides. Tell your Congressional Representative and Senators to support S. 269 and H.R. 5085, the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2023 (PACTPA).

Letter to EPA:

I am writing out of concern that EPA is failing to protect children from cancer caused by exposure to pesticides. While medical advancements have resulted in greater survival, childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children. Furthermore, childhood cancer survivors can suffer from chronic or long-term health complications that may be life-threatening. Many studies demonstrate an association between environmental or occupational pesticide exposure and the risk of childhood cancer in offspring, as well as greater disease susceptibility and neurological effects.

Occupational exposure to pesticides among nonpregnant women and men may increase childhood cancer risk for offspring. Studies demonstrate an association between environmental or occupational pesticide exposure and the risk of childhood cancer, specifically leukemia. Acute leukemia is the most common type of childhood cancer, accounting for one of three cancer cases in children ages 0 to 14, and incidence has been steadily increasing among adolescents over the last 30 years.

Even household cleaners, many of which are pesticides, can increase kidney and brain cancer risk in children. Long-term exposure to organophosphate pesticides increases adverse health and cancer risks. A literature review published found environmental exposure to all classes of pesticides is associated with childhood brain/central nervous system tumors, representing half of all malignant tumors in children.

Adverse neurodevelopment among infants is associated with exposure to glyphosate during pregnancy. Glyphosate-based herbicides were also found to induce oxidative stress-induced damage in the brain after prenatal, early life, and postnatal exposure. In addition to maternal/prenatal exposure to herbicides, children experience exposure to pyrethroid insecticides early in life as levels significantly increase after birth leading to degenerative neurotoxic impacts later in life.

Moreover, pediatricians strongly agree that pregnant mothers and young children should avoid pesticide exposure during critical development periods.

The state of pesticide regulation and of research into pesticide impacts is inadequate and resembles a game of “whack-a-mole”—in which single pesticides or a class of pesticides are studied for specific effects. And EPA only considers one chemical at a time, ignoring research showing that the synergy of exposure to multiple chemicals in the environment that increases toxicity and disease effects. All of these effects have environmental justice implications since farmworkers are most exposed.

More fundamentally, the approach to regulation in the face of evidence of harm, characterized by tweaking the use of toxic pesticides—requiring a change to the text on a pesticide label, reducing the time frame in which a compound can be used, restricting application to trained applicators, or other piecemeal actions—is wholly inadequate to reduce the health and environmental harms of these compounds being unleashed into the environment.

It is unconscionable to continue tweaking restrictions on pesticides with known hazards and broad uncertainties about the effect of mixtures, synergistic effects, and cumulative risk, given the availability of organic systems that eliminate those hazards economically and solve the looming environmental threats. Organic agriculture has many health and environmental benefits, which curtail the need for chemical-intensive agricultural practices.

Our children’s health requires elimination of cancer-causing pesticides.

Thank you.

Letter to U.S. Representative and Senators who are co-sponsors of PACTPA:

I am writing out of concern that our pesticide law is failing to protect children from cancer caused by exposure to pesticides. While medical advancements have resulted in greater survival, childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children. Furthermore, childhood cancer survivors can suffer from chronic or long-term health complications that may be life-threatening. Many studies demonstrate an association between environmental or occupational pesticide exposure and the risk of childhood cancer in offspring, as well as greater disease susceptibility and neurological effects.

The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2023 (PACTPA), S.269 and H.R 5085, addresses many of the issues with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which governs the registration and use of pesticides in the U.S. I am happy to see that you have joined this effort to protect our nation’s children. In addition to thanking you for your co-sponsorship of the legislation, I’m writing to ask you to also seek broader protections, especially necessary to protect children.

Despite an impressive list of corrections, PACTPA does not touch the toxic core of FIFRA, which permits the unnecessary dispersal of toxic chemicals in the environment. To eliminate this toxic core, please consider amending the legislation to:

* Prohibit the registration and use of pesticides that do not meet these criteria:

– Necessary to prevent harm to humans and the environment based on an analysis of all alternatives;

– Cause no harm to humans and the environment; and

– Protect against the existential crises of biodiversity collapse, runaway climate change, and chronic and acute health threats.

* Require all supporting data to be submitted and examined by the public before registration (including the elimination of conditional registration).

* Deny and cancel all pesticide registrations not supported by studies demonstrating a lack of endocrine-disrupting effects.

* Deny and cancel registrations of all pesticides posing a threat to life in the soil—and hence threatening the climate.

* Deny and cancel registrations of all pesticides posing a threat to any endangered species.

Thank you.

Letter to U.S. Representative and Senators who are NOT co-sponsors of PACTPA:

I am writing out of concern that our pesticide law is failing to protect children from cancer caused by exposure to pesticides. While medical advancements have resulted in greater survival, childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children. Furthermore, childhood cancer survivors can suffer from chronic or long-term health complications that may be life-threatening. Many studies demonstrate an association between environmental or occupational pesticide exposure and the risk of childhood cancer in offspring, as well as greater disease susceptibility and neurological effects.

The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2023 (PACTPA), S.269 and H.R 5085, addresses many of the problems with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which governs the registration and use of pesticides in the U.S.

PACTPA would provide some desperately-needed improvements to FIFRA to better protect people and the environment, including:

* Bans some of the most damaging pesticides scientifically known to cause significant harm to people and the environment:

– Organophosphate insecticides, which have been linked to neurodevelopmental damage in children;

– Neonicotinoid insecticides, which been shown to cause developmental defects, heart deformations, and muscle tremors in unborn children;

Paraquat, which is one of the most acutely toxic herbicides in the world—already banned in 32 countries, including the European Union.

* Removes dangerous pesticides from the market by:

– Creating a petition process to enable individual citizens to petition the EPA to identify dangerous pesticides so that dangerous pesticides would not remain on the market indefinitely;

– Closing loopholes that have allowed the EPA to issue emergency exemptions and conditional registrations to use pesticides before they have gone through full health and safety review;

– Enabling local communities to enact protective legislation and other policies without being vetoed or preempted by state law;

– Suspending the use of pesticides deemed unsafe by the E.U. or Canada until they are thoroughly reviewed by the EPA.

* Provides protections for frontline communities that bear the burden of pesticide exposure by:

– Requiring employers of farmworkers to report all pesticide-caused injuries to the EPA, with strong penalties for failure to report injuries or retaliating against workers;

– Directing the EPA to review pesticide injury reports and work with pesticide manufacturers to prevent future injury;

– Requiring that all pesticide label instructions be written in Spanish and in any language spoken by more than 500 pesticide applicators.

Despite this impressive list of corrections, PACTPA does not touch the toxic core of FIFRA, which permits the unnecessary dispersal of toxic chemicals in the environment. To eliminate this toxic core, please support legislation to:

* Prohibit the registration and use of pesticides that do not meet these criteria:

– Necessary to prevent harm to humans and the environment based on an analysis of all alternatives;

– Cause no harm to humans and the environment; and

– Protect against the existential crises of biodiversity collapse, runaway climate change, and chronic and acute health threats.

* Require all supporting data to be submitted and examined by the public before registration (including the elimination of conditional registration).

* Deny and cancel all pesticide registrations not supported by studies demonstrating a lack of endocrine-disrupting effects.

* Deny and cancel registrations of all pesticides posing a threat to life in the soil—hence threatening the climate.

* Deny and cancel registrations of all pesticides posing a threat to any endangered species.

Thank you.

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2 Responses to “On Earth Day, Especially, Take Action to Ensure a Sustainable Future”

  1. 1
    paula morgan Says:

    I write but see no change. The USA needs to stop ALL pesticides which poison the soil and our water. Stop the death of wildlife and birds by eating coated seeds which also kill and then poison the soil and we eat the food growing there. Stop Paraquat from being sold and used. The EU and about 40 other countries have sopped this killer. We need to do so too. Why can’t the EPA protect us? Why can’t we get rid of Round Up? Why must the USA continue selling pesticides which harm and kill our kids, our wildlife, our animals, and the us too. Are we stupid our just dying of our greed? It’s disgusting!

  2. 2
    priscilla martinez Says:

    We need to take better care of what is left of our environment. for people, wildlife, marine life, and plant life.

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