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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Biomonitoring' Category


12
Sep

Prenatal Exposure to Widely Used Pesticide Ingredient Linked to Childhood Cough

(Beyond Pesticides, September 12, 2012) Expectant mothers exposed to the pesticide additive piperonyl butoxide (PBO), widely used in synthetic prethroid insecticides and those ending in “thrin” (popular in mosquito spray programs), during pregnancy pass to their children a heightened risk of noninfectious cough at ages 5 and 6, according to researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH). These findings support the premise that children’s respiratory system is susceptible to damage from toxic exposures during the prenatal period. Researchers outfitted 224 expectant mothers with air monitors during their third trimester of pregnancy and measured the levels of PBO and permethrin in the air around them. Then, once the children were 5 and 6, the same two chemicals were measured from air samples collected inside their home. Results showed that children exposed to PBO in the womb were at increased odds of reporting cough unrelated to cold or flu. Researchers found no correlation between prenatal or childhood exposure to permethrin, however they pointed out that this may be because PBO is easier to measure in air samples than permethrin. Coauthor of the study, “Prenatal exposure to pesticide ingredient piperonyl butoxide and childhood cough in an urban cohort,” Dr. Rachel […]

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14
Oct

New Research Links Pesticides to Cardiovascular Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, October 14, 2011) Researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden have found that environmental toxicants such as dioxins, PCBs, and pesticides can pose a risk for cardiovascular disease. The results of the study, entitled “Circulating Levels of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and Carotid Atherosclerosis in the Elderly,” show a link between exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including several organochlorine pesticides, and the development of atherosclerosis, which can lead to heart disease. The study will be published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, and a version of it is available online ahead of print. Cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes, are the most common cause of death in industrialized countries, and the most important underlying cause of these diseases is atherosclerosis. Unbalanced blood fats, diabetes, smoking, and high blood pressure are traditionally recognized risk factors for atherosclerosis. Previous studies have also reported possible links between cardiovascular disease and high levels of persistent (long-lived and hard-to-degrade) organic environmental toxicants, such as dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and pesticides. These compounds are fat-soluble and can therefore accumulate in vessel walls. However, no earlier studies have investigated possible links between exposure to these compounds and atherosclerosis. Of the POPs that were screened […]

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20
Jun

Organochlorine Pesticides Linked to Adverse Birth Effects

(Beyond Pesticides, June 20, 2011) In a study published this week in the journal Pediatrics, researchers report findings that link mothers’ exposure to organochlorine pesticides during pregnancy with infants’ sizes at birth. The trend shows that the more mothers are exposed to the pesticides during pregnancy, the higher the chances are for reduced birth weight and length of their newborns. Comprising a total of 494 women and infants in Valencia, Spain from the years 2003-2006, the study evaluates umbilical cord blood for residues of four pesticides or pesticide degradates: DDT, DDE, hexachlorobenzene (HCB), and beta-hexachlorocyclohexane. The results show that a 10-fold increase in pesticide concentrations in the blood corresponds to a reduction in birth weight of 2-4 ounces. Additional results are correlated to specific pesticides. Higher concentrations of DDT results in a reduction in head circumference of 0.26cm, which the researchers call a “significant decrease.” Additionally, a decrease of 0.39cm in birth length is correlated with each 10-fold increase in concentration of HCB. The researchers note several concerns related to the findings, aside from the results themselves. Since people are exposed to a wide variety of chemicals in general throughout their everyday lives, higher pesticide exposure could betray higher exposure […]

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12
May

Groups Submit Policy Recommendations to Strengthen Environmental Right to Know

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2011) Beyond Pesticides joined 112 organizations in endorsing a 102-page set of environmental right-to-know recommendations, which OMB Watch presented on Tuesday, May 10 to the Obama administration. The recommendations, collaboratively drafted by advocates from across the country, aim to expand access to environmental information, equip citizens with data about their environmental health, and empower Americans to protect themselves, their families, and their communities from toxic pollution. The recommendations are contained within a report titled An Agenda to Strengthen Our Right to Know: Empowering Citizens with Environmental, Health, and Safety Information, drafted as part of the Environmental Information Initiative project. OMB Watch compiled the report following a year of work that culminated in a conference of almost 100 environmental, health, and safety advocates held in November 2010. Sean Moulton, OMB Watch’s Director of Federal Information Policy, said, “Many of the recommendations laid out in the report are ambitious, but they are also needed. Environmental and right-to-know advocates believe that much more information, presented in more searchable and usable formats, is necessary in order to adequately protect Americans’ environmental health.” Three key priorities are woven throughout the recommendations: 1. Environmental justice must always be considered — Minority and […]

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09
Feb

Biomonitoring Data Links Brain Effects to Neurotoxic Chemical Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, February 9, 2010) In an innovative development that could transform the way Americans view the origins of learning and developmental disabilities, the national Learning and Developmental Disabilities Initiative (LDDI) released the first-ever biomonitoring report identifying toxic chemical pollution in people from the learning and developmental disability community. Mind, Disrupted: How Toxic Chemicals May Affect How We Think and Who We Are examines 61 toxic chemicals present in project participants in the context of rising rates of autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other learning and developmental disabilities.   In the U. S., 5-15% of children under age 18 are affected by learning and developmental disabilities. Reported cases of autism spectrum disorders have increased tenfold since the early 1990s. Based on current research, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that 1 in 110 eight-year-old children have autism in the United States. Mind, Disrupted measured levels of a set of neurotoxic and endocrine-disrupting chemicals in the participants’ bodies. A growing body of peer-reviewed scientific research, including animal and human studies, shows that these chemicals can disrupt the development and functioning of the brain and nervous system. Eleven of the twelve study participants had detectable levels of triclosan in […]

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13
Oct

Biomonitoring Study Detects Toxic Chemicals in Health Care Professionals

(Beyond Pesticides, October 13, 2009) In a first ever investigation of toxic chemicals found in the bodies of doctors and nurses, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) in partnership with American Nurses Association (ANA) and Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) released the Hazardous Chemicals In Health Care report on October 8th. The inquiry found that all of the 20 participants had toxic chemicals associated with health care in their bodies. Each participant had at least 24 individual chemicals present, four of which are on the recently released US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) list of priority chemicals for regulation. These chemicals are all associated with chronic illness and physical disorders. The Hazardous Chemicals in Health Care report offers preliminary indicators of what the broader health care community may be experiencing. The project tested for 62 distinct chemicals in six categories: bisphenol A, mercury, perflourinated compounds, phthalates, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and triclosan. The chemicals tested in the investigation are used in products common to the health care setting, from baby bottles, hand sanitizer, and medical gauges, to industrial paints, IV bags and tubes and stain-resistant clothing. Twelve doctors and eight nurses, two in each of 10 states were tested for the presence of […]

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17
Sep

Biomonitoring Funding Awarded to Three States

(Beyond Pesticides, September 17, 2009) Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded $5 million to the states of California, New York and Washington to conduct biomonitoring surveys to assess public exposure to chemicals and toxic substances. This will allow the states to determine which environmental chemicals people have been exposed to and how much of those chemicals are in their bodies. Many U.S. residents carry toxic pesticides in their bodies above government assessed “acceptable” levels. Biomonitoring, which measures levels of chemicals directly in people’s blood or urine, has become increasingly helpful for assessing people’s exposure to toxic substances as well as for responding to serious environmental public health problems. The PANNA report “Chemical Trespass: Pesticides in Our Bodies and Corporate Accountability” in 2004, which compiled data from previous CDC biomonitoring surveys found that children, women and Mexican Americans carried the heaviest “pesticide body burden.” Another biomonitoring study by the World Wildlife Fund UK in 2003, revealed that chemicals, such as DDT, which have been banned for decades and are associated with cancer, immune system disorders, and other health problems, are still found in people today. “Biomonitoring measurements are considered the most health-relevant assessments of exposure because […]

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24
Feb

Prominent University and Government Scientists to Speak at National Pesticide Forum

(Beyond Pesticides, February 24, 2009) NIEHS staff scientist Freya Kamel, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health professor Chensheng (Alex) Lu, Ph.D., and Wake Forest University’s Center for Worker Health director Thomas Arcury, Ph.D. will speak as Science and Health panelists at Bridge to an Organic Future: Opportunities for health and the environment, the 27th National Pesticide Forum, April 3-4 in Carrboro, NC. Freya Kamel, Ph.D. Freya Kamel’s research interests focus on environmental determinants of neurologic dysfunction and disease, in particular, neurodegenerative disease. Dr. Kamel and her colleagues at the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) examined the relationship of farm work-related exposures to subclinical neurobehavioral deficits in farmworkers. Deficits in neurobehavioral performance reflecting cognitive and psychomotor function related to the duration of work experience were seen in former as well as current farmworkers, and decreased performance was related to chronic exposure even in the absence of a history of pesticide poisoning. Thus, long-term experience of farm work is associated with measurable deficits in cognitive and psychomotor function. Dr. Kamel participated in work on the Agricultural Health Study (AHS), a large cohort study of licensed pesticide applicators and their spouses in Iowa and […]

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20
Oct

High Levels of Organophosphate Pesticides Found in Pregnant Women

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2008) Organophosphate (OP) pesticides are among a toxic soup of hazardous chemicals found in the bodies of pregnant women, according to an National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) led study doi:10.1016/j.envres.2008.07.014 published in the October issue of the journal Environmental Research. The population-based birth cohort study analyzed urine specimens of one hundred pregnant women. The study builds on the existing body of evidence that shows that low-level exposure to chemicals impact human health, especially pregnant women and their children. The research is part of the Generation R Study, which includes 9778 participants in the Netherlands and focuses on growth and physical development, behavioral and cognitive development, childhood diseases and health, and health care for pregnant women and children. The Generation R Study allows the researchers to follow-up with the study participants and “provides an opportunity to efficiently address questions regarding the reproductive and development effects of prenatal exposures.” Besides finding high levels of OP pesticides, the researchers find some suspected endocrine disrupting compounds including bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates. Animal studies show that these chemicals can affect brain and reproductive development. According to the researchers, exposure to OP pesticides and some phthalates were significantly higher […]

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