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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Atrazine' Category


03
Jun

Despite Industry Claims, Herbicide Use Fails to Decline with GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, June 3, 2011) According to the 2010 Agricultural Chemical Use Report released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), use of the herbicide glyphosate, associated with genetically engineered (GE) crops, has dramatically increased over the last several years, while the use of other even more toxic chemicals such as atrazine has not declined. Contrary to common claims from chemical manufacturers and proponents of GE technology that the proliferation of herbicide tolerant GE crops would result in lower pesticide use rates, the data show that overall use of pesticides has remained relatively steady, while glyphosate use has skyrocketed to more than double the amount used just five years ago. The 2010 Agricultural Chemical Use Report shows that, in the states surveyed, 57 million pounds of glyphosate were applied last year on corn fields. Ten years prior, in 2000, this number was only 4.4 million pounds, and in 2005, it was still less than half of current numbers at 23 million pounds. Intense corn growing regions have experienced an even greater increase in glyphosate applications. Glyphosate use in the state of Nebraska increased by more than five times in just seven years, going […]

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28
Apr

Save the Frogs/Ban Atrazine Rally Tomorrow in Washington, DC

(Beyond Pesticides, April 28, 2011) In recognition of the 3rd annual Save the Frogs Day, a “Save the Frogs/Ban Atrazine Rally” will be held tomorrow, Friday, April 29th in Washington, DC. The rally will take place at the steps of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW), and is intended to raise awareness of the rapid disappearance of frog species worldwide, and bring attention to the harmful effects of the endocrine disrupting herbicide atrazine. Amphibian populations worldwide have been declining at unprecedented rates, and nearly one-third of the world’s amphibian species are threatened with extinction. Up to 200 species have completely disappeared in recent years. Amphibians are faced with an onslaught of environmental problems, including climate change, infectious diseases, habitat loss, invasive species, and over-harvesting for the pet and food trades. Numerous studies have definitively linked pesticide use with significant effects on amphibians. Pesticides can cause abnormalities, diseases, injury and death in these frogs and other amphibians. Because amphibians breathe through their permeable skin, they are especially vulnerable to chemical contamination. Frog eggs float exposed on the water surface, where pesticides tend to concentrate, and hatched larvae live solely in aquatic environments for five to seven months before […]

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29
Mar

Study Links Prenatal Atrazine Exposure to Adverse Birth Outcomes

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2011) According to a French study published March 2, 2011 in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives, prenatal exposure to the herbicide atrazine is linked to small head circumference and fetal growth restriction. The authors say the study “raises particular concerns for countries where atrazine is still in use.” Atrazine is a widespread contaminant in drinking water and is linked to various birth defects, endocrine disruption and cancer, even at concentrations below EPA standards. Although it has been excluded from re-registration in the European Union because it is found above allowable thresholds in groundwater, it is still one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. and around world. The study, “Urinary Biomarkers of Prenatal Atrazine Exposure and Adverse Birth Outcomes in the PELAGIE Birth Cohort,” used a case-cohort design nested in a prospective birth cohort conducted in the Brittany region from 2002 through 2006. It collected maternal urine samples to examine pesticide exposure biomarkers before the 19th week of gestation. Quantifiable levels of atrazine were found in urine samples from 5.5% of 579 pregnant women, and various metabolites were identified in 20-40% of samples. The presence versus absence of quantifiable levels of atrazine […]

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10
Mar

Public Health Group Urges Precautionary Policy for Endocrine Disruptors

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2011) The American Public Health Association (APHA) recently adopted 17 new policies at its 138th Annual Meeting in Denver, addressing a broad range of public health concerns, including a new policy calling for greater government action to protect the public from endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). The policy statement follows official positions released earlier in 2010 by both the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Endocrine Society in that more needs to be done to protect the public from endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or those that interfere with hormone action. Specifically, APHA urges: ”¢ Support for the Endocrine Society and the American Medical Association in proclaiming that more needs to be done to protect the public from potential health risks of exposure to EDCs. ”¢ That given the magnitude and urgency of the public health threat and the recognition that collectively EDCs likely will have common or overlapping effects on the endocrine system, steps should therefore be taken by federal agencies with regulatory oversight for various individual EDCs to coordinate and find synergies among themselves to coordinate and find synergy among federal agencies with regulatory oversight over various individual EDCs. ”¢ Health professionals and scientists with expertise in various aspects […]

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05
Oct

Report Reviews Links between Breast Cancer and Environmental Exposures

(Beyond Pesticides, October 5, 2010) A new report by the Breast Cancer Fund, a national organization working to eliminate the environmental causes of breast cancer, presents a summary of the scientific data on the environmental causes of the disease. The report catalogs the growing evidence linking breast cancer to, among other factors: synthetic hormones in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and meat; pesticides in food; solvents in household cleaning products; BPA in food containers; flame retardants in furniture; and radiation from medical treatments. The report also highlights impacts on the most vulnerable populations (including infants, pregnant women, African-American women and workers), and outlines the policy initiatives required to develop a national breast cancer prevention plan. The report, State of the Evidence: The Connection Between Breast Cancer and the Environment, is the sixth edition published by the Breast Cancer Fund. “With each new edition of the report, the growing scientific evidence compels us to act to prevent breast cancer,” said Jeanne Rizzo, RN, president of the Breast Cancer Fund. “This Breast Cancer Awareness Month, our message is clear: we must move beyond awareness to prevention.” The report states that a woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is 1 in 8””representing a dramatic increase since […]

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04
Oct

Chemical Ag Lobby Attacks EPA Over New Regulatory Decisions

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2010) The Nebraska Farm Bureau and its champion, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb), have recently expressed concern over a series of actions and proposals by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerning agriculture. Arguing that EPA is “overreaching” and is “out of control” by introducing new regulations that create “more paperwork” for its farmers, Sen. Nelson and advocates for chemical-intensive agriculture dismiss the EPA’s mandate to protect public and environmental health. Sen. Nelson recently brought up his concerns at a Senate hearing with EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Nebraska Farm Bureau is asking the state’s congressional delegation to work with their colleagues to halt EPA’s “non-stop regulatory assault on the state’s farmers and ranchers and their counterparts nationwide.” In addressing Administrator Jackson, Sen. Nelson said he agreed with a number of Nebraska producers who have told him that agriculture’s perspective is not being considered in EPA’s decision making, saying that, “EPA is overreaching with proposed regulations for carbon emissions, atrazine, dust standards, applying clean water rules on pesticide use and greenhouse gas reporting for livestock operations.” “Many in the agricultural community are rightly concerned about EPA’s actions because the agency’s rules typically are implemented in a top-down fashion […]

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31
Aug

Study Shows Atrazine Causes Prostate Inflammation and Delays Puberty

(Beyond Pesticides, August 31, 2010) As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues its review of the popular herbicide atrazine, a new study shows that male rats prenatally exposed to low doses of the gender-bending chemical are more likely to develop prostate inflammation and to go through puberty later than non-exposed animals. The research adds to a growing body of literature on atrazine, an herbicide used in agriculture, especially in corn and sugar cane production, and on golf courses and residential lawns. Atrazine and its byproducts are known to be relatively persistent in the environment, potentially finding their way into water supplies. It has been linked to a myriad of health problems in humans including disruption of hormone activity, birth defects, and cancer. The research, “Effects of prenatal exposure to a low dose atrazine metabolite mixture on pubertal timing and prostate development of male Long-Evans rats,” which is available online and will be featured on the cover of Reproductive Toxicology (Vol. 30, # 4), found that the incidence of prostate inflammation went from 48 percent in the control group to 81 percent in the male offspring who were exposed to a mixture of atrazine and its breakdown products prenatally. The severity […]

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15
Jul

Industry Responds to Agency, Environmentalists on Atrazine Review

(Beyond Pesticides, July 15, 2010) Swiss chemical manufacturing giant Syngenta, one of the makers of the commonly used and heavily scrutinized pesticides atrazine, are speaking out against anti-pesticide activists and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) review of atrazine. Despite mounting peer-reviewed scientific literature and research, Syngenta refuses to acknowledge the dangers of atrazine and, according to Legal Newsline, claims that the review is “redundant,” and merely “an unprecedented war on agriculture by anti-pesticide activists.” The company, which made over $11 billion in sales in 2009 even accuses the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), which has spearheaded a campaign to persuade EPA to initiate reviews, of being “slick” and “well-funded.” Other critics of the agency’s decision include the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), a group that has in the past received funding from Monsanto and Union Carbide (according to the group Center for Science in the Public Interest, ACSH stopped disclosing corporate donors in the early 1990’s). Dr. Gilbert Ross, medical director of ACSH told Legal Newswire that they believe EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson to be “cooperating with, if not spearheading, a broad-based activist agenda.” An article by The Huffington Post Investigative Fund published last week, however, […]

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01
Jun

USGS Finds Atrazine Herbicide Adversely Affects Fish Reproduction

(Beyond Pesticides, June 1, 2010) Atrazine, one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world, has been shown to affect reproduction of fish at concentrations below U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) water-quality guideline, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study. “Concentrations of atrazine commonly found in agricultural streams and rivers caused reduced reproduction and spawning, as well as tissue abnormalities in laboratory studies with fish,” said USGS scientist Donald Tillitt, Ph.D., the lead author of the study, “Atrazine Reduces Reproduction in Fathead Minnow (Pimephales promelas)” published in Aquatic Toxicology. Fathead minnows were exposed to atrazine at the USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center in Columbia, Missouri, and observed for effects on egg production, tissue abnormalities and hormone levels. Fish were exposed to concentrations ranging from zero to 50 micrograms per liter of atrazine for up to 30 days. All tested levels of exposure are less than the EPA Office of Pesticides Aquatic Life Benchmark of 65 micrograms per liter for chronic exposure of fish. Study results show that normal reproductive cycling was disrupted by atrazine and fish did not spawn as much or as well when exposed to atrazine. Researchers found that total egg production was lower in […]

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27
Apr

Bill Introduced in U.S. House to Ban Atrazine

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2010) On April 22, 2010, Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) introduced H.R.5124, legislation to prohibit the use, production, sale, importation, or exportation of any pesticide containing atrazine. The bill’s introduction coincides with an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) meeting this week to reevaluate the human health effects of the popular endocrine disrupting herbicide. Environmentalists point to the 2003-2006 reregistration of atrazine as a prime example of the broken system of pesticide regulation in the U.S. and call on EPA to reassess atrazine fairly and for consumers to support an end to all unnecessary pesticide use by supporting organic whenever possible. “On this 40th Anniversary of Earth Day, I can think of no better tribute to our planet and our people than protecting it from known harmful chemicals,” Rep. Ellison said. “No one should ever have to worry if the water they drink is making them sick or preventing fertility.” Rep. Ellison’s bill cites widespread environmental contamination, health and environmental effects, as well as bans in other countries, as justification for the ban. The current SAP meeting follows EPA’s October 2009 announcement that it would begin a new evaluation of atrazine to determine its effects […]

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20
Apr

Towns Sue Atrazine Manufacturer for Drinking Water Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2010) Communities from six states filed a lawsuit last month in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois against Swiss chemical giant Syngenta AG and its American counterpart Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., the makers of Atrazine. The 16 municipalities in the states of Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and Iowa want Syngenta to pay for the expensive carbon filters needed to remove atrazine from their drinking water supply. The United States’ largest private water utility, American Water Company, has also joined the suit, representing 28 additional communities. Atrazine is used to control broad leaf weeds and annual grasses in crops, golf courses, and even residential lawns. It is used extensively for broad leaf weed control in corn. The herbicide does not cling to soil particles, but washes into surface water or leaches into groundwater, and then finds its way into municipal drinking water. It has been linked to a myriad of health problems in humans including disruption of hormone activity, birth defects, and cancer. Atrazine is also a major threat to wildlife. It harms the immune, hormone, and reproductive systems of aquatic animals. Fish and amphibians exposed to atrazine can exhibit hermaphrodism. Male […]

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02
Apr

Spring Planting Brings New Urgency to Atrazine Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, April 2, 2010) On Monday, Tyrone Hayes PhD, researcher and professor at University of California Berkley gave a speech at Illinois State University urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban atrazine completely. Though atrazine has been the go to broad leaf weed killer for America’s corn growers since the 1950’s, evidence continues to build that atrazine is an unacceptable danger to humans and wildlife, and controversy continues as spring planting looms. In response to mounting scientific research, EPA announced last October it would review atrazine’s registration status, and last month announced plans to overhaul drinking water regulations regarding atrazine and numerous other chemicals known to harm human health. Dr. Hayes is one of the preeminent researchers on the effects of atrazine on amphibians. He compares the current loss of amphibians to the bird die-offs in the 1960’s due to DDT. The Journal Star who covered the event called the atrazine issue “one of the most contested environmental debates since PCBs were banned in the 1970s.” The debate has pitted concerned farmers, environmentalists, and human health advocates against conventional corn growers and atrazine manufacturer Syngenta. Syngenta, the Swiss chemical giant, is also facing litigation from several municipalities […]

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30
Mar

Unprecedented Pesticide Contamination Found in Beehives

(Beyond Pesticides, March 30, 2010) Searching for clues to the mysterious disappearance of bees, known as “colony collapse disorder”(CCD), Penn State University researchers have identified widespread pesticide contamination of beehives. The study, “High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries: Implications for Honey Bee Health,” was published March 19, 2010 in the scientific journal Public Library of Science (PLOS). The study finds 121 different types of pesticides within 887 wax, pollen, bee and hive samples from 23 states. The top 10 most frequently detected pesticides are fluvalinate, coumaphos, chlorpyrifos, chlorothalonil, amitraz, pendamethalin, endosulfan, fenpropathrin, esfenvalerate and atrazine. Miticides are the most common contaminant in the wax and bees, and fungicides are the most common contaminant of pollen. For the full results of the study, including several tables of wax, pollen and bee sample data, download the study from the PLOS website. “The pollen is not in good shape,” Chris Mullin, PhD, lead author of the study, told Discovery News. The authors state that the 98 pesticides and metabolites detected in mixtures up to 214 parts per million (ppm) in bee pollen alone represents a remarkably high level for toxicants in the brood and adult food of this primary […]

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03
Mar

More Research Links Atrazine to Sexual Abnormalities in Amphibians

(Beyond Pesticides, March 3, 2010) A recently published study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that male frogs exposed to the herbicide atrazine can become so completely female that they can mate and lay viable eggs. This latest study adds to the growing scientific evidence which shows that atrazine, one of the most common herbicides used in the U.S., disrupts the development and behavior of aquatic animals, and negatively effects their immune, hormone, and reproductive systems. The study, “Atrazine induces complete feminization and chemical castration in male African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis),” led by Tyrone Hayes, PhD, at the University of California, Berkeley, demonstrates the reproductive consequences of atrazine exposure in adult amphibians. Dr. Hayes and other researchers examined a group of 40 African clawed frogs, all of which carried male chromosomes. As tadpoles, the frogs were put in water with 2.5 parts per billion (ppb) of atrazine — a concentration within federal drinking water standards. Atrazine-exposed males were both demasculinized (chemically castrated) and completely feminized as adults. Exposed genetic males developed into functional females that copulated with unexposed males and produced viable eggs. The eggs produced were all male offspring since both parents contributed male […]

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10
Feb

Herbicide Atrazine Linked to Rare Birth Defect

(Beyond Pesticides, February 10, 2009) Living near farms that use the weed killer atrazine increases the risk of a rare birth defect, according to a study presented February 5, 2010 at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Chicago. Gastroschisis, a rare birth defect in which an infant’s intestines stick out of the body through a defect on one side of the umbilical cord, affects 1 in 5000 babies born in the U.S. each year. Babies with this condition have problems with movement and absorption in the gut, because the unprotected intestine is exposed to irritating amniotic fluid. Surgery is required to repair this defect. The rate of gastroschisis has risen 2- to 4-fold over the last three decades, especially in areas where agriculture is the primary industry, according to Sarah Waller, PhD, of the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues. Dr. Waller’s team studied the potential link between atrazine and the birth defect because, as they note in their conference abstract, “During the last 10 years, the highest percentage per population of gastroschisis was in Yakima County, in the eastern part of the state, where agriculture is the primary industry.” Overall, Washington state has about double […]

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08
Feb

EPA Sued for Failure to Protect Endangered Species from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, February 8, 2010) The Center for Biological Diversity filed a notice of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week. The lawsuit argues that EPA violated the Endangered Species Act when it approved 394 pesticides known to be harmful to humans and wildlife, without consulting with wildlife regulatory agencies as to the pesticides’ effects on endangered species. By registering pesticides known to harm migratory birds the EPA has also violated the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, according to the suit. The pesticides named in the suit pose a danger not only to wildlife, but to human health as well. Some of the pesticides named include 2,4-D the most commonly used pesticide in the nonagricultural sector, atrazine, triclosan, and pyrethrins. Jeff Miller, conservation advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, said, “It’s time for the Environmental Protection Agency to finally reform pesticide use to protect both wildlife and people…Many endangered species most affected by toxic pesticides are already struggling to cope with habitat loss and rapid climate changes. For too long this agency’s oversight has been abysmal, allowing the pesticide industry to unleash a virtual plague of toxic chemicals into our environment.” The suit names 887 threatened and […]

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07
Jan

EPA Urged To Reject Biased Syngenta Studies in New Atrazine Review

(Beyond Pesticides, January 7, 2010) Family farm groups across the Midwest are calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to prioritize independent science as the agency begins reviewing the health and environmental threats posed by the herbicide atrazine. In a letter sent to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on January 5, 2010, over a dozen groups maintain that only a completely transparent process that rejects biased research produced by the pesticide’s primary manufacturer, Syngenta, will result in a review that serves the interests of farmers, the general public and the environment. “As farmers on the front line of chemical exposure, we need EPA to make science-based decisions in the interest of our health, our family’s health and the health of our community,” said Paul Sobocinski, a southwest Minnesota crop and livestock farmer and Land Stewardship Project member. “Unfortunately, EPA has a track record of allowing agrichemical companies like Syngenta to hijack the process with bad science.” The letter to Ms. Jackson was accompanied by a new report, The Syngenta Corporation & Atrazine: The Cost to the Land, People & Democracy, jointly produced by the Minnesota-based Land Stewardship Project (LSP) and Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA). The report provides farmers […]

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15
Dec

Atrazine Exposure Triggers Release of Stress Hormone

(Beyond Pesticides, December 15, 2009) Exposure to the endocrine-disrupting herbicide atrazine triggers the release of stress hormones in rats, according to a new study published in the December 2009 issue of the journal Toxicological Sciences. The researchers believe this may explain how the popular weed killer produces some its harmful reproductive effects. The study, “Characterization of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Response to Atrazine and Metabolites in the Female Rat,” was conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory. According to a December 4 analysis by Environmental Health Sciences, a foundation-funded journalism organization, the researchers discovered that female rats fed atrazine at the time of ovulation released a flow of stress hormones that are known to interfere with hormones essential for reproduction. The findings reveal one way atrazine may impact female reproduction. Elevated stress hormones can disrupt the hormone signals that spur ovulation. Such a stress response to atrazine could partially explain why previous studies find that the herbicide inhibits reproduction. The stress reaction is similar to that seen when the animals are restrained against their will. One of the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the U.S., atrazine can currently legally be applied before and […]

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08
Oct

EPA Announces New Scientific Evaluation of Atrazine

(Beyond Pesticides, October 8, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it will launch a comprehensive new evaluation of the pesticide atrazine to determine its effects on humans this fall. At the end of this process, the agency will decide whether to revise its current risk assessment of the pesticide and whether new restrictions are necessary to better protect public health. This announcement follows recent scrutiny and findings that the current EPA regulation of atrazine in water is inadequate. In August this year, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) published a report, Poisoning the Well which found that the commonly used herbicide atrazine can spike at extremely high levels which go undetected by regular monitoring. Concurrently, The New York Times published an investigative piece based on the NRDC findings and confirmed that the public is not informed when reports of these spikes of atrazine in drinking water occur. One of the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the U.S., atrazine can currently legally be applied before and after planting to control broadleaf and grassy weeds. Its increased use to manicure home lawns and gardens has become a serious environmental concern as runoff has had severe health and environmental […]

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05
Oct

Review Confirms Atrazine Harms Fish and Amphibians

(Beyond Pesticides, October 5, 2009) An analysis of more than 100 scientific studies conducted on atrazine, published in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives, demonstrates the toxicity of atrazine to aquatic animals. Biologists at the University of Southern Florida (USF) have found evidence that atrazine harms fish and frogs. Atrazine is disruptive to the development and behavior of aquatic animals, and negatively effects their immune, hormone, and reproductive systems, according to the studies done by USF assistant professor Jason R. Rohr and postdoctoral fellow Krista A. McCoy. Atrazine is commonly used on lawns, golf courses, and sugarcane fields in Florida, and has recently been the topic of much controversy. While atrazine typically does not kill amphibians and freshwater fish, the USF report says it did: ”¢ Reduce the size of amphibians at or near metamorphosis in 19 of 19 studies. ”¢ Make amphibians and fish more active in 12 of 14 studies but reduced behaviors used to evade predators in six of seven studies. ”¢ Alter at least one aspect of male frogs’ reproductive development in eight of 10 studies. ”¢ Reduce the functioning of animals’ immune systems and often put them at risk of infection. Atrazine, a common […]

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29
Sep

Children Living Near Agricultural Pesticide Use Have Higher Cancer Rate

(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2009) A new study reveals that children exposed to agricultural pesticides applied near their home have up to twice the risk of developing the most common form of childhood leukemia, according to the Northern California Cancer Center (NCCC). The study, “Residential proximity to agricultural pesticide applications and childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia,” published in the October issue of Environmental Research, used a unique California database to reveal an elevated risk in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) among children living near applications of certain categories of pesticides used in agriculture. The study, led by Rudolph Rull, Ph.D., shows an elevated risk of ALL associated with moderate exposure, but not high exposure, to pesticides classified as organophosphates (odds ratio (OR) 1.6), chlorophenoxy herbicides (OR 2.0), and triazines (OR 1.9), and with agricultural pesticides used as insecticides (OR 1.5) or fumigants (OR 1.7). California is one of the few states in the country that requires active reporting of pesticide applications, including time, place, and the type and amount of pesticide used. For this study, researchers were able to link children’s entire residential histories from birth to the time of case diagnosis to this pesticide-use reporting database and identify agricultural pesticides that […]

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26
Aug

Report Finds Inadequate EPA Regulation of Pesticides in Water

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2009) The commonly used herbicide atrazine can spike at extremely high levels which go undetected by regular monitoring, according to new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Poisoning the Well. Currently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers an annual average atrazine level of below 3 parts per billion to be acceptable for human consumption, although studies have shown adverse health impacts below EPA’s “safe” levels. The analysis by NRDC discovered that in the 139 municipal water systems from which EPA collected data on a biweekly basis in 2003 and 2004, atrazine is found 90% of the time. Furthermore, 54 of these water systems have at least one spike above 3 parts per billion. “The data shows that EPA is unable to adequately regulate atrazine and protect the public from this hazardous herbicide in our drinking water,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “With studies showing hormonal and other adverse effects at extremely low levels, any level of atrazine in our drinking water is dangerous and spikes above EPA’s 3 ppb threshold are completely unacceptable. EPA must put public health first and ban this toxic chemical.” Under the federal Safe Drinking Water […]

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10
Jul

Lawsuit to Challenge EPA for Pesticide Impacts on Polar Bears

(Beyond Pesticides, July 10, 2009) The Center for Biological Diversity notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this week of its intent to file suit against the agency for failing to consider impacts to the polar bear and its Arctic habitat from toxic contamination resulting from pesticide use in the U.S. Pesticides registered by EPA for use in the U.S. are known to be transported to the Arctic via various atmospheric, oceanic, and biotic pathways. Such pesticides are biomagnified with each step higher in the food web, reaching some of their greatest concentrations in polar bears, the apex predators of the Arctic. A body of literature demonstrates the far-reaching effects of commonly used pesticides that are suspected endocrine disruptors and persistent organic pollutants, such as atrazine, 2,4-D, lindane, endosulfan, and permethrin, on global ecosystems. These pesticides, among others, and related contaminants have been linked to suppressed immune function, endocrine disruption, abnormalities in reproductive organs, hermaphroditism, and increased cub mortality in polar bears. Human subsistence hunters in the Arctic, who share the top spot on the food web with the polar bear, also face increased risks from exposure to these contaminants. “The poisoning of the Arctic is a silent crisis […]

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