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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'DEET' Category


31
May

DDT Still Harming Birds of Prey, 50 Years After Its Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, May 31, 2022) Fifty years after the banning of DDT, the notorious insecticide is still harming iconic birds of prey along the California coastline. According to research published in Environmental Science and Technology, California condors and marine mammals along California’s coast are contaminated with several dozen different halogenated organic compounds (hazardous, often-chlorinated chemicals) related to DDT, chlordane, and other now-banned legacy chemicals. The findings highlight the incredible importance of addressing these original “forever chemicals,” and making certain that we do not continue to repeat the mistakes of the past with new and different, yet equally dangerous, chemistries. Between 1947 and 1971, the Montrose Chemical Corporation of California, the largest historical producer of DDT, released over 1,700 tons of DDT into the LA sewer system, which eventually made its way into the Pacific Ocean. During this time, several other companies discharged PCBs, leading to further chemical contamination of land and sediment. As recent as April 2021, scientists discovered 25,000 barrels likely containing DDT near Catalina Island along the southern California coast. These releases have resulted in serious environmental and health problems throughout the coastal food chain. Yet, as the present study shows, scientists are only beginning to understand the […]

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17
Feb

Plastic Sports Bottles Leach Thousands of Chemicals, including a Common Insect Repellent

(Beyond Pesticides, February 17, 2022) Reusable plastic sports bottles can leach hundreds of different chemical substances into water, including a range of plasticizers, endocrine disruptors and surprisingly, an insect repellent. Researchers at University of Copenhagen, Denmark recently published their findings in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, calling for caution in the use of these products. “We were taken aback by the large amount of chemical substances we found in water after 24 hours in the bottles. There were hundreds of substances in the water – including substances never before found in plastic, as well as substances that are potentially harmful to health. After a dishwasher cycle, there were several thousand,” says Jan H. Christensen, PhD, Professor of Environmental Analytical Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. Scientists used three types of reusable plastic sports bottles, split between newly purchased and bottles that had been in regular use before the experiment. Glass bottles were used as a control. First a migration experiment was conducted. Newly purchased bottles were rinsed with tap water (which was then disposed), and then refilled with tap water and stored for 24 hours. A second experiment placed all the bottles in the […]

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18
Jan

Chemical Exposure Monitoring Documents Widespread Pesticide Exposure to People and Pets

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2021) A study published in Environmental Science & Technology adds to the growing body of scientific research verifying the use of silicone devices as an effective tool for biomonitoring and disease prognosis, finding widespread exposure to people and pets. Researchers can identify the presence of chemical contaminants among humans and their canine companions occupying similar spaces using silicone monitoring devices (e.g., wristbands, collars, etc.). Although scientists can gauge chemical contamination with silicone devices, anthropoid (human) diseases can take many years to develop, even after initial contaminant exposure. Identifying chronic human diseases from pollutants remains challenging as scientists lack a full understanding of mechanisms involved in chemical-driven diseases development. However, dogs develop comparable anthropomorphic (human-like) diseases (e.g., cancer, organ damage) from susceptibility to the same environmental contaminants, but at a much quicker pace. Therefore, this research highlights the significance of identifying chemicals associated with diseases that are common across multiple species over longer disease latency periods. The researchers note, “These results, in combination with our recent study investigating uptake rates of chemicals on wristbands, demonstrate that silicone samplers can be used to assess average integrated exposure over time (in this case over a week of exposure). Studies such as […]

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27
Jul

Researchers Develop Pesticide-Free, Mosquito-Proof Clothing

(Beyond Pesticides, July 27, 2021) Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed pesticide-free clothing able to prevent 100% of mosquito bites for the wearer, and published proof of the garment’s effectiveness in a study in the journal Insects. If able to be scaled at a commercial level, the fabrics have the potential to transform personal protective measures for mosquitoes, which often includes in well-meaning consumers spraying toxic pesticides like DEET and permethrin on their body and clothing. “The fabric is proven to work – that’s the great thing we discovered,” said study co-author Andre West, associate professor of fashion and textile design at NC State and director of Zeis Textiles Extension for Economic Development in a press release. “To me, that’s revolutionary. We found we can prevent the mosquito from pushing through the fabric, while others were thick enough to prevent it from reaching the skin.” To create the mosquito-proof fabric, scientists turned to physics and mathematical models, rather than looking for new killer chemistries. “Our premise here is: why do we need an insecticide-treated textile when you can do it, now that you know a mathematical formula, without chemistry?” said Michael Roe, PhD, an N.C. State professor of entomology […]

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10
Jul

Study Shows Brain Effects during Fetal Development Linked to Common Pesticide Exposure—Supports Call for Organic Alternatives

(Beyond Pesticides, July 10, 2020) A study published in June 2020 in Environmental Health journal is especially concerning for people who become, or plan to become, pregnant. It concludes that personal, agricultural, and household exposures to pesticides may increase the risk of a relatively rare fetal disorder called “holoprosencephaly.” The study finds that pre-conception and the first few weeks of pregnancy are the most vulnerable periods during which exposure can increase risk of this disorder, in which the embryo’s forebrain fails to develop into two distinct hemispheres. The study’s results reinforce Beyond Pesticide’s long-standing warnings of the dangers of pesticides to children and the necessity of shifting to a precautionary approach to the introduction and use of synthetic pesticides (and other chemicals) across all sectors. The importance of this shift is perhaps no more poignantly illustrated than in the impacts that pesticide exposure can have on new life. The study, conducted from 2016 through 2019 by researchers from NIH (the U.S. National Institutes of Health) and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, is a case-control study — one that compares subjects who have a disease or disorder with “controls” who do not have the disorder, comparing the frequency of exposure to a particular risk […]

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06
Nov

Coconut-Derived Insect Repellent More Effective than the Hazardous DEET

(Beyond Pesticides, November 6, 2018) Scientists working for USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Lincoln, Nebraska have discovered natural compounds derived from coconut oil that are more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, bed bugs and other insects. Given the long-lasting efficacy of the compounds researchers tested, commercialization could make the regular use of toxic insect repellents, like DEET, obsolete. Advocates are praising USDA researchers for the results, indicating that this is exactly the type of research government agencies should be funding and promoting. It is important to note that USDA scientists did not find coconut oil itself to be an effective repellent. Lab equipment was used to analyze and isolate medium chain fatty acids within coconut oil for their repellent properties. Scientists zeroed in on a blend of C8 (caprylic acid), C10 (capric acid), and C12 (lauric acid) fatty acids as the most effective repellent mixture. Individually, only C12 exhibited anywhere near the same efficacy as the specific blend identified. The study indicates that more research is needed to understand why coconut oil itself was ineffective, and how the synergy between the fatty acid combinations resulted in such effective repellency. To verify their hypothesis on the efficacy […]

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23
Sep

Crops Take Up Pesticides, Drugs from Treated Wastewater Irrigation

(Beyond Pesticides, September 23, 2014) A new study finds that the increasingly common use of treated wastewater on food crops can result in contamination from chemicals like DEET, triclosan, and pharmaceutical drugs. The study, titled “Treated Wastewater Irrigation: Uptake of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products by Common Vegetables under Field Conditions” and published in Environmental Science & Technology,  measures levels of 19 commonly occurring pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) in eight  types of vegetables irrigated with treated wastewater under field conditions. The analytes studied include compounds that are commonly detected in treated wastewater, including 16 pharmaceuticals (acetaminophen, caffeine, meprobamate, atenolol, trimethoprim, carbamazepine, diazepam, gemfibrozil, and primidone) and three  personal care products (DEET, triclosan, and triclocarban). The vegetable species included in the  study are carrot, celery, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, cucumber, bell pepper, and tomato, which were included because they are often consumed raw by people and are also among the most important cash crops in arid and semi-arid regions, such as southern California, where there has been a rapid increase in irrigation with treated wastewater. The study points to water shortages in many parts of the world and the U.S. as factors contributing to the increase in use of recycled […]

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14
Aug

Think Green, Practice Organic This Semester!

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2013) With another school year upon us, this can be an exciting and busy time of the year for parents and teachers as children prepare for the first day back. During this hectic time, it’s important to remember that children may face unexpected dangers at school from well-intentioned but misguided attempts to create a germ and pest-free environment through the use of pesticides. Students are better served when schools use environmentally friendly products and practice integrated pest management techniques.   Additionally, schools can further their students’ education outside the classroom by providing habitat for wildlife and growing organic food in a school garden.   By thinking green and going organic, your child’s school can become a model for the type of change that’s occurring in communities across the nation. Beyond Pesticides has put together this back-to-school guide to help safeguard your kids from dangerous chemicals at school. Use this list to start the new school year right and ensure that you are sending your kids back to a healthier and safer environment. Fight Germs Without Triclosan Because of its link to adverse health effects – including asthma, cancer and learning dis ­abilities, triclosan has no place […]

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28
May

Oregon Health Authority Finds Forestry Pesticides in Residents in Long Delayed Report

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2013) A recent report by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) found that residents that live in the Highway 36 corridor of Western Oregon were exposed to toxic pesticides in the spring and fall of 2011. OHA collected urine and environmental samples in August and September of 2011 and found levels of 2,4-D and atrazine in residents’ urine. 2,4-D and atrazine have been detected in residents’ urine previously after they had sent samples to be analyzed by Emory University in 2011. Residents continue to argue that herbicides being aerially sprayed on private forests are drifting on their land and causing dangerous levels of exposure. Even though this report by OHA has been delayed several times, it still contains serious data gaps. According to the report, “The urine samples tested had levels of 2,4-D higher than the general U.S. population.” Though the report found that urine samples also had detectable levels of atrazine, there are no national reference values for atrazine available for the general population, so the study could not conclude that the levels of atrazine exposure were higher than the national average. The report also found other pesticide residues in the environmental samples besides 2,4-D and […]

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26
Feb

Mosquitoes Show Resistance to Highly Toxic DEET Repellent

(Beyond Pesticides, February 26, 2013) The world’s most commonly used synthetic insect repellent is not  as effective as it once was, according to scientists at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. While researchers found DEET to be an effective repellent after an initial application, subsequent rounds of testing mere hours later showed mosquitoes to be unaffected by its presence. The study, published in the journal PLOS One, underlines the need to develop safe, natural, effective alternative preventions to this hazardous chemical. To perform their experiment, researchers took the mosquito species Aedes aegypti, a carrier for dengue and yellow fever, and exposed it to a human arm covered in DEET. A few hours later they repeated the experiment, but this time the mosquitoes largely ignored the presence of the chemical. To find out what caused this to occur, researchers placed electrodes on the antennas of the insects. “We were able to record the response of the receptors on the antenna to DEET, and what we found was the mosquitoes were no longer as sensitive to the chemical, so they weren’t picking it up as well,”   co-author James Logan, PhD told the BBC.  “There is something about being exposed […]

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20
Sep

Army-Funded Study Links Gulf War Illness to Pesticides and More

(Beyond Pesticides, September 20, 2011) A study supported by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command links pesticide exposure and other factors to Gulf War illness (also referred to as Gulf War Syndrome), an illness characterized by a wide range of acute and chronic symptoms experienced by veterans and civilians after the 1991 Gulf War. The study, “Complex Factors in the Etiology of Gulf War Illness: Wartime Exposures and Risk Factors in Veteran Subgroups,” is published in the September 19, 2011 online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives. The researchers designed the study to compare the characteristics of deployment and the risk factors experienced by veterans participating in various theaters of the Gulf War. Among personnel who were in Iraq or Kuwait, where all battles took place, four exposures were independently associated with GWI: taking PB pills, being within one mile of an exploding SCUD missile, using pesticides on the skin, and exposure to smoke from oil well fires. For veterans who remained in support areas, GWI was significantly associated only with personal pesticide use, with increased prevalence (OR=12.7, CI=2.6-61.5) in the relatively small subgroup who wore pesticide-treated uniforms, nearly all of whom also used skin pesticides. Among 64 pesticide […]

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13
May

DEET-Resistant Mosquitoes Can Pass Trait to Offspring

(Beyond Pesticides, May 13, 2010) Recent tests find that mosquitoes that are insensitive to DEET, the pesticide commonly used to repel the pesky flying insect, can pass this characteristic as a genetic trait onto their offspring. The findings are published in the May 3 edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In order to hunt for blood, female mosquitoes use their antenna to locate humans; however, according to researchers, DEET temporarily destroys an insect’s sense of smell by hindering the function of certain odor receptors. The researchers observed which insects bit DEET-treated human arms and discovered that a gene alteration prohibited a sensory cell on the bugs’ antennae from detecting the chemical. “There is something in the antenna they use to smell that reacted differently,” Dr. Nina Stanczyk of Rothhamstead Research, an agricultural research center in the U.K., told the Toronto Star. Scientists studied one species of DEET-insensitive mosquitoes, the Aedes aegypti, a species that carry the diseases yellow fever and dengue fever. When mutated females were bred with males of unknown sensitivity in tests, the quantity of mosquitoes that were insensitive to DEET rose from 13 to 50 percent in one generation. Though scientists are […]

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03
Dec

Use of Insect Repellent Associated With Birth Defect

(Beyond Pesticides, December 3, 2009) Pregnant women should reconsider applying insect repellent after a study finds a link to an increasingly common birth defect. European researchers have found an association between mothers who used insect repellent in the earliest phase of pregnancy and an increased rate of “hypospadias” in the penises of their male children. Hypospadias is the condition where the opening of the penis is in the wrong place – usually back from the tip and on the underside – and often requires corrective surgery. The condition is thought to affect around one to two baby boys in every 500. According to a report published online November 30 in Occupational and Environmental Medicine and entitled “Use of biocides and insect repellents and risk of hypospadias,” infants born to mothers who used insect repellent during the first trimester of pregnancy are more likely to have hypospadias (OR 1.81, 95% CI 1.06 to 3.11) after adjusting for other factors. The research includes 471 babies with hypospadias and 490 acting as a comparison group. Their mothers were asked a series of questions, including whether they had been exposed to insect repellents and biocide chemicals, such as pesticides or weedkillers. They were asked […]

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12
Aug

Study Finds that Mosquito Repellent DEET Affects Nervous System

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2009) A new study examining the effects of the mosquito repellent DEET on insects, mice and human proteins reports that the chemical interferes with a prominent central nervous system enzyme. This effect is magnified when exposure to DEET is combined with exposure to certain other pesticides. Entitled, “Evidence for inhibition of cholinesterases in insect and mammalian nervous systems by the insect repellent deet,” and published in BioMed Central (BMC) Biology, the study utilized toxicological, biochemical and electrophysiological techniques to show that DEET is not simply a behavior-modifying chemical, but that it also inhibits cholinesterase activity in both insect and mammalian neuronal preparations. The researchers examined DEET’s effects on mosquitoes, cockroach nerves, mouse muscles, and enzymes purified from fruit flies and humans. Applications of DEET slowed or halted the actions of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. This enzyme is crucial for regulating nerve impulses in both insects and mammals, and once its functions are disrupted, neuromuscular paralysis, leading to death by asphyxiation result. In humans, symptoms include headache, exhaustion and mental confusion together with blurred vision, salivation, chest tightness, and muscle twitching and abdominal cramps. The study also investigated the consequences of DEET interactions with carbamate insecticides on the […]

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22
Jul

Oregon Suspends Pesticide Use Reporting After 2008 Data

(Beyond Pesticides, July 22, 2009) The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) recently released statistics for statewide pesticide use in 2008, while at the same time announcing the suspension of the reporting system, which has only been collecting data since 2007. The Pesticide Use Reporting System (PURS) was suspended until 2013 by House Bill 2999, due to lack of funding. The $800,000 saved will instead be used to fund two investigator positions. Until its reinstatement, officials will be unable to collect data or pursue enforcement related to missing reports from earlier in 2009. The 2008 PURS report documents agricultural and household pesticide use, which totaled almost 20,000 pounds and 572 different active ingredients. The top five active ingredients, by pounds, were all used in agriculture: metam sodium, glyphosate, 1,3-dichloropropene, sulfuric acid, and aliphatic petroleum hydrocarbons. Agriculture totaled 77 percent of all pesticide use, with urban/general indoor and outdoor uses totaling under four percent. The total used dropped by half from 2007, due in part to improved record keeping and a decline in the use of metam sodium, a popular fumigant in potato production. In households, pesticide use may be shifting away from the most toxic products. “In 2007, everyone was just […]

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28
May

Researchers Looking For Alternatives to DEET

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2008) Researchers have begun preliminary work to find suitable and safe alternatives to the widely used mosquito repellent DEET. Several possibilities have been identified, which repel mosquitoes for longer periods of time, but their safety for use on humans still needs to be investigated.Researchers, with funding from the Department of Defense, set out to determine what makes insect repellents work, and then to use that information in finding more effective ways to chase away disease-carrying insects. Insect repellents are used to repel biting insects such as mosquitoes and ticks that spread diseases such as encephalitis, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, malaria and dengue fever. Ulrich R. Bernier, PhD, co-author of this study published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences http://www.pnas.org/ and research chemist at the Agriculture Department’s mosquito and fly research unit in Gainesville, Fla., remarked that several of the new chemicals reviewed were “just phenomenal.” Using previous USDA data on hundreds of chemicals collected over 50 years, the researchers rated chemicals from “1” to “5” on ability to repel insects, and then focused on what the most effective ones ”” the 5s ”” had in common. They were able to […]

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