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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'neonicotinoids' Category


24
May

Study Finds Chemical Industry’s “Bee-Safe” Claim for Its Pesticides To Be False

(Beyond Pesticides, May 24, 2024) Even allegedly “low-toxicity” pesticides such as flupyradifurone (insecticide), azoxystrobin, and difenoconazole (fungicides) pose adverse health effects to solitary ground-nesting squash bees (Xenoglossa pruinose), according to a study published in Biological Sciences. Fungicide exposure led to less pollen collected per flower, while exposure to flupyradifurone (FPF) produced larger offspring (which make it more challenging for them to fly). Simultaneous exposure to the three pesticides “induced hyperactivity in female squash bees relative to both the control and single pesticide exposure, and reduced the number of emerging offspring per nest compared to individual pesticide treatments.” With United Nations Food and Agriculture Organizations-sponsored World Bee Day earlier this week, now more than ever advocates are calling for the elimination of toxic insecticide classes, such as neonicotinoids and butanolides, and their wholesale replacement with organic land management principles. This study was written by Sabrina Rondeau, PhD, postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Biology at the University of Ottawa, and Nigel E. Raine, PhD, professor at University of Guelph’s School of Environmental Science. Published on March 20, 2024, the researchers delve into the individual and co-exposure impacts of two fungicides and one insecticide, which is important, given the documented synergistic effects […]

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11
Apr

Chemical-Intensive Practices in Florida Citrus Lead to Harm and Collapse, as Organic Methods Offer Path Forward

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2024) Scientists are moving forward in testing an agroecological method of “push-pull” pest management (reducing the attractiveness of the target organism and luring pest insects towards a trap) to fight the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) in Florida orange groves, as it spreads a plant disease known as the pathogenic bacteria huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, which is deadly to citrus trees. The disease is spread by the pathogenic bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas).  The chemical-intensive, or conventional, citrus industry is under intense pressure to find alternatives, as synthetic antibiotic use for this purpose has been successfully challenged in court. ACP is the carrier, or vector, for HLB, spreading it through the citrus groves and killing the trees. The chemical-intensive industry has focused on using antibiotics, which the environmental and public health community has rejected because of serious medical concerns associated with life-threatening bacterial resistance to antibiotics used to protect humans. A federal district court decision in December 2023 found illegal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to register the antibiotic streptomycin in Florida citrus without adequate review of its impact on endangered species. The streptomycin lawsuit, filed in 2021 by a coalition of […]

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08
Mar

Study Provides First Combined Assessment of Multiple Classes of Pesticides in Human Blood

(Beyond Pesticides, March 8, 2024) A major problem has vexed pesticide regulators and researchers for decades: Humans and other organisms almost always have multiple pesticides in their bodies, but techniques for assessing their combined effects, or cumulative body burden from multiple chemical classes are not typically available. A new study from Chinese and British researchers provides the first combined assessment of multiple classes of pesticides in human blood. The authors believe they are the first to develop a way to quantify multiple types of pesticides in human serum (clear liquid part of blood) as opposed to urine or from other sample collection methods. This is a tool that authors say is a more accurate way of assessing the real world exposure and ultimately the adverse impact of pesticide use on human health. The researchers had a small sample of 31 men and 34 pregnant women in Wuxi, China. They chose 73 pesticides and a few of their breakdown products to identify from three categories: fungicides, neonicotinoid insecticides, and triazine herbicides. Their testing protocol confirms their expectation that food—primarily produce—is the major source of pesticide exposures. This result reinforces Beyond Pesticides’ mission of supporting the shift in agriculture to pesticide-free methods […]

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25
Jan

Bill to Protect Birds and Bees in New York Raises Political Challenges to Addressing Ecosystem Collapse

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2024) Legislative efforts to curtail some life-threatening pesticides associated with birds and bees (and other pollinators) decline were weakened in New York State at the end of December 2023 as the governor negotiated and stripped elements of a bill relating to agriculture that had passed the legislature—again illustrating the grip of the agrichemical industry on public policy intended to begin to address the crisis in ecosystem collapse. (See “Study Cites Insect Extinction and Ecological Collapse.”) In passing the Birds and Bees Protection Act, New York joined New Jersey, Nevada, and Maine in banning most nonagricultural uses of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides, but, in last-minute changes to avoid the governor’s veto, failed to phase out corn, soybean, and wheat seeds coated with these chemicals. [Pointing to an exemption in federal law that has been challenged by advocates, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate treated or coated seeds as pesticides despite their toxic pesticidal properties.] In New York State, the governor can, in consultation with the leadership of the legislative branch, negotiate language changes (called Chapter Amendments) in legislature-passed legislation (originally enacted) before deciding to sign it into law or can simply choose to veto the legislation. […]

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16
Jan

Take Action: EPA Challenged for Not Assessing Claimed Pesticide “Benefits,” Opens Public Comment Period

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2024) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has long been criticized for its failure to evaluate the effectiveness (or efficacy) of all the pesticides it registers. A petition, for which there is now an open public comment period (submit comments by January 22, 2024), challenges what advocates call a basic failure of the agency to evaluate the claimed benefits of pesticides. Because of this long-standing situation, those who purchase pesticides do not know that the pesticides they buy will meet expectations for control. For farmers, that means that EPA has not evaluated whether the pesticide’s use actually increases productivity of the treated crops and/or whether over time the target pest (weed, insect, fungus) will become resistant. For consumers, it also means that there is not an independent analysis of whether the pesticide products work. As EPA implements the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), not only is there no agency assessment of whether the pesticide’s use will achieve its intended purpose, there is not a determination as to whether there is a less toxic way of achieving the pest management goal. As Beyond Pesticides cited last year, a piece published in the Proceedings of the […]

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03
Nov

States Step In to Restrict Bee-Toxic Pesticides, California the Latest in Absence of EPA Action

(Beyond Pesticides, November 3, 2023) California joined 10 other states that have laws partially restricting use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides with the enactment of CA AB 363 into law in October, 2023.  California’s new law will ban over-the-counter sales of lawn and garden neonics by 2025, limiting their use to licensed pesticide applicators. The legislation gives the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (CA EPA) until June 30, 2029 to take broader action on neonics, if it determines restrictions are necessary. CA 363 will take neonics out of the hands of homeowners, while allowing lawn care companies to continue use. The California law falls short of the strongest state laws in Nevada, New Jersey, and Maine that eliminate all outdoor (nonagricultural) uses of these chemicals, even by lawn care companies. In June, 2023 Nevada became the third state to ban lawn and garden uses of neonics, while Colorado prohibited homeowner use of land and garden neonic products, similar to laws in Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont.  Minnesota recently banned neonic use on state lands and granted its home-rule subdivisions the authority to ban “pollinator-lethal pesticides” (those with bee warning labels) under its state law preempting local authority […]

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21
Jul

Study Confirms Continued Bird Decline as EPA Fails to Restrict Neonicotinoid Insecticides

(Beyond Pesticides, July 21, 2023) A comprehensive and scathing report, “Neonicotinoid insecticides: Failing to come to grips with a predictable environmental disaster,” issued by American Bird Conservancy (ABC)in June, lays out the dire consequences of neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides’ continued use. The report is an update of an earlier review from 2013, which warned of the risks to birds, stating starkly: “A single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a songbird. Even a tiny grain of wheat or canola treated with the oldest neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, can poison a bird. As little as 1/10th of a corn seed per day during egg-laying season is all that is needed to affect reproduction with any of the neonicotinoids registered to date.” The story of neonic harm is one that has been repeated for generations with different pesticides. Pesticide manufacturers claim every new generation of their products is safer and more environmentally benign than the previous one. This is seldom true. There is ample evidence that pesticides pose threats to nearly every class of organism on Earth, from earthworms to elephants. The neonicotinoids, introduced in the early 1990s, have been marketed as safe for vertebrates, non-bioaccumulative, and, because of their flexible application methods […]

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05
Jun

Take Action: With Butterfly Decline Mounting, EPA Allows Continued Pesticide Use that Causes Threat

(Beyond Pesticides, June 5, 2023) Butterflies—the most attractive of our insect fauna—are disappearing at an appalling rate, largely due to pesticide use. Recent studies have documented declines of almost 50% from 1990 to 2011 in Europe (with trends continuing), of 58 percent between 2000 and 2009 in the U.K., and of 33% from 1996–2016 in the state of Ohio in the U.S. Even steeper declines have been documented for Monarch butterflies, with an 80 percent decline of Eastern monarchs and 99 percent decline of Western monarchs. Tell EPA to eliminate pesticides that threaten butterflies. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior to help bring back butterflies by eliminating the use of pesticides that threaten them. Tell Congress that EPA and other agencies need to do their job and protect our most charismatic insects. Last year, EPA admitted that three neonicotinoid pesticides are “likely to adversely affect from two-thirds to over three-fourths of America’s endangered species—1,225 to 1,445 species in all,” including many butterfly species. On May 5 of this year, EPA released new analyses of these neonics’ effects on endangered species. EPA’s analyses focus on the species most at risk of extinction, and the results represent […]

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09
May

Colorado Limits Bee-Toxic Pesticide Use, as EPA Details Harm to Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, May 9, 2022) The Colorado legislature last week passed SB23-266, a bill limiting the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides in the state. The news comes as other states consider their own restrictions, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is publishing details on exactly which endangered species are set to be harmed by the ongoing use of these harmful insecticides. This latest news shows that protecting pollinators is possible, and urgently needed given growing understanding of the dangers these chemicals pose to the most vulnerable wildlife in the country.   The Colorado bill requires the state’s commissioner of agriculture to adopt rules designating neonicotinoid pesticides as ‘limited-use’ pesticides in the state. With this designation, only licensed pesticide dealers may sell products containing these chemicals. Per the state’s legal code, the “limited-use” designation means the same as a federal “restricted-use” pesticide, which permits sales and use only for certified applicators. Passage of this bill marks an important step forward for pollinator protection efforts in the state. It will help ensure that homeowners are not able to easily purchase this product at big box retailers, but will allow continued use in residential areas and in agriculture. Colorado’s bill fulfills guidance […]

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27
Apr

Nevada Assembly Votes Unanimously To Protect Pollinators, Recognizes Deficiencies of EPA Regulations

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2023) The Nevada Assembly, by unanimous vote, took the state one step closer to banning the use of neonicotinoid insecticides used on plants, with a waiver for commercial agricultural purposes. Despite dramatic declines in bee populations linked to neonicotinoid pesticides and other toxic pesticides, the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) and state regulatory authorities have for the most part ignored beekeepers and the independent scientific literature by allowing widespread toxic pesticide use—forcing elected officials to take protective action. Portions of the bill would take effect upon passage or no later than January 1, 2024. Maine and New Jersey have adopted similar legislation. The failure to adequately regulate pesticides under federal law, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and EPA inaction is viewed by environmentalists as the shocking disregard for the importance of biodiversity to sustaining life. The inadequate restriction of pesticides and slower than necessary transition to organic land management practices are viewed as major contributors to the “insect apocalypse.” The legislation (A.B. 162), led by Assemblywoman Michelle Gorelow and a group of nine other Assemblymembers, illustrates a growing trend of local and state legislative bodies asserting their authority to protect against health, biodiversity, and […]

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03
Mar

Groups Challenge EPA on Allowing Toxic Pesticides that Do Not Even Work and Without Its Review

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2023) On February 22, a group of 65 nonprofit organizations (including Beyond Pesticides) filed a citizen petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that asks the agency to close a gaping — and well exploited — regulatory loophole by revoking a 1984 regulation that waived efficacy data requirements in pesticide evaluations. This means that EPA has, for 39 years, registered pesticides without demonstrated proof of efficacy and benefits. The petition is aimed primarily at the widespread use of neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics), which are so harmful to hundreds of species — and to bees, other pollinators, and birds, in particular — that many advocates have insisted they should be banned altogether. Beyond Pesticides has advocated for a neonics ban because of their extensive harms to pollinators, multiple other organisms (including humans), ecosystems, and natural resources. The Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network North America, Center for Biological Diversity, Beyond Pesticides, and other advocates have filed lawsuits in recent years to get EPA to act protectively on neonics and other pesticides. The coalition of groups in the subject case seeks to rein in a plethora of harmful impacts of neonics, given EPA’s overall lack of protective action. (For […]

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02
Mar

Pesticide Exposure and the Link to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2023) Populations experiencing higher levels of environmental pollutant exposure, specifically pesticides, also experience a higher rate of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a study published in Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology. IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder that causes abdominal pain or discomfort and changes in bowel behaviors. IBS affects 25 to 45 million individuals in the U.S., mostly female (two-thirds). Additionally, a quarter to half of all gastrointestinal-related visits are for IBS symptoms. Despite the unknown etiology of IBS, ample evidence demonstrates environmental contaminants, like pesticides, negatively affect the gut microbiota, causing a microorganism imbalance and resulting in inflammation associated with IBS. The gut, also known as the “second brain,” shares similar structural and chemical parallels to the brain. The microbiota in the gut plays a crucial role in lifelong digestion, immune and central nervous system regulation, as well as other bodily functions. Although studies show how chemical exposures affect overall human health, a growing body of peer-reviewed scientific literature is now questioning how these toxic chemicals influence gut health and the subsequent occurrence of diseases. The study notes, “These findings may help to understand the relationship between pesticide exposure and IBS; however, more epidemiological and experimental research is needed to understand […]

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22
Feb

Neonicotinoids Combined with Other Pesticides Elevate Hazards to Honey Bee

(Beyond Pesticides, February 22, 2023) Combining neonicotinoid insecticides with other commonly used pesticides can result in synergistic effects on honey bees, increasing toxicity more than any individual chemical could, according to research published in Scientific Reports earlier this month. The data highlight the grave inadequacy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) process for evaluating pesticide risks. Under current regulations, EPA requires chemical manufacturers to submit data only on singular active ingredients. Yet, pesticide products may be packaged or ‘tank mixed’ with other, equally toxic pesticides without any obligation to determine the toxicity of the material that is actually being applied. Independent research is left to fill in these gaps, and the data increasingly shows that toxicity with pesticide mixtures amounts to a roll of the dice: sometimes combinations are less toxic, sometimes their toxicities are merely additive. But more often than not, pesticide mixtures result in synergistic effects that make the product significantly more toxic than either individual chemical alone. To understand how pesticide combinations are harming pollinators, scientists began with baseline data on the individual toxicity range  that common pesticides pose to honey bee colonies. Research was conducted on honey bees reared in the Stoneville Wildlife Management Area […]

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14
Feb

Harming Wildlife, Pesticides in Waterways Run into the Great Lakes Year-Round

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2023) The waterways that flow into the Great Lakes are experiencing year-round pesticide contamination that exceeds benchmarks meant to protect aquatic life, according to research published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). “What you use makes it into the water,” study coauthor Sam Oliver, PhD, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. These data buttress growing calls from pesticide reform advocates that new laws are needed to protect the nation’s increasingly threatened waters. USGS scientists conducted their analysis on 16 tributaries that feed into the Great Lakes, including sites that correspond to urban, agricultural, and undeveloped land. Samples were taken at locations closest to the lake the tributary flowed into over a period of roughly one year from October 2015 to September 2016. Each sample was tested for 231 pesticides and their breakdown products. Researchers used aquatic life benchmarks set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and created a relative hazard index (RHI) for the study to evaluate whether specific sites should be prioritized for further protections.   Across every sampled tributary, pesticides were found. Accordingly, 96% (190 out of 198) of samples taken contained pesticides or their breakdown products. […]

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25
Jan

Western Bumblebee Declines a Result of Pesticides and Climate Change, No End in Sight

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2023) Populations of the western bumblebee are in free fall, with 57% declines across the species’ historical range, finds new research led by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey. These data are in line with trends for other once common bumblebees in the United States, like the rusty patched and American, of which the former is now listed as endangered and the latter is under consideration. Most critically, the study authors did not simply generalize the most likely and common reasons, but instead establish the contribution that pesticide use, climate change, and land use changes have on western bumblebee declines. As the study shows, both the drivers and solutions to pollinators declines are in human hands, necessitating a broad rethinking of the nation’s approach to energy use and food production. The western bumblebee has been under considerable stress for decades. In the 1990s, there were attempts to commercialize the species as a greenhouse pollinator. This industrial approach resulted in the spread of a fungal disease called Vairimorpha bombi, and captive rearing of the western bumblebee was eventually halted and deemed untenable. These dislocations resulted in local declines of the species in certain regions of U.S. Northwest […]

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19
Jan

Neonicotinoid Insecticides Adversely Affect Nervous System Health, According to Study

(Beyond Pesticides, January 19, 2023) Research published in Environmental Health Perspectives finds the presence of nine various neonicotinoids (neonics) and six neonic metabolites within human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF is an essential part of the central nervous system (CNS), especially for CNS development. Specific chemical biomarkers (measurable indicators of biological state), like pesticides, found in CSF are useful for diagnosing and evaluating numerous neurological diseases. The nervous system is an integral part of the human body and includes the brain, spinal cord, a vast network of nerves and neurons, all of which are responsible for many of our bodily functions—from sensed to movement. However, mounting evidence over the past years shows that chronic exposure to sublethal (low) levels of pesticides can cause neurotoxic effects or exacerbate preexisting chemical damage to the nervous system. The impacts of pesticides on the nervous system, including the brain, are hazardous, especially for chronically exposed individuals (e.g., farmworkers) or during critical windows of vulnerability and development (e.g., childhood, pregnancy). Researchers identify the role agricultural chemicals play in CNS impacts causing neurological diseases, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease, dementia-like diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and other effects on cognitive function. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood […]

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18
Jan

Growing Sunflowers Near Honey Bee Colonies Helps Reduce Mite Problems

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2023) Sunflower plantings have the potential to significantly reduce mite infestations in nearby honey bee colonies, according to research recently published in the Journal of Economic Entomology by researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). With pollinators under threat from pesticides, climate change, loss of habitat, and the spread of disease and parasites, sustainable methods that address multiple factors at once are needed. This study points to a way to address destructive Varroa mites, while reducing the need for in-hive use of miticides that can likewise harm colony health. “If sunflowers are as big of a factor in mite infestation as indicated by our landscape-level correlations … having a few more acres of sunflower within a mile or two of apiaries could bring colonies below the infestation levels that require treatment of hives with acaracides (i.e., mite-controlling chemicals),” said lead author Evan Palmer-Young, PhD, of USDA’s Bee Research Lab in Beltsville, MD. Prior research has pointed to sunflower pollen as a potential benefit for a number of common bee diseases and infestations, including the Varroa mite, the fungal parasites Nosema spp, and various viruses. Investigations went through four different experiments aimed at characterizing any potential […]

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11
Jan

Study Connects Neonicotinoids to Liver Damage Ignored by EPA

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2022) Neonicotinoid insecticides can have detrimental effects on liver health, according to research published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials. While this is the first study to investigate how these chemicals harm the liver, there is increasing evidence that neonicotinoids, otherwise notorious for their effects on pollinators and aquatic life, can cause direct harm to human health. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to protect the pesticide industry from any measure of meaningful regulation around these hazardous products, the job falls to advocates to place pressure on elected officials to make the changes necessary to safeguard long-term health and well-being. Scientists postulated that neonicotinoids are neither metabolized by the liver nor excreted by urine. To test that hypothesis, 201 individuals from a hospital in China were enrolled into a study. Of the enrolled,  81 were cancer patients, and 120 were not. These individuals underwent a procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography whereby samples of their bile, a fluid produced in the liver, were retrieved and analyzed. Researchers also performed a series of blood tests, measuring a range of biomarkers, including cholesterol, bilirubin, bile acids, white blood cells, platelets, and others. Lastly, scientists determined the amount […]

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10
Jan

Pollinator Decline Leads to Crop Losses, Malnutrition, and Highest Threat to Low-Income

(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2023) Pollinator losses are responsible for reducing the global production of nuts, fruits, and vegetables by 3-5%, and this loss of healthy, nutrient-dense food is resulting in over 425,000 excess deaths each year, according to research published late last year in Environmental Health Perspectives. While the connection between pollination, food production and health is intuitive, the study’s ability to trace how these impacts are directly harming the well-being of people living right now is shocking, and is a clear sign that pollinator losses must be taken seriously and addressed through meaningful action. To those who consider the decline of pollinators to be some vague, amorphous future threat, let this study end that myth. According to researchers, “Today’s estimated health impacts of insufficient pollination would be comparable to other major global risk factors: those attributable to substance use disorders, interpersonal violence, or prostate cancer. Per a United Nations report, 75 percent of the world’s food crops depend at least in part on pollination, with pollinators contributing an estimated $235 to $577 billion to global crop production annually. Pollinator declines are already adversely impacting food production. A 2016 paper by many of the scientists in the current study […]

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04
Jan

Neonicotinoid Insecticides Add to the Growing List of Chemicals that Transfer between Mother and Fetus

(Beyond Pesticides, January 4, 2022) A study published in Environmental Science and Technology finds neonicotinoids (neonics) and their breakdown products (metabolites), like other chemical pesticide compounds, can readily transfer from mother to fetus. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) finds U.S. pregnant women experience frequent exposure to environmental pollutants that pose serious health risks to both mother and newborn. Many known pollutants (i.e., heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyl, and pesticides) are chemicals that can move from the mother to the developing fetus at higher exposure rates. Hence, prenatal exposure to these chemicals may increase the prevalence of birth-related health consequences like natal abnormalities and learning/developmental disabilities. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Moreover, a mother’s pesticide exposure can have a stronger association with health disorders than childhood exposure, and a newborn can still encounter pesticides. Therefore, it is essential to understand how pesticides impact the health and well-being of individuals during critical developmental periods. Beyond Pesticides has covered a variety of pregnancy risks from pesticides and other toxic chemicals, including these in just the last three years: pesticides and children’s sleep disorders; prenatal exposures to a multitude of chemicals; insecticides and childhood leukemia; insecticides and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. The study […]

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23
Nov

Study Finds that Pollinators, Not Pesticides, Are More Important to Higher Crop Yields

(Beyond Pesticides, November 23, 2022) A new study throws into question the value of the pest management concept of setting action levels around pest infestations. In the course of watermelon production over a span of two years, pollination, not pest levels, was the key determining factor for yield. “These data advocate for a reprioritization of management, to conserve and protect wild bee pollination, which could be more critical than avoiding pest damage for ensuring high yields,” the study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, indicates. Action levels are considered an important aspect of an integrated pest management (IPM) approach in agriculture, whereby a pest infestation reaches levels considered economically unacceptable, leading to a decision to engage in pest control. The concept of IPM however has been influenced by the chemical industry over the decades since its original definition and recent data indicates that it has failed to stop toxic pesticide use. The original intent of IPM was the adoption of preventive practices and utilization of nonchemical tools, placing pesticide use as a last resort when pest control is warranted. However, farms that self-identify as IPM operations use pesticides, sometimes as the first line of defense, while attempting to […]

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15
Nov

Synthetic Fertilizers and Pesticides Make Plants Less Attractive to Bumblebees, Research Shows

(Beyond Pesticides, November 15, 2022) Spraying a flowering plant with synthetic fertilizers makes it less attractive to bumblebees, according to research published this month in PNAS Nexus.  “A big issue is thus—agrochemical application can distort floral cues and modify behaviour in pollinators like bees,” said study author Ellard Hunting, PhD, of the University of Bristol, UK. The findings underscore the limited understanding that proponents of chemical agriculture have for the complex processes that food production relies upon and reinforce calls for a broad scale transition to regenerative, organic farming practices. Scientists began with the knowledge that spray applications of various agrichemicals affect the visitation patterns of bumblebees and other pollinators through a range of different processes. Past research finds that notorious bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides not only kill bees outright, but also result in a range of complex damage, including their ability to impede bees’ olfactory senses and adversely affect their vision and flying ability. Other chemicals like glyphosate weaken bees’ ability to distinguish between colors.   A growing area of research is investigating the ways in which pollinators use static electric fields surrounding flowers to find food sources. A 2013 study found that bumblebees use floral electrical fields to discriminate […]

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27
Oct

Breast Cancer Month: Neonicotinoid Insecticides and Breast Cancer Risk (Triple Negative Breast Cancer)

(Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2022) A study published in Environment International adds to the growing body of research evaluating the association between neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics/NIs) and breast cancer. Past studies suggest neonics act as endocrine disruptors, affecting the development and regulation of estrogen hormones that promote breast cancer. However, this study is one of the few to evaluate the toxicological and molecular mechanisms involved in initiating breast cancer events. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breast cancer is a disease that causes breast cells to grow out of control, with the type of breast cancer depending on the cells themselves. Most common forms of breast cancer have receptors on the cell surface that can increase cancer growth when activated by estrogen, progesterone, or too much of the protein called HER2. One in ten women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis, and genetics can only account for five to ten percent of cases. When a cancer cell lacks receptors for these molecules, G protein-coupled estrogen receptors (GPERs) are an essential biological target of estrogen and plays a role in hormone-dependent cancer development. GPERs regulate estrogen through non-genetic cellular pathways, forgoing attachment to standard molecular receptors, leading to triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Although past […]

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