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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'organochlorines' Category


08
Sep

Take Action by Sept. 13: Tell Canada to Ban Horrifically Hazardous Wood Preservative Pentachlorophenol

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2020) Canada should be in accordance with international treaty to eliminate persistent pollutants.¬† Canada is considering the elimination of one of the worst persistent pollutants‚ÄĒpentachlorophenol (penta)‚ÄĒthat dot our landscape in utility poles and railroad ties. This wood preservative‚ÄĒa cancer-causing chemical with dioxin, furans, and hexachlorobenzene that causes health and environmental degradation‚ÄĒhas no place in society as we struggle with shared global challenges of public and worker health threats, the climate crisis, and biodiversity decline. We have a chance to urge Canada to move ahead with a pentachlorophenol ban, joining with Mexico to show leadership in the protection of health and the environment‚ÄĒsomething the U.S. has not done. Tell Canada to ban pentachlorophenol. Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is accepting comments on a proposal to ban the all uses of penta in Canada. Comments are due September 13. Canada is a signatory to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which voted 90-2 to ban penta in 2015. The United States is not a signatory to the Stockholm Convention and still allows the use of penta on utility poles and other ‚Äúwood that is subject to decay or insect infestation, including supporting structures in contact with […]

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10
Jul

Study Shows Brain Effects during Fetal Development Linked to Common Pesticide Exposure‚ÄĒSupports 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 ‚Äúholoprosencephaly.‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs forebrain fails to develop into two distinct hemispheres. The study‚Äôs results reinforce Beyond Pesticide‚Äôs 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‚ÄďMadison, is a case-control study ‚ÄĒ one that compares subjects who have a disease or disorder with ‚Äúcontrols‚ÄĚ who do not have the disorder, comparing the frequency of exposure to a particular risk […]

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14
May

DDT Metabolite (DDE) and Other Banned Pesticides Found in Blood Sample of African American Women in Detroit

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2020) Four banned organochlorine pesticides (OCP) are present in over 60% of a cohort of reproductive-age, black women in Detroit, according to a¬†study¬†published in¬†Environmental Research¬†by¬†Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). OCPs are lipophilic (fat combining/dissolving), environmentally steadfast chemicals linked to harmful health effects. This study stresses the importance of monitoring pesticide accumulation, particularly regarding environmentally persistent chemicals and their metabolization via indirect exposure routes. Lead author Olivia Orta, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Epidemiology at BUSPH, highlights the significance of water monitoring‚ÄĒespecially in light of historically disproportionately high hazards for people of color (e.g., Flint, Michigan)‚ÄĒand testing sources prone to OCP contamination. She remarks, ‚ÄúThe sources that we identified as potential OCP correlates should be tested for pesticide contamination,[‚Ķ] especially drinking water.‚ÄĚ Environmental contaminants, like¬†organochlorine pesticides¬†(OCP), can persist in the environment decades after use stops, as OCPs have greater chemical stability and gradual attenuation. Minority populations are at¬†higher exposure risk¬†of environmental contaminants (i.e., pesticide) exposure that can catalyze adverse health and birth effects, especially in metropolitan areas. Although black women endure higher body burdens than other U.S. populations, there remains a lack of research surrounding the association. Boston University researchers enrolled […]

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24
Oct

Study Adds to Evidence that Organic Fruit Consumption Leads to Lowers Levels of Pesticide Contamination in Children, Pregnant Women

(Beyond Pesticides, October 24, 2019) Fish and fruit are undoubtedly healthy foods, but modern-day contamination is leading scientists to caution pregnant mothers and young children to stick within current dietary guidelines, or switch to organic, in order to avoid adverse health effects. This new public health message is based on research published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives by scientists from University of Southern California (USC) and several European Countries, finding that overconsumption of fish and fruits leads to higher levels of contamination with toxic persistent chemicals. ‚ÄúDuring gestation and early development, the fetus and the child, respectively, are vulnerable to the effects of environmental chemicals, said Lida Chatzi, MD, associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. ‚ÄúA balanced diet during these periods is also critical for optimal nutritional status, but what to eat, and how much, are critical questions.‚ÄĚ Scientists studied a cohort of 1,288 children (between 6 and 11 years) and 818 pregnant mothers from six European countries, who were provided questionnaires to assess their weekly diet. Blood levels of a range of environmental toxicants, including organochlorine compounds like PCB, PFHSs, PFOS, PFOA, pesticides like DDT and DDE, and heavy metals including […]

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01
Mar

$340 Billion in Annual Disease-Related Costs Associated with Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2019)¬†The costs of pesticide use extend far beyond the invoices farmers pay for purchase of the chemicals to use on their crops. The real costs related to pesticide use and exposure include those of health care, lost productivity and income, and environmental damage (loss of environmental services and biodiversity; compromised air, water, and soil quality). There has been relatively little research focused on those real and extensive costs; this Daily News Blog turns its attention to several that have made the attempt. January 2019 saw the publication of a new book, Sicker Fatter Poorer: The Urgent Threat of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals to Our Health and Future … and What We Can Do About It, by Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, which examines how some chemicals ‚ÄĒ including organophosphate and organochlorine pesticides ‚ÄĒ disrupt human endocrine (hormonal) function, and damage health, sometimes irreparably. The book further investigates the economic costs of associated diseases and other health problems to the U.S. economy ‚ÄĒ on the order of 2.3% of GDP (gross domestic product), or $340 billion, annually. As Dr. Trasande notes, ‚ÄúThe reality is that policy predicts exposure, exposure predicts disease and disease ultimately costs our economy.‚ÄĚ Dr. Trasande is […]

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23
Jan

Acute Pesticide Incidents May Lead to Loss of Smell

(Beyond Pesticides, January, 23, 2019) Individuals that have been acutely poisoned by pesticides at some time in their life may be more likely to lose their sense of smell, according to a recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. ¬†Researchers focused on the effect of high pesticide exposure events (HPEE), such as a pesticide spill or other incident, on a farmers‚Äô ability to smell later in life. This is the first study to indicate pesticide exposure may result in olfactory impairment. Farmers from Iowa and North Carolina enrolled in an ongoing U.S. Agricultural Health Study have been asked about their pesticide use roughly every 5 to 6 years since 1993. In the most recent survey, taken from 2013-2015, farmers were asked additional questions about HPEE in their lifetime and whether they had a significantly decreased or impaired sense of smell. ‚ÄúStudying farmers gives us more reliable data on pesticide exposures than if we had studied the general population,‚ÄĚ says Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, lead author and professor of epidemiology at Michigan State University in a press release. ‚ÄúBecause they use pesticides more and it‚Äôs part of their job, they‚Äôre more likely to remember what pesticides they used and in cases […]

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11
Dec

DDT in Glacial Melt Puts Alaskan Communities at Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, December 11, 2018) Meltwater and runoff from Alaskan glaciers contain detectable levels of organochlorine pesticides that bioconcentrate in fish and put individuals at risk, according to a new study from researchers at the¬†University of Maine (UMaine). DDT, lindane, and other organochlorines have been detected throughout the world, even in natural areas thought to be untouched, and pristine. As UMaine scientists show, the atmospheric transport and ubiquitous deposition of these pesticides continues to pose risks to U.S. residents long after regulations banned their use. Although most of the highly toxic class of organochlorine pesticides like DDT were banned in the early 1970s, some chemicals retained certain uses. Lindane, for example, had its pest management uses phased out gradually until 2007, but is still allowed today as a scabies and lice shampoo. While use of these pesticides has declined in the U.S., much of the developing world, including many Asian countries, such as China, India, and North Korea, still report use. This results in atmospheric transport of the pesticides, and relevant to the UMaine research, increases the likelihood that the chemicals will eventually be deposited onto Alaskan glaciers through snow or rain. The UMaine research team investigated the amount of […]

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17
Oct

Management of Pesticide Waste a Global Problem

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2018)¬†The unsustainable life cycle management of pesticides during the past seven decades has created huge stockpiles of these (and other toxic) chemicals across much of the globe, including Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. The journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research has published a special series of articles and reports from the International HCH & Pesticides Association (IHPA), titled ‚ÄúThe legacy of pesticides and POPs stockpiles ‚ÄĒ a threat to health and the environment.‚ÄĚ Stockpiles have accumulated because some products have been banned for health or environmental reasons, leaving stocks (aka waste) that are often stored inadequately, and which deteriorate and migrate to contaminate the environment and put people at risk. Those affected are very often in poor, rural communities that may be unaware of the threat in their midst. Beyond Pesticides covered this ‚Äúchemical time bomb‚ÄĚ problem in 2004 and again nearly a decade ago. The special issue of Environmental Science and Pollution Research responds to multiple fronts on this problem of accumulation and storage of toxic compounds, identifying the two largest issues as: (1) the stockpile of some 4‚Äď7 million tons of hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) waste from lindane production; and the 240,000 […]

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20
Sep

Organochlorine Pesticide Exposures in the Womb Linked to Poorer Lung Function in Childhood

(Beyond Pesticides, September 20, 2018) Babies exposed to higher levels of organochlorine compounds in the womb go on to have worse lung function in childhood, according to new research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.¬†Previous studies have found a link between low lung function in early adulthood and respiratory, cardiovascular, and metabolic issues in later life. Beyond Pesticides has covered in its Daily News studies on a range of adverse effects, including autism in children, caused by organochlorine pesticide exposure, which bioaccumulates in the environment and the human body. Organochlorine compounds, which include the pesticide DDT, as well as electrical insulators and other industrial products, are now banned in most parts of the world. However, because they degrade very slowly, they are still present in the environment and in foods. Previous research has suggests links between exposure to these chemicals in the womb and parents reporting childhood respiratory diseases such as wheezing, asthma, and chest infections. The new study is the first to show a link with objective measures of lung strength and capacity in relation to low-level exposure to these chemicals. Organochlorine compounds can disrupt the hormone system and have been linked to a wide range of […]

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19
Sep

Military Base Has Legacy of Pesticide and Other Toxic Chemical Exposure and Harm

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2018)¬†‚Äú‚ÄėDon‚Äôt get pregnant at George Air Force Base‚Äô‚ÄĚ was the advice imparted from one female Air Force member to another in 1975 at that base, located 100+ miles north of San Diego and used as an active military site from 1941‚Äď1992. From the start of their service at George AFB, both parties to this conversation came to be familiar with the shared horror stories of repeated infections, vaginal bleeding, ovarian cysts, uterine tumors, birth defects, and miscarriages among female Air Force members at the site. Many women who served at George AFB in the 1970s, ‚Äė80s, and ‚Äė90s suffered, but did not know what was causing, such health issues, which were frequent enough that even base doctors would sometimes privately warn women off of getting pregnant while serving there. Among the many contaminants found at George AFB and other military sites are organochlorine-based pesticides (OCPs), such as DDT, dieldrin/aldrin, heptachlor, lindane, endrin, chlordane, mirex, toxaphene, hexachlorobenzene, chlordane, and others. (A comprehensive list of OCPs is available here.) Most of these compounds were used on military bases for decades for vegetation control, as building pesticides or fumigants, or for personal pesticide treatments for lice and scabies, and […]

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