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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'organophosphate' Category


22
Jul

Organophosphate Poisoning Leads to the Death of School Children in India

(Beyond Pesticides, July 22, 2013) Organophosphate pesticide poisoning from contaminated school lunches is suspected as the cause of deaths for at least 25 children in India. The children, aged four to 12, became sick after eating a lunch provided to them by the school. Several reports suggest the rice or cooking oil used to prepare the food contained unsafe levels of organophosphates, a highly toxic class of pesticides that have the same mechanism of action as nerve gasses. In the U.S. most organophosphates pesticides were phased out of residential use; however, these neurological poisons are still widely used on agricultural crops and for mosquito control. The schoolchildren began fainting soon after eating the contaminated food, and within hours at least 25 children were pronounced dead. Authorities discovered a container of organophosphate pesticides next to the cooking oil, but were not able to determine if this was the source of the poisoning or if the food itself was tainted with organophosphates. The school cooks, who both had children at the school that either fell ill or died from eating the food, told authorities that the cooking oil appeared different than usual, but the principal told them to use it anyway. The […]

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09
Jul

Chlorpyrifos Contamination Could Lead to Trout Troubles in UK

(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2013) A recent pesticide contamination incident in Great Britain’s Kennet River has decimated aquatic invertebrate populations on a ten mile stretch of river between the towns of  Marlborough and Hungerford. The contamination occurred after a spill of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos entered a Marlborough sewage system. The lack of aquatic invertebrates could lead to a dramatic decline of the river’s chalk trout population. A similar incident occurred in Great Britain on the Wey River in 2003, and in Sussex Ouse in 2001. This recent calamity helps to underscore the importance for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), across the Atlantic, to fully implement pesticide restrictions that U.S. conservation groups are seeking to enforce through court action. The damage to the U.K. river may have been caused by, according to an Express article, only two tablespoons of the neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyifos. Members of the public have been advised by Britain’s Environment Agency to avoid skin contact with the water and not to eat fish caught from the river.  The contamination has occurred at the height of fly-fishing season. Environmental organizations are afraid that a decline in the number of aquatic invertebrates could lead chalk trout and other […]

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26
Jun

Study Finds Pesticides Reduce Biodiversity in Aquatic Ecosystems

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2013) Pesticide use has sharply reduced the regional biodiversity of stream invertebrates, such as mayflies and dragonflies, finds a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. While previous research has shown similar decreases in individual streams, this new study analyzes the effects of pesticides over broad regions. This is one of several recent findings that show pesticides pose a long-term threat to important ecosystems. The study, entitled Pesticides reduce regional biodiversity of stream invertebrates, notes that losses of biodiversity caused by anthropogenic activities during the past 50 years are unprecedented in human history. A team of researchers sampled 23 streams in the central plains of Germany, 16 in the western plains of France, and 24 in southern Victoria, Australia. Researchers classified streams according to three different levels of pesticide contamination: uncontaminated, slightly contaminated, and highly contaminated. Utilizing a model-based approach to account for other environmental variables, the team observed that losses in taxonomic diversity were, to a large degree, determined by the loss of species specifically vulnerable to pesticides. Overall, they found that there were up to 42% fewer species in highly contaminated than in uncontaminated streams in Europe. Highly contaminated streams […]

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21
May

As Mosquito Season Approaches, Take Preventive Action Without Toxic Chemicals

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2013) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently concluded that 2012 was the deadliest year for West Nile Virus (WNv) in the United States. “A total of 5,674 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 286 deaths, were reported to CDC from 48 states (excluding Alaska and Hawaii),” said the CDC in a statement. While it is still too early to determine whether this year will be as bad as last year’s outbreak (experts say the largest disease outbreaks  is strongly driven by weather patterns characterized by hot wet summers), one thing is certain: There are simple mosquito control techniques that can be performed in your community and backyard that will prevent the spread of WNv and nuisance biting mosquitoes without the use of highly toxic pesticides. Beyond Pesticides fielded calls from concerned residents across the U.S. whose communities were doused with pesticides in attempts to control WNv. Yet, these controls have been shown to be ineffective at managing mosquito populations. According to David Pimentel, PhD, professor emeritus of entomology at Cornell University, less than .0001% of adulticides (mosquito insecticides) reach target adult mosquitoes. Dr. Pimentel notes, “Thus by both ground and aerial application […]

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11
Jan

EPA Excludes Details on Worker Protection Rule

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2012) Environmentalists, farmworkers, and farmworker advocates have become increasingly uncomfortable with the new proposal for pesticide safety measures which does not include details on how the proposed rule will protect agricultural workers, farmers, and applicators. These sentiments stem from the concern that this may mean less stringent regulations than those originally proposed. In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a   document proposing Worker Protection Standards (WPS) that would determine ways to increase training, improve safety requirements, provide clear emergency information, and create strong protection for applicators. However, a recent EPA handout distributed  during a November 2012 Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC) meeting downplays the details within those goals, and brings into question the agency’s  previous commitments. Advocacy groups have raised pointed complaints on the new document’s prose: “I have to agree that we are just really in the dark,” said one environmental group lawyer, “It is mysterious that it’s taken them so long to come up with a draft to propose, and the fact that they are being kind of tight-lipped about it and that even the very minimal detail about the proposal that was in the 2010 document disappeared from the 2012 […]

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10
Dec

Study Reveals: Organophosphate Pesticides Cause Lasting Damage to Brain and Nervous System

(Beyond Pesticides, December 10, 2012) Long-term low-level exposure to organophosphate pesticides produces lasting damage to neurological and cognitive functions, according to researchers at University College London (UCL). This research pulls data from 14 studies over the past 20 years, including more than 1,600 participants, in order to provide a quantitative analysis of the current literature on these dangerous chemicals. Lead author of the study, Sarah Mackenzie Ross, Ph.D., notes, “This is the first time anyone has analyzed the literature concerning the neurotoxicity of organophosphate pesticides, using the statistical technique of meta-analysis.” UCL’s systematic review, published in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology, comes to an unsettling conclusion about the hazards of constant low-level occupational exposure to organophosphates. The study notes, “The majority of well designed studies found a significant association between low-level exposure to [organophosphates] and impaired neurobehavioral function which is consistent, small to moderate in magnitude and concerned primarily with cognitive functions such as psychomotor speed, executive function, visuospatial ability, working and visual memory.” In other words, low-level exposure had significant detrimental effect on working memory and information processing. The researchers are hopeful that the results of their analysis will be used to inform governments performing reviews on the […]

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22
Apr

Studies Link Prenatal Organophosphate Exposure to Reduced IQ

(Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2011) Three independent investigations published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) have reached similar conclusions, associating prenatal exposure to organophosphate (OP) pesticides with IQ deficits in school-age children. The fact that three research groups reached such similar conclusions independently adds considerable support to the validity of the findings. The three studies were conducted at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. All three involved cohorts of women enrolled during pregnancy. The Berkeley and Mount Sinai investigators measured OP pesticide breakdown products in the pregnant women’s urine, while the Columbia investigators measured the OP pesticide chlorpyrifos in umbilical cord blood. Intelligence tests were administered to children of these mothers between ages 6 and 9 years at Mount Sinai and at age 7 years at Berkeley and Columbia. Although the study findings are not directly comparable, all three investigations found evidence linking prenatal OP pesticide exposures with adverse effects on cognitive function that continued into early childhood.”¨”¨“It is well known that findings from individual epidemiologic studies may be influenced by chance and other sources of error. This is […]

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17
Jun

Nonpersistent Pesticides Found in Umbilical Cord Blood

(Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2010) Researchers have found detectable levels of common household pesticides in the majority of umbilical cord blood of babies born at an urban hospital. The study looks at concentrations of organophosphate (OP), carbamate, pyrethroids, and organochlorine pesticides in samples of umbilical cord blood taken from newborns delivered at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Labor and Delivery Suite in Baltimore. Researchers looked at the umbilical cord serum, as opposed to maternal serum, in order to provide a more direct estimate of exposure to the fetus. While human biomonitoring studies have found detectable levels of these pesticide chemicals in urine and blood samples from children and adults in the past, few studies have been carried out in the U.S. evaluating exposure in utero. In addition to tracking pesticide concentrations, researchers also aimed to identify demographic and socioeconomics factors associated with in utero pesticide exposure. Anonymous anthropometric and sociodemographic characteristics of the mothers and infants were collected along with umbilical cord blood that would have otherwise been discarded. Included in the characteristics collected that researchers considered might affect pesticide exposure risk were: age, race, body mass index, parity, education, health insurance, marital status, smoking, area of residence and housing density. […]

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26
Oct

New Study Links Suicidal Thoughts to Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, October 26, 2009) A new study conducted in China finds that people with organophosphate pesticides in their homes are more likely to have suicidal thoughts. According to the study, “Pesticide exposure and suicidal ideation in rural communities in Zhejiang province, China,” published in the October issue of the WHO Bulletin, there is biological evidence that chronic low-grade exposure to organophosphate pesticides, which are very easily absorbed into the body through the skin and lungs, may have adverse effects on mental health. The study was carried out in the central/coastal region of China, a relatively wealthy area with a rapidly developing economy. In a very large survey of mental health in rural community residents, participants were also asked about how they stored pesticides. The study found that people who stored pesticides at home, i.e. those with more exposure, were more likely to report recent suicidal thoughts. Supporting this, the survey also found suicidal thoughts to be associated with how easily accessible these pesticides were in the home and that the geographic areas with highest home storage of pesticides also had highest levels of suicidal thoughts in their populations. “Organophosphate pesticides are widely used around the world. They are particularly […]

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