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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Disease/Health Effects' Category


27
Mar

Safer Practices and Disinfectants for Coronavirus Identified by CDC, As EPA Advances Toxic Products, Suspends Public Health and Environmental Protections

(Beyond Pesticides, March 27, 2020)¬†Faced with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) threat, there is tremendous pressure to use toxic disinfectants, despite the availability of safer products. In fact, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending 70% alcohol for surface disinfection, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‚Äôs (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs is advising the use of unnecessarily toxic substances, and reducing standards that govern their allowance on the market. EPA‚Äôs pesticide program allowed 70 new disinfectants yesterday, at the same time that the agency overall announced that it is waiving enforcement of environmental standards during the coronavirus outbreak‚ÄĒa devastating blow to public health and environmental protection. Beyond Pesticides, in its factsheet, Protecting Yourself from COVID-19 (coronavirus) without Toxic Sanitizers and Disinfectants, says, ‚ÄúFight the coronavirus with common sense prevention and safer disinfection products. Avoid products that increase vulnerability to respiratory problems.‚ÄĚ (See the factsheet below.) To some extent, the expanded allowance of disinfection products on top of the 281 disinfectants previously permitted has been made possible by relaxing oversight on so-called “inert” or other ingredients that are not disclosed on product labels and often highly toxic. The agency says it is allowing the use of these ‚Äúinerts‚ÄĚ with “no […]

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24
Mar

Maryland Legislature Passes Limited Ban on Chlorpyrifos Insecticide

(Beyond Pesticides, March 24, 2020) Last week, Maryland became the latest state to prohibit use of the brain-damaging insecticide chlorpyrifos, after a measure cleared both the state Senate and House. Although the legislation implements a limited ban that sunsets after four years, advocates consider this action a step in the right direction that will protect the health and safety of Maryland residents. ‚ÄúEven amidst our current public health crisis, the Maryland legislature acted to protect all Marylanders‚Äô health for years to come by banning this toxic pesticide, and we are so grateful,‚ÄĚ said Ruth Berlin, Executive Director of the Maryland Pesticide Education Network to WBOC. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide known to inhibit the proper nerve functioning by affecting the enzyme acetylcholine esterase. The impacts of this pesticide are particularly concerning for young children, as research finds that children exposed to high levels of chlorpyrifos had mental development delays, attention problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder problems, and pervasive developmental disorder problems at three years of age. While Maryland is the fourth state to restrict the use of chlorpyrifos, it is the second to implement these restrictions through legislation. In California, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation is implementing a phase out of […]

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23
Mar

Farmworkers and Conservationists Sue EPA for Re-Approving Monsanto/Bayer’s Cancer-Causing Pesticide, Glyphosate/Roundup

(Beyond Pesticides, March 23, 2020)¬†Ignoring science to side with Monsanto/Bayer, EPA has repeatedly failed to assess glyphosate‚Äôs impacts on public health and endangered species. Last week, a broad coalition of farmworkers, farmers, and conservationists, filed a federal lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its January 2020 re-approval of the pesticide glyphosate, best known as the active ingredient in Monsanto‚Äôs Roundup pesticides. With Center for Food Safety (CFS) serving as legal counsel, the suing organizations are¬† Beyond Pesticides, the Rural Coalition, Organizaci√≥n en California de Lideres Campesinas, and the Farmworker Association of Florida. While EPA defends glyphosate, juries in several cases have found it to cause cancer, ruling in favor of those impacted by exposure. Glyphosate formulations like Roundup are also well-established as having numerous damaging environmental impacts. After a registration review process spanning over a decade, EPA allowed the continued marketing of the pesticide despite the agency‚Äôs failure to fully assess glyphosate‚Äôs hormone-disrupting potential or its effects on threatened and endangered species. The review began in 2009, has already taken 11 years, without a full assessment of the widespread harmful impacts on people and the environment in that time period. ‚ÄúEPA‚Äôs half-completed, biased, and unlawful approval sacrifices the […]

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18
Mar

Infectious Human Disease, Snail Fever, Worsened by Pesticide Run-Off into Fresh Waterways

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2020) Freshwater habitats are threatened now‚ÄĒmore than ever‚ÄĒby the adverse effects of pesticide pollution, according to a report published in Scientific Reports by a collaborative research team from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the Kenya-based International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE). Pesticide pollution, attributed to runoff from agricultural farms, indirectly increased the rate of the tropical disease schistosomiasis, which infects over 280 million people (2018). This research underlines the range of uncertainties that exist as a result of pesticide contamination, making it critically important that subtropical areas where this disease threat exists move toward organic and pesticide-free approaches.¬† Increased prevalence of this disease is devastating to socioeconomic development in affected regions, as life expectancy, employment rate, and gross domestic product (GDP) decreases. Schistosomiasis (snail fever), or bilharzia, is a tropical disease caused by parasitic flatworms (trematodes) in the genus¬†Schistosoma¬†and transmitted via freshwater snail (genus¬†Biomphalaria) to its definitive human host. Freshwater snails act as a vector for schistosomiasis as they play a vital role in the lifecycle of the parasitic flatworm. Professor Matthias Liess (Ph.D.), Head of the Department of System Ecotoxicology at the UFZ, and his research team investigated pesticide pollution‚Äôs […]

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03
Mar

Chemical-Intensive Agriculture Increases Pregnant Mother’s Risk of Her Child Developing Leukemia

(Beyond Pesticides, March 3, 2020) Pregnant mothers living in areas where carcinogenic pesticides have been used are at increased risk of their child developing an acute form of leukemia, according to research published last month in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles. The findings are based on a review of pesticide use data in rural, agricultural areas of California, where many minority, low-income and farmworking communities live. Under current laws, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permits the use of cancer-causing pesticides with an expectation that a certain number of cancers (anywhere from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,000,000, based on the pesticide in question) should be considered ‚Äėacceptable risk.‚Äô While past studies have shown similar connections between pesticide exposure in the womb and the development of childhood cancer, this is one of the first to utilize geographic information systems (GIS) data, rather than parental interviews on past exposures. Researchers used California public records of cancer incidence from 1998-2011, alongside statewide pesticide use reports (California is the only state to make this information publicly accessible and searchable). A list of 65 pesticides were investigated for their specific connection […]

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02
Mar

Take Action Today: Tell EPA to Ban Atrazine

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2020) Deadline today! Tell EPA to Ban Atrazine; Protect Children and Frogs from this Endocrine Disrupting Pesticide. Atrazine, the second most-used herbicide in the U.S., is an insidious poison. Atrazine is known for producing developmental abnormalities in frogs. It also affects the endocrine system and reproductive biology of humans. In addition to its agricultural uses on corn, sorghum, and sugar cane, atrazine is also used on home lawns, school grounds, and parks, where exposure to children is common. Nontoxic alternatives are available for all of these uses. Act today, March 2. Sign the petition demanding that EPA ban atrazine and its cousins simazine and propazine. Act today! Beyond Pesticides will submit comments: Docket: EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0750 (FRL-10002-92) Petition to EPA‚Äôs Office of Pesticide Programs: We have serious concerns with the proposed interim decisions on reregistration of three triazine pesticides: atrazine, simazine, and propazine. These triazines are highly mobile and persistent in the environment and have been linked to numerous adverse health and environmental effects which have motivated numerous public interest campaigns to ban their use in the U.S. as well as in Europe. The Draft Ecological Risk Assessments for the Registration Review of Atrazine, Simazine, and Propazine dated October 5, 2016 […]

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27
Feb

Report Finds Top Chemical Companies Making Billions Off Poisoning the Earth

(Beyond Pesticides, February 27, 2020) A new report finds that as birds and pollinators continue to decline, and chronic diseases remain on the rise, the global agrichemical industry is raking in billions of dollars from hazardous pesticides that contribute to these crises. A joint investigation from Unearthed and Public Eye finds that 35% of pesticide sales from the largest agrichemical corporations are made from the most toxic pesticides on the market. Pesticide production was a $57.6 billion market in 2018, according to the report. While the profits of the industry are privatized, the public health and environmental effects are broad. Studies conducted over the last decade show that the impacts of hazardous pesticide use dwarf the market for these chemicals. The impact of pesticides on public health results in a drag on the economy. Earlier this year, research from the New York University Grossman School of Medicine found that children‚Äôs exposure to organophosphate insecticides was estimated to result in over 26 million lost IQ points and over 110,000 cases of intellectual disability, totaling roughly $735 billion in economic costs each year. A 2019 study from the same scientists determined that endocrine disrupting chemicals, including organophosphates and organochlorine pesticides, were attributable […]

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12
Feb

Major Manufacturer of Chlorpyrifos Drops Out of Market, But EPA Continues to Allow Use

(Beyond Pesticides, February 12, 2020) Corteva, a company spun-off from DowDupont, will stop producing chlorpyrifos by the end of this year as a result of declining sales. Despite the move being in the interest of public health, the company is earning little praise from health advocates for what amounts to simply a shrewd financial decision. As news articles on the announcement have noted, Corteva will continue to support Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration of chlorpyrifos, which allows generic manufacturers to continue to sell this brain-damaging chemical. ‚ÄúOther people are going to continue to profit from harming children,‚ÄĚ said Marisa Ordonia, an attorney with the group EarthJustice to Canada‚Äôs National Observer. ‚ÄúIt is big that such a major player is saying no, we‚Äôre not going to do this any more. It‚Äôs a great signal that people don‚Äôt want brain-damaging pesticides on their food. But we‚Äôre going to continue to keep fighting to make sure children and farmworkers are protected.‚ÄĚ At odds is the difference between halting production of chlorpyrifos and cancelling its EPA registration. While Corteva has the ability to voluntarily stop producing its own product, EPA registration permits other generic manufacturers to continue to producing the product. And, over the […]

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29
Jan

Rate of Male Breast Cancer on the Rise in Scotland, Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Suspected

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2020) A study of male breast cancer (MBC) in Scotland reports an alarming, increasing trend of this rare disease ‚Äď especially in agricultural areas. While only accounting for 1% of diagnosed breast cancer, MBC forms in the breast tissue of men and is often fatal because of delayed diagnosis and lack of research on male-specific treatment. The authors point to risk factors that include increased exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as pesticides, and a need for further study. Researchers analyzed data from the Information Services Scotland database spanning from 1992-2017. Results showed that incidence of breast cancer in men rose with age, and that the total number and age-adjusted incidence of MBC increased in the last 25 years. Overall, the incidence rose by 38.5%. There was a total of 558 diagnoses in Scotland in the entire period. The trend is clearest in certain regions, including the North of Scotland and some rural areas. ‚ÄúWithin the confines of this observational study, reasons for these regional differences are difficult to reconcile, but potential explanations are offered,‚ÄĚ the authors write, ‚ÄúExposure to environmental compounds that mimic oestrogens (so-called Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals; (EDCs)) might be exacerbated in areas of higher agricultural […]

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27
Jan

Insist that the Veterans Administration Cover Conditions Caused by Agent Orange

(Beyond Pesticides, January 27, 2019)¬†United States military veterans suffering from bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, hypertension, and Parkinson’s-like symptoms after their exposure to Agent Orange will remain unprotected and uncompensated until at least late 2020, according to¬†a letter¬†sent by Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie to U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT). Send a letter to Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie insisting that bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, hypertension, and Parkinson’s-like symptoms be added to the VA’s list of eligible conditions. Congress included a provision in the must-pass December federal spending bill requiring VA to provide legislators ‚Äúa detailed explanation‚ÄĚ for the¬†now multi-year delay¬†in determining whether to list the diseases. The provision is intended to cut through the ongoing delays, but there is no indication VA is going to meet the 30-day deadline. ‚ÄúThe longer VA continues to drag its feet on expanding the list of conditions associated with Agent Orange, the longer our veterans continue to suffer‚ÄĒand die‚ÄĒas a result of their exposure,‚ÄĚ Senator Tester said in a statement to the news site¬†Connecting Vets. He continued, ‚ÄúIt’s time for VA to stop ignoring the overwhelming evidence put forth by scientists, medical experts and veterans and do right by those who served.¬†Any prolonging of […]

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15
Jan

Exploratory Study Indicates Pesticide Exposure May Relate to Higher Risk for Endometriosis

(Beyond Pesticides, January 15, 2019) A study published in the journal Environment International, Association of urinary metabolites of organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides, and phenoxy herbicides with endometriosis, is the first of its kind. Researchers considered the endocrine-disrupting properties of pesticides (such as reduced sperm counts) and investigated whether there might be a relationship between pesticide exposure and endometriosis. Endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent gynecologic disease that affects about 176 million women globally. It can cause extreme pain and infertility as well as increased risk for cancer and cardiovascular diseases. This study finds a positive correlation between some pesticide metabolites and endometriosis, though authors encourage further study to corroborate the findings. Researchers examined exposure to 11 ‚Äúuniversal pesticides‚ÄĚ and their metabolites and its relationship to endometriosis in 492 reproductive-age women recruited from 14 surgical centers in Utah and California from 2007-2009. The women at these clinics were scheduled for laparoscopy or laparotomy‚ÄĒthe ‚Äúgold standard‚ÄĚ for identifying endometriosis is through these surgeries. The study compares results from the clinical cohort to a group of women in the same age bracket from areas surrounding the participating clinics. 619 urine samples were analyzed from the operative and population cohorts. This study detected six of the […]

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14
Jan

New Method of Lyme Disease Prevention Promising, But Not Ready to Replace Personal Protective Measures

(Beyond Pesticides, January 14, 2020) Scientists have found a new method to reduce the sources of Lyme disease, but it is uncertain whether the finding will ultimately translate into fewer cases of human infections. Research published in the journal Experimental and Applied Acarology finds that incorporating Lyme vaccines into pelletized mouse food had the effect of reducing levels of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, in both mice and ticks in a certain location. ‚ÄúSo, the idea here is to vaccinate the mice,‚ÄĚ study author Kirby Stafford, PhD told WBUR. ‚ÄúWhat we‚Äôve done is incorporate a Lyme disease vaccine in an oral bait that would immunize them. That would prevent ticks feeding on those animals from becoming infected and then ultimately turn around and infect you.‚ÄĚ To test their approach, researchers enrolled 32 homes in Redding, CT, an area where Lyme disease in endemic and several human cases are reported each year. Vaccine-incorporated mouse baiting stations were placed around 21 homes, while 11 acted as a control. Four times throughout the two year study period, mice and the ticks attached to them were trapped and tested for the disease. While there were no significant differences between the experimental […]

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10
Jan

Study Links Pyrethroid Insecticides to Cardiovascular Disease and Other Health Hazards

(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2020) A new study by researchers out of the University of Iowa College of Public Health, published in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) Internal Medicine, demonstrates that greater exposure to pyrethroid insecticides is associated with higher risks of death from all causes and from cardiovascular disease. These compounds can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin; they are highly neurotoxic, and have also been linked to certain cancers, endocrine disruption, and suppression of the immune system, as well as respiratory and reproductive impacts. The researchers gathered data, for 2,116 adults aged 20 or older, from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Each of those subjects had contributed a urine sample at some point between 1999 and 2002. Urine samples reflect levels of a pyrethroid metabolite (3-phenoxybenzoic acid) present, which in turn offer information about pyrethroid exposure. The researchers followed the participants until 2015; the research analysis was performed in the summer of 2019. Data were adjusted to accommodate multiple factors (age, sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, diet and lifestyle, smoking status, body mass index, and urinary creatinine levels). The co-authors report that subjects with the highest levels of metabolites had a 56% […]

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09
Jan

At a Time of Precarious Military Actions, Trump Administration Delays Benefits to Agent Orange Veterans

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2020) United States military veterans suffering from bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, hypertension and Parkinson‚Äôs-like symptoms after their exposure to Agent Orange will remain unprotected and uncompensated until at least late 2020, a letter sent by Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie to U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) indicates. Congress included a provision in the must-pass December federal spending bill requiring VA to provide legislators ‚Äúa detailed explanation‚ÄĚ for the now multi-year delay in determining whether to list the diseases. This is seen by advocates for veterans as a serious lack of support and compensation just at a time when the current administration mobilizes the military. According to Military Times, 83,000 veterans suffer from bladder cancer, Parkinson‚Äôs-like symptoms or hypothyroidism, and an untold number have high blood pressure. The paper interviewed Army Sgt. Maj. John Mennitto, who explained, ‚ÄúSince we first spoke in 2016, I have been diagnosed with bladder cancer. . . I also have hypothyroidism. My greatest concern for me and my fellow veterans who have debilitating diseases caused by exposure to Agent Orange is that our family members will be left with nothing.‚ÄĚ A robust 2014 review by the National Academy of Medicine recommended including […]

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17
Dec

South Asian Immigrants Exposed to DDT at Higher Risk of Diabetes

(Beyond Pesticides, December 17, 2019) South Asian immigrants to the U.S. may be at increased risk of diabetes due to prior exposure to high levels of DDT, research published by the University of California Davis earlier this month indicates. The study highlights a blind spot for health care in the U.S., researchers say. ‚ÄúOur findings evoke a new interpretation of Rachel Carson‚Äôs famous book Silent Spring, in that the high DDT exposures of South Asian immigrants in the U.S. currently fall on deaf ears in the U.S.,‚ÄĚ said lead author Michele La Merrill, PhD an associate professor in the UC Davis Department of Environmental Toxicology. ‚ÄúAlthough DDT remains in use in other nations and migration globalizes these exposures, people in the U.S. often mistakenly regard DDT exposure as no longer relevant to our society due to its ban in this country nearly 50 years ago.‚ÄĚ When compared to other race and ethnic groups, South Asian immigrants (individuals from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan), are at greater risk of developing diabetes, even when adjusting for potential confounders such as age and obesity. Authors of the study hypothesized that this was a result of past exposure to high levels […]

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07
Nov

Minneapolis Park Board Investigates Pesticide Contamination; On Nov. 11, Attend Film and Join with Advocates to Advance Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, November 7, 2018) A former employee of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board claims that other staff members misused and disposed of pesticides in protected areas next to Lake Harriet. The controversy comes at a pivotal moment for Minneapolis, as Minneapolis Public School District and the Park and Recreation Board are beginning a demonstration organic land management project on a number of properties. Advocates are pushing for organic land management as an alternative to chemical-intensive practices. Minneapolis gardener Angee Ohmah Siegal says she was at the Lyndale Park Peace Garden when she saw parks staff spraying herbicides on a windy day. According to Russ Henry, a local advocate who she told her story to, Siegal had to head to the hospital due to ‚Äúuncontrollable vomiting.‚ÄĚ What more, Siegal claims that the same employees would dump unused or leftover pesticides into a pond beside the Roberts Bird Sanctuary. Mr. Henry and Ms. Siegal issued their complaint with Park Board commissioners on October 2, carrying a large poster of a mutated frog with six legs that Ms. Siegal says she had photographed near the area. Commissioners are investigating further into the allegations but say they need more specific evidence. Volunteers […]

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05
Nov

Increased Risk of Skin Cancer Tied to Use of Weed Killers, as Researchers Call for a Precautionary Standard

(Beyond Pesticides, November 5, 2019) Herbicide use is associated with an increased risk of developing cutaneous melanoma, a skin cancer, according to a meta-analysis published last month in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. For those working on farms and in other occupations with frequent exposure to herbicides, the risk is another in a long list of pesticide-induced diseases. Ultimately, researchers suggest, ‚ÄúA precautionary public health safety policy that includes preventive individual counselling and surveillance to workers exposed to pesticides may be advisable.‚ÄĚ Authors of the study conducted a systematic review of the peer-reviewed literature on pesticide exposure and skin cancer, finding nine acceptable studies for analysis. These studies represent nearly 185,000 individuals, and included enough data to make a risk estimate and determine 95% confidence intervals. Although pesticides and insecticides in general were not associated with increased risk of skin cancer, general use of herbicides was (relative risk 1.85; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-3.36). Spouses whose partners work as pesticide applicators are also found to be at higher risk of developing cutaneous melanoma. As skin cancer has increased significantly over the past 50 years, many appropriately point to the link between sun exposure and development of […]

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17
Oct

Despite Damning Scientific Evidence, EPA Dismisses Link Between Parkinson’s and Exposure to the Herbicide Paraquat

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is downplaying the connection between exposure to the herbicide paraquat and the development of Parkinson‚Äôs disease, per registration review documents released by the agency this week. Although unsurprising given the current administration‚Äôs track record of defending some of the most heinous chemicals still on the market, the review nonetheless marks a low point for scientific integrity within EPA‚Äôs Office of Pesticide Programs, according to advocates. Health and environmental advocates have already discounted EPA‚Äôs industry-biased review, and are instead pushing hard for Congressional action ‚Äď namely HR 3817, the Protect Against Paraquat Act, introduced by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY). Under federal law, pesticides are required to undergo reevaluation every 15 years. Paraquat is a potent restricted use herbicide, not available to be applied by residential users, but permitted for use on multiple agriculture crops. Over the last decade, independent peer-reviewed scientific studies have repeatedly found strong associations between paraquat to the development of Parkinson‚Äôs disease. Many of these studies have been covered in Beyond Pesticides‚Äô Daily News or are recorded in the Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database. In response to this growing body of literature, EPA conducted an epidemiological evaluation of published […]

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09
Oct

Glyphosate, When Combined with Other Stressors, Results in Breast Cancer Development

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2019) Pesticide industry propaganda promoting the safety of glyphosate-based herbicides took another hit last month, as a study published by an international team of researchers found the chemical had the potential to induce breast cancer when combined with other risk factors. The study, Glyphosate Primes Mammary Cells for Tumorigenesis by Reprogramming the Epigenome in a TET3-Dependent Manner, led by scientists from Indiana‚Äôs Purdue University and the Institut National de la Sant√© et de la Recherche M√©dicale (INSERM)/Institut de Canc√©rologie de L‚ÄôOuest (ICO) in Nantes, France, provides an important new lens through which to view pesticide-induced cancer development. ‚ÄúThis is a major result and nobody has ever shown this before,‚ÄĚ says Sophie Leli√®vre, PhD,¬†a professor of cancer pharmacology in Purdue‚Äôs¬†College of Veterinary Medicine and co-leader of IBCN.¬†‚ÄúShowing that glyphosate can trigger tumor growth, when combined with another frequently observed risk, is an important missing link when it comes to determining what causes cancer.‚ÄĚ To make their determination, scientists exposed human breast cells low levels of glyphosate every three to four days over the course of 21 days. A control group was also dosed with a known cancer-promoting peptide. Glyphosate caused the same changes to exposed cells as […]

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25
Sep

Mysterious ‚ÄúHavana syndrome‚ÄĚ Linked to Neurotoxic Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, September 24, 2019) In 2016, Canadians and Americans residing in Havana reported symptoms of headaches, dizziness, nausea. They described hearing strange buzzing and high-pitched sounds ‚Äď some woke in the middle of the night fumbling for alarm clocks that were not going off. Media used the term ‚ÄúHavana syndrome‚ÄĚ to describe the illness. Diplomats, scared by symptoms that seemed to only hit them in their hotel rooms or at home, speculated that a sonic weapon was being used against them. The Trump administration accused Cuban leaders of misconduct and removed all but essential employees. Later, some suspected that the diplomats could have experienced ‚Äúmass hysteria.‚ÄĚ A new Canadian study provides a more likely explanation to this mysterious illness that impacted diplomats in Havana: neurotoxic pesticide exposure. Researchers conducted testing on 14 individuals who had resided in Havana and a control group of 12 that had never lived there. Some of the experimental group had been recently exposed while others, tested 19 months after their return, were classified as ‚Äúremotely exposed.‚ÄĚ Tests included brain imaging and self-reported symptom questionnaires. They analyzed blood samples for routine biochemistry, kidney, liver, and metabolic functions. Individuals that showed symptoms of brain injury went […]

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11
Sep

Germany Moves to Phase-Out Glyphosate/Roundup; EPA Unmoved

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2019)¬†Germany is the latest entity to take action on getting glyphosate-based pesticides out of the marketplace. Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that, beginning in 2020, the country will phase out herbicides that contain glyphosate by the end of 2023. The phase-out will occur through a series of scheduled reductions in amounts allowed for use, with a goal of a 75% reduction over the next four years. The announcement comes after ‚Äúnation-wide protests and demands from [Merkel‚Äôs] junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats, for more decisive action on environmental issues.‚ÄĚ This action stands in telling contrast to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‚Äôs (EPA‚Äôs) repeated failures to protect people, ecosystems, and our food supply, from this toxic compound. The German government also plans to oppose any European Union (EU) request for renewal of licensing of these herbicides, according to the environment ministry. Bayer AG, maker of glyphosate-based herbicides and owner of original manufacturer Monsanto, has pushed back, saying that the government is ‚Äúgetting ahead of itself‚ÄĚ by banning glyphosate-based herbicides prior to any decision by the relevant EU authority, and that EU laws disallow unilateral decisions by member states. (Pesticide licensing decisions lie with EU governance in Brussels, […]

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04
Sep

Health and Environmental Groups Call on EPA to Revoke Glyphosate’s Registration

(Beyond Pesticides, September 4, 2019) Sixteen organizations representing health, environmental, farmer, and farmworker communities joined together yesterday to call on EPA to remove glyphosate from the marketplace. The groups cite a combination of high-profile lawsuits, environmental impacts, increasing reports of weed resistance, and growing public concern over the health effects of glyphosate in their comments on EPA‚Äôs interim reregistration review decision for the chemical. The comments warn that EPA is at risk of damaging the public‚Äôs trust in the agency‚Äôs review process for toxic pesticides. ‚ÄúEPA‚Äôs myopic review and response to the dangers posed by glyphosate does a disservice to American farmers, farmworkers, and commercial landscapers wishing to use least-toxic products that do not put them at risk of health impacts, and consumers aiming to make the safest choice in regards to what to feed their family and how to manage their yards,‚ÄĚ the comments read. The document likewise replies to EPA‚Äôs attacks against the World Health Organization‚Äôs International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which determined glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental organisms. EPA has indicated that its process for evaluating glyphosate, ‚Äú‚Ķis more transparent than IARC‚Äôs process‚ÄĚ and that IARC‚Äôs […]

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30
Aug

Brain Function Damage from Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides, including Chlorpyrifos, Documented with Imaging

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2019) The indictment of organophosphate pesticides gained more traction with the publication, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, of a new research study out of the University of California, Berkeley. The research, among the first to use advanced brain imaging to assess cortical activation, shows altered brain activity, during tasks that call on executive function, in teenagers from California‚Äôs Salinas Valley (the site of significant organophosphate use) whose mothers were exposed prenatally. The UC Berkeley study underscores the slow-motion calamity of the Trump administration Environmental Protection Agency‚Äôs (EPA‚Äôs) failure to ban the use of this class of pesticides, and of chlorpyrifos in particular, which compounds carry extreme risks for children. The effects of this prenatal exposure continue to unfold during children‚Äôs critical developmental periods. Researchers used fNIRS (functional near-infrared spectroscopy) imaging to monitor blood flow in the brains of the teens, 15‚Äď17, born and raised in the Salinas Valley. They used data from the California¬†Pesticide Use Reporting¬†program (which documents locations and times of pesticide spraying) to estimate the subjects‚Äô mothers‚Äô proximity to organophosphate (OP) applications during pregnancy. The subject adolescents ‚ÄĒ estimated to have relatively high levels of prenatal exposure to organophosphates ‚ÄĒ […]

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