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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Birth defects' Category


10
Feb

Herbicide Atrazine Linked to Rare Birth Defect

(Beyond Pesticides, February 10, 2009) Living near farms that use the weed killer atrazine increases the risk of a rare birth defect, according to a study presented February 5, 2010 at the annual meeting of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine in Chicago. Gastroschisis, a rare birth defect in which an infant’s intestines stick out of the body through a defect on one side of the umbilical cord, affects 1 in 5000 babies born in the U.S. each year. Babies with this condition have problems with movement and absorption in the gut, because the unprotected intestine is exposed to irritating amniotic fluid. Surgery is required to repair this defect. The rate of gastroschisis has risen 2- to 4-fold over the last three decades, especially in areas where agriculture is the primary industry, according to Sarah Waller, PhD, of the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues. Dr. Waller’s team studied the potential link between atrazine and the birth defect because, as they note in their conference abstract, “During the last 10 years, the highest percentage per population of gastroschisis was in Yakima County, in the eastern part of the state, where agriculture is the primary industry.” Overall, Washington state has about double […]

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03
Dec

Use of Insect Repellent Associated With Birth Defect

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

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17
Nov

Low-Level Pesticide Exposure In Utero Linked to Impacts on Behavior and Hormones

(Beyond Pesticides, November 17, 2009) According to a new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, exposure to low levels of the organophosphate insecticide chorpyrifos during pregnancy can impair learning, change brain function and alter thyroid levels of offspring into adulthood for tested mice, especially females. The study, “Long-term sex selective hormonal and behavior alterations in mice exposed to low doses of chlorpyrifos in utero,” was led by Beyond Pesticides board member and professor of zoology and environmental toxicology, Warren Porter, PhD. Read the full analysis of the study on the Rodale Institute website. On June 8, 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Dow AgroSciences, reached an agreement to stop the sale of most home, lawn and garden uses for chlorpyrifos because of its health risks to children. However, its use continues in agriculture. According to advocates, this new study provides further evidence for the need to ban chlorpyrifos and fully protect farmworkers, their families, and rural communities from the toxic hazards of this outdated, unnecessary pesticide. According to the Rodale Institute, which provided part of the funding for the study, “The new animal study accentuates the risk of ultra-low levels of the common pesticide chlorpyrifos to cause […]

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28
Jul

Pesticide-Chemical Mixtures Affect Sex Organ Development

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2009) A new study by researchers at the National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark shows that exposure to a mixture of pesticides and other chemicals has a synergistic effect on the development of male sex organs. Synergy occurs when the effect of multiple chemicals is greater than the sum of the individual effects. The study, “Synergistic Disruption of External Male Sex Organ Development by a Mixture of Four Antiandrogens,” was published July 15, 2009 in the online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives. The researchers designed their study to determine the consequences of simultaneous exposure to multiple “antiandrogens.” An antiandrogen, or androgen antagonist, is any of a group of hormone receptor antagonist compounds that are capable of preventing or inhibiting the biologic effects of androgens, male sex hormones, on normally responsive tissues in the body. Disrupting the action of androgens during gestation, certain chemicals present in food, consumer products and the environment can induce irreversible malformations of sex organs among male offspring. The team investigated the effects of mixtures of a widely used plasticizer, di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), used in medical devices such as IV bags and tubing, beauty products, PVC toys, vinyl shower curtains, car seats, […]

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22
May

Review Highlights Organic Benefits to Fetal and Child Development

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2009) A balanced, organic diet – both before and during pregnancy – can significantly reduce a child’s likelihood of being overweight, obese or developing diabetes. That, according to a literature review of over 150 scientific studies assembled by The Organic Center (TOC), an organic industry research institute focused on the science of organic food and farming. The TOC review”That First Step: Organic Food and a Healthier Future” documents that exposure to pesticides during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth, low-birth weight, neurological problems and diabetes. Outlining six ways in which a balanced organic diet can contribute to healthy development, the report also examines how enzymes found in organic foods can slow and even reverse aspects of the aging process. With the time between initial conception to the early years of development being the most critical in establishing lifelong health, a well-balanced diet rich in organic fruits and vegetables helps establish healthy food-taste preferences, promotes healthy patterns of cell division and largely eliminates exposures to approximately 180 pesticides known to increase the risk of developmental abnormalities. Furthermore, this combination of reducing pesticide exposure and consuming nutrient-dense organic foods can help people manage weight and prevent diabetes. […]

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01
Apr

Birth Defects Linked to Pesticide Exposure at Time of Conception

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2009) A study published in the April 2009 issue of the medical journal Acta Paediatrica reports that the highest rates of birth defects for U.S. babies arise when conception occurs during the spring and summer months, when pesticide use increases and high concentrations of pesticides are found in surface waters. The study entitled, “Agrichemicals in surface water and birth defects in the United States” is the first study to link increased seasonal concentration of pesticides in surface water with the peak in birth defects in infants conceived in the same months. Researchers analyzed all 30.1 million births in the U.S. between 1996 and 2002. A strong association between higher rates of birth defects among women whose last menstrual period was in April, May, June or July and elevated levels of nitrates, atrazine and other pesticides in surface water during those same months was found. The correlation between the month of last menstrual period and higher rates of birth defects is statistically significant for half of the 22 categories of birth defects reported in the Centers for Disease Control database from 1996 to 2002, including spina bifida, cleft lip, clubfoot and Down’s syndrome. “Elevated concentrations of pesticides […]

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14
Jan

Fish Mutations Linked to Pesticide Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, January 14, 2009) Two-headed bass found in the Noosa River are at the center of a controversy surrounding pesticide drift from neighboring farms in Queensland, Australia. The pesticides, endosulfan and carbendazim, have been implicated in the contamination of the river, which has yielded thousands of chronically deformed fish. Experts believe that the mutated fish, which survive only 48 hours after hatching, are the victims of pesticide drift from neighboring macadamia nut farms that routinely use endosulfan and the fungicide, carbendazim. Aquatic health expert and vice-president of the Australian College of Veterinarian Scientists’ Aquatic Animal Health Chapter, Matt Landos, PhD, has been investigating the phenomenon and concludes that there were no other probable causes to explain the fish and larval mortality. Dr. Landos documented evidence and completed a report which was sent to the state’s Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries last year. “The timing between the mist spraying and the affected larvae fits hand in glove,” Dr. Landos said. His report also found that chickens, sheep and horses raised at nearby fish hatcheries are also recording abnormally high levels of fetal deaths and birth defects. Gwen Gilson, who runs a Boreen Point fish hatchery, says she has observed […]

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11
Sep

Hearing Begins in North Carolina Pesticide Violations Case

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2008) The North Carolina Pesticide Board has begun hearing evidence in a case from 2004 over suspected pesticide violations that were investigated after three female Ag-Mart farmworkers gave birth to babies with severe birth defects. In 2006, the family of Carlos Herrera Candelario, who was born without arms or legs, sued Ag-Mart over illegal pesticide exposure resulting in the boy’s birth defects. The case was settled out of court, with Ag-Mart agreeing to pay the medical expenses of the boy for life and provide him with a permanent income, but insisting that the settlement was not an admission of guilt. The current hearing will look at whether Ag-Mart’s farm manager, Jeff Oxley, is indeed guilty of over 200 violations, including forcing workers into the field too soon after dangerous pesticides were applied. The hearing is significant because the company insists that adequate practices are and have been in place to ensure workers are not exposed to pesticides, even though the testimony of Ag-Mart employees runs counter to this claim. This hearing could do a great deal to elucidate the truth about farmworker pesticide exposure, an important issue for the thousands of workers who plant and harvest […]

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28
Mar

Ag-Mart Settles Birth Defect Case

(Beyond Pesticides, March 28, 2008) Three years ago, Carlos Candelario was born without arms or legs and with spinal and lung deformities, birth defects caused by his mother’s exposure to multiple pesticides while working in Ag-Mart Produce fields during her pregnancy. His parents, Francisca Herrera and Abraham Candelario, sued the company in 2006, and last week’s settlement will provide for Carlos for the rest of his life, pending a judge’s approval. “I am as gratified about this case as any I’ve ever handled,” said attorney Andrew Yaffa. “This child has tremendous needs and needed somebody willing to speak on his behalf. Every medical need will be taken care of as a result of this settlement.” Ag-Mart has a history of state pesticide violations and use of extremely toxic pesticides (although in 2005, the company did agree to discontinue use of chemicals linked to reproductive risks, excepting methyl bromide, which is still in use). The company grows “UglyRipe” heirloom tomatoes and Santa Sweets grape tomatoes in a chemical-intensive operation. Ms. Herrera and Mr. Candelario worked alongside other migrant workers in North Carolina and Florida fields at the time of Ms. Herrera’s exposure. Both Florida and North Carolina have published reports on […]

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