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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'coronavirus' Category


15
Oct

Literature Review: Pesticides Exposure Highly Correlated with Respiratory Diseases

(Beyond Pesticides, October 15, 2020) A review of scientific literature on the correlation between respiratory diseases and pesticides exposure—published in the journal Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine (AAEM), “Influence of pesticides on respiratory pathology—a literature review”—finds that exposure to pesticides increases incidents of respiratory pathologies (i.e., asthma, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]—or chronic bronchitis). The review by researchers at the Iuliu Hatieganu’ University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj-Napoca, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, looks at how pesticide exposure adversely propagates and reinforces respiratory diseases in humans. This review highlights the significance of evaluating how pesticide exposure impacts respiratory function, especially since contact with pesticides can happen at any point in the production, transportation preparation, or application treatment process. Researchers in the study note, “Knowing and recognizing these respiratory health problems of farmers and their families, and also of [pesticide] manipulators/retailers, are essential for early diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and preventive measures.” This study results are critically important at a time when exposure to respiratory toxicants increases vulnerability to Covid-19, which attacks the respiratory system, among other organic systems. The respiratory system is essential to human survival, regulating gas exchange (oxygen-carbon dioxide) in the body to balance acid and base tissue cells for normal […]

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08
Oct

Common Fungicide Causes a Decrease in Antioxidant Responsible for Defense Against Diseases like COVID-19

(Beyond Pesticides, October 8, 2020) Research from the University of Wisconsin—Madison (UWM), suggests that fludioxonil—a commonly used agricultural fungicide—decreases the human body’s ability to defend itself against illnesses, like COVID-19, and promotes disease permanency. Tristan Brandhorst, a Ph.D. scientist at UWM, notes that a pesticide-induced reduction in the antioxidant glutathione could be responsible for this lack of bodily defense against disease. Although many studies examine how pesticides adversely affect the human body (i.e., cancer, respiratory issues, etc.), very few studies assess how pesticides reinforce chemical disruption patterns that reduce levels of vital chemicals needed for normal bodily function. The steady rise in U.S. pesticide use, including disinfectants, threatens animals and humans, as exposure to indiscriminate dispersal of pesticides cause a whirlwind of health risks. As the total U.S. COVID-19 cases rise above 7.5 million, global leaders need to understand extensive pesticide spraying is not a viable solution to prevent illness and causes more chronic harm from exposure in the long run. Dr. Brandhorst stresses the need for proper reevaluation of pesticide risks stating, “The issue needs more study, [and] might also warrant a reworking of how [the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] evaluates pesticides.” Amidst the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), the global demand […]

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28
Aug

EPA Threatens Public Health, Waiving Safety Review of Disinfectants To Be Used by American Airlines and Health Care Facilities; Need Questioned while More Uses Expected

(Beyond Pesticides, August 28, 2020) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted “emergency” permission to the State of Texas to allow the use of SurfaceWise®2, an unregistered pesticide, as an anti-viral surface coating. The manufacturer, Allied Bioscience, says the compound can kill coronaviruses (including SARS-CoV-2) starting at two hours post application and for up to seven days, but it is not included on EPA’s List N, of disinfectants effective against SARS-CoV-2. EPA has permitted this use via the authority of Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which allows for “emergency” use of non-registered pesticides, typically to deal with extreme threats to agricultural activities. It is rarely used for public health emergencies. Beyond Pesticides recognizes the need for protection from transmission of the novel coronavirus, and maintains that it ought to and can be done without exposing people to toxic synthetic pesticides that have not undergone evaluation for safety. See Beyond Pesticides’ guidance on effective and safe precautions against the novel coronavirus. The Texas Department of Agriculture secured the EPA exemption, making the state the first to do so; Allied BioScience is pursuing this emergency waiver across all 50 states. The exemption grants American Airlines and two health […]

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13
Aug

Scientists Link Toxic Coronavirus Disinfectant Use to Wild Animal Deaths

(Beyond Pesticides, August 13, 2020) An alarming new scientific report finds that excessive, indiscriminate disinfectant use against COVID-19 puts wildlife health at risk, especially in urban settings. The analysis, published in the journal Environmental Research, finds many of the chemical ingredients in disinfectant products are “acutely toxic to both terrestrial and aquatic animals,” causing death following exposure. Additionally, these chemicals have implications for human health as infectious disease specialists at the World Health Organization (WHO) warn excessive disinfectant use can cause respiratory problems, especially for those with underlying respiratory conditions. With the total U.S. COVID-19 cases rising above 5.1 million, and the pressure to reopen public facilities, like schools, restaurants, gyms, etc., increasing, lack of proper disinfection guidelines and monitoring generates concerns surrounding heightened environmental pollution. The authors’ analysis supports the need for global leaders to regulate the spraying of disinfectants, especially in urban areas, with input from the scientific community. Wildlife are moving into urban areas at higher rates due to food availability and protection from hunting and natural dangers. However, if indiscriminate dispersal of disinfectants continues, these urban inhabitants face a whirlwind of health risks associated with exposure. The report’s analysts note, “The overuse of disinfectants may contaminate the habitats of urban wildlife. […]

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10
Aug

Coronavirus Safety Measures Required for School Reopening

(Beyond Pesticides, August 10, 2020) As parents, educators, and administrators decide whether to open schools with in-person teaching, there are escalating concerns about the ability of schools to put in place the programs necessary to protect the health of students, staff, and their families from coronavirus (COVID-19). A key part of most school reopening plans is the fogging or misting of classrooms with toxic disinfectants, raising questions about safe and effective disinfection and sanitizing practices, in addition to social practices that public health officials have advised, to prevent transmission of the virus. For those who want to advocate for protective measures prior to school reopening: Tell Congress and Governors that schools must reopen only when safe. Schools must have adequate resources to ensure safety. “While people are eager to reopen schools, it is critical that they adopt basic cleaning and safe and effective disinfection procedures, ventilation and infrastructure changes, and adequate maintenance support,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “However, these basic practices must follow the recommendations of public health officials, including a less than one percent community transmission rate, social distancing and masks, adequate disease detection testing, contact tracing, and quarantining procedures,” he said. In spite of […]

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08
Aug

Tell Congress and Governors that Schools Must Reopen Only When Safe; Toxic Disinfectants Are Not a Shortcut to Safety

(Beyond Pesticides, August 10, 2020) Despite pressure to reopen schools, concerns persist about the threat to the health of children, teachers, school staff, and families. There are many complex social, scientific, and logistical issues involved in a decision to reopen schools for in-person teaching.  >>Tell Congress and Governors that schools must reopen only when safe. Schools must have adequate resources to ensure safety. Beyond Pesticides joins the National Education Association (NEA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Parent and Teacher Association (PTA), and others in calling for a well-thought-out approach to reopening schools only when it is shown that: The pandemic is under control in the community—as evidenced, for example, by an average daily community infection rate among those tested for COVID-19 below 5% and a transmission rate below 1%. Protections have been put in place to keep the virus under control and protect students and staff. These include accommodations for students and staff at high risk; measures and building retrofits to protect against all forms of transmission; procedures for detecting disease, quarantining, and notification; involvement of families and educators in decisions; monitoring; and enforcement. Plans are in place that ensure continuous learning equitably for all students, with training for educators, […]

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03
Aug

Tell Congress to Require EPA to Stop Ignoring People of Color in Setting Safety Standards—Agency Ignores People at Elevated Risk to Deadly Combination of Pesticides and Covid-19 Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, August 3, 2020) The effects of pesticide use are important, yet ignored, factors affecting people of color (POC) who face elevated risk from Covid-19 as essential workers, as family members of those workers, and because of the additional or cumulative risk that pesticides pose. As a part of this deadly combination, exposure to pesticides occurs at work, in community parks, schools and playing fields, and through food residues. EPA is ignoring the real hazards resulting from a combination of exposures that is reflected in the statistics that have emerged—with farmworkers suffering a rate of coronavirus five times higher and landscapers three times higher than community rates. Why is this the case? Because pesticide exposure weakens the respiratory, immune, and nervous system and makes those exposed more susceptible to the coronavirus.  EPA has the power to immediately, on an emergency basis, adjust allowable pesticide use and exposure, recognizing that we have alternative practices and products to meet food production and landscaping needs. Tell Congress to require EPA to examine the contribution of pesticide exposure to Covid-19 and protect those at greatest risk, people of color. Farmworkers and landscapers have been deemed essential employees during the coronavirus outbreak, but without mandated […]

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29
Jul

Much Higher Rates of Covid-19 Infection and Death in Farmworkers and Landscapers, May Be Enhanced by Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2020) Farmworkers and landscapers are deemed essential employees during the coronavirus outbreak, but without mandated safety protocols or government assistance, have experienced an explosion in Covid-19 cases. Workers in these industries are primarily Latinx people of color, many of whom are undocumented. According to a report published by the University of California Los Angeles, Latinx Californians aged 50 to 64 have died from the virus at rate five times higher than white people of the same age. The poor working conditions farmworkers and landscapers are subject to already put them at disproportionate risk of pesticide-induced diseases. Alongside other hardships such preexisting health problems, family obligations, cramped housing and transportation, threat of deportation, and communication difficulties, the risks of these essential workers contracting and dying from Covid-19 are compounded exponentially. The PBS Frontline documentary “Hidden Toll” follows the experiences of many California farmworkers, and how their daily struggle has been exacerbated as a result of the virus. One worker profiled, Sinthia Hernandez, has both diabetes and cancer but must continue to go to work to support her family. “In these times, it’s necessity that makes us work despite the fear we have,” Hernandex told Frontline. Despite the […]

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27
Apr

Tell Your Governor that Lawn Care Pesticides Are Not Essential and Increase Risk of COVID-19

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2020) Federal guidance and orders by most Governors have identified “landscaping” as an essential activity that is permitted in spite of stay at home or shelter in place requirements. Tell Your Governor that Lawn Care Pesticides are Not Essential and Increase Risk of COVID-19. Most states follow some variation of guidance issued by the Department of Homeland Security, Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response, in determining which industries are “essential” and can therefore remain in operation. DHS guidance identifies as essential, “Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, builders, contractors, HVAC Technicians, landscapers, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, businesses and buildings such as hospitals, senior living facilities, any temporary construction required to support COVID-19 response.” While some of the services provided by landscapers and exterminators may be necessary to maintaining safety, sanitation, and essential operations, pesticide application for cosmetic lawn care purposes is not. The hazards of pesticides may be amplified during this pandemic. Threats to the immune and respiratory systems posed by pesticides are likely to make those exposed more susceptible to the coronavirus. Governors should designate as essential outdoor maintenance, including vegetation, only when necessary to […]

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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’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs is advising the use of unnecessarily toxic substances, and reducing standards that govern their allowance on the market. EPA’s 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—a 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, “Fight the coronavirus with common sense prevention and safer disinfection products. Avoid products that increase vulnerability to respiratory problems.” (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 “inerts” with “no […]

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