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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'COVID-19' Category


15
Apr

Beyond Pesticides Makes Science-based Case that It Is Imperative to Phase Out Pesticides in a Decade

The organic solutions to problems highlighted in the latest issue of Pesticides and You—based on the importance of healthy ecosystems and public health protection—are within reach, and the data creates an imperative for action now that phases out pesticides within a decade, while ensuring food productivity, resilient land management, and safe food, air, and water. (Beyond Pesticides, April 15, 2022) The current issue of Pesticides and You, RETROSPECTIVE 2021: A Call to Urgent Action, is a look at a year of science, policy, and advocacy that informs both the existential problems that the U.S. and the world are facing due to toxic pesticide dependency, and solutions that can be adopted now. The information in this issue captures the body of science that empowers action at the local, state, and federal level, and provides a framework for challenging toxic pesticide use and putting alternatives in place. The issue finds that 2021 was a pivotal year in both defining the problem and advancing the solution. This year in review is divided into nine sections that provide an accounting of scientific findings documenting serious pesticide-induced health and environmental effects, disproportionate risk to people of color and those with preexisting conditions, regulatory failures, at the same time […]

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02
Mar

Sewage Sludge Creates a “Safe Haven” for Covid Viral Particles, Placing Public Health at Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2022) Covid (SARS-CoV-2) is being detected in wastewater, sludge, and biosolids, providing a “safe haven” for the virus and creating a health risk for wastewater workers and farmers. Published in Geoscience Frontiers, an international team of researchers systematically reviewed the available literature on the prevalence of pandemic coronavirus in wastewater in order to better determine risks to workers and public health. The timely review comes as many communities and states are reevaluating their use reclaimed human effluent due to a range of toxic contaminants, including per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Researchers found 20 articles from published literature that met the criteria for their review. Each of three environmental materials –wastewater effluent, sludge, and biosolids were analyzed for the presence of Covid. Effluent is the liquid that remains after a sewage treatment process, sludge is organic matter separated from effluent, and biosolids are the fully processed product that is then often applied to farm fields. Of the three materials, sludge contained the highest prevalence of covid RNA, followed by biosolids and then effluent, according to modeling of the data employed by researchers. Covid amounts were found to be related to the number of infected individuals living within […]

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01
Feb

Increased Accumulation of Disinfectant Chemicals in the Body during the Pandemic Threatens Health, Despite Available Alternatives

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2022) A study published in Environmental Science and Technology finds that concentrations of quaternary ammonium compounds (QUATs or QACs) in the human body have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, raising health and safety concerns. QACs include a variety of chemicals in personal care, pharmaceutical, and medical products used as disinfectants, sanitizers, antimicrobials. However, over the past 70 years, large-scale production and use of these compounds led to accumulation in the environment, including surface water, sediment, and soil. Previously, researchers thought most QACs lack the potential to bioaccumulate,  as the chemicals are highly water-soluble, while dermal and oral absorption rates are low. However, emerging evidence demonstrates that specific QACs bioaccumulate in blood and other body tissues and can cause a range of toxic effects. Therefore, studies like this highlight the significance of monitoring chemical exposure for adverse health effects. The researchers note, “Further efforts are needed to explore the relationship between the use of QAC-containing products and the levels of QACs in human blood or of their metabolites in urine. Considering the increased use of some QACs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, our findings warrant further exposure and epidemiological research focused on QACs.” Amidst the outbreak […]

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24
Jan

Ask that New Public Health Strategies for Endemic Covid Include Toxic Chemical Phaseouts

(Beyond Pesticides, January 24, 2022) The advisory board of health experts who counseled President Biden during his transition have now called for an entirely new domestic pandemic strategy geared to the “new normal” of living with the virus indefinitely. While this new strategy addresses important issues like “reimagining public health” and disparities in vulnerability to COVID, it misses out on an important one—reducing vulnerability to disease by eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals, especially those that threaten the immune, nervous, and respiratory systems. Tell the President, EPA, and Congress to address the ongoing threat of Covid-19 by eliminating toxic pesticide use that elevates overall, and disproportionately for people of color, the public’s vulnerability to the virus. The strategic initiative is organized by Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, an oncologist, medical ethicist, and University of Pennsylvania professor who advised former President Barack Obama. The group published a collection of opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). In those articles, the group advises President Biden to give up on an eradication goal, accept that COVID-19 is here to stay—that is, that it is becoming endemic—and adopt a goal of living with it. These articles explore what that means. The […]

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28
Apr

Pesticide Exposure Increases Susceptibility to Covid-19, Gulf War Veterans Found At Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, April 28, 2021) New evidence set to be presented at the Experimental Biology (EB) 2021 meeting held this week suggests that Gulf War Veterans and other individuals with prior pesticide exposures may be more susceptible to Covid-19 infection. As the pandemic continues, it is critically important for researchers to better understand specific vulnerabilities in population groups in order to improve care and patient outcomes. “The reason why COVID-19 causes a severe form of disease leading to hospitalization and high rates of mortality in a small segment of society is unclear,” said Prakash Nagarkatti, PhD, co-author of the study and vice president for research at the University of South Carolina. “This work sheds new light on exposure to pesticides and potential susceptibility to COVID-19 through altered immune response.”   According to recent data, out of 160,000 Covid-19 cases among veterans, the mortality rate was more than 4%. Researchers are pointing to Gulf War Syndrome, and past exposure to organophosphate pesticides as part of the problem. “We have identified a basic mechanism linked with inflammation that could increase susceptibility to COVID-19 infection among people exposed to organophosphates,” said Saurabh Chatterjee, PhD, from the University of South Carolina. Interleukin 6 (IL-6) […]

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04
Feb

Vulnerability to COVID-19 May Increase with Exposure to Organophosphorus Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, February 4, 2021) A review published in Food and Chemical Toxicology suggests organophosphorus pesticides (OPs) may increase the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to cause COVID-19, especially among vulnerable individuals with underlying medical conditions. Organophosphorus pesticides have a wide range of biological uses that makes these chemicals ubiquitous, significantly contaminating both terrestrial (land) and aquatic (water) environments. However, OPs are highly toxic, originating from the same compounds as World War II nerve agents. Moreover, OPs are one of the leading causes of poisoning globally. Therefore, it is vital to understand how OPs exposure will impact human health in conjunction with other immunologically compromising diseases like COVID-19. Considering COVID-19 and OP exposure act similarly on the respiratory system, exacerbating adverse inflammatory responses, reviews like these highlight the significance of evaluating synergism between diseases and toxic chemicals to safeguard human health. Researchers in the study note, “To curb SARS-CoV-2 infection, a healthy immune system is obligatory despite potent vaccine to alleviate morbidities in patients. But unintentional exposure to OP compounds from several sources can rupture the antiviral defense against SARS-CoV-2. Moreover, respiratory ailments may also be fueled by OP compounds. Hence, SARS-CoV-2 mediated morbidities and fatalities could be backed by unintentional exposure to OPs in […]

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26
Nov

This Thanksgiving, Give and Show Thanks to Essential, Frontline Workers

(Beyond Pesticides, November 26, 2020) With the coronavirus pandemic raging across the United States, this Thanksgiving will be like no other in recent memory. Although many will spend dinner away from friends and family, and video calls don’t quite match time around the table, there is still so much to give thanks for. This year, we at Beyond Pesticides are honoring the essential, frontline workers that have helped us through this difficult year.   It is not enough to simply gives thanks to health care, transportation, retail, hospitality, custodial, teachers, farmworkers, landscapers, and other frontline workers putting themselves at risk. We must take action to improve their conditions – particularly when it comes to exposure to toxic chemicals that exacerbate underlying conditions and increase susceptibility to Covid-19. This 2020 Thanksgiving, give thanks but also show thanks by taking action. Give Thanks to Health Care Workers. Health care workers are past overstressed. Many are at the point of complete burnout. Already subject to multiple medical and personal demands, many health care workers continue to lack proper equipment, are understaffed, and at greatest risk of contracting Covid-19. Show Thanks: The best action to take to thank essential health care workers, oddly enough, […]

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22
Oct

Continued Skin Contact with Disinfectant Use to Prevent COVID-19 Infection Can Cause Harmful Skin Reactions

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2020) Prolonged dermal (skin) exposure to hazardous disinfectants, via handling and/or residue on surfaces, can induce the risk of adverse skin reactions (i.e., inflammation, burns, necrosis), according to a novel review analysis published in Clinics in Dermatology. Researchers of the review, “Dermatologic reactions to disinfectant use during the COVID-19 pandemic,” examine skin reactions associated with dermal exposure to various disinfectants approved for use against COVID-19 by the European Chemical Agency (ECA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) classifies disinfectants as pesticides, so it is up to the states to delegate training, registration, and enforcement. Many states enforce pesticide training that allows professional applicators to learn how to handle, apply, and store pesticides properly. However, many of these same states do not have professional training for disinfectant use, especially wide-scale applications. Consequently, disinfectant applications are now more pervasive than ever, especially as school reopenings ensues. Considering failure to “Comply with Labeling and Permit Conditions” was the most common pesticide use violation of 2018, according to the California Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR), advocates are urging global leaders to recognize the potential impacts that frivolous disinfectant use can have on […]

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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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