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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Infertility' Category


04
Jun

Presence of Weed Killer Glyphosate in Human Sperm Elevates Debate on Pesticide Threats to Human Survival 

(Beyond Pesticides, June 4, 2024) A study published in the most recent edition of the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety documents for the first time the presence of the herbicide glyphosate in human sperm. The study looked at 128 French men with an average age of 36 years who tested positive for glyphosate in their blood. Seventy-three out of the 128 men were found to also have glyphosate in their seminal plasma. Not only that, the amount of glyphosate in seminal plasma was nearly four times higher than what was detected in the blood.   Methods  The study involved a population of 128 infertile French men from whom seminal and blood plasma samples were collected. The study was conducted at the “Pole Santé Léonard de Vinci” medical center, located centrally near Tours, France. This region is recognized for its urban characteristics as well as being a major agricultural hub, particularly for grain and wine production. The study authors note, “This area reflects the common herbicide exposure in France” and the district ranks third highest in terms of pesticide purchases. While additional qualitative data was collected, only 47 of 128 participants fully completed a questionnaire about their profession, diet (organic or […]

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17
Apr

“Forever Chemical” PFAS Drinking Water Rules Issued, Urgency to Shift from Petrochemicals Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, April 17, 2024) With headlines drawing public attention to the contamination of drinking water after years of federal government neglect, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 10 new standards to reduce public exposure to PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because of their persistence. EPA has finalized a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for six PFAS, including PFOA and PFOS, which EPA has recognized have no safe level of exposure, regulating new chemicals for the first time since the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). PFAS persistence and bioaccumulation in humans, wildlife, and the environment is due to the strength of a resulting fluorine–carbon atom bond. PFAS contamination of drinking water, surface and groundwater, waterways, soils, and the food supply—among other resources—is ubiquitous worldwide. PFAS is used in everyday products, including cookware, clothes, carpets, as an anti-sticking and anti-stain agent, in plastics, machinery, and as a pesticide. The action was welcomed by environmentalists and public health advocates as an important step but left many concerned that any level of exposure to these chemicals is unacceptable and critical of EPA’s ongoing failure to act despite years […]

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21
Mar

Hazardous Pesticide with Reproductive and Developmental Effects Enters U.S. Food Supply through Imported Food

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2024) Alarming levels of a hazardous pesticide plant growth regulator linked to reproductive and developmental effects, chlormequat, is found in 90% of urine samples in people tested, raising concerns about exposure to a chemical that has never been registered for food use in the U.S. but whose residues are permitted on imported food. Published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology in February 2024 and led by Environmental Working Group toxicologist Alexis Temkin, PhD, a pilot study finds widespread chlormequat exposure to a sampling of people from across the country. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations only permit the use of chlormequat on ornamental plants and not food crops grown in the U.S. As explained in the journal article, “In April 2018, the U.S. EPA published acceptable food tolerance levels for chlormequat chloride in imported oat, wheat, barley, and some animal products, which permitted the import of chlormequat into the U.S. food supply.” In 2020, EPA increased the allowable level of chlormequat in food. Then in April 2023, EPA proposed allowing the first-ever U.S. use of chlormequat on barley, oat, triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye), and wheat. Existing regulatory standards explain the […]

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05
Feb

EPA’s Proposed Endocrine Disrupting Pesticide Review Called Deficient

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2024) Public Comment Period Ends February 26, 2024. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) never completed protocol for testing pesticides that disrupt the fundamental functioning of organisms, including humans, causing a range of chronic adverse health effects that defy the common misconception that dose makes the poison (“a little bit won’t hurt you”)—when, in fact, minuscule doses (exposure) wreak havoc with biological systems. After a nearly two decade defiance of a federal mandate to institute pesticide registration requirements for endocrine disruptors, EPA has now opened a public comment period ending February 26, 2024 and advocates are criticizing the agency’s proposed evaluation as too narrow. A detailed examination of EPA’s proposal can be found in draft comments by Beyond Pesticides.  Endocrine disruption as a phenomenon affecting humans and other species has been critically reviewed by many authors. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can, even at extremely low exposure levels, disrupt normal hormonal (endocrine) function. Such endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC) include many pesticides, exposures to which have been linked to infertility and other reproductive disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and early puberty, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and childhood and adult cancers. EPA […]

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24
Aug

Scientific Breakthrough Sheds Glowing Light on Pesticide Research

(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2023) Researchers are investigating a cutting-edge method to identify the impact of pesticides on reproductive health—shrinking the wait time from months to weeks. Scientists at the University of California, Davis, are developing a method for identifying harmful chemicals in pesticides with the help of glowing fish. This scientific breakthrough could revolutionize pesticide research and help prevent long-term health problems caused by exposure to these chemicals.  Pesticide exposure can cause acute and long-term health problems for the human endocrine system, the hormone system that regulates many biological processes from reproduction to blood sugar, growth, and more. Beyond Pesticides has written about the connections between EPA-registered pesticides and involuntary abortions, reproductive cancers, pregnancy loss, early-onset puberty, and more.   The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has expressed concern over the limited or missing data regarding the health effects of pesticides and food additives on infants and children, who are more vulnerable to chemical exposures. AAP has identified several compounds as being of particular concern, including bisphenols, which are commonly used in the lining of metal cans; phthalates, which are used in adhesives and plasticizers; nonpersistent pesticides, which have been addressed in a previous AAP policy statement; perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs), […]

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29
Nov

Continued Reduction in Sperm Count Raises Call for Action

(Beyond Pesticides, November 29, 2022) Based on new international research adding weight to previous research on falling sperm counts, it is critical that environmental agencies address this and other problems related to endocrine disruption. The study by Levine et al. finds that the drop in sperm count—a drop of 51.6% from 1973 through 2018—is global and that the rate of decline is accelerating. Tell EPA and Congress that pesticide use cannot continue without findings of no endocrine disruption.  The documented (average) drop in sperm counts is approaching the level at which the ability to cause a pregnancy begins to plummet dramatically. The reduction in male fertility may have profound psychological and social impacts, including anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression. These psychological problems have health impacts of their own. Equally serious are connections of anxiety and depression with violent behavior and suicide. Compounding the problem is the fact that men are unlikely to seek fertility-related social support. The drop in sperm counts is just one example of endocrine disruption largely due to exposure to toxic chemicals. The endocrine system consists of a set of glands (thyroid, gonads, adrenal and pituitary) and the hormones they produce (thyroxine, estrogen, testosterone, and adrenaline), which […]

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03
Aug

Scientific Literature Review Again Connects Pesticides and Male Fertility Problems

(Beyond Pesticides, August 3, 2022) A systematic review of scientific studies on pesticides and fertility finds exposure associated with lower semen quality, DNA fragmentation, and chromosomal abnormalities. Published in the journal Andrology, the review is yet another warning from a long string of researchers sounding the alarm over the connection between global fertility and toxic chemical exposure. With data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  indicating roughly 1 in 5 couples are unable to conceive after a year of trying, and trends continuing to slope downwards, it is critical that contributing factors be identified so that protective changes can be made.   After screening over 1,300 studies, researchers narrowed their review down to 64 papers assessing semen parameters and DNA integrity after pesticide exposure. Each study is analyzed for its design, the pesticide investigated,  the population studied, controls, and reproductive effects determined. Pesticides are evaluated for their impacts to sperm quality and DNA integrity based on their chemical class. Organochlorine insecticides, which are all banned but still persistent in soil, air, water, and food in the United States, include a range of impacts to sperm quality. Higher levels of DDT or its breakdown metabolite DDE are […]

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10
Jun

Women’s Exposure to Environmental Pollutants Prompts Infertility and Low Egg Count

(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2021) Exposure to toxic chemicals decreases egg count and increases infertility risk among women, according to a study published in Environment International. Since 2014, U.S. fertility rates have been decreasing, with many attributing the decline to older age pregnancies. However, several findings demonstrate that exposure to environmental pollutants, like persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from the industrial and agriculture industry, contributes to a decline in fertility rates. Scientists and health officials already associate exposure to POPs, like pesticides, with adverse impacts on male fertility, including reduced sperm count, quality, and abnormal sperm development. Therefore, it is essential to understand how exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment affects reproductive success, especially among women who can transfer contaminants to the fetus via the umbilical cord. The researchers note that these findings should urge government and health officials to reexamine chemical safety concerning reproductive health, and “strongly encourage [them] to study mechanisms behind POP-associated infertility in women in more detail.” Researchers examined ovarian egg reserve size in pregnant women directly by examining the density of follicles and immature eggs in ovarian tissue and indirectly via serum anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH). Using AMH serum samples, researchers assessed concentration levels of 31 POPs: nine organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), ten polychlorinated […]

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01
Nov

Bumblebees Shown to Suffer Reproductive Failure after Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2018) A new study offers fresh evidence that wild bumblebee pollinators are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides, finding that exposure to these compounds interferes with mating success and population stability. Researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, measuring real-world harms of neonicotinoids, indicate that the impacts they found to bumblebee “reproducers,” namely queen and drone (male) bees, does not bode well for the array of plant species that relies on them. Though advocates warn that destabilizing managed pollinators could threaten U.S. food production and exports, with food prices increasing as cost of bringing pollinators to farms increases, the study’s authors and advocates insist that the impacts of such widespread poisoning of wild bees could be felt well beyond agriculture. Researchers in the lab compare behavioral and psychological responses of virgin queens, workers, and male Bombus impatiens from multiple colonies to field-realistic doses of the neonicotinoid clothianidin. While every bee was given a replenishing supply of pollen based on body weight and energy demands, four distinct concentrations of diluted analytical-grade (pure) clothianidin (including a control with no pesticide added) were mixed into a nectar-like solution and fed to the bumblebees orally for 5 […]

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16
Jul

Assessment of Triclosan Hazards Supports Call for Canadian Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, July 16, 2014) The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and Clean Production Action (CPA) released a comprehensive assessment of the hazards posed by triclosan and its chemical cousin triclocarbon Thursday, calling on the Canadian Government to create a comprehensive phase-out plan for these harmful antibacterial chemicals. The report, which finds that the chemicals are accumulating in the waters of the Great Lakes, also suggests that the U.S. and all provinces and states bordering the Great Lakes should prohibit use of the chemicals. The two antibacterial chemicals are commonly used in consumer products ranging from liquid soaps and toothpaste to kitchen cutting boards, and have come under increased scrutiny amidst human health concerns and lack of efficacy. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has been calling for a ban on the household use of triclosan since 2009, and in 2012, the Canadian government declared triclosan as toxic to the environment. In the U.S., Beyond Pesticides has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its counterpart, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (which regulates non-cosmetic products with triclosan) for years to immediately ban triclosan from consumer products, citing endocrine disruption, and other human health concerns. Last December,  FDA announced  it […]

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01
Aug

Growing Body of Research Shows Gynecological Diseases Linked to Environmental Contaminants

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2012) New research is adding to the evidence that some pesticides and industrial chemicals may increase women’s risk of uterine and ovarian diseases, such as endometriosis. The research supports the decades old theory that hormone-mimicking chemicals impact human reproductive systems. Scientists have long suspected a link between estrogen-mimicking pollutants and gynecological diseases. According to Environmental Health News, research investigating a link between hormone-disrupting chemicals in the environment and gynecological diseases has had mixed results. But a new study, “Persistent Lipophilic Environmental Chemicals and Endometriosis: The ENDO Study,” from researchers at the National Institutes of Health and others, found that two groups of women in the Salt Lake City and San Francisco areas — one group with pelvic pain and the other with no symptoms — were more likely to be diagnosed with endometriosis if they had high blood levels of the estrogen-like pesticide hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) than women with low levels. HCH, a persistent organic pollutant (POP), and a byproduct of the production of the insecticide lindane (head lice treatments), has been banned as a crop pesticide in the United States but it persists in the environment and remains in some food supplies. Endometriosis is a female […]

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06
Dec

Single Exposure to Dioxin Can Cause Problems for Future Generations

(Beyond Pesticides, December 6, 2010) A new study finds that exposure to dioxin in the womb can affect female reproduction for generations, reducing fertility and increasing the chance for premature delivery. Scientists from the Women’s Reproductive Health Research Center at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine examined the effects of a specific variety of dioxin on female mice and found that subsequent generations of the mice exposed to dioxin are at risk. The study, entitled “Developmental exposure to TCDD reduces fertility and negatively affects pregnancy outcomes across multiple generations,” was published in the journal Reproductive Toxicology. Dioxin refers to a family of chemicals linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, weakened immune systems and reproductive problems. They are persistent organic pollutants that bioaccumulate in humans and other animals, especially in fatty tissue, meaning that concentrations of dioxin in the body generally increase with age. So, even in very low doses, dioxins can cause health problems. Scientists in this study specifically looked at the variety of dioxin that is considered the most toxic, known as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). TCDD is a well-known contaminant of the herbicide 2,4-D, which was originally a part of the deadly chemical weapon Agent Orange. As such, TCDD is still found […]

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02
Jun

Dole Proposes New Settlements for Sterile Plantation Workers

(Beyond Pesticides, June 2, 2010) After decades-long litigation over the use of the toxic pesticide dibromochloropropane, or DBCP, in the 1970’s which has been linked to sterility and has since been banned, Dole Food Co. is proposing new settlements for farm workers claiming they were injured by exposure to the pesticide. A request has been filed by lawyers for Dole in the Los Angeles Superior Court asking that nearly 1,500 Honduran farm workers who are suing Dole be allowed to drop out of those suits and settle their claims out of court under an existing program arranged by the company and Honduran government officials. This could potentially end years of legal action inexpensively for Dole while providing compensation to workers quickly, however some people view this plan as a way for the company to back out of its responsibilities to former plantation workers. The pesticide DBCP was used by workers from Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama to kill worm infestations in the trees’ roots. In the U.S., DBCP was used as a soil fumigant and nematocide on over 40 different crops until 1977. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), DBCP causes male reproductive problems, including low […]

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15
Dec

Atrazine Exposure Triggers Release of Stress Hormone

(Beyond Pesticides, December 15, 2009) Exposure to the endocrine-disrupting herbicide atrazine triggers the release of stress hormones in rats, according to a new study published in the December 2009 issue of the journal Toxicological Sciences. The researchers believe this may explain how the popular weed killer produces some its harmful reproductive effects. The study, “Characterization of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis Response to Atrazine and Metabolites in the Female Rat,” was conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory. According to a December 4 analysis by Environmental Health Sciences, a foundation-funded journalism organization, the researchers discovered that female rats fed atrazine at the time of ovulation released a flow of stress hormones that are known to interfere with hormones essential for reproduction. The findings reveal one way atrazine may impact female reproduction. Elevated stress hormones can disrupt the hormone signals that spur ovulation. Such a stress response to atrazine could partially explain why previous studies find that the herbicide inhibits reproduction. The stress reaction is similar to that seen when the animals are restrained against their will. One of the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the U.S., atrazine can currently legally be applied before and […]

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27
Oct

U.S. Court Reverses Judgment Against Dole and Dow Chemical for Sterile Banana Workers

(Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2009) U.S. District Judge Paul Huck (Miami) has said a multimillion dollar judgment against U.S. food giant Dole and the Dow Chemical Company cannot be enforced because, “[T]he judgment was rendered under a system which does not provide impartial tribunal or procedures compatible with the requirements of due process of law, and the rendering court did not have jurisdiction over Defendants.” A trial court in Chinandega, Nicaragua, had awarded the money in 2005 to 150 Nicaraguan citizens who believe they were injured by exposure to the pesticide dibromochloropropoane, or DBCP, when they worked on Dole banana plantations between 1970 and 1982. This actiion was taken despite findings in the U.S. that DBCP causes sterility and regulatory action to remove it from the market. The trial court awarded Plaintiffs approximately $97 million under “Special Law 364,” enacted by the Nicaraguan legislature in 2000 specifically to handle DBCP claims. The average award was approximately $647,000 per plaintiff. According to the Nicaraguan trial court, these sums were awarded to compensate plaintiffs for DBCP-induced infertility and its accompanying adverse psychological effects. In similar cases in the past, the companies have refused to pay. Dow Chemical has called such judgments “unenforceable” […]

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05
Dec

Study Links Genetically Engineered Corn to Infertility

(Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2009) On November 10, 2008, the Austrian government released a report of long term research showing genetically engineered (GE) corn fed to mice significantly reduced their fertility over three to four breeding cycles within one generation. Similar effects were found in mice fed GE corn and bred over four generations. The study, “Biological effects of transgenic maize NK603xMON810 fed in long term reproduction studies in mice,” was sponsored by the Austrian Ministry of Health, Families, and Youth, and led by Dr. Jürgen Zentek, Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Vienna. Three series of experiments were done. The first was a multigeneration feeding trial in which the mice were fed and bred for four successive generations, beginning with the parents that were fed the diets from birth. The second was a multi-cycle breeding trial lasting 20 weeks in which breeding pairs of mice were fed beginning one week prior to co-habitation until the end of experiment, and allowed to go through four breeding cycles in the same generation. The third was a life-term trial involving feeding the mice without breeding from conception (via the pregnant mothers) to their eventual death. The researchers report that it […]

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26
Sep

Farmworkers Lose Amvac Genocide Appeal

(Beyond Pesticides, September 26, 2008) On September 24, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Ivory Coast farmworkers’ claims that they were victims of genocide when pesticide exposure made them sterile. The nearly 700 plaintiffs were exposed to the soil fumigant and nematocide 1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane, or DBCP, while working on Dole Food Company farms in Africa. The original First Amended Complaint was filed on April 6, 2007, and despite the latest setback, the Africans’ attorney, Raphael Metzger, said he would pursue a rehearing. Until 1977, DBCP was widely used in U.S. agriculture, when it was banned for all uses except pineapples. In contrast, DBCP was widely used for fruit production in developing countries in to the 1990s in spite of its U.S. regulatory status. “The manufacturers continued making money on [DBCP] by shipping it to Third World countries where farmworkers were given it to use,” Mr. Metzger said. The suit, Abagninin v. Amvac Chemical Co, was filed under the Alien Torts Statute and contended “that such conduct supports claims under the ATS for genocide and crimes against humanity because the conduct was undertaken with knowledge of DBCP’s effects and pursuant to a State or organizational policy.” The court rejected Abagninin’s […]

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19
Feb

Researcher Shows Chemicals Alter Male Reproductive System

(Beyond Pesticides, February 19, 2008) Common household chemicals and widespread pollutants are changing male reproductive health and impacting sexual function, development and cancer rates of today’s generations and possibly their offspring, according to more than 15 years of research by a Colorado State University expert. For example, one study looking at sperm counts globally from 1940, when chemicals first began to be widely produced, to the 1990s, indicates a 1.15 percent per year decline in sperm counts. These declines may be linked to chemical exposure.Rao Veeramachaneni, BVSc, MScVet, PhD, a biomedical sciences professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, has found that chemicals including pesticides, common pollutants in ground water, and chemicals in plastics, make-up and nail polish are on a growing list of culprits causing developmental abnormalities such as impaired sperm quality and impotence. Reproductive health can be compromised if males are exposed at various times in life spanning from in utero up to adulthood.Dr. Veeramachaneni’s findings span the globe and are across species lines, from humans to horses, wildlife to frogs. His research, coupled with the collective findings of other experts in the field, indicates a strong link related to pollutants, and incidence of such […]

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08
Nov

Nicaraguan Farmworkers Awarded $3.3 Million in U.S. Pesticide Poisoning Case

(Beyond Pesticides, November 8, 2007) In a landmark decision, a California jury on November 5, 2007 awarded $3.3 million to Nicaraguan farmworkers sterilized by pesticides made by Dow Chemical and used at Dole’s banana plantations. The lawsuit accused Dole and Standard Fruit Co., now a part of Dole, of negligence and fraudulent concealment while using the pesticide 1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane (DBCP) to kill rootworms on banana plants. Until 1977, DBCP was used in the United States as a soil fumigant and nematocide on over 40 different crops. From 1977 to 1979, EPA suspended registration for all DBCP-containing products except for use on pineapples in Hawaii. In 1985, EPA issued an intent to cancel all registrations for DBCP, including use on pineapples. Subsequently, the use of existing stocks of DBCP was prohibited. In Nicaragua, DBCP was legal from 1973 until 1993.EPA’s website states the following: Acute (short-term) exposure to DBCP in humans results in moderate depression of the central nervous system (CNS) and pulmonary congestion from inhalation, and gastrointestinal distress and pulmonary edema from oral exposure. Chronic (long-term) exposure to DBCP in humans causes male reproductive effects, such as decreased sperm counts. Testicular effects and decreased sperm counts were observed in animals chronically […]

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