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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Nervous System Effects' Category


19
Jan

Neonicotinoid Insecticides Adversely Affect Nervous System Health, According to Study

(Beyond Pesticides, January 19, 2023) Research published in Environmental Health Perspectives finds the presence of nine various neonicotinoids (neonics) and six neonic metabolites within human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF is an essential part of the central nervous system (CNS), especially for CNS development. Specific chemical biomarkers (measurable indicators of biological state), like pesticides, found in CSF are useful for diagnosing and evaluating numerous neurological diseases. The nervous system is an integral part of the human body and includes the brain, spinal cord, a vast network of nerves and neurons, all of which are responsible for many of our bodily functions—from sensed to movement. However, mounting evidence over the past years shows that chronic exposure to sublethal (low) levels of pesticides can cause neurotoxic effects or exacerbate preexisting chemical damage to the nervous system. The impacts of pesticides on the nervous system, including the brain, are hazardous, especially for chronically exposed individuals (e.g., farmworkers) or during critical windows of vulnerability and development (e.g., childhood, pregnancy). Researchers identify the role agricultural chemicals play in CNS impacts causing neurological diseases, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease, dementia-like diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and other effects on cognitive function. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood […]

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12
Jan

Pesticides Not Only Linked to Parkinson’s Disease Development, But Accelerating Disease Symptoms

(Beyond Pesticides, January 12, 2023) Exposure to certain pesticides among individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) can increase the risk of symptom progression. According to a study published in Science of the Total Environment, nearly 20 percent of pesticides associated with the onset of PD also increase the risk of faster decline in motor and non-motor function. Several studies find exposure to chemical toxicants, like pesticides, has neurotoxic effects or exacerbates preexisting chemical damage to the nervous system. Past studies suggest neurological damage from oxidative stress, cell dysfunction, and synapse impairment, among others, can increase the incidence of PD following pesticide exposure. Despite the association between PD onset via pesticide exposure patterns, few epidemiologic studies examine the influence pesticides have on worsening motor and non-motor symptoms in PD. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, with at least one million Americans living with PD and about 50,000 new diagnoses annually. The disease affects 50 percent more men than women, and individuals with PD have a variety of symptoms, including loss of muscle control and trembling, anxiety and depression, constipation and urinary difficulties, dementia, and sleep disturbances. Over time, symptoms intensify, but there is no current cure for this fatal disease. While […]

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09
Jan

Calling for Reform of Pesticide Regulation to Address Health, Biodiversity, and Climate Crises

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2023) The Biden EPA still needs a new vision in order to meet the existential crises in public health, climate change, and biodiversity. The Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed in four years much of the progress made by the EPA in decades. Despite a broad new perspective embodied in President Biden’s Executive Memorandum (EM) Modernizing Regulatory Review issued on his first day in office, the Biden EPA has not adopted a new direction for regulating pesticides. Tell President Biden, EPA, and Congress to adopt a new direction for pesticide regulation. Immediately following his inauguration, President Joe Biden issued the EM, which directs the heads of all executive departments and agencies to produce recommendations for improving and modernizing regulatory review, with a goal of promoting public health and safety, economic growth, social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity, equity, and the interests of future generations. This EM could reverse the historical trend of status-quo regulatory reviews required by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that typically support vested economic interests of polluters (e.g., petroleum-based pesticide and fertilizer manufacturers). The President’s EM sets the stage for the adoption of agency policy across government to […]

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03
Jan

Hazardous Fumigant in Food Production Harmful to Farmworkers, Groups Call for Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2023) The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced new rules that remove existing limits on the use of 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D or Telone), allowing Californians to breathe much more 1,3-D than state toxicologists in the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) say is safe and highlighting the dangers to which farmworkers are routinely exposed. It is outrageous that the state of California and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would allow farmworkers—whose labor was judged “essential” during the pandemic—to be routinely exposed to highly toxic pesticides, which could be replaced by organic practices. While the state of California describes its action as increasing protection, advocates point to continued use, unacceptable harm, and the availability of alternative organic agricultural production methods that eliminate the use of 1,3-D. Since over a third of the country’s vegetables and three-quarters of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California, most people who buy their food in a grocery store have a stake in how food is grown in the state and the impact that it has on those who live and work there. Tell the state of California, U.S. EPA, an the U.S. Congress to cancel the registration […]

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19
Oct

Over a Decade and Countless Children Poisoned, EPA Bans Hazardous Flea Collar Products

(Beyond Pesticides, October 19, 2022) Pet flea collars containing the insecticide tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) are set to be banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to the agency’s long overdue response to a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The highly toxic pesticide has not been used on crops since 1987, yet was permitted for decades in flea collars where children could be intimately exposed to the chemical while petting and playing with the family pet. The decade-long process of bringing use of these products to an end exposes the failures of the U.S. pesticide regulatory system, and how EPA’s weak and flawed decisions that infect the marketplace with severe consequences. One may ask: How many veterinarians prescribed these dangerous flea collars to pet owners, assuming that EPA has properly assessed exposure risks to their human owners? Advocates concerned about EPA’s ongoing propensity to defer to the pesticide industry are urging an overhaul of the regulatory process and a reorientation toward toxic pesticide elimination and the adoption of organic in order to address serious health and environmental threats. NRDC originally filed its petition to ban all uses of TCVP in 2009. The petition noted that the agency completely […]

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05
Oct

Exposure to Widely Used Bug Sprays Linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis

(Beyond Pesticides, October 5, 2022) Exposure to widely used synthetic pyrethroids, present in many mosquito adulticides and household insecticides like RAID, is associated with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, according to research published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research. This is the latest pesticide-induced disease associated with this dangerous class of chemicals – a harm to individual Americans that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not considering when it registers pesticides. To remedy the major deficiencies in EPA’s reviews, and protect residents from chronic disease, more and more communities are transitioning to safer, organic pest management practices that do not require pyrethroids and other toxic synthetic pesticides. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes systemic inflammation throughout the body, resulting in progressive damage to an individual’s joints. In the United States, roughly 1.3 million adults suffer from RA, accounting for nearly 1% of the adult population. Health care costs associated with the disease reach nearly $20 billion annually. To better understand the etiology behind the disease, an international team of researchers from China, Illinois, and Missouri analyzed data from the 2007-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a long-running program that began in the early 1960s […]

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30
Aug

New Evidence Shows Roundup Damages the Nervous System

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2022) Minuscule amounts of the weed killer Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate can result in damage to the nervous system, finds research led by scientists at Florida Atlantic University, published in Scientific Reports. As hundreds of millions of pounds of glyphosate continue to be sprayed on hundreds of millions of acres of land throughout the United States each year, recent data indicate that four out of five U.S. children and adults contain detectable levels of glyphosate in their bodies. The pesticide industry and its paid supporters tell Americans that although contamination is widespread, the levels found in humans are not cause for concern. This latest research significantly undermines that specious argument, finding impacts on critical nervous system processes at levels 300 times less than the the lowest suggested amount on the Roundup label. “It is concerning how little we understand about the impact of glyphosate on the nervous system,” said Akshay S. Naraine, MSc., coauthor and a PhD student at Florida Atlantic University. “More evidence is mounting for how prevalent exposure to glyphosate is, so this work hopefully pushes other researchers to expand on these findings and solidify where our concerns should be.”  To investigate […]

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04
Aug

Glyphosate Weed Killer Crosses Blood-Brain Barrier, Linked to Alzheimer’s and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

(Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2022) An Arizona State University (ASU) study shows that the popular herbicide glyphosate can infiltrate the brain through the blood (blood-brain barrier), increasing neurological disease risk. The blood-brain barrier filters various molecules entering the brain from the circulatory system. However, the permeation of glyphosate molecules elevates the expression of TNFα and the accumulation of soluble beta-amyloid (Aβ) proteins in the brain and has associations with immune, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease (AD). More than 6 million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s, and cases are expected to double by 2050. Although Alzheimer’s research has focused heavily on finding genetic causes of the disease, fewer than half of cases are genetic. Thus, researchers are now evaluating how environmental contaminants may increase disease risk. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood and urine samples and can increase neurotoxicity risk when crossing the brain barrier. Therefore, studies like this highlight the importance of understanding how chemical accumulation in the body can impact long-term health and disease prognosis. The study notes, “Brain glyphosate correlates with increased TNFα levels, suggesting that exposure to this herbicide may trigger neuroinflammation in the brain, which may […]

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30
Jun

Common Fungicide Again Linked to Parkinson’s Disease with Molecular Disruption

(Beyond Pesticides, June 30, 2022) A study by Zhongnan University and Shandong University in China finds that the broad-spectrum fungicide maneb increases Parkinson’s disease (PD) risk and development through alterations in protein and metabolite pathways, resulting in neurotoxicity. Several studies find exposure to chemical toxicants, like pesticides, have neurotoxic effects or exacerbate preexisting chemical damage to the nervous system. Although the mechanism by which pesticides induce disease development remains unclear, this study suggests neurological damage from oxidative stress, cell dysfunction, and synapses impairment, among others, increases the incidence of PD subsequent to pesticide exposure. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, with at least one million Americans living with PD and about 50,000 new diagnoses annually. The disease affects 50 percent more men than women, and individuals with PD have a variety of symptoms, including loss of muscle control and trembling, anxiety and depression, constipation and urinary difficulties, dementia, and sleep disturbances. Over time, symptoms intensify, but there is no current cure for this fatal disease. While only 10 to 15 percent of PD cases are genetic, PD is quickly becoming the world’s fastest-growing brain disease. Therefore, research like this highlights the need to examine molecular mechanisms involved in altering chemical […]

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26
May

Neurotoxic Pesticides Disrupt Gut Function Linked to Parkinson’s Disease Development

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2022) A study published in The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology finds environmental exposure to neurotoxic pesticides increases Parkinson’s Disease (PD) risk through gastrointestinal (GI) disruption. Research finds exposure to chemical toxicants, like pesticides, can cause neurotoxic effects or exacerbate preexisting chemical damage to the nervous system. Although the mechanism by which pesticides induce disease development remains unclear, this study suggests environmental pesticide exposure disrupts GI cells responsible for supporting the autonomic nervous system. Enteric glial cells (EGCs) are GI cells that play a critical role in the functional changes that accompany GI dysfunction, as this dysfunction is one of the earliest symptoms indicating the onset of PD. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, with at least one million Americans living with PD and about 50,000 new diagnoses each year. The disease affects 50% more men than women, and individuals with PD have a variety of symptoms, including loss of muscle control and trembling, anxiety and depression, constipation and urinary difficulties, dementia, and sleep disturbances. Identifying early biomarkers of PD, such as pesticide-mediated toxicity on GI cells, is crucially important as symptoms intensify overtime, with no current cure for this fatal disease. While only […]

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23
May

Broadscale Devastating Ecological and Health Effects Associated with Herbicide Indaziflam; Ask To Go Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2022)  The climate change-induced increase in wildfire frequency and intensity has lent new urgency to efforts to manage so-called “invasive” plants. Unfortunately, the herbicide-based approach favored by many is both counterproductive and hazardous. It must be replaced by an organic system, incorporating biological control agents like goats and establishing a more resilient ecology.    Tell your county/city officials to replace herbicides with organic vegetation management. Tell EPA and Congress that herbicides must be evaluated in the context of the availability of organic systems. Use of the herbicide indaziflam is an example of the ineffectiveness of management based on herbicides. While indaziflam is considered a “selective” herbicide, it actually kills and prevents germination of a wide range of broad-leaved plants and grasses and comes close to being a soil sterilant. The action on seedlings is long-lasting, thus inhibiting the growth and establishment of a resilient plant community that is resistant to invasion. Given its persistence and nonselective action and the extent of the damage it causes to native soil seed banks and plant biodiversity, indaziflam could contribute to the eventual ecological collapse of ecosystems where it’s applied, similar to the cascading impacts of the systemic insecticides, fipronil and […]

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11
Mar

Despite Past Findings of Insecticide’s Threat to 1,284 Species, EPA Reverses and Allows Continued Use

(Beyond Pesticides, March 11, 2022) With a history of unenforceable and impractical pesticide label restrictions resulting in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) findings of ludicrously small or no risk, the agency is at it again with its latest announcement that allows the continued use of the deadly organophosphate insecticide malathion. This just the latest example of what advocates see as an irresponsible federal agency falling far short, as the nation and world sit on the brink of biodiversity collapse and deadly pesticide-induced diseases.   In a head-spinning development, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced on March 8 its final Biological Opinion (BiOp) on malathion, which opinion claims that the commonly used insecticide poses no extinction risk to any protected animal or plant. The FWS review and BiOp are part of EPA’s evaluation of whether malathion — an organophosphate insecticide that causes serious damage to many organisms — should retain its registration. The Executive Summary of the BiOp concludes: “Our findings suggest that no proposed species or candidate species would experience species-level effects from the action [i.e., registration and thus, permitted use of malathion], and, therefore, are not likely to be jeopardized. We also conclude the proposed action is not […]

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05
Jan

Household Pesticide Use Harms Infant Motor Skill Development

(Beyond Pesticides, January 5, 2022) Household pesticide use is associated with harmful impacts to infant motor development, according to a study published late last year in the journal Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology. The research focused on primarily low-income Hispanic women located in Los Angeles, California, enrolled in an ongoing study referred to as Maternal and Developmental Risks from Environmental and Social Stressors (MADRES). As with other pollutants in society, low-income, people of color communities are disproportionately in contact with toxic pesticides, resulting in exposures that can start early, and affect health over the course of one’s lifetime. Women enrolled in the MADRES cohort are over the age of 18, and speak English or Spanish fluently. For the present study, roughly 300 MADRES participants met the criteria for enrollment, and completed household pesticide use questionnaires at a 3-month post-natal visit. The questionnaire generally inquired whether pesticides had been used in one’s home since their child was born. After another 3 months, researchers also tested infants’ motor development using an Ages and Stages-3 protocol screening tool, which evaluates a child’s ability to execute muscle movements. Overall, roughly 22% of mothers reported pesticide use in their home during the first months of their […]

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03
Dec

Degenerative Lung Diseases Associated with Atrazine Exposure, Worsened in Combination with Common Cancer Treatment

(Beyond Pesticides, December 2, 2021) A study published in Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry finds atrazine (ATR) exposure worsens lung disease outcomes in individuals with idiopathic (spontaneous) pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), a group of incurable lung diseases involving damaged/scarred lung tissue. Furthermore, chemotherapeutic products used to treat lymphoma (immune system cell cancer) like bleomycin can induce pulmonary fibrosis complications exacerbated by pesticide exposure. However, pesticide-related pulmonary fibrosis can have implications for neurological health, such as motor function. Scientific literature already finds an association between pesticide exposure and respiratory illnesses such as asthma, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis). Although IPF impacts over 5 million people a year globally, the disease is difficult to predict, which is concerning as the death rate is 50 to 56 percent within the first few years. Therefore, studies like this highlight the significance of evaluating how pesticide exposure impacts respiratory function, especially when exposure to respiratory toxicants increases vulnerability to existing respiratory-fixated illnesses like Covid-19. Advocate have urged the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) to incorporate scientific findings that these—where chemical exposures exacerbate an existing medical condition—into its pesticide registration review program. Researchers note, “[O]ur data represent an addition to the complex information on ATR-induced pulmonary toxicity. In particular, in this […]

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03
Nov

Researchers Uncovering Patterns that Help to Explain Chemical Sensitivities

(Beyond Pesticides, November 3, 2021) With a significant and increasing share of the U.S. population reporting sensitivities to certain chemicals, a team of researchers at University of California (Irvine), University of Texas (San Antonio), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is working to better understand how these symptoms develop. Although referred to by several names over the years, including Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) and Idiopathic Environmental Illness, medical professionals are now referring to the disease as Chemical Intolerance, or Toxicant Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT), to better represent the disease process and range of nervous system symptoms that individuals develop to low level chemical exposures. “We established evidence of this previously understudied disease process,” said Shahir Masri, Sc.D, at University of California, Irvine. “Our insights will help public health scientists, physicians and policymakers better understand how to minimize harmful exposures and prevent future disease.” TILT is characterized by a two-step process. First, there is an “initiation exposure event,” whereby an individual is either repeatedly exposed to low levels of certain chemicals, or experiences a major exposure incident. In the second stage, affected individuals are “triggered” even by minute exposures, not only to the chemical that affected them in the first […]

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30
Sep

Commonly Used Neurotoxic Pesticide Exposure Increases ALS Risk to Workers and Residents

(Beyond Pesticides, September 30, 2021) Individuals working or living in areas with frequent neurotoxic pesticide use experience more amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) incidences than the general population. The study, published in NeuroToxicology, finds a positive association between sporadic (non-genetic, spontaneous) ALS incidences among individuals exposed to neurotoxic pesticides.  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (or Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. As many as 16,000 – 20,000 Americans live with this condition, which weakens muscle/motor function leading to loss of muscle control for walking, talking, eating/swallowing, and breathing. Severe ALS progression is fatal and has no current cure. Although research supports genetic factors play a role in disease etiology (cause), most ALS cases do not result from genetic inheritance. Several research studies demonstrate exposure to environmental or work-related toxicants (i.e., pesticides) predispose humans to the disease. With researchers predicting a global ALS incidence increase of 69% by 2040, identifying ALS’s causal factors are important to future research. Therefore, research like this showcases the importance of assessing aggregate health risks associated with toxic chemical exposure, especially for illnesses, which are not curable. In this study, the researchers note, “[W]e identified pesticides applied to crops in the area of […]

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09
Sep

Endocrine (Hormone) Disrupting Chemicals, Including Pesticides, Also Affect the Nervous System

(Beyond Pesticides, September 9, 2021) A new study published in Toxicology Reports finds the same chemicals that disrupt the endocrine (hormone) system also disrupt the nervous system. Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotics (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem) present in nearly all organisms and ecosystems. The World Health Organization (WHO), European Union (EU), and endocrine disruptor expert (deceased) Theo Colborn, Ph.D., classify over 55 to 177 chemical compounds as endocrine disruptors, including various household products like detergents, disinfectants, plastics, and pesticides. Past research shows exposure to endocrine-disrupting pesticides adversely affects human health, from reproductive function to cancer development, and effects can span generations. However, this study is one of the few to evaluate associations between endocrine-disrupting chemicals and neurological function. Although the etiology (cause) of many sporadic (non-heritable) neurological diseases are unknown, scientists suggest exposure to environmental toxicants plays a role in disease development. Therefore, government and health officials have been urged to consider how exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can impact bodily function and development apart from hormone disruption.   In the body, cells communicate through electrical or chemical signals transmitted within the nervous or endocrine system. Studies find exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals has a direct and indirect impact on hormone function and development. However, researchers investigated whether […]

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30
Aug

Tell EPA to Ban ALL Uses of Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2021) As with other actions on pesticides, EPA’s chlorpyrifos decision is filled with exceptions that respond to vested interests seeking to ignore or deflect the science. EPA, since announcing its decision in 1999 to ban “residential” uses of chlorpyrifos, continues to allow the following uses: (i) Residential use of containerized baits; (ii) Indoor areas where children will not be exposed, including only ship holds, railroad boxcars, industrial plants, manufacturing plants, or food processing plants; (iii) Outdoor areas where children will not be exposed, including only: golf courses, road medians, Industrial plant sites; (iv) Non-structural wood treatments including: fenceposts, utility poles, railroad ties, landscape timers, logs, pallets, wooden containers, poles, posts, and processed wood products; (v) Public health uses: Fire ant mounds (drench and granular treatment); (vi) nurseries and greenhouses; and (vii) Mosquito control. These uses are unaffected by EPA’s announcement. We need to finish the chlorpyrifos job. Tell EPA to ban all uses of chlorpyrifos. The collective effort to remove this one chemical is a tremendous feat in eliminating one exposure to a hazardous material for children. Achieving the ban on food uses required an enormously resource-intensive effort at a time in history when we are […]

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14
Jul

Parents of Harmed Children Sue Manufacturer of Brain-Damaging Insecticide Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, July 14, 2021) Corteva (formerly DowDupont) is facing a potential class-action lawsuit after several California families filed suit claiming that the use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos around their homes resulted in birth defects, brain damage, and developmental problems in their children. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide that has been linked to a range of health ailments, posing significant hazards particularly for pregnant mothers and their children. The lawsuits come as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approaches a court-imposed 60-day deadline to decide the fate of the pesticide’s registration. Attorneys for the court cases, filed on behalf of individuals located in four California communities (Fresno, Kings, Medera, and Tulare counties), indicate they intend to pursue class-action status, which would allow additional injured parties to join the lawsuit. The plaintiffs argue that the effects of chlorpyrifos exposure lingers in the agricultural communities where they reside. “We have found it in the houses, we have found it in carpet, in upholstered furniture, we found it in a teddy bear, and we found it on the walls and surfaces,” said Stuart Calwell, lead attorney for the plantiffs. “Then a little child picks up a teddy bear and holds on to it.” […]

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19
May

Canada Quietly Bans Chlorpyrifos, While EPA’s 60-Day Deadline For Action Rapidly Approaches

(Beyond Pesticides, May 19, 2021) Last week Health Canada quietly announced its intent to cancel all remaining registrations of the brain-damaging insecticide chlorpyrifos. The decision by Canada’s federal pesticide regulators comes shortly after a U.S. federal court gave the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) a 60-day deadline to make a final decision on whether to amend or cancel the chemical’s registration. With Europe and now Canada eliminating use of this hazardous insecticide, advocates are urging that the Biden Administration, under EPA administrator Michael Regan, finally puts an end to the decades of harm caused after chlorpyrifos was first registered in 1965. Up until recently, Canada and the U.S. had relatively similar provisions regulating chlorpyrifos use. Officials in both countries eliminated homeowner use, and tightened up on agricultural uses in the 2000s and early 2010s, requiring additional personal protective equipment and drift mitigation measures. However,  Health Canada  began to look at significant restrictions on chlorpyrifos in 2019, when it proposed eliminating a range of uses that threaten environmental health. Under its draft decision, regulators planned to eliminate all uses except for mosquito control, structural pest control, outdoor ornamentals, and greenhouse ornamentals. Certain agricultural uses were provided an extended phase-out period with […]

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17
May

Stop EPA’s Racist Policies that Disproportionately Harm Farmworker Children’s Brains: Ban Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2021) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has less than two months to decide whether to cancel or modify its registration of the brain-damaging organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos, following a decision from a federal appeals court. The ruling comes after more than a decade of delay from the federal agency tasked with protecting public health and the environment from the hazards of chemicals like chlorpyrifos. The decision now falls to the Biden Administration’s EPA Administrator Michael Regan, after the previous administration reversed a proposal to ban agricultural uses of chlorpyrifos in 2017. Most residential uses of the chemical were banned in 2000.  Tell EPA to ban chlorpyrifos and other neurotoxic pesticides. The target of action by which chlorpyrifos and many other pesticides kill is the nervous system. It is not surprising, then, that pesticides also target the nervous system in humans. They are particularly hazardous to children, who take in greater amounts of pesticides relative to their body weight than adults, and whose developing organ systems are typically more sensitive to toxic exposures. The body of evidence in the scientific literature shows that pesticide exposure can adversely affect a child’s neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine systems, even at […]

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30
Sep

Neonicotinoid Insecticides Trigger Neurodegeneration and Can Blind Insects at Low Doses

(Beyond Pesticides, September 30, 2020) Low doses of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides are known to disrupt insect learning and behavior, but new science is providing a better understanding of how these effects manifest at a cellular level. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this study finds that the neonic imidacloprid binds to brain receptors, triggering oxidative stress, reducing energy levels, and causing neurodegeneration. “Although many studies have shown that low doses of insecticides can affect insect behavior, they have not uncovered whether insecticides trigger changes at the cellular and molecular levels,” said lead author Felipe Martelli, PhD, of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. “The goal of this work was to have a better understanding of the effects of low doses of the common insecticide imidacloprid at the cellular, physiological and behavioral levels.” Researchers used the fruit fly Drosophilia melanogaster, a common experimental organism, as it contains a number of nicotinic acetylchloline receptors, the primary site of action for imidaclorpid. The neonic binds to these receptors, which regulate a number of physiological processes, such muscle contraction. Binding closes these channels, leading to the range of harm researchers observed through their study. Larval fuit flies were exposed to imidacloprid […]

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04
Sep

Pesticide Drift from Greenhouses Adversely Affects Children Living Nearby

(Beyond Pesticides, September 4, 2020) When pesticide drift is investigated, it is most often drift from agricultural fields that is examined. A new study shows that off-target drift of pesticides from greenhouses is also a reality. This research deduced such drift of organophosphate and carbamate pesticides from crop applications done in Ecuadoran floriculture greenhouses by evaluating the acetylcholinesterase enzyme (AChE) activity, necessary to the transmission of nerve impulses, in children residing nearby. The team finds that children living in homes near greenhouses in which these insecticides (widely recognized as cholinesterase inhibitors) are used exhibit reduced activity of this enzyme and abnormal functioning of the nervous system. Beyond Pesticides has monitored the pesticide drift issue intensively, and has long advocated for far better protections for farmworkers. This new information connects those issues, and expands the “drift” concerns to include risks to people working in greenhouses, and to those, especially children, who happen to live near greenhouse-type structures in which these toxic chemicals are used. The study evaluates data during three separate periods (2008, April 2016, and July–October 2016) on 623 children, aged 4–17, living in floricultural communities in Ecuador. The research is part of the study of the Secondary Exposure to Pesticides […]

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