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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Nervous System Effects' Category


03
May

Parkinson’s Disease Explodes as Researchers Find Connection to Pesticide Exposure and Genes

(Beyond Pesticides, May 3, 2024) Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the world after Alzheimer’s. Genetic factors account for only a fraction of PD cases, and for decades scientists have been aware of associations between pesticide exposures and PD. Yet, not everyone exposed to pesticides gets PD. Consequently, neither the genetic nor the environmental hypothesis is fully satisfactory; both may be involved. Thus, there has been great interest in identifying gene variants that affect the risks of PD associated with pesticide exposure. Now a team of University of California at Los Angeles researchers led by neurologist Brent Fogel, MD, PhD has traced a connection between certain gene variants and the occurrence and severity of PD in a cohort of central California PD patients who have had long-term exposure to pesticides. The genes are related to autophagy, the process by which cells organize, degrade, recycle or eject molecules to maintain healthy chemical balance. Autophagy is an essential process throughout the body, including regulation of mitochondria, which are also vital for healthy cellular function. The study supports other research suggesting that autophagy is disturbed in neurodegenerative diseases. As Beyond Pesticides discussed in its April 19 Daily News, PD […]

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09
Apr

Industry Stops PFAS Restrictions, Reverses EPA in Court, as Plastic Leaches Contaminants

(Beyond Pesticides, April 9, 2024) The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in an opinion authored by Circuit Judge Cory T. Wilson, has vacated an action by the U.S. Environmental Protection  Agency (EPA) that had ordered the Texas-based manufacturer Inhance Technologies, L.L.C. to stop producing plastic containers that leach toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) into pesticides, household cleaners, condiments, and additional products. EPA has taken action after the agency determined that the PFAS created during the fluorination process “are highly toxic and present unreasonable risks that cannot be prevented other than through prohibition of manufacture.” While the court is not challenging EPA’s authority to determine the hazards associated with PFAS exposure to be unacceptable, on a technicality, it is finding that the agency used the wrong section of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Section 5, which the court says is focused on new uses. According to the Court, “The EPA is just not allowed to skirt the framework set by Congress by arbitrarily deeming Inhance’s decades-old fluorination process a “significant new use,” even though EPA’s awareness of the PFAS contamination was “new” to the agency and not disclosed by the manufacturer. Even if EPA were […]

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04
Apr

Ten Years of Scientific Studies Find Association Between Childhood Cancer and Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2024) Researchers at the National Institute of Pediatrics and National Polytechnic Institute found positive associations between pesticide exposure and heightened risk of certain childhood cancers. The finding is derived from a meta-analysis of 174 studies published between 2013 and 2023 and published in the International Journal of Molecular Science. The authors note, “Although [pesticide exposure] association with childhood cancer has not been fully demonstrated, we found that more than 80% of the epidemiological studies show positive associations [with forms of childhood cancer].” Approximately one third of identified studies (roughly 16) find positive relationships between prenatal and postnatal pesticide exposure with heightened risk of leukemia, neuroblastoma, and rare forms of cancer, such as Wilms tumor. For central nervous system (CNS) tumors, half of identified studies (roughly 24) found a positive relationship with pesticide exposure. The researchers call on further research regarding interaction between different pesticides and health impacts on cumulative exposure. The study is broad in scope, identifying various environmental pollutants and their associations with certain childhood cancers (e.g. radon exposure, air pollution, electromagnetic fields, indoor chemicals, and tobacco and alcohol). This Daily News focuses specifically on pesticide exposure. The researchers originally identified 6,172 studies through PubMed, however […]

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29
Feb

Oregon Is the Latest State to Step In and Ban Widely Used Neurotoxic Pesticide, Chlorpyrifos, as EPA Stalls

(Beyond Pesticides, February 29, 2024)  In the face of federal inaction, an Oregon regulation banning the agricultural uses of the highly toxic chlorpyrifos took effect on January 1, 2024. Chlorpyrifos was voluntarily withdrawn from the market in 2000 for most residential uses by its manufacturer, Dow Chemical, and has been the subject of extensive litigation. At that time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowed most agricultural uses to continue. Oregon joins four other states that have acted to ban chlorpyrifos, including Hawai’i, New York, California, and Maryland.   Central to state action are nervous system and brain effects in children, especially farmworker children. Chlorpyrifos is banned in 39 countries, including the European Union (see here for more Beyond Pesticides coverage). State action has become important since the November 2023 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, which overturned the EPA rule revoking all food tolerances for chlorpyrifos, an effective ban on chlorpyrifos use. The final EPA rule, issued in August 2021, came in response to a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found the agency’s inaction on chlorpyrifos unlawful. The case was filed by Earthjustice, on behalf of public health, labor, and disability organizations.  The […]

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22
Feb

State Legislation Popping Up to Limit Liability of Pesticide Manufacturers

(Beyond Pesticides, Feb 22, 2024) The Idaho Senate failed to pass SB 1245 last week which would have provided legal protection to pesticide manufacturers from “failure-to-warn” liability. This legal framework has been pivotal not only for plaintiffs, who are typically users of a toxic product, seeking redress from exposure to glyphosate-based herbicide products such as Roundup, but can also potentially extend to any toxic pesticide products. Similar bills have recently been introduced in the Iowa, Florida, and Missouri state legislatures as petrochemical pesticide industry actors such as Bayer face billions of dollars in legal settlements from victims of pesticide injury. While the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) registration process permits the labeling of products with pesticidal claims based on compliance with testing requirements, the state legislation would establish EPA-authorized pesticide labels as definitive evidence that cannot be challenged in a court of law. The Idaho legislation, SB 1245, was introduced in January in the state Senate by Senator Mark Harris, who represents Soda Springs County, which has North America’s largest elemental phosphorus mine (phosphorus is a critical ingredient in developing glyphosate). Proponents of SB 1245 argue, “[This bill] protect[s] companies that produce safe pesticides critical to agriculture in […]

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08
Feb

Mother’s Glyphosate Exposure During Pregnancy Increases Child’s Risk of Poor Brain Function and Development

(Beyond Pesticides, February 8, 2024) A study published in Environmental Research finds an association between adverse neurodevelopment (brain function and development) among infants and exposure to the herbicide glyphosate during pregnancy (gestational). Moreover, neurodevelopment becomes more pronounced at 24 months or two years. The increasing prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) in the United States has raised concerns about the impact of toxic exposures on child development. Given the disproportionate exposure burden in the U.S., children from marginalized groups and low-income families are more likely to face a variety of harmful threats that can negatively affect childhood development. These disparities are linked to neurodevelopmental disorders. NDDs are defined as conditions related to the functioning of the nervous system and the brain, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, learning difficulties, intellectual disability (cognitive impairment), conduct disorders, cerebral palsy, and challenges related to vision and hearing. Therefore, the study notes, “Given glyphosate’s wide usage, further investigation into the impact of gestational glyphosate exposure on neurodevelopment is warranted.” The study includes mother-child pairs in a Puerto Rican birth cohort called PROTECT-CRECE, which measures urinary glyphosate and aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA; a metabolite [breakdown product]) of glyphosate) levels from mother and child for analysis. The study collected samples from the mother up to […]

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04
Jan

Work-Related Pesticide Exposure Puts Farmers at Risk of Cognitive (Intellectual) Harm

(Beyond Pesticides, January 4, 2024) A review published in the Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice finds an association between farmers’ pesticide exposure and cognitive impairment. Specifically, farmers suffer from attention deficit, lack of information processing, non-comprehension of verbal cues, slow processing speed, memory loss, sluggishness, speech difficulties, and impaired motor function. Additionally, the risk of adverse effects from exposure increases with time spent around pesticides, like in other occupational (work-related) settings. Although pesticide exposure may not be the only factor involved in cognitive impairment, exposure can work synergistically (together) with other factors, triggering neurotoxicity. Pesticides play various roles in causing or exacerbating adverse health outcomes like neurotoxic effects and chemical damage to the brain. Numerous pesticides impair neurological function, especially for chronically exposed individuals (e.g., farmworkers) or during critical windows of vulnerability and development (e.g., childhood, pregnancy). Mounting evidence over the past years shows that chronic exposure to sublethal (low) levels of pesticides adversely affects the central nervous system (CNS) and neural receptors, such as connections between nerves, the brain, enzymes, and DNA. Specifically, researchers identify agricultural chemical exposure as a cause of many adverse CNS impacts and neurological diseases, including Alzheimer’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Parkinson’s disease. The researchers reviewed scientific articles published in […]

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02
Jan

Commentary: New Year Calls for Transformational Change Starting with Chemical Use Rejection

(Beyond Pesticides, January 2, 2024) [photo credit: Alessandro Marongui, Bhopal Medical Appeal, Bhopal, 2009] The new year begins with numerous critical decisions before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its Office of Pesticide Programs, along with other federal agencies and the U.S. Congress, that determine whether the agency will continue to erode its leadership position in meeting the existential crises that threaten health, biodiversity, and climate. Given these crises, EPA under its current authority could take the action necessary to advance a transition away from the use of petrochemical pesticides, since under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) the hazards associated with pesticides are “unreasonable”—given the availability and viability of organic systems that do not utilize toxic pesticides. As EPA fails to meet the catastrophic environmental and health challenges of the day, communities and states across the U.S. are increasingly exercising their authority to restrict pesticides more stringently than the federal government. FIFRA, as affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier (1991), does not prohibit or preempt local municipalities from adopting more stringent pesticide restrictions throughout their jurisdictions than the federal government. The U.S. Congress over the next several weeks will continue […]

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28
Nov

New Federal Law Seeks to Protect Pregnant Workers, Farmworkers at Elevated Risk

With the elevated adverse impacts associated with pesticides and reproductive health, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) law may be used to improve protections for farmworkers and other high-risk employees.

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14
Nov

Celebrated 2021 Ag Ban of Deadly Pesticide, Chlorpyrifos, Reversed by Court Despite Decades of Review and Litigation

(Beyond Pesticides, November 14, 2023) One of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) strongest tools for avoiding responsibility is delay—a tactic that kept cancellation of the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos at bay for 21 years—until May 2021, when a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, responded to a petition filed in 2007 by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Pesticide Action Network, and numerous other groups. The Ninth Circuit ordered the agency to quit lollygagging and acknowledge chlorpyrifos’s threat to human health, something the agency had acknowledged already. The Ninth Circuit instructed EPA to either revoke the “safe” tolerances the agency had set for chlorpyrifos’s residue in various foods or demonstrate that they are actually safe. Finally capitulating, EPA issued a final rule in August 2021 revoking all food tolerances for the neurotoxicant. Tell your governor and mayor to adopt policies that support organic land management.  This looked like progress until February 2022, when a different set of petitioners—pesticide companies, U.S. farmer groups, and other countries’ agricultural interests—filed an action in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. On November 3 of this year, a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit reversed EPA’s decision, thereby neutralizing the Ninth Circuit’s opinion. Chlorpyrifos, […]

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13
Nov

Commentary and Action: Court Decision and History Calls into Question Value of Pesticide Law

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2023) The news of a federal Appeals Court’s reversal of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision in early November calls into question the value of the basic structures, processes, and authorities of pesticide law that the public has been told are protective of health and the environment. After decades of review and litigation, this reversal, especially on a highly neurotoxic insecticide like chlorpyrifos, identifies a fundamentally flawed system that does not protect the health of people, in this case, children’s brains. >>Tell your governor and mayor to adopt policies that support organic land management.  It was EPA’s finding that chlorpyrifos was destructive of the nervous system, particularly in children, and the functioning of the brain that led to an EPA-negotiated chemical company (Corteva/Dow Chemical) settlement in 1999 (took effect in 2000) that removed residential uses of chlorpyrifos from the market. The 2020 EPA decision, 21 years later, to stop agricultural uses followed another Appeals Court decision, departing from the agency’s usually long drawn-out negotiations that ultimately compromise health and the environment. EPA banned agricultural uses of chlorpyrifos in 2016 in the Obama Administration, but the decision was reversed by the Trump Administration in 2017. Because […]

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29
Sep

EPA Reverses on Decision to Ban Flea Collars with Toxic Pesticide, Leaving Children at Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2023) In unsurprising news, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reversed itself and decided not to ban a dangerous pesticide: tetrachlorovenphos (TCVP) used in pet flea collars and other flea products. This is despite its own earlier decision to ban TCVP in pet collars and scathing criticism of its methods and conclusions by the courts. First registered in 1966, TCVP belongs to the notoriously toxic organophosphate chemical family and is classified by the World Health Organization as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” It was originally registered to Shell Chemical, then to E.I. duPont de Nemours, then to Hartz Mountain Corporation and Fermenta Animal Health Company.  Early on, it was registered for use on food crops and livestock, but the crop uses were voluntarily de-registered in 1987. It is still widely used on pets and farm animals. In 1995, EPA issued the opinion that “all uses of tetrachlorvinphos, with the exception of oral feed-through larvicide treatment to livestock intended for food use, will not cause unreasonable risk to humans or the environment.” Since then, the agency has contorted itself repeatedly to allow TCVP to remain on the market. There is little research available on TCVP’s human health effects; the […]

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21
Sep

All Pesticide Classes Increase the Risk of Central Nervous System Tumors in Children

(Beyond Pesticides, September 21, 2023) A literature review published in CiĂŞncia & SaĂşde Coletiva finds environmental exposure to all classes of pesticides (fungicides, herbicides, insecticides) has an association with childhood astrocytoma (brain/central nervous system [CNS] tumor). CNS tumors represent half of all malignant neoplasms (tumors) in children. Although medical advancements in disease survival are progressing, childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children. Furthermore, childhood cancer survivors can suffer from chronic or long-term health complications that may be life-threatening. The etiology or cause of childhood cancer involves the interaction of multiple components that include environment, lifestyle and genetics. However, emerging evidence indicates that environmental contaminants like pesticides (e.g., occupational exposures, air pollution, pesticides, solvents, diet, etc.) affect disease etiology. Pesticide contamination is widespread in all ecosystems, and chemical compounds can accumulate in human tissues, resulting in chronic health effects. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure, as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Moreover, several studies demonstrate an association between environmental or occupational pesticide exposure and the risk of childhood cancer. Considering that maternal pesticide exposure can have a stronger association with cancer among children than childhood exposure, and newborns can still encounter pesticides, it is […]

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31
Aug

Study Finds Glyphosate Exposure Among the General Population Poses a Risk to Neurological Health

(Beyond Pesticides, August 31, 2023) A study published in Environmental Research finds glyphosate levels in the body adversely affect neurological health. Specifically, oral intake (e.g., eating contaminated foods), inhalation, and dermal exposure to glyphosate lowered cognitive function scores, heightened likelihood of severe depressive symptoms, and impaired auditory (hearing) function. Thus, this study provides some of the first evidence linking glyphosate exposure to specific neurological health outcomes among the general U.S. population, indicating the need for further studies on mechanisms driving neurotoxicity and the medical significance over time. Although this study is among the first to highlight specific neurological effects from glyphosate exposure among the general population, this study is not the first to identify potential neurotoxicity from glyphosate exposure. (Previous research cited below.) The ubiquity of glyphosate uses in agriculture—which leaves residues of the toxic chemical in food—and in public areas (e.g., parks, and walkways) may mean that exposures to it represent a significant risk factor for the disease. Glyphosate is already implicated or proven in developing numerous health anomalies, including cancer. The neurological system, including the brain, spinal cord, and a vast network of nerves and neurons, is responsible for many bodily functions—from sensation to movement. However, pesticides play various roles in […]

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09
Jun

EU and U.S. Pesticide Regulators Ignore Developmental Neurotoxicity of Pesticides, Industry Hides Data

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2023) Glyphosate, usually marketed as the herbicide Roundup, has long been the poster child for shoddy regulation by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). In a study published June 1, 2023 in Environmental Health by Axel Mie and Christina RudĂ©n, PhD, of Stockholm University and the Centre for Organic Food and Farming in Uppsala, the authors followed up on earlier work that documented deficiencies in information provided to European Union (EU) regulators by manufacturers. They identified nine studies on developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) that had been submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) but were not disclosed to EU authorities. According to the research, seven of these studies would have “actual or potential regulatory impact.” According to the authors: “Of the nine undisclosed DNT studies, three were sponsored by Bayer and performed in their own laboratory. Three studies were sponsored by Syngenta and performed in their Central Toxicology Laboratory. One study each was sponsored by Nissan Chemicals and Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha (ISK), and these were performed at Huntingdon Life Sciences. For the remaining study, the sponsor and laboratory are unknown to us.” This study is a new example […]

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11
May

Pesticide Exposure Increases the Risk of All Seizure Disorders, Especially Epilepsy

(Beyond Pesticides, May 11, 2023) A study published in NeuroToxicology finds occupational (work-related), chronic exposure to pesticides increases risk factors of epilepsy, a neurological disorder causing unprovoked, reoccurring seizures. 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. Although the mechanism by which pesticides induce disease development remains unclear, this study suggests environmental pesticide exposure increases seizure risk through mechanisms at molecular or subcellular levels. Approximately 3.4 million individuals in the U.S. live with epilepsy, and mortality from this disorder is rising nationwide. 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. Considering half of all epilepsy etiologies (causes) are of idiopathic (unknown) origins, studies like this highlight the importance of understanding how consistent chemical exposure can impact long-term health and disease prognosis. The study notes, “[The] approach to a real-world exposure scenario to pesticides in a large agriculture area over 17 years; […] can be linked to the novel approaches proposed for simulating real-life exposures, thus contributing to a better understanding of the real-life risk associated with long-term […]

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05
May

New Study Links Synthetic Pyrethroids to Neurodevelopmental Problems

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2023) Low level exposure to pyrethroid insecticides found in common pesticide brands like RAID and ORTHO result in neurodevelopmental damage to laboratory animals, reinforcing evidence of harm found in epidemiological studies on human exposure to these chemicals. According to research published in PNAS Nexus, mice exposed to the pyrethroid deltamethrin displayed atypical behavior similar to humans with developmental disorders. “We are not saying these mice have autism or that they have ADHD. That’s not the goal here,” said James Burkett, PhD, study coauthor and assistant professor of neuroscience in the UToledo College of Medicine. “What we are saying is that something in their brain has been altered by this exposure and it’s resulting in the same kinds of behaviors that we see in children with autism.” Scientists arrived at this determination by exposing a group of mouse mothers to consistent low levels of deltamethrin in their food during preconception, pregnancy, and lactation. The study notes that the amount of pesticide provided was “well below the benchmark dose for regulatory guidance.” A separate control group was given no pesticide in its food. Offspring from the female mice were then put through behavioral tests on social behavior, restrictive […]

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23
Mar

Death Tied to 1,3-D (Telone) Fumigant Highlights Sensitivity of the Brain to Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, March 23, 2023) A case report article published in Frontier in Public Health confirms one of the first reported deaths from inhalation of the fumigant 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D or Telone) during work, resulting in acute renal (kidney) failure, hyperkalemia (high potassium levels in the blood), and brain edema (swelling). 1,3-D is a highly toxic fumigant used on a variety of crops, but primarily on potatoes, tobacco, strawberries, peanuts, and tomatoes to manage unwanted nematodes in soils. The chlorine-containing compound used in a greenhouse space entered the body of a 50-year-old man in China, being absorbed through the respiratory tract. Despite dilution from his wife, the compound was still strong enough to cause harm to human health. Without proper ventilation and personal protective equipment, wearing merely a surgical mask did not adequately defend against exposure to 1,3-D. This case represents the broader issue of how toxic chemical compounds can enter the body, causing physiological damage. Specifically, pesticides can increase the permeability (absorptiveness) of the blood-brain barrier that filters various molecules entering the brain from the circulatory system. However, the permeation of pesticide molecules elevates the expression and accumulation of soluble proteins in the brain involved in neuroinflammation, which plays a critical role in […]

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14
Mar

Implications for Human Health: Work-Related Pesticide Exposure Increases Sleep Disorder Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2023) A study published in Environmental Research and Public Health finds occupational pesticide exposure increases the risk of sleep disorders among farmworkers and pesticide applicators. Specifically, many pesticides, like organophosphates (OPs), are detrimental to neurological function through inhibition of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) responsible for ending a neurotransmission event after relaying the necessary information. Without an end to neurotransmission events, individuals experience a buildup of acetylcholine, resulting in convulsions, headaches, weakness, impacts on bodily senses, and other cognitive/mental changes. In addition to illnesses from chemical exposure, inadequate sleep has links to several chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Therefore, given research links to sleep-related disorders and bodily functions, including endocrine, metabolic, neurological, and cognitive disorders, studies like this can help government and health officials identify how pesticides’ impact on the brain elevates health concerns. The study notes, “The study’s findings can be used to create strategies for addressing mental health issues and promoting mental health and quality of life.” Researchers assess the sleep patterns among individuals living in southeast Spain, near the coast of Almeria, where chemical-intensive agriculture from greenhouses is prevalent. Of the 380 participants in the study, 189 were […]

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09
Mar

Prenatal Pesticide Exposure Threatens Children’s Language Development at 18 Months after Birth, Study Finds

(Beyond Pesticides, March 9, 2023) A study published in Environmental Research finds exposure to organophosphate (OP) compounds during pregnancy, or prenatal OP exposure can cause shortfalls in language development abilities at 18 months, stifling preschool-age language expression. Additionally, a timely and co-occurring study published in Environmental International confirms similar results, highlighting that chlorpyrifos (an organophosphate) impedes neurological and psychological development, including language communication and all motor skills of offspring at 12 and 18 months old. Prenatal development is one of the most vulnerable periods of exposure, as the fetus is most susceptible to the harmful effects of chemical contaminants. Many studies indicate that prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental toxicants increases susceptibility to diseases, from learning and developmental disabilities to cancer. Given research links to pesticide exposure and neurological and cognitive development, studies like this can help government and health officials identify how pesticides’ impact on the brain elevates health concerns. The Environmental Research authors note, “The etiology [cause] of language development is complex, and this work further highlights the importance of the prenatal environment as a mechanism of influence that are associated with deficits in early language acquisition and ability, which could signal increased behavioral problems and academic difficulties in later childhood that extend […]

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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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