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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Disease/Health Effects' Category


07
Mar

Bee-Toxic Neonicotinoid Insecticide Exposure Linked to Hormone-Dependent Breast Cancer

(Beyond Pesticides, March 7, 2019) A publication in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives highlights findings from a recent study showing that environmental concentrations of the neonicotinoid insecticides thiacloprid and imidacloprid increase expression of a gene linked to hormone-dependent breast cancer. Authors of the featured study uncovered a pathway through which neonicotinoids stimulate excess estrogen production, known to occur during the development of progressive hormone-dependent breast cancer. In the words of the authors, ‚ÄúOur findings highlight the need for further research to assess the potential impacts of low-dose and chronic exposure to neonicotinoids on endocrine processes affecting women‚Äôs health.‚ÄĚ The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives in April 2018 by researchers at the University of Quebec, is not the first to point to a potential link between neonicotinoid exposure and breast cancer. A 2015 study by the same research group revealed that the neonicotinoids thiacloprid and thiamethoxam, along with the herbicide atrazine, induce similar effects in breast cancer cells. In both studies, exposure to neonicotinoids alter promoter activity to induce heightened production of the enzyme aromatase, which is known to stimulate estrogen production and thereby cancer cell proliferation. The recently published study, authored by Silke Schmidt, PhD, brings greater urgency to […]

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05
Mar

Glyphosate Use in Forestry Drifts on Wild, Edible Plants, Leading to Lasting Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, March 5, 2019) Wild, edible plants subject to drift from the herbicide glyphosate during forestry operations can be contaminated with the chemical an entire year after an initial application, according to a new study published in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research. Glyphosate is often used in forestry to knock down unwanted trees, shrubs, and other plants after clear-cutting to provide room for the regrowth of trees deemed valuable. However, this new research shows that ‚Äúnon-target‚ÄĚ species, such as raspberries and blueberries, eaten by wildlife and sometimes wild foraged by humans can retain significant levels of glyphosate contamination due to drift and overspray. Forester Lisa Wood, PhD, from the University of Northern British Columbia began this research based on input and requests from Canadian indigenous First Nations communities. Back in 2013, shrubs foraged by traditional berry-pickers in northeastern British Columbia were sampled and found to contain glyphosate residues, leading to the need for a broader investigation. Dr. Wood sampled the roots and shoots of 10 plant species from an area that had been aerially sprayed with glyphosate a year prior as part of forestry operations to clear aspen and make room for coniferous re-plantings. The 10 plants, which […]

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01
Mar

$340 Billion in Annual Disease-Related Costs Associated with Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2019)¬†The costs of pesticide use extend far beyond the invoices farmers pay for purchase of the chemicals to use on their crops. The real costs related to pesticide use and exposure include those of health care, lost productivity and income, and environmental damage (loss of environmental services and biodiversity; compromised air, water, and soil quality). There has been relatively little research focused on those real and extensive costs; this Daily News Blog turns its attention to several that have made the attempt. January 2019 saw the publication of a new book, Sicker Fatter Poorer: The Urgent Threat of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals to Our Health and Future … and What We Can Do About It, by Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, which examines how some chemicals ‚ÄĒ including organophosphate and organochlorine pesticides ‚ÄĒ disrupt human endocrine (hormonal) function, and damage health, sometimes irreparably. The book further investigates the economic costs of associated diseases and other health problems to the U.S. economy ‚ÄĒ on the order of 2.3% of GDP (gross domestic product), or $340 billion, annually. As Dr. Trasande notes, ‚ÄúThe reality is that policy predicts exposure, exposure predicts disease and disease ultimately costs our economy.‚ÄĚ Dr. Trasande is […]

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28
Feb

Study Confirms Findings on Carcinogenic Glyphosate, Suggests “Compelling Link”

(Beyond Pesticides, February 28, 2019) Earlier this month, a team of U.S. scientists published a meta-analysis of studies on glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH), concluding that the evidence ‚Äúsuggests a compelling link between exposures to GBH and increased risk of NHL [non-Hodgkin lymphoma],‚ÄĚ corroborating findings by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The analysis, authored by researchers from University of California, Berkeley, University of Washington, Seattle, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, is the latest to support the conclusions established by the International Agency for Research on Cancer that products containing glyphosate pose a cancer risk to humans. As research continues to accumulate on the risks posed by this chemical, the case for transitioning to less toxic alternatives to safeguard public health is becoming increasingly urgent. Researchers took every available published human study on NHL and glyphosate, including the most recently updated data from the ongoing U.S. Agricultural Health Study¬†(AHS), in conducting their review. Focus was put on individuals within these studies exposed to the highest amounts of glyphosate. The reasoning, researchers indicate, is that if there is a true association between glyphosate and a health outcome like cancer, exposures to higher amounts for a longer […]

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20
Feb

DDT Exposure During Early Life Associated with Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2019) Women exposed to DDT during ‚Äėearly windows of susceptibility‚Äô in their childhood are at increased risk of developing breast cancer, according to new research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Nearly 75 years after the chemical was first used in the U.S., and 50 years after its ban, DDT is continuing to adversely affect the health of Americans. The data brings needed attention to the dangers of early-life pesticide exposure, and underlines the need to take a precautionary approach to the introduction of biocides in our environment so that future generations do not suffer from the same mistakes of the past. “What we have learned is that timing really matters. We know that if harmful exposures occur at times when breast tissue is rapidly changing, such as during puberty, they impact breast development in ways that can later result in cancer,” said lead author Barbara A. Cohn, PhD, of the Public Health Institute’s (PHI) Child Health and Development Studies. “The research published today suggests that DDT affects breast cancer as an endocrine disruptor, that the period of time between first exposure and cancer risk seems to be around 40 years–and that other […]

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06
Feb

Researchers Awarded for Uncovering Link between Glyphosate and Kidney Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, February 6, 2019) The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has awarded two researchers the group‚Äôs Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award for their work uncovering the link between glyphosate and chronic kidney disease (CKD), which has killed at least 25,000 Sri Lankans and 20,000 Central Americans. Award recipients Sarath Guanatilake, MD, and Channa Jayasumana, PhD, faced death threats and claims of research misconduct as they went toe to toe with agrichemical industry giant Monsanto (now Bayer‚Äôs Monsanto), the major manufacturer of glyphosate-based products like Roundup. “To right a wrong when significant financial interests are at stake and the power imbalance between industry and individual is at play takes the unique combination of scientific rigor, professional persistence and acceptance of personal risk demonstrated by the two scientists recognized by this year’s award,” says Jessica Wyndham, director of the Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program at AAAS. In the mid-90s, reports began to emerge of Sri Lankan rice farmers ‚Äď many otherwise healthy, young adults, succumbing to CKD. Dr. Gunatilake, a researcher at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), was hired by the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health to investigate the cause of the disease. Around the […]

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05
Feb

EPA-Registered Herbicide Found to Trigger Inflammation Linked to Onset of Multiple Sclerosis

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2019) Linuron, an herbicide registered for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), yet recently banned in Europe due to health concerns, appears to trigger inflammatory signals that have been linked to the onset of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This new evidence, published in the journal Cell by researchers at Brigham and Women‚Äôs Hospital in Boston, MA, indicates that exposure to chemicals and pesticides in the environment may be a risk factor in the development of neurodegenerative diseases. ‚ÄúWe created a platform to systematically investigate the understudied effects of environmental exposures,‚ÄĚ said study coauthor Francisco Quintana, PhD. ‚ÄúThe goal of our work is to return results that can guide future epidemiological studies and identify actionable targets.” Researchers began their investigation with 976 chemicals identified by¬†EPA‚Äôs ToxCast program, an inventory of compounds that have undergone screening for a battery of laboratory tests. Within that inventory, 75 chemicals, including linuron, were found to interfere with the signaling pathways linked to MS. To confirm the adverse impacts, scientists used the embryos of zebrafish, animals often used as models in laboratory research. The zebrafish embryos were altered to contain low levels of myelin, a protein that protects nerve cells, as […]

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23
Jan

Acute Pesticide Incidents May Lead to Loss of Smell

(Beyond Pesticides, January, 23, 2019) Individuals that have been acutely poisoned by pesticides at some time in their life may be more likely to lose their sense of smell, according to a recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. ¬†Researchers focused on the effect of high pesticide exposure events (HPEE), such as a pesticide spill or other incident, on a farmers‚Äô ability to smell later in life. This is the first study to indicate pesticide exposure may result in olfactory impairment. Farmers from Iowa and North Carolina enrolled in an ongoing U.S. Agricultural Health Study have been asked about their pesticide use roughly every 5 to 6 years since 1993. In the most recent survey, taken from 2013-2015, farmers were asked additional questions about HPEE in their lifetime and whether they had a significantly decreased or impaired sense of smell. ‚ÄúStudying farmers gives us more reliable data on pesticide exposures than if we had studied the general population,‚ÄĚ says Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, lead author and professor of epidemiology at Michigan State University in a press release. ‚ÄúBecause they use pesticides more and it‚Äôs part of their job, they‚Äôre more likely to remember what pesticides they used and in cases […]

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22
Jan

Help Get Neurotoxic Pesticide, Chlorpyrifos, Out of Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, January 22, 2019)¬†Earlier this month, U.S. Representative Nydia Vel√°squez (D-NY) introduced The Ban Toxic Pesticides Act, H.R.230 which bans the insecticide chlorpyrifos from commerce. Chlorpyrifos is a toxic chemical that has been linked to damaging and often irreversible health outcomes in workers, pregnant women, and children. As a result of a revised human health risk assessment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a regulation to ban chlorpyrifos in 2016. Under the Trump Administration, the EPA has taken steps to reverse the regulation. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs unconscionable for EPA to turn a blind eye as children and workers are exposed to this poison,‚ÄĚ Vel√°zquez said. ¬†‚ÄúIf the EPA won‚Äôt do its job when it comes to chlorpyrifos, then Congress needs to act ‚Äď and do so quickly.‚ÄĚ Ask your U.S. Representative to Co-Sponsor H.R. 230 to Stop the Use of the Toxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos, which Is Damaging Children‚Äôs Brains.¬† Chlorypyrifos is a widely used pesticide. Agriculture companies annually spray 6 million pounds of the substance on crops like citrus, apples, and cherries. ¬†In the same family as Sarin gas, the substance was initially developed prior to World War II as a chemical weapon. It can overstimulate the nervous system to cause […]

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02
Jan

Is Your Yoga Mat or Gym Breeding Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria?

(Beyond Pesticides, January 2, 2019) The ‚Äúindoor microbiome‚ÄĚ of yoga studios and other athletic facilities often contain significant levels of antibacterial chemicals like triclosan, which show up in dust and breed antibiotic resistance, according to research published last month in the journal mSystems. Triclosan may be banned from hand soaps, but its continued use in a myriad of other products, from disinfectant sprays to impregnated clothing, yoga mats, and other work-out equipment makes it difficult to avoid this now-ubiquitous chemical. This is a public health concern because these antibacterial or antimicrobial chemicals are link to antibiotic-resistant bacteria.¬†Antibiotic resistance kills over 23,000 people each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).¬†In addition to the CDC, the World Health Organization¬†has cited this escalating problem as become one of the biggest public health challenges of our time. Many people may suspect their gym or yoga study is not a germ-free location, but attempts to address these germs through antibacterial sprays or impregnated yoga mats and other surfaces, may be exacerbating the issue‚ÄĒdoing much more harm than good. The continued detection of triclosan and its impacts at new and unexpected locations are feeding renewed calls for a complete ban on […]

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20
Dec

New Developments in the Link Between Parkinson’s and Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, December 20, 2018) Using low doses of the herbicide paraquat and common proteins found in food called lectins, researchers were able to recreate the symptoms of Parkinson‚Äôs disease in rats. Results of this study, published in the journal Parkinson‚Äôs disease, provide scientists with fresh insights into the development of the disease, and a new model to test potential remedies. Paraquat, a neurotoxic herbicide with a well-established body of literature linking it to Parkinson‚Äôs disease, is currently undergoing a registration review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and groups like the Michael J Fox Foundation are calling for its ban. Researchers based their study on the Braak Staging hypothesis of Parkinson‚Äôs, which posits that the disease is brought on by foreign agents entering the body through the gut or nose and making their way to the brain. Rats were exposed to low doses of paraquat combined with lectin every day for a week. After two weeks, the animals‚Äô motor function was tested and compared to an unexposed control group. Rats exposed to lectin and paraquat exhibited Parkinson-like symptoms. Primary author R. Alberto Travagli, PhD, notes, “After observing that these animals did indeed show symptoms of Parkinsonism, we wanted to […]

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17
Dec

Cardiovascular Disease Linked to Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, December 17, 2018)¬†Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of poor health and mortality across the world. Much is known about congenital and behavioral contributors to the disease, yet to date, little research has focused on potential environmental factors, including the possible contribution to cardiovascular disease (CVD) of exposures to toxic chemicals in the workplace. A recent study of CVD incidence among Hispanic and Latino workers, by Catherine Bulka, PhD, et al., has evaluated associations of self-reported exposures to organic solvents, metals, and pesticides with CVD. The study was published in the journal Heart on December 11, 2018, and is first to evaluate the role of chemical exposures in the workplace in the incidence of CVD in this demographic sector. As do many scientific investigations, this one points to a need for further study of the links that emerged between such exposures and compromised cardiovascular health. In an editorial in that same issue of Heart, commenting on the study, Dr. Karin Broberg of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, noted that¬†‚Äúexposure to metals and pesticides is common worldwide, and this study highlights the need to better understand the risks that these exposures cause, and to limit exposure in the […]

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13
Dec

U.S. Asks World Trade Organization to Force Lower International Safety Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2018)¬†The U.S. is pushing back against international standards that restrict pesticides by appealing to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to intervene. At issue are new EU maximum residue levels (MRLs) on food for the following pesticides: buprofezin, diflubenzuron, ethoxysulfurom, ioxynil, molinate, picoxystrobin and tepraloxydim. Advocates are concerned that a U.S. challenge to stronger EU standards could cause the WTO to force a weakening of standards internationally. Most significantly, EU proposed lowering its MRLs on imports. The EU said lower MRLs are needed to protect consumers, as research shows pesticides are shown to be carcinogenic, and that, contrary to chemical-industry claims, no level of allowable exposures can be assumed. Taking issue with the new MRLs ‚Äď as with all other STCs mentioned above ‚Äď the U.S. said new MRLs would cause barriers to trade, and therefore, must be rejected by the WTO.¬†Advocates point to the introduction of GMOs as an example of the U.S. using the WTO to block standards that restrict potentially hazardous products. Recently, the U.S. has been involved in four of five new specific trade concerns (STCs) raised before WTO. As part of reviewing the current agreement of the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary […]

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06
Dec

Endocrine Disrupting Herbicide, Atrazine, Exceeds Legal Limits in Midwest

(Beyond Pesticides, December 6, 2018)¬†A recent analysis of annual drinking water quality reports has revealed that many community drinking water systems in the Midwest have seasonal exceedances of the allowable limit for the herbicide atrazine. Atrazine, linked to endocrine disruption, neuropathy, and cancer, is the second most widely used pesticide in corn growing areas, with over 73 million pounds applied to agricultural fields each year. ¬†A¬†2009 study¬†by Paul Winchester, MD, professor of clinical pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine and a neonatologist at St. Francis Hospital in Indianapolis, linked¬†birth defects to time of conception, with the greatest impact on children conceived when concentrations of atrazine and other pesticides are highest in the local drinking water. (See Reproductive Effects Peak with Pesticide Exposure.) During peak use, atrazine levels in drinking water have been recorded at three to seven times above the legal limit. In addition to the well documented impact on the environment, recent ¬†studies have linked prolonged pesticide exposure to not only shortened gestation and preterm birth for women, but also neurodevelopment delays in children. Ultimately, these unreported seasonal peaks may result in persistent adverse health impacts in impacted communities. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), enacted in 1974, […]

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04
Dec

California Criticized for Adopting Inadequate Measures to Restrict the Highly Toxic Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2018)¬†In mid-November, the state whose agricultural operations used more than 900,000 pounds of chlorpyrifos in 2016 (down from two million pounds in 2005) moved to establish some temporary restrictions on its use. Regulators at the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) issued interim restrictions on the compound while the agency works on a formal regulatory process to list chlorpyrifos as a ‚Äútoxic air contaminant‚ÄĚ and develop permanent restrictions on its use.¬†A neurological toxicant, chlorpyrifos damages the brains of young children: impacts of exposure, even at very low levels, include decreased cognitive function, lowered IQ, attention deficit disorder, and developmental and learning delays. It was slated to be banned for food uses by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year, but the decision was reversed by the Trump administration. The interim measures in California include: banning aerial application of chlorpyrifos; ending its use on many crops ‚ÄĒ except for those determined to be ‚Äúcritical‚ÄĚ by virtue of there being few, if any, alternatives (as determined by the University of California Cooperative Extension and listed on DPR’s website); establishing a quarter-mile buffer zone for 24 hours after any application of the pesticide; and requiring a 24/7/365, 150-foot […]

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30
Nov

Multiple Pesticide Residues in Soil Raise Alarm

(Beyond Pesticides, November 30, 2018) A study published this month in Science of the Total Environment reveals numerous pesticide residues persisting in soil, harming the viability of agricultural lands and increasing risk of off-site contamination. Funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission, researchers from the European Diverfarming project at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands suggest nations urgently reevaluate conventional land use and inputs including water, energy, fertilizers, machinery and pesticides. Researchers decrying the lack of soil protection policies endeavored to determine which pesticides had the highest soil persistence and toxicity to non-target species. Three hundred seventeen surface soil samples were analyzed from 11 European countries. Selected countries were those with the largest amounts of active agricultural land, characterizing six distinct cropping systems. Sampled soils purposefully represented different soil properties and were taken from crops with the highest pesticide use per hectare. Samples were then analyzed for the concentration of 76 pesticide residues. These 76 pesticides were selected as being most often applied on conventional crops. Eighty-three percent of samples contained varying degrees of pesticide residues, with 25 percent showing one pesticide residue and 58 percent showing mixtures of two or more. Only 17 percent of […]

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20
Nov

Evaluation Used to Support Registration of Neurotoxic Chlorpyrifos Found To Be Fundamentally Flawed

(Beyond Pesticides, November 20, 2018) Scientific conclusions used to support the registration of the insecticide chlorpyrifos were flawed and omitted key health impacts, according to a fresh analysis of the original data by a team of independent scientists from northern Europe and the U.S. This re-review not only casts further doubt on the safety of the neurotoxic chlorpyrifos, it highlights a major flaw within federal pesticide regulation that allows pesticide producers to submit their own safety evaluations to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency without public oversight. “One conclusion we draw is that there is a risk that the results of industry-funded toxicity tests are not reported correctly,” says co-author Axel Mie, PhD. “This makes it difficult for the authorities to evaluate the pesticides in a safe and valid way.” In both the U.S. and European Union, pesticide producers contract with laboratories to perform required safety tests of active ingredients they hope to register for use. While these studies are generally considered ‚Äėconfidential business information‚Äô and not available to the public, using Swedish freedom of information laws, researchers were able to obtain two key studies relating to the developmental neurotoxicity of chlorpyrifos. Although not disclosed within the study, it is well […]

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09
Nov

Liver and Kidney Damage Tied to Exposure to the Organophosate Insecticide Malathion

(Beyond Pesticides, November 9, 2018)¬†A Tunisian study (published in January 2018) on the effects in pre-pubertal mice of exposure to malathion ‚ÄĒ an organophosphate pesticide first registered for use in the U.S. in 1956 ‚ÄĒ demonstrates significant distortion of liver and kidney biochemistry and function in the animals. Deleterious effects include compromise of feeding ability, metabolism performance, neurologic deficits, reduction of overall body weight, and simultaneous increases in the weights of livers and kidneys, with structural anomalies and lesions in those organs. Organophosphates (OPs) have raised alarm bells for years. Some, such as chlorpyrifos and diazinon, have had their registrations cancelled for household uses because of the extreme health risks to children, but agricultural, golf course, and ‚Äúpublic health‚ÄĚ (mosquito control) uses remain commercially available and in use. Recently, Beyond Pesticides reported on research whose investigators support ‚ÄĒ and called publicly for ‚ÄĒ a worldwide ban on the compounds because of the serious health and environmental risks they pose, particularly for children. Beyond Pesticides has written extensively on OP pesticides, including malathion and chlorpyrifos. Both are used widely in agriculture. Chlorpyrifos has been the subject of quite a ping-pong match in recent years: a scheduled ban by the Environmental Protection […]

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08
Nov

Study Confirms Chemical-Intensive Production Contaminates Organic with Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, November 8, 2018)¬†Two months after publishing its first series of tests, part two of an Environmental Working Group (EWG) study finds residues of Roundup‚Äôs active ingredient, glyphosate, in all General Mills‚Äô Cheerios and PepsiCo‚Äôs Quaker Oats products sampled. Health advocates are expressing concern about the consequences of chronic glyphosate exposure, and say U.S. federal agencies must limit the herbicide‚Äôs use on oat-based breakfast foods regularly marketed to children. In addition, organic itself is under threat, as chemical-intensive management practices undermine the future of the growing organic movement. In this second round of testing, EWG scientists purchased products around San Francisco and Washington DC. 28 samples of conventional and 16 samples of organic oat products were collected. Approximately 300 grams of each General Mills and PepsiCo product were packaged and shipped to Anresco Laboratories, in San Francisco. Detected glyphosate residues were compared to EWG‚Äôs own health benchmark of 160 parts per billion (ppb). This benchmark is based on risks of lifetime exposure and what EWG scientists consider allowable and protective of children‚Äôs health with an adequate margin of safety.¬† EWG‚Äôs results detected glyphosate residues in all 28 samples of conventionally grown oat products. The vast majority (all but two) […]

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07
Nov

Brazilian Researchers Link Rise in Colon Cancer to Increase in Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, November 7, 2018) Brazil‚Äôs rapid industrialization of its agricultural sector may be coming at the cost of resident health, according to a new study published in Chemosphere by an international team of scientists. The researchers link the rise in the country‚Äôs pesticide use since the turn of the century to significant increases in colon cancer, particularly in the country‚Äôs most intensive agricultural southern regions. With the recent election of far right president Jair Bolsonaro, who has supported policies that would loosen Brazil‚Äôs pesticide regulations, advocates are concerned the county‚Äôs farming industry is moving in an unsustainable direction. Researchers note that as Brazil‚Äôs agriculture industry has grown over the last two decades, it has become the world‚Äôs leading consumer of pesticides. In the year 2000, roughly 160 million tons of pesticides were used in the country. By 2012, that number reached nearly 500 million tons. Scientists compared pesticides sold to standard mortality rates (SMR) in each Brazilian state. SMR measures mortality by comparing observed mortality to expected mortality when adjusting for age and gender. A rate above one indicates that there is excessive mortality. Despite improvements in detection and treatment, colon cancer deaths recorded in the country increased from […]

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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 ‚Äúreproducers,‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs 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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31
Oct

Massachusetts Residents Raise Health Concerns about Creosote Railroad Ties in Their Community

(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2018) Residents in the town of Great Barrington, MA are concerned about the health effects that could result from creosote-coated railroad ties stored in their neighborhood. According to a report in the Berkshire Eagle, soon after the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MDOT) parked a load of railroad ties along tracks that cut through a neighborhood, community members began to complain about the smell. Creosote is a mixture of thousands of different chemical compounds. Derived mainly from coal tar and regulated as a pesticide by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the material represents a significant hazard that puts people and the environment in danger, and can be readily replaced by safer, alternative materials. “I would want to roll up my windows immediately,” Beth Rose told the Berkshire Eagle. Another Great Barrington resident, Jeanne Bachetti, told the paper, “I started to smell them right after they moved [them] in there. Sometimes we get a propane smell from [nearby] AmeriGas, so I couldn’t tell. Then it dawned on me ‚ÄĒ that’s not gas.” MDOT is currently in the process of a project to upgrade roughly 40 miles of freight line, and is using 60,000 railroad ties as part […]

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22
Oct

Take Action: Tell California Department of Pesticide Regulation to Ban Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2018)¬†The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is accepting comments on its proposal to classify chlorpyrifos as a toxic air pollutant. The classification would require DPR to develop control measures that adequately protect public health. What happens in California affects all of us because products of California agriculture are available all over the country ‚Äďand the world. In addition, policies set by the state of California are often examples for other states and the federal government. Tell California Department of Pesticide Regulation to ban chlorpyrifos. California‚Äôs Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) states: Under the Toxic Air Contaminant Identification and Control Act (AB 1807, Chapter 1047, Statutes of 1983) and its implementing regulations (Title 3, California Code of Regulations, Section 6864), one of the criteria for identifying a pesticide as a TAC is if its concentration in the air exceeds one-tenth of the level that has been determined to be adequately protective of human health. The draft TAC document shows that bystanders can be exposed to modeled air concentrations of chlorpyrifos that exceed one-tenth the protective level, and thus meet the criteria for TAC identification. OEHHA‚Äôs findings below serve to reinforce this overall conclusion, and […]

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