Upcoming EPA Review of Nitrates in Waterways Raises Health and Environmental Questions About Synthetic Nitrogen Fertilizer Use. InÂ a quiet reversal of a 2018 Trump administration decision, EPA is resuming an evaluation of the health impacts of nitrate in water, reflecting the long-standing and mounting evidence of synthetic nitrogenâ€™s adverse effects on human health and the environment, particularly in vulnerable communities.
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.
(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2022) New research from a team in California finds one-third of pesticides it reviewed â€” including glyphosate, paraquat dichloride, and oxyfluorfen â€” to be associated with the development of thyroid cancer. Researchers investigated the links between exposure to pesticides â€” including 29 that cause DNA cell damage â€” and the risk of this cancer. The researchers also find that in all the single-pollutant models they employed, paraquat dichloride â€” a widely used herbicide â€” was linked to this cancer. In 2021, Beyond Pesticides covered research by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) that demonstrated that exposures to lindane and metalaxyl also cause heightened risk of thyroid cancer. These study findings add to the already considerable concern about pervasive pesticide exposure â€” not only among farmers and applicators, but also in the general population. It is worth noting that, in addition to elevated thyroid cancer risks, multiple pesticides can cause other health damage. Paraquat is also acutely toxic, and can cause longer-term reproductive, renal, and hepatic damage to humans; it is toxic to birds, fish, and other aquatic organisms, and slightly so to honeybees. Glyphosate, as Beyond Pesticides has written frequently, is carcinogenic, and is associated […]
The organic solutions to problems highlighted in the latest issue ofÂ Pesticides and Youâ€”based on the importance of healthy ecosystems and public health protectionâ€”are within reach, and the data creates an imperative for action now that phases out pesticides within a decade, while ensuring food productivity, resilient land management, and safe food, air, and water. (Beyond Pesticides, April 15, 2022) The current issue of Pesticides and You,Â RETROSPECTIVE 2021: A Call to Urgent Action,Â is a look at a year of science, policy, and advocacy that informs both the existential problems that the U.S. and the world are facing due to toxic pesticide dependency, and solutions that can be adopted now. The information in this issue captures the body of science that empowers action at the local, state, and federal level, and provides a framework for challenging toxic pesticide use and putting alternatives in place. The issue finds that 2021 was a pivotal year in both defining the problem and advancing the solution. This year in review is divided into nine sections that provide an accounting of scientific findings documenting serious pesticide-induced health and environmental effects, disproportionate risk to people of color and those with preexisting conditions, regulatory failures, at the same time […]
(Beyond Pesticides, September 28, 2021) A widely used mosquito pesticide may exacerbate the effect of the Zika virus on fetal brain development, according to research published by an international team of scientists in the journal Environmental Pollution. Pyriproxyfen, an insect growth regulator often used as a mosquito larvicide, is registered for use in hundreds of commonly used pesticide products. But scientists have discovered that the pesticideâ€™s mode of action has the potential to worsen the public health mosquito diseases the chemical aims to control. The research reinforces the extent of unknowns associated with synthetic pesticide exposure, underlining the need for a focus on nontoxic and ecological mosquito management. Scientists base their research on reports that in Brazil, during the 2015 Zika epidemic, certain areas of the country experienced higher rates of microcephaly. Microcephaly is a rare condition that causes pregnant womenâ€™s fetus to develop severe cranial deformities, alongside a range of other symptoms that include vision problems, hearing loss, feeding issues, developmental delays and seizures. The present study aimed to see how pyriproxyfen, used at higher rates in areas where microcephaly Zika cases were recorded, may interact with the virus. In an article published in The Conversation, researchers note that […]
(Beyond Pesticides, September 10, 2021)Â Research conducted in Thailand shows that exposures to pesticides, even at low levels, can impact the human endocrine system and distort thyroid function. The study looked specifically at interactions of genetics and environment: it investigated associations between variations in genes involved in pesticide metabolism and altered thyroid hormone concentrations in agricultural workers. This research underscores some of the complexity and difficulty of determining human vulnerability to impacts of pesticide exposures, given genetic variables. Beyond Pesticides believes that this very complexity is a cogent argument for anchoring regulation of pesticides in the Precautionary Principle. If exposure to a pesticide can cause damage to human (or environmental) health, it sometimes will do so. Thus, to protect peopleâ€™s health, agriculture and other land management practices must transition from the use of synthetic pesticides to broad adoption of organic regenerative approaches that obviate the need for such chemicals. This research is part of a longitudinal study that seeks to evaluate sub-chronic impacts, on thyroid hormone levels, of repeated exposures to a variety of pesticides. The farmworkers studied in this phase comprise two groups: those working on organically managed farms (216 subjects), and those working on conventional farms that use pesticides […]
(Beyond Pesticides, May 27, 2021) Research by theÂ U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH)Â finds exposure to lindane and metalaxyl pesticides heightens thyroid cancer risk. Both incidents of non-aggressive thyroid tumors and advanced-stage thyroid cancer are on the rise. However, researchers speculate that environmental pollutants, such as pesticides, may contribute to this increase, especially considering the pervasiveness of pesticide exposure among the general population. Globally,Â cancerÂ is one of the leading causes of death, with over 8 million people succumbing to the disease every year. Notably,Â the International Agency for Cancer ResearchÂ (IARC) predicts new cancer cases to rise 67.4% by 2030. Various environmental pollutants like pesticides have endocrine (hormone) disruption effects that promote higher instances of thyroid and reproductive cancers. Therefore, studies like these highlight the importance of understanding how pesticide use can increase the risk of latent diseases (e.g., cancers), which do not readily develop upon initial exposure. The researchers state, â€śMore work is needed to understand the potential role of these chemicals in thyroid carcinogenesis.â€ť The European Union and endocrine disruptor expert (deceased) Theo Colborn, Ph.D.,Â classifyÂ more than 55 pesticide active ingredients as endocrine disruptors (EDs), including chemicals inÂ household productsÂ like detergents, disinfectants, plastics, and pesticides. Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotics (i.e., toxic chemical substances foreign […]
(Beyond Pesticides, October 6, 2016) According to a report published last week by the Iowa Environmental Council (IEC), the associations between elevated levels of nitrate in drinking water and health risks go well beyond the â€śblue-baby syndromeâ€ť and nitrate concentrations lower than the drinking water standard may be harmful through long-term exposure. The lead author of the report, Ann Robinson, Agricultural Policy Specialist at IEC, stated that the focus was on â€śsignificant findings that multiple studies have associated with nitrate in drinking water, including birth defects, bladder cancer and thyroid cancer.â€ť Â Nitrate is a common groundwater contaminant that is sourced mainly from chemical fertilizers and animal waste. Nitrate is a common contaminant of drinking water, particularly in agricultural areas where nitrogen fertilizers are used. In 1962, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the drinking water standard of 10 mg/L of nitrate to prevent blue baby syndrome, a fatal infant blood disease. In addition to Iowa, the U.S. Geological Survey has also identified the following states as areas with high risk clusters from nitrate contamination to groundwater: Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. The report reviewed studies conducted in the U.S., Canada, and Australia […]
(Beyond Pesticides, September 21, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agencyâ€™s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs released last week Â its Glyphosate Issue Paper in which the agency is proposing to classify glyphosate as â€śnot likely to be carcinogenic to humans at doses relevant for human health risk assessment.â€ť Glyphosate, the controversial active ingredient in Roundup, was classified in 2015 by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a â€śprobable carcinogenâ€ť and numerous studies have associated the chemical with cancer and other human health issues. However, EPAâ€™s proposed a classification that is contrary, not only to WHOâ€™s, but also a position Â it had previously held. The issue paper was released in preparation for the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) meeting, October 18-21, which convenes to review EPAâ€™s evaluation of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate. Glyphosate, produced by Monsanto, is one of the most popular weedkillers in the U.S., and the active ingredient in Roundup. Glyphosate is often promoted by industry as a â€ślow toxicityâ€ť chemical and â€śsaferâ€ť than other chemicals, yet has been shown to have Â detrimental impacts Â on humans and the environment. Given its widespread use on residential and agricultural sites, its toxicity is of increasing […]
(Beyond Pesticides, August 21, 2014) In case there wasnâ€™t enough news about the hazards of the ubiquitous antibacterial chemical triclosan in the past week, another study published Tuesday finds additional risks associated with exposure to the pesticide. The study, Health Care Worker Exposures to the Antibacterial Agent Triclosan, led by researchers at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) finds that washing hands with antibacterial soap exposes hospital workers to significant and potentially unsafe levels of triclosan. In the study, published in the August issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers analyze urine samples from two groups of 38 doctors and nurses at two hospitals, identified as Hospital 1 and Hospital 2. Hospital 1 used an antibacterial soap containing 0.3 percent triclosan, while Hospital 2 used plain soap and water. Workers at Hospital 1 had significantly higher levels of triclosan in their urine than workers at Hospital 2. “Antimicrobial soaps can carry unknown risks, and triclosan is of particular concern,” said co-investigator Paul Blanc, MD, a professor of medicine at UCSF who holds the Endowed Chair in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. “Our study shows that people absorb this chemical at work and at home, depending on the products […]
(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2014) Triclosan, the antibacterial pesticide found in numerous hand soaps, toothpastes, and other cosmetics, has had a ubiquitous presence on the consumer market for over 30 years. But due to public pressure led by Beyond Pesticides, our allies, and concerned supporters, many manufacturers have been washing their hands of triclosan. Now after years of inaction, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is going to require data to support triclosanâ€™s claims of being â€śsafe and effective.â€ť The time is now to let the agency know that triclosan is NOT safe or effective for human and environmental health. Raise your voice with a unique public comment to FDA! Use the sample letter below for guidance. Rising Evidence Against Safety Beyond Pesticides has generated extensive documentation Â of the potential human and environmental health effects of triclosan and its cousin triclocarban. Studies show that triclosan can interfere with thyroid and estrogen hormones, and may promote the progression of cancer cells. This is alarming given that the CDC has found that 75% of the U.S. population contain triclosan in their bodies, even in breast milk, and at levels that are rising. Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor and has been shown […]
(Beyond Pesticides, February 22, 2011) After witnessing a patient’s condition improve upon discontinuing the use of antibacterial products containing the active ingredient triclosan, Gerard Guillory, M.D. of Denver, Colorado believes that several of his patients are experiencing health problems caused by daily exposure to the chemical. Dr. Guillory told local ABC 7 News: Denver Channel that he was treating his patient, Mary Lou Simanovich, for hyperthyroidism and asked her about antibacterial soap, which she had been using for years. After Ms. Simanovich stopped using soaps containing triclosan, both she and Dr. Guillory noticed improvements in her condition and overall health. “I feel better now. That’s all I can say and I think there’s an association,” said Ms. Simanovich to the Denver Channel. Antibacterial agents like triclosan, found in many antibacterial products, are linked to a host of adverse health and environmental effects including hormone disruption, possible impaired fetal development, and water and food contamination. Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor and has been shown to affect male and female reproductive hormones and is also shown to alter thyroid function. â€śMy suspicion is that if itâ€™s damaging the thyroid, itâ€™s probably damaging other organs in the body,â€ť said Dr. Guillory to the […]
(Beyond Pesticides, July 7, 2010) Long-term exposure to nitrates, a common agricultural water contaminant, through food and water may increase an older woman’s risk of thyroid disease, a recent study in Iowa finds. Public water supplies contaminated with nitrates increased the risk of thyroid cancer in the women. Eating nitrates from certain vegetables was also linked to increases in thyroid cancer and hypothyroidism, one type of thyroid disease. Nitrate is a common contaminant of drinking water, particularly in agricultural areas where nitrogen fertilizers are used. High rates of fertilizer application may also increase the natural nitrate levels found in certain vegetables, such as lettuce and root crops. In the body, nitrate competes with uptake of iodide by the thyroid, thus potentially affecting thyroid function. This is the first study to show a link between nitrates and thyroid cancer in people, although nitrates have been shown to cause thyroid tumors in animal studies. Researchers at the National Institute of Health, in a study entitled, â€ťNitrate intake and the risk of thyroid cancer and thyroid disease,â€ť investigated the association of nitrate intake from public water supplies and diet with the risk of thyroid cancer and self-reported hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism in a cohort […]