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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Farmworkers' Category


15
May

Pesticide Use Again Linked to Inflammatory Bowel Disease, This Time Among Applicators and Their Spouses

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2024) A study published recently in the journal Environmental Research finds a significant correlation between exposure to certain pesticides and an elevated risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a chronic autoimmune condition of the gastrointestinal tract. The study, adding to the body of science on this subject, evaluates self-reported data from licensed pesticide applicators and their spouses exposed to pesticides for over 20 years. In addition, while some of the chemicals found to be most closely associated with incidents of IBD have been banned from use, they are “forever” chemicals that persist in the environment for generations. These findings demonstrate once again the failings of the current regulatory process to identify hazards before they are put into the environment. The study found evidence that exposure to several organochlorine insecticides (dieldrin, DDT, and toxaphene), as well as organophosphate insecticides (parathion, terbufos, and phorate) and herbicides (2,4,5-T, 2,4,5-TP, and metolachlor), is associated with elevated IBD risk. IBD is a generic term for diseases that result in chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It is estimated that 6.8 million patients globally suffered from IBD in 2017. IBD may result from an imbalance […]

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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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25
Apr

Wide Range of Harmful Effects of Pesticides Documented in Literature Review

(Beyond Pesticides, April 25, 2024) In a study from earlier this year, “Pesticides: An alarming detrimental to health and environment,” scientists compiled research from 154 articles regarding pesticide use and the adverse effects they have on the environment and human health. Among the effects of the harmful pesticides described is genotoxicity—the alteration of genetic material that results in the mutations in DNA that cause cancer.  The authors state that “genotoxins are mutagenic chemicals, and exposure to them increases the risk of developing tumors, hormonal changes, DNA damage, and changes in the ovaries and eggs, all of which leading to cancers… The risk of DNA damage surges with increased genotoxicity in people exposed to pesticides.” In addition, the National Institute of Health states that all “pesticides are highly biologically active chemicals. They may interact with DNA and damage its structure.” Despite these documented risks, pesticide use continues to surge.  While phased out to a considerable extent after being widely used in agriculture and residential areas, organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) or its breakdown compound dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) continue to show up as residues in the environment and food supply. Symptoms in humans that have been exposed to these chemicals include: seizures, […]

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24
Apr

EPA Draft Herbicide Strategy Update Further Weakens Plan to Protect Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2024) On April 16, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted an “update” to the Draft Herbicide Strategy Framework (Draft Herbicide Strategy Framework to Reduce Exposure of Federally Listed Endangered and Threatened Species and Designated Critical Habitats from the Use of Conventional Agricultural Herbicides) that was released last summer, weakening aspects of the agency’s efforts to “protect” endangered species from herbicide use. The update outlines three types of modifications to the Draft Strategy, including “simplifying” its approach, increasing growers’ “flexibility” when applying mitigation measures, and reducing the mitigation measures required in certain situations. By reducing the stringency of the Strategy, advocates are again questioning EPA’s commitment to fulfilling legal requirements under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) or protecting endangered species and their habitats in the midst of an unprecedented rate of global extinction. ESA is celebrated as one of the most far-reaching conservation laws globally, credited with preventing the extinction of 99 percent of those species the government targets for protection, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). ESA establishes a framework to categorize species as “endangered” or “threatened,” granting them specific protections. Under ESA, EPA is required to consult with relevant agencies […]

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17
Apr

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

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

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15
Apr

EPA Issues Warning to Farmworkers Instead of Regulating a Highly Hazardous Weed Killer as an Imminent Threat

(Beyond Pesticides, April 15, 2024) At first, some thought this was an April Fools’ announcement by pranksters like the YES men. Put out an announcement pretending to be the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) with a warning to farmworkers that they are being exposed to a highly hazardous weed killer, dacthal (dimethyl tetrachloroterephthalate or DCPA), offering no protection. The announcement says, “EPA is warning people of the significant health risks to pregnant individuals and their developing babies exposed to DCPA” and notes that the agency will be “pursuing” further action at some unspecified time in the future. But, this was no joke, especially for farmworkers. The agency somehow believed it was fulfilling its statutory duty to protect farmworkers and their families with a warning that a chemical they may be exposed in their workplace and possibly their homes and schools is harming them and, for those pregnant, destroying the health of their fetus. “In light of the workplace reality for farmworkers, the lack of labor protections, and the documented deficiencies in the existing worker protection standards, it is difficult to conceive of how EPA officials think this warning is protective in any way. And in light of what agency officials know, or […]

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29
Mar

Bill Seeks to Eliminate Inequities for Child Farmworkers, But Leaves Weak EPA Pesticide Standards in Place

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2024) Last week during National Agriculture Week, U.S. Senator Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) introduced S.4038, the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety (CARE), aiming to elevate labor standards for young workers in the agricultural sector, as protection from pesticides remains weak. Currently, agriculture stands as the sole industry that permits children—as young as 12 years old—to work without significant limits on their hours of employment outside of school time. This scenario is a reality for hundreds of thousands of children across the U.S., who undertake the demanding tasks of planting, harvesting, processing, and packaging the food produced nationwide. The CARE Act proposes to align the age and working hour criteria for underage workers in agriculture with those enforced in other sectors. Additionally, the legislation seeks to toughen both civil and criminal penalties for violations of child labor laws and to enhance safeguards for children against the risks of pesticide exposure. It is important to note, however, that the CARE Act would exempt farm-owning families, allowing their children to work on the family farm under the current guidelines. Exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) currently allow children to work unlimited hours, outside of school  hours, […]

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14
Mar

Petrochemical Pesticides, Fertilizers, and Plastics Linked to Dire Health Effects while Alternatives Are Available

 (Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2024)  A recent review in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) highlights the urgent need to address the widespread chemical pollution stemming from the petrochemical industry, underscoring the dire implications for public health. Tracey Woodruff, PhD, author and professor at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), emphatically states in an email comment to Beyond Pesticides, “We need to recognize the very real harm that petrochemicals are having on people’s health. Many of these fossil-fuel-based chemicals are endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with hormonal systems, and they are part of the disturbing rise in disease.” Beyond Pesticides echoes this concern, noting that endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) include many pesticides and are linked to a plethora of health issues such as infertility, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, early puberty, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and childhood and adult cancers.  (See Beyond Pesticides’ Disease database here and news coverage here). The review further calls on the clinical community to advocate for policy changes aimed at mitigating the health threats posed by petrochemical-derived EDCs and climate change. Beyond Pesticides urgently calls for the elimination of petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers and advocates for a systemic […]

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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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16
Feb

Disproportionate Pesticide Hazards to Farmworkers and People of Color Documented. . .Again

(Beyond Pesticides, February 16, 2024) A report released in January, US pesticide regulation is failing the hardest-hit communities. It’s time to fix it, finds “people of color and low-income communities in the United States and around the world continue to shoulder the societal burden of harmful pollution.” More specifically, the authors state that “ongoing environmental injustice is the disproportionate impact these communities suffer from pesticides, among the most widespread environmental pollutants.” The report follows an earlier article by the same lead authors and others (see earlier coverage) on the long history of documented hazards and government failure to protect farmworkers from pesticide use in agriculture. In a piece posted by Beyond Pesticides earlier this week, the serious weaknesses in the worker protection standard for farmworkers are documented.   The latest report was led by Nathan Donley, environmental health science director at the Center for Biological Diversity and Robert Bullard, known as the “Father of Environmental Justice” and executive director of the Robert D. Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University in Houston. In addition to these authors, the 2022 review was coauthored by Jeannie Economos of the Farmworker Association of Florida, Iris Figueroa of Farmworker Justice, Jovita […]

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15
Feb

USDA Pesticide Data Program Continues to Mislead the Public on Pesticide Residue Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2024) The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pesticide residue report, the 32nd Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary report, released in January, finds that over 72 percent of tested commodities contain pesticide residues (27.6 percent have no detectable residues), mostly below the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set for tolerances (allowable residues) whose safety standards have been called into question by advocates. USDA spins its report findings as a positive safety finding because, as the Department says, “[m]ore than 99 percent of the products sampled through PDP had residues below the established EPA tolerances.” USDA continues, “Ultimately, if EPA determines a pesticide use is not safe for human consumption, EPA will mitigate exposure to the pesticide through actions such as amending the pesticide label instructions, changing or revoking a pesticide residue tolerance, or not registering a new use.” As Beyond Pesticides reminds the public annually when USDA uses the report to extol the safety of pesticide-laden food, the tolerance setting process has been criticized as highly deficient because of a lack of adequate risk assessments for vulnerable subpopulations, such as farmworkers, people with compromised health or preexisting health conditions, children, and perhaps, […]

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14
Feb

EPA’s Worker Protection Standard Fails to Protect Farmworkers’ Health, Report Finds

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2024) The latest in a series of reports on the state of farmworker protection, released last December, highlights the long history of health threats, regulatory failures, and structural racism that is imbued in the chemical-intensive agricultural system that feeds the nation and world. The authors conclude that farmworkers “face a level of occupational risk unrivaled by most workers.” They continue: “From repeated exposure to pesticides and extreme heat, to injuries from machinery and repetitive motion, conditions on American farms involve myriad hazards. Meanwhile, a lack of access to healthcare and legal services, low wages, marginalization, language barriers, racism, and the threat of deportation among these largely immigrant communities compound their many challenges.” Describing the U.S. food system and the workers who serve as its foundation, Precarious Protection: Analyzing Compliance with Pesticide Regulations for Farmworker Safety is the third publication in a series of reports on farmworker health and safety, led by the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at Vermont Law and Graduate School and written with the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic and the nonprofit group Farmworker Justice. Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and Farmworker Justice partnered on the […]

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06
Feb

The Link Between Ovarian Cancer and Pesticides Increases Among Female Farmers

(Beyond Pesticides, February  6, 2024) A study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine finds that pesticide exposure, especially during puberty, can play a role in ovarian cancer development among female farmers. Although there are many studies that evaluate the risk for cancers among farmers, very few pieces of literature cover the risk of ovarian cancer from pesticide exposure. Additionally, this study notes suggests the role of hormones in ovarian cancer prognosis and development, highlighting an association with endocrine disruption. Exposure to past and current-use endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), like pesticides, has a long history of severe adverse human health effects. 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. Endocrine disruption can lead to several health problems, including hormone-related cancer development (e.g., thyroid, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular), reproductive dysfunction, and diabetes/obesity that can span generations. Therefore, studies related to pesticides and endocrine disruption help scientists understand the underlying mechanisms that indirectly or directly cause cancer, among other health issues. The study evaluates a […]

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12
Jan

Beyond Pesticides: Advocating for Health Justice on Martin Luther King Day 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 12, 2024) As we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—an inspiration for taking on the challenges of justice, equity, and safety as a central part of all our work for a sustainable future—through a day that stands for equality, justice, and the pursuit of a better world, it is crucial to reflect on issues that impact the health and well-being of communities. One such issue that echoes the spirit of Dr. King’s vision is the pervasive use of pesticides and the associated health risks. Drawing insights from prior articles on Beyond Pesticides’ Daily News, we delve into the intersection of environmental justice, public health, and the ongoing struggle for a safer and healthier world.  The Invisible Threat with Visible Consequence: Pesticides and Health.  Beyond Pesticides sheds light on the hidden dangers of pesticide exposure and the disproportionate impact it has on marginalized communities. Communities of color and economically disadvantaged areas bear a heavier burden of pesticide exposure, leading to higher rates of health issues, including respiratory problems, developmental disorders, and certain cancers.  From agricultural workers to residents of low-income neighborhoods, the adverse health effects of pesticides are not evenly distributed. The use of pesticides without adequate consideration […]

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19
Dec

Groups Petition EPA to Remove from the Market the Weed Killer Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2023) Last week, farmworker organizations and Beyond Pesticides, represented by the Center for Food Safety, filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging that the weed killer glyphosate be removed from the market. The petition cites 200 studies, which represent a fraction of the independent scientific literature on the hazards of glyphosate and formulation ingredients of glyphosate products. This action follows previous litigation in 2022 in which a federal court of appeals struck down EPA’s human health assessment, finding that the agency wrongfully dismissed glyphosate’s cancer risk. The farmworker groups petitioning include Farmworker Association of Florida, OrganizaciĂłn en California de Lideres Campesinas, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, and the Rural Coalition.   Meanwhile, verdicts against glyphosate’s manufacturer, Bayer, continue to pile up with a December jury verdict in Pennsylvania awarding $3.5 million and a November jury in Missouri ordering $1.56 billion to be paid to four plaintiffs. All link their cancer to use of the Roundup. Bayer has lost almost all of the cases filed against it for compensation and punitive damages associated with plaintiffs’ charge that its product (previously manufactured by Monsanto) caused them harm.  The petition summarizes its purpose and justification as […]

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04
Dec

Protection of Pregnant Farmworkers Under Civil Rights Protection; Will There Be Enforcement.

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2023) With a history of neglect of farmworker protection in the workplace, advocates are pointing to the need for ensuring stringent enforcement of regulations that are expected to take effect under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) this month. In addition to weak laws and protections that typically exempt farmworkers, enforcement for farmworker protections that do exist has been lacking. A report on enforcement of wage and hour law under Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has documented diminished capacity to detect and enforce against violations. A report by the Economic Policy Institute (2020) shows the dramatic failures of DOL, which is underfunded and understaffed to enforce the law. As the agency charged with operationalizing the new law to protect farmworkers, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will be up against a federal pesticide law enforcement system that is dependent by agreements with state agencies, mostly departments of agriculture, that have a history of failing to enforce the limited protections provided for farmworkers. The EEOC is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and operates 53 field offices in every part of the country. Farmworkers have endured a long history of discrimination in the United […]

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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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09
Nov

Protection of Children from Pesticides under Threat in Farm Bill Negotiations, Data Shows

(Beyond Pesticides, November 9, 2023) Two-hundred-foot pesticide spray “buffer zones” around 4,028 U.S. elementary schools contiguous to crop fields—according to data evaluated by Environmental Working Group—are threatened by potential Farm Bill amendments now under consideration. Legislative language, if adopted, would take away (preempt) the authority of states and local jurisdictions to protect children and restrict agricultural pesticides used near schools. Pesticide drift is a widespread problem throughout the U.S. that has attracted national attention in recent years because of crop damage caused by the weed killer dicamba in numerous midwestern states. In the face of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) failure to mitigate drift hazards, states enact limits on when and how pesticides can be used, establish buffer zones around application sites, and in some cases, ban uses. In 2018, Arkansas banned dicamba use from mid-April through the end of October (and survived a Monsanto challenge to the ban. For a historical perspective on the drift issue, see Getting the Drift on Pesticide Trespass. Children, in particular, face unique risks from pesticide and toxic chemical exposures. Due to their smaller body size, they absorb a higher relative amount of pesticides through the food they consume and the air they breathe. Additionally, children’s developing […]

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25
Oct

Study Further Strengthens Link Between Common Insecticide Class and Psychiatric Disorders

(Beyond Pesticides, October 25, 2023) A study published in Environmental Pollution finds farming and organophosphate (OP) pesticide exposure are risk factors for depression, with pesticide poisoning being a risk factor for suicidal behavior. Additionally, psychiatric disorder prognosis affects men more than women, with depression and suicidal outcomes more common among pesticide-exposed males. Age also affected depression and suicidal consequences, with elevated rates among older farmers. Research on pesticide-induced diseases commonly investigates pesticide exposure concerning the development of various physical illnesses. However, previous studies show that occupational (work-related) risks of developing depression are high in agriculture, where pesticide use is widespread. Acute exposure to chemicals, including organophosphate, organochlorine, triazine, and carbamate pesticides, tends to put farmers at elevated risk. More study is needed on pesticide exposure and similar psychological (psychiatric) effects in the general population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects 322 million people globally, with the number of diagnosed patients increasing by 18.4% from 2005 to 2015. Although the etiology of depression—and many other psychiatric disorders—is often genetic, studies suggest that other etiological factors, like pesticide exposure, play a role in depression incidents. Poor mental health has a tangible influence on physical health (e.g., depression and cardiovascular disease); therefore, the combination of pesticide exposure […]

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19
Sep

Bayer’s Use of EU-Forbidden Pesticides Ignites Protest in South Africa 

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2023) Farmworkers in Paarl, South Africa took to the streets on Friday, September 8, demanding an end to the indiscriminate importation and use of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides containing substances prohibited by the European Union (EU). This protest is part of a broader global trend of outcry against systemic issues of environmental racism that disproportionately burden communities with environmental and health risks.   Organized by the Women on Farms Project, the protesters marched to the headquarters of Bayer. The German pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and pesticide company, responsible for producing and exporting agrochemicals known to be toxic to ecosystem and human health, has previously faced multiple lawsuits, including a multimillion-dollar one linking their glyphosate weed killer products (Roundup®) to non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. At the Bayer office, the protesters presented a memorandum demanding an end to the importation and use of EU-prohibited substances.    Protesters sought to expose the hypocritical tactics European agrochemical companies use to sell products in developing nations, even when those products are deemed unsafe in their home countries. Numerous farmworkers, like victim-turned-activist Antie Dina, spoke out about their health issues from petrochemical exposure. In her talk, Dina emphasizes that, “… enough is enough, we do not want any […]

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15
Aug

The Ultimate Buzz Kill – Officials Find Pesticides in Marijuana… Again

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2023) Marijuana regulators in the state of Washington issued administrative holds on 18 licenses due to pesticide-contaminated marijuana, forcing producers and processors to cease operations until now. This shutdown of legal marijuana businesses serves as a window into a broader historical backdrop of pesticide issues within the marijuana industry. Within Washington, pesticide concerns have been growing since a study in 2018 of legal marijuana farms in the state had 84.6% (of 26 samples) with significant quantities of pesticides including insecticides, fungicides, miticides, and herbicides. Last year, a national study identified a list of contaminants in 36 states and the District of Columbia and found 551 pesticides within cannabis products. For over a decade, Beyond Pesticides has sounded the alarm about the highly-concentrated levels of pesticides in marijuana products, calling on state officials to require organic marijuana, especially in the context of medical marijuana. The absence of federal regulations for pesticides in cannabis production has raised significant concerns about exposure risks for recreational and medicinal use, exposure risks to workers, and potential environmental contamination impacting wildlife. Since marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act, the EPA does not regulate pesticides in […]

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16
Jun

This Juneteenth, We Highlight the Ongoing Fight for Environmental Justice

(Beyond Pesticides, June 16, 2023) Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom for the last 250,000 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, but it is also a reminder that justice has not historically been “swift” or complete for Black Americans. The holiday commemorates the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.  According to a 2022 Gallup Poll, 40 percent of Americans know “a little bit” or “nothing at all” about Juneteenth. While this is a significant improvement in comparison to the 60 percent for the aforementioned metric in the previous year (when the holiday was federally recognized), greater public awareness is needed. This holiday is a time for individuals and organizations to acknowledge and reflect on their past and current actions or inactions that perpetuate systemic racism. As known from the history books, the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863, and the civil war ended on April 9, 1865. Juneteenth is a lesser-known anniversary commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people who received news of their freedom two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln’s freedom proclamation. While the technologies in the 19th century had a much slower travel time, […]

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07
Jun

Pesticides and Neurotoxicity: The Link Between Mood Disorders and Pesticides Exposures

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2023) A systematic review of scientific literature published in Environmental Research on the development of mood disorders among pesticide applicators (farmers, landscapers, etc.) finds an increased risk of depression symptoms over the last decade. The evidence in the review highlights the presence of pesticide-specific biomarkers and biomarkers of depression that determine the positive association between pesticide exposure and the development of depressive symptoms. With more high-quality longitudinal studies to control sociocultural variables, researchers can directly pinpoint risks of developing depression, especially among agricultural workers and landscapers who use pesticides. Research on pesticide-induced diseases commonly investigates pesticide exposure concerning the development of various physical illnesses. However, previous studies show that occupational (work-related) risks of developing depression are high in agriculture, where pesticide use is rampant. Acute exposure to chemicals, including organophosphate, organochlorine, triazine, and carbamate pesticides, tends to put farmers at greater risk of suicide than the general population. There is a lack of information connecting pesticide exposure to the subsequent psychological (psychiatric) effects on the general population. Additionally, household pesticide exposure varies from occupational exposure via exposure frequency, duration, intensity, and type.   According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects 322 million people globally, with the number of diagnosed patients increasing by 18.4% from 2005 to […]

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