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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Herbicides' Category


13
Feb

Court Strikes Down EPA’s Allowance of Weedkiller Dicamba after Scathing Inspector General Report

(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2024) Last week, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona struck down the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2021 approval of three dicamba-based herbicides. This is the second lawsuit since 2020 to call out EPA’s violation to both the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to authorize the use of over-the-top (OTT) dicamba-based herbicide products from Bayer and other petrochemical pesticide companies. This rejection of dicamba-based herbicides fuels advocates’ push for stronger regulatory actions by EPA for all petrochemical pesticides and their push for the more widespread adoption of organic practices that do not use these chemicals. The case was filed by Center for Food Safety (CFS), Center for Biological Diversity, National Family Farm Coalition, and Pesticide Action Network North America. Beyond Pesticides has covered the dicamba tragedy for years, including the EPA Office of the Inspector General’s critical 2021 report, EPA Deviated from its Typical Procedures in Its 2018 Dicamba Pesticide Registration Decision. The report identifies EPA’s abandonment of science and assault on agency integrity. In addition to citing adverse impact on nontarget crops and the environment, the Court zeroes in on EPA’s failure to adequately manage […]

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31
Jan

Planting the Seeds of Change: Why the European Union Struggles to Meet 2030 Organic Farming Target

(Beyond Pesticides, January 31, 2024) A report published in December 2023 by the European Environment Agency (EEA) details opportunities and challenges to European organic farming targets for 2030. The European Union (EU) has set ambitious targets in its environmental policy—including the Farm to Fork Strategy (F2F) and European Green Deal (EGD)—with the goal to have at least 25 percent of European farmland run on organic land management practices by 2030. The EU’s approach to organic farming and pesticide regulation on agricultural land in comparison to public and private land offers insightful lessons for advocates in the United States to apply to their campaigns. Some countries are ahead of the 25 percent by 2030 target, such as Austria, Estonia, and Sweden, with 20 percent of agriculture organically managed as of 2021. The German government is preparing to exceed the EU goal when the new coalition government presented a strategy last November outlining a 30 percent goal for 2030. Meanwhile, some countries are vastly underperforming—with Poland adding virtually zero farmland to organic production between 2012 and 2021. Overall, approximately 9.9 percent of total EU farmland follows organic standards as of 2021. At this rate, the EU will only meet 15 percent rather […]

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19
Jan

Study Shines Light on Common Herbicides 2,4-D and Glyphosate Impacts on Behavioral Function

(Beyond Pesticides, January 19, 2024) A study published in Environmental Health Perspective is one of the first to indicate a link between exposure to the herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate and the impairment of behavioral performance (i.e., attention/inhibitory control, memory/learning, language, visuospatial processing, and social perception). These adverse effects associated with the neurotoxic impacts of pesticides on behavior have been previously documented. For example, a study in August 2023 finds oral intake (e.g., eating contaminated foods), inhalation, and dermal exposure to glyphosate lowered cognitive function scores, increased the likelihood of severe depressive symptoms, and impaired auditory (hearing) function. Although previous studies find neurotoxic effects from exposure to these herbicides, very few until now have evaluated how this neurotoxic exposure impacts neurotypical behavior among youth (children and teenagers). The ubiquitous use of glyphosate and 2,4-D use in agriculture—which leaves residues of the toxic chemicals in food and in public areas (e.g., parks and walkways) creates a creates a significant risk for exposure. Glyphosate is already implicated in or proven to lead to the development of numerous health anomalies, including cancer, while 2,4-D also has a range of potential hazards, including cancer. Therefore, studies like this help local and government officials make holistic decisions regarding the use […]

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03
Jan

Loss of Chromosome Y in Male Farmers Genotoxic Implications for Cancer

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2024) A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives finds elevated, chronic exposure to glyphosate throughout one’s lifetime increases the risk of mosaic loss of chromosome Y (loss of chromosome Y occurs to many men in some cells due to aging [mLOY]) that impacts a noticeable fraction of cells. Although the loss of this sex chromosome does not cause cell death, like the loss of autosomal chromosomes, the risk of mLOY is a biomarker for genotoxicity (the damage of genetic information within a cell causing mutations from chemical exposure, which may lead to cancer) and expansion of cellular response to glyphosate, resulting in the precursor for hematological (blood) cancers. This study is one of the first to identify sex-specific chromosome degradation, with stark evidence demonstrating links to various cancers, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified the glyphosate as a probable carcinogen or cancer-causing chemical. However, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) allowance of widespread use of glyphosate allows for adverse impacts, especially among vulnerable individuals, like pregnant women, infants, children, and the elderly. Glyphosate exposure levels and resulting residues in urine has been documented with recent data showing that four out of five (81.6%) […]

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21
Dec

Low-Dose Chronic Glyphosate Exposure Increases Diet-Induced Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, December 21, 2023) A new study published in Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology adds to prior research indicating glyphosate promotes the occurrence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) through diet by causing liver inflammation and oxidative stress. More importantly, the predisposition for NAFLD occurred at levels within toxicological limits, which are doses of glyphosate classified as causing no adverse effects or No Observed Adverse Effect Level (NOAEL). NAFLD is a condition that causes swelling of the liver and can eventually lead to cirrhosis, cancer, or liver failure. This study highlights the Westernized diet (WD), comprised of foods enriched in saturated fats, cholesterol, and simple carbohydrates (e.g., fructose, glucose, and sucrose), plays a role in the nearly 40 percent increased risk of NAFLD. Although glyphosate disrupts gut microbes and induces liver inflammation, oxidative stress, and fatty acid levels that promote NAFLD, the combination of WD and glyphosate reduces the threshold risk for NAFLD development. NAFLD is a growing worldwide epidemic, becoming the most prevalent form of liver disease and impacting at least 25 percent of the globe. Therefore, studies like this shed light on how diet and chemical exposure can work synergistically (together) to exacerbate disease risk. The study evaluates whether choric […]

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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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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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01
Nov

NFL Players Association Calls for Stadiums to End Synthetic Turf Use

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2023) As communities consider maintenance and renovation of their playing fields, it is not uncommon for synthetic (or artificial) turf to come up as an alternative to natural grass. Promoters of synthetic turf argue that it provides a solution to climate change, reduces water use and maintenance costs, and allows for year-round play. But is this true? Is synthetic turf an environmentally responsible alternative to its organic grass counterpart? An established and growing body of scientific evidence is demonstrating environmental and health risks with synthetic turf. In addition, there is growing concern for the safety of those playing on artificial grass, which has led to a call from the National Football League’s (NFL) Players Association to utilize natural grass on all 30 NFL stadiums after New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in September and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s mid-game ankle injury. Synthetic turf playing fields are reliant on polluting plastic (can contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances-PFAS) and toxic pesticides for managing bacteria, mold and fungus, create contaminated water runoff, and cover over the natural environment, which is critical to preserving health and biodiversity, and averting climate disasters. Artificial […]

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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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01
Aug

EPA Releases Ten Years of Data on How Pesticides Impact Humans, Pets, Wildlife, and More

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2023) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it is publishing a decade’s worth of pesticide incident data in a searchable database that will be updated on a monthly basis. The Incident Data System (IDS), with poisoning reports generated mostly from chemical manufacturers, states, a national hotline, and poison control centers, offers information on reported pesticide exposures from accidental poisoning of pets, wildlife, and humans, to pesticide drift, noncompliance, and other pesticide incidents that may be associated with product uses in compliance with label instructions. Tracking this incident data is essential to understanding the risks and damages associated with pesticide use.   The bulk of the data on incidents is from consumer reports to chemical manufacturers. Chemical companies are required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), Section 6(a)(2) to report incidents: “If at any time after the registration of a pesticide the registrant has additional factual information regarding unreasonable adverse effects on the environment of the pesticide, the registrant shall submit such information to the Administrator.” The determine of threshold number of incidents required to be reported as a pattern of “unreasonable adverse effects” is left to the manufacturers to determine. Through […]

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25
Jul

Advocates and Scientists Urge that USGS Pesticide Data Program Be Elevated, Not Eliminated as Proposed 

(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2023) How can scientists fight the elimination of national pesticide data? More data! A new report surveys 58 academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations, government officials, and businesses to measure the scientific, educational, and policy use of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Pesticide National Synthesis Project (PNSP), a database that is getting phased out by the current administration.   According to the report authors, Maggie Douglas, PhD, Bill Freese, Joseph G. Grzywacz, PhD, and Nathan Donley, PhD, the PNSP is the “most comprehensive public description of pesticide use in U.S. agriculture.” Despite its widespread use across the government and 348 citations since 2010, the database has been degraded in recent years, including a shift from monitoring 400 pesticides to 72 pesticides in 2019. Moreover, starting in 2024, estimates of agricultural pesticide use will be released every five years (instead of annually). Advocates believe the loss of PNSP data could further hinder the ability to manage pesticide impacts on humans, agriculture, and the environment. These concerns are outlined in a letter to USGS and the Department of Interior, signed by more than 250 scientists.  Beyond Pesticides extensively tracks USGS data and resulting findings to inform local and state […]

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15
Dec

Waterhemp: Herbicide Resistant Plant Created by Chemical-Intensive Farming Competes with Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, December 15, 2022) Industrial agriculture has both created and amplified the spread of the now highly problematic waterhemp (Amaranthus tuberculatus) plant, according to research published this month in the journal Science. Over the last 80 years, the push to increase monoculture plantings, expand cropland, and utilize chemical fertilizers and pesticides has changed waterhemp from a tame riparian wild plant into an aggressive, weedy intruder able to compete with row crops like corn and soybean. “The genetic variants that help the plant do well in modern agricultural settings have risen to high frequencies remarkably quickly since agricultural intensification in the 1960s,” said study author Julia Kreiner, PhD with the University of British Columbia’s Department of Botany. “The types of changes we’re imposing in agricultural environments are so strong that they have consequences in neighbouring habitats that we’d usually think were natural.” To better understand how this plant went from a waterside obscurity to North America’s most notorious “weed,” researchers tracked the shifts occurring within the plants genome. Using data from herbarium samples first collected in 1828 until 2011, scientists sought out alleles (genetic mutations) that corresponded with agricultural intensification and analyzed the frequency of their occurrence over the nearly […]

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11
Nov

Weed Killer Use Destroys Soil Life and Ecosystems, Paper Finds

(Beyond Pesticides, November 11, 2022) A paper published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution in late October sounds an unnerving alarm about the globally ubiquitous use of herbicides and the ecological destruction being caused. It asserts that widespread environmental contamination with these herbicide compounds is influencing soil, plant, and animal microbiomes in ways that are not only not well understood, but also, can have significant impacts on the functioning of organisms and their ecosystems — with evolutionary implications. Impacts of herbicides on microbiota in soils include, for example, those on nutrient cycling, and altered organism and plant performance, which can affect pollination and animal consumption of plants. This research reinforces what Beyond Pesticides wrote in covering a 2021 study: “The popular herbicide glyphosate negatively affects microbial communities, indirectly influencing plant, animal, and human health. Exposure to sublethal concentrations of glyphosate shifts microbial community composition, destroying beneficial microorganisms while preserving pathogenic organisms.” Herbicides are a category of pesticide used to control weeds in agriculture and commercial forests, on managed landscapes, byways, gardens, and lawns, and directly on surface waters to control aquatic weeds. They are designed to kill “target” plant species considered undesirable in any of those circumstances. Herbicide use has exploded […]

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26
Oct

Common Herbicide Contributes to Development of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, October 26, 2022) Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may be exacerbated by exposure to the herbicide propyzamide, used in both agriculture and on ornamental lawns and landscapes, according to research published in the journal Nature this month. As the rate of autoimmune diseases continues to increase rapidly in the U.S. and the world, it is critical for scientists to better understand the etiology behind these diseases and the environmental factors contributing to their development. Recent data show that the number of people living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, common types of IBD, have risen annually by 3.4% and 2.8% respectively, between just the years 2001 to 2018. “As we learn more about the environmental factors that might contribute to disease, we can develop state- and national-level strategies to limit exposures,” said study coauthor Francisco Quintana, PhD. “Some chemicals don’t seem to be toxic when tested under basic conditions, but we do not yet know about the effect of chronic, low-level exposures over decades, or early-on in development.” Researchers did not begin their study investigating propyzamide. Initial intent focused on better understanding environmental factors that may be contributing to IBD. Using a range of different models, scientists cross-referenced data […]

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28
Sep

“Weedy Rice” Develops Herbicide Resistance: Agrichemical Industry Repeating Mistakes?

(Beyond Pesticides, September 28, 2022) ‘Weedy rice,’ a close relative of cultivated rice that invades rice fields and reduces yields, is rapidly developing herbicide resistance in critical rice growing areas throughout the United States. According to research published this month in Communications Biology, the widespread planting of herbicide-resistant rice, developed through traditional, transitional (non-genetically engineered) breeding techniques, is driving this concerning phenomenon. The findings highlight the risk to agricultural production that relies on crops developed to tolerate repeated applications of synthetic chemicals, regardless of their method of development. Weedy rice is a form of rice that was “re-wilded,” or “de-domesticated” from cultivated rice, independently evolving multiple times throughout the world. It is highly adapted to grow in areas where cultivated rice is produced, and can result in significant yield loses, as well as a reduction in quality that reduces marketability. In the early 2000s, the agrichemical industry believed they had found a solution to the weedy rice. Multinational chemical corporation BASF developed a line of rice cultivars, produced through traditional breeding, that conferred resistance to imidazolinone class herbicides. This includes chemicals like imazapyr, imazaquin, imazethapyr, and imazamox, which poses cancer, reproductive, and neurotoxic risks to human health, and is toxic […]

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23
May

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

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

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15
Apr

Beyond Pesticides Makes Science-based Case that It Is Imperative to Phase Out Pesticides in a Decade

The organic solutions to problems highlighted in the latest issue of Pesticides and You—based on the importance of healthy ecosystems and public health protection—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, RETROSPECTIVE 2021: A Call to Urgent Action, 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 […]

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10
Mar

EPA Overlooks Glyphosate and Roundup Ingredients’ Cancer, DNA Damage, and Multigenerational Effects

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2022) Glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) like RoundupÂŽ induce DNA damage and alter biological mechanisms (gene regulatory microRNAs [miRNAs or miRs]) associated with cancer development. According to the study published in Toxicological Sciences, DNA damage mainly occurs through oxidative stress from GBH exposure. Moreover, DNA damage and other biological mechanisms that cause carcinogenicity (cancer) occur at doses assumed “safe” by pesticide regulators such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Glyphosate is the most commonly used active ingredient worldwide, appearing in many herbicide formulas, not just Bayer’s (formerly Monsanto) RoundupÂŽ. The use of this chemical has been increasing since the inception of crops genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate over two decades ago. The toxic herbicide readily contaminates the ecosystem with residues pervasive in food and water commodities. In addition to this study, literature proves time and time again that glyphosate has an association with cancer development, as well as human, biotic, and ecosystem harm.  Study lead author Michael Antoniou, Ph.D., cautions, “Our results are the first to simultaneously show glyphosate and Roundup toxicity in a whole mammalian animal model system and provide a mechanism – oxidative stress – by which DNA damage has been observed in other systems, such as mammalian […]

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04
Nov

45 Different Cancers Associated with Work-Related Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticide, November 4, 2021) A scientific literature analysis by the Federal University of Goias, Brazil, finds occupational (work-related) exposure to agricultural pesticides increases the risk for 45 different types of cancer. This analysis assesses studies from the last decade—2011 to 2020—to identify cancer risk associated with occupational exposure by country, pesticide type, and methods used to diagnose disease. Many pesticides are “known or probable” carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), and widespread uses only amplify chemical hazards, adversely affecting human health. However, research on cancer and pesticides lacks comprehensive information regarding human health effects associated with long-term chemical use. This study highlights the significant role that long-term research plays in identifying potential health concerns surrounding registered pesticides. The use of these xenobiotics (foreign chemical compounds) substances in agriculture are increasing. Thus, it is important those working with and around these toxicants have protection. The analysis notes, “Overall, then, the results of the present study emphasize the need to evaluate overuse of pesticides and the concomitant increase in the number of cancer cases. Future research should thus include active intervention in the correct use of pesticides by farmworkers and encourage adequate training and the use of PPEs [personal protective equipment], as well as routine periodic medical […]

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30
Sep

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

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

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01
Sep

In Utero and Childhood Pesticide Exposure Increases Childhood Cancer Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, September 1, 2021) A study published in Environmental Pollution finds the risk of acute childhood leukemia (AL) increases with prenatal and newborn exposure to pesticides (i.e., insecticides and herbicides). The study results support the hypothesis that chronic environmental pesticide exposure increases childhood leukemia risk up to two times. Maternal exposure has a stronger association with leukemia than childhood exposure. Insecticides and herbicides are of particular significance in increasing leukemia risk, especially for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Although medical advancements in disease survival are more prominent nowadays, childhood AL remains the secondary cause of child mortality following physical injury. Furthermore, childhood leukemia survivors can suffer from chronic or long-term health complications that may be life-threatening. Although the etiology or cause of childhood AL involves the interaction of multiple components like lifestyle and genetics, emerging evidence indicates that environmental contaminants like pesticides (e.g., occupational exposures, air pollution, pesticides, solvents, diet, etc.) play a role in 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. Already, studies find low levels of pesticide exposure during […]

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12
May

Ecological Mystery Unravels, With Toxic Pesticide Use at the Center

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2021) Earlier this year, a team of scientists solved an ecological mystery that had persisted for decades. Throughout the southeastern United States, bald eagles and other top-level avian predators were experiencing mass deaths from a disease known as vacuolar myelinopathy (VM), a neurological ailment that causes lesions in affected animal’s brains. Scientists identified the source of the exposure as a cyanobacteria growing on an invasive weed, but up until now, did not know how the bacterium caused disease. Now, scientists have determined that the chemical bromine, likely introduced by brominated herbicides in attempts to manage the invasive species, is the trigger for the production of the cyanobacteria’s neurotoxin. In the mid-1990s, over 70 bald eagles died in Arkansas’s DeGray Lake over the course of two years. The event was the largest mass mortality of eagles recorded. Scientists identified the disease as vacuolar myelinopathy, and through the course of several years were able to determine that the disease generally affected birds in the built environment, near artificial bodies of water with high levels of aquatic plant life. Waterfowl and other bird species were found to develop lesions in lakes where there was an ongoing VM outbreak. Evidence […]

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29
Apr

Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Sustainable Agriculture Do Not Mix!

(Beyond Pesticides, April 29, 2021) Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) are incompatible with sustainable agriculture goals, according to a recent scientific literature analysis by scientists at Tufts University, Massachusetts. Glyphosate is the most commonly used pesticide active ingredient worldwide, appearing in many herbicide formulas, including Bayer’s (formerly Monsanto) RoundupTM. The use of this chemical has been increasing since the inception of crops genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate. However, studies demonstrate glyphosate is the main contributor to human, biotic, and ecosystem harms as toxicities from herbicides are now double what it was in 2004.  The National Academy of Sciences identifies four goals of sustainable agriculture—productivity, economics, environment, and social well-being for future generations. However, pesticides like glyphosate are ubiquitous in the environment, putting the health, economy, and food/resources for future generations at risk. Therefore, research like this is vital for understanding how chemical use can undermine sustainable agriculture goals to protect humans, animals, and environmental health. Researchers note, “[W]hether or not GBHs are viewed as essential or unessential to contemporary agriculture, and notwithstanding their role in non-tillage agriculture, this study shows that glyphosate-based herbicides do not reach the bar of agricultural sustainability, with respect to humans and the environment, making the system they are part of unsustainable.” Researchers thoroughly examined […]

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