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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Poisoning' Category


30
Apr

Meta-Analysis Catalogues Pesticides’ Adverse Impact on How Genes Function

(Beyond Pesticides, April 30, 2024) Researchers found epigenetic changes, including changes relating to “DNA methylation, histone modification, and differential microRNA expression [which ‘can alter the expression of many disease-related genes’],” in a systematic review and meta-analysis of existing literature published in Environmental Epigenetics. “Our review did provide evidence that pesticide exposure could lead to epigenetic modifications, possibly altering global and gene-specific methylation levels, epigenome-wide methylation, and micro-RNA differential expression,” researchers share in the conclusion of the study. This study is an amalgamation of various studies on epigenetic changes based on a literature review process: “Article review involved [3,529 articles found through] extensive searches across major human health databases, including PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane, and BVS (Biblioteca Virtual em SaĂşde – the Latin American Health Database). Searches covered articles published through December 2020. Considering the diverse terminologies used to describe the same epigenetic mechanism in this field, the search strategy aimed to encompass all relevant articles by combining a variety of search terms in titles and abstracts. This approach was implemented across PubMed, Embase and Cochrane databases to ensure comprehensive coverage.” Studies were not included if the participants were not considered “healthy individuals” or if the participants had “known inherent/congenital or […]

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18
Apr

ALS Risk Elevated from Toxic Petrochemical Landscape Pesticides, Study Adds to Previous Findings

(Beyond Pesticides, April 18, 2024) University of Michigan researchers have found a statistically significant relationship between heightened risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and household exposure to lawn care products and pesticides. The study results were published earlier this month in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal Degeneration. The interdisciplinary research team concludes that modifying residential exposure to toxic substances, including pesticides, can play an important role in ALS susceptibility and prognosis. The results build on a substantial body of scientific literature identifying pesticide exposure in various ALS cohort studies. Advocates say that these adverse effects, along with other numerous health and environmental effects, inform their call for the phaseout of toxic pesticide use and the adoption of alternative practices and eco-compatible products. All participants in this study are patients at the University of Michigan Pranger ALS Clinic with Gold Coast ALS diagnosis, which according to a Muscle & Nerve study refers to the identification of two factors: “progressive motor impairment documented by history or repeated clinical assessment” and “the presence of upper and lower motor neuron dysfunction in a least one body region.” All 367 ALS and 255 control patients were tasked with completing a survey in which they self-reported […]

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07
Feb

Consumers Left High and Dry: Public Health Issues Persist with Cannabis Products and Production Practices

(Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2024) Sun + Earth Certified (SEC), a West Coast third-party regenerative organic certifier of cannabis products, approved the first certification for an East Coast farm in Brattleboro, Vermont – Rebel Grown. The expansion of independent certifications amidst the ongoing legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana usage raises questions on the regulation of toxic petrochemical pesticides found in a range of cannabis products. SEC does establish, in its standards, the use of “biopesticides…[o]nly if the product brand name is approved for use in certified organic farming.” Additionally, the label goes beyond the stringency of the National Organic Program in its policy on potassium bicarbonate as an approved input. For example, SEC standards dictate that this input should be, “[f]or pest control as a last resort only… [and] only if the product brand name is approved for use in certified organic farming.” Rebel Grown– the new farm that acquired the SEC label – owner reported to Brattleboro Reformer, “Cannabis grown regeneratively, under the sun and in the soil, without toxic chemicals, is not only high quality but also the best for the earth.” Before delving into the weeds, there is important legal context on current regulations regarding marijuana […]

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29
Jan

Group Says Broader Biological Evaluation of Rodenticides Needed to Protect Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2024) With its draft Biological Evaluation of the impacts of rodenticides open for public comment until February 13, advocates are warning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that its inadequate review is unconscionable in view of the looming biodiversity collapse. “This is not a moment for business as usual and weak reviews that lead to wholly inadequate regulations in a time of crisis,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. Beyond Pesticides has tracked the scientific literature on the threat of rodenticides to wildlife, including an important study on contamination of eagles with rodenticides. Central to the concern about the deficiencies in EPA’s biological evaluation is the inadequate focus on secondary poisoning of listed endangered species fish and aquatic reptiles associated with predation of animals poisoned with rodenticides. In 2020, California passed the California Ecosystems Protection Act, AB 1788, which mostly bans on state lands rodenticides associated with secondary poisonings and initiated a broader review. Tell EPA to improve its protection of endangered species from rodenticides. In announcing the  2022 COP15 conference — the United Nation’s (UN’s) Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Development Programme set out the context for […]

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29
Nov

Study Finds Novel Relationship Between Shingles and Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, November 29, 2023) A study published in Environment International finds high pesticide exposure incidence associated with shingles, a varicella-zoster virus (the same highly contagious virus that causes chickenpox) that reactivates in the body after having chicken pox. Shingles is a painful condition with a blistering rash that can lead to vision and hearing loss, brain and lung inflammation, and even death if not treated. Since shingles manifest decades after initial exposure, and the association is strongest among individuals already hospitalized for pesticide-related illnesses, researchers find the long-term/chronic effects most concerning. Although dermal pesticide exposure can cause a range of adverse reactions, including dermatitis, allergic sensitization, and cancer, any route of exposure can exacerbate dermal manifestations through immune system response, causing virus-based skin reactions like shingles. People encounter toxic chemicals daily. However, frequent use of pesticides, including the use of everyday products like cleaning supplies, personal care products, agricultural chemicals, fabrics, non-stick cookware, and general airborne pollution, exacerbate chemical exposure risks. Dermal exposure is the most common pesticide exposure route, composing 95 percent of all pesticide exposure incidents, and is a significant concern for occupational (work-related) health. The study notes, “[The] findings of elevated shingles risk associated with acute, clinically relevant pesticide exposures also highlights […]

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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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02
Nov

Childhood Leukemia Linked to Pesticides Used in Vineyards

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2023) A study published in Environmental Health Perspective finds the risk of acute childhood leukemia (AL), specifically acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), slightly increases with exposure to pesticides (i.e., insecticides and herbicides) from uses on vines, a crop subject to intensive pesticide use. Within 1 kilometer [km] of vineyards, the risk of ALL among children increases in areas with a higher density of vines. Although medical advancements in disease survival are more common 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. The etiology or cause of childhood AL involves the interaction of multiple components, including lifestyle and genetics; emerging evidence indicates that environmental contaminants (e.g., pesticides, air pollution, solvents, diet, etc.) play a role in disease. 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 pregnancy or childhood cause adverse health effects, from metabolic disorders to mental and physical disabilities. Moreover, […]

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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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05
Oct

Pittsburgh-Area Pesticide Poisoning: InTown Suites Residents Return After Rat Poison Incident

(Beyond Pesticides, October 5, 2023)  Residents of a Pittsburgh, PA-area extended-stay hotel were evacuated due to a contamination and poisoning incident caused by rat poison. The chemical involved in the incident has not yet been revealed, but officials say the rat poison, when exposed to water, releases the highly toxic phosphine gas. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the gas is known to cause a range of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea, thirst, muscle pain, difficulty breathing, and the accumulation of fluid in the lungs. Higher exposures and prolonged exposure to phosphine can result in more severe health consequences. EPA has found that phosphine gas causes: Acute (short-term) inhalation exposure to phosphine may cause headaches, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, burning substernal pain, nausea, vomiting, cough, labored breathing, chest tightness, pulmonary irritation, pulmonary edema, and tremors in humans.  Convulsions may ensue after an apparent recovery.  Chronic (long-term) occupational exposure of workers to phosphine may cause inflammation of the nasal cavity and throat, weakness, dizziness, nausea, gastrointestinal, cardiorespiratory, and central nervous system symptomology, jaundice, liver effects, and increased bone density. Deputy Police Chief Brian Kohlhepp of Ross Township explained to multiple media outlets that the hotel used […]

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24
Aug

Scientific Breakthrough Sheds Glowing Light on Pesticide Research

(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2023) Researchers are investigating a cutting-edge method to identify the impact of pesticides on reproductive health—shrinking the wait time from months to weeks. Scientists at the University of California, Davis, are developing a method for identifying harmful chemicals in pesticides with the help of glowing fish. This scientific breakthrough could revolutionize pesticide research and help prevent long-term health problems caused by exposure to these chemicals.  Pesticide exposure can cause acute and long-term health problems for the human endocrine system, the hormone system that regulates many biological processes from reproduction to blood sugar, growth, and more. Beyond Pesticides has written about the connections between EPA-registered pesticides and involuntary abortions, reproductive cancers, pregnancy loss, early-onset puberty, and more.   The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has expressed concern over the limited or missing data regarding the health effects of pesticides and food additives on infants and children, who are more vulnerable to chemical exposures. AAP has identified several compounds as being of particular concern, including bisphenols, which are commonly used in the lining of metal cans; phthalates, which are used in adhesives and plasticizers; nonpersistent pesticides, which have been addressed in a previous AAP policy statement; perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs), […]

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22
Aug

Illness Tied to Petrochemicals’ Impact on Body’s Essential Mast Cells (immune system regulators), Study Finds

A recently completed study (available in preprint before peer review) identifies the development of what the authors term Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT), the constellation of symptoms associated with chemical exposures.

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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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03
Aug

Reflections: “I’m a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world. Life in plastic is [NOT] fantastic”

It’s hard to escape the impacts of the Barbie movie’s estimated $150 million marketing campaign. You may have noticed advertisements with Burger King’s pink burgers to Airbnb’s Barbie Dreamhouse. Perhaps you have seen viral memes or news stories about the movie’s takedown of the patriarchy or critiques that the movie is overly woke. The pink symbol of Barbie is often followed by a second symbol — plastic. The total mass of plastics on Earth now doubles the total mass of all living mammals, so would Barbie say life is fantastic? Or, might she urge the National Organic Standards Board to ban plastic mulch, an issue on the agenda at the Board’s upcoming October meeting? Plastic products, including those used in chemical-intensive and organic agriculture, and pesticides, play a seemingly necessary role in modern life, encompassing many items beyond straws and grocery bags. However, the convenience of plastic comes at a considerable cost to the planet and human health. The majority of plastics are manufactured using oil and gas, exacerbating climate change. Scientists are becoming increasingly alarmed by the repercussions of microplastics, which are plastic particles smaller than 5 mm in size. In 2022, Philip Landrigan, M.D., et al., announced the […]

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26
Jun

Congress Asked to Help Stop Ecosystem Collapse in the Farm Bill by Preserving Local Authority to Restrict Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2023) In view of EPA’s failure to protect pollinators from pesticides, the lives of those essential insects, birds, and mammals are increasingly dependent on state and local laws that under threat of U.S. Congressional action in the upcoming Farm Bill. Tell Congress: Don’t allow the Farm Bill to preempt state and local laws. The Farm Bill covers many areas—ranging from the supplemental nutritional assistance program (SNAP) to trade—and one provision that the pesticide industry would like to include is preemption of local authority to restrict pesticide use. This attack on local governance  would undercut the local democratic process to protect public health and safety, especially important in the absence of adequate federal protection of the ecosystems that sustain life. As Congress drafts the 2023 Farm Bill, there is an opportunity for many topics—good and bad—to be introduced. Dating back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s, which addressed threats posed by the Great Depression and drought, the Farm Bill is an omnibus bill passed every five years. It is designed to secure a sufficient food supply, establish fair food prices for both farmers and consumers, and protect the soil and other natural resources on […]

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30
Aug

New Evidence Shows Roundup Damages the Nervous System

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2022) Minuscule amounts of the weed killer Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate can result in damage to the nervous system, finds research led by scientists at Florida Atlantic University, published in Scientific Reports. As hundreds of millions of pounds of glyphosate continue to be sprayed on hundreds of millions of acres of land throughout the United States each year, recent data indicate that four out of five U.S. children and adults contain detectable levels of glyphosate in their bodies. The pesticide industry and its paid supporters tell Americans that although contamination is widespread, the levels found in humans are not cause for concern. This latest research significantly undermines that specious argument, finding impacts on critical nervous system processes at levels 300 times less than the lowest suggested amount on the Roundup label. “It is concerning how little we understand about the impact of glyphosate on the nervous system,” said Akshay S. Naraine, MSc., coauthor and a PhD student at Florida Atlantic University. “More evidence is mounting for how prevalent exposure to glyphosate is, so this work hopefully pushes other researchers to expand on these findings and solidify where our concerns should be.”  To investigate the […]

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30
Jun

Common Fungicide Again Linked to Parkinson’s Disease with Molecular Disruption

(Beyond Pesticides, June 30, 2022) A study by Zhongnan University and Shandong University in China finds that the broad-spectrum fungicide maneb increases Parkinson’s disease (PD) risk and development through alterations in protein and metabolite pathways, resulting in neurotoxicity. Several studies find exposure to chemical toxicants, like pesticides, have neurotoxic effects or exacerbate preexisting chemical damage to the nervous system. Although the mechanism by which pesticides induce disease development remains unclear, this study suggests neurological damage from oxidative stress, cell dysfunction, and synapses impairment, among others, increases the incidence of PD subsequent to pesticide exposure. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, with at least one million Americans living with PD and about 50,000 new diagnoses annually. The disease affects 50 percent more men than women, and individuals with PD have a variety of symptoms, including loss of muscle control and trembling, anxiety and depression, constipation and urinary difficulties, dementia, and sleep disturbances. Over time, symptoms intensify, but there is no current cure for this fatal disease. While only 10 to 15 percent of PD cases are genetic, PD is quickly becoming the world’s fastest-growing brain disease. Therefore, research like this highlights the need to examine molecular mechanisms involved in altering chemical […]

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21
Apr

Study Finds Eagle Populations Experiencing Widespread Rodenticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, April 21, 2021) The vast majority of bald and golden eagles in the United States are contaminated with toxic anticoagulant rodenticides, according to research published in the journal PLOS One earlier this month. Although eagle populations have largely recovered from their lows in the 1960s and 70s, the study is a stark reminder that human activity continues to threaten these iconic species. “Although the exact pathways of exposure remain unclear, eagles are likely exposed through their predatory and scavenging activities,” said study author Mark Ruder, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Georgia to CNN. Eagle carcasses were retrieved from the University of Georgia’s ongoing Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study. Eighteen state wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service all sent in specimens from a period spanning 2014 to 2018. In total, 116 bald eagle and 17 golden eagle carcasses had their livers tested for the presence of anticoagulant rodenticides. Out of the 116 bald eagles tested, 96, or 83% had were exposed to toxic rodenticides. Forty of the eagles  (35%) were exposed to more than one rodenticide compound. Thirteen out of 17 golden eagles were contaminated was rodenticides, with four exposed to a single rodenticide […]

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09
Apr

Chemical-Intensive Land Management Contributes to Toxic Lagoons Overflowing with Synthetic Fertilizer Waste

(Beyond Pesticides, April 9, 2021) In early April, the leaking, open-air, Piney Point storage pond near Tampa, Florida necessitated hundreds of resident evacuations over concerns that the “reservoir” would breach and flood a three-county area with what was described as a potential “20-foot wall of water.” Ultimately, controlled releases from the 480-million-gallon “pond” (into Tampa Bay) avoided such a flood, but the event underscores the “ticking bomb” nature of such open-air, toxic-liquid-waste facilities, which are used by multiple industries in the U.S. Among those are, as in this case, the phosphate mining sector, and the synthetic fertilizer industry. The latter is tied directly to the chemical-intensive agriculture crisis, and to the exact kind of waste storage facility at issue in the Florida event. This “double whammy” related to synthetic fertilizers further validates Beyond Pesticides’ advocacy for a global transition to organic land management — which rejects the use of synthetic fertilizers for the myriad harms they cause. As reported by The New York Times, that Florida storage pond contains “legacy processed water” — code for wastewater with traces of heavy metals and other toxicants — contained by walls of phosphogypsum tailings at least 70 feet high. Phosphygypsum tailings are the […]

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07
Apr

Toxic Pesticides Are Polluting Over Half of Arable Land, Reinforcing Need for Global Organic Transition

(Beyond Pesticides, April 7, 2021) Toxic pesticides are putting more than half of the Earth’s farmland at risk of pesticide pollution that contaminates water, harms biodiversity, and ultimately undermines food security, according to research published in Nature Geosciences last month.  While there is firm understanding that environmental crises like climate change are affecting the entire globe, the impacts of pesticide pollution are often thought of as local, or regional issues. This study, led by researchers based at the University of Sydney, Australia, underscores the wide-ranging effects of modern civilization’s global dependence on toxic pesticide use. “Although protecting food production is essential for human development, reducing pesticide pollution is equivalently crucial to protect the biodiversity that maintains soil health and functions, contributing towards food security,” said lead study author Fiona Tang, PhD. To better understand pesticide risks at a global scale, scientists sectioned a world map into 10×10 kilometer (6.2×6.2 mile) squares that were assessed for their pesticide risk. The map also included data relating to water scarcity, biodiversity, and national income, to better determine trends and hot spots of concern. Scientists evaluated 92 different pesticide active ingredients and determined their risk within each square on the map based upon information […]

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03
Feb

Millions of People Poisoned by Pesticides Each Year, Underscoring Need for Organic Transition

(Beyond Pesticides, February 3, 2021) Hundreds of millions of people are being injured by pesticides every year, according to the first global estimate of unintentional human pesticide poisoning released in three decades. The systematic review, published in BMC Public Health highlights the grave result of modern civilization’s reliance on toxic chemicals to manage weeds and other pests. While international agencies like the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) endorse the phase out of highly hazardous pesticides, advocates say that goal should be the starting point in a broader paradigm shift to global organic production. To determine the extent of unintentional poisonings, researchers reviewed scientific literature published between 2006 and 2018, including 157 publications and World Health Organization databases. The search ultimately covered 141 countries. Of these, 740,000 cases of unintentional poisoning were found, with roughly 7,500 resulting in death. Extrapolating that data, scientists estimate 385 million unintentional poisonings worldwide, including 11,000 fatalities. That number encompasses an astounding 44% of the entire global farming population of 860 million. The authors note the importance of understanding the impact of pesticide poisonings that injure, but do not kill. “There is a need to recognize the high burden of non-fatal UAPP, particularly on farmers and […]

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