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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Resistance' Category


10
Jun

Federal Framework Seeks to Accelerate Adoption of Genetically Engineered (GE) Crops with Exemptions from Regulation

(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2024) Expanding the planting of genetically engineered crops is the major focus of “The Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology – Plan for Regulatory Reform under the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology” (Framework), released in May by three federal agencies. In its Framework, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) use the words “exempt” or “exemption” in reference to federal safety regulations 21 times. Then, another 21 times the agencies identify their efforts to “streamline” the process for bringing genetically engineered “plant-incorporated protectants” (PIPs) to market. Without including the word “resistance” even once, the Framework advances the interests of the biotech and allied industries, ignoring the serious scientific issues regarding health and environmental effects and the economic failure for farmers facing crop loss. Meanwhile, the issue of resistance is not new to EPA, which has for years acknowledged the resistance problem despite allowing continued weed resistance to weed killers used with herbicide-tolerant crops and insect resistance to the pesticides incorporated into plants.   >> Tell USDA, FDA, and EPA to replace agricultural provisions in the Framework with policies that discourage GE crops […]

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29
May

Antibiotic-Resistance Genes Rise with Pesticide Application, as Study Adds to a Plethora of Findings

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2024) A study from the Academy of Biology and Biotechnologies and the Federal Rostov Agricultural Research Centre adds to the body of science linking pesticide use with negative impacts on soil health and bacterial communities. Antibiotic-resistance genes (ARGs), considered a class of pollutants, are found in certain types of bacteria and can spread through the environment and subsequently to humans and animals. This study, performed by researchers and soil experts, found an increase in specific bacterial families that host ARGs with exposure to pesticides.  The study aims to identify the role of agricultural soils in ARG transfer and to assess the presence and prevalence of bacterial families with and without exposure to fertilizers and pesticides. Since soil serves as a habitat for a wide range of bacteria, including many that are resistant to antibiotics, analyzing the organisms within soil samples is an indicator of overall environmental health. Agricultural soils are essential in food production, and as this study states, “[I]ntensive exploitation of such soils implies the widespread use of various chemical plant protection products (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides) and mineral fertilizers, which contribute to pollution and a decrease in soil quality.”   Within this field study, there is […]

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16
Jan

Take Action: EPA Challenged for Not Assessing Claimed Pesticide “Benefits,” Opens Public Comment Period

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2024) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has long been criticized for its failure to evaluate the effectiveness (or efficacy) of all the pesticides it registers. A petition, for which there is now an open public comment period (submit comments by January 22, 2024), challenges what advocates call a basic failure of the agency to evaluate the claimed benefits of pesticides. Because of this long-standing situation, those who purchase pesticides do not know that the pesticides they buy will meet expectations for control. For farmers, that means that EPA has not evaluated whether the pesticide’s use actually increases productivity of the treated crops and/or whether over time the target pest (weed, insect, fungus) will become resistant. For consumers, it also means that there is not an independent analysis of whether the pesticide products work. As EPA implements the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), not only is there no agency assessment of whether the pesticide’s use will achieve its intended purpose, there is not a determination as to whether there is a less toxic way of achieving the pest management goal. As Beyond Pesticides cited last year, a piece published in the Proceedings of the […]

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11
Jan

FDA Cites Resistance to Medically Important Antimicrobials as Critical Health Issue

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2024) In a move to safeguard public and animal health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned nine manufacturers and distributors in December last year to stop selling unapproved and misbranded antimicrobial animal drugs, with the director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, Tracey Forfa, explaining to the public that “inappropriate use of medically important antimicrobials contributes to the development of antimicrobial resistance, which affects both human and animal health.”  This action and announcement exhibit a higher degree of concern about antimicrobial resistance—understood as a growing worldwide pandemic—than the history and ongoing inaction by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—resulting in the allowance of widespread nonmedical uses of antibiotics in agriculture and on synthetic (or artificial) turf. Contrary to broad scientific understanding, EPA told a federal appeals court last year that, “There is no data that antibiotic use in agriculture leads to the presence of antibiotic resistance in bacteria of human health concern,” and that “[a]t the present time, there is little evidence for or against the presence of microbes of human health concern in the plant agricultural environment.” The issue of resistance discussed in the scientific literature concerns reduced susceptibility to clinically important antimicrobials, […]

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30
Oct

Despite a Beetle’s History of Resistance to Insecticides, EPA Is Pushing Genetically Engineered Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, October 30, 2023) TAKE ACTION. It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. And so it goes with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to register a new genetically engineered pesticide for the Colorado Potato Beetle (CPB); this time with a pesticide that has not been fully evaluated for its adverse effects to people and the environment. [Submit a public comment before comment period ends today, October 30, 2023.] Chemical-intensive agriculture has failed to control CPB since resistance to DDT was identified in 1952 and has continued with every family of pesticides since then. CPB has been dubbed the billion-dollar-bug because of the investment in failed attempts of chemical manufacturers to control the insect, the profits generated by chemical companies despite this failure, and the resulting losses for chemical-intensive farmers—not to mention government expenditures for the registration of chemicals that have short efficacy, pollution costs associated with chemical production and use, and lost ecosystem services. But, EPA is at it again, registering a new novel pesticide active ingredient, Ledprona, which raises the stakes on potential harm. The only winners in this ongoing failure […]

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26
Sep

Africa’s Resilient Refusal of Agrochemicals Offers a Lesson in Tackling Invasive Species

(Beyond Pesticides, September 26, 2023) In Ethiopia’s Bahir Dar, where Lake Tana feeds into the Blue Nile, a major hydroelectric power plant stands, serving as an emblem of the ecosystem services the river provides to over two million inhabitants. Yet ever since its first appearance in 2012, this crucial waterway has been under attack by one of the world’s most invasive species: the water hyacinth.   In America and Europe, where agrochemical giants such as Bayer and Syngenta are headquartered, such problems might quickly be remedied using herbicides. However, the prevailing ethos coming from the African continent is quite different. Dion Mostert, whose South African boat business has suffered due to the water hyacinths infestation, encapsulates this sentiment, saying he has considered herbicides but sees them as a temporary fix to a much larger challenge.  Instead of relying on temporary—and often harmful—agrochemical solutions, Ethiopia and other African countries are embracing holistic and sustainable solutions.   For instance, Lake Victoria–a water body shared by Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda—suffered from a water hyacinth infestation in the 1990s. In response, scientists introduced two species of weevils known to be natural predators of the hyacinth: Neochetina bruchi and Neochetina eichhorniae. The initiative was extremely successful, […]

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07
Aug

Regulators Ignore Mosquito Resistance to Pesticides, Promoting Disease Transmission

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2023) Why is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowing the use of pesticides under the “unreasonable adverse effects” to health or the environment standard of the federal pesticide law (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act [FIFRA]) if the pesticides quickly lose their efficacy? Pest resistance to pesticides is a well-known biological mechanism that becomes problematic when farmers are faced with crop failure and economic loss. It becomes especially threatening when the goal is to manage insects that are a disease vector and when the regulatory process ignores nonchemical management strategies that are efficacious and sustainable. Tell EPA, Governors, and Congress that given the certainty of pesticide resistance, ecologically-based mosquito management must replace a reliance on pesticides. Insect resistance to insecticides has been an issue since the introduction of DDT in the 1940s. Although most countries currently ban DDT use, several currently used insecticides pose the same threat. In fact, resistance is predicted by elementary population genetics, and the speed of its evolution is directly related to the toxicity—that is, strength of selection pressure—and inversely related to the generation length of the organism. When that target organism of the pesticide is a disease vector, like West […]

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02
Aug

The Growing Insecticide Resistance Issue Increases Concerns Over Deadly Disease Transmission Through Mosquitos

(Beyond Pesticides, August 2, 2023) A study published in Pest Management Science finds resistance to insecticides like pyrethroids are challenging attempts to control the mosquito Aedes aegypti (Ae. aegypti), the primary transmitter (vector) of dengue fever. While this study takes place in Bangladesh, resistance to biocides—whether to antibiotics, antimicrobials, or pesticides—is growing globally. Prevention of disease outbreaks is threatened by reliance on chemical biocides to which pathogens and their vectors develop resistance. In fact, resistance is predicted by elementary population genetics, and the speed of its evolution is directly related to the toxicity—that is, the strength of selection pressure—and inversely related to the generation length of the organism. (See PAY articles here and here, a PBS article here.) Insecticide resistance has been an issue since the introduction of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) in the 1940s. Although most countries currently ban DDT use, the compound is not the only chemical pesticide promoting pest resistance. Several current-use insecticides pose the same threat. Areawide, indiscriminate spraying of insecticides is causing resistance to develop among many pests. Mosquitoes have become increasingly resistant to synthetic pyrethroids, in addition to other classes of insecticides, such as carbamates and organophosphates. Thus, this study demonstrates the need for sustainable and practical strategies […]

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10
May

Scientists Zero In on “Rapidly Evolving” Human Pathogenic Fungi, May Be Tied to Widespread Fungicide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2023) Scientists are uncovering more information about a fungal pathogen behind a disease outbreak in Indian hospitals that sickened 10 pre-term infants. According to a study published in mBIO late last month, the yeast pathogen Lodderomyces elongisporus was the causative agent of this outbreak and is rapidly evolving resistance to control measures. There is growing concern globally over the spread of fungal pathogens, with scientists increasingly identifying agriculture as the driver behind pathogenic mutations and resistance. Scientists in Delhi, India were called to investigate an outbreak of L. elongisporus that sickened ten infants with low birthweight in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) from September 2021 to February 2022. L. elongisporus is more commonly known for attacking severely immunocompromised adults, including those with heart conditions or a history of intravenous drug use. However, there are an increasing number of reports of fungal infections in neonatal care units. Further, the fungus appears to be spreading globally, with reports of infections in the Middle East, Europe, Australia, and North America. “This yeast is among a growing list of fungi capable of causing severe infections among humans,” said lead study author Jianping Xu, PhD a professor at McMaster University […]

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21
Apr

More Data Shows Failure of Crops Genetically Engineered to Incorporate Insecticide

(Beyond Pesticides, April 21, 2023) Into the annals of “entropic methods of agricultural pest control” arrives recent research showing that pests are, unsurprisingly, developing resistance to a genetically engineered (GE) biopesticide used for more than 90% of U.S. corn, cotton, and soybeans. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is a naturally occurring bacterium; the versions deployed in conventional agriculture are engineered into Plant Incorporated Protectants (PIPs) — GE ingredients “inserted” into seeds for multiple kinds of crop plants. These PIPs target multiple crop-destructive insect species, including (in larval form) the corn rootworm and cotton bollworm, in particular. Beyond Pesticides continues to warn that “controls,” whether synthetic chemical pesticides or GE “biological” agents (such as GE Bt) that target living things (e.g., pests and weeds) are not sustainable over time because — in addition to the harms they cause — the issue of resistance will ultimately thwart their efficacy. There are two basic categories of genetic engineering employed in conventional agriculture. One technology transfers genetic material into seed to make plants tolerant of specific herbicide compounds that will be applied after planting (for example, the infamous “Roundup Ready,” glyphosate-tolerant seeds and plants). The other comprises plant-incorporated protectants (PIPs), in which the genetic material introduced […]

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30
Jan

As Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics Grows, There Are Continued Calls for Immediate Action

(Beyond Pesticides, January 30, 2023) Because antibiotics and fungicides are widely used in agriculture (except organic), they contribute significantly to the increasing efficacy problems with antimicrobial (antibiotic and antifungal medicines) use in health care, contributing to a growing crisis. According to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, World Health Organization Director-General, “Antimicrobial resistance undermines modern medicine and puts millions of lives at risk.”  Microorganisms—including bacteria, fungi, and viruses—are notoriously quick to evolve resistance to antimicrobial medicines. We know that selection for resistance is directly related to the frequency and intensity of antimicrobial use, so medical practitioners try to avoid using those medicines unless they are necessary. Tell EPA to cancel all uses of a pesticide when resistance is discovered or predicted to occur. Tell Congress to ensure that EPA protects public health from deadly antifungal and antibiotic resistance. Unfortunately, the medical profession lacks complete control over the use of antimicrobials. Many of the same chemicals used in human medicine are also used in agriculture. These may show up in or on treated food, but can also spread antimicrobial resistance through horizontal gene transfer. So, in addition to ingesting antibiotics in our food, the movement of resistant bacteria and fungi in the environment […]

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09
Jan

Calling for Reform of Pesticide Regulation to Address Health, Biodiversity, and Climate Crises

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2023) The Biden EPA still needs a new vision in order to meet the existential crises in public health, climate change, and biodiversity. The Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed in four years much of the progress made by the EPA in decades. Despite a broad new perspective embodied in President Biden’s Executive Memorandum (EM) Modernizing Regulatory Review issued on his first day in office, the Biden EPA has not adopted a new direction for regulating pesticides. Tell President Biden, EPA, and Congress to adopt a new direction for pesticide regulation. Immediately following his inauguration, President Joe Biden issued the EM, which directs the heads of all executive departments and agencies to produce recommendations for improving and modernizing regulatory review, with a goal of promoting public health and safety, economic growth, social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity, equity, and the interests of future generations. This EM could reverse the historical trend of status-quo regulatory reviews required by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that typically support vested economic interests of polluters (e.g., petroleum-based pesticide and fertilizer manufacturers). The President’s EM sets the stage for the adoption of agency policy across government to […]

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05
Jan

Insecticidal Bed Nets Contribute to Resistance in Bed Bug Populations

(Beyond Pesticides, January 5, 2022) The use of insecticidal bed nets (IBNs) to prevent mosquito bites in malaria-endemic communities can result in resistance developing in secondary pests like bed bugs, according to research published in Parasites and Vectors. Decreased efficacy against bed bugs and other non-mosquito pests may result in misuse of both mosquito adulticides and bed nets, hampering efforts to stop the spread of malaria and other insect-borne disease. With resistance following a predicable pattern in both disease-transmitting and secondary pests, there is a critical need to embrace safer, nonchemical solutions, including both ecological and structural approaches to pest management. Researchers investigated the efficacy of untreated bed nets along with those treated with the commonly used synthetic pyrethroids deltamethrin and permethrin against both a population of insecticide-susceptible and pyrethroid resistant bed bugs. Insecticidal netting was secured between two glass jars in both an aggregation and blood meal experiment. For the aggregation experiment, fully fed bed bugs were set up to cross through the bed net to reach a darker resting location. With the blood meal experiment, unfed bed bugs were set up to cross the netting to receive a blood meal. Both experiments show the bed nets carrying little […]

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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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22
Nov

Fungi that Survive Fungicide Use Multiply and Thrive

(Beyond Pesticides, November 22, 2022) Fungus that survive a fungicide application may be able to multiply and thrive, putting plant yields at risk. This finding comes from research recently published by scientists at University of Illinois, focusing on the impact of fungicide use on soybean yields and the disease Septoria brown spot, caused by the fungus Septoria glycines. The research underlines the danger of preventive chemical applications in an attempt to protect yield and shows how precarious pesticide use can be when subject to the complexity seen in field conditions. Scientists began with the intent of analyzing the soybean’s phyllosphere mycobiome, the fungal microbial make-up of the outside of the plant, including all its surfaces above-ground. A field trial was established near Urbana, Illinois, and soybeans plants were separated into four different plots according to their treatment. One group was inoculated with Septoria glycines, another inoculated and sprayed with a fungicide, a third not inoculated yet sprayed with a fungicide, and a final control group neither inoculated nor treated with a fungicide. A range of different analyses were conducted to view changes in the disease development and mycobiome composition over time. Soybean plants that had been inoculated with Septoria showed […]

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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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01
Jun

Cockroaches Show Increasing Resistance to Sugar-Laden Baits

(Beyond Pesticides, June 1, 2022) A new evolutionary strategy spreading among German cockroaches is making them more difficult to kill than ever before. In a recent publication in Nature Communications Biology, scientists determined that cockroaches are developing an aversion to sugar baits containing glucose, with impacts that are changing their behavior and altering their mating rituals. “We are constantly in an evolutionary battle with cockroaches,” said study co-author Coby Schal, PhD, of North Carolina State University. “Evolution can be sped up tremendously in the urban, human environment because the selection force imposed on insects, especially inside homes, is so intense.” At issue with German cockroaches is a trade-off between natural and sexual selection. Natural selection or, in this case, human-induced natural selection, has led cockroach females to become averse to baits containing glucose sugars. While many are now familiar with the fact that the vast majority of German cockroaches are resistant to nearly every synthetic pesticide, with some resistant to upwards of 10x the label application rate, less reported is the pests’ growing resistance to sugar-laced baits. Sugar-containing baits have been employed for decades and, over time, cockroaches that are able to survive in locations where sugar baits were employed […]

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10
May

Chemical No-Till Failure Due to Herbicide Resistance Increases Greenhouse Gas Emissions

(Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2022) Widespread weed resistance on chemical corn and soybean farms is leading farmers to till their fields more often, significantly increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These findings were published late last month in the journal Nature Food by a team of Iowa State University researchers. With agricultural practices accounting for roughly 10% of U.S. GHG emissions, and 25% of worldwide releases, farming practices that preserve soil health and sequester GHGs are essential for the future of food production. Tillage is a farming practice that can provide a range of benefits for crop production, but only in the right conditions. A range of tillage practices exist, ranging from yearly conventional tillage, where most crop residue is plowed into the soil, to conservation tillage where some residue remains, and no-till systems where the soil remains covered. Repeated tillage causes significant harm to soil structure and biology, and result in erosion and the release of GHGs like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide from soil into the atmosphere. The harms of tillage have led both chemical and organic farmers toward no-till or reduced tillage systems. Organic no-till farming, as practiced by farming groups like the Rodale Institute, employs the […]

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12
Apr

Ocean Health: First Reports of Salmon Lice Resistance in the Pacific Ocean Threatens Local Ecosystems

(Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2022) A recent study published in Scientific Reports warns that parasitic salmon lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) in Pacific Ocean open-net fish farming operations are becoming resistant to emamectin benzoate (EMB), an active ingredient used to control salmon lice population in North America, both in the U.S. and British Columbia, Canada. Previously, researchers believed parasitic salmon lice only had high rates of chemical resistance in the Atlantic region due to the mixing of farmed and wild salmon. However, Pacific salmon lice are exhibiting similar rates of decreased sensitivity to EMB from various sources, including a decrease in the wild Pacific salmon population, overuse of chemical treatments, and reliance on single chemical treatments. The aquaculture industry (e.g., farmed seafood/fish) repeatedly faces sustainability issues, failing to adhere to environmental regulations and threatening marine health. Extensive use of pesticides to rid the parasite has led to widespread resistance to multiple pesticides, prompting increasing infection rates among North Atlantic salmon populations. These parasites endanger both farmed salmon and wild salmon, in addition to other local species of fish. In this context, pesticide treatments contributes to resistance among lethal pest populations, especially in ecologically vulnerable and interconnected ecosystems like ocean basins. The researchers caution, “Salmon […]

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06
Apr

Conventional Apples Found to Be Coated in Fungicides and Drug-Resistant Fungi

(Beyond Pesticides, April 6, 2022) Conventional apples sold at market and sprayed with synthetic fungicides may not only contain drug-resistant fungi, but function as a transmission reservoir and route to spread these dangerous pathogens, finds research published in mBio late last month by a team of researchers from India and Canada. As reports of fungal resistance rise, particularly in hospitals and among the immunocompromised, there is an urgent need to understand and address the root causes of these emerging disease threats. “When we look at human pathogens, we tend to look at what’s immediate to us,” said study coauthor Jianping Xu, PhD. “But we have to look at it more broadly. Everything is connected, the whole system. Fruit is just 1 example.”   Researchers set out their research with the suspicion that stored fruits sprayed with synthetic fungicides were acting as a source and route of transmission for the deadly fungi Candida auris. This yeast is considered an “emerging fungal pathogen” by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and has increased its rate of infection significantly since its initial identification in the mid 1990s. The fungi has been found in every continent save Antarctica. It has proven to […]

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24
Feb

Mosquito Resistance to Pesticides Continues to Grow

(Beyond Pesticides, February 24, 2022) Widespread, intensive pesticide use for mosquito control has allowed genetic mutations to persist among mosquito populations, causing subsequent resistance to future chemical exposure. According to a study published in Scientific Reports, two common species of female mosquitoes learned to evade pesticides following non-fatal exposure through smell. More concerning is the survival rate of these pre-exposed mosquitoes, as it is more than double that of unexposed mosquitoes. Insects, including mosquitoes, use various sensory and cognitive abilities like vision, smell, and hearing to navigate the ecosystem for survival and reproduction. Mosquitoes associate sensory stimuli like smell to a positive or negative experience, thus facilitating a response. Considering the two species of mosquitoes in this study are a vector for numerous diseases in humans, including dengue and Zika and West Nile viruses. Hence, this study highlights the significance of addressing pest resistance in pest management strategies, particularly to mitigate disease exposure and effects. The study notes, “[The] findings highlight the importance of mosquito cognition as determinants of pesticide resistance in mosquito populations targeted by chemical control.” It is essential to understand insect behavior that propagates vector-borne disease transmission that exacerbates the widespread public health crisis. Scientists attribute memory […]

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23
Feb

Deadly Fungus Resistant to Fungicide Jumps from Farms to People, as Human Pathogen Spreads

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2022) Fungicide use in agriculture is driving the spread of multi-fungicide resistant human pathogens, finds a recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Georgia. While this occurrence has long been an assumption based on the rampant overuse of fungicides in chemical-dependent farming, scientists have now found clear evidence linking the development of widespread fungal resistance to farming practices, rather than health care use. Despite strong evidence that commonly used synthetic pesticides in chemical-intensive farming are driving resistance that threatens human health on a global scale, the U.S. government has not only failed to take action, it has fought against international efforts to slow the crisis, at the behest of the agrichemical industry.   Scientists focused their research on Aspergillus fumigatus, a common mold that can infect humans and cause aspergillosis. Although some have problems with mild sensitivity to the fungus, virulent infections called invasive aspergillosis can occur in immunocompromised individuals and are on the rise. Cases of invasive aspergillosis increased 3% per annum between 2000 and 2013, and roughly 300,000 worldwide are diagnosed each year. On both farms and in human medical settings, antifungal compounds called azole fungicides are used in attempts to kill […]

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22
Jul

Deer Ticks Developing Resistance to Popular Tick Control Chemical: Implications of Lyme Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, July 22, 2021) A new study published in the Journal of Medical Entomology finds black-legged ticks (Ixodes scapulari) in New York are developing potential resistance to widely used tick-control pyrethroid insecticide, permethrin. The study suggests continuous use of area-wide, 4-poster devices (devices that attract deer and then apply pesticide to their head, ears, and neck) to apply insecticide treatments on deer to control tick populations promotes resistance. Resistance is an ever-present issue among chemical compounds (i.e., antibiotics, antimicrobials, pesticides) used in medicine and agriculture, and threatening the ability to prevent disease outbreaks, such as Lyme disease. Furthermore, increasing populations of rodent and mammalian hosts, in addition to warmer temperatures prompted by the climate crisis, allows for disease-carrying ticks to flourish. Lyme disease is the most common vector disease and a primary concern for the general population. Therefore, studies like this highlight the need to assess resistance among disease-vector pest populations regardless of pesticide application methods. The researchers note, “Permethrin susceptibility of tick populations should be monitored from other 4-poster control areas so that guidelines for managing pesticide resistance in the field can be developed.” Four-poster devices impart selective pressure on tick populations influencing reproduction and natural extinction of species. However, like mosquitoes, a subpopulation of ticks […]

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