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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'World Health Organization' Category


04
Jun

Presence of Weed Killer Glyphosate in Human Sperm Elevates Debate on Pesticide Threats to Human Survival 

(Beyond Pesticides, June 4, 2024) A study published in the most recent edition of the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety documents for the first time the presence of the herbicide glyphosate in human sperm. The study looked at 128 French men with an average age of 36 years who tested positive for glyphosate in their blood. Seventy-three out of the 128 men were found to also have glyphosate in their seminal plasma. Not only that, the amount of glyphosate in seminal plasma was nearly four times higher than what was detected in the blood.   Methods  The study involved a population of 128 infertile French men from whom seminal and blood plasma samples were collected. The study was conducted at the “Pole Santé Léonard de Vinci” medical center, located centrally near Tours, France. This region is recognized for its urban characteristics as well as being a major agricultural hub, particularly for grain and wine production. The study authors note, “This area reflects the common herbicide exposure in France” and the district ranks third highest in terms of pesticide purchases. While additional qualitative data was collected, only 47 of 128 participants fully completed a questionnaire about their profession, diet (organic or […]

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08
Mar

Study Provides First Combined Assessment of Multiple Classes of Pesticides in Human Blood

(Beyond Pesticides, March 8, 2024) A major problem has vexed pesticide regulators and researchers for decades: Humans and other organisms almost always have multiple pesticides in their bodies, but techniques for assessing their combined effects, or cumulative body burden from multiple chemical classes are not typically available. A new study from Chinese and British researchers provides the first combined assessment of multiple classes of pesticides in human blood. The authors believe they are the first to develop a way to quantify multiple types of pesticides in human serum (clear liquid part of blood) as opposed to urine or from other sample collection methods. This is a tool that authors say is a more accurate way of assessing the real world exposure and ultimately the adverse impact of pesticide use on human health. The researchers had a small sample of 31 men and 34 pregnant women in Wuxi, China. They chose 73 pesticides and a few of their breakdown products to identify from three categories: fungicides, neonicotinoid insecticides, and triazine herbicides. Their testing protocol confirms their expectation that food—primarily produce—is the major source of pesticide exposures. This result reinforces Beyond Pesticides’ mission of supporting the shift in agriculture to pesticide-free methods […]

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01
Mar

Literature Review on Obesogens Highlights the Long-Term Metabolic Impacts of Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2024) A comprehensive research review published in Environment & Health analyzes existing research demonstrating the link between an increase in obesity and the proliferation of synthetic chemicals that “interfere with lipid metabolism.” The study documents over 50 obesogens with high-level human exposure rates, including per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), phthalates (PAEs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), that can lead to lipid metabolism disruption including health impacts on the liver and insulin resistance, among other metabolic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and dyslipidemia. Authors in this study highlight the scientific research community’s focus on adipose tissue and the liver, and a need to further explore effects on cardiovascular and kidney health. This anthology of research demonstrates the complexity of the threats associated with toxic pesticides, the severe limitations of their regulatory review, and the failure to consider organic practice and product alternatives that eliminate their use. Environmental obesogens are chemicals that are proven to have a health impact on metabolic systems relating to obesity. This review evaluates literature, going back to the 2006 obesogen hypothesis, on the metabolic impacts of environmental obesogens, including epidemiologic data, in vitro studies, and bioassays. Researchers scanned Web of Science, […]

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30
Jan

The Fallacy of Glyphosate Exemptions Demonstrates the Importance of Sound Science on Hazards and Solutions

(Beyond Pesticides, January 30, 2024) The City Council of Brighton and Hove (England) is preparing to expand the use of glyphosate after widespread public complaints over the growth of Japanese knotweed and a program of manual clearance. This imminent local land management decision flies in the face of substantial research on the health and ecological impacts of glyphosate-based herbicides, including from Aaron Blair, PhD—former chair of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) working group on glyphosate and former branch chief (now scientist emeritus) of the Occupational Studies Section, National Cancer Institute (NCI). Advocates are concerned that the city council is basing this rationale on the fact that the European Commission reapproved use of glyphosate in 2023 for a ten-year period and not the body of scientific literature on health and ecosystem effects as well as alternative practices and products. According to a recent ENDS Report, “The [City of Brighton and Hove] council banned the use of glyphosate in 2019 – with an exception for killing invasive species [‘in exceptional cases’] such as Japanese Knotweed – after it was linked to health concerns and a decline in bee populations. As part of this it was agreed that the removal […]

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16
Jun

This Juneteenth, We Highlight the Ongoing Fight for Environmental Justice

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

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21
Dec

Review Shows that Monsanto/Bayer Claims of Glyphosate Safety Not Supported by Credible Science 

(Beyond Pesticides, December 21, 2021)  A research team undertaking a review of industry-conducted glyphosate safety studies submitted to EU (European Union) regulators shows that most of the research fails to meet current international standards for scientific validity. The researchers find that of the 11 reviewed studies, which were submitted to regulators by Bayer AG (now owner of the Monsanto “Roundup” brand of glyphosate herbicide) and several other chemical companies, only two are scientifically “reliable”; six others are deemed “partly reliable,” and the remaining three, “not reliable.” These results go, in part, to the age of some of the studies (see below); but they also underscore the point Beyond Pesticides has made for years. Regulators, whether in the UK, the U.S., or anywhere else, ought not be relying solely and without adequate auditing on industry-generated and -funded safety research in making safety determinations that underlie regulations impacting the well-being of millions of people (and other organisms), never mind the environment writ large. The report, from a team working out of the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) at the Medical University of Vienna, is timely: the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) are currently considering whether or not […]

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02
Dec

Houston Residents Sue City, Railroad, for Poisoning and Contamination Caused by Creosote Wood Preservative

(Beyond Pesticides, December 2, 2021) Thousands of residents in Houston, Texas are suing Union Pacific Railroad Company for contaminating their properties with highly hazardous creosote wood preservatives. One of these lawsuits comes from Latonya Payne, legal guardian of Corinthian Giles, a 13-year-old boy who died of leukemia after a five year battle with the disease. A recent report found that the community is in the midst of a childhood leukemia cancer cluster, with disease rates five times the national average. Late last month, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan toured the area as part of his Journey to Justice tour. However, while Administrator Regan vows federal assistance with the cleanup of these long-lived chemicals, EPA is currently in the process of reauthorizing creosote use for another 15 years with the knowledge that it is virtually impossible to produce and use without causing contamination and poisoning. Some environmental advocates are suggesting that Administrator Regan take a tour of EPA’s pesticide registration program and stop the unnecessary poisoning that disproportionately affects people of color and those with vulnerabilities or preexisting medical conditions that increase their vulnerability to toxic chemical exposure. While advocates say that cleaning up EPA’s mess in communities […]

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13
May

Advocates Call for Ban of Toxic Pesticides Linked to Deaths from Chemical Suicides

(Beyond Pesticides, May 13, 2021) Scientists are advocating for stricter pesticide bans to lower deaths from deliberate pesticide ingestion. The request for this toxic pesticide ban follows a University of South Australia study detailing discrepancies in World Health Organization (WHO) classifications of pesticide hazards that rely on animal rather than human data. Previous studies demonstrate an increased risk of developing depression, especially among agricultural workers and landscapers who use pesticides. Acute exposure to chemicals, including organophosphate and carbamate pesticides, tends to put farmers at greater risk of suicide than the general population. This research highlights the significance of assessing pesticide toxicity and health effects using human data rather than animals to understand health effects resulting from pesticide exposure. Society tends to rank mental health risks second to physical health. However, pesticide poisonings account for one in five suicides globally. Therefore, it is vital to address the accessibility and necessity of conventional pesticide use to safeguard human well-being, especially in countries lacking adequate chemical regulations. The study’s scientists note, “The human data for acute toxicity of pesticides should drive hazard classifications and regulation. We believe that a global benchmark for registration of pesticides should include a less than 5% case fatality after self-poisoning, which could prevent many […]

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16
Oct

Scientists Warn of Another Pandemic If Officials Continue to Ignore Explosion of ‘Antimicrobial Resistance’

(Beyond Pesticides, October 16, 2020) The Lancet has published an article that identifies several of the multiple and interacting crises the U.S. and world face, with a focus on another “looming potential pandemic . . . [a] rise in multidrug-resistant bacterial infections that are undetected, undiagnosed, and increasingly untreatable, [whose rise] threatens the health of people in the USA and globally.” It calls on leaders in the U.S. and beyond, asking that even as they address the current coronavirus pandemic, they also attend to the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) problem, which is a growing threat to public health. The co-authors outline a number of strategies for progress on AMR, including banning of medically important antibiotics in agribusiness, and promoting consumer, and supplier and private sector, awareness and action on food choices. Beyond Pesticides endorses these strategies, but insists that a genuine solution would include the transition to organic agriculture, not least for the health benefits it would provide. The introduction to the article adds another crisis layer — the climate emergency — and asserts that any resolutions of these crises will, or will not, unfold in a political context: “The outcome of the U.S. election will have far-reaching consequences for planetary […]

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08
Jul

With 400,000 Malaria Deaths Worldwide, Insect Resistance to Mosquito Pesticides Calls for Urgent Need to Shift to Alternative Management Strategies

(Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2020) Efforts to control the transmission of malaria are encountering a big, though predictable, problem: the mosquitoes that transmit malaria are developing resistance to at least five of the insecticides that have been central to limiting transmission of the disease. A study released in late June reveals a dramatic increase in resistance to pyrethroid insecticides and DDT across sub-Saharan Africa. This signals the failure of a mainstay chemical approach to the spread of malarial mosquitoes; this same problem — resistance — is happening with chemical management of agricultural pests and weeds, and with antibiotics to treat human bacterial infections. This study underscores a point Beyond Pesticides has made repeatedly: resistance to pesticides (whether insecticides, herbicides, biocides, fungicides, or medical antibiotics) is nearly inevitable. The solution to containing the spread of malaria lies not in the use of more and different chemicals, but in nontoxic approaches that respect nature and ecological balance. Malaria is a sometimes deadly disease caused by female Anopheles mosquitoes infected with any of four varieties of the Plasmodium parasite. The disease kills roughly 400,000 people annually, with half that mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. sees approximately 2,000 cases of malaria annually, primarily in […]

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20
May

World Health Organization (WHO) Warns Against Hazards of Toxic Disinfectants

(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2020) The World Health Organization (WHO) released an updated advisory that warns, “spraying disinfectants can result in risks to the eyes, respiratory or skin irritation and the resulting health effects.” Beyond Pesticides recommends caution around toxic disinfectant and sanitizers and, to this end, offers resources and advice on products for use in the fight against Covid-19. “Spraying or fogging of certain chemicals, such as formaldehyde, chlorine-based agents or quaternary ammonium compounds, is not recommended due to adverse health effects on workers in facilities where these methods have been utilized,” WHO reports. While some governments are broadcasting chemicals or washing down sidewalks with disinfectants, WHO advises against the practice. “Spraying or fumigation of outdoor spaces, such as streets or marketplaces, is also not recommended to kill the COVID-19 virus or other pathogens because disinfectant is inactivated by dirt and debris and it is not feasible to manually clean and remove all organic matter from such spaces,” they state. As individuals, companies, and governments respond to the novel coronavirus, it is critical that they respond with measures supported by scientific research and public safety. Using toxic cleaning products can be counterproductive to maintaining health during the pandemic—and there […]

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