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Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Contribute to Liver Injury, including Toxic PFAS and Pesticides

Friday, August 12th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2022) Gestational (during pregnancy) exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) like pesticides, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), among others, may increase pediatric (child) liver injury and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) risk, according to a study published in Environmental Health. Past studies associate exposure to EDCs with increased susceptibility to adverse health effects during critical fetal and childhood developmental periods. The World Health Organization (WHO), European Union (EU), and endocrine disruptor expert (deceased) Theo Colborn, Ph.D., classify over 55 to 177 chemical compounds as endocrine disruptors, including various household products like detergents, disinfectants, plastics, and pesticides. Endocrine disruption can lead to several health problems, including hormone-related cancer development (i.e., thyroid, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular), reproductive dysfunction, and diabetes/obesity that can span generations. Because EDCs are ubiquitous because they are found in many products, studies report that these toxic chemical compounds are detectable in infants, children, and pregnant women. Furthermore, pregnant women can readily transfer compounds to the developing fetus through the placenta. Therefore, it is essential to understand the mechanism behind how harmful chemical exposure induces endocrine disruption during critical developmental periods. Researchers note, “Considering the lack of studies on endocrine disruption and pediatric NAFLD, research like this highlights the need to understand the underlying […]

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Glyphosate Weed Killer Crosses Blood-Brain Barrier, Linked to Alzheimer’s and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

Thursday, August 4th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2022) An Arizona State University (ASU) study shows that the popular herbicide glyphosate can infiltrate the brain through the blood (blood-brain barrier), increasing neurological disease risk. The blood-brain barrier filters various molecules entering the brain from the circulatory system. However, the permeation of glyphosate molecules elevates the expression of TNFα and the accumulation of soluble beta-amyloid (Aβ) proteins in the brain and has associations with immune, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease (AD). More than 6 million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s, and cases are expected to double by 2050. Although Alzheimer’s research has focused heavily on finding genetic causes of the disease, fewer than half of cases are genetic. Thus, researchers are now evaluating how environmental contaminants may increase disease risk. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood and urine samples and can increase neurotoxicity risk when crossing the brain barrier. Therefore, studies like this highlight the importance of understanding how chemical accumulation in the body can impact long-term health and disease prognosis. The study notes, “Brain glyphosate correlates with increased TNFα levels, suggesting that exposure to this herbicide may trigger neuroinflammation in the brain, which may […]

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Pesticide Exposure Driving Liver Disease through Hormone Disrupting Mechanisms

Thursday, July 21st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 21, 2022) Research published in Scientific Reports finds an association between the increasing emergence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and exposure to endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals, like organochlorine pesticides (OCPs). It is well-known that traces of legacy (past-use) pesticides, like organochlorines, remain in the environment for decades—possibly centuries, post-final application, as OCPs have greater chemical stability and gradual attenuation. However, these chemicals have profound adverse impacts on human health, especially on the endocrine system. Obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and elevated liver enzyme resulting from endocrine disruption contribute to NAFLD and can lead to liver cirrhosis. Although some, but not all, manufacturing and use of specific OCPs have declined in the U.S., OCPs remain a global issue, as much of the developing world still reports usage. Considering the lack of studies on OCP-induced endocrine disruption and NAFLD, research like this highlights the need to understand the underlying mechanisms that contribute to growing endocrine disease incidents.   The study determined that there is an association between OCP exposure and NAFLD using the fatty liver index (FLI), a predictor of lipid (fat) accumulation in the liver. The researcher collected blood serum to measure the concentration of OCPs, specifically evaluating detectable […]

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Farmed Salmon Just as Toxic to Human Health as Junk Food

Thursday, June 16th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 16, 2022) Farmed salmon serves as an inferior food source, accumulating more toxic chemicals in fatty tissue with fewer healthy nutrient properties based on a study from the University of Bergen, Norway and Alternative Medicine Review. However, the issue of toxic chemical contamination in fish dates back decades with investigations demonstrating high levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) flame retardants restricted or banned in the U.S. and U.K., polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), dioxin (a by-product of pesticide manufacturing), and ethoxyquin (a pesticide preservative in fish feed). 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 in local marine ecosystems has induced coastal habitat loss and increased genetic and health risks to wild marine populations. Moreover, insecticides used to kill salmon parasites (e.g., fish lice) has led to widespread disease persistence and pest resistance. Marine species biodiversity is rapidly declining due to overfishing, global warming, pathogens, and pollution. Thus, further biodiversity loss can change aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem functions and reduce ecosystem services. Food analysis results find the consumption of farmed salmon fillets contributes to higher rates of metabolic disorders, including diabetes and obesity. These farmed salmon also contain levels […]

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Mother’s Exposure to Pesticides during Pregnancy Results in Sleep-Related Problems among Daughters

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2022) A University of Michigan study is the first to highlight that maternal pesticide exposure during pregnancy adversely affects sleeping patterns for offspring later in life, specifically for females. Prenatal development is one of the most vulnerable periods of exposure as the fetus is most susceptible to the harmful effects of chemical contaminants. Many studies indicate that prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental toxicants increases susceptibility to diseases, from learning and developmental disabilities to cancer. However, the toxicity of pesticide exposure ad its full impact on the nonagricultural population in the U.S., especially women. Given research links to sleep-related disorders and neurological and cognitive development, studies like this can help government and health officials identify how pesticides’ impact on the brain elevates health concerns. The authors note, “Overall, these results are of public health importance considering the continued widespread agricultural and possibly residential use of pyrethroids and chlorpyrifos [in Mexico]…Thus, our results underline the importance of additional research studies that include both larger samples and assessment of unregulated pesticides, as well as studies that consider the underlying mechanisms explaining sex differences.” Levels of inadequate sleep patterns are rising among children and adolescents. Reports find variability in sleep duration results in higher rates of depression, anxiety, and […]

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PFAS Adds to the Legacy of Persistent Toxics Hurting Generations of People and the Environment

Friday, February 18th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, February 18, 2022) A new analysis conducted by Safer States, and reported on by Environmental Health News (EHN), concludes that in 2022, at least 32 states will consider 210 potential laws to ban or restrict one category of so-called “legacy” chemicals — the PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) family of compounds. “Legacy” or “forever” chemicals are those whose historical use, including many decades ago in some instances, has led to their toxic persistence in the environment and in organisms. In recent years, scientists, health and environment advocates, and policy makers have begun to recognize these as very serious contaminants, and to call attention to their ubiquity and impacts. Beyond Pesticides has identified multiple instances of such “legacies” (including those related to the production of pesticides and particularly, the infamous DDT), and will here discuss both PFAS, and concerns about such legacy chemicals as they may impact food producers. The term “legacy” often connotes the ongoing influence or impact — generally salutary — of an individual’s activity, or a set of principles or activity inherited from one’s forebears. It is an apt description, minus the “salutary” part, for legacy chemicals — toxic “gifts that keep on giving” via persistent contamination […]

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Global Chemical Pollution Exceeds Safe Limits for Humanity

Friday, January 21st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, January 21, 2022) The bottom-line conclusion of a recent study is that global chemical pollution has now exceeded a safe limit for humanity. As reported by The Guardian, “The cocktail of chemical pollution that pervades the planet now threatens the stability of global ecosystems upon which humanity depends.” Published in Environmental Science & Technology, the research paper asserts that the creation and deployment (into the materials stream and environment) of so many “novel entities” (synthetic chemicals) is happening at a pace that eclipses human ability to assess and monitor them. The study team calls this exceedance of the “planetary boundary” of such chemical pollution “the point at which human-made changes to the Earth push it outside the stable environment of the last 10,000 years.” According to Beyond Pesticides, which covers pesticide (and other kinds of) chemical pollution, these results underscore a grim twin reality to the human-caused climate emergency, and should be a dire warning on the state of our shared environment and a time for systemic movement to eliminate fossil fuel-based pesticides and fertilizers. Hailing from Sweden, the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, and Switzerland, members of the research team define “novel entities” as those compounds and materials […]

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Pesticides and Parkinson’s Disease: The Toxic Effects of Pesticides on the Brain

Thursday, December 16th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, December 16, 2021) A study by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, finds Parkinson’s Disease (PD) risk increases with elevated levels of organochlorine (OCP) and organophosphate (OP) pesticides in blood. Among patients with PD, specific organochlorine compounds have greater associations with cognitive impairments, including depression and brain function. Research finds exposure to chemical toxicants, like pesticides, can cause neurotoxic effects or exacerbate preexisting chemical damage to the nervous system. Although the mechanism by which pesticides induce disease development remains unclear, researchers suggest changes in protein enzyme composition and cellular dysfunction from pesticide exposure interrupt normal brain function. 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 each year. The disease affects 50% 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 incidences are genetic, PD is quickly becoming the world’s fastest-growing brain disease. Therefore, research like this highlights the need to examine alternate […]

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Banned Pesticides Associated with Endometriosis

Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, December 1, 2021) Women exposed to metabolites of the banned insecticide chlordane are over three times more likely to develop endometriosis, finds research published in the journal Environment International. The study is the latest to find links between persistent organic pollutants (POPs), still lingering in our environment and in our bodies, and chronic disease. According to an economic analysis conducted in 2016, exposure to endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals, often implicated in considerable damage to the body’s reproductive system, results in billions of dollars of health care costs from female reproductive disorders. Researchers set out to integrate two methodologies into their evaluation, combining analysis of POP biomarkers in blood with an analysis of biomarkers in that body that correspond with cell functioning, inflammation, and stress. A total of 87 women were enrolled in the study, half of whom had deep endometriosis, a quarter of whom also had the disease and sought surgical intervention, and a remaining quarter without reproductive concerns acted as a control. Twenty polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 30 organochlorine pesticide compounds were analyzed, as were various biomarkers and inflammatory cytokines. The analysis revealed two compounds to be positively associated with endometriosis – trans-nonachlor, a breakdown product of […]

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Pesticide Exposure Contributes to Preterm Births and Low Birth Weight

Thursday, November 18th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 18, 2021) A study published by King George’s Medical University, India, finds exposure to xenobiotic substances like pesticides during pregnancy increases risks associated with preterm birth, including a rise in cesarean section (C-section) deliveries and a decrease in fetal body weight. Preterm births occur when a fetus is born early or before 37 weeks of complete gestation. Premature births can result in chronic (long-term) illnesses among infants from lack of proper organ development and even death. Birth and reproductive complications are increasingly common among individuals exposed to environmental toxicants, like pesticides. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports the preterm birth rate is increasing annually. Therefore, studies like this can help government and health officials safeguard human health by assessing adverse effects following prevalent chemical exposure. The study notes, “To the best of our knowledge, this was a pioneering study, and it may help to increase our knowledge with regard to xenobiotic exposure in biological systems and the need for stringent guidelines for agricultural use of pesticides.” The study examines the association between the transfer of xenobiotics (foreign synthetic substances like pesticides) from mother to fetus. Transferal of these toxic substances can result in biological and chemical changes (i.e., genotoxicity […]

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Persistent Organic Pollutants, including Banned Pesticides, Remain Present in all Fetal Organs Regardless of Maternal Chemical Contamination

Thursday, September 16th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, September 16, 2021) A study published in Chemosphere finds persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), are present in the serum and placenta of pregnant mothers, as well as multiple fetal organs. Many studies indicate prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental toxicants increases susceptibility to diseases, from learning and developmental disabilities to cancer. However, this study is one of the first to demonstrate the presence of chemical toxicants in fetal tissue that are not present in maternal serum or placental samples. Prenatal development is one of the most vulnerable periods of exposure when the fetus is most susceptible to the harmful effects of chemical contaminants. Therefore, studies like these help government and health officials better identify fetal exposure contaminants and subsequent health concerns otherwise missed by current chemical monitoring methods. The researchers note, “These findings call for further evaluation of the current matrices used to estimate fetal exposure and establish a possible correction factor for a more accurate assessment of exposure in utero. We disclose the full data set on individual exposure concentrations to assist in building in silico models for prediction of human fetal exposure to chemicals.” Several studies associate early-life exposure to toxic chemicals […]

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Study Finds Recently Banned, Common Insecticide Promotes Obesity Development, and Related Illnesses

Thursday, September 2nd, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, September 2, 2021) A McMaster University (Canada) study demonstrates exposure to the recently banned, commonly used insecticide chlorpyrifos promotes obesity development, even at low doses. Obesity generally occurs following a caloric imbalance between food intake, absorption, and energy expenditure. Although various factors can promote obesity, researchers suggest environmental toxicants like chlorpyrifos play a role in obesity development through protein/enzyme suppression. According to the Center for Disease Control, 42 percent of the U.S. population is obese and at risk for type two diabetes, cardiovascular (heart) disease, stroke, several cancers, and other critical health issues. Therefore, research like this highlights the significance of investigating how toxic chemical exposure can impact health to prevent adverse disease outcomes. Researchers note, “These studies suggest that the effects of environmental toxicants on the development of obesity may have been underestimated as all studies to date have been conducted in mice housed at RT [room temperature]. Future studies examining the mechanisms driving reductions in β-AR [beta adrenergic receptors] signaling and whether there are associations between BAT [brown adipose tissue] metabolic activity and CPF [chlorpyrifos] in humans will be important.” Several environmental pollutants have links to obesity development via the effects on gut health, endocrine (hormone) and metabolic system, […]

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Study Identifies the Presence of Organochlorine Pesticides among South China Sea Coral Reefs

Thursday, August 12th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2021) A recent study published in Chemosphere identifies the concentration, consequences, and potential sources of 22 organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) among corals in the South China Sea (SCS) for the first time. SCS corals exhibit a higher affinity toward bioaccumulation of OCPs, which are legacy persistent organic pollutants (POPs) under the Stockholm Convention—a global treaty to eliminate POPs. The study finds the distribution of OCPs in coral tissue matches that of the surrounding oceanic air samples. Hence, atmospheric concentrations of OCPs—influenced by continental air masses—migrate from the atmosphere to seawater through gas exchange. Coral reefs are one of the largest ecosystems in the ocean, sustaining marine biodiversity and providing many goods and services. However, living coral populations are rapidly declining due to ocean acidification, oceanic warming, habitat destruction, and pollution from human activity across the globe. From rare corals off the coast of Florida to well-established hard corals in the Great Barrier Reef, these communal organisms are sensitive to various environmental stressors that threaten biodiversity. Although several studies demonstrate the volatile, toxic nature of POPs, much less research evaluates the impact POPs have on biodiversity over time. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one million species of plants and […]

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Women’s Exposure to Environmental Pollutants Prompts Infertility and Low Egg Count

Thursday, June 10th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2021) Exposure to toxic chemicals decreases egg count and increases infertility risk among women, according to a study published in Environment International. Since 2014, U.S. fertility rates have been decreasing, with many attributing the decline to older age pregnancies. However, several findings demonstrate that exposure to environmental pollutants, like persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from the industrial and agriculture industry, contributes to a decline in fertility rates. Scientists and health officials already associate exposure to POPs, like pesticides, with adverse impacts on male fertility, including reduced sperm count, quality, and abnormal sperm development. Therefore, it is essential to understand how exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment affects reproductive success, especially among women who can transfer contaminants to the fetus via the umbilical cord. The researchers note that these findings should urge government and health officials to reexamine chemical safety concerning reproductive health, and “strongly encourage [them] to study mechanisms behind POP-associated infertility in women in more detail.” Researchers examined ovarian egg reserve size in pregnant women directly by examining the density of follicles and immature eggs in ovarian tissue and indirectly via serum anti-MĂĽllerian hormone (AMH). Using AMH serum samples, researchers assessed concentration levels of 31 POPs: nine organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), ten polychlorinated […]

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Exposure to Certain Pesticides Increase the Risk of Thyroid Cancer

Thursday, May 27th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, May 27, 2021) Research by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) finds exposure to lindane and metalaxyl pesticides heightens thyroid cancer risk. Both incidents of non-aggressive thyroid tumors and advanced-stage thyroid cancer are on the rise. However, researchers speculate that environmental pollutants, such as pesticides, may contribute to this increase, especially considering the pervasiveness of pesticide exposure among the general population. Globally, cancer is one of the leading causes of death, with over 8 million people succumbing to the disease every year. Notably, the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC) predicts new cancer cases to rise 67.4% by 2030. Various environmental pollutants like pesticides have endocrine (hormone) disruption effects that promote higher instances of thyroid and reproductive cancers. Therefore, studies like these highlight the importance of understanding how pesticide use can increase the risk of latent diseases (e.g., cancers), which do not readily develop upon initial exposure. The researchers state, “More work is needed to understand the potential role of these chemicals in thyroid carcinogenesis.” The European Union and endocrine disruptor expert (deceased) Theo Colborn, Ph.D., classify more than 55 pesticide active ingredients as endocrine disruptors (EDs), including chemicals in household products like detergents, disinfectants, plastics, and pesticides. Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotics (i.e., toxic chemical substances foreign […]

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Breakdown Products (Metabolites) from Pesticides May Be More Toxic than Parent Compound, Study Finds

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2021) Nearly half of all breakdown products (transformation products) from four common-use environmental pesticides produce stronger endocrine (hormone) disrupting (ED) effects than the parent compound, according to new research published in Environment International. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts—from chemicals in plastics to cosmetic/personal care products—are commonly present in water bodies, food commodities, and human blood/urine samples. These toxicants can alter hormone metabolism, producing endocrine-disrupting effects that put the health of animals, humans, and the environment at risk. Many ecological and health risk assessments for pesticides focus on the effects of parent chemical compound products, overlooking the potential impacts of transformation products (TPs). Therefore, studies like these highlight the need to assess the implications of TPs to safeguard human, animal, and environmental health. The researchers note, “Since an increasing number of pesticide TPs have been detected in various environmental media, a more comprehensive understanding of the ecological risk of pesticide TPs is imperative for risk assessments more extensively and regulatory policy-making on pesticide restriction in the future.” Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotics (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem), including pesticides, bisphenols, phthalates, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and heavy metals. Past research demonstrates exposure […]

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Grandmother’s Exposure to DDT Increases Granddaughters’ Breast Cancer and Cardiometabolic Disorder Risk

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2021) Past maternal exposure to the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) during pregnancy can increase the risk of breast cancer and cardiometabolic disorders (e.g., heart disease, obesity, diabetes) up to three successive generations, according to a new study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Although previous studies highlight early life or in utero exposure to DDT increasing breast cancer risk later in life, this study is the first to note generational effects on grandchildren’s health. DDT continues to adversely affect the health of the U.S. population, nearly 50 years after its ban. However, this ban is not global, as many countries still use or manufacture the chemical compound. Furthermore, residues of DDT metabolite, DDE, continue to readily contaminate food and water worldwide. Therefore, studies like these highlight the need to investigate how first-generation pesticide exposure can impact future generational health in order to prevent adverse health outcomes, especially during sensitive developmental periods (i.e., in utero, infancy/childhood). The study researchers note, “Discovery of actionable biomarkers of response to ancestral environmental exposures in young women may provide opportunities for breast cancer prevention.” To assess the association between multi-generational health risks and chemical exposure, researchers used the Public Health Institute’s Child […]

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EPA Proposes Cancellation of Highly Toxic Wood Preservative Pentachlorophenol (“Penta”)

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, March 9, 2021) Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced an interim decision to cancel of one of the most hazardous pesticides still used in the United States, pentachlorophenol (penta). Although long overdue, health advocates are hailing the agency’s action, taken due to significant risks to human health, the availability of alternatives, and the uncertain future of penta production. Many advocates hope that EPA’s announcement is the start of a pivot to science-based decision-making in the best interest of health and the environment, not the pockets of pesticide industry executives. Cancellation of this toxic chemical will bring  the U.S. into conformance with the Stockholm Convention, an international treaty to ban persistent organic pollutants (POPs) joined by over 150 countries that was never ratified by the U.S. “This has been a long time coming,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “After decades of scientific reports, lawsuits, regulatory comments, and an international ban, we’re glad EPA finally acknowledged the intrinsic dangers posed by continuing penta’s registration. We urge the agency expedite its slow cancellation timeline so that we can finally eliminate this unnecessary pollutant.” Produced for its ability to preserve wood through pressure treatment, penta has been […]

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Aggressive Cancer in Sea Lions Linked to Ocean Pollution and Herpesvirus Precursor, Implications for Human Health

Thursday, February 11th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2021) California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) are experiencing high rates of urogenital carcinoma (UGC) cancer incidences from the combined effect of toxic “legacy” pesticides like DDT and the viral infection Otarine herpesvirus-1 (OtHV1), according to a new study published in Frontiers in Marine Science. Previous research documents the role herpesvirus infection, genotype, and organochlorine pesticides play in sea lion cancer development. However, synergism (collaboration) between viral infection and toxic chemical exposure increases cancer development odds. Pollution of the oceans with toxic chemicals lacks adequate regulation, is widespread and only getting worse. More than 80 percent of ocean pollution comes from land-based, anthropological activities. A recent study published in Annals of Public Health finds toxic chemicals from pesticides, heavy metals, plastics, and other sources readily contaminate the ocean, especially near coastal regions where chemical inputs occur in higher concentrations. Globally, pollution has major disease implications, causing the deaths of over nine million people annually. Therefore, it is essential to understand the co-effects of ocean pollution and diseases to protect human health. Authors of the study state, “This study has implications for human health, as virally associated cancer occurs in humans, and likelihood of cancer development could similarly be increased by exposure to environmental […]

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Persistent Organic Pollutants like Organochlorine Pesticides Pose Health Risk to Rare Giant Panda Subspecies

Thursday, January 28th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2021) Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)—including banned pesticides—present a health risk to the endangered Qinling Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca qinlingensis), the rarest subspecies of giant pandas, according to a new Chinese study published in Environmental Pollution. Organochlorine compounds (OCs), such as organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are well-known persistent organic pollutants. They were banned by the Stockholm Convention treaty in 2001 and are primary pollutants of concern (UNEP, 2009) because of their persistence, toxicity, and adverse effects on environmental and biological health. These pollutants have a global distribution, with evaporation and precipitation facilitating long-range atmospheric transport, deposition, and bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in the environment. The U.S. was a signatory to the treaty, but U.S. Senate never ratified it, relegating U.S. officials to observer status. Although various studies demonstrate the volatile, toxic nature of POPs, much less research evaluates the impact POPs have on biodiversity over time. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one million species of plants and animals at risk. With the increasing rate of biodiversity loss, advocates say it is essential for government agencies to research how previous and ongoing use of POPs can impact present-day species. Likewise, collaborative, […]

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Take Action by Sept. 13: Tell Canada to Ban Horrifically Hazardous Wood Preservative Pentachlorophenol

Tuesday, September 8th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2020) Canada should be in accordance with international treaty to eliminate persistent pollutants.  Canada is considering the elimination of one of the worst persistent pollutants—pentachlorophenol (penta)—that dot our landscape in utility poles and railroad ties. This wood preservative—a cancer-causing chemical with dioxin, furans, and hexachlorobenzene that causes health and environmental degradation—has no place in society as we struggle with shared global challenges of public and worker health threats, the climate crisis, and biodiversity decline. We have a chance to urge Canada to move ahead with a pentachlorophenol ban, joining with Mexico to show leadership in the protection of health and the environment—something the U.S. has not done. Tell Canada to ban pentachlorophenol. Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) is accepting comments on a proposal to ban the all uses of penta in Canada. Comments are due September 13. Canada is a signatory to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, which voted 90-2 to ban penta in 2015. The United States is not a signatory to the Stockholm Convention and still allows the use of penta on utility poles and other “wood that is subject to decay or insect infestation, including supporting structures in contact with […]

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Arctic Glaciers Entrap Pesticides and Other Environmental Pollutants from Global Drift and Release Hazardous Chemicals as They Melt from Global Warming

Thursday, August 20th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, August 20, 2020) Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including banned and current-use pesticides are present in snow and ice on top of Arctic glaciers, according to the study, “Atmospheric Deposition of Organochlorine Pesticides and Industrial Compounds to Seasonal Surface Snow at Four Glacier Sites on Svalbard, 2013–2014,” published in Environmental Science & Technology. Past research finds that air contaminated with these environmentally bioaccumulative, toxic chemicals drift toward the poles, becoming entrapped in ice under the accumulating snowfall. As the global climate continues to rise and the climate crisis worsens, studies like this become significant, as glaciers encapsulating these toxic chemicals are melting. Upon melting, some chemicals can volatize back into the atmosphere releasing toxicants into air and aquatic systems, with the ensuing consequences. Although this research demonstrates that specific computer programs can track the trajectory of chemically contaminated air parcels with practical precision, it falls to global leaders to curtail the continued manufacturing of these chemical pollutants. [For related pieces, see Silent Snow: The unimaginable impact of toxic chemical use and DDT in Glacial Melt Puts Alaskan Communities at Risk.] Countless scientists consider Arctic environments to be “pristine,” void of direct chemical inputs from pesticides and other POPs. However, the Arctic has become a sink for […]

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Implications for Human Health: Pesticides and Other Environmental Contaminants Alter Gut Microbiome

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 30, 2020) A review of scientific literature on the toxic effect of environmental contaminants—including pesticides—published in the journal Toxicological Science, “The Impact of Environmental Chemicals on the Gut Microbiome,” associates these chemicals to changes in the gut microbiome and other adverse health implications. The review, by researchers at the University of Illinois, looks at how environmental contaminants adversely effects and reinforce chemical disruption of the gut microbiome. It highlights the importance of evaluating how environmental contaminants, like pesticides, impact body regulation by gut microbiota. The study has significant implications for considerations that should be, but are not currently, a part of pesticide review and registration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Gut microbiota plays a crucial role in lifelong digestion, immune, and central nervous system regulation, as wells as other bodily functions. Through the gut biome, pesticide exposure can enhance or exacerbate, the adverse effects of additional environmental toxicants on the body. Since the gut microbiome shapes metabolism, it can mediate some toxic effects of environmental chemicals. However, with prolonged exposure to various environmental contaminants, critical chemical-induced changes may occur in the gut microbes, influencing adverse health outcomes. Karen Chiu, Ph.D., a graduate research fellow at the […]

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