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Study Finds High Levels of Pesticide Exposure among Teenage Girls in California’s Salinas Valley

Friday, April 26th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2019) Research by the youth participatory action team of the CHAMACOS of the Salinas Evaluating Chemicals in Homes and Agriculture (COSECHA) reveals that teenagers in the Salinas Valley, California are routinely exposed to concerning levels of multiple toxic pesticides, several of them known endocrine disruptors. In an interview with Kion News, COSECHA research director Kimberly Parra remarked that the study is especially important because teenagers are in a stage of rapid reproductive development. As the study authors emphasize, it is their developmental stage that makes teenagers more vulnerable to the effects of endocrine disrupting pesticides, with potentially devastating consequences for lifelong health. The COSECHA study quantifies exposure to 72 pesticides, captured through volatile-trapping silicone wristbands, across 97 teenage girls living in various areas of the Salinas Valley region. Of the 72 pesticides analyzed, authors report that subjects are exposed to as many as 20 and an average of 8 pesticides over one week of routine indoor and outdoor activity. Given the well-documented dangers of pesticide co-exposures, these multiple-exposure findings are particularly concerning. Ranking the highest for prevalence among the studied pesticides is fipronil sulfide, a breakdown product of the insecticide fipronil, detected in 86.6% of the analyzed wristbands. […]

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Focus on Pesticide Bans Continues in U.S. and EU, While Toxic Pesticide Use Continues

Monday, April 8th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, April 8, 2019) Officials in Europe and the U.S. focus on banning problem pesticides, raising concerns about their replacements in the face of pesticide-intensive management strategies, while organic advocates call for a systems change in land management. In reference to widespread community bans of Roundup/glyphosate, Cary Gillam, author of Whitewash, told last year’s Beyond Pesticides’ Forum, “Glyphosate is the poster child for the bigger pesticide problem.” She continues, “If it goes away tomorrow, we are not okay.” Because of this, Beyond Pesticides has strategically sought to transform our country’s approach to pest management, both agricultural and residential/structural, by eliminating a reliance on pesticides and advancing organic management practices that do not rely on toxic inputs. This Daily News Blog post offers updates on progress in the European Union (EU), in the U.S. Congress, and in communities and sates nationwide. The EU is poised to ban clorothalanil, a commonly used — and highly toxic — organochlorine fungicide, The Guardian reported, in mid-to-late May 2019. After a review by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), EU states voted to approve a ban. EFSA identified as a chief safety concern the possibility that breakdown products (metabolites) of the compound may cause damage […]

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Another Study Links Glyphosate to Cancer

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, March 26, 2019) In a study investigating the carcinogenic effects of pesticide exposure by analyzing data on 316,270 farmers and farmworkers in the U.S., Norway, and France, researchers have identified elevated risk for non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and some subtypes, linking glyphosate and large B-cell lymphoma. Other pesticides linked to the disease include the pyrethroid deltamethrin and chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma; and terbufos and NHL overall. Researchers also found “inverse associations of NHL overall with the broader groups of organochlorine insecticides and phenoxy herbicides, after adjusting for exposure to other pesticides”; such inverse associations were not found with active ingredients within these groups. The research underscores how complex the science of pesticide impacts on human health, and on cancer incidence, can be. To wit: in evaluating 14 different pesticide categories and 33 individual, active chemical ingredients, Maria E. Leon, et al., conclude that associations of pesticides with the development of NHL appear to be (NHL) subtype- and chemical-specific. Published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in mid-March, the study, “Pesticide use and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoid malignancies in agricultural cohorts from France, Norway and the USA: a pooled analysis from the AGRICOH consortium,” uses data from three large cohort […]

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$340 Billion in Annual Disease-Related Costs Associated with Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

Friday, March 1st, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2019) The costs of pesticide use extend far beyond the invoices farmers pay for purchase of the chemicals to use on their crops. The real costs related to pesticide use and exposure include those of health care, lost productivity and income, and environmental damage (loss of environmental services and biodiversity; compromised air, water, and soil quality). There has been relatively little research focused on those real and extensive costs; this Daily News Blog turns its attention to several that have made the attempt. January 2019 saw the publication of a new book, Sicker Fatter Poorer: The Urgent Threat of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals to Our Health and Future … and What We Can Do About It, by Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, which examines how some chemicals — including organophosphate and organochlorine pesticides — disrupt human endocrine (hormonal) function, and damage health, sometimes irreparably. The book further investigates the economic costs of associated diseases and other health problems to the U.S. economy — on the order of 2.3% of GDP (gross domestic product), or $340 billion, annually. As Dr. Trasande notes, “The reality is that policy predicts exposure, exposure predicts disease and disease ultimately costs our economy.” Dr. Trasande is […]

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Acute Pesticide Incidents May Lead to Loss of Smell

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, January, 23, 2019) Individuals that have been acutely poisoned by pesticides at some time in their life may be more likely to lose their sense of smell, according to a recent study published in Environmental Health Perspectives.  Researchers focused on the effect of high pesticide exposure events (HPEE), such as a pesticide spill or other incident, on a farmers’ ability to smell later in life. This is the first study to indicate pesticide exposure may result in olfactory impairment. Farmers from Iowa and North Carolina enrolled in an ongoing U.S. Agricultural Health Study have been asked about their pesticide use roughly every 5 to 6 years since 1993. In the most recent survey, taken from 2013-2015, farmers were asked additional questions about HPEE in their lifetime and whether they had a significantly decreased or impaired sense of smell. “Studying farmers gives us more reliable data on pesticide exposures than if we had studied the general population,” says Honglei Chen, MD, PhD, lead author and professor of epidemiology at Michigan State University in a press release. “Because they use pesticides more and it’s part of their job, they’re more likely to remember what pesticides they used and in cases […]

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Cardiovascular Disease Linked to Pesticide Exposure

Monday, December 17th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, December 17, 2018) Cardiovascular disease is a major cause of poor health and mortality across the world. Much is known about congenital and behavioral contributors to the disease, yet to date, little research has focused on potential environmental factors, including the possible contribution to cardiovascular disease (CVD) of exposures to toxic chemicals in the workplace. A recent study of CVD incidence among Hispanic and Latino workers, by Catherine Bulka, PhD, et al., has evaluated associations of self-reported exposures to organic solvents, metals, and pesticides with CVD. The study was published in the journal Heart on December 11, 2018, and is first to evaluate the role of chemical exposures in the workplace in the incidence of CVD in this demographic sector. As do many scientific investigations, this one points to a need for further study of the links that emerged between such exposures and compromised cardiovascular health. In an editorial in that same issue of Heart, commenting on the study, Dr. Karin Broberg of the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, noted that “exposure to metals and pesticides is common worldwide, and this study highlights the need to better understand the risks that these exposures cause, and to limit exposure in the […]

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DDT in Glacial Melt Puts Alaskan Communities at Risk

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, December 11, 2018) Meltwater and runoff from Alaskan glaciers contain detectable levels of organochlorine pesticides that bioconcentrate in fish and put individuals at risk, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Maine (UMaine). DDT, lindane, and other organochlorines have been detected throughout the world, even in natural areas thought to be untouched, and pristine. As UMaine scientists show, the atmospheric transport and ubiquitous deposition of these pesticides continues to pose risks to U.S. residents long after regulations banned their use. Although most of the highly toxic class of organochlorine pesticides like DDT were banned in the early 1970s, some chemicals retained certain uses. Lindane, for example, had its pest management uses phased out gradually until 2007, but is still allowed today as a scabies and lice shampoo. While use of these pesticides has declined in the U.S., much of the developing world, including many Asian countries, such as China, India, and North Korea, still report use. This results in atmospheric transport of the pesticides, and relevant to the UMaine research, increases the likelihood that the chemicals will eventually be deposited onto Alaskan glaciers through snow or rain. The UMaine research team investigated the amount of […]

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Liver and Kidney Damage Tied to Exposure to the Organophosate Insecticide Malathion

Friday, November 9th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, November 9, 2018) A Tunisian study (published in January 2018) on the effects in pre-pubertal mice of exposure to malathion — an organophosphate pesticide first registered for use in the U.S. in 1956 — demonstrates significant distortion of liver and kidney biochemistry and function in the animals. Deleterious effects include compromise of feeding ability, metabolism performance, neurologic deficits, reduction of overall body weight, and simultaneous increases in the weights of livers and kidneys, with structural anomalies and lesions in those organs. Organophosphates (OPs) have raised alarm bells for years. Some, such as chlorpyrifos and diazinon, have had their registrations cancelled for household uses because of the extreme health risks to children, but agricultural, golf course, and “public health” (mosquito control) uses remain commercially available and in use. Recently, Beyond Pesticides reported on research whose investigators support — and called publicly for — a worldwide ban on the compounds because of the serious health and environmental risks they pose, particularly for children. Beyond Pesticides has written extensively on OP pesticides, including malathion and chlorpyrifos. Both are used widely in agriculture. Chlorpyrifos has been the subject of quite a ping-pong match in recent years: a scheduled ban by the Environmental Protection […]

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Management of Pesticide Waste a Global Problem

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2018) The unsustainable life cycle management of pesticides during the past seven decades has created huge stockpiles of these (and other toxic) chemicals across much of the globe, including Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. The journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research has published a special series of articles and reports from the International HCH & Pesticides Association (IHPA), titled “The legacy of pesticides and POPs stockpiles — a threat to health and the environment.” Stockpiles have accumulated because some products have been banned for health or environmental reasons, leaving stocks (aka waste) that are often stored inadequately, and which deteriorate and migrate to contaminate the environment and put people at risk. Those affected are very often in poor, rural communities that may be unaware of the threat in their midst. Beyond Pesticides covered this “chemical time bomb” problem in 2004 and again nearly a decade ago. The special issue of Environmental Science and Pollution Research responds to multiple fronts on this problem of accumulation and storage of toxic compounds, identifying the two largest issues as: (1) the stockpile of some 4–7 million tons of hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) waste from lindane production; and the 240,000 […]

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Organochlorine Pesticide Exposures in the Womb Linked to Poorer Lung Function in Childhood

Thursday, September 20th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, September 20, 2018) Babies exposed to higher levels of organochlorine compounds in the womb go on to have worse lung function in childhood, according to new research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress. Previous studies have found a link between low lung function in early adulthood and respiratory, cardiovascular, and metabolic issues in later life. Beyond Pesticides has covered in its Daily News studies on a range of adverse effects, including autism in children, caused by organochlorine pesticide exposure, which bioaccumulates in the environment and the human body. Organochlorine compounds, which include the pesticide DDT, as well as electrical insulators and other industrial products, are now banned in most parts of the world. However, because they degrade very slowly, they are still present in the environment and in foods. Previous research has suggests links between exposure to these chemicals in the womb and parents reporting childhood respiratory diseases such as wheezing, asthma, and chest infections. The new study is the first to show a link with objective measures of lung strength and capacity in relation to low-level exposure to these chemicals. Organochlorine compounds can disrupt the hormone system and have been linked to a wide range of […]

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Military Base Has Legacy of Pesticide and Other Toxic Chemical Exposure and Harm

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2018) “‘Don’t get pregnant at George Air Force Base’” was the advice imparted from one female Air Force member to another in 1975 at that base, located 100+ miles north of San Diego and used as an active military site from 1941–1992. From the start of their service at George AFB, both parties to this conversation came to be familiar with the shared horror stories of repeated infections, vaginal bleeding, ovarian cysts, uterine tumors, birth defects, and miscarriages among female Air Force members at the site. Many women who served at George AFB in the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s suffered, but did not know what was causing, such health issues, which were frequent enough that even base doctors would sometimes privately warn women off of getting pregnant while serving there. Among the many contaminants found at George AFB and other military sites are organochlorine-based pesticides (OCPs), such as DDT, dieldrin/aldrin, heptachlor, lindane, endrin, chlordane, mirex, toxaphene, hexachlorobenzene, chlordane, and others. (A comprehensive list of OCPs is available here.) Most of these compounds were used on military bases for decades for vegetation control, as building pesticides or fumigants, or for personal pesticide treatments for lice and scabies, and […]

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Mothers with High Exposure to DDT More Likely to Have Children with Autism, Study Finds

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2018) Mothers with high levels of DDT’s major metabolite, DDE, are more likely to have their children diagnosed with autism, according to a study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry this month. Though this study links autism to long-banned DDT, it raises significant concerns about legacy contamination from this chemical, which remains ubiquitous in the environment and in human bodies. With an increasing number of studies linking autism and other developmental disabilities to pesticides, the need to transition to safer, organic methods of farming is now more important than ever before. The study, Association of Maternal Insecticide Levels With Autism in Offspring From a National Birth Cohort, measured maternal serum levels of Finish women during early pregnancy whose children were born between 1987 and 2005. Specimens were analyzed for DDE as well as PCB contamination. Mothers with DDE at the highest 75% threshold reportedly had a 132% (1.32x odds ratio) increased risk of having a children diagnosed with autism after adjusting for confounders such as age and history of psychiatric disorders. Moms above the 75th percentile had their chances of a child’s autism diagnosis increase by 221% (2.21x odds ratio). The study found no connection […]

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Research Shows Common Insecticides Harm Songbird Migration, Raises Concerns of a New Silent Spring

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, November 15, 2017) Songbirds exposed to widely used insecticides fail to properly orient themselves for migration, according to a study published by Canadian scientists in Scientific Reports. With the organophosphate chlorpyrifos and the neonicotinoid imidacloprid applied to millions of acres of farmland throughout North America, this new research adds weight to arguments that pesticides are a likely cause in the decline of migratory bird populations. “Studies on the risks of neonicotinoids have often focused on bees that have been experiencing population declines. However, it is not just bees that are being affected by these insecticides,” said Christy Morrissey, PhD, biology professor at the University of Saskatchewan. Researchers captured 57 white crowned sparrows in northern Canada, and held them in an outdoor pen for roughly two weeks, during which time all the birds either gained or maintained their weight. The songbirds were then split into three groups, one exposed to imidacloprid, another to chlorpyrifos, and the last untreated and acting as a control. The imidacloprid and chlorpyrifos exposed groups were each further separated by exposing a portion to the insecticide at 10% of the lethal dose that would kill 50% of a given population (LD50), and another to 25% […]

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Pesticide-Induced Autism Risk Reduced with Important Vitamin

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2017) Children whose mothers took folic acid while pregnant had a significantly lower risk of developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) even when their mothers were exposed to household or agricultural pesticides. Researchers at the University of California, Davis found that taking folic acid during the window around conception, reduced the risk of pesticide-induced autism. In the study, “Combined Prenatal Pesticide Exposure and Folic Acid Intake in Relation to Autism Spectrum Disorder,” children whose mothers took 800 or more micrograms of folic acid (the amount in most prenatal vitamins) had a significantly lower risk of developing autism spectrum disorder, even when their mothers were exposed to household or agricultural pesticides that are associated with increased risk. The study used data from the Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment (CHARGE) study, where researchers looked at 296 children between 2 and 5 who had been diagnosed with ASD and 220 who had developed typically. Mothers were interviewed about their household pesticide exposure during pregnancy, as well as their folic acid and B vitamin intake. The team also linked data from California Pesticide Use reports, which provided important details about agricultural spraying, with the mothers’ addresses. The results […]

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Farmers’ Greater Risk of Diabetes Linked to Pesticide Exposure

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, September, 2017) A recently released report, Gallup-Sharecare State of Well-Being: The Face of Diabetes in the United States, looks at high diabetes rates across various U.S. demographic groups, including those in farming. People working in the transportation sector registered the highest incidence of diagnosed diabetes at 10.6%. But those working as farmers and fishermen came in second, with 8.5% reporting a diagnosis of the disease. Based on a self-reporting survey, The Face of Diabetes in the United States did not differentiate between Type 1 diabetes (which typically manifests in childhood or young adulthood) and Type 2 diabetes (which commonly emerges in adulthood). It did, however, consider lifestyle risk factors that can influence development of each form of the disease. The “farmer and fisher” folks placed more-or-less in the mid-range among all occupations vis-Ă -vis several of the lifestyle factors that can impact development of the disease (smoking, diet, and obesity), and a bit higher in alcohol consumption, but in fact, reported more exercise than any other category of worker. These data points would seem to suggest that farmers would be at less risk than those in some other occupational categories. For instance, those working in “installation and repair” reported […]

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Bill to Ban Neurotoxic Chlorpyrifos Introduced in the U.S. Senate

Thursday, July 27th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, July 27, 2017) Earlier this week U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced a bill that would ban use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos. The Protect Children, Farmers and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act, S. 1624, comes one week after an appeals court refused to require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make a decision over whether to ban the chemical. Removing this neurotoxic insecticide from the environment would significantly reduce health risks for children and farmworkers in underserved rural communities, build pressure to address all toxic organophosphates, and help push U.S. agriculture in a more sustainable direction. As with other organophosphate class chemicals, chlorpyrifos, first registered in 1965 by Dow Chemical, is derived from nerve agents used during World War 2. The chemical is linked to a range of negative health and environmental outcomes that warrant its prohibition. Children are at particular risk from the chemical due to their developing immune, organ, and nervous systems.  As with other organophosphate nerve agents, the chemical acts on the body’s nervous system, inhibiting the movement of neurotransmitters called cholinesterase. Chlorpyrifos chemically binds to the site where cholinesterase would in the body, preventing normal nerve impulse transmission. […]

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Pesticide Spills and Accidents Put Pesticide Applicators at Increased Risk for Prostate Cancer

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2017) Male pesticide applicators who experienced a pesticide spill or another related accident are more likely to harbor changes in their DNA associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, according to a recent paper published in the journal, Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis. While the relationship between pesticide exposure and prostate cancer is not new, this study adds to the growing body of evidence that high exposure to specific pesticides may lead to the development of prostate and other cancers. The analysis finds that after experiencing one of these exposure events, men are more likely to have higher DNA methylation of a gene linked with an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. DNA methylation is a form of gene regulation that, if disturbed, can result in gene expression changes that can cause cancer. The researchers used data from the ongoing Agricultural Health Study (AHS), which is a long-term cohort study evaluating cancer and other health outcomes of pesticides applicators and their spouses in North Carolina and Iowa. This paper, High pesticide exposure events and DNA methylation among pesticide applicators in the agricultural health study, analyzed a sample size of 596 male pesticide applicators who underwent three phases of […]

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New Study Shows Reduction of Persistent Pollutants in Breast Milk, Though Concerns Remain

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2016) Researchers at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Murdoch University recently released a study whose findings show that levels of pesticides in breast milk have dropped significantly over the past forty years, though some major concerns remain. Published in the international journal Chemosphere, the research shows a 42-fold decrease in levels of pesticides detected in breast milk, and ties the reduction to government efforts to prohibit persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Australia, which has lead to decreased exposure over time. Led by UWA’s internationally renowned human lactation researcher Emeritus Professor Peter Hartmann, Dr. Donna Geddes and Murdoch’s Associate Professor Robert Trengove, the study is a testament to the positive impact banning pesticides can have on the health of individuals, especially vulnerable populations like infants, but also shows that there is a long way to go before our bodies are void of any bioaccumulated toxic residues. Researchers often study breast milk because it can bioconcentrate, or accumulate, persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Multiple studies on breast milk have been performed throughout the years, many of them confirming the fact that common toxic chemicals, such as glyphosate and triclosan, build up in our bodies over time. Most […]

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Legacy Contaminants Found in Swallow Eggs around the Great Lakes

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2016) According to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), high concentrations of dioxins and furans have been detected in tree swallow eggs collected near several sites around the Great Lakes. Other chemicals detected include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which were at background levels. The study is part of efforts to clean up a toxic chemical legacy around the Great Lakes, and the researchers believe their results are critical to regulators to assess “bird or animal deformity or reproductive problems” The study, “Concentrations and spatial patterns of organic contaminants in tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) eggs at United States and binational Great Lakes Areas of Concern, 2010—2015,” used tree swallows to quantify current exposure to organic contaminants across all five Great Lakes including 59 sites within 27  Areas of Concern (AOCs)  and 10 nearby  locations. The Great Lakes Areas of Concern refers to a U.S.-Canada  Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement  (Annex 1 of the 2012 Protocol) that  defines AOCs as “geographic areas designated by the Parties where significant  impairment of beneficial uses  has occurred as a result of human activities at the local level.” An AOC is a location that has […]

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Banned Chemicals Linked to Increased Autism Risk

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, August 24, 2016) Researchers at Drexel University report that higher levels of some organochlorine compounds during pregnancy are associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID). The organochlorine compounds under study have long been banned in the U.S., and include pesticides like DDT, underscoring how pervasive and persistent these chemicals are, and their continued impact on human health. The research is reported in the study  Polychlorinated Biphenyl and Organochlorine Pesticide Concentrations in Maternal Mid-Pregnancy Serum Sam ples: Association with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability,  which examines whether prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) influences offspring risk of ASD and intellectual disability without autism (ID). According to the research, children born after being exposed to the highest levels of organochlorines during their mother’s pregnancy are roughly 80 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism when compared to individuals with the very lowest levels of these chemicals. The team looked at a population sample of 1,144 children born in Southern California between 2000 and 2003. Data was accrued from mothers who had enrolled in California’s Expanded Alphafetoprotein Prenatal Screening Program, which is dedicated to detecting birth defects during pregnancy. Participants’ children were […]

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Common Pesticide Exposure Alters Behavior of Fish and Amphibians

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2016) Exposure to common pesticides at levels often found in the environment can have subtle but significant impacts on the behavioral health of fish, amphibians and other aquatic invertebrates. According to researchers at Northern Arizona University, who analyzed data from nearly 40 experiments to reach their conclusion, fish and amphibians swam 35% slower and were 72% less active after pesticide exposure. Chemical Class Type Example Pesticides Carbamates Insecticide Carbaryl, Aldicarb Organochlorine Insecticide DDT, Endosulfan, Chlordane Organophosphates Insecticide Diazinon, Chlorpyrifos Organotins Biocide Tributyltin Phosphonoglycines Herbicide Glyphosate, Glufosinate Pyrethroids Insecticide Permethrin, Bifenthrin, Esfenvalerate Triazines Herbicide Atrazine, Simazine The study, published in Science of the Total Environment, found that the overall effect on aquatic wildlife varied based on the chemical class the animals encountered. While pyrethroids, carbamates, and organophosphates resulted in a significant decrease in swim speed, triazines and phosphonoglycines showed no overall effect. Pyrethroids, carbamates, organophosphates, organochlorines, and organotins decreased activity, while phosphonoglycines had no overall effect, and triazines actually increased activity. “I didn’t think that we would see [an effect] across such a wide range of pesticides so consistently, but we did,” said study co-author, Catherine Propper, PhD to KNAU, “and that leads to some concerns about […]

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Exposure to Pesticides Linked to ALS Risk

Monday, May 16th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2016) Pesticide exposure may increase the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a study entitled Association of Environmental Toxins With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which was  published in JAMA Neurology. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The study, which investigated a total of 122 persistent environmental pollutants, including organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), found that pesticide exposure increased ALS risk five-fold. Researchers conducting the study  looked at 156 patients with ALS and 128 without the disease. Participants were asked about occupational and residential exposure to environmental toxicants  and blood samples were taken to measure their concentrations. Researchers found that the organochlorine pesticides pentachlorobenzene and cis-chlordane increased ALS risk two-fold and nearly six-fold, respectively. This study does not prove that pesticides cause ALS, but it does build on an association suggested in previous research, study co-author Stephen Goutman, MD, told  HealthDay. Dr. Goutman recommends avoiding pesticides. This is especially wise for anyone with a family history of ALS, he added. The link between pesticide exposure and neurological damage has been studied extensively. In 2008, […]

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Pesticides Found in Turtles in Sequoia National Park

Friday, April 29th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, April 29, 2016) Traces of pesticides, including the long-banned organochlorine chemical DDT, have been found in Western pond turtles, insects, and soil sediment at Sequoia National Park, according to a study.  The study, entitled Organic contaminants in western pond turtles in remote habitat in California  and published in the journal Chemosphere, surveys a suite of 57 current- and historic-use pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the western pond turtle, along with their potential prey items and habitat. California study sites include Sequoia National Park, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, and Six Rivers National Forest, all of which are downstream of undeveloped watersheds and varied in distance from agricultural and urban pollution sources. Researchers found that organic pollutants are widespread in the western pond turtle, which has conservation status; that pesticides are prominent in Sequoia National Park, which is downwind of heavy agriculture; and that the legacy  pesticides and PCB concentrations indicate that bioaccumulation is occurring. Brian Todd, Ph.D., an associate professor of wildlife, fish, and conservation biology at University of California Davis, co-authored the study. Dr. Todd said controlling the flow of pesticides into national parks is pretty much impossible. “Sequoia National Park is very […]

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