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Exposure to Pesticides in the Womb Increases Risk Associated with Rare Eye Cancer Among Children

Thursday, September 29th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2022) A study published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health finds an association between retinoblastoma risk and prenatal exposure to pesticides. Retinoblastoma is a rare eye cancer, with over 200,000 cases in the U.S., most of which are children under the age of five. Despite occurring among offspring, this cancer is often not hereditary. Instead, a mutation in the RB1 gene during early development in the womb destabilizes and augments cell growth. Although the etiology or cause of childhood eye cancer involves the interaction of multiple components like lifestyle and genetics, emerging evidence indicates that environmental contaminants like pesticides (e.g., occupational exposures, air pollution, pesticides, solvents, diet, etc.) play a role in disease etiology. Pesticide contamination is widespread in all ecosystems, and chemical compounds can accumulate in human tissues resulting in chronic health effects. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Already, studies find low levels of pesticide exposure during pregnancy or childhood cause adverse health effects from metabolic disorders to mental and physical disabilities. While medical advancements in disease survival are more prominent nowadays, childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children. […]

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Pesticide Exposure Associated with Anemia and Blood Disorders in Farmworkers

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2022) A study published in the International Journal of English, Literature, and Social Science (IJELS) finds an association between pesticide exposure and anemia among female farmers in Indonesia. Anemia is an autoimmune blood disorder negatively affecting the number of red blood cells (RBCs) and subsequent oxygen distribution via available hemoglobin proteins in RBCs. Types of anemia include iron deficiency, pernicious (lack of vitamin B-12 absorption), aplastic (lack of RBC production), and hemolytic (RBC destruction). Although risk factors for anemia consist of age, genetics, lifestyle, and gender, environmental factors such as pesticide use and exposure contribute to disorder development. Pesticides can interfere with cells in the body, causing blood profile abnormalities that affect blood cell formation and immune system function. Anemia disproportionately impacts women and children across the globe, prevalent in over half a billion women. The disorder was more prevalent among pregnant individuals because of blood loss and iron deficiency, causing adverse reproductive outcomes among children. These outcomes include preterm delivery, low birth weight, and decreased iron stores, impairing cognitive and motor development. Considering research already demonstrates many chemicals (e.g., pesticides, heavy metals) can enter the bloodstream through ingestion, absorption through the eyes and skin, or inhalation, studies like […]

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With Global Disease Rates Rising, Do Pesticides Take Some of the Blame? Science Says, “Yes.”

Thursday, September 15th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 15, 2022) A review published in Scientific African finds pesticide exposure contributes to the increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Tanzania, reflecting implications for global health. There are four main NCDs, including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases, and endocrine-disrupting diseases like diabetes. These diseases have no bacterial, viral, or fungal causes, but are chronic diseases with risk factors like genetics, tobacco/alcohol use, physical activity, and diet, thus lacking transmission between people. However, research is now investigating the role environmental factors play in NCD risks, such as outdoor and indoor air pollution, exposure to chemicals, radiation, and occupation. Regardless of whether working together or separately, these risk factors contribute to NCDs and subsequent health conditions. Non-communicable diseases are on the rise, and the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies non-communicable diseases as the number one cause of death globally, affecting 41 million individuals. Moreover, WHO estimates NCD death rates to increase by 17 percent in the next decade, significantly surpassing deaths from communicable, maternal, perinatal, and nutritional diseases combined. Therefore, the report notes, “This review is informative to the policy, practices, and intervention towards the existing situation of pesticides in Tanzania. In addition, it calls for further investigation of the absence of data […]

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Ingestion of Real-World Pesticide Residues in Grain Threatens Bird Offspring More than Parents

Thursday, September 8th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2022) A study published in Environmental Pollution finds parental exposure to real-world, sublethal concentrations of pesticide residues on grains is a major contributor to unfavorable offspring development among foraging birds. Parents’ ingestion of grains with conventional pesticide residues, whether from contaminated or pesticide-treated seeds, results in chronic exposure that adversely affects offspring health, even at low doses. The adverse effects pesticides and other environmental pollutants have on birds are amply documented and researched. Although many studies evaluate acute or chronic health implications associated with pesticide exposure in a single generation, there is a lack of information on multi-generational impacts that can provide vital information on the fundamental survivability or fitness of bird species. Considering this study emphasizes parental exposure to environmental pollutants can have adverse consequences for future generations, it is necessary that future risk assessments for birds address these implications when implementing agricultural pesticide policies. The study notes, “[S]ublethal effects of such compounds [pesticides] on non-target species should be included in the regulation. Moreover, as agroecosystem pollution is not resulting only from pesticides, there is an urgent need to analyze cocktail effects, not only between molecules of pesticides but also between pesticides and other pollutants such as […]

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PFAS Rain? ‘Forever Chemicals’ Contaminate Global Water Resources

Wednesday, August 31st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 31, 2022) No rainwater on Earth is safe for consumption and use as per-, and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) readily contaminate the hydrological ecosystem (properties, distribution, and circulation of water), according to a study published in Environmental Science and Technology. This finding is concerning as it adds to research demonstrating chemical pollutants (e.g., pesticides, pharmaceuticals, PFAS, heavy metals, radioactive material, etc.) exceed the “planetary boundary” contamination and needs addressing. The Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University study, “Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity,” emphasizes that there are nine “planetary boundaries” related to climate change, biodiversity loss, the nitrogen cycle, the phosphorous cycle, stratospheric ozone depletion, ocean acidification, global freshwater use, changes/intensification of land use, atmospheric aerosol loading, and chemical pollution. When crossing these boundaries, the risk of generating large-scale abrupt or irreversible environmental changes increases. In fact, anthropogenic (human) activities are increasing global contamination levels past safe thresholds. Studies have already found that current human operations are quantifiable in almost all nine planetary boundaries and exceed the threshold for at least four out of the nine boundaries. Most recently, a 2022 report concludes that humanity exceeds planetary boundaries related to environmental pollutants and other “novel entities,” including plastics and pesticides. […]

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As Thyroid Cancer Cases Rise, Study Finds Pesticides Link

Friday, August 26th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2022) New research from a team in California finds one-third of pesticides it reviewed — including glyphosate, paraquat dichloride, and oxyfluorfen — to be associated with the development of thyroid cancer. Researchers investigated the links between exposure to pesticides — including 29 that cause DNA cell damage — and the risk of this cancer. The researchers also find that in all the single-pollutant models they employed, paraquat dichloride — a widely used herbicide — was linked to this cancer. In 2021, Beyond Pesticides covered research by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) that demonstrated that exposures to lindane and metalaxyl also cause heightened risk of thyroid cancer. These study findings add to the already considerable concern about pervasive pesticide exposure — not only among farmers and applicators, but also in the general population. It is worth noting that, in addition to elevated thyroid cancer risks, multiple pesticides can cause other health damage. Paraquat is also acutely toxic, and can cause longer-term reproductive, renal, and hepatic damage to humans; it is toxic to birds, fish, and other aquatic organisms, and slightly so to honeybees. Glyphosate, as Beyond Pesticides has written frequently, is carcinogenic, and is associated […]

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Researchers Determine Mechanism of DDT Link to Alzheimer’s, Informing Potential Treatments

Wednesday, August 24th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 24, 2022) New research is helping the medical community understand the mechanism through which exposure to the banned insecticide DDT increases risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, a team of researchers from Florida International University and Rutgers used multiple models to demonstrate the effects of DDT on the production of toxic proteins in the brain. The constant stream of new health risks regarding a chemical banned decades ago underlines the importance of a precautionary approach to pesticide regulation, particularly as red flags are already being raised about the connection between widely used weed killers like glyphosate and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. “The vast majority of research on the disease has been on genetics — and genetics are very important — but the genes that actually cause the disease are very rare,” says study coauthor Jason Richardson, PhD of Florida International University. “Environmental risk factors like exposure to DDT are modifiable. So, if we understand how DDT affects the brain, then perhaps we could target those mechanisms and help the people who have been highly exposed.” Previous research from Dr. Richardson found that DDT exposure increased risk of Alzheimer’s by four times. Scientists […]

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Parents’ Exposure to Pesticides Indicative of Childhood Cancer Risk among Offspring

Thursday, August 18th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 18, 2022) A study published in Environmental Research suggests occupational (work-related) exposure to pesticides among nonpregnant women and men may increase childhood cancer risk for offspring. Already, studies find low levels of pesticide exposure during pregnancy or childhood cause adverse health effects from metabolic disorders to mental and physical disabilities. However, few assess parental exposure’s impact on childhood disease risk outside critical development periods (e.g., pregnancy). Although medical advancements in disease survival are more prominent nowadays, childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children. Furthermore, childhood cancer survivors can suffer from chronic or long-term health complications that may be life-threatening. The etiology or cause of childhood cancer involves the interaction of multiple components like lifestyle and genetics. However, emerging evidence indicates that environmental contaminants like pesticides (e.g., occupational exposures, air pollution, pesticides, solvents, diet, etc.) play a role in disease etiology. Pesticide contamination is widespread in all ecosystems, and chemical compounds can accumulate in human tissues resulting in chronic health effects. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Moreover, several studies demonstrate an association between environmental or occupational pesticide exposure and the risk of childhood cancer. Considering maternal pesticide […]

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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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U.S. Exportation of Banned and Highly Restricted Pesticides Continues to Inflict Serious Harm

Friday, August 5th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 5, 2022) A terrible saga of environmental injustice — and of grieving couples who wanted children but could not have them — is getting new attention via the BBC’s (British Broadcasting Corporation’s) recent coverage of Di-bromochloropropane (DBCP) exposures and impacts on banana plantation workers in multiple Latin American countries. A significant number of those male workers became sterile, and many charge that their exposures to DBCP in the 1970s was responsible. A 1979 ban on uses of DBCP on the U.S. mainland by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not immediately stop manufacturers from exporting the toxic insecticide to (primarily) Central American countries, nor did it stop U.S. fruit companies operating there from using it. Beyond Pesticides wrote in 2020 about the damaging and what some call unethical practice of allowing corporate export of domestically banned pesticides — which practice continues in the U.S. This BBC investigative report comes on the heels of a piece in The Lancet, United States and United Nations pesticide policies: Environmental violence against the Yaqui indigenous nation, that catalogues the abuse of pesticide export policies on indigenous peoples. The piece finds: “The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) is a U.S. statute that allows “pesticides that […]

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Scientific Literature Review Again Connects Pesticides and Male Fertility Problems

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 3, 2022) A systematic review of scientific studies on pesticides and fertility finds exposure associated with lower semen quality, DNA fragmentation, and chromosomal abnormalities. Published in the journal Andrology, the review is yet another warning from a long string of researchers sounding the alarm over the connection between global fertility and toxic chemical exposure. With data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  indicating roughly 1 in 5 couples are unable to conceive after a year of trying, and trends continuing to slope downwards, it is critical that contributing factors be identified so that protective changes can be made.   After screening over 1,300 studies, researchers narrowed their review down to 64 papers assessing semen parameters and DNA integrity after pesticide exposure. Each study is analyzed for its design, the pesticide investigated,  the population studied, controls, and reproductive effects determined. Pesticides are evaluated for their impacts to sperm quality and DNA integrity based on their chemical class. Organochlorine insecticides, which are all banned but still persistent in soil, air, water, and food in the United States, include a range of impacts to sperm quality. Higher levels of DDT or its breakdown metabolite DDE are […]

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Two Common-Use Organophosphate Pesticides in Drinking Water Put Nearly Everyone at Cancer Risk

Thursday, July 28th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2022) A report published in Chemosphere finds organophosphate (OP) insecticides readily contaminate drinking water resources, threatening human, animal, and ecological health. OPs have a wide range of biological uses—from insecticides to flame retardants—that make these chemicals ubiquitous, significantly contributing to ecosystem contamination. These compounds have a global distribution, with evaporation and precipitation facilitating long-range atmospheric transport, deposition, and bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in the environment. OPs are highly toxic, and residues are consistently present in human and animal blood, urine, tissues, and milk. Considering 90 percent of Americans have at least one pesticide compound in their body, primarily stemming from dietary exposure, including food and drinking water, advocates maintain that current restrictions on their use must adequately detect and assess total chemical contaminants.  Water is the most abundant and crucial chemical compound on earth, essential to survival, and the main component of all living things. Less than three percent of that water is freshwater, and only a fraction of that freshwater is groundwater (30.1%) or surface water (0.3%) readily available for consumption. However, ubiquitous pesticide use threatens to reduce the amount of available freshwater as pesticide runoff, recharge, and improper disposal tends to contaminate adjacent waterways, like rivers, streams, lakes, or underground watersheds. With rivers and streams only accounting […]

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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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Banned Pesticides Still Present in the Environment Linked to Hearing Loss

Tuesday, July 19th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2022) Banned pesticides still persistent in the environment pose an increased risk of hearing impairment for U.S. adults, according to research published this month in Scientific Reports. Although regular use of DDT and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) no longer occurs in the United States, exposure to these persistent chemicals can still occur through a range of sources, including air, water, sediment, soil and food. As new science continues to find harmful health effects of older pesticides, advocates say new laws are needed to ensure long term hazards don’t arise from the more than 1,200 active ingredients currently registered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with little to no independent scientific oversight. Hearing loss affects nearly 40 million (~15%) American adults over age 18. While it is clear that common causes like aging and noise exposure can result in hearing loss, there has been increasing attention to the role environmental contaminants may be playing in hearing disorders. To explore any potential connection, researchers analyzed data from the long-running U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Blood serum levels of the organochlorine insecticides HCB, p, p’-DDE (a breakdown product of DDT), trans-nonachlor, and dieldrin were compared against audiometry […]

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Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Impair Juvenile Male Fertility Development and Threatens Future Reproductive Health

Thursday, July 14th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 14, 2022) A study published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology finds prepubescent exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including pesticides, impairs male reproduction through the interruption of testicular homeostasis and development of reproductive Leydig cells. Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotic (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem). Many reports demonstrate that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can adversely affect human, animal—and thus environmental—health by altering the natural hormones in the body responsible for conventional reproductive, physical, and mental development. Scientists and health officials already associate pesticide exposure with a decrease in male fertility, including reduced sperm count, quality, and abnormal sperm development. The presence of pesticides in the body has implications for human health, especially during vulnerable life stages, such as childhood, puberty, pregnancy, and old age. Therefore, it is essential to understand how exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment affects future reproductive success and health. The researchers note, “Recent studies revealed that exposures to EDCs during so-called critical windows of susceptibility (prenatal, prepubertal, pubertal, and aging periods) could disrupt healthy patterns of testes development and homeostasis, which can be demonstrated as an impaired testicular function later in life. However, much more work is needed to understand better the cellular […]

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Pesticides Exacerbate the Threats of Biodiversity Collapse and the Climate Emergency

Thursday, July 7th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 7, 2022) A review article published in the International Journal on Environmental Sciences highlights how pervasive pesticide exposure and climate change threaten global species biodiversity. Now more than ever, people are changing their sentiment toward sustainability, with two-thirds of consumers stating the importance of limiting climate change impacts and 88 percent supporting greater pollution reduction. The relationship between climate change and biodiversity—a “distinct but related issue”— is often overlooked in the regulation of the pesticide industry. Climate change and biodiversity loss are interdependent, and an adverse impact on one can bolster adverse effects on the other. Biodiversity is intricate and affects all environmental ecosystems—from oceans and freshwater to forests and soils; it encompasses all life forms on earth. Without biodiversity, food production, energy production, clean water, fertile soil, sustained air quality, and climate will suffer. 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 hold the pesticide industry accountable for the direct (i.e., excessive agrochemical use) and indirect (i.e., water pollution from run-off) impacts on ecosystems. The review notes, “The enormous use […]

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

Thursday, June 30th, 2022

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

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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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Highlighting the Connection Environmental Racism and the Agricultural Industry Through History

Thursday, June 9th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2022) A report from the Organic Center finds that people in U.S. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities endure a significant disproportionate risk of exposure to pesticides and subsequent harms. The report also contains a lesson plan that informs young activists on how to improve the food system. Many communities of color and low-socioeconomic backgrounds experience an unequal number of hazards, including nearby toxic waste plants, garbage dumps, and other sources of environmental pollution and odors that lower the quality of life. Therefore, these populations experience greater exposure to harmful chemicals and suffer from health outcomes that affect their ability to learn and work. Doctoral candidate at Northwestern University and author of the report and lesson plan, Jayson Maurice Porter, notes, “Urban planning and city policy considers certain people in certain communities more or less disposable and puts them in harm’s way, giving them an uneven burden of experiencing and dealing with things like pollutants.”  The father of environmental justice, Robert Bullard, Ph.D., defines environmental racism as any policy or practice that unequally affects or disadvantages individuals, groups, or communities based on their race. Dr. Bullard stated that, until the 1980s, environmentalism and pollution were separate. During the Jim […]

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DDT Still Harming Birds of Prey, 50 Years After Its Ban

Tuesday, May 31st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 31, 2022) Fifty years after the banning of DDT, the notorious insecticide is still harming iconic birds of prey along the California coastline. According to research published in Environmental Science and Technology, California condors and marine mammals along California’s coast are contaminated with several dozen different halogenated organic compounds (hazardous, often-chlorinated chemicals) related to DDT, chlordane, and other now-banned legacy chemicals. The findings highlight the incredible importance of addressing these original “forever chemicals,” and making certain that we do not continue to repeat the mistakes of the past with new and different, yet equally dangerous, chemistries. Between 1947 and 1971, the Montrose Chemical Corporation of California, the largest historical producer of DDT, released over 1,700 tons of DDT into the LA sewer system, which eventually made its way into the Pacific Ocean. During this time, several other companies discharged PCBs, leading to further chemical contamination of land and sediment. As recent as April 2021, scientists discovered 25,000 barrels likely containing DDT near Catalina Island along the southern California coast. These releases have resulted in serious environmental and health problems throughout the coastal food chain. Yet, as the present study shows, scientists are only beginning to understand the […]

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Neurotoxic Pesticides Disrupt Gut Function Linked to Parkinson’s Disease Development

Thursday, May 26th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2022) A study published in The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology finds environmental exposure to neurotoxic pesticides increases Parkinson’s Disease (PD) risk through gastrointestinal (GI) disruption. 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, this study suggests environmental pesticide exposure disrupts GI cells responsible for supporting the autonomic nervous system. Enteric glial cells (EGCs) are GI cells that play a critical role in the functional changes that accompany GI dysfunction, as this dysfunction is one of the earliest symptoms indicating the onset of PD. 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. Identifying early biomarkers of PD, such as pesticide-mediated toxicity on GI cells, is crucially important as symptoms intensify overtime, with no current cure for this fatal disease. While only […]

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Study of Dramatic Flying Insect Declines Reinforces Earlier Findings

Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2022) With public awareness of an ongoing ‘insect apocalypse’ growing, one of the first anecdotes people often note is how many fewer bugs are found splatted onto their car windshield than in the past. In a recent survey, conservation groups in Britain are finding evidence of insect declines in exactly that place, providing scientific backing for these concerning suspicions. Between 2004 and 2021, 58.5% fewer flying insects were squashed onto car license plates. “The results from the Bugs Matter study should shock and concern us all,” says Paul Hadaway, conservation director at Kent Wildlife Trust, which conducted the study alongside UK organization Buglife. “We are seeing declines in insects which reflect the enormous threats and loss of wildlife more broadly across the Country. These declines are happening at an alarming rate and without concerted action to address them we face a stark future. Insects and pollinators are fundamental to the health of our environment and rural economies.” The survey was conducted primarily through citizen science, utilizing the “Bugs Matter” mobile app, and a sampling grid, referred to as a ‘splatometer’ that is affixed to a car’s license plate. Data was retrieved from trips taken by citizen […]

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First Report of Environmental Pollutant Risk Among Tropical Mammals Across the Globe

Thursday, May 5th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2022) A report published in Biological Conservation finds environmental pollutants, including pesticides, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and particulate matter, adversely affect tropical terrestrial wildlife. Specifically, these contaminants can interact with one another, altering the chemical landscape of the ecosystem, and causing changes in the endocrine and microbiome systems of mammals. Since the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), global attention to the danger of pesticides has increased, with environmental agencies banning the use of legacy pesticides like organochlorines for their devastating toxic—sometimes lethal—effects. However, these chemicals can remain in the environment for decades and interact with various current-use pesticides, including organophosphates, neonicotinoids, and pyrethroids. Although many studies demonstrate that environmental pollution plays a significant role in premature deaths among humans, there is a lack of research on how environmental pollution directly affects tropical species mortality. Considering human and wildlife habitats tend to overlap, and chemical pollutants can drift from chemically treated areas, wildlife populations are more likely to experience similar health effects. With the number of chemicals in the ecosystem growing, studies like these highlight the need for pesticide policies that protect human health in addition to the integrity of the chemical landscapes accommodating wildlife. The researchers note, “Using […]

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