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Advocates Seek To Keep Organic on the Cutting Edge of Change for a Sustainable Future

Monday, April 1st, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2024) Comments are due 11:59 pm EDT, Wednesday, April 3. For the public comment period—deadline Wednesday, April 3—in the lead up to the National Organic Standard Board (NOSB) meeting, advocates have identified the following priority issues: Getting plastics our of organic; Removing endocrine disrupting nonylphenols (NPs) and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) iodine from dairy production and replace with available alternatives; and Continuing to improve the science supporting ongoing decisions of the NOSB. (See below for details and opportunity to submit comments on these with one click!) Previously, Beyond Pesticides has reported on three additional priority issues, including; Reject the petition to allow unspecified “compostable materials” in compost allowed in organic production; Eliminate nonorganic ingredients in processed organic foods as a part of the Board’s sunset review of allowed materials; and  Ensure that so-called “inert” ingredients in the products used in organic production meet the criteria in OFPA with an NOSB assessment.  (Please see the prior action on these issues and submit comments, if not done previously.) Beyond Pesticides asks the public to join in commenting on priority issues that protect health and the environment as part of the upcoming NOSB meeting. The NOSB is receiving written comments from the […]

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UNEP Initiative Aims to Tackle Petrochemical Pesticide Infiltration in Global Majority Nations

Tuesday, March 19th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, March 19, 2024) This month the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) announced the creation of a new initiative to combat the health and environmental impacts of toxic petrochemical pesticides in agriculture. Launched by seven countries—Ecuador, India, Kenya, Laos, Philippines, Uruguay, and Vietnam—the Financing Agrochemical Reduction and Management (FARM) Programme is a $379 million initiative that “will realign financial incentives to prevent the use of harmful inputs in food production.” This international cohort aims to phase out the use of “toxic persistent organic pollutants (POPs)—chemicals which don’t break down in the environment and contaminate air, water, and food.” The work of FARM echoes Beyond Pesticides call for the banning of toxic petrochemical pesticides by 2032. The program will help countries implement their commitment to eliminate POPs and plastics in agriculture. As it is described, “FARM…will support government regulation to phase out POPs-containing agrochemicals and agri-plastics and adopt better management standards, while strengthening banking, insurance and investment criteria to improve the availability of effective pest control, production alternatives and trade in sustainable produce.” The 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants requires signatories to adopt a range of measures to reduce and, where feasible, eliminate the release of POPs. All […]

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Petrochemical Pesticides, Fertilizers, and Plastics Linked to Dire Health Effects while Alternatives Are Available

Thursday, March 14th, 2024

 (Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2024)  A recent review in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) highlights the urgent need to address the widespread chemical pollution stemming from the petrochemical industry, underscoring the dire implications for public health. Tracey Woodruff, PhD, author and professor at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), emphatically states in an email comment to Beyond Pesticides, “We need to recognize the very real harm that petrochemicals are having on people’s health. Many of these fossil-fuel-based chemicals are endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with hormonal systems, and they are part of the disturbing rise in disease.” Beyond Pesticides echoes this concern, noting that endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) include many pesticides and are linked to a plethora of health issues such as infertility, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, early puberty, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and childhood and adult cancers.  (See Beyond Pesticides’ Disease database here and news coverage here). The review further calls on the clinical community to advocate for policy changes aimed at mitigating the health threats posed by petrochemical-derived EDCs and climate change. Beyond Pesticides urgently calls for the elimination of petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers and advocates for a systemic […]

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

Friday, March 1st, 2024

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

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Take Action: Advocates Ask Congress to Include Protections from PFAS Contamination in Farm Bill

Tuesday, February 20th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2024) With health risks including developmental, metabolic, cardiovascular, and reproductive harm, cancer, damage to the liver, kidneys, and respiratory system, as well as the potential to increase the chance of disease infection and severity, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and their toxic trail of contamination in the environment is wreaking havoc with all life. The use of PFAS in industrial and commercial applications has led to widespread contamination of water and biosolids used for fertilizer, poisoning tens of millions of acres of land and posing a significant threat to the biosphere, public health, gardens, parks, and agricultural systems. Farmers and rural communities, in particular, bear the brunt of this contamination, as it affects their drinking water, soil quality, and livestock health.   Tell Congress that the Farm Bill must include the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act and the Healthy H2O Act to protect farmers and rural communities from PFAS contamination.  Led by Chellie Pingree (D-ME), U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Susan Collins (R-ME), a bipartisan and bicameral bill—the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act—has been introduced to provide assistance and relief to those affected by PFAS. A second bill, the Healthy H2O Act, introduced by Representatives Pingree and David Rouzer (R-NC) and Senators Baldwin […]

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Amid Damning Criticism of Its Scientific Integrity, EPA Takes Public Comments on Updated Policy

Monday, February 12th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 12, 2024) Public Comments Due February 23, 2024. As the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) takes public comments on its updated scientific integrity policy (until February 23, 2024), Beyond Pesticides issued an action and reminds the agency that when it fails to carry out its mission to protect health and the environment—by allowing use of pesticides that are known to be hazardous and not fairly and scientifically evaluated, it is responsible for a toxic tragedy that has debilitating and deadly consequences for people and the ecosystems critical to sustaining life. Key to the recommendations Beyond Pesticides is urging EPA to consider are the following: (i) incorporate independent and emerging science into its chemical reviews; (ii) Update protocol to keep pace with new science; (iii) address vulnerabilities of those at highest risk, including those with preexisting health conditions; (iv) consider safer alternatives in calculating unreasonable risk; (v) disclose uncertainties associated with agency science or data gaps, and (vi) establish criminal penalties for EPA staff integrity violations. In the wake of intense criticism of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) scientific integrity, the agency has announced updates to its scientific integrity guidelines. As the agency acknowledges in its 2012 Scientific Integrity Policy: […]

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The Link Between Ovarian Cancer and Pesticides Increases Among Female Farmers

Tuesday, February 6th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February  6, 2024) A study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine finds that pesticide exposure, especially during puberty, can play a role in ovarian cancer development among female farmers. Although there are many studies that evaluate the risk for cancers among farmers, very few pieces of literature cover the risk of ovarian cancer from pesticide exposure. Additionally, this study notes suggests the role of hormones in ovarian cancer prognosis and development, highlighting an association with endocrine disruption. Exposure to past and current-use endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), like pesticides, has a long history of severe adverse human health effects. Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotics (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem) present in nearly all organisms and ecosystems. 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 (e.g., thyroid, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular), reproductive dysfunction, and diabetes/obesity that can span generations. Therefore, studies related to pesticides and endocrine disruption help scientists understand the underlying mechanisms that indirectly or directly cause cancer, among other health issues. The study evaluates a […]

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EPA’s Proposed Endocrine Disrupting Pesticide Review Called Deficient

Monday, February 5th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2024) Public Comment Period Ends February 26, 2024. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) never completed protocol for testing pesticides that disrupt the fundamental functioning of organisms, including humans, causing a range of chronic adverse health effects that defy the common misconception that dose makes the poison (“a little bit won’t hurt you”)—when, in fact, minuscule doses (exposure) wreak havoc with biological systems. After a nearly two decade defiance of a federal mandate to institute pesticide registration requirements for endocrine disruptors, EPA has now opened a public comment period ending February 26, 2024 and advocates are criticizing the agency’s proposed evaluation as too narrow. A detailed examination of EPA’s proposal can be found in draft comments by Beyond Pesticides.  Endocrine disruption as a phenomenon affecting humans and other species has been critically reviewed by many authors. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can, even at extremely low exposure levels, disrupt normal hormonal (endocrine) function. Such endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC) include many pesticides, exposures to which have been linked to infertility and other reproductive disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and early puberty, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and childhood and adult cancers. EPA […]

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Oxidative Stress Measured with Biomarkers Links Pesticide Exposure to Cancer

Wednesday, January 24th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 24, 2024) A study published in Environmental Sciences Europe finds that 2,4-D, pyrethroid (PRY), and organophosphate (OP) pesticides increase the risk of cancer through oxidative stress (OS). The study highlights that pesticides that increase cancer risk also raise inflammation biomarkers that indicate damage to organs (e.g., liver) via oxidative stress. Additionally, different cancers show different sensitivities to pesticides; thus, cancer risk changes with exposure concentration and pattern. Despite a plethora of studies linking cancer and pesticide exposure, very few cover the mechanisms involved in cancer development, including OS. Only five to ten percent of cancers are hereditary. However, environmental or lifestyle factors, like chemical exposure, can make an individual more susceptible to cancer development through gene mutation. In fact, a vast amalgamation of research links cancer risk to pesticide exposure, which augments the risk of developing both common and rare cancers. Therefore, studies like this highlight the importance of understanding how pesticide use can increase the risk of latent diseases, which do not readily develop upon initial exposure. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers investigated the link between the risk of several cancers and pesticide exposure. The researchers also thoroughly evaluated […]

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Researchers Raise Alarm about Ingested Nanoscale Microplastic Particles Not Previously Evaluated

Thursday, January 18th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2024) Research continues to raise alarms about the hazards associated with the use of plastic, including the microplastic particles that are distributed in alarming amounts throughout the environment and taken up by organisms, including humans. A study published by researchers at Columbia and Rutgers universities (see article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, January 2024) reports that the average liter of three brands of bottled water in the U.S. contains almost a quarter of a million tiny plastic pieces, of which 90 percent are at the nanoscale. The other ten percent are slightly larger, at microscale. Last December, researchers at Norway’s MicroLEACH project published a study that analyzes the components of 50 items in common use—plastic bags, disposable cups, dishwashing gloves, car tire granules, children’s toys and balloons. (See summary.) The researchers found, like in previous studies, that many hazardous chemicals in the plastics as well as many that could not be identified because they were not listed in the major chemical substance databases. Only 30 percent of the chemical compounds identified in the study were present in two or more products. This suggests that most plastics contain many unidentified chemicals, far beyond […]

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Pesticides’ Role in Lower Sperm Counts and Reproductive Harm in Men Again in Science Literature

Wednesday, January 10th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2024) Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) negatively impacts testicular function and may cause sperm count declines over time, according to a 2022 review published in Endocrine. The findings indicate that this occurs regardless of whether exposure is prenatal (before birth) or postnatal (after birth). More recent work from October 2023 confirms the connection between male reproductive health and exposure to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides and the weed killer glyphosate—as many pesticide products containing these chemicals are classifiable as endocrine disruptors (ED). Just last year, a meta-analysis from researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the University of Copenhagen, among others, finds that the drop in global sperm count is accelerating, dropping by 51.6 percent from 1973 through 2018. The U.S. regulatory system, under the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has not kept pace with the science and does not fully evaluate pesticides in wide use for endocrine disruption, despite a requirement in 1996 law (the Food Quality Protection Act) to begin that testing and evaluation nearly three decades ago. In 2021, Beyond Pesticides reported that the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for EPA issued a damning report on the […]

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With Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer on the Rise, the Science Points to an Association with Pesticides

Wednesday, December 13th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2023) A study published in Environmental Health finds occupational (work-related) exposure to pesticides increases the risk of endometrial (uterine) cancer development. Endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive system and the fourth most common cancer among women, primarily affecting the uterine lining rather than the uterus itself, like uterine sarcoma. Despite data predicting the disease rate to increase, few studies evaluate the connection environmental contaminants have on endometrial cancer occurrence. Like most cancers, non-genetic factors account for a majority of endometrial cancer risk, including diabetes, age, contraceptive (birth-control) use, and hormone (endocrine) disruption. However, three percent of all cases are hereditary, primarily from Lynch syndrome. The study notes, “Identifying other modifiable risk factors may help develop strategies to reduce the expected increasing incidence of these neoplasms.” Many pesticides have a long history associated with endocrine-disrupting properties that induce various molecular changes, prompting disease development. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies many of these chemicals as potent carcinogens in animal studies. Cancer development also depends on genetic susceptibility, as impaired genes responsible for xenobiotic detoxification (elimination) increase disease risk sensitivity. Adding to the science, a review published in Environmental Exposure, Biomonitoring, and Exposure […]

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Erectile Dysfunction Among Younger Males Linked to Pesticide Exposures

Thursday, November 16th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, November 16, 2023) A study published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation finds exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos and other organophosphates (OPs) has a positive association with the development of erectile dysfunction (ED). Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is the difficulty of getting or keeping an erection. Despite occurring in males later in life (between 40 and 70 years), recent studies highlight this issue emerging among adolescents, highlighting possible hormone imbalances not associated with age. Scientists and health officials already associate pesticide exposure with a decrease in male fertility, including reduced sperm count, quality, and abnormal sperm development. Exposure to many pesticides also profoundly impacts the endocrine (hormone) system, including reproductive health. Globally, ED is increasing, with over 300 million men expected to have ED by 2025. Although age and comorbid conditions (e.g., obesity, diabetes, and hypertension) play a role in ED prognosis, studies, including this one, suggest environmental contaminant exposure can also explain the increasing trend in ED. The study notes, “Future studies are warranted to corroborate these findings, determine clinical significance, and to investigate biological mechanisms underlying these associations.” Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers investigated urinary levels of 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPy), […]

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Childhood Leukemia Linked to Pesticides Used in Vineyards

Thursday, November 2nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2023) A study published in Environmental Health Perspective finds the risk of acute childhood leukemia (AL), specifically acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), slightly increases with exposure to pesticides (i.e., insecticides and herbicides) from uses on vines, a crop subject to intensive pesticide use. Within 1 kilometer [km] of vineyards, the risk of ALL among children increases in areas with a higher density of vines. Although medical advancements in disease survival are more common nowadays, childhood AL remains the secondary cause of child mortality following physical injury. Furthermore, childhood leukemia survivors can suffer from chronic or long-term health complications that may be life-threatening. The etiology or cause of childhood AL involves the interaction of multiple components, including lifestyle and genetics; emerging evidence indicates that environmental contaminants (e.g., pesticides, air pollution, solvents, diet, etc.) play a role in disease. 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. Moreover, […]

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Study Finds New Chemicals Associated with Breast Cancer Risk

Thursday, October 12th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 12, 2023) A new study published in Environment International finds novel environmental chemicals (i.e., piperidine insecticide, 2,4-dinitrophenol, benzo[a]carbazole, and a benzoate derivative) involved in developing breast cancer through various inflammation pathways. These new potential factors contribute to breast cancer and highlight the importance of employing epidemiological biomonitoring like exposome (total exposure from birth to death) to discover mechanisms involved in disease development that are otherwise overlooked. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breast cancer is a disease that causes breast cells to grow out of control, with the type of breast cancer depending on the cells themselves. Several studies and reports, including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data, identify hundreds of chemicals as influential factors (either promoting or initiating) associated with breast cancer risk. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, accounting for 12 percent of all new annual cancer cases worldwide and causing the second most cancer-related deaths in the United States. Past studies suggest genetic inheritance factors influence breast cancer occurrence. However, genetic factors only play a minor role in the incidence of breast cancer, while exposure to external environmental factors (e.g., chemical exposure) appears to play a more notable role. One in […]

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Confronting Dramatic Biodiversity Loss on 50th Anniversary of Endangered Species Act

Monday, October 2nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 2, 2023) On the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), statements out of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raise concerns about the agency’s ability to meet the challenge of evaluating pesticides for their adverse impact on threatened and endangered species. While EPA has initiated efforts to address a significant backlog of pesticide evaluations, the agency faces a task so extensive that it may require several additional decades to fully catch up. EPA officials stated, “Even if EPA completed this work for all of the pesticides that are currently subject to court decisions and/or ongoing litigation, that work would take until the 2040s, and even then, would represent only 5 percent of EPA’s ESA obligations.”   As part of a “whole of government” approach, EPA must redirect its pesticide program to protecting all species and their habitats.   The speed and depth of biodiversity loss has reached crisis proportions. A 1,500-page report in 2019 by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES )—Global Assessment Summary for Policymakers, the most comprehensive look to date at the biodiversity crisis and its implications for human civilization, makes the following finding: “Since 1970, trends in agricultural production, fish harvest, […]

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Metabolic Diseases, Including Diabetes and Obesity, Driven by Pesticide Exposure

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 27, 2023) A study published in Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology finds organophosphate (OP), organochlorine (OC), and pyrethroid (PYR) pesticides have links to insulin resistance (IR) associated with metabolic disorders like diabetes, obesity, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and hypertension. Metabolic disorders are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, with over 11 percent (>37 million) of individuals in the U.S. having diabetes, and cases are growing by millions annually. Additionally, there is a rise in metabolic disorders among young people. Studies even find low levels of pesticide exposure during pregnancy or childhood cause adverse health effects, including metabolic disorders tied to gut microbiome disruption (dysbiosis). With increasing rates of diabetes and obesity, the two most prominent metabolic diseases in the study, cases among the global population, studies like these highlight the importance of evaluating how chemical contaminants deregulate normal bodily function through metabolic changes.  To investigate the association between pesticide exposure and insulin-related metabolic disorders in humans, researchers searched the PubMed database for articles, performing a systematic review. The study notes, “IR is defined as a pathological state in which a higher-than-normal level of insulin is required to produce the optimal response in cells.” The search generated 4,051 articles related to the topic. However, after excluding duplicates and […]

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Deadly Pesticide Poses an Increased Risk of Hormone-Associated Reproductive Cancers in Women

Thursday, July 13th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 13, 2023) A study published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research finds exposure to p-Dichlorobenzene (p-DCB), a chlorophenol compound with uses as an insecticide, disinfectant, repellent, fumigant, fungicide, and deodorizer, can increase the risk of common endocrine (hormone)-mediated reproductive cancers (i.e., breast, uterine, and ovarian) in women. P-DCB or paradichlorobenzene has carcinogenic (cancer-causing) properties and the chemical has been banned in the European Union (EU) since 2005 for air fresheners and 2008 for mothballs. Being a chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbon (with benzene) compound (chlorobenzene), in addition to its cancer-causing properties, p-DCB can cause acute illnesses like headaches, numbness, sleepiness, nausea and vomiting and chronic effects like nervous system disorders leading to depression, and impact on the brain, birth outcomes, reproductive system, liver, and kidneys. Pesticides have a long history associated with endocrine-disrupting properties that induce various molecular changes, prompting disease development. Adding to the science, a similar review published in Environmental Exposure, Biomonitoring, and Exposure Assessment highlights how specific estrogen-mimicking pesticides increase the risk of disease, particularly hormone-related cancers among women (e.g., breast, ovarian, and endometrial cancer) and men (i.e., testicular, prostate cancer).PDCB, also known as para-dichlorobenzene, contains the carcinogen benzene and is chlorine-based (a chlorinated aromatic hydrocarbon compound), which in December 2019 […]

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Scientists Identify 97 Pesticides and Chemical Pollutants in Study of Primate Population

Friday, June 2nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 2, 2023) Scientists have identified 97 different types of pesticides and flame retardants in primate fecal samples, recently reporting their results in the journal Biology Letters. In Uganda’s Kibale National Park, researchers studied the chemical exposure of four species of primates (chimpanzees, Ugandan red colobus, olive baboons and red-tailed monkeys), adding to previous research on the subject. The chemicals demonstrate a measurable effect on primate growth and development, sparking considerable unease as to the future health of these critical species. This study shows how even within a protected national park, wildlife species are at risk from chemical pollution. According to advocates, the use of dangerous pesticides and flame retardants, therefore, must be entirely stopped in order to protect the future viability of wildlife species.  Scientists collected a total of 71 fecal samples from the four chosen species to measure levels of chemicals and hormones in a noninvasive manner. After sample analysis, researchers highlight three main groups of chemical pollutants: organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), brominated flame retardants (BFRs), and organophosphate esters (OPEs). Although in a protected area, wildlife species encounter humans through tourism, research, and human development surrounding the park. As these pesticides are so prevalent in areas of […]

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Take Action: Pesticide Restrictions Do Not Match EPA Rhetoric to Protect Endangered Species

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 30, 2023) On Endangered Species Day, May 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed an unfortunate degree of hypocrisy in its claims to protect endangered species from pesticides. Tell EPA and Congress that dwindling biodiversity is an existential crisis that requires removing serious threats posed by pesticides. EPA announced that it “is publishing a group of StoryMaps to raise public awareness about protecting endangered species from pesticides.” It continues, “Through its Vulnerable Species Pilot, EPA has been identifying endangered species that are vulnerable to pesticides, developing mitigations to protect them from pesticide exposure, and will apply the mitigations to many types of pesticides.” However, pesticide use is a major cause of declining biodiversity, which is manifested in extinctions, endangered species, and species vulnerable to environmental disturbances—including climate change, habitat fragmentation, and toxic chemicals. If EPA is serious about protecting biodiversity, it must look first at the ways it has created the crisis in the first place. Studies upon studies upon studies show that pesticides are a major contributor to the loss of insect biomass and diversity known as the “insect apocalypse,” particularly in combination with climate change. Insects are important as pollinators and as part of […]

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New Viewpoint on the Historic Link between Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Cancer Discussed

Thursday, May 25th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 25, 2023) A review of scientific literature published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation demonstrates exposure to past and current-use endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), like pesticides, have a long history of severe adverse human health effects. Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotics (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem) present in nearly all organisms and ecosystems. 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 (e.g., thyroid, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular), reproductive dysfunction, and diabetes/obesity that can span generations. Therefore, studies related to pesticides and endocrine disruption help scientists understand the underlying mechanisms that indirectly or directly cause infertility, among other health issues. The review notes, “New evidence supports the role of other EDCs as possibly carcinogenic and pregnant women should avoid risk area and exposure. The relationship between EDCs and cancer supports the need for effective prevention policies increasing public awareness.” The review examines the relationship between EDCs and various hormone-mediated various (i.e., breast, prostate, testicle, ovary, and thyroid) to determine the carcinogenicity of the chemicals and their impact on public […]

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Europe Moves to Disclose and Restrict Endocrine Disruptors, While U.S. Rejects Action

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 2023) On April 20, the European Commission’s new rules on endocrine disrupting chemicals took effect. Called “Classification, Labelling & Packaging” (CLP), the rules create four new hazard categories for endocrine disruptors. The categories range from “suspected of causing” or “may cause” endocrine disruption in the environment to “suspected of causing” or “may cause” endocrine disruption in humans. After a transition period, users will have to indicate on labels and packaging if a substance falls into any of the hazard classes. All actors in the supply chain are obligated to provide the information to every downstream participant. The  new CLP rules, implementing a 2022 measure adopted by the European Commission and then the European Parliament, also specify a minimum font size for the hazard information and for the first time include standards for labeling in online commerce and in places where customers use refillable containers to transport, store, and use the chemicals. According to the EU Directorate-General for the Environment: “The new hazard classes are the result of extensive scientific discussions and will provide easier access to information to all users of such chemicals, notably consumers, workers and businesses. They allow further action to address and mitigate […]

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Pesticide Industry Lobbying Congress with Misinformation to Prohibit Local Pesticide Policies

Tuesday, April 4th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2023) The pesticide industry focused the entirety of their “legislative day” late last month on an effort to roll back local democratic decision making and implement federal pesticide preemption of local governance in the Farm Bill. “Something that most people don’t know,” J.D. Darr, the director of legislative and regulatory affairs for the National Pest Management Association told Pest Control Technology (PCT), “is that the Ag Committee does have oversight of a small sliver of FIFRA. So, the Farm Bill is a really good vehicle for us making regulatory decisions surrounding pesticide.” Contrary to Mr. Darr’s statement, pesticide reform advocates are well aware of the threat the pesticide industry poses in the 2023 Farm Bill, having defeated a similar effort in 2018, and repeated attempts to implement pesticide preemption in the preemption-free states of Maine and Maryland. Reform advocates are pushing Congress to include in the Farm Bill diametrically opposing language already contained with Senator Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act. The pesticide industry’s lobby day attempted to soften the industry’ image in Congress by including a range of non-pesticide related issues, such as a “friendly political discussion” between conservative columnist Jonah […]

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