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Toxic Pesticide Residues on Over Half of U.S. Food, 1 in 10 Samples Violate Legal Limits, Says FDA

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 16, 2022) Over half of all food samples tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) contain the residues of at least one pesticide, and one in ten samples have levels that violate legal limits established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These findings, published by FDA this month in its 2020 Pesticide Residue Monitoring Report, are simply par for the course for government regulators, as FDA indicates the 2020 results “were consistent with recent years.” However, while reporting on the dangerous pesticides present in U.S. food has become routine for FDA, more and more Americans are rejecting regular exposure to unnecessary toxics in their food by going organic with their food choices, planting their own pesticide-free gardens, and encouraging their elected officials to embrace safer, sustainable land care policies.   FDA has conducted a review of pesticide residues on food on an annual basis since 1987, evaluating both domestic and imported foodstuffs into the US market. While EPA sets “pesticide tolerances,” also known as “maximum residue levels,” of allowed pesticide residues on certain foods, FDA (and USDA, for some specific items like meat, poultry, and eggs) is tasked with enforcing these provisions. Pesticide tolerances, […]

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Acute Kidney Failure Higher Among Farmers: High-Middle-Low Income Countries Suffer Disparities

Thursday, August 11th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 11, 2022) A study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health finds that Brazilian agricultural workers are more likely to die from acute kidney failure (AKF) than other acute illnesses. Among the agricultural workers, the prevalence of AKF is higher for individuals at younger ages, who are female, and located in regions south of chemical use, particularly rural areas. However, the AKF mortality rate in urban areas is also increasing, but not as fast as in rural areas. Over six million people in the U.S. have kidney disease (i.e., nephritis [kidney inflammation], nephrotic syndrome (improper protein filtration), and nephrosis). Although many studies find an association between exposure to environmental contaminants like pesticides and chronic kidney disease (CKD), the association between pesticides and acute kidney failure remains unclear. CKD is a risk factor for AKF, and other environmental factors can increase the risk of AKF mortality. Therefore, studies like this highlight the need for comprehensive information regarding co-occurring exposure patterns and disease prevalence that can have global implications. The study notes, “Our findings reinforce the need for more robust epidemiological studies that account for co-exposures and conditions of agricultural work in the relationship between pesticide exposure and kidney […]

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Stop Chemical and Service Industry from Restricting Local Authority to Protect Health and Local Ecosystems

Monday, August 8th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2022) The pesticide industry has selected August as Anti-Democracy Month, as it launches a month-long campaign to undermine local control over pesticides. The National Pest Management Association is encouraging members to lobby members of Congress in August to support H.R. 7266, to “prohibit local regulations relating to the sale, distribution, labeling, application, or use of any pesticide or device” subject to state or federal regulation under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Beyond Pesticides urges you to make August Preserve Local Democracy Month by participating in actions in support of allowing communities to protect themselves from chemical exposure when state and federal regulation is inadequate. Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to support communities by opposing H.R. 7266 and supporting the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA), which contains a provision affirming local authority to restrict pesticides. The fight to defend the authority of local governments to protect people and the environment has been ongoing for decades, reaching the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991. The Court specifically upheld the authority of local governments to restrict pesticides throughout their jurisdictions under federal pesticide law. In Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier, the Court ruled that federal […]

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

Thursday, August 4th, 2022

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

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With Industry Support, a Republican U.S. Senator Introduces Bill to Codify Easier Access to Ag Pesticides–As If It Wasn’t Easy Enough

Friday, July 29th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2022) Perhaps attempting to capitalize on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ability to regulate carbon emissions, Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas (R) has filed a bill in the Senate that seeks to limit the agency’s ability to regulate pesticide use. The so-called EPA Transparency for Agriculture Products Act of 2022 is touted, on Senator Marshall’s website, as “a comprehensive bill to prevent . . . EPA . . . from overregulating essential pesticides that the ag industry heavily depends upon.” In truth — and perversely, given that he is a medical doctor — the bill aims to provide more license to use toxic pesticides that harm human health, the environment broadly, and ecosystems already under assault from toxic, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, habitat destruction, and climate change. Couched in language about “feeding the world,” the bill’s central concern seems to be financial impacts or challenges that farms (a good portion of which, let us remember, are giant, well-resourced agribusinesses) may face because of EPA pesticide regulations. Those regulations, of course, are promulgated by the agency to protect people, organisms, ecosystems, and natural resources from harmful impacts and risks […]

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Inspector General Finds Secret EPA Meetings with Industry and Use of Untested Science to Lower Cancer Risk for Dangerous Fumigant

Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2022) Secret meetings with industry, the elevation of unqualified individuals to decision-making roles, using an untested scientific approach, failing to conduct a simple literature review, and an overall absence of public transparency. This is how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) conducted its cancer review for the potent fumigant pesticide 1,3-Dichloropropane (1,3-D; brand name: Telone), according to a report from EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). EPA’s actions allowed a product once considered to pose a 1 in 10,000 risk of cancer to Americans to increase exposure by 9,000% (from 7.7 ÎŒg/m3 to 690 ÎŒg/m3). “These departures from established standards during the cancer assessment for 1,3-D undermine the EPA’s credibility, as well as public confidence in and the transparency of the Agency’s scientific approaches, in its efforts to prevent unreasonable impacts on human health,” the OIG report states. Yet, even with the agency’s failings laid out in clear view, EPA’s lackluster response to OIG’s corrective actions in this case add insult to its injurious actions against public health. OIG initiated a review of EPA’s cancer assessment for 1,3-D after the submission of multiple complaints. 1,3-D is a highly toxic fumigant used on a variety of crops, […]

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Four Out of Five People in U.S. Contaminated with Glyphosate

Tuesday, July 12th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2022) More than four out of five U.S. children and adults over the age of six have detectable levels of glyphosate in their bodies, according to data recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With strong evidence implicating this chemical as a carcinogen, and emerging data associating it with adverse birth outcomes, the findings raise broad concerns for public health. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to permit widespread public exposure to toxic chemicals based on obscure economic arguments over the claimed benefits of pesticides, advocates say it is time for a change that embraces health and the environment over the profits of pesticide manufacturers. CDC’s testing data was developed as part of its National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a long-running program that began in the early 1960s and has since become a continuous program focused on American health and nutrition measurements. Data from this program are subsequently analyzed to help inform the prevalence of disease in the U.S. population and are used to develop public health policies. A total of 2,310 urine samples retained from studies conducted in 2013-2014 were analyzed by NHANES researchers for the presence […]

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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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Norwalk, Connecticut Passes Ordinance Embracing Organic Land Management

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 6, 2022) Norwalk, Connecticut last week passed an ambitious ordinance (see page 121) banning toxic pesticides and implementing pesticide-free management on all public spaces throughout the city. The move, championed by Common Council member Lisa Shanahan with strong support from other city leaders, as well as public health and conservation organizations, follows nearby Stamford, CT’s organic community ordinance passed last September. “It’s high time that we connected people and conscientious lawmakers—linking municipal pesticide bans to the interests of animal advocates, gardeners and conservationists, so that the hazards and risks of using pesticides both informs residents and changes public policies and practices,” said Priscilla Feral, president of the Connecticut-based animal advocacy organization Friends of Animal and founder of Pesticide Free Rowayton, organizations which both worked to gather public support for the ordinance. Prior to the passage of the ordinance, Norwalk land managers were embracing the need to move towards safer approaches to land care, and responded to public requests to move in this direction. Pesticide Free Rowayton secured a pesticide-free lawn care program on six public parks, and city staff began phasing out glyphosate use. “Three years now we stopped using Roundup on our property,” Superintendent of Parks […]

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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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After Court Finds EPA Inaction Unlawful, It’s Time for the Agency to Ban Glyphosate

Monday, June 27th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2022) It is now—more than ever—up to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to recognize glyphosate (Roundup and other products) as a carcinogen and remove it from the market. As the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals voided EPA’s “interim registration review” decision approving continued use of glyphosate, issued in early 2020 saying, “EPA did not adequately consider whether glyphosate causes cancer and shirked its duties under the Endangered Species Act (ESA),” and the Supreme Court refused to consider (deny certiorari) a Bayer petition to save the company from being held accountable to those diagnosed with cancer after using glyphosate herbicides, EPA’s failure to act speaks to the capture of the agency by the industry it is supposed to regulate. Tell the EPA to ban glyphosate immediately. Tell Congress to ensure that EPA performs its job as required by law.  The Ninth Circuit court held that EPA unlawfully concluded that glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk. Despite overwhelming evidence and high profile lawsuits against Bayer—with jury verdicts against the company in the tens of millions of dollars—EPA came to “no conclusion” on glyphosate’s connection to non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Notably, the agency did not assess how much glyphosate […]

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Supreme Court Permits Large Jury Verdicts on Roundup, Appeals Court Finds EPA Registration Unlawful

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2022) Bad news is piling up for Bayer (Monsanto) and its carcinogenic flagship weed killer, glyphosate (Roundup). Last week, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit handed down a ruling that held the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2020 approval of its notorious weed killer glyphosate unlawful. Then, yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider (deny certiorari) Bayer’s “Hail Mary” petition attempt to save the company from being held accountable to those diagnosed with cancer after using Roundup (glyphosate) herbicides. In both cases, the courts are acting as a check on a company, while EPA regulators charged with stopping this behavior continue to rubber stamp the agrichemical industry’s dangerous decisions. This is not the first time that the Supreme Court has upheld the rights of victims of the pesticide industry. In 2004, Bates v. Dow Agrosciences (U.S. Supreme Court, No. 03-388), the court found: “The long history of tort litigation against manufacturers of poisonous substances adds force to the basic presump­tion against pre-emption. If Congress had intended to deprive injured parties of a long available form of compen­sation, it surely would have expressed that intent more clearly. See Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee Corp., 464 U. […]

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Pollinators Still Need Help; Act for Pollinator Week

Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2022) June 20-24 is Pollinator Week, during which we recognize—and take action to protect—this important ecosystem link. Pollinators––bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other organisms––make a critical contribution to plant health, crop productivity, and the preservation of natural resources, but their existence is threatened by their pesticide-contaminated habitat. Pesticides have consistently been implicated as a key contributor to dramatic pollinator declines. Of the 100 crop varieties that provide 90% of the world’s food, 71 are pollinated by bees. Honey bees alone pollinate 95 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables, such as apples, avocados, almonds, and cranberries. Take action to protect pollinators. Providing protection for pollinators also protects the ecosystem in which they live. That protection requires eliminating harm as well as providing safe habitats where they can live and reproduce.  Provide organic habitat on your own property and encourage your town to go organic. Since plant starts in many garden centers across the country are grown from seeds coated with bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, or drenched with them, Beyond Pesticides has compiled a comprehensive directory of companies and organizations that sell organic seeds and plants to the general public. Included in this directory are seeds for vegetables, flowers, and herbs, as well as […]

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Groups Worldwide Tell UN To Rescind Agreement with Chemical Industry for Human Rights Violations

Friday, June 17th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2022) Hundreds of civil society groups and organizations of indigenous people worldwide have called on the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to end its nearly two-year-old partnership with CropLife International, the trade association for the world’s largest pesticide manufacturers. The organizations’ June 9 letter to the Member State Representatives of the FAO Council was signed by 430 entities, from 69 different countries. The letter asserts that the UN agency’s agreement with CropLife International (CLI) is incompatible with FAO’s obligations to uphold human rights, and urges it both to review the partnership agreement on the basis of human rights concerns, and to “consider directing the Director-General of FAO to rescind the agreement.” The call comes from this huge group of advocates, but it is also coming from “inside the house”: UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Michael Fakhri is one of the signatories; Beyond Pesticides is one among 65 U.S. signatories. CropLife International’s corporate members — BASF, Bayer, Corteva, FMC, Sumitomo Chemical, and Syngenta — are huge synthetic pesticide companies with global reach. CLI also counts as members 11 subsidiary national associations in Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe, Canada, and the […]

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Glyphosate Weed Killer Disrupts Bumblebees’ Nest Temperature, Leading to Colony Failure

Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2022) Bumblebee colonies exposed to low levels of the weed killer glyphosate are unable to adequately regulate nest temperature, imperiling the next generation of bumblebees and long-term colony growth and survival. This latest finding, published this month in the journal Science, is a stark reminder that a pesticide does not have to kill an animal outright in order to create effects that ultimately result in death and population declines. “Sublethal effects, i.e. effects on organisms that are not lethal but can be seen, for example, in the animals’ physiology or behaviour, can have a significant negative impact and should be taken into account when pesticides are approved in future,” said Anja WeidenmĂŒller, PhD, of the University of Konstanz, Germany. With regulators at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refusing to adequately account for sublethal impacts, and myopically focused on the acute effects of pesticide exposure, bumblebee populations in the United States are in free fall and require urgent protective action. To better understand how glyphosate exposure affects bumblebee colony growth and brood (young larval bee) development, researchers first split colonies in two. One side of the colony was fed sugar water containing 5mg/liter of glyphosate, while […]

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Drift-Prone Weed Killer Out of Control with the Chemical Industry at the Wheel

Friday, May 27th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 27, 2022) In a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) court document filed on May 16, the agency signaled potential changes to the labeling it requires for “over the top” (OTT, or post-emergent) herbicides containing dicamba, a very problematic pesticide. The filing — in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, where EPA currently faces litigation about its 2020 dicamba registrations — comes as a result of Bayer, Inc.’s March 2022 proposed amendments to EPA registration for its XtendiMax herbicide, which contains dicamba and glyphosate. Beyond Pesticides has covered the dicamba saga for years, including the EPA Office of the Inspector General’s critical 2021 report citing an abandonment of science and assault on agency integrity for EPA’s dicamba decisions during the Trump years. Dicamba has been linked to cancer, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, birth defects, and kidney and liver damage. It is toxic to birds, fish, and other aquatic organisms, and is known to leach into waterways after application. Dicamba also causes serious damage to non-GE (genetically engineered), non-target plants, damaging habitat and food sources for various organisms, especially for birds and insects. According to Progressive Farmer, EPA is currently considering some dicamba use restrictions after Bayer submitted them to […]

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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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Agrichemical Industry Demands Biden Administration Rescind Support for Cancer Victims Before Supreme Court

Wednesday, May 25th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 25, 2022) Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice urged the Supreme Court to deny a request by Bayer to review a verdict that found the corporation liable for damages from the use of its Roundup (glyphosate) herbicides. Now, Bayer is using proxy organizations to place pressure on the Biden Administration and Justice Department to rescind its decision. Alongside a range of chemical industry umbrella groups, many of which—like Croplife America—Bayer is a member of, a letter was sent to President Biden expressing “grave concern” about the opinion filed by Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar. Among a range of baseless claims, the agrichemical industry is deflecting lower court findings on the hazards and cancer risk of their products with the claim that their toxic chemicals are needed to feed the world, as crops shipments from Ukraine have been halted during the ongoing war. “The agrichemical industry has long tried to sell the idea that their toxic pesticides are needed to feed the world, as if to suggest that their motives are altruistic when, in fact, they have shown a callous disregard for life and a sustainable future,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. ” We […]

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Environmental Pesticide Exposure Alters Gut Microbes, Increasing Urgency for Organic Transition

Thursday, May 12th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2022) A report published in Environmental Health finds that exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of pesticides can alter gut microbial communities, as demonstrated through fecal samples. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood and urine samples. Ample evidence demonstrates that environmental contaminants, including pesticides, negatively affect the human mouth and gut microbes. However, fecal samples provide an accurate representation of the microbial community existing in the gut. These toxicants can alter hormone metabolism, which adversely affects health outcomes. Adverse health effects of environmental contaminants include reproductive and developmental defects, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, obesity, thyroid disorders, and improper immune operation. Although studies show how chemical exposures affect human health, more research is now questioning how these toxic chemicals influence gut health. Therefore, studies like these highlight the importance of evaluating how chemical contaminants deregulate normal bodily function through microbiome changes. The report notes, “Our results highlight the need for future dietary intervention studies to understand effects of pesticide exposure on the gut microbiome and possible health consequences.” Researchers examined dietary exposure to 186 common pesticide residues in the fecal excrement to determine impacts on the microbiome among 65 twins in the United Kingdom. […]

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Study Finds Chemical Exposure Increasing among Pregnant Women

Wednesday, May 11th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 11, 2022) Pregnant women are being exposed to increasing amounts of dangerous industrial chemicals, according to research published this week in Environmental Science and Technology.  The chemicals in question include pesticides, plastics, and parabens, as well as ‘replacement chemicals’ for substances like phthalates and bisphenols that have gained notoriety for risks to public health. With a range of scientific data highlighting chemical exposures during pregnancy as a critical window of vulnerability, public awareness of these growing threats, and meaningful action by government regulators to reduce exposure is needed.   The results of this study follow the release of data last year finding over 100 different chemicals in U.S. pregnant women’s blood and umbilical cord samples. For the present study, however, researchers did not merely detect these chemicals, they tracked exposure levels over the course of 12 years. The cohort of 171 women represents a diverse group from seven American states and territories (including New Hampshire, New York, Puerto Rico, Illinois, California, and Georgia), with 20% of women participating Black, one third white, 40% Latina, and the remaining from other or multiple groups. Over the course of the study, routine monitoring was conducted utilizing an advanced diagnostic method […]

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Chemical No-Till Failure Due to Herbicide Resistance Increases Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2022) Widespread weed resistance on chemical corn and soybean farms is leading farmers to till their fields more often, significantly increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These findings were published late last month in the journal Nature Food by a team of Iowa State University researchers. With agricultural practices accounting for roughly 10% of U.S. GHG emissions, and 25% of worldwide releases, farming practices that preserve soil health and sequester GHGs are essential for the future of food production. Tillage is a farming practice that can provide a range of benefits for crop production, but only in the right conditions. A range of tillage practices exist, ranging from yearly conventional tillage, where most crop residue is plowed into the soil, to conservation tillage where some residue remains, and no-till systems where the soil remains covered. Repeated tillage causes significant harm to soil structure and biology, and result in erosion and the release of GHGs like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide from soil into the atmosphere. The harms of tillage have led both chemical and organic farmers toward no-till or reduced tillage systems. Organic no-till farming, as practiced by farming groups like the Rodale Institute, employs the […]

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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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Glyphosate Breakdown Product, Associated with Oxidative Stress and DNA Damage Among Children

Thursday, April 28th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, April 28, 2022) A study in Environmental Research finds that glyphosate’s primary metabolite (breakdown product), aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), induces DNA damage through oxidative stress among subpopulations of primary school children. Although pyrethroid and chlorpyrifos metabolites can induce oxidative stress, this study is the first to investigate AMPA’s association with adverse health effects, rather than solely the effects of the active ingredient, glyphosate, in Roundup and other formulations. Glyphosate is the most commonly used active ingredient worldwide, appearing in many herbicide formulations, readily contaminating soil, water, food, and other resources. Chemical use has been increasing since the inception of crops genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate. However, studies demonstrate glyphosate is among the most prevalent pesticide contributors to human, biotic, and ecosystem harm. According to research, herbicide toxicity to invertebrates has doubled since 2004. Although research links glyphosate exposure to cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin lymphoma, much less research considers the effects that metabolites have on children who are more vulnerable to chemical exposure. Ecological and health risk assessments primarily focus on active ingredients in pesticide products, overlooking the potential impacts of metabolites. Thus, studies like these highlight the need to assess the implications of metabolite exposure to protect human, animal, and environmental health. The study notes, “Our […]

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