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Major Supermarket Bans Bee-Toxic Pesticides in Produce Production

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

 (Beyond Pesticides, January 20, 2016) Aldi Süd, the German supermarket chain with stores in the U.S., has become the first major European retailer to ban pesticides toxic to bees, including the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, from fruits and vegetables produced for their stores. Aldi has requested suppliers comply at the earliest possible time. In light of the growing pollinator crisis and due to public pressure, retailers in Europe and the U.S. are slowly beginning to make the switch away from bee-toxic pesticides. Beginning January 1, suppliers of fruits and vegetables to Aldi suppliers will have to ensure that their cultivation practices do not include the following eight pesticides identified as toxic to bees (thiamethoxam, chlorpyrifos,  clothianidin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, fipronil, imidacloprid and sulfoxaflor) to meet  the new requirement. According to a press release from Greenpeace, the chemicals are used on various commodities in Europe  —thiamethoxam (used in lettuce and endive), chlorpyrifos, clothianidin (used in kohlrabi, herbs, Brussels sprouts, head cabbage, cauliflower and kale), cypermethrin (leek, head cabbage and leguminous vegetables), deltamethrin (cauliflower, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, pea, head cabbage, tomato and lettuce),  imidacloprid (applied to apples, peaches, apricots and lettuce). Sulfoxaflor was recently granted regulatory approval in Europe, despite calls […]

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Ants Show Promise as Alternative to Chemical Pesticides

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, September 3, 2015) A study published this week reveals that ants are a cheaper, more effective means to managing pests than toxic chemical pesticides. The review was conducted by Aarhus University’s Joachim Offenberg, Ph.D., a plant and insect ecologist who has studied ants for over 20 years. His review focuses on Oecophylla smaragina and O. longinoda, commonly referred to as weaver ants, and their beneficial effects on various crops in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia. In this review, Dr. Offenberg finds weaver ants to be as or more effective than synthetic pesticides for pest management in a variety of cropping systems. This evidence brings renewed vigor to the argument that natural, biological pest management can act as a viable alternative to the use of toxic pesticides that endanger health and the environment. Weaver ants, often found in tropical climates, are tree-dwelling ants with characteristics that are ideal for biological pest management. They are categorized as a “superorganism,” meaning the colony itself is like an   organism, with individual ants acting as “cells” that can move around independently. Dr. Offenberg sees this as a strength because the colony is able to prey on targets much larger and stronger than […]

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California Fines Six Firms for Repeated Pesticide-Tainted Crop Violations

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, August 6, 2015) On July 28, the California Department of Pesticide (DPR) released a statement announcing recent sanctions for six California import firms who repeatedly violated pesticide regulations. Since December of last year, these six firms have been selling imported products that have been tainted with pesticides not approved for production or sale in the United States, including DDE, imidacloprid, chlorpyrifos, and the long-banned endosulfan. The fines range from $10,000 to $21,000. The six firms responsible for selling fruits and vegetables containing illegal pesticide residues are: Top Quality Produce, Inc. 623 Vineland Avenue, La Puente, CA 91746 will pay $10,000. On 5 separate occasions, the company sold produce such as Longan imported from Thailand, Burdock Root imported from Taiwan and Lychees imported from China with illegal pesticide residues. The produce was sold between November 2013 and July 2014. Yi Bao Produce Group, 3015 Leonis Blvd, Vernon CA 90058, will pay $15,000. On 7 separate occasions, the company sold produce imported from China such as Ginger, Taro Root, Longan and Fragrant Pear with illegal pesticide residues. The produce was sold between March 2013 and September 2014. Primary Export International Inc. 143 Mitchell Ave., South San Francisco, CA 94080, will […]

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EPA at Odds with Scientists on Endocrine System Effects of Weedkillers Atrazine and 2,4-D

Monday, July 6th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, July 6, 2015) With the release of its  Tier 1 screening results  for the first 52 pesticide chemicals (active and inert ingredients) evaluated under  the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is at odds with a large body of scientific evidence worldwide that identifies many of these chemicals, most notably the herbicides  2,4-D  and  atrazine,  as interacting with the endocrine system or acting as endocrine disruptors. Independent scientific data has shown these chemicals to interfere with the hormone system. EPA’s EDSP is a multi-step process used to ensure that exposure to chemicals does not result in adverse human health and environmental effects that canoccur from the disruption of hormones. The two-tiered screening and testing system requires that EPA identify which chemicals are able to interact with the endocrine system, specifically with three hormonal pathways — estrogen, androgen, and thyroid — in Tier 1. Tier 2 is designed to go one step further, requiring EPA to determine endocrine effects across taxa (e.g. mammals, birds, amphibians, and invertebrates) as well as potential effects on non-endocrine systems (e.g. neurological, immunological, hepatic, and renal).  According to EPA, Tier 1 screening data are the best way to determine […]

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Pesticide Residues on Foods Shown to Affect Sperm Quality

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2015) According to a new study from Harvard University researchers, eating fruit and vegetables containing pesticide residues adversely affect men’s fertility, leading to fewer and poorer quality sperm. The study, published online in the journal,  Human Reproduction, adds to a growing body of research that finds pesticide exposures give rise to impaired reproductive function, including reduced sperm counts, sperm quality and reduced fertility in exposed men. The results of this study also underscore the importance of an organic diet in reducing pesticide exposures. The study, “Fruit and vegetable intake and their pesticide residues in relation to semen quality among men from a fertility clinic,” believed to be the first to  look into the consumption of fruits and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue in relation to semen quality, and conducted by researchers at Harvard University’s TH Chan School of Public Health, found that men who ate the greatest amount of fruit and vegetables with high levels of pesticide residue had a 49% lower sperm count and a 32% fewer normally formed sperm than those who consumed the least. Jorge Chavarro, MD, assistant professor of nutrition and epidemiology and co-author of the study, said, “We found […]

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Changes to Canadian Aquaculture Rule Raises Pesticide Concerns

Friday, February 20th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2015) A broad-based coalition is urging Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper to put a stop to proposed changes to federal aquaculture regulations, citing damage to the environment and existing businesses. The proposed amendments to the federal Fisheries Act would exempt the aquaculture industry from provisions that “prohibit the release of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish.” Coalition members are worried that the changes will result in pesticides routinely being dumped into the Bay of Fundy,  located between the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and remove Environment Canada’s role in aquaculture activities, said spokeswoman Maria Recchia, the executive director of the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association. Aquaculture, which refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of aquatic organisms such as fish, shellfish, and plants, provides half of the world’s seafood. According to  Food and Water Watch, offshore aquaculture follows an industrial agriculture model which grows thousands of animals in a confined environment. For fish, however, this confined space is in the ocean, meaning all of the waste products from the operation flow directly into the ocean. This includes excess feed and chemicals that are used, such as antibiotics and pesticides, to treat or prevent […]

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Report Finds Banned, Illegal Pesticides in Popular Indian Tea Brands

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2014) Pesticides are not the first thing to pop into mind when peering into a hot mug of steaming, pale green or murky black tea first thing in the morning. A recent report published by Greenpeace India announced the results of an investigation that tested for pesticide residues in branded tea. The verdict? Nearly 94% of the tea samples tested contained at least one of 34 different pesticides, while over half contained a toxic cocktail of more than 10 different pesticides. The residues found include DDT, which was banned for use in agriculture in India since 1989, and endosulfan, which was banned in 2011 by the Indian Supreme Court. Over half of the 49 samples contained illegal pesticides — either those that are not approved for use in tea cultivation or exceeded recommended limits. These pesticides include ones that have been long banned from agriculture and use in tea cultivation (DDT and triazophos), suspected mutagens and neurotoxicants (monocrotophos), and insecticides associated with the global decline in bee populations (neonicotinoids like thiacloprid and thiamethoxam). The most frequently detected pesticides include thiamethoxam (78%), cypermethrin (73%), acetamiprid (67%), thiacloprid (67%), DDT (67%), deltamethrin (67%), dicofol (61%), imidacloprid (61%), and […]

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Behavioral and Emotional Problems in Children Linked to Insecticide Exposure

Friday, November 1st, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2013) Insecticides commonly used in homes and schools are associated with behavioral problems in children, according to a recent study by Canadian researchers. The study investigates exposure to pyrethroid pesticides, used in more than 3,500 products, including flea and tick controls, cockroach sprays, and head lice controls. The study, Urinary metabolites of organophosphates and pyrethroid pesticides and behavioral problems in Canadian children, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, raises serious concerns about the impact of pyrethroids, which are increasingly used as a replacement for organophosphates. This study uses data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (2007-2009), a nationally representative survey, so researchers are able to apply these findings to the entire population of Canadian children. In a previous study among U.S. children, researchers at the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) examined the metabolites of pyrethroids in children below the age of six. Similarly, they found pyrethroid insecticides in more than 70 percent of the samples, concluding that children had significantly higher metabolite concentrations than those of adolescents. Together these studies demonstrate that exposure is widespread, with real impacts to human health. In the recent study, researchers analyzed organophosphate and pyrethroid metabolites in the […]

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Bed Bugs Display Multiple Layers of Resistance to Pesticides

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, March 26, 2013) Scientists are learning more about the mechanisms bed bugs have developed to increase their resistance to the increasingly common class of pyrethriod pesticides. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports in early March, adds further weight to calls from consumer health and environmental groups to adopt proven, non-toxic strategies to manage bed bugs and other household pest problems. After all, if alternatives exist, why put your family at risk with unsustainable, ineffective control methods? This latest research reveals something scientists had not suspected. Bed bugs are developing most of their resistance-associated genes on the outer layer of their shell. These genes either neutralize the insecticides before they can take effect, or slow down the toxins’ move towards the insects’ nerve cells. In addition, bed bugs in the study also show resistance developing within their nerve cells, the target site for the pesticides. This multilayered resistance is unique, scientists say, but, as Beyond Pesticides has long documented, pest resistance to pesticides is not. A 2011 study from Ohio State University reveals bed bugs’ ability to evolve hereditary changes in their production of certain enzymes, allowing them to excrete the toxins without being harmed. A study […]

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Pesticides Detected in Long Island Sound Lobsters for the First Time

Friday, July 27th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, July 27, 2012) A Connecticut state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection study has detected residues of mosquito control pesticides in lobsters pulled from Long Island Sound. Using new testing technology that can detect small concentrations of substances, ten lobsters were tested for three common mosquito control chemicals: malathion, methoprene, and resmethrin. Positive results were found in the organ tissue of one lobster for methoprene and three lobsters for resmethrin. The results present the first scientific evidence that pesticides may be affecting lobsters in the Sound and are likely to further anger the Connecticut lobstering industry which, for years, has been pointing to mosquito pesticides as a likely cause of a serious decline in the lobster population of the Sound, but has been met with resistance. Late summer declines in the Sound’s lobster population have been alarmingly common throughout much of the last decade, devastating fishers and the local economy that depends on them. A number of factors have been blamed, but the lobstering community has increasingly been pointing to mosquito pesticides for several reasons. Some, such as methoprene, have a tendency to sink to the bottom of the ocean water, where lobsters live and feed. Additionally, lobsters […]

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Study Shows Harmful Effects of Long-Term Pesticide Exposure

Thursday, June 21st, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21st, 2012) A new study details the toxic effects of long-term exposure to commonly used agricultural pesticides. Results indicate an increased likelihood of moderate to severe blood toxicity and a reduced total number of bone marrow cells, which can lead to degenerative diseases like aplastic anemia. The study, entitled “Pesticide Induced Alterations in Marrow Physiology and Depletion of Stem and Stromal Progenitor Population: An Experimental Model to Study the Toxic Effects of Pesticide” is published in the online version of the Journal of Environmental Toxicology . The experiment, led by researchers at the Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry and Medical Biotechnology, exposed a group of mice to a mixture of organochlorine, organophosphate and pyrethriod pesticides, including a preponderance of the chemicals cypermethrin, and chloropyrofos. The exposed mice showed an overall reduction in the ability of their bodies to produce bone marrow cells. Bone marrow, the soft flexible tissue found in the interior of bones, is a storehouse for stem cells. While the exact mechanism is unknown to researchers, the study reveals that the microenvironment in which stem cells develop is somehow deranged by pesticides. This derangement prevents the maturation of stem cells into every […]

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Yet Again, Researchers Prove Bed Bugs Resistant to Common Pesticides

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7th, 2012) A new study confirms several other recent study findings on the inability of commonly used pyrethroid based pesticide products to control bed bug infestations. The results reinforce the voices of concerned citizens and environmental groups calling for a wider adoption of proven, non-toxic methods to manage bed bugs and other household pest problems. The study, entitled “Ineffectiveness of Over-the-Counter Total-Release Foggers Against the Bed Bug,“ was published in the June issue of the Journal of Economic Entomology. Researchers from Ohio State University focused on the efficacy of three over-the-counter ”˜foggers,’ or ”˜bug bombs,’ including Hotshot Bedbug and Flea Fogger, Spectracide Bug Stop Indoor Fogger, and Eliminator Indoor Fogger. Results from the study reveal that bed bugs are not affected by direct exposure to the pyrethriods present in these products. Even long-term laboratory populations of bed bugs, known to be susceptible to pyrethroids, were unaffected by the pesticide when given a thin cloth as cover. This means that even if the current strain of bed bugs in the U.S. were not resistant to pyrethriods, the chemical still would not be an effective method of control because of bed bugs’ propensity to hide in small cracks and […]

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EPA Publishes Human Health Benchmarks for Pesticides in Water

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, April 18, 2012) In the face of widespread pesticide contamination of U.S. waterways and the lack of drinking water standards for hundreds of pesticides, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced new health and environmental benchmarks for acute pesticide effects, postponing action on chronic effects to an unspecified future date. While a step forward in identifying hazards associated with pesticide use and exposure, benchmarks have been notoriously limited in fully assessing risks because of ongoing deficiencies in analyzing the complexities associated with chemical exposure, specifically a failure to evaluate the effects of chemical mixtures, synergistic effects, and health effects associated with consistent low-dose exposure. EPA notes in a newly released April 2012 factsheet, “Human Health Benchmarks for Pesticides,” that, “EPA has developed a table of human health benchmarks for approximately 350 pesticides that are currently registered for use on food crops. The benchmarks are for pesticides for which the agency has not previously issued a drinking water health advisory or set an enforceable federal drinking water standard. These benchmarks for pesticides will enable states, water systems and the public to better determine whether the detection of a pesticide in drinking water or source waters for drinking water […]

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Take Action: EPA Proposes Expansion of Neurotoxic Pyrethroid Uses

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, January 31, 2012) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed an expansion in pyrethrins/pyrethroid insecticide uses as part of its cumulative risk assessment for this neurotoxic class of chemicals. In the cumulative risk assessment, EPA concludes that pyrethroids “do not pose risk concerns for children or adults,” ignoring a wealth of independent data that links this class of chemicals to certain cancers, respiratory and reproductive problems, and the onset of insect resistance. It went as far as to state that its cumulative assessment supports consideration of registering additional new uses of these pesticides, potentially opening the flood gates for manufacturers to bombard the market with more pyrethroid pesticides, endangering the health of the public. The agency is accepting public comments through February 8, 2012. Tell EPA that it has ignored numerous health effects and that these pesticides do pose unacceptable risks to human health given the availability of alternatives. Submit comments directly to the EPA docket or sign-on to Beyond Pesticides’ comments. In its comments to EPA, Beyond Pesticides states: There are several major concerns and flaws plaguing this cumulative assessment, which therefore does not meet the regulatory burden in fully evaluating synthetic pyrethroids’ effect on public and […]

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EPA Releases Pyrethroid Risk Assessment, Ignores Numerous Health Effects

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, November 16, 2011) On November 9, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its cumulative risk assessment for the pyrethroid class of insecticides, concluding that these pesticides “do not pose risk concerns for children or adults,” ignoring a wealth of independent data that links this class of chemicals to certain cancers, respiratory and reproductive problems, and the onset of insect resistance. The agency went as far to state that its cumulative assessment supports consideration of registering additional new uses of these pesticides, potentially opening the flood gates for manufacturers to bombard the market with more pyrethroid pesticides, endangering the health of the public. EPA issued the final pyrethins/pyrethroid cumulative risk assessment in the Federal Register and is requesting comment until January 9, 2011, including information that may be used to further refine the assessment. Pyrethroids are a widely used class of insecticides used for mosquito control and various insects in residential and agricultural settings. However pyrethroids are highly neurotoxic and have been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, suppression of the immune system, and various reproductive effects. This class of chemicals includes permethrin, bifenthrin, resmethrin, cyfluthrin and scores of others. Read Beyond Pesticides’ factsheet “Syntethic Pyrethroids.” Once the […]

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Pesticide Poisoning of Lobsters Leads to Indictment

Monday, November 14th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, November 14, 2011) Environment Canada’s enforcement division has indicted the multinational firm Cooke Aquaculture and three of its senior officials on eleven criminal charges stemming from illegal pesticide applications that spread to sicken and kill wild lobsters. The indictment alleges that in 2009 Cooke applied cypermethrin, a pesticide prohibited for use in aquatic settings in Canada, to control sea lice infestations in open water salmon net pens. The alleged applications occurred in the Passamaquoddy Bay which separates the Canadian province of New Brunswick from Maine and feeds into the Bay of Fundy. After dead and weakened lobsters were discovered in Canadian waters in the fall of 2009 and early 2010, Environment Canada linked the incidents to cypermethrin exposure and raided eight Cooke facilities. A conviction on the first count could result in a fine of $1 million with subsequent counts punishable by a $1 million fine or three years in prison, or both. Cypermethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid used for insect control in a number of agricultural and structural pest management settings. EPA has identified cypermethrin as a possible human carcinogen and classifies formulated pesticides containing it as slightly or moderately toxic. According to Susan Shaw, Ph.D., director […]

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Mosquito Pesticide Suspected in Lobster Deaths

Friday, October 7th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, October 7, 2011) Commercial lobster fishers operating in Long Island Sound off the coast of Connecticut have begun to suspect that the mosquito killing chemical methoprene, sprayed by neighboring New York State as part of its West Nile virus (WNv) control program, is contributing to widespread deaths of lobsters in the sound. Believing that a large amount of the chemical flowed into the sound in late summer due to heavy rains from Hurricane Irene, the lobster fishers are asking New York to follow Connecticut’s example and switch its WNv control method to the less toxic bacillus thuringiensis. Late summer declines in the sound’s lobster population have been alarmingly common throughout much of the last decade, devastating fishers and the local economy that depends on them. A number of factors have been blamed, but the lobstering community has increasingly been pointing to mosquito pesticides for several reasons. Methoprene has a tendency to sink to the bottom of the ocean water, where lobsters live and feed. Additionally, lobsters are a distant cousin of mosquitoes, and the methoprene acts on them in much the same way that it does the insects. Finally, the western part of the sound was the hardest […]

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Research Shows Commonly Used Pesticides Produce Greater Toxic Effect When Mixed

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, August 11, 2011) A combination of eleven different kinds of commonly used pyrethroids were tested on mice in a new study which found that, at real-world exposure levels, the insecticides can produce heightened toxicity that is equal to the sum of each insecticide’s individual effect. The mixture of similar-acting insecticides works by over-stimulating electronic channels in the mouse’s brain cells and eventually causing death. This study adds to the growing body of research on the toxicity of pesticide combinations in nature and showcases the need for policy change because the current risk assessment approach to regulating pesticides fails to look at chemical mixtures and synergistic effects. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently regulates on a chemical-by-chemical basis, but as this study demonstrates, interacting chemicals can have synergistic effects at very low levels, where a “chemical cocktail” of multiple interacting chemicals combine to have greater effects than expected. Pesticides can also have a cumulative “toxic loading” effect both in the immediate and long term. Researchers exposed mice brain cells to eleven different food-use pyrethroid insecticides either singly or in a mixture in the study entitled ”Additivity of pyrethroid actions on sodium influx in cerebrocortical neurons in primary culture.” […]

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Deltamethrin Approved for New Brunswick Salmon Fisheries

Monday, October 25th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, October 25,2010) In an effort to control sea lice in farmed Atlantic salmon Health Canada has approved a request by the province of New Brunswick to use the pesticide Alphamax, whose active ingredient is deltamethrin. The high concentrations of salmon in aquaculture facilities has lead to major problems with sea lice, a type of parasitic crustacean that attaches to the fish. Health Canada has approved the use of the restricted pesticide deltamethrin through December of this year. While many salmon farmers are pleased, the decision by Canada’s federal agency has many local fishermen concerned about the effects the pesticide will have on fish and shellfish populations. “Basically we are shocked in a nutshell,” said Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association project manager Melanie Sonnenberg, adding, “Dsappointed doesn’t cover it.” The use of deltamethrin will be restricted to tarped cages or well boats, boats with large holds. Treatment would involve placing fish in the boats, bathing them in Alphamax and releasing them back into cages along with the treated water. The industry is ready to start using the treatment in the Bay of Fundy. Fish farmers have been challenged in controlling sea lice outbreaks this summer, particularly in the upper Passamaquoddy […]

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Salmon Farms Probed for Illegal Pesticide Use Linked to Lobster Deaths

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, October 19, 2010) In addition to the ongoing investigation into the death of nearly 1,000 lobsters last fall around waters in New England and Canada, Environment Canada is now investigating the possible release of a pesticide that is not permitted for use in Canada. The pesticide, cypermethrin, is used in the U.S., including Maine, to control sea lice outbreaks in salmon farms, a practice under investigation. Cypermethrin is toxic to lobsters, and fishermen associations have been calling for the elimination of the use of pesticides in the marine environment. Fish farmers have been challenged in controlling sea lice outbreaks this summer, particularly in the upper Passamaquoddy Bay area. They have been using other chemicals to control the outbreaks, including hydrogen peroxide, Salmosan (azamethiphos), SLICE (emamectin benzoate) and Calicide (teflubenzuron). New Brunswick aquaculture organizations have maintained that fish farmers do not use cypermethrin, which is not permitted for use there. The New Brunswick Salmon Growers Association referred to the cocktail of pesticides used on salmon farms as “medicine” and referred to salmon farming techniques as “natural.” However, shoddy farming practices, such as growing too many fish per site and having too many sites in the same area, can lead […]

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Study Highlights High Levels of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Indoor Air

Tuesday, September 14th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2010) A new study confirms that indoor uses of consumer products, including pesticides, are the primary sources of indoor exposure to endocrine disruptors —chemicals that disrupt hormones and cause adverse developmental, disease, and reproductive problems— and shows that indoor levels are higher than those outdoors. Researchers from Silent Spring Institute, Columbia University, and the University of California-Berkeley measured airborne concentrations of endocrine disruptors in two California communities: Bolinas, a rural, affluent coastal town, and Richmond, a working-class city ringed by oil refineries. The study is published online in the September 1, 2010 issue of Environmental Science & Technology. The researchers analyzed 104 chemicals in 50 homes, including both chemicals that penetrate indoors from outdoor industrial and transportation sources and those from indoor use of consumer products and building materials. Similar levels of contamination were found inside homes in both communities, but outdoor levels were higher in Richmond. Among the chemicals found were pesticides, phthalates, parabens, PBDE flame retardants, and PCBs. A total of 38 pesticides are evaluated, including banned organochlorines (e.g., DDT, PCP), and current use products such as carbamates (e.g., propoxur), organophosphates (e.g., chlorpyrifos), and pyrethroids (cypermethrin). Thirteen pesticides were detected outdoors and sixteen pesticides […]

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Pesticides in Bay Cause of Concern for Local Fisherman

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, February 18, 2010) Hundreds of dead and dying lobsters just north of the Gulf of Maine were found to have been exposed to cypermethrin, a highly toxic synthetic pyrethroid pesticide registered for agricultural and residential use that some officials think may have been illegally used in fish farming. However, the chemical, which is primarily used for indoor insect control and termites, is extremely toxic to fish and aquatic organisms and part of a family of pesticides (synthetic pyrethroids) that is increasingly showing up in water bodies at toxic levels, a cause for concern according to scientists. Area fisherman are angry and concerned, however investigators are not yet certain just how this pesticide wound up in the Bay of Fundy, which is located between the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The first dead lobsters were discovered last fall in Grand Manan’s Seal Cove, and only a few days later fisherman found dead lobsters in two different locations in the Bay, including about 816 kilograms of dying or dead lobsters in Deer Island’s Fairhaven Harbour. This prompted an investigation by Environment Canada that began on December 22, 2009. The department looked at samples of crab, kelp, mussels […]

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CDC Issues Fourth National Report on Body Burden of Toxic Chemicals

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, December 16, 2009) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published its Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals – the most comprehensive assessment to date of the exposure of the U.S. population to chemicals in our environment. CDC measures 212 chemicals in people’s blood or urine – 75 of which have been measured for the first time in the U.S. population. One of the new chemicals included in this report is triclosan, a common and hazardous antibacterial agent. In this Fourth Report, 75 new chemicals were added. Chemicals in the Fourth Report include metals such as lead, cadmium, uranium, mercury, and speciated forms of arsenic; environmental phenols such as bisphenol-A (BPA); acrylamide; perfluorinated chemicals; polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs); polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); volatile organic compounds such as benzene, styrene and methyl tert-butyl ether; pesticides; phthalates; and dioxins, furans and related chemicals. The data analyzed in the Fourth Report are based on blood and urine samples that were collected from approximately 2400 people who participated in CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 2003 through 2004. NHANES is an ongoing national health survey of the non-institutionalized U.S. population that includes collecting and […]

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