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Pesticide Drift from Fields Impact Amphibian Populations

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, July 23, 2009) A new study published in the August 2009 issue of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry found that insecticides used in highly populated agricultural areas of California’s Central Valley affect amphibians that breed in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to the east. This study adds to the increasing evidence that pesticides impact areas and wildlife species that are miles from sources of pesticide application. Researchers from the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory, Southern Illinois University and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) examined the chronic toxicity of two of the insecticides most commonly used in the Central Valley- chlorpyrifos and endosulfan, to larval Pacific treefrogs (Pseudacris regilla) and foothill yellow-legged frogs (Rana boylii), the amphibians with declining populations that live and breed in meadows surrounding the Sierra Nevada. The results are discussed in “Toxicity of Two Insecticides to California, USA, Anurans and Its Relevance to Declining Amphibian Populations.” The study used laboratory testing to examine how the insecticides affected the two frogs at environmentally realistic concentrations. During testing, tadpoles were observed at various stages of development to see how the insecticides affected their growth and health. The researchers found that endosulfan was more toxic than chlorpyrifos to both species, and tadpoles […]

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Lawsuit to Challenge EPA for Pesticide Impacts on Polar Bears

Friday, July 10th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, July 10, 2009) The Center for Biological Diversity notified the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this week of its intent to file suit against the agency for failing to consider impacts to the polar bear and its Arctic habitat from toxic contamination resulting from pesticide use in the U.S. Pesticides registered by EPA for use in the U.S. are known to be transported to the Arctic via various atmospheric, oceanic, and biotic pathways. Such pesticides are biomagnified with each step higher in the food web, reaching some of their greatest concentrations in polar bears, the apex predators of the Arctic. A body of literature demonstrates the far-reaching effects of commonly used pesticides that are suspected endocrine disruptors and persistent organic pollutants, such as atrazine, 2,4-D, lindane, endosulfan, and permethrin, on global ecosystems. These pesticides, among others, and related contaminants have been linked to suppressed immune function, endocrine disruption, abnormalities in reproductive organs, hermaphroditism, and increased cub mortality in polar bears. Human subsistence hunters in the Arctic, who share the top spot on the food web with the polar bear, also face increased risks from exposure to these contaminants. “The poisoning of the Arctic is a silent crisis […]

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Fish Mutations Linked to Pesticide Contamination

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, January 14, 2009) Two-headed bass found in the Noosa River are at the center of a controversy surrounding pesticide drift from neighboring farms in Queensland, Australia. The pesticides, endosulfan and carbendazim, have been implicated in the contamination of the river, which has yielded thousands of chronically deformed fish. Experts believe that the mutated fish, which survive only 48 hours after hatching, are the victims of pesticide drift from neighboring macadamia nut farms that routinely use endosulfan and the fungicide, carbendazim. Aquatic health expert and vice-president of the Australian College of Veterinarian Scientists’ Aquatic Animal Health Chapter, Matt Landos, PhD, has been investigating the phenomenon and concludes that there were no other probable causes to explain the fish and larval mortality. Dr. Landos documented evidence and completed a report which was sent to the state’s Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries last year. “The timing between the mist spraying and the affected larvae fits hand in glove,” Dr. Landos said. His report also found that chickens, sheep and horses raised at nearby fish hatcheries are also recording abnormally high levels of fetal deaths and birth defects. Gwen Gilson, who runs a Boreen Point fish hatchery, says she has observed […]

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New Zealand Joins Others in Banning Endosulfan, U.S. Use Continues

Thursday, December 18th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, December 18, 2008) The New Zealand’s Environmental Risk Management Authority (ERMA) has announced it will ban the controversial organochlorine pesticide endosulfan, effective January 16, 2009. Endosulfan, already banned in numerous countries including all the European Union countries, is an insecticide used on a wide range of fruits and vegetables and also on athletic fields in New Zealand. Illegal residues have been found in beef destined for South Korea, resulting in enormous costs for New Zealand exporters. Use of endosulfan for agriculture continues in the U.S., despite causing severe health and environmental problems. A coalition of groups, including the Pesticide Action Network Aotearoa New Zealand (PAN ANZ), Soil and Health Association and Safe Food Campaign, have long campaigned for the banning of endosulfan. Earlier this year, the three organizations carried out a number of residue tests on produce to draw attention to the extent of endosulfan residues, especially in tomatoes. “We are delighted that ERMA has overturned its earlier ”˜proposed’ decision to keep using this pesticide,” stated Meriel Watts, Ph.D., co-coordinator of PAN ANZ. “It would have been deeply embarrassing for New Zealand to continue its use when the pesticide has entered the process for a global ban under […]

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Farmworkers Face Highest Risk of Pesticide Poisonings, EPA Worker Protection Standards Failing

Monday, December 8th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, December 8, 2008) A new study by a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researcher finds the pesticide poisoning incidence rate among U.S. agricultural workers is thirty-nine times higher than the incidence rate found in all other industries combined. The study, “Acute Pesticide Poisoning Among Agricultural Workers in the United Sates, 1998-2005,” published in the December issue of the American Journal of Industrial Medicine, is believed to be the first detailed multi-state assessment of acute pesticide poisonings among agricultural workers. From 1998 to 2005, a total of 3,271 cases of acute occupational pesticide-related illness/injury among agricultural workers were identified in ten states. According to EPA, the Worker Protection Standards are designed to reduce the risk of injury or illness to agricultural field workers resulting from exposure to pesticides. Although the WPS was expanded in 1995 and in 2005 EPA developed a new WPS How to Comply (HTC) Manual, the NIOSH findings indicate that agricultural workers continue to have an elevated risk for acute pesticide poisoning. Furthermore, female agricultural workers experienced nearly twice the risk of pesticide poisoning of male agricultural workers. The most common factors that contributed to pesticide exposure included off-target drift, early reentry into […]

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Study Finds Low Pesticide Concentrations Can Become Toxic Mixture

Monday, November 17th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, November 17, 2008) A toxic soup of the most commonly used pesticides frequently detected in nature can adversely affect the environment and decimate amphibian populations even if the concentration of the individual chemicals are within limits considered safe, according to University of Pittsburgh research published in the online edition of Oecologia. The results of this study build on a nine-year effort to understand potential links between the global decline in amphibians, routine pesticide use, and the possible threat to humans in the future. Amphibians are considered an environmental indicator species because of their unique sensitivity to pollutants. Their demise from pesticide exposure could foreshadow the fate of less sensitive animals, according to study author Dr. Rick Relyea, Ph.D., an associate professor of biological sciences in the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Arts and Sciences. Leopard frogs, in particular, are vulnerable to contamination; once plentiful across North America, their population has declined in recent years as pollution and deforestation has increased. Dr. Relyea exposed gray tree frog and leopard frog tadpoles to small amounts of the ten pesticides that are widely used throughout the world. Dr. Relyea selected five insecticides: carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, endosulfan, and malathion; and five herbicides: […]

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Endosulfan Use on Pineapples to End in the Phillippines

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, October 29, 2008) Two of the largest pineapple growers, Dole and Del Monte, have agreed to stop using endosulfan on pineapples grown on their plantations in the Philippines, beginning next year. The companies have opted not to renew their licenses for the use of this highly toxic chemical but instead will consider a list of alternative pesticides. The Philippines is one of the few countries that still allow the use of endosulfan, though on a restricted basis. Endosulfan is used on pineapple plantations to kill pineapple mites that cause pink disease, a discoloration of canned fruits. This measure to stop the use of endosulfan has been attributed to the recent sinking of the ship MV Princess of the Stars, whose cargo hull contained ten tons of endosulfan. The ship capsized and partially sank on June 21 in a typhoon, killing nearly 800 people onboard. In the wake of that tragedy, leaders in the Philippine government called for an end to endosulfan exemptions granted to foreign companies. Frustrations were raised over the potential for toxic contamination which threatens the health of the Philippine people. 400 packs of endosulfan, each pack weighing 25 kilograms, or a total of 10 metric […]

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Study Finds Low Doses of Pesticides Impact Amphibians

Monday, October 6th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, October 6, 2008) University of Pittsburgh researchers have found that the commonly used insecticide malathion can decimate tadpole populations by altering their food chain. The study, published in the October 1 edition of Ecological Applications, finds that gradual amounts of malathion that were too small to directly kill developing leopard frog tadpoles instead sparked a biological chain of events that deprived them of their primary food source. As a result, nearly half the tadpoles in the experiment did not reach maturity and would have died in nature. The results build on a nine-year effort to investigate whether there is a link between pesticides and the global decline in amphibians, which are considered an environmental indicator species because of their sensitivity to pollutants. According to the researchers, their deaths may foreshadow the poisoning of other less environmentally-sensitivespecies, including humans. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), malathion is the most commonly used insecticide in U.S. agriculture and the third most commonly used insecticide in the U.S. home and garden sector. It has been detected in the wetlands where frogs and other amphibians live. The researchers created simulated ponds from 300-gallon outdoor tanks containing wood frog and leopard frog […]

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Air Monitoring Near School Finds Hazardous Pesticides

Monday, September 29th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2008) A new study by Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) confirms that school children in Florida continue to breathe air contaminated by hazardous pesticides. Air monitoring near South Woods Elementary School in Hastings detected four agricultural chemicals in the air, often at levels that pose unacceptable risks to children. The report mirrors the results of a similar study released in April 2007, confirming the existence of an ongoing problem of pesticide contamination that is more extensive than previously documented. The new test results show that in October, November and December 2007 the air in Hastings was contaminated with the pesticides endosulfan, diazinon http://www.beyondpesticides.org/gateway/pesticide/diazinon.htm, trifluralin and chlorothalonil. Of these, two are neurotoxins, two are suspected carcinogens, and three are or will soon be banned in Europe. Endosulfan, the pesticide of greatest concern, was found in 87% of the samples, and, on several days, exceeded levels of concern. The air monitoring was conducted by concerned area residents using a “Drift Catcher” device, a simple air sampling system that sucks air into tubes, where the pesticides are absorbed and captured. The tubes are then sent to a laboratory, where the chemicals can be identified and the concentrations measured. […]

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Oregon To Set New Water Quality Standards for Seven Pesticides

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, September 10, 2008) Following the report released by the National Marine Fisheries Service that identified 37 pesticides that pose risks to salmon and steelhead, Oregon state officials are moving ahead to set new safety benchmarks for seven pesticides of priority concern. A team from the Oregon Water Quality Pesticide Management Program identified seven priority hazardous pesticides: azinphos-methyl, chlorpyrifos, dacthal, diazinon, endosulfan, simazine and ethoprop, based on water-quality monitoring in five Oregon watersheds, including the Pudding River near Salem, as well as the Clackamas, Yamhill, Hood and Walla Walla watersheds. Three pesticides, azinphos-methyl, diazinon and chlorpyrifos have been detected at concentrations that exceed federal aquatic criteria in the Clackamas River Basin (See report here). Chlorpyrifos was detected at maximum levels more than twice the federal standard. The National Marine Fisheries Service report on the ecological damage associated with pesticide use reveals “overwhelming evidence” to suggest that 37 pesticides, including these seven, increase the chance of extinction for protected salmon and steelhead. The state is now turning to its own team of experts to set stringent benchmarks based on existing research on these chemicals of concern. Generally the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is charged with developing water quality standards […]

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Comments Needed: Tell EPA to Revoke Endosulfan Tolerances!

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2008) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting comments on letters sent from the Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) requesting that EPA revoke all tolerances for the toxic pesticide endosulfan. In addition, EPA is accepting information on endosulfan residues on commodities consumed by Alaskan natives. PANNA’s August 12 letter stated: “We are particularly concerned about the effects of endosulfan on prenatal and child development. Peer-reviewed science demonstrates that endosulfan is both an endocrine disruptor and a neurotoxicant.” The letter followed up on a February 2008 petition signed by 13,300 people across the country, a legal petition filed by the National Resources Defense Council that same month, three letters sent to the Agency on May 19, 2008 signed by 111 nonprofit environmental groups, 55 scientists, and 5 coalitions of Indigenous groups and tribes, and a lawsuit filed on behalf of PAN, environmental and farmworker groups on July 24. “Endosulfan poses a threat to the health of children in the U.S.,” the letter concluded. “This antiquated DDT-era organochlorine has already been phased out of agriculture in the European Union and at least 20 other countries. It is high time for the […]

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Groups File Endosulfan Lawsuit Against EPA

Friday, July 25th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2008) San Francisco, California —  On July 24, 2008,  a broad coalition of farmworker, public health, and environmental groups filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop the continued use of a hazardous pesticide called endosulfan. The coalition is demanding action from EPA to protect children, farmworkers, and endangered species. Endosulfan is an organochlorine, part of the same family of chemicals as DDT, which EPA banned in 1972. Like other organochlorine pesticides, endosulfan is persistent in the environment and poisons humans and wildlife both in agricultural areas and in regions far from where it was applied. “This dangerous and antiquated pesticide should have been off the market years ago,” said Karl Tupper, a staff scientist with Pesticide Action Network. “The fact that EPA is still allowing the use of a chemical this harmful shows just how broken our regulatory system is.” Acute poisoning from endosulfan can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, and in extreme cases, unconsciousness and even death. Studies have linked endosulfan to smaller testicles, lower sperm production, and an increase in the risk of miscarriages. One glaring omission in the EPA’s decision is its failure to consider risks to children. A […]

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Capsized Ferry in Philippines Holds Ten Tons of Toxic Pesticide

Monday, July 7th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, July 7, 2008) Officials have halted recovery efforts in the Philippines for bodies on the partially sunken ship MV Princess of the Stars after it was revealed that the ship’s cargo hull contains ten tons of the highly toxic pesticide endosulfan. The ship capsized and partially sank on June 21 in a typhoon, killing nearly 800 people onboard. Although the Philippines banned the use of endosulfan in 1993 because of its serious health effects, multi-national food companies Dole and Del Monte have maintained exemptions to the ban and continue to use endosulfan. In the wake of this tragedy, the potential for toxic contamination looms large and has raised frustrations for leaders in the government who are calling for an end to these exemptions, which benefit only foreign companies and threaten the health of the Philippine people. Globally, endosulfan has received substantial attention for its severe health and environmental effects. The European Union has submitted a petition that endosulfan be included in the Stockholm Convention, the international treaty regulating highly toxic, persistent organic pollutants. Endosulfan is banned in over 20 countries, including those of the European Union. Despite its known toxicity, endosulfan remains a commonly used insecticide and acaricide […]

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Organochlorine Pesticide Linked to Behavioral Deficit in Infants

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2008) A study published in the May issue of Environmental Health Perspectives shows a link between prenatal exposure to the pesticide DDT and poor attention-related skills in early infancy. This study follows in a long line of recent studies associated with the negative health effects of DDT including: diabetes; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; breast cancer; and autism. Despite the fact that DDT was banned in the U.S. in 1972, concentrations of this toxic chemical’s major metabolite, DDE, have remained alarmingly high in many ecosystems, including the waters of Los Angeles County, the arctic, and even U.S. national parks. All studies documenting the health effects of DDT and chemicals in the same family, organochlorines, are particularly important not just for understanding the lingering effects of DDT from days past, but because many countries continue to employ DDT as a method in controlling mosquitoes that transmit malaria, despite its toxicity, weakening efficacy, and availability of safer alternatives. Other organochlorines are still registered for use in the U.S.The study looked at 788 mother-infant pairs who met several criteria, which included living in a town adjacent to a Superfund site in New Bedford, Massachusetts, a location with known organochlorine contamination. Cord blood […]

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Scientists and Activists Urge EPA to Ban Endosulfan

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2008) On May 19, 2008, scientists, Arctic tribal governments and Indigenous groups and environmental health advocates sent letters calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to phase out the organochlorine pesticide endosulfan.“It is time to take this dangerous and antiquated pesticide off the market,” says Jennifer Sass, Ph.D., a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “The scientific evidence clearly shows that the continued use of this chemical puts the health of exposed farmworkers, communities and the environment at risk.” Dr. Sass is one of over 55 international scientists, medical doctors, nurses, and other health professionals urging EPA to take action on endosulfan in a letter to Administrator Stephen Johnson. Prominent scientists endorsing the letter include Philip Landrigan, M.D., M.Sc., a pediatrician and Director of the Center for Children’s Health and the Environment at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Ronald Herberman, M.D. and Devra Davis, Ph.D., M.P.H., researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Used in the U.S. on tomatoes, cotton and other crops, endosulfan harms the hormone system, and low levels of exposure in the womb have been linked to male reproductive harm, other birth defects and possibly autism. Acute poisoning […]

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USGS Identifies Contaminants in Potomac River Possibly Linked to Intersex Fish

Monday, March 24th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, March 24, 2008) Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) announced that they have identified ten contaminants, including pesticides, in the Potomac River, which flows through downtown Washington, DC, that could be responsible for the alarming discovery of “intersex fish,” male fish producing eggs. The suspected chemicals include: atrazine, a common herbicide used in agriculture and on lawns that is already linked to sexual abnormalities in frogs; insecticides chlorpyrifos and endosulfan; the herbicide metolachlor; and two chemicals used to add fragrance to perfumes, soaps and other products, tonalide and galaxolide. To collect the samples, USGS scientists suspended a device intended to serve as a facsimile fish in the Potomac River near the Washington, DC’s Blue Plains sewage plant. The device had a plastic-coated tube, which simulated a fish’s permeable skin, and a layer of simulated fat. According to the Washington Post, the tests on this fake fat revealed a range of potentially worrisome pollutants. Most have been found in other streams around the U.S. “The types of things we’re finding are the types of things that are associated with everyday life,” David Alvarez, a U.S. Geological Survey research chemist who analyzed samples from the Potomac told the Washington […]

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Bird Eggs Found to Contain Chemical Contaminants

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, March 12, 2008) BioDiversity Research Institute, a nonprofit ecological research group, released a new report that was presented March 12, 2008 to Maine’s Joint Standing Committee on Natural Resources. Entitled “Contaminant Screening in Maine Birds,” it documents over 100 harmful contaminants that were found in Maine bird eggs. Scientists collected 60 eggs, representing 23 species of birds, all of which test positive for chemical contaminants, some at levels believed to be harmful to the birds. Flame retardants (PBDEs), industrial stain and water repellants (PFCs), transformer coolants (PCBs), pesticides (OCs), and mercury are found in all 23 species of birds tested. The bird species studied live in a variety of habitats: on Maine’s ocean, salt marshes, rivers, lakes and uplands. “This is the most extensive study of its kind to date and the first time industrial stain and water repellants were discovered in Maine birds,” says report author, senior research biologist Wing Goodale with the Institute. The Common loon, Atlantic puffin, piping plover, belted kingfisher, great black-backed gull, peregrine falcon and bald eagle have the highest contaminant levels. The flame retardant deca-BDE, banned last year in Maine, is found in eight species. Overall, eagles carry the greatest contaminant load, […]

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Action Alert: Tell EPA to Cancel Endosulfan!

Friday, February 8th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, February 8, 2008) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is asking for public input on its review of the chemical endosulfan, an antiquated and dangerous insecticide. Now is the time to go on record to protect children, farmworkers and rural communities from this harmful nerve toxin. Used in the U.S. on tomatoes, cotton and other crops, endosulfan harms the hormone system, and low levels of exposure in the womb have been linked to autism, male reproductive harm, and other birth defects. Acute poisoning can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, and in extreme cases, unconsciousness and even death. EPA’s own analysis shows that endosulfan endangers workers who handle it directly and those who work in endosulfan-treated fields. Endosulfan travels great distances, accumulates up the food chain, and poses grave risks to aquatic ecosystems. The European Union and several other countries have already banned endosulfan, and alternatives are available. It’s time the U.S. does its part to protect communities and the environment at home and around the world from this persistent organic pollutant. TAKE ACTION: Let EPA know that continued use of this unnecessary poison is unacceptable. Add your name to the petition today and forward to as many people as […]

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IIT Scientists Use Nanoparticles To Filter Organochlorines from Water

Monday, January 14th, 2008

(Beyond Pesticides, January 14, 2008) Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras have developed nanoparticles that can remove organochlorine pesticides from drinking water. These chemicals are quite persistent in the environment and difficult to remove from water. Notorious organochlorines include DDT, endosulfan, HCH (hexacholorcyclohexane) and aldrin, all of which have known health and/or environmental hazards. Many of these chemical pesticides are used heavily in agriculture and taint India’s water. Though no comprehensive national survey has been done, isolated studies show contamination of groundwater and river systems that cannot be removed by standard water filters. “Even though some of these pesticides have been banned, they are very much present in the environment. For instance, endosulfan has an environmental lifetime of 100 years,” said Thalappil Pradeep, professor of chemistry at IIT Madras. He leads the research that has shown that nanoparticles, mostly from gold, silver, copper and several oxides, are effective at removing endosulfan even at very low concentration. “Efficient chemistry at low concentration is important so that even if one molecule of the pesticide passes by, it gets removed by the nanoparticle,” said Pradeep. He holds a US and an Indian patent and has licensed part of the technology […]

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Christmas Tree Pesticide Use Down, But Still Used by Most Growers

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

(Beyond Pesticides, November 27, 2007) While there is a trend towards less pesticide use in Christmas tree production, most trees are still treated with one pesticide or another — many of which are prohibited for residential use. In it’s 2007 survey results, North Carolina State University’s Mountain Horticultural Research and Extension Center, reports that glyphosate was the pesticide applied most commonly. The Center found that almost 90 percent of the state’s tree growers had applied glyphosate last season. The following tables summarize the state’s results, listing the pesticides that are used on at least 5% of the Christmas tree acreage. Nearly 40 different active ingredients are registered for tree production nationwide. Oregon, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Washington, New York, and Virginia are the nation’s top Christmas tree producing states. Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture, which published a list of insecticides for Christmas tree production in February 2007, recommends carbaryl, carbofuran, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, endosulfan, imidacloprid, malathion, permethrin and many more. Many of these pesticides have been “banned” or have always been prohibited in residential settings, however EPA’s registration process and phase-out deals with manufacturers allows continued use on Christmas trees and other agricultural products. For information on the toxicity of these […]

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Pesticides Linked to Rising Autism Rates

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

November 13, 2007) Autism is on the rise, both in prevalence and incidence, and there is growing evidence that environmental insults, such as pesticides, are linked to this developmental disability. According to the latest study, published in the October issue of Environmental Health Perspectives, children born to mothers living near fields where pesticides are applied are more likely to develop autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). The authors of “Maternal Residence Near Agricultural Pesticide Applications and Autism Spectrum Disorders among Children in the California Central Valley” compared maternal pesticide exposure for 465 children with ASDs and 6,975 children without ASDs living in the same area. The research reveals that mothers who lived within 500 meters of fields sprayed with organochlorine pesticides, specifically endosulfan and dicofol, during their first trimester of pregnancy had a six times higher chance of having children with autism compared to mothers who did not live near the fields. Mark Horton, M.D., director of the California Department of Health, said the findings are exploratory and indicate that more research of the relationship between organochlorines and ASDs is needed. (See Daily News Blog posting from July 31, 2007 for further reactions from health care officials and more details about this […]

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Potential Link Between Autism and Pesticide Exposure

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

(Beyond Pesticides, July 31, 2007) Preliminary research into birth records and pesticide data reveal that mothers who were within 500 meters of fields sprayed with organochlorine pesticides during their first trimester of pregnancy were six times higher to have children with autism compared to mothers who did not live near the fields. Scientists from the California Department of Public Health conducted the study, which is available online in Environmental Health and Perspectives, entitled, “Maternal Residence Near Agricultural Pesticide Applications and Autism Spectrum Disorders Among Children in the California Central Valley.” The study, initiated to “systemically explore the general hypothesis that residential proximity to agricultural pesticide applications during pregnancy could be associated with autism spectrum disorders in offspring,” found that 28% of the mothers studied who lived near fields in Central Valley, which were sprayed with organochlorines, such as endosulfan and dicofol, have children with autism. However, officials are quick to point out that their findings are preliminary. “We want to emphasize that this is exploratory research,” says Dr. Mark Horton, M.D., director of the California Department of Health. “We have found very preliminary data that there may be an association. We are in no way concluding that there is a […]

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Climate Change and Pesticides Hot Issue for Fish

Monday, July 23rd, 2007

(Beyond Pesticides, July 23, 2007) New research finds several species of freshwater fish have lower temperature tolerances when exposed to the widely used pesticides endosulfan and chlorpyrifos. The discovery reveals another key pesticides issue in the global warming debate. The study, “The Effects of Three Organic Chemicals on the Upper Thermal Tolerances of Four Freshwater Fishes” (Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, July 2007), is the work of Ronald Patra of Australia’s Department of Environment and Conservation and colleagues. The study establishes the upper temperature tolerances of both unexposed and exposed silver perch, eastern rainbowfish, western carp gudgeon and rainbow trout. Exposed fish were given sublethal doses of endosulfan, chlorpyrifos or phenol. The results show exposure to endosulfan cause a decrease of temperature tolerance in silver perch by 2.8 °C, eastern rainbowfish 4.1 °C, western carp gudgeon 3.1 °C, and rainbow trout 4.8 °C. Chlorpyrifos decreases temperature tolerance in silver perch by 3.8 °C, eastern rainbowfish 2.5 °C, western carp gudgeon 4.3 °C, and rainbow trout 5.9 °C. Phenol is not shown to cause a significant decrease in tolerance. The authors conclude, “The reduction in thermal tolerance of fish in the presence of endosulfan and chlorpyrifos suggest that, not only does temperature […]

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