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Pesticide Spills and Accidents Put Pesticide Applicators at Increased Risk for Prostate Cancer

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2017) Male pesticide applicators who experienced a pesticide spill or another related accident are more likely to harbor changes in their DNA associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer, according to a recent paper published in the journal, Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis. While the relationship between pesticide exposure and prostate cancer is not new, this study adds to the growing body of evidence that high exposure to specific pesticides may lead to the development of prostate and other cancers. The analysis finds that after experiencing one of these exposure events, men are more likely to have higher DNA methylation of a gene linked with an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. DNA methylation is a form of gene regulation that, if disturbed, can result in gene expression changes that can cause cancer. The researchers used data from the ongoing Agricultural Health Study (AHS), which is a long-term cohort study evaluating cancer and other health outcomes of pesticides applicators and their spouses in North Carolina and Iowa. This paper, High pesticide exposure events and DNA methylation among pesticide applicators in the agricultural health study, analyzed a sample size of 596 male pesticide applicators who underwent three phases of […]

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New Study Shows Reduction of Persistent Pollutants in Breast Milk, Though Concerns Remain

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2016) Researchers at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Murdoch University recently released a study whose findings show that levels of pesticides in breast milk have dropped significantly over the past forty years, though some major concerns remain. Published in the international journal Chemosphere, the research shows a 42-fold decrease in levels of pesticides detected in breast milk, and ties the reduction to government efforts to prohibit persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Australia, which has lead to decreased exposure over time. Led by UWA’s internationally renowned human lactation researcher Emeritus Professor Peter Hartmann, Dr. Donna Geddes and Murdoch’s Associate Professor Robert Trengove, the study is a testament to the positive impact banning pesticides can have on the health of individuals, especially vulnerable populations like infants, but also shows that there is a long way to go before our bodies are void of any bioaccumulated toxic residues. Researchers often study breast milk because it can bioconcentrate, or accumulate, persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Multiple studies on breast milk have been performed throughout the years, many of them confirming the fact that common toxic chemicals, such as glyphosate and triclosan, build up in our bodies over time. Most […]

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Legacy Contaminants Found in Swallow Eggs around the Great Lakes

Wednesday, September 14th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2016) According to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), high concentrations of dioxins and furans have been detected in tree swallow eggs collected near several sites around the Great Lakes. Other chemicals detected include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which were at background levels. The study is part of efforts to clean up a toxic chemical legacy around the Great Lakes, and the researchers believe their results are critical to regulators to assess “bird or animal deformity or reproductive problems” The study, “Concentrations and spatial patterns of organic contaminants in tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) eggs at United States and binational Great Lakes Areas of Concern, 2010—2015,” used tree swallows to quantify current exposure to organic contaminants across all five Great Lakes including 59 sites within 27  Areas of Concern (AOCs)  and 10 nearby  locations. The Great Lakes Areas of Concern refers to a U.S.-Canada  Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement  (Annex 1 of the 2012 Protocol) that  defines AOCs as “geographic areas designated by the Parties where significant  impairment of beneficial uses  has occurred as a result of human activities at the local level.” An AOC is a location that has […]

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Banned Chemicals Linked to Increased Autism Risk

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, August 24, 2016) Researchers at Drexel University report that higher levels of some organochlorine compounds during pregnancy are associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID). The organochlorine compounds under study have long been banned in the U.S., and include pesticides like DDT, underscoring how pervasive and persistent these chemicals are, and their continued impact on human health. The research is reported in the study  Polychlorinated Biphenyl and Organochlorine Pesticide Concentrations in Maternal Mid-Pregnancy Serum Sam ples: Association with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability,  which examines whether prenatal exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) influences offspring risk of ASD and intellectual disability without autism (ID). According to the research, children born after being exposed to the highest levels of organochlorines during their mother’s pregnancy are roughly 80 percent more likely to be diagnosed with autism when compared to individuals with the very lowest levels of these chemicals. The team looked at a population sample of 1,144 children born in Southern California between 2000 and 2003. Data was accrued from mothers who had enrolled in California’s Expanded Alphafetoprotein Prenatal Screening Program, which is dedicated to detecting birth defects during pregnancy. Participants’ children were […]

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Common Pesticide Exposure Alters Behavior of Fish and Amphibians

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2016) Exposure to common pesticides at levels often found in the environment can have subtle but significant impacts on the behavioral health of fish, amphibians and other aquatic invertebrates. According to researchers at Northern Arizona University, who analyzed data from nearly 40 experiments to reach their conclusion, fish and amphibians swam 35% slower and were 72% less active after pesticide exposure. Chemical Class Type Example Pesticides Carbamates Insecticide Carbaryl, Aldicarb Organochlorine Insecticide DDT, Endosulfan, Chlordane Organophosphates Insecticide Diazinon, Chlorpyrifos Organotins Biocide Tributyltin Phosphonoglycines Herbicide Glyphosate, Glufosinate Pyrethroids Insecticide Permethrin, Bifenthrin, Esfenvalerate Triazines Herbicide Atrazine, Simazine The study, published in Science of the Total Environment, found that the overall effect on aquatic wildlife varied based on the chemical class the animals encountered. While pyrethroids, carbamates, and organophosphates resulted in a significant decrease in swim speed, triazines and phosphonoglycines showed no overall effect. Pyrethroids, carbamates, organophosphates, organochlorines, and organotins decreased activity, while phosphonoglycines had no overall effect, and triazines actually increased activity. “I didn’t think that we would see [an effect] across such a wide range of pesticides so consistently, but we did,” said study co-author, Catherine Propper, PhD to KNAU, “and that leads to some concerns about […]

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Exposure to Pesticides Linked to ALS Risk

Monday, May 16th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2016) Pesticide exposure may increase the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a study entitled Association of Environmental Toxins With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which was  published in JAMA Neurology. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The study, which investigated a total of 122 persistent environmental pollutants, including organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), found that pesticide exposure increased ALS risk five-fold. Researchers conducting the study  looked at 156 patients with ALS and 128 without the disease. Participants were asked about occupational and residential exposure to environmental toxicants  and blood samples were taken to measure their concentrations. Researchers found that the organochlorine pesticides pentachlorobenzene and cis-chlordane increased ALS risk two-fold and nearly six-fold, respectively. This study does not prove that pesticides cause ALS, but it does build on an association suggested in previous research, study co-author Stephen Goutman, MD, told  HealthDay. Dr. Goutman recommends avoiding pesticides. This is especially wise for anyone with a family history of ALS, he added. The link between pesticide exposure and neurological damage has been studied extensively. In 2008, […]

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Pesticides Found in Turtles in Sequoia National Park

Friday, April 29th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, April 29, 2016) Traces of pesticides, including the long-banned organochlorine chemical DDT, have been found in Western pond turtles, insects, and soil sediment at Sequoia National Park, according to a study.  The study, entitled Organic contaminants in western pond turtles in remote habitat in California  and published in the journal Chemosphere, surveys a suite of 57 current- and historic-use pesticides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the western pond turtle, along with their potential prey items and habitat. California study sites include Sequoia National Park, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, and Six Rivers National Forest, all of which are downstream of undeveloped watersheds and varied in distance from agricultural and urban pollution sources. Researchers found that organic pollutants are widespread in the western pond turtle, which has conservation status; that pesticides are prominent in Sequoia National Park, which is downwind of heavy agriculture; and that the legacy  pesticides and PCB concentrations indicate that bioaccumulation is occurring. Brian Todd, Ph.D., an associate professor of wildlife, fish, and conservation biology at University of California Davis, co-authored the study. Dr. Todd said controlling the flow of pesticides into national parks is pretty much impossible. “Sequoia National Park is very […]

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Feminine Hygiene Products Tainted with Glyphosate, Other Toxic Chemicals

Friday, February 26th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, February 25, 2016) Feminine care products sold in France may contain “potentially toxic residues,” according to a study conducted by 60 Millions de Consommateurs, a French consumer rights group. The study finds  traces of chemicals, such as dioxins and insecticides, in 5 of 11 products tested. A separate analysis conducted by Corman, a manufacturer of feminine care products, also finds  residues of the weedkiller glyphosate, which was classified in March 2015  as a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Researchers at 60 Millions  reported finidng traces of halogenated waste, a by-product related to the processing of raw materials, in Tampax Compak Active Regular Fresh tampons. The researchers also detected residues of organochlorine and pyrethroid pesticides, linked to a wide range of adverse health impacts, in some Always sanitary towels. Highly toxic dioxins, which can be cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems and damage the immune system, according to the World Health Organization, were also found in products by OB and the European Nett brands. Corman, which makes Organyc panty liners, told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency that it conducted its own analysis that confirmed the trace amounts of glyphosate, the active ingredient […]

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Increased Risk of Parkinson’s Disease Linked to Consumption of Heptachlor Contaminated Milk

Friday, December 11th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, December 11, 2015) Milk contaminated with the long-banned and toxic organochlorine pesticide heptachlor in Hawaii has been found  in the brains of men that were more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, according to a new study. This study adds to a large body of evidence linking pesticide exposure to Parkinson’s disease. Researchers of the study, titled “Midlife milk consumption and substantia nigra neuron density at death” and published in the journal Neurology, collected milk intake data from 1965 to 1968 for 449 men aged 45-68 years withpostmortem examinations from 1992 to 2004. Neuron density was measured in an area of the brain called substantia nigra (SN). As Parkinson’s develops, cells are destroyed in certain parts of the brain stem, particularly in the SN, a crescent-shaped cell mass. Measurements of brain residues of heptachlor epoxide, a heptachlor metabolite that is persistent and more toxic than its parent chemical, were also taken. “Among those who drank the most milk, residues of heptachlor epoxide were found in 9 of 10 brains as compared to 63.4%…for those who consumed no milk,” the researchers wrote. Neuron density was lowest in subjects who consumed the highest amounts of milk. The researchers looked at milk […]

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Pesticide Exposure Linked to Abnormal Sperm Development

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, November 10, 2015) Exposure to organochlorine chemicals, such as DDE and PCBs, is linked to increased rates of sperm abnormalities that may lead to fertility problems, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. This is the latest study in a long line of research implicating endocrine (hormone)-disrupting chemicals in reproductive diseases. Researchers investigated this issue by observing the blood serum and sperm quality of 90 men, aged 22-44, participating in health studies in the Faroe Islands, an archipelago under  Denmark’s control that is  located between Iceland, the UK and Norway. Faroe islanders consume a high seafood diet that often consists of pilot whale, integral historically as a  food source for the Faroese people. However, this practice exposes the Faroese to higher than average levels of environmental contaminants. For the study, data on umbilical cord blood and blood serum at age 14 was available for 40 of the participants, allowing a researchers to measure lifetime impacts. Faroese participants were screened for sperm aneuploidy, a condition which usually involves an abnormal number of X or Y chromosomes in sperm, and is suspected as contributing to congenital abnormalities and up to 50% of early pregnancy losses. […]

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Pesticide Exposure Associated with Increased Risk of Diabetes

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2015) A meta-analysis presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Sweden concludes that exposure to pesticides is associated with an increased risk of diabetes. Although diabetes is long-suspected as involving an interplay between genetics and environmental factors, emerging research is revealing that contaminants like pesticides may play an important role in the pathogenesis of the disease. These findings add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that pesticides play a key role in the development of a wide range of all-too-common diseases in the 21st century. To assess the association between pesticide exposure and diabetes, the recent research, Association between diabetes and exposure to pesticides: a systematic review and meta-analysis, examine 21 relevant studies comprising over 66,000 people. Most studies determined pesticide exposure through urinary or blood biomarker analysis, a highly reliable method of testing body burden. Exposure to any pesticide is linked to a 61% increase in diabetes. When looking specifically at type 2 diabetes, researchers found similar results, with any pesticide exposure increasing risk of developing the disease by 64%. However, researchers found that, although on the whole pesticides increased the chance of any diabetes diagnosis, […]

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Lice Found Resistant to Common Insecticide Treatment

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, August 20, 2015) Just as children go  back to school, research  finds that lice in 25 of 30 states in a  U.S. study have developed resistance to common over-the-counter treatments like permethrin, calling into questions the justification for exposing children to a neurotoxic and carcinogenic pesticide and elevating the need to consider nontoxic alternatives. The  research was presented Tuesday at the 250th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), by Kyong Yoon, Ph.D., of Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Classified as a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide, permethrin is “likely carcinogenic” and a suspected endocrine disruptor, immunotoxic, neurotoxic, and highly toxic to fish, aquatic animals, and bees. Dr. Yoon and his colleagues describe the threefold mutations that lice have developed over time due to the constant use of synthetic pyrethroid insecticides. This new finding builds on his team’s previous research, which found that 99.6% of lice are resistant to chemical treatment, adding weight to the fact that chemical treatments not only are unnecessary given effective least-toxic alternatives, but also are not able to provide the lice control that manufacturers claim. “We are the first group to collect lice samples from a large number of populations across the U.S.,” […]

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Popular Weed Killer 2,4-D and Lice Treatment Lindane Classified as Carcinogens

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2015) The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has found that there is some evidence in experimental animals that the popular herbicide, 2,4-D, is linked to cancer and now classifies it as a Group 2B, “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” IARC also classified lindane, used commonly in the U.S. as a topical lice treatment, in Group 1,“carcinogenic to humans” based on sufficient evidence in humans with the onset of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). These latest cancer findings come just months after the agency classified the world’s most widely used herbicide, glyphosate (Roundup), as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” raising public concerns on the lack of action from U.S. regulators. This month, 26 experts from 13 countries met at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) IARC in Lyon, France to assess the carcinogenicity of the insecticide lindane, the herbicide 2,4-D, and insecticide DDT. The findings are published in the Lancet. The new IARC findings come months after the agency classified glyphosate, the ingredient in the popular Roundup weed killer, as a Group 2A “probable” carcinogen, citing sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity based on laboratory studies. This decision sparked renewed calls for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action on […]

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DDT Exposure in Utero Directly Linked to Development of Breast Cancer Later in Life

Friday, June 19th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 19, 2015) A new study directly links exposure to dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) in utero to the development of breast cancer later in life. Published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, the study looked at data that were taken from a California program that  evaluated  samples from women during 1960s, when DDT use was popular. DDT is known to be an endocrine disruptor, and is linked to serious health effects. Although DDT has been banned for many years, residues still linger in certain areas of the U.S. and continue to cause environmental and health hazards. The recent study, titled DDT Exposure in Utero and Breast Cancer,  focuses on 118 mothers who were members of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan from 1959-1967 and had daughters that were diagnosed with breast cancer by their 50s. Stored blood samples from these mothers gave researchers an idea of how much DDT they were exposed to during pregnancy or soon after giving birth. They found that elevated levels of DDT in the mother’s blood led to a four-fold increase in the daughter’s risk of developing breast cancer. Among those with cancer, 83% had a form of cancer called estrogen positive breast cancer, which […]

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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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Exposure to Hormone Disrupting Chemicals Costs Billions in Lost Brain Power

Friday, March 13th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2015) Exposure to endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals (EDC) results in approximately € 150 billion ($162 billion) in health care costs in the European Union each year, according to panels of scientists tasked by the EU Commission to study their impact. “The shocking thing is that the major component of that cost is related to the loss of brain function in the next generation,” Philippe Grandjean, M.D. of Harvard University, one of the report’s authors, told the Guardian. EDCs, contained in common household products such as detergents, disinfectants, furniture, plastics, and pesticides, interfere with the body’s hormone system either by mimicking naturally produced hormones, blocking hormone receptors in cells, or effecting the transport, synthesis, metabolism or excretion of hormones. These impacts can result in devastating effects on one’s health, including behavioral and learning disorders, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), birth defects, obesity, early puberty, infertility, cardiovascular disease, and childhood and adult cancers. Nearly 100 percent of people have detectable amounts of EDCs in their bodies, according to the introductory guide to EDCs published by the Endocrine Society and IPEN. “Our brains need particular hormones to develop normally —the thyroid hormone and sex hormones like testosterone […]

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Persistent Organic Pollutants, Pesticides Linked to Early Menopause

Friday, January 30th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, January 30, 2015) Extensive exposure to common chemicals may be linked to an earlier start of menopause, according to a new study out of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Researchers of the study found that women whose bodies have high levels of these chemicals, including three pesticides, experience menopause two to four years earlier than women with lower levels of the chemicals. The pesticides found to have a significant correlation with an early start in menopause were p,p’-DDE (a metabolite of DDT), β-hexachlorocyclohexane (a byproduct of the production of lindane), and mirex. All three pesticides are organochlorine insecticides or their breakdown products that have been banned for use  in the U.S., but continue to persist in the environment and in the food chain. The study, Persistent Organic Pollutants and Early Menopause in U.S. Women, published this week in the journal PLoS ONE, investigates the link between levels in blood and urine of 111 endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), or chemicals that interfere with the body’s hormonal activity, and focused on known reproductive toxicants or persistent environmental contaminants. The findings suggest a significant association between 15 chemicals —nine polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs, which are industrial products), three pesticides, two […]

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United Nations Committee Recommends Global Elimination of Toxic Wood Preservative

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, November 4, 2014) Last week, a United Nations committee of experts recommended the global elimination of the pesticide pentachlorophenol (PCP), widely used in the United States and elsewhere for treatment of wooden utility poles and railroad ties. Scientists cite chemical’s persistence, bioaccumulation, long-range transport, and PCP’s toxic impacts in recommending it being listed in  the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, an  international treaty established to safeguard human and environmental health from highly hazardous chemicals. The committee further noted the wide availability of non-chemical alternatives much safer than PCP, which include steel, composite,  and concrete poles, as well as the burying of power lines. “This is the beginning of the end of pentachlorophenol,” said Pam Miller, executive director of Alaska Community Action on Toxics. “Pentachlorophenol has global health implications since it is found in the bodies of people throughout the world including Indigenous Peoples of the Arctic. Now governments and the private sector need to get to work to finally eliminate this toxic chemical.” The United States is not a signatory to the Stockholm Convention, and is, in fact, the largest producer and user of PCP in the world. U.S. government agencies have sent mixed messages during  the […]

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Another Study Links Depression in Farmers to Pesticide Use

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, October 15, 2014) A new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives finds a strong relationship between the use of pesticides and depression in farmers. One specific class of pesticide, organochlorines, was associated with a 90% higher chance of being diagnosed with depression. For fumigants, the increased risk was up to 80 percent. This study echoes the conclusion from an earlier French study which also reported that farmers using pesticides face  a greater risk of developing depression. The study, Pesticide Exposure and Depression among Male Private Pesticide Applicators in the Agricultural Health Study, examines possible associations between pesticide exposure and depression among male private pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS). Over 21,000 applicators who enrolled in the study in 1993—1997 were followed and examined. The applicators were asked about depression when enrolled in the study and then again around 2010. Previous work with this AHS sample found a higher prevalence of depression among male applicators who reported past pesticide poisoning or use of pesticides from several different classes. However, this study examines specific pesticides, and finds that two types of pesticides, fumigants and organochlorine insecticides are positively correlated with depression and cumulative days of use. Those exposed […]

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Legacy of DDT Still Poisoning Birds and People in Michigan

Thursday, August 7th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2014) Residents of St. Louis, Michigan aren’t used to seeing large excavators and dump trucks haul piles of dirt from their front yards or entire blocks of big, neighborhood trees felled. What they are used to seeing are dead birds ””sometimes even spontaneous, mid-flight deaths of the birds”” and because of a toxic series of events, disasters, and delays spanning decades, the two sights are inextricably connected. As one St. Louis resident described to the Detroit Free Press, dozens of dead robins and blackbirds had been collected from her backyard in the 18 years she has lived there, with the most recent just a couple weeks ago. This experience and other similar stories from the area prompted researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) to start figuratively and literally digging. Matt Zwiernik, Ph.D., an environmental toxicologist at MSU, and volunteers collected 29 dead birds, including 22 robins, last year from a nine-block residential area in St. Louis. The scientific sampling was only a small portion of the dead birds they could have collected, Dr. Zwiernik explained to reporters at the Detroit Free Press, as time, distance, logistics, and access to property sometimes limited collection efforts. Nevertheless, it […]

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Banned Pesticide DDT with Lingering Residues Again Linked to Obesity and Diabetes

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 5, 2014) A new study finds that female mice exposed in utero to the pesticide DDT are at greater risk for obesity and type-2 diabetes, adding to a growing body of literature linking metabolic diseases to pesticide exposure. The study, titled Perinatal Exposure of Mice to the Pesticide DDT Impairs Energy Expenditure and Metabolism in Adult Female Offspring, was published in the journal PLoS One. Researchers measure and compare metabolic abnormalities in female mice that were exposed in utero to DDT against a control group of those that were unexposed. After exposure, the two groups were then fed high-fat diets for 12 weeks in adulthood. Females exposed to DDT around the time of their birth were more likely to develop insulin sensitivity, glucose intolerance, high cholesterol, and metabolic complications that could result in liver disease. These results suggest that DDT exposure in and around the time of gestation cultivates conditions that increase an individual’s likelihood of accumulating excess fat over the course of one’s lifespan. Additionally, the results find that changes in the way fats and carbohydrates are metabolized can increase the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which is a precursor to type-2 diabetes. The researchers’ observations […]

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New Research Links Pesticide Exposure to Adverse Effects Three Generations Later

Monday, July 28th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2014) New research from Michael Skinner, Ph.D.’s laboratory out of Washington State University finds that —yet again”” exposure to pesticides may have devastating consequences for future generations. The study, “Pesticide Methoxychlor Promotes the Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Adult-Onset Disease through the Female Germline,” published in PLOS ONE, finds that gestating rats exposed to the pesticide methoxychlor develop a higher incidence of kidney disease, ovary disease and obesity in offspring spanning three generations. The incidence of multiple diseases increased in the third generation or “great-grandchildren.” This study suggests that ancestral exposures to methoxychlor over the past 50 years in North America may play a part in today’s increasing rates of obesity and disease. The epigenetic changes observed were specific to methoxychlor exposure and, according to researchers, may prove to be valuable biomarkers for future research on transgenerational disease. For people exposed to the pesticide, Dr. Skinner says his findings have implications such as reduced fertility, increased adult onset disease and the potential to pass on those conditions to subsequent generations. “What your great-grandmother was exposed to during pregnancy, like the pesticide methoxychlor, may promote a dramatic increase in your susceptibility to develop disease, and you will pass […]

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Bird Population Declines Linked to Neonicotinoid Pesticides, Adding to Previous Science

Friday, July 11th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, July 11, 2014) In addition to previous research on the direct impacts of pesticides on pollinators and other beneficials, a recent study published by Dutch scientists establishes an additional indirect link between neonicotinoid use and insect-eating birds. The report, which came out on Wednesday, provides evidence that neonicotinoids, a class of systemic pesticides, are indirectly hurting larger creatures by reducing insect prey populations such as mosquitoes and beetles. Researchers found that in certain areas of the Netherlands where water is contaminated with high concentrations of imidacloprid, a commonly used neonicotinoid, bird populations tend to decline by an average of 3.5 percent every year. Further analysis found that this spatial pattern of decline appeared only after the introduction of imidacloprid to the Netherlands in the mid-1990s, even after correcting for land-use changes that have been known to affect bird populations in farmland. “To our surprise we did find a very strong effect on birds”, said lead author of the study, Caspar Hallmann, a Ph.D. student from Radboud University in the Netherlands, to Reuters. In fact, according to the study, which was published in the journal Nature, nine of 15 bird species studied only eat insects and all feed insects […]

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