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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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Few Doctors Educate Pregnant Women on Dangers of Environmental Toxins

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, July 2, 2014) According to a new study, few obstetricians offer their pregnant  patients advice on how to avoid environmental toxins that might harm their babies, even though doctors recognize that exposure to chemicals like pesticides, bisphenol-A (BPA), and metals can affect  a pregnancy. The study recommends that the medical community improve medical education and training, develop recommendations for prevention and less toxic alternatives, as well as lend support to policy change. The first of its kind study of prenatal counselling, published in the journal  PLOS ONE, Counseling Patients on Preventing Prenatal Environmental Exposures – A Mixed-Methods Study of Obstetricians, found that U.S. obstetricians and gynaecologists feel they lack the medical education and training, and evidence-based guidelines and tools for communicating potential environmental risks to patients. Exposure to environmental toxins, the researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) found, is rarely discussed with pregnant patients, even though a national survey shows that 80 percent of physicians agree they should play a part in reducing patients’ exposure to toxins. But, of the 2,500 respondents, only one in five routinely asked  their  patients about these exposures, and just one in 15 said they received training on the harmful […]

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Pesticide Production Leaves a Legacy of Poisoning and Contamination

Monday, June 30th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, June 30, 2014) Decades later there are still horrifying impacts from a legacy of dumping in the environment tens of thousands of pounds of chemical waste used in the production of pesticides. The production  by the Hooker Chemical Company of C-56, the progenitor of many now banned organochlorine pesticides, has resulted in contamination and hardship. Beyond Pesticides has long advocated for the elimination of hazardous synthetic pesticides, due to unnecessary risks that put the health of both people and entire communities in jeopardy. Long after the Depression Era in Montague, MI, there were still many families who were left jobless and looking for any means to bring back a better life. The town decided to stimulate the local economy by recruiting Hooker Electrochemical Company; a chemical manufacturer originally based in New York, where it had been using an old canal bed for disposal of waste in the 1940s and was looking for a new site to build a chlor-alkali plant. Ninety-six percent of local residents signed the petition to bring them in. The situation was perfect for Hooker, which needed the vast underground reserves of salt and the lake water in the town for cooling during its industrial […]

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Autistic Behavior Enhanced by Two Hormone Disrupting Chemicals

Friday, March 21st, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2014) Banned pesticides and flame retardants may be the cause of higher autistic behaviors for children who were exposed in utero, according to new research published last week in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Previous research has demonstrated that organochlorine chemicals are linked to learning problems, such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), especially in boys. This research is one of the first studies to evaluate their contribution to autistic behaviors. According to the study, Gestational Exposure to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Reciprocal Social, Repetitive, and Stereotypic Behaviors in 4- and 5-Year Old Children, children who were exposed to higher levels of brominated flame retardant PBDE-28 and trans-nonachlor, a component of the banned pesticide chlordane, scored higher in terms of autistic behavioral patterns as ranked by their mothers. In the study, researchers conducted a case-cohort study recruiting 175 pregnant women from seven prenatal clinics within the greater Cincinnati, Ohio region who provided urine and blood samples during pregnancy to measure the concentration of endocrine disrupting chemicals. On average, pregnant women had 44 suspected hormone disrupting chemicals. Five years later, when children had turned four or five, mothers were asked to rank their children’s behavior based on a series […]

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Climate Change Increases Storm Severity and Toxic Chemical Hazards

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2013) As the world sheds tears from reading the reports of human suffering and looks on in horror at the pictures of devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan, the debate of whether increased occurrences of super-storms like Haiyan are just over the horizon because of man-made climate change have also taken up residence in the headlines. Coupled by coverage of the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change and the leak of a draft summary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s latest report on the impacts of global warming, the world is clearly paying attention. As the wide array of demonstrated effects and impacts of climate change are discussed on the world stage and world leaders attempt, once again, to create a meaningful plan to mitigate risks and even potentially avoid some of the most extreme threats, an important and even more deadly consequence of climate change lurks in the background: increased toxic chemical exposure. In a collection of studies and scientific reviews released earlier this year in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, scientists investigated a wide range of global climate change issues and toxicological impacts on the […]

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Increased Risk of Endometriosis Linked to Persistent Pesticides

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, November 7, 2013) A study released this week established a strong connection between endometriosis and exposure to two dangerous pesticides: lindane and mirex. While the results are not surprising given past connections between these pesticides and their endocrine-disrupting effects, this new study, Organochlorine Pesticides and Risk of Endometriosis: Findings from a Population-Based Case-Control Study, is one of the first to examine the association between organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and endometriosis, one of the most common gynecological diseases, in women in the general population. The study’s authors, Kristen Upson, Ph.D. et al,  explained to Environmental Health Perspectives, “Our study suggests that exposure from extensive past use of environmentally persistent OCPs in the United States, or present use in other countries may impact the health of the current generation of reproductive-age women with regard to a hormonally-mediated disease.” In conducting the study, researchers selected a group of women with surgically-confirmed cases of endometriosis from the greater Pacific Northwest area. This group of women was then divided into four groups, based on the level of pesticide in each woman’s blood. Women in the second-highest exposure group for beta-hexacyclochlorohexane (beta-HCH), a byproduct of lindane, had a 70 percent greater risk of endometriosis than […]

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Multi-generational Effects of DDT Linked to Obesity

Monday, October 28th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2013) Scientists at Washington State University (WSU), in a laboratory study,  determined that exposure to the insecticide DDT ””banned in the U.S. since 1972, but still used today in developing countries for malaria abatement programs””impacts multiple generations, ultimately contributing to obesity three generations down the line. The study, published in the journal BMC Medicine, provides the scientific community with new information on multi-generational impacts of pesticide exposure. Lead researcher Michael Skinner, PhD., professor of biological sciences at WSU, and colleagues exposed pregnant rats to DDT to determine the long-term impacts to health across generations. The study, Ancestral dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) exposure promotes epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of obesity, finds that the first generation of rats’ offspring developed severe health problems, ranging from kidney disease, prostate disease, and ovary disease, to tumor development. Interestingly, by the third generation more than half of the rats have increased levels of weight gain and fat storage. In other words, the great grandchildren of the exposed rats are much more likely to be obese. “Therefore, your ancestors’ environmental exposures may influence your disease development even though you have never had a direct exposure,” the study finds. Previous studies have demonstrated that exposure to […]

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Banned Pesticides Threaten Illinois River Otters

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, October, 16 2013)   Researchers at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the University of Illinois Urbana—Champaign have found that organochlorine pesticides and other organochlorine compounds like polychlorinated biphenyls (PBCs) are still contaminating river otters in the state, even though these chemicals have been banned for decades. Surprisingly, the levels detected are the same or higher than those detected in otters 20 years ago, highlighting the need to understand the exposure of wildlife and humans to organochlorine compounds despite their ban. In order to see what chemicals might be affecting otters, if any, the researchers examined the bodies of 23 river otters collected between 2009 and 2011. In the published study, River otters as biomonitors for organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, and PBDEs in Illinois,  scientists looked at liver concentrations of 20 organohalogenated compounds once used in agriculture and industry. The average concentrations of dieldrin, an insecticide that was used across the Midwest before being banned in 1987, actually exceeded those measured in river otters collected from 1984 to 1989. Liver concentrations of PCBs and DDE -a breakdown product of the banned DDT – were also similar to those in an earlier study showing that contamination has not decreased […]

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Is Long Banned DDT Still Threatening Endangered Birds?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, September 18, 2013) DDT, a pesticide banned in 1972, is behind the mystery surrounding the reproductive problems of dozens of endangered condors. This is according to a peer-reviewed paper written by 10 condor experts, including biologists from the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara zoos and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The researchers, who spent six years studying the reproductive problems, including eggshell thinning, in California condors have “established a strong link” to DDT in the birds’ food source. Condors are large scavenger birds with wingspans up to 10 feet and were reintroduced to California’s coast in 1997 after a century-long population decline. However, in 2006 biologists began observing thinning shells in many condor nests. Over the next six years, scientists observed condors feeding on dozens of sea lions, and found that in Big Sur, California, condor populations had low hatching success ”” just 20-40 percent. In contrast, 70-80 percent of southern California condors in the Tejon area had hatched successfully over the same time. The southern California condors are inland, and sea lions are not a food source. According to the study published in the journal, The Condor, the outer crystalline layer of shells was absent or […]

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World Bank Loan Supports Plantation Practices Linked to Chronic Kidney Disease

Friday, August 30th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2013) Months after Central American health ministries issued a  joint declaration citing kidney disease as a top public health priority, the World Bank just approved a new loan to expand sugar cane plantations in Nicaragua. The Bank’s loan represents renewed support for an industry whose workers have been devastated by the disease, which has increasingly been linked to pesticide exposure and exacerbated by heat stress. Kidney disease afflicts agricultural workers in sugar cane fields, killing thousands each year in Central America as well as in Sri Lanka and India. Scientists have yet to definitively uncover the cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD), although emerging research points to toxic heavy metals contained in pesticides as one of the primary culprits. CKD is a condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function and is often lethal for poor agricultural workers. As the kidneys begin to fail, wastes can build in the blood causing complications such as high blood pressure, anemia, weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. Several published studies demonstrate that exposure to certain  organochlorine pesticide products and their heavy metal contaminants used on sugar cane plantations are causally linked to CKD. The recent joint […]

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Study Finds Pesticides Reduce Biodiversity in Aquatic Ecosystems

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2013) Pesticide use has sharply reduced the regional biodiversity of stream invertebrates, such as mayflies and dragonflies, finds a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. While previous research has shown similar decreases in individual streams, this new study analyzes the effects of pesticides over broad regions. This is one of several recent findings that show pesticides pose a long-term threat to important ecosystems. The study, entitled Pesticides reduce regional biodiversity of stream invertebrates, notes that losses of biodiversity caused by anthropogenic activities during the past 50 years are unprecedented in human history. A team of researchers sampled 23 streams in the central plains of Germany, 16 in the western plains of France, and 24 in southern Victoria, Australia. Researchers classified streams according to three different levels of pesticide contamination: uncontaminated, slightly contaminated, and highly contaminated. Utilizing a model-based approach to account for other environmental variables, the team observed that losses in taxonomic diversity were, to a large degree, determined by the loss of species specifically vulnerable to pesticides. Overall, they found that there were up to 42% fewer species in highly contaminated than in uncontaminated streams in Europe. Highly contaminated streams […]

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Study Exposes Multi-generational Impacts of Pesticide Exposure

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2013) Using the aquatic species Daphnia, commonly referred to as “water fleas,” scientists at North Carolina State University (NC State) determined that exposure to the pesticide pyriproxyfen impacted multiple generations, ultimately resulting in more male offspring, and causing reproductive problems in female offspring. Lead author Gerald LeBlanc, PhD, notes, “This work supports the hypothesis that exposure to some environmental chemicals during sensitive periods of development can cause significant health problems for those organisms later in life —and affect their offspring and, possibly, their offspring’s offspring.” The study, published in the journal PLoS One, provides the scientific community with new information on how organisms respond to the environmental signals resulting from pesticide exposure. Environmental cues normally determine whether the Daphina offspring will be male or female, according to the researchers. This study is part of an investigation to understand the mechanisms involved with these environmental cues. The NC State team had previously identified the hormone methyl farnesoate (Mf) as an important factor in determining the sex of the organisms at the embryotic stage. The scientists exposed Daphnia to varying levels of the pesticide pyriproxyfen, an insecticide that mimics the Mf hormone. The exposure resulted in Daphnia producing […]

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DDT Metabolite Linked to Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Friday, February 8th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, February 8, 2013) A recent study conducted at the University of Granada, Spain and published in the Journal Environmental Research proposes a link between exposure to persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in food, air, and water and prevalence of type 2 diabetes in adults, regardless of age, gender, and body mass index. The paper concludes that people with higher concentrations of DDE, the break down product of DDT, are four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to other participants in the study. Increased rates of type 2 diabetes are also associated with exposure to beta-hexachlorocyclohexane, a break down product of the toxic chemical lindane, which in still allowed for use in agriculture and certain formulations of products used to treat lice and scabies. The study was carried out by analyzing the concentrations of specific POPs in adipose, or fat, tissue of 386 adults undergoing non-cancer-related surgery in Spain. According to one of the authors of the study, Juan Pedro Arrebola, “Human adipose tissue acts as an energy reservoir and has an important metabolic function. However, adipose tissue can store potentially harmful substances, such as POPs.”    The study found that as concentrations of POPs grows in […]

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Toxic Contamination Remains Widespread In the Chesapeake Bay

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, January 23, 2013) A new federal report finds toxic contamination remains widespread in the Chesapeake Bay, with severe impacts in some places, which health and environmental advocates say lends support to their push in Maryland for legislative action on pesticides and other hazardous chemicals. In spite of some cleanup, the health of the Bay has not significantly improved. The report, “Technical Report on Toxic Contaminants in the Chesapeake Bay and its Watershed: Extent and Severity of Occurrence and Potential Biological Effects” is based on a review of integrated water-quality assessment reports from the jurisdictions in the Bay watershed (Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.), Federal and State reports, and articles in scientific journals. It notes that nearly three-fourths of the Bay’s tidal waters are “fully or partially impaired” by toxic chemicals, with people warned to limit fish consumption from certain areas. Contamination is severe in a handful of “hot spots” around the Bay, including Baltimore’s harbor, largely a legacy of past industrial and shipping activity. Previous reports have called on federal, state and local government to accelerate research into what threats chemical contamination may pose to the Bay, and to step up efforts […]

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FDA Allows Lindane Use to Continue Despite Health Risks and Calls for a Ban

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, December 3, 2012) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has denied a 2010 petition filed by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pesticide Action Network North America (PAN) to ban the insecticide lindane, which is harmful to human health and ineffective in controlling lice and scabies. Pressure had been mounting on FDA to halt the pharmaceutical use of lindane as, in addition to this petition, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, asked FDA to stop the pharmaceutical use of lindane this past summer. Because of FDA’s decision, lindane is still an active ingredient in pharmaceutical insecticide products such as lice shampoos and lotions. Lindane was formerly used in agricultural insecticides until it was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use on crops in 2006. FDA regulates pharmaceuticals that contain insecticides and pesticides, such as triclosan, that are in cosmetics. Over 160 countries including the United States have signed on to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in 2001 which aims to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic polluntants. Lindane along with nine other chemcials was added to this list on May 9th […]

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Arctic Study Confirms Mother Whales Pass Contaminants To Fetus

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, November 7, 2012) Pregnant beluga whales pass to their fetus a portion of the persistent organic pollutants, PCBs and flame retardants, they carry in their bodies, report researchers who measured the chemicals in the animals’ blubber. The study is one of the first to show whales, like people, can transfer and expose their developing offspring to persistent contaminants, whose long-term health effects continue to remain unclear. A study of Arctic beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) confirms that mothers can pass more than a tenth of their chemical burden of PBDE flame retardants and PCBs to their unborn calves. This study found that the mother whales transferred, on average, 11.4% (7.5”‰mg) and 11.1% (0.1”‰mg) of their polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) blubber burden to their near-term fetuses. Mammals transfer contaminants, usually persistent organic pollutants (POPs), during pregnancy to the developing fetus and during lactation when the baby is nursing. Lactation transfer has been well studied in marine mammals, but very little is known about the transfer of pollutants during pregnancy. POPs are resistant to environmental degradation through chemical, biological, and photolytic processes. Because of this, they have been observed to persist in the environment, to be capable […]

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After Years of Delay, EPA Finally Begins Phase Out of the DDT-Era Pesticide Endosulfan

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, August 2, 2012) Following the phase-out announcement two years ago, and after many years of pressure from environmental and international groups concerned about the chemical’s health effects, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finally begun the process of phasing out the use of the highly toxic endosulfan –an organochlorine insecticide in the same chemical family as DDT. The phase of endosulfan uses began on July 31, 2012 and will continue through July 31, 2016. In 2010, EPA negotiated a long phase-out agreement with endosulfan’s manufacturers that allows uses to continue through 2016, even though EPA concluded that endosulfan’s significant risks to agricultural workers and wildlife outweigh its limited benefits to growers and consumers, and that there are risks above the agency’s level of concern for aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, as well as birds and mammals that consume aquatic prey that have ingested endosulfan. This is an egregious example of how EPA uses phase out and existing stock provisions in negotiating with industry on removing known hazards from the market, placing economic interests over the protection of public health. In 2010, EPA decided that data presented in response to its 2002 reregistration eligibility decision (RED) demonstrated that risks […]

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Growing Body of Research Shows Gynecological Diseases Linked to Environmental Contaminants

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2012) New research is adding to the evidence that some pesticides and industrial chemicals may increase women’s risk of uterine and ovarian diseases, such as endometriosis. The research supports the decades old theory that hormone-mimicking chemicals impact human reproductive systems. Scientists have long suspected a link between estrogen-mimicking pollutants and gynecological diseases. According to Environmental Health News, research investigating a link between hormone-disrupting chemicals in the environment and gynecological diseases has had mixed results. But a new study, “Persistent Lipophilic Environmental Chemicals and Endometriosis: The ENDO Study,” from researchers at the National Institutes of Health and others, found that two groups of women in the Salt Lake City and San Francisco areas — one group with pelvic pain and the other with no symptoms — were more likely to be diagnosed with endometriosis if they had high blood levels of the estrogen-like pesticide hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) than women with low levels. HCH, a persistent organic pollutant (POP), and a byproduct of the production of the insecticide lindane (head lice treatments), has been banned as a crop pesticide in the United States but it persists in the environment and remains in some food supplies. Endometriosis is a female […]

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Banned Pesticides Found in Connecticut Wells

Monday, July 9th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2012) Health officials in Connecticut are telling residents who drink from private wells to test their water for the banned pesticides chlordane and dieldrin, after a study from the town of Stamford, CT found at least one of the toxic chemicals in 195 out of 628 wells tested. Over half of the wells that tested positive for one of the pesticides were found to contain concentrations at levels above what the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers acceptable. Both of these chemicals, discussed at length in Rachael Carson’s seminal book Silent Spring, were widely used throughout the country before their ban in the late 1980s. Since then, these chemicals have revealed themselves to be pervasive in our environment. In 2007, Beyond Pesticides wrote on the discovery of chlordane on the grounds of a New Jersey middle school at levels above EPA limits. In 2009, the U.S Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and EPA conducted a survey that found chlordane in 64% of U.S households sampled. In 2010, we reported on the occurrence of these two historic-use chemicals in what are considered “pristine” National Parks. Unfortunately, if the water contamination residents are finding turns out to be […]

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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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Dangerous Levels of DDT Still Plague San Francisco Bay

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2012) A half-century after California officials discovered that large amounts of the pesticide DDT had been discharged into a San Francisco Bay canal, the chemical is still poisoning fish and posing a threat to human health despite numerous cleanup attempts. After years of limited success with clean-up, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a three-year plan to pinpoint the cause of continuously high DDT levels and engage the surrounding community in cleanup and education efforts. The former plant and the adjacent canal, called the Lauritzen Channel, an inlet of the greater San Francisco bay, is one of the most polluted places in the nation. DDT levels have not decreased in the channel even after numerous dredging and other mitigation measures. In fact concentrations have increased. By 2011, DDT concentrations exceeded 1994 levels and some fish have DDT levels in their tissues hundreds of times higher than their counterparts in the rest of the San Francisco Bay. EPA said earlier this month it is launching a three-year plan to help unravel the mystery of why cleanup attempts are failing, and will work with the city to increase awareness among anglers who rely on bay fish […]

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Prenatal Chemical Exposures Linked to ADHD in Boys

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, March 6, 2012) New research conducted in New Bedford, Massachusetts suggests that organochlorine chemicals, which were first linked to learning problems in children more than two decades ago, may play a role in attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), especially in boys. Previous research has reported associations between organochlorines and ADHD-related behaviors, but this research found sex-specific effects in children born to mothers who lived near the contaminated harbor and dumpsites in low-income communities. This study adds to a growing body of literature associating learning disorders with prenatal chemical exposures. According to the study, Neuropsychological Measures of Attention and Impulse Control among 8-Year-Old Children Exposed Prenatally to Organochlorines, boys who were exposed to higher levels of the organochlorines -polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and DDE (a metabolite of DDT)- in the womb scored lower on focus and concentration tests, which indicates they are more likely to have attention problems often related to ADHD. In the study, umbilical cord blood was collected from 788 newborns born between 1993 and 1998 from four towns near New Bedford Harbor, Mass., to see what they were exposed to in the womb. Roughly eight years after they were born, almost 600 of these children underwent two tests. […]

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Endosulfan Found in Bone Marrow of Children with Blood Cancers

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, February 22, 2012) Researchers have found high levels of endosulfan, a highly toxic organochlorine pesticide, in the bone marrow of children, including those suffering from hematological malignancies (blood cancers) in areas using the pesticide. Children who have endosulfan in their bone marrow have 7.5 times more risk of developing blood-related cancer compared to those with no detectable pesticide in the bone marrow. While the findings are based on research in India, the insecticide is still used in the production of dozens of crops in the U.S., even though EPA found that exposure to the chemical exceeds the agency’s acceptable risk criteria and announced in 2010 a six-year negotiated phase-out plan with industry that stretches from 2012 to 2016. Following a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2008, which cited EPA’s glaring omission in not considering risks to children, EPA announced in 2010 that it would, instead of stopping exposure to a known hazard immediately, phase-out over a six year period all uses of endosulfan in the U.S. Rather than regulating a stop use, EPA astounded many in the environmental and public health community by negotiating a long phase-out agreement with manufacturers that allows some […]

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