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EPA Takes Long-Awaited Action to Eliminate Neurotoxic Chlorpyrifos in Agriculture

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, November 3, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to revoke all food tolerances for the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos (also known as Dursban), a neurotoxic pesticide produced by Dow AgroSciences that poses particular risks to children and farmworkers. If EPA’s rule is finalized, chlorpyrifos would be effectively eliminated from use in agriculture 15 years after consumer uses were discontinued. However, other non-food uses, including golf courses, turf, green house and mosquito control are not affected by this decision and will remain. EPA’s proposed rule came on the day of a court-ordered deadline from the U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the Ninth Circuit, M. Margaret McKeown. In August of this year, Judge McKeown ordered EPA to respond to a petition filed by Pesticide Action Network North America and the Natural Resources Defense Council nearly nine years ago. The lawsuit called on the agency to ban all uses of the insecticide in light of scientific evidence and public comments ignored by the agency after its cumulative risk assessment for organophosphate insecticides. In 2012, EPA imposed “no-spray” buffer zones around public spaces, including recreational areas, schools, and homes to reduce bystander exposure risks. Earlier this year, the agency […]

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Inspector General Finds EPA Pesticide Petition Process Plagued by Delays

Friday, October 30th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 30, 2015) The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Program (OPP) needs policies and procedures to manage pesticide petitions in a transparent and efficient manner, according to new report  that  highlights inadequacies in the way the agency responds to petitioners. The report, published by EPA’s Office of Inspector General, an independent office within EPA that investigates agency compliance with laws governing its programs, concludes that the lack of transparency and efficiency “leaves petitioners unaware of petition status, which can result in unreasonable delay lawsuits costing the agency time and resources.” While the public has the right to submit pesticide petitions to EPA and the agency is required to respond to these petitions “within a reasonable time,” there are no set requirements for what constitutes a specific time frame. However, petitioners can file a lawsuit claiming unreasonable delay if the petitioner finds that EPA has not responded within what the petitioner considers a reasonable amount of time. Of the 40 public petitions received by OPP from Fiscal Year 2005 through 2014, nearly a quarter of them are  associated with unreasonable delay lawsuits. The specific issues contributing to these delays involve: Petition documentation not being readily accessible; Some […]

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Another Study Confirms Eating an Organic Diet Lowers Pesticide Levels in Children

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 14, 2015) New research from the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH) shows that children, especially those in low-income and agricultural families, who switched to an organic diet reduced their bodies’  level of pesticides. This California study is one of several that documents the benefits of eating an organic diet, especially for children who are especially vulnerable to pesticide exposures due to the developing bodies. The study, Effect of Organic Diet Intervention on Pesticide Exposures in Young Children Living in Low-Income Urban and Agricultural Communities  follows 40 children, 3-6 years old from low-income families living in urban and agricultural environments in Oakland and Salinas, California. The children alternated between a conventionally grown diet and organic, and urine samples were analyzed each day. The researchers measure 23 metabolites of several pesticides classes, including organophosphates (OP) and pyrethroid insecticides, and the herbicides 2,4-D and metolachlor. These pesticides are frequently detected (> 72%) in urine samples collected, with metabolites of 2,4-D detected 90 percent of the time, and pyrethroids 82 percent. Overall, among the most frequently detected pesticides, metabolites of OPs  decreases by nearly 50 percent when children are on an organic diet, and levels of 2,4-D falls […]

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EPA Seeks Public Opinion on Continued Use of Neurotoxic Organophosphate Pesticides

Friday, October 9th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2015) Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released preliminary human health and ecological risk assessments for seven organophosphate pesticides (OPs) and announced the public open comment period for those chemicals. These risk assessments come as a result of the required periodic registration review, as required by  the Federal Insecticide, Fungicides, and Rodenticide Act. In general, OPs are highly toxic and many have been voluntarily removed from the market, considerably restricted, or denied reregistration. Unfortunately, EPA continues to rely on risk mitigation for individual OPs instead of phasing them out altogether. Seven OPs ­ ­—dimethoate, dictrotophos, chloyrophos-methyl, tribufos, terbufos, profenofors, and ethoprop—are among the first wave of chemicals whose preliminary risk assessments have been completed under the registration review program. Each of these was found by EPA to inhibit the enzyme acetylcholine esterase (AchE), which ultimately leads to neurotoxic  central nervous system effects. This information is not new, however. In 2012, University College London found long-term low-level exposure to OPs produces lasting damage to neurological and cognitive functions. In 2013, at least 25 children died after eating school lunches contaminated by OPs. One OP in particular, chlorpyrifos, chlorpyrifos (Dursban), is currently under petition for the same […]

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Reproductive Health Experts Call for Action on Toxic Chemicals

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 6, 2015) Last week, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) released a statement encouraging broad-based policy measures that prevent exposure to toxic environmental chemicals. “The global health and economic burden related to toxic environmental chemicals is in excess of millions of deaths and billions of dollars every year,” the report unequivocally states. FIGO’s statement follows a similar call to action from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 2013 and the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2012. The piece lays out broad themes surrounding exposure to toxic chemicals, including issues of environmental justice, prenatal exposure and subsequent health effects, and overall global health and economic burden. Based on these impacts, several recommendations are submitted for obstetricians, gynecologists, midwives, women’s health nurse practitioners, nurses, and other health professionals to follow to achieve a goal of “prevention for all.” FIGO highlights how people of low-income, particularly in poverty-stricken countries, bare a higher burden of toxic exposure than richer nations. “[A]t every stage of development, the consequences of exposure to toxic chemicals —including morbidity and mortality, loss of family income and productivity, and environmental degradation— are disproportionately borne by people with low incomes,” the piece states. FIGO […]

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Yale Study Links Prenatal Pesticide Exposure to Tremors in Children

Monday, October 5th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 05, 2015) According to a Yale University study, prenatal exposure to the widely used agricultural pesticide chlorpyrifos is linked to tremors — involuntary contraction or twitching of muscles — in childhood. Chlorpyrifos, a broad-spectrum chlorinated organophosphate insecticide also known as Dursban, may also affect the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and is acutely toxic to bees, birds, mammals, and aquatic life. The study, titled Prenatal exposure to the organophosphate pesticide chlorpyrifos and childhood tremor  and published in the journal Neurotoxicology, measured the presence of chlorpyrifos in umbilical cord blood samples in 263 low-income, inner-city minority children. In 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned residential use of chlorpyrifos, which was prominent in urban areas at the time. However, the study participants  —263 minority mothers  and their children, all from low income  communities in New York  City— were assembled in 1997,  before the ban was imposed. In  1997, the initial measure of each  child’s prenatal exposure to CPF  was taken from umbilical cord  blood. The children were then followed until approximately 11 years of age, after which they underwent a neurophysical assessment, which included a short drawing test. Researchers found that compared to all other children, those who […]

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California to List Glyphosate (Roundup) as Cancer-Causing

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, September 10, 2015) Last week, California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced that it intended to list glyphosate (Roundup) and three other chemicals as cancer-causing chemicals under California’s  Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Glyphosate  is a phosphanoglycine herbicide that inhibits an enzyme essential to plant growth. Under California law, Proposition 65 requires that certain substances identified by the International View postAgency for Research on Cancer (IARC) be listed as known cancer-causing chemicals. In March, a study by the IARC classified glyphosate as a Group 2A material, which means that the chemical is carcinogenic based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. The agency considered the findings from an EPA Scientific Advisory Panel report, along with several recent studies in making its conclusion. However, industry supporters of glyphosate all over the globe are conducting their own studies to attempt to prove that it is not a carcinogen. These studies, like one by German Federal Institute for Risk Assessments (BfR), are based almost solely on industry science and classified industry reports, each of which might not consider critical variables. With more glyphosate-focused studies being released, the growing evidence […]

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Back-to-School? Leave the Toxics Behind

Monday, August 24th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, August 24, 2015) At the start of the  school year, it is critical to check in with school administrators to make sure that students and teachers will not be exposed to hazardous pesticides used in the school’s buildings or on playing fields. Whether a parent, teacher, student, school administrator, landscaper or community advocate, there are steps that  can taken to make sure the school environment is a safe from  toxic chemicals, as the new  school year begins. For Parents and Teachers: Because children face unique hazards from pesticide exposure due to their small size and developing organ systems, using toxic chemicals to get rid of insects, germs, and weeds can harm students much more than it helps. Studies show children’s developing organs create “early windows of great vulnerability” during which exposure to pesticides can cause great damage. This is supported by the  findings of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) which concluded that, “Children encounter pesticides daily and have unique susceptibilities to their potential toxicity.”  The report also discusses how children  are exposed to pesticides every day in air, food, dust, and soil. Children also frequently come into contact with pesticide residue on pets and after lawn, garden, […]

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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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Sublethal Exposure to Pesticides Induces Personality Changes in Spiders

Friday, August 14th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2015) Sublethal exposure to the organophosphate pesticide phosmet results in significant alterations in personality in individual spiders, according to a study published in the July print edition of the journal Functional Ecology. The study, titled “Under the influence: sublethal exposure to an insecticide affects personality expression in a jumping spider,” examines whether sublethal exposure to an organophosphate insecticide affects the consistency of individual behavior and disrupt behavioral correlations in the jumping spider Eris militaris (Araneae: Salticidae). Researchers measured the behavior of jumping spider adults by scoring them according to an open-field and a prey-capture assay, each conducted both before and after exposure to the insecticide phosmet. Researchers then measured the changes in repeatability, a measure of the extent of personality differences, and behavioral correlations between exposed and unexposed groups. Although there are no discernible effects on the population’s average behaviors, exposed individuals showed an average of 23 percent lower repeatability and the correlation between activity and prey capture is more strongly collapsed in females. “Bronze jumping spiders play an important role in orchards and fields, especially at the beginning of the agricultural season, by eating many of the pests like the oblique-banded leafroller, a moth that […]

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Court Ordered Deadline Mandates EPA Action on Toxic Insecticide Dursban

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, August 13, 2015) On Monday, a federal appeals court judge mandated that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) respond to a petition filed nearly nine years ago that seeks  to force the agency to restrict  the dangerous insecticide  chlorpyrifos (an organophosphate also known as Dursban). U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the Ninth Circuit, M. Margaret McKeown,  delivered her opinion on August 10, stating that federal agencies should never practice the “venerable tradition” of putting off statutory requirements  when it comes to human health. The court issued the opinion and order in a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice on behalf of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and gives EPA until October 31 to finally respond to the petition requesting to ban chlorpyrifos. EPA took a tentative step towards further regulating chlorpyrifos in a July 2015 announcement to ban remaining agricultural uses by April 2016 date. Unhappy with the uncertainty that EPA delivered, the court felt that a mandated deadline would expedite the process. On June 8, 2000, EPA administrator Carol Browner announced a voluntary agreement between the agency and industry leaders, including Dow AgroSciences, to ban all home and garden uses of Dursban, which […]

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Despite Known Hazards, EPA Waits Decades for Manufacturers to Withdraw Pesticide

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2015)  Last week, after decades of review and known toxic hazards, especially to children, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accepted a proposed cancellation for  a number of indoor uses (including food establishments) and tolerances of propoxur, a carbamate insecticide known for its toxic effects to  children. EPA has received a Section 6(f) request under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) from the registrant of propoxur to voluntarily cancel certain uses of the carbamate insecticide. The request from the manufacturer, Wellmark International, requests cancellation of  indoor aerosol, spray and liquid formulations of propoxur, indoor crack and crevice use, and all use in food-handling establishments.  EPA previously agreed to an April 1, 2016 phase out of propoxur in pet collars, but has continued to leave open these other avenues of exposure. The agency will begin accepting comments on its  proposal once it has been published in the Federal Register, which is expected to occur within 10 days of the prepublication signature date. It should be noted that EPA engages in lengthy negotiations with pesticide manufacturers, as is the case with propoxur (see recent announcement on chlorpyrifos), rather than pursuing rigorous regulatory standards through its cancellation or […]

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EPA Falters Again in Banning Remaining Uses of a Highly Toxic and Unnecessary Insecticide

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, July 7, 2015) In a sleight of hand,  the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans last week to cancel all remaining agricultural uses of the hazardous insecticide chlorpyrifos by April 2016, and then left the door open for negotiations with the chemical’s manufacturer, Dow AgroSciences, to adopt  risk mitigation measures that would avoid a ban. Environmental groups are reacting to EPA’s announcement with guarded optimism, encouraging the agency to move forward with its planned cancellation of a highly toxic chemical that has remained on the market for far long. In June 2000, EPA announced a negotiated voluntary cancellation  with Dow that removed residential uses of chlorpyrifos (Dursban) from the market because of the neurotoxic effects to children, but allowed most agricultural uses to continue. As early as January of this year, EPA released a revised human health risk assessment for chlorpyrifos, finding that the chemical poses risk to farmworkers, and the drinking water of small watersheds. The assessment was, in part, in response to a petition submitted by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) in 2007, which called on the agency to ban all uses of the insecticide. Since the the 2000 cancellation, […]

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Pyrethroid Pesticide Use Increases Rates of ADHD in Adolescent Boys in New Study

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides June 4, 2015) Another study has found links between a commonly used household pesticide and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and young teens. Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found an association between pyrethroid pesticide exposure and ADHD, particularly in terms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. These results reinforce the findings of a study led by a research team at Rutgers University earlier this year that found links between the pesticide deltamethrin and ADHD. In 2001, over concerns about adverse health consequences, the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency banned several commonly used organophosphate (organic compounds containing phosphorus) pesticides from residential use due to the chemicals neurotoxic properties. The ban led to the increased use of pyrethroid pesticides, which are now the most commonly used pesticides for residential pest control and public health purposes. Pyrethroids, like deltamethrin, are commonly used in the home,  office buildings,  and on vegetable crops, gardens, lawns and golf courses. This shift to predominantly using pyrethroids is troubling, as they have oft been promoted as a safer choice than banned organophosphates, despite the fact that they pose many real threats to human health. Many recent studies show significant concern with this class of chemicals, […]

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California Regulators to Strengthen Pesticide Restrictions Near Schools

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 3, 2015) After years of campaigning by local activists and a lawsuit filed by parents citing discriminatory practices from policies that led to disproportionate exposure of Latino children to pesticides, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) will now seek to gather input from stakeholders to determine what measures are appropriate to enhance protection of California’s schoolchildren. Given that Latino children are more likely to attend schools near areas with the highest use of pesticides of concern, and California’s pesticide use has actually increased over recent years, the state will need strong restrictive policies to provide any meaningful protections for school children. According to CDPR, the agency will hold five  workshops from May 28 – June 9 2015 to gather input that will later help craft a statewide regulation on  pesticide use near schools, with a focus  on improving school pesticide notification procedures and reducing the risk of exposure. In California, many schools have been built on prime agricultural land next to farm operations. While there are currently state regulations on the use of individual pesticides, CDPR’s regulatory framework for restricted pesticides also allows for the establishment of additional rules to address local conditions. However, existing rules […]

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California Department of Pesticide Regulation Report Raises Concerns Over Increased Pesticide Use

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2015) The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) published its Annual Pesticide Use Report last week, which finds that overall pesticide use for agricultural purposes has increased by 3.7 percent between 2012 and 2013. Pesticide use increased by 6.4 million pounds in 2013, the most recent data available, making for a grand total of 178 million pounds of pesticides used annually in California’s agricultural industry. The study also revealed several insights on trends in pesticide use, the most troubling of which is the increased use of organophosphates, and more specifically, the insecticide chlorpyrifos. This raises concerns that, absent aggressive efforts by CDPR to ban chlorpyrifos’ use in food production, industry reliance on the pesticide may continue to  increase. Chlorpyrifos was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for nearly all residential uses in 2000, but since then has remained widely available for agricultural use. Efforts to limit the agricultural use of chlorpyrifos in the state of California have been in the works since the fall of 2014, and a regulation Designating Chlorpyrifos as a Restricted Material was recently adopted by California’s DPR.  The new regulation classifies as  ”˜restrictive use’  all pesticide products containing the organophosphate  insecticide […]

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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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Glyphosate Classified Carcinogenic by International Cancer Agency, Group Calls on U.S. to End Herbicide’s Use and Advance Alternatives

Friday, March 20th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, Washington, DC, March 20, 2015 — A national public health and environmental group, Beyond Pesticides, is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to stop the use of the country’s most popular herbicide, glyphosate, in the wake of an international ruling that it causes cancer in humans. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released its finding today concluding that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity based on laboratory studies. Glyphosate, produced and sold as Roundup by Monsanto, is touted as a “low toxicity” chemical and “safer” than other chemicals by EPA and industry and is widely used in food production and on lawns, gardens, parks, and children’s playing fields. However, IARC’s new classification of glyphosate as a Group 2A “probable” carcinogen finds that glyphosate is anything but safe. According to IARC, Group 2A means that the chemical is probably carcinogenic to humans based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. The agency considered the findings from an EPA Scientific Advisory Panel report, along with several recent studies in making its conclusion. The agency also notes that glyphosate caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells. Further, epidemiologic […]

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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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People Who Eat Organic Have Lower Pesticide Levels in Their Bodies

Friday, February 6th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, February 06, 2015) People who eat an organic diet have lower levels of pesticides in their bodies than those who eat conventional fruits and vegetables grown with pesticides, according to a new study published yesterday.  The study, “Estimating Pesticide Exposure from Dietary Intake and Organic Food Choices: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA),” published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, looks at adult exposure to organophosphate pesticides (OPs). Scientists studied nearly 4,500 people from six U.S. cities and examined long-term dietary exposure to 14 OPs. This study group  was restricted to those who reported rarely or never eating organic food (“conventional consumers”). Scientists looked for signs of organophosphate exposure via urinary dialkylphosphate (DAP) levels and compared these levels to those who reported organic produce consumption habits. The scientists found that people who reported eating organic fruits and veggies at least occasionally had significantly lower DAP, or organophosphate residue, levels in their urine when compared to people who almost always ate conventionally grown produce. OPs are the most commonly used insecticides on conventional fruits and veggies, thus making OP exposure extremely prevalent. In fact, metabolites of organophosphate metabolites have been found in the urine of over 75 percent of […]

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Commonly Used Pyrethroid Pesticide Increases Risk of ADHD

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2015) A study led by a Rutgers University research team finds that the commonly used pesticide deltamethrin increases the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, adding to a mounting body of scientific research linking pesticide exposure to the disorder. Rutgers scientists, along with colleagues from Emory University, the University of Rochester Medical Center, and Wake Forest University discovered that mice exposed to the pyrethroid insecticide deltamethrin in utero and through lactation exhibit several features of ADHD, including dysfunctional dopamine signaling in the brain, hyperactivity, working memory, attention deficits and impulsive-like behavior. The study, Developmental pesticide exposure reproduces features of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was published Wednesday in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). ADHD is estimated to affect 8—12% of school-age children worldwide. ADHD is a complex disorder, and though is strong scientific evidence that genetics play a role in susceptibility to the disorder, no specific gene has been found that causes ADHD and scientists believe that environmental factors, such as pesticide exposure, may contribute to the development of the behavioral condition. “Although we can’t change genetic susceptibility to ADHD, there may be modifiable environmental factors, including […]

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EPA Responds to Call for Chlorpyrifos Ban with New Risk Calculations and Continued Use

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, January 7, 2015) On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a revised human health assessment for the insecticide, chlorpyrifos, which finds risks to workers who mix, load and apply chlorpyrifos, and that the chemical has the potential to pose risks to drinking water in small watersheds. The assessment also notes that EPA will retain the 10X (10-fold) safety factor to protect children from all routes of exposures. EPA’s latest finding confirms long-standing scientific data that  has documented chlorpyrifos’ toxicity to humans and environmental contamination. However, despite these findings, EPA proposes to place additional restrictions on chlorpyrifos’ use, instead of a widespread ban. This latest assessment updates the June 2011 preliminary human health risk assessment, which was widely criticized by environmental and farmworker groups. EPA is releasing this assessment based on new information received since 2011, including public comments. The assessment is, in part, in response to a petition submitted by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) in 2007, which called on the agency to ban all uses of the insecticide. In 2000, EPA orchestrated a voluntary cancellation with the manufacturer Dow AgroSciences of  most residential uses of chlorpyrifos to limit children’s exposure, […]

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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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