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Studies Find that Pesticides Cause Brain Damage in Bees

Friday, March 29th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2013) Two studies released Wednesday support the findings of the European Food Safety Authority that neonicotinoid insecticides pose an unacceptable risk to bees. The pair of British studies indicate that neonicotinoids and miticides cause brain damage, compromising bee survival. The study, published in Nature Communications by researchers at the University of Dundee and Newcastle University, concludes that imidacloprid  and clothianidin, a commonly used insecticides on crops and plants, as well as the organophosphate miticide coumaphos, a treatment for Varroa bee mites, cause cognitive damage in bees. The research indicates that within 20 minutes of exposure to pesticides the neurons in the learning center of the brain stop firing, causing “epileptic type” hyperactivity. While the bees are still alive, the lobes of the brain fail to communicate with each other with obvious implications for their survival, Another study, published in the Journal for Experimental Biology by a team of Newcastle scientists, links imidacloprid and coumaphos to learning and memory impairment. The research indicates that brain damage from pesticides makes it more difficult for bees to forage and find food, and when they find the food they have trouble locating and returning to their hives. In sum, the […]

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Scientists Warn of Sperm Count Declines Linked to Pesticide Exposure

Friday, March 1st, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2013) In a literature review published in Toxicology last week, researchers found that environmental and occupational pesticide exposure was strongly associated with declines in sperm count. Researchers Sheena Martenies, BS, and Melissa Perry, ScD., MHS., determined that of the 17 studies evaluated, 15 of them reported significant associations between pesticides and semen quality. The researchers counted semen quality according to concentration of sperm over an area, their motility and ability to move, as well as their shapes. Researchers targeted studies on DDT, HCH, and abamectin, grouping pyrethroids and organophosphates by class. What they found was striking: almost all the studies reported a decrease in sperm concentration; decreased motility was also reported though less frequently; while morphological changes were not strongly associated in studies””only two indicated any changes to sperm shape. These findings build on a growing body of evidence that pesticide exposure at environmental or occupational levels diminished sperm health. In addition to the U.S. findings,  studies conducted on French, New Zealander, Indian, Tunisian, and Israeli men have all found decline in sperm count. Some studies record a drop by approximately 50% between 1940 and 1990, no small amount. These results might not be surprising as […]

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Common Practice for Monitoring Environmental Impact of Insecticides Deficient, Researchers Say

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, January 15, 2013)  Research published in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment calls into question the value of environmental monitoring, such as water sampling,  on a  fixed date schedule (i.e., once per month), finding that this approach underestimates actual risks. These findings could have a significant impact on how we assess the safety of both endangered species and drinking water supplies. Researchers explain that, although insecticides are applied less often than herbicides and fungicides, they are usually applied in very large amounts when used in response to acute insect infestations. Scientists found that monitoring for insecticides at pre-set intervals, even weekly or daily, did not detect the occurrence of peak concentrations for these chemicals. Co-author of the study, Ralf Shulz, PhD, explains, “Accordingly, by way of example, on the basis of weekly monitoring of a typical agricultural stream none of the total of six insecticide concentration peaks per year described by model calculations is found. Daily sampling detects only two of the six peaks. Only event-related sampling enables the detection of all these peaks.” Authors of the study point to the need for events-related sampling, both to ensure more accurate detections are taken and to reduce costs. Events-related […]

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Study Reveals: Organophosphate Pesticides Cause Lasting Damage to Brain and Nervous System

Monday, December 10th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, December 10, 2012) Long-term low-level exposure to organophosphate pesticides produces lasting damage to neurological and cognitive functions, according to researchers at University College London (UCL). This research pulls data from 14 studies over the past 20 years, including more than 1,600 participants, in order to provide a quantitative analysis of the current literature on these dangerous chemicals. Lead author of the study, Sarah Mackenzie Ross, Ph.D., notes, “This is the first time anyone has analyzed the literature concerning the neurotoxicity of organophosphate pesticides, using the statistical technique of meta-analysis.” UCL’s systematic review, published in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology, comes to an unsettling conclusion about the hazards of constant low-level occupational exposure to organophosphates. The study notes, “The majority of well designed studies found a significant association between low-level exposure to [organophosphates] and impaired neurobehavioral function which is consistent, small to moderate in magnitude and concerned primarily with cognitive functions such as psychomotor speed, executive function, visuospatial ability, working and visual memory.” In other words, low-level exposure had significant detrimental effect on working memory and information processing. The researchers are hopeful that the results of their analysis will be used to inform governments performing reviews on the […]

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U.S. EPA Fails to Protect Salmon from Dangerous Chemicals

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2012) Conservation groups and fisherman have filed lawsuits against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demanding that pesticide restrictions be implemented around salmon streams. Regulatory buffers surrounding streams and watersheds have not been fully implemented by EPA, though it is required to by law. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which promotes sustainable fisheries, recovery of protected species, and the health of coastal marine habitats, commented that common pesticides should not be sprayed within 500 to 1000 feet of waterways. Its comments focused on the impacts of chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion, which jeopardize the health of federally protected salmon species. Despite this and other evidence that supports the need for buffer zones, EPA has withheld action until the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals resolves the case. EPA is mandated by law to protect dwindling species like salmon under the Endangered Species Act. Salmon, in particular, are a good indicator of how well we are taking care of both the marine and terrestrial ecosystems, because they live in streams, lakes, rivers, estuaries, and open ocean. They are also extremely sensitive to changes in water quality and upstream changes to the river flow, turbidity, and temperature. It goes […]

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CDC Releases Updated Tables for National Report on Human Exposure to Chemicals

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2012) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released updated tables for its Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, which was released in 2009. The new data includes updated tables for 119 chemicals and tables for 34 new chemicals, including updates for 2,4-D and triclosan and their metabolites. New metabolites of organophosphorous insecticides are added for the first time. Notably, the report found that concentrations of four metabolites of organophosphates generally increased among nearly all groups CDC measured, while levels for two generally decreased. Organophosphate pesticides, such as chlorpyrifos, are highly toxic to humans and the environment. Chlorpyrifos is a frequent water contaminant and a long range toxicant, exposing communities and polluting pristine areas far from where it was applied. Volatilization drift ””the evaporation of the pesticide after application”” is also part of the problem for chlorpyrifos. A 2009 study found the pesticide to have significant impacts on the growth and development of amphibians miles away from the site where it was first applied. A USGS study in 2007 concludes that the breakdown products of chlorpyrifos are up to 100 times more toxic than the original. The Updated Tables, September 2012, […]

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Decision to Ban Hazardous-to-Farmworker Pesticide Stands

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, September 4, 2012) After considering comments from growers and other stakeholders, including over 2,000 emails generated from Beyond Pesticides’ supporters on the recent proposal to reverse a decision to end the use of the organophosphate insecticide azinphos-methyl (AZM), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has once again come to the conclusion that the chemical presents health risks to workers and can cause negative ecological impacts, while effective alternatives to this insecticide are available to growers. The agency has decided to maintain the initial September 30, 2012 date for cancellation of the remaining uses of AZM, on apples, blueberries, sweet and tart cherries, parsley, and pears. Though this represents a victory for farmworkers and health and environmental advocates, EPA has decided to allow growers to use only existing stocks of AZM in their possession for another year, through September 30, 2013, citing unusually bad weather conditions throughout 2012. All the required mitigation measures now reflected on AZM labeling will remain in effect during this use. Distribution or sale of AZM after September 30, 2012 remains prohibited. Due to industry pressure, the agency initially announced that it was conducting a new risk-benefit analysis (analysis of the impacts of cancellation) and […]

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Safer Options Available for Tackling West Nile Virus Mosquito Management

Monday, August 20th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, August 20, 2012) Given the number of West Nile virus (WNv) cases, including 26 deaths, it is important to focus attention on mosquito management methods that are the most effective and do not introduce additional short- and long-term public health hazards with the use of toxic pesticides, public health advocates say. It is understandable that local, state, and federal officials want to act decisively, but that does not mean that the widespread use of hazardous pesticides is the best course of action, according to Beyond Pesticides, a national information and advocacy organization on pesticides and alternatives based in Washington, DC. According to Beyond Pesticides’ executive director, Jay Feldman, “Communities that are most successful and smart about mosquito control engage in aggressive efforts to reduce and eliminate mosquito breeding areas in standing water around homes and buildings and throughout the community.” Mosquito breeding can take place in stagnant water, from very small to larger pools —bottle caps, discarded automobile tires, planters, containers, rain gutters, drains, or under piles of leaves. The widespread spraying of toxic pesticides (typically chemicals known as synthetic pyrethroids, organophosphates, or other nervous system poisons) does not provide a long-term sustainable solution to mosquito control. “It […]

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Pesticides Detected in Long Island Sound Lobsters for the First Time

Friday, July 27th, 2012

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

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Pesticides in Air a Risk To Pregnant Women, Unborn Children

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2012) A Texas border study has found that air samples in the homes of pregnant Hispanic women contain multiple household pesticides that could harm fetuses and young children. The first study of its kind conducted by the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, finds traces of both household and agricultural pesticides that have been linked to disorders such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The researchers sampled air in 25 households, finding at least five pesticides in 60 percent of the dwellings. Nine other pesticides were identified in less than one-third of the homes. All the women were in the third trimester of pregnancy, when the fetal brain undergoes a growth spurt. Numerous studies have reported birth defects and developmental problems when fetuses and infants are exposed to pesticides, especially exposures that adversely affect mental and motor development during infancy and childhood. This new report is in the summer issue of the Texas Public Health Journal sent to members this week. The study found 92 percent of air samples contained o-phenylphenol, which is used as a fungicide, germicide and household disinfectant, while 80 percent of samples contained chlorpyrifos, […]

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Tiny Crustaceans Enlisted to Fight Mosquitoes in New Jersey

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2012) One county in New Jersey is getting serious about combating mosquitoes this season. Instead of relying on pesticide spraying, which has been shown to not be effective, the Cape May County Department of Mosquito Control is employing 10,000 tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that will eat their way through mosquito larvae in the county’s swamps, roadside ditches and small pools. The latest weapon in the battle against mosquitoes is barely visible. The crustaceans, known as copepods, are cousins to crayfish and water fleas, and do not get much bigger than two millimeters. They are voracious predators of mosquito larvae. New Jersey recently delivered 10,000 of the tiny shrimp-like crustaceans to Cape May County. They are already being used to fight mosquitoes in Bergen, Passaic, and Morris counties. Ocean County is next on the delivery list and six other counties will follow. “The days of driving a truck down the street and spraying pesticides are long gone. These copepods can pick up where fish leave off,” according to Administrator Robert Kent, of the state Office of Mosquito Control. Natural Predators as a Solution for Mosquito Control New Jersey has used mosquitofish, fathead minnows, killifish, bluegill and other fish […]

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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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Aerial Mosquito Spraying for West Nile Virus Criticized by Health and Environmental Advocates

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2012) Across the U.S., some communities are responding to the threat of mosquito-transmitted West Nile virus (WNv) with aerial insecticide spray programs. This method of mosquito management is widely considered by experts to be both ineffective and harmful due to the hazards associated with widespread pesticide exposure. Given the lack of evidence that adulticides (insecticides that target adult mosquitoes) reduce or prevent mosquito-borne incidents or illnesses, public health and environmental advocates question the decision to resort to indiscriminate spraying. Studies have shown that aerial spraying for adult mosquitoes is greatly ineffective (as little as 1% of mosquitoes will be hit, according to Cornell University entomologist David Pimentel). Pesticides like those typically used in aerial sprayings against mosquitoes, including synthetic pyrethroids and organophosphates, have been linked to numerous adverse health effects including asthma and respiratory problems, dermatological reactions, endocrine disruption, chemical sensitivities, and cancer. These chemicals can also be harmful or fatal to non-target wildlife, including pollinators like the honeybee. Further, pesticides that kill mosquitoes also kill their predators, leading to fewer biological checks on mosquito populations than without spraying. Here are some of the areas currently, or soon to be spraying insecticides intended to kill adult […]

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Yet Again, Researchers Prove Bed Bugs Resistant to Common Pesticides

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

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

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Toxic Pesticide-Encapsulated Paint Introduced to Combat Malaria

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2012) The Spanish-based Inesfly company announced recently its plans to release commercially pesticide encapsulated paint, Inesfly 5A IGR, containing two neurotoxic organophosphates (OPs), chlorpyrifos and diazinon, and the insect growth regulator (IGR), pyriproxyfen, which it hopes will combat malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. The company’s owner Pilar Mateo, PhD, calls her product “a vaccine for houses and buildings” and explains that because the insecticides are released slowly from the paint, it remains effective for two to four years. This formulation of Dr. Mateo’s paint could not be registered for use in the U.S. because both indoor residential uses of chlorpyrifos and diazinon have been banned because of risks posed to children’s health, although the company has another formulation that substitutes pyrethroids for the organophosphates. Though probably well-intentioned —Dr. Mateo has already invested $6 million of her family’s money and $12 million in grants from nonprofits, on research, creating educational programs about hygiene, and donating paint to more than 8,000 homes in Latin America and Africa””the product puts the people it is supposed to protect from disease at risk for other health problems. Organophosphate insecticides have been linked to a host of neurodevelopmental problems, especially in children. Because […]

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World Health Organization Combats Mosquito Resistance to Insecticides with More Pesticides

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2012) Rather than investing in safe, long-term solutions to prevent malaria mortality, the World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a strategic plan that calls for multiple toxic pesticides to combat mosquito resistance to insecticides that is showing up in sub-Saharan Africa. Insecticide resistance, according to the WHO report, is already rampant in 64 malaria-ridden countries and may result in as many as 26 million more cases of malaria a year, which could end up costing between $30 and $60 million annually for tests and medication. Mosquitoes in sub-Saharan African countries are becoming resistant to pyrethroid insecticides, which are used extensively for household spraying and treating bed nets, as well as to the organochloride compound DDT -which is still used in many parts of the world to control mosquitoes. In Somalia, Sudan and Turkey, resistance has spread to carbamates and organophosphates in addition to pyrethroids and organochloride pesticides. Rather than reducing the reliance on these products, WHO is recommending rotating classes of pesticides used to spray inside homes and developing a new non-pyrethroid insecticide to treat bed nets. Implementation for these suggestions are estimated to cost around $200 million, which is in addition to the $6 billion […]

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In-Utero Pesticide Exposures Linked to Brain Abnormalities

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 1012) New research published online at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that babies exposed in the womb to a commonly used insecticide have brain abnormalities after birth. The insecticide, chlorpyrifos (used in agriculture, mosquito control, and golf course management) , is well documented as inducing neurodevelopmental abnormalities in infants exposed in their mother’s womb, including ADHD, cognitive deficits, and serious learning, behavioral or emotional disorders. Entitled, “Brain anomalies in children exposed prenatally to a common organophosphate pesticide,” the study investigated associations between chlorpyrifos exposure and brain morphology using magnetic resonance imaging in 40 New York City children. It found significant associations of prenatal exposure, at standard use levels, with structural changes in the developing human brain, including enlargement of superior temporal, posterior middle temporal, and enlarged superior frontal gyrus, gyrus rectus, cuneus, and precuneus along the mesial wall of the right hemisphere. These areas of the brain impacted are related to attention, language, reward systems, emotions and control may be affected by the chemical. Twenty high-exposure children (upper third of chlorpyrifos concentrations in umbilical cord blood) were compared with 20 low-exposure children. The children, ages 6-11 years, considered to have a high […]

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Children of Flower Workers Show Effects of Secondary Pesticide Exposures

Friday, April 13th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, April 13, 2012) A study has found that the children of flower plantation workers in Ecuador are neurologically affected by the pesticide residues that their parents unwittingly carry home on their clothes, tools, and skin. The study documents significantly reduced activity for the essential enzyme acetycholinesterase (AChE) in children whose parents work on flower plantations compared to others whose parents do not. The two main classes of pesticides that the researchers identify as used in the region’s flower production, organophosphates and carbamates, are known to suppress the enzyme’s activity. AChE activity is crucial to healthy neurological functioning in humans and its suppression during childhood can hinder nervous system and cognitive development causing immediate and long-term impairment. In the study, Lower acetylcholinesterase activity among children living with flower plantation workers (Environ Res. 2012 Apr;114:53-9. Epub 2012 Mar 10), children whose parents work on a flower plantation are more than three times more likely to be in the group of lowest AChE activity. Additionally, the children who live the longest with a flower plantation worker are four times more likely to have lower enzyme activity than children who never live with a plantation worker. The researchers obtained their results by […]

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Study Finds Common Pesticides Linked to Lower Birth Weight

Monday, April 9th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, April 9, 2012) A new study finds that exposure of pregnant women to organophosphate (OP) pesticides —a widely used class of pesticides in North American agriculture— may affect both length of pregnancy and birth weight. Environmental Health Perspectives published the paper, “Associations of Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticide Metabolites,” last Thursday, April 5, 2012. The study, by a Simon Fraser University researcher, finds that the population of 306 women in Cincinnati, Ohio, is representative of the type of exposures most North American women and their children experience. Although the use of OPs in Canada and the U.S. has declined in recent years, exposures remain widespread, and these findings add to growing evidence about the harmful effects of low-level exposures to environmental toxicants. The researchers collected urine from each of the women in Cincinnati twice during their pregnancies for organophosphate metabolites as well as other factors that could influence the fetus’ health, including exposure to second hand smoke, race, and poverty. Women with higher levels of organophosphates were found to have pregnancies that were three to four days shorter and babies that were about â…“ pound lighter on average than women with lower levels of pesticides. “For an individual […]

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California Proposes to Ease Permit Restrictions For Mosquito Spraying

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2012) California mosquito control agencies are charging that new NPDES permitting regulations would eliminate West Nile virus fogging and jeopardize public health. In response, the state of California has proposed to scale-back pesticide regulations, easing rules on fumigating adult mosquitoes. This is in spite of the high risk for further degradation of already contaminated surface waters in the state, and contrary to the stipulations and protections set out in the Clean Water Act. The current federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, which recently went into effect after much resistance from the pesticide and agriculture industry and intensive lobbying efforts in Congress, does not authorize the discharge of biological and residual pesticides or their degradation by-products to waters of the U.S. that are impaired by the same pesticide active ingredients or any pesticide in the same chemical family. ”˜Impaired waters’ are polluted waters, i.e. those waters not meeting water quality standards pursuant to section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The NPDES permit is authorized under the CWA to require pesticide applicators to apply for permits before applying pesticides on or near surface waters. This process involves keeping records of pesticides used and monitoring […]

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Research Shows Structural IPM Confronts Pests and Reduces Pesticides

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, February 3, 2012) A new study recently published in the Journal of Integrated Pest Management (JIPM) shows that from 2003 to 2008 the use of insecticide active ingredients was reduced by about 90% in University of Florida (UF) housing buildings after an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program was implemented. The results of the study show that pest pressure was effectively managed throughout this period as well. These findings demonstrate that IPM can be an effective management tool for institutional pest problems, confronting pests while reducing human exposure to dangerous chemicals. IPM is a systematic approach to managing pests based on long-term prevention or suppression by a variety of methods that are cost effective and minimize risks to human health and the environment. The goal of urban IPM is to manage pests primarily by prevention and elimination of their access to food, water and harborages, exclusion techniques that seal entryways, as well as changes in human behavior. Low-toxicity insecticides were used only when necessary. In their article “Advancement of Integrated Pest Management in University Housing,” the JIPM authors find that the IPM program helps to virtually eliminate the use of hydramethylnon, borate, desiccants, organophosphates, fipronil, and pyrethroids, and they […]

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Insecticidal Nets May Be Source for Bed Bug Resistance

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, December 15, 2011) New research suggests that the recent re-emergence of bed bug infestations may originate from insecticide use in the tropics. According to the results, which were presented at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s 60th annual meeting, exposure to treated bed nets and linens caused populations of bed-bugs to build resistance to those chemicals. The findings presented at the gathering showed that 90% of 66 populations sampled from 21 U.S. states were resistant to a group of insecticides, known as pyrethroids, commonly used to kill unwanted bugs and flies. Other research has already shown that an over-reliance on chemical controls over the years has helped bed bugs evolve to be resistant to these chemicals. One of the co-authors, evolutionary biologist Warren Booth, Ph.D. from North Caroline State University in Raleigh, told the BBC news that the genetic evidence he and his colleagues had collected show that the bed-bugs infecting households in the U.S. and Canada in the last decade are not domestic bed bugs, but imports. The team collected samples from across the eastern U.S. and discovered populations of bed-bugs that are genetically very diverse. “If bed-bugs emerged from local refugia, such as poultry […]

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Centers for Disease Control Reports Illness and Death Linked to Bed Bug Pesticides

Monday, September 26th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, September 26, 2011) On September 23, 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a study in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report linking pesticides sprayed in attempts to control bed bugs to poisoning incidents and death. Because bed bugs do not transmit disease and can be controlled without pesticides, this risk is completely unnecessary. The study, “Acute Illnesses Associated with Insecticides Used to Control Bed Bugs,” utilized data from California, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, New York, Texas, and Washington. In those seven states, over 100 poisonings, including one fatality, were associated with bed bug-related insecticide use. The CDC researchers used data from states participating in the Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks (SENSOR)-Pesticides program and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYC DOHMH). The authors defined “acute illness” associated with an insecticide used to control bed bugs as two or more acute adverse health effects resulting from exposure to an insecticide used for bed bug control. The study reports: A total of 111 illnesses associated with bed bug–related insecticide use were identified; although 90 (81%) were low severity, one fatality occurred. Pyrethroids, pyrethrins, or both were implicated in 99 (89%) […]

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