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Indoor Air Pollution: Pesticides Continue to Make their Way Into Homes

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2023) A study published in Environment International concurs with previous reports that agricultural pesticide treatment can contaminate nearby residential areas, resulting in indoor chemical exposure via concentrations of insecticide active ingredients in house dust. Pesticide contamination in homes has ties to higher levels of pesticide residue in both human and pet bodies. Some pesticides, like organochlorine compounds, have poor elimination from the body, leading to accumulation over a lifetime. Pesticide exposure can heighten risks of various cancers (i.e., prostate, hepatic, liver, etc.), mental health problems (i.e., depression), respiratory illnesses (asthma), endocrine disruption, and many other pesticide-induced diseases. Extensive pesticide use can predispose human pathogenic to antibiotic resistance, bolstering bacterial virulence. Studies like this are concerning as it reveals that individuals do not have to be in close contact (e.g., chemical manufacturers, farmworker, gardener, custodian, etc.) with pesticides for risky, health-harming exposures to occur. Despite stricter regulations and technological changes beginning to decrease air pollution from cars and other vehicles, scientists are finding that the use of pesticides and other household chemicals represents an increasing proportion of U.S. smog-forming air pollution. Personal care products, cleaning agents, perfumes, paints, printing ink, and pesticides warrant greater attention from regulators for their ability to form toxic fumes that can eventually make their way […]

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Pesticides Not Only Linked to Parkinson’s Disease Development, But Accelerating Disease Symptoms

Thursday, January 12th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 12, 2023) Exposure to certain pesticides among individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) can increase the risk of symptom progression. According to a study published in Science of the Total Environment, nearly 20 percent of pesticides associated with the onset of PD also increase the risk of faster decline in motor and non-motor function. Several studies find exposure to chemical toxicants, like pesticides, has neurotoxic effects or exacerbates preexisting chemical damage to the nervous system. Past studies suggest neurological damage from oxidative stress, cell dysfunction, and synapse impairment, among others, can increase the incidence of PD following pesticide exposure. Despite the association between PD onset via pesticide exposure patterns, few epidemiologic studies examine the influence pesticides have on worsening motor and non-motor symptoms in PD. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, with at least one million Americans living with PD and about 50,000 new diagnoses annually. The disease affects 50 percent more men than women, and individuals with PD have a variety of symptoms, including loss of muscle control and trembling, anxiety and depression, constipation and urinary difficulties, dementia, and sleep disturbances. Over time, symptoms intensify, but there is no current cure for this fatal disease. While […]

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Neonicotinoid Insecticides Add to the Growing List of Chemicals that Transfer between Mother and Fetus

Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 4, 2022) A study published in Environmental Science and Technology finds neonicotinoids (neonics) and their breakdown products (metabolites), like other chemical pesticide compounds, can readily transfer from mother to fetus. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) finds U.S. pregnant women experience frequent exposure to environmental pollutants that pose serious health risks to both mother and newborn. Many known pollutants (i.e., heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyl, and pesticides) are chemicals that can move from the mother to the developing fetus at higher exposure rates. Hence, prenatal exposure to these chemicals may increase the prevalence of birth-related health consequences like natal abnormalities and learning/developmental disabilities. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Moreover, a mother’s pesticide exposure can have a stronger association with health disorders than childhood exposure, and a newborn can still encounter pesticides. Therefore, it is essential to understand how pesticides impact the health and well-being of individuals during critical developmental periods. Beyond Pesticides has covered a variety of pregnancy risks from pesticides and other toxic chemicals, including these in just the last three years: pesticides and children’s sleep disorders; prenatal exposures to a multitude of chemicals; insecticides and childhood leukemia; insecticides and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. The study […]

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Estrogen-Mediated Cancers in Humans Have Links to Endocrine Disrupting Pesticides

Tuesday, December 13th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2022) Pesticides have a long history associated with hormone (endocrine)-disrupting properties that induce various molecular changes, prompting disease development. Adding to the science, a review published in Environmental Exposure, Biomonitoring and Exposure Assessment highlights how specific estrogen-mimicking pesticides increase the risk of disease, particularly hormone-related cancers among women (i.e., breast, ovarian, endometrial cancer) and men (i.e., testicular, prostate cancer). Like pesticides, endocrine disruptors are xenobiotic (i.e., chemical substances foreign to an organism or ecosystem). Many reports demonstrate that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can adversely affect human, animal—and thus environmental—health by altering the natural bodily hormones responsible for conventional reproductive, physical, and mental development. Endocrine disruption can lead to several health problems, including hormone-related cancer development (i.e., thyroid, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular), reproductive dysfunction, and diabetes/obesity that can span generations. Therefore, studies related to pesticides and endocrine disruption help scientists understand the underlying mechanisms that indirectly or directly cause cancer, among other health issues. Pesticides are one of the most potent xeno-estrogenic compounds, as estrogenic strength and environmental half-life exceed those of other xeno-estrogenic compounds. Focusing on organochlorine pesticides (OCs), the study evaluates the chemical effects on the physiological (anatomic) system to increase cancer risk. Using human studies, researchers assessed how estrogen-medicated cancer develops in women and men. […]

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Ocean Health: Environmental Pollutants Threaten Humpback Whale Reproduction and Offspring

Tuesday, December 6th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 6, 2022) Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)—including banned pesticides—present a health risk to humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), according to a study published in Environmental Pollution. Regarding female humpback whales, levels of POPs in blubber are higher in juveniles and subadults than in adults, primarily from the transference of contaminants from the mother to her calf.  Organochlorine compounds (OCs), such as organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are well-known persistent organic pollutants. The international Stockholm Convention treaty (signed by 152 countries, but not the U.S.) banned these primary pollutants of concern (UNEP, 2009) in 2001 (taking effect in 2004) because of their persistence, toxicity, and adverse effects on environmental and biological health. These pollutants have a global distribution, with evaporation and precipitation facilitating long-range atmospheric transport, deposition, and bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in the environment. However, these chemicals can remain in the environment for decades and interact with various current-use pesticides, including organophosphates, neonicotinoids, and pyrethroids. Although various studies demonstrate the volatile, toxic nature of POPs, much less research evaluates the impact POPs have on maternal offloading or transfer of contaminates to offspring and respective health consequences. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one […]

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Co-Exposure to Organophosphate Insecticides and Covid-19 Elevates Threat of Cardiovascular Disease

Thursday, November 17th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 17, 2022) A report published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology finds organophosphate (OP) insecticides and the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2/Covid-19) illicit similar damage to the heart and co-occurring exposure to both can escalate cardiac (heart) injury. Previous research suggests OPs may increase the ability of SARS-CoV-2 to cause COVID-19, especially among vulnerable individuals with underlying medical conditions. OPs have a wide range of biological uses—from insecticides to flame retardants—that make these chemicals ubiquitous, significantly contributing to ecosystem contamination. These compounds have a global distribution, with evaporation and precipitation facilitating long-range atmospheric transport, deposition, and bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in the environment. OPs are highly toxic, originating from the same compounds as World War II nerve agents, and residues are consistently present in human and animal blood, urine, tissues, and milk. Moreover, OPs are one of the leading causes of poisoning globally. Therefore, it is vital to understand how OP exposure will impact human health in conjunction with other immunologically compromising diseases like COVID-19. Cardiovascular diseases are among the leading causes of death globally. Additionally, heart conditions are one leading cause of disability in the U.S., as research demonstrates environmental pollutant exposure can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including stroke, heart attack, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and cardiac […]

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Kids and Kidney Cancer: Implication for Prenatal Pesticide Exposure

Thursday, November 10th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 10, 2022) A meta-analysis by the University Alberta Hospital, Edmonton, AB, Canada, adds to the plethora of research linking prenatal (before birth/during pregnancy) pesticide exposure to carcinogenic (cancer) tumor development. The analysis, published in Human & Experimental Toxicology, finds parental exposure to pesticides during the preconception (before pregnancy) or pregnancy period increases the risk of Wilms’ tumor (a type of kidney cancer) occurrence among children. Already, studies find low levels of pesticide exposure during pregnancy or childhood cause adverse health effects, from metabolic disorders to mental and physical disabilities. Although medical advancements in disease survival are more prominent nowadays, childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children. Furthermore, childhood cancer survivors can suffer from chronic or long-term health complications that may be life-threatening. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Moreover, a mother’s pesticide exposure can have a stronger association with cancer among a child than childhood exposure, and a newborn can still encounter pesticides. Therefore, it is essential to understand how pesticides impact the health and well-being of individuals during critical developmental periods, especially for latent diseases (e.g., cancers). The researchers performed a systematic review and meta-analysis on case-control studies […]

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Take Action: Bill Addresses PFAS; Remediation Needed for All Legacy Chemicals

Monday, November 7th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 7, 2022) The Maine Congressional delegation — Senators Collins (R) and Angus King (I), and Representatives Chellie Pingree (D) and Jared Golden (D), along with New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D) — have  introduced a bipartisan bill — the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act — to help farmers who have been adversely affected by the scourge of PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals. The bills are the identical S. 5070 and H.R. 9186, both titled “Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act.” Tell your U.S. Senators and Representative to cosponsor the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act. If they are already cosponsors, thank them. Tell EPA to stop the spread of legacy chemicals. PFAS chemicals, also known as “forever chemicals,” are legacy contaminants or those whose historical use, including many decades ago in some instances, has led to their toxic persistence in the environment and in organisms. PFAS chemicals are not the only legacy contaminants. Others include wood preservatives, DDT, dioxins, and the termiticide chlordane. Unfortunately, some of these continue to be added to the environment, sometimes inadvertently, but also intentionally, particularly through pesticide use. As indicated by the title of these bills, farmers […]

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Advocates Urge Elimination of Toxic Pesticide Use to Prevent Breast Cancer

Monday, October 24th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, October 24, 2022) We need prevention of the causes of breast cancer, not just awareness. In 1985, Imperial Chemical Industries and the American Cancer Society declared October “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” as part of a campaign to promote mammograms for the early detection of breast cancer. Unfortunately, most of us are all too aware of breast cancer. Detection and treatment of cancers do not solve the problem. Tell EPA to evaluate and ban endocrine-disrupting pesticides, and make organic food production and land management the standard that legally establishes toxic pesticide use as “unreasonable.”  Next to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, causing the second most cancer-related deaths in the United States. Genetic factors only play a minor role in breast cancer incidence, while exposure to external environmental factors such as pesticides plays a more notable role. For breast cancer, one in eight women will receive a diagnosis, and genetics can only account for five to ten percent of cases. Therefore, it is essential to understand how environmental exposure to chemicals like pesticides can drive breast cancer development. Several studies and reports, including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data, identify hundreds of chemicals as influential factors associated with breast cancer […]

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Washington DC Sues for Damages from Historical Pesticide Contamination, as Threats Persist

Tuesday, October 18th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, October 18, 2022) Washington, D.C. Attorney General (AG) Karl Racine is suing chemical manufacturer Velsicol to recover damages caused by the company’s production and promotion of the insecticide chlordane despite full knowledge of the extreme hazards posed by the pesticide. Over 30 years after it was banned, chlordane is still contaminating homes, schools, yards, private wells and waterways throughout the United States, including DC’s Anacostia and Potomac rivers. While the District’s focus on restitution and remediation for this highly hazardous, long-lived insecticide is laudable, many advocates say the city is not doing enough to stop pesticide contamination currently entering the city’s waterways. Despite passage of a strong pesticide bill in 2016 limiting toxic pesticide use on schools, child occupied facilities, and within 75ft of a waterbody, D.C. Department of Energy and Environment (DDOE) director Tommy Wells has failed to update regulations and enforce the law. Chlordane is an organochlorine insecticide, of the same class as DDT, and was likewise discussed extensively in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Like other organochlorines, it is bioaccumulative, increasing contamination levels as it works its way up the food chain, and highly persistent, remaining in the environment for decades and perhaps even centuries, with breakdown […]

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Exposure to Pesticides in the Womb Increases Risk Associated with Rare Eye Cancer Among Children

Thursday, September 29th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2022) A study published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health finds an association between retinoblastoma risk and prenatal exposure to pesticides. Retinoblastoma is a rare eye cancer, with over 200,000 cases in the U.S., most of which are children under the age of five. Despite occurring among offspring, this cancer is often not hereditary. Instead, a mutation in the RB1 gene during early development in the womb destabilizes and augments cell growth. Although the etiology or cause of childhood eye cancer involves the interaction of multiple components like lifestyle and genetics, emerging evidence indicates that environmental contaminants like pesticides (e.g., occupational exposures, air pollution, pesticides, solvents, diet, etc.) play a role in disease etiology. Pesticide contamination is widespread in all ecosystems, and chemical compounds can accumulate in human tissues resulting in chronic health effects. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Already, studies find low levels of pesticide exposure during pregnancy or childhood cause adverse health effects from metabolic disorders to mental and physical disabilities. While medical advancements in disease survival are more prominent nowadays, childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children. […]

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Pesticide Exposure Associated with Anemia and Blood Disorders in Farmworkers

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2022) A study published in the International Journal of English, Literature, and Social Science (IJELS) finds an association between pesticide exposure and anemia among female farmers in Indonesia. Anemia is an autoimmune blood disorder negatively affecting the number of red blood cells (RBCs) and subsequent oxygen distribution via available hemoglobin proteins in RBCs. Types of anemia include iron deficiency, pernicious (lack of vitamin B-12 absorption), aplastic (lack of RBC production), and hemolytic (RBC destruction). Although risk factors for anemia consist of age, genetics, lifestyle, and gender, environmental factors such as pesticide use and exposure contribute to disorder development. Pesticides can interfere with cells in the body, causing blood profile abnormalities that affect blood cell formation and immune system function. Anemia disproportionately impacts women and children across the globe, prevalent in over half a billion women. The disorder was more prevalent among pregnant individuals because of blood loss and iron deficiency, causing adverse reproductive outcomes among children. These outcomes include preterm delivery, low birth weight, and decreased iron stores, impairing cognitive and motor development. Considering research already demonstrates many chemicals (e.g., pesticides, heavy metals) can enter the bloodstream through ingestion, absorption through the eyes and skin, or inhalation, studies like […]

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With Global Disease Rates Rising, Do Pesticides Take Some of the Blame? Science Says, “Yes.”

Thursday, September 15th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 15, 2022) A review published in Scientific African finds pesticide exposure contributes to the increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Tanzania, reflecting implications for global health. There are four main NCDs, including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases, and endocrine-disrupting diseases like diabetes. These diseases have no bacterial, viral, or fungal causes, but are chronic diseases with risk factors like genetics, tobacco/alcohol use, physical activity, and diet, thus lacking transmission between people. However, research is now investigating the role environmental factors play in NCD risks, such as outdoor and indoor air pollution, exposure to chemicals, radiation, and occupation. Regardless of whether working together or separately, these risk factors contribute to NCDs and subsequent health conditions. Non-communicable diseases are on the rise, and the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies non-communicable diseases as the number one cause of death globally, affecting 41 million individuals. Moreover, WHO estimates NCD death rates to increase by 17 percent in the next decade, significantly surpassing deaths from communicable, maternal, perinatal, and nutritional diseases combined. Therefore, the report notes, “This review is informative to the policy, practices, and intervention towards the existing situation of pesticides in Tanzania. In addition, it calls for further investigation of the absence of data […]

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Ingestion of Real-World Pesticide Residues in Grain Threatens Bird Offspring More than Parents

Thursday, September 8th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2022) A study published in Environmental Pollution finds parental exposure to real-world, sublethal concentrations of pesticide residues on grains is a major contributor to unfavorable offspring development among foraging birds. Parents’ ingestion of grains with conventional pesticide residues, whether from contaminated or pesticide-treated seeds, results in chronic exposure that adversely affects offspring health, even at low doses. The adverse effects pesticides and other environmental pollutants have on birds are amply documented and researched. Although many studies evaluate acute or chronic health implications associated with pesticide exposure in a single generation, there is a lack of information on multi-generational impacts that can provide vital information on the fundamental survivability or fitness of bird species. Considering this study emphasizes parental exposure to environmental pollutants can have adverse consequences for future generations, it is necessary that future risk assessments for birds address these implications when implementing agricultural pesticide policies. The study notes, “[S]ublethal effects of such compounds [pesticides] on non-target species should be included in the regulation. Moreover, as agroecosystem pollution is not resulting only from pesticides, there is an urgent need to analyze cocktail effects, not only between molecules of pesticides but also between pesticides and other pollutants such as […]

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PFAS Rain? ‘Forever Chemicals’ Contaminate Global Water Resources

Wednesday, August 31st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 31, 2022) No rainwater on Earth is safe for consumption and use as per-, and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) readily contaminate the hydrological ecosystem (properties, distribution, and circulation of water), according to a study published in Environmental Science and Technology. This finding is concerning as it adds to research demonstrating chemical pollutants (e.g., pesticides, pharmaceuticals, PFAS, heavy metals, radioactive material, etc.) exceed the “planetary boundary” contamination and needs addressing. The Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University study, “Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity,” emphasizes that there are nine “planetary boundaries” related to climate change, biodiversity loss, the nitrogen cycle, the phosphorous cycle, stratospheric ozone depletion, ocean acidification, global freshwater use, changes/intensification of land use, atmospheric aerosol loading, and chemical pollution. When crossing these boundaries, the risk of generating large-scale abrupt or irreversible environmental changes increases. In fact, anthropogenic (human) activities are increasing global contamination levels past safe thresholds. Studies have already found that current human operations are quantifiable in almost all nine planetary boundaries and exceed the threshold for at least four out of the nine boundaries. Most recently, a 2022 report concludes that humanity exceeds planetary boundaries related to environmental pollutants and other “novel entities,” including plastics and pesticides. […]

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As Thyroid Cancer Cases Rise, Study Finds Pesticides Link

Friday, August 26th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2022) New research from a team in California finds one-third of pesticides it reviewed — including glyphosate, paraquat dichloride, and oxyfluorfen — to be associated with the development of thyroid cancer. Researchers investigated the links between exposure to pesticides — including 29 that cause DNA cell damage — and the risk of this cancer. The researchers also find that in all the single-pollutant models they employed, paraquat dichloride — a widely used herbicide — was linked to this cancer. In 2021, Beyond Pesticides covered research by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) that demonstrated that exposures to lindane and metalaxyl also cause heightened risk of thyroid cancer. These study findings add to the already considerable concern about pervasive pesticide exposure — not only among farmers and applicators, but also in the general population. It is worth noting that, in addition to elevated thyroid cancer risks, multiple pesticides can cause other health damage. Paraquat is also acutely toxic, and can cause longer-term reproductive, renal, and hepatic damage to humans; it is toxic to birds, fish, and other aquatic organisms, and slightly so to honeybees. Glyphosate, as Beyond Pesticides has written frequently, is carcinogenic, and is associated […]

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Researchers Determine Mechanism of DDT Link to Alzheimer’s, Informing Potential Treatments

Wednesday, August 24th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 24, 2022) New research is helping the medical community understand the mechanism through which exposure to the banned insecticide DDT increases risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, a team of researchers from Florida International University and Rutgers used multiple models to demonstrate the effects of DDT on the production of toxic proteins in the brain. The constant stream of new health risks regarding a chemical banned decades ago underlines the importance of a precautionary approach to pesticide regulation, particularly as red flags are already being raised about the connection between widely used weed killers like glyphosate and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. “The vast majority of research on the disease has been on genetics — and genetics are very important — but the genes that actually cause the disease are very rare,” says study coauthor Jason Richardson, PhD of Florida International University. “Environmental risk factors like exposure to DDT are modifiable. So, if we understand how DDT affects the brain, then perhaps we could target those mechanisms and help the people who have been highly exposed.” Previous research from Dr. Richardson found that DDT exposure increased risk of Alzheimer’s by four times. Scientists […]

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Parents’ Exposure to Pesticides Indicative of Childhood Cancer Risk among Offspring

Thursday, August 18th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 18, 2022) A study published in Environmental Research suggests occupational (work-related) exposure to pesticides among nonpregnant women and men may increase childhood cancer risk for offspring. Already, studies find low levels of pesticide exposure during pregnancy or childhood cause adverse health effects from metabolic disorders to mental and physical disabilities. However, few assess parental exposure’s impact on childhood disease risk outside critical development periods (e.g., pregnancy). Although medical advancements in disease survival are more prominent nowadays, childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children. Furthermore, childhood cancer survivors can suffer from chronic or long-term health complications that may be life-threatening. The etiology or cause of childhood cancer involves the interaction of multiple components like lifestyle and genetics. However, emerging evidence indicates that environmental contaminants like pesticides (e.g., occupational exposures, air pollution, pesticides, solvents, diet, etc.) play a role in disease etiology. Pesticide contamination is widespread in all ecosystems, and chemical compounds can accumulate in human tissues resulting in chronic health effects. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Moreover, several studies demonstrate an association between environmental or occupational pesticide exposure and the risk of childhood cancer. Considering maternal pesticide […]

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Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Contribute to Liver Injury, including Toxic PFAS and Pesticides

Friday, August 12th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2022) Gestational (during pregnancy) exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) like pesticides, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), among others, may increase pediatric (child) liver injury and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) risk, according to a study published in Environmental Health. Past studies associate exposure to EDCs with increased susceptibility to adverse health effects during critical fetal and childhood developmental periods. The World Health Organization (WHO), European Union (EU), and endocrine disruptor expert (deceased) Theo Colborn, Ph.D., classify over 55 to 177 chemical compounds as endocrine disruptors, including various household products like detergents, disinfectants, plastics, and pesticides. Endocrine disruption can lead to several health problems, including hormone-related cancer development (i.e., thyroid, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular), reproductive dysfunction, and diabetes/obesity that can span generations. Because EDCs are ubiquitous because they are found in many products, studies report that these toxic chemical compounds are detectable in infants, children, and pregnant women. Furthermore, pregnant women can readily transfer compounds to the developing fetus through the placenta. Therefore, it is essential to understand the mechanism behind how harmful chemical exposure induces endocrine disruption during critical developmental periods. Researchers note, “Considering the lack of studies on endocrine disruption and pediatric NAFLD, research like this highlights the need to understand the underlying […]

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U.S. Exportation of Banned and Highly Restricted Pesticides Continues to Inflict Serious Harm

Friday, August 5th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 5, 2022) A terrible saga of environmental injustice — and of grieving couples who wanted children but could not have them — is getting new attention via the BBC’s (British Broadcasting Corporation’s) recent coverage of Di-bromochloropropane (DBCP) exposures and impacts on banana plantation workers in multiple Latin American countries. A significant number of those male workers became sterile, and many charge that their exposures to DBCP in the 1970s was responsible. A 1979 ban on uses of DBCP on the U.S. mainland by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did not immediately stop manufacturers from exporting the toxic insecticide to (primarily) Central American countries, nor did it stop U.S. fruit companies operating there from using it. Beyond Pesticides wrote in 2020 about the damaging and what some call unethical practice of allowing corporate export of domestically banned pesticides — which practice continues in the U.S. This BBC investigative report comes on the heels of a piece in The Lancet, United States and United Nations pesticide policies: Environmental violence against the Yaqui indigenous nation, that catalogues the abuse of pesticide export policies on indigenous peoples. The piece finds: “The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) is a U.S. statute that allows “pesticides that […]

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Scientific Literature Review Again Connects Pesticides and Male Fertility Problems

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 3, 2022) A systematic review of scientific studies on pesticides and fertility finds exposure associated with lower semen quality, DNA fragmentation, and chromosomal abnormalities. Published in the journal Andrology, the review is yet another warning from a long string of researchers sounding the alarm over the connection between global fertility and toxic chemical exposure. With data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  indicating roughly 1 in 5 couples are unable to conceive after a year of trying, and trends continuing to slope downwards, it is critical that contributing factors be identified so that protective changes can be made.   After screening over 1,300 studies, researchers narrowed their review down to 64 papers assessing semen parameters and DNA integrity after pesticide exposure. Each study is analyzed for its design, the pesticide investigated,  the population studied, controls, and reproductive effects determined. Pesticides are evaluated for their impacts to sperm quality and DNA integrity based on their chemical class. Organochlorine insecticides, which are all banned but still persistent in soil, air, water, and food in the United States, include a range of impacts to sperm quality. Higher levels of DDT or its breakdown metabolite DDE are […]

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Two Common-Use Organophosphate Pesticides in Drinking Water Put Nearly Everyone at Cancer Risk

Thursday, July 28th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2022) A report published in Chemosphere finds organophosphate (OP) insecticides readily contaminate drinking water resources, threatening human, animal, and ecological health. OPs have a wide range of biological uses—from insecticides to flame retardants—that make these chemicals ubiquitous, significantly contributing to ecosystem contamination. These compounds have a global distribution, with evaporation and precipitation facilitating long-range atmospheric transport, deposition, and bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in the environment. OPs are highly toxic, and residues are consistently present in human and animal blood, urine, tissues, and milk. Considering 90 percent of Americans have at least one pesticide compound in their body, primarily stemming from dietary exposure, including food and drinking water, advocates maintain that current restrictions on their use must adequately detect and assess total chemical contaminants.  Water is the most abundant and crucial chemical compound on earth, essential to survival, and the main component of all living things. Less than three percent of that water is freshwater, and only a fraction of that freshwater is groundwater (30.1%) or surface water (0.3%) readily available for consumption. However, ubiquitous pesticide use threatens to reduce the amount of available freshwater as pesticide runoff, recharge, and improper disposal tends to contaminate adjacent waterways, like rivers, streams, lakes, or underground watersheds. With rivers and streams only accounting […]

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Pesticide Exposure Driving Liver Disease through Hormone Disrupting Mechanisms

Thursday, July 21st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 21, 2022) Research published in Scientific Reports finds an association between the increasing emergence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and exposure to endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals, like organochlorine pesticides (OCPs). It is well-known that traces of legacy (past-use) pesticides, like organochlorines, remain in the environment for decades—possibly centuries, post-final application, as OCPs have greater chemical stability and gradual attenuation. However, these chemicals have profound adverse impacts on human health, especially on the endocrine system. Obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and elevated liver enzyme resulting from endocrine disruption contribute to NAFLD and can lead to liver cirrhosis. Although some, but not all, manufacturing and use of specific OCPs have declined in the U.S., OCPs remain a global issue, as much of the developing world still reports usage. Considering the lack of studies on OCP-induced endocrine disruption and NAFLD, research like this highlights the need to understand the underlying mechanisms that contribute to growing endocrine disease incidents.   The study determined that there is an association between OCP exposure and NAFLD using the fatty liver index (FLI), a predictor of lipid (fat) accumulation in the liver. The researcher collected blood serum to measure the concentration of OCPs, specifically evaluating detectable […]

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