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Attack on Vulnerable Species Pilot Project: Opportunities to Engage with EPA on ESA

Wednesday, February 28th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 28, 2024) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is putting on hold its Vulnerable Species Project (VSP) after vociferous comments from the petrochemical pesticide industry to instead, “create a narrow, tailored policy rather than a sweeping, burdensome one,” according to a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Upon heavy pushback from the petrochemical pesticide industry and agribusiness, EPA is hosting a variety of workshops and openings for the public to provide feedback not just on VSP, but the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Workplan the Biden Administration originally introduced in 2021 in its entirety. Advocates are calling for the strengthening of pesticide regulation given the impending decisions that may shape the fate of ESA-FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act) compliance for years to come. As EPA continues through its pesticide registration program to advance continued dependency on pesticides through its interpretation of FIFRA, despite the availability of nontoxic alternatives, endangered species extinction and biodiversity collapse has never been a high priority. While EPA has initiated efforts to address a significant backlog of pesticide evaluations, Civil Eats has reported that the agency faces a task so extensive that it may require several additional decades to fully catch up. EPA officials stated, “Even if EPA completed […]

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Pesticide Exposure Linked to Obesity, Type 2 Diabetes, and Metabolic Disease in Seniors

Tuesday, February 27th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 27, 2024) Popular culture and official policy continue to ignore a blatant source of the rise in obesity: chemical exposures, including pesticides. A study, “Associations of chronic exposure to a mixture of pesticides and type 2 diabetes mellitus in a Chinese elderly population,” contributes to the now-massive trove of evidence linking pesticides to diseases and shows that by the time people reach retirement age they are suffering from a heavy burden of contamination that raises their risk of complex disease. Since the 1960s, obesity in both adults and children has nearly tripled. More than half of U.S. adults were either obese or severely obese by 2018, according to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Study. The 55-year trend line is decidedly upward. More women than men are obese, and black women suffer the most, but men are racing to catch up. Between 1999 and 2018, Mexican American men shot up from the lowest percentage of obesity to nearly the highest. Obesity is a milestone on the road to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney failure, joint replacement, and more. The causes of obesity are severely misunderstood. Most people believe that discipline and […]

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Take Action: Advocates Ask Congress to Include Protections from PFAS Contamination in Farm Bill

Tuesday, February 20th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2024) With health risks including developmental, metabolic, cardiovascular, and reproductive harm, cancer, damage to the liver, kidneys, and respiratory system, as well as the potential to increase the chance of disease infection and severity, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and their toxic trail of contamination in the environment is wreaking havoc with all life. The use of PFAS in industrial and commercial applications has led to widespread contamination of water and biosolids used for fertilizer, poisoning tens of millions of acres of land and posing a significant threat to the biosphere, public health, gardens, parks, and agricultural systems. Farmers and rural communities, in particular, bear the brunt of this contamination, as it affects their drinking water, soil quality, and livestock health.   Tell Congress that the Farm Bill must include the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act and the Healthy H2O Act to protect farmers and rural communities from PFAS contamination.  Led by Chellie Pingree (D-ME), U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Susan Collins (R-ME), a bipartisan and bicameral bill—the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act—has been introduced to provide assistance and relief to those affected by PFAS. A second bill, the Healthy H2O Act, introduced by Representatives Pingree and David Rouzer (R-NC) and Senators Baldwin […]

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USDA Pesticide Data Program Continues to Mislead the Public on Pesticide Residue Exposure

Thursday, February 15th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2024) The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pesticide residue report, the 32nd Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary report, released in January, finds that over 72 percent of tested commodities contain pesticide residues (27.6 percent have no detectable residues), mostly below the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set for tolerances (allowable residues) whose safety standards have been called into question by advocates. USDA spins its report findings as a positive safety finding because, as the Department says, “[m]ore than 99 percent of the products sampled through PDP had residues below the established EPA tolerances.” USDA continues, “Ultimately, if EPA determines a pesticide use is not safe for human consumption, EPA will mitigate exposure to the pesticide through actions such as amending the pesticide label instructions, changing or revoking a pesticide residue tolerance, or not registering a new use.” As Beyond Pesticides reminds the public annually when USDA uses the report to extol the safety of pesticide-laden food, the tolerance setting process has been criticized as highly deficient because of a lack of adequate risk assessments for vulnerable subpopulations, such as farmworkers, people with compromised health or preexisting health conditions, children, and perhaps, […]

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The Link Between Ovarian Cancer and Pesticides Increases Among Female Farmers

Tuesday, February 6th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February  6, 2024) A study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine finds that pesticide exposure, especially during puberty, can play a role in ovarian cancer development among female farmers. Although there are many studies that evaluate the risk for cancers among farmers, very few pieces of literature cover the risk of ovarian cancer from pesticide exposure. Additionally, this study notes suggests the role of hormones in ovarian cancer prognosis and development, highlighting an association with endocrine disruption. Exposure to past and current-use endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), like pesticides, has a long history of severe adverse human health effects. Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotics (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem) present in nearly all organisms and ecosystems. 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 (e.g., 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. The study evaluates a […]

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Pesticides’ Role in Lower Sperm Counts and Reproductive Harm in Men Again in Science Literature

Wednesday, January 10th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2024) Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) negatively impacts testicular function and may cause sperm count declines over time, according to a 2022 review published in Endocrine. The findings indicate that this occurs regardless of whether exposure is prenatal (before birth) or postnatal (after birth). More recent work from October 2023 confirms the connection between male reproductive health and exposure to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides and the weed killer glyphosate—as many pesticide products containing these chemicals are classifiable as endocrine disruptors (ED). Just last year, a meta-analysis from researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the University of Copenhagen, among others, finds that the drop in global sperm count is accelerating, dropping by 51.6 percent from 1973 through 2018. The U.S. regulatory system, under the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has not kept pace with the science and does not fully evaluate pesticides in wide use for endocrine disruption, despite a requirement in 1996 law (the Food Quality Protection Act) to begin that testing and evaluation nearly three decades ago. In 2021, Beyond Pesticides reported that the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for EPA issued a damning report on the […]

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With Endometrial (Uterine) Cancer on the Rise, the Science Points to an Association with Pesticides

Wednesday, December 13th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2023) A study published in Environmental Health finds occupational (work-related) exposure to pesticides increases the risk of endometrial (uterine) cancer development. Endometrial cancer is the most common cancer of the female reproductive system and the fourth most common cancer among women, primarily affecting the uterine lining rather than the uterus itself, like uterine sarcoma. Despite data predicting the disease rate to increase, few studies evaluate the connection environmental contaminants have on endometrial cancer occurrence. Like most cancers, non-genetic factors account for a majority of endometrial cancer risk, including diabetes, age, contraceptive (birth-control) use, and hormone (endocrine) disruption. However, three percent of all cases are hereditary, primarily from Lynch syndrome. The study notes, “Identifying other modifiable risk factors may help develop strategies to reduce the expected increasing incidence of these neoplasms.” Many pesticides have a long history associated with endocrine-disrupting properties that induce various molecular changes, prompting disease development. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies many of these chemicals as potent carcinogens in animal studies. Cancer development also depends on genetic susceptibility, as impaired genes responsible for xenobiotic detoxification (elimination) increase disease risk sensitivity. Adding to the science, a review published in Environmental Exposure, Biomonitoring, and Exposure […]

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States Step In to Restrict Bee-Toxic Pesticides, California the Latest in Absence of EPA Action

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, November 3, 2023) California joined 10 other states that have laws partially restricting use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides with the enactment of CA AB 363 into law in October, 2023.  California’s new law will ban over-the-counter sales of lawn and garden neonics by 2025, limiting their use to licensed pesticide applicators. The legislation gives the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (CA EPA) until June 30, 2029 to take broader action on neonics, if it determines restrictions are necessary. CA 363 will take neonics out of the hands of homeowners, while allowing lawn care companies to continue use. The California law falls short of the strongest state laws in Nevada, New Jersey, and Maine that eliminate all outdoor (nonagricultural) uses of these chemicals, even by lawn care companies. In June, 2023 Nevada became the third state to ban lawn and garden uses of neonics, while Colorado prohibited homeowner use of land and garden neonic products, similar to laws in Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont.  Minnesota recently banned neonic use on state lands and granted its home-rule subdivisions the authority to ban “pollinator-lethal pesticides” (those with bee warning labels) under its state law preempting local authority […]

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Childhood Leukemia Linked to Pesticides Used in Vineyards

Thursday, November 2nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2023) A study published in Environmental Health Perspective finds the risk of acute childhood leukemia (AL), specifically acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), slightly increases with exposure to pesticides (i.e., insecticides and herbicides) from uses on vines, a crop subject to intensive pesticide use. Within 1 kilometer [km] of vineyards, the risk of ALL among children increases in areas with a higher density of vines. Although medical advancements in disease survival are more common nowadays, childhood AL remains the secondary cause of child mortality following physical injury. Furthermore, childhood leukemia survivors can suffer from chronic or long-term health complications that may be life-threatening. The etiology or cause of childhood AL involves the interaction of multiple components, including lifestyle and genetics; emerging evidence indicates that environmental contaminants (e.g., pesticides, air pollution, solvents, diet, etc.) play a role in disease. 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. Moreover, […]

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Despite a Beetle’s History of Resistance to Insecticides, EPA Is Pushing Genetically Engineered Pesticide

Monday, October 30th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 30, 2023) TAKE ACTION. It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. And so it goes with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposal to register a new genetically engineered pesticide for the Colorado Potato Beetle (CPB); this time with a pesticide that has not been fully evaluated for its adverse effects to people and the environment. [Submit a public comment before comment period ends today, October 30, 2023.] Chemical-intensive agriculture has failed to control CPB since resistance to DDT was identified in 1952 and has continued with every family of pesticides since then. CPB has been dubbed the billion-dollar-bug because of the investment in failed attempts of chemical manufacturers to control the insect, the profits generated by chemical companies despite this failure, and the resulting losses for chemical-intensive farmers—not to mention government expenditures for the registration of chemicals that have short efficacy, pollution costs associated with chemical production and use, and lost ecosystem services. But, EPA is at it again, registering a new novel pesticide active ingredient, Ledprona, which raises the stakes on potential harm. The only winners in this ongoing failure […]

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Study Further Strengthens Link Between Common Insecticide Class and Psychiatric Disorders

Wednesday, October 25th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 25, 2023) A study published in Environmental Pollution finds farming and organophosphate (OP) pesticide exposure are risk factors for depression, with pesticide poisoning being a risk factor for suicidal behavior. Additionally, psychiatric disorder prognosis affects men more than women, with depression and suicidal outcomes more common among pesticide-exposed males. Age also affected depression and suicidal consequences, with elevated rates among older farmers. Research on pesticide-induced diseases commonly investigates pesticide exposure concerning the development of various physical illnesses. However, previous studies show that occupational (work-related) risks of developing depression are high in agriculture, where pesticide use is widespread. Acute exposure to chemicals, including organophosphate, organochlorine, triazine, and carbamate pesticides, tends to put farmers at elevated risk. More study is needed on pesticide exposure and similar psychological (psychiatric) effects in the general population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects 322 million people globally, with the number of diagnosed patients increasing by 18.4% from 2005 to 2015. Although the etiology of depression—and many other psychiatric disorders—is often genetic, studies suggest that other etiological factors, like pesticide exposure, play a role in depression incidents. Poor mental health has a tangible influence on physical health (e.g., depression and cardiovascular disease); therefore, the combination of pesticide exposure […]

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Organophosphate Pesticides and the Link to Respiratory, Metabolic, and Heart Disease

Wednesday, October 18th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 18, 2023) A meta-analysis published in Toxics finds an association between exposure to organophosphate pesticides (OPs) and respiratory diseases and diabetes mellitus (DM). Specifically, wheezing and asthma are the most common respiratory manifestations of OP exposure, while fluctuation in weight and fat/glucose levels are the most common metabolically related manifestations. Organophosphorus pesticides have a wide range of biological uses—from insecticides to flame retardants—that make these chemicals ubiquitous, significantly contributing to ecosystem contamination. Thus, OP compounds have a global distribution, with evaporation and precipitation facilitating long-range atmospheric transport, deposition, and bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in the environment. Many studies show OPs are highly toxic, and residues are consistently present in human and animal urine, blood, 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.  This study investigated the effects and possible mechanisms involved in adverse health outcomes associated with OP exposure. Reviewing studies from Web of Science, PubMed, Embase, OVID, and the Cochrane Library, researchers systematically searched for articles on OP exposure and respiratory, DM, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcomes until 2022. […]

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Paris’s Worrying Bed Bug Surge Linked to Insecticide-Resistance

Tuesday, October 17th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2023) In the past month, Paris, France has witnessed a surge in bed bug populations. From public transportation to hotels, hostels, and movie theatres, bed bugs are posing a threat to the city’s two million residents and potentially a broader global population as the infestation spreads.   This resurgence of bed bugs in Paris is not unique. For centuries, these pests have been both adaptable and persistent, presenting an enduring challenge to pest control. However, the current surge in bed bug infestations is not merely a revival of a longstanding problem; it is a complex issue intertwined with the development of resistance to insecticides, mainly through a mechanism known as knockdown resistance. This mechanism, along with three other main resistance mechanisms, has enabled these insects to defy chemical-intensive control methods  Knockdown resistance is a significant factor contributing to the resistance exhibited by bed bugs to insecticides, especially pyrethroids. The mechanism plays a central role in countering the action of these insecticides, which target the nervous system of bed bugs, causing paralysis and eventual death. Knockdown resistance provides the genetic adaptation that provides bed bug populations with resistance to insecticides. It inhibits the effectiveness of certain insecticides. Bed […]

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Study Finds New Chemicals Associated with Breast Cancer Risk

Thursday, October 12th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 12, 2023) A new study published in Environment International finds novel environmental chemicals (i.e., piperidine insecticide, 2,4-dinitrophenol, benzo[a]carbazole, and a benzoate derivative) involved in developing breast cancer through various inflammation pathways. These new potential factors contribute to breast cancer and highlight the importance of employing epidemiological biomonitoring like exposome (total exposure from birth to death) to discover mechanisms involved in disease development that are otherwise overlooked. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breast cancer is a disease that causes breast cells to grow out of control, with the type of breast cancer depending on the cells themselves. Several studies and reports, including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data, identify hundreds of chemicals as influential factors (either promoting or initiating) associated with breast cancer risk. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, accounting for 12 percent of all new annual cancer cases worldwide and causing the second most cancer-related deaths in the United States. Past studies suggest genetic inheritance factors influence breast cancer occurrence. However, genetic factors only play a minor role in the incidence of breast cancer, while exposure to external environmental factors (e.g., chemical exposure) appears to play a more notable role. One in […]

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Rachel Carson Conservation Park Faces Controversy Over Toxic Herbicide Spraying

Wednesday, October 11th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 11, 2023) Rachel Carson Conservation Park, a 650-acre conservation area in Montgomery County, Maryland, named in honor of the renowned scientist and author Rachel Carson, is now at the center of a controversy surrounding the use of toxic herbicides. Ms. Carson played a pivotal role in raising awareness about the harmful ecosystem and human health effects of pesticides that led to the banning of DDT. Environmentalists and concerned citizens have raised alarm over the recent spraying of “invasive weeds” with Garlon 3A, a powerful herbicide, within the park’s boundaries. Concern about pesticide use in Montgomery County is complicated by competing jurisdictions and restrictions within the county, and highlights the stark difference between nontoxic organic practices and pesticide-dependent Integrated Pest Management. (See more below on Montgomery County land management policy for local parks.) According to the Montgomery County website: “Montgomery County Parks [Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission or M-NCPPC] are a State agency. M-NCPPC operates under an integrated pest management plan (IPM). Montgomery Parks manages all playgrounds, community gardens and common lawn areas within local parks without the use of pesticides. In 2016, Montgomery Parks designated ten pesticide-free parks. In September 2019, the program expanded to 45 […]

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Pollution-Associated Liver Disease with Sex-Specific Effects Linked to Persistent Legacy Insecticide, Chlordane

Wednesday, October 4th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2023) A study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology finds acute exposure to chlordane, an organochlorine insecticide, results in decreased lipid (fat) levels, altered anti-oxidant capacity, and increased testosterone levels (pro-androgenic) in male mice, while increasing liver enzyme activation and reducing regulation of both liver identity and function in females. These findings indicate that chlordane induces toxicant-associated steatosis (fat retention) liver disease (TASLD) with underlying, sex-specific, endocrine, and metabolic effects. It is well-known that traces of legacy (past-use) pesticides, like organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), 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 enzymes resulting from endocrine disruption contribute to liver diseases 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 report usage. Considering the lack of studies on OCP-induced endocrine disruption, TASLD, and other liver diseases, research like this highlights the need to understand the underlying mechanisms contributing to […]

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Confronting Dramatic Biodiversity Loss on 50th Anniversary of Endangered Species Act

Monday, October 2nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 2, 2023) On the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), statements out of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raise concerns about the agency’s ability to meet the challenge of evaluating pesticides for their adverse impact on threatened and endangered species. While EPA has initiated efforts to address a significant backlog of pesticide evaluations, the agency faces a task so extensive that it may require several additional decades to fully catch up. EPA officials stated, “Even if EPA completed this work for all of the pesticides that are currently subject to court decisions and/or ongoing litigation, that work would take until the 2040s, and even then, would represent only 5 percent of EPA’s ESA obligations.”   As part of a “whole of government” approach, EPA must redirect its pesticide program to protecting all species and their habitats.   The speed and depth of biodiversity loss has reached crisis proportions. A 1,500-page report in 2019 by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES )—Global Assessment Summary for Policymakers, the most comprehensive look to date at the biodiversity crisis and its implications for human civilization, makes the following finding: “Since 1970, trends in agricultural production, fish harvest, […]

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Metabolic Diseases, Including Diabetes and Obesity, Driven by Pesticide Exposure

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 27, 2023) A study published in Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology finds organophosphate (OP), organochlorine (OC), and pyrethroid (PYR) pesticides have links to insulin resistance (IR) associated with metabolic disorders like diabetes, obesity, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and hypertension. Metabolic disorders are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, with over 11 percent (>37 million) of individuals in the U.S. having diabetes, and cases are growing by millions annually. Additionally, there is a rise in metabolic disorders among young people. Studies even find low levels of pesticide exposure during pregnancy or childhood cause adverse health effects, including metabolic disorders tied to gut microbiome disruption (dysbiosis). With increasing rates of diabetes and obesity, the two most prominent metabolic diseases in the study, cases among the global population, studies like these highlight the importance of evaluating how chemical contaminants deregulate normal bodily function through metabolic changes.  To investigate the association between pesticide exposure and insulin-related metabolic disorders in humans, researchers searched the PubMed database for articles, performing a systematic review. The study notes, “IR is defined as a pathological state in which a higher-than-normal level of insulin is required to produce the optimal response in cells.” The search generated 4,051 articles related to the topic. However, after excluding duplicates and […]

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All Pesticide Classes Increase the Risk of Central Nervous System Tumors in Children

Thursday, September 21st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 21, 2023) A literature review published in CiĂŞncia & SaĂşde Coletiva finds environmental exposure to all classes of pesticides (fungicides, herbicides, insecticides) has an association with childhood astrocytoma (brain/central nervous system [CNS] tumor). CNS tumors represent half of all malignant neoplasms (tumors) in children. Although medical advancements in disease survival are progressing, 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 that include environment, lifestyle and genetics. However, emerging evidence indicates that environmental contaminants like pesticides (e.g., occupational exposures, air pollution, pesticides, solvents, diet, etc.) affect 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 that maternal pesticide exposure can have a stronger association with cancer among children than childhood exposure, and newborns can still encounter pesticides, it is […]

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The Ultimate Buzz Kill – Officials Find Pesticides in Marijuana… Again

Tuesday, August 15th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2023) Marijuana regulators in the state of Washington issued administrative holds on 18 licenses due to pesticide-contaminated marijuana, forcing producers and processors to cease operations until now. This shutdown of legal marijuana businesses serves as a window into a broader historical backdrop of pesticide issues within the marijuana industry. Within Washington, pesticide concerns have been growing since a study in 2018 of legal marijuana farms in the state had 84.6% (of 26 samples) with significant quantities of pesticides including insecticides, fungicides, miticides, and herbicides. Last year, a national study identified a list of contaminants in 36 states and the District of Columbia and found 551 pesticides within cannabis products. For over a decade, Beyond Pesticides has sounded the alarm about the highly-concentrated levels of pesticides in marijuana products, calling on state officials to require organic marijuana, especially in the context of medical marijuana. The absence of federal regulations for pesticides in cannabis production has raised significant concerns about exposure risks for recreational and medicinal use, exposure risks to workers, and potential environmental contamination impacting wildlife. Since marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act, the EPA does not regulate pesticides in […]

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Regulators Ignore Mosquito Resistance to Pesticides, Promoting Disease Transmission

Monday, August 7th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2023) Why is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowing the use of pesticides under the “unreasonable adverse effects” to health or the environment standard of the federal pesticide law (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act [FIFRA]) if the pesticides quickly lose their efficacy? Pest resistance to pesticides is a well-known biological mechanism that becomes problematic when farmers are faced with crop failure and economic loss. It becomes especially threatening when the goal is to manage insects that are a disease vector and when the regulatory process ignores nonchemical management strategies that are efficacious and sustainable. Tell EPA, Governors, and Congress that given the certainty of pesticide resistance, ecologically-based mosquito management must replace a reliance on pesticides. Insect resistance to insecticides has been an issue since the introduction of DDT in the 1940s. Although most countries currently ban DDT use, several currently used insecticides pose the same threat. In fact, resistance is predicted by elementary population genetics, and the speed of its evolution is directly related to the toxicity—that is, strength of selection pressure—and inversely related to the generation length of the organism. When that target organism of the pesticide is a disease vector, like West […]

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The Growing Insecticide Resistance Issue Increases Concerns Over Deadly Disease Transmission Through Mosquitos

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 2, 2023) A study published in Pest Management Science finds resistance to insecticides like pyrethroids are challenging attempts to control the mosquito Aedes aegypti (Ae. aegypti), the primary transmitter (vector) of dengue fever. While this study takes place in Bangladesh, resistance to biocides—whether to antibiotics, antimicrobials, or pesticides—is growing globally. Prevention of disease outbreaks is threatened by reliance on chemical biocides to which pathogens and their vectors develop resistance. In fact, resistance is predicted by elementary population genetics, and the speed of its evolution is directly related to the toxicity—that is, the strength of selection pressure—and inversely related to the generation length of the organism. (See PAY articles here and here, a PBS article here.) Insecticide resistance has been an issue since the introduction of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) in the 1940s. Although most countries currently ban DDT use, the compound is not the only chemical pesticide promoting pest resistance. Several current-use insecticides pose the same threat. Areawide, indiscriminate spraying of insecticides is causing resistance to develop among many pests. Mosquitoes have become increasingly resistant to synthetic pyrethroids, in addition to other classes of insecticides, such as carbamates and organophosphates. Thus, this study demonstrates the need for sustainable and practical strategies […]

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Another Study Adds to Science Indicating Mothers’ Exposure to Pesticides During Pregnancy Increases Adverse Birth Outcomes

Wednesday, July 26th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2023) An exploratory study published in Environment International adds to the many studies demonstrating residential prenatal pesticide exposure can result in adverse birth outcomes. Residential exposure to five active pesticide ingredients (Ais) fluroxypyr-meptyl, glufosinate-ammonium, linuron, vinclozolin, and picoxystrobin has adverse effects on gestational age (GA), birth weight (BW), mortality after birth, child’s sex, premature development, low birth weight (LBW), small for gestational age (SGA), and large for gestational age (LGA). Pesticides’ presence in the body has implications for human health, especially during vulnerable life stages like childhood, puberty, pregnancy, and old age. Pesticide exposure during pregnancy is of specific concern as health effects for all life stages can be long-lasting. Birth and reproductive complications are increasingly common among individuals exposed to environmental toxicants like pesticides. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality, with one in every 33 infants born with an abnormality that results in death. Therefore, studies like this can help government and health officials safeguard human health by assessing adverse effects following prevalent chemical exposure.  Using a Dutch birth registry from 2009 to 2013, the researchers selected pregnant mothers over 16 years who were living in non-urban areas (who […]

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