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Cross-Sectional Study Finds Connection Between Pesticide Exposure and Alzheimer’s Disease

Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, June 5, 2024) Individuals living near chemical-intensive agricultural environments have heightened risk of Alzheimer’s disease relative to the general population, according to a study published earlier this year in Psychiatry Research. This finding builds on existing peer-reviewed studies that document the relationship between chronic pesticide exposure and elevated risk of neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, as well as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis (MS), and Huntington’s disease. In light of the mountains of scientific evidence, advocates continue to demand for a wholesale transformation of agricultural and land management systems to one based in organic principles in alignment with the U.S. National Organic Program. Study Analysis This study was published online on May 1, 2024 with the full entry to be published in July 2024. The researchers are physicians, health professionals, and professors at the University of Almeria in southern Spain, specifically working in the Health Research Center and the Department of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Medicine. There is also a researcher, Cristofer Ruiz-GonzĂĄlez, who works at the TorrecĂĄrdenas University Hospital also located in Almeria, Spain. Researchers gathered case information from over 40,000 patients between 2000 and 2021 living in demarcated health care districts with high and low levels of […]

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Pesticide Use Again Linked to Inflammatory Bowel Disease, This Time Among Applicators and Their Spouses

Wednesday, May 15th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2024) A study published recently in the journal Environmental Research finds a significant correlation between exposure to certain pesticides and an elevated risk of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a chronic autoimmune condition of the gastrointestinal tract. The study, adding to the body of science on this subject, evaluates self-reported data from licensed pesticide applicators and their spouses exposed to pesticides for over 20 years. In addition, while some of the chemicals found to be most closely associated with incidents of IBD have been banned from use, they are “forever” chemicals that persist in the environment for generations. These findings demonstrate once again the failings of the current regulatory process to identify hazards before they are put into the environment. The study found evidence that exposure to several organochlorine insecticides (dieldrin, DDT, and toxaphene), as well as organophosphate insecticides (parathion, terbufos, and phorate) and herbicides (2,4,5-T, 2,4,5-TP, and metolachlor), is associated with elevated IBD risk. IBD is a generic term for diseases that result in chronic inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It is estimated that 6.8 million patients globally suffered from IBD in 2017. IBD may result from an imbalance […]

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Parkinson’s Disease Explodes as Researchers Find Connection to Pesticide Exposure and Genes

Friday, May 3rd, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, May 3, 2024) Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the world after Alzheimer’s. Genetic factors account for only a fraction of PD cases, and for decades scientists have been aware of associations between pesticide exposures and PD. Yet, not everyone exposed to pesticides gets PD. Consequently, neither the genetic nor the environmental hypothesis is fully satisfactory; both may be involved. Thus, there has been great interest in identifying gene variants that affect the risks of PD associated with pesticide exposure. Now a team of University of California at Los Angeles researchers led by neurologist Brent Fogel, MD, PhD has traced a connection between certain gene variants and the occurrence and severity of PD in a cohort of central California PD patients who have had long-term exposure to pesticides. The genes are related to autophagy, the process by which cells organize, degrade, recycle or eject molecules to maintain healthy chemical balance. Autophagy is an essential process throughout the body, including regulation of mitochondria, which are also vital for healthy cellular function. The study supports other research suggesting that autophagy is disturbed in neurodegenerative diseases. As Beyond Pesticides discussed in its April 19 Daily News, PD […]

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More Data Finds Long-Term Exposure to Toxic Pesticides Alters Human Gut Microbiome and Metabolism

Friday, April 26th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2024) Researchers build on existing research when assessing the relationship between long-term exposure to organophosphorus pesticides—widely used in food production and homes and gardens—and the human gut microbiome. In a new study published in Environmental Health, an interdisciplinary research team from University of California, Los Angeles determined, “that exposure to [organophosphorus pesticides] is associated with changes in the abundance of several bacterial groups and differential functional capacity in metabolic pathways supported by the human gut microbiome.” The study draws upon data from a “Parkinson’s, Environment and Gene study (PEG)” in which 190 participants were asked to submit fecal samples and answer interview questions. “[The study] was initially designed to investigate the etiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and participants were recruited in two study waves [‘over the full 10-year exposure window’]: 2001–2007 and 2012–2017. At baseline, [Parkinson’s disease] patients were diagnosed within the past 5 years and randomly selected community controls were also recruited,” the research team shares in their Methodology section. “Since 2017, we invited previous study participants who could be contacted to enroll in a pilot study of the gut microbiome. In addition, we invited a household or community member of [Parkinson’s] patients to participate.” […]

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Bill Seeks to Eliminate Inequities for Child Farmworkers, But Leaves Weak EPA Pesticide Standards in Place

Friday, March 29th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2024) Last week during National Agriculture Week, U.S. Senator Ben Ray LujĂĄn (D-NM) introduced S.4038, the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety (CARE), aiming to elevate labor standards for young workers in the agricultural sector, as protection from pesticides remains weak. Currently, agriculture stands as the sole industry that permits children—as young as 12 years old—to work without significant limits on their hours of employment outside of school time. This scenario is a reality for hundreds of thousands of children across the U.S., who undertake the demanding tasks of planting, harvesting, processing, and packaging the food produced nationwide. The CARE Act proposes to align the age and working hour criteria for underage workers in agriculture with those enforced in other sectors. Additionally, the legislation seeks to toughen both civil and criminal penalties for violations of child labor laws and to enhance safeguards for children against the risks of pesticide exposure. It is important to note, however, that the CARE Act would exempt farm-owning families, allowing their children to work on the family farm under the current guidelines. Exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) currently allow children to work unlimited hours, outside of school  hours, […]

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Study Confirms Connection Between Exposure to Pesticides and Male Reproductive Problems

Friday, December 1st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, December 1, 2023) Even though researchers have noted since the 1970s that human fertility appears to be declining globally, doubt is still circulating that it is really happening and that pesticides could have anything to do with it. Very recently published studies, however, make it clear that, even without exact elucidation of the mechanisms by which pesticides damage male fertility, there is an unmistakable association of pesticides and many aspects of male reproductive health. One of the new studies, a meta-analysis of 25 studies on the connection between pesticides and male reproductive problems, finds that men exposed to organophosphate (such as glyphosate and malathion) and carbamate (such as carbaryl and methiocarb) insecticides have lower sperm concentrations than the general population. This is especially true of men exposed in work settings. The senior author of the study, Melissa J. Perry,ScD of the George Mason University College of Public Health, told HealthNews, “The evidence available has reached a point that we must take regulatory action to reduce insecticide exposure.” Human infertility is defined as “the failure to achieve pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.” Most public attention regarding infertility focuses on women’s difficulties in getting […]

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Protection of Children from Pesticides under Threat in Farm Bill Negotiations, Data Shows

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, November 9, 2023) Two-hundred-foot pesticide spray “buffer zones” around 4,028 U.S. elementary schools contiguous to crop fields—according to data evaluated by Environmental Working Group—are threatened by potential Farm Bill amendments now under consideration. Legislative language, if adopted, would take away (preempt) the authority of states and local jurisdictions to protect children and restrict agricultural pesticides used near schools. Pesticide drift is a widespread problem throughout the U.S. that has attracted national attention in recent years because of crop damage caused by the weed killer dicamba in numerous midwestern states. In the face of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) failure to mitigate drift hazards, states enact limits on when and how pesticides can be used, establish buffer zones around application sites, and in some cases, ban uses. In 2018, Arkansas banned dicamba use from mid-April through the end of October (and survived a Monsanto challenge to the ban. For a historical perspective on the drift issue, see Getting the Drift on Pesticide Trespass. Children, in particular, face unique risks from pesticide and toxic chemical exposures. Due to their smaller body size, they absorb a higher relative amount of pesticides through the food they consume and the air they breathe. Additionally, children’s developing […]

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Beyond Pesticides Celebrates the 50th Birthday of the Endangered Species Act

Thursday, September 28th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 28, 2023) As the United States commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), there is a growing recognition that the planet faces an existential biodiversity crisis, with a rising number of species on the brink of extinction. In a collective effort to address threats to global biodiversity (i.e. diversity of all life), a coalition of environmental organizations including Beyond Pesticides, are sending an urgent letter to President Joe Biden. This letter, titled “Meeting the Challenges of the Biodiversity and Extinction Crisis Over the Next 50 Years,” calls for bold and comprehensive action to preserve our planet’s natural heritage for future generations. The ESA is celebrated as one of the most effective conservation laws globally, credited with preventing the extinction of 99 percent of listed species. Over the past five decades, the ESA has played a pivotal role in preventing these extinctions by safeguarding the most critically endangered species within biological communities. However, this concentration on highly threatened species often results in temporary solutions that may not comprehensively address the broader issue of biodiversity loss. The ESA establishes a framework to categorize species as “endangered” or “threatened,” granting them specific protections. While it is crucial […]

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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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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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Pesticide Exposure Increases the Risk of All Seizure Disorders, Especially Epilepsy

Thursday, May 11th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 11, 2023) A study published in NeuroToxicology finds occupational (work-related), chronic exposure to pesticides increases risk factors of epilepsy, a neurological disorder causing unprovoked, reoccurring seizures. Mounting evidence over the past years shows that chronic exposure to sublethal (low) levels of pesticides can cause neurotoxic effects or exacerbate preexisting chemical damage to the nervous system. Although the mechanism by which pesticides induce disease development remains unclear, this study suggests environmental pesticide exposure increases seizure risk through mechanisms at molecular or subcellular levels. Approximately 3.4 million individuals in the U.S. live with epilepsy, and mortality from this disorder is rising nationwide. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood and urine samples and can increase neurotoxicity risk when crossing the brain barrier. Considering half of all epilepsy etiologies (causes) are of idiopathic (unknown) origins, studies like this highlight the importance of understanding how consistent chemical exposure can impact long-term health and disease prognosis. The study notes, “[The] approach to a real-world exposure scenario to pesticides in a large agriculture area over 17 years; […] can be linked to the novel approaches proposed for simulating real-life exposures, thus contributing to a better understanding of the real-life risk associated with long-term […]

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Pesticide Exposure and the Link to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2023) Populations experiencing higher levels of environmental pollutant exposure, specifically pesticides, also experience a higher rate of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a study published in Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology. IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder that causes abdominal pain or discomfort and changes in bowel behaviors. IBS affects 25 to 45 million individuals in the U.S., mostly female (two-thirds). Additionally, a quarter to half of all gastrointestinal-related visits are for IBS symptoms. Despite the unknown etiology of IBS, ample evidence demonstrates environmental contaminants, like pesticides, negatively affect the gut microbiota, causing a microorganism imbalance and resulting in inflammation associated with IBS. The gut, also known as the “second brain,” shares similar structural and chemical parallels to the brain. The microbiota in the gut plays a crucial role in lifelong digestion, immune and central nervous system regulation, as well as other bodily functions. Although studies show how chemical exposures affect overall human health, a growing body of peer-reviewed scientific literature is now questioning how these toxic chemicals influence gut health and the subsequent occurrence of diseases. The study notes, “These findings may help to understand the relationship between pesticide exposure and IBS; however, more epidemiological and experimental research is needed to understand […]

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Neonicotinoid Insecticides Adversely Affect Nervous System Health, According to Study

Thursday, January 19th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 19, 2023) Research published in Environmental Health Perspectives finds the presence of nine various neonicotinoids (neonics) and six neonic metabolites within human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF is an essential part of the central nervous system (CNS), especially for CNS development. Specific chemical biomarkers (measurable indicators of biological state), like pesticides, found in CSF are useful for diagnosing and evaluating numerous neurological diseases. The nervous system is an integral part of the human body and includes the brain, spinal cord, a vast network of nerves and neurons, all of which are responsible for many of our bodily functions—from sensed to movement. However, mounting evidence over the past years shows that chronic exposure to sublethal (low) levels of pesticides can cause neurotoxic effects or exacerbate preexisting chemical damage to the nervous system. The impacts of pesticides on the nervous system, including the brain, are hazardous, especially for chronically exposed individuals (e.g., farmworkers) or during critical windows of vulnerability and development (e.g., childhood, pregnancy). Researchers identify the role agricultural chemicals play in CNS impacts causing neurological diseases, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease, dementia-like diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and other effects on cognitive function. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood […]

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Calling for Reform of Pesticide Regulation to Address Health, Biodiversity, and Climate Crises

Monday, January 9th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2023) The Biden EPA still needs a new vision in order to meet the existential crises in public health, climate change, and biodiversity. The Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed in four years much of the progress made by the EPA in decades. Despite a broad new perspective embodied in President Biden’s Executive Memorandum (EM) Modernizing Regulatory Review issued on his first day in office, the Biden EPA has not adopted a new direction for regulating pesticides. Tell President Biden, EPA, and Congress to adopt a new direction for pesticide regulation. Immediately following his inauguration, President Joe Biden issued the EM, which directs the heads of all executive departments and agencies to produce recommendations for improving and modernizing regulatory review, with a goal of promoting public health and safety, economic growth, social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity, equity, and the interests of future generations. This EM could reverse the historical trend of status-quo regulatory reviews required by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that typically support vested economic interests of polluters (e.g., petroleum-based pesticide and fertilizer manufacturers). The President’s EM sets the stage for the adoption of agency policy across government to […]

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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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Breast Cancer Month: Neonicotinoid Insecticides and Breast Cancer Risk (Triple Negative Breast Cancer)

Thursday, October 27th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2022) A study published in Environment International adds to the growing body of research evaluating the association between neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics/NIs) and breast cancer. Past studies suggest neonics act as endocrine disruptors, affecting the development and regulation of estrogen hormones that promote breast cancer. However, this study is one of the few to evaluate the toxicological and molecular mechanisms involved in initiating breast cancer events. 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. Most common forms of breast cancer have receptors on the cell surface that can increase cancer growth when activated by estrogen, progesterone, or too much of the protein called HER2. One in ten women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis, and genetics can only account for five to ten percent of cases. When a cancer cell lacks receptors for these molecules, G protein-coupled estrogen receptors (GPERs) are an essential biological target of estrogen and plays a role in hormone-dependent cancer development. GPERs regulate estrogen through non-genetic cellular pathways, forgoing attachment to standard molecular receptors, leading to triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Although past […]

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Beyond Pesticides Calls on Administrators to Keep Pesticides Out of Schools, Children at Elevated Risk

Monday, September 19th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2022) Schools have been deeply concerned about providing safety from COVID-19, but often overlook that the toxic pesticides to which students, teachers, and other staff may be exposed in going back to school threaten their health, both short- and long-term. Beyond Pesticides identifies the health hazards that pesticides pose to the nervous, immune, and respiratory systems, as well as brain function, and their association with cancer and other chronic effects. At the same time, practical, and cost-effective pest management practices are available that do not utilize toxic pesticides (including disinfectants). Tell your Governor to ensure that children, teachers, and staff in all schools throughout your state are protected from toxic chemicals. Children face unique hazards from pesticide exposure. In the food they eat and the air they breathe, children take in greater amounts of pesticides (relative to their body weight) than adults, and their developing organ systems are typically more sensitive to toxic exposures. Children also come into closer contact with chemicals than adults, as a result of crawling behavior and hand to mouth contact. The American Academy of Pediatrics, in a landmark report on children and pesticide use, wrote, “Children encounter pesticides daily and have […]

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Antibiotics and Neonicotinoid Insecticides Linked to Gut Microbiome Disruption and Childhood Diabetes

Thursday, August 25th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 25, 2022) A study published in World Journal of Pediatrics finds an association between antibiotic and neonicotinoid (neonic) exposure and onset of pediatric (childhood) type 1 diabetes (T1D) through effects on the gut microbiome. Individuals with type 1 diabetes are at higher risk of other autoimmune disorders, including thyroid and celiac disease. Ample evidence demonstrates environmental contaminants like pesticides and antibiotics negatively affect human mouth and gut microbes. Through the gut biome, pesticide exposure can enhance or exacerbate the adverse effects of additional environmental toxicants on the body. Moreover, studies find low levels of pesticide exposure during pregnancy or childhood cause adverse health effects from metabolic/immune disorders to mental and physical disabilities. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Although studies show how chemical exposures affect overall human health, more research is now questioning how these toxic chemicals influence gut health and subsequent occurrence of diseases. In children, gut microbiome disruption, or gut dysbiosis, has significant associations with type 1 diabetes development, and disruption of gut microbiota plays a role in type 2 diabetes development. Over 11 percent (>37 million) of individuals in the U.S. have diabetes, and cases are growing by millions annually. With increasing rates of type 1 and […]

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Highlighting the Connection Environmental Racism and the Agricultural Industry Through History

Thursday, June 9th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2022) A report from the Organic Center finds that people in U.S. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities endure a significant disproportionate risk of exposure to pesticides and subsequent harms. The report also contains a lesson plan that informs young activists on how to improve the food system. Many communities of color and low-socioeconomic backgrounds experience an unequal number of hazards, including nearby toxic waste plants, garbage dumps, and other sources of environmental pollution and odors that lower the quality of life. Therefore, these populations experience greater exposure to harmful chemicals and suffer from health outcomes that affect their ability to learn and work. Doctoral candidate at Northwestern University and author of the report and lesson plan, Jayson Maurice Porter, notes, “Urban planning and city policy considers certain people in certain communities more or less disposable and puts them in harm’s way, giving them an uneven burden of experiencing and dealing with things like pollutants.”  The father of environmental justice, Robert Bullard, Ph.D., defines environmental racism as any policy or practice that unequally affects or disadvantages individuals, groups, or communities based on their race. Dr. Bullard stated that, until the 1980s, environmentalism and pollution were separate. During the Jim […]

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Breakthrough Study Shows Organophosphate Nerve Gas Caused Gulf War Illness

Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 24, 2022) New research is providing strong causal evidence that Gulf War Illness (GWI) is the result of exposure to sarin gas, an organophosphate nerve agent used by Saddam Hussein as a chemical weapon during the Gulf War. The findings, published earlier this month in Environmental Health Perspectives, have important implications for the hundreds of thousands of American service members suffering from a constellation of chronic symptoms without a true understanding of how they became sick. “Quite simply, our findings prove that Gulf War illness was caused by sarin, which was released when we bombed Iraqi chemical weapons storage and production facilities,” said Robert Haley, MD, lead author of the study and epidemiologist at University of Texas Southwestern. “There are still more than 100,000 Gulf War veterans who are not getting help for this illness and our hope is that these findings will accelerate the search for better treatment.” Sarin was first synthesized in the late 1930s by Nazi chemists working for IG Farben (a consortium that included Bayer) in an attempt to create stronger and more powerful insecticides. Sarin is a G-series organophosphate (named after the scientists that created them), characterized by high acute toxicity and […]

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Conventional Apples Found to Be Coated in Fungicides and Drug-Resistant Fungi

Wednesday, April 6th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, April 6, 2022) Conventional apples sold at market and sprayed with synthetic fungicides may not only contain drug-resistant fungi, but function as a transmission reservoir and route to spread these dangerous pathogens, finds research published in mBio late last month by a team of researchers from India and Canada. As reports of fungal resistance rise, particularly in hospitals and among the immunocompromised, there is an urgent need to understand and address the root causes of these emerging disease threats. “When we look at human pathogens, we tend to look at what’s immediate to us,” said study coauthor Jianping Xu, PhD. “But we have to look at it more broadly. Everything is connected, the whole system. Fruit is just 1 example.”   Researchers set out their research with the suspicion that stored fruits sprayed with synthetic fungicides were acting as a source and route of transmission for the deadly fungi Candida auris. This yeast is considered an “emerging fungal pathogen” by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and has increased its rate of infection significantly since its initial identification in the mid 1990s. The fungi has been found in every continent save Antarctica. It has proven to […]

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Biotech Fixes for Pesticide Failures Continue Treadmill of Increased Toxic Chemical Use

Friday, February 11th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2022) A team of researchers has proffered a potential, biotechnical, way forward in the quest to reduce the scourge of malaria, which affects many people across the world. Their work uses the relatively new “Crispr” technique to address, and reverse, the growing problem of mosquito resistance to the pesticides that currently dominate control strategies for the insects that spread the disease. This innovation nevertheless raises concern about both the introduction of new, genetically altered organisms into the environment without sufficient information on the implications, and continued, intensive pesticide use. Beyond Pesticides recognizes, as do the researchers, that malaria-borne mosquitoes pose a serious public health problem; however, it advocates for alternatives to chemical approaches to managing the spread of the disease, and asserts that successful management strategies will contend with the underlying conditions that exacerbate that spread. In 2020, Executive Director Jay Feldman said, “We should focus on the deplorable living conditions, and inequitable distribution of wealth and resources worldwide that give rise to squalor, inhumane living conditions, and the poor state of development that, together, breed insect-borne diseases like malaria.”     Malaria, which is spread by female Anopheles mosquitoes infected with a Plasmodium parasite, causes illness in more than 200 million people annually, and is lethal to more than 400,000, […]

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