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Study Finds Pyrethroid Insecticide Levels in Newborns that Increase in First Year of Life

Friday, January 26th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 26, 2024) In addition to maternal (mothers) exposure, children experience exposure to pyrethroid insecticides earlier in life as levels significantly increase post-natal (after birth), according to a study published in Frontiers in Public Health. This study is one of the few studies to investigate pyrethroid exposure concentrations in the urine of newborns and children within their first year of life. However, this research reiterates what many other studies demonstrate on pyrethroids’ impacts on children’s health, primarily due to their notorious neurotoxic properties. The findings indicate that exposure to pyrethroids during pregnancy and early childhood exposure has links to adverse health effects, including neurodevelopmental delays (e.g., autism), behavioral issues (e.g., attention deficit [hyperactivity] disorder), and endocrine disruption (e.g., delay in puberty). Pesticide exposure during pregnancy is of specific concern as health effects for all life stages can be long-lasting. Just as nutrients are transferable between mother and fetus, so are chemical contaminants. Studies find pesticide compounds in the mother’s blood can transfer to the fetus via the umbilical cord. Therefore, pesticide exposure during pregnancy affects both the mother and child’s health. Beyond Pesticides has covered a variety of pregnancy risks from pesticides and other toxic chemicals, including these in just […]

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Management of New Insect Pests Presents Safety Challenge for People and Environment: Yellow-Legged Hornets

Wednesday, August 30th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2023) Invasive yellow-legged hornets have been spotted near Savannah, Georgia, causing concern among agriculture officials. These hornets are known for their ability to prey on honeybees and other pollinators, and their presence in the United States is a cause for alarm. This is the first time a live specimen of this species has been detected in the open United States, according to the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The hornets, which are native to Southeast Asia, have been spotted in other parts of the world, including Europe, where they have caused significant damage to bee populations. They are considered “invasive,” which means the hornet is not native and officials expect their introduction to result in economic, environmental, or health-related damage to humans, animals, plants, or the environment. In response to the sighting in Georgia, officials are taking action to eradicate the hornets before they can cause any harm to US agriculture. One of the methods being used to eradicate the hornets is the localized use of the highly toxic insecticide cypermethrin on nests. The pesticide has been registered for use in agriculture and residential pest control since the 1970s. It kills insects such as mosquitoes, flies, ticks, […]

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Neonicotinoids Combined with Other Pesticides Elevate Hazards to Honey Bee

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 22, 2023) Combining neonicotinoid insecticides with other commonly used pesticides can result in synergistic effects on honey bees, increasing toxicity more than any individual chemical could, according to research published in Scientific Reports earlier this month. The data highlight the grave inadequacy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) process for evaluating pesticide risks. Under current regulations, EPA requires chemical manufacturers to submit data only on singular active ingredients. Yet, pesticide products may be packaged or ‘tank mixed’ with other, equally toxic pesticides without any obligation to determine the toxicity of the material that is actually being applied. Independent research is left to fill in these gaps, and the data increasingly shows that toxicity with pesticide mixtures amounts to a roll of the dice: sometimes combinations are less toxic, sometimes their toxicities are merely additive. But more often than not, pesticide mixtures result in synergistic effects that make the product significantly more toxic than either individual chemical alone. To understand how pesticide combinations are harming pollinators, scientists began with baseline data on the individual toxicity range  that common pesticides pose to honey bee colonies. Research was conducted on honey bees reared in the Stoneville Wildlife Management Area […]

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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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Childhood Pesticide Exposure Associated with Early Onset of Puberty

Thursday, December 8th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 8, 2022) Children with higher levels of certain pesticide metabolites are more likely to go through early puberty, according to research published recently in Environmental Pollution. The findings by a team of Spanish researchers speak to a need for greater protections for children from toxic pesticide exposure. Children are much more sensitive to pesticide exposure than adults as they take in greater amounts of toxics relative to their body weight and have developing organ systems. Managing homes and yards without chemicals and purchasing organic food whenever possible can significantly reduce childhood pesticide exposure.   Researchers began their investigation with children aged 7-11 participating in the Spanish state’s Environment and Childhood multicenter birth cohort stud, an ongoing project aimed at understanding the effect of environmental exposures on pregnancy, fetal, and childhood development in the country. Out of over 3,000 children enrolled in the project, 1,539 had their urine sampled for the presence of pesticide metabolites. Scientists focused on four insecticides breakdown products—a chlorpyrifos metabolite ‘TCPy’, a metabolite of the organochlorine diazinon ‘IMPy’, a general organophosphate metabolite ‘DETP’, the pyrethroid metabolite ‘3-PBA’, and a metabolite of ethylene-bis-dithiocarbamate fungicides ‘ETU’. Urinary levels of these pesticide metabolites were then compared against […]

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Exposure to Synthetic Pyrethroids During Infancy Associated with Developmental Delays in Toddlers

Thursday, September 1st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 1, 2022) Low level exposure to synthetic pyrethroid insecticides at 6-8 months of age is associated with language development delays in two-year old toddlers, according to research published in Neurotoxicology this month. This is the latest study to link this class of chemicals to developmental delays in young children. Despite a steady drum of concerning research, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2019 removed a crucial “safety factor” intended to protect children’s health from synthetic pyrethroids, allowing higher levels of the insecticides to be sprayed on food, in homes, and playing fields around the country.   To investigate the impact of synthetic pyrethroids on language development, scientists enrolled 327 expectant mothers in their third trimester. The mothers, all from rural areas of China, were selected if they had no history of significant pesticide exposure or family history of serious disease. Urine samples were taken from the women during pregnancy, and from infants 6-8 months after birth. Scientists analyzed samples for concentrations of three different synthetic pyrethroid breakdown products (metabolites), including 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3PBA), 4-fluoro-3-phenoxybenzoic acid (4F3PBA), and cis-2,2dibromovinyl-2,2-dimethylcyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (DBCA). While 3PBA is a metabolite of many synthetic pyrethroids, 4F3PBA a more specific metabolite of cypermethrin, […]

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USDA Food Pesticide Residue Survey Raises Alarm, while Pesticide Industry and EPA Mislead Public

Friday, February 4th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, February 4, 2022) In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued its 30th Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary report (which evaluates each year the presence of pesticide residues on produce) and misleads the public on the safety of food and agricultural practices. This 2020 report concludes that more than 99% of the produce samples tested showed residues below established U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) benchmark levels. At first blush, this sounds very reassuring, but Beyond Pesticides maintains that there is (always) more to the “safety” story, not least of which are serious deficiencies in EPA’s establishment of those “tolerances.” Those flaws include a lack of risk assessment for vulnerable sub-populations, such as farmworkers, people with compromised health, children, and perhaps, cultural/ethnic and regional sub-groups of the general population, and a failure to fully assess serious health outcomes such as disruption of the endocrine system (which contributes to numerous serious diseases). For everyone, Beyond Pesticides recommends choosing organic produce whenever possible — the vast majority of which does not contain synthetic pesticide residues. The PDP report asserts that “the data . . . illustrate that residues found in agricultural products sampled are at levels that do not pose […]

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Pesticide Exposure Contributes to Preterm Births and Low Birth Weight

Thursday, November 18th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 18, 2021) A study published by King George’s Medical University, India, finds exposure to xenobiotic substances like pesticides during pregnancy increases risks associated with preterm birth, including a rise in cesarean section (C-section) deliveries and a decrease in fetal body weight. Preterm births occur when a fetus is born early or before 37 weeks of complete gestation. Premature births can result in chronic (long-term) illnesses among infants from lack of proper organ development and even death. Birth and reproductive complications are increasingly common among individuals exposed to environmental toxicants, like pesticides. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports the preterm birth rate is increasing annually. Therefore, studies like this can help government and health officials safeguard human health by assessing adverse effects following prevalent chemical exposure. The study notes, “To the best of our knowledge, this was a pioneering study, and it may help to increase our knowledge with regard to xenobiotic exposure in biological systems and the need for stringent guidelines for agricultural use of pesticides.” The study examines the association between the transfer of xenobiotics (foreign synthetic substances like pesticides) from mother to fetus. Transferal of these toxic substances can result in biological and chemical changes (i.e., genotoxicity […]

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Tell EPA and Congress to Protect the Integrity of Minimum Risk Pesticides

Monday, October 4th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2021) Recent findings of high levels of toxic pesticides in products permitted to be used as “minimum risk pesticides” (terminology used for essentially nontoxic) point to the need for greater oversight of these products and more severe penalties for violations. Pesticides classified as minimum risk are allowed under Section 25(b) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) [40 CFR 152.25(f)] to be used without going through EPA’s pesticide registration process. These products are limited to a specific list of ingredients, and all ingredients, including “inert” ingredients, are required to be listed on the label.  Minimum risk pesticides are used by organic growers, municipalities, and others who are not permitted to use, or choose to avoid, toxic chemicals.  Tell EPA and Congress to protect the integrity of minimum risk pesticides. Organic growers can lose their organic certification if they apply materials that are prohibited, which include the toxic ingredients glyphosate, bifenthrin, permethrin, cypermethrin, and carbaryl, found by the state of California in dangerous and misbranded Eco-MIGHT and W.O.W. (Whack Out Weeds!) products, falsely labeled as 25(b) minimum risk. Contamination of these products came to light in late July, when the California Department of Food and […]

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EPA Urged to Stop Use of Misbranded “Minimum Risk” Pesticides, Step Up Oversight and Enforcement

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2021) Health and environmental organizations are urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state pesticide regulators to immediately stop the use and sale of dangerous and misbranded Eco-MIGHT and W.O.W. (Whack Out Weeds!) products, falsely labeled as 25(b) minimum risk. Recent laboratory testing by the state of California found the presence of hazardous pesticides, including glyphosate, bifenthrin, permethrin, cypermethrin, and carbaryl in these products. “From organic farmers to municipal landscapers and home gardeners, consumers employing minimum risk products are working intentionally to avoid the dangers associated with toxic pesticide exposure,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “It is critical that EPA and state regulators coordinate to ensure the integrity of the minimum risk program.” Coordination is critical yet reports indicate that EPA is falling down on the job. The issue first came to light in late July, when the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) State Organic Program issued a Stop Use Notice to farmers alerting them to adultered Eco-MIGHT and W.O.W products. The products make a range of claims, marketed as “organic,” “natural,” “glyphosate-free,” and “non-toxic and safe.” As CDFA Secretary Karen Ross noted, “It is imperative that we alert California […]

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More Scientific Evidence that Endocrine-Disrupting Pesticides Disrupt Thyroid Function

Friday, September 10th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, September 10, 2021) Research conducted in Thailand shows that exposures to pesticides, even at low levels, can impact the human endocrine system and distort thyroid function. The study looked specifically at interactions of genetics and environment: it investigated associations between variations in genes involved in pesticide metabolism and altered thyroid hormone concentrations in agricultural workers. This research underscores some of the complexity and difficulty of determining human vulnerability to impacts of pesticide exposures, given genetic variables. Beyond Pesticides believes that this very complexity is a cogent argument for anchoring regulation of pesticides in the Precautionary Principle. If exposure to a pesticide can cause damage to human (or environmental) health, it sometimes will do so. Thus, to protect people’s health, agriculture and other land management practices must transition from the use of synthetic pesticides to broad adoption of organic regenerative approaches that obviate the need for such chemicals. This research is part of a longitudinal study that seeks to evaluate sub-chronic impacts, on thyroid hormone levels, of repeated exposures to a variety of pesticides. The farmworkers studied in this phase comprise two groups: those working on organically managed farms (216 subjects), and those working on conventional farms that use pesticides […]

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Pesticides and Road Salt: A Toxic Mixture for Aquatic Communities

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, January 7, 2021) Insecticides and road salts adversely interact to alter aquatic ecosystems, reducing organism abundance and size, according to a study in the journal Environmental Pollution. Pesticide use is ubiquitous, and contamination in rivers and streams is historically commonplace, containing at least one or more different chemicals. Although road salts can prevent hazardous ice formation during the colder months, the study raises critical issues regarding the adverse interaction between road salts and pervasive environmental pollutants that threaten human, animal, and environmental health and safety. Authors of the study note, “Our results highlight the importance of multiple-stressor research under natural conditions. As human activities continue to imperil freshwater systems, it is vital to move beyond single-stressor experiments that exclude potentially interactive effects of chemical contaminants.” To assess the impact of road salts and insecticides on aquatic communities, researchers created a mesocosm (controlled outdoor experimental area) to examines the natural environment under controlled conditions. These communities include zooplankton, phytoplankton, periphyton, and leopard frog (Rana pipiens) tadpoles. Researchers performed a toxicity evaluation of six insecticides from three chemical classes (neonicotinoids: thiamethoxam, imidacloprid; organophosphates: chlorpyrifos, malathion; pyrethroids: cypermethrin, permethrin). Additionally, researchers note the potentially interactive effects of these insecticides with three concentrations of […]

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Pesticides and Heavy Metals Found in Blunt (Cigar) Wrappers, Cellulose-Based Rolling Papers, and other Plant-based Rolling Paper Products

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, September 10, 2020) A new analysis by Science of Cannabis Laboratories Inc. (SC Labs) finds detectable concentrations of pesticides and heavy metals in rolling papers, with hemp/blunt wraps and cellulose-based rolling papers containing the highest levels of contaminants. The analysis follows a SC Labs’ finding of high levels of chlorpyrifos—a neurotoxic, organophosphate insecticide—in the rolling paper of pre-rolled cannabis, which was undergoing compliance testing. Although the rolling paper regulations generally track standards for toxic tobacco products (which means there is very little meaningful regulation), the rolling paper use with cannabis may add an addition layer of scrutiny since some statewide cannabis regulations and independent certifications adhere to stricter guidelines similar to organic practices. Researchers note the goals of the experiment “were to assess the exposure risks to the consumer as well as identify any potential liabilities for cannabis producers who use these products to make their pre-roll products.” This report, and others like it, are significant as cannabis use expands in in the U.S. and around the world, and given that one of the most popular ways to consume cannabis product is as a rolled cigarette. Study author and president of SC Labs Josh Wurzer, Ph.D., said, “This [issue] is something that cannabis and paper […]

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From Udder to Table: Toxic Pesticides Found in Conventional Milk, Not Organic Milk

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2020) Conventional U.S. milk contains growth hormones, antibiotics, and low to elevated levels of pesticides not found in organic milk, according to a study published in the journal of Public Health Nutrition by Emory University researchers. Milk can bioaccumulate certain organic pollutants, making it a valuable medium to assess what chemical we might be ingesting daily. With milk being one of the most consumed beverages in the U.S., in addition to its use in other popular drinks (i.e., coffee and tea), this study discloses widespread contamination and highlights the need for improved regulation. Researchers in the study note, “To our knowledge, the present study is the first study to compare levels of pesticide in the U.S. milk supply by production method (conventional vs. organic). It is also the first in a decade to measure antibiotic and hormone levels and compare them by milk production type.”  The market for conventional milk, produced in chemical-intensive agriculture, is declining, but the demand for organic milk is increasing due to concerns over chemical contamination in consumer products from pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets limits for pesticide residues in food products, the agency […]

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Study Documents Playgrounds Contaminated with Pesticides from Neighboring Chemical-Intensive Ag Land

Friday, June 7th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2019) Fruit orchards and vineyards endure some of the most intensive chemical management in all of agriculture. What has not been investigated — until now — is how pesticide drift from such agricultural sites may be affecting nearby public spaces. A recent, first-of-its-kind study out of northern Italy tested 71 public playgrounds near to apple orchards and vineyards in four valleys of the North Tyrol, and finds that 45% are contaminated with a single pesticide, and 24% by more than one. Study authors note that the playground contamination will likely grow worse over the course of the growing season. This would likely amplify the impacts of such chemical trespass on nearby public spaces, never mind the varieties of harm to the sites themselves and the food produced on them. Organic agriculture, of course, remedies all these concerns. The study randomly chose 71 public playgrounds in the four South Tyrolean regions, and analyzed grass samples for potential contamination by 315 different pesticides. Because pesticides applied to agricultural fields, orchards, and vineyards are easily volatized, carried aloft by wind, and/or washed by rain off of the target site, the study also evaluated the impacts of those (and other) factors […]

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Pesticides Contaminate Fish Farms, Fish Farm Fined

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2018) Northern Harvest Sea Farms, an ocean-based fish farm in New Brunswick, Canada, was appeared in court yesterday to answer legal charges stemming from the off-label use of an unnamed pesticide added to its operations to combat severe sea lice outbreaks. The company holds nine licenses for farmed Atlantic salmon cages on the Bay of Fundy, as well as for fish farms off the Newfoundland coast. Sea lice outbreaks are a common at over-crowded, ocean-based fish farms because such facilities afford the optimum conditions for rapidly reproducing and spreading lice. In response, some companies have turned to using illegal and off-label pesticide applications to stave off the problem, which causes huge farmed salmon kills. The company was issued a $12,000 fine that was challenged as inadequate by the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association. Bonnie Morse, project manager for the association told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) news, “I think any time there’s a fine that’s a deterrent to illegal activity, it should be an actual deterrent to the activity,” said Morse. “When you’re looking at $1.5 million worth of fish, their actions speak for themselves.” Maria Recchia, the executive director of the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association, questioned the allowance of fish […]

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Common Bug Killers Used in Homes Persist for Over a Year

Friday, July 7th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, July 7, 2017) The active ingredients in commonly used bug sprays such as RAID leave significant residues that persist for over a year in the home, according to a study published by Brazilian researchers in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. The pesticides tested, synthetic pyrethroids, have been linked to a range of health effects, most notably in children. The results of this study add to calls for homeowners to rethink a chemical-based approach to home pest control, in favor of simple, non-toxic practices. In the recent study, researchers compared the breakdown time of two synthetic pyrethroids, cypermethrin and beta-cyfluthrin, between laboratory conditions and those in an average home. Under lab conditions, with temperature controlled and without sunlight or ventilation, both active ingredients broke down little within the 112 day test period observed. However, the test house, where insecticides were applied according to indoor label conditions, displayed breakdown times similar to the lab results during the first 112 days. Researchers continued their observation of pyrethroids in the home for up to a year, finding after that period 44% of beta-cyfluthrin and 70% cypermethrin remained in household dust samples from the singular, original application. A 2014 study published by […]

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Pyrethroid Insecticides Cause Premature Puberty in Boys

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2017) Exposure to commonly used pyrethroid insecticides results in the early onset of puberty in boys, according to a study presented at the 99th meeting of the Endocrine Society in Orlando, Florida this week. Pyrethroids, which exhibit endocrine disrupting properties, have the ability to interfere with the proper regulation of the human body’s hormonal system. This research is the first to investigate not only the association between pyrethroids and accelerated puberty, but also the causal mechanisms involved in the physiological changes taking place within the human body. For the study, Jing Liu, PhD, and colleagues from Zhejuang University in China, analyzed the urine in 463 Chinese boys aged 9 to 16 for the presence of metabolites from the pyrethroid insecticide cypermethrin. Results show that a 10% increase in the metabolite 3-PBA is associated with a roughly 4% increase in luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones, which facilitate puberty and sperm production. The author’s note that, “Boys with increased urinary levels of 3-PBA have a significantly increased risk of earlier pubertal onset, in which the odds of being in an advanced pubertal stage are increase by 73% to 110%.” The study, acknowledging the limitation in determining causality, further investigates the […]

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Common Household Pesticides Again Linked to Behavioral Problems in Children

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, March 7, 2017) Another study, published by a team of French scientists in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine, links childhood behavioral problems to pyrethroid insecticide exposure. Synthetic pyrethroids are a class of insecticides that have increased in use over the past decade due to assumptions that they pose fewer risks to human health than older pesticide chemistries, such as organophosphates. However, this latest study is part of a growing body of research showing that pyrethroids share similar neurocognitive health concerns as these older pesticides. .   In this research, scientists investigate the interplay between pyrethroid exposure and behavioral problems through a longitudinal cohort study, which tracks levels of pyrethroid metabolites, or breakdown products, in the urine of mothers beginning between six and 19 gestational weeks and then in their children up through six years of age. Children’s behavior is measured through a screening questionnaire known as the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). SDQ measures how social a child is (altruism), whether the child has difficulty sharing problems or asking for help (internalizing disorders), as well as how defiant or disruptive a child is (externalizing disorders). The study controlled for a number of confounding factors, such as weight, education, location (rural or […]

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Major Supermarket Bans Bee-Toxic Pesticides in Produce Production

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

 (Beyond Pesticides, January 20, 2016) Aldi SĂźd, the German supermarket chain with stores in the U.S., has become the first major European retailer to ban pesticides toxic to bees, including the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam, from fruits and vegetables produced for their stores. Aldi has requested suppliers comply at the earliest possible time. In light of the growing pollinator crisis and due to public pressure, retailers in Europe and the U.S. are slowly beginning to make the switch away from bee-toxic pesticides. Beginning January 1, suppliers of fruits and vegetables to Aldi suppliers will have to ensure that their cultivation practices do not include the following eight pesticides identified as toxic to bees (thiamethoxam, chlorpyrifos,  clothianidin, cypermethrin, deltamethrin, fipronil, imidacloprid and sulfoxaflor) to meet  the new requirement. According to a press release from Greenpeace, the chemicals are used on various commodities in Europe  —thiamethoxam (used in lettuce and endive), chlorpyrifos, clothianidin (used in kohlrabi, herbs, Brussels sprouts, head cabbage, cauliflower and kale), cypermethrin (leek, head cabbage and leguminous vegetables), deltamethrin (cauliflower, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, cucumber, pea, head cabbage, tomato and lettuce),  imidacloprid (applied to apples, peaches, apricots and lettuce). Sulfoxaflor was recently granted regulatory approval in Europe, despite calls […]

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Ants Show Promise as Alternative to Chemical Pesticides

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, September 3, 2015) A study published this week reveals that ants are a cheaper, more effective means to managing pests than toxic chemical pesticides. The review was conducted by Aarhus University’s Joachim Offenberg, Ph.D., a plant and insect ecologist who has studied ants for over 20 years. His review focuses on Oecophylla smaragina and O. longinoda, commonly referred to as weaver ants, and their beneficial effects on various crops in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Australia. In this review, Dr. Offenberg finds weaver ants to be as or more effective than synthetic pesticides for pest management in a variety of cropping systems. This evidence brings renewed vigor to the argument that natural, biological pest management can act as a viable alternative to the use of toxic pesticides that endanger health and the environment. Weaver ants, often found in tropical climates, are tree-dwelling ants with characteristics that are ideal for biological pest management. They are categorized as a “superorganism,” meaning the colony itself is like an   organism, with individual ants acting as “cells” that can move around independently. Dr. Offenberg sees this as a strength because the colony is able to prey on targets much larger and stronger than […]

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California Fines Six Firms for Repeated Pesticide-Tainted Crop Violations

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, August 6, 2015) On July 28, the California Department of Pesticide (DPR) released a statement announcing recent sanctions for six California import firms who repeatedly violated pesticide regulations. Since December of last year, these six firms have been selling imported products that have been tainted with pesticides not approved for production or sale in the United States, including DDE, imidacloprid, chlorpyrifos, and the long-banned endosulfan. The fines range from $10,000 to $21,000. The six firms responsible for selling fruits and vegetables containing illegal pesticide residues are: Top Quality Produce, Inc. 623 Vineland Avenue, La Puente, CA 91746 will pay $10,000. On 5 separate occasions, the company sold produce such as Longan imported from Thailand, Burdock Root imported from Taiwan and Lychees imported from China with illegal pesticide residues. The produce was sold between November 2013 and July 2014. Yi Bao Produce Group, 3015 Leonis Blvd, Vernon CA 90058, will pay $15,000. On 7 separate occasions, the company sold produce imported from China such as Ginger, Taro Root, Longan and Fragrant Pear with illegal pesticide residues. The produce was sold between March 2013 and September 2014. Primary Export International Inc. 143 Mitchell Ave., South San Francisco, CA 94080, will […]

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EPA at Odds with Scientists on Endocrine System Effects of Weedkillers Atrazine and 2,4-D

Monday, July 6th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, July 6, 2015) With the release of its  Tier 1 screening results  for the first 52 pesticide chemicals (active and inert ingredients) evaluated under  the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is at odds with a large body of scientific evidence worldwide that identifies many of these chemicals, most notably the herbicides  2,4-D  and  atrazine,  as interacting with the endocrine system or acting as endocrine disruptors. Independent scientific data has shown these chemicals to interfere with the hormone system. EPA’s EDSP is a multi-step process used to ensure that exposure to chemicals does not result in adverse human health and environmental effects that canoccur from the disruption of hormones. The two-tiered screening and testing system requires that EPA identify which chemicals are able to interact with the endocrine system, specifically with three hormonal pathways — estrogen, androgen, and thyroid — in Tier 1. Tier 2 is designed to go one step further, requiring EPA to determine endocrine effects across taxa (e.g. mammals, birds, amphibians, and invertebrates) as well as potential effects on non-endocrine systems (e.g. neurological, immunological, hepatic, and renal).  According to EPA, Tier 1 screening data are the best way to determine […]

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