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Environmental Pesticide Exposure Alters Gut Microbes, Increasing Urgency for Organic Transition

Thursday, May 12th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2022) A report published in Environmental Health finds that exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of pesticides can alter gut microbial communities, as demonstrated through fecal samples. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood and urine samples. Ample evidence demonstrates that environmental contaminants, including pesticides, negatively affect the human mouth and gut microbes. However, fecal samples provide an accurate representation of the microbial community existing in the gut. These toxicants can alter hormone metabolism, which adversely affects health outcomes. Adverse health effects of environmental contaminants include reproductive and developmental defects, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, obesity, thyroid disorders, and improper immune operation. Although studies show how chemical exposures affect human health, more research is now questioning how these toxic chemicals influence gut health. Therefore, studies like these highlight the importance of evaluating how chemical contaminants deregulate normal bodily function through microbiome changes. The report notes, “Our results highlight the need for future dietary intervention studies to understand effects of pesticide exposure on the gut microbiome and possible health consequences.” Researchers examined dietary exposure to 186 common pesticide residues in the fecal excrement to determine impacts on the microbiome among 65 twins in the United Kingdom. […]

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Pesticides Used in Farmed Fish Operations Threaten Health of Swimmers

Friday, May 6th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2022) A December 2021 report commissioned by the trade group Salmon Scotland concludes that the use of pesticide products by the nation’s salmon farms represents potential risk to “wild” swimmers (those who swim in open ocean waters). The report’s primary finding is that the use of insecticide products containing azamethiphos (an organophosphate), deltamethrin, and hydrogen peroxide to control sea lice in farmed fish contaminates sea water and, thus, threatens swimmers in the areas around the farms. Beyond Pesticides has reported on pesticide use in aquaculture, and most recently, on developing resistance — in the parasitic lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) that endanger both wild and farmed fish populations in the North Atlantic — to some of the chemical treatments used by aquaculturists to combat the parasite. The intense exploitation of wild fish and other marine creatures for human food (and as an ingredient in animal feeds) has caused, in recent decades, depletion of fish and seafood stocks across the world. The aquaculture industry — in which various aquatic species (fish, shellfish, and some plants) are bred, raised, and harvested in the open ocean — has grown rapidly as a response. Since the 1960s, the farming of salmon in the […]

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Cockroaches Exhibit Resistance to Pesticides at 10x Label Application Rates

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, March 22, 2022) German cockroaches collected from U.S. residential homes have evolved resistance mechanisms so strong that many can consume ten times the pesticide required to kill a laboratory-susceptible strain and still not die. These are the findings of recent research published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, which focused on determining cockroach resistance levels to commonly used gel bait insecticides in infested Southern California homes. The findings underscore the importance of an integrated approach to cockroach management that recognizes and responds to pest ecology, rather than search for an ever-elusive silver bullet. Researchers collected five different strains of German cockroaches from various locations around Southern California, two from public housing and three from apartment dwellers. All sites had long-standing cockroach infestations, with varying treatment histories that generally included significant use of common gel bait insecticides. Tests were conducted on male cockroaches as they are gregarious foragers and thus more susceptible to baited food; it was indicated that if an insecticide cannot kill a male, it is highly unlikely to kill a juvenile or female roach. A separate group of cockroaches reared in the laboratory and never exposed to insecticides was used as a baseline for comparison. This […]

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Mosquito Resistance to Pesticides Continues to Grow

Thursday, February 24th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, February 24, 2022) Widespread, intensive pesticide use for mosquito control has allowed genetic mutations to persist among mosquito populations, causing subsequent resistance to future chemical exposure. According to a study published in Scientific Reports, two common species of female mosquitoes learned to evade pesticides following non-fatal exposure through smell. More concerning is the survival rate of these pre-exposed mosquitoes, as it is more than double that of unexposed mosquitoes. Insects, including mosquitoes, use various sensory and cognitive abilities like vision, smell, and hearing to navigate the ecosystem for survival and reproduction. Mosquitoes associate sensory stimuli like smell to a positive or negative experience, thus facilitating a response. Considering the two species of mosquitoes in this study are a vector for numerous diseases in humans, including dengue and Zika and West Nile viruses. Hence, this study highlights the significance of addressing pest resistance in pest management strategies, particularly to mitigate disease exposure and effects. The study notes, “[The] findings highlight the importance of mosquito cognition as determinants of pesticide resistance in mosquito populations targeted by chemical control.” It is essential to understand insect behavior that propagates vector-borne disease transmission that exacerbates the widespread public health crisis. Scientists attribute memory […]

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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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Pesticide Use on Island Resorts Tied to Biodiversity Collapse

Wednesday, December 8th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, December 8, 2021) The diversity, abundance, and richness of invertebrate species on oceanic islands declines as a result of pesticide use, urban development, and other human activities, finds research published recently in Royal Society Open Science. Oceanic islands, despite their small size, harbor 20% of all species, and 50% of endangered species, making conservation critically important in the context of a sixth mass extinction and insect apocalypse. As the study indicates, “Although agriculture is currently considered the predominant driver of the worldwide species decline, it is crucial to investigate and consider all human land uses for obtaining a global impact assessment, especially in regions where land use types other than agriculture are predominant.” To determine the primary drivers of species declines on oceanic islands, researchers divided land use type into urban, tourist, and uninhabited. To provide a clean delineation between the various land uses, the study was carried out in the Republic of Maldives. Out of the roughly 1,200 Maldives Islands, researchers chose four uninhabited islands without any permanent human activity, four densely inhabited ‘urban’ islands comprised of Maldives residents, of four resort islands focused solely on tourism. Researchers applied a grid of 1 by 1 meter plots […]

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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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Disease Carrying Mosquitoes Developing Resistance to Widely Used Mosquito Control Pesticides

Thursday, July 1st, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, July 1, 2021) Yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) are evolving resistance to the pyrethroid insecticide permethrin, according to a study published by Colorado State University, highlighting the need to adopt ecologically-based mosquito management. Widespread, intensive use of the pesticide in mosquito control has allowed genetic mutations to persist among these mosquito populations, causing subsequent resistance to permethrin. Pyrethroids are one of the few remaining classes of insecticides available to control yellow fever mosquitos, and resistance threatens the ability to prevent disease outbreaks with chemical-intensive methods. Yellow fever mosquitoes are a vector for numerous untreatable diseases in humans, including dengue, chikungunya fever, and Zika viruses. Hence, this study highlights the significance of addressing pest resistance to pesticide control, particularly to mitigate disease exposure and effects. The researchers note, “This knowledge can help scientists understand how mosquitoes have evolved resistance and when a population can no longer be controlled with permethrin. This understanding will be necessary to develop tools to support future insecticide management strategies.” Researchers sequenced the genome of resistant and knockdown (either recovered or dead) mosquitoes after permethrin exposure using a bottle bioassay. The aim was to identify genomic variants/biomarkers associated with specific resistance mechanisms. Two common pyrethroid resistance mechanisms occur among […]

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With 400,000 Malaria Deaths Worldwide, Insect Resistance to Mosquito Pesticides Calls for Urgent Need to Shift to Alternative Management Strategies

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2020) Efforts to control the transmission of malaria are encountering a big, though predictable, problem: the mosquitoes that transmit malaria are developing resistance to at least five of the insecticides that have been central to limiting transmission of the disease. A study released in late June reveals a dramatic increase in resistance to pyrethroid insecticides and DDT across sub-Saharan Africa. This signals the failure of a mainstay chemical approach to the spread of malarial mosquitoes; this same problem — resistance — is happening with chemical management of agricultural pests and weeds, and with antibiotics to treat human bacterial infections. This study underscores a point Beyond Pesticides has made repeatedly: resistance to pesticides (whether insecticides, herbicides, biocides, fungicides, or medical antibiotics) is nearly inevitable. The solution to containing the spread of malaria lies not in the use of more and different chemicals, but in nontoxic approaches that respect nature and ecological balance. Malaria is a sometimes deadly disease caused by female Anopheles mosquitoes infected with any of four varieties of the Plasmodium parasite. The disease kills roughly 400,000 people annually, with half that mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. sees approximately 2,000 cases of malaria annually, primarily in […]

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Brexit Predicted to Lead to Regulatory Decline and Increased Hazards from Pesticides

Friday, November 22nd, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, November 22, 2019) The potential exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU) — aka “Brexit” — may portend greater pesticide use and exposures, according to a report from the Soil Association and the Pesticide Action Network UK. As covered by The Guardian, the report’s prediction points to uncertainty, despite reassurances from the United Kingdom (UK) government, about what regulatory standards will actually be in effect if and when Brexit occurs. The report also highlights the under-regulated issue identified in the report’s title — The Cocktail Effect — synergistic impacts of exposures to multiple synthetic pesticide compounds. Beyond cessation of pesticide use, Beyond Pesticides advocates for more rigorous review of synergistic effects of pesticides in the U.S. In the UK, environmental and health advocates are voicing worries that the government’s reassurances that existing standards will be maintained after a Brexit is unconvincing. UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove insists that environmental standards would be enhanced following a UK exit from the EU. But advocates are concerned about potential loopholes that could allow farmers to use more pesticides on crops than the EU regulations permit, and could greenlight the import of foodstuffs with greater amounts of pesticide residue than […]

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Pesticide-Intensive Agriculture Contributes to Severe Monarch Butterfly Decline through Milkweed Contamination

Monday, July 8th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2019) Scientists studying the precipitous decline in populations of monarch butterflies are searching for causes, and pesticide use is one of the factors under their (figurative) microscopes. Purdue University entomology professor Ian Kaplan, PhD and doctoral student Paola Olaya-Arenas recently turned their attention to a poorly studied potential factor — exposure during monarchs’ larval stage to non-target pesticides on their primary host plant and food source, common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca). In Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, the researchers report finding evidence of 14 different agricultural pesticides on milkweed near Indiana farm fields, including neonicotinoids clothianidin and thiamethoxam, the pyrethroid deltamethrin, and imidacloprid in a few samples. The research team’s primary aim was to identify and measure the range of pesticides to which monarch caterpillars might be exposed, or which they might consume, on milkweed plants in agricultural landscapes. Secondarily, they hoped to learn how pesticide presence varies with distance between milkweed plants and nearby agricultural sites. In the subject Indiana environs, where corn and soybeans are dominant crops, the study found neonicotinoid residues on milkweed, particularly those of the active ingredients in clothianidin and thiamethoxam. They note, “Although seed treatment data are no longer reported for U.S. […]

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Another Study Links Glyphosate to Cancer

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, March 26, 2019) In a study investigating the carcinogenic effects of pesticide exposure by analyzing data on 316,270 farmers and farmworkers in the U.S., Norway, and France, researchers have identified elevated risk for non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and some subtypes, linking glyphosate and large B-cell lymphoma. Other pesticides linked to the disease include the pyrethroid deltamethrin and chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma; and terbufos and NHL overall. Researchers also found “inverse associations of NHL overall with the broader groups of organochlorine insecticides and phenoxy herbicides, after adjusting for exposure to other pesticides”; such inverse associations were not found with active ingredients within these groups. The research underscores how complex the science of pesticide impacts on human health, and on cancer incidence, can be. To wit: in evaluating 14 different pesticide categories and 33 individual, active chemical ingredients, Maria E. Leon, et al., conclude that associations of pesticides with the development of NHL appear to be (NHL) subtype- and chemical-specific. Published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in mid-March, the study, “Pesticide use and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoid malignancies in agricultural cohorts from France, Norway and the USA: a pooled analysis from the AGRICOH consortium,” uses data from three large cohort […]

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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 SĂŒd, 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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Pyrethroid Pesticide Use Increases Rates of ADHD in Adolescent Boys in New Study

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides June 4, 2015) Another study has found links between a commonly used household pesticide and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and young teens. Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center found an association between pyrethroid pesticide exposure and ADHD, particularly in terms of hyperactivity and impulsivity. These results reinforce the findings of a study led by a research team at Rutgers University earlier this year that found links between the pesticide deltamethrin and ADHD. In 2001, over concerns about adverse health consequences, the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency banned several commonly used organophosphate (organic compounds containing phosphorus) pesticides from residential use due to the chemicals neurotoxic properties. The ban led to the increased use of pyrethroid pesticides, which are now the most commonly used pesticides for residential pest control and public health purposes. Pyrethroids, like deltamethrin, are commonly used in the home,  office buildings,  and on vegetable crops, gardens, lawns and golf courses. This shift to predominantly using pyrethroids is troubling, as they have oft been promoted as a safer choice than banned organophosphates, despite the fact that they pose many real threats to human health. Many recent studies show significant concern with this class of chemicals, […]

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Changes to Canadian Aquaculture Rule Raises Pesticide Concerns

Friday, February 20th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2015) A broad-based coalition is urging Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper to put a stop to proposed changes to federal aquaculture regulations, citing damage to the environment and existing businesses. The proposed amendments to the federal Fisheries Act would exempt the aquaculture industry from provisions that “prohibit the release of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish.” Coalition members are worried that the changes will result in pesticides routinely being dumped into the Bay of Fundy,  located between the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and remove Environment Canada’s role in aquaculture activities, said spokeswoman Maria Recchia, the executive director of the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association. Aquaculture, which refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of aquatic organisms such as fish, shellfish, and plants, provides half of the world’s seafood. According to  Food and Water Watch, offshore aquaculture follows an industrial agriculture model which grows thousands of animals in a confined environment. For fish, however, this confined space is in the ocean, meaning all of the waste products from the operation flow directly into the ocean. This includes excess feed and chemicals that are used, such as antibiotics and pesticides, to treat or prevent […]

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Commonly Used Pyrethroid Pesticide Increases Risk of ADHD

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2015) A study led by a Rutgers University research team finds that the commonly used pesticide deltamethrin increases the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, adding to a mounting body of scientific research linking pesticide exposure to the disorder. Rutgers scientists, along with colleagues from Emory University, the University of Rochester Medical Center, and Wake Forest University discovered that mice exposed to the pyrethroid insecticide deltamethrin in utero and through lactation exhibit several features of ADHD, including dysfunctional dopamine signaling in the brain, hyperactivity, working memory, attention deficits and impulsive-like behavior. The study, Developmental pesticide exposure reproduces features of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, was published Wednesday in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). ADHD is estimated to affect 8—12% of school-age children worldwide. ADHD is a complex disorder, and though is strong scientific evidence that genetics play a role in susceptibility to the disorder, no specific gene has been found that causes ADHD and scientists believe that environmental factors, such as pesticide exposure, may contribute to the development of the behavioral condition. “Although we can’t change genetic susceptibility to ADHD, there may be modifiable environmental factors, including […]

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Report Finds Banned, Illegal Pesticides in Popular Indian Tea Brands

Thursday, August 14th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2014) Pesticides are not the first thing to pop into mind when peering into a hot mug of steaming, pale green or murky black tea first thing in the morning. A recent report published by Greenpeace India announced the results of an investigation that tested for pesticide residues in branded tea. The verdict? Nearly 94% of the tea samples tested contained at least one of 34 different pesticides, while over half contained a toxic cocktail of more than 10 different pesticides. The residues found include DDT, which was banned for use in agriculture in India since 1989, and endosulfan, which was banned in 2011 by the Indian Supreme Court. Over half of the 49 samples contained illegal pesticides — either those that are not approved for use in tea cultivation or exceeded recommended limits. These pesticides include ones that have been long banned from agriculture and use in tea cultivation (DDT and triazophos), suspected mutagens and neurotoxicants (monocrotophos), and insecticides associated with the global decline in bee populations (neonicotinoids like thiacloprid and thiamethoxam). The most frequently detected pesticides include thiamethoxam (78%), cypermethrin (73%), acetamiprid (67%), thiacloprid (67%), DDT (67%), deltamethrin (67%), dicofol (61%), imidacloprid (61%), and […]

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Another Study Finds Rootworms Resistant to Genetically Engineered Corn

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, September 3, 2013) For the past several years, corn rootworms  have  been widely reported to exhibit resistance  to corn genetically engineered (GE) with the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxin. A  new report by  University of Illinois researchers found the resistant corn rootworm  in two of the state’s counties significantly damaged by western corn rootworm. The increasing lack of efficacy of GE corn, developed with the claim that it  is specifically designed to protect corn from rootworm, calls into question the efforts of agrichemical companies to patent new forms of GE crops. The report by Joe Spencer, PhD, and Michael Gray, PhD,  identifies significant damage from western corn rootworms in farm field that were planted with GE corn that contain a Bt protein referred to as “Cry3Bb1,” which has been inserted into nearly one-third of the corn planted in the United States. This version of Bt corn was introduced by Monsanto in 2003, and was touted as a way to reduce insecticide use against rootworm pests. Evidence was gathered in two Illinois counties, Livingston and Kankakee, after fields that had severe root pruning and lodging were brought to the attention of Drs. Spencer and Gray. Dr. Gray was quoted in […]

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Seafood Company Commits To Limit Pesticide Use

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2013) Norwegian seafood production company, Marine Harvest, has committed to certify its salmon farms by 2020  to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) Salmon Standard, with the condition that they  begin tightening restrictions of pesticide use and move from caged systems in coastal waters to closed containment systems. As the world’s largest producer of farmed salmon, responsible for 25% to 30% of the global salmon and trout production the move marks an important shift toward sustainable production of their fish products. The ASC Salmon Standard, an accreditation scheme developed and promoted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), requires members to  diminish the use of toxic chemicals, address sourcing of feed ingredients, diminish the transmission of disease to wild salmon populations, control the escape of farmed salmon, reduce the use of antibiotics and genetically engineered products, and finaly address the labor issues on salmon farms. As of now Marine Harvest has only committed to accredit its fish farms within the United Kingdom, although they also produce fish in Norway, Canada, the Faroe Islands, Ireland and Chile. The company’s move follows on the heels of recent media attention that revealed the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) had  found up […]

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Scotts Miracle-Gro Caught Again, This Time a Record $12.5m Penalty Levied for Pesticide Violations

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2012) Lawn company giant, Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., pleaded guilty to numerous charges of misleading consumers with unapproved labels and falsifying insecticide registrations, including using toxic chemicals in wild bird food. Scotts was ordered to pay $12.5 million in criminal fines, the largest penalty ever set under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Scotts admitted to using Storcide II and Actellic 5E to prevent insects from damaging the bird food in storage, even though it knew both chemicals were toxic to birds, fish, and other wildlife. In 2008, Scotts Miracle-Gro ceased sales of the tainted birdseed but not before 70 million units of the pesticide-tainted food was sold. The sentence imposed in federal court in Columbus, Ohio, includes a $4 million criminal fine, the Justice Department said. Separately, the company agreed to pay more than $6 million in civil penalties to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and contribute $500,000 to organizations to protect bird habitats and restore and protect 300 acres of land to prevent runoff of pesticides into waterways —valued at $2 million. EPA has identified more than 100 products produced or sold by Scotts Miracle-Gro that violated the federal pesticide laws over […]

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Research Shows Commonly Used Pesticides Produce Greater Toxic Effect When Mixed

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, August 11, 2011) A combination of eleven different kinds of commonly used pyrethroids were tested on mice in a new study which found that, at real-world exposure levels, the insecticides can produce heightened toxicity that is equal to the sum of each insecticide’s individual effect. The mixture of similar-acting insecticides works by over-stimulating electronic channels in the mouse’s brain cells and eventually causing death. This study adds to the growing body of research on the toxicity of pesticide combinations in nature and showcases the need for policy change because the current risk assessment approach to regulating pesticides fails to look at chemical mixtures and synergistic effects. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently regulates on a chemical-by-chemical basis, but as this study demonstrates, interacting chemicals can have synergistic effects at very low levels, where a “chemical cocktail” of multiple interacting chemicals combine to have greater effects than expected. Pesticides can also have a cumulative “toxic loading” effect both in the immediate and long term. Researchers exposed mice brain cells to eleven different food-use pyrethroid insecticides either singly or in a mixture in the study entitled ”Additivity of pyrethroid actions on sodium influx in cerebrocortical neurons in primary culture.” […]

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Deltamethrin Approved for New Brunswick Salmon Fisheries

Monday, October 25th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, October 25,2010) In an effort to control sea lice in farmed Atlantic salmon Health Canada has approved a request by the province of New Brunswick to use the pesticide Alphamax, whose active ingredient is deltamethrin. The high concentrations of salmon in aquaculture facilities has lead to major problems with sea lice, a type of parasitic crustacean that attaches to the fish. Health Canada has approved the use of the restricted pesticide deltamethrin through December of this year. While many salmon farmers are pleased, the decision by Canada’s federal agency has many local fishermen concerned about the effects the pesticide will have on fish and shellfish populations. “Basically we are shocked in a nutshell,” said Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association project manager Melanie Sonnenberg, adding, “Dsappointed doesn’t cover it.” The use of deltamethrin will be restricted to tarped cages or well boats, boats with large holds. Treatment would involve placing fish in the boats, bathing them in Alphamax and releasing them back into cages along with the treated water. The industry is ready to start using the treatment in the Bay of Fundy. Fish farmers have been challenged in controlling sea lice outbreaks this summer, particularly in the upper Passamaquoddy […]

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