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Six Largest Pesticide Manufacturers Stand Trial at International People’s Court

Monday, December 5th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2011) On December 3, the 27th anniversary of the Bhopal pesticide plant disaster in Bhopal, India, a trial began in an international people’s court in India involving the world’s six largest pesticide companies: Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, BASF, Dow and Dupont. These companies, collectively known as the “Big 6,” are cited by prosecutors for their human rights violations, including internationally recognized rights to life, livelihood and health. Beyond Pesticides joined Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and others in signing a joint statement demanding that these companies be held accountable for their human rights violations, which was presented at the trial. The trial, hosted by PAN International, is facilitated by the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PTT), an international opinion tribunal independent from State authorities. The prosecution’s 230-page indictment outlines the global threats to human rights. It begins: The victims and survivors of [pesticide industry] aggression are the poor peasants, small-scale farmers, agricultural workers, rural women, children, and indigenous and agricultural communities around the world. They are at the mercy of the expanding power of the agrochemical [corporations] and are losing their control over their seeds and knowledge, and suffering debilitating physical and chronic effects due to pesticide poisoning, including coping […]


Group Files Lawsuit for Failure to Protect Red-Legged Frogs

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2011) The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for failing to evaluate and act on threats to the threatened California red-legged frog posed by more than 60 toxic pesticides used in and near its habitats. The Center had announced its intent to sue the two agencies back in December 2010. A 2006 legal settlement secured by the Center requires EPA to assess the impacts of harmful pesticides on red-legged frogs and formally consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service to address those impacts. EPA determined that widespread use of more than 60 pesticides is likely harming red-legged frogs, but since the agency and the Fish and Wildlife Service have failed to complete the required evaluations, no permanent protections for frogs have been put in place. “Federal agencies acknowledge that scores of pesticides may harm California’s rare red-legged frogs, but for years now they’ve neglected to complete biological evaluations of the effects of these chemicals,” said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate with the Center. “California’s imperiled frogs are suffering as a result.” “Biological opinions,” the evaluations required by the Endangered Species Act, […]


White House Proposes Increased Pesticide Registration Fees

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2011) As part of his $3 trillion deficit-reduction plan, President Obama has proposed to increase pesticide and chemical registration fees and reinstate tolerance assessment fees in order to cover the costs of evaluating the chemicals’ health and environmental effects data. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) currently collects fees from companies seeking to register their pesticides or maintain existing registrations; however these fees do not cover the full cost of the review process. The White House fee collection proposal will save $740 million over 10 years. Under the reregistration program, pesticides that were registered prior to November 1, 1984 are evaluated to ensure that they continue to meet current regulatory standards. EPA began this effort under 1988 amendments to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The amendment also requires EPA to review all other registered pesticides on a 15-year cycle to ensure that registrations reflect current regulations. The reregistration of pesticides under FIFRA is a lengthy and ongoing process. Hundreds of pesticides currently registered and commonly used still lack a full assessment of their potential short and long-term effects on human health, particularly on children, and the environment. For example, EPA has failed to […]


Study Links Birth Defects to Pesticides, Coal Smoke

Monday, July 25th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2011) Exposure to certain pesticides and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the womb has been linked to neural tube defects, which lead to conditions such as spina bifida, according to researchers at Peking University in China. The study finds elevated levels of the organochlorine pesticides DDT, alpha-hexachlorocyclohexane (a lindane contaminant) and endosulfan, as well as PAHs in the placentas of women who had babies or aborted fetuses with such birth defects. The study, “Association of selected persistent organic pollutants in the placenta with the risk of neural tube defects,” was published July 8, 2011 in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While most organochlorine pesticides are banned or restricted, they still continue to cause problems decades after their widespread use has ended. This study reinforces the need for a more precautionary approach to regulating pesticides and industrial chemicals. Once released into the environment, many chemicals can affect health for generations, either through persistence or genetic means. PAHs are a group of over 100 different chemicals that are formed during the incomplete burning of coal, oil and gas, garbage, or other organic substances like tobacco or charbroiled meat. PAHs are usually […]


EPA May Reduce “Conditional Registrations” of Pesticides after Finding Process Flawed

Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, May 4, 2011) According to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) internal review of pesticide registrations under special circumstances, also known as “conditional registration,” the agency may reduce its use of this “imprecise” category, whilch allows widespread use of toxic chemicals not fully tested. Conditional registration of pesticides allows market entry for a product in the absence of certain data. Recent reports have found that certain conditionally registered pesticides known to be hazardous to pollinators were allowed to used by EPA without a full data set. In an April 25, 2011 post on its website, EPA provides details on its recently completed internal review on the use of conditional registration for pesticide products. The agency has come under scrutiny recently since it was revealed that the conditionally registered pesticide, clothianidin, did not at the time it allowed the pesticide to be widely used have pertinent field data required on honeybees, even though the pesticide is known to pose risks to these vulnerable pollinators. This data is still outstanding even though clothianidin continues to be used in the environment. Conditional registration is allowed under Section 3(c)(7) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), whilch allows pesticide registration […]


DDT-Era Pesticide Endosulfan Finally Banned Globally

Monday, May 2nd, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 2011) Nations gathering in Geneva last week finally agreed to add endosulfan, an antiquated persistent insecticide, to the Stockholm Convention’s list of banned substances. The decision follows recommendations from the December 2009 Stockholm Convention Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee (POPRC), which call for urgent “global action” to address health and environmental impacts of the toxic pesticide. Scientific experts at the POPRC concluded that endosulfan is likely to cause significant adverse human health and environmental effects as a result of the chemical’s medium- and long-range transport on a global scale and subsequent accumulation in nearly all environmental media. Environmental health and justice organizations from around the world who have been working toward a ban welcomed the decision. Endosulfan is an organochlorine insecticide that was first registered for use in the U.S. in the 1950s. It is an endocrine disruptor and exposure in male children may delay sexual maturity and interfere with sex hormone synthesis. Male school children exposed to the highly toxic insecticide endosulfan showed delayed sexual maturity compared with similar children who were not exposed. Endosulfan also appears to interfere with sex hormone synthesis in males aged 10-19 years in a community of cashew plantations in […]


Study Links Pesticides to Low Semen Quality

Monday, March 28th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, March 28 2011) Researchers found that exposure to organochlorine pesticides significantly alters semen quality in young men from southeast Spain. The study found 18 pesticides in the blood of the study participants, including some banned in Spain, such as DDT, and others legal in in the country, such as the fungicide vinclozolin. The analysis was conducted by Clemente Aguilar from the Medical Research Laboratory of the University Hospital San Cecilio, Granada, Spain, and coordinated by Marieta Fernández, Marina Lacasaña and Nicolás Olea (University of Granada), basing on a sample of 280 volunteer students aged 18-23 years from the University of Almería, Spain. All the study participants had at least one pesticide in considerable concentrations. The average number of pesticides detected in the blood tests was 11. Southeast Spain is a region where two out of ten young men have poor sperm density. Even though exposure to some organochlorines proved to increase total spermatic number and total sperm motility levels, other pesticides were highly associated with a reduction in sperm levels. This might be due to the fact that some of these pesticides are considered to be estrogenic endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are substances that interfere with natural hormones […]


Indian Government Resists Ban on Endosulfan, A Chemical It Manufactures

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, February 10, 2011) Despite the numerous scientific data on the devastating health and environmental consequences of endosulfan —a pesticide so toxic that is banned in over 60 countries including the U.S., officials in India say that a ban on the widely used chemical would put the country’s food security at risk and harm the welfare of farmers. However, thousands of villagers in Kerala, India, who have become disabled due to the use of the pesticide, pushed for a state ban in 2004 and have since joined the global movement to ban endosulfan. Doctors say that over 550 deaths and health problems in over 6,000 people in the region are related to the aerial spraying of the pesticide over cashew farms between 1979 and 2000. “Six thousand patients living with disabilities is not enough scientific evidence to enforce a national ban?,” asked B.C. Kumar, to the Washington Post. Kumar’s father, a cashew farm laborer, died of cancer. The endosulfan industry in India is estmiated to be worth over $100 million, making it the world’s largest producer, exporter and user of the product. The three companies that produce the product in India, including one that is partially government-owned, claim that […]


Group Plans to Sue Agencies over Threatened Amphibian

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, December 16, 2010)The Center for Biological Diversity notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) December 15 of its intent to sue the agencies for failing to study and act on threats posed by more than 60 pesticides to the threatened California red-legged frog. A 2006 legal settlement secured by the Center required the EPA to assess the impacts of pesticides on the frog, then consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) under the Endangered Species Act to address those impacts, by 2009. The completed assessments were submitted to the Wildlife Service between March 2007 and October 2009. Although EPA determined that 64 registered pesticides are likely to harm the frogs, the Service has not completed any consultations or adopted protective measures. “The EPA acknowledges that scores of pesticides may be dangerous to California’s rare red-legged frogs, but nothing’s been done about it,” said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate with the Center. “This three-year delay violates the Endangered Species Act and jeopardizes the future of the largest native frog in California.” Historically abundant throughout California, red-legged frogs have declined in numbers over 90 percent and have disappeared from 70 percent […]


Estrogenic Compounds in Water Come From Agricultural, Industrial Sources

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, December 8, 2010) A new study finds that oral contraceptives are not the main culprit in estrogenic pollution of U.S. rivers and drinking water. Instead, the contribution of contraceptives is quite small compared to other human, industrial and agricultural sources, including pesticides. Recent observed feminization of aquatic animals has raised concerns about estrogenic compounds in water supplies and the potential for these chemicals to reach drinking water. Public perception frequently attributes this feminization to oral contraceptives (OCs) in wastewater and raises concerns that exposure to OCs in drinking water may contribute to the recent rise in human reproductive problems. Studies have suggested that long-term exposure to low levels of estrogens in water may adversely affect human health. This new information eases concerns that contraceptives are a major factor contributing to feminized fish and frogs. This study, “Are Oral Contraceptives a Significant Contributor to the Estrogenicity of Drinking Water?” reviews the literature regarding various sources of estrogens, in surface, source and drinking water, to determine whether OCs were the source of estrogen in surface waters, with an emphasis on the active molecule that comes from OCs. The authors find that industrial and agricultural sources not only discharge estrogens, but […]


Australian Government Bans Toxic Pesticide Endosulfan

Friday, October 15th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, October 15, 2010) Reversing previous rulings that claimed that the toxic pesticide endosulfan was “safe,” the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) announced its decision Tuesday to finally cancel the registration of the highly hazardous chemical. Recent assessments by the Australian government’s Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPC) concluded that the prolonged use of endosulfan is likely to lead to adverse environmental effects via spray drift and run-off, and that these long-term risks could not be mitigated merely through use restrictions or label changes. Australia joins over 60 countries, including to the U.S. to have banned endosulfan. Endosulfan is an organochlorine insecticide that was first registered for use in the U.S. in the 1950s. It is an endocrine disruptor and exposure in male children may delay sexual maturity and interfere with sex hormone synthesis. Endosulfan also decreases semen quality, sperm count, spermatogonial cells, and sperm morphology, and contributes to other defects in male sex hormones. It is volatile, persistent, and has a high potential to bio-accumulate in aquatic and terrestrial organisms. Two-headed bass, for example, were found in the Noosa River resulting from surrounding pesticide drift from neighboring farms in Queensland, Australia. The pesticides, […]


Pesticides found in Bald Eagles in the Great Lakes Region

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2010) Researchers from Indiana University have detected organochlorine pesticides and flame retardants in blood samples taken from bald eagle nestlings in the Great Lakes region. After DDT was banned, many scientists expected the bald eagle population to recover more quickly, so this study provides some evidence to explain their lackluster rebound. The researchers found not only organochlorines and PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), but several flame retardants commonly used in foam padding, such as pentabromoethylbenzene (PBEB), hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) and Dechlorane Plus (DP). The paper, published in the August issue of the scientific journal Chemosphere was authored by Marta Venier of Indiana University. Ms. Venier and her colleagues collected blood samples by climbing trees to access the nests, carrying the nestlings carefully to the ground, and drawing a small blood sample before returning them to their nests. The statistically significant relationship between the total PBDE concentrations and total PCB concentrations suggest that these young eagles are ingesting pesticides and flame retardants through their food. Even low levels of these chemicals could be advsersely affecting the eagle population because as co-author of the study, Ronald Hites of Indiana University says, “Eagles are very vulnerable to chlorinated compounds.” Chlorinated materials are […]


Studies Find “Pristine” National Parks Tainted by Pesticides

Friday, June 25th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, June 25, 2010) Two new studies published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology confirm that the majority of toxic contamination threatening national parks originates from agricultural pesticides and industrial operations. In one study an international group of scientists conducted research from 2003-2005 and detected elevated concentrations of various dangerous pesticides in all eight of the national parks and preserves. The other study collected samples of air, water, snow, sediment, lichens, conifer needles, and fish at remote alpine, subarctic, and arctic sites. Researchers found that these samples contained four current-use pesticides including dacthal (DCPA), chlorpyrifos, endosulfans, and y-hexachlorocyclohexane (HGH) as well as four historic-use pesticides including dieldrin, a-HCH, chlordanes, and hexachlorobenzene (HCB). Pesticide concentrations in snow are highest in Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Rocky Mountain and Glacier National Parks. Concentrations in vegetation are mostly dominated by endosulfan and dacthal, and are highest in Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Glacier, and Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Fish samples also show elevated concentrations of dieldrin and DDT (one of the first pesticides to be banned in 1972 because of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring). Cold temperatures in alpine or arctic ecosystems tend to concentrate pesticides, which can also bioaccumulate in the local […]


EPA Moves to End All Uses of Toxic Pesticide Endosulfan

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2010) After years of pressure from environmental and international groups concerned about the chemical’s health effects, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencey (EPA) announced that it is taking action to end all uses of the insecticide endosulfan in the United States. EPA has decided that new data presented to the agency in response to its 2002 reregistration eligibility decision (RED) have shown that risks faced by workers are greater than previously known. EPA also has found that there are risks above the agency’s level of concern to aquatic and terrestrial wildlife, as well as to birds and mammals that consume aquatic prey which have ingested endosulfan. Farmworkers can be exposed to endosulfan through inhalation and contact with the skin. An organochlorine insecticide first registered in the 1950s, endosulfan is used on a variety of vegetables, fruits, cotton, and on ornatmental shrubs, trees and vines. It poses unacceptable neurological and reproductive risks to farmworkers and wildlife and can persist in the environment. According to the EPA, crops with the highest use in 2006 — 2008 included tomato, cucurbit, potato, apple, and cotton. The use of endosulfan decreased overall from 2001 to 2008. A restricted use pesticide, endosulfan may […]


Unprecedented Pesticide Contamination Found in Beehives

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, March 30, 2010) Searching for clues to the mysterious disappearance of bees, known as “colony collapse disorder”(CCD), Penn State University researchers have identified widespread pesticide contamination of beehives. The study, “High Levels of Miticides and Agrochemicals in North American Apiaries: Implications for Honey Bee Health,” was published March 19, 2010 in the scientific journal Public Library of Science (PLOS). The study finds 121 different types of pesticides within 887 wax, pollen, bee and hive samples from 23 states. The top 10 most frequently detected pesticides are fluvalinate, coumaphos, chlorpyrifos, chlorothalonil, amitraz, pendamethalin, endosulfan, fenpropathrin, esfenvalerate and atrazine. Miticides are the most common contaminant in the wax and bees, and fungicides are the most common contaminant of pollen. For the full results of the study, including several tables of wax, pollen and bee sample data, download the study from the PLOS website. “The pollen is not in good shape,” Chris Mullin, PhD, lead author of the study, told Discovery News. The authors state that the 98 pesticides and metabolites detected in mixtures up to 214 parts per million (ppm) in bee pollen alone represents a remarkably high level for toxicants in the brood and adult food of this primary […]


Agency Petitioned to Regulate Endocrine Disruptors

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, January 14, 2010) Stating that current water-quality criteria does not reflect the latest scientific knowledge, The Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish new water-quality criteria for numerous endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) under the Clean Water Act. If adopted, it will be a big step in regulating and eliminating persistent and widespread chemicals that damage reproductive functions in wildlife and humans. The Center for Biological Diversity formally requested that the EPA publish water quality criteria and information taking into account overwhelming science about the effects of EDC pollution on January 11. It says that under the Clean Water Act, EPA has a duty to periodically update water quality criteria to reflect the latest scientific knowledge. The petition presents scientific information on endocrine disrupting chemical pollution found in our waters and requests that the EPA promptly update water quality criteria reflecting this scientific information. Last month, legislation was introduced into Congress to explore linkages between hormone disrupting chemicals in the environment and everyday products and the dramatic increase of autism, hyperactivity, diabetes, obesity, breast cancer, prostate cancer and other hormone related disorders. After the identification of endocrine disruptors, the bill, The Endocrine Disruption Prevention […]


Group Calls on Bayer to Withdraw Dangerous Pesticides

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2010)The Coalition Against Bayer Dangers, based in Germany, is urging the multinational company Bayer to withdraw its most dangerous pesticides from the world market. The network specially is calling on Bayer to end sales of all products that contain active ingredients in the highest acute toxicity Class 1 of the World Health Organization (WHO) classification of pesticides. Bayer is the world market leader in sales of pesticides, many of which account for pollution and poisonings all over the world. The company acknowledges that “crop protection products may not always be used correctly under certain circumstances in some Third World countries.” Already in its 1995 Annual Report Bayer promised to “replace products with the Classification 1 of the World Health Organization with products of lower toxicity.” Public health advocates say that safe use of Class 1 (highest acute toxicity) pesticides is not possible, especially in countries where, because of poverty, illiteracy and other social conditions, as well as tropical climatic conditions, do not permit the wearing of protective gear. WHO estimates the number of people poisoned annually at three to 25 million. At least 40,000 people are killed accidentally by pesticides every year. The estimated number of […]


Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals Bill Introduced in Congress

Monday, December 21st, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, December 21, 2009) Earlier this month, Congressman Jim Moran of Northern Virginia and Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts introduced legislation to explore linkages between hormone disrupting chemicals in the environment and everyday products and the dramatic increase of autism, hyperactivity, diabetes, obesity, breast cancer, prostate cancer and other hormone related disorders. After the identification of endocrine disruptors, the legislation requires federal agencies with regulatory authority to report to Congress on the action it plans to take. For years, scientists have noted strange anomalies in fish and wildlife in locations where endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are found. A recent study found that an astounding 100 percent of small mouth bass in certain sites of the Potomac River basin have exhibited both male and female organs, a characteristic linked to EDCs. According to a 2009 study by the U.S. Geologic Survey, the occurrence of “intersex” fish is now found to be nationwide. “These fish are the proverbial ”˜canaries in the coal mine,’ a symptom of a larger sickness in our environment. The implications for humans are real and deeply troubling,” said U.S. Representative Moran, who worked with experts for roughly a year to craft the legislation. “We need facts driven […]


International Panel Recommends Global Action on Endosulfan, Groups Again Urge EPA To Act

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, December 8, 2009) Following a recent recommendation by the international Persistent Organic Pollutants Review Committee to take “global action” to address health and environmental impacts, a broad coalition of 42 environmental, health, labor, and farming groups sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson urging EPA to finally take action to ban the antiquated insecticide. Acute poisoning from endosulfan can cause headaches, nausea, vomiting, convulsions, and in extreme cases, unconsciousness and even death. Studies have linked endosulfan to smaller testicles, lower sperm production, an increase in the risk of miscarriages and autism. Endosulfan is a potent environmental pollutant and is especially toxic to fish and other aquatic life. It also affects birds, bees, earthworms, and other beneficial insects. Endosulfan travels such long distances that it has been found in Sierra Nevada lakes and on Mt. Everest. This persistent pesticide can also migrate to the Poles on wind and ocean currents where Arctic communities have documented contamination. “It’s time for the U.S. to step up to the plate and get rid of endosulfan,” notes Karl Tupper, Ph.D., staff scientist with Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA). “EPA’s review of endosulfan has been dragging on for years. Since 2006 they’ve […]


Pesticide Storage Endangers Tens of Millions in Europe, Central Asia and the former Soviet Union

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides October 22, 2009) At least seven million inhabitants of Moldavia and Ukraine are endangered by 10,000 tons of old pesticides. This has been reported by the International HCH and Pesticides Association (IHPA). According to the organization the EU must act as fast as possible to disarm this ”˜biggest chemical time bomb of Europe.’ This position was adopted at the closure of the 10th HCH & Pesticides Forum of the IHPA in the Czech Republic. During the congress, it became known that in the former Kalush factory in the west of Ukraine there is a stockpile of no less than 10,000 ton of superfluous Hexachlorobenzene (HCB). The factory location along the Dniester River makes the situation extremely hazardous: a single flood and the high concentrations of poison would pollute the natural habitat of some seven million people in the west of Ukraine and Moldavia. Pesticides are threatening tens of millions of people living throughout Europe, Central Asia, and the former Soviet Union, accordding to the statement. There is an estimated 178,000 to 289,000 tons of obsolete pesticides stockpiled throughout the European Union, Southeast Europe, and the former Soviet Union. Ukraine alone has 4,500 storage locations with over 30,000 tons […]


Groups Petition EPA to Require Buffer Zones Around Pesticide Sprayed Farms

Friday, October 16th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, October 16, 2009) On October 14th, Earthjustice and Farmworker Justice filed a petition asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set safety standards protecting children who grow up near farms from the harmful effects of pesticide drift. The groups are also asking the agency to adopt an immediate no-spray buffer zone around homes, schools, parks and daycare centers for the most dangerous and drift-prone pesticides, organophosphates. The petition was filed by the public interest law firms on behalf of farmworker groups: United Farm Workers, Oregon-based Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noreste, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee, AFL-CIO as well as Physicians for social Responsibility, Washington-based Sea Mar Community Health Center, Pesticide Action Network North America, and MomsRising.org. Specifically, the petition states that the EPA has failed to address the facts that children are particularly vulnerable to pesticides according findings by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 1993. Congress took recommendations from NAS and passed the Food Quality Protection Act in1996, requiring EPA to “ensure that there is a reasonable certainty that no harm will result to infants and children from aggregate exposure” to pesticides. However, while EPA has made some […]


U.S. Geological Survey Identifies Intersex Fish Nationwide

Friday, September 18th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, September 18, 2009) Previously documented in the Potomac River, which flows through downtown Washington, DC, the occurrence of “intersex” fish is now found to be nationwide. U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) researchers published their study, “Widespread occurrence of intersex in black basses from U.S. rivers” in the online edition of Aquatic Toxicology. USGS researchers examined 16 different species of fish across the U.S. between 1995 and 2004. The condition of intersex fish, male fish producing eggs, is most commonly found in smallmouth and largemouth bass. One third of male smallmouth bass and one fifth of the male largemouth bass are intersex. Scientists tested sites in the Apalachicola, Colorado, Columbia, Mobile, Mississippi, Pee Dee, Rio Grande, Savannah, and Yukon River basins. Research shows intersex fish in approximately one-third of all examined sites. The only site where researchers found no intersex fish is the Yukon River basin. While the study did not look for the causes for intersex fish, scientists believe endocrine disruptors, chemicals that interfere with the body’s hormonal systems, are certainly to blame. “We know that endocrine-active compounds have been associated with intersex in fish, but we lack information on which fish species are most sensitive to such compounds, […]


EPA Long-Term Pesticide Safety Tests Criticized for Falling Short

Monday, August 17th, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2009) The four-day testing period the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commonly uses to determine ”˜safe’ levels of pesticide exposure for humans and animals could fail to account for the long-term effects of toxic chemicals, University of Pittsburgh researchers report in the September edition of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. The team found that the highly toxic pesticide endosulfan, a neurotoxin banned in several nations but still used extensively in U.S. agriculture, can exhibit a “lag effect” with the fallout from exposure not surfacing until after direct contact has ended. The findings build on a 10-year effort by Rick Relyea, Ph.D., an associate professor of biological sciences in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences, to understand the potential links between the global decline in amphibians, routine pesticide use, and the possible threat to humans in the future. The team exposed nine species of frog and toad tadpoles to endosulfan levels “expected and found in nature” for the EPA’s required four-day period, then moved the tadpoles to clean water for an additional four days, Jones reported. Although endosulfan was ultimately toxic to all species, three species of tadpole showed no significant sensitivity to the chemical until after they […]