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Study Further Strengthens Link Between Common Insecticide Class and Psychiatric Disorders

Wednesday, October 25th, 2023

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

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

Wednesday, October 4th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2023) A study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology finds acute exposure to chlordane, an organochlorine insecticide, results in decreased lipid (fat) levels, altered anti-oxidant capacity, and increased testosterone levels (pro-androgenic) in male mice, while increasing liver enzyme activation and reducing regulation of both liver identity and function in females. These findings indicate that chlordane induces toxicant-associated steatosis (fat retention) liver disease (TASLD) with underlying, sex-specific, endocrine, and metabolic effects. It is well-known that traces of legacy (past-use) pesticides, like organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), remain in the environment for decades—possibly centuries, post-final application, as OCPs have greater chemical stability and gradual attenuation. However, these chemicals have profound adverse impacts on human health, especially on the endocrine system. Obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and elevated liver enzymes resulting from endocrine disruption contribute to liver diseases and can lead to liver cirrhosis. Although some, but not all, manufacturing and use of specific OCPs have declined in the U.S., OCPs remain a global issue, as much of the developing world still report usage. Considering the lack of studies on OCP-induced endocrine disruption, TASLD, and other liver diseases, research like this highlights the need to understand the underlying mechanisms contributing to […]

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

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

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

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Take Action: Involuntary Spontaneous Abortions Linked to EPA-Registered Pesticides

Monday, July 31st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 31, 2023) As the national debates on the rights of women to make health decisions about their bodies in the context of abortions, the scientific literature is increasingly documenting involuntary spontaneous abortions and other reproductive effects associated with pesticide exposure—raising critical questions about the ability to control one’s health. Last week, Beyond Pesticides reported on an exploratory study, published in Environment International, that adds to the many studies demonstrating residential prenatal pesticide exposure can result in adverse birth outcomes. Residential exposure to five active pesticide ingredients (Ais) fluroxypyr-meptyl, glufosinate-ammonium, linuron, vinclozolin, and picoxystrobin has adverse effects on gestational age (GA), birth weight (BW), mortality after birth, child’s sex, premature development, low birth weight (LBW), small for gestational age (SGA), and large for gestational age (LGA).  Despite the political furor surrounding medical abortions, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to allow pesticides that cause involuntary spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) and other reproductive effects in exposed women. Tell EPA to ban pesticides that cause involuntary spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) and other reproductive effects. Tell Congress to ensure that EPA does not permit the use of pesticides affecting reproduction.  Most spontaneous abortions occur during the first trimester. The most common cause of miscarriage during the first […]

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

Wednesday, July 26th, 2023

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

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Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides Have Links to Behavior

Thursday, July 6th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 6, 2023) A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives finds concentrations of organophosphate (OP) metabolites in urine during the prenatal phase have links to adolescent/young adult externalizing (e.g., hyperactivity, aggression, attention problems) and internalizing (e.g., depression) behavior problems. Thus, prenatal exposure to OP pesticides can permanently affect behavioral health as children mature into adulthood. This study adds to the growing body of research reinforcing the adverse effects of organophosphate (OP) exposure on cognitive health and neurological development, especially for infants and children. Prenatal development is one of the most vulnerable periods of exposure, as the fetus is most susceptible to the harmful effects of chemical contaminants. Many studies indicate that prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental toxicants increases susceptibility to diseases, from learning and developmental disabilities to cancer. Given research links to pesticide exposure and neurological and cognitive development, studies like this can help government and health officials identify how pesticides’ impact on the brain elevates health concerns.  Researchers gathered two urine samples from mothers during pregnancy (at weeks 13 and 26) and five urine samples from offspring from the ages of six months to five years old to measure urinary dialkylphosphates (DAPs) (nonspecific OP metabolites). Subsequently, the study also assesses reports of […]

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Take Action: The Protection of Birds Linked to Mosquito Management

Monday, July 3rd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 3, 2023) Mosquito season is upon us, and to many that means spraying pesticides to kill them. But not only is spraying flying mosquitoes the most ineffective way to prevent mosquito problems, it is also counterproductive because it eliminates some of our most attractive and helpful allies—birds. Tell EPA to eliminate pesticides that threaten birds or their insect food supply. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior to protect birds by eliminating the use of pesticides that threaten them. Tell Congress that EPA and other agencies need to do their job and protect birds and other mosquito predators. While the appetite of purple martins for mosquitoes is well known, most songbirds eat insects at some stage of their life. Many birds who eat seeds or nectar feed insects to their young, including flying insects that may be bothersome–like mosquitoes or flies. Altogether, birds consume as many as 20 quadrillion individual insects, totaling 400-500 million metric tons, per year. Mosquito-eating birds include many well-known residents of our communities. They include, for example, wood ducks, phoebes and other flycatchers, bluebirds, cardinals, downy woodpeckers, swallows, swifts, robins, orioles, wrens, great tits, warblers, nuthatches, hummingbirds, red-winged blackbirds, […]

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Study Elevates the Connection Between Pesticides, the Gut-Brain Axis, and Disease

Tuesday, June 27th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2023) Pesticides interfere with biological processes. This is their purpose. Unfortunately, they nearly always have unintended consequences, many of which have been ignored by their manufacturers. A new review article by Irish and Dutch researchers in the ISME Journal adds to the emerging scientific literature examining how pesticides affect the relationship between the human gut and the human brain (the “gut-brain axis”). Often called the “second brain” because it houses nerve cells and produces neurotransmitters, the gut-brain axis may be the most important locus where microbes and pesticides meet. The human gut plays host to a variety of microorganisms, ranging from bacteria and archaea to fungi, viruses and yeasts.[1] In a healthy person these microbes remain in balance and often cooperate both with each other and with human cells. The gut and the brain are deeply integrated through the vagus nerve and the neuroendocrine system. The vagus nerve is a treelike bundle of fibers extending from the lower part of the brain to nearly every body organ, but particularly the heart, lungs and digestive tract. The neuroendocrine system comprises specialized cells inhabiting nearly all the organs of the body that respond to signals from the brain […]

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Study Links Recurring Pregnancy Loss (RPL) with Pesticide Exposure

Wednesday, June 14th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2023) A study published in Scientific Reports finds a link between pesticide exposure and recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) through oxidative stress and apoptosis (cell death) in the placenta. Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is the loss of three or more successive pregnancies before 24 weeks of gestation (pregnancy) and signifies an underlying reproductive health issue. The study highlights that pesticides’ endocrine-disrupting (ED) properties can have varying adverse impacts on biological processes, including immunology, metabolism, and reproduction. Pregnant women experience frequent exposure to environmental pollutants that pose serious health risks to both mother and newborn. Many known pollutants (e.g., heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyl, and pesticides) are chemicals with ED properties that can move from the mother to the developing fetus at higher exposure rates. Additionally, pregnant women are experiencing exposure to an increasing number of dangerous industrial chemicals. With a range of scientific data highlighting chemical exposures during pregnancy as a critical window of vulnerability, public awareness of these threats is growing. The study notes, “They are associated with an increasing placental OS [oxidative stress] and placental apoptosis. Specific measures should be taken to decrease maternal exposure to these pollutants’ sources, especially in underdeveloped and developing countries.” For RPL, the research investigated pesticide components in blood plasma, […]

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Pesticides and Neurotoxicity: The Link Between Mood Disorders and Pesticides Exposures

Wednesday, June 7th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2023) A systematic review of scientific literature published in Environmental Research on the development of mood disorders among pesticide applicators (farmers, landscapers, etc.) finds an increased risk of depression symptoms over the last decade. The evidence in the review highlights the presence of pesticide-specific biomarkers and biomarkers of depression that determine the positive association between pesticide exposure and the development of depressive symptoms. With more high-quality longitudinal studies to control sociocultural variables, researchers can directly pinpoint risks of developing depression, especially among agricultural workers and landscapers who use pesticides. Research on pesticide-induced diseases commonly investigates pesticide exposure concerning the development of various physical illnesses. However, previous studies show that occupational (work-related) risks of developing depression are high in agriculture, where pesticide use is rampant. Acute exposure to chemicals, including organophosphate, organochlorine, triazine, and carbamate pesticides, tends to put farmers at greater risk of suicide than the general population. There is a lack of information connecting pesticide exposure to the subsequent psychological (psychiatric) effects on the general population. Additionally, household pesticide exposure varies from occupational exposure via exposure frequency, duration, intensity, and type.   According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects 322 million people globally, with the number of diagnosed patients increasing by 18.4% from 2005 to […]

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Scientists Identify 97 Pesticides and Chemical Pollutants in Study of Primate Population

Friday, June 2nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 2, 2023) Scientists have identified 97 different types of pesticides and flame retardants in primate fecal samples, recently reporting their results in the journal Biology Letters. In Uganda’s Kibale National Park, researchers studied the chemical exposure of four species of primates (chimpanzees, Ugandan red colobus, olive baboons and red-tailed monkeys), adding to previous research on the subject. The chemicals demonstrate a measurable effect on primate growth and development, sparking considerable unease as to the future health of these critical species. This study shows how even within a protected national park, wildlife species are at risk from chemical pollution. According to advocates, the use of dangerous pesticides and flame retardants, therefore, must be entirely stopped in order to protect the future viability of wildlife species.  Scientists collected a total of 71 fecal samples from the four chosen species to measure levels of chemicals and hormones in a noninvasive manner. After sample analysis, researchers highlight three main groups of chemical pollutants: organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), brominated flame retardants (BFRs), and organophosphate esters (OPEs). Although in a protected area, wildlife species encounter humans through tourism, research, and human development surrounding the park. As these pesticides are so prevalent in areas of […]

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Residential Areas and Early Postnatal Complications for Pregnant Women Tied to Banned and Current Pesticides

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 31, 2023) A study published in Chemosphere supports accumulating scientific research confirming that prohibited and current use pesticides are readily detectable in the human placenta. All pregnant women experience exposure to a mixture of complex pesticides like DDT (prohibited organochlorine pesticide [OCP]) and chlorpyrifos (current use organophosphate [OP]), with concentrations high enough to increase possible adverse health risks to the fetus through a placental transfer of chemicals. Prenatal development in the intrauterine environment is one of the most vulnerable periods of exposure, as the fetus is most susceptible to the harmful effects of chemical contaminants. Many studies indicate that prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental toxicants increases susceptibility to diseases, from learning and developmental disabilities to cancer. Given the over 1,300 research studies that demonstrate the link between pesticide exposure and general health effects, studies like this can help government and health officials identify how pesticides’ impact on the body elevates health concerns, especially for future and developing generations. The authors note, “This study highlights the urgent requirement for implementing alternative pest-control methods in agriculture, involving a reduction of chemical pesticides application. Due to the vital role of the placenta in fetal development and its non-invasive sampling, this kind of […]

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New Viewpoint on the Historic Link between Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Cancer Discussed

Thursday, May 25th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 25, 2023) A review of scientific literature published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation demonstrates exposure to past and current-use endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), like pesticides, have a long history of severe adverse human health effects. Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotics (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem) present in nearly all organisms and ecosystems. The World Health Organization (WHO), European Union (EU), and endocrine disruptor expert (deceased) Theo Colborn, Ph.D., classify over 55 to 177 chemical compounds as endocrine disruptors, including various household products like detergents, disinfectants, plastics, and pesticides. Endocrine disruption can lead to several health problems, including hormone-related cancer development (e.g., thyroid, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular), reproductive dysfunction, and diabetes/obesity that can span generations. Therefore, studies related to pesticides and endocrine disruption help scientists understand the underlying mechanisms that indirectly or directly cause infertility, among other health issues. The review notes, “New evidence supports the role of other EDCs as possibly carcinogenic and pregnant women should avoid risk area and exposure. The relationship between EDCs and cancer supports the need for effective prevention policies increasing public awareness.” The review examines the relationship between EDCs and various hormone-mediated various (i.e., breast, prostate, testicle, ovary, and thyroid) to determine the carcinogenicity of the chemicals and their impact on public […]

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Allowance of “Forever” or “Legacy” Chemicals Causes Insurmountable Multi-Generational Poisoning

Monday, May 15th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2023) Say “legacy contaminant” or “forever chemical” and most people today think “PFAS” (perfluoroalkyl substances), but PFAS are just the latest persistent toxic chemicals recognized as presenting an alarmingly difficult cleanup problem. Fortunately, steps are being taken by governments and businesses to eliminate use of PFAS. (Organic farmers concerned about the integrity of their products have been leaders in these efforts.) Although government officials often devote considerable energy and resources to cleaning up contamination, the continued manufacturing of these chemicals and their release into the environment creates a futile situation. The U.S. is a signatory to the 2001 Stockholm Convention, which provides an international framework for moving persistent organic pollutants out of commerce, but the U.S. Senate never ratified it.     Ask your Senators to ratify the Stockholm convention. Tell EPA that persistent toxic pesticides must be considered to pose an “unreasonable risk to the environment under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA),” which must result in cancellation of their registrations.  PFAS contamination is just the latest chapter of a very old story. Legacy contamination of our bodies and the environment is partly a result of a slow piecemeal approach to eliminating these toxic chemicals. […]

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

Thursday, May 11th, 2023

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

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Spring into Action in 2023; Be the Best You can Be(e)

Wednesday, April 12th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2023) Spring represents a period of increased water, soil, and general ecosystem pollution, correlated with increased pesticide use and increased rainfall. Thus, April showers bring May flowers, and often pesticides. We offer this overview to share with friends, family, and your community in an effort to elevate the urgent need to eliminate pesticides and make the shift to organic land management. Pesticides are pervasive in the environment, affecting all ecosystems, including air, water, and soil. Like clean air and water, healthy soils are integral to ecosystem function, interacting between Earth’s four main spheres (i.e., hydrosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere) to support life. Pesticide use results in pervasive contamination of treated and nontarget sites. Even organic farmers and gardeners globally suffer from the widespread movement of pesticides through the air, water, and runoff from land. Attempts to protect property and ecosystems from pesticide use are a difficult, some say impossible, challenge. Efforts to prevent contamination become a large burden, with attempts to curtail pesticide drift with buffer zone areas and eliminate fertilizers or soil supplements with pesticide residues (e.g., manure and compost). Furthermore, the effects of climate change only exacerbate threats to ecosystem health, as studies show a […]

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Prenatal Pesticide Exposure Threatens Children’s Language Development at 18 Months after Birth, Study Finds

Thursday, March 9th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, March 9, 2023) A study published in Environmental Research finds exposure to organophosphate (OP) compounds during pregnancy, or prenatal OP exposure can cause shortfalls in language development abilities at 18 months, stifling preschool-age language expression. Additionally, a timely and co-occurring study published in Environmental International confirms similar results, highlighting that chlorpyrifos (an organophosphate) impedes neurological and psychological development, including language communication and all motor skills of offspring at 12 and 18 months old. Prenatal development is one of the most vulnerable periods of exposure, as the fetus is most susceptible to the harmful effects of chemical contaminants. Many studies indicate that prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental toxicants increases susceptibility to diseases, from learning and developmental disabilities to cancer. Given research links to pesticide exposure and neurological and cognitive development, studies like this can help government and health officials identify how pesticides’ impact on the brain elevates health concerns. The Environmental Research authors note, “The etiology [cause] of language development is complex, and this work further highlights the importance of the prenatal environment as a mechanism of influence that are associated with deficits in early language acquisition and ability, which could signal increased behavioral problems and academic difficulties in later childhood that extend […]

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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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Neonicotinoid Insecticides Add to the Growing List of Chemicals that Transfer between Mother and Fetus

Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 4, 2022) A study published in Environmental Science and Technology finds neonicotinoids (neonics) and their breakdown products (metabolites), like other chemical pesticide compounds, can readily transfer from mother to fetus. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) finds U.S. pregnant women experience frequent exposure to environmental pollutants that pose serious health risks to both mother and newborn. Many known pollutants (i.e., heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyl, and pesticides) are chemicals that can move from the mother to the developing fetus at higher exposure rates. Hence, prenatal exposure to these chemicals may increase the prevalence of birth-related health consequences like natal abnormalities and learning/developmental disabilities. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Moreover, a mother’s pesticide exposure can have a stronger association with health disorders than childhood exposure, and a newborn can still encounter pesticides. Therefore, it is essential to understand how pesticides impact the health and well-being of individuals during critical developmental periods. Beyond Pesticides has covered a variety of pregnancy risks from pesticides and other toxic chemicals, including these in just the last three years: pesticides and children’s sleep disorders; prenatal exposures to a multitude of chemicals; insecticides and childhood leukemia; insecticides and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. The study […]

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Mother and Child Health: Learning Disorders and Prenatal Pesticide Exposure Study Results Released

Tuesday, December 20th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticide, December 20, 2022) A meta-analysis published in Chemosphere finds prenatal pesticide exposure, or pesticide exposure during pregnancy has a positive association with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Particularly, exposure to chemical classes organophosphate (OP) and pyrethroid (PYR) insecticides, in addition to the mother’s age during pregnancy (≄30 years old), increased the risk factor of ASD. ADHD risk increases among offspring whose mothers encounter organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) during gestation. The etiology or cause of ASD and ADHD involves the interaction of multiple components, including lifestyle and genetics. However, emerging evidence indicates that environmental contaminants like pesticides (e.g., occupational exposures, air pollution, solvents, dietary residues, etc.) play a role in disease etiology. Pesticide contamination is widespread in all ecosystems, and chemical compounds can accumulate in human tissues resulting in chronic health effects.  ADHD is estimated to affect 8-12% of school-age children worldwide. While it is a complex disease, and genetics may play a role, no specific genes have been identified, and there is increasing evidence that environmental factors like pesticide exposure facilitate the development of the condition. Additionally, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 54 children have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum […]

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Estrogen-Mediated Cancers in Humans Have Links to Endocrine Disrupting Pesticides

Tuesday, December 13th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2022) Pesticides have a long history associated with hormone (endocrine)-disrupting properties that induce various molecular changes, prompting disease development. Adding to the science, a review published in Environmental Exposure, Biomonitoring and Exposure Assessment highlights how specific estrogen-mimicking pesticides increase the risk of disease, particularly hormone-related cancers among women (i.e., breast, ovarian, endometrial cancer) and men (i.e., testicular, prostate cancer). Like pesticides, endocrine disruptors are xenobiotic (i.e., chemical substances foreign to an organism or ecosystem). Many reports demonstrate that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can adversely affect human, animal—and thus environmental—health by altering the natural bodily hormones responsible for conventional reproductive, physical, and mental development. Endocrine disruption can lead to several health problems, including hormone-related cancer development (i.e., thyroid, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular), reproductive dysfunction, and diabetes/obesity that can span generations. Therefore, studies related to pesticides and endocrine disruption help scientists understand the underlying mechanisms that indirectly or directly cause cancer, among other health issues. Pesticides are one of the most potent xeno-estrogenic compounds, as estrogenic strength and environmental half-life exceed those of other xeno-estrogenic compounds. Focusing on organochlorine pesticides (OCs), the study evaluates the chemical effects on the physiological (anatomic) system to increase cancer risk. Using human studies, researchers assessed how estrogen-medicated cancer develops in women and men. […]

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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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Ocean Health: Environmental Pollutants Threaten Humpback Whale Reproduction and Offspring

Tuesday, December 6th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 6, 2022) Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)—including banned pesticides—present a health risk to humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), according to a study published in Environmental Pollution. Regarding female humpback whales, levels of POPs in blubber are higher in juveniles and subadults than in adults, primarily from the transference of contaminants from the mother to her calf.  Organochlorine compounds (OCs), such as organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are well-known persistent organic pollutants. The international Stockholm Convention treaty (signed by 152 countries, but not the U.S.) banned these primary pollutants of concern (UNEP, 2009) in 2001 (taking effect in 2004) because of their persistence, toxicity, and adverse effects on environmental and biological health. These pollutants have a global distribution, with evaporation and precipitation facilitating long-range atmospheric transport, deposition, and bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in the environment. However, these chemicals can remain in the environment for decades and interact with various current-use pesticides, including organophosphates, neonicotinoids, and pyrethroids. Although various studies demonstrate the volatile, toxic nature of POPs, much less research evaluates the impact POPs have on maternal offloading or transfer of contaminates to offspring and respective health consequences. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one […]

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