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

Friday, March 29th, 2024

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

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Disproportionate Pesticide Hazards to Farmworkers and People of Color Documented. . .Again

Friday, February 16th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 16, 2024) A report released in January, US pesticide regulation is failing the hardest-hit communities. It’s time to fix it, finds “people of color and low-income communities in the United States and around the world continue to shoulder the societal burden of harmful pollution.” More specifically, the authors state that “ongoing environmental injustice is the disproportionate impact these communities suffer from pesticides, among the most widespread environmental pollutants.” The report follows an earlier article by the same lead authors and others (see earlier coverage) on the long history of documented hazards and government failure to protect farmworkers from pesticide use in agriculture. In a piece posted by Beyond Pesticides earlier this week, the serious weaknesses in the worker protection standard for farmworkers are documented.   The latest report was led by Nathan Donley, environmental health science director at the Center for Biological Diversity and Robert Bullard, known as the “Father of Environmental Justice” and executive director of the Robert D. Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University in Houston. In addition to these authors, the 2022 review was coauthored by Jeannie Economos of the Farmworker Association of Florida, Iris Figueroa of Farmworker Justice, Jovita […]

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Pesticides’ Role in Lower Sperm Counts and Reproductive Harm in Men Again in Science Literature

Wednesday, January 10th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2024) Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) negatively impacts testicular function and may cause sperm count declines over time, according to a 2022 review published in Endocrine. The findings indicate that this occurs regardless of whether exposure is prenatal (before birth) or postnatal (after birth). More recent work from October 2023 confirms the connection between male reproductive health and exposure to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides and the weed killer glyphosate—as many pesticide products containing these chemicals are classifiable as endocrine disruptors (ED). Just last year, a meta-analysis from researchers at Mount Sinai Medical Center, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and the University of Copenhagen, among others, finds that the drop in global sperm count is accelerating, dropping by 51.6 percent from 1973 through 2018. The U.S. regulatory system, under the authority of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has not kept pace with the science and does not fully evaluate pesticides in wide use for endocrine disruption, despite a requirement in 1996 law (the Food Quality Protection Act) to begin that testing and evaluation nearly three decades ago. In 2021, Beyond Pesticides reported that the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for EPA issued a damning report on the […]

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Study Confirms Connection Between Exposure to Pesticides and Male Reproductive Problems

Friday, December 1st, 2023

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

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Plant-Based Diets: Beneficial for the Environment But Potentially High in Pesticides?

Tuesday, November 21st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, November 21, 2023) According to a study in the Scientific Reports Journal, plant-forward diets might increase exposure to pesticide residues compared to meat-heavy diets. However, a switch to organic plant-based options significantly reduces this risk, with a separate research study indicating that vegetarians and vegans—often favoring organic products—are generally less exposed to synthetic pesticides than omnivores. The study also corroborates other research emphasizing the environmental benefits of plant-based diets, advocating for policies that make organic plant-based foods more widely accessible and emphasizing their crucial role in enhancing both environmental and human health.   Plant-based diets are increasingly popular—and with good reason. The intensification of animal agriculture is a major cause of deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and high water usage. In particular, Brazil accounts for one-third of global tropical deforestation, with 80% of this deforestation in the Amazon due to cattle ranching. Additionally, animal products like fish, eggs, and meat, responsible for about 83% of land use, supply only 37% of the global protein. Numerous studies suggest that reducing meat and animal product consumption can significantly mitigate environmental impacts, particularly regarding land use and greenhouse gas emissions. However, managed grazing in organic animal agriculture reduces many of the hazards […]

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Erectile Dysfunction Among Younger Males Linked to Pesticide Exposures

Thursday, November 16th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, November 16, 2023) A study published in the Journal of Endocrinological Investigation finds exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos and other organophosphates (OPs) has a positive association with the development of erectile dysfunction (ED). Erectile dysfunction, also known as impotence, is the difficulty of getting or keeping an erection. Despite occurring in males later in life (between 40 and 70 years), recent studies highlight this issue emerging among adolescents, highlighting possible hormone imbalances not associated with age. Scientists and health officials already associate pesticide exposure with a decrease in male fertility, including reduced sperm count, quality, and abnormal sperm development. Exposure to many pesticides also profoundly impacts the endocrine (hormone) system, including reproductive health. Globally, ED is increasing, with over 300 million men expected to have ED by 2025. Although age and comorbid conditions (e.g., obesity, diabetes, and hypertension) play a role in ED prognosis, studies, including this one, suggest environmental contaminant exposure can also explain the increasing trend in ED. The study notes, “Future studies are warranted to corroborate these findings, determine clinical significance, and to investigate biological mechanisms underlying these associations.” Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers investigated urinary levels of 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPy), […]

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

Thursday, November 9th, 2023

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

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Elevated Asthma Risk from Chlorpyrifos and Organophosphates Reported as Court Rolls Back Protections

Wednesday, November 8th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, November 8, 2023) A study published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research finds organophosphate pesticides (OPs) are linked to an increased asthma prevalence. The study was released just before an 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals November 3 decision vacating EPA’s 2021 decision to cancel all food tolerances for chlorpyrifos and sending it back to the agency. (Required by a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in April 2021 to take action, EPA issued a final rule in August, 2021—in full effect February 28, 2022—after an earlier 9th Circuit decision, concluding that, “EPA is unable to conclude that the risk from aggregate exposure from the use of chlorpyrifos meets the safety standard of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). Accordingly, EPA is revoking all tolerances for chlorpyrifos.”  Using urinary metabolites of OPs, the study highlights that diethyl phosphate (DEP, the breakdown chemical of chlorpyrifos) has the strongest association with asthma. However, individual and combined exposure to all OPs have a significant link to respiratory disease. The respiratory system is essential to human survival, regulating gas exchange (oxygen-carbon dioxide) in the body to balance acid and base tissue cells for normal function. Damage to the respiratory system can […]

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Neurodevelopmental Disorders Studied as an Environmental Justice Concern

Thursday, October 26th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 26, 2023) The increasing prevalence of neurodevelopmental disorders (NDDs) in the United States has raised concerns about the impact of toxic exposures on child development. A comprehensive review by Devon Payne-Sturges, PhD, and colleagues in Environmental Health Perspectives analyzes the literature about disparities in NDDs in vulnerable and marginalized populations. The review investigates over 200 studies and reveals that fewer than half of these studies actually examine disparities, and most fail to provide a rationale for their assessments. The authors also offer practical suggestions for improving future research, including better methods for characterizing race and socioeconomic status and interpreting effect modification in environmental epidemiologic studies of health disparities. Associate Professor Devon Payne-Sturges, PhD, at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health, one of the lead authors of the study and a former policy specialist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said, “FDA and EPA can act now—not later—to protect families from neurotoxic chemicals in consumer products and in the environment.” Tanya Khemet Taiwo, PhD, the other lead author and assistant professor at Bastyr University in Seattle said, “We need more stringent environmental standards to address pollution that is disproportionately impacting low-income communities and communities of […]

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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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Organophosphate Pesticides and the Link to Respiratory, Metabolic, and Heart Disease

Wednesday, October 18th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 18, 2023) A meta-analysis published in Toxics finds an association between exposure to organophosphate pesticides (OPs) and respiratory diseases and diabetes mellitus (DM). Specifically, wheezing and asthma are the most common respiratory manifestations of OP exposure, while fluctuation in weight and fat/glucose levels are the most common metabolically related manifestations. Organophosphorus pesticides have a wide range of biological uses—from insecticides to flame retardants—that make these chemicals ubiquitous, significantly contributing to ecosystem contamination. Thus, OP compounds have a global distribution, with evaporation and precipitation facilitating long-range atmospheric transport, deposition, and bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in the environment. Many studies show OPs are highly toxic, and residues are consistently present in human and animal urine, blood, tissues, and milk. Considering 90 percent of Americans have at least one pesticide compound in their body, primarily stemming from dietary exposure, including food and drinking water, advocates maintain that current restrictions on their use must adequately detect and assess total chemical contaminants.  This study investigated the effects and possible mechanisms involved in adverse health outcomes associated with OP exposure. Reviewing studies from Web of Science, PubMed, Embase, OVID, and the Cochrane Library, researchers systematically searched for articles on OP exposure and respiratory, DM, and cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcomes until 2022. […]

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Paris’s Worrying Bed Bug Surge Linked to Insecticide-Resistance

Tuesday, October 17th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2023) In the past month, Paris, France has witnessed a surge in bed bug populations. From public transportation to hotels, hostels, and movie theatres, bed bugs are posing a threat to the city’s two million residents and potentially a broader global population as the infestation spreads.   This resurgence of bed bugs in Paris is not unique. For centuries, these pests have been both adaptable and persistent, presenting an enduring challenge to pest control. However, the current surge in bed bug infestations is not merely a revival of a longstanding problem; it is a complex issue intertwined with the development of resistance to insecticides, mainly through a mechanism known as knockdown resistance. This mechanism, along with three other main resistance mechanisms, has enabled these insects to defy chemical-intensive control methods  Knockdown resistance is a significant factor contributing to the resistance exhibited by bed bugs to insecticides, especially pyrethroids. The mechanism plays a central role in countering the action of these insecticides, which target the nervous system of bed bugs, causing paralysis and eventual death. Knockdown resistance provides the genetic adaptation that provides bed bug populations with resistance to insecticides. It inhibits the effectiveness of certain insecticides. Bed […]

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EPA Reverses on Decision to Ban Flea Collars with Toxic Pesticide, Leaving Children at Risk

Friday, September 29th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2023) In unsurprising news, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reversed itself and decided not to ban a dangerous pesticide: tetrachlorovenphos (TCVP) used in pet flea collars and other flea products. This is despite its own earlier decision to ban TCVP in pet collars and scathing criticism of its methods and conclusions by the courts. First registered in 1966, TCVP belongs to the notoriously toxic organophosphate chemical family and is classified by the World Health Organization as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” It was originally registered to Shell Chemical, then to E.I. duPont de Nemours, then to Hartz Mountain Corporation and Fermenta Animal Health Company.  Early on, it was registered for use on food crops and livestock, but the crop uses were voluntarily de-registered in 1987. It is still widely used on pets and farm animals. In 1995, EPA issued the opinion that “all uses of tetrachlorvinphos, with the exception of oral feed-through larvicide treatment to livestock intended for food use, will not cause unreasonable risk to humans or the environment.” Since then, the agency has contorted itself repeatedly to allow TCVP to remain on the market. There is little research available on TCVP’s human health effects; the […]

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

Thursday, September 28th, 2023

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

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

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

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

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Popular Pyrethroid Insecticides, Already Linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis, Associated with Osteoarthritis

Wednesday, September 20th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 20, 2023) Higher concentrations of a pyrethroid metabolite (3-PBA) in the body have an association with increased osteoarthritis (OA) risk among US adults, according to a study published in BMC Public Health. Regardless of analysis sensitivity and population subgroup (e.g., sex, socioeconomic status, etc.), the association between pyrethroid exposure and OA remains. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease resulting from the degradation (breakdown) of joint cartilage and underlying bone. This disease affects 1 in 7 U.S. adults and is the fourth leading cause of disability in the U.S. Unfortunately, OA is one of the most recently attributed pesticide-induced diseases associated with this dangerous class of chemical insecticides—harm to individual Americans that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not considering when it registers pesticides. To remedy the significant deficiencies in EPA’s reviews and protect residents from chronic disease, more and more communities are transitioning to safer, organic pest management practices that do not require pyrethroids and other toxic synthetic pesticides. Thus, this study and others like it highlight the need for increased monitorization of pyrethroid exposure among the general population. Using data from the 1999–2002 and 2007–2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), this study explores the relationship between pyrethroid exposure and osteoarthritis. NHANES is […]

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Pollinator Health: The Climate Crisis Weakens Bees’ Ability to Withstand Pesticide Exposure

Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2023) A study published in Global Change Biology finds climate change increases bees’ sensitivity to pesticide exposure, impairing the pollinators’ ability to respond to light (Ultra-Violet [UV] stimuli), reducing floral syrup consumption, and lessening longevity (length of life) up to 70 percent. Notably, the reduction in floral syrup consumption indicates nutritional stress that further impacts bee species’ fecundity (productiveness), driving bee declines. Unless more is done to combat the climate crisis, the current global warming scenario increasing bees’ sensitivity to pesticide exposure will continue to threaten all pollinator health. The pervasiveness of pesticide exposure, combined with climate change, threatens global species biodiversity. As has been widely reported, pollinators (such as bees, monarch butterflies, and bats) are a bellwether for environmental stress as individuals and as colonies. Pesticides intensify pollinators’ vulnerability to health risks (such as pathogens and parasites), with pesticide-contaminated conditions limiting colony productivity, growth, and survival. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one million species of plants and animals at risk, including pollinators. Pollinator declines directly affect the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many agricultural and nonagricultural plant species will decline or cease to exist as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly […]

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Pesticide Exposure with Disproportionate Effects Increases Risk of Asthma

Wednesday, August 16th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 16, 2023) A study published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research further supports the indication that exposure to organophosphate insecticides (OPs) increases the risk of asthma among the U.S. general population. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, “The burden of asthma in the United States falls disproportionately on people with low-income, senior adults, and Black, Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native people,” making these groups more susceptible to developing this chronic lung disease upon OP exposure.   Organophosphorus pesticides have a wide range of biological uses—from insecticides to flame retardants—that make these chemicals ubiquitous, significantly contributing to ecosystem contamination. Furthermore, while organophosphates have less bioaccumulation potential, residues are consistently present in human and animal blood, urine, tissues, and milk. Although research demonstrates that OPs are highly toxic, there remains an inadequate understanding of how OP exposure impacts body systems like the repository system. The respiratory system is essential to human survival, regulating gas exchange (oxygen-carbon dioxide) in the body to balance acid and base tissue cells for normal function. However, damage to the respiratory system can cause several issues—from asthma and bronchitis to oxidative stress that triggers the development of extra-respiratory manifestations like rheumatoid arthritis and cardiovascular disease. Therefore, the rise in respiratory illnesses and organophosphate […]

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Regulators Ignore Mosquito Resistance to Pesticides, Promoting Disease Transmission

Monday, August 7th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2023) Why is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowing the use of pesticides under the “unreasonable adverse effects” to health or the environment standard of the federal pesticide law (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act [FIFRA]) if the pesticides quickly lose their efficacy? Pest resistance to pesticides is a well-known biological mechanism that becomes problematic when farmers are faced with crop failure and economic loss. It becomes especially threatening when the goal is to manage insects that are a disease vector and when the regulatory process ignores nonchemical management strategies that are efficacious and sustainable. Tell EPA, Governors, and Congress that given the certainty of pesticide resistance, ecologically-based mosquito management must replace a reliance on pesticides. Insect resistance to insecticides has been an issue since the introduction of DDT in the 1940s. Although most countries currently ban DDT use, several currently used insecticides pose the same threat. In fact, resistance is predicted by elementary population genetics, and the speed of its evolution is directly related to the toxicity—that is, strength of selection pressure—and inversely related to the generation length of the organism. When that target organism of the pesticide is a disease vector, like West […]

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The Growing Insecticide Resistance Issue Increases Concerns Over Deadly Disease Transmission Through Mosquitos

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 2, 2023) A study published in Pest Management Science finds resistance to insecticides like pyrethroids are challenging attempts to control the mosquito Aedes aegypti (Ae. aegypti), the primary transmitter (vector) of dengue fever. While this study takes place in Bangladesh, resistance to biocides—whether to antibiotics, antimicrobials, or pesticides—is growing globally. Prevention of disease outbreaks is threatened by reliance on chemical biocides to which pathogens and their vectors develop resistance. In fact, resistance is predicted by elementary population genetics, and the speed of its evolution is directly related to the toxicity—that is, the strength of selection pressure—and inversely related to the generation length of the organism. (See PAY articles here and here, a PBS article here.) Insecticide resistance has been an issue since the introduction of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) in the 1940s. Although most countries currently ban DDT use, the compound is not the only chemical pesticide promoting pest resistance. Several current-use insecticides pose the same threat. Areawide, indiscriminate spraying of insecticides is causing resistance to develop among many pests. Mosquitoes have become increasingly resistant to synthetic pyrethroids, in addition to other classes of insecticides, such as carbamates and organophosphates. Thus, this study demonstrates the need for sustainable and practical strategies […]

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High Frequency of Household Pesticide Exposure Can Double the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease Among the General Population

Tuesday, July 11th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 11, 2023) A study published in Parkinsonism & Related Disorders finds high exposure to household pesticides increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD) two-fold. There is a multitude of epidemiologic research on Parkinson’s disease demonstrating several risk factors, including specific genetic mutations and external/environmental triggers (i.e., pesticide use, pollutant exposure, etc.). However, several studies find exposure to chemical toxicants, like pesticides, has neurotoxic effects or exacerbates preexisting chemical damage to the nervous system. Past studies suggest neurological damage from oxidative stress, cell dysfunction, and synapse impairment, among others, can increase the incidence of PD following pesticide exposure. Despite the widespread commercialized use of household pesticides among the general population, few epidemiologic studies examine the influence household pesticides have on the risk of PD, although many studies demonstrate the association between PD onset via occupational (work-related) pesticide exposure patterns. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, with at least one million Americans living with PD and about 50,000 new diagnoses annually. Alzheimer’s ranks first. The disease affects 50 percent more men than women, and individuals with PD have a variety of symptoms, including loss of muscle control and trembling, anxiety and depression, constipation and urinary difficulties, dementia, and […]

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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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Pesticide Threat to Pollinators Decreases Agricultural and Economic Productivity, and Food Security

Thursday, June 22nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2023) Since the early twentieth century, ‘migratory’ beekeepers have provided a critical service to U.S. agriculture by moving their hives seasonally to pollinate a variety of crops. Annually, commercial beekeeping adds between $15 and $20 billion in economic value to agriculture, which is a major industry in the United States, with 21.1 million full- and part-time jobs related to the agricultural and food sectors—10.5 percent of total U.S. employment. Before insects and pollinators like bees evolved to pollinate, pollination occurred through the wind, scattering the pollen from the plants and landing on other flowers that could reproduce. However, commercial pollination services contribute to increased yields. Without commercial pollination, food prices would rise, the farm sector would suffer globally, and the security and variety of the food supply would diminish. With the wild insect pollinator populations already in serious decline, commercial, migratory beekeeping is more than ever a vital piece of the agricultural economy. With pollinator decline, as an integral part of worldwide biodiversity collapse and the “insect apocalypse,” commercial beekeepers face collapse as well. The United Nations states that 80 percent of the 115 top global food crops depend on insect pollination, with one-third of all U.S. crops depending on pollinators, according to the U.S. […]

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