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Implications for Human Health: Work-Related Pesticide Exposure Increases Sleep Disorder Risk

Tuesday, March 14th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2023) A study published in Environmental Research and Public Health finds occupational pesticide exposure increases the risk of sleep disorders among farmworkers and pesticide applicators. Specifically, many pesticides, like organophosphates (OPs), are detrimental to neurological function through inhibition of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) responsible for ending a neurotransmission event after relaying the necessary information. Without an end to neurotransmission events, individuals experience a buildup of acetylcholine, resulting in convulsions, headaches, weakness, impacts on bodily senses, and other cognitive/mental changes. In addition to illnesses from chemical exposure, inadequate sleep has links to several chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Therefore, given research links to sleep-related disorders and bodily functions, including endocrine, metabolic, neurological, and cognitive disorders, studies like this can help government and health officials identify how pesticides’ impact on the brain elevates health concerns. The study notes, “The study’s findings can be used to create strategies for addressing mental health issues and promoting mental health and quality of life.” Researchers assess the sleep patterns among individuals living in southeast Spain, near the coast of Almeria, where chemical-intensive agriculture from greenhouses is prevalent. Of the 380 participants in the study, 189 were […]

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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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Pesticide Exposure and the Link to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Thursday, March 2nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2023) Populations experiencing higher levels of environmental pollutant exposure, specifically pesticides, also experience a higher rate of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), according to a study published in Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology. IBS is a gastrointestinal disorder that causes abdominal pain or discomfort and changes in bowel behaviors. IBS affects 25 to 45 million individuals in the U.S., mostly female (two-thirds). Additionally, a quarter to half of all gastrointestinal-related visits are for IBS symptoms. Despite the unknown etiology of IBS, ample evidence demonstrates environmental contaminants, like pesticides, negatively affect the gut microbiota, causing a microorganism imbalance and resulting in inflammation associated with IBS. The gut, also known as the “second brain,” shares similar structural and chemical parallels to the brain. The microbiota in the gut plays a crucial role in lifelong digestion, immune and central nervous system regulation, as well as other bodily functions. Although studies show how chemical exposures affect overall human health, a growing body of peer-reviewed scientific literature is now questioning how these toxic chemicals influence gut health and the subsequent occurrence of diseases. The study notes, “These findings may help to understand the relationship between pesticide exposure and IBS; however, more epidemiological and experimental research is needed to understand […]

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More Dramatic Insect Decline Confirms Inadequate Action on Pending Biodiversity Collapse

Thursday, February 16th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2023) Areas designated to protect insects fail to do so for over 75 percent of global species, according to a study, “Three-quarters of insect species are insufficiently represented by protected areas,” published in the online journal One Earth. Protected Areas (PAs) act as a safeguard for biodiversity. However, PAs in North America, Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia do not meet the minimum coverage requirements to safeguard global insect species assessed in the study. PAs are discussed in the 2020 Nature article, “Area-based conservation in the twenty-first century,” in which the authors state that, in view of the global biodiversity crisis, national governments must do much more to increase protected areas with “coverage across different elements of biodiversity (ecoregions, 12,056 threatened species, ‘Key Biodiversity Areas’ and wilderness areas) and ecosystem services (productive fisheries, and carbon services on land and seas).” The authors write, citing the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (to which the United States is not a signatory), “To be more successful after 2020, area-based conservation must contribute more effectively to meeting global biodiversity goals—ranging from preventing extinctions to retaining the most-intact ecosystems—and must better collaborate with the many Indigenous peoples, community groups and private initiatives […]

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Neonicotinoid Insecticides Adversely Affect Nervous System Health, According to Study

Thursday, January 19th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 19, 2023) Research published in Environmental Health Perspectives finds the presence of nine various neonicotinoids (neonics) and six neonic metabolites within human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF is an essential part of the central nervous system (CNS), especially for CNS development. Specific chemical biomarkers (measurable indicators of biological state), like pesticides, found in CSF are useful for diagnosing and evaluating numerous neurological diseases. The nervous system is an integral part of the human body and includes the brain, spinal cord, a vast network of nerves and neurons, all of which are responsible for many of our bodily functions—from sensed to movement. However, 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. The impacts of pesticides on the nervous system, including the brain, are hazardous, especially for chronically exposed individuals (e.g., farmworkers) or during critical windows of vulnerability and development (e.g., childhood, pregnancy). Researchers identify the role agricultural chemicals play in CNS impacts causing neurological diseases, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease, dementia-like diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and other effects on cognitive function. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood […]

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Calling for Reform of Pesticide Regulation to Address Health, Biodiversity, and Climate Crises

Monday, January 9th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2023) The Biden EPA still needs a new vision in order to meet the existential crises in public health, climate change, and biodiversity. The Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed in four years much of the progress made by the EPA in decades. Despite a broad new perspective embodied in President Biden’s Executive Memorandum (EM) Modernizing Regulatory Review issued on his first day in office, the Biden EPA has not adopted a new direction for regulating pesticides. Tell President Biden, EPA, and Congress to adopt a new direction for pesticide regulation. Immediately following his inauguration, President Joe Biden issued the EM, which directs the heads of all executive departments and agencies to produce recommendations for improving and modernizing regulatory review, with a goal of promoting public health and safety, economic growth, social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity, equity, and the interests of future generations. This EM could reverse the historical trend of status-quo regulatory reviews required by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that typically support vested economic interests of polluters (e.g., petroleum-based pesticide and fertilizer manufacturers). The President’s EM sets the stage for the adoption of agency policy across government to […]

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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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Groups Again Call for Urgent Action to Eliminate Pesticide Industry’s Influence at the United Nations

Thursday, December 22nd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 22, 2022) International health and environmental groups submitted an urgent letter to  the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) late last month demanding “greater transparency and accountability” through termination of the agency’s two-year-old partnership with CropLife International (CLI), a global trade association representing the world’s biggest pesticide manufacturers. Addressed to FAO Deputy Director Beth Bechdol ahead of FAO Council 171 session in Rome and COP15, the letter outlines a unique opportunity for the organization to lead the phaseout of fossil-fuel based food systems and use of agrochemicals while upholding the agency’s responsibility to act in response to conflicts of interest and human rights violations.   The original Letter of Intent (LOI), signed between CLI President and CEO Guilia Di Tommaso and FAO Director-General Qu Dongyu in October 2020, framed the partnership as a means to ensure humanity’s freedom from hunger while advancing Sustainable Development Goals. However, according to PAN Europe Policy Officer Manon Rouby, “While the private sector has been working with FAO for years, this official agreement with CropLife directly threatens FAO’s work on supporting farmers in the transition towards agroecology, while reducing the harms of synthetic pesticides worldwide. With CropLife members being the largest agrichemical […]

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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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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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Joining Together to Give Thanks as We Confront the Challenges Ahead

Thursday, November 24th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 24, 2021) On Thanksgiving, thank you for being a part of Beyond Pesticides and sharing and contributing to the vision necessary to protect the web and the fragility of life. We believe that there is no time like Thanksgiving to think about how we can more effectively join together as families and communities across divisions and different points of view to find a common purpose in protecting the health of the environment and all that inhabit it. Unfortunately, a host of pesticides, genetically engineered materials, and others in conventional Thanksgiving foods impact human health and threaten the environment. With far too many adverse health and ecological effects associated with toxic chemicals, organic practices are viable solutions to mitigate pesticide contamination and subsequent exposure. Read on as we consider the range of challenges we must confront and the solutions that can bring us all together. Additionally, you can help Beyond Pesticides in educating and building a movement that will bring long-needed protection to humans, animals, and the entire environment by attending the third seminar on November 29 on Climate during the 2022 National Forum Series, Health, Biodiversity, and Climate: A Path for a Livable Future. The National Forum […]

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Breast Cancer Month: Neonicotinoid Insecticides and Breast Cancer Risk (Triple Negative Breast Cancer)

Thursday, October 27th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2022) A study published in Environment International adds to the growing body of research evaluating the association between neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics/NIs) and breast cancer. Past studies suggest neonics act as endocrine disruptors, affecting the development and regulation of estrogen hormones that promote breast cancer. However, this study is one of the few to evaluate the toxicological and molecular mechanisms involved in initiating breast cancer events. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breast cancer is a disease that causes breast cells to grow out of control, with the type of breast cancer depending on the cells themselves. Most common forms of breast cancer have receptors on the cell surface that can increase cancer growth when activated by estrogen, progesterone, or too much of the protein called HER2. One in ten women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis, and genetics can only account for five to ten percent of cases. When a cancer cell lacks receptors for these molecules, G protein-coupled estrogen receptors (GPERs) are an essential biological target of estrogen and plays a role in hormone-dependent cancer development. GPERs regulate estrogen through non-genetic cellular pathways, forgoing attachment to standard molecular receptors, leading to triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Although past […]

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Over a Decade and Countless Children Poisoned, EPA Bans Hazardous Flea Collar Products

Wednesday, October 19th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, October 19, 2022) Pet flea collars containing the insecticide tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) are set to be banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to the agency’s long overdue response to a petition from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The highly toxic pesticide has not been used on crops since 1987, yet was permitted for decades in flea collars where children could be intimately exposed to the chemical while petting and playing with the family pet. The decade-long process of bringing use of these products to an end exposes the failures of the U.S. pesticide regulatory system, and how EPA’s weak and flawed decisions that infect the marketplace with severe consequences. One may ask: How many veterinarians prescribed these dangerous flea collars to pet owners, assuming that EPA has properly assessed exposure risks to their human owners? Advocates concerned about EPA’s ongoing propensity to defer to the pesticide industry are urging an overhaul of the regulatory process and a reorientation toward toxic pesticide elimination and the adoption of organic in order to address serious health and environmental threats. NRDC originally filed its petition to ban all uses of TCVP in 2009. The petition noted that the agency completely […]

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Exposure to Widely Used Bug Sprays Linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis

Wednesday, October 5th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, October 5, 2022) Exposure to widely used synthetic pyrethroids, present in many mosquito adulticides and household insecticides like RAID, is associated with a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, according to research published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research. This is the latest pesticide-induced disease associated with this dangerous class of chemicals – a harm to individual Americans that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not considering when it registers pesticides. To remedy the major 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. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes systemic inflammation throughout the body, resulting in progressive damage to an individual’s joints. In the United States, roughly 1.3 million adults suffer from RA, accounting for nearly 1% of the adult population. Health care costs associated with the disease reach nearly $20 billion annually. To better understand the etiology behind the disease, an international team of researchers from China, Illinois, and Missouri analyzed data from the 2007-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a long-running program that began in the early 1960s […]

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Beyond Pesticides Calls on Administrators to Keep Pesticides Out of Schools, Children at Elevated Risk

Monday, September 19th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2022) Schools have been deeply concerned about providing safety from COVID-19, but often overlook that the toxic pesticides to which students, teachers, and other staff may be exposed in going back to school threaten their health, both short- and long-term. Beyond Pesticides identifies the health hazards that pesticides pose to the nervous, immune, and respiratory systems, as well as brain function, and their association with cancer and other chronic effects. At the same time, practical, and cost-effective pest management practices are available that do not utilize toxic pesticides (including disinfectants). Tell your Governor to ensure that children, teachers, and staff in all schools throughout your state are protected from toxic chemicals. Children face unique hazards from pesticide exposure. In the food they eat and the air they breathe, children take in greater amounts of pesticides (relative to their body weight) than adults, and their developing organ systems are typically more sensitive to toxic exposures. Children also come into closer contact with chemicals than adults, as a result of crawling behavior and hand to mouth contact. The American Academy of Pediatrics, in a landmark report on children and pesticide use, wrote, “Children encounter pesticides daily and have […]

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Antibiotics and Neonicotinoid Insecticides Linked to Gut Microbiome Disruption and Childhood Diabetes

Thursday, August 25th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 25, 2022) A study published in World Journal of Pediatrics finds an association between antibiotic and neonicotinoid (neonic) exposure and onset of pediatric (childhood) type 1 diabetes (T1D) through effects on the gut microbiome. Individuals with type 1 diabetes are at higher risk of other autoimmune disorders, including thyroid and celiac disease. Ample evidence demonstrates environmental contaminants like pesticides and antibiotics negatively affect human mouth and gut microbes. Through the gut biome, pesticide exposure can enhance or exacerbate the adverse effects of additional environmental toxicants on the body. Moreover, studies find low levels of pesticide exposure during pregnancy or childhood cause adverse health effects from metabolic/immune disorders to mental and physical disabilities. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Although studies show how chemical exposures affect overall human health, more research is now questioning how these toxic chemicals influence gut health and subsequent occurrence of diseases. In children, gut microbiome disruption, or gut dysbiosis, has significant associations with type 1 diabetes development, and disruption of gut microbiota plays a role in type 2 diabetes development. Over 11 percent (>37 million) of individuals in the U.S. have diabetes, and cases are growing by millions annually. With increasing rates of type 1 and […]

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Acute Kidney Failure Higher Among Farmers: High-Middle-Low Income Countries Suffer Disparities

Thursday, August 11th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 11, 2022) A study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health finds that Brazilian agricultural workers are more likely to die from acute kidney failure (AKF) than other acute illnesses. Among the agricultural workers, the prevalence of AKF is higher for individuals at younger ages, who are female, and located in regions south of chemical use, particularly rural areas. However, the AKF mortality rate in urban areas is also increasing, but not as fast as in rural areas. Over six million people in the U.S. have kidney disease (i.e., nephritis [kidney inflammation], nephrotic syndrome (improper protein filtration), and nephrosis). Although many studies find an association between exposure to environmental contaminants like pesticides and chronic kidney disease (CKD), the association between pesticides and acute kidney failure remains unclear. CKD is a risk factor for AKF, and other environmental factors can increase the risk of AKF mortality. Therefore, studies like this highlight the need for comprehensive information regarding co-occurring exposure patterns and disease prevalence that can have global implications. The study notes, “Our findings reinforce the need for more robust epidemiological studies that account for co-exposures and conditions of agricultural work in the relationship between pesticide exposure and kidney […]

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Scientific Literature Review Again Connects Pesticides and Male Fertility Problems

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 3, 2022) A systematic review of scientific studies on pesticides and fertility finds exposure associated with lower semen quality, DNA fragmentation, and chromosomal abnormalities. Published in the journal Andrology, the review is yet another warning from a long string of researchers sounding the alarm over the connection between global fertility and toxic chemical exposure. With data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)  indicating roughly 1 in 5 couples are unable to conceive after a year of trying, and trends continuing to slope downwards, it is critical that contributing factors be identified so that protective changes can be made.   After screening over 1,300 studies, researchers narrowed their review down to 64 papers assessing semen parameters and DNA integrity after pesticide exposure. Each study is analyzed for its design, the pesticide investigated,  the population studied, controls, and reproductive effects determined. Pesticides are evaluated for their impacts to sperm quality and DNA integrity based on their chemical class. Organochlorine insecticides, which are all banned but still persistent in soil, air, water, and food in the United States, include a range of impacts to sperm quality. Higher levels of DDT or its breakdown metabolite DDE are […]

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Two Common-Use Organophosphate Pesticides in Drinking Water Put Nearly Everyone at Cancer Risk

Thursday, July 28th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2022) A report published in Chemosphere finds organophosphate (OP) insecticides readily contaminate drinking water resources, threatening human, animal, and ecological health. OPs have a wide range of biological uses—from insecticides to flame retardants—that make these chemicals ubiquitous, significantly contributing to ecosystem contamination. These compounds have a global distribution, with evaporation and precipitation facilitating long-range atmospheric transport, deposition, and bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in the environment. OPs are highly toxic, and residues are consistently present in human and animal blood, urine, 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.  Water is the most abundant and crucial chemical compound on earth, essential to survival, and the main component of all living things. Less than three percent of that water is freshwater, and only a fraction of that freshwater is groundwater (30.1%) or surface water (0.3%) readily available for consumption. However, ubiquitous pesticide use threatens to reduce the amount of available freshwater as pesticide runoff, recharge, and improper disposal tends to contaminate adjacent waterways, like rivers, streams, lakes, or underground watersheds. With rivers and streams only accounting […]

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Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Impair Juvenile Male Fertility Development and Threatens Future Reproductive Health

Thursday, July 14th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 14, 2022) A study published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology finds prepubescent exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including pesticides, impairs male reproduction through the interruption of testicular homeostasis and development of reproductive Leydig cells. Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotic (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides 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 hormones in the body responsible for conventional reproductive, physical, and mental development. Scientists and health officials already associate pesticide exposure with a decrease in male fertility, including reduced sperm count, quality, and abnormal sperm development. The presence of pesticides in the body has implications for human health, especially during vulnerable life stages, such as childhood, puberty, pregnancy, and old age. Therefore, it is essential to understand how exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment affects future reproductive success and health. The researchers note, “Recent studies revealed that exposures to EDCs during so-called critical windows of susceptibility (prenatal, prepubertal, pubertal, and aging periods) could disrupt healthy patterns of testes development and homeostasis, which can be demonstrated as an impaired testicular function later in life. However, much more work is needed to understand better the cellular […]

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Disappearance of California Bumble Bees Calls for Urgent Protection of Pollinators Nationwide

Thursday, June 23rd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2022) In the first California statewide bumble bee census in 40 years, a University of California—Riverside (UCR) study, published in Ecology and Evolution, reveals that once common bumble bee species in California are disappearing from the ecosystem. Wild pollinators like bumble bees provide pollination to billions of dollars worth of crops each year as these insects can flourish in cooler habitats and lower light levels than commercial honey bees. However, pollinators (such as bees, monarch butterflies, and bats) are a bellwether for environmental stress as individuals and as colonies. Both wild and commercial bees and other pollinators encounter multiple stressors, including pesticides, parasites, and poor nutrition, that act together to increase the risk of bee mortality. Therefore, studies like these highlight the need to establish monitoring and conservation frameworks incorporating varying habitats and species to assess fluctuations in biodiversity. The study notes, “Specifically, our study shows that greater monitoring of the diverse bumble bees of California is needed in order to better understand the drivers of biodiversity and decline in this genus, and to more effectively manage bumble bee conservation in the state.”  Researchers compared data on bumble bee populations in California in 1980 and 2020. After collecting bumble […]

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Pollinators Still Need Help; Act for Pollinator Week

Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2022) June 20-24 is Pollinator Week, during which we recognize—and take action to protect—this important ecosystem link. Pollinators––bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other organisms––make a critical contribution to plant health, crop productivity, and the preservation of natural resources, but their existence is threatened by their pesticide-contaminated habitat. Pesticides have consistently been implicated as a key contributor to dramatic pollinator declines. Of the 100 crop varieties that provide 90% of the world’s food, 71 are pollinated by bees. Honey bees alone pollinate 95 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables, such as apples, avocados, almonds, and cranberries. Take action to protect pollinators. Providing protection for pollinators also protects the ecosystem in which they live. That protection requires eliminating harm as well as providing safe habitats where they can live and reproduce.  Provide organic habitat on your own property and encourage your town to go organic. Since plant starts in many garden centers across the country are grown from seeds coated with bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, or drenched with them, Beyond Pesticides has compiled a comprehensive directory of companies and organizations that sell organic seeds and plants to the general public. Included in this directory are seeds for vegetables, flowers, and herbs, as well as […]

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