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Commonly Used Pyrethroid Pesticide Increases Risk of ADHD

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

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

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EPA Responds to Call for Chlorpyrifos Ban with New Risk Calculations and Continued Use

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, January 7, 2015) On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a revised human health assessment for the insecticide, chlorpyrifos, which finds risks to workers who mix, load and apply chlorpyrifos, and that the chemical has the potential to pose risks to drinking water in small watersheds. The assessment also notes that EPA will retain the 10X (10-fold) safety factor to protect children from all routes of exposures. EPA’s latest finding confirms long-standing scientific data that  has documented chlorpyrifos’ toxicity to humans and environmental contamination. However, despite these findings, EPA proposes to place additional restrictions on chlorpyrifos’ use, instead of a widespread ban. This latest assessment updates the June 2011 preliminary human health risk assessment, which was widely criticized by environmental and farmworker groups. EPA is releasing this assessment based on new information received since 2011, including public comments. The assessment is, in part, in response to a petition submitted by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) in 2007, which called on the agency to ban all uses of the insecticide. In 2000, EPA orchestrated a voluntary cancellation with the manufacturer Dow AgroSciences of  most residential uses of chlorpyrifos to limit children’s exposure, […]

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Another Study Links Depression in Farmers to Pesticide Use

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, October 15, 2014) A new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives finds a strong relationship between the use of pesticides and depression in farmers. One specific class of pesticide, organochlorines, was associated with a 90% higher chance of being diagnosed with depression. For fumigants, the increased risk was up to 80 percent. This study echoes the conclusion from an earlier French study which also reported that farmers using pesticides face  a greater risk of developing depression. The study, Pesticide Exposure and Depression among Male Private Pesticide Applicators in the Agricultural Health Study, examines possible associations between pesticide exposure and depression among male private pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS). Over 21,000 applicators who enrolled in the study in 1993—1997 were followed and examined. The applicators were asked about depression when enrolled in the study and then again around 2010. Previous work with this AHS sample found a higher prevalence of depression among male applicators who reported past pesticide poisoning or use of pesticides from several different classes. However, this study examines specific pesticides, and finds that two types of pesticides, fumigants and organochlorine insecticides are positively correlated with depression and cumulative days of use. Those exposed […]

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Close Proximity to Pesticide-Treated Fields Increases Risk of Autism

Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2014) Research from the University of California, Davis CHARGE (Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment) study finds that pregnant women who lived within a mile of agricultural fields treated with insecticides are more likely to have their child develop autism. The results of the CHARGE study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, strengthens calls from public health and environmental groups urging regulators take a precautionary approach to agricultural chemicals and institute increased protections for those who live, work, or go to school near pesticide-treated fields. The CHARGE study looked at pregnant women’s addresses to determine their location relative to fields treated with pesticides. For women who lived less than one mile from crops sprayed with organophosphate insecticides during their pregnancy, researchers found the likelihood of their child being diagnosed with autism increased 60%. Women in the second trimester living near fields treated with chlorpyrifos, a widely used organophosphate insecticide banned for household use in 2001, are 3.3 times more likely to have their children diagnosed with autism. In response to a legal petition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012 instituted risk mitigation measures for chlorpyrifos, including reduced application rates and no-spray buffer zones […]

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Scientist Warns of Ecological Effects Associated with Lawn Care Pesticide Runoff

Monday, June 9th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2014) A recent talk given by Donald Weston, PhD, a professor emeritus in UC Berkeley’s Department of Integrative Biology, to a community group in San Jose, California warned residents about the dangers that  lawn care insecticides present to  local aquatic life. The talk focused on the problems synthetic pyrethroids and fipronil can have on Hyalella azteca and Chironomus dilutes. Increasing levels of pesticide runoff in local stream systems have not only led to decreased populations of these aquatic crustaceans, but also populations that have become resistant to pesticides. Aquatic invertebrates are extremely sensitive to pesticide runoff and different states around the country have struggled with creating pesticide regulations that foster a healthy aquatic ecosystem. A good way to reduce pesticide runoff is to transition away from toxic land care methods and adopt organic practices. Hyalella crustaceans, a tiny shrimp-like animal, are hypersensitive to pyrethroids, which are a class of insecticides used by professional lawn care companies and found in common products like Raid and mixed with fertilizer products like Scotts Turf Builder under the name SummerGuard. Chironomus dilutes, a red worm-like invertebrate, is sensitive to fipronil, which is used to kill fleas on dogs and cats […]

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Organic Food Consumption Leads to Dramatically Lower Pesticide Exposure

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2014) A recent study, Reduction in urinary organophosphate pesticide metabolites in adults after a week-long organic diet, led by Liza Oates found lower trances of organophosphate metabolites in consumers that ate organic food for a week compared to those who ate a conventional diet. The study  adds to the scientific literature that shows consuming organic food minimize consumers’ exposure to pesticides residue. Because organic agriculture is a healthier system for consumers it is important we protect strict organic standards. The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Research, found that participants who ate a diet that was at least 80 percent organic had 89 percent lower levels of dialkylphosphates (DAPs), non-selective organophosphate metabolites, in their urine. The study was conducted in Melbourne, Australia with non-smoking participates between the age of 18 and 65. Participants were asked to eat a diet of conventional food for a week than on the morning of day eight participants provided a urine sample to the researchers. This process was repeated with the same participants after they spent a week eating at least 80 percent organic food. The levels of DAPs found in participants during the week in which they ate conventional […]

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Pesticides Linked to 30% Decline in French Men’s Sperm Count

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2014) Part deux of a 2012 study finding that sperm counts in French men had decreased 30% over the past 16 years came to a second startling conclusion in a 2014 analysis: the cause for those dramatic decreases may be pesticides. 2012 Sperm-Count Study Published in the scientific journal Human Reproduction, the landmark 2012 study showed an alarming 30 percent decrease in sperm counts across France between 1989 and 2005. Because the data for the 2012 study were drawn from Fivnat ””a French assisted reproduction technology database”” researches made sure to limit analysis to 26,600 sperm samples from otherwise virile 35-year-old men whose partners’ fallopian tubes were either blocked or missing. This control was added to ensure that the each couple’s infertility was due to these latter problems and not a problem with the man’s sperm. Broken down, the 2012 studies identified a 1.9 percent continued annual dip in sperm concentration and also found that there was a significant 33.4% decrease in the percentage of normally formed sperm over the entire 16-year period. At the time of release, the 2012 study’s authors wrote: “To our knowledge, it is the first study concluding a severe and general […]

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Scientists Determine 99.6% of Lice Resistant to Chemical Treatment

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2014)  Virtually all lice in the U.S. have developed resistance to over-the-counter and prescription shampoos containing the toxic chemical permethrin. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs  considers permethrin, part of the synthetic pyrethroid class of chemicals, “likely to be carcinogenic.” However, when used as a lice shampoo the chemical is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and allowed for use on infants over two months old. The latest study on lice resistance, published in the Journal of the Entomological Society of America, shows that harsh chemical treatments not only are not necessary given effective least-toxic alternatives, but also are not able to provide the lice control that manufacturers claim. “In the UK and Europe, they don’t even use pyrethroids anymore. Virtually everyone but the United States and Canada has given up using these over-the-counter products,” said Dr. John Clark, PhD, a professor of environmental toxicology and chemistry at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and co-author of the new study. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press,  Eric Ayers, MD of the Children’s Hospital of Michigan noted that lice that are not killed by the chemical treatment not only survive, but become […]

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Children Exposed to Increasing Concentrations of Pyrethroid Insecticides

Monday, February 10th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, February 10, 2014)    A recent study has found that exposure to pyrethroids is increasing among children and adults. The study also finds that children are still widely exposure to chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate chemical that has been banned for household use for over 12 years. This is not the first study to find high concentrations of pyrethroids in residential, but it may be the first to evaluate correlations between pesticide dust concentration and concentration of pesticides in children’s urine. The study, Urinary Pyrethroid and Chlorpyrifos Metabolite Concentrations in Northern California Families and Their Relationship to Indoor Residential Insecticide Levels,  conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis, analyzed urine samples from 90 adults, 83 children, and 88 floor wipe samples from participants’ kitchen floors. The participants were 90 northern Californian families who had children born between 2000 and 2005, with the samples collected from 2007-2009.   These samples were analyzed for concentrations of pyrethroids, pyrethroid metabolites, chlorpyrifos, and chlorpyrifos metabolites.  The study found pyrethroid metabolites in 63 percent of all urine samples with concentrations twice as high as levels reported in a national 2001-2002 study. In children, higher concentrations of pyrethroids found in floor wipes were associated […]

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Behavioral and Emotional Problems in Children Linked to Insecticide Exposure

Friday, November 1st, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2013) Insecticides commonly used in homes and schools are associated with behavioral problems in children, according to a recent study by Canadian researchers. The study investigates exposure to pyrethroid pesticides, used in more than 3,500 products, including flea and tick controls, cockroach sprays, and head lice controls. The study, Urinary metabolites of organophosphates and pyrethroid pesticides and behavioral problems in Canadian children, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, raises serious concerns about the impact of pyrethroids, which are increasingly used as a replacement for organophosphates. This study uses data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (2007-2009), a nationally representative survey, so researchers are able to apply these findings to the entire population of Canadian children. In a previous study among U.S. children, researchers at the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) examined the metabolites of pyrethroids in children below the age of six. Similarly, they found pyrethroid insecticides in more than 70 percent of the samples, concluding that children had significantly higher metabolite concentrations than those of adolescents. Together these studies demonstrate that exposure is widespread, with real impacts to human health. In the recent study, researchers analyzed organophosphate and pyrethroid metabolites in the […]

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Elevated Pesticide Exposure Documented in New York City Residents

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, October 3, 2013) According to new research, residents are more highly exposed to organophosphate and pyrethroid pesticides in New York City (NYC) than in the U.S. overall.  Researchers from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reviewed the 2004 NYC Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NYC HANES) to compare its pesticide exposure patterns in an urban environment with the nation as a whole. The NYC HANES includes a biomonitoring component to evaluate pesticide exposures by measuring concentrations of organophosphate and pyrethroid metabolites in urine. According to the authors, the findings underscore the importance of considering pest and pesticide burdens on cities, where a dense population results in a single exposure source affecting many people at the same time when regulating pesticide use. Organophosphate metabolites were measured in the urine of 882 New Yorkers, while 1,452 residents were tested for pyrethroid metabolites. As the researchers explain, the building density and disrepair in parts of NYC likely increased the chances of a pest infestation, which in turn can lead to the reliance on indoor pesticide use. By the 1980’s, organophosphates were the most common class of insecticides in the U.S., and were used indoors until the early 2000’s when […]

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Herbicides Linked to Depression Among Farmers

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, August, 2, 2013) A new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology concludes that farmers using herbicides are nearly two and a half times as likely to be treated for depression as those who did not use herbicides. Furthermore, farmers who are exposed for greater periods of time are also afflicted with greater risk of developing depression, raising concerns of the harm chemicals can cause to mental health. Building on substantial research supporting the link between pesticide exposure and neurological damage, this study examines the role that pesticides play in the overall health of farmers, and gives further weight to the importance of choosing organic food. Researchers surveyed 567 farmers from France, questioning them on the frequency of their use of fungicides, insecticides, and herbicides, to determine how pesticide exposures were linked to the risk of developing clinical depression. Lead researchers and associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, Marc Weisskopf, PhD, said while the results are unclear, they “suggest we should not be ignoring herbicides just because they’re targeting plants.” Previous research has already suggested that pesticides, particularly organophosphates, cause a variety of serious neurological health problems, including Parkinson’s disease. This is not surprising, […]

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Pesticides Linked to Disease Susceptibility in Bees, Effects on Plant Reproduction

Monday, July 29th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2013) Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and University of Maryland have found that low levels of pesticide exposure from crop pollination make honey bees more susceptible to the deadly gut parasite, Nosema ceranae, contributing to declines in bee populations. The study’s findings, released Wednesday July 24 in the journal PLoSONE, expand on a recent report released by the USDA that found parasites, disease, genetics, poor nutrition, and pesticide exposure as synergistic factors in the observable nationwide honey bee decline, but focused on technological stopgap measures without questioning the  sustainability of widespread systemic neonicotinoid pesticide use.  Adding urgency to USDA’s research, another study released just last Monday in the Proceedings from the National Academy of Sciences shows that pollinator losses can have a detrimental effects on plant reproduction. Pesticide Exposure and Susceptibility to Disease The newest USDA research adds to the growing body of evidence that shows pesticide exposure weakens honey bees’ immune system making them more susceptible to parasites and pathogens. Researchers took pollen samples from crops that honey bees are known to pollinate including apples, watermelons, pumpkins, cucumbers, blueberries, and cranberries to determine exposure levels and Nosema infection. In sum, researchers found […]

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Organophosphate Poisoning Leads to the Death of School Children in India

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, July 22, 2013) Organophosphate pesticide poisoning from contaminated school lunches is suspected as the cause of deaths for at least 25 children in India. The children, aged four to 12, became sick after eating a lunch provided to them by the school. Several reports suggest the rice or cooking oil used to prepare the food contained unsafe levels of organophosphates, a highly toxic class of pesticides that have the same mechanism of action as nerve gasses. In the U.S. most organophosphates pesticides were phased out of residential use; however, these neurological poisons are still widely used on agricultural crops and for mosquito control. The schoolchildren began fainting soon after eating the contaminated food, and within hours at least 25 children were pronounced dead. Authorities discovered a container of organophosphate pesticides next to the cooking oil, but were not able to determine if this was the source of the poisoning or if the food itself was tainted with organophosphates. The school cooks, who both had children at the school that either fell ill or died from eating the food, told authorities that the cooking oil appeared different than usual, but the principal told them to use it anyway. The […]

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Chlorpyrifos Contamination Could Lead to Trout Troubles in UK

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2013) A recent pesticide contamination incident in Great Britain’s Kennet River has decimated aquatic invertebrate populations on a ten mile stretch of river between the towns of  Marlborough and Hungerford. The contamination occurred after a spill of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos entered a Marlborough sewage system. The lack of aquatic invertebrates could lead to a dramatic decline of the river’s chalk trout population. A similar incident occurred in Great Britain on the Wey River in 2003, and in Sussex Ouse in 2001. This recent calamity helps to underscore the importance for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), across the Atlantic, to fully implement pesticide restrictions that U.S. conservation groups are seeking to enforce through court action. The damage to the U.K. river may have been caused by, according to an Express article, only two tablespoons of the neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyifos. Members of the public have been advised by Britain’s Environment Agency to avoid skin contact with the water and not to eat fish caught from the river.  The contamination has occurred at the height of fly-fishing season. Environmental organizations are afraid that a decline in the number of aquatic invertebrates could lead chalk trout and other […]

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Study Finds Pesticides Reduce Biodiversity in Aquatic Ecosystems

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2013) Pesticide use has sharply reduced the regional biodiversity of stream invertebrates, such as mayflies and dragonflies, finds a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. While previous research has shown similar decreases in individual streams, this new study analyzes the effects of pesticides over broad regions. This is one of several recent findings that show pesticides pose a long-term threat to important ecosystems. The study, entitled Pesticides reduce regional biodiversity of stream invertebrates, notes that losses of biodiversity caused by anthropogenic activities during the past 50 years are unprecedented in human history. A team of researchers sampled 23 streams in the central plains of Germany, 16 in the western plains of France, and 24 in southern Victoria, Australia. Researchers classified streams according to three different levels of pesticide contamination: uncontaminated, slightly contaminated, and highly contaminated. Utilizing a model-based approach to account for other environmental variables, the team observed that losses in taxonomic diversity were, to a large degree, determined by the loss of species specifically vulnerable to pesticides. Overall, they found that there were up to 42% fewer species in highly contaminated than in uncontaminated streams in Europe. Highly contaminated streams […]

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Study Shows Pesticides Dramatically Increase Risk of Developing Parkinson’s Disease

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, May 30, 2013) New research published in the journal Neurology further supports the causative link between pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s disease. Emanuel Cereda, M.D., Ph.D., of the IRCCS university Hospital San Matteo Foundation in Pavia, Italy, and coauthor Gianni Pezzoli, M.D., analyzed 104 studies published between 1975 and 2011 to determine the link between pesticides and solvents to Parkinson’s disease. The researchers analyzed exposure using information on proximity to large farms likely to use pesticides, likelihood of well water consumption, and occupations that cause greater exposure to pesticides and solvents used to kill weeds, insects, fungus, and rodents. Overall, researchers found exposure to pesticides increased the risk of developing the disease by 33%  to 80%.   Some pesticides were considered to be of higher risk than others, with weed killers like paraquat and fungicides maneb and mancozeb causing twice the risk for development of Parkinson’s disease. While risk increased the longer people were exposed to pesticides, researchers indicate there is still a need for further research on the chemical threshold for harm to the brain. The study builds on recent research that has linked Parkinson’s disease to pesticide exposure. In a 2011 article published in the journal Molecular […]

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As Mosquito Season Approaches, Take Preventive Action Without Toxic Chemicals

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2013) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently concluded that 2012 was the deadliest year for West Nile Virus (WNv) in the United States. “A total of 5,674 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 286 deaths, were reported to CDC from 48 states (excluding Alaska and Hawaii),” said the CDC in a statement. While it is still too early to determine whether this year will be as bad as last year’s outbreak (experts say the largest disease outbreaks  is strongly driven by weather patterns characterized by hot wet summers), one thing is certain: There are simple mosquito control techniques that can be performed in your community and backyard that will prevent the spread of WNv and nuisance biting mosquitoes without the use of highly toxic pesticides. Beyond Pesticides fielded calls from concerned residents across the U.S. whose communities were doused with pesticides in attempts to control WNv. Yet, these controls have been shown to be ineffective at managing mosquito populations. According to David Pimentel, PhD, professor emeritus of entomology at Cornell University, less than .0001% of adulticides (mosquito insecticides) reach target adult mosquitoes. Dr. Pimentel notes, “Thus by both ground and aerial application […]

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Studies Find that Pesticides Cause Brain Damage in Bees

Friday, March 29th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2013) Two studies released Wednesday support the findings of the European Food Safety Authority that neonicotinoid insecticides pose an unacceptable risk to bees. The pair of British studies indicate that neonicotinoids and miticides cause brain damage, compromising bee survival. The study, published in Nature Communications by researchers at the University of Dundee and Newcastle University, concludes that imidacloprid  and clothianidin, a commonly used insecticides on crops and plants, as well as the organophosphate miticide coumaphos, a treatment for Varroa bee mites, cause cognitive damage in bees. The research indicates that within 20 minutes of exposure to pesticides the neurons in the learning center of the brain stop firing, causing “epileptic type” hyperactivity. While the bees are still alive, the lobes of the brain fail to communicate with each other with obvious implications for their survival, Another study, published in the Journal for Experimental Biology by a team of Newcastle scientists, links imidacloprid and coumaphos to learning and memory impairment. The research indicates that brain damage from pesticides makes it more difficult for bees to forage and find food, and when they find the food they have trouble locating and returning to their hives. In sum, the […]

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Scientists Warn of Sperm Count Declines Linked to Pesticide Exposure

Friday, March 1st, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2013) In a literature review published in Toxicology last week, researchers found that environmental and occupational pesticide exposure was strongly associated with declines in sperm count. Researchers Sheena Martenies, BS, and Melissa Perry, ScD., MHS., determined that of the 17 studies evaluated, 15 of them reported significant associations between pesticides and semen quality. The researchers counted semen quality according to concentration of sperm over an area, their motility and ability to move, as well as their shapes. Researchers targeted studies on DDT, HCH, and abamectin, grouping pyrethroids and organophosphates by class. What they found was striking: almost all the studies reported a decrease in sperm concentration; decreased motility was also reported though less frequently; while morphological changes were not strongly associated in studies””only two indicated any changes to sperm shape. These findings build on a growing body of evidence that pesticide exposure at environmental or occupational levels diminished sperm health. In addition to the U.S. findings,  studies conducted on French, New Zealander, Indian, Tunisian, and Israeli men have all found decline in sperm count. Some studies record a drop by approximately 50% between 1940 and 1990, no small amount. These results might not be surprising as […]

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Common Practice for Monitoring Environmental Impact of Insecticides Deficient, Researchers Say

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, January 15, 2013)  Research published in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment calls into question the value of environmental monitoring, such as water sampling,  on a  fixed date schedule (i.e., once per month), finding that this approach underestimates actual risks. These findings could have a significant impact on how we assess the safety of both endangered species and drinking water supplies. Researchers explain that, although insecticides are applied less often than herbicides and fungicides, they are usually applied in very large amounts when used in response to acute insect infestations. Scientists found that monitoring for insecticides at pre-set intervals, even weekly or daily, did not detect the occurrence of peak concentrations for these chemicals. Co-author of the study, Ralf Shulz, PhD, explains, “Accordingly, by way of example, on the basis of weekly monitoring of a typical agricultural stream none of the total of six insecticide concentration peaks per year described by model calculations is found. Daily sampling detects only two of the six peaks. Only event-related sampling enables the detection of all these peaks.” Authors of the study point to the need for events-related sampling, both to ensure more accurate detections are taken and to reduce costs. Events-related […]

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Study Reveals: Organophosphate Pesticides Cause Lasting Damage to Brain and Nervous System

Monday, December 10th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, December 10, 2012) Long-term low-level exposure to organophosphate pesticides produces lasting damage to neurological and cognitive functions, according to researchers at University College London (UCL). This research pulls data from 14 studies over the past 20 years, including more than 1,600 participants, in order to provide a quantitative analysis of the current literature on these dangerous chemicals. Lead author of the study, Sarah Mackenzie Ross, Ph.D., notes, “This is the first time anyone has analyzed the literature concerning the neurotoxicity of organophosphate pesticides, using the statistical technique of meta-analysis.” UCL’s systematic review, published in the journal Critical Reviews in Toxicology, comes to an unsettling conclusion about the hazards of constant low-level occupational exposure to organophosphates. The study notes, “The majority of well designed studies found a significant association between low-level exposure to [organophosphates] and impaired neurobehavioral function which is consistent, small to moderate in magnitude and concerned primarily with cognitive functions such as psychomotor speed, executive function, visuospatial ability, working and visual memory.” In other words, low-level exposure had significant detrimental effect on working memory and information processing. The researchers are hopeful that the results of their analysis will be used to inform governments performing reviews on the […]

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U.S. EPA Fails to Protect Salmon from Dangerous Chemicals

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2012) Conservation groups and fisherman have filed lawsuits against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demanding that pesticide restrictions be implemented around salmon streams. Regulatory buffers surrounding streams and watersheds have not been fully implemented by EPA, though it is required to by law. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which promotes sustainable fisheries, recovery of protected species, and the health of coastal marine habitats, commented that common pesticides should not be sprayed within 500 to 1000 feet of waterways. Its comments focused on the impacts of chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion, which jeopardize the health of federally protected salmon species. Despite this and other evidence that supports the need for buffer zones, EPA has withheld action until the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals resolves the case. EPA is mandated by law to protect dwindling species like salmon under the Endangered Species Act. Salmon, in particular, are a good indicator of how well we are taking care of both the marine and terrestrial ecosystems, because they live in streams, lakes, rivers, estuaries, and open ocean. They are also extremely sensitive to changes in water quality and upstream changes to the river flow, turbidity, and temperature. It goes […]

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