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Literature Review Analyzes Pesticide Sensitivity in Bee Species on a Molecular Level

Friday, June 21st, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2024) A recent review of the scientific literature, published in Science of The Total Environment, analyzes multiple species of bees on a molecular level to better understand the poisoning mechanisms that could, as the authors see it, inform chemical risk assessments with more precision. The mechanisms “implicated in the tolerance of bees to specific pesticides, and thus as determinants of insecticide sensitivity, … include metabolic detoxification, insecticide target proteins, the insect cuticle and bee gut microbiota,” the authors write. This review references more than 90 studies performed over the last 30+ years, with most being published in the last 5-10 years, as the understanding and importance of molecular determinants of bee sensitivity has emerged. Pollinators, such as bees, provide crucial ecosystem services by pollinating both wild plants and essential crops. The exposure these insects are subjected to threatens their existence, which occurs through pesticide contamination that can lead to impacts on growth and development or even colony collapse.    “While bees have only been exposed to human-made pesticides over the recent past (last 80 years) they have co-evolved with plants and fungi which produce a range of xenobiotics, including plant allelochemicals and mycotoxins,” the authors state. […]

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Cross-Sectional Study Finds Connection Between Pesticide Exposure and Alzheimer’s Disease

Wednesday, June 5th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, June 5, 2024) Individuals living near chemical-intensive agricultural environments have heightened risk of Alzheimer’s disease relative to the general population, according to a study published earlier this year in Psychiatry Research. This finding builds on existing peer-reviewed studies that document the relationship between chronic pesticide exposure and elevated risk of neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, as well as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, multiple sclerosis (MS), and Huntington’s disease. In light of the mountains of scientific evidence, advocates continue to demand for a wholesale transformation of agricultural and land management systems to one based in organic principles in alignment with the U.S. National Organic Program. Study Analysis This study was published online on May 1, 2024 with the full entry to be published in July 2024. The researchers are physicians, health professionals, and professors at the University of Almeria in southern Spain, specifically working in the Health Research Center and the Department of Nursing, Physiotherapy and Medicine. There is also a researcher, Cristofer Ruiz-GonzĂĄlez, who works at the TorrecĂĄrdenas University Hospital also located in Almeria, Spain. Researchers gathered case information from over 40,000 patients between 2000 and 2021 living in demarcated health care districts with high and low levels of […]

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Weed Killers Dicamba and 2,4-D Found in Pregnant Women in Midwest USA, Linked to Serious Effects

Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2024) In a first-of-its kind series of biomonitoring studies published in Agrochemicals, researchers identified the presence of the herbicides dicamba and 2,4-D in all pregnant participants from both cohorts in 2010-2012 and 2020-2022. The findings from this research are not surprising given the explosion of toxic petrochemical pesticides in the Midwest region of the United States. “The overall level of dicamba use (kilograms applied in one hundred thousands) in the U.S. has increased for soybeans since 2015 and slightly increased for cotton and corn,” the authors report, based on U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agriculture Statistics Service surveys. “The overall level of 2,4-D use (kilograms applied in one hundred thousands) in the U.S. was highest in 2010 for wheat, soybeans, and corn. The amount of 2,4-D applied increased the most for soybeans and corn from 2010 to 2020.” The researchers focused on the states of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, given the increase in dicamba and 2,4-D during the study period for both cohorts (2010-2022). The researchers are based at Indiana University School of Medicine in the Department of Biostatistics and Health Data Science and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Quebec Toxicology Center within the Institut national […]

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Study Quantifies Cost of Pesticide Resistance, while Advocates Chart a Course Beyond Pesticides

Tuesday, May 7th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, May 7, 2024) The marginal user costs (MUC) of pesticide resistance for chemical-intensive farmers and the pest management industry are significantly affected by pesticide costs, density dependence (growth rate of a pest population impacted by its density), and dominant genetic mutations that cause resistance, according to a novel study published in Journal of the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association. Although the authors believe that integrated pest management (IPM) can be fine-tuned based on these findings, many advocates believe that these findings in fact underscore the importance of eliminating toxic pesticide use amidst compounding climate, biodiversity, and public health crises—which many IPM strategies do not adequately address. As the costs of petrochemical-based pesticides increase, organisms identified as pests continue to increase in population density as global and regional temperatures dually increase. Organic agriculture, and organic land management principles more broadly, are an economically and ecologically advantageous leap ahead in transitioning to a food system that moves beyond the status quo that poisons people and the planet. “This paper seeks to develop a better understanding of how the user costs of resistance are potentially determined by the interactions of heterogeneous bioeconomic factors that vary by context,” say the study authors. […]

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More Data Finds Long-Term Exposure to Toxic Pesticides Alters Human Gut Microbiome and Metabolism

Friday, April 26th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2024) Researchers build on existing research when assessing the relationship between long-term exposure to organophosphorus pesticides—widely used in food production and homes and gardens—and the human gut microbiome. In a new study published in Environmental Health, an interdisciplinary research team from University of California, Los Angeles determined, “that exposure to [organophosphorus pesticides] is associated with changes in the abundance of several bacterial groups and differential functional capacity in metabolic pathways supported by the human gut microbiome.” The study draws upon data from a “Parkinson’s, Environment and Gene study (PEG)” in which 190 participants were asked to submit fecal samples and answer interview questions. “[The study] was initially designed to investigate the etiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and participants were recruited in two study waves [‘over the full 10-year exposure window’]: 2001–2007 and 2012–2017. At baseline, [Parkinson’s disease] patients were diagnosed within the past 5 years and randomly selected community controls were also recruited,” the research team shares in their Methodology section. “Since 2017, we invited previous study participants who could be contacted to enroll in a pilot study of the gut microbiome. In addition, we invited a household or community member of [Parkinson’s] patients to participate.” […]

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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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Inspector General Finds Widely Used Flea Collars Still Not Fully Evaluated by EPA 

Wednesday, March 6th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, March 6, 2024) With over 2,500 pet deaths and 900 reports of adverse effects to people, an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report, published on February 29, 2024, reveals multiple systemic failures by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), citing inadequate safety reviews of Seresto pet collars. The report, The EPA Needs to Determine Whether Seresto Pet Collars Pose an Unreasonable Risk to Pet Health, concludes, “The EPA’s response to reported pesticide incidents involving Seresto pet collars has not provided assurance that they can be used without posing unreasonable adverse effects to the environment, including pets.” At the time the animal effects made headlines in 2021, the agency defended the product’s registration, telling the media that, despite these incidents, EPA deemed Seresto collars “‘eligible for continued registration’ based on best available science, including incident data… No pesticide is completely without harm, but EPA ensures that there are measures on the product label that reduce risk.” Despite the scathing criticism, EPA maintains the position that it conducted an adequate review of the two active insecticide ingredients in the pet collars—the neurotoxic insecticide flumethrin, and the notorious neonicotinoid imidacloprid—proven to have adverse effects on the endocrine system as […]

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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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Study Finds Pyrethroid Insecticide Levels in Newborns that Increase in First Year of Life

Friday, January 26th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 26, 2024) In addition to maternal (mothers) exposure, children experience exposure to pyrethroid insecticides earlier in life as levels significantly increase post-natal (after birth), according to a study published in Frontiers in Public Health. This study is one of the few studies to investigate pyrethroid exposure concentrations in the urine of newborns and children within their first year of life. However, this research reiterates what many other studies demonstrate on pyrethroids’ impacts on children’s health, primarily due to their notorious neurotoxic properties. The findings indicate that exposure to pyrethroids during pregnancy and early childhood exposure has links to adverse health effects, including neurodevelopmental delays (e.g., autism), behavioral issues (e.g., attention deficit [hyperactivity] disorder), and endocrine disruption (e.g., delay in puberty). Pesticide exposure during pregnancy is of specific concern as health effects for all life stages can be long-lasting. Just as nutrients are transferable between mother and fetus, so are chemical contaminants. Studies find pesticide compounds in the mother’s blood can transfer to the fetus via the umbilical cord. Therefore, pesticide exposure during pregnancy affects both the mother and child’s health. Beyond Pesticides has covered a variety of pregnancy risks from pesticides and other toxic chemicals, including these in just […]

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Oxidative Stress Measured with Biomarkers Links Pesticide Exposure to Cancer

Wednesday, January 24th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 24, 2024) A study published in Environmental Sciences Europe finds that 2,4-D, pyrethroid (PRY), and organophosphate (OP) pesticides increase the risk of cancer through oxidative stress (OS). The study highlights that pesticides that increase cancer risk also raise inflammation biomarkers that indicate damage to organs (e.g., liver) via oxidative stress. Additionally, different cancers show different sensitivities to pesticides; thus, cancer risk changes with exposure concentration and pattern. Despite a plethora of studies linking cancer and pesticide exposure, very few cover the mechanisms involved in cancer development, including OS. Only five to ten percent of cancers are hereditary. However, environmental or lifestyle factors, like chemical exposure, can make an individual more susceptible to cancer development through gene mutation. In fact, a vast amalgamation of research links cancer risk to pesticide exposure, which augments the risk of developing both common and rare cancers. Therefore, studies like this highlight the importance of understanding how pesticide use can increase the risk of latent diseases, which do not readily develop upon initial exposure. Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), researchers investigated the link between the risk of several cancers and pesticide exposure. The researchers also thoroughly evaluated […]

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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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Commentary and Action: Court Decision and History Calls into Question Value of Pesticide Law

Monday, November 13th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2023) The news of a federal Appeals Court’s reversal of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision in early November calls into question the value of the basic structures, processes, and authorities of pesticide law that the public has been told are protective of health and the environment. After decades of review and litigation, this reversal, especially on a highly neurotoxic insecticide like chlorpyrifos, identifies a fundamentally flawed system that does not protect the health of people, in this case, children’s brains. >>Tell your governor and mayor to adopt policies that support organic land management.  It was EPA’s finding that chlorpyrifos was destructive of the nervous system, particularly in children, and the functioning of the brain that led to an EPA-negotiated chemical company (Corteva/Dow Chemical) settlement in 1999 (took effect in 2000) that removed residential uses of chlorpyrifos from the market. The 2020 EPA decision, 21 years later, to stop agricultural uses followed another Appeals Court decision, departing from the agency’s usually long drawn-out negotiations that ultimately compromise health and the environment. EPA banned agricultural uses of chlorpyrifos in 2016 in the Obama Administration, but the decision was reversed by the Trump Administration in 2017. Because […]

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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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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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Insecticide-Resistant Mosquito Sets Africa’s Malaria Fight Back to Square One

Tuesday, October 10th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 10, 2023) In recent years, the effects of climate change have become more frequent and more severe, from extreme weather events to rising sea levels. But perhaps one of the most insidious consequences of a warming planet is the way it influences the spread of diseases, often hitting marginalized communities the hardest. This is no more evident than in the case of malaria, where the disease transmission through the Anopheles stephensi mosquito serves as a dire warning of the challenges caused by a changing climate. As this deadly vector of disease expands its territory, it is clear that pesticide-intensive approaches are poorly equipped to cope with the threat as insect resistance to chemical controls steadily grows.  Native to South Asia, the Anopheles stephensi mosquito has been on a relentless journey, crossing continents from the Arabian Peninsula to East Africa and deeper into the African continent. The mosquito’s ability to quickly adapt to new environments, bolstered by shifting climate patterns, illustrates how global warming affects disease vectors. Matthew Thomas, PhD, emphasizes, “Anopheles stephensi has higher thermal tolerance and a capacity to transmit at higher temperatures than Anopheles gambiae [another malaria-spreading mosquito]. This is significant when considering climate change […]

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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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Management of New Insect Pests Presents Safety Challenge for People and Environment: Yellow-Legged Hornets

Wednesday, August 30th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2023) Invasive yellow-legged hornets have been spotted near Savannah, Georgia, causing concern among agriculture officials. These hornets are known for their ability to prey on honeybees and other pollinators, and their presence in the United States is a cause for alarm. This is the first time a live specimen of this species has been detected in the open United States, according to the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The hornets, which are native to Southeast Asia, have been spotted in other parts of the world, including Europe, where they have caused significant damage to bee populations. They are considered “invasive,” which means the hornet is not native and officials expect their introduction to result in economic, environmental, or health-related damage to humans, animals, plants, or the environment. In response to the sighting in Georgia, officials are taking action to eradicate the hornets before they can cause any harm to US agriculture. One of the methods being used to eradicate the hornets is the localized use of the highly toxic insecticide cypermethrin on nests. The pesticide has been registered for use in agriculture and residential pest control since the 1970s. It kills insects such as mosquitoes, flies, ticks, […]

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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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Despite Nearly 1,700 Pet Deaths from Seresto Pet Collars, Pesticide Product Remains on Market

Thursday, July 20th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 20, 2023) Despite evidence of toxicity to pets from Seresto pet collars (manufactured with the neurotoxic insecticide flumethrin, as well as the notorious neonicotinoid imidacloprid), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) has announced that the popular flea and tick collars will remain on the market, but with new mitigation measures. However, advocates say that these measures will do little to protect people and pets from chemical exposure using these collars. The agency will require Elanco — the manufacturer of Seresto — to conduct enhanced reporting for various factors, including adverse symptoms, veterinary community outreach, and warnings on the product’s label. Seresto, developed by Bayer and sold by Elanco, has been linked to nearly 1,700 pet deaths, injuries to tens of thousands of animals, and harm to hundreds of people. There are nontoxic ways to protect pets from fleas and other pests while protecting human family members. Children Ignored by the Agency EPA has a history of ignoring the exposure patterns to children who come into close contact with pets and their flea collars and the potential adverse health threats, opting for warnings instead of regulatory action. In 2017, EPA issued a warning for tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) flea collars that advised: “not […]

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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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