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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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Ecosystem Critical to All Pollinators: Popular and Unpopular Pollinator Guide

Friday, June 23rd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2023) Pollinators are especially important to the ecosystem. They pollinate plants by going from flower to flower and transferring pollen. Without pollinators, availability would be severely limited or cut off to many delicious foods, such as apples, almonds, cherries, blueberries, pumpkins, and many others. Many types of pollinators, like honey bees, bumble bees, and butterflies, are declining due to loss of habitat, widespread use of toxic pesticides, parasites, and disease. Help these important beneficial creatures by Not using toxic pesticides Planting pollinator habitats, like colorful flowers, gardens, and trees Telling your friends and family all about the importance of pollinators. Wild and Managed Bees Wild and managed bees play a crucial role in the global food system. About two-thirds of the world’s most important crops benefit from bee pollination, including coffee, cacao, and many fruits and vegetables. Wild pollination is becoming increasingly important with the growing instability of managed honey bee colonies. According to one study, wild bees’ agricultural value is now similar to that of honey bees, which are no longer considered wild in many regions due to their intense management. While many may prefer butterflies and birds to pay a visit to their gardens […]

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

Thursday, June 22nd, 2023

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

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National Pollinator Week 2023—Preserve and “BEE-Protective” of Pollinators!

Tuesday, June 20th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 20, 2023) Welcome to National Pollinator Week, during which time 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.   Check out this week’s calendar of activities and actions below! On social media, we will be featuring Pollinator Artwork submitted by the community, as well as the numerous cute (and “not so cute!”) pollinators that live in the world around us!  Also, check out our live Pollinator Poll! Follow us and like our page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn!  Monday: Juneteenth and Environmental Justice  As Pollinator Week launches with the celebration of Juneteenth, it is time to renew our commitment to environmental justice while seeking the adoption of transformational policies and practices that recognize the urgency to address disproportionate harm inflicted by toxic pesticide use.   Those fighting for environmental justice understand that the harms inflicted by toxic chemical production and use cause disproportionate adverse effects on people of color—from fenceline communities near chemical production plants to the hazardous and inhumane working conditions in agricultural fields, to […]

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Beehive Products Contain Concentration of Pesticide Residues High Enough To Be a Risk to Consumer Health

Thursday, May 18th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 18, 2023) A study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology finds pesticide residues in beehive products pose a safety risk from dietary consumption. Beehive products (i.e., bee bread, propolis, beeswax, and royal jelly) from beekeeping or apiculture are said to have nutraceutical (health and medicinal benefits) properties. However, a wide range of pesticide residues (i.e., tau-fluvalinate, coumaphos, chlorfenvinphos, chlorpyrifos, and amitraz), especially acaricides for killing ticks and mites in hives, may accumulate in beehive products up to concentrations that pose a potential health risk. Environmental contaminants like pesticides are ubiquitous in the environment, with 90 percent of Americans having at least one pesticide compound in their body. Many of these chemical compounds remain in soils, water (solid and liquid), and the surrounding air at levels exceeding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. Therefore, individuals still encounter pesticide compounds at varying concentrations, adding to the toxic body burden of those harmful chemicals currently in use. The research methodology includes a review of the scientific literature on pesticide contamination in hive products and a dietary risk assessment. The risk assessment calculation uses scientific studies to determine the recommended daily intake values and concentration data. Researchers compare exposure values in products to health-based guidance, determining the potential acute and […]

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New Study Links Synthetic Pyrethroids to Neurodevelopmental Problems

Friday, May 5th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2023) Low level exposure to pyrethroid insecticides found in common pesticide brands like RAID and ORTHO result in neurodevelopmental damage to laboratory animals, reinforcing evidence of harm found in epidemiological studies on human exposure to these chemicals. According to research published in PNAS Nexus, mice exposed to the pyrethroid deltamethrin displayed atypical behavior similar to humans with developmental disorders. “We are not saying these mice have autism or that they have ADHD. That’s not the goal here,” said James Burkett, PhD, study coauthor and assistant professor of neuroscience in the UToledo College of Medicine. “What we are saying is that something in their brain has been altered by this exposure and it’s resulting in the same kinds of behaviors that we see in children with autism.” Scientists arrived at this determination by exposing a group of mouse mothers to consistent low levels of deltamethrin in their food during preconception, pregnancy, and lactation. The study notes that the amount of pesticide provided was “well below the benchmark dose for regulatory guidance.” A separate control group was given no pesticide in its food. Offspring from the female mice were then put through behavioral tests on social behavior, restrictive […]

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

Wednesday, April 12th, 2023

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

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Pesticides and the Climate Crisis: Bumble Bee Behavior Thwarted by Temperature and Chemical Exposure

Thursday, April 6th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 6, 2023) A study published in Global Change Biology adds to research demonstrating that climate change can exacerbate the adverse impacts of pesticide exposure on managed and wild bees. Temperature can alter the sublethal effect pesticides, particularly the neonicotinoid (neonic) imidacloprid and the sulfoximine sulfoxaflor, have on bumble bee behavior tied to fitness and pollination services. Both an increase and decrease in temperature can cause diverging thermal responses in bumble bee behavior. However, increasing temperature bares more severe behavior abnormalities than cooler temperatures. 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. Now more than ever, people are changing their sentiment toward sustainability, with two-thirds of consumers stating the importance of limiting climate change impacts and 88 percent supporting greater pollution reduction. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one million species of plants and animals at risk. With the increasing rate of biodiversity loss, advocates say it is essential for […]

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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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Neonicotinoids Combined with Other Pesticides Elevate Hazards to Honey Bee

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 22, 2023) Combining neonicotinoid insecticides with other commonly used pesticides can result in synergistic effects on honey bees, increasing toxicity more than any individual chemical could, according to research published in Scientific Reports earlier this month. The data highlight the grave inadequacy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) process for evaluating pesticide risks. Under current regulations, EPA requires chemical manufacturers to submit data only on singular active ingredients. Yet, pesticide products may be packaged or ‘tank mixed’ with other, equally toxic pesticides without any obligation to determine the toxicity of the material that is actually being applied. Independent research is left to fill in these gaps, and the data increasingly shows that toxicity with pesticide mixtures amounts to a roll of the dice: sometimes combinations are less toxic, sometimes their toxicities are merely additive. But more often than not, pesticide mixtures result in synergistic effects that make the product significantly more toxic than either individual chemical alone. To understand how pesticide combinations are harming pollinators, scientists began with baseline data on the individual toxicity range  that common pesticides pose to honey bee colonies. Research was conducted on honey bees reared in the Stoneville Wildlife Management Area […]

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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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