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Indoor Air Pollution: Pesticides Continue to Make their Way Into Homes

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2023) A study published in Environment International concurs with previous reports that agricultural pesticide treatment can contaminate nearby residential areas, resulting in indoor chemical exposure via concentrations of insecticide active ingredients in house dust. Pesticide contamination in homes has ties to higher levels of pesticide residue in both human and pet bodies. Some pesticides, like organochlorine compounds, have poor elimination from the body, leading to accumulation over a lifetime. Pesticide exposure can heighten risks of various cancers (i.e., prostate, hepatic, liver, etc.), mental health problems (i.e., depression), respiratory illnesses (asthma), endocrine disruption, and many other pesticide-induced diseases. Extensive pesticide use can predispose human pathogenic to antibiotic resistance, bolstering bacterial virulence. Studies like this are concerning as it reveals that individuals do not have to be in close contact (e.g., chemical manufacturers, farmworker, gardener, custodian, etc.) with pesticides for risky, health-harming exposures to occur. Despite stricter regulations and technological changes beginning to decrease air pollution from cars and other vehicles, scientists are finding that the use of pesticides and other household chemicals represents an increasing proportion of U.S. smog-forming air pollution. Personal care products, cleaning agents, perfumes, paints, printing ink, and pesticides warrant greater attention from regulators for their ability to form toxic fumes that can eventually make their way […]

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Neonicotinoid Insecticides Adversely Affect Nervous System Health, According to Study

Thursday, January 19th, 2023

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

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

Monday, January 9th, 2023

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

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Insecticidal Bed Nets Contribute to Resistance in Bed Bug Populations

Thursday, January 5th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 5, 2022) The use of insecticidal bed nets (IBNs) to prevent mosquito bites in malaria-endemic communities can result in resistance developing in secondary pests like bed bugs, according to research published in Parasites and Vectors. Decreased efficacy against bed bugs and other non-mosquito pests may result in misuse of both mosquito adulticides and bed nets, hampering efforts to stop the spread of malaria and other insect-borne disease. With resistance following a predicable pattern in both disease-transmitting and secondary pests, there is a critical need to embrace safer, nonchemical solutions, including both ecological and structural approaches to pest management. Researchers investigated the efficacy of untreated bed nets along with those treated with the commonly used synthetic pyrethroids deltamethrin and permethrin against both a population of insecticide-susceptible and pyrethroid resistant bed bugs. Insecticidal netting was secured between two glass jars in both an aggregation and blood meal experiment. For the aggregation experiment, fully fed bed bugs were set up to cross through the bed net to reach a darker resting location. With the blood meal experiment, unfed bed bugs were set up to cross the netting to receive a blood meal. Both experiments show the bed nets carrying little […]

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Neonicotinoid Insecticides Add to the Growing List of Chemicals that Transfer between Mother and Fetus

Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 4, 2022) A study published in Environmental Science and Technology finds neonicotinoids (neonics) and their breakdown products (metabolites), like other chemical pesticide compounds, can readily transfer from mother to fetus. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) finds U.S. pregnant women experience frequent exposure to environmental pollutants that pose serious health risks to both mother and newborn. Many known pollutants (i.e., heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyl, and pesticides) are chemicals that can move from the mother to the developing fetus at higher exposure rates. Hence, prenatal exposure to these chemicals may increase the prevalence of birth-related health consequences like natal abnormalities and learning/developmental disabilities. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Moreover, a mother’s pesticide exposure can have a stronger association with health disorders than childhood exposure, and a newborn can still encounter pesticides. Therefore, it is essential to understand how pesticides impact the health and well-being of individuals during critical developmental periods. Beyond Pesticides has covered a variety of pregnancy risks from pesticides and other toxic chemicals, including these in just the last three years: pesticides and children’s sleep disorders; prenatal exposures to a multitude of chemicals; insecticides and childhood leukemia; insecticides and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. The study […]

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Mother and Child Health: Learning Disorders and Prenatal Pesticide Exposure Study Results Released

Tuesday, December 20th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticide, December 20, 2022) A meta-analysis published in Chemosphere finds prenatal pesticide exposure, or pesticide exposure during pregnancy has a positive association with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and attention deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Particularly, exposure to chemical classes organophosphate (OP) and pyrethroid (PYR) insecticides, in addition to the mother’s age during pregnancy (≄30 years old), increased the risk factor of ASD. ADHD risk increases among offspring whose mothers encounter organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) during gestation. The etiology or cause of ASD and ADHD involves the interaction of multiple components, including lifestyle and genetics. However, emerging evidence indicates that environmental contaminants like pesticides (e.g., occupational exposures, air pollution, solvents, dietary residues, etc.) play a role in disease etiology. Pesticide contamination is widespread in all ecosystems, and chemical compounds can accumulate in human tissues resulting in chronic health effects.  ADHD is estimated to affect 8-12% of school-age children worldwide. While it is a complex disease, and genetics may play a role, no specific genes have been identified, and there is increasing evidence that environmental factors like pesticide exposure facilitate the development of the condition. Additionally, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 1 in 54 children have been diagnosed with an autism spectrum […]

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Childhood Pesticide Exposure Associated with Early Onset of Puberty

Thursday, December 8th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 8, 2022) Children with higher levels of certain pesticide metabolites are more likely to go through early puberty, according to research published recently in Environmental Pollution. The findings by a team of Spanish researchers speak to a need for greater protections for children from toxic pesticide exposure. Children are much more sensitive to pesticide exposure than adults as they take in greater amounts of toxics relative to their body weight and have developing organ systems. Managing homes and yards without chemicals and purchasing organic food whenever possible can significantly reduce childhood pesticide exposure.   Researchers began their investigation with children aged 7-11 participating in the Spanish state’s Environment and Childhood multicenter birth cohort stud, an ongoing project aimed at understanding the effect of environmental exposures on pregnancy, fetal, and childhood development in the country. Out of over 3,000 children enrolled in the project, 1,539 had their urine sampled for the presence of pesticide metabolites. Scientists focused on four insecticides breakdown products—a chlorpyrifos metabolite ‘TCPy’, a metabolite of the organochlorine diazinon ‘IMPy’, a general organophosphate metabolite ‘DETP’, the pyrethroid metabolite ‘3-PBA’, and a metabolite of ethylene-bis-dithiocarbamate fungicides ‘ETU’. Urinary levels of these pesticide metabolites were then compared against […]

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Ocean Health: Environmental Pollutants Threaten Humpback Whale Reproduction and Offspring

Tuesday, December 6th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 6, 2022) Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)—including banned pesticides—present a health risk to humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), according to a study published in Environmental Pollution. Regarding female humpback whales, levels of POPs in blubber are higher in juveniles and subadults than in adults, primarily from the transference of contaminants from the mother to her calf.  Organochlorine compounds (OCs), such as organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are well-known persistent organic pollutants. The international Stockholm Convention treaty (signed by 152 countries, but not the U.S.) banned these primary pollutants of concern (UNEP, 2009) in 2001 (taking effect in 2004) because of their persistence, toxicity, and adverse effects on environmental and biological health. These pollutants have a global distribution, with evaporation and precipitation facilitating long-range atmospheric transport, deposition, and bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in the environment. However, these chemicals can remain in the environment for decades and interact with various current-use pesticides, including organophosphates, neonicotinoids, and pyrethroids. Although various studies demonstrate the volatile, toxic nature of POPs, much less research evaluates the impact POPs have on maternal offloading or transfer of contaminates to offspring and respective health consequences. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one […]

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EPA’s Deficient Pesticide Analysis Contributes to Ecological Decline

Monday, November 21st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 21, 2022) Once again, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered a new pesticide without performing a thorough review of its impacts on biodiversity as well as threatened and endangered species. Inpyrfluxam was registered in 2020 and only after being sued by the Center for Biological Diversity for failure to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) did EPA commit to completing draft effects determinations by Fall 2022. Once again, EPA’s draft biological evaluation is incomplete and inadequate. EPA is accepting comments on its draft biological evaluation at Regulations.gov.  Tell EPA and Congress that Pesticide Registrations Require Complete Science. The Review of Inpyrfluxam is Incomplete and Inadequate.  The agency’s draft effects assessment is flawed and incomplete. We share the details because it shows that EPA is out of step with the science and its regulatory responsibility when it comes a thorough review for ecosystem effects of pesticides.   The agency used fish early life stage (ELS) tests to estimate chronic fish toxicity. This is inappropriate. The fish ELS is a sub-chronic test of sensitive life stages. Although it is often used as a surrogate or predictor of chronic toxicity, it does not adequately address potential adverse effects on reproduction or transfer of the test chemical to eggs/offspring […]

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

Thursday, October 27th, 2022

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

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Advocates Urge Elimination of Toxic Pesticide Use to Prevent Breast Cancer

Monday, October 24th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, October 24, 2022) We need prevention of the causes of breast cancer, not just awareness. In 1985, Imperial Chemical Industries and the American Cancer Society declared October “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” as part of a campaign to promote mammograms for the early detection of breast cancer. Unfortunately, most of us are all too aware of breast cancer. Detection and treatment of cancers do not solve the problem. Tell EPA to evaluate and ban endocrine-disrupting pesticides, and make organic food production and land management the standard that legally establishes toxic pesticide use as “unreasonable.”  Next to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, causing the second most cancer-related deaths in the United States. Genetic factors only play a minor role in breast cancer incidence, while exposure to external environmental factors such as pesticides plays a more notable role. For breast cancer, one in eight women will receive a diagnosis, and genetics can only account for five to ten percent of cases. Therefore, it is essential to understand how environmental exposure to chemicals like pesticides can drive breast cancer development. Several studies and reports, including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data, identify hundreds of chemicals as influential factors associated with breast cancer […]

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

Wednesday, October 19th, 2022

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

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Pyrethroid Insecticides Associated with Liver Disease

Friday, October 7th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, October 7, 2022) Pyrethroid insecticides are associated with the growing worldwide epidemic of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition that causes swelling of the liver and can eventually lead to cirrhosis, cancer, or liver failure. According to research published in Environmental Science and Ecotechnology, exposure to pyrethroids like bifenthrin can induce gut microbiota dysbiosis (an imbalance in microorganisms in the intestines). This dysbiosis results in abnormal lipid (fat) metabolism and subsequent accumulation of lipids in liver cells, contributing to NAFLD development. Gut microbiota plays a crucial role in lifelong digestion, immune and central nervous system regulation, as well as other bodily functions. Through the gut biome, pesticide exposure can enhance or exacerbate the adverse effects of additional environmental toxicants on the body. Since the gut microbiome shapes metabolism, it can mediate some toxic effects of environmental chemicals. However, with prolonged exposure to various environmental contaminants, critical chemical-induced changes may occur in the gut microbes, influencing adverse health outcomes. Considering NAFLD is becoming the most prevalent form of liver disease, impacting at least 25 percent of the globe, and a growing body of evidence demonstrates the significance gut microbiota play in overall health, safety analyses that currently do not consider the […]

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Exposure to Widely Used Bug Sprays Linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis

Wednesday, October 5th, 2022

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

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Pesticides in Sediment Contribute to Secondary Source of Chemical Pollution in Aquatic Environments

Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2022) A study published in Environmental Pollution finds pyrethroid insecticides contribute to a secondary source of contamination in water resources. Various pyrethroids, including bifenthrin, are detectable in urban catch basins (storm drains) that collect runoff water before draining into the open environment. There is a lack of information regarding the pesticides’ presence in urban catch basins. However, pesticide contamination in water resources is historically commonplace and widespread throughout U.S. rivers and streams, with at least five different pesticides present in 90 percent of water samples. Moreover, thousands of tons of pesticides not only enter waterways (e.g., rivers, streams, lakes, oceans) around the U.S. through urban catch basins but agricultural and nonagricultural sources as well, contaminating essential drinking water sources, such as surface water and groundwater. Reports like these are essential for determining appropriate regulatory action to protect the human, animal, and environmental health from chemical toxicant contamination, especially if chemical contamination is highly detectable. The study notes, “The high detection frequency of bifenthrin and overall pyrethroid concentrations, especially for particle-bound residues, suggest that underground urban catch basins constitute an important secondary source for extended and widespread contamination of downstream surface waters by pesticides such as pyrethroids in urban […]

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

Monday, September 19th, 2022

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

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Exposure to Synthetic Pyrethroids During Infancy Associated with Developmental Delays in Toddlers

Thursday, September 1st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 1, 2022) Low level exposure to synthetic pyrethroid insecticides at 6-8 months of age is associated with language development delays in two-year old toddlers, according to research published in Neurotoxicology this month. This is the latest study to link this class of chemicals to developmental delays in young children. Despite a steady drum of concerning research, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2019 removed a crucial “safety factor” intended to protect children’s health from synthetic pyrethroids, allowing higher levels of the insecticides to be sprayed on food, in homes, and playing fields around the country.   To investigate the impact of synthetic pyrethroids on language development, scientists enrolled 327 expectant mothers in their third trimester. The mothers, all from rural areas of China, were selected if they had no history of significant pesticide exposure or family history of serious disease. Urine samples were taken from the women during pregnancy, and from infants 6-8 months after birth. Scientists analyzed samples for concentrations of three different synthetic pyrethroid breakdown products (metabolites), including 3-phenoxybenzoic acid (3PBA), 4-fluoro-3-phenoxybenzoic acid (4F3PBA), and cis-2,2dibromovinyl-2,2-dimethylcyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (DBCA). While 3PBA is a metabolite of many synthetic pyrethroids, 4F3PBA a more specific metabolite of cypermethrin, […]

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

Thursday, August 25th, 2022

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

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Scientific Literature Review Again Connects Pesticides and Male Fertility Problems

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2022

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

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Inspector General Finds Secret EPA Meetings with Industry and Use of Untested Science to Lower Cancer Risk for Dangerous Fumigant

Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2022) Secret meetings with industry, the elevation of unqualified individuals to decision-making roles, using an untested scientific approach, failing to conduct a simple literature review, and an overall absence of public transparency. This is how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) conducted its cancer review for the potent fumigant pesticide 1,3-Dichloropropane (1,3-D; brand name: Telone), according to a report from EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). EPA’s actions allowed a product once considered to pose a 1 in 10,000 risk of cancer to Americans to increase exposure by 9,000% (from 7.7 ÎŒg/m3 to 690 ÎŒg/m3). “These departures from established standards during the cancer assessment for 1,3-D undermine the EPA’s credibility, as well as public confidence in and the transparency of the Agency’s scientific approaches, in its efforts to prevent unreasonable impacts on human health,” the OIG report states. Yet, even with the agency’s failings laid out in clear view, EPA’s lackluster response to OIG’s corrective actions in this case add insult to its injurious actions against public health. OIG initiated a review of EPA’s cancer assessment for 1,3-D after the submission of multiple complaints. 1,3-D is a highly toxic fumigant used on a variety of crops, […]

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Post-Hurricane Flood Cleanup in Houston Exposed Residents to Range of Pesticides and Industrial Chemicals

Wednesday, July 20th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 20, 2022) Flood cleanup in Houston after Hurricane Harvey increased resident exposure to a range of pesticides and other industrial chemical compounds, according to a study published recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health by scientists at Oregon State University (OSU). The findings are particularly concerning for a community already subject to some of the highest rates of environmental contamination in the country. “Houston is one of our most industrialized cities,” said study co-author Kim Anderson, PhD, of OSU. “When we look a year after the storm, we see that several neighborhoods that are closer to industrial zones — socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods — had higher concentrations of chemicals right from the get-go, and that was only exacerbated when the hurricane came in.” Hurricane Harvey made landfall in Southern Texas as a category 4 hurricane in 2017. Widespread flooding resulted in damage to chemical plants and oil refineries throughout the city, including 13 of the astounding 41 Superfund sites present in the city of Houston. Clean up and remediation efforts brought concern among residents that chemicals from these industrial sites were being mixed with floodwaters, exposing individuals to a range of hazardous compounds. To […]

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

Thursday, June 23rd, 2022

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

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Pollinators Still Need Help; Act for Pollinator Week

Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

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

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