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Take Action: Federal Food Program Asked to Stop Feeding Children Pesticides that Contribute to Obesity

Monday, March 4th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2024) With 14.7 million children and adolescents in the U.S. recognized as obese by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the established connection with endocrine disrupting contaminants, including many pesticides, Beyond Pesticides is calling on federal food assistance programs to go organic. The problem of childhood obesity is higher in people of color and, as a result, is an environmental justice issue. According to CDC, the prevalence of childhood obesity is “26.2% among Hispanic children, 24.8% among non-Hispanic Black children, 16.6% among non-Hispanic White children, and 9.0% among non-Hispanic Asian children.” While childhood obesity is recognized as a serious problem, the National School Lunch Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—although improved by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010—still provides lunches laced with obesogenic pesticides. To take meaningful steps against childhood obesity, school lunches must be organic. The program served 4.9 billion meals in fiscal year 2022 in over 100,000 public and nonprofit schools, grades Pre-Kindergarten-12. Contrary to popular opinion, the blame for the obesity epidemic cannot be attributed solely to diet and exercise broadly, but relates directly to pesticide and toxic chemical exposures, including residues in food, that may lead […]

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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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FDA Cites Resistance to Medically Important Antimicrobials as Critical Health Issue

Thursday, January 11th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2024) In a move to safeguard public and animal health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned nine manufacturers and distributors in December last year to stop selling unapproved and misbranded antimicrobial animal drugs, with the director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, Tracey Forfa, explaining to the public that “inappropriate use of medically important antimicrobials contributes to the development of antimicrobial resistance, which affects both human and animal health.”  This action and announcement exhibit a higher degree of concern about antimicrobial resistance—understood as a growing worldwide pandemic—than the history and ongoing inaction by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—resulting in the allowance of widespread nonmedical uses of antibiotics in agriculture and on synthetic (or artificial) turf. Contrary to broad scientific understanding, EPA told a federal appeals court last year that, “There is no data that antibiotic use in agriculture leads to the presence of antibiotic resistance in bacteria of human health concern,” and that “[a]t the present time, there is little evidence for or against the presence of microbes of human health concern in the plant agricultural environment.” The issue of resistance discussed in the scientific literature concerns reduced susceptibility to clinically important antimicrobials, […]

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Another Study Adds to Science Indicating Mothers’ Exposure to Pesticides During Pregnancy Increases Adverse Birth Outcomes

Wednesday, July 26th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2023) An exploratory study published in Environment International adds to the many studies demonstrating residential prenatal pesticide exposure can result in adverse birth outcomes. Residential exposure to five active pesticide ingredients (Ais) fluroxypyr-meptyl, glufosinate-ammonium, linuron, vinclozolin, and picoxystrobin has adverse effects on gestational age (GA), birth weight (BW), mortality after birth, child’s sex, premature development, low birth weight (LBW), small for gestational age (SGA), and large for gestational age (LGA). Pesticides’ presence in the body has implications for human health, especially during vulnerable life stages like childhood, puberty, pregnancy, and old age. Pesticide exposure during pregnancy is of specific concern as health effects for all life stages can be long-lasting. Birth and reproductive complications are increasingly common among individuals exposed to environmental toxicants like pesticides. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports birth defects are the leading cause of infant mortality, with one in every 33 infants born with an abnormality that results in death. Therefore, studies like this can help government and health officials safeguard human health by assessing adverse effects following prevalent chemical exposure.  Using a Dutch birth registry from 2009 to 2013, the researchers selected pregnant mothers over 16 years who were living in non-urban areas (who […]

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Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides Have Links to Behavior

Thursday, July 6th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 6, 2023) A study published in Environmental Health Perspectives finds concentrations of organophosphate (OP) metabolites in urine during the prenatal phase have links to adolescent/young adult externalizing (e.g., hyperactivity, aggression, attention problems) and internalizing (e.g., depression) behavior problems. Thus, prenatal exposure to OP pesticides can permanently affect behavioral health as children mature into adulthood. This study adds to the growing body of research reinforcing the adverse effects of organophosphate (OP) exposure on cognitive health and neurological development, especially for infants and children. Prenatal development is one of the most vulnerable periods of exposure, as the fetus is most susceptible to the harmful effects of chemical contaminants. Many studies indicate that prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental toxicants increases susceptibility to diseases, from learning and developmental disabilities to cancer. Given research links to pesticide exposure and neurological and cognitive development, studies like this can help government and health officials identify how pesticides’ impact on the brain elevates health concerns.  Researchers gathered two urine samples from mothers during pregnancy (at weeks 13 and 26) and five urine samples from offspring from the ages of six months to five years old to measure urinary dialkylphosphates (DAPs) (nonspecific OP metabolites). Subsequently, the study also assesses reports of […]

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Study Links Recurring Pregnancy Loss (RPL) with Pesticide Exposure

Wednesday, June 14th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2023) A study published in Scientific Reports finds a link between pesticide exposure and recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) through oxidative stress and apoptosis (cell death) in the placenta. Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is the loss of three or more successive pregnancies before 24 weeks of gestation (pregnancy) and signifies an underlying reproductive health issue. The study highlights that pesticides’ endocrine-disrupting (ED) properties can have varying adverse impacts on biological processes, including immunology, metabolism, and reproduction. Pregnant women experience frequent exposure to environmental pollutants that pose serious health risks to both mother and newborn. Many known pollutants (e.g., heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyl, and pesticides) are chemicals with ED properties that can move from the mother to the developing fetus at higher exposure rates. Additionally, pregnant women are experiencing exposure to an increasing number of dangerous industrial chemicals. With a range of scientific data highlighting chemical exposures during pregnancy as a critical window of vulnerability, public awareness of these threats is growing. The study notes, “They are associated with an increasing placental OS [oxidative stress] and placental apoptosis. Specific measures should be taken to decrease maternal exposure to these pollutants’ sources, especially in underdeveloped and developing countries.” For RPL, the research investigated pesticide components in blood plasma, […]

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Residential Areas and Early Postnatal Complications for Pregnant Women Tied to Banned and Current Pesticides

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 31, 2023) A study published in Chemosphere supports accumulating scientific research confirming that prohibited and current use pesticides are readily detectable in the human placenta. All pregnant women experience exposure to a mixture of complex pesticides like DDT (prohibited organochlorine pesticide [OCP]) and chlorpyrifos (current use organophosphate [OP]), with concentrations high enough to increase possible adverse health risks to the fetus through a placental transfer of chemicals. Prenatal development in the intrauterine environment is one of the most vulnerable periods of exposure, as the fetus is most susceptible to the harmful effects of chemical contaminants. Many studies indicate that prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental toxicants increases susceptibility to diseases, from learning and developmental disabilities to cancer. Given the over 1,300 research studies that demonstrate the link between pesticide exposure and general health effects, studies like this can help government and health officials identify how pesticides’ impact on the body elevates health concerns, especially for future and developing generations. The authors note, “This study highlights the urgent requirement for implementing alternative pest-control methods in agriculture, involving a reduction of chemical pesticides application. Due to the vital role of the placenta in fetal development and its non-invasive sampling, this kind of […]

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Prenatal Pesticide Exposure Threatens Children’s Language Development at 18 Months after Birth, Study Finds

Thursday, March 9th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, March 9, 2023) A study published in Environmental Research finds exposure to organophosphate (OP) compounds during pregnancy, or prenatal OP exposure can cause shortfalls in language development abilities at 18 months, stifling preschool-age language expression. Additionally, a timely and co-occurring study published in Environmental International confirms similar results, highlighting that chlorpyrifos (an organophosphate) impedes neurological and psychological development, including language communication and all motor skills of offspring at 12 and 18 months old. Prenatal development is one of the most vulnerable periods of exposure, as the fetus is most susceptible to the harmful effects of chemical contaminants. Many studies indicate that prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental toxicants increases susceptibility to diseases, from learning and developmental disabilities to cancer. Given research links to pesticide exposure and neurological and cognitive development, studies like this can help government and health officials identify how pesticides’ impact on the brain elevates health concerns. The Environmental Research authors note, “The etiology [cause] of language development is complex, and this work further highlights the importance of the prenatal environment as a mechanism of influence that are associated with deficits in early language acquisition and ability, which could signal increased behavioral problems and academic difficulties in later childhood that extend […]

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Pesticides in Breast Milk Linked to Over 100 Newborn Deaths in Less than a Year

Thursday, February 9th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 9, 2023) Business Insider India reports over 100 infant deaths from pesticide exposure in breast milk. A study by Lucknow’s Queen Mary Hospital links pesticides in breast milk to the death of 111 newborns over the past ten months in the Maharajganj district of northern India. The study is a testament to the effects pesticides can have on the health of individuals, especially vulnerable populations like infants and shows that there is a long way to go before our bodies are void of any bioaccumulated toxic residues. Multiple studies on breast milk throughout the years confirm that toxic chemicals build up in our bodies as breast milk can bioconcentrate or accumulate, a natural phenomenon dubbed chemical “body burden.” Hundreds of chemicals are in blood, urine, breast milk and umbilical cord blood, entering our bodies through diet, personal care product use, and inhalation from air. 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 […]

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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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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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Continued Reduction in Sperm Count Raises Call for Action

Tuesday, November 29th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 29, 2022) Based on new international research adding weight to previous research on falling sperm counts, it is critical that environmental agencies address this and other problems related to endocrine disruption. The study by Levine et al. finds that the drop in sperm count—a drop of 51.6% from 1973 through 2018—is global and that the rate of decline is accelerating. Tell EPA and Congress that pesticide use cannot continue without findings of no endocrine disruption.  The documented (average) drop in sperm counts is approaching the level at which the ability to cause a pregnancy begins to plummet dramatically. The reduction in male fertility may have profound psychological and social impacts, including anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression. These psychological problems have health impacts of their own. Equally serious are connections of anxiety and depression with violent behavior and suicide. Compounding the problem is the fact that men are unlikely to seek fertility-related social support. The drop in sperm counts is just one example of endocrine disruption largely due to exposure to toxic chemicals. The endocrine system consists of a set of glands (thyroid, gonads, adrenal and pituitary) and the hormones they produce (thyroxine, estrogen, testosterone, and adrenaline), which […]

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Exposure to Pesticides in the Womb Increases Risk Associated with Rare Eye Cancer Among Children

Thursday, September 29th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2022) A study published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health finds an association between retinoblastoma risk and prenatal exposure to pesticides. Retinoblastoma is a rare eye cancer, with over 200,000 cases in the U.S., most of which are children under the age of five. Despite occurring among offspring, this cancer is often not hereditary. Instead, a mutation in the RB1 gene during early development in the womb destabilizes and augments cell growth. Although the etiology or cause of childhood eye cancer involves the interaction of multiple components like lifestyle and genetics, emerging evidence indicates that environmental contaminants like pesticides (e.g., occupational exposures, air pollution, pesticides, solvents, diet, 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. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Already, studies find low levels of pesticide exposure during pregnancy or childhood cause adverse health effects from metabolic disorders to mental and physical disabilities. While medical advancements in disease survival are more prominent nowadays, childhood cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease among children. […]

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Pesticide Exposure Associated with Anemia and Blood Disorders in Farmworkers

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2022) A study published in the International Journal of English, Literature, and Social Science (IJELS) finds an association between pesticide exposure and anemia among female farmers in Indonesia. Anemia is an autoimmune blood disorder negatively affecting the number of red blood cells (RBCs) and subsequent oxygen distribution via available hemoglobin proteins in RBCs. Types of anemia include iron deficiency, pernicious (lack of vitamin B-12 absorption), aplastic (lack of RBC production), and hemolytic (RBC destruction). Although risk factors for anemia consist of age, genetics, lifestyle, and gender, environmental factors such as pesticide use and exposure contribute to disorder development. Pesticides can interfere with cells in the body, causing blood profile abnormalities that affect blood cell formation and immune system function. Anemia disproportionately impacts women and children across the globe, prevalent in over half a billion women. The disorder was more prevalent among pregnant individuals because of blood loss and iron deficiency, causing adverse reproductive outcomes among children. These outcomes include preterm delivery, low birth weight, and decreased iron stores, impairing cognitive and motor development. Considering research already demonstrates many chemicals (e.g., pesticides, heavy metals) can enter the bloodstream through ingestion, absorption through the eyes and skin, or inhalation, studies like […]

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Glyphosate Weed Killer Crosses Blood-Brain Barrier, Linked to Alzheimer’s and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

Thursday, August 4th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2022) An Arizona State University (ASU) study shows that the popular herbicide glyphosate can infiltrate the brain through the blood (blood-brain barrier), increasing neurological disease risk. The blood-brain barrier filters various molecules entering the brain from the circulatory system. However, the permeation of glyphosate molecules elevates the expression of TNFα and the accumulation of soluble beta-amyloid (Aβ) proteins in the brain and has associations with immune, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease (AD). More than 6 million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s, and cases are expected to double by 2050. Although Alzheimer’s research has focused heavily on finding genetic causes of the disease, fewer than half of cases are genetic. Thus, researchers are now evaluating how environmental contaminants may increase disease risk. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood and urine samples and can increase neurotoxicity risk when crossing the brain barrier. Therefore, studies like this highlight the importance of understanding how chemical accumulation in the body can impact long-term health and disease prognosis. The study notes, “Brain glyphosate correlates with increased TNFα levels, suggesting that exposure to this herbicide may trigger neuroinflammation in the brain, which may […]

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Take Action: Male Fertility Harmed by Pesticides and EPA Dysfunction

Monday, July 18th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2022) The failure of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to meet its statutory responsibility to protect people and wildlife from the dire consequences of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals must end. A study published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology adds urgency to the need to eliminate endocrine-disrupting pesticides. The authors find that prepubescent exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including pesticides, impairs male reproduction through the interruption of testicular homeostasis and development of reproductive Leydig cells, and can have multigenerational effects. This adds to the long list of scientific articles showing EPA neglect of the devastating effects of widely used pesticides. Tell EPA that pesticide use cannot continue without findings of no endocrine disruption. Tell Congress to ensure that EPA does its job. More than 50 pesticide active ingredients have been identified as endocrine disruptors that mimic the action of a naturally-produced hormone, such as estrogen or testosterone, thereby setting off similar chemical reactions in the body; block hormone receptors in cells, thereby preventing the action of normal hormones; or affect the synthesis, transport, metabolism and excretion of hormones, thus altering the concentrations of natural hormones. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), […]

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

Thursday, July 14th, 2022

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

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Mother’s Exposure to Pesticides during Pregnancy Results in Sleep-Related Problems among Daughters

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2022) A University of Michigan study is the first to highlight that maternal pesticide exposure during pregnancy adversely affects sleeping patterns for offspring later in life, specifically for females. Prenatal development is one of the most vulnerable periods of exposure as the fetus is most susceptible to the harmful effects of chemical contaminants. Many studies indicate that prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental toxicants increases susceptibility to diseases, from learning and developmental disabilities to cancer. However, the toxicity of pesticide exposure ad its full impact on the nonagricultural population in the U.S., especially women. Given research links to sleep-related disorders and neurological and cognitive development, studies like this can help government and health officials identify how pesticides’ impact on the brain elevates health concerns. The authors note, “Overall, these results are of public health importance considering the continued widespread agricultural and possibly residential use of pyrethroids and chlorpyrifos [in Mexico]…Thus, our results underline the importance of additional research studies that include both larger samples and assessment of unregulated pesticides, as well as studies that consider the underlying mechanisms explaining sex differences.” Levels of inadequate sleep patterns are rising among children and adolescents. Reports find variability in sleep duration results in higher rates of depression, anxiety, and […]

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Common Antimicrobial Pesticides Linked to Altered Gut Microbe Function

Tuesday, January 25th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2022) Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill identifies how triclosan (TCS), an antimicrobial agent used in many household products, impacts the microbial communities in the gut, causing inflammation. According to the study published in Nature Communications, triclosan worsens the effects of ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), through the retention of harmful bacteria. Ample evidence demonstrates environmental contaminants, including pesticides like triclosan, negatively affect microbes in the human mouth and gut. Although studies show how triclosan exposure affects human health, more research is now questioning how exposure to these toxic chemical influences gut health. Therefore, studies like these highlight the importance of evaluating how chemical contaminant deregulates normal bodily function through microbiome changes. Furthermore, the study has significant implications for considerations that should be, but are not currently, a part of pesticide review and registration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The researchers note, “Together, our results define a mechanism by which intestinal microbes contribute to the metabolic activation and gut toxicity of TCS, and highlight the importance of considering the contributions of the gut microbiota in evaluating the toxic potential of environmental chemicals.” Instances of intestinal bowel disease (IBD)—involving the chronic inflammation […]

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Pesticides Incorporated into Fabrics and Housewares Are Hazardous, and Not Adequately Regulated

Monday, December 13th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2021) If you plan to give socks, sweatshirts, or other items of clothing as holiday gifts, you need to be aware that many such items are treated with toxic chemicals. Such treated items may be labeled as “odor free” and may contain nanosilver, triclosan (banned in soaps, but allowed in textile and household products), or other (undisclosed) chemicals hiding behind brand names such as Microban® or FreshIQ. Since it is not always possible to determine which chemical may be used in these textiles, the best option is to buy clothing that is organic or made locally.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exempts treated articles from registration requirements under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Although the chemicals themselves may be registered antimicrobial pesticides, the treated products in which they are found—and which expose the public to them—are not considered pesticides. Besides clothing treated with antimicrobials to control odors, EPA also allows seeds, wood, paints, cutting boards, sponges, mops, and even toothbrushes to be treated with antimicrobial pesticides under the exemption—as long as claims made for the treatment only pertain to protecting the treated article. For example, sock manufacturers may claim that the treated socks […]

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Fungal Resistance to Antimicrobial Pesticides Leads to Deadly Infection

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 23, 2021) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced, in mid-October, a revision of its guidance on the evaluation of antimicrobial pesticides used against Candida auris (C. auris). This pathogen is a type of fungus (a yeast) that can cause serious infection, and can spread readily among patients and staff in hospitals and other congregate healthcare settings (such as nursing homes). C. auris has developed resistance to what used to be the therapeutic impacts of major antifungal medications. (Resistance is a major and growing problem in healthcare and in agriculture, with the latter exacerbating the former.) Another moving part in this unholy development of “chemical compounds no longer working” is EPA’s failure to assess the efficacy of any pesticides that are not used for public health purposes; for example, EPA evaluates the efficacy of only those antimicrobial compounds whose use patterns classify them as human-health-related. This failure to evaluate efficacy of all other pesticide products leaves many people in the dark about whether what they may be using actually works — never mind the potential risks associated with that use. The antifungal medications that have been used for many years to treat Candida infections often no longer work for C. auris; […]

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Pesticide Exposure Contributes to Preterm Births and Low Birth Weight

Thursday, November 18th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 18, 2021) A study published by King George’s Medical University, India, finds exposure to xenobiotic substances like pesticides during pregnancy increases risks associated with preterm birth, including a rise in cesarean section (C-section) deliveries and a decrease in fetal body weight. Preterm births occur when a fetus is born early or before 37 weeks of complete gestation. Premature births can result in chronic (long-term) illnesses among infants from lack of proper organ development and even death. Birth and reproductive complications are increasingly common among individuals exposed to environmental toxicants, like pesticides. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports the preterm birth rate is increasing annually. Therefore, studies like this can help government and health officials safeguard human health by assessing adverse effects following prevalent chemical exposure. The study notes, “To the best of our knowledge, this was a pioneering study, and it may help to increase our knowledge with regard to xenobiotic exposure in biological systems and the need for stringent guidelines for agricultural use of pesticides.” The study examines the association between the transfer of xenobiotics (foreign synthetic substances like pesticides) from mother to fetus. Transferal of these toxic substances can result in biological and chemical changes (i.e., genotoxicity […]

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