Pesticide News

Report: Pesticide Exposure in Pregnancy May Raise Autism Risk

Posted on Jun 23, 2014 in Pesticide News | 0 comments

Pregnant women who live within a mile of spaces where commercial pesticides are applied appear to have an increased risk of having a child with autism, a new study suggests. The risk that a child would develop autism appeared to be highest for women who lived near farms, golf courses and other public spaces that were treated with pesticides during the last three months of their pregnancies. “Many of these compounds work on neurons. When they work on the insect, they’re dealing with the nervous system of the insect and basically incapacitating it,” said study author Irva Hertz-Picciotto, an environmental epidemiologist at the MIND Institute at University of California, Davis. In adults, the brain is protected from many chemical exposures thanks to special filters that prevent many substances from crossing from the blood into the brain. Hertz-Picciotto says that in young children, this blood-brain barrier isn’t fully formed, which may allow pesticides to reach vulnerable nerve cells just as they are making vital connections to each other. While the association between possible pesticide exposure and autism is interesting, an expert not involved in the research pointed out that it has a major flaw. Because the study looked back in time, researchers weren’t able to collect blood or urine samples to directly measure pesticide exposures. And they looked at risks associated with four different classes of chemicals. “So this study cannot pinpoint specific substances as a culprit,” said Philippe Grandjean, an adjunct professor of environmental health at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, “Also, they cannot relate to specific levels of exposure, and they have not taken into account the possible contribution by residues in food,” he said. As a result, he said, the link reported in this study is weak. Results of the study were released online on June 23 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. One in 68 children is now diagnosed with autism, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Autism is a disruption in normal brain development that generally appears within the first three years of a child’s life. There’s no known cure for the disorder and no certain cause. But, some studies have pointed to pesticides as one possible culprit. Children of farmworker parents, who are exposed to chronic low doses of pesticides before they are born and in the first years of life, when their brains are still developing, have a higher risk for neurodevelopmental problems like autism than children who are not exposed to these chemicals. For the new study, researchers recruited nearly 1,000 families with children who were 2 to 5 years old at the time of the study. About 486 of those children had a confirmed diagnosis of autism. Another 168 had some other kind of developmental delay, and 316 were developing as expected. Parents were asked extensive lists of questions about lifestyle and environmental exposures, and mothers listed the addresses where they lived shortly before and during their pregnancies. Researchers then compared those addresses to a California database of pesticide applications. The database collects information about the kind of chemical that is used, how much is used, and when it is applied. Most of the women in the study had not lived near any pesticide applications during their pregnancies. Only about a third had been within a mile of where the chemicals were sprayed. The researchers found that children with autism were more likely to have lived within a mile of a pesticide exposure before birth than typically developing kids. The risk was 60 percent to about 200 percent higher, depending on the kind of chemicals that were sprayed, how close the family had been to the treated area, and when, during pregnancy, a woman had been exposed. In general, exposure during the third trimester appeared to be riskiest, and odds of having a child with autism went up the closer the family had been living to the pesticide application, suggesting that doses got higher the nearer women were to the chemicals. Despite some concerns about the study design, Grandjean says this study — along with...

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Alert issued on two commonly used crop pesticides which may damage the brains of children and unborn babies

Posted on Dec 18, 2013 in Pesticide News | 0 comments

A safety watchdog has issued an alert about two food crop pesticides, which may damage the brains of babies in the womb and children. The suspect chemicals are used around the world on farms growing grapes, strawberries, lettuce, tomatoes, tea and oranges. They are part of a new group of pesticides called neonicotinoids, which are also used in some flea treatments for cats and dogs. Experts at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have found there is good evidence that they can damage the developing human nervous system – particularly the brain. The harmful effects on brain development were similar to those caused by nicotine found in tobacco. Such a finding suggests these chemicals are a particular threat to developing babies and children by damaging their ability to learn, which could limit their achievements in school and later life. As a result, the European experts are recommending that the residue levels that are allowed on food crops should be lowered as a safety measure. The experts are also calling for a comprehensive new testing regime to understand whether other chemicals in the same group could have the similar harmful effects. The pesticides – Acetamiprid (ACE) and Imidacloprid (IMI) – belong to a new class of insecticides called neonicotinoids that are widely used to protect crops from insects and domestic animals from fleas. These chemicals have been at the centre of concerns about a danger to bees, which are vital to pollinate food crops. However, this is the first time that concerns about harm to human health have prompted demands for new safeguards from an official watchdog. Research on the harmful effects of the pesticides have been assessed by EFSA’s Panel on Plant Protection Products and their Residues (PPR). One study with rats showed that offspring exposed to imidacloprid suffered brain shrinkage, reduced activity of nerve signals controlling movement, and weight loss. Another rat study found that acetamiprid exposure led to reduced weight, reduced survival, and a heightened response to startling sounds. EFSA said: ‘The PPR Panel found that acetamiprid and imidacloprid may adversely affect the development of neurons and brain structures associated with functions such as learning and memory. ‘It concluded that some current guidance levels for acceptable exposure to acetamiprid and imidacloprid may not be protective enough to safeguard against developmental neurotoxicity and should be reduced.’ This will mean lowering the acceptable residue levels that exist for food, such as fruit, vegetables and tea. Georgina Downs of the UK Pesticides Campaign said it was astonishing that the pesticides had been approved for use on food crops without thorough testing to establish any harmful effects on the human nervous system and brain. ‘Neurotoxicity investigations, including developmental neurotoxicity, should have always been included in routine toxicology studies in relation to any pesticide and pesticide product that is considered for authorisation,’ she said. ‘How can it be established that such pesticides do not have neurotoxic effects if they are not tested to find out?’ She added: ‘It has always been astonishing to a campaigner like me to know that neurotoxicity investigations in general are not already included in routine toxicology studies prior to the approval of pesticides. ‘Especially considering that many adverse effects reported by people exposed to pesticides is neurological effects.’ She welcomed the fact that EFSA is now calling for a new testing regime for pesticides. ‘The UK Government, and the EU more widely, must now as a matter of urgency secure the protection of people in the countryside by prohibiting the use of pesticides in substantial distances in the locality of residents’ homes, schools, playgrounds, etc. especially in relation to the protection of vulnerable groups,’ she said. ‘Considering the massive health and environmental costs of using pesticides it makes clear economic sense to switch to non-chemical farming methods. ‘It is a complete paradigm shift that is needed, as no toxic chemicals that have related risks and adverse impacts for any species should be used to grow food.’ Article source ->...

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Insecticides Could be to Blame for Behavioral Problems in Children

Posted on Nov 4, 2013 in Pesticide News | 0 comments

Millions of children in the U.S. are being exposed to insecticides that are currently used daily in homes around the country. According to a recent study published by Canadian researchers, the exposure to pyrethoid pesticides found in thousands of home products, including cockroach sprays and flea controls, was found to be associated with neurobehavioral deficits in children. In the most recent study, constructing data from children ages six to 11, the Canadian Health Measures Survey researchers analyzed the organophosphate and pyrethoid metabolites in their urine. The researchers used logistic regressions to estimate odd ratios for high scores on the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, which may indicate the presence of certain behavioral problems. During the study, each parent was asked a series of three questions regarding their use of indoor pesticides, pyrethoid pesticides and outdoor pesticides during that month. The results of the study showed a strong correlation between the use of pesticides and high scores on the questionnaire. The researchers from the University of Montreal found that “97 percent of children had traces of the pyrethoid metabolite cis-DCCA in their urine, and about 91 percent of them had traces of at least one organophosphate metabolite.” These results signify that exposure to pesticides is very common among children and that pesticide residues may linger for long periods of time, accumulating in the body. Pesticide products containing high levels of synthetic pyrethoid are issued as being safe by community mosquito management bureaus and pest control operators, but these products are chemically engineered to be very toxic, which make them harder to break down and compromise the body’s ability to detoxify these pesticides. Pyrethoids are well-known irritants and have been related to a variety of symptoms including asthma, tremor and convulsions. There are multiple ways that people can limit and lower their exposure to pesticides in their homes. The most obvious way is to abstain from buying these toxic, synthetic products. Another good way to lower your pesticide exposure is to use nontoxic methods to control pests. To find nontoxic ways to control pests, please visit this website. Home remedy techniques that include good sanitary practices, exclusion and well thought out maintenance programs can all limit your exposure to pesticides found in these products. Article Source –...

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Family Settles with Exterminator whose Poisons Killed their Children

Posted on Dec 20, 2011 in Pesticide News | 0 comments

Nathan and Brenda Toone suffered the unthinkable loss of two of their daughters to alleged pesticide poisoning within days after taking care of the seemingly routine home maintenance task of using an exterminator. The Toones hired Bugman Pest and Lawn, Inc. to take care of voles, which had established themselves in the family’s lawn at their Layton, UT home. Bugman employee Cole Nocks buried poisonous Fumitoxin pellets, a phosphide-based rodent killer, in the yard. Within a day, Rebecca, age 4, and Rachel, 15 months, fell ill. A carbon monoxide alarm went off in the family’s home on Friday, February 5, 2010. The fire department found only trace amounts of carbon monoxide and cleared the family to go inside. By Saturday, Rebecca’s symptoms worsened, she developed breathing problems, then cardiac arrest at a local hospital. Rachel was in critical condition in a children’s hospital by Monday night. Rachel passed away Tuesday, February 9, 2010. Autopsy results showed the girls had lung damage caused by inhaling a dangerous substance with elevated phosphorus levels in their blood. A Hazmat team found dangerous levels of phosphine gas in the family’s home. Article source –...

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Toxins Meant to Kill Pests Can Put Human Health in Danger

Posted on Jul 1, 2011 in Pesticide News | 0 comments

Pesticides and household chemicals seep into our skin and filter through our lungs every day. The exposure to toxins meant to kill pests puts human health in danger and those toxins have long been linked to causing cancer. Now, a new University of Missouri study out this week even connects pesticides to Parkinson’s. And the problem with pesticides is that it’s hard to track their impact on our health since none of us live in a bubble. “Like with drug development, it’s a process of continuous improvement,” stated Penelope Fenner-Crisp, who worked in the EPA’s office of pesticide programs and serves on Virginia’s Pesticide Control Board. More than 20,000 pesticides are registered with the feds for food, bugs, and weeds. “There are certain kinds of pesticides that meet the definition of the law that can be used in organic gardening.” she explained. Fenner-Crisp continued, “There’s a very strong effort going forward to find new products that are more tailored to the pest and less tailored to general impacts on human beings.” Some studies show only 5 percent of pesticides actually reach their target. The rest drifts into the air or seeps into the soil and water. Exposures to the chemicals have been connected to cancer and damaged immune systems. Fenner-Crisp says the label is the law and safely using pesticides can reduce some of your risk. “You want to be sure you’re handling it in such a way that you don’t endanger yourself, your family, your pets, or those things you don’t want to have erased,” she explained. Paige Mattson works at the Blue Ridge Eco Shop and she believes alternatives pesticides work just as well. She sells pesticide alternatives at the shop in Charlottesville and says gardeners can use natural fertilizers like bat guano or plant-based insecticides like pyrethrum. “It’s literally a juice from a flower that will actually kill insects, but it’s not toxic to us, pets, babies, etc,” said Mattson. But it’s nearly impossible to not track pesticides inside your home. So, Mattson recommends kicking off your shoes at the door to keep those toxins outside. “The inside air quality in your home is usually worse than it is outside – and one of the largest components of that is pesticides that we literally track into our house,” she stated. In addition, oxygenated bleaches or homemade cleaning products can cut back on the chemicals your body absorbs on a daily basis. Article source –...

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Why Am I Fat? Four Surprising Reasons

Posted on Aug 2, 2010 in Pesticide News | 0 comments

These factors might mean the difference between those who eat without gaining weight … and the rest of us. Whatever fad diet books tell you, the single most important factor affecting weight gain is the ratio of calories consumed to calories burned. Eat more than you work off, and you’ll gain weight. But in recent years we’ve witnessed a flurry of research showing that there’s more at work than this simple formula. We all know (and loathe) them: Those people who seem to eat and eat and eat, but never gain weight. Why do some people pack on pounds, while others subject themselves to rigorous diets and workout regimens only to struggle with stubborn belly fat? The answer has a lot to do with that mystery of mysteries, the metabolism, which like everything is influenced both by one’s genetics and one’s environment. The environment, in this case, includes more than just nutrition and exercise; it includes sleep habits, stress and chemical exposures. Here’s a look at some of the factors scientists believe may be affecting whether or not we put on weight. (Oh, and while this may sound like an article ripped from a women’s health magazine, don’t be fooled: You won’t find miracle pills or quick-fix workouts as solutions to these causes of weight-gain. As with eating well and getting enough exercise, there is neither a great mystery, nor an easy solution to finding good health.) 1. Stress While research hasn’t yet determined all the factors in the stress-weight gain feedback loop, there appears to be evidence that stress leads to weight gain — just as putting on a few pounds can lead to stress. One recent study found that more than 56% of stressed-out adolescents were obese, versus 47% of the less-stressed. Previous research has identified a biological switch in mice that makes the body accumulate fat. Significantly, mice that were eating a healthy diet did not put on weight, even when stressed; those eating high-fat, high-sugar diets, however, were much more likely to gain weight when stressed. Another study showed that there’s a biochemical trigger in the brain that prompts mice (and possibly humans, too) to seek out comfort foods when under the kind of long-term chronic stress we all experience; not only that, but the same hormone primes the body to pack on belly fat. What you can do: Eat well, of course — and chill out. We can’t control every form of stress — remember the 40-hour work week? Turns out, that was good for us — we can reduce our stress levels. Read a book. Take the afternoon to cook a (healthy, low-fat) family meal. Work in the garden. Take a walk. Watch the birds. Exercise. Get outside and play with the kids. … Do whatever you do to get perspective. It may help you slim down, too. 2. Lack of Sleep Cutting-edge sleep researchers are learning that our round-the-clock schedules may impact our health in surprising ways. While scientists don’t yet know why, studies continue to show that those who don’t get enough deep restful sleep tend to gain weight. Whether or not losing sleep makes you feel hungrier and eat more food (some do, some don’t) something about losing sleep changes the metabolism. Faced with a sleep deficit, we metabolize more lean muscle and less fat. Even if we burn calories during exercise, we struggle to lose weight. The result? According to one study, people put on three pounds in less than two weeks just by having their sleep interrupted. The results of sleep deprivation show up in as few as a couple nights without deep restful sleep. And BMI, the official measure of weight, increases steadily as the sleep deficit increases. What you can do: We all know what makes us lose sleep — too much to do, too much coffee (or alcohol), too much late-night television or video gaming, a little too much “quality” time with our Blackberries. We can’t control everything that wakes us up or takes away our sleep — the crying baby can’t be ignored —...

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