Sunday, January 11, 2009
Amphibian Population Decline Linked to Malathion Use...And More
(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2009) Environmental Toxicology andChemistry has published a study (Vol. 27(12):2496–2500) entitled“Effects of Malathion on Embryonic Development and LatentSusceptibility to Trematode Parasites in Ranid Tadpoles.” It showsthat malathion used as an agricultural insecticide is responsible forinterfering with the normal development of pickerel frog embryos, thusleaving them more susceptible to parasite invasion.
Malathion is present in natural water sources that have been exposedto urban and agricultural runoff. This organophosphate pesticide canbe applied by planes in mosquito control program, and as esult enterswater from the air.
Although direct lethal and sublethal effects of chemical contaminantshave been documented, latent and long-term effects have been less welldocumented. Therefore, researchers sought to fill this knowledge gapand found, as suspected, that tadpole survival rates decreased andmalformations and susceptibility to parasite encystment ratesincreased as a result of exposure to malathion concentrationsmimicking those found in actual water sources.
Tadpoles are being exposed to increasing numbers of parasites inwaters that are warming as a result of global climate change, and theresearchers who performed this study speculate that, as a consequence,those exposed to malathion will have weakened immune systems thatrender them less able to defend themselves from invasion. Indeed,trematode infection was observed in tadpoles seven weeks afterembryonic exposure to low concentrations of malathion.
This study shows that declines in amphibian populations are related tothe agricultural application of malathion, which causes various kindsof damage to frog embryos and tadpoles that are, as a consequence,increasingly susceptible to parasite invasion. A similar study,published in October, 2008, found that some tadpole populations arebeing further threatened by malathion, as the chemical killszooplankton, their primary food source. A 2007 U.S. Geological Surveystudy found malathion’s breakdown product 10-100 times more toxic toamphibians than the parent product.
Malathion is one of a variety of agricultural and household chemicalsthat threaten amphibians’ health and our drinking water. For moreinformation on water contamination, visit Beyond Pesticides’ brochure,Threatened Waters: Turning the Tide on Pesticide Contamination.
January 9, 2009
The Fredericton Daily Gleaner
Bee declines impact our fruit and vegetable growth
Re: Cosmetic pesticide use
The Real Estate section of The Daily Gleaner often contains valuableinformation.
In the edition published Jan. 2, a deputy undersecretary with the U.S. Department of Agriculture is quoted as saying, "On nearly everycontinent, native bee populations have seen dramatic declines... InChina, many fruit growers are pollinating flowers by hand becauseimproper pesticide use has killed the bees in the orchards... Andnearly two thirds of Britain's 25 species of bumblebees are indecline."
If you plan to continue eating any fruit or vegetable grown in NewBrunswick, like potatoes, apples, strawberries, you should encouragethe use of organic pesticide controls on food and demand a ban on thetotally unnecessary use of cosmetic pesticides.
Merlene CrawfordOromocto, N.B.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Tracking household dangers in uteroEpigenetics study suspects link to gene change
by Tom Blackwell
Canadian scientists are recruiting hundreds of pregnant women for alandmark, $6-million study designed to track whether the householdchemicals that expectant mothers encounter can trigger health problemsin their children -- or even alter the babies' genetic makeup.
The government-funded research, which is to involve 2,000 mothers andtheir offspring, is expected to provide fodder for a fascinating newbranch of science known as epigenetics.
The emerging field is based on the notion that the environment cancause certain genes to turn on or off, sometimes sowing the seeds forcancer or other serious illness later in life. Such traits could thenbe passed on to future generations.
The study, Maternal-Infant Research on Environmental Chemicals, istesting pregnant women and infants for low-level exposure to 400chemicals, then assessing the babies' development up to at least sixmonths of age, and for much longer if funding is made available.
"The fetal period is an extremely critical period," said Dr. WilliamFraser, the University of Montreal professor who is heading the study."There is no phase in our life cycle when we undergo more dramaticchanges, and there is an increasing realization that the fetus isparticularly sensitive to factors in the environment."
The results of MIREC and other cohort studies being launched in Canadaand other countries could also offer clues to scientists studyingepigenetics, he said. The term refers generally to genes being"expressed" or not -- turned on or off -- by influences other than theunderlying DNA sequence, which was once considered the final word ingenetics.
Technology developed in the past few years has allowed scientists tomore closely trace DNA activity -- and helped focus mounting attentionon outside factors that can actually modify someone's genes, said Dr.Rosanna Weksberg, an epigenetics expert at Toronto's Hospital for SickChildren.
A 2006 Montreal study, for instance, found that rat pups licked moreby their mothers at birth were better able to withstand stress asadults, a behavioural trait linked not to any psychological effect,but to a genetic change, which the pups' own offspring could laterinherit.
Dr. Weksberg's research is looking at the fact that babies conceivedafter in vitro fertilization are more likely to succumb to the rareAngelman syndrome, which causes severe developmental delays andresults from gene abnormalities.
Odds of developing the problem jump from one in 13,000 in the generalpopulation to one in 1,300 for in-vitro babies. Some evidence suggeststhat the medium in which the test-tube embryos are grown could sparkgenetic changes, Dr. Weksberg said.
The suspicion, not yet confirmed, is that various other drugs andchemicals in the environment are having a similar impact. By linkingsuch substances to health problems, studies like MIREC could pointscientists to where epigenetics may be at work, she said.
Ultimately, the findings in the MIREC study could provide Canadianswith practical guidance, and possibly lead to new regulation aroundsome substances, said Dr. Tye Arbuckle, a senior epidemiologist withHealth Canada and the study's co-investigator.
"If you're aware of chemicals that can be hazardous to your health,you can avoid them," she said.
Women are being recruited for the study while in the first trimesterof pregnancy, when it is believed that fetuses are most vulnerable tooutside influence.
Blood, hair, breast milk and urine samples from the mothers will betested for a host of chemicals, from such heavy metals as lead,cadmium and mercury, to bisphenol-A, fire retardants and certainpesticides. The women will also be questioned about their lifestyles,diet and occupations.
Various measurements and other data on the newborns will be collected.At six months, doctors will take more measurements, and assesseyesight, hearing and other aspects of the children's development.
Among the focuses of the study is a theory that phthalates -- chemicals commonly used to increase flexibility in a variety of plasticproducts -- cause subtle changes in sexual development. Such changesin the "anogenital distance" could be a predictor of fertilityproblems down the road, some scientists suspect.
Another issue is whether chemicals such as perfluorinated compounds,sometimes used on non-stick cooking pans, undermine the growth offetuses and babies, said Dr. Arbuckle.
Underlying the study is the "Barker hypothesis," which suggests thatfetal growth can be associated with chronic disease that emerges inadulthood, said Dr. Fraser. The theory stems from British researchlinking low birth weight to heart problems in middle-aged people.
There is good news in the field, too: Drugs are being developed toreverse harmful epigenetic changes.
"You may end up in the future having a profile given to you at birth-- you could run a genome-wide epigenetic scan -- and it would say youshould avoid this drug, this exposure, you shouldn't work in achemical plant, you shouldn't work in dry cleaning," Dr. Weksbergsaid. "Or you could be supplemented with a certain factor if you aregoing to do that."
Meanwhile, Dr. Fraser said he and his colleagues are encouraging womento volunteer to take part in the study, being carried out in Halifax,Montreal, Kingston, Ottawa, Hamilton, Sudbury, Winnipeg, Edmonton andVancouver.
Those interested should look for contact information on the study'sWeb site, mirec-canada.ca
© National Post 2009
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Parkinson's research helps unravel disease
New discoveries into the cause of Parkinson's disease are helpingscientists unravel an illness that has baffled the medical communityfor more than two centuries, an acclaimed U. S. neurologist says.
"We have a much clearer understanding of some of the things that gowrong with nerve cells in the brain that cause these cells to quitfunctioning and die," said Dr. Bill Langton, scientific director ofthe Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale, Calif.
"If we can find a way to slow or halt the progression of the diseasein its early stage, I believe we can give people a near normal life."
Langton -- in Calgary on Friday to speak to doctors at FoothillsHospital about the latest in Parkinson's research -- is credited asone of the first scientists to find a relationship between thedisorder and toxic compounds such as pesticides.
Langton's findings have led others to find compelling links betweenParkinson's and insecticides and even well water.
"A body of evidence is building that tells us something in ourenvironment -- perhaps man-made or natural -- may be triggering thisdisease," he said.
Parkinson's disease is caused by the destruction of brain cells thatproduce dopamine, which sends signals that help co-ordinate the body'smovements.
The disorder affects about 5,500 Albertans, mostly over 60, but it canstrike at any age.
Langton said there has never been a more prolific period of researchinto the cause of the disease as well as possible treatments to easeits tremors and other symptoms.
© The Calgary Herald 2009
Copyright © 2009 CanWest Interactive, a division of CanWest MediaWorksPublications, Inc.. All rights reserved.
Deadly Deception: The Tobacco Industry's Secondhand Smoke Cover UpSubmitted by Anne Landman on Wed, 01/07/2009 - 15:46.Topics: international public relations tobacco
Many of the of the tobacco industry's underhanded strategies andtactics have been exposed, thanks to landmark legal cases and the hardwork of public health advocates. But we are still uncovering theshocking lengths to which the industry has gone to protect itself frompublic health measures like smoking bans. Now we can thank the city ofPueblo, Colorado for an opportunity to look a little bit deeper intohow the industry managed the deadly deceptions around secondhandsmoke.
A new study, now the ninth of its type and the most comprehensive oneyet, has shown a major reduction in hospital admissions for heartattacks after a smoke-free law was put into effect.
On July 1, 2003 the relatively isolated city of Pueblo, Coloradoenacted an ordinance that prohibited smoking in workplaces and indoorpublic areas, including bars and restaurants. For the study,researchers reviewed hospital admissions for heart attacks among arearesidents for one year prior to, and three years after the ban, andcompared the data to two other nearby areas that didn't have bans (thepart of Pueblo County outside city limits, and El Paso County, whichincludes Colorado Springs). Researchers found that during the threeyears after the ban, hospital admissions for heart attacks dropped 41percent inside the city of Pueblo, but found no significant change inadmissions for heart attacks in the other two control areas.
Eight studies done prior to this one in other locales used similartechniques and yielded similar results, but covered shorter periods oftime -- usually about one year after the smoking ban went into effect.The results of this longer, more comprehensive study support the viewthat not only does secondhand smoke have a significant short-termimpact on heart function, but that lives, and money, are probablybeing saved by new laws proliferating around the world in recent yearsthat minimize public exposure to secondhand smoke.
==========================Warning Industry Propaganda Below==========================
Jan 9, 2009
Huron Corn Spokesman Concerned About Pesticide Exemption
The new president of the Huron County Corn Producers says they have afew concerns with the exemption for agriculture on the new ban on thecosmetic use of pesticides.
Larry Lynn says one concern is that the exemption could be taken awayat any time.
Another is that the exemption also implies that agriculture is acosmetic use of pesticides.
Lynn says the corn producers don't think the ban is based on science.
He says it's more a matter of perception.
And Lynn says that's a problem when farmers are trying to make theirliving farming.
Producers at yesterday's annual meeting of the Huron County Corn,Soybean and Wheat producers in Holmesville were urged to contact theirlocal M-P-P about their concerns with the legislation.
January 9, 2009
Vernon Morning Star
Legislate or educate?
Although a number of communities have “banned” the use of “cosmetic”pesticides for a number of years, no evidence is offered to show infact, that reduction of pesticide use has resulted in a reduction ofthe diseases these chemicals are purported to cause.
Surely statistics should be available that will back up the claims.Being exposed to the material at a much greater level than any citizenis, wouldn’t you think this would be of paramount importance to anyapplicator? I would not deliberately expose my children andgrandchildren to a scientifically (or unskewed statistically)documented link to a harmful substance. The same applies to thosewhose lawns I treat.
A letter to the editor, written over a year ago, referred to a link onthe web. The suggestion was that “cosmetic” pesticides contributed inlarge to increases in ADD and ADHD. The article link did not deny thepossibility, but suggested that increases were due largely to theincreased ability to diagnose these problems.
A second letter to the editor on the subject was from a gentlemanwhose dog had been on a field that had been treated. It is verypossible that no exposure took place. Why? Legislation in B.C.requires that a program be in place (IPM) which designates at whichpoint pesticides are applied, and where. What that means is, if anarea in a lawn or field has a percentage of weeds (depending onclient’s threshold, from 10 per cent on up), these weeds might betreated, but only that area of concern. It is therefore unlikely thatthe entire area was treated, and more likely that weeds were “spottreated." I understand his concern for his pet and don’t wish todiminish this, but hopefully will assuage his anxiety.
A few more observations on a recent article on the use of cosmeticpesticides. The author would have you believe that there areapplicators skulking about in the dead of the night treating citylawns and private lawns. Highly unlikely that they are treatingprivate property, more than likely unkempt city boulevards are beingtreated.
Apparently 75 per cent of B.C. residents oppose the “cosmeticpesticides." I would love to know what question was posed, and ifthose polled were mostly apartment dwellers. Knowing the demographicsof a poll is paramount in developing an informed conclusion.
It sounds like some people would like the use of cosmetic pesticideseliminated from city property only. Somehow I think the truth liescloser to a total ban, and if possible, all pesticide use.
A great place to find out more about the materials used is the PestManagement Regulatory Agency site on the Internet.
I have great admiration for those who have, and spend the time onmechanically weeding their lawns, using a fertilizing program, andpractice proper mowing techniques. (Find out more on the web atwww.healthylawns.ca). Those who don’t use any form of yard maintenancemay well be a harbouring a seed bed of weed problems for those aroundthem. Maybe it isn’t the pesticide that is the problem.
I am looking forward to seeing letters from others who have aninterest in this subject, particularly those who avail themselves ofthis type of service.
Legislation is an easy way to force the populace to comply with lawswhich they, as a majority, don’t wish to have. Educating me with factson both the above issues will help me understand and comply in aninformed way.
I don’t think that is too much to ask for. The statement, that “manyother communities have banned pesticides” is lame at best. We aren’tlemmings are we? I’d like to see a decision based on evidence, notconjecture.
Many communities have not banned burning within city limits, so shouldwe allow burning in Vernon’s backyards again?
Henry van der MolenSupergreen Lawn and Tree Care
Find this article at:http://www.bclocalnews.com/okanagan_similkameen/vernonmorningstar/opinion/letters/37366319.html
© Copyright Black Press. All rights reserved.
June 23 2008
The Toxic Truth: Even healthy people have toxinsby Mi-Jung Lee
Comment - Henry van der MolenWhy would you go to only ONE source to establish what was in yourbody? As a reporter aught you not to have gone for a second study? Howobjective is that? What does the group you went to have to gain from areporter with a diagnosis they came up with? Hmmmmm, do I smellspecial interest group and a great way to promote an agenda?
June 24 2008
The Toxic Truth: Anchor carries chemical soupby Mi-Jung Lee
Comment - Henry van der MolenInteresting report so far. :) A lot of "mights", rather inconclusive Iwould say. Some "motherhood" stuff of course. One would almost nottake their child out for a stroll (might get sunburn), a drive (couldhave an accident), etc. Yet we do these things with our children,based on the understanding that all things have the potential fordanger. Thankfully we don't base our decisions on the "possibility" ofbeing harmed. Well, at least most of us who consider more than justthe person who thinks vehicles are inherently dangerous. Interestingso far, more depth coming, I hope. :)
Facebook - Henry van der Molenhttp://www.facebook.com/people/Henry-Van-Der-Molen/654825352
LawnCafe.com - Henry van der Molenhttp://www.smallenginecafe.com/showthread.php?p=176569
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St. John's Daily Spray Advisory
My Past Articles
More enforcement needed for pesticide spray regulations
The Western Star (Corner Brook) - Final - 10-01-2002 - 413 words
Karen Griffin - Judie Squires says someone needs to patrol the companies that spray residential areas for pesticides because she's observed nine violations of the Environmental Protection Act in her Paradise neighborhood alone…
Spray woes: Province falling down on monitoring pesticides
The Telegram (
Judie Squires - environment to become poisoned? A temporary ban on all residential pesticides has to be put into place, to protect us, our wildlife and our environment as a whole. Judie Squires
Government lax on cosmetic pesticide regulation: advocate
The Telegram (
Stokes Sullivan, Deana - Despite increased awareness about adverse health effects from pesticides, Judie Squires, a member of the Pesticide Working Group of
Woman doesn't expect cosmetic pesticide ban any time soon
The Western Star (Corner Brook) - 08-30-2004 - 712 words
Stokes Sullivan, Deana - Despite increased awareness about adverse health effects from pesticides, Judie Squires, a member of the Pesticide Working Group of Newfoundland and Labrador, isn't optimistic that the province will ban the…
Province lagging behind in pesticide control
The Telegram (
Squires, Judie - it to do is to prohibit the cosmetic use of synthetic pesticides altogether in order to protect our citizens and the environment. Judie Squires writes from Portugal Cove-St. Philip's…
The two sides to pesticide use
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Judie Squires - health of your families. When
Inquiry implicates BTk
The Telegram (
DEANA STOKES SULLIVAN - of trees. The live spores can be inhaled by humans and animals exposed to BT. Judie Squires, secretary of the Northeast Avalon Group of the Sierra Club, says despite claims that…
Delayed pesticide laws 'disappointing'
The Telegram (
DEANA STOKES SULLIVAN - at the end of this year. These products will only be sold to certified dealers. Judie Squires, secretary of the newly formed Northeast Avalon Group of the Sierra Club, isn't…
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Time for provincial lawn pesticide regulation
The Telegram (
pesticides. Please join me in lobbying our province for a pesticide ban Judie Squires Portugal Cove...