Friday, January 16, 2009
Chemicals blamed for millions of two-headed fish in Noosa River...And More
Peace Arch NewsCosmetic pesticide ban endorsed
By Alex Browne - Peace Arch News
White Rock council has unanimously endorsed a motion that willeventually eliminate the use of cosmetic pesticides in the city.
Staff will be preparing bylaws and legislation to outlaw the practiceon both private and city land, and at the same time staff will developan educational program for residents, businesses and property ownerson alternatives to cosmetic pesticides.
The motion, proposed by Coun. Helen Fathers, also invites the Surrey-White Rock Pesticide Free Coalition and the Canadian Cancer Society toprovide input to the environmental committee for such an educationalprogram.
And, as a result of a subsequent motion by Mayor Catherine Ferguson,staff will also gather examples of best practices from other citiesnot using cosmetic pesticides.
Not only do the chemicals particularly imperil babies, children andteenagers, Fathers added, but, ultimately, they do not work.
“Although 99 per cent of the plants targeted are killed, the one percent that do survive build up resistance, leading to the developmentof new chemicals.”
Around 146 communities throughout B.C. and Canada are currentlyinvolved in making their municipalities free of cosmetic pesticides.
“Maybe we need to expect less manicured parks,” said Coun. AlCampbell, noting there were more natural-appearing alternatives tohighly cultivated floral parks.
“The manicured park may be a thing of the past.”
Find this article at:http://www.bclocalnews.com/surrey_area/peacearchnews/news/37677944.html
Jan 15, 2009
Working with pesticides impacts women's fertility.
Harley, KG, AR Marks, A Bradman, DB Barr and B Eskenazi. 2008. DDTexposure, work in agriculture and time to pregnancy among farmworkersin California. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 50(12):1335-1342.Synopsis by Kim Harley, Ph.D.
Women with potential exposure to pesticides at work or at home tooklonger to get pregnant than women without pesticide connections.
Pregnant women living in a migrant, farmworker community in Californiaparticipated in the study. Although all women were pregnant, women whoworked in agriculture, lived within 200 feet of agriculture fields orused pesticides in their home took significantly longer to conceivethan those who did not have these pesticide exposures.
The findings agree with past studies and add more evidence to thissometimes confusing mix of research outcomes. Many studies have founda relationship between pesticides and male fertility, includingeffects on sperm health and longer time to pregnancy. However, fewstudies have examined how pesticide exposure might affect women'sability to get pregnant.
In this study, researchers looked at two types of pesticides: thoselike DDT that were banned in the 1970s and those currently used inagriculture today.
DDT was measured in the women's blood, but was not associated withwomen's ability to conceive. DDT levels were quite high because mostof the women were Mexican immigrants and DDT was used in Mexico untilthe year 2000.
However, women who reported occupational exposure to currently-usedpesticides were 30 percent less likely to conceive in any given monththan women without occupational exposure. Women who reported thatpesticides were used in their homes were also less likely to conceiveeach month compared to those who did not use pesticides.
The predominantly low-income, Latina women participating in the studywere very similar except for their pesticide exposures. Nonetheless,the study controlled for other factors that might contribute to thesedifferences in conception, including maternal age, immigration statusand history of gynecologic condition.
The researchers asked 402 women about their and their partner's homeand work pesticide exposure. They also reported how long it took themto get pregnant -- as measured by the number of menstrual cyclesbefore conception.
Only maternal pesticide exposure was associated with longer time topregnancy; paternal occupational exposure was not associated withfertility. The authors point out that they only interviewed women whowere already pregnant. If infertile couples were included in thestudy, an even stronger effect of pesticides might be seen.
January 16, 2009
Chemicals blamed for two-headed fish in Noosa River
by Brian Williams and Sophie Elsworth
TWO farm chemicals being blamed for the spawning of millions of two-headed fish in the Noosa River may be banned within two years.
The grossly disfigured larvae were spawned at the Sunland FishHatchery from bass taken from the river late last year.
At least 90 per cent of the fingerlings were deformed and all diedwith 48 hours.
The hatchery owner, Gwen Gilson, and nearby residents have allegedthat chemicals used by macadamia farms in the area may be the causeand the issue is under investigation.
The farmers at the centre of the row have declined to comment.
But a scientific committee of the Stockholm Convention on PersistentOrganic Pesticides has recommended the organochlorine insecticideendosulfan be prohibited.
With Australia a signatory to the convention, a phase out wouldfollow, probably after 2011.
The other, the fungicide carbendazim, is being investigated by theAustralian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority because ofconcerns it could cause abnormalities in animals.
The chemicals have variously been banned in countries such as the USand New Zealand and in Europe.
Aquaculture veterinarian Matt Landos said he would be concerned aboutdrinking tank water from the area and of health impacts, especially onchildren, if the chemicals were involved.
APVMA spokesman Simon Cubit said the Federal Environment Departmenthad joined the investigation into the chemicals.
Dr Cubit said more than 200 chemicals were registered for use onmacadamias, including carbendazim and endosulfan.
"Hopefully these investigations will determine if chemicals wereinvolved and, if they were, what those chemicals were," Dr Cubit said.
If the chemicals had been properly used but had led to adverseenvironmental impacts, the authority would consider a ban.
Endosulfan and carbendazim have been linked to birth and reproductivedefects, liver toxicity and cancer. Carbendazim was withdrawn fromsale in the US in 2001.
Studies have found that endosulfan - an organochlorine and part of thesame family of chemicals as DDT - affects hormones and reproduction inaquatic and terrestrial organisms and is particularly deadly toamphibians.
Endosulfan is under review by the US EPA and has been banned by theNew Zealand Environmental Risk Management Authority.
Growcom pest management officer Gary Artlett said in a newsletter togrowers that the long-term future for endosulfan was uncertain.
"While it is not a given that endosulfan will be banned, thosehorticultural industries that are currently reliant on endosulfan ...would be wise to look for suitable alternatives," Mr Artlett said.
Biosecurity Queensland chief Ron Glanville said an investigation intoMs Gilson's claims first started two years ago but no evidence ofchemical use on an adjoining property was found.
Dr Glanville said deformities in larvae could occur through things assimple as nutrient changes in the water.
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