Health effects of low-level pesticide exposure

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Health effects of low-level pesticide exposure

Post: # 268642Post gregorach
Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:48 am

I've already linked to this in the recent obesity thread, but I thought I'd put it up in its own thread, as the article deals with wider issues and is likely to be of interest to people who may not still be reading that thread... A fascinating new post on The Pump Handle (a public health blog) - Subtle but potentially serious: health effects of low-level pesticide exposure:
A new study has been added to the growing body of literature reporting on the potential health effects of low-level exposure to widely used pesticides. In this study, a pesticide used on leafy greens, apples, cherries, strawberries, cucumbers, grapes, watermelons, and other food crops has been identified as an obesogen in mice. An obesogen is a chemical that promotes obesity by prompting the growth of more and larger fat cells, often doing so through prenatal exposure and setting the stage for metabolic disease later in life.

Since the identification of these effects in the past ten years or so, pesticides and other synthetic chemicals have come under increasing scrutiny for the role they may play in promoting childhood and adult obesity and related health effects. “An alarming recent trend is the increasing rate of obesity in very young children, even infants,” writes Bruce Blumberg, University of California Irvine professor of developmental and cell biology who led this new study of the fungicide called triflumizole (TFZ). “Since it is unlikely that infants are consuming more calories and exercising less than in the past, it is reasonable to hypothesize that the prenatal and/or early postnatal environment has recently changed.”


This study is, however, one of many reporting on subtle but potentially serious effects of exposure to pesticides at low levels, amounts comparable to those people encounter environmentally. Among these are the studies of organophosphate pesticides I reported on for The Pump Handle in September, which are increasingly being linked to adverse neurological impacts in children who were exposed prenatally. But many other biocides have also been identified as having potential adverse hormonal or developmental activity, typically at low exposure levels. Such evidence on atrazine, endosulfan, tributyl tin, vinclozolin, and those based on glyphosate has been summarized for Pesticide News by Gwynne Lyons of WWF-UK.


This is problematic because testing used to set current safety standards for such chemicals often has not historically included low-dose effects. This means that what’s considered a safe level of exposure may be missing potentially important hormonal and developmental health impacts. That such effects may be absent from a regulatory toxicity review of a pesticide has both potential occupational and public health impacts. Long-term studies of children whose mothers were exposed to pesticides in their agricultural communities or through use of these substances in indoor pest control are beginning to show some of these impacts. The TMZ study is yet another indication that what is considered a safe exposure level of pesticide exposure – for agricultural workers, their families or for the food we eat – may merit another look.


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Re: Health effects of low-level pesticide exposure

Post: # 268661Post demi
Wed Nov 07, 2012 4:26 pm

I hate pestacides. My husband sprays the trees with the fruit for selling because we can't sell imperfect fruit. He misses out a few trees for us and some of that fruit was better than the sprayed ones, and some of the sprayed fruit, like the cherries, were all full of worms even though they were sprayed.

Id like to do everything organic but my husband is scared we loose too many fruits to diseases and pests and we wont make enough money on them as its our only income ( apart from the rents from the properties we rent out which without we'd never be able to survive ) .

It's definetly somthing i worry about, especially when it comes to feeding the kids.

Edit: Just remembered also, im always shouting at my husband for not wearing proper gear for spraying. He just puts on wellies and a big rain jacket with the hood up and holds the coller over his nose and mouth! He's got this petrol sprayer that goes on your back like a backpack and it sprays a big mist into the air all around him :shock: He better not get cancer and die young! How am i supposed to manage the farm on my own!!!! :shock: :shock: :shock:
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Re: Health effects of low-level pesticide exposure

Post: # 268676Post The Riff-Raff Element
Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:09 pm

I commented on the other thread and I'm pleased you put this up here too. I'll just repeat the bit from the paper that really caught my eye and - to my mind - provides the firmest confirmation that something significant is afoot:

Intriguingly, a recent study showed that animals (pets - cats and dogs; laboratory
animals - rats, mice; 4 species of primates; and feral rats) living in proximity to humans in
industrialized societies exhibited pronounced increases in obesity over the past several decades
(Klimentidis et al. 2010). The likelihood of 24 animal populations from 8 different species all
showing a positive trend in weight over the past few decades by chance was estimated at one in
12 million (1.2 x 10-7)

Eating organic suddenly looks even more sensible.

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