Myths, models and mitigation of resistance to pesticides.
Resistance to pesticides in arthropod pests is a significant economic, ecological and public health problem. Although extensive research has been conducted on diverse aspects of pesticide resistance and we have learned a great deal during the past 50 years, to some degree the discussion about 'resistance management' has been based on 'myths'. One myth involves the belief that we can manage resistance. I will maintain that we can only attempt to mitigate resistance because resistance is a natural evolutionary response to environmental stresses. As such, resistance will remain an ongoing dilemma in pest management and we can only delay the onset of resistance to pesticides. 'Resistance management' models and tactics have been much discussed but have been tested and deployed in practical pest management programmes with only limited success. Yet the myth persists that better models will provide a 'solution' to the problem. The reality is that success in using mitigation models is limited because these models are applied to inappropriate situations in which the critical genetic, ecological, biological or logistic assumptions cannot be met. It is difficult to predict in advance which model is appropriate to a particular situation; if the model assumptions cannot be met, applying the model sometimes can increase the rate of resistance development rather than slow it down. Are there any solutions? I believe we already have one. Unfortunately, it is not a simple or easy one to deploy. It involves employing effective agronomic practices to develop and maintain a healthy crop, monitoring pest densities, evaluating economic injury levels so that pesticides are applied only when necessary, deploying and conserving biological control agents, using host-plant resistance, cultural controls of the pest, biorational pest controls, and genetic control methods. As a part of a truly multi-tactic strategy, it is crucial to evaluate the effect of pesticides on natural enemies in order to preserve them in the cropping system. Sometimes, pesticide-resistant natural enemies are effective components of this resistance mitigation programme. Another name for this resistance mitigation model is integrated pest management (IPM). This complex model was outlined in some detail nearly 40 years ago by V. M. Stern and colleagues. To deploy the IPM resistance mitigation model, we must admit that pest management and resistance mitigation programmes are not sustainable if based on a single-tactic strategy. Delaying resistance, whether to traditional pesticides or to transgenic plants containing toxin genes from Bacillus thuringiensis, will require that we develop multi-tactic pest management programmes that incorporate all appropriate pest management approaches. Because pesticides are limited resources, and their loss can result in significant social and economic costs, they should be reserved for situations where they are truly needed--as tools to subdue an unexpected pest population outbreak. Effective multi-tactic IPM programmes delay resistance (= mitigation) because the number and rates of pesticide applications will be reduced. (+info)
Cancer mortality in agricultural regions of Minnesota.
Because of its unique geology, Minnesota can be divided into four agricultural regions: south-central region one (corn, soybeans); west-central region two (wheat, corn, soybeans); northwest region three (wheat, sugar beets, potatoes); and northeast region four (forested and urban in character). Cancer mortality (1980-1989) in agricultural regions one, two, and three was compared to region four. Using data compiled by the National Center for Health Statistics, cancer mortality was summarized by 5-year age groups, sex, race, and county. Age-standardized mortality rate ratios were calculated for white males and females for all ages combined, and for children aged 0-14. Increased mortality rate ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were observed for the following cancer sites: region one--lip (men), standardized rate ratio (SRR) = 2.70 (CI, 1.08-6.71); nasopharynx (women), SRR = 3.35 (CI, 1.20-9.31); region two--non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (women), SRR = 1.35 (CI, 1.09-1.66); and region three--prostate (men), SRR = 1.12 (CI, 1.00-1.26); thyroid (men), SRR = 2.95 (CI, 1.35-6.44); bone (men), SRR = 2.09 (CI, 1. 00-4.34); eye (women), SRR = 5.77 (CI, 1.90-17.50). Deficits of smoking-related cancers were noted. Excess cancers reported are consistent with earlier reports of agriculturally related cancers in the midwestern United States. However, reports on thyroid and bone cancer in association with agricultural pesticides are few in number. The highest use of fungicides occurs in region three. Ethylenebisdithiocarbamates, whose metabolite is a known cause of thyroid cancer in rats, are frequently applied. This report provides a rationale for evaluation of the carcinogenic potential of this suspect agent in humans. (+info)
Pesticides and immunosuppression: the risks to public health.
There is substantial experimental, epidemiological and other evidence that many pesticides in widespread use around the world are immunosuppressive. This poses a potentially serious health risk in populations highly exposed to infectious and parasitic diseases, subject to malnutrition, and inadequately serve by curative health programmes. An expanded programme of research is needed to investigate this potential risk and to design precautionary measures. (+info)
Cytogenetic effects from exposure to mixed pesticides and the influence from genetic susceptibility.
Exposure to pesticides remains a major environmental health problem. Health risk from such exposure needs to be more precisely understood. We conducted three different cytogenetic assays to elucidate the biological effects of exposure to mixed pesticides in 20 Costa Rica farmers (all nonsmokers) compared with 20 matched controls. The farmers were also exposed to dibromochloropropane during the early employment years, and most of them experienced sterility/fertility problems. Our data show that the farmers had consistently higher frequencies of chromosome aberrations, as determined by the standard chromosome aberration assay, and significantly abnormal DNA repair responses (p < 0.05), as determined by the challenge assay, but no statistically significant differences in the tandem-probe fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) assay (p > 0.05). Genotype analysis indicates that farmers with certain "unfavorable" versions of polymorphic metabolizing genes (cytochrome P4502E1, the glutathione S-transferases mu and theta, and the paraoxonase genes) had significantly more biological effects, as determined by all three cytogenetic assays, than both the farmers with the "favorable" alleles and the matched controls. A unique observation is that, in individuals who had inherited any of the mentioned "unfavorable" alleles, farmers were consistently underrepresented. In conclusion, the Costa Rican farmers were exposed to genotoxic agents, most likely pesticides, which expressed the induction of biological and adverse health effects. The farmers who had inherited "unfavorable" metabolizing alleles were more susceptible to genotoxic effects than those with "favorable" alleles. Our genotype data suggest that the well-recognized "healthy worker effect" may be influenced by unrecognized occupational selection pressure against genetically susceptible individuals. (+info)
Mortality in a cohort of licensed pesticide applicators in Florida.
OBJECTIVES: Although the primary hazard to humans associated with pesticide exposure is acute poisoning, there has been considerable concern surrounding the possibility of cancer and other chronic health effects in humans. Given the huge volume of pesticides now used throughout the world, as well as environmental and food residue contamination leading to chronic low level exposure, the study of possible chronic human health effects is important. METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study, analysed by general standardised mortality ratio (SMR) of licensed pesticide applicators in Florida compared with the general population of Florida. A cohort of 33,658 (10% female) licensed pesticide applicators assembled through extensive data linkages yielded 1874 deaths with 320,250 person-years from 1 January 1975 to 31 December 1993. RESULTS: The pesticide applicators were consistently and significantly healthier than the general population of Florida. As with many occupational cohorts, the risks of cardiovascular disease and of diseases associated with alcohol and tobacco use were significantly lower, even in the subpopulations--for example, men, women, and licence subcategories. Among male applicators, prostate cancer mortality (SMR 2.38 (95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.83 to 3.04) was significantly increased. No cases of soft tissue sarcoma were confirmed in this cohort, and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was not increased. The number of female applicators was small, as were the numbers of deaths. Mortality from cervical cancer and breast cancer was not increased. Additional subcohort and exposure analyses were performed. CONCLUSIONS: Consistent with previous publications on farmers but at odds with current theories about the protective effects of vitamin D, prostate cancer was increased in these pesticide applicators. Female breast cancer was not increased despite theories linking risk of breast cancer with exposure to oestrogen disruptors--such as the organochlorines. The lack of cases of soft tissue sarcoma is at odds with previous publications associating the use of the phenoxy herbicides with an increased risk of these cancers. (+info)
Pesticides and inner-city children: exposures, risks, and prevention.
Six million children live in poverty in America's inner cities. These children are at high risk of exposure to pesticides that are used extensively in urban schools, homes, and day-care centers for control of roaches, rats, and other vermin. The organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos and certain pyrethroids are the registered pesticides most heavily applied in cities. Illegal street pesticides are also in use, including tres pasitos (a carbamate), tiza china, and methyl parathion. In New York State in 1997, the heaviest use of pesticides in all counties statewide was in the urban boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Children are highly vulnerable to pesticides. Because of their play close to the ground, their hand-to-mouth behavior, and their unique dietary patterns, children absorb more pesticides from their environment than adults. The long persistence of semivolatile pesticides such as chlorpyrifos on rugs, furniture, stuffed toys, and other absorbent surfaces within closed apartments further enhances urban children's exposures. Compounding these risks of heavy exposures are children's decreased ability to detoxify and excrete pesticides and the rapid growth, development, and differentiation of their vital organ systems. These developmental immaturities create early windows of great vulnerability. Recent experimental data suggest, for example, that chlorpyrifos may be a developmental neurotoxicant and that exposure in utero may cause biochemical and functional aberrations in fetal neurons as well as deficits in the number of neurons. Certain pyrethroids exert hormonal activity that may alter early neurologic and reproductive development. Assays currently used for assessment of the toxicity of pesticides are insensitive and cannot accurately predict effects to children exposed in utero or in early postnatal life. Protection of American children, and particularly of inner-city children, against the developmental hazards of pesticides requires a comprehensive strategy that monitors patterns of pesticide use on a continuing basis, assesses children's actual exposures to pesticides, uses state-of-the-art developmental toxicity testing, and establishes societal targets for reduction of pesticide use. (+info)
Clinical experience and results of a Sentinel Health Investigation related to indoor fungal exposure.
This is a review of exposure conditions, clinical presentation, and morbidity of children and adults with indoor fungal exposure such as toxic Stachybotrys chartarum. Indoor exposure was characterized using different methods including microscopic, culture, cytotoxicity screening tests, and chemical analyses. Clinical case histories and physical and laboratory findings are presented of children (age < 18 years, n = 22; mean age 9 years; 60% females) and adults (age >18 years, n = 125; mean age 39 years, 67% females) who consulted an environmental health specialty clinic. In the pediatric patients' exposure history, widespread fungal contamination of water-damaged building materials with known toxic or allergic fungi was identified. Primarily disorders of the respiratory system, skin, mucous membranes, and central nervous system were reported. Some enumeration and functional laboratory abnormalities, mainly of the lymphatic blood cells, were observed, although no statistically significant differences were found. IgE or IgG fungi-specific antibodies, used as exposure markers, were positive in less than 25% of all tested cases. In an evaluation of a symptomatic girl 11 years of age (sentinel case investigation) living in an apartment with verified toxigenic fungi (i.e., S. chartarum), several health indicators showed improvement after exposure cessation. (+info)
Geographical differences of cancer incidence in Costa Rica in relation to environmental and occupational pesticide exposure.
BACKGROUND: This study describes geographical differences in cancer incidence in Costa Rica, and investigates if some of these differences may be related to pesticides. METHODS: Data were combined from the cancer registry (1981-1993), the 1984 population census, the 1984 agricultural census, and a national pesticide data set. The 81 counties of Costa Rica were the units for the ecological analyses. Adjacent counties were grouped into 14 regions (3 urban and 11 rural) with relatively similar socioeconomic characteristics. County indices for population density and agricultural variables were constructed and categorized. Differences across regions and categories were assessed by comparing observed numbers of incident cases to expected values derived from national rates. Within the tertile of most rural counties, rate ratios between categories of high and low pesticide use were calculated. RESULTS: In urban regions, excesses were observed for lung, colorectal, breast, uterus, ovary, prostate, testis, kidney, and bladder cancers; and in rural regions for gastric, cervical, penile, and skin cancers. Skin cancers (lip, melanoma, non-melanocytic skin and penile cancer) occurred in excess in coffee growing areas with extensive use of paraquat and lead arsenate. In the most rural subset, heavy pesticide use was associated with an increase of cancer incidence overall and at a considerable number of specific sites, including lung cancer (relative risk [RR] 2.0 for men and 2.6 for women) and all female hormone-related cancers (RR between 1.3 and 1.8). CONCLUSIONS: Regions and populations at high risk for specific cancers were identified. Several hypotheses for associations between pesticides and cancer emerged. The findings call for studies at the individual level. (+info)