Center for Food Safety, 2012
Center for Food Safety, “Exposure to Herbicide Residues and Herbicide-Resistant Crops,” November 2012.
Center for Food Safety, “Exposure to Herbicide Residues and Herbicide-Resistant Crops,” November 2012.
Benbrook, C, “Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use in the U.S. – the First Sixteen Years,” Environmental Sciences-Europe, 2012, 24:24.
BACKGROUND: Genetically engineered, herbicide-resistant and insect-resistant crops have been remarkable commercial successes in the United States. Few independent studies have calculated their impacts on pesticide use per hectare or overall pesticide use, or taken into account the impact of rapidly spreading glyphosate-resistant weeds. A model was developed to quantify by crop and year the impacts of six major transgenic pest-management traits on pesticide use in the U.S. over the 16-year period, 1996–2011: herbicide-resistant corn, soybeans, and cotton; Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn targeting the European corn borer; Bt corn for corn rootworms; and Bt cotton for Lepidopteron insects.
RESULTS: Herbicide-resistant crop technology has led to a 239 million kilogram (527 million pound) increase in herbicide use in the United States between 1996 and 2011, while Bt crops have reduced insecticide applications by 56 million kilograms (123 million pounds). Overall, pesticide use increased by an estimated 183 million kgs (404 million pounds), or about 7%.
CONCLUSIONS: Contrary to often-repeated claims that today’s genetically-engineered crops have, and are reducing pesticide use, the spread of glyphosate-resistant weeds in herbicide-resistant weed management systems has brought about substantial increases in the number and volume of herbicides applied. If new genetically engineered forms of corn and soybeans tolerant of 2,4-D are approved, the volume of 2,4-D sprayed could drive herbicide usage upward by another approximate 50%. The magnitude of increases in herbicide use on herbicide-resistant hectares has dwarfed the reduction in insecticide use on Bt crops over the past 16 years, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. FULL TEXT
Swan SH, “Semen quality in fertile US men in relation to geographical area and pesticide exposure,” International Journal of Andrology, 2006, 29:1.
ABSTRACT: We conducted the first US study to compare semen quality among study centres using standardized methods and strict quality control. We present data on semen quality in partners of 493 pregnant women recruited through prenatal clinics in four US cities during 1999-2001. Sperm concentration, semen volume and motility were determined at the centres and morphology was assessed at a central laboratory. While between-centre differences in sperm morphology and sample volume were small, sperm concentration and motility were significantly reduced in Columbia, MO (MO) relative to men in New York, NY, Minneapolis, MN and Los Angeles, CA; total number of motile sperm was 113 x 10(6) in MO and 162, 201 and 196 x 10(6) in CA, MN and NY respectively. Differences among centres remained significant in multivariate models that controlled for abstinence time, semen analysis time, age, race, smoking, history of sexually transmitted disease and recent fever (all p-values <0.01). We hypothesized that poorer sperm concentration and motility in MO men relative to other centres might be related to agricultural pesticides that are commonly used in the mid-west. We investigated this hypothesis by conducting a nested case-control study within the MO cohort. We selected 25 men in this cohort for whom all semen parameters (concentration, % normal morphology and % motile) were low as cases and an equal number of men for whom all semen parameters were within normal limits as controls. We measured metabolites of eight non-persistent, current-use pesticides in urine samples the men had provided at the time of semen collection. Pesticide metabolite levels were elevated in cases compared with controls for the herbicides alachlor and atrazine, and for the insecticide diazinon (2-isopropoxy-4-methyl-pyrimidinol) (p-values for Wilcoxon rank test = 0.0007, 0.012, and 0.0004 for alachlor, atrazine and diazinon respectively). Men with higher levels of alachlor or diazinon were significantly more likely to be cases than men with low levels [odds ratios (OR) = 30.0, 16.7 for alachlor and diazinon respectively], as were men with atrazine over the limit of detection (OR = 11.3). These associations between current-use pesticides and reduced semen quality suggest that agricultural chemicals may have contributed to the reduced semen quality seen in fertile men from mid-Missouri.
Schreinemachers DM, “Birth malformations and other adverse perinatal outcomes in four U.S. Wheat-producing states,” Environmental Health Perspectives, 2003, 111:9.
ABSTRACT: Chlorophenoxy herbicides are widely used in the United States and Western Europe for broadleaf weed control in grain farming and park maintenance. Most of the spring and durum wheat produced in the United States is grown in Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota, with more than 85% of the acreage treated with chlorophenoxy herbicides such as 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxyacetic acid (MCPA). Rates of adverse birth outcomes in rural, agricultural counties of these states during 1995-1997 were studied by comparing counties with a high proportion of wheat acreage and those with a lower proportion. Information routinely collected and made available by federal agencies was used for this ecologic study. Significant increases in birth malformations were observed for the circulatory/respiratory category for combined sexes [odds ratio (OR) = 1.65; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.07-2.55]. A stronger effect was observed for the subcategory, which excluded heart malformations (OR = 2.03; 95% CI, 1.14-3.59). In addition, infants conceived during April-June–the time of herbicide application–had an increased chance of being diagnosed with circulatory/respiratory (excluding heart) malformations compared with births conceived during other months of the year (OR = 1.75; 95% CI, 1.09-2.80). Musculoskeletal/integumental anomalies increased for combined sexes in the high-wheat counties (OR = 1.50; 95% CI, 1.06-2.12). Infant death from congenital anomalies significantly increased in high-wheat counties for males (OR = 2.66; 95% CI, 1.52-4.65) but not for females (OR = 0.48; 95% CI, 0.20-1.15). These results are especially of concern because of widespread use of chlorophenoxy herbicides. FULL TEXT
Schreinemachers DM, “Perturbation of lipids and glucose metabolism associated with previous 2,4-D exposure: a cross-sectional study of NHANES III data, 1988-1994,” Environmental Health, 2010, 9:11, DOI: 10.1186/1476-069X-9-11.
Results from previous population studies showed that mortality rates from acute myocardial infarction and type-2 diabetes during the 1980s and 1990s in rural, agricultural counties of Minnesota, Montana, North and South Dakota, were higher in counties with a higher level of spring wheat farming than in counties with lower levels of this crop. Spring wheat, one of the major field crops in these four states, was treated for 85% or more of its acreage with chlorophenoxy herbicides. In the current study NHANES III data were reviewed for associations of 2,4-dichlorophenoxy acetic acid (2,4-D) exposure, one of the most frequently used chlorophenoxy herbicides, with risk factors that are linked to the pathogenesis of acute myocardial infarction and type-2 diabetes, such as dyslipidemia and impaired glucose metabolism.
To investigate the toxicity pattern of chlorophenoxy herbicides, effects of a previous 2,4-D exposure were assessed by comparing levels of lipids, glucose metabolism, and thyroid stimulating hormone in healthy adult NHANES III subjects with urinary 2,4-D above and below the level of detection, using linear regression analysis. The analyses were conducted for all available subjects and for two susceptible subpopulations characterized by high glycosylated hemoglobin (upper 50th percentile) and low thyroxine (lower 50th percentile).
Presence of urinary 2,4-D was associated with a decrease of HDL levels: 8.6% in the unadjusted data (p-value = 0.006), 4.8% in the adjusted data (p-value = 0.08), and 9% in the adjusted data for the susceptible subpopulation with low thyroxine (p-value = 0.02). An effect modification of the inverse triglycerides-HDL relation was observed in association with 2,4-D. Among subjects with low HDL, urinary 2,4-D was associated with increased levels of triglycerides, insulin, C-peptide, and thyroid stimulating hormone, especially in the susceptible subpopulations. In contrast, subjects with high HDL did not experience adverse 2,4-D associated effects.
The results indicate that exposure to 2,4-D was associated with changes in biomarkers that, based on the published literature, have been linked to risk factors for acute myocardial infarction and type-2 diabetes. FULL TEXT
Lerro CC, Beane Freeman LE, Portengen L, Kang D, Lee K, Blair A, Lynch CF, Bakke B, De Roos AJ, Vermeulen RC, “A longitudinal study of atrazine and 2,4-D exposure and oxidative stress markers among Iowa corn farmers,” Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis, 2017, 58:1, DOI: 10.1002/em.22069.
ABSTRACT: Reactive oxygen species, potentially formed through environmental exposures, can overwhelm an organism’s antioxidant capabilities resulting in oxidative stress. Long-term oxidative stress is linked with chronic diseases. Pesticide exposures have been shown to cause oxidative stress in vivo. We utilized a longitudinal study of corn farmers and non-farming controls in Iowa to examine the impact of exposure to the widely used herbicides atrazine and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) on markers of oxidative stress. 225 urine samples were collected during five agricultural time periods (pre-planting, planting, growing, harvest, off-season) for 30 farmers who applied pesticides occupationally and 10 controls who did not; all were non-smoking men ages 40-60. Atrazine mercapturate (atrazine metabolite), 2,4-D, and oxidative stress markers (malondialdehyde [MDA], 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine [8-OHdG], and 8-isoprostaglandin-F2α [8-isoPGF]) were measured in urine. We calculated β estimates and 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) for each pesticide-oxidative stress marker combination using multivariate linear mixed-effect models for repeated measures. Farmers had higher urinary atrazine mercapturate and 2,4-D levels compared with controls. In regression models, after natural log transformation, 2,4-D was associated with elevated levels of 8-OHdG (β = 0.066, 95%CI = 0.008-0.124) and 8-isoPGF (β = 0.088, 95%CI = 0.004-0.172). 2,4-D may be associated with oxidative stress because of modest increases in 8-OHdG, a marker of oxidative DNA damage, and 8-isoPGF, a product of lipoprotein peroxidation, with recent 2,4-D exposure. Future studies should investigate the role of 2,4-D-induced oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of human diseases.