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Bibliography Tag: policy and politics

Cuhra, 2015

Cuhra, M.; “Glyphosate nontoxicity: the genesis of a scientific fact;” Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry, 2015, 15(3), 89-96; DOI: 10.4024/08CU15A.jbpc.15.03.


Repetition of a 1978 experiment on the toxicity of glyphosate chemicals in water-flea Daphnia magna showed surprising results. In the 31 years which had passed between the two series of experiments, the toxicity of glyphosate had apparently become 300 times stronger! Further investigation into this enigmatic paradox discloses unfortunate aspects of laboratory researcher cultures as well as fundamental challenges in current regulatory approval of chemicals and the epistemology of risk-assessment. FULL TEXT

Gilden et al., 2012

Gilden, R., Friedmann, E., Sattler, B., Squibb, K., & McPhaul, K.; “Potential health effects related to pesticide use on athletic fields;” Public Health Nursing, 2012, 29(3), 198-207; DOI: 10.1111/j.1525-1446.2012.01016.x.


OBJECTIVES: Children come in contact with athletic fields on a daily basis. How these fields are maintained may have an impact on children’s potential exposure to pesticides and associated health effects.

DESIGN AND SAMPLE: This is a cross-sectional, descriptive study that utilized a survey to assess playing field maintenance practices regarding the use of pesticides. Athletic fields (N = 101) in Maryland were stratified by population density and randomly selected. MEASURES: A survey was administered to field managers (n = 33) to assess maintenance practices, including the use of pesticides. Analysis included descriptive statistics and generalized estimating equations.

RESULTS: Managers of 66 fields (65.3%) reported applying pesticides, mainly herbicides (57.4%). Managers of urban and suburban fields were less likely to apply pesticides than managers of rural fields. Combined cultivation practice was also a significant predictor of increased pesticide use.

CONCLUSIONS: The use of pesticides on athletic fields presents many possible health hazards. Results indicate that there is a significant risk of exposure to pesticide for children engaged in sports activities. Given that children are also often concurrently exposed to pesticides as food residues and from home pest management, we need to examine opportunities to reduce their exposures. Both policy and practice questions are raised.  FULL TEXT

Vermeulen et al., 2020

Vermeulen, R., Schymanski, E. L., Barabasi, A. L., & Miller, G. W.; “The exposome and health: Where chemistry meets biology;” Science, 2020, 367(6476), 392-396; DOI: 10.1126/science.aay3164.


Despite extensive evidence showing that exposure to specific chemicals can lead to disease, current research approaches and regulatory policies fail to address the chemical complexity of our world. To safeguard current and future generations from the increasing number of chemicals polluting our environment, a systematic and agnostic approach is needed. The “exposome” concept strives to capture the diversity and range of exposures to synthetic chemicals, dietary constituents, psychosocial stressors, and physical factors, as well as their corresponding biological responses. Technological advances such as high-resolution mass spectrometry and network science have allowed us to take the first steps toward a comprehensive assessment of the exposome. Given the increased recognition of the dominant role that nongenetic factors play in disease, an effort to characterize the exposome at a scale comparable to that of the human genome is warranted. FULL TEXT

Topping et al., 2020

Topping, C. J., Aldrich, A., & Berny, P.; “Overhaul environmental risk assessment for pesticides;” Science, 2020, 367(6476), 360-363; DOI: 10.1126/science.aay1144.


Environmental risk assessment (ERA) of pesticides does not account for many stressors that have intensified in recent years, such as climate change, habitat destruction, and increasing landscape homogeneity, the combination of which can aggravate effects of pesticides in nature. We describe how several assumptions underlying ERA may not hold in modern intensive agricultural landscapes, and the interaction among assumption violations may account for observed declines in biodiversity. Using European contexts to exemplify these global concerns, we review how regulatory ERA for pesticides has fallen out of step with scientific knowledge and societal demands for sustainable food production and suggest systematic and recently feasible changes for regulation.  FULL TEXT

Escher et al., 2020

Escher, B. I., Stapleton, H. M., & Schymanski, E. L.; “Tracking complex mixtures of chemicals in our changing environment;” Science, 2020, 367(6476), 388-392; DOI: 10.1126/science.aay6636.


Chemicals have improved our quality of life, but the resulting environmental pollution has the potential to cause detrimental effects on humans and the environment. People and biota are chronically exposed to thousands of chemicals from various environmental sources through multiple pathways. Environmental chemists and toxicologists have moved beyond detecting and quantifying single chemicals to characterizing complex mixtures of chemicals in indoor and outdoeor environments and biological matrices. We highlight analytical and bioanalytical approaches to isolating, characterizing, and tracking groups of chemicals of concern in complex matrices. Techniques that combine chemical analysis and bioassays have the potential to facilitate the identification of mixtures of chemicals that pose a combined risk.  FULL TEXT

Chung and Herceg, 2020

Chung, F. F., & Herceg, Z.; “The Promises and Challenges of Toxico-Epigenomics: Environmental Chemicals and Their Impacts on the Epigenome;” Environmental Health Perspectives, 2020, 128(1), 15001; DOI: 10.1289/EHP6104.


BACKGROUND: It has been estimated that a substantial portion of chronic and noncommunicable diseases can be caused or exacerbated by exposure to environmental chemicals. Multiple lines of evidence indicate that early life exposure to environmental chemicals at relatively low concentrations could have lasting effects on individual and population health. Although the potential adverse effects of environmental chemicals are known to the scientific community, regulatory agencies, and the public, little is known about the mechanistic basis by which these chemicals can induce long-term or transgenerational effects. To address this question, epigenetic mechanisms have emerged as the potential link between genetic and environmental factors of health and disease.

OBJECTIVES: We present an overview of epigenetic regulation and a summary of reported evidence of environmental toxicants as epigenetic disruptors. We also discuss the advantages and challenges of using epigenetic biomarkers as an indicator of toxicant exposure, using measures that can be taken to improve risk assessment, and our perspectives on the future role of epigenetics in toxicology.

DISCUSSION: Until recently, efforts to apply epigenomic data in toxicology and risk assessment were restricted by an incomplete understanding of epigenomic variability across tissue types and populations. This is poised to change with the development of new tools and concerted efforts by researchers across disciplines that have led to a better understanding of epigenetic mechanisms and comprehensive maps of epigenomic variation. With the foundations now in place, we foresee that unprecedented advancements will take place in the field in the coming years.


Kwiatkowski et al., 2016

Kwiatkowski, C. F., Bolden, A. L., Liroff, R. A., Rochester, J. R., & Vandenbergh, J. G.; “Twenty-Five Years of Endocrine Disruption Science: Remembering Theo Colborn;” Environmental Health Perspectives, 2016, 124(9), A151-154; DOI: 10.1289/EHP746


For nearly 30 years, Dr. Theo Colborn (1927–2014) dedicated herself to studying the harmful effects of endocrinedisrupting chemicals on wildlife, humans, and the environment. More recently, she extended this effort to address the health impacts of unconventional oil and gas development. Colborn was a visionary leader who excelled at synthesizing scientific findings across disciplines. Using her unique insights and strong moral convictions, she changed the face of toxicological research, influenced chemical regulatory policy, and educated the public. In 2003, Colborn started a nonprofit organization—The Endocrine Disruption Exchange (TEDX). As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of endocrine disruption science, TEDX continues her legacy of analyzing the extensive body of environmental health research and developing unique educational resources to support public policy and education. Among other tools, TEDX currently uses the systematic review framework developed by the National Toxicology Program at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, to answer research questions of pressing concern. In this article, we pay homage to the tenacious woman and the exemplary contribution she made to the field of environmental health. Recommendations for the future of the field are drawn from her wisdom.  FULL TEXT

Mesnage et al., 2019

Mesnage, R., Benbrook, C., & Antoniou, M. N.; “Insight into the confusion over surfactant co-formulants in glyphosate-based herbicides;” Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2019, 128, 137-145; DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2019.03.053.


Glyphosate is the active ingredient in glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs). Other chemicals in GBHs are presumed as inert by regulatory authorities and are largely ignored in pesticide safety evaluations. We identified the surfactants in a cross-section of GBH formulations and compared their acute toxic effects. The first generation of polyethoxylated amine (POEA) surfactants (POE-tallowamine) in Roundup are markedly more toxic than glyphosate and heightened concerns of risks to human health, especially among heavily-exposed applicators. Beginning in the mid-1990s, first-generation POEAs were progressively replaced by other POEA surfactants, ethoxylated etheramines, which exhibited lower non-target toxic effects. Lingering concern over surfactant toxicity was mitigated at least in part within the European Union by the introduction of propoxylated quaternary ammonium surfactants. This class of POEA surfactants are approximately 100 times less toxic to aquatic ecosystems and human cells than previous GBH-POEA surfactants. As GBH composition is legally classified as confidential commercial information, confusion concerning the identity and concentrations of co-formulants is common and descriptions of test substances in published studies are often erroneous or incomplete. In order to resolve this confusion, laws requiring disclosure of the chemical composition of pesticide products could be enacted. Research to understand health implications from ingesting these substances is required. FULL TEXT

Kleter et al., 2011

Kleter, Gijs A, Unsworth, B, & Harris, Caroline A; “The impact of altered herbicide residues in transgenic herbicide-resistant crops on standard setting for herbicide residues;” Pest Management Science, 2011, 67, 1193-1210; DOI: 10.1002/ps.2128.


The global area covered with transgenic (genetically modified) crops has rapidly increased since their introduction in the mid-1990s.Most of these crops have been rendered herbicide resistant, for which it can be envisaged that the modification has an impact on the profile and level of herbicide residues within these crops. In this article, the four main categories of herbicide resistance, including resistance to acetolactate-synthase inhibitors, bromoxynil, glufosinate and glyphosate, are reviewed. The topics considered are the molecular mechanism underlying the herbicide resistance, the nature and levels of the residues formed and their impact on the residue definition and maximum residue limits (MRLs) defined by the Codex Alimentarius Commission and national authorities. No general conclusions can be drawn concerning the nature and level of residues, which has to be done on a case-by-case basis. International residue definitions and MRLs are still lacking for some herbicide–crop combinations, and harmonisation is therefore recommended. FULL TEXT

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, 2019

International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics; “Removal of glyphosate from global usage: A Statement by the FIGO Reproductive and Developmental Environmental Health Committee,” Available at:, Date posted: 07/31/2019, Date accessed: 8/6/2019.


The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), a professional group that advocates for OB/GYN groups around the world.   They work with the World Health Organization and United Nations to consult on women and children’s health and wellness issues, recommends that all glyphosate use be phased out due to “the recognised impact on the health and well-being of women and newborn children worldwide.”

FIGO points out the conflicting opinions about the safety of glyphosate, as evidenced by the EPA and IARC’s diametric designations as “non-carcinogenic” and “probably carcinogenic,” respectively.  But, they argue, given that the most recent meta-analysis from February 2019 found “a compelling link between non-Hodgkins lymphoma and glyphosate,” and rodent studies have demonstrated the potential for transgenerational epigenetic changes,  FIGO urges governments to apply the precautionary principal and prioritize “establishing safety, now and across generations, prior to exposure to chemical products.” They conclude: “We recommend that glyphosate exposure to populations should end with a full global phase out.” FULL TEXT

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