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Ottawa Environmental Health Clinic Chemical Exposure and Pesticides.

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Presentation on theme: "Ottawa Environmental Health Clinic Chemical Exposure and Pesticides."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ottawa Environmental Health Clinic Chemical Exposure and Pesticides


3 Chemical Sensitivities and Pesticides In a survey of 6,800 people claiming to be chemically sensitive: –80% asserted they knew when, where, with what, and how they were made ill. –Of the 80%, sixty percent blamed pesticides. Source: Nicholas Ashford, Ph.S, and Claudia S Miller, M.S. Chemical Exposures-Low Levels, High Stakes. Van Nostrant Reinhold, New York 1991

4 Chemical Sensitivities and Pesticides Dursban insecticide warning label: Caution, repeated exposure to cholinesterase inhibitors may without warning cause prolonged susceptibility to very small doses of any cholinesterase inhibitor So very small doses … If this is not chemical sensitivity, what is? Source: Allan D. Lieberman, M.D. An Exposure to Environmental Medicine. Winter 2003, The Human Ecologist.


6 Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) Sept. 2003 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) found 12.6% of the population suffers from MCS 1.8% of population lost job as result of MCS Source: Environmental Health Perspectives: More than 12% of Population Reports Extreme Sensitivity to Low Levels of Common Chemicals. September 11, 2003.

7 Pathways to Pesticide Exposure

8 Global Distribution of Toxins Can circulate via our air, water and soil -- Result: Grasshopper Effect Source: Arctic Assessment and Monitoring Programme (AMAP), 1997

9 Absorption of Pesticides Forearm 1 Scalp 3.7 Forehead 4.2 Ear canal 5.4 Abdomen 2.1 Scrotal area 11.8 Palm 1.3 Ball of foot 1.6

10 Source: Defining Chemical Injury: A Diagnostic Protocol and Profile of Chemically Injured Civilians, Industrial Workers and Gulf War by G. Heuser, M.D.,Ph.D., P. Axelrod and S. Heuser, M.A. A rapid increase in TA1 (CD3+, CD26+) and T3 positive (CD3) cells can be a very sensitive indicator of chemical exposure. Immune system testing and testing for auto-immunity should be routine in all patents after toxic exposure. Antibodies to certain chemicals can also be looked for. Check serum Cholinesterase levels (if an OP pesticide is suspected). Chemical Exposure & Immune System

11 Pesticides can irritate : EYES NOSE THROAT SKIN NERVOUS SYSTEM burning, stinging, itches, rashes, and blistering of the skin nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and cramping wheezing and coughing headache, dizziness and general malaise Pesticide Poisoning Symptoms Source: Pesticides and Human Health: A Resource for Health Care Professionals. Physicians for Social Responsibility and Californians for Pesticide Reform. P. 7

12 Pesticides and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) Both organophosphate and chlorinated pesticide (insecticides) exposure have been associated with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Studies: Behan, Peter O. Chronic fatigue syndrome as a delayed reaction to chronic low-dose organophosphate exposure. J Nutr Environ Med 1996;6:341-350. Dunstan RHK, Donohoe M, Taylor W, et al. A preliminary investigation of chlorinated hydrocarbons and chronic fatigue syndrome. Med J Aust 1995;163:294-297.

13 Pesticides and Asthma Some pesticides are sensitizers to the lung: - Captafol, sulfur, Pyrethrins and pyrethroid EVEN THE FORMULANTS (inerts) are of concern petroleum distillates Xylene, Toluene etc. Formulants often make up >98% of total mixture The PMRA lists 1000s of formulants including peanut oil, pine oil (dangerous allergens) put in pesticide mixtures Johanne Gelinas (Canadian Env. & Sustainability Dev. Commissioner) remarked: How safe are pesticides? The Fed. Govt should be able to answer that question, but it cant. Source: A. Senthilselvan, H.H. McDuffie, and J.A. Dosman, Association of asthma with use of pesticides, Am Rev Respir Dis 146 (1992): 884–87. S.A. Box and M.R. Lee. A systemic reaction following exposure to a pyrethroid insecticide, Hum Exp Toxicol 15 (1996)5: 389–90.

14 AcephateMalathion Benomyl Mancozeb Captan Maneb Carbaryl Norflurazon Chlorothalonil Omethoate Chlorpyrifos PCNB DCNA Permethrin Diazinon Pyrethrum Dienochlor Sulfur Dimethoate Thiram Ethoxyquin Vinclozolin Folpet Zineb Fluvalinate Ziram Fenbutatin-oxide Sources: OMalley 1997, Haenen 1996, Leow 1996 Pesticides Associated with Allergic Contact Dermatitis

15 OP Symptoms Abdominal pain, nausea, rhinorrhea (runny nose) Dizziness, headache, sleepiness, fatigue Gait disturbance, limb numbness, or unusual sensations in extremities Limb pain, or weakness J Occup Environ Med 2003 Feb; 45(2):118-22

16 Human Effects of Pesticides Skin blisters and rashes from patients who had pesticide poisoning

17 Human Effects of Pesticides Skin blisters and rashes from patients who had pesticide poisoning

18 OP (Dursban) Exposure SPECT Scan of a 65 year old male exposed to Dursban (chlorpyrifos) Became extremely impaired in functions of memory cognitive abilities, and energy

19 The Gazette, June 2 1996 Neuroscientists believe there is an interference in the brain during the critical months of fetal development Causes have been speculated from a faulty genetic mechanism to environmental insults.

20 Neural Tube defects

21 Dr. Elizabeth Guillette Study Pesticides in Mexico

22 Children with brain cancer are more than twice as likely to have been exposed to pesticides at home than are healthy children. The incidence of childhood brain cancer has increased 30% in the past 20 years. Sources: W.T. Sanderson, G. Talaska, D. Zaebst, et al., Pesticide prioritization for a brain cancer case-control study, Env Rsrch 74 (1997): 133–44. S.H. Zahm, M.H. Ward, and A. Blair, Pesticides and cancer, Occup Med (Philadelphia) 12 (1997): 365–70. S.H. Zahm and M.H. Ward, Pesticides and childhood cancer, Env Hlth Persp 106 (1998)3: 893–908. Pesticides and Brain cancer in Children

23 Ontario College of Family Physicians Review on Pesticides (April 2004) IN MONTREAL a study on leukemia showed: -that over 40% of children in the Montreal area had a specific genetic vulnerability to the effects of pesticides -due to having a genetic makeup that caused them to metabolize pesticides slowly. Source: Infante-Rivard C, Labuda D, Krajinovic M, Sinnett D. Risk of childhood leukemia associated with exposure to pesticides and with gene polymorphisms [comment]. Epidemiology 1999;10:481–487.

24 Is 2,4-d Harmful To Humans? Long-term exposure can cause damage to the nervous system, kidneys and liver. In MINNESOTA, farming regions (1996) areas with high 2,4-d use had higher incidence of birth defects compared with regions that had low use of 2,4-d In 2005, California State lists the herbicide 2,4-D and related compounds as being developmental toxicants Source: Garry VF, Schreinemachers D, Harkins M, Griffith J. Pesticide appliers, biocides, and birth defects in rural Minnesota. Environ Health Perspectives 1996;104(4):394-9. USEPA. Consumer factsheet on: 2,4-D. Available at

25 Is 2,4-d Harmful To Humans? 2,4-d can be tracked from lawns into homes Residues found in carpets, on surfaces, and indoor air. A simulation study calculated that it would be expected to persist in carpet dust up to one year after a lawn application. Souces: Nishioka MG et al. Measuring transport of lawn-applied herbicide acids from turf to home: correlation of dislodgeable 2,4 D turf residues with carpet dust and carpet surface residues, Environmental Science Technology 1996;30:3313-3320. Nishioka M, Lewis R, Brinkman M, et al. Distribution of 2,4-D in air and on surfaces inside residences after lawn applications: comparing exposure estimates from various media for young children. Environ Health Perspect 2001 Nov;109(11):1185-91.


27 Sources: [Colborn et al., 1997; Barnard and Heuser, 1998]. Women often complain of loss of sex drive and of irregular menstrual bleeding. Men frequently complain of loss of libido and potency. Pesticides vs Human Endocrine System

28 Sources: L. Keith, Environmental endocrine disruptors New York: Wiley Interscience, 1997); J. Liebman, Rising toxic tide (San Francisco: Pesticide Action Network/Californians for Pesticide Reform, 1997); Illinois EPA, Report on endocrine disrupting chemicals (Illinois EPA,1997); T. Colborn, D. Dumanoski, and J.P. Myers, Our stolen future (New York: Penguin Books, 1996), 253; C.M. Benbrook, Growing doubt: A primer on pesticides identified as endocrine disruptors and/or reproductive Toxicants (The National Campaign for Pesticide Policy Reform, September 1996). Endocrine Disrupting Pesticides

29 Is 2,4-d Harmful To Pets? April 2004 Purdue University Study Concluded: Exposure to herbicide-treated lawns and gardens increases the risk of bladder cancer in Scottish terriers. "The risk of transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) was found to be between four and seven times more likely in exposed animals." Souces : Lawrence T. Glickman, Malathi Raghavan, Deborah W. Knapp, Patty L. Bonney and Marcia H. Dawson: Herbicide Exposure and the Risk of Transitional Cell Carcinoma of the Urinary Bladder in Scottish Terrier Dogs Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;24:12901297

30 Facts on chlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) Do not apply on windy days or when wind is blowing toward desirable plants May remain active in the soil, 1 to 6 weeks Over time will bind to organic matter in soil and is eventually degraded by the microbes in the soil Will degrade to ½ concentration in days

31 Facts on 2,4-D In water the 2,4-D and its oil-soluble amine salt and esther do not dissolve well May appear in ground water in small amounts, dissipate rapidly in moving water but is still detected in bogs/swamps after 6 months

32 Facts on 2,4-D 2,4-D also includes inert formulants some of which are suspected of being highly toxic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Some forms of 2,4-D are more toxic than others; hence unequal study results. What the lawn care industry doesn't tell us is that Health Canada measures exposures to one chemical at a time in rats (!) and doesn't account for the cumulative and comprehensive effect of the chemical "soup" to which children are already exposed in the womb.

33 Toxic Legacy (EPA information) 2,4-D can cause peripheral neuropathy, liver, kidney, digestive, muscular and nervous system damage. Symptoms include weakness, fatigue, headache, dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea, eye and nasal irritation, skin irritation, hypertension and slowed heart rate Even with a ½ life of 13 to 39 hours so much is used it is almost always in our body.

34 Where is 2,4-d not allowed? Countries that restrict 2,4-d use: - Kuwait, -Norway, -Denmark, -Sweden, -Belize (no on livestock, crops), and -Korea (no aerial spraying on forage crops) Quebecs Pesticide Code disallows 2,4-d (and others) for cosmetic use on lawns. Currently Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Montreal, and 96+ other Canadian municipalities have now implemented bans on the cosmetic use of pesticides Sources : Risks From Lawn-Care Pesticides Including Inadequate Packaging and Labeling Environment & Human Health, Inc. Quebec Pesticide Code: Municipal bylaw statistics available at

35 The latest insecticide Merit Merit (Imidacloprid) has recently replaced insecticides Dursban and Diazinon as a grub killer Imidacloprid is a chlorinated nicotine compound that affects the nervous system Imidacloprid degrades into toxic, persistent, carcinogenic 2-chloro pyridine Inert ingredients / contaminants of "Merit" have been reported to include the carcinogens naphthalene and crystalline silica Source: (Fact Sheets)

36 Pyrethrins / Pyrethroids Used as an insecticide Derived from chrysanthemum Mixed with solvents Widely used in the home –Can cause nausea, dizziness, headache, cough –Exerts toxic effect by interfering with nerve cell function, alters sodium channels in cell membranes. Susceptible people can have allergic responses including death –May permanently alter behavior in animals


38 Health Cycle

39 Alternatives Instead of using dangerous synthetic pesticides, try: Corn gluten and/or vinegar for weed control Nematodes for grub control Insecticidal Soaps Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a bacteria, kills insects. Bt can be purchased in Quebec as Dipel R,Thuricide R and Envirobac R Diatomaceous earth - use insect killing variety. Brand names: Chemfree / Insectigone Borax mixed with granulated sugar for indoor insect control Natural predators such as ladybugs

40 Books of Interest: Pesticides: Making the Right Choice; For the Protection of Health and the Environment Written by the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. House of Commons, Canada. May 2000

41 Books of Interest : Download from A well referenced document with citations to peer reviewed literature

42 Books of Interest : Free Download from: Pesticides and Human Health is an essential resource for physicians and other health providers for understanding the chronic health impacts of pesticides.

43 Books of Interest : Free Download at:

44 Books of Interest : Ontario College of Family Physicians Study Free Download at:

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