• Driving Near Recently Sprayed Fields Exposes People to Pesticides
  • Link to SK Organic Resources
  • SNAP Tour of Organic Vegetable Garden
  • Learn About Pesticides in Foods
  • Grow a Lush Garden Organically
  • Learn To Manage Weeds Without Chemical Pesticides
  • Weeds Can Be Managed Without Chemical Pesticides
  • Learn to Manage Pests Naturally
  • LIving Near Fields Increases Pesticide Exposure
  • Learn to Keep Insects Out of your Crops


Links between individual pesticides and health effects

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also see Microbiota Changesglyphosate  nervous system effects/brain damage, immune/infection 

Common Fungicide Causes a Decrease in Antioxidant Responsible for Defense Against Diseases like COVID-19  (Beyond Pesticides, October 8, 2020) 'Research from the University of Wisconsin—Madison (UWM), suggests that fludioxonil—a commonly used agricultural fungicidedecreases the human body’s ability to defend itself against illnesses, like COVID-19, and promotes disease permanency. Tristan Brandhorst, a Ph.D. scientist at UWM, notes that a pesticide-induced reduction in the antioxidant glutathione could be responsible for this lack of bodily defense against disease.  Dr. Brandhorst recently discovered that the chemical causes metabolic shock to fungi, hindering glucose transport across the cell membrane. Additionally, further analysis finds that exposure to fludioxonil decreases glutathione levels in non-fungal cells, promoting “the ability of the fungicide fludioxonil to act on a sugar-metabolizing enzyme common to all cells, and to produce the damaging compound methylglyoxal.”  SNAP Comment:As of 18 October 2021, a PMRA label search indicates that fludioxonil is not nor has it been registered in Canada..

MIcrocephalyCommon Mosquito Pesticide Exacerbates Health Issues Associated with Zika Virus   (Beyond Pesticides, September 28, 2021) 'A widely used mosquito pesticide may exacerbate the effect of the Zika virus on fetal brain development, according to research published by an international team of scientists in the journal Environmental PollutionPyriproxyfen, an insect growth regulator often used as a mosquito larvicide, is registered for use in hundreds of commonly used pesticide products.' Through tadpole studies and  studies of stem cells created from mouse brains, researchers determined that not only was pyriproxyfen toxic to brain cells, but that it also modified cells to increase production of Musaschi-1 protein, which the Zika virus employs in order to transmit the virus to other cells in an individual’s body.   SNAP Comment: As of 18 October 2021, a PMRA label search indicates that pyriproxyfen is not nor has it been registered in Canada

Health Effects of 40 Commonly Used Lawn Pesticides  updated simple 2 page factsheet. The US had more pesticides registered for home use than Canada so not all of the 40 are relevant for Canada. The common pesticides used on lawns comtain 2,4-D, dicamba and mecoprop. Glyphosate is registered for weeds on hard surfaces or spot spray. Most insect control products contain permethrins

Neonicotinoids   How the pesticide believed to be killing the bees could be affecting humans (By Nicole Mortillaro Science and Weather Reporter  Global News April 20, 2016)...Kumiko Tairo, who spoke at the symposium in Toronto, has studied the effects of NNIs on humans in Gunma Prefecture, near Tokyo. In 2004 and 2005, 78 and 63 patients respectively — young and old — began experiencing symptoms such as headaches and memory loss. When examined, many had abnormal ECGs. Then, in 2006 and 2007, there were 1,111 more patients with similar symptoms. The most prevalent symptom in all cases was a headache, followed by shoulder and chest pain. Urinalysis detected high doses of neonics. Brain scans revealed that the mid-brain was clearly affected. Tairo and her team found that the likely culprit was tea leaves which were affected by pesticide leaching into the soil. Aerial spraying also put residents at risk of increased exposure due to drift.

This page does not intend to cover all the recent research on pesticides and health, but give a quick overview of various health problems scientifically linked to pesticide exposure.also see childrenclimate changehealth, and wildlife sectionwildlife section/overview

Wide Range of Harmful Effects of Pesticides Documented in Literature Review    (Beyond Pesticides, April 25, 2024) In a study from earlier this year, “Pesticides: An alarming detrimental to health and environment,” scientists compiled research from 154 articles regarding pesticide use and the adverse effects they have on the environment and human health. 

Petrochemical Pesticides and Fertilizers Linked to “Shocking” Health and Environmental CrisesToday, Beyond Pesticides released a special issue, Transformative Change: Informed by Science, Policy, and Action of its journal, Pesticides and You, with a compendium of “shocking scientific findings that compel us to act in our communities, states, and as a nation and world community.” The 168-page issue documents the last year of scientific, peer-reviewed articles, policy deficiencies, and action for change that intersect not only with petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers, but with existential health crises, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency.  Included in the issue of reviews of published articles spanning three categories—health, biodiversity, and climate.

With Global Disease Rates Rising, Do Pesticides Take Some of the Blame? Science Says Yes     (Beyond Pesticides, September 15, 2022) A review published in Scientific African finds pesticide exposure contributes to the increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Tanzania, reflecting implications for global health. There are four main NCDs, including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases, and endocrine-disrupting diseases like diabetes.     From 2017 to 2018, the authors observed an increase in pesticide imports, up to 4.5 million liters, and the registration of 1,114 pesticides. Ecological evaluations demonstrate the pervasiveness of pesticide residues in food, water, and soil resources, identifying intolerable contamination levels. Moreover, residents of Tanzania lack proper awareness of the harms of pesticide exposure among the population. Regardless of existing pesticide regulations in Tanzania, mismanagement of pesticides has led to higher exposure.   Moreover, WHO estimates NCD death rates to increase by 17 percent in the next decade, significantly surpassing deaths from communicable, maternal, perinatal, and nutritional diseases combined.

Pesticide Literacy 101: Truth & Advertising (Beyond Pesticides, 2021 annual forum)   55 minute video. Caroline Cox will discuss basic overview of health and environmental effects of pesticides, the underlying pesticide law, and regulatory authority. Sarah Evans, PhD will discuss health effects of toxic chemicals and what individuals can do to protect their own health, as well as how to advocate for healthier policies in their local communities. Melinda Hemmelgarn, MS, RD will discuss media literacy as it applies to pesticide narratives, framing, and messaging. Anyone can subscribe to Beyond Pesticide youtube channel. 

Pesticides and Other Volatile Chemicals Cause Air Pollution Linked to Premature Deaths    (Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2021) ' Between 340,000 and 900,000 premature deaths each year can be linked to air pollution caused by the release of volatile organic compounds, such as pesticides, paints, and cleaning agents, from anthropogenic sources...“The older idea was that to reduce premature mortality, you should target coal-fired power plants or the transportation sector,” lead author of the study Benjamin Nault, PhD, said. “Yes, these are important, but we’re showing that if you’re not getting at the cleaning and painting products and other everyday chemicals, then you’re not getting at a major source.”... This new research finds that anthropogenic secondary organic aerosols (ASOAs), including intermediate and semi-volatile organic compounds like pesticides, paints, cleaners, and other personal care products, are a major, underrepresented source of PM2.5 mortality.'

Chemicals to Avoid: Groundbreaking Database of Illnesses from Pesticide Exposure Launched   (Beyond Pesticides, December 11, 2020) The national environmental and public health group Beyond Pesticides announced today the updating of its Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database (PIDD), including over 1,100 study entries, with a relational search feature to address the complex pervasiveness of adverse health effects of pesticides

Expert Panel Identifies Unacceptable Toll of Food and Farming Systems on Human Health  (The Ecologist, by Georgina Downs, October 17, 2017, through the Organic Consumers Association)  "The report recognises that exposure to pesticides, including Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs)- chemicals that interfere with hormonal systems and which are ubiquitous in food systems - has been clearly linked to a number of chronic long-term health effects including neurotoxic impacts, developmental impacts, as well as increased rates of cancers.  The report points out that exposure to such harmful chemicals in existing food systems poses one of the greatest challenges for public health, as the risks of long-term exposure to pesticides clearly extend beyond the farm."

Overview: Pesticides & Human Health  (Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. 11 August 2017). Excellent review as a backgrounder document. with references. 'That said, based on the consistency of the findings across many different situations and geographic locations, health researchers have concluded that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that serious adverse health impacts can be associated with the use of, and exposure to, pesticides, that their use should be reduced, and exposure to them should be minimized.'

The High Cost of Pesticides: Human and Animal DiseasesHoy et al., Poult Fish Wildl Sci 2015, 3:1. A very important article documenting that the degradation of health in wildlife and humans correlates very well with glyphosate use in general, with a turn for the worse when salt formulations started to be used. The article also discusses other pesticides such as the fungicide chlorothalonil and the herbicides 2,4-D and dicambaIt deals with birth defects, endocrine disruption and studies hospital descharge rates for various conditions. It nalyses the mechanisms of action.

'Because much of the wildlife data is from deer fawns, most of the human data presented here involve newborn infants, but we also present some data for children 0-15 years old and for the full population (except newborn)We found many diseases and conditions whose hospital discharge rates match remarkably well with the rate of glyphosate usage on corn, soy, and wheat crops. These include head and face anomalies (R=0.95), newborn eye disorders, newborn blood disorders (R=0.92), newborn skin disorders (R=0.96), lymph disorders in children 0-15 (R=0.86) and in the general population except newborn (R=0.89), congenital heart conditions in newborns (R= 0.98), enlarged right ventricle in all age groups except newborn (R=0.96), newborn lung problems (R=0.95), pulmonary bleeding and edema for all age groups except newborn (R=0.97), liver cancer for all age groups except newborn (R=0.93), newborn metabolic disorders (R=0.95) and newborn genitourinary disorders. (R=0.96). Also filed under wildlife/mammals and pesticide factsheets/glyphosate

Pesticides and Health: An In-Depth Discussion. Workshop of Advancing Sustainable Communities: People, pollinators and practices, the 32nd National Pesticide Forum, held April 11-12, 2014 in Portland, OR  video. 

Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings. sixth edition (2014). edited by Dr. Routt Reigart and Dr. James Roberts. (EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs). Includes a chapter on chronic and low dose effects.

Argentines Link Health Problems to Agrochemicals (Oct 20,2013) A government study found alarming levels of agrochemical contamination in the soil and drinking water, and 80 percent of the children surveyed carried traces of pesticide in their blood. After introduction of RoundUp ready crops, agrochemical use did decline at first, then it bounced back, increasing ninefold.

Pesticide Spraying May Spread Norovirus. Carol Potera. Environ Health Perspect 121:A148 (2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.121-a148 online 01 May 2013  If a pesticide is mixed with water contaminated with norovirus, the viruses will remain alive and be sprayed on the food. Is is especially serious for soft hard to wash fruits like raspberries eaten fresh.

Ontario Family Physicians Warn of Pesticide Dangers (June 19, 2012)  The Ontario College of Family Physicians (OCFP) has published their second scientific review on  pesticide research. Their latest findings have established links between pesticide exposure and harmful neuro-developmental, respiratory, and reproductive health effects. As a result of their findings, the OCFP strongly recommends that "the public reduce their exposure to pesticides wherever possible."   "Many of the health problems linked with pesticides are serious, so it's important we continue to advocate for reducing exposure as the most effective approach." Dr. Margaret Sanborn, family physician, Assistant Clinical Professor at McMaster University, and one of the review's authors. Studies reviewed by the Ontario College show positive associations between pesticide exposure, across a wide age range, and deficits in child neurodevelopment, child and adult respiratory symptoms, and adverse reproductive outcomes. The OCFP supports a continuation of cosmetic pesticide bans, as a way of reducing human exposure. OCFP 2012 Systematic Review of Pesticide Health Effects and OCFP Media Release:

Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database. Documents range of diseases –asthma, learning disabilities, birth defects, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and cancer– linked to pesticides.

 Pesticides and Human Health: A Resource for Health Care Professionals (2000 by Physicians for Social Responsibility and Californians for Pesticide Reform)

Subtle biological effects of pesticides & other environmental chemicals. Dr Warren Porter talk at University of Wisconsin. May 12, 2011. (video)

Environmental Chemicals: Evaluating Low-Dose Effects. Linda S. Birnbaum. Environmental Health Perspectives, 2012. 120 (4) editorial. This is the firstUS government agency article to recognize low dose effects. "the question is no longer whether nonmonotonic dose responses are “real” and occur frequently enough to be a concern; clearly these are common phenomena with well-understood mechanisms. Instead, the question is which dose–response shapes should be expected for specific environmental chemicals and under what specific circumstances." This puts in question all current risk assessment procedure.

Docs Talk”, a new blog that the David Suzuki Foundation launched  in collaboration with the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. Check it out  - and subscribe! Docs Talk will feature monthly commentaries by medical doctors and researchers on linkages between human health and the environment. Also available in French as Vert Santé.

Allergy Planet (CBC documentary, Monday March 16, 2009) http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/passionateeyemonday/2009/allergyplanet/ 

No Justice For Pesticide Victims People harmed by pesticides speak out for change. By Shawnee Hoover.( Pesticides and You. Vol. 24, No. 1, 2004, p.9. Beyond Pesticides)

Report Shows Overuse of Disinfectants Is Harmful (Beyond Pesticides, December 14, 2009) A new report links disinfectant chemicals with chronic illnesses and conditions such as asthma, hormone imbalance, and immune system problems. Disinfectants are registered as pesticides.

Glyphosate (RoundUp)    Adverse Health Effects/Glyphosates Dr Brennan-Rieder PH.D 

Report Finds Toxic Pesticide Combustion in Grass Seed Production   (Beyond Pesticides, March 30, 2009) In Saskatchewan, burning crop stubble is still common practice in spite of extensive medical evidence of identified health problems. While the number and frequency of pesticide used may not be as high as it is in grass seed production, I am certain that pesticide residues are present in the smoke of stubble burning. Not only is the smoke an issue in itself, the negative healh effects are worsened when it contains pesticides.

When pollutants  (at concentrations found in the environment) react in the air for a day, they lead to a 9-fold increase in lung cell death. Pollution regulations likely miss the major culprits as they address only some individual substances in their unaltered primary form.Secondary pollutants change the expression of 709 genes compared to only 19 for the original pollutants. Pathways affected by exposure to the primary pollutant mixtures involve cancer, respiratory diseases, and inflammation processes, as well as hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 alpha signaling which plays a role in the function of organs such as the kidney, liver and intestines. Exposure to secondary pollutants affects generally similar pathways, along with some related to cardiovascular disease and biological processes including cellular movement, cellular growth and proliferation, and tissue development. Secondary pollutants affect 458 proteins compared to 9 for primary pollutants. Table 1 lists nitrous oxides, ozone and hydrocarbons including benzene, toluene, n-hexane, and aromatics. Benzene and toluene are currently listed as pesticide formulants in Canada.  A Toxicogenomic Comparison of Primary and Photochemically Altered Air Pollutant Mixtures.  Environmental Health Perspectives 119(11) Nov 2011