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Pesticide Poisoning

Individual Cases of Pesticide Poisoning

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Mosquito fumigation may have caused mystery 'Havana syndrome', study says  Trump administration had charged that cognitive ailments of Canadian and US diplomats were caused by use of a secret weapon (BBC News, 20 September 2019)    'The patterns of brain injury "all raise the hypothesis of recurrent, low-dose exposure to neurotoxins", the report said. Specifically, the results were "highly suggestive" of something called cholinesterase inhibitor intoxication...The study notes that tests carried out on 28 participants - seven of whom were tested both before and after being posted to Havana - support a diagnosis of brain injury acquired by diplomats and their families while in Cuba.'   SNAP Comment: Unnamed pesticide in the story, likely an organophosphate because of the mode of action. I would like to add that this is not the first time people get sick from fumigation oversees. Many tourists came back from Cuba with neurological symptoms related to mosquito fumigation which apparently occurred nightly in touristy areas. Other tourists sickened and some died when hotel rooms or other accommodations have been fumigated. In many tourist destinations, the fact is that there are still many more acutely toxic pesticides registered, and very little oversight. Not that we have much oversight here in SK, with 1 PMRA and 1 provincial inspectors for 33-36% of Canadian pesticide applications...And more coverage by the Guardian- no new information. see also Mysterious “Havana syndrome” Linked to Neurotoxic Pesticide Exposure (Beyond Pesticides, September 24, 2019) SNAP comment: This article finally address the unaswered questions. '“There are very specific types of toxins that affect these kinds of nervous systems … and these are insecticidespesticides, organophosphates — specific neurotoxins,” said Dr. Friedman. “So that’s why we generated the hypothesis that we then went to test in other ways.”Mass spectrometry tests found the presence of cholinesterase-inhibiting insecticides including Temephos, an organophosphate, as well as pyrethroids... The report found a correlation between individuals with strongest symptoms and the number of fumigations conducted at their residence.'

The Indian state where farmers sow the seeds of death  (The Guardian, 1 July 2019)  Cancer rates are the highest in the country, drug addiction is rife, and 900 farmers have killed themselves in two years. How did Punjab turn toxic?   A movie about the issue. 'Rayatt, a British-born film-maker of Punjabi origin, said: “The farmers are poisoning their bodies and their land. Our film makes a direct connection between the overuse of chemicals, which has damaged agriculture and pushed many farmers into debt, and drug addiction. Not only is farming becoming poisoned in Punjab, so is society.”   The film traces the roots of Punjab’s demise to the state’s green revolution of the 1970s, when new farming practices were introduced to increase production and profits. This involved the sustained use of chemical pesticides, insecticides and fertilisers, which has continued unchecked and without adequate guidance from experts.'   'Punjab utilises the highest amount of chemical fertilisers in India. Many of the pesticides sprayed on the state’s crops are classified as class I by the World Health Organization because of their acute toxicity and are banned in places around the world, including Europe....Earlier this year, Punjab’s state government banned 20 pesticides deemed harmful to human health but did not provide details on how the edict would be enforced. The substances remain available across the rest of India.'

Colorado Couple Sues Dominican Resort for Pesticide Poisoning   (Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2019)  'This year, the same resort, the Grand Bajia Principe, has had three Americans die on its premises. This is not the first time an island resort has been implicated in improper, potentially illegal pesticide use. In 2015, a family of four was poisoned by Terminix after the highly toxic fumigant methyl bromide was applied in a nearby room seeped in while they slept.'   'Before you stay at a resort, ask questions about their pest management practices, and consider alternative accommodations if you are not satisfied with the response. If you think you’re being poisoned, get to fresh air immediately and contact authorities. See Beyond Pesticides website for what to do in a pesticide emergency.' For Canadian information go to Emergencies

Pesticide drift halts harvest southwest of Bakersfield  (Tabatha Mills, newspaper article, May 05, 2017) More than 50 farm workers were exposed to drift of  the insecticide chlorpyrifos Friday morning southwest of Bakersfield. They were harvesting cabbage and the drift came from an overnight sprayed field nearby. It is unfortunate that there is still little consciousness of pesticide drift. Most pesticides drift at application, and many evaporate and drift for weeks after application. Looks to me like these cabbages ready for harvest would also be contaminated with chlorpyrifos... also see Pesticide Drift

Death of Four Texas Children Linked to Inadequately Regulated Pesticide, Follows Other Deaths  (Beyond Pesticides, January 4, 2017)  The New Year saw its first pesticide-related tragedy yesterday when four children, ranging in age from 7-17, died from a toxic pesticide treatment on their house in Amarillo, Texas. The pesticide at issue, aluminum phosphide, was illegally applied under a mobile home where at least ten people were living. The chemical, classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a restricted use pesticide (RUP), is restricted for use by certified applicators (and those under their supervision) and it is a violation to use it within 100 feet of residential structures. CNN reports that a family member used water to try and wash away the pesticide after it was applied, and the combination of water and aluminum phosphide increased the release of toxic phosphine gas.The incident demonstrates the deficiency of managing risks of highly toxic chemicals by labeling them “restricted use.” SNAP comment: There are currently 16 registered aluminum phosphide pesticides registered in Canada, also classified as restricted.

Father and Sons Poisoned on Caribbean Vacation Remain ParalyzedBy K.C. Blumm,3 July 2015. Silly me! and I thought methyl bromide had been banned in Canada and got worried it was still used on strawberry fields in California. There are still 5 products registered in Canada.I had no idea it was still used for fumigating buildings. Sure the label says 'restricted' but some of the uses allowed are for fumigating train cars, buses, tarps, restaurants, cargo ships, hay or straw, Xmas trees and food commodities. It is extremely volatile and also known to destroy the ozone layer. It has caused numerous health problems in California in communities and schools adjacent to strawberry fields. It pays off to check whether an area, hotel or park is or will be sprayed before getting there. Many people have lost their health being exposed to pesticides, and many during travel abroad.

more at  pesticide poisoningsPets.

The global distribution of acute unintentional pesticide poisoning: estimations based on a systematic review    {Wolfgang Boedeker et al, BMC Public Health volume 20, Article number: 1875 (2020), 7 December 2020)   'A recent systematic review of unintentional acute pesticide poisonings found that an estimated 385 million farmers and farmworkers are poisoned every year around the world. That’s about 44% of the global population of 860 million people working in agriculture. Fatalities were also estimated, and found to be around 11,000 annually. This is the first global estimate of unintentional pesticide poisonings done since 1990.'

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

Pesticide poisonings: A (solvable) global crisis (PANNA, December 2020)'A recent systematic review of unintentional acute pesticide poisonings found that an estimated 385 million farmers and farmworkers are poisoned every year around the world. That’s about 44% of the global population of 860 million people working in agriculture. Fatalities were also estimated, and found to be around 11,000 annually. This is the first global estimate of unintentional pesticide poisonings done since 1990.'  link to the study in article.

Environmental Poisoning by Pesticides—Household Chemical Products and Medications Impact Domestic Pet Populations  (Beyond Pesticides, November 12, 2020) A new report from the University of Milan and Poison Control Center (CVA) in Milan, Italy suggests that domestic animals experience frequent environmental poisoning by household toxicants. 'Researchers note, “These findings can provide useful information for the identification and monitoring of known and emerging toxicants, with positive repercussions on human, animal, and environmental health.   Pesticides and medicine are the two major causes of domestic animal poisoning (34.1% and 33.5% of incidents, respectively). The remainder of animal poising incidents are from household products and other causative agents. The number one cause of pesticide-related poising events is insecticides (44.6%)—including pyrethrin/pyrethroids and neonicotinoids, followed by rodenticidesfungicidesherbicidesmolluscicides, and unspecified pesticides. The leading cause of medicine-related poisoning is veterinary prescriptions.Species observations demonstrate that dogs and cats are most frequently associated with animal poisoning incidents. The most common exposure route is ingestion, preceding dermal and mucosal exposure (via inhalation). Nearly all animal exposures incidents are accidental (93%), however, some incidents occur due to owner errors/misuses, intentional poising, or unknown sources.

CDC Report Finds Occupational Pesticide Poisoning Widespread, with Farmworkers at Greatest Risk (Beyond Pesticides, November 8, 2016) Over 2,600 cases of acute pesticide poisoning occurred among workers in 12 states between 2007 and 2011. The report, published by CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), highlights the hazards conventional pesticides pose to both farm and non-farm workers who apply these inherently toxic chemicals. The report finds that pesticide poisoning incidents among agricultural workers are 37 times those of nonagricultural workers. Proportionally, acute poisoning rates among nonagricultural pesticide applicators were 0.5/100,000, while rates for farmworkers were 18.6/100,000. Most poisonings result from exposure to insecticides or herbicides. Within insecticide exposures, synthetic pyrethroids account for the highest number of incidents, while with herbicides glyphosate account for most poisoning events.

Recognition and Management of Pesticide Poisonings. fifth edition (2012). edited by Dr. Routt Reigart and Dr. James Roberts. (EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs). The 6th edition is under way and should include chronic and low dose effects.

 California’s “Top Pesticide Blunders” Report Highlights Hazards  (Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2009) Interesting to see what is reported when there is an adverse effects reportting system. Some of these incidents defiy the imagination. Some represent common behaviour with non-toxic products extended to toxic ones...

Northern Exposure Acute Pesticide Poisonings in Canada by the David Suzuki Foundation. (2007)   322 Sask residents are acutely poisoned every year.

Report Documents Poisoning from New Generation of Pesticides ("safe" pyrethirns and pyrethroids) August 4, 2008)