More Than 100,000 Americans Urge EPA To Restrict Unnecessary Use of Monsanto’s Weedkiller on Oats

EWG
WASHINGTON – JUNE 7, 2019 – By Alex Formuzis alex@ewg.org

This week, more than 100,000 Americans officially joined EWG and 20 companies calling on the Environmental Protection Agency to significantly restrict the use of Monsanto’s weedkiller glyphosate on oats as a pre-harvest drying agent.

A coalition of companies and public interest groups, led by EWG and Megafood, gathered 104,952 signatures on online petitions to the EPA, urging the agency to lower the tolerance limit of glyphosate in oats and prohibit its pre-harvest use.  The names of those who signed the petitions were submitted to EPA on Wednesday.

The EPA’s legal limit for glyphosate residues on oats is 30 parts per million, or ppm. The petition, first filed last September, asks the agency to set a more protective standard of 0.1 ppm, which was the legal limit in 1993.

glyphosate_plow

“Administrator Andrew Wheeler and the EPA could quickly remove one of the more concerning routes of dietary exposure to glyphosate for children by restricting the unnecessary use of glyphosate on oats,” said EWG Legislative Director Colin O’Neil. “Americans are demanding the agency act to protect the public and the food supply from being contaminated with this toxic weedkiller linked to cancer.”

“It’s hard to find 100,000 people who agree on anything,” O’Neil said. “But when it comes to feeding themselves and their families, they agree that we should not have to worry whether eating healthy, oat-based foods for breakfast could come with a dose of glyphosate.”

The petition was amended this week and submitted to the EPA docket to include additional companies that have signed on since last year.

Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Bayer-Monsanto’s Roundup, is the most widely used pesticide in the world. It is largely used as a weedkiller on genetically modified corn and soybeans. But it is increasingly being used for crop management and applied pre-harvest to a number of non-genetically engineered crops, including oats.

Glyphosate kills the crop, drying it out so it can be harvested sooner than if the plant were allowed to die naturally. This is very likely one of the leading sources of dietary exposure for people who consume foods made with oat-based foods, like cereal and oatmeal.

Two rounds of laboratory tests commissioned by EWG found glyphosate in nearly every sample of oat-based cereal and other breakfast products at levels higher than what EWG scientists consider protective for children’s health with an adequate margin of safety.

On June 12, EWG will release results of its latest tests, which will include additional oat-based cereals and other foods that were not analyzed for glyphosate in the two earlier rounds.

2017 study by a team of California scientists estimate that between 2014 and 2016, at least 70 percent of American adults surveyed had detectable levels of the cancer-causing weedkiller in their bodies. That compares to 12 percent in American adults between 1993 and 1996, just before the use of glyphosate started to surge with the advent of GMO crops designed to withstand direct application of the chemical.

In 2015, 17 of the world’s top cancer researchers convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer reviewed hundreds of studies on glyphosate and voted unanimously to classify the weedkiller as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” In 2017, California added glyphosate to its official list of chemicals known to cause cancer.

These companies are cosigners of the petition to the EPA: MegaFood, Ben & Jerry’s, Stonyfield Farm, MOM’s Organic Market, Nature’s Path, One Degree Organic Foods, National Co+op Grocers, Happy Family Organics, Amy’s Kitchen, Clif Bar & Company, Earth’s Best Organic, GrandyOats, INFRA, KIND Healthy Snacks, Lundberg Family Farms, Organic Valley, Patagonia Provisions, PCC Community Markets, Foodstirs and Kamut International, Ltd.

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The Environmental Working Group is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that empowers people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. Through research, advocacy and unique education tools, EWG drives consumer choice and civic action.

Glyphosate in Cereal: Monsanto’s Weedkiller Detected at Alarming Levels, Report Says

Dr_Axe.pngGlyphosate-in-Cereal_HEADER.jpg

June 12, 2019 By Christine Ruggeri, CHHC

Environmental Working Group (EWG) just released its third round of 2019 test results measuring glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, in popular oat-based cereals and foods.

When the nonprofit organization released similar results last year, two companies, Quaker and General Mills, told the public it had no reason to worry about traces of glyphosate in their products.

After three rounds of testing that proves glyphosate is in popular cereal products, it seems that’s not the case. In fact, in the newest test results, the two highest levels of glyphosate were found in Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch and Cheerios.


Glyphosate in Cereal

In the latest batch of testing that confirmed and amplified the findings from tests done in July and October of last year, all but four of the products tested contained levels of the potentially-carcinogenic weed-killing chemical above 160 parts per billion (ppb), the health benchmark set by EWG.

These findings come about one year after EWG released two series of tests measuring glyphosate in popular children’s breakfast products. That’s when General Mills and Quaker Oats Company immediately went on the defensive, claiming glyphosate levels found in its foods fell within regulatory limits set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

That may be true, but many public health experts believe the levels of allowable glyphosate in food are far too high and don’t properly protect human health. Previously, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) calculations suggest that 1- to 2-year-old children likely experience the highest exposure to glyphosate, the potential cancer-causing chemical used in Monsanto’s Roundup. And according to the agency’s risk assessment, the exposure level is 230 times greater than EWG’s health benchmark of 160 ppb.

In the May 2019 batch of testing, EWG commissioned Anresco Laboratories to test a range of oat-based products, including 300 grams each of 21 oat-based cereals, snack bars, granolas and instant oats made by General Mills and Quaker. Of the 21 products tested, those with the highest levels of glyphosate include:

  • Honey Nut Cheerios Medley Crunch (833 ppb)
  • Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Maple Brown Sugar (566 ppb)
  • Nature Valley Granola Cups, Almond Butter (529 ppb)
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheerios (400 ppb)
  • Nature Valley Baked Oat Bites (389 ppb)
  • Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Oats and Honey (320 ppb)
  • Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Peanut Butter (312 ppb)
  • Nature Valley Granola Cups, Peanut Butter Chocolate (297 ppb)
  • Nature Valley Fruit & Nut Chewy Trail Mix Granola Bars, Dark Chocolate Cherry (275 ppb)
  • Nature Valley Granola Protein Oats n Dark Chocolate (261 ppb)
  • Multi Grain Cheerios (216 ppb)
  • Nature Valley Soft-Baked Oatmeal Squares, Blueberry (206 ppb)
  • Fiber One Oatmeal Raisin Soft-Baked Cookies (204 ppb)
  • Nature Valley Granola Peanut Butter Creamy & Crunchy (198 ppb)
  • Nature Valley Biscuits with Almond Butter (194 ppb)

These tested products contain glyphosate at levels well above EWG’s safety standard of 160 ppb.


A Look at Previous Glyphosate in Cereal Testing

Last year, EWG set a more stringent health benchmark for daily exposure to glyphosate in foods than the EPA and tested an initial batch of products. Considering EWG’s standard of 160 parts per billion (ppb), after two rounds of testing, the following products exceeded that limit in one or both samples tested, with the starred products exceeding 400 ppb:

  • Granola
    • Back to Nature Classic Granola*
    • Quaker Simply Granola Oats, Honey, Raisins & Almonds*
    • Nature Valley Granola Protein Oats ‘n Honey
  • Instant Oats
    • Giant Instant Oatmeal, Original Flavor*
    • Quaker Dinosaur Eggs, Brown Sugar, Instant Oatmeal*
    • Umpqua Oats, Maple Pecan
    • Market Pantry Instant Oatmeal, Strawberries & Cream
  • Oat Breakfast Cereals
    • Cheerios Toasted Whole Grain Oat Cereal*
    • Lucky Charms*
    • Barbara’s Muligrain Spoonfuls, Original Cereal
    • Kellogg’s Cracklin’ Oat Bran Oat Cereal
  • Snack Bars
    • Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bars, Oats ‘n Honey
  • Whole Oats
    • Quaker Steel Cut Oats*
    • Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
    • Bob’s Red Mill Steel Cut Oats

Companies negatively affected by these tests may point to the EPA’s legal limit for glyphosate in oats, which is 30 parts per million. But since this outdated standard was set in 2008, the International Agency for Research on Cancer labeled glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic” and the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment categorized it as a “chemical known to the state to cause cancer.”

EWG suggests that the solution is simple – keep chemicals linked to cancer out of children’s food. This may start with the EPA sharply limiting glyphosate residues allowed on oats and prohibiting the chemical’s use as a pre-harvest drying agent.

Since last August, there have been three separate verdicts against Bayer-Monsanto, the makers of Roundup. Jurors in California awarded more than 2.2 billion dollars over claims that the toxic weedkiller caused cancer and Monsanto knew about this risk for decades, but went to extraordinary lengths to cover it up.

What does this mean for our children? Without some serious changes made to the food industry and EPA standards, they’ll continue to ingest potentially toxic levels of glyphosate for breakfast. Maybe this will be the last straw for consumers?

EWG turned to Eurofins, a nationally recognized lab with extensive experience testing for chemicals. This testing involved measuring the amount of glyphosate found in popular products containing oats. What is this a big deal? I’m glad you ask …

Glyphosate in cereal - Dr. Axe

Previous research suggests that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, is linked to the development of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The bad news? Tests have detected it in all but two of 45 non-organic product samples. The list of products tested includes Cheerios, Lucky Charms, Nature Valley granola bars and Quaker oats.

Alexis Temkin, PhD, an EWG toxicologist and the author of the report, expressed her concerns about these findings. “Parents shouldn’t worry about whether feeding their children healthy oat foods will also expose them to a chemical linked to cancer. The government must take steps to protect our vulnerable populations,” she said.

Until then, EWG and 19 food companies have delivered more than 80,000 names on a petition to the EPA demanding that they sharply limit glyphosate residues in oat products and prohibit its use as a preharvest drying agent.


Why Is Glyphosate in Our Food? 

Why is there glyphosate in our food? According to the U.S. Geological Survey, 250 million pounds of glyphosate are sprayed on American crops each year. Glyphosate is primarily used on Roundup Ready corn and soybeans that are genetically modified to withstand the herbicide.

Glyphosate is a systemic herbicide, meaning it’s taken up inside of the plant, including the parts livestock and humans wind up eating.

And on top of that, glyphosate is sprayed on other non-GMO crops, like wheat, oats, barley and beans, right before harvest. Farmers sometimes call this “burning down” the crops and do this to kill the food plants and dry them out so that they can be harvested sooner.


How Much Glyphosate Is Too Much? 

Why do we have to pay attention to glyphosate levels in our food? The simple answer is that glyphosate is linked to an elevated risk of cancer. In fact, the World Health Organization categorizes the weed-killing chemical as “probably carcinogenic in humans.”

So, really, any amount of glyphosate in our food is concerning, especially when it’s found in our children’s food. (And especially since children consume it during critical stages of development.)

So how did EWG come up with the limit for child glyphosate exposure? Using a cancer risk assessment developed by California state scientists, EWG calculated that glyphosate levels above 160 parts per billion (ppb) are considered too high for children. To break that down into simpler terms — a child should not ingest more than 0.01 milligrams of glyphosate per day.

How did tEWG come up with this health benchmark? Under California’s Proposition 65 registry of chemicals known to cause cancer, the “No Significant Risk Level” for glyphosate for the average adult weighing about 154 pounds is 1.1 milligrams per day. This safety level is more than 60 times lower than the standards set by the EPA.

To calculate the recommendation for children, EWG took California’s increased lifetime risk of cancer of one in 1 million (which is the number used for many cancer-causing drinking water contaminants), and added a 10-fold margin of safety, which is recommended by the federal Food Quality Protection Act to support children and developing fetuses that have an increased susceptibility to carcinogens. This is how EWG reached the safety limit of 0.01 milligrams of glyphosate per day for children.

EWG’s health benchmark concerning the amount of glyphosate that poses a threat in our food is much more stringent than what the EPA allows. Although this amount of glyphosate present in oat products doesn’t seem like much in one portion, imagine consuming that amount every day over a lifetime. Exposure to this toxic herbicide will certainly accumulate over time, which is worrisome, to say the least.

“The concern about glyphosate is for long-term exposure. As most health agencies would say, a single portion would not cause deleterious effects,” explains Olga Naidenko, PhD, EWG’s senior science advisor for children’s health. “But think about eating popular foods such as oatmeal every day, or almost every day — that’s when, according to scientific assessments, such amounts of glyphosate might pose health harm.”

And there is some controversy over whether or not we can trust government regulators to make sure the food we eat is safe. This past April, internal emails obtained by the nonprofit US Right to Know revealed that the FDA has been testing food for glyphosate for two years and found “a fair amount.” But these findings haven’t been released to the public. According to The Guardian, the news outlet that obtained these internal documents, an FDA chemist wrote: “I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal and corn meal from home and there’s a fair amount in all of them.”

According to Naidenko, “It is essential for companies to take action and choose oats grown without herbicides. This can be done, and EWG urges government agencies such as the EPA, and companies to restrict the use of herbicides that end up in food.”


Glyphosate in Cereal: Organic vs. Non-Organic Products

What about organic cereals and oats? EWG findings suggest that organic products contain significantly less glyphosate that non-organic products. To be exact, 31 out of 45 conventional product samples contained glyphosate levels at or higher than 160 ppb, while 5 out of 16 organic brand products registered low levels of glyphosate (10 to 30 ppb). Of all the organic products tested, none of them contained a level of glyphosate anywhere near the EWG benchmark of 160 ppb.

Glyphosate can get into organic foods by drifting from nearby fields that grow conventional crops. Organic products may also be cross-contaminated during processing at a facility that also handles conventional crops.

While glyphosate was detected in some organic oat products, the levels were much, much lower than conventional products, or non-existent. So it looks like the rule still stands — to avoid increased exposure to cancer-causing chemicals like glyphosate, choose organic.


Final Thoughts on Glyphosate in Cereal

  • EWG commissioned independent laboratory tests to measure the levels of glyphosate present in popular oat-based products. Scientists found that almost three-fourths of the conventionally grown products contained glyphosate levels that are higher than what EWG considers safe for children.
  • Feeding your family clean, healthy meals may already feel like a daily challenge. We shouldn’t have to worry about whether or not our seemingly healthy choices contain toxic herbicides.
  • To join EWG to get glyphosate out of our food, take action here.

Family claims Jacksonville day care has bedbugs, DCF investigating

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – June 4, 2019

A local father says a local day care kicked his son out of school after he and his wife complained that the center had bedbugs.

“It’s been several times that he came home with bug bites,” said Jacksonville father Ian Williams.

Williams tells Action News Jax Ryan Nelson his son came home with bites several times since January from the Saint Stephen Child Care and Learning Center.

But on May 30, he says his wife found one of the bedbugs crawling on their son at the facility.

Action News Jax obtained letters from the center to the Williams family, which show it did not believe there was an infestation.

However, it immediately removed kids from the classroom and used a bug fogger.

In another letter, the day care ended its relationship with the family citing respect issues, and violations of its rules.

The Williams family has a different interpretation of that letter.

“Pretty much their position was, ‘We’d rather sweep it under the rug and keep it quiet than to actually address the problem,’” said Williams.

Nelson went to the day care asking if there was anything they could like to say. A manager told Nelson it was under investigation, before asking him to leave.

We looked through DCF records, and found records of more than a dozen inspections in the past three years.

While there were other noncompliance issues found, none of them dealt with bugs or cleanliness issues.

“When a kid comes home and complain about getting bit by bugs, and we actually go pick him up, and there’s bugs actually crawling on him, you know, any parent is going to have a concern about that,” said Williams.

The family said it was under DCF investigation. DCF confirms it is looking into the matter.

Sandals’ management investigates ‘bed bugs’ claim

Observer-Newspaper1May 29, 2019

Front-3-Sandals-reduced-Custom

Management at the Sandals Grande Antigua resort has confirmed receiving a report that two of its guests were allegedly bitten by bed bugs while staying at the hotel.

When contacted, a representative of the resort said an investigation into the matter is ongoing.

“Here at Sandals Grande Antigua we can confirm that we did receive a report from a couple, one of our guests, regarding insect bites and the matter is currently being investigated as we speak,” General Manager of Sandals Grande Antigua, Matthew Cornall said.

He continued: “As we know here in Antigua, it’s a tropical island and it’s known for its beautiful flora and fauna including a number of native insects which are pretty common throughout the region. Our top priority is the safety and comfort of our guests and we maintain a robust environment of health and safety programs geared at ensuring justice.”

The visiting couple told OBSERVER media that they were “devoured” by the bugs while on island for a friend’s wedding.

“After spending one night in room 612, we both noticed several bites on our bodies…we didn’t put things together, until the third day of suffering we looked closer at the bed. We were disgusted to find several large bugs in our bed. I guess they had grown from feasting us,” the husband said while recounting the entire ordeal.

He said that on the first night of their stay, they noticed bites about their bodies which they assumed at the time could have been due to sand flies or mosquitoes.

It was not until the following morning that couple said they noticed blood and a bug in their bed.

The couple alleged that the management of Sandals then imputed that the blood could have been as a result of the woman’s menstrual cycle and the bugs could have been brought in when they checked in.

That explanation, according the couple, was not only bizarre but offensive.

By the third day the visitors reportedly saw several large bugs in the bed and even though the management saw them, they refused to take responsibility.

“They both denied that they had bed bugs and that they didn’t exist in the Caribbean. After a quick google search we found several reports of bed bugs on the resort and in government buildings and the airport. So, it is not true that bed bugs can’t survive here,” the husband added.

According to them, they informed the management about the problem but it was not treated with any urgency. Further, they said the hotel’s management refused to refund them their monies, and asked that the entire experience be kept a secret.

The couple said they are perturbed by the occurrence and will be speaking to legal authorities on the matter.

Starbucks accused of exposing New York City customers to toxic pesticide

NBC

One of two lawsuits filed against the coffee company states that Starbucks stores “have for many years been permeated with a toxic pesticide.”

starbucks

A sign hangs in the window of a Starbucks store on May 29, 2018 in Chicago.                                           Scott Olson / Getty Images

May 21, 2019, 3:32 PM EDT
By Minyvonne Burke
Two lawsuits filed against Starbucks claim that several New York City stores exposed customers to a poisonous — and potentially deadly — pesticide toxin, and then fired a store manager who complained about them.

In one class action suit, filed on Tuesday in state court in Manhattan, 10 Starbucks customers claim that they were “exposed to the toxic chemical” Dichlorvos, or DDVP, after making purchases in multiple city stores over the last three years.

DDVP is an ingredient that is emitted into the air by a pesticide called Hot Shot No-Pest Strips, which are produced by Spectrum Brand Holdings.

The lawsuit states that Starbucks uses the strips in its Manhattan stores to keep cockroaches and other pests away. The strips, which can be purchased in many home and garden stores as well as online, kill insects but are also harmful to human beings, according to the lawsuit.

Spectrum Brand Holdings did not immediately return NBC News’ request for comment.

Photos accompanying the lawsuit show the strips next to bagels and food preparation equipment and near air vents.

“Starbucks stores throughout Manhattan have for many years been permeated with a toxic pesticide called Dichlorvos, which is highly poisonous and completely unfit for use in proximity to food, beverages and people,” the suit says.

The lawsuit states that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says pesticides containing DDVP should only be used in enclosed spaces where people are either not present or are given a respirator or other breathing apparatus.

According to the Hot Shot website, the strips should not be used “in kitchens, restaurants or areas where food is prepared or served.”
Exposure to DDVP can result in symptoms which include loss of bladder control, muscle tremors and weakness, trouble breathing, nausea and paralysis, the lawsuit states. Severe exposure can result in coma and death.

“On numerous occasions over the last several years, Starbucks’ employees and third-party exterminators have informed regional and district management – both verbally and in writing – about the improper and dangerous use of No-Pest Strips throughout stores in Manhattan,” according to the lawsuit.

“Needless to say, Starbucks has closely held this information and has not disclosed to the public that DDVP has poisoned the environment in its stores.”

The suit alleges that the customers, who are from New York, South Carolina and California, experienced emotional distress and anxiety “that they would develop serious health issues.” They are seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

In the second suit, also filed Tuesday in Manhattan’s federal court, a former Starbucks employee claims he was abruptly fired in February 2018 after complaining about the misuse of the pesticide strips.

A pest control technician who worked at multiple Manhattan Starbucks locations, and his supervisor, also allege that from 2016 to 2018 they made several complaints about the strips. In June 2018, Starbucks terminated its contract with the pest control company to silence the technician’s “repeated reports and complaints about the foregoing risks to health and safety,” according to the suit.

The former employee, technician and supervisor are seeking unspecified damages.

A spokesperson for Starbucks said Tuesday that the pesticide strips were being used in violation of its policy and once it was made aware of the complaints, the company stopped using them. The spokesperson also said they hired an outside expert who determined that Starbucks’ customers and employees were not put at risk.

Los Angeles jail closed because of bed bug infestation

SFO_Chronicle

May 15, 2019

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Police Department has temporarily shut down one of its jails because of a bed bug infestation.

The department says the Pacific Station jail on the city’s west side was closed Wednesday to allow exterminators to spray and vacuum the facility.

Officials say they hope to reopen the jail Friday evening if inspections turn up no more bed bugs.

The closure comes a week after the LAPD acknowledged three officers working out of the West Valley police station in Reseda had contracted a highly contagious staph infection after an encounter with a homeless person. The officers are on medical leave and are expected to make a full recovery.

Woman warns about bed bug nightmare at Jacksonville motel

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May 14, 2019    Crystal Bailey
A Jacksonville woman says she stayed at the Motel 6 on Dunn Avenue last weekend and had to take her kids to the hospital for bed bug bites right after her stay.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville woman says she stayed at the Motel 6 on Dunn Avenue last weekend and had to take her kids to the hospital right after her stay.

Cearia Washington-Sanders said she found bed bugs had bitten them, causing infection.

“It was a horrific experience,” she said.

Washington-Sanders checked into the Motel 6 on Dunn Avenue because the air conditioning at her house was broken.

She took her kids to the hospital with bites all over their arms, legs, and chest.

“They were just bitten up in a lot of different places,” Washington-Sanders said.

Documents from St. Vincent’s Medical Center show the bed bug bites caused infection. She said she had to throw away the clothes they brought to avoid spreading.

“It makes me never want to stay in any hotel again,” she said.

How can you detect if the hotel you’re staying at has bed bugs?

Before you book your next vacation, check out the Florida Department of Health’s website where you can search all the prior complaints and inspections at a hotel.

The Motel 6 on Dunn Avenue had 5 complaints in 2018. Their last inspection was in December.

None of their violations include bed bugs.

Paperwork shows Motel 6 managers refunded Washington the money she spent on the room.

The general manager at Motel 6 told First Coast News everything was taken care of. She showed us paperwork that they had Terminix come by the hotel. The report from Terminix said no bed bugs were found in Washington-Sanders room. However, previous invoices with Terminix show they treated at least three other rooms with bed bugs since April.

“Check for the signs of bed bugs,” said Washington-Sanders.

Make sure you pull the covers back when you go into a hotel room and check for any moving brown dots. If you start to feel uncomfortably itchy, don’t stay there.

 

Bed Bug Infestation Sweeping Metro Denver

FOX31 – July 18, 2017, by Keagan Harsh

DENVER — Tourists are coming to Colorado in droves this summer, and it’s not just visitors of the two-legged kind.  Our state is seeing an infestation of bed bugs.

Christina Thomas experienced it first hand. Thomas was visiting an Extended Stay America in Colorado Springs and says she woke up to find bed bugs all over her pillow.


“I woke up and three inches from my face I see a spot, and I look at it and say ‘no way, is that a bed bug?'” she said.

Christina isn’t the only person dealing with bed bugs in Colorado.

Jacob Marsh is one of several Denver exterminators absolutely overwhelmed with bed bug calls.

“It’s infestation levels over the whole city pretty much,” he said. “Right now we’re working 6 or 7 days a week,” said Marsh.

He says this is the worst time of year for bed bugs. However, Colorado’s infestation actually began several years ago. He estimates more than 3,500 homes are treated for bed bugs in the Denver area every year.


It’s a problem Marsh attributes to both the state’s growing population and Colorado’s popularity as a tourist destination.

“Denver is usually ranked 4th to 6th worst in the nation. We get a lot of good things when things are booming like it is, but unfortunately when people are coming in and traveling you also get a lot of unwanted visitors,” he said.

If you’re staying at a hotel there are things you can do to try and keep the bugs away.

First, store your luggage away from the bed on luggage racks or even in the bathroom.


Also, check the sheets, mattress, and bed frame for signs of the bugs.

One of the biggest misconceptions about bed bugs is that they’re too small to see. Most are actually about the size of an apple seed, and similar in appearance.

As for Christine Thomas, she isn’t taking any chances. She checked out of the hotel and left.

Weed-whacking Herbicide Proves Deadly

By Dr. Mercola

The United States uses about 1.1 billion pounds of pesticides each year.1, 2 Worldwide pesticide use amounts to approximately 5.2 billion pounds annually. There’s little doubt that the current pesticide load is taking a toll, as mounting research has linked pesticides to an array of serious health problems.

Processed foods form the basis of nearly everyone’s diet, as 95 percent of the food Americans buy is processed. If this is you, then you can consider yourself in the highest risk category, as such fare tends to contain the greatest amounts of hidden genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, and hence the highest pesticide load.

Avoiding pesticide exposure – around your home, in your community, and via the food you eat – is important for reducing your risk for a number of chronic and devastating diseases, including Parkinson’s and DNA damage indicative of early-stage cancer.3, 4

Now, with the publication of a new meta-analysis,5 the evidence linking pesticides to cancer is stronger than ever. The analysis, which included 44 papers exploring the impacts of pesticide exposure on non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, concluded there appears to be a strong link between the two.

The study, which was done by a team at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France, covering nearly three decades’ worth of epidemiologic research, will likely be taken seriously worldwide.

Phenoxy Herbicides Linked to Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), or sometimes simply referred to as lymphoma, is a type of blood cancer that originates in your lymphatic system. It’s the sixth most common type of cancer in the US, with an estimated 69,000 Americans diagnosed each year. Worldwide, NHL accounts for an estimated 37 percent of all cancers.

According to the featured research,6 phenoxy herbicides, including 2,4-D and dicamba, are clearly associated with three distinct types of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Besides cancer, other documented health hazards associated with phenoxy herbicides include developmental and reproductive problems.

This is particularly chilling considering the fact that use of these herbicides have risen several-fold since the early 2000s, and their use will increase even further if 2,4-D and dicamba-tolerant crops are approved.

Carbamate insecticides, organophosphorus insecticides, and the active ingredient lindane—an organochlorine insecticide also used to treat head lice—were also positively associated with NHL. The strongest evidence however, is reported for glyphosate and B cell lymphoma. According to the authors:

“The United States Environmental Protection Agency defines pesticides as substances intended to prevent, destroy, repel, or mitigate a pest. Within this broad category, pesticides are often grouped according to the type of pests that they control; for example, fungicides are used to kill fungi, insecticides to kill insects, and herbicides to kill weeds and plants…

Because pesticides are thought to have different toxicologic and immunologic effects, identifying the chemicals and chemical groups that are most dangerous to humans and non-target living organisms is important. From a research perspective, the decision about what chemicals to investigate has implications for disease prevention…

Despite compelling evidence that NHL is associated with certain chemicals, this review indicates the need for investigations of a larger variety of pesticides….”

The Toxic Legacy of Our Most Widely Used Pesticides

If you’ve been regularly reading this newsletter you’re already aware of the evidence building against glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup, and other formulations.

For example, groundbreaking research7 published just last summer revealed a previously unknown mechanism of harm from glyphosate, prompting its authors to conclude that glyphosate residues—found in most processed foods in the Western diet courtesy of GE sugar beets, corn, and soy8 — “enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease.”

Evidence also suggests glyphosate may be a key player in Argentina’s growing health problems, where birth defects and cancer rates have skyrocketed among GE corn and soya farming communities.

In the province of Chaco, birth defects have quadrupled in the decade following the introduction of GE crops,9 and in the village of Malvinas Argentinas, which is surrounded by GE soy plantations, the rate of miscarriage is 100 times the national average. According to experts, rates of cancer, infertility and endocrine dysfunction could reach catastrophic levels in Argentina over the next 10-15 years.

A toxic combination of Roundup and fertilizers has also been blamed for tens of thousands of deaths among farmers in Sri Lanka, India, and Central America’s Pacific coastline (El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica).

Modern Agriculture Methods Have Turned Food Into Poison

While nearly one billion pounds of glyphosate alone is doused on both conventional and GE crops worldwide each year, genetically engineered (GE) crops receive the heaviest amounts. Farmers everywhere are also progressively increasing their usage of the chemical due to the proliferation of glyphosate-resistant weeds—a logical side-effect that pesticide makers said would be highly unlikely.

Farmers are also resorting to using multiple chemicals on their fields, and harsher varieties, in an effort to stay ahead of resistant weeds and pests. The phenoxy herbicide 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) is one of them. This chemical, which Dow touts as a solution to the glyphosate-resistant weed problem, was actually one of the active ingredients in the now infamous Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam War.

Many veterans suffered permanent side effects from their exposure to this potent defoliant, and hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese children have been born with serious birth defects as a result of its use during the war. Despite that, 2,4-D is still one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, and 2,4-D-resistant crops are now under development, which would increase its use even further. If that’s not a frightening proposition, I don’t know what is.

Part of the original rationale for using GE crops was that they could be sprayed with less toxic herbicides, such as Roundup—which was falsely marketed as “harmless” and “biodegradable.”

Now, mounting research reveals that Roundup may actually be one of the most toxic chemicals ever to enter our food supply! Some scientists, like Dr. Don Huber, believe it may be even more toxic than DDT. Mounting research also reveals how glyphosate and other pesticides destroy soil microbes, thereby inhibiting the fertility of the soil. This in turn means fewer nutrients in the food.

The Biological Effects of Glyphosate

Glyphosate, which systemically contaminates the plant and cannot be washed off, has been found to have a number of devastating biological effects, including the following:

Nutritional deficiencies, as glyphosate immobilizes certain nutrients and alters the nutritional composition of the treated crop Disruption of the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids (these are essential amino acids not produced in your body that must be supplied via your diet)
Increased toxin exposure (this includes high levels of glyphosate and formaldehyde in the food itself) Impairment of sulfate transport and sulfur metabolism; sulfate deficiency
Systemic toxicity—a side effect of extreme disruption of microbial function throughout your body; beneficial microbes in particular, allowing for overgrowth of pathogens Gut dysbiosis (imbalances in gut bacteria, inflammation, leaky gut, and food allergies, such as gluten intolerance)
Enhancement of damaging effects of other foodborne chemical residues and environmental toxins as a result of glyphosate shutting down the function of detoxifying enzymes Creation of ammonia (a byproduct created when certain microbes break down glyphosate), which can lead to brain inflammation associated with autism and Alzheimer’s disease
Food Isn’t the Only Source of Toxic Pesticides

While pesticide residues in food are certainly a primary health concern, you may also be unnecessarily exposed to these toxins while working in your own garden. Children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable, and should be protected against any and all exposures. Unfortunately, according to a previous survey by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), many Americans fail to take proper precautions when it comes to these toxic chemicals:10

Almost half of all households with children under the age of five had at least one pesticide stored in an UNLOCKED cabinet less than four feet off the ground, which was within a child’s reach.
Bathrooms and kitchens were cited as areas most likely to have improperly stored pesticides — for example, common household pesticides such as roach spray, insect repellents, pet shampoo, and flea and tick products.
I strongly recommend eliminating pesticides from your home, as there are many non-toxic ways to address pests and weeds. Furthermore, a number of pesticides have been implicated in the mass death of critical pollinating insects like bees and the Monarch butterfly. In the case of bees, the die-offs are now happening at a scale that is threatening our food supply.

When planting your garden, please bear in mind that more than half of so-called “bee friendly” garden plants sold at Lowe’s and other garden centers —i.e. plants that attract bees—have been pre-treated with pesticides that could be lethal to the bees. So be sure to ask whether the plants have been pre-treated, and please do not buy pre-treated varieties. Keep in mind that you also help protect the welfare of honey bees11 every time you shop organic. This way, you can actually “vote” for less pesticides and herbicides with each and every meal you make.

Pet Cancer Is Also on the Rise—and It Too Is Linked to Pesticide Exposure

To really bring home the importance of ridding your home and garden of pesticides, I also want to bring your attention to the compelling links between pesticide exposure and cancer in pets. One six-year long study conducted at Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine has linked lawn pesticides to canine malignant lymphoma (CML). The risk for CML increased by as much as 70 percent in some dogs.

Another study12 published last year found that dogs exposed to garden and lawn chemicals such as 2,4-D, dicamba, and 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxypropionic acid (MCPP), have higher incidence of bladder cancer. Breeds with a genetic predisposition for bladder cancer, including Beagles, Scottish Terriers, Shetland Sheepdogs, West Highland White Terriers, and Wire Hair Fox Terriers are at particularly high risk. According to lead study author Deborah Knapp of Purdue University’s Department of Veterinary Clinical Services, in an interview with Discovery News:

“The routes of exposure that have been documented in experimental settings include ingestion, inhalation and transdermal exposures. In the case of dogs, they could directly ingest the chemicals from the plant, or they could lick their paws or fur and ingest chemicals that have been picked up on their feet, legs or body.”

Needless to say, once your dog gets the chemicals on its coat and paws, it can spread them throughout your house, contaminating floors and furniture. You and your children can also be exposed by petting or holding your dog. Ideally, you’ll want to avoid lawn chemicals if you have pets, and should your pet roam around on treated grass, make sure to bathe him as soon as possible.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Toxic Pesticides

As you can see, pesticides are all around you. They may have been developed to kill certain bothersome insects or intrusive weeds, but we’re now at a point where these chemicals are used in such massive quantities that they threaten human life on multiple fronts—through ingestion, topical exposure, pollinator die-offs, and the destruction of soil fertility! While you may not be able to eliminate exposure entirely, it would be sensible to take certain common-sense precautions to avoid the most common sources of exposure:

Stop using Roundup and other lawn and garden pesticides, as children and pets can come into contact with it simply by walking across the area.
Avoid commercial bug killers, such as mosquito, tick, and flea sprays. To learn how to repel such pests without hazardous chemicals, please see my previous article “How to Prevent and Treat Insect Bites Without Harsh Chemicals.” When it comes to head lice, avoid using the pesticide lindane. Instead, use an old-fashioned nit comb, plus the oils of anise and ylang ylang combined into a natural spray. This has been found to be highly effective in eliminating more than 90 percent of head lice. Coconut oil is another effective alternative.
Avoid processed foods, as they’re typically loaded with GE ingredients, which are most heavily contaminated with pesticides and herbicides like glyphosate. Ideally, you’d be best off opting for products bearing the USDA 100% organic label when buying processed foods in order to avoid exposure to agricultural chemicals, which certainly are not limited to Roundup. Meats need to be grass-fed or pastured to make sure the animals were not fed GE corn or soy feed.
That said, I urge you to consider boycotting every single product owned by members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), including natural and organic brands. For more information on this historic boycott, please see my recent article, “When You Learn What They’re Up to Now, You Too Will Want to Boycott Monsanto and GMA.”

 

#saynotopesticides

 

‘Kissing bug’ sickens more in Los Angeles than Zika and few know they have it – deadly Chagas disease

This insect bites people near the lips or eyes, inserts bacteria, then about 20 years later, the victim suffers a heart attack. Olive View-UCLA Medical

March 28, 2016 |by Susan Abram | Daily News, Los Angeles

This insect bites people near the lips or eyes, inserts bacteria, then about 20 years later, the victim suffers a heart attack.  Olive View-UCLA Medical Center is working to help detect Chagas. The clinic is holding community screenings across the San Fernando Valley to find people who may be infected.

Some call it the kissing bug because it leaves a painless bite near a sleeping person’s lips.

But among health experts, including those from the federal government, the cone-headed Triatomine is no prince awakening a sleeping beauty. It’s an assassin, because it leaves behind a parasite in its love bite that can be deadly.

Photos of the dime-size insect hang inside Dr. Sheba Meymandi’s medical office as if on a wanted poster. The bug, she said, carries the Chagas disease, which can cause heart failure if left untreated.

An estimated 300,000 people across the United States may have Chagas disease, Meymandi said, and the only place in the nation where it’s treated is the clinic she oversees at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center in Sylmar. Started in 2007, the Chagas clinic has treated 200 people, but Meymandi and her team said they are ready to take on more patients.

That’s why she and her staff are working with primary physicians at the four hospitals and 19 health clinics overseen by the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services. In addition, Providence Health & Services will offer Chagas screenings at a dozen free health clinics on Sundays at churches across the San Fernando Valley for the rest of the year. An upcoming screening will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. April 3 at New Hope of the Nazarene, 15055 Oxnard St, Van Nuys, California.

“It’s very clear that we need to diagnose early and treat early before the onset of complications,” said Meymandi, a cardiologist. Ten percent of those with Chagas suffer from heart failure, one of the most expensive conditions to treat, costing $32 billion year nationwide, she said. That figure could rise to $70 billion by 2030.

Chagas disease was once considered exotic, but more is known about it now than about the Zika virus. Still, most people have no idea they have it or, once they do, lack information about where to receive treatment, Meymandi said.

The disease is most common in rural Mexico and Latin America, researchers have said, adding that it kills more people in South America than malaria.Meymandi said anyone who was born in Mexico or South America should have a blood test.

But U.S.-born residents also are infected. The insect is present in more than 20 states. At least 40 percent of raccoons tested in Griffith Park carried Chagas disease, Meymandi said.

“Most of the people we see and treat in the U.S. have had it for decades,” Meymandi said. “We have the bug here, we have the parasite here. You can definitely acquire Chagas in the United States.”

An infected insect, which hides in dwellings made from mud, adobe, straw or palm thatch, crawls out at night to feed on blood. It is called the kissing bug because it feeds on a sleeper’s face, then defecates on the wound, leaving a parasite behind.

Infection takes place when the parasite enters the body through mucous membranes or broken skin, caused when the sleeper scratches the wound, eyes or mouth, according to the federal Centers for Disease and Prevention. The parasite can lie dormant for years, then cause heart disease, and if not found and treated, death.

Symptoms can include fever, fatigue, body aches, headaches, rash, loss of appetite, diarrhea and vomiting. But sometimes there are no symptoms until decades later.

Only two drugs exist to treat Chagas disease, and neither is approved by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration yet, though both can be provided through the CDC, Meymandi said.

“It’s very simple to treat,” Meymandi said. “But the process to go get the drugs is a challenge.”

Jose Duran, a Bellflower resident, said he learned he had Chagas disease after he tried to donate blood seven months ago. He said he would have never known he had Chagas disease otherwise. He had no symptoms.

“I went to donate blood for the first time, because I heard it was good for you to donate once in a while,” he said. Then he received a phone call.

It’s not uncommon for people to learn they have Chagas disease after donating blood, Meymandi and others said. In 2006, the Red Cross isolated 21 cases of Chagas in Southern California donors. In 2007, the figure more than doubled to 46. In 2008, there were 55 cases.

The National Red Cross would not provide additional figures.

“I got scared. I was like, wow, what is this?” the 40 year old Duran said of his reaction,when he learned what he had.

As a child, Duran lived on a ranch in Querétaro, a small state in north-central Mexico. His brother also tested positive for Chagas. He doesn’t remember being bitten, he said.

Duran was referred to the Chagas clinic and, after two months of treatment, learned Thursday he was in good health.

“Most people don’t know they have this,” he said. “If they get tested, they can get well.”

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

 

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