Study: South Dade Plant Nursery Workers Earn Low Pay, Susceptible To Heat Illnesses

WLRN |by Nadege Green | July 30, 2019

“They put me in a shower to get all the chemicals off me,” she reported. “I kept falling down. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t, my body got weaker…I felt like my throat was awful, as if it were cut on the inside.”

A new study that looks at the working conditions of ornamental plant nursery workers in South Miami-Dade found that low wages, harmful exposure to pesticides and inadequate access to drinking water and shade are among the top complaints from workers in the industry.

Miami-Dade County is home to more than 1,500 ornamental nurseries that provide flowering plants, shrubs and trees used for commercial and residential landscaping projects. WeCount, a farmer workers rights group in Homestead, surveyed 300 workers in a workforce largely dominated by immigrant women for the study called “The Human Landscape.”

An ornamental plant nursery in South Miami-Dade.

Workers, largely from Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador, complete a range of jobs such as potting plants, weeding, driving tractors, digging up trees, loading pallets and customer assitance. They provide a portrait of working long hours outside in intense heat with little reprieve and low pay.

Nearly 70 percent said they experienced heat related illnesses including fainting and headaches due to a lack of shade breaks.

“Folks are under pressure to work fast. They have their order they have to get out and so they don’t want them to take breaks, they want them to produce and that’s that’s a big issue,” said Jonathan Fried, executive director of WeCount.

Miami-Dade recently recorded record-breaking heat and as it gets hotter because of climate change, Fried says farm workers are on the frontline of serious health risks with little protections.

The study also found many workers did not receive proper training to handle pesticides as required by law and industry regulations.

Of the workers surveyed who used pesticides for work, 64 percent said they did not receive any safety training.

Miguel Bernal, a nursery plant worker and member of WeCount, told WLRN when he worked with pesticides, his employer instructed him to lie and say he had proper training if an inspector visited the nursery.

“She told me to spray, but to not tell them that she told me to do it,” he said.

Other workers who didn’t handle pesticides said they were still exposed because spraying would happen in close proximity to where they were working, according to the surveys. Sixty two percent of the workers reported symptoms of pesticide exposure—dizziness, vomiting and skin rashes.

Nora, one of the women who responded to the survey, described symptoms of pesticide poisoning after another worker was allowed to spray near where she and several other people were working. He had practically sprayed it in our faces, she said. Nora ended up in the hospital shortly after.

“They put me in a shower to get all the chemicals off me,” she reported. “I kept falling down. I wanted to vomit, but I couldn’t, my body got weaker…I felt like my throat was awful, as if it were cut on the inside.”

Miami-Dade County is consistently ranked as one of the most unaffordable metro areas in the country when it comes to housing. That reality is especially stark for farmwokers. According to the people surveyed, most earn the Florida minimum wage of $8.05 or slightly above.

A smaller percentage of workers reported earning less than minimum wage.

As is the case in most other industries, there is a pay gap for women. On average women earn 36 cents less than men. Workers also reported a pay gap for speakers of indigenous Mayan languages. Speakers of Mayan languages earned 34 cents less on average than Spanish and English speakers.

And across the industry, workers reported little room for economic advancement. Workers with more than 15 years of experience working in South Dade ornamental plant nurseries earned about 45 cents more than someone with one year of experience, according to the study.

WLRN intern Aaron Sanchez-Guerra contributed to this report. 

Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite. They have returned with a vengeance.

Credit Victoria Roberts

A. Scientists believe that bedbugs have developed resistance to some insecticides, and travel is helping to spread the resistant insects worldwide.

Another major contributor is the failure of many hotels and residential landlords to identify infestations promptly, and to dispose of or treat infested bedding and carpeting.

It has been known since the 1950s that bed bugs can develop resistance to commonly used insecticides, like pyrethrin. Resistance has emerged to more products over the years.

The biological mechanisms include a thickening of the bedbugs’ exterior cuticle, so that an insecticide does not penetrate properly, and metabolic resistance, in which the insects produce extra amounts of detoxification enzymes.

Resistance can also involve something as simple as a tendency to avoid insecticidal powders.

Researchers are pursuing new control methods, especially the use of natural pesticides. One is a fungus called Beauveria bassiana.

The fungus, which infects insects, already has been incorporated into a commercially available product called Aprehend.

Can You Pick a Bedbug Out of a Lineup?

In a survey, scientists found many travelers could not distinguish bedbugs from other pests, which could have implications for hotels and the travel industry.

Experts Warn of Bed Bug Encounters Ahead of Busy Travel Season

travel.jpgFAIRFAX, Va.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–May 29, 2019

The National Pest Management Association shares tips to avoid contact with hitchhiking pests during Bed Bug Awareness week.

As the busy travel season commences and families finalize their vacation plans for summer, experts at the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) are warning vacationers to remain vigilant during Bed Bug Awareness Week, this June 2-8. An annual observance recognized by Chase’s Calendar of Events, Bed Bug Awareness Week serves as an important reminder that bed bugs can wreak havoc if brought home after traveling, making prevention key to staving off an infestation.

Bed bugs are one of the most common pests, and according to NPMA’s 2018 Bugs Without Borders survey, 97 percent of U.S. pest control professionals surveyed reported they treated for bed bugs in 2018, with 68 percent saying they treated hotels specifically. A recent online research study conducted between January 2018 and May 2019 by Advanced Symbolics Inc. using a representative sample of 274,500 Americans revealed a 9 percent increase in people reporting bed bugs from just April to May, 2019, and a 21 percent increase in concerns regarding bed bugs as a potential health and home threat during that same time period.

“Bed bugs can be found anywhere, whether it be a 5-star hotel or a summer camp,” said Cindy Mannes, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “These pests do not discriminate, and many people usually transport bed bugs with them back to their homes without even knowing they’re doing so. To prevent these freeloaders from hitchhiking back home with your family, it is important to take proper precautions when traveling this summer.”

To help vacationers avoid bringing home any hitchhiking pests this travel season, the NPMA is sharing the following prevention tips:

  • Thoroughly inspect the entire room before unpacking, including behind the headboard, under lights, and inside dressers, drawers, sofas and chairs.
  • Pull back hotel sheets and inspect the mattress seams, particularly at the corners, for telltale stains or spots. If you see anything suspect, change rooms/establishments immediately.
  • Carry a small flashlight to assist you with visual inspections.
  • Vacuum and properly inspect suitcases after returning from a vacation. Do not bring the suitcase into your home until it has been inspected.
  • If you think you may have brought bed bugs home with you, seek professional pest control assistance to address an infestation, as this is not a do-it-yourself pest.

For more information about how to prevent bed bugs visit PestWorld.org.

What to know about PESTICIDE POISONING in wake of Dominican Republic lawsuit

By Dr. Manny Alvarez | Fox News

Last year, Kaylynn Knull and Tom Schwander were enjoying a relaxing vacation in the Dominican Republic when the couple started experiencing alarming symptoms. Now the two have filed a $1 million lawsuit against the resort called The Grand Bahia Principe La Romana.

The couple is seeking restoration for their experiences in the wake of 3 more American deaths that occurred there that same week.

TOXICOLOGIST SAYS A COLORLESS, ODORLESS ‘INTOXICANT’ COULD BE CAUSE OF DOMINICAN REPUBLIC DEATHS

According to The Sun, Knull and Schwander woke up one morning after several days at the resort, suffering from dizziness, blurred vision, drooling and stomach cramps among other symptoms.

After flying home, doctors suspected pesticide poisoning, specifically from organophosphates. That diagnosis aligned with many of their symptoms.

Knull now wonders if chemicals sprayed on plants outside the resort’s rooms were to blame, reports The Sun in an interview with the couple. Knull and Schwander wanted the resort to state the name of the chemicals used in its gardening. The two filed a lawsuit after the resort refused.

Unfortunately, last year’s cases aren’t the only episodes of tourist illness in the Dominican Republic. Investigations are ongoing for 11 recent deaths. The FBI and CDC are also investigating.

The cause of these deaths are still unknown. But media and the tourists involved speculate they could be related to harmful pesticides, spiked alcohol or tainted food.

The Problem of Pesticide Poisoning

In the United States, pesticide poisoning often happens to residents and workers around farming regions. However, the World Health Organization recognizes that poisoning does occur more often in developing countries.

Studies in Central American countries like El Salvador and Nicaragua have shown poisonings to occur twice as much in the general population as in America’s agricultural population. That amounts to 35 cases per 100,000 versus the United States’ 18 cases in the farming community, states WHO.

However, it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact number because of lack of surveillance, long-term side effects, and inconsistent study methods.

Since millions of U.S. tourists visit areas like the Dominican Republic every year, this situation could truly happen to anyone. According to The Sun, 2.7 million Americans visit the resort where Knull and Schwander stayed last June.

Signs of Pesticide Poisoning

The big takeaway is that Americans should understand pesticide poisoning and take precautions against it, especially when traveling out of the country.

Pesticides can fall into several different categories. Those include organophosphates, carbamates, and pyrethrins or pryethroids, the last of which are considered natural pesticides.

Common symptoms you should watch for:

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Blurred vision
  • Chest tightness
  • Diarrhea or incontinence
  • Dizziness
  • Drooling
  • Eye irritation or tearing
  • Fluid-filled lungs
  • Headache
  • Muscle weakness or lack of coordination
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Shortness of breath
  • Slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Slurred speech
  • Sweating
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Vomiting

If you experience any of the above symptoms after traveling to agricultural or international regions, you should seek medical help immediately.

What to Expect with Pesticide Poisoning Treatment

If you suspect pesticide poisoning, you should get medical help for even mild symptoms like headache or dizziness. Pesticide poisoning can have long-term effects that your doctor might help to improve.

For more serious cases, your doctor might prescribe medications to help with symptoms and an IV to hydrate and clear your body of toxins.

Because poisoning symptoms can escalate quickly, you should contact emergency help if you suspect a high level of exposure.

Bottom Line

Pesticide poisoning happens in the US and even more often in developing countries where pesticides are less regulated. In the midst of planning your exciting international vacation, watch for concerning news reports beforehand and stay on guard for poisoning symptoms while you’re abroad.

FDNY ambulance taken out of service for bedbugs

June 21,2019  NEW YORK — by Stephen Rex Brown

New York’s lifesavers are no match for New York’s scariest insect.

“Do not open!” said a sign attached to a stationary EMS ambulance in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

“Bedbugs!” read a second warning note. Underneath, tape had been used to draw a sad face on the doors of the FDNY rig. (Photo/ Wikimedia Commons)

“Bedbugs!” read a second warning note. Underneath, tape had been used to draw a sad face on the doors of the FDNY rig. (Photo/ Wikimedia Commons)

“Bedbugs!” read a second warning note. Underneath, tape had been used to draw a sad face on the doors of the FDNY rig.

An FDNY spokesman said the ambulance was taken out of service on Monday and “sealed in accordance to department procedure.” It was treated by exterminators Thursday. The crew is fine, the spokesman added.

The FDNY did not provide any theories about how bedbugs infested the ambulance.

John McKinney spotted the contaminated wagon at Metropolitan Ave. and Roebling St. around noon. The East Williamsburg resident got an itch to take a photo, which he passed along to the Daily News.

“First pizza rats, now ambulance bedbugs — what’s next, toilet crocs?” McKinney joked. “This city is buggin’ out.”

———

©2019 New York Daily News

 

Philly ranked No. 1 in ‘Top 50 Bed Bug-Infested Cities’

download.jpgPHILADELPHIAtopbbs.jpg

June 3, 2019  –  Nate Homan

We’re number one!

…On a rather nasty list.

Philly scooped up the number one spot on the Terminix annual ranking of “Top 50 Bed Bug-Infested Cities” in the country ahead of summer vacation season and Bed Bug Awareness Week.

Where did the City of Brotherly Love rank last year? Second. Is this the first time Philly has been crowned most bed bug infested city? Nope. These insufferable little pests were snug as a bug in a rug in Philly in 2014 too.

“Bed bugs continue to pose concerns for public health, as their presence is felt across the country, in cities large and small,” Terminix Residential President Matthew Stevenson told BuisnessWire.

Rankings are determined through a compilation of bed bug-specific data of service calls reported at more than 300 Terminix branches across the country. The rankings represent Metropolitan Statistical Areas with the highest number of actual services between April 16, 2018 and April 15, 2019.

Thanks to increased travel, bed bug infestations have gone up since the 1990s.

Terminix research revealed that 22 percent of Americans polled have had a bed bug encounter, and that the odds of encountering them are much higher for those with children.

Despite the high incidence rates and increased awareness of bed bugs, this research shows nearly half of the country who travel do not know what precautions to take to guard against them.

Appearently, Philly is a hotbed for such individuals.

There are some pretty standard signs and symptoms of a bed bugs infestation.

Terminix experts warn that bed bugs can be found in more than just bedding and mattresses. They can easily hitchhike from place to place via personal belongings, such as jackets, purses and luggage, or hide in upholstered furniture and behind baseboards.

Infestations are notoriously difficult to treat. They can mature in about 35 days, and can survive seven months until a year.

Bed bugs are largely active at night, so infestations can be difficult to spot. Look for signs of the insects like shedded skins and blood spots on mattresses or sheets.

Terminix reccommends washing all clothing and other belongings, as recommended on the label, suspected of being exposed to bed bugs at high temperatures to help kill off the pests, and keeping potentially compromised luggage in a plastic bag to prevent the insects from spreading to other belongings.

Another telltale sign of bed bugs is their smell. The scent of their pheromones can be quite strong. It’s often described as a musty odor.

Oh yeah, another indicator that you might have an infestation: Burning raised itchy bumps with a clear center, or a dark center and lighter swollen surrounding area scattered in zigzag patterns or in a line. The bite itself is pretty much painless. On average, they suck blood for a solid 10 minutes while their victim sleeps.

Here are some tips to mitigate the risk of being bitten or transporting bed bugs:

Check hotel headboards, mattresses and box springs for live bed bugs, their exoskeletons and or dark blood spots.

While full-grown, bed bugs are about the size, shape and color of an apple seed. Travelers should also look for newly hatched nymphs, which are cream-colored and the size of letters on a penny, as well as small translucent eggs, which may be found in the tucks and folds of sheets.

Hang all clothing. Leave nothing lying on the bed or furniture.

Avoid storing clothing in a hotel’s furniture drawers.

Store suitcases on a luggage rack as far away from the bed as possible.

Vacuum suitcases when returning home, and immediately wash clothing in hot water.

Between trips, store luggage in a sealed plastic bag in a garage or basement away from bedrooms.

Bedbugs: What you need to know to avoid bedbugs on vacation

What to do when you check-in a hotel

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) June 10, 2019 – Don Dare – As you head out for your vacation this summer, be vigilant about checking for bedbugs. Pest control professionals report that a majority of their business is treating hotels.

Bedbugs can be found anywhere, from luxury hotels to a summer camp. Imagine you’re on that vacation you have looked forward to, only to wake up your first morning covered in bedbug bites. The insects are so tiny, they’re difficult to see, but the bites are painful.

Bedbugs can be found almost everywhere

Experts say bedbugs like to hide out in mattresses near the bed boards. Dr. Brittany Campbell is an entomologist. She studies insects for the National Pest Management Association.

“We found that 97 percent of pest control professionals were treating for bedbugs in the United States,” Campbell said. “They can be found, I know this is surprising, but almost anywhere. They will bite you. Their bite can cause an allergic reaction. It can cause a skin reaction. Everyone’s immune system is different., but you can have an allergic reaction. In severe cases, those reactions can create blisters.”

Campbell says bedbugs are resilient creatures. They’ve developed resistance to the pesticides we have on the market now.

“They’re very difficult to control yourself, so I really encourage you to reach out to a professional,” she said.

Killing bedbugs isn’t easy

Mark Nadolski with Russell’s Pest Control says bedbugs hide in the smallest places in and around beds and box springs, and killing them isn’t easy.

How to check for bedbugs in a hotel

“I would really encourage you to go to the bed, pull down the sheets. Go all the way down to the mattress. Look in the mattress seams. That’s where bed bugs are going to hide,” she said.

If you find bedbugs in your room while on vacation, take a picture of them to show to the manager and insist on another room. If you think you have brought the bugs home with you from your vacation, it’s best to get professional help to zap an infestation.

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.

New Survey Shows Americans Taking Action Against Bed Bugs

National Pest Management Association Urges Continued Vigilance During Bed Bug Awareness Week

FAIRFAX, Va. (April 16, 2014) – A majority of Americans have begun taking precautions against the spread of bed bugs, according to the 2014 Bed Bug Awareness Week survey conducted online in the U.S. by Harris Poll on behalf of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) in March 2014 among over 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18+. The survey, which found nearly three in five (59%) Americans take some kind of precaution against bed bugs, is being released in conjunction with Bed Bug Awareness Week (April 20-26), a national observance to help spread awareness about bed bugs and what people can do to curb infestations.

Bed bugs are known for their hitchhiking capabilities and are easily transported, making them an elusive pest and formidable opponent. In fact, bed bugs are considered one of the most difficult pests to control by professionals, due in part to their quick breeding capabilities and tendency to hide in small, dark crevices, often unseen by the human eye, such as behind headboards and baseboards, as well as inside electrical outlets and box springs. Depending on the scope of an infestation, it can take several treatments to fully eradicate the bugs.

Industry experts agree that public awareness is key in quelling infestations. “Education and vigilance are the first steps to help stop the spread of bed bugs, and we’re pleased and encouraged to hear that so many Americans are becoming more aware of their surroundings and taking measures to protect against this troublesome pest,” said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “We hope the public will use Bed Bug Awareness Week as an opportunity to brush up on prevention techniques—especially as we head into the busy summer travel season.”

Below are highlights from the survey:

59 percent of all U.S. adults take some kind of precaution against bed bug infestations.
34 percent inspect sheets, mattress pads and mattresses for signs of bed bugs upon checking into a hotel
33 percent wash all clothes in hot water after returning home from a vacation
29 percent avoid visiting homes or locations that have had a bed bug infestation
28 percent remain vigilant of where they place their belongings when in public places
12 percent vacuum suitcases after returning home from vacation
8 percent keep their suitcases in a plastic trash bag or protective cover for the duration of their hotel stays
If they suspected a bed bug infestation in their home, 95 percent of U.S. adults would do something to alleviate the problem.
69 percent would wash their sheets and bedding in hot water
64 percent would clean and vacuum their bedrooms
62 percent would contact a pest professional/exterminator
40 percent would buy an over-the-counter bed bug removal product
30 percent would throw away their mattress and purchase a new one
More information, including bed bug biology, prevention tips and best practices can be found on AllThingsBedBugs.org.

The NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 7,000 members, was established in 1933 to support the pest management industry’s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property. For more information, visit PestWorld.org.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of the National Pest Management Association from March 11-13, 2014 among 2,037 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Pest Control Advice When Buying a New Home
When purchasing a home, certain steps must be taken to ensure things go smoothly. Aside from any cosmetic updates, it’s important to also account for any problems that may not be visible to the naked eye. That’s why a new home pest inspection is so important.

Copyright ©2019 National Pest Management Association

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