Bedbugs plague Joliet Housing Authority residents



By Megan Schuller      Email      Follow

JOLIET — Some people collect stamps or baseball cards. Rosemary Brown squirrels away the bedbugs she caught sucking her blood over the years.

“I’ve got dated bags of dead bugs I caught on my couch feeding on me,” the 71-year-old Brown said.

“I can’t sleep and my nerves are a wreck. I’m 71 and I’m getting emotional stress from everything I’ve been through,” she said.

Brown is not the only resident of the Joliet Housing Authority’s John C. Murphy building claiming to have been plagued by bedbugs. Paulette Robinson, 98, says they have been biting her for at least the last six months.

“The bedbugs were marching across the floor and literally feeding off her body,” said Robinson’s caretaker, Melody Woods.

Robinson cannot see or feel the bedbugs due to circulation and vision problems, but her caretakers are constantly changing her bedding to ensure her safety, Woods said.

“It doesn’t bother me, I can’t see them,” Robinson said. “But if you do a partial clean, you’ll never get rid of them. You have to clean from attic to basement, that’s the only way.”

Robinson pays $226 a month to live in her one bedroom apartment in the 139-unit North Ottawa Street building.

Property Manager Veronica Rosas conceded that there have been bedbug complaints since she started working at the Murphy building about six years ago but put at least some of the responsibility for getting rid of them on residents.

“I recommend tenants to educate themselves and be mindful,” Rosas said. “Bedbugs are hitchhikers. Limit visitation to and from the apartment. Family and friends could take bugs back with them and bring them back to the apartment.”

The housing authority has been paying for thermal treatments, which cost roughly $1,000 dollars per unit, Rosas said, and for spraying less infested units at a cost of $50 per apartment.

The thermal treatment involves cranking up the heat in the apartments until the bedbugs die.

Brown said she spends at least $80 dollars a week of her own money doing laundry in hopes of washing out the bedbugs, but they still bite her. The laundry room is also infested, she said, with dead bugs in the dryer lint and living bugs crawling across the floor.

Brown said she keeps most of her belongings in totes and bags to protect them from bedbugs.

Woods said she was met with frustration when she brought the bedbug problem up to housing authority officials.

“I went to a board meeting where Bobby Hernandez said, ‘it’s Government housing they shouldn’t complain,’” Woods said.

Housing authority Commissioner Robert Hernandez did recall an exchange with Woods, but claimed  he actually attempted to explain the official process for making a complaint.

“I said it’s government subsidized housing,” Hernandez said. “If you want to complain after you go to the site manager, then you go to the board. We’re trying to do everything we can do humanly possible.

“I’ve gone into the building and visited with the residents, there’s no other commissioner that’s done that,” he said. “We need to address it.”

According to Hernandez, bedbugs are in all the housing authority buildings designated for elderly, near-elderly and the disabled residents, but the Murphy building and Adlai Stevenson building on Stryker Avenue are the worst. Hernandez said he has addressed the issue at board meetings and is “angry” with the Murphy building staff for how they have been handling problem.

“They sprayed rooms and didn’t plan on spraying the contaminated common area for two days,” he said. “A gentleman who had bugs on him left and had to be tracked down.”

Hernandez said the staff has to stay on top of the problem by treating the rooms and educating residents on how to properly bag and wash their belongings in order to prevent bugs from returning after an extermination.

No one from the Joliet Public Housing Program office could be reached comment Monday.

Renter upset they’re on the hook for bed bug treatment that damaged unit

By Bradford Arick  |

FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live): Bed bugs, many of us hear that and instantly cringe. A woman contacted our Whistleblower hotline saying they’re being slapped with a $1,200 bill for bed bug treatment. That same treatment damaged the apartment’s walls, kitchen and carpeting.

“Anything is possible,” said Stephanie Walters “I got cracks along my, you know cracks in the walls, holes in the walls. It’s very easy for a bug to crawl through.”

But Walters wants to know why is the cost is so high? Walters says their rental company has turned them over to collections. Valley News Live learns it’s a buyer beware situation and you need to know what you’re potentially going to have to pay for when looking to move.

“Frustrating because I was like they say you’ve got to box things that can’t be heated, I was like well what’s the things that can’t be heated,” asked Walters.

Earlier this year, Walters says she found a bug crawling in her first floor apartment. She put it in a bag and called her landlord. They showed up with a pest control expert and it was bed bugs.

“You know these are all the rules of what we would have to do. We would have to, we wouldn’t bag anything. They said they would heat up our apartment, between 120 or more,” stated Walters.

They moved their furniture away from the walls and waited until the treatment was done. But it worked maybe a little too well.

“They left some damages like the carpet over there sticking up. That line on the wall. That was never there when I moved in,” said Walters

The counter edges are splitting apart, the microwave handle cracked and a bedroom wall cracked too along with more carpet issues.

Walters says it’s not that she wouldn’t pay for the treatment out of her pocket, but she wanted to know why it was so expensive when friends and family had only paid several hundred dollars in similar situations.

Valley News Live reached out to Property Resources Group, Walters’ landlord. They told us they wouldn’t talk on camera, but we had to submit questions in an email. We asked: what is their policy regarding bed bugs, who is responsible for paying the costs incurred for treatment, does Property Resources Group have an agreement with a local exterminator, do tenants have the option to ‘shop around’ for pest control and what is stipulated in the lease agreement when it comes to pest control?

They answered “our company does take extermination very seriously. We do provide professional pest control services for residents for general services every 3 months and commons area. We do have a clause in our lease that lease holders will be charged for pest extermination if it’s a special service. We use one vendor/ Exterminator which is typical for most management companies.”

If you’re looking to move, make sure things are spelled out in your lease agreement as to who has to cover when in terms of pest control. If there’s nothing spelled out, have a conversation with your landlord about the issue. And even if your rental agency only uses one pest control company, shop around to make sure you know how much things will generally cost and to make sure you aren’t being overcharged.


Confirmed Case of Zika Virus Found in the Hudson Valley


By Bobby Welber

A Hudson Valley resident was recently diagnosed with the Zika virus, a mosquito-borne virus which has been linked to birth defects.

The Sullivan County Public Health Services received confirmation that a Sullivan County resident was diagnosed with the Zika virus. The unnamed person recently traveled to South America where Zika virus is common, officials say.

“There is currently NO local transmission of Zika virus from mosquitoes in Sullivan County, and there are no mosquitoes of the species type that can transmit the Zika virus in Sullivan County identified by surveillance performed by the NYS Department of Health,” Sullivan County Public Health Director Nancy McGraw said in a press release.

According to the CDC, the Zika virus can be spread from a pregnant woman to her unborn baby in the womb. The mosquito-borne virus is linked to a birth defect called microcephaly, which can cause babies to be born with tiny heads or brains.

The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. After being bitten by a Zika infected mosquito, it may take a week to up to four weeks to begin experiencing symptoms. The symptoms are usually very mild and many people don’t realize they have been infected.

In the video below, Dr. Stuart Feinstein told Hudson Valley Post, how concerned we should be about Zika in the Hudson Valley, how to protect yourself from Zika and more.


In Lacey, a Washington mom grapples with baby’s Zika-caused birth defects


Jessica Rios holds niece Aryanna Guadalupe Sanchez-Rios as a technician measures her skull last month at Seattle Children’s. (Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News)

So far, 72 affected babies have been born in the U.S. One young Puget-Sound-area mother, infected with the Zika virus while she was in Mexico last year, and her infant daughter face a complicated future.

 Kaiser Health News

LACEY — When her daughter was born at Providence St. Peter Hospital in January, the first thing Maria Rios checked was the baby’s head.

She’d seen the terrifying photos on the internet — infants in Brazil and in Puerto Rico whose skulls were misshapen, even collapsed, ravaged by the Zika virus that has engulfed Latin America.

Days earlier, doctors had told Rios — a 20-year-old, first-time mother — that she was infected with Zika, likely spread by a mosquito bite when she and her husband were living last summer at her parents’ home in Colima, Mexico.

“I saw that the babies had flat heads,” she recalled. “And they had problems eating, seeing, talking, walking. They had seizures. I was just like, ‘Oh, God.’”

When Aryanna Guadalupe Sanchez-Rios arrived — 5 pounds, 10 ounces, with a cap of straight, dark hair — it was clear Rios’ fears had been realized. The baby’s head was small — 27 centimeters instead of the typical 35 — a condition known as microcephaly. An ultrasound showed extensive calcium deposits on the brain, more Zika evidence.

The news was devastating for Rios, who was born and raised in Auburn and returned to the U.S. last fall to stay with family in Lacey.

As of May 23, Aryanna was one of 72 babies born in the U.S. with Zika-related birth defects. Another eight pregnancy losses have been attributed to Zika infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which updates counts regularly.

Rios refuses to lose hope about her baby. Despite doctors’ warnings and medical facts, the young mother remains optimistic, relying on a deep Catholic faith to build a life for her daughter.

To her, Aryanna’s head “wasn’t really flat,” just small, she said. Eye exams showed scarring in the center of the retinas, a likely sign of vision loss caused by the virus. But Rios is certain her baby’s wide, brown eyes already track light and motion.

“I just want her to be OK,” Rios said.

Aryanna and the other infants are now at the center of efforts by U.S. officials to monitor the lasting effects of the devastating outbreak, even as another dangerous mosquito season begins.

“A lot of people ask for miracles,” said Rios, who keeps a beaded bracelet with an amulet of the Blessed Virgin Mary on her daughter’s left wrist. “I feel like you have to ask deep from your heart.”

To date, Rios is among nearly 1,900 pregnant women in the U.S. with laboratory evidence of possible Zika virus infections, according to the CDC. Nearly 1,600 have completed their pregnancies.

Of those with confirmed Zika infections in the U.S. last year, 1 in 10 women had a fetus or baby with brain damage or other serious defects, a recent CDC analysis showed.

Rios was tested twice for Zika and told she was free of infection. But days before Aryanna was born, a third test came back positive.

“A doctor told me, ‘You have Zika. That’s why your baby has microcephaly,’” Rios recalled. “She could have said it a little bit nicer.”

After birth, Aryanna tested positive for the virus, too.

“I said, ‘How could that be possible?’ I didn’t have any symptoms,” said Rios.

She found out only later that four of every five people infected with the Zika virus show no signs of the disease.

Even now, she finds it hard to believe that anything’s wrong. When Aryanna wakes from a nap, sleepy and warm, Rios swaddles her in a pink polka-dot blanket and cradles her on the couch.

“Hi, Stinky! Hi, pretty girl!” she croons, kissing Aryanna’s chubby cheek. “I look at her like a normal baby.”

Rios and Aryanna are enrolled in the U.S. Zika Pregnancy Registry, where state and local health departments are tracking women and infants with laboratory evidence of infection.

Even in Washington, a low-risk state where the Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes that spread Zika aren’t found, 18 pregnant women have been identified with lab evidence of the virus since last year, said Hanna Oltean, an epidemiologist tracking Washington’s cases. All appear to have acquired the virus through travel, though Zika can be transmitted through sex as well.

Of those local women, three have delivered babies with microcephaly, including Rios.

“There’s been a definite learning curve in public health,” Oltean said. “This is the first mosquito-borne disease that has been anything like this.”

Dr. Hannah Tully, a pediatric neurologist at Seattle Children’s, examined Aryanna five weeks after birth and again this month. An expert in microcephaly, Tully has seen many children with the disorder, but Zika is different, she said. The damage appears to be greater than that typically found when microcephaly is caused by other conditions, including infections and premature birth.

“Zika triggers this catastrophe of inflammation and cell death,” Tully said.

Scientists now know that Zika, a once-obscure virus, targets and attacks neural stem cells in the developing fetal brain. Babies born with congenital Zika syndrome often have severe microcephaly, diminished brain tissue and eye damage, as well as restricted joint movement and rigid muscle tone. Recent research suggests they also might suffer hearing problems and seizure disorders, such as epilepsy.

“It’s critically important that these babies be evaluated early,” said Dr. Margaret Honein, chief of the CDC’s birth defects branch. “We don’t yet know the full range of health problems these babies might have.”

It’s a crucial question, Honein added. Every week, another 30 to 40 cases are added to the pregnancy registry.

‘Where would I get $4 million?’

The full costs aren’t clear, either. In September, Congress allocated about $1.1 billion in emergency funding to federal agencies for the Zika crisis. CDC already has spent about $300 million in redirected funds and has designated about $394 million more, according to an agency spokeswoman.

The White House budget released in May proposes establishing an emergency fund to pay for responses to emerging outbreaks like Zika. But it also would cut $1.3 billion from the CDC and $838 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where scientists are working on a vaccine to prevent Zika infection.

And none of that funding covers what it may take to raise children like Aryanna.

One new estimate led by researchers at Yale University and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health pegs the medical and other expenses for a Zika-affected child at $4.1 million over a lifetime. Previous CDC estimates have been as high as $10 million.

The thought scares Rios, who shares a modest, two-bedroom apartment with her sister and brother-in-law. Aryanna’s condition means Rios can’t return to her job as a receptionist for a packaging firm, so she relies on family for rent, food, diapers, clothes and transportation.

That assistance is precarious, too. Rios’ sister, Jessica Rios, 21, has been providing rides to medical appointments in Seattle. But her car broke down in May, forcing Maria to scramble for last-minute transportation.

Rios gets formula from the federal Women, Infants and Children’s program, WIC, and Aryanna’s medical care is covered by Medicaid, the state and federal program for poor and disabled people. Rios has applied for Social Security disability benefits, but the process is long.

“Where would I get $4 million?’” she said.

When Rios was 15, she moved with her parents to Mexico to help take care of her ailing grandmother. She returned at 18 to finish high school. That’s when she met her husband, Julio Sanchez, 26, who was working in the U.S. as a landscaper on a temporary visa.

The pair dated, fell in love and married in September 2015. They moved to Colima three months later, in December, after his visa expired, just after the first three cases of Zika infection were reported in Mexico.

Rios discovered she was pregnant in April 2016; doctors initially thought she had a cyst on an ovary. Sudden bleeding put Rios on bed rest for five months, and she spent that time worried more about miscarriage than any mosquito-borne virus.

Even when an ultrasound at six months showed that the baby’s head lagged in development by two weeks, doctors weren’t concerned.

“They said, ‘Oh, don’t worry,’” Rios recalled. “In Colima, I didn’t see anybody alarmed about Zika.”

In February, Mexican health officials reported that Colima is now one of four states in the country with the highest incidence of Zika infections, with 189 cases confirmed in pregnant women from 2015 through March 2 of this year.

‘I’m really scared’

Rios wanted to give birth in the U.S. to ensure that her daughter would be a citizen and to receive proper care, even though it meant leaving her husband behind. She texts him constantly, sending photos of Aryanna in a flower-print onesie and Minnie Mouse pajamas.

“I just hope he gets some sort of permission to be in the U.S.,” Rios said. But with the new president, she said, she doubts that will happen soon.

Her husband met Aryanna in April, when Rios traveled with the baby back to Colima.

“He didn’t even know what Zika was,” Rios recalled. “I said, ‘Look it up.’”

Rios’ parents, both in their early 40s, couldn’t hide their concern for their daughter and their first grandchild.

The family drove straight from the airport with the baby to a church in Talpa de Allende, where Rios’ father walked on his knees from the back to the altar, a gesture of faith aimed at keeping Aryanna safe from harm.

“My mom just keeps telling me, ‘Everything’s going to be fine,’” Rios said.

Sometimes, Rios is not so sure. Her days revolve around Aryanna, who receives weekly visits from a public health nurse and a physical therapist and has doctors’ appointments lined up six months in advance.

The baby endured a nine-hour round of medical tests on a recent Friday, including neurological and eye exams and an MRI. Aryanna was patient while a technician measured her head — 33.2 centimeters. At 3 months, it was still smaller than a typical newborn measurement of 35 centimeters.

But the child screamed in outrage as Dr. Michelle Trager Cabrera, a pediatric ophthalmologist, shined a bright light and peered deeply into her dark eyes.

“There’s a chance her vision could be quite impaired,” concluded Cabrera, who saw scarring on the baby’s retinas.

“I just want to know if she could wear glasses?” Rios asked.

“This is a relatively new problem that we don’t understand well,” Cabrera said, adding gently: “I don’t think glasses are going to help.”

That news worried Rios. So did the results of the MRI, which confirmed Aryanna had brain damage, Rios said.

At the hospital, Rios asked her sister to watch the baby for a minute and stepped outdoors into a hospital atrium.

She sat down at a table, placed her head in her hands and started to cry.

“I try to be strong for her,” Rios said, between sobs. “I’m really scared. It’s hard.”

The worst thing about Zika, she said, is that no one, not even the doctors, can tell her what’s next.

“I still have my hope,” she said. “I’m trying everything for my girl to be OK.”



These 8 Lancaster County locations are being monitored for mosquitoes with Zika



Eight spots in Lancaster County are being monitored for mosquitoes that can spread the Zika virus linked to serious birth defects.

Neil Shader, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, said that’s down from 14 last year, “as the county removed unproductive sites from 2016.”


“The county is concentrating more on the city, especially those areas where there were travel cases,” he said.


The department didn’t say exactly where the spots being monitored are, but plotted them on a rough map. Other than Lancaster city, it appears to show locations in Columbia, Mountville, Manheim and Lititz areas.


Zika can be spread by two types of mosquitoes and by sexual contact, but because its flu-like symptoms are mild and few people who contract the virus notice any symptoms, tracking its spread can be difficult.


More than 200 people in the state have had confirmed or suspected Zika since last spring, but to date, authorities say all are believed to have been contracted outside the state or through sexual contact, not spread by mosquitoes here.

Lancaster is among 21 counties being monitored for the two types of mosquitoes that can spread the virus.


One type of mosquito hasn’t been found in Pennsylvania since 2002. The other type is present here, with several thousand caught in the county and tested last year, none of which were carrying Zika, Shader said.


2017 zika mosquito monitoring lancaster county zoom
Here’s a closer look at locations in Lancaster and surrounding counties that will be monitored regularly in 2017 for mosquitoes that could carry the Zika virus.

Exterminator says bed bugs becoming more common

By Leah Shields

BENTON, Ky – They’re small. They bite. They spread fast. Exterminator Lemuel Gourley, owner of Bluegrass Termites and Pest Control, said he has been getting calls daily about bed bugs.

Gourley said you will know right away if you have bed bugs, because they are easy to find. But they are hard to get rid of. Check under your mattress near where you lay your head and check in your favorite chair in your house, because that is where they like to hide. Gourley said they can go anywhere though, like in floorboards and window sills.

He also said to look at your body. If you have bites from your torso and up, you probably have bed bugs.

Bluegrass Termites and Pest Control uses a chemical treatment to get rid of those pests. “(We use) some really good aerosol sprays…and some liquid base treatments, with bed covers,” he said. “It’s a whole package that works.” There are other types of treatments that work as well, like heat treatments,

Gourley said bed bugs are persistent, so your house may have to be treated more than once. “We don’t require them to do another treatment, but it’s good to do two treatments, 30 days apart, so that you make sure that you get everything,” he said.

Bed bug treatments can cost anywhere from $250 to $1500 depending on how bad the infestation is.

Hanover-area caretaker charged in bed bug death

By: ,

Last February, West Manheim Township Police entered a home on Baltimore Pike and one of the first things they noticed were the bed bugs.

The pests were seen on walls and along ledges. They scurried on the bed sheets and pillow where an elderly woman slept in a first floor room. That woman, police said, told officers she was blind, but could “feel them crawling.”

Sometimes, she said, the bugs bit her, too.

EMS would later check on that woman, but did not notice any visible injuries, police said.

But, according to police, there was a second woman who was living at the home, too. Both had been staying there under the care of the home’s owner, Deborah Butler, who had previously run a licensed home care facility, Luckenbaugh Personal Care Home.

Butler, 72, closed that business a few years ago, and the women had stayed with her at her own home, police said. Butler provided food, shelter, clothing as well as personal and health care. Both women paid for the care services, documents state.

Two weeks after police visited Butler’s house for the first time, that second woman, Mary Stoner, 96, died at York Hospital. An autopsy determined that her cause of death was from “complications of sepsis following a bed bug infestation,” according to charging documents.

Felony charges were filed against Butler earlier this week. She faces neglect of care, a first-degree felony, as well as involuntary manslaughter, a misdemeanor.

According to police, Stoner was brought to the emergency room at York Hospital on Feb. 6, 2016. She had sores on her skin and staff there was under the opinion that Stoner’s infection was a result of bed bug bites, police said.

Stoner’s family moved her out of Butler’s home on Feb. 3 after noticing her health worsen. During previous visits, family told police Stoner was in good health.

Stoner was discharged from the hospital about a week later, only to be readmitted again. Doctors said she had pneumonia.

A week later she died.

In talking with police prior to Stoner’s death, Butler told them she had been trying to get rid of the bed bugs since September 2015 and had used store-bought supplies. She said she could not afford an exterminator and blamed Stoner for bringing in the bugs, documents state.

Butler had taken Stoner to her family doctor in January because Stoner had been scratching her neck and been sick. Butler did not mention bed bugs during the doctor’s appointment, police said, and Stoner didn’t mention them either.

In the coming weeks, Butler said she noticed no change in Stoner’s condition. But police said “evidence later indicated that the victim’s condition would have been clearly visible and obvious that serious medical attention was required.”

Stoner received no further medical treatment until her family took her to York Hospital in February.

In the week after Stoner’s death, police executed a search warrant of Butler’s home. York County Forensic Team collected evidence and photographed the home, documents state.

Bed bugs were seen in various stages of their life cycle, police wrote in charging documents.

Butler appeared for a preliminary arraignment on Thursday before District Judge James S. Miner. Unsecured bail was set at $50,000, meaning she was free to go. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled March 9.

Attempts to reach Butler were unsuccessful Friday night.

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services annual reports on personal care homes show no violations at Luckenbaugh Personal Care Home between 2008-2011, the only years for which reports that list individual homes’ violations are online.

At Ansonborough House, low-income seniors grapple with absorbing costs for furniture lost to bedbug infestations

In the past year, there have been at least five reports of bedbug infestations at Ansonborough House, an independent low-income senior living center downtown, forcing affected residents to dispose of major furniture items and pay out of pocket to replace them.

Ansonborough is run by Charleston Area Senior Citizens, a nonprofit, while the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development subsidizes rent costs.

Linda Hines, 69, a resident who has lived there for about two years, said she is in the midst of battling her fourth round of bedbugs in her one-bedroom apartment.

With the recurrence of these blood-sucking pests, tenants like Hines say their livelihood is at stake. They can’t afford to replace furniture and clothing nor can they afford to live anywhere else.

“On the standpoint of being an elderly lady living in a 62 (and older) … community, I am low-income,” Hines said. “My main concern is replacing my furniture that gets thrown out when bedbug infestation occurs.”

Last year, Peter Wilson, 87, who has lived at Ansonborough for 13 years, said he ran into the same dilemma. After a bedbug infestation, Wilson and his wife Annie, 91, were forced to get rid of a mattress, box springs, sofa and a even a dining room chair — all of which had to be paid for out of pocket.

Wilson is on the same floor as Hines. So what did he believe was the source of the bedbugs?

“I have no idea, man,” he said.

At the beginning of May, Ansonborough management required all tenants to sign a so-called “bedbug addendum.”

The addendum, which was reviewed by The Post and Courier, states that if an apartment is treated three times, the resident would be responsible for the cost of the treatment and clears Ansonborough from liability.

Ultimately, the addendum states, this many bedbug infestations could be grounds for eviction.

‘We don’t have means to replace anything’

Hines’ couch became a casualty during one of her more recent infestations three weeks ago. The couch, management told her, would have to go.

Soon after, Ansonborough management provided Hines with a mattress cover as a preventative measure, although no bugs were found on the mattress, management staff confirmed.

Hines stood in her bedroom recently and pointed to the tiny dark spots and stains that dotted the white cover — bedbugs, she said. The bugs, she added, came with the cover, although Property Manager Karen Westmoreland said the cover was brand new.

“If I lose this mattress and box springs I have no funds to replace them,” she said. “This is the fourth time.”

When an infestation is confirmed, Westmoreland said, management enlists the services of a pest control specialist to perform a chemical treatment. After the first treatment, the specialist returns two more times and applies the treatment as needed.

To combat the spread of the bedbugs, the center recently had the entire facility evaluated, she added.

Westmoreland said Ansonborough also pays for the chemical treatments when an infestation is confirmed but that the center cannot afford to offer resources to residents who need to replace furniture.

“We have different resources we can get them in touch with,” Westmoreland said. “We don’t have means to replace anything that has to be gotten rid of.”

‘It’s difficult for everyone involved’

Nate Hughey is a Mount Pleasant-based attorney who represents individuals in senior living facilities. He is particularly critical of independent senior living centers, citing the lack of regulatory oversight. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control oversees assisted senior living centers, but not independent living centers, such as Ansonborough.

“It all boils down to accountability,” Hughey said. “And you can’t rely on these places to hold themselves accountable.”

Independent living centers sometimes resort to “one-sided,” non-negotiable residency agreements, such as the bedbug addendum, Hughey said.

Meanwhile, Westmoreland is advising residents at the center to be mindful of what they may be tracking into their apartments.

“Unfortunately, (bedbugs are) very hard to get rid of,” Westmoreland said. “We try to resolve the problem without it spreading to other apartments. … It’s difficult for everyone involved.”

Reach Michael Majchrowicz at 843-937-5591. Follow him on Twitter @mjmajchrowicz.

NALED Insecticide Fact Sheet –

NALED Insecticide Fact Sheet

Naled is an insecticide in the organophosphate pesticide family that is commonly used to kill adult (flying) mosquitoes.

Naled has been registered for use in the U.S. since 1959 and is sold under the brand name Dibrom. AMVAC Chemical Corporation has been the major manufacturer of NALED since 1998.


About one million pounds of naled are used every year in the U.S. Approximately 70 percent of this is used for mosquito control; almost all of this is applied aerially.

The remaining 30 percent is used in agriculture. Major agricultural uses are on cotton in California and Louisiana, on alfalfa in Idaho and Oregon, and on grapes in California.

Efficacy of Mosquito Treatments

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has written that “adulticiding, application of chemicals to kill adult mosquitoes by ground or aerial applications, is usually the least efficient mosquito control technique.

Naled is no exception. For example, researchers from the New York Department of Health showed that 11 years of naled spraying was “successful in achieving short-term reductions in mosquito abundance, but populations of the disease-carrying mosquito of concern “increased 15-fold over the 11 years of spraying.

Mode of Action

Like all organophosphate insecticides, NALED (DIBROM) Naled is an insecticide in the organophosphate pesticide family used primarily for mosquito control. Dibrom is a common brand name for naled products. About one million pounds are used annually in the U.S. Like all organophosphates, naled is toxic to the nervous system. Symptoms of exposure include headaches, nausea, and diarrhea. Naled is more toxic when exposure occurs by breathing contaminated air than through other kinds of exposure. In laboratory tests, naled exposure caused increased aggressiveness and a deterioration of memory and learning.

Naled’s breakdown product DICHLORVOS (another organophosphate insecticide) interferes with prenatal brain development. In laboratory animals, exposure for just 3 days during pregnancy when the brain is growing quickly reduced brain size 15 percent.

DICHLORVOS also causes cancer, according to the International Agency for Research on Carcinogens. In laboratory tests, it caused leukemia and pancreatic cancer. Two independent studies have shown that children exposed to household “no-pest” strips containing dichlorvos have a higher incidence of brain cancer than unexposed children.

Aerial applications of naled can drift up to one-half mile. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, naled is moderately to highly toxic to birds and fish. It also reduced egg production and hatching success in tests with birds and reduced growth in tests with juvenile fish. convulsions, paralysis, and death.

Breakdown Products

** Naled breaks down into dichlorvos **

another organophosphate insecticide, in animals and soil. THIS IS DANGEROUS!!!

Effects on Behavior

Exposure to naled has multiple effects on behavior. In a study conducted by naled’s manufacturer, naled caused reduced muscle strength, slow responses to stimulation, and reduced activity in rats.

These behavioral changes occurred at all but the lowest dose level tested in males and all dose levels tested in females, suggesting that females are more sensitive than males to naled poisoning.

Exposure to naled’s breakdown product dichlorvos causes increased aggression and impaired memory. The Indian biochemists mentioned above found that fighting aggression was increased about 5 times

Inert Ingredients

Like most pesticides, commercial naled-containing insecticides contain ingredients other than naled. Many of these ingredients, according to U.S. pesticide law, are called “inert.” Except for tests of acute effects, toxicology tests required for the registration of a pesticide are not conducted with the combination of ingredients found in commercial products.

Most inert ingredients are not identified on product labels, and little information about them is publicly available.

Symptoms of Exposure

Symptoms of exposure to naled and all organophosphate insecticides include headaches, muscle twitching, nausea, diarrhea, difficult breathing, naled kills insects by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme involved in the transmission of nerve impulses from one nerve cell to another. This causes a “jam” in the transmission system, resulting in restlessness,depression, seizures, and loss of consciousness.

Toxicity to the Nervous System

A symptom of exposure to naled that occurs at low doses (whether by breathing, through the skin, or orally) is inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE).

In studies conducted by naled manufacturers, exposure of rats to naled in air at a dose of 0.3 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg) per day for three weeks, skin exposures of 20 mg/kg per day for 4 weeks, and oral exposure of 10 mg/ kg per day for 4 weeks caused inhibition of AChE.

Long-term exposure also caused AChE inhibition; reduced AChE activity occurred in dogs exposed orally to 2 mg/kg per day for 1 year and in rats exposed orally to the same dose for 2 years.

In addition, the long-term study with dogs found that doses of 2 mg/kg per day also caused mineralization of the spinal cord.

Naled’s breakdown product dichlorvos inhibits the activity in rats of a nervous system enzyme called neuropathy target esterase.

In experiments conducted by biochemists at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (India), doses of 6 mg/kg per day reduced the enzyme’s activity by about 40 percent.

Inhibition of this enzyme causes partial paralysis of the hind legs followed by incoordination.

Toxicity Caused by Breathing Naled

Naled is more potent when exposure occurs through breathing than when exposure occurs through eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.

Toxicologists at the University of California found that inhalation was 20 times more toxic to rats than oral dosing (dosing through the mouth) of naled.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came to a similar conclusion based on tests submitted to the agency by naled’s manufacturer: the dose required to cause cholinesterase inhibition through inhalation exposure was less than 1/6 of the lowest oral dose causing the same effect.

An additional study by the University of California researchers mentioned above found that small droplets of naled (the size produced by ultra low volume sprayers often used in mosquito spraying) were about four times more acutely toxic than larger droplets.

Dibrom Concentrate

(EPA Registration No. 5481-480) contains the inert ingredient aromatic hydrocarbon solvent (Chemical Abstract Services number 64742-94-5), also called solvent naphtha.

This solvent contains two aromatic hydrocarbons, naphthalene and 1,2,4- trimethylbenzene. Dibrom 8 Emulsive (EPA Registration No. 5481-479) contains naphthalene. Dibrom 8 Miscible (EPA Registration No. 34704-351) contains solvents4 whose ingredients can include naphthalene and trimethylbenzene.

Naphthalene has been classified by EPA as a possible human carcinogen because it caused lung tumors in mice following inhalation.

Naphthalene exposure also causes headaches, restlessness, lethargy, nausea, diarrhea, and anemia.

Anemia in newborns can be caused by exposure during pregnancy.
1,2,4-trimethylbenzene is irritating to eyes and skin. It can depress the central nervous system and cause headache, fatigue, nausea, and anxiety. It has also caused asthmatic bronchitis.

Exposure to Naled’s Breakdown Product Increases Aggressiveness and Disrupts Learning
In laboratory animals, exposure to naled’s breakdown product dichlorvos causes more frequent fighting and hinders learning. Number of fighting episodes (per minute, with standard deviations) ore common among exposed rats than among unexposed ones.

Exposed animals also required more trials than unexposed ones to learn an avoidance behavior, indicating a “severe deterioration in their memory and learning functions.”

Eye and Skin Irritation
Naled is a “severe” eye irritant and is “corrosive” to skin. All three frequently used commercial Dibrom products pose similar hazards.

Labels of two of the products warn “causes irreversible eye and skin damage and the third states that it is “corrosive” and “causes eye damage and skin damage.” Skin irritation was documented by physicians soon after naled’s use in the U.S. began.

Effects on the Circulatory System

In a long-term feeding study conducted by naled’s manufacturer, naled caused anemia in dogs at all but the lowest dose level tested. Exposures of 2 mg/kg per day reduced the number of red blood cells and the amount of hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying pigment) in the blood.20

Effects on Reproduction

Dichlorvos, naled’s breakdown product, interferes with prenatal brain development.

Biologists at the University of Oslo found that dosing guinea pigs with 15 mg/kg of dichlorvos twice daily for three days during pregnancy caused a significant (15 percent) decrease in the offspring’s brain size.

The guinea pigs were dosed with dichlorvos between the 40th and 50th day of their pregnancy, a time when the fetal brain is undergoing a growth spurt.

In addition, University of Michigan researchers showed that naled exposure causes delays in the development of rat embryos. For example, exposure of pregnant rats on the ninth day of their pregnancy caused a significant delay in the closing of the embryo’s neural tube.

Naled and dichlorvos can be passed from mothers to their offspring through nursing. German researchers found both insecticides in milk from cows that had been treated with naled.

Ability to Cause Genetic Damage (Mutagenicity)
Naled damaged bacteria’s genetic material in laboratory tests conducted by geneticists at Monash University (Australia)24 as well as biologists at Texas Tech University.

Naled’s breakdown product DICHLORVOS also causes genetic damage.

A team of Greek and Dutch scientists found that injections of dichlorvos at weekly intervals in mice caused a 3-fold increase in the number of mutations in liver cells.

A team of geneticists from the National Research Centre (Egypt) found that oral doses of dichlorvos given to mice, or feeding mice diclorvos-treated beans, increased the incidence of chromosome abnormalities in both spleen and sperm cells.

Ability to Cause Cancer (Carcinogenicity)

EPA classifies naled as a “Group E” chemical. Group E chemicals have demonstrated “evidence of noncarcinogenicity” in laboratory tests.

Naled’s breakdown product DICHLORVOS however, is classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” with “sufficient evidence in experimental animals” for its carcinogenicity by the International Agency for Research on Carcinogens. The agency gave dichlorvos this classification because it caused forestomach tumors, leukemia, and pancreatic tumors in laborators tests with rats and mice.

In children, exposure to dichlorvos has been linked with increased cancer risks. Researchers at the University of North Carolina found an association between exposure to dichlorvos “no-pest” strips during pregnancy or during childhood and the incidence of three types of childhood cancer: leukemias, brain tumors, and lymphoma.

Missouri Department of Health researchers found similar results for childhood brain cancer.

Effects on the Immune System

Both naled and its breakdown product DICHLORVOS inhibited an enzyme in white blood cells called monocyte esterase, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Technicon Science Center.

Monocyte esterases are an “integral component”33 of the process by which white blood cells eliminate virus-infected cells from our bodies and monitor for precancerous cells.


A study submitted to EPA by Shell Chemical Co. showed that “the toxic effects of naled were potentiated by co-administration of Ciodrin, malathion, and methyl parathion. All three are insecticides in the organophosphate family.

Special Susceptibility

Malnourished individuals may be particularly susceptible to naled poisoning. Researchers from the Institute of Hygiene and Occupational Health (Bulgaria) studied naled’s effects on rats that were fed a low-protein diet and found that naled was almost twice as toxic to them as it was to rats fed a normal diet. In addition, the rats fed a low-protein diet developed liver damage from their naled exposure.

Contamination of Food

The U.S. Department of Agriculture documented contamination of strawberries, peppers, and beans with naled’s breakdown product dichlorvos.

Water Contamination

Insecticides in naled’s chemical family, the organophosphates, are com-Malnutrition Increases Naled’s Toxicity Naled inhibits the activity of an immune system enzyme. It is also more toxic to malnourished animals than animals fed a normal diet.

Median lethal dose

(milligrams per kilogram of body weight in rats) mon contaminants of urban streams and rivers. However, neither naled or its breakdown product dichlorvos were included in the national water quality monitoring program currently being conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey.

This means that no systematic information is available about naled contamination of U.S. streams, rivers, or wells.

EPA also does not have monitoring data for naled or its breakdown products in ground or surface water.

Air Contamination

Naled can persist in air up to several days after treatment. University of California, Davis toxicologists measured both naled and its breakdown product dichlorvos in the air around a naledtreated orange grove for three days after application.


Aerial applications of naled drift (move from the target site during application) for significant distances. Entomologists from the University of Florida measured naled contamination 750 meters (2400 feet) downwind from sprayed areas. They suggest that nospray buffer zones greater than 750 meters in width “be placed around ecologically sensitive areas.

Effects on Beneficial Insects
Because it is a broad spectrum insecticide, it is not surprising that naled impacts beneficial insects, those that provide important economic benefits to farmers. In a study submitted as part of naled’s registration process, naled was “highly toxic”42 to honey bees. Follow-up studies found that this toxicity decreased rapidly during the first day after treatment.42 Naled’s toxicity to other species of bees (alfalfa leafcutting bees and alkali bees) is more persistent than for honey bees.43 It can “mimic long residual [persistent] materials,” reducing leafcutting bee numbers 48 hours after treatment.

Parasitoid wasps (wasps that lay their eggs in juvenile stages of other insects, which then are killed as the wasps hatch and develop) can also be poisoned by low-level exposure to naled.

Naled (and Dichlorvos)Inhibit the Immune System
According to U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers, a wasp that parasitizes fruit flies was killed by a naled and protein bait mixture designed to kill fruit flies.

Naled is also highly toxic to a predatory mite.

A University of Florida zoologist studied areas in Florida where regular mosquito spraying occurred with Dibrom and another insecticide. He found a “major loss” in insect diversity in sprayed sites. Wasps showed “some of the most dramatic drops in species diversity.”47 Scale insects, whose populations are normally controlled by parasitic wasps, increased.

Effects on Birds

According to EPA, naled is moderately to highly toxic to birds. The most sensitive species tested by naled’s manufacturer during the registration process was the Canada goose, killed by 37 mg/kg of naled.

According to tests conducted by naled’s manufacturer, this insecticide also affects bird reproduction. Mallard ducks eating food treated with naled laid fewer eggs, produced fewer viable eggs, and hatched fewer ducklings than unexposed mallards.

Effects on Fish

According to EPA, naled is very highly toxic to lake trout; highly toxic to rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and catfish; and moderately toxic to sunfish, minnow, and bass. The most sensitive species in tests submitted to EPA by naled’s manufacturer was lake trout, with an LC50 (median lethal concentration; the dose required to kill 50 percent of test animals) of 87 parts per billion (ppb). Naled also causes effects on fish other than death. In a test conducted by naled’s manufacturer, a concentration of 15 ppb impaired the growth of fathead minnows

Effects on Other Aquatic Animals

Ecologically important insects are killed by naled. According to a naled manufacturer, a concentration of 8 ppb kills stoneflies.50 Research conducted by the Arctic Health Research Center (Alaska) showed that water striders were killed 300 feet from a naled fogger.

Stoneflies are important nutrient cyclers in streams and water striders are scavengers and predators. Aquatic arthropods are also impacted by naled. Waterfleas are killed by less than 0.5 ppb of naled in tests conducted by naled’s manufacturer, and less than 0.2 ppb disrupts waterflea growth. Shrimp are killed by less than 10 ppb. According to EPA, naled is “very highly toxic” to oysters. Sea urchins are also sensitive to naled exposure. University of Miami researchers showed that concentrations of less than 4 ppb disrupt normal development of embryos.

Effects on Endangered Species

Evaluations by both EPA and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have concluded that use of naled puts endangered mammals, fish, mussels, and other species at risk. In addition, there is field evidence of naled’s hazards for endangered species.

Dibrom spraying (along with spraying of another insecticide) was “directly correlated with the precipitous decline in the Schaus Swallowtail populations on Key Largo [FL], according to a University of Florida zoologist. This swallowtail is listed as an endangered species under both Florida and federal law.

A University of Florida entomologist studying a different rare butterfly, the Florida lacewing, found higher populations in unsprayed areas than in sprayed areas. (See Figure 7.) He concluded that “it is likely that chemical applications play an important role in affecting the population size and behavior of these species.

Effects on Plants

Insecticides are typically not expected to damage plants. However, University of California researchers showed that naled treatment caused brown lesions in celery and bronzing of strawberries.The strawberry damage was accompanied by reduced photosynthesis (using sunlight to produce sugars) and closing of leaf openings (stomata).60 Brazilian researchers found that naled also “drastically reduced” tomato pollen germination. In aquatic plants, naled reduces photosynthesis. In laboratory tests, a naled concentration of 1 ppm reduced photosynthesis by estuary algae by over 50 percent.

Cancer agency left in the dark over glyphosate evidence – North State Journal

By Kate Kelland


NCI epidemiologist didn’t pass on research showing no link between widely used weedkiller and cancer

LONDON — When Aaron Blair sat down to chair a weeklong meeting of 17 specialists at the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France in March 2015, there was something he wasn’t telling them.

The epidemiologist from the U.S. National Cancer Institute had seen important unpublished scientific data relating directly to a key question the IARC specialists were about to consider: Whether research shows that the weedkiller glyphosate, a key ingredient in Monsanto’s best-selling RoundUp brand, causes cancer.

Previously unreported court documents reviewed by Reuters from an ongoing U.S. legal case against Monsanto show that Blair knew the unpublished research found no evidence of a link between glyphosate and cancer. In a sworn deposition given in March this year in connection with the case, Blair also said the data would have altered IARC’s analysis. He said it would have made it less likely that glyphosate would meet the agency’s criteria for being classed as “probably carcinogenic.”

But IARC, a semi-autonomous part of the World Health Organization, never got to consider the data. The agency’s rules on assessing substances for carcinogenicity say it can consider only published research — and this new data, which came from a large American study on which Blair was a senior researcher, had not been published.

The lack of publication has sparked debate and contention. A leading U.S. epidemiologist and a leading U.K. statistician — both independent of Monsanto — told Reuters the data was strong and relevant and they could see no reason why it had not surfaced.

Monsanto told Reuters the fresh data on glyphosate could and should have been published in time to be considered by IARC, and that the failure to publish it undermined IARC’s classification of glyphosate. The legal case against Monsanto, taking place in California, involves 184 individual plaintiffs who cite the IARC assessment and claim exposure to RoundUp gave them cancer. They allege Monsanto failed to warn consumers of the risks. Monsanto denies the allegations.

The company also goes beyond saying the fresh data should have been published. It told Reuters the data was deliberately concealed by Blair, but provided no specific evidence of it being hidden.

Blair told Reuters the data, which was available two years before IARC assessed glyphosate, was not published in time because there was too much to fit into one scientific paper. Asked whether he deliberately did not publish it to avoid it being considered by IARC, he said that was “absolutely incorrect.” He said a decision not to publish the glyphosate data had been taken “several months” before IARC chose to conduct a review of the chemical.

The National Cancer Institute also cited “space constraints” as the reasons why the new data on glyphosate was not published.


The absence of the data from IARC’s assessment was important. IARC ended its meeting in 2015 by concluding that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.” It based its finding on “limited evidence” of carcinogenicity in humans and “sufficient evidence” in experimental animals. It said, among other things, that there was a “positive association” between glyphosate and blood cancers called non-Hodgkin lymphoma. IARC told Reuters that, despite the existence of fresh data about glyphosate, it was sticking with its findings.

The agency’s assessment is at odds with other international regulators who have said the weedkiller is not a carcinogenic risk to humans. It led to a delay in Europe on a decision on whether to relicense or ban EU-wide sales of pesticides containing glyphosate. That decision is still pending. In the meantime, some countries have tightened restrictions on the weedkiller’s use in private gardens and public spaces and on crops before harvest.

In the United States, a California judge took the IARC assessment into account in a separate legal case in March when ruling that the state can require RoundUp to carry a warning label that it may cause cancer. Monsanto is now facing further litigation from hundreds of plaintiffs across the United States who say glyphosate gave them or their loved ones non-Hodgkin lymphoma, citing the IARC assessment as part of their claims.

Yet if the IARC panel experts had been in a position to take into account Blair’s fresh data, IARC’s analysis of the evidence on glyphosate would have been different, Blair acknowledged in the court documents reviewed by Reuters.

The unpublished research came from the Agricultural Health Study, a large and significant study, led by scientists at the U.S. National Cancer Institute, of agricultural workers and their families in the United States. Asked by Monsanto lawyers in March whether the unpublished data showed “no evidence of an association” between exposure to glyphosate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Blair replied: “Correct.”

Asked in the same deposition whether IARC’s review of glyphosate would have been different if the missing data had been included, Blair again said: “Correct.” Lawyers had put to him that the addition of the missing data would have “driven the meta-relative risk downward,” and Blair agreed.

Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of strategy, told Reuters the IARC glyphosate review “ignored multiple years of additional data from the largest and most comprehensive study on farmer exposure to pesticides and cancer.”

The Agricultural Health Study was particularly pertinent, he said, because it examined real-life human exposure to glyphosate, whereas much of the scientific research IARC analyzed involved laboratory tests on rodents.

IARC told Reuters that its evaluations follow strict scientific criteria and that its carcinogen classification system “is recognized and used as a reference all around the world.” It reiterated that in the interests of transparency it considers only published data.

Reuters asked two independent statistical experts to review the data, which has still not been published, though the National Cancer Institute told Reuters researchers are currently working on an updated analysis of it. Neither of the two experts had seen the data before and both said they had no conflict of interest over glyphosate.

David Spiegelhalter, a professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at Britain’s University of Cambridge, said there was “no apparent scientific reason” for not publishing the data. Bob Tarone, a retired statistician who worked alongside Blair and others at the National Cancer Institute for 28 years before moving to the for-profit International Epidemiology Institute, said he could find “no ready explanation in terms of the available scientific evidence” for the data not to have been published.

Tarone had already raised the issue in a little-noticed paper in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention last year. He wrote that IARC’s classification of glyphosate as probably carcinogenic to humans was the result of “a flawed and incomplete summary” of the evidence.

In an email to Reuters, IARC declined to say whether Blair informed IARC staff about the unpublished data, whether he should have, and whether that data might have changed IARC’s evaluation of glyphosate had it been published in time. The agency said it had no plans to reconsider its assessment of the chemical.


Glyphosate is what’s known as a non-selective herbicide, meaning it kills most plants. Discovered by the Monsanto chemist John E. Franz in 1970, glyphosate is no longer under patent, is supplied by numerous companies and is now the world’s most widely used weedkiller, deployed in agriculture, forestry and domestic gardening. Monsanto and other companies have developed genetically engineered seeds that can tolerate glyphosate, allowing farmers to apply it to entire fields without destroying crops.

The safety of the chemical has been under scientific and regulatory scrutiny since the 1980s. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other international bodies, including the European Food Safety Authority, Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency, New Zealand’s Environmental Protection Authority and Japan’s Food Safety Commission, have kept it under regular review, and all say glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans.

But it is not settled science, and researchers across the world continue to study glyphosate — measuring traces of it in water and foods, exposing lab rats to it, and monitoring possible health effects in people who have used it year after year in their work.

One of the largest and most highly regarded studies to examine effects of pesticide use in real life is the Agricultural Health Study, a prospective investigation of about 89,000 agricultural workers, farmers and their families in Iowa and North Carolina. Since the early 1990s, it has gathered and analyzed detailed information on the health of participants and their families, and their use of pesticides, including glyphosate.

AHS researchers have published numerous studies from their data. One paper looking at glyphosate and possible links with cancers was published in 2005. It concluded that “glyphosate exposure was not associated with cancer incidence overall.” Since then, more data has been collected, adding statistical power to subsequent AHS analyzes.

In early 2013, Blair and other researchers began preparing new papers with updated AHS data on lymphoma and pesticides, including data on glyphosate. Reuters reviewed drafts dated February 2013 and March 2013, and asked Spiegelhalter and Tarone to examine them. They said the papers, while still in the editing process, were in relatively advanced manuscript form. The drafts contain notes in the margin and suggested changes signed “AEB,” Blair’s full initials.

After studying the draft papers, Tarone said the unpublished figures show “absolutely no evidence whatsoever” of an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma because of exposure to glyphosate.

Spiegelhalter told Reuters: “In the drafts I saw, none of the herbicides, including glyphosate, showed any evidence of a relation” with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He noted that the study was statistically strong enough to show a relationship for other pesticides — so had there been any link to glyphosate, it should have shown up.

In his legal testimony, Blair also described the Agricultural Health Study as “powerful” and agreed the data showed no link.

But these draft papers were never published, even though Blair told Monsanto’s lawyers in March that the Agricultural Health Study was robust and statistically well-powered, and told Reuters the research was important for science and the public. Email exchanges between Blair and his fellow researchers in 2014 also show they were keenly aware there would be scientific and public interest in fresh AHS data.

On Feb. 28, 2014, Michael Alavanja, a co-lead author of one of the draft papers, sent an email to another AHS co-researcher, copying the message to Blair. It noted that the research was “important to science, public health, IARC and EPA.”

In the same email, Alavanja referred to the findings on non-Hodgkin lymphoma, or NHL. He wrote: “It would be irresponsible if we didn’t seek publication of our NHL manuscript in time to influence IARCs (sic) decision.”

Yet the new AHS data on glyphosate and lymphoma did not surface.

Instead, a revised version of one of the 2013 draft papers prepared by Blair and other researchers appeared in a journal called PLoS One in October 2014. It did not include the data on herbicides, of which glyphosate is one.

This was unusual. Since 2003 AHS researchers had published at least 10 papers using different rounds of updated data to explore possible links between pesticides and specific diseases. And each one included all four pesticide classes: fungicides, fumigants, insecticides and herbicides.

Alavanja was one of the authors of the paper published in PLoS One in 2014. He said he and other authors and senior scientists at the National Cancer Institute decided to remove herbicides from that analysis primarily because of “the issue of statistical power and the need for a comprehensive evaluation of glyphosate and all cancers.”

Blair told Reuters the data on herbicides, including glyphosate, had been removed “to make the paper a more manageable size.” He gave a similar answer to the lawyer acting for Monsanto, who repeatedly asked in the legal deposition why the data was not published. Blair testified that the paper “went through many iterations.” He said he could not recall when the glyphosate data was removed, but “we decided to remove it because … you couldn’t put it all into one paper.”

Monsanto argues that the data was not published because it showed no link between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Tarone said the absence of herbicide data in the published 2014 paper was “inexplicable,” noting that volume of data had not been an issue in any previous published papers. He said updated AHS data and analyzes on herbicides “should be published as soon as possible” to allow “a more complete evaluation of the possible association between glyphosate exposure and NHL risk in humans.”

Reuters asked nine other scientists listed as authors on the two draft papers of 2013 why these drafts had never been published. Some were unavailable for comment, and others referred questions to Laura Beane Freeman, who was a co-author on the draft papers and on the 2014 PLoS published study, and is the National Cancer Institute’s current principal investigator of the AHS.

In an email to Reuters, Freeman and a spokesman for the institute said: “After reviewing early drafts of the manuscript, it became clear that it would be impossible to do a thorough evaluation of all major pesticide groupings due to the sheer volume of information that was important to include.”

They said the decision to separate the results for herbicides, including glyphosate, allowed the scientists “to present more thorough evaluations” of the remaining pesticides. An updated study on glyphosate is under way, Freeman said.


Despite IARC’s modest size and budget, its monographs — assessments of whether something is a cause of cancer — often catch the eyes and ears of policymakers and the public. Recent IARC monographs have included judgments that red meat is carcinogenic and should be classified alongside arsenic and smoking, and that coffee, which IARC previously said might cause cancer, probably is not carcinogenic.

The agency takes a different approach to many other regulators in two important ways. First, it says it assesses “hazard” — the strength of evidence about whether a substance or activity can cause cancer in any way, whether in a laboratory experiment or elsewhere. It does not assess the “risk” or likelihood of a person getting cancer from everyday exposure to something. Second, in general it only considers research that has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

IARC considered around 1,000 published studies in its evaluation of glyphosate. But only a handful of those were cohort studies in humans — the kind like the Agricultural Health Study and the most relevant to real-life situations such as people working with glyphosate in agriculture.

The differing judgments on glyphosate by IARC and other regulators have stoked clashes on both sides of the Atlantic. In the United States members of Congress have launched investigations into American taxpayer funding of IARC. They have yet to reach any conclusions.

In Europe, the battle centers on the looming decision about whether to relicense glyphosate for use in the European Union. The European Commission has said it wants EU member states to come to a decision by the end of 2017. Politicians will need to weigh the opinions of IARC and other scientific bodies when they decide whether or not to accept a commission proposal to extend glyphosate’s marketing license by 10 years.

It remains unclear whether the AHS data will see the light of day in time to be considered. Blair said he thought publishing the glyphosate data would be important and that his former colleagues at the NCI were working on it. The NCI’s Freeman said her team is currently “drafting a manuscript on this topic.” She said the new study “will explore the effects of glyphosate exposure in greater depth than a publication that includes multiple pesticides” and would, she hoped, be submitted “to a peer-reviewed journal in the coming months.”

Alavanja said a draft paper “should be available for submission to an appropriate scientific journal sometime later this year,” but that a publication date “is very difficult to predict.”