DENVER — Tourists are coming to Colorado in droves this summer, and it’s not just visitors of the two-legged kind. Our state is seeing an infestation of bed bugs.
Christina Thomas experienced it first hand. Thomas was visiting an Extended Stay America in Colorado Springs and says she woke up to find bed bugs all over her pillow.
“I woke up and three inches from my face I see a spot, and I look at it and say ‘no way, is that a bed bug?'” she said.
Christina isn’t the only person dealing with bed bugs in Colorado.
Jacob Marsh is one of several Denver exterminators absolutely overwhelmed with bed bug calls.
“It’s infestation levels over the whole city pretty much,” he said. “Right now we’re working 6 or 7 days a week,” said Marsh.
He says this is the worst time of year for bed bugs. However, Colorado’s infestation actually began several years ago. He estimates more than 3,500 homes are treated for bed bugs in the Denver area every year.
It’s a problem Marsh attributes to both the state’s growing population and Colorado’s popularity as a tourist destination.
“Denver is usually ranked 4th to 6th worst in the nation. We get a lot of good things when things are booming like it is, but unfortunately when people are coming in and traveling you also get a lot of unwanted visitors,” he said.
If you’re staying at a hotel there are things you can do to try and keep the bugs away.
First, store your luggage away from the bed on luggage racks or even in the bathroom.
Also, check the sheets, mattress, and bed frame for signs of the bugs.
One of the biggest misconceptions about bed bugs is that they’re too small to see. Most are actually about the size of an apple seed, and similar in appearance.
As for Christine Thomas, she isn’t taking any chances. She checked out of the hotel and left.
April 5, 2016 | by Michael Howell | Bitterroot Star
Local wildlife rehabilitator Judy Hoy is one of the authors cited in a study recently published in the International Journal of Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine which claims to demonstrate that even low doses of glyphosates, a chemical ingredient in many pesticides, can be considered a serious health problem. Lead author of the study is Nancy Swanson, PhD from Abacus Enterprises in Washington state, and Stephanie Seneff, from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston. The article is entitled: “Evidence that glyphosate is a causative agent in chronic sub-clinical metabolic acidosis and mitochondrial dysfunction.”
The article claims that it is a well-established fact that ingesting large amounts of glyphosate causes metabolic acidosis and other pathophysiologic changes. Clinical signs of acute glyphosate poisoning include severe acidosis determined by low blood pH, hyperkalemia, hypernatremia, raised creatinine and blood urea levels, hypotension, hypoxemia and reduced serum bicarbonate. Severe poisoning causes dehydration, pneumonitis, oliguria, altered level of consciousness, hepatic dysfunction, pulmonary edema and dysrhythmias 1, 2, 3.
The authors go on to claim, however, that available scientific reports and records from the CDC examined and compared in their study provide overwhelming “circumstantial evidence” that ingestion of glyphosates in low doses also has serious health effects which are being overlooked in toxicology evaluations and public policy.
“How much evidence is needed?” they ask in the article.
“Taken together, this evidence suggests that glyphosate, in the doses equivalent to allowed residues in food ingested over a long period of time, causes a low-grade, chronic acidosis as well as mitochondrial dysfunction,” states the study.
They also provide evidence from the literature supporting the biochemical pathways whereby this occurs by extracting the reports for symptoms and diseases associated with glyphosate from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Adverse Event Reporting System database. These are compared to the symptoms and diseases reported in the database for drugs that are known to cause mitochondrial dysfunction. They call the results “startlingly consistent.”
Finally, they hypothesize that many modern diseases are primarily acquired mitochondrial disorders caused by chemical pesticides, pharmaceutical drugs, food additives and industrial chemicals.
A pest-control company has agreed to pay $10 million in penalties for using a dangerous pesticide at a U.S. Virgin Islands resort where a Delaware family fell critically ill, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
Terminix International Company LP and its U.S. Virgin Islands operation agreed to plead guilty to four counts of violating federal pesticide law in a deal with prosecutors that still needs to be approved by a judge.
According to information filed Tuesday in federal court in the U.S. District Court of the Virgin Islands, the Wilmington family was staying at the Sirenusa resort in St. John last March when they were exposed to methyl bromide, which had been sprayed in an adjacent unit.
Stephen Esmond, an administrator at the Tatnall School in Wilmington, his wife, Theresa Devine, a dentist, and their two teenage sons, were hospitalized. The sons spent weeks in medically induced comas.
The family was blessed by Pope Francis at a brief meeting at Philadelphia International Airport as the pontiff was leaving the city following his weekend visit in September.
Methyl bromide can cause convulsions, coma, and cognitive deficits. The indoor use of products containing the chemical was banned by the federal government in 1984 and the remaining uses are highly restricted.
As part of the plea deal, Terminix agreed to make good faith efforts to cover medical expenses for the family through a separate civil proceeding. If the expenses are not resolved, prosecutors said they may reopen the sentencing proceedings.
The four criminal counts cover the illegal use of methyl bromide twice at the St. John resort, once in St. Croix, and once in St. Thomas.
“The facts in this case show the Terminix companies knowingly failed to properly manage their pest control operations in the U.S. Virgin Islands, allowing pesticides containing methyl bromide to be applied illegally and exposing a family of four to profoundly debilitating injuries,” said Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden.
ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc., the parent company of Terminix, filed a notice Tuesday to investors about the plea agreement. Citing the judge’s pending decision on the plea deal, a company spokesman declined to comment.
[ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc. owns Terminix, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic, American Home Shield, AmeriSpec, ServiceMaster Clean and ServiceMaster Restore.]
The $10 million in penalties include $8 million in fines, $1 million in restitution for the government’s response and cleanup at the St. John resort, and $1 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to fund training for pesticide applicators in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Vol. 30, No. 2, Summer 2010 | Pesticides and You | by Kagan Owens, Jay Feldman
and John Kepner
Beyond Agricultural Pesticide Exposure – Asthma, Autism, ADHD, ADD, Birth Defects, Diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Brain Cancer, Breast Cancer, Leukemia, Learning Disorders, Parkinson’s and on and …
While agriculture has traditionally been tied to pesticide-related illnesses, of the 40 most commonly used pesticides in schools, 28 can cause cancer, 14 are linked to endocrine disruption, 26 can adversely affect reproduction, 26 are nervous system poisons and 13
can cause birth defects. Of of the 30 most commonly used lawn pesticides, 19 can cause cancer, 13 are linked to birth defects, 21 can affect reproduction and 15 are nervous system toxicants. A number of published studies using animal toxicity data and human cells/tissue laboratory data also show that pesticides are linked to several major public health problems.
Epidemiology: The Challenge of Finding Patterns of Harm
Despite evidence to the contrary, chemical industry critics of epidemiologic studies linking pesticides to major diseases argue that they are of limited value because of their reliance on records and study participants’ memory, among other issues. In fact, the correlation
of patterns of chemical use with an effect is difficult to establish in epidemiology and therefore may underestimate hazard effects. When a correlation is established it raises serious concern. The epidemiologic studies in the Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database show an overall pattern that links pesticide exposure to major diseases.
Common household products –detergents, disinfectants, plastics, and pesticides– contain chemical ingredients that enter the body, disrupt hormones and cause adverse developmental, disease, and reproductive problems. Known as endocrine disruptors, these
chemicals, which interact with the endocrine system, wreak havoc in humans and wildlife.
The endocrine system consists of a set of glands (thyroid, gonads, adrenal and pituitary) and the hormones they produce (thyroxine, estrogen, testosterone and adrenaline),
which help guide the development, growth, reproduction, and behavior of animals, including humans. Hormones are signaling molecules, which travel through the bloodstream and elicit responses in other parts of the body. Endocrine disruptors function by: (i) Mimicking the action of a naturally-produced hormone, such as estrogen or testosterone, thereby setting off similar chemical reactions in the body; (ii) Blocking hormone receptors in cells, thereby preventing the action of normal hormones; or (iii) Affecting the synthesis, transport, metabolism and excretion of hormones, thus altering the concentrations of natural hormones. Endocrine disruptors havebeen linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, early puberty, infertility and other reproductive disorders, and childhood and adult cancers.
More than 50 pesticide active ingredients have been identified as endocrine disruptors by the European Union and endocrine disruptor expert Theo Colborn, PhD. Endocrine disruption is the mechanism for several health effect endpoints.
As in most states, regulators in California measure the effect of only one pesticide at a time. But farmers often use several pesticides together—and that’s a big, toxic problem.
“Acting together, these effects multiply. So even pesticides that don’t cause cancer on their own might do so together by interfering with or overwhelming the body’s ability to clear toxic substances, or harming DNA and then blocking mechanisms to repair it.”
February 23, 2016 | by Liza Gross | The Nation
California officials have long touted their pesticide regulations as the toughest in the nation. But a new report from the University of California, Los Angeles, reveals a major flaw in the state’s approach to evaluating safety, one that has broad implications for the way pesticides are regulated nationally: Regulators assess pesticide safety one product at a time, but growers often apply pesticides as mixtures. That’s a serious problem, the authors argue, because pesticide interactions can ratchet up toxic effects, greatly enhancing the risk of cancer and other serious health conditions.
“The federal EPA and California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) have not adequately dealt with interactive effects,” says John Froines, a report coauthor and a chemist with decades of experience assessing health risks of toxic chemicals as a scientist and regulator. “People are exposed to a large number of chemicals. You can’t simply look chemical by chemical to adequately address the toxicity of these compounds.”
Fumigants, used to combat a range of pests and diseases, are among the most toxic chemicals used in agriculture. They are a staple of high-value crops like tomatoes and strawberries. Studies in humans and animals have linked them to acute respiratory and skin damage and serious chronic health problems, including cancer and neurological and reproductive disorders.
To get around the state’s failure to collect data on cumulative exposures to these fumigants, Froines and his colleagues drew on what’s known about the chemical and biological properties of three of the most heavily used fumigants in California: chloropicrin, Telone (the trade name for 1,3-dichloropropene), and metam sodium.
Individual fumigants are highly reactive chemicals that damage DNA and interfere with proteins that perform critical cell functions. Acting together, these effects multiply. So even pesticides that don’t cause cancer on their own might do so together by interfering with or overwhelming the body’s ability to clear toxic substances, or harming DNA and then blocking mechanisms to repair it.
These interactive effects would not be detected in studies of individual pesticides.
Pesticide regulators are aware of the report, says California DPR spokesperson Charlotte Fadipe, but adds that the agency rarely comments on such studies because “the information often lacks the extensive rigorous science for a regulatory department to make regulations.” What’s more, she notes, “DPR has the most protective and robust pesticide program in the country.”
Froines, who served as director of the Office of Toxic Substances at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration under President Jimmy Carter and has led several scientific review panels at the state’s request to assess chemical toxicity, has revealed flaws in pesticide regulations before. In 2010, he headed a California scientific review panel that deemed chloropicrin—one of the fumigants studied in the current report—a “potent carcinogen.” State officials ignored the panel’s advice and decided the evidence was ambiguous. The same year, he chaired another review panel that calledthe fumigant methyl iodide a “highly toxic chemical” that poses a serious threat to public health. This time, manufacturers withdrew the product from the market.
With few restrictions on combining pesticides, growers often use multiple-chemical formulations or apply different fumigants to adjoining fields or in close succession. That exposes people who live, work, and go to school near these fields to several fumigants at once, despite growing evidence that these chemical concoctions pose even greater health risks.
As reported by the Food & Environment Reporting Network and The Nation last April, residents of Oxnard, a strawberry-growing stronghold in Southern California where most residents are Latino, had worried for years about the risks of heavy exposure to fumigants.
Rio Mesa High School students were twice as likely as white kids to go to schools near heavy fumigant use. And though regulators admitted as much in addressing a complaint filed by several parents, they did little to restrict fumigant use near schools. In fact, the year after EPA officials dismissed the families’ complaint, growers dramatically increased their use of toxic fumigants around Rio Mesa.
Less than a month after the Nation story ran, the Department of Pesticide Regulation announced it would revisit restrictions on pesticide use near schools after seeking public input through statewide workshops. Officials promised to deliver new rules last December, then pushed back the date, saying they hadn’t reviewed all the public comments. DPR spokesperson Fadipe says they’re still working on draft regulations but can’t say for sure when they’ll issue the draft rules.
The UCLA report shows that going to school at Rio Mesa still poses a health risk. The authors used standard EPA air dispersion models and pesticide use data collected by state regulators to simulate likely fumigant dispersion patterns around the school. They chose Rio Mesa in part because an on-site air monitor shows that fumigants are escaping into the air. As expected, their modeling results show that overlapping exposures occur at Rio Mesa—two years after EPA dismissed community concerns—and at other locations, including schools and daycare centers.
These results underscore the importance of establishing no-spray zones around schools and other sensitive sites as soon as possible, activists say.
“This new report on fumigants is a stark reminder that regulatory agencies have largely failed to regulate toxic chemicals,” says Bruce Lanphear, professor of health sciences at Simon Fraser University and an expert on the impacts of toxic exposures on the developing brain who was not involved in the report. “We are all exposed to a cocktail of dozens, if not hundreds of chemicals, which can have similar detoxification mechanisms and modes of action.”
Regulators must consider synergistic effects of pesticides in risk assessments, the authors say. They contend that a California law requires state agencies to consider cumulative impacts and that interactive effects from pesticides fall under that law. They urge state officials to make several changes to pesticide regulations to uphold their mission to protect public health.
February 23, 2016 | by Julie M. Rodriguez | Inhabitat.com
Bad news, New Yorkers — if you like to take long walks or pay visits to your local park, you’ve probably been exposed to glyphosate, the cancer-linked main ingredient of Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. In response to concerned citizen groups, the New York City government released a report last year detailing pesticide use by its agencies. And now, if you’d like to see whether you’re at risk, Reverend Billy & The Stop Shopping Choir have created a disturbing new map that charts every park and public area known to be treated with the toxic compound. You can view the map here.
The data shows that in 2014 alone, the city applied glyphosate 2,748 times within the city. While the recent numbers are alarming enough all on their own, what’s even worse is the fact that glyphosate use within the city seems to be increasing — the amount sprayed jumped 16% from 2013 to 2014.
Why is NYC drenching its parks in a chemical that World Health Organization classes as a probable carcinogen? Studies have repeatedly linked the herbicide to cancer dating back to the 1980s, and farmers have even filed suit against Monsanto alleging that exposure to glyphosate caused them to develop the disease. The company, naturally, has fought back against this research by suing states that try to regulate the use of the herbicide.
Glyphosate is BANNED in France, Netherlands, Bermuda and Sri Lanka. Switzerland and Germany begin to REFUSE stocking Roundup.
While cities like NYC and San Francisco may have no problem with spraying this controversial chemical all over their streets, other governments are beginning to crack down on glyphosate use. France has banned the sale of the herbicide over the counter, along with the Netherlands, Bermuda, and Sri Lanka. In Switzerland and Germany, major retailers have begun refusing to stock Roundup even in the absence of government regulation. The evidence of Roundup’s toxic effects is strong enough for the leaders of these nations and corporations to pull it from the shelves, and New York City needs to stand up and take note.
January 20, 2016 | by Emily Frost | DNAinfo New York
UPPER WEST SIDE — The owner of a Riverside Drive residential building is suing a renter for allegedly allowing a “severe” bedbug infestation to intensify by ignoring an exterminator’s instructions to treat the apartment after it was deemed the epicenter of the outbreak.
The landlord is suing tenant James Behan, who rents a second-floor studio apartment in 2 Riverside Drive at West 72nd Street, for more than $300,000 in damages and legal fees, according to the suit filed last week in state Supreme Court.
Behan made the infestation worse by refusing to comply with an exterminator’s demands and repeatedly re-infesting the apartment, which cost the landlord money and left the 24-unit building open to lawsuits that could be brought by other tenants, the suit said.
After hearing from several residents that there were bedbugs in their apartments, the landlord notified everyone in the building of the problem on Dec. 14, 2015, and said an exterminator would be coming two days later, the suit said.
An exterminator determined on Dec. 16 that five apartments had bedbugs and that Behan’s had the “worst infestation,” with the insects visible on the “baseboards, outlets, ceilings, and all over the furniture” of his apartment, according to the lawsuit.
Behan did not seal up infested clothing and personal items as instructed by the exterminator and was seen setting them aside in the hallway without any plastic bags to contain the critters, the suit said. He also refused to dispose of clothes and other personal property per the exterminator’s request, and did not allow the exterminator to use certain chemicals to rids his apartment of the infestation, the suit said.
Additionally, the landlord wanted the exterminator to treat Behan’s car after bugs were found there, but Behan refused to grant access to the vehicle, leading the landlord to believe the infestation spread again from his car back into the apartment, the suit noted.
The lawsuit alleges that Behan also regularly visited another location with an infestation and spread those bedbugs to his apartment. He also left his unit’s door open, the suit said.
Behan has “no valid justification” for not complying and he produced an “ongoing bedbug problem” in his apartment, as well as creating “unsafe” conditions for other tenants, who still have bedbug issues, the suit said.
In addition to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages and legal fees, the landlord is also seeking an injunction from the court to prevent Behan from interfering with extermination.
Behan could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The attorney representing owner 2 Riverside Drive LLC did not respond to a request for comment.