Deadly Chagas disease in the U.S., affecting people and animals – primarily dogs. Watch out for “kissing bugs”, aka “love bugs”.

November 18, 2015 | by Robert Herriman | Outbreak News Today

Chagas disease, the parasitic infection caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, is found mainly in Latin America, where it is mostly transmitted to humans by the feces of triatomine bugs, known as “kissing bugs”.

The Triatoma or “kissing” bug. Image/CDC

However, in several areas of the United States Chagas is ever present, according to Dr. Peter Hotez, founding dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, who told me in 2013 the number of cases of Chagas disease in the United States to be somewhere between 300,000 and 1 million. The United States is ranked 7th among nations for the amount of cases.

Texas is definitely one state that is battling the neglected tropical disease. According to Texas health officials:

In Texas, approximately 45% of the collected triatomine bugs have tested positive for T. cruzi, and Chagas is considered an endemic disease in dogs. From 2013 to 2014, 351 cases of Chagas disease in animals, primarily dogs, were reported from approximately 20% of Texas counties, representing all geographic regions of the state. Locally-acquired human cases are uncommon, but some have been reported. From 2013 to 2014, 39 human cases of Chagas disease were reported: 24 were acquired in another country, 12 were locally-acquired, and the location of acquisition was unknown for 3.

Local transmission means that the kissing bugs in Texas are infected with the parasite, causing it to spread to humans.

Chagas disease is transmitted naturally in North, Central, and South America. In parts of Mexico and Central and South America, where Chagas disease is considered highly endemic, it is estimated that approximately 8 million people are infected.

Chagas in Texas/Texas Department of Health

The Triatoma or “kissing” bug frequently carry for life the parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi. T. cruzi is a comma shaped flagellated parasite and the cause of an acute and chronic disease called Chagas.

The triatoma bug can be found in poorly constructed homes, with cracks and crevices in the walls or those with thatch roofs. They can also be found in palm trees and the fronds.

Usually at night while sleeping, the insect feeds on people or other mammals. While feeding the insect defecates and the infected feces gets rubbed into the bite wound, eyes abrasions or other skin wounds.

The parasite invades macrophages at or near the site of entry. Here they transform, multiply and rupture from the cells 4-5 days later and enter the blood stream and tissue spaces.

Initial infection with Chagas is typically asymptomatic. Acute disease may manifest symptoms after a couple of weeks.

Reddening of the skin (Chagoma) or edema around the eye (Romana’s sign) may be seen, albeit uncommon.

Fever, malaise, enlarged liver and spleen are part of the acute syndrome. 10% of people develop acute myocaditis with congestive heart failure. This acute disease can be fatal.

After a latent period which may last for years, the infected person may develop chronic disease (20-40%). The most serious consequences are cardiomyopathy (in certain areas it’s the leading cause of death in men less than 45 years of age) and megacolon/megaesophogus.

Trypanosoma cruzi can also be transmitted via congenital transmission (mother to baby), through blood transfusions and organ transplants, and some cases of transmission through feces contaminated food.

About 150 mammals beside humans may serve as reservoirs of the parasite. Dogs, cats, opossoms and rats are among the animals.

Benznidazole and nifurtimox are 100 percent effective in killing the parasite and curing the disease, but only if given soon after infection at the onset of the acute phase, according to the WHO.

There is no vaccine for Chaga’s, so preventive measures should include insecticide spraying of infested houses.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Outbreak of BED BUGS on British Airways flight from the U.S. to London

  • One passenger claims they were ‘nipped at 30,000ft,’ and eggs spotted
  • The Boeing 747 was taken out of service on landing, and fumigated
  • British Airways says that reports of bed bugs on board are ‘extremely rare’ 

An outbreak of bed bugs caused a British Airways passenger plane to be taken out of service.

On a flight from the US to Heathrow last week, staff are believed to have spotted the parasitic insects and logged the issue.

The outbreak caused one row in the economy section of the plane to be closed off during the Transatlantic flight.

A British Airways Boeing 747 was taken out of service after bed bugs were discovered on board last week

A British Airways Boeing 747 was taken out of service after bed bugs were discovered on board last week

One passenger told The Sun that they were 'nipped at 30,000ft, while others reported seeing 'eggs'

One passenger told The Sun that they were ‘nipped at 30,000ft, while others reported seeing ‘eggs’

The Sun reports how ‘one passenger was nipped at 30,000ft and others saw the bugs and their eggs.’

Once the Boeing 747 had landed in London, British Airways launched an investigation. The aircraft was inspected and removed from the flight schedule while the issue was resolved and the plane was fumigated.

However, days later another ‘severe’ infestation was reported as the same plane flew from Cape Town to London, according to The Sun.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

New Study Suggests Even the Toughest Pesticide Regulations Aren’t Nearly Tough Enough

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 called the 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.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Disturbing Map of NYC Parks/Public Areas shows Roundup herbicide Glyphosate INCREASING

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, pesticide, herbicide, roundup, monsanto, roundup cancer link, new york city, nyc, roundup spraying

 

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.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Wichita State University – Bedbugs in Dorm

January 21, 2016 | by Ben Jordan | wkake ABC.com

WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) — A bed bug battle is going on between a Wichita State University dorm resident and the school.

Freshman student Londyn Bobbitt says she first found bed bugs in her Fairmount Towers dorm room back in November. Her room was treated, but now she says they’re back. The school says this time, the $800 bill to get rid of them is her responsibility.

“I was laying long ways and I was reading a book and then out of the corner of my eye, I just saw one,” said Bobbitt.

Bobbitt says she’s found about ten of the creepy crawlers in her dorm room over the school year.

“I’ve seen four this semester,” she said.

Bobbitt says she found out the hard way that bed bugs live on the blood of animals and people.

“The next morning I woke up to a rash on my face which turned out to be bed bug bites,” said Bobbitt.

She contacted the school’s facilities department twice about the problem. The first round of treatments were taken care of by the school. A pest control company came out for two rounds.

“They do both a chemical treatment and a heat treatment that they feel very confident eradicates all the bugs from the room,” said WSU Director of Housing, Scott Jensen

[Heat on bedbugs does just the opposite – bedbugs run and hide in the wall outlets, in cracks in wall, ceiling tiles and in closets.  Chemicals – poisonous – and bedbugs are resistant to them.  Bed bugs can hide and go without eating for 12 months!  Of course the poor girl still has them in her dorm.  She’s probably NOT the only person in that dorm that has bedbugs.]

Jensen says this is the first incident of bed bugs on campus over the past two years. His department told Bobbitt not to take any clothing or electronics out of her room, and anything she wears needs to be thoroughly washed.

“I did break protocol so-to-speak when I left, but this is only because when I spoke to them they didn’t say any of this,” she said.

“The fact that she has very clearly saying ‘yes, I didn’t follow the protocol to the T’, that leads us to believe that it was more likely than not that they came back from her than from this company,” Jensen countered.

Bobbitt insists there’s no way she brought the bed bugs out or back into her room.

“If I had they’d be in my parents house where I was,” she said. “I would be itchy and that’s not the case.”

For now, Bobbitt says she’ll continue to sleep on her desks and fight the university on this issue.

Bed bugs leave stains on your bed that look like small rust spots. Usually near the corners or edges of the bed.  [called BLOOD spots]

Also, look for red, itchy bites. You might see red welts in zigzag lines or small clusters on the skin, especially arms and shoulders.

Finally, bed bugs release pheromones which leave an unpleasant musty odor like a wet towel.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Williamsburg, VA…think twice before selecting hotel without Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs at the Travelodge scare this family over holiday weekend vacation.

January 21, 2016 | by Scott Wise | CBS 6

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — A mother said her children were now scared to go to sleep after the family stayed at a Williamsburg motel. During their recent stay, Elizabeth Wilcox said she discovered bed bugs in the motel room after she noticed rashes and bites on her children.

“So immediately I flip the mattress just to see all the bed bugs crawling everywhere, there’s so many of them the kids are scratching their legs,” Wilcox told WTKR. “The mattress cover had a zip on it but there were holes covering it so the bed bugs were in the box spring.”

The manager of the Travelodge, off Richmond Road in Williamsburg, said the property did not have a bed bug problem and found no issues when he inspected the room. He said he would order a pest control company to inspect the room.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

 

“All Walls Down” song – The Solution to tropical diseases and the bedbug problem is through Tolerance & Mindfulness of each other

Music and song lead the message and movement to help each other.  Radiate positive vibes with the smash-hit song “All Walls Down”.

toleranceascendinghands.jpg

Enjoy this smash-hit song written by KiltronX and Joe Beaty [Mind Like Water] and produced and recorded by Tony Bongiovi at the famous Power Station Studio.   This song was created to bring awareness of the risk of Chagas disease through bedbugs and kissing bugs (aka “love bugs”).

Chagas disease has already affected as many as 50 million people in the world and as many as 1.5 million people in the U.S. alone.

We are all connected.  If the poor are more exposed to the deadly Chagas disease then we ALL are.  The free roaming love bugs & kissing bugs and undercover bedbugs do not discriminate – nor do they ask for a financial statement before sucking the blood of their victims.

Bedbugs can be found in all states and all cities and love bugs and kissing bugs have spread outward and up through all states bordering the Gulf of Mexico, along the Atlantic coast, the West coast and north.

Dr. Peter Hotez of the National School of Tropical Medicine says “low-income neighborhoods … are at greater risk for infection”.  Because of their predilection for the poor, Hotez calls these infections “the forgotten diseases [Chagas] of forgotten people”.

Chagas disease not only affects humans but also their pets – be it horses, dogs, cats, livestock.  Our pets are among the most innocent and have no protection.

Awareness and preparedness are crucial to saving lives.

#SayNOtoPesticides!

 

Pesticides: physical signs of poisoning by pyrethrin deltamethrin

Unseen_Pesticide_results.jpg

The following information is posted on the website of Cornell University Cooperative Extension’s Pesticide Management Education Program.

“Physical signs of deltamethrin poisoning can include dermatitis after skin contact; exposure to sunlight can make it worse. Severe swelling of the face including lips and eyelids can occur.  Symptoms and consequences of poisoning include:  sweating, fever, anxiety and rapid heartbeat.

Acute exposure effects in humans include the following: ataxia, convulsions leading to muscle fibrillation and paralysis, dermatitis, edema, diarrhea, dyspnea, headache, hepatic microsomal enzyme induction, irritability, peripheral vascular collapse, rhinorrhea, serum alkaline phosphatase elevation, tinnitus, tremors, vomiting and death due to respiratory failure. Allergic reactions have included the following effects: anaphylaxis, bronchospasm, eosinophilia, fever, hypersensitivity pneumonia, pallor, pollinosis, sweating, sudden swelling of the face, eyelids, lips and mucous membranes, and tachycardia.

A health survey of 199 workers who repacked pyrethroid insecticides into boxes by hand indicated that about two-thirds of the workers had a burning sensation and tightness and numbness on the face, while one-third had sniffs and sneezes.  Abnormal sensations in the face, dizziness, tiredness and red rashes on the skin were more common in summer than in winter.”

pesticide-exposure-illness.jpg

Why would we ever want to use something as stealthy as deltamethrin in public areas? Most of the products found on the shelves of local hardware stores use products that contain a number of inert ingredients as well as the active ingredient.  The inert ingredients aren’t required to be listed (trade secrets, or so they say) on the label and many of them are untested.  Also, many have been tested and are suspected carcinogens.  We don’t know which inert ingredients are in the products used for pest control items found commonly at local hardware stores.

#SayNOtoPesticides!

Common Pesticide “Deltamethrin” May Increase Risk of ADHD

Rutgers study of pesticide deltamethrin [pyrethroid] suggests that pregnant women and young children are more susceptible

January 29, 2015 | by Jason Richardson and Robin Lally | Rutgers University

A commonly used pesticide may alter the development of the brain’s dopamine system — responsible for emotional expression and cognitive function – and increase the risk of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children, according to a new Rutgers study.

ADHD.jpg

Mice exposed to Deltamethrin in utero and through lactation exhibited several features of ADHD.

The research published Wednesday in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), by Rutgers scientists and colleagues from Emory University, the University of Rochester Medical Center, and Wake Forest University discovered that mice exposed to the pyrethroid pesticide deltamethrin in utero and during breastfeeding exhibited several features of ADHD, including dysfunctional dopamine signaling in the brain, hyperactivity, working memory, attention deficits and impulsive-like behavior.These findings provide strong evidence, using data from animal models and humans, that exposure to pyrethroid pesticides, including deltamethrin, may be a risk factor for ADHD, says lead author Jason Richardson, associate professor in the Department and Environmental and Occupational Medicine at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and a member of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI).

“Although we can’t change genetic susceptibility to ADHD, there may be modifiable environmental factors, including exposures to pesticides that we should be examining in more detail,” says Richardson.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder most often affects children, with an estimated 11 percent of children between the ages of 4-17– about 6.4 million – diagnosed as of 2011. Boys are three to four times more likely to be diagnosed than girls. While early symptoms, including an inability to sit still, pay attention and follow directions, begin between the ages of 3 to 6, diagnosis is usually made after the child starts attending school full time.

Importantly, in this study, the male mice were affected more than the female mice, similar to what is observed in children with ADHD. The ADHD-like behaviors persisted in the mice through adulthood, even though the pesticide, considered to be less toxic and used on golf courses, in the home, and on gardens, lawns and vegetable crops, was no longer detected in their system.

There is strong scientific evidence that genetics plays a role in susceptibility to the disorder, but no specific gene has been found that causes ADHD and scientists believe that environmental factors may also contribute to the development of the behavioral condition.

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) the study analyzed health care questionnaires and urine samples of 2,123 children and adolescents.Researchers asked parents whether a physician had ever diagnosed their child with ADHD and cross-referenced each child’s prescription drug history to determine if any of the most common ADHD medications had been prescribed. Children with higher pyrethroid pesticide metabolite levels in their urine were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD.

Young children and pregnant women may be more susceptible to pesticide exposure because their bodies do not metabolize the chemicals as quickly.


Side note:  Deltamethrin

Deltamethrin is a highly hazardous pesticide and belongs to the pyrethroid family. Deltamethrin is used in many OTC insecticide products.  The next time you are shopping for a home pest control, ant control or bed bug product, make sure you check twice to exclude this ingredient!

Residues of Deltamethrin have been found in breast milk, children’s urine, house dust and food.  It has a high acute toxicity and is a neurotoxin causing various illnesses – and able to pass from a mothers skin through her blood and into her breast milk.  Deltamethrin causes multiple system toxicity in wild and domesticated animals as well as human beings.

Pesticides_Poisonous.jpg

#SayNOtoPesticides!

Frequent cases of lung, breast and bowel cancer through GLYPHOSATE…number of miscarriages risen sharply…strong rise in number of birth defects in these areas

Independent Scientists Warn Over Monsanto Pesticide – Glyphosate

January 12, 2015 | By Gero Rueter and Ruby Russell | DW.com

Two major agencies disagree over whether the world’s most-used pesticide, glyphosate, is safe.  As the European Union debates the topic, nearly 100 scientists from around the world have urged it to heed safety warnings.

It’s the most commonly used – and perhaps also most controversial – pesticide in the world: glyphosate. Opinion between the European Food Standards Agency (EFSA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) is divided over whether it likely causes cancer.

And on Tuesday (01.12.2015), the European Parliament debated the topic. In the leadup to each side presenting their positions, 96 scientists from 25 countries published an open letter to EU Health Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, criticizing the EFSA’s recent decision that the chemical is “probably not carcinogenic.”

The EFSA’s finding counters an assessment earlier this year by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), that glyphosate is a “probable human carcinogen.”

In their letter, the scientists called on the European Commission “to disregard the flawed EFSA finding on glyphosate,” and called for a “transparent, open and credible review of the scientific literature.”

Bad science?

The EFSA’s decision was based on assessment by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), which the signatories to the letter said was “not credible because it is not supported by the evidence, and it was not reached in an open and transparent manner.”

Protest in Berlin against the glyphosate

All over the world, environmental activists have called for a ban on glyphosate pesticide

The scientists called the IARC’s assessment more credible. The lead signatory of the letter, Christopher Portier, told DW that the scientists felt compelled to submit their letter because, “as a group, we thought that decision was not supported scientifically.”

“It was based on a rejection of what other experts judge to be a positive association between glyphosate and cancer in humans,” Portier said.

Portier is senior contributing scientist at the Envrionmental Defense, and former associate director of the United States National Toxicology Program.

The group from the letter also includes scientists specializing in cancer, epidemiology and public health at major universities and cancer research institutes around the world – although they stressed that they were not speaking on behalf of these organizations.

Doctors report rise in cancer

Glyphosate was developed by transnational chemical company Monsanto, and is the key ingredient in its pesticide Roundup. Glyphosate is also sold by other major corporations including Syngenta and Bayer.

Doctors, environmentalists and some farmers have long called for a ban on the pesticide.

 Medardo Avila Vazquez (c) Gero Reuter

Argentine pediatrician Medardo Avila Vazquez believes there is a clear link between glyphosate and cancer in humans.

“We can clearly see that people are getting sick from glyphosate,” Argentine pediatrician Medardo Avila Vazquez told DW in a recent interview.  “There are frequent cases of lung, breast and bowel cancer” through glyphosate, he added.

Vazquez, a pharmacologist who has carried out epidemiological studies in Argentina, added that cancer was not the only concern.

“In villages surrounded by soy fields, where lots of glyphosate is sprayed, we note that the number of miscarriages has risen sharply,” he said. “There is also a strong rise in the number in birth defects in these areas.”

Quality over quantity

Speaking to the European Parliament on Tuesday, the EFSA said that it had reached its assessment based on a larger number of studies that the IARC did not include. EFSA director Bernhard Url told lawmakers it was “the most state-of-the-art and comprehensive assessment to date.”

The IARC countered that it went “for quality over quantity,” and looked at a narrower range of peer-reviewed studies by excluding those not in the public domain, and which are therefore unavailable to review and criticism by other scientists.

The IARC also stressed that scientists selected for its assessment process were neutral, and lacked any conflict of interest.

Before the end of June 2016, the European Commission is to make a decision on whether or not to relicense glyphosate in the EU, for up to 15 years.

Ongoing debate

Parliamentarians and European Commissioners stressed a responsibility to public health in proper assessment of the chemical’s impacts, and the intention to issue an appropriate ruling in response.

Also present in public discussion are warnings of a potential fall in crop yields if approval for the pesticide, which European agriculture is heavily dependent upon, were to be withdrawn.

Portier says he hopes the UN will reconsider how it assesses chemicals.

“We hope this letter improves the ways pesticides are reviewed in the future,” he told DW.

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