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

By Dr. Manny Alvarez | Fox News

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

The Problem of Pesticide Poisoning

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

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

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

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

Signs of Pesticide Poisoning

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

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

Common symptoms you should watch for:

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

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

What to Expect with Pesticide Poisoning Treatment

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

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

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

Bottom Line

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

Study Suggests What We Already Feared: Bedbugs May Be Getting Stronger


April 15, 2016 | Steven Hoffer Senior Editor | The Huffington Post

In case your phobia of bedbugs wasn’t torturous enough, here comes a new study that suggests the pesky insects are getting stronger.

Researchers in Australia found the bedbugs with a thicker “skin” are more resistant to common pesticides. The pests are becoming more prevalent, and the scientists hypothesized that these thicker exoskeletons could be one reason why.

The study, published in the journal Plos One on Wednesday, found that the thicker the exoskeleton, or cuticle, of a bedbug, the more time it took to “knock down” the insect — which was defined as the bugs not being able to get back up when they were stunned or knocked out by pesticides.

“The new findings reveal that one way bed bugs beat insecticides is by developing a thicker ‘skin,’” David Lily, a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney and a co-author of the study, said in a statement.

Be it pesticides or insults, this BED BUG couldn’t care less!  Photo: AP

The scientists studied the bedbugs using a pyrethroid insecticide, a class of chemicals that bedbugs have become increasingly resistant to, Lilly told Newsweek.

The researchers found that the mean cuticle thickness of a bedbug positively correlated to the time it took to “knockdown,” with significant differences between bugs knocked down within two hours, four hours, and those that were still unaffected at 24 hours, according to the study.

And in case you’re thinking “Didn’t I already know this?” that’s because you did. In January, another study conducted in the U.S. found that the bugs are becoming resistant to other pesticides.

Deep breaths. Sleep tight and Be afraid…be very afraid.


Pesticides: physical signs of poisoning by pyrethrin deltamethrin


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.”


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.


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.


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.



Medical Studies Show Health Hazards of Household Bug Sprays

no_sprayMedical studies indicating health hazards from pyrethroid pesticides

Sumithrin (Anvil), resmethrin (Scourge) and permethrin (often used in household bug sprays) each belong to a class of pesticides known as pyrethroids. Sumithrin and resmethrin were not among the pyrethroids specifically studied in all medical studies reported on this page, but these pesticides are closely related to each other.

Links between pyrethroids and breast cancer

Several studies indicate pyrethroids disrupt the endocrine system by mimicking the effects of the female hormone estrogen. This in turn can cause breast cancer in women and lowered sperm counts in men. When estrogen levels are elevated, old cells are not removed from the body and cell proliferation occurs, whether benign or malignant.
Mount Sinai School of Medicine: This study examined four pyrethroid pesticides, including sumithrin. It concludes “Overall, our studies imply that each pyrethroid compound is unique in its ability to influence several cellular pathways. These findings suggest that pyrethroids should be considered to be hormone disruptors, and their potential to affect endocrine function in humans and wildlife should be investigated.” [Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 107, no. 3, March 1999, pages 173-177.]
The Roger Williams General Hospital, Brown University: This study on pyrethroids concludes “Chronic exposure of humans or animals to pesticides containing these compounds may result in disturbances in endocrine effects.” [Journal of Steroid Biochemistry, March 1990, volume 35, issue 3-4, pages 409-414.]
Cambridge University: A report issued in June 2000 by the Royal Society in England and written by a group from Cambridge University called for international cooperation to deal with the dangers posed by endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including pyrethroids, and recommends reducing human exposure to these chemicals.

Links between insecticides and testosterone decreases

University of Greifswald: Several pesticides used as herbicides, insecticides and fungicides known to be endocrine disrupting chemicals were examined in this series of German studies. Acute and chronic pesticide exposure led to changes in sex hormone concentrations, with concentrations of testosterone decreasing one day after acute exposure. These studies found “a hormonal and immune suppression after acute exposure.” [“Disruption of male sex hormones with regard to pesticides,” Toxicology Letters, June 30, 1999;107(1-3):225-31 ]

Links between pyrethroids and childhood brain cancers

A study of pesticides and childhood brain cancers has revealed a strong relationship between brain cancers and compounds used to kill fleas and ticks, according to a report published in Environmental Health Perspectives. The study concludes “The specific chemicals associated with children’s brain cancers were pyrethrins and pyrethroids (which are synthetic pyrethrins, such as permethrin, tetramethrin, allethrin, resmethrin and fenvalerate) and chlorpyrifos (trade name: Dursban).” [Janice M. Pogoda and Susan Preston-Martin, “Household Pesticides and Risk of Pediatric Brain Tumors,” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 105, no. 11 (November 1997), pages 1214-1220.] The EPA, in June 2000, halted sales of Dursban.

Links between pyrethroids and neurological damage

Several studies have indicated neurological damage resulting from exposure to pyrethroids, and some of the damages have been found to be long term.
Ludwig Maximilians University: This study, conducted by the Physiological Institute at Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, found that although “a majority of complaints following an acute pyrethroid intoxication disappeared after the end of exposure,” several effects were still seen in patients after more than two years. Among these long-term symptoms were “(1) cerebro-organic disorders (reduced intellectual performance with 20%-30% reduction of endurance during mental work, personality disorder), visual disturbances, dysacousia, tinnitus; (2) sensomotor-polyneuropathy, most frequently in the lower legs; (3) vegetative nervous disorders,” including increased heat-sensitivity and reduced exercise tolerance due to circulatory disorder. The study concludes “Many of these patients exhibit pathological autoimmune diagnostical findings and developed autoimmune diseases.” [Toxicology Letters, 1999 June 30;107(1-3):161-76.]
Uppsala University: This study, conducted by the Department of Environmental Toxicology at Uppsala University in Sweden studied mice, not humans, but found that “low-dose exposure” to pyrethroids “resulted in ³irreversible changes in adult brain function in the mouse” when exposed during the growth period. This occurred at levels of exposure less than what was found to affect adult mice. The study also found “neonatal exposure to a low dose of a neurotoxic agent can lead to an increased susceptibility in adults to an agent having a similar neurotoxic action, resulting in additional behavioral disturbances and learning disabilities.” [Neurotoxicology, 1997;18(3):719-26.]
Northwestern University Medical School: A series of investigations conducted at Northwestern’s Department of Molecular Pharmacology and Biological Chemistry in Chicago, has found neurological damage from pyrethroids. One study, conducted by international expert Toshio Narahashi, finds nervous-system damage from pyrethroids to be comparable to DDT. This study found that “Detailed voltage clamp and patch clamp analyses have revealed that pyrethroids and DDT modify the sodium channel to remain open for an extended period of time.” The result of this damage is “potent effects on the nervous system.” [“Nerve membrane ion channels as the target site of environmental toxicants,” Environmental Health Perspectives,1987 April;71:25-9.]. A separate study found that pyrethroids cause “membrane depolarization, repetitive discharges and synaptic disturbances leading to hyperexcitatory symptoms of poisoning in animals.” This study found that only 1% “of sodium channel population is required to be modified by pyrethroids to produce severe hyperexcitatory symptoms.” [“Neuronal ion channels as the target sites of insecticides,” Pharmacol Toxicology, 1996 July;79(1):1-14.]

Links between pyrethroids and thyroid damage

A study conducted by four scientists on a variety of pesticides found a connection to thyroid damage, although this study was conducted on rats and not on humans. The study concludes “exposure to organochlorine, organophosphorus, and pyrethroid insecticides for a relatively short time can suppress thyroid secretory activity in young adult rats.” The study also said a decrease in body weight seen “suggests that pyrethroid insecticides can inhibit growth rate.” [Journal of Applied Toxicology, vol. 16, no. 5, pages 397-400, 26 references, 1996.]

The No Spray Coalition is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed in federal court against the City of New York seeking a permanent halt to mass pesticide spraying.


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