Mosquito Control Pesticides
Mosquito control pesticides are typically applied over neighborhoods using trucks and airplanes. Spraying over wide areas using planes and trucks exposes residents to concentrated levels of pesticides when wind blows across treated areas and toward homes. The practice now, however, is showing that the consequences of this are far worse than the mosquitoes.
Research below has linked mosquito control pesticides to diabetes, autism, genetic damage, cancer, the autoimmune disorder Guillain Barre' and microcephaly (small head size). Pesticides used in mosquito control typically include permethrin, malathion and naled (also known as dibrom). The research studies below were acquired from searches through the bound Index Medicus at University of Florida Shands Medical Library and through online seaches through PubMed. The original study can be seen from the "View Journal Online" link below each journal source. Scroll below to view all research summaries.
MICROCEPHALY - GUILLAIN BARR - A FALSE ZIKA CONNECTION?
JOURNAL PESTICIDE TOXICOLOGY SUMMARIES
Diabetes Dramatically Higher in Mosquito Control Workers -
Source: Journal of Agromedicine, Vol. 19(4):417-26, 2014
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system malfunctions and mistakenly attacks insulin producing cells of the pancreas.
To determine if pesticides could be contributing to diabetes, researchers performed blood tests on 116 mosquito control pesticide workers - the rate of diabetes and pre-diabetes among this group was an astounding 61%. For comparison, rates of diabetes and pre-diabetes was less than 8% when compared to 92 people used as controls not exposed to mosquito control pesticides.
These rates were calculated from exposure to all types of pesticides. When rates were calculated for those exposed to only pyrethroid based pesticides (such as the common truck mosquito pesticide permethrin), diabetes and pre-diabetes rates increased further to more than 18x higher than rates observed in the control group not exposed to pesticides. Diabetes and pre-diabetes were defined as individuals whose blood samples showed an HbA1c level of 5.6% or higher. HbA1c is a form of hemoglobin that attaches to glucose and is an accurate measurement of average blood glucose (sugar) levels over the past several months.
Microcephaly (small head size)
SOURCE: Neurochemical Research, 27:231-240, 2008
Microcephaly is a medical condition in which the brain is considerably smaller than normal. Smaller head size has been linked to lower reading ability and lower academic performance in children. In this study, scientists found that animals receiving only one exposure to the mosquito control chemical dichlorvos resulted in smaller head size in offspring. Dichlorvos forms within hours after naled (dibrom) is sprayed from planes or trucks commonly used mosquito control pesticide applications.
The photograph above shows the brain of a normal guinea pig (left) and the brain of another guinea pig (right) that was exposed to the chemical dichlorvos. Dichlorvos was found to cause a - severe reduction - in brain weight and shape among test animals. The timing of exposure appeared to be the key factor in determining brain damage. Brain damage was observed when guinea pigs were exposed to a non-lethal dose of the pesticide between 42-46 days of gestation at levels of 15 mg/kg. Scientists say this time period correlates with the brain growth spurt period for the animal.
The powerful neurotoxic nature of this pesticide was further emphasized when scientists found the brain abnormalities did not occur when animals were exposed to the other pesticides tested - soman - TOCP and ethyl-trichlorfon.
Scientists concluded by stating they suspect the brain defect occurred due to direct damage to DNA at a time when the animals' repair systems are not developed.
CHEM-TOX COMMENT: The fact that this study shows neurological damage can easily occur in animals after just one exposure (who are often less sensitive than humans to harmful neurological effects) is enough to warrant serious re-evaluation regarding the use of this highly toxic chemical over both animal and human populated areas.
University of Oslo, Institute of Biology
Autism Higher in Neighborhoods Using Mosquito Control Planes
SOURCE: Science News, April 30, 2016
Research presented at the 2016 Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting in Baltimore MD, suggests that using airplanes to spray mosquito killing pesticides increases the risk of autism spectrum disorder and developmental delays in children.
Researchers identified a swampy region in central New York where health officials use airplanes to spray pryrethroid pesticides each summer. The pesticides were used to target mosquitoes that carry eastern equine encephalitis virus. They found that children living in ZIP codes where aeirial pesticide spraying has been taking place since 2003 were 25% more likely to have a diagnois of autism or developmental delays (learning problems).
In a comment by the lead investigator, Dr. Steven Hicks,
Chromosome Damage from Common Mosquito Pesticide Permethrin
SOURCE: Teratogenesis, Carcinogenesis, and Mutagenesis, 14:31-38, 1994
Researchers at the National Center of Sanidid Ambiental in Madrid Spain found that the pesticide permethrin (the type typically used in mosquito truck spray programs) was able to induce "structural chromosome aberrations" in human immune system cells as well as in the reproductive cells in laboratory animals. The chromosome damage became apparent after 2 hours of exposure at levels of 150-200 ug/ml (micrograms per milliliter). Chromosome damage was also detected at lower levels.
As stated by the researchers:
J. Muro, A. Martinez, A. Lopez, M. Diaz and R. Fernandez
Cancer Occurs from Mosquito Pesticide Naled
The pesticide Naled (Dibrom) is said to "break-down" quickly after application. This is true, however, it breaks-down into an evern more toxic compound known as dichlorvos in the presence of oxygen immediately after application.
Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina studied the effects of the pesticide Dichlorvos on several types of laboratory animals. Dichlorvos was administered beginning at levels far below that needed to kill 50% of the animals (called LD-50).
While there were no changes seen in test animals exposed to the pesticide when compared to animals not exposed to the pesticide (controls) regarding body weights and survival rates, howeverf, there were other serious health effects observed. The researchers did find significantly higher rates of cancer affecting the pancreas - forestomach - as well as mononuclear cell leukemia in male rats.
The so-called "safety" of dichlorvos may have been based on articles appearing in the journal Mutation Research in which scientists were reported to "down-play" the cancer risk. However, as stated by the scientists in this more recent research paper (pg.158):
In conclusion the researchers stated,
Although Naled is banned in the European Union, thousands of gallons of this chemical are still sprayed over populated areas in the U.S. and other countries around the world - the potential for irreversible damage to public health, wildlife and marine life must be considered in light of the above research.
Po C. Chan, James Huff, Joseph K. Haseman, Roger Alison and J. D. Prejean
Hyperactivity Higher in Children
SOURCE: Environmental Health, Vol. 14:44, May, 2015
Pyrethroid pesticides are typically used in truck and airplane mosquito control applications, food, and also for home and school pest control (including integrated management pest control - IPM). 687 children were tested for urinary levels of the pyrethroid pestides. Children with detectable urinary levels of the pyrethroid metabolite called "3-BPA" were more than twice as likely to have hyperactive-impulsive symptoms. After that, every 10-fold increase in 3-PBA resulted in an additional 50% increase in hyperactive-impulsive behavior.
This study is of concern as pyrethroid pesticides are now commonly used as a replacement for the previously banned organophosphate pesticides. They are commonly used in school pest control - home pest control and community mosquito control applications from trucks and planes. The pesticide is also found in commercially grown foods (but not in organically grown foods).
Immune System Weakening and Frog Mutations
SOURCE: Article below appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle
Raising new questions about the environmental risks of some widely used farm chemicals, scientists are reporting today the first evidence linking agricultural runoff to grotesque hind-limb deformities in frogs. Researchers said frogs appear to be made more vulnerable to a common parasite when exposed to the pesticides atrazine and malathion. The parasite, a burrowing trematode worm, tends to infect the hindquarters of developing tadpoles. Atrazine is part of a family of chemicals that rank among the world's most widely used weed killers. Malathion is commonly applied to control mosquitoes and other insects, and pharmaceutical grades are approved for killing head lice. Both products are controversial but considered safe for commercial use in the United States.
At last count, wild frogs with missing or extra hind limbs have been observed in at least 43 states and five Canadian provinces. Earlier studies clearly implicated the trematode parasite but left open the question of what might be causing the apparent increase in the problem.
The latest study, by ecologist Joseph Kiesecker at Pennsylvania State University and edited by UC Berkeley amphibian specialist David Wake, tries to fit in the key remaining puzzle piece. The study appears in the early edition of this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Kiesecker said his observations of the common wood frog Rana sylvatica in the wild, followed by controlled studies in his laboratory, produced "compelling" evidence that pesticides can weaken the immune system of exposed amphibians -- even at very low concentrations -- making the frogs more vulnerable to parasites.
The field studies showed "considerably higher rates of limb deformities where there was pesticide exposure," Kiesecker said in an interview, "then the lab experiments helped support the mechanism for what we saw in the field."
He also looked at another pesticide, a synthetic chemical called esfenvalerate, but did not find the same links to growth anomalies as seen with malathion and atrazine.
For the latter two chemicals, significant effects were seen even at concentrations considered safe for drinking water by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Even these very low levels of exposure could produce "dramatic effects on the immune response" of the animals. And that, in turn, led to significantly more growth defects.
Kiesecker stopped short of endorsing any effort to further restrict use of atrazine and malathion. But he said his results underscored the importance of studying toxic chemical effects in a context approaching the complexity found in natural ecosystems.
In this case, he explained, the two farm chemicals "disturbed host-pathogen interactions" with sometimes devastating effects. But all that would be missed in traditional studies examining only the chemicals and the frogs in isolation.
Some other scientists, backed by the farm-chemical industry, challenged Kiesecker's results. Although they said the new study was intriguing, they suggested the details couldn't be trusted until corroborated independently.
Original Journal Article Author Information:
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