Multiple Pesticides in Many Foods

Served in Texas Public Schools

Perception: Conventional foods are only allowed to have one pesticide residue on each crop and do not contain enough pesticide residues to harm children.

Reality: Many conventionally grown foods contain multiple, highly toxic pesticides.  

Key Points:

*p.1 "Pesticide exposure contributes to a number of increasingly common health outcomes for children, including cancer, birth defects, and early puberty. Evidence of links to certain childhood cancers is particularly strong."

*p.5 "Pesticides can interfere with brain function in several ways, from altering architecture during fetal development to interfering with neurostransmitter control."

*p.20 "Pesticide residues in food and drink are a key source of constant, low-level exposure to mixtures of pesticides throughout childhood."

*p.20 "USDA residue sampling of produce commonly eaten by children-such as carrots, apples, and peaches-found metabolites of dozens of different pesticides in each of these foods over the course of their testing (26 found in carrots, 42 found in apples, and 62 found in peaches)."

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Source:

Kristin S. Schafer, MA emily c. marquez, Phd. (2012, October). A Generation in Jeopardy How pesticides are undermining our children’s health & intelligence. Retrieved from http://www.panna.org/sites/default/files/KidsHealthReportOct2012.pdf#page=1

Key Points:

*"Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have spread throughout the global environment to threaten human health and damage ecosystems, with evidence of POPs contamination in wildlife, human blood, and breast milk documented worldwide."

*"The available information indicates that POPs residues are present in virtually all categories of foods, including baked goods, fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, and dairy products."

*"Residues of five or more persistent toxic chemicals in a single food item are not unusual, with the most commonly found POPs being the pesticides DDT (and its metabolites, such as DDE) and dieldrin."

*"Our findings indicate that the US food supply is contaminated with levels of POPs chemicals that result in exposures at or above the health based standards."

*"Children eat disproportionately more of certain foods on a pound for pound body weight basis than does an average weight adult male. In addition, young children’s bodies are engaged in a multitude of hormone directed developmental processes that are uniquely susceptible to disruption from POPs chemicals. Proportionately larger exposures and unique susceptibilities combine to make developing children much more vulnerable to the adverse effects of POPs than adults."

*"Health based thresholds are established for individual chemicals, while actual diets may include PCB residues in a fish fillet, dieldrin in a serving of zucchini, and dioxin in an ice cream cone. Because these organochlorine chemicals often have similar types of adverse health effects (see below), the sum of the adverse effects of exposures to combinations of chemicals will be greater than that for exposure to a single chemical."

*"Because many POPs chemicals exhibit similar modes of action on the human body, the health effects resulting from exposure to multiple chemicals can be substantially greater than those resulting from exposure to a single chemical.

*"Given the widespread occurrence of POPs in the food supply and the serious health risks associated with even extremely small levels of exposure to POPs, prevention of further food contamination must be a national health policy priority in every country." 

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Source:

K S Schafer, S E Kegley. Persistent toxic chemicals in the US food supply. Retrieved from https://jech.bmj.com/content/56/11/813

Key Points:

*"The Environmental Working Group calculated, based on preschoolers' consumption of four foods (apples, pears, peaches and apple juice), that 49,500 preschool children exceed EPA's acute reference dose for azinphosmethyl every day, accumulating to more than 18 million unsafe exposures per year: "Dietary exposure to Guthion alone ... presents more than twice the risk allowed in EPA's ‘risk cup’ for all [organophosphates]. And Guthion is only the first of at least six organophosphates with a significant dietary risk profile to reach the refined assessment phase within the agency." (Environmental Working Group, “Children are Overexposed to Guthion,” April 1999)."

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Source:

Tisher, Sharon S., J.D. (2018 Edition). Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Pesticides Quiz. Retrieved from http://www.mofga.org/Programs/Public-Policy/Pesticides-Action/Pesticides-Quiz

 

 

 

 

Key Point:

*EPA index contains the names of hundreds of pesticides and chemicals that are approved by the EPA for use on foods.

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Source:

US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Pesticide Programs Index to Pesticide Types and Families and Part 180 Tolerance Information of Pesticide Chemicals in Food and Feed Commodities. (2014), July). Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-01/documents/pesticide-types.pdf

Key Points:

*"The development of chemicals to protect agricultural crops is an important activity within the chemical industry."

*"Because pests may develop resistance to crop protection chemicals there is a continual need for new products to be developed."

*"Three groups of chemicals dominate this part of the chemical industry (Figure 1). They are:

Herbicides: substances that kill or inhibit growth of unwanted plants (weeds)

Insecticides: substances that kill arthropod pests, i.e. insects and mites

Fungicides: substances that destroy or prevent the growth of pathogenic fungi

All three are pesticides."

*"Herbicides can act in several ways:

direct contact with plant tissues, for example, leaves; paraquat is a typical contact herbicide

by translocation (systemic herbicides),whereby the compound has the ability to be absorbed by aerial plant parts and is transported to roots (basipetal translocation); glyphosate and growth hormones belong to this group

by root uptake and transportation, to the upper parts of the plant (acropetal translocation)

through a combination of both methods; triketones are an example of this group as they are transported downwards and upwards."

*"Auxins are plant hormones."

*"They act by promoting growth of the plant but, given high doses, this can kill the plant and thus act as an herbicide. An example of a synthetic auxin is 2,4-dichlorophenoxyethanoic acid, often known as 2,4-D."

*"Glyphosate ((N-phosphonomethyl)glycine) is a non-selective systemic compound useful in the control of broad-leaved weeds and grasses. It is by far the most widely used herbicide with annual sales well in excess of £3 billion."

*"The herbicide is absorbed by the leaves and then translocates to the roots."

*"There have been reports that some weeds have become resistant to glyphosate. However some crops, for example soya, are being developed which are also resistant to auxins such as 2,4-D and so farmers will be able to use a mixture of glyphosate and an auxin."

*"The world market for insecticides is dominated by compounds interfering with the nervous system of pest invertebrates, since this target organ usually provides rapid control."

*"a) Organophosphorus compounds: … One of the most successful OPs is considered to be chlorpyrifos. This non-systemic insecticide, used on both the foliage and the soil, affects the stomach and respiratory action of the pest."

*"The major disadvantage of most OPs is their toxicity to vertebrates and this has resulted in the search for other compounds to replace them."

*"Another group of insecticides which affect the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor is the neonicotinoids which are now the fastest growing and fourth major class of insecticides in crop protection."

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Source:

Crop Protection Chemicals. (2013, March 18). Retrieved from http://www.essentialchemicalindustry.org/materials-and-applications/crop-protection-chemicals.html

Key Point:

*Contains 1990 LIST and 2003 LIST of foods, food descriptions and "PESTICIDES, ACID HERBICIDES,
LEAD, IODINE, MERCURY, ALL OTHER ELEMENTS RADIONUCLIDES (WEAC)" used on foods

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Source:

Total Diet Study/Analyte Matrix. Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/downloads/Food/FoodScienceResearch/TotalDietStudy/UCM458731.pdf

Key Points:

*"More than 34,000 pesticides that are derived from about 600 basic chemicals are registered by the EPA for use in this country."

*"In addition, 85,000 more chemicals are regulated separately under the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA), which is criticized by many NGOs and academic researchers for being too lax.'

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Source:

Hi, Xindi (Cindy). (2018, April 17). The Most Widely Used Pesticide, One Year Later. Retrieved from http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2018/widely-used-pesticide-one-year-later/

 

Key Points:

*"*”We collected a total of 239 24-hr duplicate food samples collected from the 46 CPES children. We found 14% or 5% of those food samples contained at least one OP or pyrethroid insecticide, respectively. We measured a total of 11 OP insecticides, at levels ranging from 1 to 387 ng/g, and three pyrethroid insecticides, at levels ranging from 2 to 1,133 ng/g, in children’s food samples. We found that many of the food items consumed by the CPES children were also on the list of the most contaminated food commodities reported by the Environmental Working Group.

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Source:

Chensheng Lu, Frank J. Schenck, [...], and Jon W. Wong. (2010, November). Assessing Children’s Dietary Pesticide Exposure: Direct Measurement of Pesticide Residues in 24-Hr Duplicate Food Samples. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2974704/

Key Points:

*"One example evident from the biomonitoring data is chlorpyrifos, a non-persistent OP insecticide. Although banned in 2000 for use inside the home, it continues to be used in agriculture, including orchard fruits, such as apples and pears, and other dietary staples of children."

*"“Consumption of organic food may lower pesticide exposure, as demonstrated by a study in which children were placed on an organic diet for a period of 5 consecutive days. A rapid and dramatic drop in their urinary excretion of metabolites of malathion and chlorpyrifos OP insecticides during the organic diet phase was observed.22”

*"In the CDC biomonitoring data, chlorpyrifos-specific urinary metabolites were highest for the youngest age group assessed (6–11 years) compared with older children and adults.19"

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Source:

James R. Roberts, MD, MPH, Catherine J. Karr, MD, PhD, and Council on Environmental Health. (2012 November 26). Pesticide Exposure in Children. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5813803/

Key points:

*"In addition, while our ability to understand the true toxicity of individual pesticides is limited, mixtures of pesticides present an even greater challenge to toxicologists.62"

*"Unfortunately, finding mixtures of multiple pesticide residues on one type of produce is the rule and not the exception.'

*"In addition, consumers probably consume multiple produce items with multiple different residues on them."

*"Numerous studies have reported that exposure to a combination of pesticides will have unique effects and that
mixtures of pesticides could have “greater than additive” effects.
63"

*"Those combined effects are often termed “synergistic” effects. In addition, pesticides are formulated products, which means they are mixtures with an active ingredient and many “inert” ingredients.64"

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Source:

From Crop to Table Pesticide Report. (2015 March). Retrieved from https://article.images.consumerreports.org/prod/content/dam/cro/news_articles/health/CR_FSASC_FromCroptoTablePesticides_Mar2015.pdf

Key Points:

*"The Total Diet Study (TDS) is an ongoing FDA program that monitors levels of about 800 contaminants and nutrients in the average U.S. diet; the number varies slightly from year to year."

*"Because eating patterns may change over time, we update the list of foods to be analyzed about every 10 years; for example, we revise the list of foods to be tested, to account for trends in what consumers eat, and we use current data on how much of those foods consumers eat."

*"Since it began in 1961, as a program to monitor for radioactive contamination of foods, the TDS has expanded to include pesticide residues, industrial and other toxic chemicals, and nutrient elements."

Read Full Article:

Source:

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Total Diet Study. (2018, February 23). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/food/foodscienceresearch/totaldietstudy/default.htm 

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