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Pesticide exposure and IQ

Posted by kimmsr 4a/5b-MI (My Page) on
Sat, Jan 18, 14 at 5:48

While waiting at the doctors yesterday I read in an issue of Parenting magazine, (2013) an article that said studies indicate that children, under age 5, exposed to pesticides had lower IQ's then peers not exposed. I have found, but not yet read, numerous other articles on line.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Pesticide exposure and IQ

Sorry about reposting this but the first one did not appear until after I did this, and there is simply no way to delete this.


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RE: Pesticide exposure and IQ

Finally, I have a scapegoat. I ain't dumb folks it was those pesticides.

This post was edited by albert_135 on Sun, Jan 19, 14 at 14:40


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RE: Pesticide exposure and IQ

Maybe low IQ of growers results in pesticide exposure for workers...


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RE: Pesticide exposure and IQ

Though some love to put farmers on a pedestal, there's still some bad ones out there...thankfully, not many.

In the past 2 years I know of at least 3 farms (California, Vermont, and Hawaii) who were caught using methomyl on food products illegally. There were probably more.

Methomyl is a "nuclear option" pesticide which is mostly used on forage crops (not much) and some tree fruits (also, not much). Most farmers don't even want to mess with it because it's rather toxic to humans/mammals...it's one of those chemicals that most farmers quit using in the 70s/80s.

That said, it's cheap...and used off-label too much by farmers trying to kill pesky animals/rodents as well as a cheap way to take care of big pest problem.

Also said...I doubt the farm owner was out there applying the stuff.

Another thing...

I don't know how many of you have a Pesticide Applicators License/Certificate (I have NC, VA, and a soon-to-expire HI), but when one goes to take the test for it you see a lot of seasonal migrant/seasonal workers taking these tests. While a lot of these seasonal workers return year-to-year for the same employers, too many farmers who use this pool of labor view these workers as expendable.

The amount of these workers who return home with clothes that have residues on them that aren't going to be machine washed immediately (mostly because a lot of them don't have a washing machine in-house/apartment) is quite high. Residues of various herbicides/pesticides/fungicides, both legal and illegal, are brought into the house 5-7 days a week sitting around...a lot of times out in the open and/or mixed with the "regular" laundry.

I've been in the houses of some field workers, chilling in the living room, where I could smell the chemicals I've run into in the field or labs.

There's a certain privilege of protection that comes from not working these kinds of jobs...much like people who don't mine coal or live in coal country.


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RE: Pesticide exposure and IQ

I maintained a Qualified Pesticide Applicator License in California for many years, even though rarely applying chems and not licensed to advise on their use. NC is correct about the misuses of agchems by poorly trained or sloppy applicators, most of them ill-educated Hispanic ag workers. Families of these workers do fall ill from exposure to ag chems during washing cycles and just plain dirty boots bringing the chems into the homes.

My foreman is the only one I allow to spray and then fully kitted out for maximum protection. We review label info and other rules before he begins. All outer coverings go into a plastic bag for either disposal or special cleaning.

Around here the problem is found among the greenhouse operators pushing the reentry limits following the application of pesticides. Every year or so some worker or workers are hospitalized for treatment from residue effects.


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RE: Pesticide exposure and IQ

Contrary to what some appear to think no one is placing the blame for this solely on the farmers. A little thought would tell most people that the primary place of exposure to pesticides for children to years of age 5 would be in the home. The same place they were, and rare, being exposed to lead particles.

Here is a link that might be useful: pesticides and IQ


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More pesticides are used by non-farmers in non-farming situations. No need to blame farmers.

I have horror stories about the effects of pesticides on the health of children and pets around homes.


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Thank you Kimmsr for the Sunday the 19th link. One point that I would like to emphasize. The article stated: "Though companies selling pesticides have taken the strategy to switch from a banned chemical to a chemical with unknown effects,"
H.Kuska comment. I interpret that as saying that they used the public as beta testers instead of doing extensive safety tests before releasing. I feel that this is what concerned scientists have been trying to tell the public.
Later the article states: "Scientists are moving away from chemicals which target biological processes, often shared between many organisms, making them broadly toxic. One of the prevailing strategies to target insects is to genetically modify crops to produce fatal genetic material specific to an insect. Because the genetic material is insect-specific, it poses no threat to the health of the crop or any other species."
H.Kuska comment: That sounds like an ideal solution but is it realistic? Nature has only so many biochemical routes available to it. Here is a recent published reviewed research paper about one effect of adding a Bt transgene to cotton.

Published in: Arthropod-Plant Interactions, January 2014

Title: Comparative incidence of cotton spider mites on transgenic Bt versus conventional cotton in relation to contents of secondary metabolites

Authors: Hui Ma, Ming Zhao, Hongyan Wang, Zhongmin Wang, Qi Wang, Hezhong Dong

Author Affiliations" Cotton Research Center, Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences/Key Lab for Cotton Breeding and Culture in Huanghuaihai Planin, Jinan, 250100, People’s Republic of China
From the abstract: "The occurrence of spider mites was more serious on Bt than non-Bt cotton, and the fitness of the mites on Bt cotton was higher than on non-Bt cotton. Reductions in gossypol and tannin contents in Bt cotton decreased the generation time and increased the number of eggs of cotton spider mites."

The following quote is from the Introduction section of the full paper.
"There are reports that the reduction in the use of insecticides on transgenic cotton plants could lead to an increase in populations of secondary pests (Schuler et al. 1999). However, some other reports suggest that the Bt gene implantation can lead to metabolic changes in cotton as to decrease the content of insect secondary material (Zhang and Guo 2000) and alter nitrogen metabolism (Chen et al. 2004, 2005; Tian et al. 2000). These changes may affect community composition and population of herbivorous insects (Wu et al. 1996; Yan et al. 2002; Gao et al. 2008). Gossypol and tannin are important secondary metabolites in cotton. Gossypol is one of the most important mechanisms of direct resistance in cotton plants; tannins also contribute to direct resistance against herbivorous arthropods (Guo et al. 2013; Hagenbucher et al. 2013a). There are reports that the tannin content in leaf and bud of Bt cotton is lower than in non-Bt cotton throughout the growing season (Lu et al. 2005; Wu et al. 2000). Condensed tannins are an important material that aids cotton resistance against spider mites (Wu 1998)."

H.Kuska comment. I interpret the above as showing that the earlier quote "Because the genetic material is insect-specific, it poses no threat to the health of the crop" (from the paper linked to by Kimmsr) is not correct.

Here is a link that might be useful: link for above 2014 reviewed scientific paper abstract


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Kimmsr, several years ago right here in GardenWeb, a young woman commented that she had just come in from spraying her garden with malathion. The wind was blowing and some of the spray got on her. She commented on how bad it tasted. Oh, she was pregnant.

I've got zillions of nightmare stories of pesticide abuse by homeowners, landscapers, farmers, facility maintenance workers, orchardists, and others.


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"I interpret that as saying that they used the public as beta testers instead of doing extensive safety tests before releasing. I feel that this is what concerned scientists have been trying to tell the public."

Yeah...that's not a correct interpretation.

The idea that a company can just dump a chemical on the market without extensive mammal/bird/fish test testing is a weird conclusion to leap to. The only people allowed to do that are the 1000s of companies selling "herbal supplements" thanks to FDA loopholes and lack of regulation (which some of these "food activists" fight tooth and nail to make sure they're not regulated).

Companies aren't taking years to bring a product to market and spending millions testing it for kicks. The government (and various agencies) make them do it or we'd have a heck of a lot more stuff on the market a heck of a lot quicker.

I'm not even touching how you're interpreting that BT study you posted in relation to the other article you're tying it to as a weird comparison example...it's another example of cherry picking "technically correct" without scaling the amount cost vs benefit in control. The natural ability to withstand spider mites in cotton is grossly inefficient to begin with...a fraction of loss of grossly inefficient control is negligible to worry about to begin with. We're not talking about legitimately measurable non-external-control traits like the ability for a corn to grow a tight husk around the cob to keep some pests from easily invading.

But hey, "technically correct" is still correct even if the realistic/real-world impact of it isn't evident to a person searching Google for a reason to deny the point.

This post was edited by nc-crn on Mon, Jan 20, 14 at 19:14


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The following was stated: "The natural ability to withstand spider mites in cotton is grossly inefficient to begin with...a fraction of loss of grossly inefficient control is negligible to worry about to begin with."

H.Kuska comment. No documented was provided. My understanding is that it depends on the variety. For example:
"The rate of increase of two spotted spider mites was lower on the okra leaf cultivar Siokra, than on the normal leaf cultivar, Deltapine 90, indicating that Siokra is more resistant."
The above is from:
Title: Spider Mites (Acari: Tetranychidae) Affect Yield and Fiber Quality of Cotton

Author: WILSON, L. J.

Published in: Journal of Economic Entomology, Volume 86, Number 2, April 1993 , pp. 566-585(20)
http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/esa/jee/1993/00000086/00000002/art00054

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What information does the article provide regarding "a fraction of loss of grossly inefficient control is negligible to worry about"? The article does not give actual numbers, but one can get an estimate from the graphs. When the % tannin is about 0.45, the number of mites is about 400. When the % tannin is about 1.0, the number of mites is about 175. The regular C12 cotton at seedling stage has about 1 % tannin, and the BT-C12 cotton has 0.5 % tannin.

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My point is using this article is to demonstrate that my statement regarding the statement: "Because the genetic material is insect-specific, it poses no threat to the health of the crop or any other species." which was:
H.Kuska comment: That sounds like an ideal solution but is it realistic? Nature has only so many biochemical routes available to it." can be documented with an example.

This is the explanation that the authors propose for the effect of the Bt insertion.

"Carbon and nitrogen metabolism are the most basic and major metabolic processes in plants. They are respectively related to the synthesis of carbohydrates and proteins. Gossypol and tannin are products of carbon metabolism in cotton plants; Bt protein expression is in the form of synthetic Bt protein, a nitrogen metabolic process (Yang et al. 2005). The insertion of the Bt gene usually enhances nitrogen metabolism in Bt cotton to promote the Bt protein expression. And selection for enhanced nitrogen metabolism will continue to be a priority in Bt cotton breeding program. It was reported that Bt cotton cultivars had higher intensity of leaf nitrogen metabolism than their wild parents, especially during squaring and boll-setting period (Chen et al. 2004). Enhanced nitrogen metabolism is bound to impact carbon metabolism, thus weakening the synthesis of condensed tannins in the cotton plant (Zhang and Guo 2000; Gao et al. 2008). In the present study, gossypol and tannin contents in Bt cotton leaves were substantially lower than in non-Bt cotton leaves. Similar results were observed by Olsen et al. (1998) who reported that total phenolic and tannins in Bt cotton were significantly reduced compared to conventional cotton. Also, Hagenbucher et al. (2013b) reported that Bt cotton contains reduced levels of induced terpenoids because of effective suppression of Bt-sensitive lepidopteran and suggested that lack of herbivore-induced secondary metabolites in Bt cotton was beneficial to non-target herbivores. Our results show that the occurrence of spider mites was more serious on Bt than non-Bt cotton, and the fitness of the mites to Bt cotton was higher than to non-Bt cotton. Thus, it is believed that the decreased generation time and the increased number of eggs laid by cotton spider mite were attributed to reductions in gossypol and tannin contents arising from gene insertion in Bt cotton."


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"H.Kuska comment. No documented was provided. My understanding is that it depends on the variety."

It still doesn't change the fact that these natural resistance tannins and phenols are an extremely minor part of pest control in a field planting...or a home garden. They're a factor, but they're an extremely minor factor.

The paper presented may or may not open up avenues of research in the future, but it is not a plant choice revolution.

A single study, and most of the time even a handful of studies, will usually not paint you a full picture of whole plant physiology or the give/take of chemical balance within the plant. Knowing how to use and scale the information you're getting is a huge part of this field...and pretty much any scientific field.

There's also things like this to consider...

Different types of corn have different aphid resistance traits depending on the expression of certain enzymes (especially positive in lower expressing benzoxazinoids). This effect in the "real world" out in the fields is so minor, though, that you're not going to be able to use this to fight off aphids, nor would a seed breeder/seller be able to get away with calling plants that express lower benzoxazinoids "aphid resistant" even though it's technically true. ...and hey, you know what happens when corn expresses less benzoxazinoid action to get that positive aphid resistance action? ...it's open to greater to caterpillar attacks and feeding because benzoxazinoids are part of the natural defense mechanisms preventing that pest from thriving on the plant.

Source: Someone who does this for a living, January 2014.

This post was edited by nc-crn on Tue, Jan 21, 14 at 7:59


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One of the inevitable drawbacks of safety testing any chemical, be it a pesticide of fabulous new hair treatment to fix split ends, it thats its impossible to test for all interactions with other chemicals present, and all of these interactions + individual sensitivity/susceptibility.

Another way to put it is the over-all chemical load we're exposed to. Some pesticide might well be fine on its own, but in combination with the other 45 things we've absorbed over the past year from all the other sources, it might be some sort of final straw.

I know a couple of farmers who no longer spray anything at all, after doing if for years, they just get sick. I also know mechanics who had to give up because they started to get a nasty allergic reaction to engine oil.


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The following was stated: "It still doesn't change the fact that these natural resistance tannins and phenols are an extremely minor part of pest control in a field planting...or a home garden. They're a factor, but they're an extremely minor factor."

H.Kuska comment. No, without supporting documentation, the above statement is not a fact.

In an earlier reviewed scientific paper the following is stated in the abstract: "transgenic Bt cotton significantly increases the abundance of cotton spider mites compared to those of non-transgenic Bt cotton."
http://maxwellsci.com/print/ajfst/v4-393-397.pdf
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In the full paper, please look at Figure 2, on 8/24 75 % of the Bt plants were infected while 25 % of the non Bt plants were infected.

("There were two treatments consisting of transgenic Bt cotton (Ezamian No. 24F1) and non-transgenic Bt cotton (Ek 9 parental line of Ezamian No. 24F1").

Here is a link that might be useful: link to above


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"H.Kuska comment. No, without supporting documentation, the above statement is not a fact."

See...that's the thing. There is supporting documentation...I'm just not going to dig around Google looking for something for you to click on because you think I'm too much of an idiot or untrustworthy to comment on things I've gotten degrees in and work with on a near-daily basis. Seriously, guy...you're going to have to get over that point and if you can't then you're going to have to deal with me commenting on stuff anyway. I'm not writing a research paper or a textbook here...I'm on an internet message board. Don't want to believe anything I write unless I document it? Fine. That still doesn't make it "not a fact."

If you used your same Google kung-fu stealth skills to search around the internet for stuff other than what side you want to argue about you might be able to discover it. It seems to be the one thing with Google you're not good at.

You can choose to believe what you want to believe. You can Google search for the answers you want and ignore what you don't want to read. Woo...free will.

Not everything I write is gospel...not everything is unchallengeable...that's not what I'm saying here. I am open to challenge, but flat dismissal and ignoring what you don't want to hear isn't going to get you anywhere.

Your lack of understanding of the subject material along with the desire to have a point of yours justified is once again butting heads with established science and real-world experience (from researchers to farmers) on the issue-du-jour you're championing.

On this particular subject you can't tell where to come to a conclusion about how important this "mites vs tannins/phenol content" thing is because you don't understand the base line of it's strength and effectiveness to begin with. You're seeing 75% on one and 25% on another and coming to your own conclusion about effectiveness and strength without understanding the material you're trying to make a conclusion about.

A lot is already known about tannins/phenols/etc in plant self-protection of many field/agriculture crops. It is widely and long-known that it helps...it is also widely and well-known that it doesn't help very much even though it does help. If it did help a lot we would have an entire class of organic pesticides made from the extracts of these plant compounds...if it did we would have plant breeders falling all over themselves to breed it into fruiting plants where leaves aren't consumed (because of the taste factor) as a nearly universal highly desired trait...etc etc etc...

This post was edited by nc-crn on Thu, Jan 23, 14 at 3:25


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This might be of interest to some here. Others will simply disparage it.

Here is a link that might be useful: DDT and Alzheimers


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RE: Pesticide exposure and IQ

Regarding Alzheimers: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-01-natural-compound-alzheimer-disease-mice.html

Here is a link that might be useful: link for above


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