“A study by the U.S. Geological Survey published in 2002 brought attention to PPCPs in water. In a sampling of 139 susceptible streams in 30 states, detectable yet minute quantities of PPCPs were found in 80 percent of the streams. The most common pharmaceuticals detected were steroids and nonprescription drugs. Antibiotics, prescription medication, detergents, fire retardants, pesticides and natural and synthetic hormones were also found.
The potential human health risks associated with minute levels of PPCPs in water in general and drinking water in particular is still being determined. Until more is known, there is much the public health and environmental protection community can do to educate the public about taking proactive steps concerning the use and disposal of PPCPs.
Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are a diverse group of chemicals including:
- all human and veterinary drugs
- dietary supplements
- topical agents such as cosmetics and sunscreens
- laundry and cleaning products
- fragrances and all the “inert” ingredients that are part of these products
Pharmaceuticals and personal care products are introduced to the environment as pollutants in a variety of ways, including:
- intentional disposal of unneeded PPCPs (flushing)
- bathing or swimming
- discharge from municipal sewage systems or private septic systems
- leaching from landfills
- excretion by humans and domestic animals
- runoff from confined animal feeding operations
- discharge of raw sewage from storm overflow events, cruise ships, and some rural homes directly into surface water
- accidental discharges to a groundwater recharge area
- loss from aquaculture
- spray-drift from antibiotics used on food crops.”
“Glyphosate is an herbicide that is regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. It is an ingredient in Roundup, a widely used herbicide, as well as more than 700 other products for sale in the United States. Glyphosate is a non-selective herbicide used on many food and non-food crops as well as non-crop areas such as roadsides. When applied at lower rates, it serves as a plant growth regulator. The most common uses include control of broadleaf weeds and grasses hay/pasture, soybeans, field corn; ornamental, lawns, turf, forest plantings, greenhouses, and rights-of-way.
Some people who drink water containing glyphosate well in excess of the maximum contaminant level (MCL) for many years could experience problems with their kidneys or reproductive difficulties. This health effects language is not intended to catalog all possible health effects for glyphosate. Rather, it is intended to inform consumers of some of the possible health effects associated with glyphosate in drinking water when the rule was finalized. In 1974, Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act. This law requires EPA to determine the level of contaminants in drinking water at which no adverse health effects are likely to occur. These non-enforceable health goals, based solely on possible health risks and exposure over a lifetime with an adequate margin of safety, are called maximum contaminant level goals (MCLG). Contaminants are any physical, chemical, biological or radiological substances or matter in water.
The MCLG for glyphosate is 0.7 mg/L or 700 ppb. EPA has set this level of protection based on the best available science to prevent potential health problems. EPA has set an enforceable regulation for glyphosate, called a maximum contaminant level (MCL), at 0.7 mg/L or 700 ppb. MCLs are set as close to the health goals as possible, considering cost, benefits and the ability of public water systems to detect and remove contaminants using suitable treatment technologies. In this case, the MCL equals the MCLG, because analytical methods or treatment technology do not pose any limitation.
The Phase V Rule, the regulation for glyphosate, became effective in 1994. The Safe Drinking Water Act requires EPA to periodically review the national primary drinking water regulation for each contaminant and revise the regulation, if appropriate. EPA reviewed glyphosate as part of the Six Year Review and determined that the 0.7 mg/L or 700 ppb MCLG and 0.7 mg/L or 700 ppb MCL for glyphosate are still protective of human health.” (EPA 2015)
While the United States classified glyphosate as non-carcinogenic when it was last reviewed in 1993, the World Health Organization published a study in March 2015 that indicates glyphosate is a probable carcinogen. Since the new study was released, there have been many questions asked regarding the safety of glyphosate. According to The Ecologist (June 12, 2015), several countries have banned or restricted use of the weed killer, including France, Columbia, Sri Lanka and El Salvador. In addition, many garden centers across the globe are pulling products that contain glyphosate off their shelves as a precautionary measure to protect customers. However, Roundup remains a staple herbicide in the United States.
Testing for glyphosate previously may have been cost prohibitive for many homeowners. We have partnered with a national testing laboratory to provide a cost-effective alternative that also includes trace metals, volatile organics, and other organic chemicals. For more information, please visit our Testing Testing and Evalatuion Protal but National Testing Laboratories (NTL) now offers a lower-cost test for detecting glyphosate in drinking water. Typical analysis by EPA-approved methods can cost $200 to $400, but the new package offers a much lower price to both water treatment professionals and homeowners.
It May NOT Be the Water (This is not our work, but great information- see credit).
“Heavy metal poisoning is caused by metals that accumulate within the body’s fat cells, central nervous system, bones, brain, glands, and/or hair to produce negative health effects. Such metals are unsafe at any level in the body, and their presence in the body is not normal.
The most common heavy metal poisons are lead, cadmium, mercury, and nickel. Aluminum, while not a heavy metal, can also cause toxicity and poor health. They are by no means the only toxic metals that can cause poor health.
Do You Have a Problem
Symptoms of heavy metal poisoning can vary greatly, and depending on the type of metal toxicity, the age of the affected person (children are more susceptible to heavy metal poisoning), the length of the exposure, and the presence or absence of protective minerals and other nutrients that inhibit the absorption, binding, and effects of the toxic metals. For example, calcium deficiency exacerbates lead toxicity, while normal levels of calcium in the body help to protect against lead toxicity.
One common side effect of these metals is a metallic taste in the mouth. What follows are other common side effects for each of these toxic metals:
Aluminum: Aluminum toxicity may be associated with headaches, cognitive problems, learning disabilities, poor bone density (osteoporosis), ringing in the ears, gastrointestinal disorders, colic, hyperactivity in children, and ataxia (an abnormal walking pattern). Its possible role in poor memory or Alzheimer’s disease is speculative at this time but also worth noting.
Cadmium: Cadmium toxicity can cause fatigue, irritability, headaches, high blood pressure, enlargement of the prostate gland, increased risk for cancer, hair loss, learning disabilities, kidney and liver disorders, skin disorders, painful joints, and decreased immune functioning.
Lead: Lead toxicity can cause poor bone growth and development, learning disabilities, fatigue, poor task performance, irritability, anxiety, high blood pressure, weight loss, increased susceptibility to infection, ringing in the ears, decreased cognitive functioning and concentration and spelling skills, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, constipation, muscle and joint pain, tremors, and overall general decreased immune functioning.
Mercury: Mercury toxicity can cause cognitive and memory problems, irritability, fatigue, insomnia, gastrointestinal disorders, decreased immune response, irrational behavior, numbness, tingling, muscular weakness, impaired vision and hearing, allergic conditions, asthma, and multiple sclerosis.
Nickel: Nickel toxicity may be associated with fatigue, respiratory illnesses, heart conditions, skin rashes, psoriasis, fatigue, and headaches.
Exposure to toxic metals is quite common, given the degree of environmental toxins that now affect our planet. What follows are some of the most likely sources of exposure for each of the most common toxic metals:
Aluminum: Aluminum-containing antacids, many over-the-counter drugs and douches that contain aluminum, aluminum cookware and aluminum foil (especially when preparing and storing acidic foods), antiperspirants, most commercial baking powders, and contaminated water.
Cadmium: Possible contamination from cigarette and pipe smoke, instant coffee and tea, nickel-cadmium batteries, contaminated water, some soft drinks, refined grains, fungicides, pesticides, and some plastics.
Lead: Cigarette smoke, eating paint that is lead-based (in children, especially in poor housing or older housing), eating and cooking foods in ceramic glazes that are lead-based, leaded gasoline, eating liver that may be contaminated with lead, living in the inner city that may have elevated lead air levels, contaminated water, canned foods (especially fruit in which the lead-soldered cans may leach into the food), certain bone meal supplements, and insecticides.
Mercury: Possible contamination from mercury-based dental amalgam fillings, laxatives that contain calomel, some hemorrhoid suppositories, inks used by some printers and tattooists, some paints, some cosmetics, and many products that may contain small amounts of mercury such as fabric softeners, wood preservatives, solvents, drugs, and some plastics and contaminated fish.
Nickel: Many pieces of jewelry contain nickel and wearing them next to skin creates some absorption. Some metal cooking utensils have nickel added to them, even stainless steel, which is mostly a problem when cooking acidic foods. Cigarette smoke, hydrogenated fats (as nickel is the catalyst for the reaction to create them), some refined foods, and fertilizers contain nickel.
Note: Vaccinations and common dental amalgam fillings are two primary causes of heavy metal poisoning from mercury, as mercury is contained in many vaccines and well as in silver amalgams.
Caution: Heavy metal poisoning is a serious health problem and should not be ignored. To determine whether you are affected by this problem, consult with a holistic practitioner with experience in screening for these poisons and then work with him or her to effectively detoxify your body.”
It may be your drinking water – So get it tested and you should learn about drinking water quality. You are free to choose any lab you want and any testing options you want. If any result is above the Maximum Contaminate Level (MCL) or you just don’t understand the results, you can receive specific advice and recommendations if you send a copy of the tests to Mr. Oram at 15 Hillcrest Drive, Dallas, PA 18612. Also, you should order the new booklet for Private Well Owners In PA – proceeds benefit our non-profit organization.
We seek new people at all skill levels for a variety of programs. One thing that everyone can do is attend meetings to share ideas on improving CCGG, enabling us to better understand and address the concerns of well owners.
Everything we do began with an idea.
We realize your time is precious and the world is hectic. CCGG’s volunteers do only what they’re comfortable with. It can be a little or a lot.
Carbon County Groundwater Guardians is a 501(c)(3) IRS approved nonprofit, volunteer organization and your donation is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Friday, November 18, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The challenge of weeds that have become resistant to glyphosate — the active ingredient in Round-Up herbicide — has become an evolving national threat, with new challenges emerging and spreading annually. At least three glyphosate-resistant species on the horizon for Pennsylvania require new strategies to combat them, according to a specialist in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
Penn State Extension weed scientist Dwight Lingenfelter said several resistant species currently are approaching Pennsylvania. These weeds were controlled routinely over the years with glyphosate-based herbicide programs, but now the effectiveness of those programs is dwindling.
“There’s a species called Palmer pigweed or Palmer amaranth, which is a huge problem — especially in cotton-growing regions,” he said. “In the past, farmers were spending only maybe $20 to $30 an acre to control pigweed; now they’re up over $90 to $100 an acre, because of its resistance to a number of herbicide modes of action.
“Currently, we don’t have any major outbreaks of it in Pennsylvania, but we’re hearing reports from Delaware and Maryland that they’re starting to find Palmer pigweed, and it’s more than likely to creep into our cropping systems, especially in the southern tier of the state.”
Lingenfelter said a second resistant species slowly invading the state, water-hemp, already is creating big problems in the Midwest and South and is resistant to numerous herbicides as well.
“We had a person bring in a sample of water-hemp this summer, so we know there are some populations in our state currently,” he said. “We’re also seeing glyphosate-resistant species of horseweed or marestail spreading throughout the state — it’s very common in the mid-Atlantic region and Midwestern states.”
While it might sound like it’s losing its effectiveness, glyphosate is still vital in “burn-down” weed-control programs, which work by killing any vegetation on a treated field.
“It’s still a very effective herbicide for a number of species in our area,” he said. “It controls a number of weeds in the burn-down period and still is a foundation or backbone for many weed-control programs. We recommend using other herbicides in combination with it to control weeds that aren’t being controlled by glyphosate alone.
“We work with farmers to explain various programs that use different techniques and management options in a situation like that,” he said. “Generally, we recommend that if you’re using glyphosate in the burn-down, you also should use something such as 2-4-D or a product like Valor XLT Sharpen prior to planting soybeans. We also encourage tank-mixing herbicides or using pre-packaged products so multiple modes of action are in the weed-control program.”
The mode of action is the way an herbicide affects the weed to kill it, Lingenfelter explained. “There are about 10 different major modes of action available, and you can combine those to get control of the particular species you’re going after. We highly recommend having at least two modes of action that act on that particular weed species.”
Newer herbicide products introduced in the last five years can help control resistant species in burn-down programs. But Lingenfelter pointed out that, while “new” products are being introduced on the market, the industry hasn’t produced a formulation that employs a new mode of action in more than 15 years.
“The reality is that many companies are repackaging products and giving them different trade names so it looks like we have a lot of new herbicides when in reality we do not. And if they were to discover a new mode of action in some lab today, we wouldn’t reap the benefits of it for at least 10 years, because it takes that long to get through all of the testing phases and field trials before it would hit the market.”
Lingenfelter said the diversity and rotation of crops grown in Pennsylvania gives it an advantage over states in the Midwest and South when it comes to fighting resistant weeds. Corn, cotton and soybeans are the primary field crops in the Midwest and South, and more than 90 percent of the acres are sprayed with glyphosate, so weeds are pushed to develop resistance.
“Here in Pennsylvania, we typically rotate between corn, soybeans, alfalfa, small grains and sometimes various vegetable crops, depending on the area of the state,” he said. “Because of this, we use a variety of weed-control methods. Not only does this allow for different herbicides and a rotation of herbicide modes of action, but it allows for other weed-management techniques — such as mowing forage crops or the addition of cover crops — and other cultural tactics such as variations in planting date, seeding rate or row spacing.
“We still use a lot of Round-Up-ready corn and soybeans, but glyphosate is not the primary means of control. Also, different types of weeds are common in different crops depending on life cycles and growth habit. Our diverse rotations should hold off resistance pretty well, but we’ll have to start thinking about different techniques to handle it.”
Lingenfelter said Pennsylvania growers can learn a lesson from watching the experience of their neighbors in states to the south and west. “The majority of the resistance problem in these other regions is they were relying on a single mode of action — that being glyphosate.”
For more information, contact Dwight Lingenfelter at 814-865-2242 or email@example.com.
October 27, 2011
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Researchers in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences are part of a new, multi-state project to study the brown marmorated stink bug.
The research is funded by a recently announced $5.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture through its Specialty Crops Research Initiative.
The three-year project is aimed at developing economically and environmentally sustainable pest-management practices for the brown marmorated stink bug, which has caused millions of dollars worth of crop damage and become a major homeowner nuisance since it first was found in the United States, near Allentown, in the late 1990s.
Penn State will receive nearly $900,000 of the grant to study stink bug biology and behavior, develop monitoring and management tools and practices, and provide extension education programs to disseminate new knowledge to crop producers.
“It’s too early to put a dollar value on crop damage this year, but the apple industry alone estimated losses of about $37 million as the result of stink bug infestations in the mid-Atlantic region in 2010,” said Greg Krawczyk, extension tree-fruit entomologist at Penn State’s Fruit Research and Extension Center in Biglerville.
Krawczyk, who leads the Penn State portion of the project, noted that crop damage this year appears to be lower than last year, though it varies from region to region. “Growers who experienced big losses last year managed this pest better during this season, but some individual growers still suffered losses of up to 60 percent,” he said.
Because the brown marmorated stink bug is native to Asia, it has few natural enemies in North America, allowing populations to grow largely unchecked. The pest is known to feed on as many as 300 host plants and migrates readily, further complicating control.
Krawczyk said one of the goals of the research is to develop control tactics that rely on the principles of IPM, or integrated pest management. IPM utilizes a variety of methods — including biological controls, pheromones for mating disruption and other techniques — that help minimize pesticide use.
He explained that some broad-spectrum pesticides that are effective against stink bugs also kill the beneficial insects tree-fruit growers rely on as part of IPM programs. “That upsets the balance in the orchard ecosystem — allowing other pests to become more of a problem — and could reverse much of the progress we’ve made in IPM, which has helped Pennsylvania growers to reduce pesticide use by as much as 75 percent in recent decades.”
Penn State scientists will study stink bugs as they relate to the production of tree fruits, vegetables and grapes. Researchers will explore biological control options, stink-bug chemical ecology (chemically mediated interactions among plants and insects), and monitoring strategies. The project also will assess the pest’s economic impact and the economic feasibility of new management methods.
Krawczyk said although the research will focus mostly on specialty crops and will not directly address infestations in homes or in major agronomic crops such as corn and soybean, knowledge gained should aid in the development of recommendations that could be useful for habitat-scale management.
Other Penn State personnel taking part in the project include David Biddinger, senior research associate in entomology at the Fruit Research and Extension Center; Gary Felton, professor and head of entomology; Shelby Fleischer, professor of entomology; Jayson Harper, professor of agricultural economics; Steven Jacobs, senior extension associate in entomology; Michael Saunders, professor of entomology; and John Tooker, assistant professor of entomology.
The project is led by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, along with a core group of land-grant universities: Penn State, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, and the universities of Maryland and Delaware. Also participating are researchers from Cornell, Oregon State University, North Carolina State University, Washington State University and the Northeast IPM Center.
More information about the brown marmorated stink bug is available online at http://ento.psu.edu/extension/factsheets/brown-marmorated-stink-bug.
Week of 07/11/10
Dear EarthTalk: Within my lawn I have over 100 citrus, mango and avocado trees. When I use Scott’s Bonus S Weed and Feed, am I feeding my new fruit any poison? Will the weed killer be taken up by the fruit?— Richard Weissman, Miami, FL
In short, yes and yes: You will jeopardize the health of your fruit trees and your yard in general if you use such products. Scott’s Bonus S Weed and Feed, as well as many other “weed-and-feed” fertilizers (Vigero, Sam’s, etc.), contain the harsh chemical herbicide atrazine, which excels at terminating fast-growing weeds like dandelions and crabgrass but can also kill other desirable plants and trees and damage your entire yard as toxin-carrying root systems stretch underground in every corner and beyond.
Howard Garrett, a landscape architect who founded the DirtDoctor.com website and is an evangelist for natural organic gardening and landscaping, points out that anyone who reads the label on such products will learn that even manufacturers don’t take their health and environmental effects lightly. Some of the warnings right there in black and white on the Scott’s Bonus S Weed and Feed packaging include precautions against using it “under trees, shrubs, bedding plants or garden plants” or in the general vicinity of any such plants’ branch spreads or root zones.
Scott’s also recommends not applying it by hand or with hand-held rotary devices or applying “in a way that will contact any person either directly or through drift.” And just in case you were thinking it was okay for the environment, Scott’s adds that “runoff and drift from treated areas may be hazardous to aquatic organisms in neighboring areas” and that the product is “toxic to aquatic invertebrates.”
Of course, homeowners aren’t the only ones who want lush plant or grass growth without weeds. Farmers have been using atrazine for decades all over the country, although not surprisingly concentrations are highest along the Midwest’s so-called Corn Belt. The herbicide consistently delivers slightly increased agricultural yields, but environmentalists wonder at what cost. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a leading environmental research and advocacy non-profit, reports that atrazine exposure has been shown to impair the reproductive systems of amphibians and mammals, and has been linked to cancer in both laboratory animals and humans. Male frogs exposed to minute doses of the herbicide can develop female sex characteristics, including hermaphroditism and the presence of eggs in the testes. Researchers believe such effects are amplified when atrazine and other chemicals are used together.
As to safer alternatives, Garrett recommends organic fertilizers. “Synthetic fertilizers are unbalanced, often contain contaminants, have no carbon energy, contain far too much nitrogen and have few trace minerals,” he says. “Organic fertilizers, on the other hand, contain naturally buffered blends of major nutrients, trace minerals, organic matter and carbon. They have lots of beneficial life and, most important, they contain nothing that will damage the roots of your trees and other plants.” Some of Garret’s top choices include corn gluten meal (a natural way to prevent the growth of new weeds), THRIVE by AlphaBio, Garrett Juice, Ladybug, Medina, and Soil Mender. More and more choices are coming on the market all the time thanks to the growing popularity of organic gardening.
May 17, 12:02 AM EDT
Research links pesticides with ADHD in children
By CARLA K. JOHNSON
AP Medical Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — A new analysis of U.S. health data links children’s attention-deficit disorder with exposure to common pesticides used on fruits and vegetables.
While the study couldn’t prove that pesticides used in agriculture contribute to childhood learning problems, experts said the research is persuasive.
“I would take it quite seriously,” said Virginia Rauh of Columbia University, who has studied prenatal exposure to pesticides and wasn’t involved in the new study.
More research will be needed to confirm the tie, she said.
Children may be especially prone to the health risks of pesticides because they’re still growing and they may consume more pesticide residue than adults relative to their body weight.
In the body, pesticides break down into compounds that can be measured in urine. Almost universally, the study found detectable levels: The compounds turned up in the urine of 94 percent of the children.
The kids with higher levels had increased chances of having ADHD, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, a common problem that causes students to have trouble in school. The findings were published Monday in Pediatrics.
The children may have eaten food treated with pesticides, breathed it in the air or swallowed it in their drinking water. The study didn’t determine how they were exposed. Experts said it’s likely children who don’t live near farms are exposed through what they eat.
“Exposure is practically ubiquitous. We’re all exposed,” said lead author Maryse Bouchard of the University of Montreal.
She said people can limit their exposure by eating organic produce. Frozen blueberries, strawberries and celery had more pesticide residue than other foods in one government report.
A 2008 Emory University study found that in children who switched to organically grown fruits and vegetables, urine levels of pesticide compounds dropped to undetectable or close to undetectable levels.
Because of known dangers of pesticides in humans, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limits how much residue can stay on food. But the new study shows it’s possible even tiny, allowable amounts of pesticide may affect brain chemistry, Rauh said.
The exact causes behind the children’s reported ADHD though are unclear. Any number of factors could have caused the symptoms and the link with pesticides could be by chance.
The new findings are based on one-time urine samples in 1,139 children and interviews with their parents to determine which children had ADHD. The children, ages 8 to 15, took part in a government health survey in 2000-2004.
As reported by their parents, about 150 children in the study either showed the severe inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity characteristic of ADHD, or were taking drugs to treat it.
The study dealt with one common type of pesticide called organophosphates. Levels of six pesticide compounds were measured. For the most frequent compound detected, 20 percent of the children with above-average levels had ADHD. In children with no detectable amount in their urine, 10 percent had ADHD.
“This is a well conducted study,” said Dr. Lynn Goldman of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a former EPA administrator.
Relying on one urine sample for each child, instead of multiple samples over time, wasn’t ideal, Goldman said.
The study provides more evidence that the government should encourage farmers to switch to organic methods, said Margaret Reeves, senior scientist with the Pesticide Action Network, an advocacy group that’s been working to end the use of many pesticides.
“It’s unpardonable to allow this exposure to continue,” Reeves said.