This last week, I came across a couple of good articles at Rodale Institute that I wanted to share with you.
Lupus, other autoimmune diseases linked to insecticide exposure
A recent study shows that women who use insecticides are at elevated risk for autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. The results of the yet unpublished study were presented October 2009 at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting in Philadelphia, PA.
The study of 75,000 women shows that those who spray insecticides at least six times per year have almost two and a half times the risk of developing lupus and rheumatoid arthritis versus those who do not use insecticides. The risk doubles if insecticides were used in the home for 20 years or more.
“Our new results provide support for the idea that environmental factors may increase susceptibility or trigger the development of autoimmune diseases in some individuals,” said Dr. Christine G. Parks, PhD. She is an epidemiologist with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C., one of the lead researchers who analyzed data from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Observational
“The findings are fairly compelling” because they show the greater and longer the exposure, the greater the risk,” said Darcy Majka, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Northwestern University, who also analyzed the WHI data. Full story: Beyond Pesticides Daily News Blog
Herbicide-resistant pigweeds stop combines, make national TV
Cotton and soybean farmers in eastern Arkansas are interviewed in an ABC News story highlighting the potential harvest disruption caused by weeds that chemicals cannot kill. The reporter says that more than 1 million acres may be affected by the problem, long predicted by farmers and weed scientists who advocate for non-chemical weed management.
One farmer interviewed said he had spent $500,000 spraying chemicals this year, and lost the battle against pigweed. The resistant, persistent plant pest forms a hard, fibrous stalk that can be as thick as a baseball bat. A veteran extension agent says he has never seen such a weed threat.
While the coverage focuses on the current-year crisis—and highlights the fallacy of depending on herbicides for long-term sustainability—glyphosate (the active ingredient in many widely used herbicides) has been losing its impact for years, as our background story illustrates. Full story: ABC News
Science initially came to the rescue to help farmers control insects and weeds and now that their chemicals are no longer effective or are even causing autoimmune diseases, America is going to go running back to these companies to solve the problem they helped to create. It sure looks like the fox (aka chemical companies) has the keys to the hen house (aka USDA). This kind of information speaks loudly for the importance of Organic Agriculture.