Today’s installment of the EnvIowa podcast features an interview recorded Feb. 7 with Dr. Andrew Forbes, an evolutionary ecologist at in University of Iowa biology department. Forbes chats about the ecological importance of parasitic insects and shares insights about other creepy crawlies like emerald ash borers and periodical cicadas.
Listen to learn more about his work on insect diversity and speciation.
New observational research has found that people with high exposure to common “pyrethroid” insencticides were 56% more likely to die during a study period than others. Cardiovascular disease was the leading cause of death in the exposed.
CGRER member Wei Bao, assistant professor of epidemiology in the University of Iowa College of Public Health, is an author of the study, published Jan. 30 inJAMA Internal Medicine.
Pyrethroid insecticides are used in most household insecticides and some pet products and head-lice shampoos. The study followed a sample of 2,116 adults who took the United States National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1999 and 2002, representative of the U.S. population as a whole. The researchers noted levels of pyrethroid-associated chemicals in their urine and found death records to determine how many had died by 2015, as well as their cause of death.
While those with higher pyrethroid exposure were more likely to die overall, the highly exposed were three times more likely to suffer cardiovascular deaths than others as well. Bao said in an Iowa Now feature that the study does not prove that the insecticides are the cause of death, only that death and exposure are correlated.
To read Lauren’s full piece, visit IowaWatch.org. Iowa Watch is produced by the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan news service established in Iowa City in 2010.
The warm winter could mean an increase in pests this spring in Iowa. Some pests that normally freeze during the winter did not, and therefore bugs are appearing earlier than usual.
Some farmers are worried about the increase in pests. Consequently, some are planning to spray their crops with pesticide earlier this year than they otherwise would.
On the other hand, some entomologist argue that there will be little difference in the number of pests this spring because some insects need snow cover to survive the winter – many of these insects likely did not survive the mild winter.
Read more about this spring’s pest projections from the Des Moines Register here.
A France court found Monsanto guilty on Monday of poisoning a French farmer. The farmer claims he suffered memory loss, headaches and stammering as a result from inhaling a Monsanto weedkiller in 2004. He argued that the weedkiller did not contain an adequate warning label.
This is the first time Monsanto has been found guilty in such a case. Past cases have failed due to the difficulty in linking symptoms to Monsanto’s products.