EnvIowa Podcast: Talking insect ecology with Dr. Andrew Forbes


Forbes
Dr. Andrew Forbes, contributed photo.

Julia Poska | February 17, 2020

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.

Listen here!

 

UI research links pesticide and cardiovascular death


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Pyrethroids are commonly found in most household insecticides (via flickr). 

Julia Poska| December 30, 2019

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 in JAMA 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.

 

 

‘Iowa Watch’ article examines concerns with common Iowa herbicides


A tractor applied pesticide to a field. (Pieter van Marion/Flickr)
A tractor applies pesticide to a field. (Pieter van Marion/Flickr)
Nick Fetty | July 26, 2016

A recent article by Iowa Watch reporter Lauren Mills examines new research into the environmental and public health concerns of two herbicide chemicals commonly used in the Hawkeye State.

Atrazine and glyphosate – both of which are key ingredients in the herbicide Roundup – have come under scrutiny recently for their potential environmental and health impacts on humans. Earlier this month, California required that labels be placed on all products containing atrazine to warm consumers about the potential human health impacts of the chemical. Specifically, atrazine – the second-most commonly used pesticide in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture – has been linked to “birth defects, reduced male fertility and reproductive toxicities in women.”

Glyphosate – the most commonly used pesticide in the U.S. – was determined to be “probably carcinogenic to humans” in a 2015 report by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a division of the World Health Organization.

Last May in Iowa City, the Pesticide Action Network of North America released a report which outlined the impact that pesticide exposure has on children living in rural areas.

To read Lauren’s full piece, visit IowaWatch.orgIowa Watch is produced by the Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism, an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan news service established in Iowa City in 2010.

New Warning Label on Pesticides


Photo from the EPA

The Environmental Protection Agency has created new labels that prohibit use of some neonicotinoid pesticide products where bees are present.  Continue reading

On the Radio: EPA confirms rootworm resistant to Monsanto insecticide


Photo by Coastlander, Flickr.
Photo by Coastlander, Flickr.

Listen to this week’s radio segment here or read the transcript below. This week’s segment discusses rootworms’ resistance to insecticide.

The Environmental Protection Agency confirmed that rootworms have developed a resistance to Monsanto seed corn in Iowa.

This is the Iowa Environmental Focus.

Continue reading

Mild winter could mean more pests this spring in Iowa


Photo by Frank. Vessen, Flickr

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.

Monsanto found guilty in France


Farm in southern France. Photo byKeith Laverack, Flickr

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.

Monsanto has 19 locations in Iowa alone. Their seeds are used for about 90 percent of the soybeans and 70 percent of the corn grown in the U.S.

Earlier in the year, Monsanto faced criticisms after studies showed rootworms were becoming resistant to their pesticides, and widespread use of their herbicides was leading to the formation of superweeds.

Read the Huffington Post’s full article on the lawsuit here.