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New study finds little-know pesticide in four out of five people tested

Oats-8946_640It’s important to know about and reduce your exposure to pesticides. Growing up on a farm, I saw the effects pesticide exposure can have on health.

A little-known pesticide, chlormequat, was found in four out of five people tested, in a new study by the Environmental Working Group.

EWG’s research tested the urine of 96 people for the presence of chlormequat, finding it in 77 of them.

“EWG’s new study on chlormequat is the first of its kind in the U.S.,” said EWG Toxicologist Alexis Temkin, Ph.D., lead author of the study.

Because the chemical is linked to reproductive and developmental problems in animal studies, the findings suggest the potential for similar harm to humans.

Environmental Protection Agency regulations allow the chemical to be used on ornamental plants only – not food crops – grown in the United States. 

But since 2018, the EPA has permitted chlormequat on imported oats and other foods, increasing the allowed amount in 2020. Both regulatory changes took place under the Trump administration. Many oats and oat products consumed in the U.S. come from Canada. 

In April 2023, in response to an application submitted by chlormequat manufacturer Taminco in 2019, the Biden EPA proposed allowing the first-ever use of chlormequat on barley, oats, triticale, and wheat grown in the U.S.

The proposed rule, which the EWG opposes, hasn’t been finalized.

“The federal government has a vital role in ensuring that pesticides are adequately monitored, studied and regulated,” Temkin said. “Yet the EPA continues to abdicate its responsibility to protect children from the potential health harms of toxic chemicals like chlormequat in food.”

EWG urges the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration to test foods for chlormequat and requests that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention add chlormequat to its biomonitoring program, Temkin said. The organization also calls for more research on the effects of chlormequat on human health.

EWG conducted tests of oat-based foods in 2022 and 2023, finding chlormequat in numerous non-organic oat-based products. Organic oat products had little to no detections of the chemical.


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Our current laws re: pesticides (i.e., pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc, treat them as "innocent until proven guilty", and maybe not even when they've been proven to be gulty, EPA has not suspended or revoked glysophate's registration has it? Despite all the successful plaintiff's litigation. That and that EPA can't do its own testing, it must rely on corporate test results.
Profits over people.
There is close to no research funded re: synergistic effects of what happens in real life: what happens when humans, other mammals, amphibians, birds, reptiles, fish, are exposed to many toxics. Although since salmon is a commercial fish species in the US, research has shown that some of the chemicals in tires, are preventing salmon from spawning, when those chemicals end up in the water of creeks where salmon still spawn. In Oregon, many roads are placed by creeks/rivers, because generally that's where the flat land was, if there was any at all.
BPA, BPS, PFAS, in addition to the hundreds if not thousands of pesticides/herbicides, etc., applied to crops, lawns, trees, etc. in the US? And lets not forget PCBs, which hang around pretty much forever, or TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin) a contaminant of Agent Orange & a product of chlorine bleaching of paper (so it's widespread in some parts of southern US) and some other processes. TCDD is considered to be one of the nost toxic chemical compounds around and its degradation is very very very slow. It's been found in the breast milk of many mothers.
Has made me wonder how much of the current health issues in the US & elsewhere is due to all these exposures, as well as ultra processed foods, etc. We have no research to show that all those exposures don't contribute to obesity, higher rates of diabeties Type II, etc., as much as overeating, or eating processed foods do. For example, it's known that veterans exposed to Agent Orange during their service are far nore likely to develope type II diabetest then veterans who weren't--it's a listed condition for veterans exposure to AO. Well, there's been people in the US exposed to Agent Orange too--it was aerially sprayed in the Suislaw National Forest in Oregon, by the National Forest Service, until some residents got an injunction to stop aerial spraying (can still be used for ground spraying perhaps) on the basis that the NFS hadn't done an adequate EIS (Environmental Impact Statement). Watersheds, including watersheds of public water supplie,s can be aerially sprayed w/any number of herbicides/pesticides and if communities try to stop it, good luck, one state court in OR has held that federal law pre-empts such laws, or EPA's registration is that "law" (see lack of funding so EPA can check corporate test results). Plus even when a testing scandal was uncovered years ago--i.e, a testing facility wasn't doing valid testing, EPA did NOT suspend the registrations of those pesticides/herbicides that had been tested by that lab even if those tests had been demonstrated to be invalid.

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