|Immune System Weakened by Pesticides
Research provided by Chem-Tox.com
Interleukin I Damaged by Pesticides
Food Pesticide Weakens Removal of Cancer Cells
Potatoes Routinely Contain Highly Toxic Pesticide
Respiratory Infections Higher in Pesticide Workers
A study was done to determine the frequency of infections in 85 workers exposed to organophosphate pesticides in their workplace. The workers were also examined for several other functions of their immune system. The study, published in the 1984 journal Clinical Immunology and Immunopathology, found more than twice the frequency of infections in the pesticide workers. The infections were mainly localized in the upper respiratory tract. The study also found a "marked impairment" of what is called neutrophil chemotaxis. (Chemotaxis is a test which measures how well neutrophils are attracted to a particular problem area in the body).
Although not a direct immune system study, the National Cancer Institute published a 1985 report that Florida pesticide workers employed for 20 or more years faced nearly a 3 times greater risk of developing lung cancer and twice the risk for developing brain cancer. Keep in mind that it is your immune system that removes cancer cells that have begun growing in the body.
Natural Killer Cells Damaged by Pesticides
Autoimmune Problems Caused by 2 Pesticides
Dr. Allen Broughton and Roberta Madison studied 21 patients at the Department of Health Science at California State University. The patients included 3 individuals also exposed to the more common organophosphate pesticides - a 40 year old female who was exposed to Dursban/Vapona at her pet shop, a 33 year old male who was exposed to Dursban for 14 months while treating cattle and a 62 year old female who was exposed to malathion from the aerial spraying of crops. Each patient first had a flu-like illness followed by chronic health complaints including fatigue, malaise, headaches, loss of memory, difficulty with task, muscle and joint pain. The study was not conducted immediately after the exposure, thereby it was measuring long term and not short term effects. Although the results found no difference in total number of white blood cells and lymphocytes, it did find there was a large increase in what are called "autoantibodies" in the pesticide exposed patients (remember, autoantibodies are malfunctioning antibodies that are attacking healthy tissue by mistake). In fact, autoantibodies were found against five organ systems. Out of eleven patients tested, nine had antimyelin autoantibodies directed against peripheral myelin. (Mylelin is the insulation covering that surrounds all nerves and must remain intact for proper nerve transmission.
The researchers concluded by stating,
Common Home Pesticide Lowers Blood Counts
In an unpublished study by the makers or chlordane (Velsicol Inc.), and reported by Dr. David Ozonoff Boston University School of Public Health (Teratogenesis, Carcinogenesis, and Mutagenesis 7:527-540, 1987 ), it was reported that inhalation of the pesticide chlordane by monkeys, over a dose range from 100 to 1,000 ug/m3 for a 90 day period, induced a statistically significant incidence of leukopenia (low white blood cell counts) and thromobocytopenia with effects seen even at the lowest dose tested (Huntingdon Research Laboratories: "Chlordane" A Ninety-Day Inhalation Toxicity Study in the Rat and the Monkey." Unpublished report to the Velsicol Company, June 1984.) Although approximately 75% of homes built before 1988 are routinely being found to contain air levels of the pesticide chlordane, a study by Dr. Richard Fenske at Rutgers University in New Jersey found a startling 34% homes built before 1982 contain air chlordane levels over the safety limit of 5 micrograms per cubic meter of air, set by the National Academy of Sciences. There is no definite data on the number of homes in the United States that have been treated with chlordane, however, in 1987 the National Pest Control Association estimated that 1.5 million homes per year were treated for termite control (8) get Birth Defect Book for reference...... Taking information from several studies regarding chlordane being found in homes today, it could be estimated that 100-185 million U.S. residents are breathing chlordane in their homes daily and 10-20 million U.S. residents could be living in homes where the indoor air levels of chlordane are exceeding the recommended safe limits set by the National Academy of Sciences (set at 5 micrograms per cubic meter). Once the scale of this problem is brought to the publics attention, it should dwarf the concerns previously generated by formaldehyde and radon. In a review of the chlordane home contamination problem and its link to childhood cancers and blood disorders, Dr. David Ozonooff, of the Boston University School of Public Health stated, "a national program for monitoring all homes treated is urgently needed to detect persistent contamination (9)." Because of the importance of understanding the extent of exposure of the population to air levels of pesticides, the first section below summarizes the research on air levels of pesticides in buildings.
The Majority of U.S. Homes Emit Pesticide Vapors
Home Indoor Air Pesticide Contamination Summary
Flea Home Treatments Cause Illegally High Air Pesticide
Tests were conducted by applying the common pesticide Chlorpyrifos (Dursban) for flea treatment by a licensed Pest Control Applicator to three rooms of an unoccupied apartment in New Jersey in June, 1987. Air sampling equipment was installed above the floor at the levels expected for an adult sitting in a chair and that of an infant. After application, samples were taken at 30 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hours, 3 hours, 5 hours, 7 hours and 24 hours. Results showed that at 5 hours post application, indoor air levels of the pesticide was nearly twice above the legal limit in homes with ventilation (an open window) and over 6 times above the legal limit at 7 hours where windows were closed. Levels at the infant breathing zone was nearly 10 times above the legal limit at 7 hours and over 3 times the legal limit even after 24 hours.
These results show it is incorrect when Pesticide Applicators state it is safe to return home several hours after application. In fact, levels at 7 hours were 3-5 times higher than the 1.5 hour level.
Dr. Richard A. Fenske, Ph.D., MPH, Kathleen G. Black, MPH, Kenneth P.
School Poisoning from Pesticides
Students and teachers at Andrew Jackson Junior High
School in West Virginia were complaining for four years about persistent fatigue,
headaches, respiratory problems, nausea and numbness in limbs. The school was finally shut
down in May 1989 when NIOSH investigators found chlordane levels 11 times higher than the
National Academy of Sciences Evacuation limit. Not only has chlordane been found to cause
defects in immune function, but very small levels of chlordane have also been found to
cause abnormal liver function tests and subtle neurological problems from concentration
problems to depression.
Other Research on Pesticides Affecting the Immune System by the World Resources Institute