The Organic Center's Annual VIP Dinner
Join us 'Where Science Meets Soul'
Sign up for The Organic Center’s 12th Annual VIP Dinner to be held Thursday, March 5, in Anaheim, CA. With over 500 attendees expected, you won’t want to miss the largest organic business networking event at Natural Products Expo West. At this celebratory fundraising dinner, you’ll hear thought-provoking keynote speakers discuss the intersection of food, farming, science and politics. A celebrity-chef-designed menu will feature delicious appetizers, delectable main courses, and mouthwatering desserts made with the finest organic ingredients. The evening will start with a cocktail reception and end with a rhythm & blues soul band — so you can count on plenty of time to connect with friends, colleagues, and the industry’s leading innovators. . For more information and to buy tickets, go online.
Latest Research Studies and Reports
Organochlorine pesticides in catfish pose cancer risk when consumed
A recent study published in Chemosphere found that catfish collected from multiple freshwater sites in South Africa contained organochlorine pesticide residues above acceptable levels for cancer risk and hazard index risk for human consumption. Scientists collected fish from three fresh water impoundments, and analyzed their muscle tissue for organochlorine pesticides. They then calculated a human health risk assessment using methods consistent with those of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that take into account the average weight of the consumer, the consumer’s average life span, and average daily intake of the contaminated food in question. Using these methods, they were able to calculate whether catfish consumption led to a higher than normal risk of developing cancer (known as cancer risk) as well as the toxic, but non-cancerous effects of catfish consumption (known as hazard risk). They found various organochlorine pesticides in the sampled catfish from all three sampling locations, and fish from all but one of the sampling locations had pesticide levels high enough to pose a cancer risk and hazard risk to humans. These results are particularly troubling because the sharp tooth catfish is an important protein source for many poor, rural communities in South Africa. Additionally, the organochlorine insecticide DDT was detected even though it is not used near the waters where fish are collected, suggesting that dangerous pesticides may be traveling long distances by way of water runoff or by movement through the air.
Frogs and wetland habitats in Iowa are contaminated with ag pesticides
Amphibian populations in the United States and around the world have been declining due to habitat degradation and loss. Now, a new study published in Science of the Total Environment has found that frogs found in Iowa wetlands are accumulating a large number of different pesticides in their tissues, including up to eight different fungicides, the largest number reported to date. Researchers compared restored wetlands and existing wetlands for agricultural nutrient and pesticide content in the water, sediments and in the tissues of leopard and chorus frogs, two common amphibians. Thirty-two different pesticides and products from pesticide break-down were detected across all of the wetlands sampled, with the herbicide atrazine the most frequently present and with the highest concentrations. Seventeen pesticides composed of eight fungicides, four herbicides, and five insecticides were detected in frog tissues. These results are particularly concerning because they demonstrate the extent of water contamination. Amphibians are particularly sensitive to environmental toxins, and even low doses of agricultural chemicals have been shown to adversely impact amphibian health. For example, atrazine—the most commonly detected herbicide in this study—negatively impacts reproduction, physiology, physical characteristics, and behavior in frogs. Additionally, pesticide exposure and disease outbreaks in amphibian populations are highly correlated.
Nanomaterials interact with agricultural pesticides, increasing toxicity to fish
Fish populations are exposed to a large number of environmental pollutants that run off from agricultural, industrial and urban land. As technology progresses, so do the number of new pollutants in our environment. A new study published in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety has found that carbon nanotubes—a type of nanomaterial used for cleaning purification in aquaculture operations—may interact with pesticides, increasing the toxic effects to exposed fish. Scientists exposed Nile tilapia to small doses of carbon nanotubes, the pesticide carbofuran and combinations of the two. They found that the exposure to the carbon nanotubes alone did not result in toxicity, but that when fish were exposed to both carbon nanotubes and carbofuran together, the toxicity of carbofuran increased five times and the fish experienced decreases in oxygen consumption and swimming capacity. The authors suggest that the observed result is because nanotubes are likely acting as pesticide carriers, increasing the exposure and accumulation of these chemicals in fish.
Prenatal exposure to phthalates linked to lowered IQ in children
A recent study published in the Journal PLOS ONE has found an association between maternal exposure to phthalates—chemicals commonly found in plastics and personal care products—and lowered IQ in their seven-year-old children. Previous studies had found that phthalate exposure in pregnant women has negative effects on their children. For instance, prenatal phthalate exposure was associated with delayed motor development in three-year-olds. However, no previous studies had investigated the effect of prenatal exposure on IQ in school-age children. Researchers studied 328 inner-city women and their seven-year-old children from the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health longitudinal birth cohort. Subjects were excluded if they were smokers, had a history of drug abuse, or had other medical problems. Urine samples previously taken from the mothers when they were pregnant were analyzed for chemicals created when the body breaks down phthalates, and their children were given an IQ test. Researchers found significant associations between the level of phthalate exposure in the women when they were pregnant and the IQ of their children. Higher phthalate exposure was linked to lower IQ. This association was stronger in girls than in boys. “These findings are important to inform policy makers of the potentially harmful effects of this class of chemical,” the authors concluded.
Latest Updates from The Organic Center
Google GrantsPro award received for advertising
The Organic Center was recently awarded a grant through Google GrantsPro, which provides up to $40,000 a month, or $480,000 a year, for keyword-targeted advertising campaigns through Google. The grant is part of the AdWords for non-profits program, which provides advertising services to qualifying non-profits. GrantsPro grantees build and manage Google Adwords campaigns focused on mission-based ads and keywords. The grant is for six months of funding, and applications for continued funding can be submitted at the end of each funding cycle.
Organic Center events at EcoFarm
The Organic Center participated in the Ecological Farming Association’s EcoFarm Conference January 22-24. EcoFarm brings together food system stakeholders for workshops on the latest advances in agricultural techniques, marketing strategies, and food policy. The Center’s research on organic techniques for managing fire blight without antibiotics was presented by David Granatstein, Sustainable Agriculture Specialist at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources, Washington State University. The Center’s Director of Science Programs Dr. Jessica Shade also led a workshop at EcoFarm with Brise Tencer, Executive Director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation, focusing on the science supporting organic and research needs.
The Organic Center visits Naturepedic factory
The Organic Center’s Director of Science Programs Jessica Shade recently visited the Naturepedic Organic Mattress factory in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Naturepedic founder and Organic Trade Association Rising Star Award recipient Barry Cik gave Dr. Shade a tour of the factory, highlighting the company’s GOTS certification and chemical-free warehouse. Along the way, they discussed recent research showing human health problems associated with the use of flame retardants in furniture, chemicals which are not allowed for use under GOTS certification. Naturepedic was started by Cik after a search for safe, toxin-free crib mattresses for his first grandchild. When he could not find any organic waterproof crib mattresses, he took matters into his own hands and founded Naturepedic with his two sons.