Latest Research Studies and Reports

Pesticide contamination of water poses health risks for humans
A recent study published in Environmental Monitoring and Assessment assessed the health risk to humans of waters contaminated with pesticides. Researchers quantified the levels of contamination in water, sediment, and the Catla catla fish for six different pesticides including endosulfan, carbofuran, cypermethrin, profenofos, triazophos, and deltamethrin. “The concentrations of endosulfan, carbofuran and deltamethrin were higher than the permissible limits for fish set by international agencies, and pose a potential ecological risk to the aquatic ecosystem and a consequent hazard to human health,” the authors reported. READ MORE

Prenatal exposure to the pesticide chlorpyrifos linked to tremors in mid-childhood
A study published in the journal NeuroToxicology has found that prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos is linked to tremors in childhood and may indicate a negative effect on the nervous system. Results of the study suggest that children who were exposed to higher levels of the pesticide before birth were more likely to exhibit tremors. “This report adds to the body of evidence suggesting that prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos, at current standard usage levels, is associated with a range of persistent and inter-related developmental problems,” the authors conclude. READ MORE

Renal disease linked to chronic pesticide exposure in U.S. farmworkers
A study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine has found that chronic exposure to specific pesticides is associated with end-stage renal disease in licensed pesticide applicators. Use of the herbicides alachlor, atrazine, metolachlor, paraquat, and pendimethalin as well as the insecticide permethrin were all associated with end-stage renal disease. “Our findings support an association between end-stage renal disease and chronic exposure to specific pesticides, and suggest pesticide exposures resulting in medical visits may increase the risk of end-stage renal disease,” the authors conclude. READ MORE

Commonly used agricultural pesticides negatively affect common carp
A new study published in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety sought to address the impact of pesticide exposure on aquatic wildlife by assessing the impact that exposure to atrazine, chlorpyrifos and the two insecticides combined have on common carp. In laboratory experiments, the fish were exposed to insecticides and then allowed to recover in clean water. Results suggest that pesticide exposure has negative health effects and that breakdown and removal of the chemicals in fish is a long-term process. READ MORE

Latest Updates from The Organic Center 

Good Food, Good Company, Good Science
The Organic Center will hold its 13th Annual Benefit Dinner on Thursday, March 10, from 6 to 11 p.m. in Anaheim, CA, in conjunction with Natural Products Expo West. Support the important work of The Center and enjoy the company of your colleagues, an inspired organic menu, and thought-provoking speakers including Alice Waters. Sponsorship opportunities, reserved VIP tables and tickets are now available. Contact Amy Bovaird to learn more.

The all-organic menu for the dinner will be designed by "CheFarmer" Matthew Raiford, who is executive chef and owner at The Farmer and The Larder, an eatery committed to sustainability and health that was just named one of the South’s most exciting new restaurants. Raiford also runs certified organic Gilliard Farms in Brunswick, Georgia where he is the sixth generation to farm on the land that has been in his family since 1874. The fabulous combination of a mouthwatering menu by Chef Raiford and a thought-provoking keynote speech by Alice Waters promises to make this a night to remember.

Register for the first-ever Organic Confluences Summit
The Organic Confluences Summit, organized by The Organic Center, is a one-day event that will be held on May 23, 2016, in conjunction with Organic Week in D.C. The conference will focus on bringing together scientific experts, farmers, policymakers and organic stakeholders to explore how organic research can influence policy practices that create incentives for sustainable agricultural practices. We’ll work together to connect the dots between evidence-based research on organic and national conservation programs. You can register for Confluences for $79, or add on OTA’s Policy Conference and Hill Visit Days for a discounted rate. 

Organic Center events at EcoFarm
The Organic Center participated in the Ecological Farming Association’s EcoFarm Conference January 20-23. EcoFarm brings together food system stakeholders for workshops on the latest advances in agricultural techniques, marketing strategies, and food policy. The Center held a discussion group on manure safety, which was part of a national effort to address issues surrounding animal-based soil amendments. Participants were asked about such topics as microbiological content, practices, compost and manure management, and grazing practices in crop and fruit-producing fields or orchards for human consumption. In addition, beliefs and attitudes regarding food safety and the use of animal-based soil amendments, and potential economic or other barriers to using compost or treated animal-based soil amendments were explored.

Needs assessment on soil amendments & microbial food safety best practices
The Organic Center hosted a workshop in collaboration with the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) School of Veterinary Medicine, the UC Davis Center for Food Safety, the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Organic Trade Association, and the University of Maine to examine specific research needs on animal-based soil amendments. The workshop brought together a diverse group of organic producers, industry members, compost and manure experts, and scientific experts to evaluate and synthesize the needs of organic producers, including break-out sessions on the use of raw manure or compost, rotational grazing practices and extension/education needs on issues of importance to the organic community. The summit concluded with an evaluation of workshop findings and prioritization of research needs and topics to adequately develop a full-scale research proposal to assess the efficacy of organic practices in mitigating food safety risk associated with the use of animal based-soil amendments.

Organic Center at the 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium
The 2016 Organic Agriculture Research Symposium was held in January at the Asilomar Conference Grounds. The Symposium featured researchers from multiple disciplines related to organic farming and food systems, and other systems of sustainable agriculture using techniques compatible with organic standards. The Organic Center shared information about its Effects of Organic Farming Practices on Nitrogen Pollution project, Needs Assessment to Characterize the Use of Soil Amendments & Microbial Food Safety Best Practices in Organic project, and Healthy Farm Index Biodiversity Calculator project. The Center also moderated a session about biodiversity on organic farms, including information on increasing pollinator and other beneficial insect abundance and diversity.

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