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Pesticides in Shanghai and Globally

Posted Mar 25 2012 3:38am

Titanium (Cover of Sia, David Guetta)
Collin McLoughlin

Pesticides -- Shanghai Problem

Pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are big problems here in Shanghai. Apparently we live in the city with the highest reported field application of pesticides (kilograms per hectare) out of the whole country. According to the report by Zhang et al 'Global pesticide consumption and pollution: with China as a focus' Shanghai applies 12.72 kilograms per hectare of pesticides, which was the heaviest utilization of 32 cities and provinces studied. The lowest utilization rates were in the least industrialized provinces, Inner Mongolia and Tibet (0.15, 0.01 kg/ha respectively).

Prior animal pharm: Pesticides May Cause U.S.A. Insulin Resistance and Obesity Trends

Pesticides are (Obviously) Toxic and Kill

Pesticides, herbicides and fungicides may not be lethal to large mammalian hosts like humans but the mechanisms in which they wreak chemical havoc to pests, weeds/grasses and fungus/molds can affect us either directly or our gut ecosystem which contains 100 trillion mitochondrial-like creatures (bacteria, mycobacteria, protozoa) and fungi. ~~Half of the deaths that occur worldwide secondary to pesticide exposures are here in China. 'According to a report of WHO and UNEP, worldwide there are more than 26 million human pesticide poisonings with about 220,000 deaths per year (Richter, 2002). In the United States, there are 67 thousands human pesticide poisonings per year. In China, there are 0.5 million human pesticide poisonings with 0.1 million deaths per year. (Zhang et al 2011)'

The mechanisms of toxicity of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides usually target a specific neurochemical or metabolic mechanisms that translate toxicity to the cellular, organ and organismal levels--sodium channel disturbances (yes our sodium channels are vital; see prior nephropal Evolutionary Brain )
--glyphosate toxicity (see Dr. Tourgeman's nephropal post: Can Glyphosate Herbicide Formulations Damage Humans? )
--mitochondrial toxicity -- electron transport
--mitochondrial toxicity -- fatty acid metabolism
--mitochondrial toxicity -- respiratory complex
--trace heavy metals -- mercury, asenic, cadmium and lead --which severely depress metabolic enzymes (mitochondrial, thyroid, adrenal, neural, gut i.e. DPP IV, pancreatic/digestive, etc)

Pesticides: Global Problem

Although the knowledge and understanding are incomplete, the data and information on how pesticides, herbicides and fungicides are transported, degraded and distributed into the ecosystem are pretty damning. The toxicity effects may not immediately disable and maim but may be chronically sublethal and epigenetic. Since all life on earth is interconnected, the network of disturbances can be subtle. Damaging effects perhaps act in concert either additively or synergistically with other stressors, gut dysbiotic factors and amplified by our trigger-happy immune systems. Zhang et al say that 99% of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides do not even hit the intended target. 99% of pesticide applications are distributed into the environment and ecosystem by spray drift and surface water runoff. The investigators Zhang et al state 'High-residual pesticides like DDT have been detected in the Greenland ice sheet and the bodies of Antarctic penguins which were resulted from atmospheric circulation, ocean currents and biological enrichment of pesticides.' The early players of the damage and adverse effects are the bees, insectal larvae and algae on land and in related water masses. In the next tier of ecological effects, their predators (insects, fish, sealife) are affected either indirectly by reduction of food availibility or direct biochemical, metabolic, immune, endocrine, sexual and reproductive disruptions.


[I doubt humans can claim being apex predators, but perhaps apex pests and homo purgare ]

Fish: One of the Most Pesticide-Ridden and Toxic Foods

My family and stopped eliminated 80-90% of our fish and seafood consumption (both farmed and wild) when I was first pregnant 12 years ago. I figured what wasn't safe for my baby and I just was not safe, PERIOD. We try to eat ancestrally but seafood just is not part of the equation at this time. Many cultures who subsist on fish and their marine predators (seal, whale) are documented to have elevated levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs, pesticides, PCBs, solvents, etc) and heavy metals: Great Lake Anishinaabe, Arctic and Greenland Inuit, natives of the Alaskan Aleutian Islands, Amazon Brazilians, Peruvians, and Faroe Islands inhabitants. Where is the source? Pesticides and industrial pollution are bioaccumulated in algae, daphnia, marine life and large predacious fish and marine mammals. Human variance shows that not everyone is severely affected by heavy metals (mercury) and pesticides but certainly some are more sensitive than others or bioaccumulate at extremely higher rates than other individuals. The carriers of apo E4 allele, the ancestral 'efficiency' allele, appear to exhibit higher harboring and decreased detoxification of trace heavy metals (iron, copper, lead, mercury). This may explain the link between increased incidence of central obesity, metabolic syndrome, T2DM, Alzheimer's and dementia and those of ethnic descent where the apo E4 allele is more dominant (Inuit, Amerindians, aborigine subpopulations, northern Chinese, northern European, Africa).

The Jungle: Food Safety in China

Living in China has many 'challenges' (I could list but that would be a brick of novella) but I would have to say food safety TOPS my MANY MANY MANY lists. On one hand Shanghai is one of the most progressive cities of the world I have been fortunate to visit (Paris, Hamburg, NYC, Chicago, SF, Tokyo, Kyoto, Taipei) yet in the context of food safety and standards of quality, I think it is one of the cities with the least quality control and national oversight. For every daily food safety scandal that hit the media, I always wonder how many dozens didn't hit the media under China's scrupulous censorship. We live here in the times that pre-date Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle' ( free PDF HERE , courtesy of Penn State).

Super wonderful people here in Shanghai have been graciously generous in sharing their food suppliers ( 'The Avocado Lady' ), chains of safe food purveyors and organic grassfed meat and egg sources, CSAs (see picture BIOFarm) and safe homemade goodies. Part of the adventure of expat living has been meeting other like-minded freaks in a foreign country.


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Greenpeace 2009 News. Pesticides: Not Your Problem?

Medscape, Maternal Fish Consumption, Mercury Levels, and Risk of Preterm Delivery: Discussion

Is "USDA Organic" a seal of deceit? The pitfalls of USDA certified organics produced in the United States, China and beyond

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