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The prestigious medical journal The Lancet recently released a report by its Commission On Pollution and Health on the effects of various types of pollution (water, air, occupational, chemical, etc) on people and world economies - that is, the effect of pollution on "global health". The main finding: Diseases caused by pollution were responsible in 2015 for an estimated 9 million premature deaths -- 16 percent of all deaths worldwide. Pollution is now known to cause a wide variety of diseases and health problems, including asthma, cancer, neurodevelopmental disorders, and birth defects in children; and heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer in adults. The list of health effects keeps increasing. [See all posts on pollution.]

The report states that certain types of pollution are increasing throughout the world - air, chemical, and soil pollution.They also discuss new and emerging pollutants (most of them chemical pollutants) whose effects on human health
are not yet fully understood, yet they are widely found in the environment and detected in most humans. The authors of the report even say: "At least some of these chemical pollutants appear to have potential to cause global epidemics of disease, disability, and death."

Chemical pollutants include: developmental neurotoxicants (e.g. pesticides, lead, mercury), endocrine disruptors (which have reproductive effects and can alter fertility), new classes of pesticides such as the neonicotinoids, chemical herbicides such as glyphosate (found in Roundup and the most commonly used pesticide in the world), nano-particles, and pharmaceutical wastes.

While most deaths from all sorts of pollution are currently occurring in poorer developing countries (e.g. China and India), we in the United States also have health effects and deaths from pollution - just not on the scale of those countries. Also, remember that winds carry pollutants globally - so that air pollution in China will cross the Pacific Ocean on the winds to the US.

Everyone agrees that taking action works - think of the success in banning lead, asbestos, and DDT in the United States. And amounts of six common air pollutants have been reduced by about 70% since passage of the Clean Air Act in 1970. We can thank laws, and organizations established due to environmental problems and crises in the past (e.g. the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Superfund legislation, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act) for that.

From Science Daily: Pollution responsible for 16 percent of early deaths globally

Diseases caused by pollution were responsible in 2015 for an estimated 9 million premature deaths -- 16 percent of all deaths worldwide, according to a report. Simon Fraser University health sciences professor Bruce Lanphear is a Commissioner and author of The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health that has released a report detailing the adverse effects of pollution on global health. ...."Pollution, which is at the root of many diseases and disorders that plague humankind, is entirely preventable." 

Commission findings include: - Pollution causes 16% of all deaths globally. Diseases caused by pollution were responsible in 2015 for an estimated 9 million premature deaths -- 16% of all deaths worldwide -- three times more deaths than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined; and fifteen times more than all wars and other forms of violence. It kills more people than smoking, hunger and natural disasters. In some countries, it accounts for one in four deaths. - Pollution disproportionately kills the poor and the vulnerable. Nearly 92% of pollution-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Within countries, pollution's toll is greatest in poor and marginalized communities. Children face the highest risks because small exposures to chemicals in utero and in early childhood can result in lifelong disease and, disability, premature death, as well as reduced learning and earning potential. - Pollution is closely tied to climate change and biodiversity. Fossil fuel combustion in higher-income countries and the burning of biomass in lower-income countries accounts for 85% of airborne particulate pollution. Major emitters of carbon dioxide are coal-fired power plants, chemical producers, mining operations, and vehicles.

A few excerpts (lead & pesticides) from the report in The Lancet: The Lancet Commission on pollution and health

Another example of the economic benefits of addressing pollution is seen in the consequences of removing lead from gasoline in the USA. This intervention began in 1975 and, within a decade, had reduced the mean blood concentration of lead in the population by more than 90%, almost eliminated childhood lead poisoning, and increased the cognitive capacity of all American children born since 1980 by 2–5 IQ points. This gain in intelligence has increased national economic productivity and will yield an economic benefit of US$200 billion (range $110 billion–300 billion) over the lifetimes of each annual cohort of children born since 1980, an aggregate benefit to-date of over $6 trillion.

Developmental neurotoxicants: Evidence is strong that widely used chemicals and pesticides have been responsible for injury to the brains of millions of children and have resulted in a global pandemic of neurodevelopmental toxicity. The manifestations of exposure to these chemicals during early development include loss of cognition, shortening of attention span, impairment of executive function, behavioural disorders, increased prevalence of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, dyslexia, and autism.

Pesticides: More than 20,000 commercial pesticide products, including insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and rodenticides are available on world markets. More than 1.1 billion pounds of these products are used in the USA each year and an estimated 5.2 billion pounds globally. ....The organophosphate insecticides are a large and widely used class of pesticides. Members of this class of chemicals are powerful developmental neurotoxicantsand prenatal exposures are associated with persistent deleterious effects on children’s cognitive and behavioural function and with long-term, potentially irreversible, changes to brain structure that are evident on MRI. 

Chemical herbicides account for nearly 40% of global pesticide use and applications are increasing. A major use is in production of genetically modified food crops engineered to be resistant to glyphosate (Roundup), the world’s most widely used herbicide. Glyphosate-resistant, so-called “Roundup Ready” crops, now account for more than 90% of all corn and soybeans planted in the USA, and their use is growing globally. Glyphosate is widely detected in air and water in agricultural areas, and glyphosate residues are detected in commonly consumed foods.

Image result for lawns with weeds, wikipedia Conserving native bees for their vital pollination services is of national interest. It turns out that an excellent way to save bees is to not treat lawns with herbicides (weed-killers) or any other pesticides. It turns out that lawns with "flowering weeds" (think wildflowers or flowering plant species such as dandelions and clover) are valuable nectar and pollen sources for all sorts of species of bees (and also for butterflies). And as much research shows, pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides) have all sorts of negative health effects - on humans, pets, and wildlife (here, herehere, and here).

Chemically treated lawns are "dead zones" with an absence of normally occurring plant species. In contrast, this study found 63 different flowering plant species in 17 suburban lawns that were NOT treated with any herbicides or pesticides over the 2 year study period. The bee species they found tend to travel only short distances and so lived within close proximity of the lawns with the flowering weeds. So do your bit for both human health and to protect bees, and don't treat lawns with chemicals. View what we now call lawn weeds as "spontaneous flowering plants" and that they are wildlife habitats. Of course using an organic fertilizer is OK, but just "mowing and leaving grass clippings" is also an excellent way to fertilize the lawn. From The University of Massachusetts at Amherst (press release):

To Help Bees, Skip Herbicides and Pesticides, Keep Lawns Naturally Diverse

Declining populations of pollinators is a major concern to ecologists because bees, butterflies and other insects play a critical role in supporting healthy ecosystems. Now a new study from urban ecologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggests that when urban and suburban lawns are left untreated with herbicides, they provide a diversity of “spontaneous” flowers such as dandelions and clover that offer nectar and pollen to bees and other pollinators. 

Private lawns make up a significant part of urban lands in the United States, an estimated 50 percent of city and suburbs, say Susannah Lerman and co-author Joan Milam, an adjunct research fellow in environmental conservation. They write, “Practices that support nesting and foraging opportunities for bees could have important implications for bee conservation in suburban areas.” Lerman, an adjunct UMass Amherst faculty member who is also with the U.S. Forest Service, says, “We are still surprised at how many bees we found on these untreated lawns.” In this study of lawns in suburban Springfield, Mass., she and Milam found that “spontaneous lawn flowers could be viewed as supplemental floral resources and support pollinators, thereby enhancing the value of urban green spaces.”

For this study, supported by the National Science Foundation, the researchers enlisted owners of 17 lawns in suburban Springfield. Between May 2013 and September 2014, the homeowners did not apply chemical pesticides or herbicides to lawns. “We documented 63 plant species in the lawns, the majority of which were not intentionally planted,” the authors report. Lerman and Milam visited each yard six times per year for two years, collecting a total of 5,331 individual bees representing 111 species, of which 97 percent were native to North America.

Conserving native bees for their vital pollination services is of national interest, Lerman and Milam point out.....Overall, one of their main findings, say Lerman and Milam, is that “when lawns are not intensively managed, lawn flowers can serve as wildlife habitat and contribute to networks of urban green spaces.” Further, “developing outreach to homeowners and lawn care companies to encourage, rather than eliminate, lawn flowers such as dandelions and clover and thin grass cover or bare spots could be a key strategy for urban bee conservation programs targeting private yards.”

Original study from the Annals of the Entomological Society of America: Bee Fauna and Floral Abundance Within Lawn-Dominated Suburban Yards in Springfield, MA

Private yards comprise a significant component of urban lands, with managed lawns representing the dominant land cover. Lawns blanket > 163,000 km2 of the United States, and 50% of urban and suburban areas. When not treated with herbicides, lawns have the capacity to support a diversity of spontaneous (e.g., not planted) flowers, with the potential to provide nectar and pollen resources for pollinators such as native bees.....We collected 5,331 individual bees, representing 111 species, and 29% of bee species reported for the state. The majority of species were native to North America (94.6%), nested in soil (73%), and solitary (48.6%).

We recorded 63 different flowering plant species in 17 lawns during 2013 and 2014. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) was the most widespread flower, found in all lawns in both years (Table 4). White clover (Trifolium repens), purple violet (Viola sororia), yellow wood-sorrel (Oxalis stricta), Canadian horseweed (Conyza canadensis), annual fleabane (Erigeron annuus), dwarf cinquefoil (Potentilla canadensis), and Pennsylvania smartweed (Polygonum pensylvanicum) were recorded in at least 60% of all sites for the two years (Table 4). In 2013, horseweed, hairy rock cress (Arabis hirsute), and white clover represented more than 67% of all flowers, whereas in 2014, white clover, yellow wood-sorrel, purple smartweed and purple violet were the most abundant species.

A very popular herbicide – currently the most widely applied pesticide in the world – is glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup. Global use was 1.65 billion pounds in 2014 , while overall use in the US was 276.4 million pounds in 2014. Glyphosate is a human carcinogen and linked to various health effects, and even though it is so extensively used, the FDA just announced in February 2016 that they will “soon” start testing for its presence and actual levels in food for the first time in the agency’s history.

What, it never occurred to them that the most widely used pesticide in the world would be found in food?  Of course they knew glyphosate residues were occurring in food because in 2013 the EPA raised "tolerance limits" for human exposure to glyphosate for certain foods, stating with "reasonable certainty that no harm will result" from human exposure to the chemical. This increase in tolerance levels came about from a request from Monsanto (the manufacturer of the glyphosate herbicide Roundup), and even though numerous groups protested the increase, the EPA went along with Monsanto's request. Some tolerances doubled.

But remember.... there are very strong industry pressures on the EPA, and so the EPA seems to keep its head firmly in the sand for all sorts of pesticide issues. Maybe their motto is: see no evil...hear no evil....

The reason that glyphosate tolerance limits needed to be increased in the USA is because Roundup Ready crops are now so extensively planted, and this has resulted in skyrocketing use of glyphosate in the last 20 years. Roundup Ready crops are genetically modified to tolerate repeated glyphosate spraying (against weeds)  during the growing season. However, the crops take up and accumulate  glyphosate, and so glyphosate residues are increasing in crops. Another reason for increased residue of glyphosate in crops is the current practice of applying an herbicide such as Roundup right at the time of harvest to non-GMO crops such as wheat, so that the crop dies at once and dries out (pre-harvest crop dessication), and which is called a "preharvest application" by Monsanto. Glyphosate is now off-patent so many other companies are also using glyphosate in their products throughout the world.

Private testing has already found glyphosate residues in breast milk, soybeans, corn, honey, cereal, wheat flour, soy sauce, and infant formula. It is currently unknown what glyphosate residues in food, which we then ingest, mean for human health. Several studies have linked glyphosate to human health ailments, including non-Hodgkin lymphoma and kidney and liver problems. Of special concern is that because glyphosate is so pervasive in the environment, even trace amounts might be harmful due to chronic exposure. Some people (including researchers) are even suggesting that much of "gluten sensitivity" or "gluten intolerance" that people complain of, may actually be sensitivity to glyphosate residues in food.

So where have glyphosate residues been found recently? In Germany's 14 most popular beers. German beer purity in question after environment group finds weed-killer traces And in feminine hygiene products in France. How to lower your daily intake of glyphosate? Eat organic foods as much as possible, including wheat, corn, oats, soybeans.

Some influential scientists and physicians just came out with a Statement of Concern regarding their serious concerns with glyphosate. The article summary (Abstract) from Environmental Health: Concerns over use of glyphosate-based herbicides and risks associated with exposures: a consensus statement

The broad-spectrum herbicide glyphosate (common trade name “Roundup”) was first sold to farmers in 1974. Since the late 1970s, the volume of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) applied has increased approximately 100-fold. Further increases in the volume applied are likely due to more and higher rates of application in response to the widespread emergence of glyphosate-resistant weeds and new, pre-harvest, dessicant use patterns. GBHs were developed to replace or reduce reliance on herbicides causing well-documented problems associated with drift and crop damage, slipping efficacy, and human health risks. Initial industry toxicity testing suggested that GBHs posed relatively low risks to non-target species, including mammals, leading regulatory authorities worldwide to set high acceptable exposure limits. To accommodate changes in GBH use patterns associated with genetically engineered, herbicide-tolerant crops, regulators have dramatically increased tolerance levels in maize, oilseed (soybeans and canola), and alfalfa crops and related livestock feeds.

Animal and epidemiology studies published in the last decade, however, point to the need for a fresh look at glyphosate toxicity. Furthermore, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer recently concluded that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” In response to changing GBH use patterns and advances in scientific understanding of their potential hazards, we have produced a Statement of Concern drawing on emerging science relevant to the safety of GBHs. Our Statement of Concern considers current published literature describing GBH uses, mechanisms of action, toxicity in laboratory animals, and epidemiological studies. It also examines the derivation of current human safety standards.

We conclude that: (1) GBHs are the most heavily applied herbicide in the world and usage continues to rise; (2) Worldwide, GBHs often contaminate drinking water sources, precipitation, and air, especially in agricultural regions; (3) The half-life of glyphosate in water and soil is longer than previously recognized; (4) Glyphosate and its metabolites are widely present in the global soybean supply; (5) Human exposures to GBHs are rising; (6) Glyphosate is now authoritatively classified as a probable human carcinogen; (7) Regulatory estimates of tolerable daily intakes for glyphosate in the United States and European Union are based on outdated science. We offer a series of recommendations related to the need for new investments in epidemiological studies, biomonitoring, and toxicology studies that draw on the principles of endocrinology to determine whether the effects of GBHs are due to endocrine disrupting activities. We suggest that common commercial formulations of GBHs should be prioritized for inclusion in government-led toxicology testing programs such as the U.S. National Toxicology Program, as well as for biomonitoring as conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Several studies have found that when children eat organic foods, especially fruits and vegetables, the amount of pesticides in their bodies declines significantly. Most organophosphorus pesticides have been phased out for residential use, but they are still widely used in agriculture, and so these pesticides are detected in both foods and people. This latest study looked at 20 children living in urban Oakland, Calif., and 20 in the agricultural community of Salinas, about 100 miles south. The children (between 3 - 6 years of age) ate a conventional diet for four days and an organic diet for seven days and then returned to conventional foods for five days. Their urine was collected daily and analyzed for pesticides, specifically by looking at pesticide metabolites (pesticide breakdown products).

Several classes of pesticides were frequently detected, for they were found in more than 72 percent of their urine samples, and 2,4-D was detected in 90% of samples. Of the six most frequently detected pesticides, two decreased by nearly 50 percent when children were on the organic diet, and levels of the common herbicide 2,4-D fell by 25 percent. Amounts of some pesticides were not significantly lower on the organic diet, but these were pesticides associated with use around homes for pest control, and not on foods (e.g., pyrethroids, diazinon, malathion). Bottom line: eat as many organic foods as possible to lower pesticide levels in the  body. To further reduce pesticide levels in the body - avoid pesticide use around the home and garden. Instead, use least toxic IPM (Integrated Pest Management) or organic pest control and organic gardening.

From Medical Xpress: Organic produce means reduced pesticides in kids, study shows

New research out of the Center for Environmental Research and Children's Health at UC Berkeley shows that switching from conventional to organic fruits and vegetables, even for just a few days, significantly reduces pesticide levels in children's bodies.

Twenty children in Oakland, California and 20 in Salinas, California, all 3 to 6 years old, had their urine tested for 16 days during the study. For the first four, they ate conventional produce, for the next seven their diet was organic, and then conventional for the last five. The levels of several pesticides that showed up in daily testing dropped by one-quarter to one-half during the organic stretch.

Excerpts from the original study from Environmental Health Perspectives: Effect of Organic Diet Intervention on Pesticide Exposures in Young Children Living in Low-Income Urban and Agricultural Communities

Recent organic diet intervention studies suggest that diet is a significant source of pesticide exposure in young children....We aimed to determine whether consuming an organic diet reduced urinary pesticide metabolite concentrations in 40 Mexican-American children, 3–6 years of age, living in California urban and agricultural communities. In 2006, we collected urine samples over 16 consecutive days from children who consumed conventionally grown food for 4 days, organic food for 7 days, and then conventionally grown food for 5 days. We measured 23 metabolites, reflecting potential exposure to organophosphorous (OP), pyrethroid, and other pesticides used in homes and agriculture.

For six metabolites with detection frequencies > 50%, adjusted geometric mean concentrations during the organic phase were generally lower for all children, and were significant for total dialkylphosphates (DAPs) and dimethyl DAPs (DMs; metabolites of OP insecticides) and 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, a herbicide), with reductions of 40%, 49%, and 25%, respectively (p < 0.01). Chemical-specific metabolite concentrations for several OP pesticides, pyrethroids, and herbicides were either infrequently detected and/or not significantly affected by diet.

Although most residential uses of many organophosphorus (OP) pesticides, including chlorpyrifos and diazinon, have been phased out since the mid-2000s due to potential health risks to children, they have continued to be used in agriculture [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2000, 2001]. The use of OP pesticides in agriculture could result in ingestion of residues in food, and recent studies suggest that dietary intake of produce and juices may account for a significant proportion of OP pesticide exposure in young children (Lu et al. 2006b, 2008; Morgan et al. 2005; Smith-Spangler et al. 2012; Wilson et al. 2003). Some of the best evidence supporting these findings includes results from diet intervention studies where significant reductions in excreted urinary pesticide metabolites were observed in young children when they consumed an organic diet (Lu et al. 2006b, 2008)....The lower urinary pesticide metabolite concentrations found in children eating organic diets is consistent with food residue monitoring data that has shown lower pesticide residue levels in organic versus conventionally grown food [Baker et al. 2002; U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2008].

Other factors associated with children’s cumulative pesticide exposures include socioeconomic status and location of residence. For example, low-income children may experience higher exposures to pesticides, particularly pyrethroids, because of poor housing quality and associated pest infestations and home pesticide use (Bradman et al. 2005a; Quirós-Alcalá et al. 2011; Whyatt et al. 2002). Children living in agricultural areas, compared with children living in non-agricultural suburban areas, are exposed to higher ambient and residential contamination from drift or volatilization from nearby agricultural applications and take-home residue by farmworking parents (Bradman et al. 2011; Harnly et al. 2009;Lu et al. 2000; Quirós-Alcalá et al. 2011).

Our finding that an organic diet was not associated with a significant reduction in pyrethroid metabolite (3-PBA) excretion for all children is not surprising given that these pesticides are primarily used in and around homes and not commonly applied to food crops; the finding is also consistent with Lu et al. (2006a), who reported that residential use is a more significant pyrethroid exposure factor for children than a conventional diet. 

Several studies indicate that dietary intake is a potential route of exposure for herbicides.....Overall, these studies indicate that 2,4-D may be present in food and support our finding that the lower levels observed in our population during the organic diet phase were attributable to lower dietary exposure.

In summary, consistent with other studies, urinary 2,4-D and two measures of OP pesticide exposure (total DMs and total DAP metabolites) were lower in children eating an organic diet. Other frequently detected metabolites for pyrethroids, diethyl OP pesticides, and the herbicide metolachlor were not significantly lower during the organic diet phase. Further, several compound-specific herbicide and OP pesticide metabolites had low detection frequencies, indicating that diet was not an important exposure source for these pesticides (e.g., diazinon, malathion) in this population. Last, independent of diet, most frequently detected metabolites were generally higher in Salinas compared with Oakland children, with DMs and metolachlor at or near significance (p = 0.06 and 0.03, respectively), suggesting additional sources of pesticide exposure for children living in agricultural communities.

    Research as long ago as 1991 found that households with dogs that developed malignant lymphoma applied 2,4-D herbicides (weedkillers) to their lawns more frequently than households where the dogs did not develop malignant lymphoma. In addition, the risk of canine malignant lymphoma rose much higher with four or more yearly applications of 2,4-D. This finding that exposure to certain lawn chemicals by dogs increases the risk of the dogs developing canine malignant lymphoma was confirmed in a 2012 study .

The following excerpts from an article geared toward students nicely explains a recent study that looked at the exposure that dogs have to lawn pesticides, specifically looking at 2,4-D, MCPP, and dicamba (commonly used weed-killers or herbicides). The study looked at exposure of pet dogs to 2.4-D by measuring it in the dog's urine, and also looked at how long the herbicides come off the grass where it had been applied. They found widespread detection of lawn chemicals in the urine of pet dogs, that lawn chemicals were commonly detected on both treated and "untreated" lawns (probably due to "drift"), that the lawn chemicals persisted on grass for at least 48 hours after application, and that the chemicals can persist longer on grass under certain environmental conditions (e.g., dry brown grass).

Finally, the researchers said that dogs may serve as sentinels for human exposures (think of them as canaries in the mine) - if they are exposed to this degree, then humans must also be highly exposed. Dogs get malignant lymphomas after a short latency period, while for humans it is years longer to develop cancer. NOTE: weed-killers are herbicides, a type of pesticide. My question is: why are people still applying pesticides to their lawns when there are links between pesticides and cancers? Is the weed-free lawn more important than health? From Science News for Students:

Weed killers may go from plant to pooch

Many people treat their lawns with weed killers — also known as herbicides — to rid themselves of unwanted plants, such as dandelions. Most people know to keep small children away from the grass after it’s been sprayed. That’s because these chemicals can be dangerous if children touched the treated lawn and then put their hands to their mouths. New data show that herbicides also can end up in dogs. The evidence: It comes out the other end in the animals’ urine.

Angus Murphy studies plants at the University of Maryland in College Park. He began to wonder if dogs might be exposed to herbicides when he saw neighborhood signs that warned a lawn had been sprayed with weed killers. “I would see the dogs running through the yards when the grass was still wet,” he recalls. “I looked at the signs and they said don’t re-enter [the lawn] for 24 hours or until the treatment was dry.”So he teamed up with other scientists to investigate how much weed killer might come off the grass while it was wet — and whether those chemicals might go from plant to pooch.

First, Murphy and his group had to find out how long herbicide sprays can be brushed off with casual contact. They applied the same amount of three different kinds of weed killers to different patches of grass.But the amount of chemical coming off grass might change if the grass was wet or dry. So the scientists added herbicides to green grass that was wet (to simulate a recent rain) or dry. To find out if it made a difference whether the plants were dead or alive, the researchers also applied weed killer to brown grass....In green grass, two of the weed killers rubbed off on both tries the first day, but not after that. A third chemical known as 2,4-D — for 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic (Di-KLOR-oh-fen-OX-ee-uh-SEE-tic) acid — rubbed off onto the cloth for two full days after application. And on dry, brown lawns, 2,4-D was still coming off the grass even three days later. That was long after the blades of grass were dry.

So the herbicides were coming off the grass. But unless the chemicals get into animals, it might not pose risks. So Murphy and his group recruited 33 dogs and their owners. They included people who sprayed weed killer on their lawns and those who did not. Then, before and after lawns had been treated with herbicides, the researchers collected the dogs' pee....Most dogs — including half of those whose owners did not treat their lawns — had herbicides in their urine. Among dogs whose owners did spray weed killers, 14 out of 25 animals had chemicals in their urine before the latest spray of their lawn. After spraying, 19 out of 25 dogs were excreting the chemicals.“The herbicides move into the animals and it’s detectable,” says Murphy.

“What surprised us the most was the extent to which there was uptake in the animals when [their lawns] weren’t having treatments,” he says. These animals appear to get exposed during walks in the neighborhood. This can include grassy areas where others have used weed killers. 

The original research article from Science of the Total Environment: Detection of herbicides in the urine of pet dogs following home lawn chemical application

Exposure to herbicide-treated lawns has been associated with significantly higher bladder cancer risk in dogs. This work was performed to further characterize lawn chemical exposures in dogs, and to determine environmental factors associated with chemical residence time on grass. In addition to concern for canine health, a strong justification for the work was that dogs may serve as sentinels for potentially harmful environmental exposures in humans. Experimentally, herbicides [2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D), 4-chloro-2-methylphenoxypropionic acid (MCPP), dicamba] were applied to grass plots under different conditions (e.g., green, dry brown, wet, and recently mowed grass). Chemicals in dislodgeable residues were measured by LC-MS at 0.17, 1, 24, 48, 72 h post treatment.

In a separate study, 2,4-D, MCPP, and dithiopyr concentrations were measured in the urine of dogs and in dislodgeable grass residues in households that applied or did not apply chemicals in the preceding 48 h. Chemicals were measured at 0, 24, and 48 h post application in treated households and at time 0 in untreated control households. Residence times of 2,4-D, MCPP, and dicamba were significantly prolonged (P < 0.05) on dry brown grass compared to green grass. Chemicals were detected in the urine of dogs in 14 of 25 households before lawn treatment, in 19 of 25 households after lawn treatment, and in 4 of 8 untreated households. Chemicals were commonly detected in grass residues from treated lawns, and from untreated lawns suggesting chemical drift from nearby treated areas. Thus dogs could be exposed to chemicals through contact with their own lawn (treated or contaminated through drift) or through contact with other grassy areas if they travel.