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Concept: DDT


In the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI)-funded Africa Indoor Residual Spraying Project (AIRS), end-of-day clean-up operations require the safe disposal of wash water resulting from washing the exterior of spray tanks and spray operators' personal protective equipment. Indoor residual spraying (IRS) programs typically use soak pits - large, in-ground filters - to adsorb, filter and then safely degrade the traces of insecticide found in the wash water. Usually these soak pits are permanent installations serving 30 or more operators, located in a central area that is accessible to multiple spray teams at the end of their workday. However, in remote areas, it is often impractical for teams to return to a central soak pit location for cleanup. To increase operational efficiency and improve environmental compliance, the PMI AIRS Project developed and tested mobile soak pits (MSP) in the laboratory and in field applications in Madagascar, Mali, Senegal, and Ethiopia where the distance between villages can be substantial and the road conditions poor. Laboratory testing confirmed the ability of the easily-assembled MSP to reduce effluent concentrations of two insecticides (Actellic 300-CS and Ficam VC) used by the PMI AIRS Project, and to generate the minimal practicable environmental “footprint” in these remote areas. Field testing in the Mali 2014 IRS campaign demonstrated ease of installation and use, resulted in improved and more consistent standards of clean-up, decreased transportation requirements, improved spray team working conditions, and reduced potential for operator exposure to insecticide.

Concepts: Malaria, Africa, Personal protective equipment, Protection, Occupational safety and health, Pesticide application, DDT, Spray


Chemical pesticides, regardless of their inherent hazard, are used intensively in the fast changing agricultural sector of Ethiopia. We conducted a cross-sectional pesticide Knowledge Attitude and Practice (KAP) survey among 601 farmers and farm workers (applicators and re-entry workers) in three farming systems [large-scale closed greenhouses (LSGH), large-scale open farms (LSOF), and small-scale irrigated farms (SSIF)]. Main observations were that 85% of workers did not attain any pesticide-related training, 81% were not aware of modern alternatives for chemical pesticides, 10% used a full set of personal protective equipment, and 62% did not usually bath or shower after work. Among applicators pesticide training attendance was highest in LSGH (35%) and was lowest in SSIF (4%). None of the female re-entry farm workers had received pesticide-related training. Personal protective equipment use was twice as high among pesticide applicators as among re-entry workers (13 versus 7%), while none of the small-scale farm workers used personal protection equipment. Stockpiling and burial of empty pesticide containers and discarding empty pesticide containers in farming fields were reported in both LSOF and by 75% of the farm workers in SSIF. Considerable increment in chemical pesticide usage intensity, illegitimate usages of DDT and Endosulfan on food crops and direct import of pesticides without the formal Ethiopian registration process were also indicated. These results point out a general lack of training and knowledge regarding the safe use of pesticides in all farming systems but especially among small-scale farmers. This in combination with the increase in chemical pesticide usage in the past decade likely results in occupational and environmental health risks. Improved KAP that account for institutional difference among various farming systems and enforcement of regulatory measures including the available occupational and environmental proclamations in Ethiopia are urgently needed.

Concepts: Agriculture, Pesticide, Personal protective equipment, Protection, Irrigation, Farm, Tractor, DDT


BACKGROUND: The ultimate long-term goal of malaria eradication was recently placed back onto the global health agenda. When planning for this goal, it is important to remember why the original Global Malaria Eradication Programme (GMEP), conducted with DDT-based indoor residual spraying (IRS), did not achieve its goals. One of the technical reasons for the failure to eliminate malaria was over reliance on a single intervention and subsequently the mosquito vectors developed behavioural resistance so that they did not come into physical contact with the insecticide.Hypothesis and how to test it: Currently, there remains a monolithic reliance on indoor vector control. It is hypothesized that an outcome of long-term, widespread control is that vector populations will change over time, either in the form of physiological resistance, changes in the relative species composition or behavioural resistance. The potential for, and consequences of, behavioural resistance was explored by reviewing the literature regarding vector behaviour in the southwest Pacific. DISCUSSION: Here, two of the primary vectors that were highly endophagic, Anopheles punctulatus and Anopheles koliensis, virtually disappeared from large areas where DDT was sprayed. However, high levels of transmission have been maintained by Anopheles farauti, which altered its behaviour to blood-feed early in the evening and outdoors and, thereby, avoiding exposure to the insecticides used in IRS. This example indicates that the efficacy of programmes relying on indoor vector control (IRS and long-lasting, insecticide-treated nets [LLINs]) will be significantly reduced if the vectors change their behaviour to avoid entering houses. CONCLUSIONS: Behavioural resistance is less frequently seen compared with physiological resistance (where the mosquito contacts the insecticide but is not killed), but is potentially more challenging to control programmes because the intervention effectiveness cannot be restored by rotating the insecticide to one with a different mode of action. The scientific community needs to urgently develop systematic methods for monitoring behavioural resistance and then to work in collaboration with vector control programmes to implement monitoring in sentinel sites. In situations where behavioural resistance is detected, there will be a need to target other bionomic vulnerabilities that may exist in the larval stages, during mating, sugar feeding or another aspect of the life cycle of the vector to continue the drive towards elimination.

Concepts: Psychology, Malaria, Anopheles, Mosquito, Behavior, Human behavior, Vector Motors, DDT


Resistance monitoring is essential in ensuring the success of insecticide based vector control programmes. This study was carried out to assess the susceptibility status of urban populations of Anopheles gambiae to carbamate insecticide being considered for vector control in mosquito populations previously reported to be resistant to DDT and permethrin.

Concepts: Malaria, Anopheles, Mosquito, Mosquito control, Insecticide, DDT, Pyrethroid, Carbamate


BACKGROUND: In many parts of Africa as in Benin, the main strategies of vector control are based on the scaling-up of Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS). The need to understand the biological implications of IRS in large scale and full coverage of LLITNs is paramount. It is in this context that the present study was conducted. It aims to evaluate the effect of a large scale IRS using a non-pyrethroid insecticide and full coverage of deltamethrin treated nets on the behavior of An. gambiae s.l. in the intervention areas compared to untreated areas used as controls. METHODS: Mosquitoes were collected using human landing catches, pyrethrum spray catches and window exit traps to assess reduction of entry rate, endophily rate, endophagy rate and overall mortality rate in natural populations of An. gambiae s.l. before IRS and LLITNs intervention (2007) and after in 2008 and 2010. RESULTS: In the IRS arm, endophily rate was 67.13% before intervention and 4.5% after intervention, whereas in the control arm it was stable at 51.67% (P > 0 .05). In the LLITN arm endophily rates also decreased after intervention. After the IRS, no gravid mosquitoes were collected from all treated localities, but LLITN performance was not that spectacular. The proportion of mosquitoes biting indoors in the IRS arm decreased from 67.09% before intervention to 42.85% after intervention, compared to a low but significant decrease (71.31% to 57. 46%) in the LLITN arm.The use of vector control tools and behavior of the host would be the main factors that modify the behavior of taking a human blood meal observed on An. gambiae s.l. inside human dwellings. CONCLUSION: The impact on the behavior of An. gambiae s.l. observed with the bendiocarb used in IRS was highly effective compared with the free distribution of LLITNs in terms of mortality and the decrease of proportions of indoor feeding. Despite this efficacy, there is a need for complementary tools and research of alternative strategy oriented on effective health education, and the use of powerful tools such as IRS, LLITNs, larviciding and repellents.

Concepts: Blood, Malaria, Anopheles, Effectiveness, Mosquito, Insecticide, DDT, Anopheles gambiae


Strong evidence now supports the notion that organophosphate pesticides damage the fetal brain and produce cognitive and behavioral dysfunction through multiple mechanisms, including thyroid disruption. A regulatory ban was proposed, but actions to end the use of one such pesticide, chlorpyrifos, in agriculture were recently stopped by the Environmental Protection Agency under false scientific pretenses. This manuscript describes the costs and consequences of this policy failure and notes how this case study is emblematic of a broader dismissal of scientific evidence and attacks on scientific norms. Scientists have a responsibility to rebut and decry these serious challenges to human health and scientific integrity.

Concepts: Scientific method, Human, Science, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Organophosphate, Insecticide, DDT, Environmental health


It is notable that the adoption of GM glyphosate-tolerant crops increases glyphosate use but reduces non-glyphosate herbicide use; and adoption of GM insect-resistant crops significantly reduces insecticide use. While the health hazard of pesticide use has been well documented, little literature evaluates the health effects of different pesticides related to GM crops in an integrated framework. This study aims to associate the uses of different pesticides related to GM crops with the blood chemistry panel and peripheral nerve conduction of Chinese farmers. Pesticides used by farmers were recorded and classified as glyphosate, non-glyphosate herbicides, chemical lepidopteran insecticides, biological lepidopteran insecticides, non-lepidopteran insecticides and fungicides. The multivariate regression results show that none of the examined 35 health indicators was associated with glyphosate use, while the use of non-glyphosate herbicides was likely to induce renal dysfunction and decrease of serum folic acid. The use of chemical lepidopteran insecticides might be associated with hepatic dysfunction, serum glucose elevation, inflammation and even severe nerve damage. In this context, if GM crops are adopted, the alterations in pesticide use may benefit farmer health in China and globe, which has positive implications for the development of GM crops.

Concepts: Pesticide, Insecticide, Pesticide application, Soil contamination, DDT, Index of pesticide articles, Herbicide, Glyphosate


Pesticides are a collective term for a wide array of chemicals intended to kill unwanted insects, plants, molds, and rodents. Food, water, and treatment in the home, yard, and school are all potential sources of children’s exposure. Exposures to pesticides may be overt or subacute, and effects range from acute to chronic toxicity. In 2008, pesticides were the ninth most common substance reported to poison control centers, and approximately 45% of all reports of pesticide poisoning were for children. Organophosphate and carbamate poisoning are perhaps the most widely known acute poisoning syndromes, can be diagnosed by depressed red blood cell cholinesterase levels, and have available antidotal therapy. However, numerous other pesticides that may cause acute toxicity, such as pyrethroid and neonicotinoid insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and rodenticides, also have specific toxic effects; recognition of these effects may help identify acute exposures. Evidence is increasingly emerging about chronic health implications from both acute and chronic exposure. A growing body of epidemiological evidence demonstrates associations between parental use of pesticides, particularly insecticides, with acute lymphocytic leukemia and brain tumors. Prenatal, household, and occupational exposures (maternal and paternal) appear to be the largest risks. Prospective cohort studies link early-life exposure to organophosphates and organochlorine pesticides (primarily DDT) with adverse effects on neurodevelopment and behavior. Among the findings associated with increased pesticide levels are poorer mental development by using the Bayley index and increased scores on measures assessing pervasive developmental disorder, inattention, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Related animal toxicology studies provide supportive biological plausibility for these findings. Additional data suggest that there may also be an association between parental pesticide use and adverse birth outcomes including physical birth defects, low birth weight, and fetal death, although the data are less robust than for cancer and neurodevelopmental effects. Children’s exposures to pesticides should be limited as much as possible.

Concepts: Malaria, Toxicology, Pesticide, Poison, Organophosphate, Insecticide, DDT, Chronic toxicity


Understanding the evolution and spread of insecticide resistance requires knowing the relative fitness of resistant organisms. In the absence of insecticides, resistance is predicted to be costly. The Drosophila melanogaster DDT resistance allele (DDT-R) is associated with a male mating cost. This could be because resistant males are generally smaller, but DDT-R may also alter courtship behaviours. Here we tested for body size and courtship effects of DDT-R on mating success in competitive and non-competitive mating trials respectively. We also assessed relative aggression in resistant and susceptible males because aggression can also influence mating success. While the effect of DDT-R on male size partly contributed to reduced mating success, resistant males also had lower rates of courtship and were less aggressive than susceptible males. These differences contribute to the observed DDT-R mating costs. Additionally, these pleiotropic effects of DDT-R are consistent with the history and spread of resistance alleles in nature.

Concepts: Gene, Genetics, Natural selection, Evolution, Insect, Antibiotic resistance, Pesticide, DDT


Compared with nutrient levels and habitat degradation, the importance of agricultural pesticides in surface water may have been underestimated due to a lack of comprehensive quantitative analysis. Increasing pesticide contamination results in decreasing regional aquatic biodiversity, i.e., macroinvertebrate family richness is reduced by ∼30% at pesticide concentrations equaling the legally accepted regulatory threshold levels (RTLs). This study provides a comprehensive metaanalysis of 838 peer-reviewed studies (>2,500 sites in 73 countries) that evaluates, for the first time to our knowledge on a global scale, the exposure of surface waters to particularly toxic agricultural insecticides. We tested whether measured insecticide concentrations (MICs; i.e., quantified insecticide concentrations) exceed their RTLs and how risks depend on insecticide development over time and stringency of environmental regulation. Our analysis reveals that MICs occur rarely (i.e., an estimated 97.4% of analyses conducted found no MICs) and there is a complete lack of scientific monitoring data for ∼90% of global cropland. Most importantly, of the 11,300 MICs, 52.4% (5,915 cases; 68.5% of the sites) exceeded the RTL for either surface water (RTLSW) or sediments. Thus, the biological integrity of global water resources is at a substantial risk. RTLSW exceedances depend on the catchment size, sampling regime, and sampling date; are significantly higher for newer-generation insecticides (i.e., pyrethroids); and are high even in countries with stringent environmental regulations. These results suggest the need for worldwide improvements to current pesticide regulations and agricultural pesticide application practices and for intensified research efforts on the presence and effects of pesticides under real-world conditions.

Concepts: Water, Water pollution, Pesticide, Insecticide, Pesticide application, DDT, Pesticides, Surface water