Health Studies

Below are summaries of selected health studies and articles with links to all of them.

1) In 2004, a team from the Ontario College of Family Physicians released a comprehensive and systematic review of the scientific literature (scientific studies) since 1992 on the health effects of pesticides. The Literature Review describes the team’s findings on the major health effects including cancer, leukemia, genotoxic effects, skin diseases, neurological disease, and reproductive effects, as well as discussing findings specific to children. Their main recommendation is that people reduce their exposure to pesticides wherever possible. Click here for the Literature Review

2)  Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. “Position Statement on Synthetic Pesticides.” www.cape.ca. This document details the history of the use of synthetic pesticides, the major human health effects attributed to pesticides, and other reasons why the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment are calling for all levels of government to work “steadily toward the abandonment of all synthetic pesticide use except in rare, urgent, critical situations.”  Read more . . .

3) Warren Porter has spent his career investigating environmental causes of health issues. His lab is “currently in a long term study to explore the consequences of subtle low level pesticide mixture exposures on learning abilities, immune function, hormone levels, and developmental processes.” (www.zoology.wisc.edu/faculty/Por/Por.html) To read an interview with Warren Porter, click here.

4) John A. McLachlan, E. Simpson, M. Martin. “Endocrine disruptors and female reproductive health.” Best Practice & Research, Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 20 (1): 63-75, 2006.The authors discuss how chemicals in the external environment that mimic or inhibit hormones seem to affect human health causing feminization of men, early puberty in girls, and especially affecting female reproductive health. They suggest that genetic changes caused by endocrine-disrupting chemicals during the development of the female reproductive tract can be inherited. Thus the environment in the womb of the mother and the grandmother are important to female reproductive health. Read more . . .

5) Lennart Hardell and Mikael Eriksson. “Is the Decline of the Increasing Incidence of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Sweden and Other Countries a Result of Cancer Preventive Measures?” Environmental Health Perspectives. 11 (14). November 2003 Two pesticides that have been associated with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma were banned in Sweden in the late 1970’s. Other persistent organic pollutants (e.g. PCBs) also linked to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma had their highest use in the 1960s and 1970s. The decline of the increase in Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Sweden and some other countries shows that prohibiting the use of these chemicals can have a positive health effect that shows up in statistics decades later. Read more . . . 

6) Matias A. Loewy, “Pesticide Poisoning Tied to Asthma Symptoms.” Reuters Health. Feb. 27, 2003.

Brazilian scientists have found links between pesticide poisoning and development of asthma symptoms. They interviewed about 1500 farmers and found that 12 % had experienced pesticide poisoning. These farmers experienced a  72 % greater risk of developing asthma symptoms than farmers who had not been poisoned.  Read more . . . 

7) “Pesticide use linked to Parkinson’s.” BBC News. March 25, 2003.
A BBC News article summarizes an article published in the New Scientist about a European study that found that amateur gardeners who used pesticides had 9 % more chance of developing Parkinson’s than those who didn’t, and that farmers who used pesticides had a 43% greater chance of developing Parkinson’s than farmers who didn’t. Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative neurological condition. Read more . . .


8) M.Sears, CR Walker, RHC van der Jagt, P Claman. “Pesticide Assessment: Protecting public health on the home turf.” Paediatric Child Health 2006; 11 (4); 229-234.

A team of Ottawa medical scientists examine pesticide regulation in Canada by examining how 2,4-D - the most common weed killer used on lawns - has been assessed by the Federal Pest Management Regulatory Agency. The scientists find the assessment process inadequate. They recommend that municipal bylaws to curtail pesticides are “prudent measures to protect public health.”  Click here to download the abstract of the article.

Click here for actions you can take to support a pesticide bylaw.

Click here for how to use natural landscaping practices in your yard.