Atrazine Human Health Risk Assessment Now Available for Public Comment

Today, the Environmental Protection Agency is releasing the atrazine draft human health risk assessment for public comment. The assessment identifies potential risks to children who crawl and play on lawns sprayed with atrazine and to workers who apply atrazine and/or enter treated fields after application.

Atrazine is one of the most widely used agricultural pesticides in the United States. It is used to control broadleaf and grassy weeds on corn, sorghum, and sugarcane, and to a lesser extent on residential lawns and golf courses. In the assessment, EPA reviewed all available scientific data, including published toxicity and epidemiology literature. The assessment uses multiple lines of evidence and methodologies that reflect current science. Continue reading

Are bed bugs worse than we thought?

Written By: Dr. Mike Merchant, Urban Entomologist and Professor, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension

Bed bugs are trouble. They drink our blood. They soil our homes with their feces and cast skins. They keep us awake at night and add stress to our already stressed out lives. And they’re revolting to most people.

Until now, if there was one positive thing that could be said about bed bugs, it might be that they haven’t been found to carry communicable disease. The impact of bed bugs seemed mainly to come down to sleepless nights and the economic sting of pest control expenses. Continue reading

Lice in cattle herds can bite producer profits

by Adam Russell, Texas A&M AgriLife

A common wintertime pest in cattle herds – lice – can suck money from producers’ pockets, said Dr. Jason Banta, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service beef cattle specialist, Overton.

Banta said lice can infest cattle throughout the year, but more problems are seen from December to March.  Continue reading

Updated List of Human Health Benchmarks for Pesticides in Drinking Water Available

The Environmental Protection Agency has updated its list of human health benchmarks for pesticides (HHBP) in drinking water. A total of 394 HHBPs are now available for pesticides that are currently registered for use on food crops or other use that could result in exposure through food or drinking water. EPA develops these benchmarks as screening levels for use by states and water systems in determining whether the detection of a pesticide in drinking water or a drinking water source may indicate a potential health risk. All benchmarks were calculated with updated exposure assumptions (related to body weight and drinking water intake). Three pesticides previously listed in the table (d-allethrin, S-bioallethrin, and bioallethrin) were removed due to updated exposure pattern information demonstrating that these pesticides are no longer used on food. The available information also indicates they do not have the potential to reach drinking water sources.

View the revised list of human health benchmarks for pesticides.

AgriLife Research team makes strides in fight against Zika

There’s a war raging on a tiny battlefield and the outcome could well touch millions of people worldwide threatened by Zika and related viruses. The key ally unlocking the mystery surrounding this conflict is the long-dreaded yellow fever virus.

Dr. Kevin Myles, Glady “Hazitha” Samuel and Dr. Zach Adelman are Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists at Texas A&M University, College Station, who published “Yellow fever virus capsid protein is a potent suppressor of RNA silencing that binds double-stranded RNA.”

The paper appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Go to http://bit.ly/2eYsyIQ. Continue reading

Informational Webinar for Integrating Human Health and Well-Being with Ecosystem Services RFA

Date: Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Time: 2 – 3:30 p.m. EDT

Register now!

This is an informational webinar that will discuss the application process and required elements for the Integrating Human Health and Well-Being with Ecosystems Services Request for Applications (RFA). Continue reading

Texas researchers observe bacteria changing to avoid being killed

By Kathleen Phillips, Texas A&M AgriLife

Two types of bacteria found in the soil have enabled scientists at Texas A&M AgriLife Research to get the dirt on how resistance to antibiotics develops along with a separate survival strategy.

The study, published in the journal PLoS Genetics this month, identifies an atypical antibiotic molecule and the way in which the resistance to that molecule arises, including the identity of the genes that are responsible, according to Dr. Paul Straight, AgriLife Research biochemist. Continue reading