Health effects of pesticide mixtures: Unexpected insights from the salmon brain

Feb 17, 2008

In his research, scientist Nat Scholz examines how pesticides that run off the land and mix in rivers and streams combine to have a greater than expected toxic effect on the salmon nervous system. These pesticides are widely used in the United States and their occurrence as mixtures in the food supply for humans may also pose an unexpected risk for people.

“We have a pretty good handle on how to assess the health effects of single chemicals in conventional toxicity trials,” said Scholz, a fishery biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “But the real world is usually more complex, and exposures to mixtures of chemicals can be more of the rule than the exception. One of the major scientific challenges of our generation is to develop new approaches to anticipate and head off any ill effects of interacting chemicals.”

Scholz will present his research along with five other scientists from the U.S. government, the Canadian government and academia in the symposium entitled “From Kitchen Sinks to Ocean Basins: Emerging Chemical Contaminants and Human Health.” Organized by NOAA’s Oceans and Human Health Initiative, the symposium is one of the features of the AAAS Annual Meeting.

Scholz and his colleagues found that salmon died when exposed to combinations of pesticides that were not deadly when tested in individual trials. The findings for salmon could have important implications for the recovery of many threatened and endangered salmon populations throughout the western United States. The research also points to the need for more study of how combinations of pesticides found on fruits and vegetables may be affecting humans.

Source: NOAA Headquarters

Explore further: For resetting circadian rhythms, neural cooperation is key

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New findings on emerging contaminants

Feb 16, 2008

American and Canadian scientists are finding that out of sight, out of mind can no longer be the approach we take to the chemicals in our waters. Substances that we use everyday are turning up in our lakes, rivers and ocean, ...

Recommended for you

For resetting circadian rhythms, neural cooperation is key

13 minutes ago

Fruit flies are pretty predictable when it comes to scheduling their days, with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk and rest times in between. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on April 17th h ...

Rapid and accurate mRNA detection in plant tissues

1 hour ago

Gene expression is the process whereby the genetic information of DNA is used to manufacture functional products, such as proteins, which have numerous different functions in living organisms. Messenger RNA (mRNA) serves ...

In sex-reversed cave insects, females have the penises

1 hour ago

Researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on April 17 have discovered little-known cave insects with rather novel sex lives. The Brazilian insects, which represent four distinct but re ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

bigwheel
not rated yet Feb 18, 2008
At last an article on the environment that means something and
offers some real answers.
drknowledge
not rated yet Apr 05, 2008
Yes, I would have to agree with bigwheel. The FDA process of certifying and testing new chemicals is so over-burdened, and so protracted -- for just single compounds, it hasn't been possible to focus on the effect of conjuctions of compounds. It's a great relief that these studies are finally starting to be done.

More news stories

Rapid and accurate mRNA detection in plant tissues

Gene expression is the process whereby the genetic information of DNA is used to manufacture functional products, such as proteins, which have numerous different functions in living organisms. Messenger RNA (mRNA) serves ...

A sharp eye on Southern binary stars

Unlike our sun, with its retinue of orbiting planets, many stars in the sky orbit around a second star. These binary stars, with orbital periods ranging from days to centuries, have long been the primary ...