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: 'Killer sperm' prevents mating between worm species

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New knowledge revolutionising feeds

Jun 02, 2014

Over the past few years, the salmon farming industry has gone from being a major consumer of marine protein to becoming a net producer of it – a turnaround made possible by a deeper understanding of the ...

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

'Killer sperm' prevents mating between worm species

39 minutes ago

The classic definition of a biological species is the ability to breed within its group, and the inability to breed outside it. For instance, breeding a horse and a donkey may result in a live mule offspring, ...

Rare Sri Lankan leopards born in French zoo

3 hours ago

Two rare Sri Lankan leopard cubs have been born in a zoo in northern France, a boost for a sub-species that numbers only about 700 in the wild, the head of the facility said Tuesday.

Japan wraps up Pacific whale hunt

4 hours ago

Japan announced Tuesday that it had wrapped up a whale hunt in the Pacific, the second campaign since the UN's top court ordered Tokyo to halt a separate slaughter in the Antarctic.

Researchers uncover secrets of internal cell fine-tuning

4 hours ago

New research from scientists at the University of Kent has shown for the first time how the structures inside cells are regulated – a breakthrough that could have a major impact on cancer therapy development.

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.