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Pesticide Impacts on Wildlife and Human Health

Project Details

Year: 2005
Location: Statewide
Project Manager: Stephanie Schmidt, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences
Partners: Tufts University, Massachusetts Audubon, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Overview

Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences' Wildlife and Agriculture Program has extensive experience monitoring and mitigating contaminantss effects in aquatic sentinel wildlife species and are leaders in the study of sub-lethal effects in wildlife. This project sought to identify and reduce long-term toxic exposures in humans and wildlife by investigating exposure to low-level concentrations of two classes of pesticides, organophosphate and carbamates (cholinesterase-inhibiting), that work by impacting the nervous system of insects.

The objectives were:

  1.  to characterize, from existing data and studies, the occurrence of low-level exposure to this class of chemicals in humans and wildlife, investigate parallels between humans and wildlife, and write a Characterization Report,
  2.  through a stakeholder process and workshop, present findings and develop recommendations to mitigate adverse effects, and
  3.  to disseminate project products to a broad stakeholder constituency and project partners in pesticide regulation, public health protection, natural resource management and environmental education.

Accomplishments

In April, the draft characterization paper entitled, Sublethal Effects of Exposure to cholinesterase-inhibiting Pesticides: Humans and Vertebrate Wildlife and authored by Katharine C. Parsons, Stephanie R. Schmidt, Gina Tarbill, Kelley R. Tucker, was completed. The characterization paper was a synthesis of the human and wildlife health literature pertaining to cholinesterase-inhibiting compounds. The paper was submitted to the technical review paneland will be finalized Fall 2005. Manomet also plans to publish the paper in an appropriate peer-reviewed journal. See attached Project Materials.

Manomet held the Stakeholder workshop, Reducing Toxic Exposures to Pesticides in Human and Wildlife, on June 8th, 2005 in Boston to identify strategies for increasing protection of human, wildlife, and environmental health from inadvertent exposure to pesticides. Invited workshop participants were from academic, federal and state agencies, and non-profit organizations. Speakers included: Stephanie Schmidt, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences; David Long, Silent Spring Institute; Elizabeth Bertone-Johnson, UMASS Amherst; Raymond Putnam, UMASS Amherst; Katharine Parsons, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences; Sarah Little, Pesticide Awareness Collaborative; Romona Haebler, US EPA; Becky Harris, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine; and Eileen Gunn, Toxics Use Reduction Institute.

The goals of developing recommendations to identify actions needed to increase protection of humans, wildlife, and environmental health and increasing networking among researchers and education advocates were met. Overall, feedback and evaluation from participants was positive and encouraging. See Workshop proceedings and other materials under Project Materials.



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