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Multistate Outbreak of Human Salmonella
Associated with Exposure to Turtles - United States, 2007-2008
Turtles and other reptiles have long
source of human Salmonella
infections. To prevent
infections in humans, the sale and
distribution of small turtles (i.e., those with a carapace length of
less than 4 inches, [Figure 1]) has been prohibited
in the United States since 1975. Despite this prohibition, small
turtles remain available to the public from various sources, including
pet shops, flea markets, street vendors, and Internet websites. In
October 2007, the North Carolina Division of Public Health (NCDPH)
notified CDC of human infections caused by Salmonella
Paratyphi B var.
Java) in several states. Salmonella
Paratyphi B var. Java is a
nontyphoidal strain of Salmonella
that causes gastroenteritis.
This report describes the results of the epidemiologic and laboratory
investigation conducted by CDC and state and local health departments
during October 2007-January 2008. Many of these infections have
occurred in young children and have
been associated with exposure to small turtles. Prohibiting the sale
and distribution of small turtles likely remains the most effective
public health action to prevent turtle-associated salmonellosis.
Detection of the Outbreak
On August 31, 2007, a girl aged 13 years visited a South
Carolina hospital emergency department, where she reported a 5-day
history of bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and vomiting. She
was treated with trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole and intravenous fluids
but was not hospitalized. Her illness resolved in 7 days. A stool
specimen yielded Salmonella
Paratyphi B var. Java. Also on
August 31, a girl aged 15 years was admitted to a North Carolina
hospital with acute renal failure and a 4-day history of bloody
diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and vomiting. She was hospitalized
for 8 days and recovered fully. A joint investigation by NCDPH and the
South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control revealed
that, on August 24, the two girls had swum in an unchlorinated,
in-ground swimming pool belonging to the family of the older girl. Two
pet turtles belonging to the family also were permitted to swim in the
pool. The turtles, both of which had carapace lengths of less than 4
inches, had been purchased recently from a pet shop in South Carolina.
A water sample collected from the turtle habitat yielded Salmonella
Paratyphi B var. Java with an Xba
I pattern indistinguishable by
pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) from the isolates of the
The prohibition on the sale and distribution of small turtles was
enacted in 1975, after public health investigations demonstrated that
small turtles were a major source of human Salmonella
infections, particularly in children. In 1972, a study in New Jersey
indicated that small pet turtles accounted for approximately 23% of Salmonella
infections in children. In 1980, the 1975 prohibition was
estimated to have prevented 100,000 Salmonella
U.S. children each year since going into effect. However,
this prohibition has an exception: small turtles may be sold legally
for scientific, educational or exhibition purposes. During 2001-2006,
the number of turtles kept as pets in the United States increased 86%
to nearly 2 million turtles, suggesting that this exception
might provide a mechanism by which small turtles become household pets.
Turtles, like other reptiles, commonly carry Salmonella, and
fecal carriage rates can be as high as 90%. Small turtles
sold as pets frequently come from breeding farms, where turtles are
housed in crowded ponds and nesting areas in a way that promotes Salmonella
transmission. Attempts to treat turtles, turtle eggs,
and turtle breeding ponds with antibiotics to eliminate Salmonella
have not been successful and have resulted in a high prevalence of
antibiotic resistance. Other treatments reduce but do not
eliminate Salmonella shedding from turtles, and the
turtles that continue to shed Salmonella might recontaminate
other turtles during rearing or shipment. Because Salmonella
shedding might be intermittent and stress related, determining whether
turtles are free of the bacteria is difficult.
Direct or indirect contact with a reptile is associated with an
estimated 6% of human Salmonella infections in the United
States. Persons coming into contact with reptiles, reptile
habitats, or surfaces contaminated with reptile fecal matter risk
infection from salmonellae shed by the reptile. Although
most reptiles carry Salmonella, small turtles are likely to be
handled differently than other reptiles and thus carry a greater risk
of transmitting Salmonella to children. In contrast to the
obvious risk for a bite or scratch, for example, from a snake or an
iguana, a small turtle is likely to be perceived as safe, and thus
might be given directly to small children to play with. In addition, a
young child placed in charge of caring for a turtle has direct contact
with water in the turtle habitat, where Salmonella are likely
to multiply to high numbers. Although approximately half of the
infections associated with this outbreak occurred in young children,
who are at greater risk for severe illness from Salmonella
infection, several illnesses
occurred in adults with turtle exposure, demonstrating that
turtle-associated Salmonella infection is not unique to
children. Additionally, only 20% of case-patients interviewed reported
awareness of the link between Salmonella and contact with
reptiles, indicating that measures to educate the public about this
link have not been successful.
To read this entire article please link to: MMWR
Reference: MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report),
25, 2008, 57(03).
Acute Pesticide Poisoning Associated with
Fungicide - Iowa, 2007
Pyraclostrobin is an agricultural pesticide
product used to kill
fungi (e.g., blights, mildews, molds, and rusts). Hazards to humans
from pyraclostrobin exposure include eye injury and skin irritation.
In July 2007, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) received
reports of five events involving pyraclostrobin that sickened 33
persons, including 27 migrant workers who were exposed in a single
incident during aerial application (i.e., crop dusting).
Event A. On July 23, 2007, IDPH received media reports that
migrant workers in a field had been inadvertently exposed to
pyraclostrobin fungicide by a crop-duster plane on July 22. An IDPH
investigation identified 27 cases of acute illness among the
potentially exposed workers; all illnesses were associated with
off-target drift of the pyraclostrobin to an adjacent field, owned by a
different grower, where workers were detasseling field corn. IDPH
learned that the pilot had seen the nearby workers yet proceeded to
apply the fungicide. Some workers reported feeling wet droplets on
their skin and seeing mist coming from the aircraft.
All 27 persons with acute illness were Hispanic and residents of
Texas. Twenty were male, and seven were female; median age was 46 years
(range: 15-74 years). All received skin decontamination on-site by a
hazardous materials team before being transported to an emergency
department for observation until their symptoms resolved. All cases
were categorized as being of low severity. The most common symptom was
upper respiratory tract pain or irritation (26 patients), followed by
chest pain (20 patients). Three patients had nausea, and one patient
each had pruritis, skin redness, eye pain, weakness, headache,
dizziness, and chest pain.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS)
began an investigation on July 23 that included collection of soil and
vegetation samples from the cornfield where the detasselers had been
working and samples of worker safety glasses and hats. All samples
tested positive for pyraclostrobin, even though the samples were
collected the day after pyraclostrobin application and after
substantial evening rainfall. Before this incident, the field had not
been treated with pesticide (i.e., herbicides containing atrazine and
topramezone) for 40 days. On August 1, IDALS suspended the commercial
pesticide applicator license of the crop-dusting company that applied
the fungicide; an administrative law judge later revoked the license.
Event B. On July 20, a crop-duster pilot aged 55 years
visited an emergency department with first-degree chemical burns after
skin and inhalational exposure to pyraclostrobin fungicide that
occurred when his plane crashed during takeoff, spilling the liquid
fungicide. Emergency department personnel consulted the Iowa Poison
Center (IPC), and IDPH was notified of the case. The pilot was admitted
to the hospital for observation for 2 days, and the case was
categorized as being of moderate severity. Although inhalational
exposure occurred, the pilot reported no respiratory symptoms.
Events C, D, and E. During July 2007, IPC notified IDPH of
three additional events involving five cases of acute pesticide
poisoning associated with pyraclostrobin exposure that resulted from
off-target drift of pyraclostrobin from nearby aerial applications. All
five illnesses were of low severity; all persons who were exposed
consulted IPC but did not otherwise seek medical care. On July 5, a man
aged 54 years experienced headache and eye pain after pyraclostrobin
exposure while riding a motorcycle near a field. On July 12, a woman
aged 40 years reported eye pain and headache, and a man aged 49 years
reported eye pain, headache, and dizziness after pyraclostrobin drifted
into the yard of their home. On July 14, a man and woman both aged 20
years reported eye pain and conjunctivitis after pyraclostrobin drifted
into the yard of their home. In all five of these cases, symptoms
subsided after the exposed persons moved indoors or away from the
Editorial Note: The cases
described in this report are the first
of human illness caused by exposure to pyraclostrobin or any of the
other strobilurin chemical compounds used as agricultural fungicides.
Pyraclostrobin has a toxicity category of II; the product
label warns that pyraclostrobin exposure can cause substantial,
although temporary, eye injury and skin irritation but can be fatal if
swallowed. Contact with eyes, skin, or clothing should be
avoided. After a cornfield has been treated with pyraclostrobin,
workers should be prohibited from entering that field for 7 days to
perform detasseling unless they are wearing appropriate personal
protective equipment (i.e. coveralls and chemical-resistant gloves).
Although upper respiratory symptoms are not mentioned on the product
label warnings, 26 of the 27 workers exposed in event A experienced
these symptoms, perhaps as a result of irritation of the upper
respiratory mucosa by a mechanism similar to that causing skin and eye
The strobilurin fungicides, including pyraclostrobin, are relatively
new to the U.S. agricultural market. Pyraclostrobin was approved for
sale in the United States in 2002 for use on a limited number of crops
but was not approved for use on corn until December 2004. During 2007,
the first year of widespread use on field corn, pyraclostrobin was
applied to an estimated 1.5 million acres of corn in Iowa. Increased
pyraclostrobin on corn likely is attributable to several factors,
including increased planting of corn in the same field in successive
seasons, which is associated with increased fungal disease risk to the
corn plant; high demand for corn to produce corn-based ethanol; and
aggressive fungicide marketing by agricultural-chemical dealers.
In addition, strobilurin fungicides, especially pyraclostrobin, might
increase corn yield in the absence of disease by directly stimulating
plant growth, although field trials to document this have produced
inconsistent results. No cases of illness related to
exposure to trifloxystrobin and azoxystrobin, the other two strobilurin
fungicides licensed in Iowa, were reported to IDPH during 2006 or 2007.
The 27 workers sickened in event A were detasseling corn (i.e.,
removing tassels from corn plants to prevent auto-pollination and
enable hybridization). Although the field where these workers were
detasseling had been treated previously with atrazine and topramezone,
both of which can produce mucosal irritation, 40 days had elapsed since
that treatment. Workers may return to a field 12 hours after such
treatments. Therefore, these herbicides were unlikely to be responsible
for the illnesses reported July 22.
To read this entire article please link to: MMWR
Reference: MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
January 4, 2008, 56(51).
Monoxide-Related Deaths - United States, 1999-2004
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless,
tasteless toxic gas
produced by incomplete combustion in fuel-burning devices such as motor
vehicles, gas-powered furnaces, and portable generators. Persons
with CO poisoning
often overlook the symptoms (e.g., headache, nausea, dizziness, or
confusion), and undetected exposure can be fatal. Unintentional CO
exposure accounts for
an estimated 15,000 emergency department visits and 500 unintentional
deaths in the United States each year.
During 1999-2004, CO poisoning was listed as a
of death on 16,447 death certificates in the United States. Of these,
16,400 (99.7%) deaths occurred among U.S. residents inside the United
States, and 2,631 (16%) were classified as both unintentional and
non-fire-related deaths. For the period 1999-2004, an average of 439
persons died annually from unintentional, non-fire-related CO
poisoning (range: 400 in 1999 to 473 in 2003). The annual average
age-adjusted death rate in the U.S. was 1.5 deaths per million persons.
Death rates were highest for adults aged >65
years and for men. Age-adjusted death
rates were higher for non-Hispanic blacks and non-Hispanic whites than
for other subgroups; however, the difference between the rates for
blacks and whites was not statistically significant. The average daily
number of CO-related deaths was greatest
during the months of January (2.07 deaths) and December (1.97 deaths)
and lowest during the months of July (0.67 deaths) and August (0.67
deaths). For the period 1999-2004, a total of 35 states had sufficient
numbers of CO-related deaths to calculate reliable mortality rates. The
state with the highest reliable CO
mortality rate was Nebraska, and the state with the lowest reliable
rate was California. As of December 2007, reporting of acute CO
poisoning by health-care providers was mandatory for 13 states; no
clear pattern of differences in CO-related mortality was detected
between states with mandatory reporting and those without.
Consistent with previous studies,
the results of this analysis indicate that men and adults aged >
years were more likely to die from CO poisoning than other persons. The
higher rate in men has been attributed to high-risk behaviors among
men, such as working with fuel-burning tools or appliances. The higher
rate among older persons has been attributed to the likelihood of older
adults mistaking symptoms of CO poisoning for other conditions common
among persons in this age group (e.g., influenza-like illnesses or
fatigue). CO deaths were highest during colder months, likely because
increased use of gas-powered furnaces and use of alternative heating
and power sources used during power outages, such as portable
generators, charcoal briquettes, and propane stoves or grills.
to previous findings,
the highest CO death rates tended to be among western (e.g., Alaska,
Montana, and Wyoming) and midwestern (e.g., Nebraska and North Dakota)
states, likely because of variations in weather and geography and
state-by-state variations in prevalence of certain risk behaviors.
Because persons are relying on CO alarms to prevent CO poisoning,
additional research regarding their
effectiveness is needed, including an evaluation of the cost
effectiveness of CO alarms used in residences. As additional years of
data become available, tracking of longitudinal trends in CO-related
mortality should continue to guide public health measures aimed at
preventing deaths from CO poisoning.
Exposure to CO can be prevented with basic precautions, including
proper installation and maintenance of fuel-burning appliances. CO
detectors can alert occupants to accumulating
gas and should be placed on every level of a home. Additional measures
to educate the public regarding the dangers of CO are needed,
particularly during the winter season. Additional surveillance that
combines timely estimates of morbidity and mortality with situational
information related to mechanisms of CO exposure (e.g., length of
exposure, type of fuel-burning device involved, and behaviors or chain
of events preceding exposure) could help target prevention measures and
reduce CO poisonings.
To read this entire article please link to: MMWR
Reference: MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly
December 21, 2007, 56(50).
Smoking Among Adults - United States, 2006
One of the national health
objectives for 2010 is to reduce the
prevalence of cigarette smoking among adults to <12%. To assess
progress toward achieving this
objective, CDC analyzed data from the 2006 National Health Interview
Survey (NHIS). This report summarizes the results of that analysis,
which indicated that in 2006,
approximately 20.8% of U.S. adults were
current cigarette smokers. This prevalence had not changed
significantly since 2004,
suggesting a stall in the previous 7-year (1997-2004) decline in
cigarette smoking among adults in the U.S. In addition, the
findings indicated that persons with a diagnosis of a smoking-related
chronic disease have a significantly higher prevalence of being a
current smoker than persons with other chronic diseases or persons with
no chronic disease. To reduce smoking prevalence further in the
States, comprehensive, evidence-based approaches for preventing smoking
initiation and increasing cessation, including clinical interventions
for populations at high risk, need to be fully implemented.
smoking remains the leading preventable
cause of disease
and death in the United States, resulting in approximately 438,000
deaths annually. The prevalence
of cigarette smoking remained relatively unchanged during the early
1990s but gradually decreased from 1997 (24.7%) to 2004 (20.9%). This
report indicates that the prevalence of
current smoking among U.S. adults in 2006 (20.8%) was not significantly
different from the prevalence in 2004 (20.9%), suggesting a stall in
previous declines. This lack of a decrease in cigarette use during 2
years might be a result of several factors. Most notably, funding for
comprehensive state programs for tobacco control and prevention
decreased by 20.3% from 2002 to 2006, and tobacco-industry
marketing expenditures nearly doubled from 1998 ($6.7 billion) to 2005
($13.1 billion). In 2005, approximately 81% ($10.6 billion)
of tobacco-industry marketing expenditures were related to discounting
strategies (e.g., coupons, two-for-one offers, or promotional discounts
for retailers or wholesalers) that reduce the impact of
increases in the unit price of tobacco, which are effective in
preventing initiation of smoking and increasing cessation.
Among smokers who already have a smoking-related
those who quit have a lower risk for death from the disease than those
who continue smoking. Smokers who quit have a slower rate of
decline in lung function and a lower incidence of bronchitis,
emphysema, and other respiratory conditions than persons who continue
to smoke. Among smokers with CHD, those who quit have a
lower risk for further CHD-related morbidity and mortality than those
who continue to smoke. In addition, smokers who have cancer
and who continue smoking during treatment decrease treatment
effectiveness, overall survival prognosis, and quality of life and
increase the risk for having another malignancy or comorbid condition.
The continuation of smoking among those who have smoking-related
chronic diseases described in this report highlights the need for
health-care providers to emphasize the importance of quitting.
Health-care providers should repeatedly offer intensive
smoking-cessation interventions to all of their patients, especially
those with smoking-related chronic diseases who continue to smoke.
To read this entire article please link to: MMWR
Reference: MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality
November 9, 2007, 56(44).
Reference: California Department of
March 25, 2008 Top Pesticide Blunders - Think
Before You Spray!
The California Department
Regulation has released its latest list of “top pesticide
blunders” to help people avoid needless injury and illness. Theirr
health and safety scientists say a few simple precautions can prevent
most pesticide accidents in and around your home:
- - Don’t use a pesticide unless you really
need it -- look for
the least-toxic solution to pest problems, indoors and out.
- - Keep pesticides in their original
containers to avoid
mistaking them for snacks. And ALWAYS keep pesticides out of children's
- - If you must use a pesticide product,
read all label directions
closely, follow those directions to the letter, and stay alert while
using the product.
"Pesticides include a
wide variety of
over-the-counter products - including mold and mildew cleaners,
disinfectants, weed killers and pool chemicals - that can be used
safely, but only if consumers recognize them as toxic chemicals," said
DPR Director Mary-Ann Warmerdam. "Careless misuse of these products can
expose homeowners, children and pets to serious hazards."
To help consumers avoid mistakes, DPR offers
these "top pesticide
blunders" from our illness report database:
1. When Orange County residents complained
of a raccoon problem, a
friend overseas sent them a black, granular pesticide. The wife mixed
it with meat as bait for raccoons. The raccoons did not eat it, so she
labeled and froze the meatballs. Some time later, her husband cooked
and ate the meatballs. He became seriously ill and drove to a hospital.
(Suspected pesticide-poisoning victims should never drive themselves to
treatment, since they may be impaired by the toxin.) This victim
survived both his mistakes. Later analysis of the pesticide showed that
it was nine percent aldicarb, a highly toxic insecticide; one teaspoon
of the pure ingredient could kill five healthy adults.
2. In Los Angeles County, a woman put some
insecticide into a soft
drink bottle and gave it to her sister to take home. The sister left
the bottle on a table, where her husband and four-year-old daughter
drank from it. They recognized their mistake and made themselves vomit
before going to an emergency room; both recovered. (However, some
liquid pesticides pose a risk to the lungs from induced vomiting.
Pesticide labels provide treatment instructions, but these victims did
not have a labeled container. Fortunately, they had no further health
problems from their pesticide exposure.)
3. In San Joaquin County, an apartment
dweller set off a "bug
bomb" sitting on top of his gas stove. When the aerosol came in contact
with the stove’s pilot light, the resulting blast blew out the
apartment’s windows, pushed out walls and raised the roof. A neighbor’s
windows also blew out, according to firefighters who responded to the
scene. "Bug bombs" should never be used in any structure until all
ignition sources - - including gas pilot lights - - are turned
4. A Kern County homeowner left a
container of pool chlorine
powder in the sun on a warm day. When he opened the container, the
heated and pressurized powder blew into his face and eyes. He sought
medical treatment for symptoms that included eye irritation.
5. An Imperial County homeowner activated
six "bug bombs" inside
his kitchen cabinets without turning off the gas stove’s pilot light.
He then waited at the kitchen entrance because he wanted to see the
cockroaches die. The pilot light ignited the fogger propellant, causing
extensive damage. The victim suffered burns to his face, arms and legs,
but he did not require hospitalization.
6. A Los Angeles woman poured a bleach
solution into a water
bottle to sanitize it. When she placed several drinking water bottles
in her refrigerator, she mistakenly included the one containing
sanitizer as well, and later took a drink of the bleach.
7. A Monterey County apartment resident
poured three cleaning
products into a toilet bowl - - an inappropriate mix - - left the
bathroom, and returned a short time later. When she entered the room,
she inhaled the vapors from the chemical reaction, began to experience
breathing problems, and had to call 911 for assistance.
These incidents occurred
in 2006 and 2007. As
always, DPR observes medical privacy law and does not reveal victim
identities. A summary of all 2006 illness reports has been posted at www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/whs/pisp.htm
Annual Summary, Calendar Year 2006
In 1991, the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)
was charged with designing and implementing the Pesticide Data Program
(PDP) to collect data on pesticide residues in food. This 16th summary
presents results for samples collected in 2006.
PDP data are used primarily by EPA to prepare realistic
pesticide dietary exposures and continue pesticide re-registration
activities in accordance with the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act
(FQPA). PDP provides high-quality data on residues in food,
particularly foods most likely consumed by infants and children,
including minor crops. Minor crops are those grown on 300,000 acres or
less in the U.S., for example, many fruit and vegetable crops are
defined as minor crops.
PDP data are also used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA),
USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and Foreign Agricultural Service
(FAS), participating States, academic institutions, chemical
manufacturers, environmental interest groups, food safety
organizations, and groups within the private sector representing food
producers. PDP data are used by the U.S. Government and the
agricultural community to examine pesticide residue issues affecting
agricultural practices, integrated pest management and U.S. trade,
particularly in the competitive global market. PDP additionally
provides support for USDA’s participation in the Codex Alimentarius
In estimating the potential risks of consumption of
pesticide residues from food, EPA uses a step-wise tiered approach. As
a first step, EPA may use a conservative, worstcase scenario and assume
that a pesticide is applied to the fullest extent permitted by the
pesticide label; that is, on every acre of each approved crop at the
maximum rate and frequency allowed. EPA may also assume that residues
on treated crops are present at the maximum allowable level. Exposure
estimates based on such assumptions are likely to significantly exceed
actual exposure. When an initial assessment indicates a potential risk,
EPA refines its assessment using more realistic exposure data.
Refinements may include the use of additional data such as: (1) the
percent of a crop treated with a pesticide; (2) studies of the effects
of washing, cooking, processing, and storage; and (3) residue
monitoring data. During the refinements of this exposure assessment,
PDP data can be pivotal. PDP sampling procedures were designed to
capture residues in the food supply as close as possible to the time of
consumption. PDP concentrates its efforts to provide realistic
pesticide residue data on foods that are most often consumed by infants
and children and incorporates recommendations made in 1993 by the
National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in its report “Pesticides in the
Diets of Infants and Children.”
In 2006, sampling and/or testing
program operations were carried out with the support of 12 States:
California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana,
New York, Ohio, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Grain sampling was
performed by USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers, and Stockyards
Administration (GIPSA) and poultry sampling by USDA’s Food
Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Two Federal laboratories also
provided testing services: USDA’s AMS National Science Laboratory and
USDA’s GIPSA Laboratory. Participating water utilities provided
drinking water samples which were tested by the Colorado, Montana, and
New York State laboratories. Bottled water samples were collected at
food distribution centers and tested by the Minnesota laboratory. MPO
is responsible for administering the program, coordinating sampling
activities, directing technical performance issues and quality
assurance measures, and managing database activities.
PDP commodity sampling is based on a rigorous statistical design which
ensures that the data are reliable for use in exposure assessments and
that they can be used to draw various conclusions about the Nation’s
food supply. Pesticides and commodities included each year in PDP are
selected based on EPA data needs and on information about the types and
amounts of food consumed by infants and children. Fruit and vegetable,
peanut butter, and bottled water samples collected by each of the 10
sampling States (California, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Michigan, New
York, Ohio, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin) are apportioned according
to that State’s population. Samples are randomly chosen close to the
time and point of consumption (i.e., distribution centers rather than
at farmgate) and reflect what is typically available to the consumer
throughout the year. Samples are selected without regard to country of
origin, variety, or organic labeling. The monthly sampling rate is 62
samples per commodity, except for highly seasonal commodities. For
seasonal commodities, sampling rates are adjusted to reflect market
availability. Sampling rates for grain and meat are based on
During 2006, PDP tested fresh and processed fruit and vegetables,
peanut butter, wheat grain, poultry, bottled water, and treated
(finished) and untreated drinking water for various insecticides,
herbicides, fungicides, and growth regulators. Of the 13,658 total
samples collected and analyzed,
9,818 were fruit and vegetable commodities including applesauce,
bananas, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cranberries, eggplant,
grapefruit, greens (collard/kale), orange juice, peaches, fresh and
dried plums (prunes), frozen potatoes, raisins, spinach, summer squash,
frozen sweet peas, watermelon, and winter squash. PDP also tested 739
peanut butter, 687 wheat grain, 1,310 poultry (paired breast/thigh
samples), 367 bottled water, and 737 treated (finished) and untreated
drinking water samples.
Excluding drinking water samples, which were all from U.S. sources,
approximately 80 percent of all samples tested were from U.S. sources,
18 percent were imports, 1 percent were of mixed origin, and 1 percent
were of unknown origin. Approximately 32 percent of the orange juice
samples were of mixed national origin.
Overall, 64 percent of fresh fruit and vegetables and 59 percent of
processed fruit and vegetables showed detectable residues. Residues
were detected in 30 percent of the peanut butter samples, 69 percent of
wheat grain samples, 7 percent of the poultry breast and thigh samples,
and 19 percent of the bottled water samples.
Excluding drinking water, 46 percent of all samples tested contained no
detectable pesticides [parent compound and metabolite(s) combined], 28
percent contained 1 pesticide, and 26 percent contained more than 1
pesticide. Low levels of environmental contaminants were detected in
broccoli, carrots, kale greens, peaches, frozen sweet peas, spinach,
watermelon, winter squash, peanut butter and poultry at concentrations
well below levels that trigger regulatory actions.
Excluding samples for which no tolerances are set (bottled water and
treated/untreated drinking water),
exceeding the tolerance were detected in 0.2 percent of the 12,554
samples tested in 2006, 31 samples with 1 residue each.
tolerance is the maximum amount of a pesticide residue allowable on a
raw agricultural commodity. Established tolerances are listed in the
Code of Federal Regulations, Title 40, Part 180. Residues with no
established tolerance were found in 3.1 percent of the samples (367
samples with 1 residue each, 17 samples with 2 residues each, 2 samples
with 3 residues each, and 1 sample with 4 residues). In most cases,
these residues were detected at very low levels and some residues might
have resulted from spray drift or crop rotations. PDP communicates
these findings to FDA when they are reported by testing laboratories.
For bottled water, 12 different residues from 6 different pesticides
were detected. Most samples with detectable residues contained only a
single pesticide or metabolite. All detections were well below
established FDA Standards of Quality (SOQs). In finished drinking
water, PDP detected low levels (measured in parts per trillion) of some
pesticides, primarily widely used herbicides and their metabolites.
Forty-eight different residues were detected in the untreated intake
water and 39 in the treated water. The majority of pesticides,
metabolites, and isomers included in the PDP testing profiles were not
detected. None of the detections in the finished water samples exceeded
established EPA Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCL) or Health Advisory
(HA) levels or established Freshwater Aquatic Organism (FAO) criteria.
PDP continuously strives to improve methods for
the collection, testing, and reporting of data. These data are freely
available to EPA and other Federal and State agencies charged with
regulating and setting policies on the use of pesticides. They also are
available to all stakeholders by hard copy, Internet, or custom reports
generated by MPO. This publication, the PDP database file for
2006, and annual summaries and database files for previous years are
available on the PDP Web site at www.ams.usda.gov/pdp
Reference: USDA Agricultural
Marketing Service Pesticide Data Program website
is a naturally occurring and manmade chemical. Naturally occurring
perchlorate, for example, is found in arid states in southwestern
United States, as well as in nitrate fertilizer deposits in
Chile and potash ore found in U.S. and Canada. Perchlorate can also
form naturally in the atmosphere, leading to trace levels of
perchlorate in precipitation. Perchlorate is also an industrial
chemical that is used as an oxidizing agent in rocket propellant, in
fireworks and flares, and for other purposes. It has been detected in a
variety of foods and in drinking water from some locations in the U.S.
- What are the
effects of perchlorate on
the human body?
- Has a safe level for perchlorate in water and food been
- The EPA's drinking water equivalent level for perchlorate is 24.5
parts per billion (ppb). Is this the standard for perchlorate in
- In some areas of California, perchlorate has been found in tap
water. Do bottled water manufacturers test for perchlorate?
- Has FDA developed a method to detect perchlorate in foods?
- What is FDA's Total Diet Study?
- Did FDA test TDS foods for perchlorate and iodine?
- What were the estimates of the dietary intake of perchlorate from
the "U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Total Diet Study: Dietary
Intake of Perchlorate and Iodine" study?
- What were the estimates of the dietary intake of iodine from the
"U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Total Diet Study: Dietary Intake
of Perchlorate and Iodine" study?
- What is FDA recommending to consumers?
- How did FDA conduct the exploratory surveys for perchlorate in
2004 and 2005?
- Has FDA informed the public of the perchlorate levels that have
been found in foods from the exploratory surveys?
- What was the exposure estimate based on the exploratory surveys
and how did it compare to EPA's RfD?
- Did the perchlorate levels in the 27 foods and beverages analyzed
from the exploratory surveys provide an accurate measure of exposure to
In order to work toward development of an
assessment of the
potential risk of perchlorate, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
started an initial exploratory survey in 2004 and expanded the
exploratory survey in 2005 to better understand the occurrence and
levels of perchlorate in a variety of foods from various locations. In
2005 and 2006, FDA conducted Total Diet Study (TDS) surveys to obtain
perchlorate levels in TDS foods that are more comprehensive and
nationally representative (see Question 6). The levels of perchlorate
found in the foods are analyzed to better understand perchlorate
exposure from food and to support action, if warranted, to protect the
Based on the perchlorate data obtained from the
exploratory and TDS
surveys, the estimated average perchlorate intakes by the U.S.
population were below the perchlorate reference dose (RfD) of 0.7
micrograms per kilogram body weight per day (µg/kg bw/day)
recommended by the National Academy of Sciences and adopted by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (see questions 2, 8, and 13).
For this entire updated (February 7, 2008) report please link to:
Plant & Dairy Foods
How Safe Are Color Additives?
This handbook provides basic facts regarding
microorganisms and natural toxins. It brings together in one place
information from the Food & Drug Administration, the Centers for
Disease Control & Prevention, the USDA Food Safety Inspection
Service, and the National Institutes of Health.
How Safe are Color
Color additives give the red
tint to your fruit punch and the green
hue to your mint-flavored toothpaste. They are dyes, pigments, or other
substances that can impart color when added or applied to a food, drug,
cosmetic, or the human body. They can be found in a range of consumer
products — from cough syrup and eyeliner to contact lenses and
cereal. This publications "How
Safe are Color Additives?" has been recently updated by
Food and Drug Administration.
REFERENCE: FDA website
FDA Issues Documents
the Safety of Food from Animal
Agency Concludes that
Meat and Milk from Clones
of Cattle, Swine, and Goats, and the Offspring of All Clones, are as
Safe to Eat as Food from Conventionally Bred Animals
After years of detailed study
and analysis, the Food and Drug
Administration has concluded that meat and milk from clones of cattle,
swine, and goats, and the offspring of clones from any species
traditionally consumed as food, are as safe to eat as food from
conventionally bred animals. There was insufficient information for the
agency to reach a conclusion on the safety of food from clones of other
animal species, such as sheep.
To read the entire article
please link to: Safety of
Food from Animal Clones
Cloning and Food Safety
Chemical Disrupts Hormone Activities
A new UC Davis study shows that a common antibacterial chemical
added to bath soaps can alter hormonal activity in rats and in human
cells in the laboratory -- and does so by a previously unreported
The findings come as an increasing number of studies -- of both lab
animals and humans -- are revealing that some synthetic chemicals in
household products can cause health problems by interfering with normal
Called endocrine disruptors, or endocrine disrupting substances
(EDS), such chemicals have been linked in animal studies to a variety
of problems, including cancer, reproductive failure and developmental
This is the first endocrine study to investigate the hormone effects
of the antibacterial compound triclocarban (also known as TCC or
3,4,4'-trichlorocarbanilide), which is widely used in household and
personal care products including bar soaps, body washes, cleansing
lotions, wipes and detergents. Triclocarban-containing products have
been marketed broadly in the United States and Europe for more than 45
years; an estimated 1 million pounds of triclocarban are imported
annually for the U.S. market.
The researchers found two key effects: In human cells in the
laboratory, triclocarban increased gene expression that is normally
regulated by testosterone. And when male rats were fed triclocarban,
testosterone-dependent organs such as the prostate gland grew
Also, the authors said their discovery that triclocarban increased
hormone effects was new. All previous studies of endocrine disruptors
had found that they generally act by blocking or decreasing hormone
"This finding may eventually lead to an explanation for some rises
in some previously described reproductive problems that have been
difficult to understand," said one author, Bill Lasley, a UC Davis
expert on reproductive toxicology and professor emeritus of veterinary
medicine. More analyses of antibacterials and endocrine effects are
planned, he said.
Consumers should not take this study as guidance on whether to use
triclocarban-containing products, Lasley said. "Our mothers taught us
to wash our hands well before the advent of antimicrobial soaps, and
that practice alone prevents the spread of disease."
The new study was published online by the journal Endocrinology
("Triclocarban enhances testosterone action: A new type of endocrine
disruptor?") at: http://endo.endojournals.org/rep.shtml.
The nine authors are Lasley, Jiangang Chen, Ki Chang Ahn, Nancy Gee,
Mohamed I. Mohamed, Antoni Duleba, Ling Zhao, Shirley Gee and Bruce
Hammock. They are associated with these UC Davis programs: Center for
Health and the Environment; Department of Entomology; California
National Primate Research Center; Division of Reproductive
Endocrinology and Infertility at the School of Medicine; Department of
Nutrition; and the Cancer Center.
Davis News & Information Website
, December 7, 2007
The National Agriculture Health study was
in 1993 and is to
continue through 2013. A recent survey of
the 89,658 participants had
information regarding exposure:
• 14% of pesticide applicators have had an
exposure in their
• Applicators who wear chemical-resistant gloves
exposures by 66 to 75 percent
• 37% take a shower or bath after applying
• 95% wear clean clothing the day after applying
• 78% take off their work boots before entering
• 74% laundry clothes worn applying pesticides
• 87% of the pesticides were not stored in the
(Ag Health Study via North Dakota
Quarterly, January 2008)
Reference: Pesticide Reports,
NARMS; Tools to Fight Disease,
Protect Public Health
Foodborne illness outbreaks are shifting from the typical point source,
or “church supper,” outbreak to more diffuse outbreaks. These can occur
over many communities, with only a few illnesses in each, and therefore
are difficult for public health authorities to track.
The nature of outbreaks has changed because food production and
distribution have changed. Until recently, the food supply system
consisted of local
growers and local or regional processors. More recently, large
food-producing facilities, often with nationwide distribution, have
replaced smaller, regional
facilities. Public health experts have difficulty detecting and dealing
with this relatively new style of dispersed outbreak.
The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) are working in partnership to detect
and combat the problems of this new type of outbreak.
These three government agencies have established federal food safety
programs to improve their ability to identify and investigate outbreaks
and take appropriate action. These programs, “PulseNet,” “FoodNet,” and
“NARMS,” use new laboratory, research, statistical, and analytical
tools to help protect public health.
To read about these programs link to: FDA
Reference: FDA website, 2007.
FARAD Back Online
FARAD is a computer-based decision support system designed to provide
livestock producers, extension specialists, and veterinarians with
practical information on how to avoid drug, pesticide and environmental
contaminant residue problems. The drugs and pesticides used in modern
animal agriculture improve animal health and thereby promote more
efficient and humane production.
The FARAD Residue Hotline Telephone (1-888-USFARAD [888-873-2723]) is
Questions from Veterinarians to the FARAD Hotline can be submitted
online now at www.farad.org.
Check out the FARAD website
for more information.