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The history of arsenical pesticides and health risks related to the use of Agent Blue.

Abstract Arsenicals in agriculture. Beginning in the 1970s, the use of arsenic compounds for such purposes as wood preservatives, began to grow. By 1980, in the USA, 70% of arsenic had been consumed for the production of wood preservatives. This practice was later stopped, due to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ban of the arsenic-and chromium-based wood preservative chromated copper arsenate. In the past, arsenical herbicides containing cacodylic acid as an active ingredient have been used extensively in the USA, from golf courses to cotton fields, and drying-out the plants before harvesting. The original commercial form of Agent Blue was among 10 toxic insecticides, fungicides and herbicides partially deregulated by the US EPA in February 2004, and specific limits on toxic residues in meat, milk, poultry and eggs, were removed. Today, however, they are no longer used as weed-killers, with one exception - monosodium methanearsonate (MSMA), a broadleaf weed herbicide for use on cotton. Severe poisonings from cacodylic acid caused headache, dizziness, vomiting, profuse and watery diarrhea, followed by dehydration, gradual fall in blood pressure, stupor, convulsions, general paralysis and possible risk of death within 3-14 days.The relatively frequent use of arsenic and its compounds in both industry and agriculture points to a wide spectrum of opportunities for human exposure. This exposure can be via inhalation of airborne arsenic, contaminated drinking water, beverages, or from food and drugs. Today, acute organic arsenical poisonings are mostly accidental. Considerable concern has developed surrounding its delayed effects, for its genotoxic and carcinogenic potential, which has been demonstrated in epidemiological studies and subsequent animal experiments. <b>Conclusions.</b> There is substantial epidemiological evidence for an excessive risk, mostly for skin and lung cancer, among humans exposed to organic arsenicals in occupational and environmental settings. Furthermore, the genotoxic and carcinogenic effects have only been observed at relatively high exposure rates. Current epidemiological and experimental studies are attempting to elucidate the mechanism of this action, pointing to the question whether arsenic is actually a true genotoxic, or rather an epigenetic carcinogen. Due to the complexity of its effects, both options remain plausible. Its interactions with other toxic substances still represent another important field of interest.
PMID
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Authors

Mayor MeshTerms
Keywords

Agent Blue toxicity

arsenical pesticides

arsenicals in agriculture

carcinogenicity

farmers’ health

organic arsenicals use

Journal Title annals of agricultural and environmental medicine : aaem
Publication Year Start




PMID- 28664715
OWN - NLM
STAT- MEDLINE
DA  - 20170630
DCOM- 20170710
LR  - 20170713
IS  - 1898-2263 (Electronic)
IS  - 1232-1966 (Linking)
VI  - 24
IP  - 2
DP  - 2017 Jun 12
TI  - The history of arsenical pesticides and health risks related to the use of Agent 
      Blue.
PG  - 312-316
LID - 74715 [pii]
AB  - Arsenicals in agriculture. Beginning in the 1970s, the use of arsenic compounds
      for such purposes as wood preservatives, began to grow. By 1980, in the USA, 70% 
      of arsenic had been consumed for the production of wood preservatives. This
      practice was later stopped, due to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
      ban of the arsenic-and chromium-based wood preservative chromated copper
      arsenate. In the past, arsenical herbicides containing cacodylic acid as an
      active ingredient have been used extensively in the USA, from golf courses to
      cotton fields, and drying-out the plants before harvesting. The original
      commercial form of Agent Blue was among 10 toxic insecticides, fungicides and
      herbicides partially deregulated by the US EPA in February 2004, and specific
      limits on toxic residues in meat, milk, poultry and eggs, were removed. Today,
      however, they are no longer used as weed-killers, with one exception - monosodium
      methanearsonate (MSMA), a broadleaf weed herbicide for use on cotton. Severe
      poisonings from cacodylic acid caused headache, dizziness, vomiting, profuse and 
      watery diarrhea, followed by dehydration, gradual fall in blood pressure, stupor,
      convulsions, general paralysis and possible risk of death within 3-14 days.The
      relatively frequent use of arsenic and its compounds in both industry and
      agriculture points to a wide spectrum of opportunities for human exposure. This
      exposure can be via inhalation of airborne arsenic, contaminated drinking water, 
      beverages, or from food and drugs. Today, acute organic arsenical poisonings are 
      mostly accidental. Considerable concern has developed surrounding its delayed
      effects, for its genotoxic and carcinogenic potential, which has been
      demonstrated in epidemiological studies and subsequent animal experiments.
      &lt;b&gt;Conclusions.&lt;/b&gt; There is substantial epidemiological evidence for an
      excessive risk, mostly for skin and lung cancer, among humans exposed to organic 
      arsenicals in occupational and environmental settings. Furthermore, the genotoxic
      and carcinogenic effects have only been observed at relatively high exposure
      rates. Current epidemiological and experimental studies are attempting to
      elucidate the mechanism of this action, pointing to the question whether arsenic 
      is actually a true genotoxic, or rather an epigenetic carcinogen. Due to the
      complexity of its effects, both options remain plausible. Its interactions with
      other toxic substances still represent another important field of interest.
FAU - Bencko, Vladimir
AU  - Bencko V
AD  - Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles
      University, Prague, Czech Republic. [email protected]
FAU - Yan Li Foong, Florence
AU  - Yan Li Foong F
AD  - Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles
      University, Prague, Czech Republic.
LA  - eng
PT  - Historical Article
PT  - Journal Article
DEP - 20170612
PL  - Poland
TA  - Ann Agric Environ Med
JT  - Annals of agricultural and environmental medicine : AAEM
JID - 9500166
RN  - 0 (Pesticides)
SB  - IM
MH  - Agricultural Workers' Diseases/epidemiology/etiology/*history
MH  - Arsenic Poisoning/epidemiology/etiology/*history
MH  - Environmental Exposure/analysis/*history/statistics &amp; numerical data
MH  - Food Contamination/analysis
MH  - History, 20th Century
MH  - History, 21st Century
MH  - Humans
MH  - Pesticides/history/*toxicity
MH  - Risk
OTO - NOTNLM
OT  - Agent Blue toxicity
OT  - arsenical pesticides
OT  - arsenicals in agriculture
OT  - carcinogenicity
OT  - farmers' health
OT  - organic arsenicals use
EDAT- 2017/07/01 06:00
MHDA- 2017/07/14 06:00
CRDT- 2017/07/01 06:00
AID - 74715 [pii]
PST - ppublish
SO  - Ann Agric Environ Med. 2017 Jun 12;24(2):312-316. Epub 2017 Jun 12.