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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Announcements' Category


23
Sep

Last Chance This Fall to Tell the NOSB To Uphold Organic Integrity 

(Beyond Pesticides, September 23-26, 2022) Comments are due 11:59 pm EDT September 29.  The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public through September. This precedes the upcoming public comment webinar on October 18 and 20 and deliberative hearing October 25-27—concerning how organic food is produced. Sign up to speak at the webinar by September 29. Written comments must be submitted through Regulations.gov by 11:59 pm EDT September 29. Links to the virtual comment webinars and the public meeting will be posted on this webpage in early October. For a complete discussion, see Keeping Organic Strong and the Fall 2022 issues page. In the spirit of “continuous improvement,” we urge you to submit comments (please feel free to use our comments on the KOS page) that contribute to an increasingly improved organic production system. Here are some high priority issues for us: > The NOSB must take a precautionary approach in view of the unknown. Peroxylactic acid (POLA) is petitioned as an antimicrobial agent to be used in processing meat. While a comprehensive review of the needs for sanitizers and disinfectants in organic processing may reveal a need for additional materials, the existing data concerning POLA […]

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21
Sep

Reduced Productivity in Strawberries Pollinated by Neonic-Exposed Bees, Research Finds

(Beyond Pesticides, September 21, 2022) Strawberry plants pollinated by wild bees exposed to neonicotinoid insecticides produce smaller berries than those pollinated by unexposed bees, finds research published in the journal PLOS One. The findings are yet another piece of evidence pointing to the need for major reforms in the way pesticides are evaluated and pollinators are protected in the United States. As decades of evidence have piled up on the dangers posed by long-lived, systemic, neonicotinoid insecticides, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has done little to address the damage to pollinator populations, while needed legislation, the Saving America’s Pollinators Act, has languished in Congress without a hearing or a vote, despite having over 75 cosponsors. This new study describes a novel consideration for how neonicotinoids may harm pollinators and impact the food supply. “Previous studies have shown that clothianidin affects wild bees negatively in terms of foraging speed, development and reproduction. Our results indicate that it can also impair the bees’ ability to pollinate strawberry flowers,” says study coauthor Lina Herbertsson, PhD. Scientists established 12 outdoor cages each with 10 strawberry plants and 11 canola plants. For half of the cages, the canola plants were grown with seeds coated […]

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13
Sep

Multiple Pesticides Detected in All Store-Bought Milkweed, Threatening Further Monarch Declines

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2022) Every store-bought milkweed sample tested in a recent study contains multiple toxic pesticides, placing monarchs reliant on these plants in harm’s way at a time the species can ill afford any further loss to its population. Pollinator declines have influenced many residents throughout the U.S. to take action into their own hands and transform their home yards or businesses into an oasis for bees, birds, and butterflies. Yet the recent study published in Biological Conservation finds that many retailers are dousing their ‘wildlife-friendly’ plants with pesticides that put this vulnerable species in further danger. “That was the most shocking part,” said lead author Christopher Halsch, a doctoral study at University of Nevada, Reno. “The fact that plants labeled as potentially beneficial or at least friendly to wildlife are not better and in some cases might be worse than other plants available for purchase. This research sheds light on how pesticides may impact western monarchs, but many other butterflies are facing even steeper population declines, and pesticides are likely one driver.” Testing was conducted by purchasing milkweed plants at 33 different stores spanning 15 different states. A sample of each plant was cut after purchase, and […]

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12
Sep

Organic Integrity Before the Public, Comments Due By September 29

(Beyond Pesticides, September 12, 2021) Comments are due by 11:59 pm EDT September 29. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public through September. This precedes the upcoming public comment webinar on October 18 and 20 and deliberative hearing October 25-27—concerning how organic food is produced. Sign up to speak at the webinar by September 29. Written comments must be submitted through Regulations.gov. by 11:59 pm EDT September 29. Links to the virtual comment webinars and the public meeting will be posted on this webpage in early October. The NOSB is responsible for guiding the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its administration of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), including the materials allowed to be used in organic production and handling. The role of the NOSB is especially important as we depend on organic production to protect our ecosystem, mitigate climate change, and enhance our health The NOSB plays an important role in bringing the views of organic producers and consumers to bear on USDA, which is not always in sync with organic principles. There are many important issues on the NOSB agenda this Spring. For a complete discussion, see Keeping Organic Strong and […]

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06
Sep

Ending Fossil Fuel-Based Pesticides and Fertilizers Central to National Forum and Legislation

(Beyond Pesticides, September 6, 2022) Beyond Pesticides is holding its National Forum series, Health, Biodiversity, and Climate: A Path for a Livable Future, beginning on September 15. The National Pesticide Forum has undergone tremendous change in the format, giving participants easier access to timely, bite-sized, and provocative learning experiences and empowering action to fuel change. This year, it focuses on meeting the health, biodiversity, and climate crises with a path for a livable future. We examine both the existential problems associated with current public health and environmental crises and chart a course for a future that solves these urgent problems—public health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency. The first seminar launches September 15, the second on October 12, and a third will be announced for November. Register for free! The Forum will address both the science that defines the problems associated with the threats and the solutions, some of which are contained in legislation such as the Zero Food Waste Act and the Compost Act. Two ways of helping to reduce agricultural carbon emissions and reduce hunger are addressed in these two bills—by maximizing the amount of food that is eaten and ensuring that food waste is composted to build soil […]

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23
Aug

Wasted: Bees Become Disoriented and Uncoordinated After Exposure to Systemic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2022) Bees exposed to systemic insecticides become disoriented and cannot walk straight, showing evidence of brain damage in areas that coordinate movement, according to research published in Frontiers in Insect Science. Although scientific studies and regulatory determinations have already provided ample evidence implicating systemic insecticides like the neonicotinoids and sulfoxaflor with pollinator danger and decline, new research continues to fill in the remaining gaps. “Here we show that commonly used insecticides like sulfoxaflor and the neonicotinoid imidacloprid can profoundly impair the visually guided behavior of honey bees,” said lead author Rachel H Parkinson, PhD, a scientist at the University of Oxford. “Our results are reason for concern because the ability of bees to respond appropriately to visual information is crucial for their flight and navigation, and thus their survival.” Honey bees rely on landmarks, the direction of sunlight, and wide-field visual motion to orient themselves in a landscape, find nectar and pollen, and bring it back to the hive. While sunlight provides a compass, wide-field visual motion helps bees adjust speed and altitude, and determine where they are relative to known landmarks. Worker bees use this innate ability to reorient themselves to food or their hive […]

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22
Aug

Groups Call for Organic Action to Implement Climate Solutions under Historic Federal Law

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2022) The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is, as President Biden claims, “The single most aggressive action the U.S. is taking to tackle the climate crisis and create clean energy solutions in American history.” However, that is a low bar to clear. There is much more required to meet the President’s climate goals and much is needed to ensure that the IRA is implemented in a way that helps farmers, fenceline communities, and biodiversity. As stated by Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, “President Biden and his administration should take this moment not only to celebrate, but also to recommit and refocus on addressing the environmental injustice and wildlife crises.” For more in-depth coverage, see Beyond Pesticides’ Daily News. Tell President Biden that funds in the Inflation Reduction Act must meet the need for a transformative moment to address the existential health (including environmental justice), biodiversity, and climate crises and shift society to organic practices by eliminating fossil fuel-based pesticides and fertilizers; and that further steps are needed to reach critical and urgent goals.  We cannot meet climate goals while maintaining a dependence on fossil fuels. Eliminating that dependence requires more than a shift from gas-powered vehicles to electric vehicles, shifting from […]

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19
Aug

Historic Federal Support Could Effectively Take on Climate, Health, and Biodiversity Crises—with Grassroots Advocacy

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2022) On August 16, President Biden signed a bill — the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” — that will provide unprecedented sums to address the existential threats we face related to climate, biodiversity, and health. The $750 billion total appropriation is far less than the original $1.75 trillion hoped for early in the legislative process, but nevertheless is an historic level of federal investment. Beyond Pesticides sees in the bill, now law, opportunities to make significant headway on our call for the elimination of toxic pesticides over the next decade, which launches during our 2022 National Forum Series. The new law could (and should) also provide investment in the critical transition to organic production methods in agriculture. Should the federal government advance organic systems as a climate, health, and environmental justice solution, those two priorities would go far to improve health, reduce dependence on synthetic, fossil-fuel-based pesticides and fertilizers, and allow natural systems to begin to heal from 70+ years of chemical assault. Component sections of the Inflation Reduction Act include those on Clean Energy and Transmission, Clean Transportation, Buildings and Energy Efficiency, Manufacturing, Environmental Justice, Conservation and Agriculture, Fossil Fuels, and Permitting Reform. Within those categories, […]

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15
Aug

Prohibit Ag Pesticide Use on Wildlife Refuges to Protect Biodiversity

(Beyond Pesticides, August 15, 2022) Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and seven other members of the United States Senate are calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to phase out the use of toxic pesticides in National Wildlife Refuges in order to protect declining wildlife species and the country’s unique natural resources. The senators sent a letter to FWS Director Martha Williams urging FWS to “expeditiously begin a rulemaking process to phase out the use of agricultural pesticides on National Wildlife Refuges.” The move comes at a time when native wildlife and the ecosystems humans rely upon are under greater threats than ever before from climate change, habitat destruction, and the indiscriminate use of toxic pesticides. Join eight U.S. Senators in calling for a phase out of the use of toxic pesticides in National Wildlife Refuges. “The Refuge System was established to provide sanctuary for listed threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, and other wildlife,” wrote the senators in their letter. “The Refuges’ migratory sanctuary and breeding grounds are especially critical for North American birds, as they have faced precipitous population declines; there are 3 billion fewer breeding birds in North America than there were in 1970. Unfortunately these birds […]

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10
Aug

Cover Cropping Techniques Increase Organic Farm Sustainability

(Beyond Pesticides, August 10, 2022) Cover crops added in-between rows of organic corn while they are still growing can provide a range of benefits that improve a farm’s sustainability and lowers its impact on the surrounding environment, according to a study published in Agronomy Journal by scientists at Pennsylvania State University. “The use of cover crops in organic grain systems has many potential benefits,” says study coauthor Sarah Isbell, PhD. “These include improvements in soil quality, increased nutrient retention, prevention of erosion, and suppression of weeds. In organic systems where synthetic inputs are not used, cover crops can be managed to reduce nitrate leaching through soils and supply nitrogen to cash crops.” As demand for organic products continues to increase, and more and more farmers are embracing the organic mantra of “continuous improvement,” research like the present study is critical to the development of new efficiencies and ecologically sustainable practices. Scientists set out to understand the best method for planting cover crops under organic corn grown for grain or silage (fed to cattle and other animals). Determining a planting time for corn cover crops is difficult because corn is often harvested late in the fall, leaving little time for a […]

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02
Aug

U.S. Senators Urge Fish and Wildlife Service to Phase Out Pesticide Use in America’s Wildlife Refuges

(Beyond Pesticides, August 2, 2022) Members of the United States Senate are calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to phase out the use of toxic pesticides in National Wildlife Refuges in order to protect declining wildlife species and the country’s unique natural resources. Led by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), the senators sent a letter to FWS Director Martha Williams urging FWS to “expeditiously begin a rulemaking process to phase out the use of agricultural pesticides on National Wildlife Refuges.” The move comes at a time when native wildlife and the ecosystems humans rely upon are under greater threats than ever before from climate change, habitat destruction, and the indiscriminate use of toxic pesticides. “The Refuge System was established to provide sanctuary for listed threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, and other wildlife,” wrote the senators in a letter to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Director Martha Williams. “The Refuges’ migratory sanctuary and breeding grounds are especially critical for North American birds, as they have faced precipitous population declines; there are 3 billion fewer breeding birds in North America than there were in 1970. Unfortunately these birds and other threatened species are being put at risk by pesticide use […]

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01
Aug

Take Action: USDA Action Limits Environmental and Scientific Authority on National Organic Board

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2022) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has just renewed the charter of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), with changes that threaten the balance on the board created by law. Organic production is successful, with sales topping $63 billion, and still growing. Organic production not only brings healthful food to it consumers, but also reduces the amount of toxic chemicals released to the air, soil, and water. And it helps to reduce climate change by sequestering carbon in the soil. To ensure rigorous oversight of USDA and robust advice and management of the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances, the NOSB was created to ensure balanced representation from organic stakeholders, including consumers, conservationists, farmers, a scientist, retailer, and certifier. The growth of the organic brand is attributable in great part to public trust in the standards and processes that govern oversight over the USDA organic label. Tell USDA to classify all NOSB members as “Representatives” to protect the integrity of organic production. Tell Congress to ensure that USDA follows the letter and spirit of the organic law. The success of organic derives from consumer trust in the organic label, and that trust depends on […]

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29
Jul

With Industry Support, a Republican U.S. Senator Introduces Bill to Codify Easier Access to Ag Pesticides–As If It Wasn’t Easy Enough

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2022) Perhaps attempting to capitalize on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ability to regulate carbon emissions, Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas (R) has filed a bill in the Senate that seeks to limit the agency’s ability to regulate pesticide use. The so-called EPA Transparency for Agriculture Products Act of 2022 is touted, on Senator Marshall’s website, as “a comprehensive bill to prevent . . . EPA . . . from overregulating essential pesticides that the ag industry heavily depends upon.” In truth — and perversely, given that he is a medical doctor — the bill aims to provide more license to use toxic pesticides that harm human health, the environment broadly, and ecosystems already under assault from toxic, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, habitat destruction, and climate change. Couched in language about “feeding the world,” the bill’s central concern seems to be financial impacts or challenges that farms (a good portion of which, let us remember, are giant, well-resourced agribusinesses) may face because of EPA pesticide regulations. Those regulations, of course, are promulgated by the agency to protect people, organisms, ecosystems, and natural resources from harmful impacts and risks […]

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27
Jul

Monarchs Listed as Endangered by International Safety Group, while U.S. Fails to Take Meaningful Action

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2022) As monarch butterfly numbers continue to drop throughout the United States, an international conservation group is listing the migratory monarch butterfly as endangered. The move by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) places pressure on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to prioritize protections for this rapidly dwindling iconic species. “Today’s Red List update highlights the fragility of nature’s wonders, such as the unique spectacle of monarch butterflies migrating across thousands of kilometres,” said Bruno Oberle, PhD, IUCN Director General. “To preserve the rich diversity of nature we need effective, fairly governed protected and conserved areas, alongside decisive action to tackle climate change and restore ecosystems. In turn, conserving biodiversity supports communities by providing essential services such as food, water and sustainable jobs.” Migratory monarch butterflies are under threat from a range of factors harming both their western and eastern populations. Logging and deforestation have destroyed much of their overwintering grounds in Mexico and California. Climate change has subjected the butterflies to temperature anomalies and extremes, severe weather, and wildfires. Herbicide use has eliminated millions of acres of breeding habitat by killing off milkweed plants that monarchs require to rear their […]

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13
Jul

France Enacts Sweeping Restrictions on Pesticide Use in Public and Private Landscaped Areas

(Beyond Pesticides, July 13, 2022) A new law in France bans the use of lawn and landscape pesticides in both public and private areas frequently used by the public. The law, which came into effect at the beginning of this month, applies throughout the country and extends the scope of a previous decree that restricted pesticide use on green spaces in public areas. As it stands, France’s previous approach is set to be adopted by the entirety of the European Union under its Farm to Fork initiative goals of reducing overall pesticide use by 50% by 2030. This new law, which tracks most similarly to restrictions enacted in most Canadian provinces and by certain U.S. cities like South Portland and Portland, ME, highlights the importance of extending pesticide restrictions to most all outdoor spaces to ensure health and environmental safety. The new restrictions apply to a laundry list of sensitive sites where pesticide use can unnecessarily harm individuals or the wider public: Private residential properties, including their outdoor areas Hotels, hostels, lodgings, camping sites and residential leisure parks Cemeteries Allotments [community gardens]; Amusement, entertainment and recreation parks with a variety of activities and facilities; Areas accessible to the public in […]

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12
Jul

Four Out of Five People in U.S. Contaminated with Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2022) More than four out of five U.S. children and adults over the age of six have detectable levels of glyphosate in their bodies, according to data recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With strong evidence implicating this chemical as a carcinogen, and emerging data associating it with adverse birth outcomes, the findings raise broad concerns for public health. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to permit widespread public exposure to toxic chemicals based on obscure economic arguments over the claimed benefits of pesticides, advocates say it is time for a change that embraces health and the environment over the profits of pesticide manufacturers. CDC’s testing data was developed as part of its National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a long-running program that began in the early 1960s and has since become a continuous program focused on American health and nutrition measurements. Data from this program are subsequently analyzed to help inform the prevalence of disease in the U.S. population and are used to develop public health policies. A total of 2,310 urine samples retained from studies conducted in 2013-2014 were analyzed by NHANES researchers for the presence […]

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11
Jul

A Livable Future Requires Local Action

(Beyond Pesticides, July 11, 2022) If there is one thing that recent Supreme Court decisions, including West Virginia et al. v. Environmental Protection Agency et al. (June 30, 2022, No. 20-1530), have shown us, it is that we cannot rely on regulators, courts, and corporations to protect health and the environment and ensure a livable future. Fortunately, at least with respect to our climate and environmental crises, solutions are up and running in many communities, and have been embraced by many institutions and companies. These efforts need our support, and there is much was can do in our communities now, as we advocate for federal and international policies that take the existential environmental crises seriously and with urgency. Ask your mayor or county executive to convert to organic land management in city parks and playing fields, and other public places. We learned in the 1970s that energy crises cannot be solved entirely at the supply end, but require changes in the way we do things—by conserving energy. Similarly, our environmental crises today cannot be solved totally by regulation alone, especially given the current political climate. We must advance new and creative approaches. Organic food production and land management are examples […]

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07
Jul

Pesticides Exacerbate the Threats of Biodiversity Collapse and the Climate Emergency

(Beyond Pesticides, July 7, 2022) A review article published in the International Journal on Environmental Sciences highlights how pervasive pesticide exposure and climate change threaten global species biodiversity. Now more than ever, people are changing their sentiment toward sustainability, with two-thirds of consumers stating the importance of limiting climate change impacts and 88 percent supporting greater pollution reduction. The relationship between climate change and biodiversity—a “distinct but related issue”— is often overlooked in the regulation of the pesticide industry. Climate change and biodiversity loss are interdependent, and an adverse impact on one can bolster adverse effects on the other. Biodiversity is intricate and affects all environmental ecosystems—from oceans and freshwater to forests and soils; it encompasses all life forms on earth. Without biodiversity, food production, energy production, clean water, fertile soil, sustained air quality, and climate will suffer. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one million species of plants and animals at risk. With the increasing rate of biodiversity loss, advocates say it is essential for government agencies to hold the pesticide industry accountable for the direct (i.e., excessive agrochemical use) and indirect (i.e., water pollution from run-off) impacts on ecosystems. The review notes, “The enormous use […]

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01
Jul

EU Bans Pesticides in Parks, Playgrounds, and Playing Fields; Fails to Set Organic Transition Goals in Ag

(Beyond Pesticides, July 1, 2022) The European Commission (EC) introduced on June 22 new rules that ban all pesticides in “public parks or gardens, playgrounds, recreation or sports grounds, public paths, as well as ecologically sensitive areas.” In agriculture, the policy adopts strategies for achieving the pesticide use- and risk-reduction goals of its Farm to Fork initiative. The EC — the European Union’s (EU’s) politically independent executive arm — proffered new rules that are binding on all EU Member States. Those states must, in turn, adopt their own binding targets to help meet the overall EU targets — a 50% reduction in use and risk of chemical pesticides, and a 50% reduction in use of more-hazardous pesticides, by 2030. Beyond Pesticides has covered the shortcomings of the EU’s previous approach, the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy and its 2021 disparagement by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, and his apparent turnaround in the large and recently announced USDA investment in the U.S. transition to organic agriculture (albeit without metrics or acreage goals), a transition F2F seeks to advance for the EU. Regarding the ban of pesticides in parks, the policy says: “Use of plant […]

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28
Jun

Pesticides Linked to Adult and Childhood Cancer in Western U.S., with Incidence Varying by County

(Beyond Pesticides, June 28, 2022) There is a strong connection between pesticide use and cancer rates in the Western United States, finds research recently published by scientists at University of Idaho and Northern Arizona University. Two studies (here and here) published in the peer-reviewed journal GeoHealth used geospatial data and publicly available pesticide databases to uncover the relationship between chemical heavy agricultural practices and cancer in both adults and children. As the rate of chronic diseases like cancer continue to increase in the United States, and more and more studies find these diseases to be pesticide-induced, it is imperative for the public to put increased pressure on regulators and lawmakers to enact meaningful measures that eliminate pesticide use and the hazards these chemicals pose. Of the two studies conducted by the research team, the first study modeled the connection between pesticide use and cancer incidence for adults and children in 11 western states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming), while the second study focuses on childhood cancer rates in Idaho’s 44 counties. Both studies utilized databases established by public entities, including U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Pesticide National Synthesis Project database, EPA Pesticide Industry […]

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23
Jun

Disappearance of California Bumble Bees Calls for Urgent Protection of Pollinators Nationwide

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2022) In the first California statewide bumble bee census in 40 years, a University of California—Riverside (UCR) study, published in Ecology and Evolution, reveals that once common bumble bee species in California are disappearing from the ecosystem. Wild pollinators like bumble bees provide pollination to billions of dollars worth of crops each year as these insects can flourish in cooler habitats and lower light levels than commercial honey bees. However, pollinators (such as bees, monarch butterflies, and bats) are a bellwether for environmental stress as individuals and as colonies. Both wild and commercial bees and other pollinators encounter multiple stressors, including pesticides, parasites, and poor nutrition, that act together to increase the risk of bee mortality. Therefore, studies like these highlight the need to establish monitoring and conservation frameworks incorporating varying habitats and species to assess fluctuations in biodiversity. The study notes, “Specifically, our study shows that greater monitoring of the diverse bumble bees of California is needed in order to better understand the drivers of biodiversity and decline in this genus, and to more effectively manage bumble bee conservation in the state.”  Researchers compared data on bumble bee populations in California in 1980 and 2020. After collecting bumble […]

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21
Jun

Pollinators Still Need Help; Act for Pollinator Week

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2022) June 20-24 is Pollinator Week, during which we recognize—and take action to protect—this important ecosystem link. Pollinators––bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other organisms––make a critical contribution to plant health, crop productivity, and the preservation of natural resources, but their existence is threatened by their pesticide-contaminated habitat. Pesticides have consistently been implicated as a key contributor to dramatic pollinator declines. Of the 100 crop varieties that provide 90% of the world’s food, 71 are pollinated by bees. Honey bees alone pollinate 95 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables, such as apples, avocados, almonds, and cranberries. Take action to protect pollinators. Providing protection for pollinators also protects the ecosystem in which they live. That protection requires eliminating harm as well as providing safe habitats where they can live and reproduce.  Provide organic habitat on your own property and encourage your town to go organic. Since plant starts in many garden centers across the country are grown from seeds coated with bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, or drenched with them, Beyond Pesticides has compiled a comprehensive directory of companies and organizations that sell organic seeds and plants to the general public. Included in this directory are seeds for vegetables, flowers, and herbs, as well as […]

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10
Jun

USDA Announces Dramatic Increases in Support for Organic Agriculture Without Call for Total Transition

(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2022) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on June 1 that it will provide a potential 15-fold increase in funding aimed at organic food production — up to $300 million. The subject Organic Transition Initiative provision is embedded in a new USDA Food System Transformation framework (FSTF), whose raison d’ĂȘtre is captured in the press release: “to transform the food system to benefit consumers, producers and rural communities by providing more options, increasing access, and creating new, more, and better markets for small and mid-size producers.” That funding for organic transition, the invocation of climate as a significant driver of multiple features of the initiative, and a focus on equity concerns are all welcome news. Beyond Pesticides maintains that it will be critical that this FSTF result in concrete goals that set out specific metrics and timelines — particularly around the magnitude of acres shifted to organic production and the pace of the phaseout of non-organic substances and protocols. The headline of the press release bespeaks the rationale: “Shoring Up the Food Supply Chain and Transforming the Food System to Be Fairer, More Competitive, More Resilient.” Broadly, the initiative addresses four sectors of agricultural activity: production, […]

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