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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Agriculture' Category


13
Jun

Court Says Law Allows Secrecy of Hazardous Pesticide Product Ingredients

(Beyond Pesticides June 13, 2016) A federal judge in California handed down a decision last week agreeing with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) that it has no responsibility under federal pesticide law to complete rulemaking on the disclosure of hazardous ingredients in pesticide products. That means that if the decision stands EPA will be allowed to keep the public in the dark on the full list of toxic ingredients in pesticides registered by the agency. A lawsuit filed by the Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, and Physicians for Social Responsibility argues that EPA fails to protect consumers from “inert” ingredients found in pesticides. U.S. District Judge William Orrick stated in his ruling,“The EPA has no mandatory duty to require disclosure of “inert” ingredients in pesticides, even if those ingredients qualify as hazardous chemicals under separate statutes.” Advocates have said for decades that people and communities cannot make informed decisions on pesticide products without full disclosure of all product ingredients and that the stated proprietary interests of chemical manufacturers is bogus, given the burgeoning market of pesticide products exempt from registration under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) 25(b) provision, which are required to disclose all ingredients. An […]

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10
Jun

Glyphosate Approval in EU Up in the Air

(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2016) A proposal for a temporary ‘technical extension’ of the EU approval of the herbicide glyphosate failed to secure the support of a majority of EU governments at a meeting of the EU standing committee on plants, animals, food and feed on Monday. This action may force the withdrawal of the herbicide, widely sold as Monsanto’s Roundup, from shelves if no decision is reached by the end of the month, when its license expires. After a proposal to renew the license for glyphosate for up to 15 years failed to win support in two meetings earlier this year, the EU executive offered a limited 12 to 18 month extension to allow time for further scientific study. Yet, despite this compromise, the proposal failed to win the support of member states representing at least 65% of the EU’s population, which is needed for adoption, an EU official told The Guardian. Seven member states abstained from Monday’s vote, 20 backed the proposal and one voted against, a German environment ministry spokeswoman said. According to the news source, Germany was among those that abstained from Monday’s vote. Of note is that Bayer, the German chemical company, recently offered to […]

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09
Jun

Congress Passes Toxic Chemical Reforms, but Limits More Protective State Laws

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2016) The U.S. Congress passed a bill Tuesday to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, the national law that regulates industrial chemicals, but in the process took away the right of state governments to adopt more stringent standards than the federal government. A Senate voice vote late Tuesday passed the bill, following a House vote in late May. The bill will now go to President Obama’s desk for signature or veto, but it is likely that he will sign it into law. Congress has taken steps to address the vast shortcomings of the law to protect human health and safety, and  in the process has created opportunities for serious delays and restrictions on states’ ability to enact their own toxic chemical regulations.  As the bill heads to President Obama, environmental advocates are concerned that they will lose an important tool in the fight for public protections —with the adoption of federal legislation that will  diminish the right of states and communities to establish protective laws, regulations, and standards in the face of involuntary toxic chemical exposure. Under  current TSCA law, around 64,000 chemicals are not subject to environmental testing or regulation by the […]

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07
Jun

International Panel Calls for End to Industrial Agriculture, Shift to Diversified Systems

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2016) A wholesale change in agricultural practices is necessary to ensure protection of human health and the environment over the long-term, according to a wide-ranging report authored by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES), “a fully independent panel, without financial or organizational ties to any corporations, governments or intergovernmental agencies.” The report, From Uniformity to Diversity, calls for a paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems. According to the report, diversified agroecology focuses on maintaining multiple sources of food production, and farming by applying ecological concepts and principles to the design and management of food systems. Industrial agriculture, on the other hand, requires highly-specialized production of a single food crop, and, through scale and task separation, focuses on increasing productivity through intensification. While monocultures and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are characteristic of industrial agriculture, agroecological practices embrace spatial and temporal diversification (through practices like crop rotation and intercropping), and focus on multiple outputs. Oliver De Schutter, Ph.D., former United National special rapporteur on food and co-chair of IPES, notes to The Guardian: “Many of the problems in food systems are linked specifically to the uniformity at the heart of […]

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03
Jun

Public Comment Needed on EPA’s Plans To Allow Bee-Toxic Sulfoxaflor despite Elevated Bee Losses

(Beyond Pesticides, June 3, 2016) Despite recent reports of continuing bee losses across the U.S., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced plans to reevaluate the use of the bee-toxic insecticide sulfoxaflor, and is proposing an amended registration. Sulfoxaflor’s initial 2013 registration was challenged by beekeepers and subsequently vacated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals due to overwhelming risks to bees and EPA’s inadequate review of the data. Last September, the  Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unequivocally rejected  EPA’s registration of sulfoxaflor. The Court concluded that EPA violated federal law when it approved sulfoxaflor without reliable studies regarding the impact that the insecticide may  have on honey bee colonies. The Court vacated EPA’s unconditional registration of the chemical, meaning that sulfoxaflor could no longer be used in the U.S. This decision was in response to a suit filed by beekeepers challenging EPA’s initial registration of sulfoxaflor, which cited the insecticide’s threat to bees and beekeeping. The case:  Pollinator Stewardship Council, American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Bee Advisory Board, American Beekeeping Federation, Thomas Smith, Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson v. U.S. EPA  (9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals,”¯No. 13-7234) According to the court decision, EPA skirted its own regulations […]

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01
Jun

Study Finds Honey Bees Frequently Collect Contaminated Pollen from Non-Crop Plants

(Beyond Pesticides, June 1, 2016) A study  by researchers at Purdue University has concluded  that honey bees collect most of their pollen from non-crop plants that are frequently contaminated with agricultural and urban pesticides. The researchers found this to be true even in places where croplands dominate the area.  The study, which detected neonicotinoids, pyrethroids, fungicides, and others, highlights the large number of toxic pesticides to which bees are exposed to in the environment. Researchers collected pollen from Indiana honey bee hives at three sites over 16 weeks. The hives were placed in a variety of settings, such as an open meadow with wildflowers, woody shrubs and trees present (non-agricultural), the border of a corn field that was treated with the neonicotinoid clothianidin and three fungicides, and the border of a non-treated corn field. The pollen samples that were collected by the bees represented up to 30 plant families and contained residues from pesticides spanning nine chemical classes. The researchers found 29 pesticides in pollen from the meadow site, 29 pesticides in pollen from the treated cornfield, and 31 pesticides in pollen from the untreated cornfield. The most common chemical products found in pollen from each site were fungicides and […]

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20
May

Bayer, in Takeover Bid for Monsanto, Would Become World’s Biggest Farm Chemical Supplier

(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2016) With Monsanto’s  earnings forecast cut and shares down 19%, Bayer AG has made a takeover bid for  the company, worth $42 billion, in an attempt to swallow the global seed producer and become the world’s biggest farm chemical supplier. Although the terms of the proposal have not yet been disclosed, Bayer confirmed the bid to Bloomberg News, and Monsanto said it is reviewing the offer. If the offer is accepted, it could be the biggest acquisition globally in 2016, and the largest German deal ever, according to Bloomberg data analysis. Bayer is known for a wide range of products, from aspirin and birth control to flea and tick collars and insecticides. Monsanto is the creator of the widely used and controversial herbicide formulation Roundup, which has glyphosate as its active ingredient. In order to finance the takeover, Bayer may consider selling off its stakes in its animal health business and plastics/foam chemicals business (Covestro AG), worth an estimated $6 billion and $5.5 billion, respectively. The takeover would solidify both companies in certain ways; Monsanto would strengthen Bayer’s seed business, while a deal with Bayer would help reduce Monsanto’s reliance on the agricultural industry. There has […]

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17
May

A Decade into the Pollinator Crisis, Unsustainable Bee Losses Continue

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2016) It was 10 years ago that commercial beekeepers first reported widespread, unsustainable winter losses of their honey bee colonies. A decade after the alarm was first sounded on pollinator declines, results of 2015-16 Colony Loss Survey show no sign the crisis of abating. According to the Bee Informed Partnership survey, beekeepers lost 28.1% of their colonies over this past winter, and a total of 44% of their colonies over the last year. This marks the second year in a row that summer declines (28.1%) were on par with declines experienced during winter. Beekeepers factor in that a small percentage, <15% of their colonies, will be lost each winter, but do not expect to lose colonies during the summer, when there is amble forage and nectar for bees. The costs beekeepers must incur to keep their hives alive continue to increase. More time and money is spent to maintain their hives, yet losses continue to be staggering ”” and unsustainable. As colony collapse disorder (CCD), the cryptic loss of honey bee colonies with no sign of dead bees in or around the hive, has faded from public discussion, concerns over pollinator declines in general, from bees […]

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16
May

Exposure to Pesticides Linked to ALS Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2016) Pesticide exposure may increase the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a study entitled Association of Environmental Toxins With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which was  published in JAMA Neurology. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The study, which investigated a total of 122 persistent environmental pollutants, including organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), found that pesticide exposure increased ALS risk five-fold. Researchers conducting the study  looked at 156 patients with ALS and 128 without the disease. Participants were asked about occupational and residential exposure to environmental toxicants  and blood samples were taken to measure their concentrations. Researchers found that the organochlorine pesticides pentachlorobenzene and cis-chlordane increased ALS risk two-fold and nearly six-fold, respectively. This study does not prove that pesticides cause ALS, but it does build on an association suggested in previous research, study co-author Stephen Goutman, MD, told  HealthDay. Dr. Goutman recommends avoiding pesticides. This is especially wise for anyone with a family history of ALS, he added. The link between pesticide exposure and neurological damage has been studied extensively. In 2008, […]

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13
May

Study Finds Low Levels of Roundup Cause Adverse Effects to Soil Health

(Beyond Pesticides, May 13, 2016)  Raising questions about Roundup’s (glyphosate) effects on soil health, a study published last month shows that the chemical  is toxic to soil fungus at doses well below levels which are recommended for agricultural use. The commercial formulation of Roundup is  more toxic than technical active ingredient,  glyphosate, highlighting the need to evaluate  full formulation  effects, including  so-called inert ingredients. The study, published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research, looked at Roundup’s effects on  a soil fungus, Aspergillus nidulans. Researchers found that a dilution of Roundup at a rate 100 times less than that  allowed in agricultural production corresponded with 50% mortality of the fungus. A dose only 50 times lower than the recommended application rate for agricultural uses resulted in 100% mortality of the fungus. Even at the median lethal dose (LD50) and lower concentrations, researchers saw impaired growth, cellular polarity, endocytosis and mitochondria (impaired average number, volume and metabolism). The study also found that Roundup has an effect on the soil fungus’ ability to break down nutrients for energy use. Rather than depleting mitochondrial activity, as found in animal cell studies, researchers found a stimulation of mitochondrial activity in the fungal cells, indicating a […]

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10
May

EPA Finds Atrazine Threatens Ecological Health

(Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2016) Following an apparent accidental release of documents relating to the safety of the herbicide glyphosate, late last month the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also released and then retracted a preliminary ecological risk assessment of another toxic herbicide, atrazine. Under federal law, every pesticide registered in the United States is required to undergo a 15-year registration review to analyze human health and environmental impacts and determine whether the chemical’s use should continue another 15 years. The last decade and a half have seen plethora of studies underscoring that atrazine is harmful to human health, and poses unreasonable adverse risks to ecological health, despite attempts by its major manufacturer, Syngenta, to silence and discredit its critics. EPA’s preliminary ecological risk assessment finds that for current uses at prescribed label rates, atrazine may pose a chronic risk to fish, amphibians, and aquatic vertebrate animals. Where use is heavy, the agency indicates that chronic exposure through built-up concentrations in waterways is likely to adversely impact aquatic plant communities.  Levels of concern, a wonky equation that EPA produces to measure risk, were exceeded for birds by 22x, fish by 62x, and mammals by 198x. Even reduced label rates were […]

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06
May

EPA Releases then Pulls Its Report that Disputes Cancer Finding for Glyphosate (Roundup)

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2016) Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a long  awaited review of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, concluding that the chemical is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans —then the agency removed the review from its website. After  pulling the report, the agency stated that the document was not final. In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released its findings that show  glyphosate to be a probable human carcinogen. The 86-page report was published Friday on  regulations.gov by EPA’s cancer assessment review committee (CARC) and was reviewed  by Reuters. While the report finds  that glyphosate is  not likely to be carcinogenic to humans, EPA told Reuters that it took the action it did because the assessment was not final. According to Reuters, “The agency said the documents were ”˜preliminary’ and that they were published ”˜inadvertently.’” But, a cover memo, which was part of the assessment, described the report as CARC’s final cancer assessment document. “Final” was printed on each page of the report, which was dated October 1, 2015. This only furthers speculation that EPA has concluded that it will  renew glyphosate’s registration. The European Union […]

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21
Apr

Glyphosate Residues Found in Common Breakfast Foods

(Beyond Pesticides, April 21, 2016) A report released Tuesday by the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) shows that glyphosate residues are widely distributed in common breakfast foods, such as bagels, cereals, creamers, and eggs. Glyphosate is a pervasive and toxic chemical found in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller and was classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a probable human carcinogen in 2015. The report looks at conventional and organic-certified versions of 12  popular breakfast foods and ingredients (a total of 24 items) and finds that many of the sample foods or ingredients contain detectable levels of glyphosate. Testing was done by an independent laboratory using the ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) method. Categories tested were: flour, corn flakes, instant oatmeal, bagels, yogurt, bread, frozen hash browns, potatoes, cream of wheat, eggs, non-dairy creamers, and dairy based coffee creamers. Of note is the finding that a sample of organic cage-free eggs contain more glyphosate than the allowable tolerance level. The lab found glyphosate residue levels of 169 parts per billion (ppb), while the allowable tolerance level is only 50ppb. The report acknowledges that the effects of other chemical ingredients in glyphosate formulations have not been evaluated, and the consequences […]

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20
Apr

GAO Finds USDA Regulation of Genetically Engineered Crops Deficient

(Beyond Pesticides April 20, 2016) A recently released study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) assesses the actions of three government agencies responsible for regulating genetically engineered (GE) crops, finding several shortcomings in the process. The report, which was commissioned by U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), is entitled Genetically Engineered Crops:  USDA Needs to Enhance Oversight and better Understand Impacts of Unintended Mixing with Other Crops. The report finds that while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have taken some steps to regulate GE crops, USDA’s failure to update its regulations that oversee GE crops has created a large data gap on the extent and impact of the unintended mixing of GE and non-GE crops. To address this, GAO recommends, among other things, that USDA set a timeline for updating its regulations and include farmer’s growing identity-preserved crops in its survey efforts to better understand the impacts of unintended mixing. The issue of coexistence between farmers using genetically engineered (GE) crops and non-GE farmers is as important as ever. GE crops pose a constant threat to the livelihood of organic farmers and undermine the burgeoning growth of the organic […]

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19
Apr

Avoiding Pesticide Residues Not Only Reason to Eat Organic Food

(Beyond Pesticides, April 19, 2016) Last week the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its annual Shoppers Guide to Pesticides in Produce, highlighting the critical importance of eating organic food to avoid pesticide residues that endanger human health. Beyond Pesticides’ Eating with a Conscience database complements EWG’s report by identifying the many additional reasons it is essential to choose organic for a healthy future. Although information on residues in conventional produce listed in the “Dirty Dozen” is helpful in alerting consumers and encouraging organic, it only tells part of the story. It turns out that even those food commodities in EWG’s “Clean Fifteen” may be grown with hazardous pesticides that get into waterways and groundwater, contaminate nearby communities, poison farmworkers, and kill pollinators and wildlife, while not all showing up at detectable levels on our food. For its report, EWG analyzed over 35,000 samples of pesticide residue collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. After 5 years at the top of the list, apples dropped to number two, replaced by strawberries. The organization reasons that a recent EU ban on the chemical diphenylamine, a fungicide linked to reproductive effects, kidney/liver damage, as well as groundwater contamination and toxicity to aquatic organisms, […]

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13
Apr

Still Time to be Heard on Organic Integrity; Comments Due Tomorrow, April 14!

(Beyond Pesticides, April 13, 2016) The organic regulatory process provides numerous opportunities for the public to weigh in on what is allowable in organic production. The spring 2016 public comment period is coming to a close for the National Organic Standards Board’s (NOSB) proposed recommendations on  organic standards, materials and policy. Comments are due by tomorrow, April 14, 2016 at 11:59 PM. There are many important issues that are under  NOSB consideration. Your voice is integral to maintaining organic integrity and the value of the USDA organic label. Remember, the Secretary of Agriculture may not allow materials in organic production that are not first recommended by the NOSB. On our Public Comment Alerts page, we have listed our positions on some of our top priority issues, such as inert ingredients, sanitizers, ancillary substances, carrageenan, and paraciticides. We have now updated our Keeping Organic Strong  (KOS)  page  with the rest of our top priority issues (as of April 12, 2016), and included the newest ones below. Please feel free to develop your own comments or cut and paste from our sample comments below or our final comments on the above KOS page: Policy and Procedures Manual Revisions “I appreciate the response […]

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05
Apr

Small Size of Wild Bees Correlated with Their Proximity to Intensive Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, April 5, 2016) Populations of wild, ground-nesting bees grow smaller in areas where agricultural production is high, according to Cornell University researchers. Both wild and managed pollinators are experiencing global population declines that have been linked to a range of factors stemming from human activity, to habitat loss, the spread of parasitic mites and diseases, climate change, and significantly, the use of toxic, systemic pesticides. This study underscores the wide ranging threat that conventional agricultural practices pose to wild insect pollinators. Cornell researchers explore the relationship between intensive agricultural production and the size of ground-nesting Andrena nasonii bees. These charismatic pollinators dig tunnels in the ground up to three  feet deep in which they store honey and nectar, and ultimately lay a single egg. They forage on a variety of fruit crops, and are well known and important pollinators of strawberries. Thus, scientists brought their study to areas in New York with large strawberry plantations. Researchers discovered a significant, positive correlation between the decreased size of female A. nasonii bees and their proximity to intensively farmed strawberry plots. “Once we knew there was an effect of agriculture on the size of the bees, we took a random sample […]

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04
Apr

Pesticides Kill Dragonflies and Reduce Biodiversity in Rice Paddies

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2016) Pesticides widely used in rice paddies in Japan are harming  dragonflies. The study, conducted by researchers at Japan’s National Institute for Environmental Studies, finds that the insecticide fipronil significantly reduces the population of adult dragonflies, more so than any other pesticide treatment. The study, titled Fipronil application on rice paddy fields reduces densities of common skimmer and scarlet skimmer  and published in the journal Scientific Reports, investigated the impact of neonicotinoids, which have been linked to bee die-offs around the world, and chlorantraniliprole, which, like neonicotinoids and fipronil, is a systemic pesticide that is taken up by the plant and subsequently expressed in pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets. Plankton species were adversely  affected by clothianidin, a neonicotinoid, and chlorantraniliprole, but they recovered after concentrations of the chemicals decreased. Koichi Goka, Ph.D., a senior researcher at the institute, said nymphs living near the soil are particularly vulnerable to toxic chemicals, according to The Asahi Shimbun. “The density of insecticidal components in the water drops quickly after they are dissolved,” Goka said. “But such components long remain in the soil. Nymphs at the bottom of water could have been affected.” Dr. Goka is calling for more testing […]

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01
Apr

Fungicides Linked to Autism and Alzheimer’s Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2016) A study published yesterday finds  that a certain class of fungicides, the strobilurins, causes genetic changes in the neurons of mice that are similar to genetic changes seen in humans with autism and Alzheimer’s disease. Since their introduction to the market over the past 20  years, these fungicides have been used increasingly on conventionally grown crops like cabbage, spinach, lettuce, kale, tomatoes, apples, pears and grapes. After exposing brain cells from mice to over 300 pesticides and fungicides, researchers found that the strobilurin class of fungicides produces patterns of genetic changes often seen in human neurodegenerative diseases. While the fungicides created autism-like signatures in the way the genes were expressed in mouse neurons, the results do not conclusively show that this class of fungicides causes autism or Alzheimer’s disease. Mark Zylka, Ph.D., lead scientist of the study and associate professor of cell biology and physiology at University of North Carolina, states,  “What this work provides is evidence that these chemicals are bad for neurons. They turn the same genes on or off that you see not only in autism brains, but also in neurodegeneration.” Strobilurins work by disrupting mitochondria, commonly known as the “powerhouse of […]

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29
Mar

Washington State’s Emergency Rule Allows Recall of Contaminated Cannabis Products

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2016) Last week, Washington State’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) adopted emergency rules allowing the state to recall cannabis products that have been tainted with illegal pesticide residues. The move follows widespread cannabis recalls in the City of Denver, and actions from Colorado’s Governor to declare pesticide-tainted cannabis “a threat to public safety.” Earlier in the month, Beyond Pesticides sent letters to Washington State Department of Agriculture  (WSDA) and Governor Jay Inslee imploring the state to take a proactive approach in restricting the use of hazardous pesticides in cannabis production. Until now, Washington State had no process in place to remove illegally contaminated cannabis products from the market. WSLCB will now issue recalls or allow producers to initiate product removal if there is evidence that pesticides not approved by the state were used or are present on salable marijuana plants or products. However, because the state does not mandate batch testing of cannabis plants or products, it is unclear how or whether the new rule will be enforced. In an interview with the Seattle Times, WSLCB spokesman Brian Smith indicated that the state will not be taking a zero-tolerance approach.  “If a product tests very high […]

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25
Mar

Glyphosate Found to Contaminate California Wine

(Beyond Pesticides, March 25, 2016) Glyphosate is found to contaminate California wines, according to a new report from the non-profit group Moms Across America. Glyphosate is pervasive and toxic chemical found in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller and was classified in 2015  as a probable carcinogen  by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The report finds that all of the ten wines tested positive for glyphosate. The highest level of glyphosate detected was nearly 30 times higher (at 18.74 parts-per-billion, or ppb) than other wines from a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon  sourced from a conventional, chemically farmed vineyard. The lowest level (.659 ppb) was from a biodynamic and organic vineyard, a 2013 Syrah. According to the owner, the vineyard has never been sprayed, indicating the possibility of pesticide drift from conventional agriculture, which has been a real and persistent problem for organic growers. EPA has done little to protect organic growers, who often bear the burden, both economic and otherwise, of pesticides applied to nearby conventional farmlands and vineyards. The report also points out that “the detection of glyphosate is an indicator of the presence of many other co-formulants in glyphosate-based herbicides, which have recently been shown”¦to be endocrine hormone disruptors […]

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22
Mar

It’s Time to Protect Organic Integrity

(Beyond Pesticides, March 22, 2016)  Make your voice heard! The public comment period has opened on National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) proposed recommendations affecting  organic standards, materials and policy. Comments are due by April 14, 2016 at 11:59 PM. As usual, there are many important issues that are under  NOSB consideration. Your voice is integral to maintaining organic integrity and the value of the USDA organic label. We have begun to analyze the numerous recommendations and are providing you with our positions that we hope you will use as the basis for your comments. We will provide positions on additional topics in the near future. Please feel free to develop your own comments or cut and paste ours from the following web page: Top Priority Issues. Unfortunately, the only way to make your voice heard is to submit your comments to regulations.gov. If you cut and paste our comments into regulations.gov on major issues before the NOSB (below), please put a personal note of concern in order to reflect the importance if these issues to you as an organic consumer, farmer. Some of the major issues before the spring 2016 National Organic Standards Board include: ”¢ Inerts Three items on […]

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21
Mar

Boulder County, Colorado to Phase Out GE Crops on Public Land

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2016) Last Thursday, Boulder County (CO) commissioners directed staff to draft up a plan to phase out genetically engineered (GE) crops on all farmland owned  by the county. The county’s current policy, adopted in 2011, allows tenant farmers to grow certain types of GE corn and sugar beets on land leased through Boulder County, and will remain in effect at least until the end of the year. The five-year policy old has frequently come under fire from individuals and environmental groups that challenge the safety of GE crop production systems, and their effect on human health, water quality, soil health, and the overall environment. The Boulder County commissioners heard  recommendations from the county’s advisory committees, including the county’s Croplands Policy Advisory Group, the Food and Agriculture Policy Group, and the Parks and Open Space Advisory Group. A public hearing was held on Feb. 29  also provided public input on whether to continue or change the current approval in Section 6.1 of the Boulder County Parks & Open Space Cropland Policy that allows for the use of certain genetically engineered (GE) crops on Open Space land. That approval expires on December 20, 2016. More than 100 people […]

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