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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Chlorpyrifos' Category


31
Oct

Bats Are Not the Real Threat This Halloween

(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2013) Bats get a bad rap on Halloween with their image synonymous with blood-sucking vampires; however, the real scary thing about bats is that they are disappearing due to a myriad of threats, including pesticides, habitat destruction, and the horrible white-nose syndrome (WNS), a disease caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus (Geomyces) destructans. Researchers are reporting an even bleaker picture, finding very little evidence of what might stop the disease from spreading further and persisting indefinitely in bat caves. The new study, from researchers at the Illinois Natural History Survey at the University of Illinois, found that the fungus can make a meal out of just about any carbon source likely to be found in caves, said graduate student Daniel Raudabaugh, who led the research under the direction of survey mycologist Andrew Miller, Ph.D. The study, Nutritional Capability of and Substrate Suitability for Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the Causal Agent of Bat White-Nose Syndrome is published in PLOS One. “It can basically live on any complex carbon source, which encompasses insects, undigested insect parts in guano, wood, dead fungi and cave fish,” Mr. Raudabaugh said. “We looked at all the different nitrogen sources and found that basically it can […]

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09
Oct

California Passes Bill to Tackle Pesticide Drift

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2013) California Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 304, a bill designed to protect people from harmful pesticides identified as Toxic Air Contaminants (TACs). The bill will require the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to develop mitigation measures for the use of harmful pesticides that vaporize and drift from application sites. California, a major user of pesticidefumigants, has tried to tackle to prevalence of pesticide drift in the state, and is one of few states that monitor air-borne pesticides. AB 304: “Pesticides: toxic air contaminant: control measures” introduced by Assembly member Das G. Williams (D-Santa Barbara), gives the DPR two years to reduce the effects of harmful air toxins once the department determines that additional mitigation measures are necessary. Fumigants are some of the most dangerous pesticides on the market and include the controversial methyl iodide. They are applied in large quantities, vaporize easily, drift away and expose nearby farmworkers and other community members to harm, with health effects linked to headaches, vomiting, severe lung irritation, and neurological effects. Some fumigants are linked to cancer, reduced fertility, birth defects and higher rates of miscarriage. “Californians have a right to breathe clean air, and not worry […]

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07
Aug

State Finds Toxic Insecticide in Air Samples

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2013) California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has detected the highly toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos in nearly 30% of air tests that are being conducted in three high risk communities surrounded by intensive agriculture. This result is part of DPR’s  2012 results from its  air-monitoring network (AMN)  sampling near the towns of  Ripon, Salinas and Shafter, in Kern County.  The state has been running tests for air particles from methyl bromide and 32 other pesticides and breakdown products and measuring the results against screening levels established by DPR. No state or federal agency has set health standards for pesticides in air. While the state believes the levels found present an acceptable risk, critics maintain that the state’s sampling is not representative of peak agricultural exposures and question whether any level of a toxicant in air is reasonable under the law, given the viability of alternative agricultural practices that do not rely on these chemicals. DPR said no residues were detected in 94.5 percent of the samples it collected, and the levels in the rest were well below thresholds for protecting people from pesticide-related illnesses. The communities in the study were selected from a list of 226 communities […]

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22
Jul

Organophosphate Poisoning Leads to the Death of School Children in India

(Beyond Pesticides, July 22, 2013) Organophosphate pesticide poisoning from contaminated school lunches is suspected as the cause of deaths for at least 25 children in India. The children, aged four to 12, became sick after eating a lunch provided to them by the school. Several reports suggest the rice or cooking oil used to prepare the food contained unsafe levels of organophosphates, a highly toxic class of pesticides that have the same mechanism of action as nerve gasses. In the U.S. most organophosphates pesticides were phased out of residential use; however, these neurological poisons are still widely used on agricultural crops and for mosquito control. The schoolchildren began fainting soon after eating the contaminated food, and within hours at least 25 children were pronounced dead. Authorities discovered a container of organophosphate pesticides next to the cooking oil, but were not able to determine if this was the source of the poisoning or if the food itself was tainted with organophosphates. The school cooks, who both had children at the school that either fell ill or died from eating the food, told authorities that the cooking oil appeared different than usual, but the principal told them to use it anyway. The […]

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19
Jul

Federal Report Finds Stream Health Severely Degraded

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2013) A recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) examines the health of the nation’s streams over 20 years and finds that streams nationwide are severely degraded by humans, exhibiting elevated levels of pesticides and nutrients as well as streamflow modifications. Overall, the report finds that 83 percent of streams in agricultural and urban areas contain at least one aquatic community that was altered, or in other words, negatively affected. With waterways in the U.S. increasingly imperiled from various agents including agricultural and industrial discharges, nutrient loading (nitrogen and phosphorus), and biological agents such as pathogens, assessments such as these provide further impetus to protect water quality for both human health and the environment. The report, entitled “Quality of Our Nation’s Waters: Ecological Health in the Nation’s Streams, 1993-2005,” describes the health of three biological communities ””algae, macroinvertebrates, and fish”” to  measure the overall quality of streams. A stream’s ability to support these community structures can directly measure the health of waterways. The report assesses streamflow modifications and measures over 100 chemical constituents in water and streambed sediments. The report is a comprehensive assessment of the variety of factors that contribute to stream health declines, […]

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09
Jul

Chlorpyrifos Contamination Could Lead to Trout Troubles in UK

(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2013) A recent pesticide contamination incident in Great Britain’s Kennet River has decimated aquatic invertebrate populations on a ten mile stretch of river between the towns of  Marlborough and Hungerford. The contamination occurred after a spill of the toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos entered a Marlborough sewage system. The lack of aquatic invertebrates could lead to a dramatic decline of the river’s chalk trout population. A similar incident occurred in Great Britain on the Wey River in 2003, and in Sussex Ouse in 2001. This recent calamity helps to underscore the importance for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), across the Atlantic, to fully implement pesticide restrictions that U.S. conservation groups are seeking to enforce through court action. The damage to the U.K. river may have been caused by, according to an Express article, only two tablespoons of the neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyifos. Members of the public have been advised by Britain’s Environment Agency to avoid skin contact with the water and not to eat fish caught from the river.  The contamination has occurred at the height of fly-fishing season. Environmental organizations are afraid that a decline in the number of aquatic invertebrates could lead chalk trout and other […]

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27
Feb

Pesticide Makers Win Bid to Overturn Pesticide Restrictions

(Beyond Pesticides, February 27, 2013) Last week a U.S. Court of Appeals found that pesticide restrictions to protect endangered salmon and steelhead proposed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in its Biological Opinion (BiOp) were “arbitrary and capricious,” supporting Dow AgroSciences LLC and other pesticide makers’ claims that the restrictions were based on “unsupported assumptions and conclusions.” The BiOp concluded that the pesticides chlorpyrifos, malathion and diazinon, three of the most highly toxic pesticides still in use, pose risks to salmon, steelhead and their habitat. In collaboration with NMFS, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is tasked with implementation of any recommended pesticide restrictions to satisfy the mandate under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). However, to date, EPA has not taken any actions to implement any of the proposed measures to protect endangered salmon and steelhead, in part due to challenges from industry. Dow AgroScience LLC, Makhteshim Agan of North America, Inc., and Cheminova, Inc. USA first filed a suit in 2009 (Dow Agrosciences v. National Marine Fisheries ), challenging the NMFS’ 2008 BiOp to restrict  chlorpyrifos, malathion and diazinon as being based on numerous unsupported assumptions and conclusions, and faulty analyses. The U.S. District Court […]

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21
Feb

Chlorpyrifos Preliminary Volatilization Assessment Finds Risks to Children; EPA Requests Comment to Address Uncertainties

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2013) On February 6, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its preliminary volatilization assessment for the registration review of chlorpyrifos, finding that vapor phase chlorpyrifos may be emitted from treated fields at levels resulting in exposure to children and others who live, work, attend school, or otherwise spend time nearby.  In some circumstances, these bystanders may be exposed to chlorpyrifos and/or the transformation product chlorpyrifos-oxon at concentrations that could cause adverse effects. Citing uncertainties, the agency is requesting comments by March 8, 2013 on the potential risks to children and other bystanders from volatilization of chlorpyrifos from treated crops. EPA’s preliminary volatilization assessment is also in response to a petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Pesticide Action Network North America (PAN) in 2007, which requested that the agency revoke all tolerances and cancel all registrations for chlorpyrifos. In a letter to NRDC and to PAN dated January 25, 2013, updating these groups on EPA’s response to their September 12, 2007 joint petition regarding chlorpyrifos, EPA stated that, “This assessment represents a significant advancement in the evaluation of pesticide risks, as it will be the first probabilistic assessment of the risks […]

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16
Jan

Elevated Chlorpyrifos Residues Detected in Indigenous Children

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2013) Children living near chemical-intensive or conventional plantations in Costa Rica are exposed to twice as much of the insecticide chlorpyrifos compared to children living near organic plantations, a study reports. More than half the children, mostly from indigenous tribes- Ngäbe and Bribri – have a  higher daily exposures than allowed under U.S. federal standards. Chlorpyrifos is linked to neurological effects, especially in children, and is still permitted for use on crops. The study,  Indigenous children living nearby plantations with chlorpyrifos-treated bags have elevated 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPy) urinary concentrations, was lead by Berna van Wendel de Joode, PhD  (Central American Institute for Studies on Toxic Substances (IRET), Universidad Nacional, Heredia, Costa Rica). It was conducted in Costa Rica’s banana and plantain plantations in the Talamanca region, and  targeted villages situated nearby to the plantations where blue bags treated with chlorpyrifos are routinely used to protect banana and plantain crops from pests. Two villages under study are near plantations that use chlorpyrifos-treated bags, while the organic village is near several plantations  that use little or no insecticide. For 140 children, aged 6 — 9, mostly indigenous Ngäbe and Bribri, parent-interviews and urine samples were obtained. Chlorpyrifos’ environmental levels […]

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01
Nov

U.S. EPA Fails to Protect Salmon from Dangerous Chemicals

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2012) Conservation groups and fisherman have filed lawsuits against U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) demanding that pesticide restrictions be implemented around salmon streams. Regulatory buffers surrounding streams and watersheds have not been fully implemented by EPA, though it is required to by law. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which promotes sustainable fisheries, recovery of protected species, and the health of coastal marine habitats, commented that common pesticides should not be sprayed within 500 to 1000 feet of waterways. Its comments focused on the impacts of chlorpyrifos, diazinon and malathion, which jeopardize the health of federally protected salmon species. Despite this and other evidence that supports the need for buffer zones, EPA has withheld action until the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals resolves the case. EPA is mandated by law to protect dwindling species like salmon under the Endangered Species Act. Salmon, in particular, are a good indicator of how well we are taking care of both the marine and terrestrial ecosystems, because they live in streams, lakes, rivers, estuaries, and open ocean. They are also extremely sensitive to changes in water quality and upstream changes to the river flow, turbidity, and temperature. It goes […]

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28
Aug

Bats at High Risk from Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, August 28, 2012) New research reveals that bats may be at greater risk from pesticide exposure than previously suspected. When foraging at dusk, bats can be exposed to agricultural chemicals by eating insects recently sprayed with pesticides. A study from the University of Koblenz-Landau in Germany reveals that bats, due to their long life span and tendency to only have one offspring at a time, are particularly sensitive to reproductive effects from pesticides. The study, “Bats at risk? Bat activity and insecticide residue analysis of food items in an apple orchard,” published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, details the health effects of bats foraging on insects in an apple orchard after it was sprayed with the insecticides fenoxycarb and chlorpyrifos. After field applications of the pesticides, scientists measured the remaining chemical residues on flies, moths and spiders for two weeks. The highest residues were recorded on leaf dwelling insects and spiders, while lower contamination was found for flying insects. Based on this data scientists calculated exposure scenarios for different bat species, each with different feeding habits, and found that those which fed off insects from the leaves of fruit trees to be most affected. Researchers indicated that current […]

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10
Aug

New Research Suggests Boys More Vulnerable to Effects of Chlorpyrifos Than Girls

(Beyond Pesticides, August 10, 2012) A new study is the first to find a difference between how boys and girls respond to prenatal exposure to the insecticide chlorpyrifos. Researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) at the Mailman School of Public Health found that, at age 7, boys had greater difficulty with working memory, a key component of IQ, than girls with similar exposures. On the plus side, having nurturing parents improved working memory, especially in boys, although it did not lessen the negative cognitive effects of exposure to the chemical. Results are published online in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology. In 2011, research led by Virginia Rauh, ScD, Co-Deputy Director of CCCEH, established a connection between prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos and deficits in working memory and IQ at age 7. Earlier this year, a follow-up study showed evidence in MRI scans that even low to moderate levels of exposure during pregnancy may lead to long-term, potentially irreversible changes in the brain. The latest study, led by Megan Horton, PhD, explored the impact of sex differences and the home environment on these health outcomes. Dr. Horton and colleagues looked at a subset of 335 mother-child pairs enrolled […]

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25
Jul

Pesticides in Air a Risk To Pregnant Women, Unborn Children

(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2012) A Texas border study has found that air samples in the homes of pregnant Hispanic women contain multiple household pesticides that could harm fetuses and young children. The first study of its kind conducted by the School of Medicine at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, finds traces of both household and agricultural pesticides that have been linked to disorders such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The researchers sampled air in 25 households, finding at least five pesticides in 60 percent of the dwellings. Nine other pesticides were identified in less than one-third of the homes. All the women were in the third trimester of pregnancy, when the fetal brain undergoes a growth spurt. Numerous studies have reported birth defects and developmental problems when fetuses and infants are exposed to pesticides, especially exposures that adversely affect mental and motor development during infancy and childhood. This new report is in the summer issue of the Texas Public Health Journal sent to members this week. The study found 92 percent of air samples contained o-phenylphenol, which is used as a fungicide, germicide and household disinfectant, while 80 percent of samples contained chlorpyrifos, […]

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23
Jul

EPA Wants Further Risk Mitigation Measures for Chlorpyrifos, Groups Want it Banned

(Beyond Pesticides, July 23, 2012) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement last week of new agricultural risk mitigation measures for the neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyrifos continues to ignore farmworker health and that of their families, as well as the viability of organic farming systems in providing not only safer food, but safer working environments for farmworkers. The new measures, while a step in the right direction to protect vulnerable populations, do not go far enough to address the unreasonable risks associated with the chemical’s widespread continued use. The national pesticide law, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), requires protection against “unreasonable adverse effects to man or the environment.” In its latest decision, EPA seeks to reduce exposure to “acceptable” risk levels. In this case, the agency is seeking to reduce exposure of bystanders to spray applications. The measures include reductions in aerial application rates of the insecticide and the establishment of mandatory buffers around sensitive sites where bystanders including children are known to suffer exposure. The new mitigation practices include reducing the maximum amount of chlorpyrifos that can be applied per acre using spray applications from 6 pounds/acre to 2 pounds/acre. The new measures also include no-spray buffer […]

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21
Jun

Study Shows Harmful Effects of Long-Term Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21st, 2012) A new study details the toxic effects of long-term exposure to commonly used agricultural pesticides. Results indicate an increased likelihood of moderate to severe blood toxicity and a reduced total number of bone marrow cells, which can lead to degenerative diseases like aplastic anemia. The study, entitled “Pesticide Induced Alterations in Marrow Physiology and Depletion of Stem and Stromal Progenitor Population: An Experimental Model to Study the Toxic Effects of Pesticide” is published in the online version of the Journal of Environmental Toxicology . The experiment, led by researchers at the Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine’s Department of Biochemistry and Medical Biotechnology, exposed a group of mice to a mixture of organochlorine, organophosphate and pyrethriod pesticides, including a preponderance of the chemicals cypermethrin, and chloropyrofos. The exposed mice showed an overall reduction in the ability of their bodies to produce bone marrow cells. Bone marrow, the soft flexible tissue found in the interior of bones, is a storehouse for stem cells. While the exact mechanism is unknown to researchers, the study reveals that the microenvironment in which stem cells develop is somehow deranged by pesticides. This derangement prevents the maturation of stem cells into every […]

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22
May

Toxic Pesticide-Encapsulated Paint Introduced to Combat Malaria

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2012) The Spanish-based Inesfly company announced recently its plans to release commercially pesticide encapsulated paint, Inesfly 5A IGR, containing two neurotoxic organophosphates (OPs), chlorpyrifos and diazinon, and the insect growth regulator (IGR), pyriproxyfen, which it hopes will combat malaria in sub-Saharan Africa. The company’s owner Pilar Mateo, PhD, calls her product “a vaccine for houses and buildings” and explains that because the insecticides are released slowly from the paint, it remains effective for two to four years. This formulation of Dr. Mateo’s paint could not be registered for use in the U.S. because both indoor residential uses of chlorpyrifos and diazinon have been banned because of risks posed to children’s health, although the company has another formulation that substitutes pyrethroids for the organophosphates. Though probably well-intentioned —Dr. Mateo has already invested $6 million of her family’s money and $12 million in grants from nonprofits, on research, creating educational programs about hygiene, and donating paint to more than 8,000 homes in Latin America and Africa””the product puts the people it is supposed to protect from disease at risk for other health problems. Organophosphate insecticides have been linked to a host of neurodevelopmental problems, especially in children. Because […]

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02
May

In-Utero Pesticide Exposures Linked to Brain Abnormalities

(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 1012) New research published online at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reports that babies exposed in the womb to a commonly used insecticide have brain abnormalities after birth. The insecticide, chlorpyrifos (used in agriculture, mosquito control, and golf course management) , is well documented as inducing neurodevelopmental abnormalities in infants exposed in their mother’s womb, including ADHD, cognitive deficits, and serious learning, behavioral or emotional disorders. Entitled, “Brain anomalies in children exposed prenatally to a common organophosphate pesticide,” the study investigated associations between chlorpyrifos exposure and brain morphology using magnetic resonance imaging in 40 New York City children. It found significant associations of prenatal exposure, at standard use levels, with structural changes in the developing human brain, including enlargement of superior temporal, posterior middle temporal, and enlarged superior frontal gyrus, gyrus rectus, cuneus, and precuneus along the mesial wall of the right hemisphere. These areas of the brain impacted are related to attention, language, reward systems, emotions and control may be affected by the chemical. Twenty high-exposure children (upper third of chlorpyrifos concentrations in umbilical cord blood) were compared with 20 low-exposure children. The children, ages 6-11 years, considered to have a high […]

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13
Apr

Children of Flower Workers Show Effects of Secondary Pesticide Exposures

(Beyond Pesticides, April 13, 2012) A study has found that the children of flower plantation workers in Ecuador are neurologically affected by the pesticide residues that their parents unwittingly carry home on their clothes, tools, and skin. The study documents significantly reduced activity for the essential enzyme acetycholinesterase (AChE) in children whose parents work on flower plantations compared to others whose parents do not. The two main classes of pesticides that the researchers identify as used in the region’s flower production, organophosphates and carbamates, are known to suppress the enzyme’s activity. AChE activity is crucial to healthy neurological functioning in humans and its suppression during childhood can hinder nervous system and cognitive development causing immediate and long-term impairment. In the study, Lower acetylcholinesterase activity among children living with flower plantation workers (Environ Res. 2012 Apr;114:53-9. Epub 2012 Mar 10), children whose parents work on a flower plantation are more than three times more likely to be in the group of lowest AChE activity. Additionally, the children who live the longest with a flower plantation worker are four times more likely to have lower enzyme activity than children who never live with a plantation worker. The researchers obtained their results by […]

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09
Apr

Study Finds Common Pesticides Linked to Lower Birth Weight

(Beyond Pesticides, April 9, 2012) A new study finds that exposure of pregnant women to organophosphate (OP) pesticides —a widely used class of pesticides in North American agriculture— may affect both length of pregnancy and birth weight. Environmental Health Perspectives published the paper, “Associations of Prenatal Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticide Metabolites,” last Thursday, April 5, 2012. The study, by a Simon Fraser University researcher, finds that the population of 306 women in Cincinnati, Ohio, is representative of the type of exposures most North American women and their children experience. Although the use of OPs in Canada and the U.S. has declined in recent years, exposures remain widespread, and these findings add to growing evidence about the harmful effects of low-level exposures to environmental toxicants. The researchers collected urine from each of the women in Cincinnati twice during their pregnancies for organophosphate metabolites as well as other factors that could influence the fetus’ health, including exposure to second hand smoke, race, and poverty. Women with higher levels of organophosphates were found to have pregnancies that were three to four days shorter and babies that were about â…“ pound lighter on average than women with lower levels of pesticides. “For an individual […]

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02
Nov

Court Upholds Protection for Salmon Protections

(Beyond Pesticides, November 2, 2011) On Monday, a federal judge rejected a lawsuit brought by Dow AgroSciences challenging pesticide application restrictions to protect salmon and upheld the measures recommended by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to protect endangered salmon and steelhead from three highly toxic pesticides: chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion. The restrictions, recommended by NMFS’s Biological Opinion in 2008, ban the ground spraying of the three commonly used organophosphate agricultural insecticides within 500 feet of any salmon-bearing waterway, and aerial spraying within 1,000 feet. NMFS has issued four Biological Opinions, the latest on June 2011, which call for several limitations on aerial spraying and ground application of the pesticides near salmon waters, as well as buffer zones around salmon waters and ditches that drain to salmon habitat, among others. EPA was court ordered to consult with NMFS to identify measures needed to protect salmon and steelhead from the pesticides as a result of a 2002 and 2007 lawsuit. Pesticide manufacturers have been willfully ignoring and challenging NMFS’s findings. Dow AgroSciences alleged that NMFS used bad data and modeling and that the proposed buffers are far too large. Earthjustice, representing Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP), Pacific Coast Federation […]

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20
Oct

Group Files Lawsuit for Failure to Protect Red-Legged Frogs

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2011) The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit yesterday against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for failing to evaluate and act on threats to the threatened California red-legged frog posed by more than 60 toxic pesticides used in and near its habitats. The Center had announced its intent to sue the two agencies back in December 2010. A 2006 legal settlement secured by the Center requires EPA to assess the impacts of harmful pesticides on red-legged frogs and formally consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service to address those impacts. EPA determined that widespread use of more than 60 pesticides is likely harming red-legged frogs, but since the agency and the Fish and Wildlife Service have failed to complete the required evaluations, no permanent protections for frogs have been put in place. “Federal agencies acknowledge that scores of pesticides may harm California’s rare red-legged frogs, but for years now they’ve neglected to complete biological evaluations of the effects of these chemicals,” said Jeff Miller, a conservation advocate with the Center. “California’s imperiled frogs are suffering as a result.” “Biological opinions,” the evaluations required by the Endangered Species Act, […]

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12
Jan

Ruling Strengthens Case for Organic Farmers Impacted by Pesticide Drift

(Beyond Pesticides, January 12, 2011) A Santa Cruz, California, organic herb grower has the right to sue neighboring farm for ‘pesticide drift’. This according to a California’s 6th District Court of Appeal in San Jose which upheld Jacobs Farm/Del Cabo’s right to sue the pesticide applicator, Western Farm Service, and let stand the $1 million damage award a jury handed Jacobs Farm two years ago. The ruling makes it clear that pesticide users can be held liable for pesticide drift. The decision is significant, agriculture and law experts say, because it strengthens the case for organic farmers or anyone else harmed by pesticides to seek legal recourse – even if the pesticide is legally applied. The county’s deputy agricultural commissioner, Lisa LeCoump, said the court decision against Western Farm Services changes the ground rules, making it clear that a sprayer can now be held liable even if no law is broken. While California state law restricts pesticides from being sprayed on neighboring properties, the law doesn’t deal specifically with pesticides that disperse into the air after application and end up someplace else. Attorneys for Western Farm Service argued that since the company had not run afoul of state law, Jacobs […]

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20
Dec

Scientists Examine Chlorpyrifos Levels in Potatoes

(Beyond Pesticides, December 20, 2010) A new study examines the residue levels of the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos in Colombian potatoes, finding that residual levels of the pesticide are still present even after being cooked. According to researchers, the pesticide has a tendency to build up in the raw potatoes, but once they were cooked, the levels dropped by 14%, leaving a fraction of the allowable levels of chlorpyrifos in the potato, under European Union (EU) daily intake limits. While it may be true that there are relatively low residual levels of the pesticide found in the potato once it has been cooked, many adocates are concerned about the remaining residues. The study, entitled “Pesticide Uptake in Potatoes: Model and Field Experiments,” was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. The fact that there remains some residual chlorpyrifos in the cooked potatoes is a concern because studies show that even at low doses, in utero exposure can cause changes in brain function and altered thyroid levels that last into adulthood. Young children are particularly susceptible to the effects of exposure. Because children’s diets often include significant quantities of potatoes, this is particularly alarming in light of a recent study that […]

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