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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Glyphosate' Category


30
Apr

Vermont Wins Legal Challenge to Its GE Labeling Law

(Beyond Pesticides, April 30, 2015) On Monday, a U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Vermont found that the state’s genetically engineered food (GE) labeling law, Act 120, is constitutional under the First Amendment, and thus rejected the motion to stop its implementation. The legal challenge  was brought by the same industrial food companies  —Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA), Snack Food Association, International Dairy Foods Association, and National Association of Manufacturers  — that  had poured money into defeating the measure, before it overwhelmingly passed in the state legislature. The judge also dismissed a number of the plaintiffs’ claims, including assertions that the law violates the commerce clause and was expressly preempted by federal law. Read the full text of the decision here. Andrea Stander, executive director of Rural Vermont noted, “This decision by the federal court is a strong validation of the three long years that Vermonters worked tirelessly to pass the GMO Food Labeling Bill. We are one step closer to securing our right to know if GMOs are in our food.” Despite overwhelming support for  the passage by the state legislature last year, Act 120, which was the first of its kind in the nation, was met […]

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28
Apr

Chipotle Removes Genetically Engineered Food from Its Menu

(Beyond Pesticides, April 28, 2015) Beginning this week, Chipotle Mexican Grill will stop serving food containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. The restaurant’s announcement is the first of any major fast food chain, and fits with the company’s long-held mission of providing its customers “food with integrity.” In 2013, Chipotle also became the first major restaurant chain to label foods it sold that contained GE ingredients, and in 2010 the company announced its support for organic production practices by increasing the percentage of organic ingredients it serves, and committing to eventually transition the entire menu to organic. “Just because food is served fast doesn’t mean it has to be made with cheap raw ingredients, highly processed with preservatives and fillers and stabilizers and artificial colors and flavors,” said Steve Ells, Chipotle’s founder and co-chief executive to The New York Times. Although the meat and dairy served at the chain will still come from animals fed GE grain, the company indicates it will continue to work on the issue. Over 90% of corn and soybeans grown in the United States are GE, making sourcing difficult for larger restaurants. More and more retailers, from restaurants to the grocery aisle, are eliminating foods produced […]

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27
Apr

USDA Falls Short in Strategy to Mitigate Climate Change

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2015) Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced initiatives and energy programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration, and expand renewable energy production in the agricultural and forestry sectors, but failed to stress the importance of moving away from chemical-intensive  agriculture toward organic methods. While the announcement doesn’t specifically mention “organic,” the meaning is still clear: chemical-based agricultural practices have contributed to climate change through heavy use of fossil fuels —both directly on the farm and in the manufacturing of pesticides and fertilizers— and through degradation of the soil, which releases carbon. Now, USDA is suggesting the use of conservation tilling, or no-till practices, along with cover cropping and natural management of organic inputs to the soil — in other words, organic agriculture. USDA outlined ten “building blocks” that aim to lead us away from climate change. The first two of these ten could, if interpreted from an organic practice perspective,  address the necessity to change  chemical-intensive agricultural practices. The first “building block” is soil health. The stated goal is to improve soil resilience, therefore increasing productivity, by promoting conservation tillage or no-till farming. The initiative suggests planting cover crops, planting […]

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21
Apr

Health Canada Mulls Label Changes to Monsanto’s Roundup and other Glyphosate Products

(Beyond Pesticides, April 21, 2015) Last week, Health Canada opened public comments on its reevaluation decision for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. The agency chose to continue allowance of the herbicide, but include some changes to the label of glyphosate-containing products. The decision comes shortly after the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that the chemical is a human carcinogen based on laboratory animal test data,  and a recent study revealed that glyphosate accelerates antibiotic resistance. Health Canada’s label changes include the following: A requirement for a statement indicating to apply only when the potential for drift to residential or populated areas is minimal. This includes houses, cottages, schools and recreational areas A restricted entry interval (REI) of 12 hours for agricultural uses to better protect agricultural workers; New environmental hazard statements to inform users that, at high enough doses, it can be toxic to non-target species; Recommended spray buffer zones to protect non-target terrestrial and aquatic habitats from unintended exposure; and, Precautionary statements to reduce the potential for run off of glyphosate to adjacent aquatic habitats, particularly when heavy rain is forecasted. This includes a recommendation to keep a strip of vegetation between the treatment […]

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30
Mar

Common Herbicides Linked to Antibiotic Resistance

(Beyond Pesticides, March 30, 2015) Last week, following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration that glyphosate is carcinogenic to humans  based on animal studies, a new study was published in the American Society of Microbiology’s journal, mBio, linking glyphosate, 2,4-D and dicamba to antibiotic resistance after testing the sub-lethal effects of these pesticides in certain bacteria. The new mBio study finds  that when bacteria, specifically Salmonella and E. coli, are exposed to the herbicides described above, they responded differently to the common antibiotics ampicillin, ciprofloxacin, chloramphenicol, kanamycin, and tetracycline. Researchers replicated real-world scenarios by purchasing weed killers from a local store and using the exact levels that are specified on the product label. This provided researchers with the opportunity to observe how the bacteria reacted when exposed to the herbicides at sublethal levels; that is, those that did n0t kill them. When the bacteria are exposed to the herbicides and the antibiotics at the same time, the exposure to the herbicides trigger a defense mechanism that otherwise would not have been triggered solely by the antibiotics. This defense mechanism seeks to rid the bacteria of toxins and is non-specific, which means while it builds resistance to the toxic effects of […]

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20
Mar

Glyphosate Classified Carcinogenic by International Cancer Agency, Group Calls on U.S. to End Herbicide’s Use and Advance Alternatives

(Beyond Pesticides, Washington, DC, March 20, 2015 — A national public health and environmental group, Beyond Pesticides, is calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to stop the use of the country’s most popular herbicide, glyphosate, in the wake of an international ruling that it causes cancer in humans. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released its finding today concluding that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity based on laboratory studies. Glyphosate, produced and sold as Roundup by Monsanto, is touted as a “low toxicity” chemical and “safer” than other chemicals by EPA and industry and is widely used in food production and on lawns, gardens, parks, and children’s playing fields. However, IARC’s new classification of glyphosate as a Group 2A “probable” carcinogen finds that glyphosate is anything but safe. According to IARC, Group 2A means that the chemical is probably carcinogenic to humans based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. The agency considered the findings from an EPA Scientific Advisory Panel report, along with several recent studies in making its conclusion. The agency also notes that glyphosate caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells. Further, epidemiologic […]

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02
Mar

Partial Victory as Hershey’s Announces Move Away from GMO Ingredients

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2015) Amid growing consumer backlash, Hershey’s has announced first steps toward moving to non-genetically engineered (GE) ingredients in its chocolate. The news comes in response to tens of thousands of Facebook posts, emails, and telephone calls from consumers who took part in a campaign calling on Hershey’s to move to non-GE ingredients led by GMO Inside. In a statement released February 18, Hershey’s said that it will “transition some of its most popular chocolate brands, including Hershey’s Kisses Milk Chocolates and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars to simpler ingredients.” Last week, Hershey’s confirmed with GMO Inside that as part of its commitment to simpler ingredients, its two iconic products will be non-GE by the end of the year, however the company did not respond to the request to source its sugar organically. “We congratulate Hershey’s on this important move and great first step. As one of the leading chocolate companies in the U.S., this commitment will help move the rest of the companies in this sector,” said Nicole McCann, Green America Food Campaigns Director, “Hershey’s joins General Mills, Unilever, Post Foods, and other leading companies in responding to consumer demand to make at least some of its […]

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27
Feb

New Research Links Bee-Killing Insecticide to Monarch Butterfly Deaths

(Beyond Pesticides, February 27, 2015) New research from the University of Minnesota presents some of the first evidence linking the bee-killing insecticides known as neonicotinoids to monarch butterfly deaths. The study finds that milkweed plants, which monarch butterflies need to survive, may also retain neonicotinoids from nearby plants, making milkweed toxic to monarchs. Monarch population numbers have fallen by 90% in less than 20 years. This year’s population was the second lowest since careful surveys began two decades ago. The critical driver of monarch decline  is the loss of larval host plants in their main breeding habitat, the midwestern Corn Belt. Monarchs lay eggs exclusively on plants in the milkweed family, the only food their larvae will eat. University of Minnesota entomologist Vera Krischik, Ph.D. fed butterflies milkweed plants treated with the neonicotinoid insecticide known as imidacloprid in amounts that might typically be found on backyard plants. While adult monarchs and painted lady butterflies were not affected, which, according to Dr. Krischik, indicates the ability of the adults to detoxify, the larvae of both species of butterflies died. During the course of the study, larvae fed on the treated plants for seven days. “For the monarch, nobody was left that […]

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13
Feb

EPA Sued for Violating Endangered Species Act with Allowance of New 2,4-D/Roundup Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2015) With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)  nod to the pesticide industry on expanded uses of the herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate, environmental groups are charging that the agency violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Repeating a pattern of putting the environment in harm’s way through violations of  federal endangered species  law, a lawsuit filed Friday  documents   EPA’s  failure to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regarding the impact of the herbicide on two endangered species —the whooping crane and the Indiana bat— with the recent approval of Dow AgroSciences’ herbicide, Enlist Duo, for use on genetically engineered (GE) crops in six midwestern states. Enlist Duo is an herbicide that incorporates a mix of  glyphosate  and a new formulation of  2,4-D, intended for use on GE Enlist Duo-tolerant corn and soybean crops. Approved for use on GE corn and soybeans that are engineered to withstand repeated applications of the herbicide, the creation of 2,4-D-tolerant crops and EPA’s approval of Enlist Duo is the result of an overuse of glyphosate, an ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. The misuse resulted in an infestation of glyphosate-resistant super weeds which can now be legally combatted with the […]

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09
Feb

Monsanto’s Roundup Eradicates Milkweed, Major Food Source for Monarch Butterflies

(February 9, 2015, Beyond Pesticides) A report, Monarchs in Peril: Herbicide-Resistant Crops and the Decline of Monarch Butterflies in North America, released by Center for Food Safety (CFS) last week, reveals the devastating  impact of Monsanto’s and the nation’s biggest selling herbicide, Roundup (glyphosate), on the survival  of monarch butterflies. The herbicide is  used to treat  millions of acres of herbicide-tolerant  genetically engineered (GE) crops, eliminating the monarchs’ sole source  of food, milkweed, and approaching  a collapse of their population, which has plummeted over the past 20  years. The report cites findings that  glyphosate use on Roundup Ready  (glyphosate-tolerant) crops has nearly eradicated milkweed around farmland in the monarchs’ vital midwest breeding ground. At the urging of scientists and public interest groups, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is currently considering listing the monarch as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). “This report is a wake-up call. This iconic species is on the verge of extinction because of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready crop system,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director at Center for Food Safety. “To let the monarch butterfly die out in order to allow Monsanto to sell its signature herbicide for a few more years is […]

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15
Jan

Member EU States Authorized to Plant GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, January 15, 2015) Yesterday, the European Union (EU) passed legislation meant to bridge a long-standing divide amongst EU nations (and the United States) on the planting of genetically-engineered (GE) crops by granting individual countries the authority to opt-out of EU crop approval and institute country-based legislative and regulatory restrictions. Makers of GE crops (like Monsanto) and proponents of GE crop cultivation have faced staunch and successful opposition in getting the required EU permission to plant GE crops. Opposition comes from both EU citizens and certain member states, like France, Italy, and Germany. By giving opposing countries an EU-sanctioned means to opt-out and establish individual member state restrictions, the new law may accelerate  opt-outs in those countries that do not oppose GE crop planting. Countries like France that have repeatedly fought back against GE crop cultivation welcome the new EU legislation, as do environmental advocates. “This is another nail in the coffin of genetically modified crops,” said Mute Schimpf, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, told Bloomberg. “While not perfect, this new law allows governments to shut the door on biotech crops in Europe.” Countries in favor of GE crop cultivation, like Britain, also view the action […]

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13
Jan

Monsanto Once Again Developing Herbicide Resistant Wheat

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2015) Over a decade after consumer opposition halted multinational agrichemical business Monsanto’s plans to develop genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-resistant wheat, the company is trying again. This time, Monsanto’s goal is to create wheat that is resistant to three different herbicides; glyphosate, glufosinate, and dicamba. Although over 90% of corn, soybean, and cotton grown in the United States are GE, no GE wheat is currently allowed to be planted. In 2013, a farmer in Oregon discovered the presence of Monsanto’s original Roundup-Ready wheat, developed to be resistant to glyphosate, in his field despite the company’s plans to abandon the strain and claims to have destroyed the crop  a decade earlier. The company had restarted extensive field trials back in 2011. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) determined that the contamination was an “isolated incident.” It was unable to determine exactly how the wheat came to grow in the Oregon farmer’s field. However, shortly after the agency closed its investigation, another farmer in Montana detected the GE strain in his wheat fields. The recurrence of this incident reveals the contamination event not to be an isolated incident. It instead demonstrates the threat that these crops […]

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05
Dec

Bill Will Stymie State Efforts to Label GE Food, Chefs Call for Fed Labeling Law

(Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2014) Over 700 chefs, including high-profile individuals like Tom Colicchio, Jose Andres, Art Smith, and Sam Talbot, are pushing Congress to support labeling of genetically modified foods and oppose efforts blocking state GMO labeling laws. In a petition authored by Chef Tom Colicchio, the chefs are calling on Congress to move forward with legislation sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR),the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act,  S. 809  and H.R. 1699, respectively,  which will  require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “clearly label” genetically engineered (GE) foods. “As chefs, we know that choosing the right ingredients is an absolutely critical part of cooking,” the petition states. “But when it comes to whether our ingredients contain genetically modified organisms, we’re in the dark. It’s time for Congress to move us forward, not backward, when it comes to our right to know what’s in our food.” The chefs were joined on Tuesday by advocates from Food Policy Action, Environmental Working Group, and Center for Food Safety. Just Label It!, with which Beyond Pesticides is a partner, and other national organizations fighting for labeling of GMO foods for meetings with lawmakers. “As a […]

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20
Nov

Rise in Chronic Diseases Correlates with Glyphosate and GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, November 20, 2014) A study published in the Journal of Organic Systems this week examined potential connections between the increase in chronic diseases seen within the United States and other parts of the world over the last 20 years and the explosion of glyphosate use, finding a significant correlation between glyphosate use, genetically-engineered (GE) crops, and human health. Glyphosate, one of the most popular weedkillers in both the U.S. and the world, is the active ingredient in Roundup ® ””the leading glyphosate product developed by Monsanto. Known as “Roundup Ready,” GE soybeans, corn, cotton, and other crops have been genetically altered and patented by Monsanto to be glyphosate-tolerant. Whether a crop stems from a Roundup Ready seed or not, glyphosate is used in almost all agricultural areas of the U.S., as well as on an international scale, in conventional, non-organic farming operations. Because of Roundup’s popularity, glyphosate use has skyrocketed, leading to an estimated application of nearly 250 million pounds of the chemical across the U.S. alone and resulting in significant problems of glyphosate resistance and the increased presence of the herbicide in our food and environment. The increased presence of glyphosate has also ushered in independent data […]

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11
Nov

Herbicide-Induced Erosion Releases Banned Pesticides in Sediment

(Beyond Pesticides, November 11, 2014) An international team of scientists has uncovered a new mechanism through which long-banned pesticides such as DDT may reemerge in our environment. Although a number of more recent studies have focused on the role that climate change is playing in the movement of older toxic chemicals, this study highlights the unknowns associated with pesticide use, showing the unexpected impacts that can occur when pesticide use patterns change. The study, “Long-term relationships among pesticide applications, mobility, and soil erosion in a vineyard watershed,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), analyzed 100 years of sediment records collected from a lake near a French vineyard. Scientists were able to create a historical record of pesticide use in the region, and reconstruct erosion patterns seen over time. According to the study, the historical record lined up well with the restrictions and prohibitions on various pesticides that occurred over the years. That is, until the 1990s. Results show that increases in soil erosion line up with an influx of DDT into the lake. But the increase in soil erosion also lined up with the introduction and increase use of post-emergent herbicides such as glyphosate, the […]

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10
Nov

GAO Report Sounds Alarm Again on Poor Pesticide Controls

(Beyond Pesticides, November 10, 2014) According to a new Government Accountability (GAO) report, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not test food for several commonly used pesticides with established tolerance levels —including glyphosate, one of the most commonly used pesticides in the U.S. This and other disturbing findings documented in GAO’s report,  Food Safety: FDA and USDA Should Strengthen Pesticide Residue Monitoring Programs and Further Disclose Monitoring Limitations,  issued last Thursday, sounds an alarm that GAO began sounding  in the 1980’s in several reports that identify shocking limitations of  FDA’s approach to monitoring for pesticide residue violations in food. GAO sharply criticizes FDA for not using statistically valid methods consistent with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) standards to collect information on the incidence and level of pesticide residues. In fact, GAO states that it “was unable to find publicly available estimates of the overall toxicity or risk associated with the use of agricultural pesticides in the United States.” According to GAO, FDA is testing less than one-tenth of one  percent of all imported fruits and vegetables and less than 1 percent of domestic fruits and vegetables.  The report is also critical of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) […]

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23
Oct

Farmers and Environmental Groups to Challenge EPA over Herbicide Approval

(Beyond Pesticides, October 23, 2014) Lawsuit filed against Environmental Protection Agency for approval of 2,4-D use on genetically engineered corn, soy crops in six Midwest states.A coalition of farmers and environmental groups filed a lawsuit to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today on behalf of six Midwest states where a toxic herbicide cocktail called Dow’s Enlist Duo, a blend of glyphosate and 2,4-D, was approved on October 15 for use on genetically engineered (GE) crops. Approved for use on GE corn and soybeans that are engineered to withstand repeated applications of the herbicide, the creation of 2,4-D-resistant crops and EPA’s approval of Enlist Duo is the result of an overuse of glyphosate, an ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. The misuse resulted in an infestation of glyphosate-resistant super weeds which can now be legally combatted with the more potent 2,4-D. Dow Chemical has presented 2,4-D resistant crops as a quick fix to the problem, but independent scientists, as well as USDA analysis, predict that the Enlist crop system will only foster more weed resistance. “The toxic treadmill has to stop,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “EPA and USDA cannot continue to ignore the history, science, and public […]

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17
Oct

GMO Labeling Movement Marches Forward with Vermont Release of Draft Rules

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2014) The Vermont Attorney General’s Office, as part of a continuous effort to label genetically modified organisms (GMO) and increase transparency for consumers, released a draft of the rules written to govern the state’s law to require the labeling of food produced with genetic engineering. The nine page rulemaking, describe a range of issues, from the definition of “food” and “genetic engineering” to the required disclosures that will read “Produced with Genetic Engineering” or “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering.” The attorney general’s office has scheduled three public hearings for next week to give the public the opportunity to comment on the law. Members of the public can also submit a comment via email. Attorney General William Sorrell said his office is moving to write the rules as quickly as possible so that the industry can prepare before the law takes effect in 2016. The law, which was signed by Governor Peter Shumlin in May and is the first of its kind in the nation, has been met with substantial backlash. The state is  currently involved in a legal battle  by  major trade associations, including Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA). In  a statement, GMA has called the […]

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16
Oct

EPA Approves Enlist Duo®, Opens Gate to New Wave of GE Woes

(Beyond Pesticides, October, 16, 2014) Despite a massive outpouring of public opposition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced yesterday that it has registered Enlist Duo ®, officially putting the rubber stamp of approval on the sale and use of a new wave of genetically-engineered (GE) 2,4-D tolerant crops. Developed by Dow AgroSciences, Enlist Duo ® is an herbicide that incorporates a mix of glyphosate and a new formulation of 2,4-D, intended for use on GE Enlist-Duo ®-tolerant corn and soybean crops. While registration of the herbicide was anticipated by most of the public since the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s approval of the Enlist Duo ®-tolerant crops in mid-September, the announcement still comes as a disappointing shock, demonstrating the failings of the U.S. pesticide and agricultural regulatory system to put people and the environment before economic incentives and industry bottom lines. “EPA approval of this herbicide sets a dangerous precedent,” says Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “Instead of looking to alternatives, regulators are signaling that the answer to widespread weed resistance is more toxic products that endanger farmworkers and farming communities.” As Beyond Pesticides noted in its comments submitted to EPA in June of this year, the […]

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07
Oct

Study Shows Goats as Viable Control Agent for Opportunistic Wetland Reeds

(Beyond Pesticides, October 7, 2014) Goat grazing to control opportunistic, unwanted, and poisonous plants has taken off across the country, as researchers continue to find new value in these personable animals. According to a study published last month by an international team of scientists in the journal PeerJ, goats have an outstanding potential to effectively control the opportunistic, or “invasive” reed Phragmites australis, and replace the unnecessary use of costly and dangerous herbicides. Although a native species of phragmites exist in the U.S.  (phragmites australis subspecies americanus), these plants do not form the dense monotypic stands characteristic of European phragmites (phragmites australis subspecies australis), which was introduced to the U.S. east coast in the early 1800s, and is currently found in wetlands throughout North America. The plant can grow up to 15 feet tall, and has been widely implicated in  reducing biodiversity and crowding out native species in wetlands. Land managers throughout the country are encountering phragmites and resorting to the use of toxic and expensive chemicals, usually combinations of the herbicide triclopyr and glyphosate, both of which have shown evidence of harm to aquatic species. A study published in 2013 in the journal Estuaries and Coasts found that between […]

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19
Sep

USDA Approves 2,4-D-Tolerant (GE) Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2014) The pesticide treadmill continues to turn with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent approval this week of three 2,4-D-tolerto ant corn and soybean crops, developed by Dow AgroSciences. Some growers have been pushing for the new Enlist crops in order to combat the rapid proliferation of glyphosate-resistant weeds. The use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup formulation, on genetically-engineered (GE) crops has proven to be an abject failure due to widespread weed resistance. So widespread is this resistance that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has  granted an emergency use exemption  for fluridone, which does not have registered uses in agriculture.  More recently, Texas regulators requested the use of propazine to combat glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth, or pigweed, which EPA recently denied,  citing risks to drinking water and other hazards.   Even though the agency denied the emergency use application, it accepted the argument put forth by the Texas Department of Agriculture that  glyphosate-resistant weeds in three million acres of herbicide-tolerant cotton constituted an  “urgent non-routine situation.”  Beyond Pesticides argued to EPA that the weed resistance in  herbicide-tolerant cropping systems is very predictable and has become routine, thus disqualifying states from using the […]

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02
Sep

U.S. Representative Questions EPA’s Risk Assessment of 2,4-D-Based Herbicide

(Beyond Pesticides, September 2, 2014) U.S. Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week asking them a poignant question: Why didn’t the human health risk assessment of Dow’s newest 2,4-D-based herbicide apply the ten-fold safety factor required by national law to protect children and infants? The question is a good one and events leading up to it began back in April 2014, when EPA opened up a public comment period for Dow AgroSciences’s application to expand the use of its 2,4-D choline salt herbicide, known as Enlist Duo ®, on 2,4-D-tolerant corn and soybeans. This application was the next step in ushering in a new wave of genetically-engineered (GE) crops sought to replace the quickly waning glyphosate-resistant or Roundup Ready ® varieties. As EPA described on its Enlist-Duo ® webpage, “Weeds are becoming increasingly resistant to glyphosate-based herbicides and are posing a problem for farmers. If [the Enlist Duo ® application is] finalized, this action would provide an additional tool to reduce the spread of glyphosate resistant weeds.” In other words, because of the overuse of glyphosate on GE glyphosate-resistant crops and the resulting development of weeds across the U.S. showing resistance […]

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08
Aug

New Wave of Herbicide-Tolerant Crops Awaiting Likely U.S. Approval

(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2014) Despite the continued documentation of weed resistance all over the United States, as well as the world, another line of herbicide-tolerant crops developed by Monsanto is currently in the pipeline awaiting likely approval by U.S. regulators. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on Tuesday, which, according to regulators, will pave the way for the approval of new  genetically modified cotton and soybean plants tolerant to a mixture of the herbicides glyphosate and dicamba. Monsanto’s new soybean and cotton crops were developed to withstand their new herbicide formulation, called Roundup Xtend, which combines the pesticides dicamba and glyphosate. The “Roundup Ready Xtend crop system” was developed to curb the proliferation of millions of acres of weeds that have grown resistant to Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup, which has been used on the company’s biotech corn, soybeans, and cotton. Weed resistance due to cropping systems dependent on herbicides has been documented for years, making APHIS’ conclusions in the EIS all the more alarming. A report that Beyond Pesticides published 12 years ago, “The Environmental Risks of Transgenic Crops: An Agroecological Assessment is the failed pesticide […]

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