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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Corporations' Category


02
Mar

EPA Moves to Cancel Toxic Pesticide It Allowed without Complete Review, Manufacturer, Bayer, Reneges on Agreement to Take Product Off Market

(Washington, DC, March 1, 2016) After pesticide manufacturer Bayer CropScience would not voluntarily remove from the market the insecticide flubendiamide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formally issued a Notice of Intent to Cancel the insecticide, citing its high toxicity to aquatic organisms. Bayer is embroiled in controversy over its neonicotinoid insecticides because, as systemic pesticides, they move through the entire plant and express the poison through pollen and nectar, indiscriminately killing bees and other pollinators and polluting waterways. Flubendiamide, a benzenedicarboxamide pesticide, is “locally systemic” within the plant’s leaves. EPA’s action today may take years of regulatory review and legal action while the pesticide remains on the market. EPA used the controversial conditional registration provision of federal pesticide law, when in 2008 it allowed flubendiamide on the market, despite outstanding environmental data. At the time, it struck an agreement that, if unreasonable adverse effects on the environment were found, Bayer would withdraw the chemical’s registration. Today’s action serves to exemplify the consequences of allowing potentially harmful substances onto the market without all the information necessary to issue a complete finding of environmental and public safety. Because of EPA’s long cancellation process, unless it takes the rare action of finding […]

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18
Feb

Congressional Reps Want EPA Review of Glyphosate-2,4-D Mixture Enlist Duo

(Beyond Pesticides, February 18, 2016) Last week, 35 members of Congress, led by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) and Peter DeFazio (OR-4), signed a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy, challenging  EPA’s review process for the  glyphosate  and  2,4-D  herbicide mixture, known as Enlist Duo. It is produced by Dow AgroSciences for use in genetically engineered  crops. The letter requests “more information about EPA’s plan to reevaluate Enlist Duo’s health and environmental risks.” The letter comes just weeks after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied a request from EPA to vacate its own decision to  approve the  toxic herbicide cocktail. Because of the court’s decision, EPA is solely responsible for the decision about Enlist Duo’s registration. “This is part of a vicious cycle that is leading to more potent, dangerous chemicals being widely used on crops across the United States,” said  Rep. Blumenauer. He continued, “With the rise of herbicide-resistant genetically modified crops, herbicides are more widely sprayed causing weeds to grow more resistant — ultimately, requiring the application of even stronger herbicides. EPA must take action to make sure products entering the market to be used on our food are safe for human health and […]

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09
Feb

Bayer Refuses to Cancel Insecticide Toxic to Aquatic Life

(Beyond Pesticides, February 9, 2016) Last week, Bayer CropScience reneged on an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to voluntarily cancel the conditionally registered insecticide flubendiamide if  the agency  received  data that  identified adverse ecological effects. Based on the data, EPA found that the chemical causes “unreasonable adverse effects” to benthic organisms living in sediment near agricultural fields. Bayer’s defiance in the face of EPA’s finding  points to  a fundamental  weakness in  the agency’s conditional pesticide registration process, which allows toxic chemicals onto the market without a complete and comprehensive assessment  of their  potential  harm, in this case to  wildlife and the vital ecosystem services they provide. In 2008, EPA granted Bayer a “conditional” registration for flubendiamide, a classification that allows a new pesticide to be registered and used in the field, despite outstanding data points on its toxicological impact. In this case, original data submitted to EPA by Bayer showed concern over the effect of the chemical and its breakdown product on freshwater benthic invertebrates, species such as crustaceans and aquatic insects that  live in stream sediment and provide important ecosystem services such as decomposition and nutrient cycling. In response, rather than declining to proceed with registration […]

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05
Feb

Monsanto’s Glyphosate (RoundUp) Reported Most Used Herbicide Globally

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2016) According to a report published earlier this week, Trends in glyphosate herbicide use in the United States and Globally, glyphosate, manufactured by Monsanto and known by its product name Roundup, is the most widely and heavily applied weed-killer in the history of chemical-intensive agriculture both in the U.S. and globally. Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., author of the study, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Sciences Europe, reports that to date 18.9 billion pounds (8.6 billion kilograms) of glyphosate have been used globally, with an estimated 19% of the use coming from the U.S. The report also points out that glyphosate use has risen almost 15-fold since “Roundup Ready” genetically engineered crops (GE) were introduced in 1996. Dr. Benbrook’s research concludes that, “Genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant crops now account for about 56 % of global glyphosate use. In the U.S., no pesticide has come remotely close to such intensive and widespread use.” According to the report, two-thirds of the total volume of glyphosate applied in the U.S. from 1974 to 2014 has been sprayed in just the last 10  years. And, in 2014, enough glyphosate was sprayed to leave more than three-quarters of a pound of […]

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29
Jan

Court Rejects EPA’s Bid to Revoke Use of Dow’s 2,4-D/Glyphosate (Enlist Duo) Pesticide in GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2016) This week, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed a victory to Dow Chemical Company and its  efforts to keep the toxic pesticide Enlist Duo on the market, despite new safety concerns identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Enlist Duo has been marketed as a “solution” for the control of glyphosate-resistant weeds in genetically engineered (GE) crops, brought on by the  widespread use of Monsanto’s  Roundup  on glyphosate-tolerant (Roundup Ready) crops over the last decade. EPA asked the court at the end of November, 2015 to vacate its 2014 approval of Enlist Duo based on new information on the  toxic effects associated with the synergistic interactions of  the chemical cocktail of 2,4-D, glyphosate, and other undisclosed ingredients in the product to plants outside the treated area, including endangered plants. The three-sentence order, which does not include  the judge’s reasoning, denied EPA’s request. While considering other legal options, EPA can choose  to exercise it administrative powers by  canceling specific uses or the entire  registration of Enlist Duo under  its pesticide cancellation process, and within that process could choose to identify an imminent hazard and remove the pesticide from the market immediately, while it faces […]

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25
Jan

Monsanto Sues to Keep Glyphosate off California List of Carcinogens

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2016) Monsanto filed a lawsuit in California last week seeking to prevent glyphosate, the main ingredient in its Roundup herbicide, from being added to California’s  list of known carcinogens under the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Glyphosate is  classified  as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for the Research of Cancer (IARC) based on sufficient  evidence  of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. This is the highest level carcinogen based on laboratory animal studies  under  IARC’s rating system. California law requires the state to keep a list of cancer-causing chemicals to inform residents of their risks. California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) said in September that it planned to add glyphosate to the list after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified it as a probable human carcinogen last March. Monsanto has disputed the assessment, citing decades of studies deeming glyphosate safe, including a 2007 study by OEHHA that concluded the chemical was unlikely to cause cancer. The agrochemical company said it filed the suit against the state’s OEHHA, citing the agency’s acting director, Lauren Zeise, in California state court, […]

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14
Jan

Bayer Concurs with EPA Findings on Certain Neonicotinoid Hazards to Honey Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, January 14, 2016) Bayer CropScience, revising its stance,  has decided to concur with the  Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) preliminary risk assessment of neonicotinoids and acknowledge the finding of harm to honey bees in certain crops. A spokesman for Bayer CropScience said the neonic-selling giant has reviewed the assessment and found it to be “quite good and scientifically sound,” according to a news report.  The Guardian  is reporting that Bayer will be proposing new protections for pollinators, however the company has not yet announced what the new protections will be. This is a stark turnaround from  Bayer’s statement last week, which said EPA’s assessment “appears to overestimate the potential for harmful exposures in certain crops, such as citrus and cotton, while ignoring the important benefits these products provide and management practices to protect bees.” Last week, EPA released its preliminary honey bee risk assessment for one of the most widely used neonicotinoids, imidacloprid, which is  linked to severely declining honey bee populations. The assessment found  harmful residues of the insecticide  in crops where the pollinators forage  and confirmed bees’ widespread and sustained exposure to the highly toxic and persistent chemical through poisoned pollen and nectar. Imidacloprid, like the other […]

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07
Dec

International Case To Be Brought Against Monsanto for Health and Environmental Crimes

(Beyond Pesticides, December 07, 2015) Monsanto will be put on trial for crimes against nature, humanity, and ecocide in The Hague, Netherlands, home to the United Nation’s International Court of Justice. The Organic Consumers Association (OCA), IFOAM International Organics, Navdanya, Regeneration International (RI), and Millions Against Monsanto, joined by dozens of global food, farming and environmental justice groups announced late last week that they will put the U.S.-based transnational corporation on trial next year on World Food Day, October 16, 2016. The announcement was made at a press conference held in conjunction with the COP21 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, November 30 — December 11, in Paris. Monsanto is the producer of Roundup, a widely-used herbicide that contains the active ingredient glyphosate, a chemical that was recently classified as a cancer-causing agent based on laboratory studies by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO). The corporation has developed and produced many other toxic chemicals, including: Lasso, an herbicide that is now banned in Europe; PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl), one of the 12 Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) that affect human and animal fertility; and 2,4,5 T (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid), a dioxin-containing […]

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04
Dec

Home Depot Announces Phase Out of Bee-Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2015) Home Depot, the world’s largest home-improvement chain, has announced that it will no longer use  neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides (which have emerged as the leading class of pesticides responsible for bee declines) in  80 percent of its flowering plants, and that it will complete its phase-out in plants by 2018. This follows the announcement made by Lowe’s earlier this year to phase out the sale of products containing neonicotinoid pesticides within 48 months. On its Eco Options gardening page, Home Depot says the following: “Our live goods suppliers have reduced the number of plants that they treat with neonicotinoids, so that now over 80% of our flowering plants are not treated HomeDepotWinBPwith neonicotinoids. We will continue this decrease unless,  1) it is required by state or federal regulation, or  2) undisputed science proves that the use of neonicotinoids on our live goods does not have a lethal or sub lethal effect on pollinators. Otherwise we will have a complete phase-out of neonicotinoid use on our live goods by the end of 2018.” “It’s important that retailers begin to make the switch toward safer products for bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects,” said Jay Feldman, executive director […]

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03
Dec

New Bee-Killing Pesticide Approved in EU

(Beyond Pesticides, December 3, 2015) Last month, the European Commission and member states approved the new pesticide flupyradifurone. The department, known as Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, authorized the approval of the pesticide, which is an insecticide in  the chemical class  butenolides. Bayer Crop Sciences, the creator of flupyradifurone, touts the insecticide as a “safe” alternative to neonicotinoids (neonics), although both neonics and butenolides are systemic, persistent, and acutely toxic to adult honey bees. Already launched in the United States, Mexico, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic, advocates are pointing to the hasty nature of flupyradifurone’s approval and the lack of scientific research supporting its use. Flupyradifurone, marketed as “Sivanto prime” in Europe, is approved for use in the EU on sucking pests that feed on fruits and vegetables as well as specialty crops such as hops.  It is also approved for use in seed coatings. The chemical is neurotoxic and can inhibit nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) in the nervous system. Neonicotinoids, widely  criticized for their harmful effects on bees,  affect the nervous system in the same way. Matthias Haas, Ph.D., Global Project Manager at Bayer CropScience says, “It combines efficacy and convenience for the grower with excellent […]

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16
Nov

Bayer Will Pay Fines for Fungicide Damage to Wine Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, November 16, 2015) Bayer CropScience, the manufacturer of neonicotinoid pesticides that are linked to severe decline in pollinator populations, is expected to pay fines to multiple countries in Europe for wine grape damages associated with another of its pesticides. Citing “atypical symptoms” resulting from the use of a relatively new fungicide, Bayer initially sent out a warning to wine growers to cease use of their product. Now, Bayer is collecting data and assessing how much it will offer to wine growers for the damages its product has caused. European grape growers, including vineyards in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland, have reported deformed leaves and lower yields after using Moon Privilege, also known as Luna Privilege in some markets, from the German company’s CropScience unit. In Switzerland, losses are estimated at 80 million Swiss francs ($83.73 million), as reported by marketing group Swiss Wine to Reuters. Swiss Wine’s general secretary estimates harvest losses totaling 6.65 million kilos (14 million pounds) of grapes in 2015, or about  4.85 percent of 2014’s crop. It is also estimated that wine makers have lost approximately six million bottles of wine, with  Pinot Noir grapes and Chasselas, a white wine grape, hardest […]

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21
Oct

Industry Celebrates 25 Years of Undermining Public Health

(Beyond Pesticides, October 21, 2015) Last week, Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE), an umbrella group representing pesticide manufacturers, celebrated its 25th year anniversary, touting its efforts to roll back critical protections from pesticide use in the U.S. The group emphasizes its role in quashing local government’s right to restrict pesticide use within its jurisdiction  after the Supreme Court, in Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Ralph Mortier (1991), upheld local  authority under federal pesticide law. RISE, formed out of the National Agricultural Chemicals Association to fight government regulation at the federal, state, and local level, launched with a  plan to defeat those opposing pesticide use in favor of sustainable practices, including concerned mothers, progressive businesses, and local and national health and environmental advocates. The platform  RISE articulates  showcases its plans to influence regulators and consumers to allow the widespread and less restricted use of pesticides. In the 1990’s, RISE joined with another industry group, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), to seek the adoption in state legislatures across the country pesticide preemption laws, which were adopted in over 40  states. These laws prevent local governments from adopting  their own restrictions governing pesticide use  on private property. At one point, the […]

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19
Oct

Monsanto Faces Lawsuits on Cancer Linked to Roundup

(Beyond Pesticides, October 19, 2015) Monsanto, the major producer of Roundup (glyphosate), has found itself in hot water recently, as personal injury lawsuits pile up over the link between glyphosate exposure and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL). Personal injury law firms around the U.S. have found a multitude of plaintiffs and are preparing for what could be a “mass tort” action against Monsanto for knowingly misinforming the public and farmworkers about the dangers of the chemical. The latest lawsuit was filed October 14 in Delaware Superior Court by three law firms representing three plaintiffs. One plaintiff in the Delaware lawsuit, Joselin Barrera, 24, a child of migrant farmworkers, relates  her non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) to glyphosate exposure. Elias de la Garza, a former migrant farm worker and landscaper diagnosed with NHL, has a similar claim. These follow other lawsuits filed last month in New York and California that  accuse Monsanto of knowing that glyphosate was hazardous to human health. Monsanto “led a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup was safe,” the lawsuit states. Glyphosate is touted as a “low toxicity” chemical and “safer” than other chemicals by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry […]

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24
Sep

Bayer Fined $5.6 Million for 2008 Factory Explosion

(Beyond Pesticides, September 24, 2015) Seven years after an explosion that killed two factory workers in Institute, West Virginia, Bayer CropScience is facing federal fines. Bayer is the manufacturer of neonicotinoid pesticides that are linked to severe decline in pollinator populations. On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $5.6 million settlement with Bayer to resolve the 2008 violation of federal chemical  accident prevention laws. As a result, Bayer must commit to spending $4.23 million to improve emergency preparedness and institute response  measures to protect the Kanawha River, pay a $975,000 penalty, and spend approximately $452,000 to implement a series of reforms to improve safety at chemical storage facilities across the United States. On August 28, 2008, a pesticide waste tank exploded inside the Bayer plant, instantly killing one worker and sending another to the hospital where he would eventually die. Although Bayer officials assure the public that the explosion was secure and released no chemicals, residents living near the plant complained of air pollution exposure and related illnesses. The tank contained waste products from thiodicarb, including methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), hexane, methomyl, and dimethyl disulfide, all of which are acutely toxic […]

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27
Aug

Medical Journal Article Identifies Hazards of Pesticides in GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, August 27, 2015) Last week, Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., released a perspective article, GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health, in the New England Journal of Medicine  that outlines  the hazards associated with food residues of  elevated pesticide use in the production  of genetically engineered (GE) crops. While mainstream media continuously misses the central issue  in the GE debate by asserting that these crops are merely an extension of selective breeding and effect a reduction in pesticide use, the authors  focus on  the significance of the actual increase in herbicide use and weed resistance in herbicide-tolerant crops. Drs. Landrigan and Benbrook offer two main recommendations in their article: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should delay implementation of its decision to permit the use of Enlist Duo (the 2,4-D herbicide used with  Monsanto-engineered GE herbicide-tolerant  crop), and  the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should  require labeling of GE foods and couple it with adequately funded, long-term postmarketing surveillance. Dr. Landrigan, Dean for Global Health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, is an epidemiologist and pediatrician and one of the world’s leading advocates of children’s and environmental health. Dr. Benbrook is a research professor at the […]

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31
Jul

Meeting Records Expose Industry’s Influence in UK’s Neonic Emergency Use Decision

(Beyond Pesticides, July 31, 2015) New information has surfaced regarding the role of agrochemical giants Bayer and Syngenta in the United Kingdom (UK)’s recent decision to temporarily allow the use of neonicotinoid seed treatment on oilseed rape crop. A record of the meeting, involving the UK government’s expert committee on pesticides (ECP) and industry representatives, had previously been suppressed. The newly released record of the meeting shows that Bayer and Syngenta were the only external representatives asked to answer the ECP’s questions. The emergency use, which has been granted for 120 days, allows growers to use Bayer’s Modesto (clothianidin) and Syngenta’s Cruiser OSR (thiamethoxam). The active ingredients of these products belong to a class of toxic chemicals known as neonicotinoids  (neonics), which have been  linked  to pollinator decline. These pesticides are associated with  decreased learning,  foraging  and navigational ability in bees, as well as increased vulnerability to pathogens and parasites as a result of suppressed bee immune systems. Used widely in agriculture as seed treatment for various crops, foraging bees, in the absence of their native habitat, are exposed to fields of poison where even pollen and nectar are contaminated. In addition to toxicity to bees, neonicotinoids have been shown […]

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30
Jul

USDA Allows Introduction of 2,4-D-Tolerant GE Cotton in Response to Roundup Resistance

(Beyond Pesticides, July 30, 2015) Despite concerns for human and environmental contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) adds 2,4-D-tolerant cotton, a genetically engineered (GE) crop, to the list of unregulated GE crops, joining 2,4-D resistant corn and soybeans. Last week, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) division of USDA released its decision on Dow AgroSciences’ petition to deregulate the 2,4-D resistant GE cotton. The decision was signed off by Michael J. Firko, the Deputy Administrator of Biotechnology Regulatory Services. In September of last year, Deputy Firko also signed the determination paperwork that deregulated GE corn and soybean. The deregulation essentially releases the GE organism from the regulatory requirements of 7 CFR part 340 or the plant pest provisions of the Plant Protection Act. Dow’s GE cotton, part of the Enlist Weed Control System, is resistant to 2,4-D choline, glufosinate, and glyphosate. Growers in the cotton industry have been vying for the GE cotton to enter the market in order to combat herbicide-resistant weeds due to the broad scale use of Monsanto’s RoundUp (glyphosate), which continues to fail across the agricultural industry due to weed resistance. Glyphosate is a phosphanoglycine herbicide that inhibits an enzyme essential to plant […]

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29
Jul

Passage of the DARK Act Sheds Light on Next Steps for Opposition

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29 2015) The  Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015,  H.R. 1599, often referred to as the “DARK” Act or Denying Americans the Right to Know what is in their food, passed the U.S.  House of Representatives last week by a vote of 275-150. Backed largely by House Republicans, the DARK Act makes it harder for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require mandatory national labeling of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and strengthens current policies that allow companies to voluntarily label foods containing GE products, an option they rarely choose to do. The bill also continues to allow misleading “natural” claims for food that contain GE ingredients. Most concerning, however, is the prohibition  that H.R. 1599 would place  on states’ authority to require labeling of GE ingredients in food products, instituting federal  preemption of state and local authority. While the bill was being debated on the floor, co-sponsors Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) repeatedly cited a lack of scientific evidence that GEs were dangerous to support the passage of the bill, ignoring arguments from the opposition that people should be able to know what is in their food, regardless of whether it […]

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24
Jul

UK Approves Emergency Application for Neonicotinoid Seed Treatment Use Despite Moratorium

(Beyond Pesticides, July 24, 2015) An emergency application was approved by the UK Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on Wednesday that allows  farmers to use neonicotinoid seed treatment on 5 percent of oilseed rape crop (known as canola in the U.S.) this summer to control a flea beetle infestation. The emergency use, which has been granted for 120 days, allows growers to use Bayer CropScience’s Modesto (clothianidin) and Syngenta’s Cruiser OSR (thiamethoxam). The active ingredients of these products belong to a class of toxic chemicals knowns as neonicotinoids, which have been linked to pollinator decline. The request was the second one for the National Farmers Union (NFU) after the first request for a nationwide lifting of the two-year moratorium on neonicotinoid use was rejected. The NFU said it was “frustrated” at having to put in an application for a smaller area. There have been numerous attempts to shroud the application process in secrecy. DEFRA told its expert committee on pesticides (ECP) to halt its  normal practice of publishing the minutes  of meetings at which the neonicotinoid applications were discussed, in order to avoid “provoking representations from different interest groups.” Additionally, according to the Guardian, the UK government […]

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20
Jul

Monsanto-Supported Group Attempting to Undercut Roundup Cancer Finding, According to Report

(Beyond Pesticides, July 20, 2015) In response to  the recent cancer classification of glyphosate (Roundup)  by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization,  an industry-based  assessment has reached the opposite conclusion based on classified industry reports has concluded that Monsanto’s glyphosate is not carcinogenic.   According to The Guardian, the assessment by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessments (BfR) is based almost solely on industry science and classified industry reports. Three scientists on Germany’s scientific panel on pesticides work for the pesticide industry. Monsanto objected earlier this year, when IARC announced in a preliminary report that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen based on laboratory animal studies. BfR and IARC’s findings have been released during a pivotal time, as a decision on whether to extend the license for glyphosate’s use in Europe is currently pending, and these studies are sure to be incorporated into the decision making process. According to The Guardian, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is delaying the release of its  opinion on glyphosate to take the full IARC report into account. The Guardian reports that BfR’s research relied heavily on unpublished reports provided by the […]

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16
Jul

New Industry Hire Highlights Revolving Door at EPA

(Beyond Pesticides, July 16, 2015) The latest former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official to take advantage of the revolving door between EPA and the pesticide industry is Nader Elkassabany, PhD, former branch chief of the Risk Assessment and Science Support Branch in the Antimicrobial Division in the Office of Pesticide Programs. CropLife America announced last week that it has hired Dr. Elkassabany to serve as senior director of environmental policy, responsible for the pesticide trade group’s regulatory strategies on environmental policy. He will also help manage the company’s Environmental Risk Assessment Committee and its working groups. In a statement, CropLife America President and CEO Jay Vroom considers his expertise invaluable. This is no surprise, given that Dr. Elkassabany brings with him 15 years of experience working in  the registration and re-registration of pesticide active ingredients in the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) at EPA. This will undoubtedly be beneficial for the trade association, which represents major agricultural chemical manufactures like Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, and DuPont Crop Protection. According to a statement from CropLife, Dr. Elkassabany received three EPA Bronze Medals for Commendable Service. He left EPA in 2012 to work for another big name in consumer pesticides,  S.C. […]

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14
Jul

Pesticide Manufacturer DuPont Labeled “Severe” Safety Violator by OSHA

(Beyond Pesticides, July 14, 2015) Last November, a worker at a DuPont chemical plant in La Porte, Texas was overcome when a supply line released more than 20,000 lbs. of methyl mercaptan, a toxic chemical precursor for pesticides produced at the plant. Three co-workers rushed to attempt a rescue, but all four were fatally asphyxiated by the toxic gas, according to an investigation from the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Now, after a lengthy investigation, OSHA is placing DuPont on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program,  which focuses agency resources on inspecting employers who have “demonstrated indifference to their OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Act] obligations by willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations.” Earlier this year, OSHA’s initial investigation into the La Porte plant incident resulted in eleven citations, a $99,000 fine, and a long list of safety upgrades required to be taken by the company. “Four people lost their lives and their families lost loved ones because DuPont did not have proper safety procedures in place,” said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels, PhD, MPH. “Had the company assessed the dangers involved, or trained their employees on what to do if the ventilation system […]

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07
Jul

EPA Falters Again in Banning Remaining Uses of a Highly Toxic and Unnecessary Insecticide

(Beyond Pesticides, July 7, 2015) In a sleight of hand,  the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans last week to cancel all remaining agricultural uses of the hazardous insecticide chlorpyrifos by April 2016, and then left the door open for negotiations with the chemical’s manufacturer, Dow AgroSciences, to adopt  risk mitigation measures that would avoid a ban. Environmental groups are reacting to EPA’s announcement with guarded optimism, encouraging the agency to move forward with its planned cancellation of a highly toxic chemical that has remained on the market for far long. In June 2000, EPA announced a negotiated voluntary cancellation  with Dow that removed residential uses of chlorpyrifos (Dursban) from the market because of the neurotoxic effects to children, but allowed most agricultural uses to continue. As early as January of this year, EPA released a revised human health risk assessment for chlorpyrifos, finding that the chemical poses risk to farmworkers, and the drinking water of small watersheds. The assessment was, in part, in response to a petition submitted by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) in 2007, which called on the agency to ban all uses of the insecticide. Since the the 2000 cancellation, […]

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