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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Corporations' Category


16
Mar

Bayer Attempt to Silence Critics of Its Bee-Poisonous Pesticides Rejected by Judge

(Beyond Pesticides, March 16, 2015) Last week, a judge in Duesseldorf Regional Court ruled that the German branch of Friends of the Earth (BUND) has a right to speak out against chemical company giant Bayer CropScience’s neonicotinoid pesticide, thiacloprid, regarding its potential danger to bees. The court considered the allegations put forth by BUND to be a form of free speech, a protected right. Neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides, affect the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and eventual death. These pesticides have consistently been implicated as a key issue in pollinator declines, not only through immediate bee deaths, but also through sub-lethal exposure causing changes in bee reproduction, navigation and foraging. The science has become increasingly clear that pesticides, either working individually or synergistically, play a critical role in the ongoing decline of honey bees. Pesticide exposure can impair both detoxification mechanisms and immune responses, rendering bees more susceptible to viruses, parasites and other diseases, leading to devastating bee losses. Thiacloprid is one of the seven most commonly used neonicotinoids. It is used to control sucking and biting insects in cotton, rice, vegetables, pome fruit, sugar beet, potatoes and ornamentals. Low doses of neonicotinoids are considered highly […]

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04
Mar

Appeals Court to Hear Case on EPA’s Registration of Bee-Toxic Chemical

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2015) The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the case brought by beekeepers challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of a toxic pesticide known to be toxic to bees. In 2013, the beekeepers filed suit against the agency, citing that the new chemical, sulfoxaflor, as further endangering bees and beekeeping and noting that their concerns were not properly addressed by EPA before registration was granted. Sulfoxaflor is a sub-class of the neonicotinoid pesticides that have been linked to global bee declines. The Court has agreed to hear the case on April 14, 2015. The case, Pollinator Stewardship Council v. EPA, which requests changes to EPA’s product label for sulfoxaflor, was first filed July 2013. The petitioners include the Pollinator Stewardship Council, the American Honey Producers Association, the National Honey Bee Advisory Board, the American Beekeeping Federation, and beekeepers Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson and Thomas Smith. The beekeeper groups are represented by Earthjustice. The case is one of a number of pending legal cases on EPA’s pesticide decisions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), including one submitted March 2013 by Beyond Pesticides, the Center for Food Safety, beekeepers, […]

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23
Feb

House Panel Rejects Hawai’i Bill to Impose Pesticide Buffer Zones

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2015) A Hawaii state House agriculture committee rejected a bill Thursday that sought to impose buffer zones for large agricultural companies that spray restricted-use pesticides near schools and other sensitive areas. The proposal, House Bill 1514, introduced by Rep. Chris Lea, stemmed from concerns about  the impact of genetically-engineered (GE) farming and its inherent dependency on increasing  pesticide use. The measure sought  to require companies’  disclosure of the pesticides used and the volume of use. The bill had strong support from the Hawaii chapter of the national nonprofit Center for Food Safety (CFS), as well as a strong backing from neighbor island residents. Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island have all passed laws recently to regulate the seed industry, but a federal  district  court judge  has ruled  that Hawaii counties do not have that power. Industry has been especially effective in obstructing the bill. CFS’ Hawaii director, Ashley Lukens, said after Thursday’s hearing that she was frustrated by the limited amount of time advocates were given to testify. “It was clear from the very beginning that the hearing was intended to allow the industry to reiterate their talking points,” she said. Not surprisingly, companies (like Monsanto) […]

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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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04
Feb

Maui Decision Not to Defend GE Moratorium Disappoints Activists

(Beyond Pesticides, February 4, 2015)    In the face of a challenge from the chemical industry, Hawaii’s Maui County will not defend a moratorium on genetically engineered (GE) farming that was passed by county voters last fall. Seeking to have the moratorium thrown out, industry giants Monsanto, Dow-owned Agrigenetics and others sued Maui days after the measure was passed.   It was expected that the county would defend the law in the courts, but to the disappointment of many, attorneys for Maui County filed a single sentence brief with the court, stating that it “is taking no position.” In November 2014, Maui residents passed a ballot initiative prohibiting the growth, testing or cultivation of GE crops in Maui County until an environmental and public health study can show that the planting operations are safe for the community. Now residents and local groups supporting the new law are expressing outrage and disappointment over the decision by Maui County to disregard its duty to defend a law passed by its citizens, despite earlier assurances that county will implement the moratorium. Maui County spokesman Rod Antone said that the outrage from activists groups is misplaced. In December, the court allowed the local group, […]

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26
Jan

New Pesticide To Be Marketed Amid Misleading Claims That It Is ‘Safer for Bees’

(Beyond Pesticides, January 26, 2015) Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it completed the registration of a new pesticide, flupyradifurone, that would be marketed as an alternative to neonicotinoid pesticides, and “safer for bees.” A closer look at this chemical reveals that the agency is grossly misleading the public on the ecological safety of flupyradifurone since the chemical is systemic, persistent, and highly acutely toxic to adult honey bees. At a time when bees are declining, advocates say it is inappropriate for EPA to introduce yet another bee toxic chemical to the market. Flupyradifurone (“Sivanto”) is a new systemic, butenolide insecticide from Bayer CropScience that is to be used on crops such as citrus, cotton, potatoes and many others, and also as seed treatment. Note: EPA is still considering soybean seed treatment. The chemical is a neurotoxic insecticide that can inhibit nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) in the nervous system. Neonicotinoids, widely linked to devastating health impacts on bees,  affect the nervous system in the same way. However, EPA states that flupyradifurone differs from neonicotinoids because of the way it binds to the receptors and  is metabolized. However, most troubling is that, based on EPA’s registration documents, the […]

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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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09
Jan

U.S. and EU Trade Proposal Threatens Human Health and Environment

(Beyond Pesticides, January 09, 2015) New closed-door international trade agreement proposals between the U.S. and EU could weaken pesticide standards and threaten the U.S. organic food industry. Set forth by European and U.S. trade associations, the proposals were met  with strong disapproval by numerous non-governmental organizations (NGO) and non-profits. Beyond Pesticides and over a hundred other European and U.S.-based organizations signed on to a letter in July 2014 calling for increased transparency of negotiating proposals and  the exclusion of chemical regulations from the entire scope of the prospective Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The proposals are recommended by the trade associations CropLife America and the European Crop Protection Association (ECPA) —which represent major agricultural chemical manufactures like Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, and DuPont Crop Protection— with claims that the policy would help reduce or get rid of trade barriers and help promote regulatory cooperation and achieve the goals of the TTIP. According to a new Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) report, however, these proposals push for anemic pesticide residue limits in the EU, which are currently some of the strongest ones in existence and have influenced more stringent standards around the world, including the U.S. The groups recommend […]

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17
Dec

GE Labeling Ballot Initiative Narrowly Loses in Oregon Recount

(Beyond Pesticides, December 17, 2014)   Supporters of an Oregon ballot initiative requiring labels on genetically-engineered (GE) food acknowledged defeat last Thursday after an automatic recount failed to change the results of November’s vote and a judge denied their plea for a count of rejected ballots. Advocates expressed deep disappointment that a Monsanto led multi-million dollar opposition campaign narrowly defeated the Oregon ballot initiative even after an emergency lawsuit was filed to prevent the rejection of over 4,000 votes due to non-fraudulent discrepancies. Measure 92 lost by a narrow margin in November elections, triggering a recount and making it the closest statewide election in Oregon history. Measure 92 would have required manufacturers, retailers, and suppliers to clearly label all genetically-engineered foods or ingredients in raw or packaged items. It was defeated by only 812 votes out of 1.5 million. The automatic recount is pursuant to Oregon voting law, but the new tally showed that the measure lost by just 0.056 percent. On December 8, 2014, an emergency lawsuit was filed by the Yes on 92 Campaign in order to prevent over 4,000 votes from being thrown out by state officials due to non-fraudulent discrepancies in voter signatures.   The judge […]

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08
Dec

Nursery Stops Use of Neonic after Home Depot Adopts Labeling Requirement

(Beyond Pesticides, December 8, 2014) In response to Home Depot’s decision to start requiring all nursery plants that have been treated with neonicotinoids to carry a label to inform customers, at least one nursery supplier has decided to change its management practices. J.Berry Nurseries, a company based out of Grand Saline, Texas, which supplies plants to over 1,000 Home Depot stores throughout Texas, surrounding states and the Midwest, says that since the issue has become publicly recognized for its impacts on bees and other pollinators, it will stop using neonics and start to look at alternative practices. This news provides testament to the power of consumer demand, and along with Beyond Pesticides’ Pollinator-Friendly Seeds and Nursery Directory, should encourage other growers to ditch the neonics in favor of better management practices. “We view it as the labeling of a plant with that tag is potentially creating customers’ perception that that plant should not be purchased,” Jim Berry, the president of J. Berry Nurseries, told Nursery Management Magazine. “Whether it’s a valid assumption or not, perception is reality. So you have to go with that. We certainly want consumers to be attracted to our plants instead of repelled by them.” The […]

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02
Dec

Ontario Proposes Restrictions on Neonicotinoid-Treated Seeds

(Beyond Pesticides, December 2, 2014) Last week, the government of Ontario, Canada proposed a plan to reduce the use of neonicotinoid (neonic)-treated corn and soybean seeds by 80% as part of a broad initiative to improve pollinator health. It sets a goal of reducing over-winter honey bee deaths to 15% by 2020, and calls for the development of a comprehensive Pollinator Health Action Plan. To address the regulation of treated seeds, Ontario’s pollinator health proposal recommends the creation a new class of pesticides to include seeds treated with pesticides. The government would then restrict the sale and use of neonic-treated corn and soybean seed. In the U.S., EPA establishes the “treated article exemption” (40 CFR 152.25(a))  as  limiting its ability to regulate  seeds, under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA),  that act  as  toxic pesticides when applied to agricultural fields and landscapes. According to  EPA, the treated article exemption,  “allows an exemption for: An article or a substance treated with or containing a pesticide to protect the article or substance itself (for example, paint treated with a pesticide to protect the paint coating, or wood products treated to protect the wood against insects or fungus infestation), if the […]

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01
Dec

Over 100 Scientists Call for Action on Bee-Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, November 26, 2014) Last week, over 100 scientists from diverse disciplines released a letter citing the growing body of scientific evidence that neonicotinoids and other systemic pesticides harm bees, and called on leaders of President Barack Obama’s Pollinator Health Task Force to quickly take action on pesticides to protect and promote healthy populations of bees and other pollinators. The letter was submitted in response to the recent “listening sessions” hosted by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These sessions were held by the agencies to  collect public  feedback  on federal efforts on pollinator protection, and the Task Force convened to develop a National Pollinator Health Strategy. In June, the White House issued a Presidential Memorandum directing federal agencies to  join the  Pollinator Health Task Force, led by USDA, to develop pollinator health solutions. The 108 scientists ””whose areas of expertise include entomology, agronomy, ecology, ecotoxicology”” called on Task Force co-chairs, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, to place a moratorium on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the U.S., and increase investment, research and funding for growers to adopt alternatives. In the letter, the scientists note that, “While gaps […]

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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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19
Nov

Canadian Doctors and Nurses Urge Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, November 19, 2014) A group of doctors and nurses is urging the Ontario government to ban neonicotinoid pesticides, blamed for the decline of bees and other insect pollinators. As Canada’s first neonicotinoid campaign organized by doctors and nurses, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario say that these pesticides are a “major threat to both nature and people.” The doctors and nurses in Ontario, Canada, now urging the province to ban the pesticides adds to growing pressure on the Ontario government to take action on neonicotinoids (neonics), the insecticide class of chemicals linked to the deaths of bees across Canada and the U.S. Central to the initiative is an advertising buy which starts this week on the Toronto subway system. The ads show an anxious child beneath the caption, ”˜Doctors and Nurses say neonic pesticides hurt our bees and us.’ The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) and the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) also plan to meet with the Ontario Environment Minister, Glen Murray, later this year  to urge the government to ban the chemicals. CAPE is the campaign’s main funder, with contributions from David Suzuki […]

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18
Nov

Leak at DuPont Chemical Plant Leads to Death of Four Workers

(Beyond Pesticides, November 18, 2014) Four workers died this past weekend when the valve on a container of methyl mercaptan, a compound used in the production of insecticides, fungicides, and plastics, malfunctioned at a La Porte, Texas chemical plant owned by DuPont. The chemical, which has a strong odor of rotten eggs, spread throughout the Houston metropolitan area, causing concern for people up to 40 miles away. This incident is the latest in a string of chemical disasters for DuPont and across the United States. A 2011 U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) investigation determined that “a series of preventable safety shortcomings” led to three accidents over a 33-hour period that resulted in the death of one worker from phosgene gas exposure at a DuPont plant in Belle, West Virginia. CSB, an independent federal agency tasked with investigating chemical accidents, has begun a probe into the recent incident. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will conduct a separate investigation. In 2013, in the wake of an explosion at a chemical plant in West, Texas that claimed the lives of 15 people and injured hundreds more, President Obama signed an Executive Order entitled Improving Chemical Facility Safety and Security, in an […]

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17
Nov

Court Battle Begins on Maui, Hawaii GE Moratorium

(Beyond Pesticides, November 17, 2014) In anticipation of the lawsuit by agrichemical giants following a newly passed initiative to suspend the planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops in Maui, five residents preemptively filed a lawsuit last Wednesday, November 12 beating their opponents by one day. The moratorium is only a temporary measure that bans GE crops until the county analyzes the public health and environmental effects, and it is deemed safe. Yet, despite this Monsanto, along with Dow AgroSciences, the Maui Farm Bureau and other businesses filed their own lawsuit against the county Thursday, November 13 saying that  the “referendum is invalid and contrary to long established state and federal laws that support both the safety and lawful testing and planting of GMO plants.” Maui County residents Dr. Lorrin Pang, Mark Sheehan, Lei’ohu Ryder, Bonnie Marsh and Alika Atay, along with the Shaka Movement, filed their lawsuit in the Second Circuit court in Hawaii against the county, Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences. The lawsuit seeks to assure transparency and influence over the implementation of the initiative, in light of the enormous amount of money that the ag companies have poured into the county in an attempt to beat the initiative. According […]

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13
Nov

California Strawberry Production Thrives as Regulators Allow Elevated Hazards

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2014) In an investigative report, Dark Side of the Strawberry, Center for Investigative Reporting provides a sordid story and analysis of  the rise of one of California’s most prized crops, strawberries, while state  regulators  ignored public health and environmental risks associated with the pesticides used in their production. The report focuses on a pesticide called 1,3-Dichloropropene (1,3-D), a restricted use soil  fumigant used to kill nematodes, insects, and weeds, that has strong links to cancer and other serious health issues. The use of the chemical in the production of strawberries came into prominence with the forced reduction of another fumigant, methyl bromide. As the report chronicles, besides the many other issues associated with methyl bromide, scientists began to become concerned sometime in 1970s that escaped methyl bromide gas had serious effects on the ozone and was blamed for between 5 and 10 percent of ozone depletion. With the signing of Montreal Protocol in 1987, a treaty that President Reagan signed on behalf of the U.S., methyl bromide became the only pesticide to be banned by treaty, a ban meant to be in full effect by 2005. While the European Union and other industrialized nations followed through […]

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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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07
Nov

Groups Tell Canadian Regulators to Reject Bee-Killing Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, November 7, 2014) Environmental organizations are calling on the Canadian government to  reject the approval of yet another bee-killing pesticide called flupyradifurone. According to Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) —responsible for regulating pesticides in Canada— the new pesticide exhibits systemic behavior and “may pose a risk to bees, non-target beneficial arthropods, and freshwater and saltwater invertebrates when used for foliar application.” Additionally, the pesticide “may pose a risk to birds and small wild mammals when used for soybean seed treatment.”  Environmentalists say approval of  flupyradifurone would be irresponsible of PMRA because it would allow yet another chemical with a high potential hazard to bee health into the environment. Environmental groups, including Sierra Club Canada Foundation, David Suzuki Foundation, Pollination Canada, National Farmers Union, Friends of the Earth, and Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, have been vocal in expressing their concern about flupyradifurone: “Health Canada has admitted the use of neonicotinoid pesticides threatens bees and other pollinators and has promised a review, but meanwhile wants to open the door to its chemical cousin. Is the government taking the threat of systemic pesticides seriously?” said Lisa Gue, a researcher and analyst at David Suzuki Foundation. Karen […]

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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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21
Oct

Threatened Status Proposed for West Coast Fisher after Poisonings with Rodenticides

(Beyond Pesticides, October 21, 2014) Due in large part to the use of rodenticides in the cultivation of illegal marijuana grow operations, earlier this month the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced a proposal to list fishers, medium sized carnivores of the weasel family, as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Fishers are the second species in the West that have been recognized by regulators as adversely affected  by illegal marijuana grow operations. Coho salmon have also been affected as a result of pesticide and fertilizer use, water withdrawals, and clear-cut logging that have silted, dried up, and polluted streams where the salmon run. Fishers, which are found throughout North America and have been part of the forests in Pacific states for thousands of years, have all but virtually disappeared in much of Washington, Oregon and California, according to FWS. Illegal marijuana grow operations have been a troubling source of wildlife deaths as growers often use “industrial-sized quantities of poison in forests to fend off rodents,” says Humboldt County District Supervisor Rex Bohn. A study published in PLOS One in 2012 found that 79% of fishers surrounding an illegal marijuana grow operation had been exposed to anticoagulant rodenticides. Fishers […]

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20
Oct

EPA Finds Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments To Be of Little or No Benefit

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report Thursday that soybean  seed treatments with neonicotinoid insecticides provide little or no overall benefits in controlling insects or improving yield or quality in soybean production. While pesticide manufacturer Syngenta has petitioned EPA to raise the allowable levels of another systemic pesticide thiamethoxam on a number of crops, EPA’s report confirms  scientific findings  that these chemical treatments are unnecessary and inefficacious. Widely used neonicotinoids, which as systemic chemicals move through a plant’s vascular system and express poison through pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets, have been identified in multiple  peer-reviewed studies and by beekeepers  as the major contributing factor in bee decline. The report concludes that not only is there no increase in soybean yield when compared to using no pest control at all, but also the potential benefit of neonicotinoid seed treatment is not likely to be large or widespread throughout the U. S. EPA also found that seed treatments fail to provide protection from target pests during critical times of plant activity, ultimately leading to the assessment that “much of the existing usage on soybeans is prophylactic in nature.” “This report demonstrates, yet again, the need for […]

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