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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Farmworkers' Category


16
Feb

Disproportionate Pesticide Hazards to Farmworkers and People of Color Documented. . .Again

(Beyond Pesticides, February 16, 2024) A report released in January, US pesticide regulation is failing the hardest-hit communities. It’s time to fix it, finds “people of color and low-income communities in the United States and around the world continue to shoulder the societal burden of harmful pollution.” More specifically, the authors state that “ongoing environmental injustice is the disproportionate impact these communities suffer from pesticides, among the most widespread environmental pollutants.” The report follows an earlier article by the same lead authors and others (see earlier coverage) on the long history of documented hazards and government failure to protect farmworkers from pesticide use in agriculture. In a piece posted by Beyond Pesticides earlier this week, the serious weaknesses in the worker protection standard for farmworkers are documented.   The latest report was led by Nathan Donley, environmental health science director at the Center for Biological Diversity and Robert Bullard, known as the “Father of Environmental Justice” and executive director of the Robert D. Bullard Center for Environmental and Climate Justice at Texas Southern University in Houston. In addition to these authors, the 2022 review was coauthored by Jeannie Economos of the Farmworker Association of Florida, Iris Figueroa of Farmworker Justice, Jovita […]

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15
Feb

USDA Pesticide Data Program Continues to Mislead the Public on Pesticide Residue Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2024) The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pesticide residue report, the 32nd Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary report, released in January, finds that over 72 percent of tested commodities contain pesticide residues (27.6 percent have no detectable residues), mostly below the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set for tolerances (allowable residues) whose safety standards have been called into question by advocates. USDA spins its report findings as a positive safety finding because, as the Department says, “[m]ore than 99 percent of the products sampled through PDP had residues below the established EPA tolerances.” USDA continues, “Ultimately, if EPA determines a pesticide use is not safe for human consumption, EPA will mitigate exposure to the pesticide through actions such as amending the pesticide label instructions, changing or revoking a pesticide residue tolerance, or not registering a new use.” As Beyond Pesticides reminds the public annually when USDA uses the report to extol the safety of pesticide-laden food, the tolerance setting process has been criticized as highly deficient because of a lack of adequate risk assessments for vulnerable subpopulations, such as farmworkers, people with compromised health or preexisting health conditions, children, and perhaps, […]

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14
Feb

EPA’s Worker Protection Standard Fails to Protect Farmworkers’ Health, Report Finds

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2024) The latest in a series of reports on the state of farmworker protection, released last December, highlights the long history of health threats, regulatory failures, and structural racism that is imbued in the chemical-intensive agricultural system that feeds the nation and world. The authors conclude that farmworkers “face a level of occupational risk unrivaled by most workers.” They continue: “From repeated exposure to pesticides and extreme heat, to injures from machinery and repetitive motion, conditions on American farms involve myriad hazards. Meanwhile, a lack of access to healthcare and legal services, low wages, marginalization, language barriers, racism, and the threat of deportation among these largely immigrant communities compound their many challenges.” Describing the U.S. food system and the workers who serve as its foundation, Precarious Protection: Analyzing Compliance with Pesticide Regulations for Farmworker Safety is the third publication in a series of reports on farmworker health and safety, led by the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at Vermont Law and Graduate School and written with the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic and the nonprofit group Farmworker Justice. Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and Farmworker Justice partnered on the […]

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06
Feb

The Link Between Ovarian Cancer and Pesticides Increases Among Female Farmers

(Beyond Pesticides, February  6, 2024) A study published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine finds that pesticide exposure, especially during puberty, can play a role in ovarian cancer development among female farmers. Although there are many studies that evaluate the risk for cancers among farmers, very few pieces of literature cover the risk of ovarian cancer from pesticide exposure. Additionally, this study notes suggests the role of hormones in ovarian cancer prognosis and development, highlighting an association with endocrine disruption. Exposure to past and current-use endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), like pesticides, has a long history of severe adverse human health effects. Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotics (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem) present in nearly all organisms and ecosystems. The World Health Organization (WHO), European Union (EU), and endocrine disruptor expert (deceased) Theo Colborn, Ph.D., classify over 55 to 177 chemical compounds as endocrine disruptors, including various household products like detergents, disinfectants, plastics, and pesticides. Endocrine disruption can lead to several health problems, including hormone-related cancer development (e.g., thyroid, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular), reproductive dysfunction, and diabetes/obesity that can span generations. Therefore, studies related to pesticides and endocrine disruption help scientists understand the underlying mechanisms that indirectly or directly cause cancer, among other health issues. The study evaluates a […]

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12
Jan

Beyond Pesticides: Advocating for Health Justice on Martin Luther King Day 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 12, 2024) As we commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—an inspiration for taking on the challenges of justice, equity, and safety as a central part of all our work for a sustainable future—through a day that stands for equality, justice, and the pursuit of a better world, it is crucial to reflect on issues that impact the health and well-being of communities. One such issue that echoes the spirit of Dr. King’s vision is the pervasive use of pesticides and the associated health risks. Drawing insights from prior articles on Beyond Pesticides’ Daily News, we delve into the intersection of environmental justice, public health, and the ongoing struggle for a safer and healthier world.  The Invisible Threat with Visible Consequence: Pesticides and Health.  Beyond Pesticides sheds light on the hidden dangers of pesticide exposure and the disproportionate impact it has on marginalized communities. Communities of color and economically disadvantaged areas bear a heavier burden of pesticide exposure, leading to higher rates of health issues, including respiratory problems, developmental disorders, and certain cancers.  From agricultural workers to residents of low-income neighborhoods, the adverse health effects of pesticides are not evenly distributed. The use of pesticides without adequate consideration […]

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19
Dec

Groups Petition EPA to Remove from the Market the Weed Killer Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2023) Last week, farmworker organizations and Beyond Pesticides, represented by the Center for Food Safety, filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging that the weed killer glyphosate be removed from the market. The petition cites 200 studies, which represent a fraction of the independent scientific literature on the hazards of glyphosate and formulation ingredients of glyphosate products. This action follows previous litigation in 2022 in which a federal court of appeals struck down EPA’s human health assessment, finding that the agency wrongfully dismissed glyphosate’s cancer risk. The farmworker groups petitioning include Farmworker Association of Florida, OrganizaciĂłn en California de Lideres Campesinas, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, and the Rural Coalition.   Meanwhile, verdicts against glyphosate’s manufacturer, Bayer, continue to pile up with a December jury verdict in Pennsylvania awarding $3.5 million and a November jury in Missouri ordering $1.56 billion to be paid to four plaintiffs. All link their cancer to use of the Roundup. Bayer has lost almost all of the cases filed against it for compensation and punitive damages associated with plaintiffs’ charge that its product (previously manufactured by Monsanto) caused them harm.  The petition summarizes its purpose and justification as […]

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04
Dec

Protection of Pregnant Farmworkers Under Civil Rights Protection; Will There Be Enforcement.

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2023) With a history of neglect of farmworker protection in the workplace, advocates are pointing to the need for ensuring stringent enforcement of regulations that are expected to take effect under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) this month. In addition to weak laws and protections that typically exempt farmworkers, enforcement for farmworker protections that do exist has been lacking. A report on enforcement of wage and hour law under Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has documented diminished capacity to detect and enforce against violations. A report by the Economic Policy Institute (2020) shows the dramatic failures of DOL, which is underfunded and understaffed to enforce the law. As the agency charged with operationalizing the new law to protect farmworkers, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will be up against a federal pesticide law enforcement system that is dependent by agreements with state agencies, mostly departments of agriculture, that have a history of failing to enforce the limited protections provided for farmworkers. The EEOC is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and operates 53 field offices in every part of the country. Farmworkers have endured a long history of discrimination in the United […]

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28
Nov

New Federal Law Seeks to Protect Pregnant Workers, Farmworkers at Elevated Risk

With the elevated adverse impacts associated with pesticides and reproductive health, the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) law may be used to improve protections for farmworkers and other high-risk employees.

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09
Nov

Protection of Children from Pesticides under Threat in Farm Bill Negotiations, Data Shows

(Beyond Pesticides, November 9, 2023) Two-hundred-foot pesticide spray “buffer zones” around 4,028 U.S. elementary schools contiguous to crop fields—according to data evaluated by Environmental Working Group—are threatened by potential Farm Bill amendments now under consideration. Legislative language, if adopted, would take away (preempt) the authority of states and local jurisdictions to protect children and restrict agricultural pesticides used near schools. Pesticide drift is a widespread problem throughout the U.S. that has attracted national attention in recent years because of crop damage caused by the weed killer dicamba in numerous midwestern states. In the face of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) failure to mitigate drift hazards, states enact limits on when and how pesticides can be used, establish buffer zones around application sites, and in some cases, ban uses. In 2018, Arkansas banned dicamba use from mid-April through the end of October (and survived a Monsanto challenge to the ban. For a historical perspective on the drift issue, see Getting the Drift on Pesticide Trespass. Children, in particular, face unique risks from pesticide and toxic chemical exposures. Due to their smaller body size, they absorb a higher relative amount of pesticides through the food they consume and the air they breathe. Additionally, children’s developing […]

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25
Oct

Study Further Strengthens Link Between Common Insecticide Class and Psychiatric Disorders

(Beyond Pesticides, October 25, 2023) A study published in Environmental Pollution finds farming and organophosphate (OP) pesticide exposure are risk factors for depression, with pesticide poisoning being a risk factor for suicidal behavior. Additionally, psychiatric disorder prognosis affects men more than women, with depression and suicidal outcomes more common among pesticide-exposed males. Age also affected depression and suicidal consequences, with elevated rates among older farmers. Research on pesticide-induced diseases commonly investigates pesticide exposure concerning the development of various physical illnesses. However, previous studies show that occupational (work-related) risks of developing depression are high in agriculture, where pesticide use is widespread. Acute exposure to chemicals, including organophosphate, organochlorine, triazine, and carbamate pesticides, tends to put farmers at elevated risk. More study is needed on pesticide exposure and similar psychological (psychiatric) effects in the general population. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects 322 million people globally, with the number of diagnosed patients increasing by 18.4% from 2005 to 2015. Although the etiology of depression—and many other psychiatric disorders—is often genetic, studies suggest that other etiological factors, like pesticide exposure, play a role in depression incidents. Poor mental health has a tangible influence on physical health (e.g., depression and cardiovascular disease); therefore, the combination of pesticide exposure […]

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19
Sep

Bayer’s Use of EU-Forbidden Pesticides Ignites Protest in South Africa 

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2023) Farmworkers in Paarl, South Africa took to the streets on Friday, September 8, demanding an end to the indiscriminate importation and use of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides containing substances prohibited by the European Union (EU). This protest is part of a broader global trend of outcry against systemic issues of environmental racism that disproportionately burden communities with environmental and health risks.   Organized by the Women on Farms Project, the protesters marched to the headquarters of Bayer. The German pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and pesticide company, responsible for producing and exporting agrochemicals known to be toxic to ecosystem and human health, has previously faced multiple lawsuits, including a multimillion-dollar one linking their glyphosate weed killer products (Roundup®) to non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. At the Bayer office, the protesters presented a memorandum demanding an end to the importation and use of EU-prohibited substances.    Protesters sought to expose the hypocritical tactics European agrochemical companies use to sell products in developing nations, even when those products are deemed unsafe in their home countries. Numerous farmworkers, like victim-turned-activist Antie Dina, spoke out about their health issues from petrochemical exposure. In her talk, Dina emphasizes that, “… enough is enough, we do not want any […]

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15
Aug

The Ultimate Buzz Kill – Officials Find Pesticides in Marijuana… Again

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2023) Marijuana regulators in the state of Washington issued administrative holds on 18 licenses due to pesticide-contaminated marijuana, forcing producers and processors to cease operations until now. This shutdown of legal marijuana businesses serves as a window into a broader historical backdrop of pesticide issues within the marijuana industry. Within Washington, pesticide concerns have been growing since a study in 2018 of legal marijuana farms in the state had 84.6% (of 26 samples) with significant quantities of pesticides including insecticides, fungicides, miticides, and herbicides. Last year, a national study identified a list of contaminants in 36 states and the District of Columbia and found 551 pesticides within cannabis products. For over a decade, Beyond Pesticides has sounded the alarm about the highly-concentrated levels of pesticides in marijuana products, calling on state officials to require organic marijuana, especially in the context of medical marijuana. The absence of federal regulations for pesticides in cannabis production has raised significant concerns about exposure risks for recreational and medicinal use, exposure risks to workers, and potential environmental contamination impacting wildlife. Since marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act, the EPA does not regulate pesticides in […]

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16
Jun

This Juneteenth, We Highlight the Ongoing Fight for Environmental Justice

(Beyond Pesticides, June 16, 2023) Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom for the last 250,000 enslaved people in Galveston, Texas, but it is also a reminder that justice has not historically been “swift” or complete for Black Americans. The holiday commemorates the abolition of slavery in Texas on June 19, 1865, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation.  According to a 2022 Gallup Poll, 40 percent of Americans know “a little bit” or “nothing at all” about Juneteenth. While this is a significant improvement in comparison to the 60 percent for the aforementioned metric in the previous year (when the holiday was federally recognized), greater public awareness is needed. This holiday is a time for individuals and organizations to acknowledge and reflect on their past and current actions or inactions that perpetuate systemic racism. As known from the history books, the Emancipation Proclamation was signed on January 1, 1863, and the civil war ended on April 9, 1865. Juneteenth is a lesser-known anniversary commemorating the emancipation of enslaved people who received news of their freedom two and a half years after Abraham Lincoln’s freedom proclamation. While the technologies in the 19th century had a much slower travel time, […]

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07
Jun

Pesticides and Neurotoxicity: The Link Between Mood Disorders and Pesticides Exposures

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2023) A systematic review of scientific literature published in Environmental Research on the development of mood disorders among pesticide applicators (farmers, landscapers, etc.) finds an increased risk of depression symptoms over the last decade. The evidence in the review highlights the presence of pesticide-specific biomarkers and biomarkers of depression that determine the positive association between pesticide exposure and the development of depressive symptoms. With more high-quality longitudinal studies to control sociocultural variables, researchers can directly pinpoint risks of developing depression, especially among agricultural workers and landscapers who use pesticides. Research on pesticide-induced diseases commonly investigates pesticide exposure concerning the development of various physical illnesses. However, previous studies show that occupational (work-related) risks of developing depression are high in agriculture, where pesticide use is rampant. Acute exposure to chemicals, including organophosphate, organochlorine, triazine, and carbamate pesticides, tends to put farmers at greater risk of suicide than the general population. There is a lack of information connecting pesticide exposure to the subsequent psychological (psychiatric) effects on the general population. Additionally, household pesticide exposure varies from occupational exposure via exposure frequency, duration, intensity, and type.   According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects 322 million people globally, with the number of diagnosed patients increasing by 18.4% from 2005 to […]

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22
May

Take Action: Air Contamination from Agricultural Fumigants Threatens Farmworkers and Their Communities

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2023) Since most of the domestically produced fresh produce we eat comes from California, what happens in the state is of concern to most consumers. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has made minor adjustments to its proposal to remove existing limits on the use of 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D or Telone), allowing Californians to breathe much more 1,3-D than state toxicologists at the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment—charged with establishing safe limits of exposure and enforcing Prop 65—say is safe, highlights the dangers to which farmworkers are routinely exposed. It is outrageous that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would allow farmworkers—whose labor was judged “essential” during the pandemic—to be routinely exposed to highly toxic pesticides, which could be replaced by organic practices. You may have commented on this early in the year, and now we need to follow up with a strong message to protect those who harvest the nation’s food.  Tell EPA, Congress, and CDPR to cancel the registration of all toxic soil fumigants and encourage organic alternatives. 1,3-D is a pre-plant soil fumigant registered for use on soils to control nematodes. It is allowed on all crops and is often used with chloropicrin, another highly toxic […]

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14
Mar

Implications for Human Health: Work-Related Pesticide Exposure Increases Sleep Disorder Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2023) A study published in Environmental Research and Public Health finds occupational pesticide exposure increases the risk of sleep disorders among farmworkers and pesticide applicators. Specifically, many pesticides, like organophosphates (OPs), are detrimental to neurological function through inhibition of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase (AChE) responsible for ending a neurotransmission event after relaying the necessary information. Without an end to neurotransmission events, individuals experience a buildup of acetylcholine, resulting in convulsions, headaches, weakness, impacts on bodily senses, and other cognitive/mental changes. In addition to illnesses from chemical exposure, inadequate sleep has links to several chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Therefore, given research links to sleep-related disorders and bodily functions, including endocrine, metabolic, neurological, and cognitive disorders, studies like this can help government and health officials identify how pesticides’ impact on the brain elevates health concerns. The study notes, “The study’s findings can be used to create strategies for addressing mental health issues and promoting mental health and quality of life.” Researchers assess the sleep patterns among individuals living in southeast Spain, near the coast of Almeria, where chemical-intensive agriculture from greenhouses is prevalent. Of the 380 participants in the study, 189 were […]

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06
Mar

Take Action: Farmworker Protections Fall Short

(Beyond Pesticides, March 6, 2023) After the Trump EPA was blocked from weakening the application exclusion zone (AEZ) provisions for protecting farmworkers, the rules reverted to the Obama era rules. Now, EPA proposes to reaffirm part of that rule, while accepting some of the weakening amendments from the Trump administration. Tell EPA to strengthen pesticide rules to protect farmworkers. Tell President Biden to sign the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.    EPA’s Worker Protection Standards (WPS) are rules that govern labor safety standards within federal pesticide law (the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, or FIFRA). Farmworkers are not covered for toxic chemical exposure by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and WPS have long been criticized by farmworker, labor, and health advocates for providing insufficient protections for farmworkers, their children and communities. Under the WPS, AEZs are buffer zones where people are not allowed to enter during the course of a pesticide application. Like all buffer zones, they are designed to allow application of toxic pesticides while providing a nominal degree of protection. Pesticides drift long distances when being applied and they […]

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07
Feb

Pesticide Reform Bill Reintroduced in U.S. Senate, Advocates Call Changes Major But Not Systemic Ones Needed

(Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2023) U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) reintroduced legislation last week to increase protections against exposure to toxic pesticides. The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2023 (PACTPA), S.269, addresses many of the controversial issues with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which governs the registration and use of pesticides in the U.S. This major reform legislation tackles some of the documented deficiencies in the regulation of pesticides and removes a number of loopholes in the law. The legislation, introduced with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), also includes a ban on all organophosphate and neonicotinoid insecticides, as well as  the weed killer paraquat, which is known to cause Parkinson’s disease and lung fibrosis. Despite these reform provisions, the legislation does not touch the core of FIFRA’s pesticide registration process and chart a path for the systemic, transformative change that Beyond Pesticides says is essential to meet the existential challenges of current times—devastating health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate crisis. FIFRA, which is under the jurisdiction of the agriculture committees of Congress, has long been criticized for failing to protect the public and workers […]

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16
Jan

Building Collective Action with a Call for Justice, Equity, and Safety on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2023) Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about individual greatness on February 4, 1968 to his congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta two months before he was assassinated. We take this day—Monday, January 16— to commemorate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. as an inspiration for taking on the challenges of justice, equity, and safety as a central part of all our work for a sustainable future. It will take the recognition of the greatness that all individuals have within to raise our voices in our communities to stop the toxic petrochemical assault and advance viable solutions that effect a transformation to organic practices and products. In so doing, we will address those who suffer the most harm from petrochemicals—in their production, transportation, use, and disposal. Whether determining our community’s management of public lands, playing fields, and parks, or choosing food grown without toxic chemicals, or creating habitat for biodiversity, we as individuals and collectively are the instruments for effecting meaningful change. This is true whether focused on an individual chemical exposure or in taking on the existential health, biodiversity, and climate crises of our day. Dr. King’s complete quote from which the […]

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09
Jan

Calling for Reform of Pesticide Regulation to Address Health, Biodiversity, and Climate Crises

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2023) The Biden EPA still needs a new vision in order to meet the existential crises in public health, climate change, and biodiversity. The Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed in four years much of the progress made by the EPA in decades. Despite a broad new perspective embodied in President Biden’s Executive Memorandum (EM) Modernizing Regulatory Review issued on his first day in office, the Biden EPA has not adopted a new direction for regulating pesticides. Tell President Biden, EPA, and Congress to adopt a new direction for pesticide regulation. Immediately following his inauguration, President Joe Biden issued the EM, which directs the heads of all executive departments and agencies to produce recommendations for improving and modernizing regulatory review, with a goal of promoting public health and safety, economic growth, social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity, equity, and the interests of future generations. This EM could reverse the historical trend of status-quo regulatory reviews required by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that typically support vested economic interests of polluters (e.g., petroleum-based pesticide and fertilizer manufacturers). The President’s EM sets the stage for the adoption of agency policy across government to […]

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03
Jan

Hazardous Fumigant in Food Production Harmful to Farmworkers, Groups Call for Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2023) The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced new rules that remove existing limits on the use of 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D or Telone), allowing Californians to breathe much more 1,3-D than state toxicologists in the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) say is safe and highlighting the dangers to which farmworkers are routinely exposed. It is outrageous that the state of California and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would allow farmworkers—whose labor was judged “essential” during the pandemic—to be routinely exposed to highly toxic pesticides, which could be replaced by organic practices. While the state of California describes its action as increasing protection, advocates point to continued use, unacceptable harm, and the availability of alternative organic agricultural production methods that eliminate the use of 1,3-D. Since over a third of the country’s vegetables and three-quarters of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California, most people who buy their food in a grocery store have a stake in how food is grown in the state and the impact that it has on those who live and work there. Tell the state of California, U.S. EPA, an the U.S. Congress to cancel the registration […]

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04
Nov

Life On or Near Chemical-Intensive Farms Associated with Increase in Respiratory Diseases

(Beyond Pesticides, November 4, 2022) Rural populations in the U.S., a new study finds, are particularly at risk for agriculture-related exposures associated with respiratory diseases and other kinds of airway inflammation. The exposures include those to pesticides, livestock facilities, smoke from biomass burning, agricultural dust, and endotoxin. The study paper also looked at potential protective roles for dietary DHA, and for raw milk consumption (early in life). Beyond Pesticides has regularly covered the relationships between pesticide exposures and asthma (including the outsized risks for children), COPD (chronic, obstructive pulmonary disease), and other respiratory anomalies. See our webpage on Pesticide-Induced Diseases: Asthma/Respiratory Effects for more information. Published in Immunology and Allergy Clinics of North America [please note: this research paper is behind a paywall], and authored by a team from the Division of Allergy and Immunology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, the study used data from the past five years plus literature reviews of research on asthma and respiratory issues in rural populations. The team notes that multiple studies have suggested that “farming-related exposures as an adult increase the risk of asthma or asthma-like symptoms development,” adding that agricultural workers are exposed to “a complex working environment […]

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17
Oct

Systemic Racism Exposed that New EPA Office of Environmental Justice May Not Address

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2022)  A recent report, Exposed and At Risk: Opportunities to Strengthen Enforcement of Pesticide Regulations for Farmworker Safety, by the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law and Graduate School, in partnership with the nonprofit advocacy group, Farmworker Justice, again highlights the systemic racism of our country’s pesticide policies. Our nation depends on farmworkers, declared “essential workers” during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure sustenance for the nation and world. Yet the occupational exposure to toxic pesticides by farmworkers is discounted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), while study after study documents the disproportionate level of illness among farmworkers. While we are encouraged to see the formation of EPA’s new Office of Environmental Justice and Civil Rights, the agency has a historical bias against preventive action to ensure the protection of those disproportionately poisoned by toxic chemicals. While critically important to clean up contaminated communities, EPA must stop the flow of toxic pesticides at the front end because of the disproportionate poisoning effects of use, handling, transportation, and disposal. We live in an age of practices and products that make toxic pesticides unnecessary and their use unconscionable. Yet, EPA insists on the acceptability of harm […]

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