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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'International' Category


06
Jul

Glyphosate Extended for 18 Months in Europe – With Restrictions

(Beyond Pesticides, July 6, 2016) Unable to come to a formal decision on glyphosate, the European Commission has issued a limited license extension for  glyphosate,  the pesticide in Monsanto’s flagship product Roundup. The decision also comes with some restrictions, including obligations for member states to minimize use on playgrounds, and a ban on formulations with the ingredient POEA. The  18-month interim license will allow glyphosate-containing products to remain on the market until the European Chemicals Agency rules  on glyphosate’s safety, an action  due by the end of 2017. According to the European Commission, “Despite repeated efforts from the Commission to address concerns expressed about the re-approval of glyphosate, Member States were not prepared to take responsibility for a decision  as no qualified majority was reached”¦” Debate has been raging in Europe about the continued use of glyphosate in light of the 2015 classification by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.” However, confusion peaked when a few short months later the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published its report finding that glyphosate is  “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.” However, EFSA’s report is  limited in that […]

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21
Jun

Europe Releases Weakened Criteria for Regulating Endocrine Disruptors

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2016) New regulations issued by the European Commission (EU) last week to regulate endocrine disruptors in pesticide products are being criticized by public interest groups and scientists as undermining the precautionary legal standard governing pesticide use in Europe. Previous  investigations and reports  have uncovered  industry’s attempt to quash efforts to enact robust protections from these harmful chemicals, despite their likely contribution to billions of dollars in lost revenue due to health effects. EC’s new rules endorse the World Health Organization’s definition of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC). The WHO defines an endocrine disruptor as “an exogenous substance or mixture that alters function(s) of the endocrine system and consequently causes adverse health effects in an intact organism, or its progeny, or (sub)populations,” However, the proposed regulations go little beyond defining the term. “The WHO definition is not a criteria, it is just a definition,” said Andreas Kortenkamp, PhD to The Guardian. “In effect, the commission has decided to place the burden of deciding how to regulate endocrine-disrupting chemicals onto the assessors on a case-by-case basis.” Of concern is the level to which the rules reflect a hazard or risk-based criteria. While EC asserts that its rules will follow […]

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10
Jun

Glyphosate Approval in EU Up in the Air

(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2016) A proposal for a temporary ‘technical extension’ of the EU approval of the herbicide glyphosate failed to secure the support of a majority of EU governments at a meeting of the EU standing committee on plants, animals, food and feed on Monday. This action may force the withdrawal of the herbicide, widely sold as Monsanto’s Roundup, from shelves if no decision is reached by the end of the month, when its license expires. After a proposal to renew the license for glyphosate for up to 15 years failed to win support in two meetings earlier this year, the EU executive offered a limited 12 to 18 month extension to allow time for further scientific study. Yet, despite this compromise, the proposal failed to win the support of member states representing at least 65% of the EU’s population, which is needed for adoption, an EU official told The Guardian. Seven member states abstained from Monday’s vote, 20 backed the proposal and one voted against, a German environment ministry spokeswoman said. According to the news source, Germany was among those that abstained from Monday’s vote. Of note is that Bayer, the German chemical company, recently offered to […]

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27
Apr

Europe Bans Two Endocrine Disrupting Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2016) The  European Union (EU)  has placed a moratorium on two endocrine-disrupting herbicides that are linked to thyroid cancer, infertility, reproductive problems and fetal malformations. The chemicals, amitrole and isoproturon, will be banned as of September 30, 2016, after the European Commission voted unanimously, for the first time, to ban the two endocrine disruptors. Earlier this month, the European Commission’s Standing Committee on Phytopharmaceuticals voted to ban the uses of amitrole and isoproturon in accordance with 2009-EU pesticide rules,  which state that endocrine disrupting pesticides should not be allowed on the European market. The committee finds that amitrole is capable of causing malformations in offspring and inducing thyroid cancer, while isoproturon can cause adverse effects to reproduction and lower fertility. In 2013 amitrole was voluntarily cancelled by the registrant, while isoproturon is not registered for use in the U.S. According to the Guardian, amitrole is widely used in 10 EU countries, including the UK, in industrial farming. But  a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) analysis concluded  that it was an endocrine disruptor that could damage unborn children, and have toxic effects on the thyroid and reproductive organs. Similarly, EFSA recommended classifying  isoproturon as toxic for reproduction […]

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14
Apr

Majority of Europeans Want Glyphosate Banned, Use Continues

(Beyond Pesticides, April 14, 2016) Two-thirds of Europeans support a ban on glyphosate, the  most widely used agricultural chemical in the world, according to a new poll. This as Germany plans to formally support a European Union (EU) plan to re-license the use of the chemical. Monsanto’s glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular weedkiller, Roundup, has been classified as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), is detected in food, breast milk, and urine, and is increasingly used on genetically engineered (GE) crops, leading to the proliferation of resistant “superweeds” and environmental contamination. The poll conducted by Yougov, an international internet-based market research firm, surveyed more than 7,000 people across the EU’s five biggest countries and find  three-quarters of Italians, 70% of Germans, 60% of French and 56% of Britons support a ban on glyphosate. Despite this, the EU is moving forward on whether to approve a European Commission proposal to extend the authorization of glyphosate for another 15 years until 2031. The existing authorization is due to lapse in June 2016. The decision was delayed after the IARC classified glyphosate as a  Group 2a “probable” human carcinogen  based on […]

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04
Apr

Pesticides Kill Dragonflies and Reduce Biodiversity in Rice Paddies

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2016) Pesticides widely used in rice paddies in Japan are harming  dragonflies. The study, conducted by researchers at Japan’s National Institute for Environmental Studies, finds that the insecticide fipronil significantly reduces the population of adult dragonflies, more so than any other pesticide treatment. The study, titled Fipronil application on rice paddy fields reduces densities of common skimmer and scarlet skimmer  and published in the journal Scientific Reports, investigated the impact of neonicotinoids, which have been linked to bee die-offs around the world, and chlorantraniliprole, which, like neonicotinoids and fipronil, is a systemic pesticide that is taken up by the plant and subsequently expressed in pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets. Plankton species were adversely  affected by clothianidin, a neonicotinoid, and chlorantraniliprole, but they recovered after concentrations of the chemicals decreased. Koichi Goka, Ph.D., a senior researcher at the institute, said nymphs living near the soil are particularly vulnerable to toxic chemicals, according to The Asahi Shimbun. “The density of insecticidal components in the water drops quickly after they are dissolved,” Goka said. “But such components long remain in the soil. Nymphs at the bottom of water could have been affected.” Dr. Goka is calling for more testing […]

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18
Mar

World’s Largest Community Kitchen at India’s Golden Temple To Serve Organic Food

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2016) One of the world’s largest community kitchens, will soon be serving organic food. Guru Ramdas Langar Hall at Sri Harmandir Sahib (popularly known as the Golden Temple) in Amritsar, India feeds 100,000 people daily for free. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which administers the gurdwaras (places of worship for people of the Sikh faith) across the country, has decided to adopt organic farming, foregoing the use of use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. “Organic farming is the new mission of SGPC to inspire farmers to cut down on the use of chemicals and pesticides and switch to sustainable agricultural practices,” an SGPC official said. Grains, fruits and vegetables like carrot, reddish, cauliflower, spinach and fenugreek are now being grown at farms in Patiala and Gurdwara Gurusar Satlani Sahib near Amritsar, the official said, adding that they have now started receiving supply of 10 quintals (about 2,200 pounds) of organic produce every 1-2 days which is being used to prepare nourishing vegetarian meals. While applauding this landmark decision, Dr. Rajwant Singh, founder and president of EcoSikh, a non-profit organization working to raise awareness about environmental issues and inspiring farmers to focus on producing food through […]

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08
Mar

Study Finds Majority of Germans Have Glyphosate in their Bodies

(Beyond Pesticides, March 8, 2016) A vast majority of German citizens are contaminated with the herbicide glyphosate, according to a report from the Heinrich Boll Foundation. The findings come just one week after another environmental group in Germany, the Munich Environmental Institute, found traces of the popular weed killer in popular German beers. The results of this study add concern to EU-wide deliberations regarding the renewal of glyphosate’s registration. According to the study, 99.6% of the 2,009 German citizens monitored have some level of glyphosate found in their urine. Over 75% of these individuals have  concentrations that are higher than the EU’s legal level for glyphosate in drinking water. Further, children up to age 19 are found to exhibit  higher levels of urinary glyphosate than older adults. Individuals living near agricultural areas also show elevated concentrations compared to those that did not. Given recent data finding glyphosate to be the most widely used herbicide on the globe, it is not surprising that the chemical is near ubiquitous in human bodies. Similar results are expected in the United States. A pilot study conducted by the group Moms Across America in 2014 found that glyphosate may also bioaccumulate in the human body, […]

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04
Mar

Chlorpyrifos Reduces Memory and Learning in Exposed Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2016) Honey bees experience a learning and memory deficit after ingesting small doses of the insecticide  chlorpyrifos, potentially threatening their success and survival, according to a study in  New Zealand. Chlorpyrifos is a highly neurotoxic organophosphate pesticide used worldwide on crops to protect against insects and mites. The study,  Measurements of Chlorpyrifos Levels in Forager Bees and Comparison with Levels that Disrupt Honey Bee Odor-Mediated Learning Under Laboratory Conditions,  published in  Ecology, examines chlorpyrifos levels in  bees collected from 17 locations in Otago, New Zealand and compared doses of the pesticide that cause sub-lethal effects on learning performance under laboratory conditions with amounts of chlorpyrifos detected in bees in the field. Researchers found chlorpyrifos in 17% of the sites sampled and 12% of the colonies examined. Honey bees are found to experience harmful effects to smell memory and learning, and reduction in specificity of memory recall. Chlorpyrifos is just one of many pesticides that have frequently been detected in honey bees. According to a study conducted last year by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 72% of bees tested positive for pesticide residues, raising concerns about  unintended pesticide exposures where land uses overlap or are in proximity […]

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29
Feb

Glyphosate Residues in Popular German Beers

(Beyond Pesticides, February 29, 2016) Last Thursday, the Munich Environmental Institute stated that it had found traces of glyphosate, the widely used and controversial weed-killer, in 14 of Germany’s most popular beers. These findings are a potential blow to Germany’s Beer Purity Law, which is highly regarded in German beer culture. Industry and German government immediately sought to downplay the results, saying that the levels found did not pose a risk to humans. However, according to the study’s results, all levels found were above the glyphosate residue level allowed in drinking water. Consumers have a right to be worried about the findings, as glyphosate was classified in March 2015  as a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The results, published  in German, are broken down by beer and by micrograms per liter in picture format. The researchers cite the laboratory test results of the 14 beers, which found glyphosate levels  between 0.46 and 29.74 micrograms per liter. The highest reading is 300 times the legal limit for drinking water in Germany, which is 0.1 microgram per cubic meter. Hasseroeder, a beer brewed in Saxony-Anhalt in eastern Germany and owned by Anheuser Busch Inbev, contained the […]

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26
Feb

Feminine Hygiene Products Tainted with Glyphosate, Other Toxic Chemicals

(Beyond Pesticides, February 25, 2016) Feminine care products sold in France may contain “potentially toxic residues,” according to a study conducted by 60 Millions de Consommateurs, a French consumer rights group. The study finds  traces of chemicals, such as dioxins and insecticides, in 5 of 11 products tested. A separate analysis conducted by Corman, a manufacturer of feminine care products, also finds  residues of the weedkiller glyphosate, which was classified in March 2015  as a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Researchers at 60 Millions  reported finidng traces of halogenated waste, a by-product related to the processing of raw materials, in Tampax Compak Active Regular Fresh tampons. The researchers also detected residues of organochlorine and pyrethroid pesticides, linked to a wide range of adverse health impacts, in some Always sanitary towels. Highly toxic dioxins, which can be cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems and damage the immune system, according to the World Health Organization, were also found in products by OB and the European Nett brands. Corman, which makes Organyc panty liners, told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency that it conducted its own analysis that confirmed the trace amounts of glyphosate, the active ingredient […]

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17
Feb

Organic Dairy and Meat Higher in Essential Nutrients

(Beyond Pesticides, February 17, 2016) After reviewing a prolific scientific database, researchers find that organic meat and milk have 50 percent more important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids that are important in human nutrition. Organic meat has slightly lower concentrations of saturated fats, while organic milk contains 40 percent more linoleic acid, and carries slightly higher concentrations of iron, vitamin E and some carotenoids. While this new information certainly adds to the debate over the benefits of organic, it strengthens the argument that there is a nutritional advantage to eating organic that complements the  environmental benefit of    avoiding toxic pesticide use. The new findings, reported in two studies by scientists from the United Kingdom, Poland, Norway, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, Greece and Turkey, “  Higher PUFA and omega-3 PUFA, CLA, a-tocopherol and iron, but lower iodine and selenium concentrations in organic milk: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta- and Redundancy Analyses” and “Composition differences between organic and conventional meat; a systematic literature review and meta-analysis,” both published in the British Journal of Nutrition, compare the compositional differences between organic and conventional (non-organic) milk and dairy, as well as organic and conventional meat.   The researchers reviewed 196 research studies of […]

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21
Jan

Canada Discontinues Conditional Registrations For New Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, January 21, 2016) The Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada announced Tuesday that it intends to discontinue the granting of new conditional registrations under the Pest Control Products Act. In the U.S., conditional registrations have been controversial because they allow pesticide use  without complete data, as was the case with the neonicotinoid insecticide chlothianidin, linked to the decline in bee health. A startling number of pesticides, nearly 65% of the more than 16,000 pesticides now on the market, were first approved by the process of “conditional registration,” a loophole in which EPA allows new pesticides on the market without the full range of legally mandated toxicity tests.   Currently, the Pest Control Products Regulations grants conditional registration for pesticides only when “the review of the scientific data and information is sufficient to determine that the risks of a pesticide are acceptable, but PMRA requires additional information, such as monitoring data after a product registration, to confirm the results of models used in the risk assessment.” Because this change will only affect new registration applications and less than  one percent of all existing pesticide registrations in Canada are conditional, this action is unlikely to have a large […]

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11
Jan

UK Researchers Find Bee-Killing Pesticide Cocktail in Hedgerows and Wildflowers

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2016) Scientists at Sussex University in the United Kingdom (UK) have found that bumble bees and honey bees are exposed to a harmful chemical cocktail when collecting pollen from wildflowers and hedgerows that border neonicotinoid-treated crops in UK farmland. After testing oilseed rape croplands during blooming season, these chemical cocktails were found to be mixed with fungicides and insecticides, and at concentrations much higher than expected.  According to the Soil Association, which supported the study, “These chemical cocktails could make the impact of neonicotinoids up to 1,000 times more potent than previously realized.” With at least 121 different agrochemicals detected in hive wax and pollen samples in the Unites States, most of which include systemic pesticides, it is becoming increasingly more important to study the synergistic effects of pesticides in and outside of farm land. The study focused on “determining which mixtures of commonly used fungicides occur alongside neonicotinoids” and found that all individual oilseed rape pollen samples contained at least six neonicotinoid and fungicide residues. To compare, three neonicotinoid and six fungicides were detected in wildflower pollen samples. While the wildflower contamination was expectedly lower than crop contamination, the rate of bee contamination paints a […]

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15
Dec

Montreal, Canada Proposes “Complete Ban on Neonics”

(Beyond Pesticides, December 15, 2015) Last week Montreal, the largest city in Canada’s Quebec province, announced plans for an all-out ban on the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides. The new regulations represent the strongest move against this neurotoxic class of insecticides by any government entity to date. Environmental and health advocates are praising the ban as a sign that more and more localities in North America are finding these chemicals unnecessary to manage pest problems, and not worth the risk to pollinators and other wildlife. Montreal’s regulations provide for a complete ban, “without exception,” on the use of neonicotinoids outside of buildings on City land. Prior to the new rules, private citizens and businesses could obtain a temporary permit for the use of neonicotinoids in the  case  of an infestation, however, the permit will no longer be available and citizens will be encouraged to employ alternative practices or products. The ban will also apply to golf courses and properties in the City used for agricultural and horticultural purposes. “By adopting a regulation that prohibits the use of such pesticides in Montreal, our Administration places the health of its citizens, the quality of life of its neighborhoods and the preservation of […]

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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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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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24
Nov

Quebec to Restrict “High Risk” Pesticides to Protect Pollinators and Public Health

(Beyond Pesticides, November 24, 2015) The Canadian province of Quebec has announced plans for a major overhaul of its pesticide laws in order to protect pollinators, public health and the wider environment. Canadian provinces, particularly Quebec and Ontario, have long led the way in crafting common sense pesticide legislation that responds to sound science on the dangers of these chemicals. The proposed reforms will focus on further restricting the most toxic pesticides allowed for use in both agriculture and residential pest control, including atrazine, chlorpyrifos, and the neonicotinoid class of insecticides, which are  widely implicated in pollinator declines. “Québec has made progress in recent years with respect to responsible pesticide management,” said the Quebec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change. “However, the time is  right to intensify our efforts and become even more proficient at reducing the risks to health and the environment that are associated with pesticide use, particularly by supervising the use of highest-risk pesticides like neonicotinoids, which have a recognized major effect on bee mortality.” Quebec’s Pesticide Strategy 2015-2018  is structured  to incentivize farmers and home gardeners to choose lower risk pesticides through economic motivators such as levies, permits, and compensation fees. […]

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20
Nov

French Researchers Solve Discrepancy in Bee-Killing Neonic Studies

(Beyond Pesticides, November 19, 2015) French scientists say that they have found the “missing link” between laboratory studies and field studies that assess the adverse effects of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides on bees. The study, published in Royal Society Journal Proceedings B, evaluates the effects of neonics on honey bees in field trials. After 15 years of research into the effects of neonicotinoids on bees, researchers had identified a gap between the results of toxicity assessments on individual bees in the laboratory and  impacts seen at the colony level in the field. The new two-year study made two discoveries: First, they found that field exposure to thiamethoxam combined with imidacloprid contamination is associated with a significant excess mortality in individual free-ranging bees.  Second, while colonies appeared to be able to compensate for the excess mortality and preserve population size and honey production, this was done at the expense of a change in brood laying patterns. Thus, this study provides an explanation for the “missing link” in the discrepancies between labs studies and field studies, where the former establishes harmful and fatal effects that had yet to be replicated in real-life conditions. Because the bees responded to the increased mortality with selective […]

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18
Nov

New Finding Says Glyphosate (Roundup) not Carcinogenic? Not so Fast

(Beyond Pesticides, November 18, 2015) Last week, the European Union’s (EU) European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) announced its determination that the popular herbicide glyphosate is “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.” This is in direct contrast with findings released  earlier this year by  the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which classified glyphosate a ”˜probable carcinogen.’  However, these seemingly conflicting conclusions from these premier scientific agencies are put into perspective by knowing that EFSA’s report is limited in that it reviewed glyphosate alone, unlike IARC which reviewed glyphosate and its formulated products (Monsanto’s Roundup) which are more relevant for evaluating risks to human health. In light of the March 2015 IARC findings —listing glyphosate as a probable carcinogen due to  sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity  based on laboratory studies, the European Commission requested EFSA consider glyphosate’s potential carcinogenicity. In its report released November 12, 2015, EFSA concludes that “glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans and the evidence does not support classification with regard to its carcinogenic potential..” However, the agency notes that there are “several reasons explaining the diverging views” from IARC’s earlier conclusion. The most important difference is that […]

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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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28
Oct

Lawsuit Seeks to Stop Use of Bee-Toxic Pesticide Sulfoxaflor in EU

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2015) On the heels of a recent federal court decision that rejected the U.S. registration of sulfoxaflor, which cited inadequate and flawed review of the science on the chemical’s toxicity to bees, European beekeepers filed complaint that that asks the European Court of Justice to take the same action. The complaint  asks the court to cancel sulfoxaflor’s authorization. Sulfoxaflor is a neonicotinoid-like chemical that, like neonicotinoids, is highly toxic to bees. Three of the most widely used neonicotinoids are currently under a two-year European-wide moratorium which began December 2013, due to concerns about risks to bee populations. European beekeepers, Bee Life European Beekeeping Coordination, the Italian National Beekeeping Union (UNAAPI), and PAN Europe, filed the complaint which cites a published  negative opinion on Dow AgroScience’s sulfoxaflor by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). According to EFSA, the pesticide is categorized as ”˜highly toxic to bees’ and it identified crucial toxicity data gaps, which according to the beekeepers, makes a proper risk assessment for bees impossible. Despite these facts, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG Sante) and the EU member states authorized sulfoxaflor in July 2015, completely bypassing the pesticide regulation, the complaint […]

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13
Oct

Majority of EU Countries Opt-Out of Approved GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, October 13, 2015) Nineteen  European Union (EU) member states (Austria, Belgium (Wallonia), Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Solvenia, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales) have opted out of approving GE cultivation except for research purposes. In the past, the EU has not been particularly fond of GE crops; currently, only one GE crop, insect resistant maize MON 810, has been approved for cultivation. In March, the EU passed a new directive that allowed GE crops to be approved for use Union-wide. Along with the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU), that directive also gave member states the ability to “adopt legally binding acts restricting or prohibiting the cultivation of GMOs in their territory after such GMOs have been authorized to be placed on the Union market.” Once the opt-out applications have been processed and transmitted to the companies, they have one month to take action; that is, the companies most affected by the ban will have the chance to oppose it. Member states have cited environmental and agricultural issues as a reason for opting out and while biotechnology companies can deny them, it is likely that […]

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