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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'International' Category


26
Jun

EU To Ban Triclosan, While EPA and FDA Reject Calls for U.S. Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2015) The agency responsible for chemical oversight in the European Union announced today that the antibacterial pesticide, triclosan, is toxic and bioaccumulative, and will be phased-out for hygienic uses and replaced by more suitable alternatives. According to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), “[N]o safe use could be demonstrated for the proposed use of Triclosan.” This decision has renewed calls for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove the chemical from the consumer market. EPA in May rejected a consumer petition that asked the agency to ban triclosan. “We applaud this step to protect public health and the environment,” said Jay Feldman, executive director, Beyond Pesticides. The ECHA opinion states that, “Risk was identified for both surface water and for the non-compartment specific effects relevant to the food chain (secondary poisoning).” ECHA believes that any further risk mitigation for triclosan is “not considered realistic.” Triclosan is an antimicrobial pesticide used in cosmetics, personal care products and treated plastics and textiles. It has been linked to hormone disrupting effects, bacterial and antibiotic resistance, cancer, and impacts on aquatic organisms. The chemical’s widespread consumer use raises concerns over necessity and efficacy. […]

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16
Jun

France Calls for Ban on Sale of Monsanto Herbicide Roundup in Nurseries

(Beyond Pesticides, June 16, 2015) France’s Ecology Minister Segolene Royal announced Sunday a  call to  stop  the sale of the popular Monsanto herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) from garden centers. The announcement comes just a couple of  months after the active ingredient, glyphosate, was classified in March as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the United Nation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). “France must be on the offensive with regards to the banning of pesticides,” Royal said on French television. “I have asked garden centers to stop putting Monsanto’s Roundup on sale” in self-service aisles, she added. The announcement comes after a request by French consumer association CLCV (Consumption, Housing and Environment – Consommation, Logement et Cadre de vie)  to French and European officials to stop selling glyphosate-based products to amateur gardeners. Royal also announced last week that from January 2018 onwards, phytosanitary products —used to control plant diseases— would only be available to amateur gardeners “through an intermediary or a certified vendor.” Glyphosate is touted as a “low toxicity” chemical and “safer” than other chemicals by EPA and industry and is widely used in food production and on lawns, gardens, parks, and children’s playing fields. However, IARC’s new classification of […]

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11
Jun

Ontario First in North America To Limit Bee-Killing Insecticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 11, 2015) On July 1, Ontario will become the first jurisdiction in North America to officially begin reducing the number of acres planted with neonicotinoid-coated corn and soybean seeds, an action that has been in the making since 2014. The new rules should curb the acreage planted with such seeds by 80 percent by 2017. The new rules will be put in place to track the sale and use of neonicotinoid-treated seeds. Additionally, for the upcoming farming season, farmers will only be allowed to use the seeds on up to 50 percent of their corn and soybean fields. Exemptions are granted only to those who can provide evidence of pest problems. In 2017, any farmer who wants to use neonicotinoid-treated seeds will have to prove the presence of  pests. “Farmers are environmental stewards of their land and this regulation will enable our province’s farmers to strengthen their approach to protecting their crops,” Agricultural Minister Jeff Leal said in a statement Tuesday. Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray said the government must take “necessary action to protect these vitally important species and the ecosystems they support from the effects of neurotoxic neonicotinoids.” Tibor Szabo, president of the […]

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29
May

Canadian Senate Committee Report Finds Neonicotinoids Play Role in Bee Mortality

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2015) A report released by the Canadian Senate’s Committee on Agriculture and Forestry this week acknowledges that neonicotinoids are harmful to bees, although it adds that more scientific data is needed before making any policies in response. The report was released exactly one week after a similar announcement by the White House, which also identifies key threats, but falls short of recommendations submitted by Beyond Pesticides, beekeepers, and others who stress that pollinator protection begins with strong regulatory action and suspension of bee-toxic pesticides. The Canadian report, titled “The Importance of Bee Health to Sustainable Food Production in Canada,” highlights different stressors that cause harm to bees, one of which includes neonicotinoids, a class of widely-used insecticides that have been linked by a growing number of studies to global bee declines. Other stressors mentioned include climate change, diseases and parasites, and lack of floral diversity. The report calls for Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) to quickly complete its re-evaluation of neonicotinoid pesticides. Neonicotinoids have been approved for use in Canada for 10 years, but the PMRA is in the process of re-examining their use. Senator Percy Mockler, the chair of Senate’s agriculture committee, stressed waiting […]

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28
May

EU Regulators Bow to Pressure from American Trade Lobby on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2015) The same day that trade representatives from United States met with Secretary-General Catherine Day of the European Commission (EC), she sent a letter to the EC’s Environment Director-General Karl Falkenberg telling him to scrap draft criteria that could have led to a ban on over 30 endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemical (EDCs) in the European Union (EU). As reported by The Guardian, with resources obtained by Pesticide Action Network- Europe (PAN-Europe), the U.S. Chambers of Commerce and European-based chemical manufacturers (including Dupont, Bayer, and BASF) pushed to change the EC’s criteria for evaluating EDCs because they fear it would impede EU-US negotiations on  the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Two regulations, one concerning “plant pest protectants” (EU 1107), and another on biocidal products (EU 528), should prohibit from use chemicals categorized as having endocrine disrupting properties that may cause adverse effects in humans. However, last year, when the EC released a roadmap for evaluating EDCs, recommendations fell far short of what health advocates assert that EU regulations require. Earlier this year, the Guardian reported that a scientific paper that would have adequately established ways to identify problematic EDCs was suppressed by EU officials at the […]

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21
Apr

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

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

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20
Apr

Canada Fights Toxic Mosquito Spraying Near Homes and Parks

(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2015) New details emerged last week after a Canadian volunteer group, Pesticide Free Alberta (PFA), received records from the City of Edmonton regarding ground and aerial application of Dursban 2.5, a restricted insecticide (in both Canada and the US), in close proximity to residential areas to kill off mosquito larvae. The coordinator of PFA, Sheryl McCumsey, fought for months for the data to be released. Health Canada does not recommend using Dursban in areas where children will be exposed, such as homes, parks, school grounds or playing fields, but the City of Edmonton justifies the use of the product by its label language, citing that it can be used in industrial areas. These areas often end up bordering residential neighborhoods and natural lands, such as parks. The active ingredient in Dursban is chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxic insecticide that has been linked to many detrimental health and environmental effects, such as endocrine disruption, reproductive and birth effects, toxicity to birds, bees and aquatic wildlife.In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Dow AgroSciences restricted the sale and use of most home, lawn and garden product due to its health risks for children. However, it is still used […]

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31
Mar

Study Data Analysis Used by UK to Oppose EU Moratorium on Neonics Challenged

(Beyond Pesticides, March 31, 2015) A world renowned entomologist, who reevaluated data from a controversial study on neonicotinoid insecticides, has concluded that UK government scientists misinterpreted the findings when they  concluded that restrictive policy wasn’t necessary on the bee-killing pesticide. David Goulson, Ph.D., a bee researcher and professor at the University of Sussex in Falmer, said the UK was wrong in its position, based on the new analysis. Neonicotinoids have been found by a growing body of scientific literature to be linked to honey bee and pollinator decline. The European Commission voted to suspend the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in 2013 for two years. The ban came several months after the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released a report  identifying “high acute risk” to honey bees from uses of certain neonicotinoid chemicals.  However, this action was opposed by the UK government. Despite this opposition, Britain was required  to comply with the ban under European Union (EU) rules. One of the main pieces of evidence informing this opposition is a study published in 2013 by Britain’s Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA), which found  “no clear consistent relationship” between exposure to neonicotinoids and the growth of bee colonies and the number […]

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10
Mar

U.S. Senator Calls for Suspension of Pentachlorophenol, Used to Treat Utility Poles

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2015) U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) yesterday called on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) yesterday to immediately investigate the specific use of pentachlorophenol  (penta or PCP), a toxic wood preservative, to treat  utility poles throughout Long Island and urged  Public Service Electric and Gas (PSEG) Long Island to immediately suspend further use of this chemical until a  federal review  is complete. PSEG has been installing new, chemically-treated utility poles throughout the Towns of North Hempstead and East Hampton. In his press  release, Senator Schumer expresses  serious concern about penta’s  health risks to utility workers, adults and children and its ability to  move  into water over the long-term as the chemical leaches from the poles. The Senator also notes that a private firm has conducted a study based on a very limited sample size that does not consider long-term risks as the pole decomposes and further leaches toward groundwater. EPA, which is responsible for evaluating penta’s health and environmental risk, has noted public health concerns related to the chemical when ingested or inhaled, including  neurological, respiratory, kidney and immune system effects. On Long Island, 95,000 of PSEG’s 324,000 utility poles have been treated with penta. […]

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20
Feb

Changes to Canadian Aquaculture Rule Raises Pesticide Concerns

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2015) A broad-based coalition is urging Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper to put a stop to proposed changes to federal aquaculture regulations, citing damage to the environment and existing businesses. The proposed amendments to the federal Fisheries Act would exempt the aquaculture industry from provisions that “prohibit the release of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish.” Coalition members are worried that the changes will result in pesticides routinely being dumped into the Bay of Fundy,  located between the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and remove Environment Canada’s role in aquaculture activities, said spokeswoman Maria Recchia, the executive director of the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association. Aquaculture, which refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of aquatic organisms such as fish, shellfish, and plants, provides half of the world’s seafood. According to  Food and Water Watch, offshore aquaculture follows an industrial agriculture model which grows thousands of animals in a confined environment. For fish, however, this confined space is in the ocean, meaning all of the waste products from the operation flow directly into the ocean. This includes excess feed and chemicals that are used, such as antibiotics and pesticides, to treat or prevent […]

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11
Feb

France Elevates Effort to Reduce Pesticide Use by 50%, but Delays Deadline

(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2015) In 2008, France announced it would voluntarily cut pesticide use by 50 percent by 2018, and emerged as the European leader in  reducing pesticide dependency. With its plan faltering, the European Union’s (EU) biggest agricultural producer and pesticide user has announced the expansion of  a network of pioneer farms experimenting with alternative techniques and mandated reductions in pesticide sales as it  delays its target reduction until 2025. The French government has pushed back to 2025 the timeline for halving pesticide use and added an intermediate target of a 25 percent fall by 2020, Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll said. The  2018 target was slated as voluntary, but pesticide use has actually increased, in part due to poor weather, according to French officials. As the EU’s top agricultural producer, France is trying to become less dependent on pesticides, which are known to pose various health and environmental risks. The targets for pesticide reduction remain mostly non-binding on farmers, but Minister Le Foll said his revamped plan would encourage a change in practices by expanding their focus on  alternative techniques. The minister notes that farmers need training  in best practices to replace the massive use of pesticides […]

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10
Feb

Neonics Harm Bees’ Brain Cells, According to Researchers

(Beyond Pesticides, February 10, 2015) Scientists at the Universities of Dundee and St. Andrews in Scotland have found evidence confirming that the levels of neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides bees are likely to encounter in the wild impair the pollinator’s brain cells, resulting in colony declines. Bees and other wild pollinators provide services of over $125 billion globally, but are experiencing widespread and consistent losses that have the potential to increase global malnutrition and disease if not properly addressed. Although countries and regions across the globe have taken action to suspend or restrict the use of neonic pesticides in light of their threat to bees, policymakers in the U.S. continue to delay, impose inadequate changes, or even introduce new bee-toxic chemicals. The recent study, Chronic exposure to neonicotinoids increases neuronal vulnerability to mitochondrial dysfunction in the bumblebee (Bombus terrestris), published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, finds a mechanistic explanation for previous findings that observed poor navigation and foraging in colonies of bumblebees exposed to neonicotinoids. To do this, researchers exposed bumblebees to doses of the neonics imidacloprid and clothanidin generally expected to be seen in the field (10 nanomoles[nM]/2.1ppb), and measured the amount that accumulated […]

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05
Feb

Investigation Finds Industry Efforts to Quash Science and EU Ban of Endocrine Disruptors

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2015) A brewing  battle in the European Union (EU) over removing from the market  Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC)s has  heated up. An investigative report in  The Guardian  reveals that a European Union (EU) scientific paper, prepared to assist in the development of new mandatory EDC risk assessment standards, was never made public. According to the report, EU Commission sources say the release of the paper was quashed as a result of chemical industry pressure and political influence. At the core of the debate lies two EU regulations, one concerning biocidal products (EU 528/2012) and the second on “plant pest protectants” (EU 1107/2009). Both of these regulations required the EU Commission to produce draft measures concerning specific scientific criteria for the determination of endocrine disrupting properties by December 14, 2013. Under the regulations, chemicals within the biocidal and plant pest protectant categories that are  categorized as having endocrine disrupting properties that may cause adverse effects in humans would be prohibited from use in the market place. As noted in the purpose and subject matter of the biocidal regulations, “The purpose of [the] Regulation is to improve the functioning of the internal market through the harmonization of the […]

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28
Jan

Will Pollinator Declines Increase Global Malnutrition and Disease? Yes, Says New Study

(Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2015) Global decline of pollinators and pollination services will have a devastating impact on the nutritional health of people in developing countries, especially women and children, if left unabated, according to a new study from scientists at the University of Vermont and Harvard University. This research is the first to examine how pollinators influence nutrient intake and the risk of nutrient deficiency. It also comes at a time when policy makers are slow to find long-term sustainable solutions to reversing pollinator declines, despite mounting scientific evidence urging immediate action. Pollination services are valued at over $125 billion globally and pollinators are responsible for one in three bites of food we eat. However, pollinators like honey bees, wild bees, butterflies and others are in decline around the globe, with many beekeepers, scientists, and environmental activists singling out pesticides as a major contributing factor. But despite suggestions that pollinators are critical not only for global food supply, but specifically human nutritional health, there has not been any research to support this claim until now. The study, “Do Pollinators Contribute to Nutritional Health,” published in PLoS ONE, combined data on crop pollination requirements, food nutrient densities, and actual human […]

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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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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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10
Dec

Conviction Overturned for Organic Winemaker Who Refused to Spray Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, December 10, 2014) Emmanuel Giboulot, an organic winemaker in Burgundy, France, cheered ‘victory for people power’ after his conviction for refusing to spray his vines with pesticides was overturned. Mr. Giboulot refused to comply with a government order mandating vineyards be sprayed to control flavescence dorée disease, citing that it was not an immediate threat in his region, and that pesticides posed more harm than good. His resolve against systemic, prophylactic pesticide spraying won broad support across the globe. In the spring of 2013, all wine producers in Burgundy were ordered to spray pesticides on their vines to fight flavescence dorée, a bacterial disease spread by the leaf hopper, Scaphoideus titanus. But Mr. Giboulot produces high-quality organic or “bio-dynamic” red and white wines from 35 acres of vines under the appellations “Côte de Beaune” and “Haute Côte de Nuits.” He refused to obey the pesticide order on the grounds that the disease was not an immediate threat in his region, the pesticide recommended to be sprayed was ineffective and damaging to pollinating insects such as bees, and the disease can be fought via more natural means. After defying an official order to treat his vineyard, Mr. Giboulot was […]

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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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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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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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24
Oct

EPA Seeks to Block a Worldwide Ban of a Highly Toxic Wood Preservative

(Beyond Pesticides, October 24, 2014) The U.S. government is opposing international efforts    under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, supported by  countries worldwide, to halt the global use of the toxic chemical wood preservative, pentachlorophenol  (PCP), which is widely used in the U.S. to treat wood utility poles. U.S. government officials are out of step with countries around the world and domestically with  a bipartisan group of New York state lawmakers  seeking a state ban. Meanwhile, a group of Long Island residents is charging in a lawsuit  that hundreds of new PCP-treated utility poles are causing serious injury to health and property values. This month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added PCP to its carcinogen list, saying that PCP is “reasonably anticipated to cause cancer.” The U.S. is the largest producer and user of PCP in the world. A meeting of a Stockholm Convention committee in Rome this week  is  recommending a global ban on PCP. The  Convention is an  international treaty established to control highly hazardous chemicals. While most countries engaged in the process approve of the ban, the U.S. has consistently opposed it. “Cancer-causing chemicals should not be leaking from utility poles into […]

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29
May

Australian Organic Farmer Loses GE Contamination Suit

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2014) The global fight to establish better protections from genetic contamination caused  by genetically engineered (GE) crops suffered a legal setback in Australia this week. A ruling of the Supreme Court of Western Australia  found that farmer Steve March could not seek compensation after losing his organic certification as a result of a neighbor’s GE crops contaminating his organic crops. Mr. Marsh filed the lawsuit against Michael Baxter, a neighboring GE canola seed farmer, alleging that  he had suffered economic damage because of his organic decertification. The decertification had been brought on by the confirmed presence of GE canola plants and seeds on his property and Australia’s zero-tolerance organic standard concerning GE contamination on organic lands. Mr. Baxter  began farming GE canola just a few years before and was the likely source of the contamination. Argued before the court earlier this year, the litigants as well as environmental and organic advocates across the globe had anxiously awaited the court’s decision. Supporters of the suit hoped it might advance much-needed protections against the economically devastating and oft uncontrolled invasion of GE crops on organic and non-GE lands. Opponents of the suit claim it would have burdened GE […]

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01
May

Organic Food Consumption Leads to Dramatically Lower Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2014) A recent study, Reduction in urinary organophosphate pesticide metabolites in adults after a week-long organic diet, led by Liza Oates found lower trances of organophosphate metabolites in consumers that ate organic food for a week compared to those who ate a conventional diet. The study  adds to the scientific literature that shows consuming organic food minimize consumers’ exposure to pesticides residue. Because organic agriculture is a healthier system for consumers it is important we protect strict organic standards. The study, published in the Journal of Environmental Research, found that participants who ate a diet that was at least 80 percent organic had 89 percent lower levels of dialkylphosphates (DAPs), non-selective organophosphate metabolites, in their urine. The study was conducted in Melbourne, Australia with non-smoking participates between the age of 18 and 65. Participants were asked to eat a diet of conventional food for a week than on the morning of day eight participants provided a urine sample to the researchers. This process was repeated with the same participants after they spent a week eating at least 80 percent organic food. The levels of DAPs found in participants during the week in which they ate conventional […]

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