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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'International' Category


27
Aug

Medical Journal Article Identifies Hazards of Pesticides in GE Crops

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

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26
Aug

Country-wide Field Study Links Pollinator Decline to Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2015) A  study performed by the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) in the United Kingdom (UK) provides evidence of confirming the link between neonicotinoid pesticides and continually increasing honey bee colony losses on a landscape level. The study, Evidence for pollinator cost and farming benefits of neonicotinoid seed coatings on oilseed rape, was published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports. This is a significant study, as the UK government has always maintained that neonicotinoid pesticides do not threaten bees, and that honey bee losses are instead caused by the parasitic varroa mite, siding with industry arguments that pesticides are safe when used properly. However, this new study indicates otherwise, confirming a direct link between neonicotinoids and honey bee colony losses at a nationwide level. This study distinguishes itself from  a previous study in the U.S. that extrapolated real world neonicotinoid exposure levels  to  test hives by analyzing actual fields in a  long-term assessment. To a large degree, the new study addresses industry critics of the earlier study design who have tried to discount previous findings of bee decline associated with neonicotinoid use (see Beyond Pesticides’ Sowing the Seeds of Doubt, which addresses these industry myths). […]

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05
Aug

Bumper Canola Crop Expected Even Without Bee-Toxic Chemicals

(Beyond Pesticides, August 5, 2015) The United Kingdom (UK) is poised to harvest higher than expected yields of winter oilseed rape (canola) in its first neonicotinoid-free growing season since the European moratorium on neonicotinoids went into place in 2013. This bumper harvest comes amid the recent approval of an emergency exemption for neonicotinoid use on the crop in certain areas of the UK, and disproves the industry argument  that  the crop would falter without the use of neonicotinoids. Activists argue that these findings show there is ”˜no emergency’ for neonicotinoid use and that the current moratorium should remain in effect. The first harvest results of winter oilseed rape (canola) planted without neonicotinoid seed treatments have come in – and farmers are experiencing a better than usual crop. Figures for the first oilseed rape harvest since the European-wide ban on neonicotinoid pesticides was introduced show that the yield so far is higher than the average for the previous decade, when the chemicals were used on the majority of oilseed rape grown in the UK. Farmers Weekly, a leading multimedia information service for farmers and agricultural businesses, has reported that yields are up by as much as eight percent. The European Union […]

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31
Jul

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

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

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24
Jul

UK Approves Emergency Application for Neonicotinoid Seed Treatment Use Despite Moratorium

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

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20
Jul

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

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

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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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