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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'International' Category


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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28
Apr

Organic Agricultural Practices Can Limit Climate Change

(Beyond Pesticides, April 28, 2014) Last week,  the  Rodale Institute, home to America’s longest-running side-by-side comparison of chemical and organic agriculture, published a white paper to support its announcement of a global campaign to generate public awareness of organic agricultural practices ability to limit the effects of climate change. The paper singles out several “regenerative organic agriculture” practices that help sequester carbon leading to less CO2 in the atmosphere. This campaign will help deliver the growing scientific literature that connects agricultural practices with climate change. The white paper,  Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change: A Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming, argues that it is possible to sequester more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions by switching to widely available and inexpensive organic management practices, which are referred to in the paper as “regenerative organic agriculture.” According to the report soil sequestration can potentially sequester greenhouse gas emissions of roughly 52 gigatonnes of CO2. Even if modest assumption about soil’s carbon sequestration potential are made, regenerative agriculture can easily keep annual emissions to within the desirable lower end of the 41-47 gigatonnes of CO2, which is identified as necessary reduction to limit warming to 1.5 °C. Rodale highlights several examples […]

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24
Apr

France Bans GE Corn Cultivation, VT Passes GE Food Labeling Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2014) France’s lower house of parliament passed a bill last week banning the cultivation of all strains of genetically engineered (GE) corn within its borders, even those strains that might not yet be approved within the European Union (EU). The law follows a decree adopted last month, which targeted the only GE crop permitted for cultivation in the EU””Monsanto’s insect-resistant MON810 corn. Back in the U.S., Vermont became the first state to pass a  bill requiring the labeling of food containing GE ingredients  (You can read the House bill as it was introduced here and the Senate amendments to this bill here). The bill, which the Governor said he will sign, passed by large majorities in both houses of the legislature and does not contain a trigger provision similar to laws adopted in Connecticut and Maine  –with a  requirement that  similar action is taken in contiguous states before the law goes into effect. The action in France is not  the first time it has closed the door on MON810, even in the face of its highest court’s rulings that similar bans did not have sufficient justification. Yet, undaunted by these defeats the French General Assembly went […]

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14
Apr

Herbicide Ban Put on Hold In Sri Lanka

(Beyond Pesticides, April 14, 2014) Bowing to political pressure and agrochemical industry opposition Sri Lanka’s government has taken a step back from its original decision to place a ban on one of the most widely used herbicides worldwide ””glyphosate. Scientific evidence has tied glyphosate to the incurable, deadly kidney disease that has afflicted thousands of Sri Lankans. The delay marks a setback in efforts by scientists and activists to remove from the shelves  a chemical widely used on tea and rice paddy plantations in Sri Lanka.   The decision to ban the chemical was initiated following the publication of a scientific report demonstrating that kidney disease was primarily caused by glyphosate. The report provides a summary of existing scientific information demonstrating kidney failure among farmers who were exposed to the popular herbicide. Indeed lead author Channa Jayasumana, PhD. explains that glyphosate bonds with toxic heavy metals in the environment such as cadmium and arsenic, forming stable compounds that are consumed in food and water and do not break down until they reach the kidneys. “Glyphosate acts as a carrier or a vector of these heavy metals to the kidney,” said Dr. Jayasumana. The chemical was initially created as a chelating […]

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04
Apr

A Quarter of All Bumblebees At Risk in Europe

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2014) Habitat destruction, pesticide contamination, agricultural intensification and climate change threaten 24 percent of Europe’s bumblebees, according to research conducted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and funded by the European Commission. The study is part an ongoing project called European Red List of pollinators, with contribution from experts of the “Status and Trends of European Pollinators”  (STEP) project,  which assesses the conservation status of all bees ””approximately 2000 species”” occurring throughout Europe. The study concludes that almost half of the 68 species in the European Union (EU) are in decline, including those at risk of extinction. Of these, a total of 16 species are listed as at risk according to the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species, which represents the world most trusted authority on the conservation status of species. In comparison, only 13 percent of bumblebee populations are increasing. “We are very concerned with these findings. Such a high proportion of threatened bumblebees can have serious implications for our food production,” says Ana Nieto, European Biodiversity Officer of IUCN and coordinator of the study. “Protecting bumblebee species and habitats, restoring degraded ecosystems and promoting biodiversity-friendly agricultural practices will be essential to […]

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28
Mar

European Union Set to Strengthen Organic Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, March 28, 2014) The European Commission released a new proposal this week to impose stricter regulations for organic food produced within the European Union (EU). The initiative would harmonize standards within the 29-member bloc, eliminate many exceptions currently allowed in organic agriculture while simultaneously improving consumer trust and addressing producer concerns. The move comes just as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is receiving comments on allowable organic materials. The Commission’s proposal acknowledges the massive expansion of the organic market in the EU, which has quadrupled in size over the last ten years ””with similar patterns shown in U.S. organic market. “The future of the organic sector in the EU depends on the quality and integrity of the products sold under the European organic logo,” said Dacian CioloÅŸ, EU Commissioner for Agricultural and Rural Development. “The Commission is looking for more and better organic farming in the EU by consolidating consumer confidence in organic products and removing obstacles to the development of organic agriculture.” The proposal will eliminate exceptions in organic farming through measures such as reducing the conventional feed and seed, and toughening limits for allowable pesticide and genetically engineered (GE) contaminants. The move is expected to […]

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13
Mar

Pesticides Linked to 30% Decline in French Men’s Sperm Count

(Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2014) Part deux of a 2012 study finding that sperm counts in French men had decreased 30% over the past 16 years came to a second startling conclusion in a 2014 analysis: the cause for those dramatic decreases may be pesticides. 2012 Sperm-Count Study Published in the scientific journal Human Reproduction, the landmark 2012 study showed an alarming 30 percent decrease in sperm counts across France between 1989 and 2005. Because the data for the 2012 study were drawn from Fivnat ””a French assisted reproduction technology database”” researches made sure to limit analysis to 26,600 sperm samples from otherwise virile 35-year-old men whose partners’ fallopian tubes were either blocked or missing. This control was added to ensure that the each couple’s infertility was due to these latter problems and not a problem with the man’s sperm. Broken down, the 2012 studies identified a 1.9 percent continued annual dip in sperm concentration and also found that there was a significant 33.4% decrease in the percentage of normally formed sperm over the entire 16-year period. At the time of release, the 2012 study’s authors wrote: “To our knowledge, it is the first study concluding a severe and general […]

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12
Mar

Pesticide Blamed for Deaths of Hundreds of Wild Birds

(Beyond Pesticides, March 12, 2014) As many as 700 birds have been found dead in a wildlife reserve in New South Wales, Australia. Preliminary tests reveal that the pesticide, fenthion, was the cause of death for many little correlas, galahs and sulphur-crested cockatoos found over the past two weeks. Certain uses of fenthion for home gardens and a range of agricultural uses were scheduled for suspension by the Australian Government, but a few months ago fenthion use, long associated with bird kills, was extended for another year. For the past two weeks, dead birds have been found all along a mile of Troy Reserve on the Talbragar River, in New South Wales, Australia. Testing of samples from the dead birds indicated fenthion, an organophosphate insecticide highly toxic to birds, as the most likely cause of the deaths. Volunteers helped gather the carcasses to prevent raptors, such as whistling kites and tawny frogmouths, from feeding on the poisoned carrion. About 30 sick birds, including two kites, have been so far been rescued. Locals found the first deaths on February 27 but were initially prevented from collecting the carcasses out of concern about possible bird flu. About 200 dead birds were found […]

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26
Feb

Organic Farmer Faces Jail Time for Refusing to Spray Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, February 26, 2014) The French agriculture ministry is prosecuting Emmanuel Giboulot, an organic winemaker, for failing to apply insecticide to his vines. The ministry wants insecticide to be sprayed to control the leafhopper Scaphoideus titanus, believed to be responsible for the spread of the grapevine disease, but Mr. Giboulot believes the pesticide is ineffective and damaging to pollinating insects such as bees, and insists the disease can be fought via more natural means. Emmanuel Giboulot appeared before a judge in the city of Dijon on Monday after defying an official order to treat his vineyard against an insect suspected of transmitting a devastating plant disease, and risks six months in jail for failing to take preventive measures against a bacterial vine disease. He was fined €1,000 for putting neighboring vineyards at risk. The court’s final verdict will be announced on April 7. Mr. Giboulot, an organic and biodynamic winemaker, was found to be in violation of a directive to use pesticides to fight Flavenscence dorée, an infectious disease spread by the leaf hopper, Scaphoideus titanus that threatens the Côte-d’Or region of Burgundy. An estimated 30 acres of vines were destroyed by the disease in 2012. “Would we give […]

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09
Jan

Trace Pesticide Residues from Conventional Ag Found on Organic Produce

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2014) A recent CBC News analysis of  Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) data  finds that  nearly half of the organic fresh fruits and vegetables tested across Canada between September 2011 and September 2013 contained trace pesticide residues. While the fact that any amount of pesticides, trace or not, is found in organic produce may be disconcerting, the data still show that pesticides residues  at significantly higher levels are found on conventional   (chemical-intensive) counterparts. In addition to the serious health questions linked to residues of toxic pesticides on the food we eat, Beyond Pesticides, through its Eating with a Conscience database, shows that our food choices have a direct impact on the health of those who grow our food and the quality of our air, water, and land.  The   analysis in Canada and similar findings in the U.S. raise serious ongoing questions about potential adverse effects from both chemical and genetic drift or trespass that have been ignored by regulators as inconsequential. The analysis finds that of the 45.8 percent of organic samples that tested positive for some trace of pesticide, a smaller amount ”” 1.8 per cent ”” violate Canada’s maximum allowable limits for […]

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20
Dec

Bee-Killing Pesticides Damage Children’s Brain and Nervous System, Says European Authority

(Beyond Pesticides, December 20, 2013) The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced on Tuesday that pesticides linked to honey bee deaths worldwide may also damage human nervous systems ””in particular the brain, and recommended that the European Commission lower the guidance levels of acceptable exposure until more research is conducted. This new determination heightens the call to ban the use of these toxic chemicals in the U.S., following the lead of the European Union (EU). EFSA found that two commonly used chemicals “may adversely affect the development of neurons and brain structure associated with functions such as learning and memory” particularly of children. The recommendation focuses on two chemicals ””acetamiprid and imidacloprid”” in a relatively new class of insecticide called neonicotinoids. Three chemicals in this class were recently placed under a two-year ban in the European Union (EU) for uses on flowering crops known to attract honey bees. The move stems from a recent review of research on rats which found, “Neonicotinoids may adversely affect human health, especially the developing brain.” Researchers who exposed newborn rats to one of these chemicals ””imidacloprid”” found they suffered brain shrinkage, fewer nerve signals controlling movement, and weight loss. Another study on rats found […]

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10
Dec

Flight Attendant Links Airline Insecticide Use to His Parkinson’s

(Beyond Pesticides, December 10, 2013) A former steward for Australian-based Quantas airlines is suing the Australian government claiming that frequent insecticide use in airplane cabins resulted in his Parkinson’s disease diagnosis. Australia is among 49 countries that require pesticide spraying on some or all flights. Pesticide use on flights into the United States is not required, but is permitted under international law. (See here for a breakdown of pesticide use in American-based airlines, and here for information from the U.S. Department of Transportation on pesticide use in aircrafts.) Brett Vollus, former Quantas airline steward, worked for the company for 27 years until this past May when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and a malignant brain tumor. “He [my doctor] asked me what I did for living and when I told him he just nodded and said: ‘Another one, I am seeing a lot of you’,” Mr. Vollus said to The Australian. “This is a nightmare that has ruined my life. I am very keen to start a legal action and if it can help others I am happy to lead the way.” This case puts an international spotlight on growing evidence that pesticide use is linked to Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s […]

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09
Dec

The Decline of Turtle Doves Tied to Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, December 9, 2013) Unless regulators take action,  one of the gifts in the lyrics to “Twelve Days of Christmas,” the turtle dove,  may  become extinct. The dove has experienced major population decline in England over the past 20 years, due in significant part to the destruction of  turtle dove habitat and food sources from  increasing herbicide use in English agriculture. Other species, such as Monarch butterflies and other pollinators around the world, are also experiencing similar loses of habitat and food sources through an increase in herbicide use. These increasing rates of population decline in wild species underscore the problem that chemical-intensive agriculture plays in the degradation of natural habitats. According to a spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, “The turtle dove is the fastest declining bird in the country [England] and within ten years we could lose this icon of the British countryside completely.” Turtle doves in the United Kingdom are found in just a few areas of Southern England and migrate during the winter toward Africa. Turtle doves are obligate granivors, feeding predominantly on seeds of certain arable weeds form farm countryside, such as fumitory, clover and vetch. However, increased herbicide use […]

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03
Dec

Start of EU Moratorium on Neonicotinoids Puts Focus on US EPA Inaction

(Beyond Pesticides, December 3, 2013) On Sunday, December 1, 2013 the European Union (EU) took critical steps to protect pollinators from the hazards associated with the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. Despite attempts by agrichemical corporations, including Bayer, and Syngenta,   to delay or reverse the decision, the two-year, continent-wide ban on bee-harming pesticides has gone into effect. However, what’s happening on the other side of the Atlantic is part of a larger story that raises serious concerns for the future of our food. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under the direction of Administrator Gina McCarthy, has put forth inadequate label changes that do not protect pollinators. With the support of   over 60 organizations, Beyond Pesticides has helped launch a coalition-based  national advertising campaign to raise awareness of pollinator declines and urge EPA to stop stalling by enacting substantive restrictions on the use of bee-harming pesticides. Go to save-bees.org to lend your support to these efforts. Neonicotinoids, a relatively new class of pesticides, are often used as a seed coating on agricultural crops. Studies have found that honey bees are exposed to high concentrations of neonicotioid pesticides through the dust that is kicked up when coated […]

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12
Nov

BASF Sues EU Commission for Restricting Pesticides Harmful to Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, November 12, 2013) On November 6 BASF, a German agrochemical company, took legal action in the General Court of the European Union (EU) to challenge the EU Commission’s decision to restrict seed treatment uses of the insecticide fipronil. BASF joins chemical companies Bayer and Syngenta in challenging the EU’s decision to restrict the use of certain pesticides that are harmful to pollinators. The EU Commission’s decision to restrict the use of fipronil in July came after the Commission’s landmark decision announcing a two-year continent-wide ban  on the neonicotinoid pesticides clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiamethoxam. The pesticides have been linked to the decline in bee populations.  Twenty-three European Union Member States supported the fipronil restriction, two Member States voted against, and three Member States abstained during the standing committee vote. BASF argued that its  legal action against the EU is based on a disproportionate application of the precautionary principle. However, overwhelming scientific evidence supports the position that fipronil is highly toxic to bees. Fipronil, a phenyl pyrazole broad-spectrum insecticide, was first introduced in the U.S. in 1996 for commercial turf and indoor pest control and is highly toxic to bees. A recent investigation reveals that fipronil is responsible for the […]

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01
Nov

Behavioral and Emotional Problems in Children Linked to Insecticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2013) Insecticides commonly used in homes and schools are associated with behavioral problems in children, according to a recent study by Canadian researchers. The study investigates exposure to pyrethroid pesticides, used in more than 3,500 products, including flea and tick controls, cockroach sprays, and head lice controls. The study, Urinary metabolites of organophosphates and pyrethroid pesticides and behavioral problems in Canadian children, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, raises serious concerns about the impact of pyrethroids, which are increasingly used as a replacement for organophosphates. This study uses data from the Canadian Health Measures Survey (2007-2009), a nationally representative survey, so researchers are able to apply these findings to the entire population of Canadian children. In a previous study among U.S. children, researchers at the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) examined the metabolites of pyrethroids in children below the age of six. Similarly, they found pyrethroid insecticides in more than 70 percent of the samples, concluding that children had significantly higher metabolite concentrations than those of adolescents. Together these studies demonstrate that exposure is widespread, with real impacts to human health. In the recent study, researchers analyzed organophosphate and pyrethroid metabolites in the […]

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22
Oct

Investigative Report Finds Soaring Pesticide Use and Poisoning Linked to GE Crop Production

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2013) Nearly a week after plant geneticists from the world’s largest agrichemical companies accepted the World Food Prize, an Associated Press (AP) investigation links the effect of their work to soaring pesticide use and resulting health problems.  According to the  AP, the advent of “no-till” farming methods in Argentina with the use of genetically engineered (GE) crops and companion pesticides has caused significant health impacts in farming towns abutting GE fields. Since the introduction of these practices in Argentina by agrichemical companies such as Monsanto, cancer rates have skyrocketed and the number of birth defects has quadrupled. Argentina was an early adopter of GE technology in 1996, when it was billed as the silver bullet to solve world hunger with increased crop  productivity, and improved human and environmental health resulting from decreased pesticide use. The most widely used GE crops, such as Monsanto’s Roundup Ready line of corn and soybeans, allow farmers to apply the herbicide glyphosate during and after seed plantings in order to kill weeds without risk of the main crop dying off. Today, almost all the corn, soy, and cotton produced in the country are GE. As the  AP reports, and researchers in […]

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21
Oct

Study Identifies Garden Plants Most Attractive to Insect Pollinators

(Beyond Pesticides, October 21, 2013) A study conducted by Sussex University researchers has identified the garden plants most attractive to  pollinating insects. The study’s findings are important as pollinating insects are declining globally and are facing growing habitat losses. The study also gives vital scientific information to individuals and communities on plants that are most beneficial to pollinators. Although creating pollinator friendly habits is an important step to slowing pollinator population decline, environmental groups and activists are focused on addressing the underlying problem that leads to pollinator population loss: the continuous use of toxic pesticides. The study, Quantifying variation among garden plants in attractiveness to bees and other flower-visiting insects, published in Functional Ecology,  collected data over two summers by counting flower-visiting pollinators on 32 popular garden plant varieties to determine which varieties are more attractive to pollinators. The study found that the most attractive flowers are 100 times more attractive than the least attractive flowers. According to the study, the most attractive flowers are borage, lavender, marjoram, and open-flower dahlias. Majoram was the best all-round flower, attracting honey bees, bumble bees, other bees, hover flies, and butterflies. While information on pollinator friendly flowers is widely available, this study was […]

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