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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Lawns/Landscapes' Category


15
Sep

Harvard Meta-Analysis Ties Childhood Cancer to Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, September 15, 2015) A study released this week in the journal Pediatrics finds that children’s exposure to pesticides in and around the home results in an increased risk of developing certain childhood cancers. Researchers made their findings through a meta-analysis, reviewing 16 epidemiological studies published since 1993 on the link between childhood cancer and pesticide exposure. Based on their findings, the authors of the study suggest “”¦public health policies should be developed to minimize childhood exposure to pesticides in the home,” and that “[e]very effort should be made to limit children’s exposure to pesticides.” While most meta-analytical reviews previously conducted on the link between pesticides and childhood cancer looked at parental exposure or agricultural exposure, the current study from scientists at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health focuses in on residential exposure in and around a child’s home. Authors found that cancer risks were connected most closely to the type of pesticide used and the location where it was applied. For example, while residential herbicide use was associated with an increased risk of leukemia, the link between outdoor insecticide use and childhood cancers was not found to be statistically significant. However, exposure to insecticides inside the […]

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07
Sep

New York Lawn Care Companies Fined for Violating Pesticide Laws

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has issued tickets to six companies in Rockland and Westchester counties for violating state laws on pesticide applications, most on residential lawns. Eight other companies were issued warnings. The violations, which occurred between 2013 and spring 2015, ranged from unlicensed businesses to uncertified workers and unlabeled toxic pesticides. These fines and warnings came about after complaints and anonymous tips, and highlight the many instances where pesticide law enforcement and compliance falls short. In September of last year, a complaint was called into the DEC, reporting that a Jonathan Landscaping (of Rockville, NY) truck was spraying pesticides with no labels, and was missing triangle decals that indicate a valid state pesticide permit. The DEC inspector went out and found the truck, issuing four tickets for operating an unregistered pesticide business and unlabeled poisons. Rafael Hernandez, the owner of Jonathan Landscaping, pleaded guilty to violating environmental laws in March and was fined $350, according to The Journal News.  In April, SavALawn, another landscaping company, was found to be missing triangle decals and had unlabeled pesticide poisons, and was also issued a ticket, of value unknown. Another investigator from […]

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10
Jul

Connecticut Bans Toxic Lawn Pesticides in Municipal Playgrounds Statewide

(Beyond Pesticides, July 10, 2015) The Connecticut General Assembly last week passed legislation banning toxic lawn pesticides on municipal playgrounds, effective October 1, 2015. In the omnibus budget implementation  Bill 1502  at Section 448  (p.563 at line 17579). The bill  also improves the existing parents’ pesticide notification system by requiring school districts to provide at least 24-hour electronic notification any time a pesticide application is schedule to occur on school property (Secs. 445 and 446), as well as requiring and tracking the use of pesticides and integrated pest management (IPM) methods to reduce pesticide use on state properties (Sec. 449). “As we have recognized for many years in Connecticut, children are particularly endangered by pesticides — because these chemicals accumulate in kids’ growing bodies faster than for the rest of us,” said Rep. Andrew Fleischmann, House Chairman of the Education Committee, which drafted the 2005 and 2009 laws prohibiting pesticide use on school fields.    “This measure represents a great step forward for our state, safeguarding our children from these toxic chemicals on town playgrounds — and ensuring that parents get notice when pesticides are used at public schools,” he added. “Time and time again pesticides have been shown to […]

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17
Jun

Bee Protective this Pollinator Week!

(Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2015) This week, June 15- 21, 2015, marks Pollinator Week — a week celebrating the importance of pollinators: bees, birds, butterflies, and others, and their contribution to agriculture, food, and natural ecosystems. In light of the shortcomings of federal action to protect these beneficial creatures, it is left up to us to ensure that we provide safe havens for pollinators by creating pesticide-free habitat and educating others to do the same. This week we urge you to join us in celebrating these amazing creatures and creating safe havens for them. Beyond Pesticides’ Bee Protective campaign has all the tools and tips you need to support pollinators in and around your home, school and community. Here’s the buzz on the festivities hosted by Beyond Pesticides and allies during Pollinator Week June 15th- 21st, 2015. Join the Twitter Chat on Wednesday 17th 5pm PT/8pm ET and help #BuildTheBuzz. Have Beyond Pesticides, Pesticide Action Network, Center for Food Safety, TakePart and others answer your questions about pollinators and what you can do in your community to help increase awareness, advocate for policy change, and create safe pollinators habitat. Join us tonight at 5pm PT/8pm ET by using the hashtag […]

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27
Apr

USDA Falls Short in Strategy to Mitigate Climate Change

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2015) Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced initiatives and energy programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration, and expand renewable energy production in the agricultural and forestry sectors, but failed to stress the importance of moving away from chemical-intensive  agriculture toward organic methods. While the announcement doesn’t specifically mention “organic,” the meaning is still clear: chemical-based agricultural practices have contributed to climate change through heavy use of fossil fuels —both directly on the farm and in the manufacturing of pesticides and fertilizers— and through degradation of the soil, which releases carbon. Now, USDA is suggesting the use of conservation tilling, or no-till practices, along with cover cropping and natural management of organic inputs to the soil — in other words, organic agriculture. USDA outlined ten “building blocks” that aim to lead us away from climate change. The first two of these ten could, if interpreted from an organic practice perspective,  address the necessity to change  chemical-intensive agricultural practices. The first “building block” is soil health. The stated goal is to improve soil resilience, therefore increasing productivity, by promoting conservation tillage or no-till farming. The initiative suggests planting cover crops, planting […]

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09
Mar

Town Wins Award for First Community-wide Pesticide-Free Policy in Maine, Organic Land Care Training on Sat. March 14

(Beyond Pesticides, March 7, 2015) The quaint and charming town of Ogunquit, Maine has proudly accepted the 16th Down East Environmental Award, presented by Down East magazine, for passing a ballot initiative  last November that prohibits  the use of toxic lawn pesticides on all public and private land within the town —only the second community in the United States to do so, following Takoma Park in Maryland. To help the community implement the new law and provide hands-on technical information to people in town and the region, the local hardware store, Eldredge Lumber and Hardware, is sponsoring a training open to the public, landscapers, and officials on Saturday, March 14. In 1979, Down East magazine introduced the prestigious Down East Environmental Award in order to encourage the conservation of Maine’s natural resources and to honor citizens and groups who are at the forefront of creating positive environmental change, or have helped to secure conservation efforts in the past. Previous recipients of this award include Governor Percival Baxter, who in 2004 was recognized for his deep dedication to conserving the wilds in the state of Maine, specifically around Mt. Kadahdin, and Governor John E. Baldacci, who in 2009 was presented with […]

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13
Feb

EPA Sued for Violating Endangered Species Act with Allowance of New 2,4-D/Roundup Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2015) With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)  nod to the pesticide industry on expanded uses of the herbicides 2,4-D and glyphosate, environmental groups are charging that the agency violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  Repeating a pattern of putting the environment in harm’s way through violations of  federal endangered species  law, a lawsuit filed Friday  documents   EPA’s  failure to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regarding the impact of the herbicide on two endangered species —the whooping crane and the Indiana bat— with the recent approval of Dow AgroSciences’ herbicide, Enlist Duo, for use on genetically engineered (GE) crops in six midwestern states. Enlist Duo is an herbicide that incorporates a mix of  glyphosate  and a new formulation of  2,4-D, intended for use on GE Enlist Duo-tolerant corn and soybean crops. Approved for use on GE corn and soybeans that are engineered to withstand repeated applications of the herbicide, the creation of 2,4-D-tolerant crops and EPA’s approval of Enlist Duo is the result of an overuse of glyphosate, an ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. The misuse resulted in an infestation of glyphosate-resistant super weeds which can now be legally combatted with the […]

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29
Jan

Hawaiian Legislators Proposing Bill to Establish School and Hospital Buffer Zones

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2015) State legislators in Hawaii will soon be introducing a proposal to establish pesticide-free zones around schools and hospitals throughout the state. Not yet filed or finalized, the proposed bill would prohibit farmers from using large amounts of pesticides within a specified distance of schools and hospitals, known as buffer zones. While the exact distance of the buffer zones in Hawaii are yet be determined and will be open to discussion and input from experts and the public, lawmakers are focusing on a distance of 500 to 1,000 feet. “We want to provide meaningful protections that are going to keep pesticides from drifting into our schools and hospitals and affecting our kids,” said State Rep. Chris Lee, chair of the State House environmental protection committee and intended sponsor of the bill. “I think protecting our kids from chemicals is a common sense thing that everybody can get behind.” Beyond this common sense reason and general concern for the health of children and those already facing compromised health, Hawaiians have also experienced numerous pesticide drift and exposure incidents at schools in the past years. These incidents spurred a similar bill to that proposed by Rep. Lee, which […]

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08
Jan

Thurston County, Washington Bans Neonics from County-Managed Lands

(Beyond Pesticides, January 8, 2015) At the close of 2014, Thurston County in Washington State became the first county government to ban the use of neonicotinoid insecticides on county-owned and managed lands. The ban comes in the form of an amended pest and vegetation policy and was passed by County Commissioners by a 3-0 vote in favor of the amendment. According to The Olympian, the ban will impact 77 acres of county facilities, 2,646 acres of parks, 47.1 miles of trails, and one mile of right-of-way landscape. Commissioners instituted the ban because of concerns over the pesticides effects on pollinators. Neonicotinoids (“neonics”) are a relatively new class of insecticides that share a common mode of action that affect the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and death. They include imidacloprid, acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam. Recent scientific research has uncovered many uncertainties and new information on neonic-induced adverse impacts with regard to the environmental fate and sublethal exposure on foraging behavior of pollinators. Thurston County’s ban is not the first time the county has taken up the issue of neonics in defense of pollinators. In 2013, the Commissioners petitioned the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) […]

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07
Jan

EPA Responds to Call for Chlorpyrifos Ban with New Risk Calculations and Continued Use

(Beyond Pesticides, January 7, 2015) On Monday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a revised human health assessment for the insecticide, chlorpyrifos, which finds risks to workers who mix, load and apply chlorpyrifos, and that the chemical has the potential to pose risks to drinking water in small watersheds. The assessment also notes that EPA will retain the 10X (10-fold) safety factor to protect children from all routes of exposures. EPA’s latest finding confirms long-standing scientific data that  has documented chlorpyrifos’ toxicity to humans and environmental contamination. However, despite these findings, EPA proposes to place additional restrictions on chlorpyrifos’ use, instead of a widespread ban. This latest assessment updates the June 2011 preliminary human health risk assessment, which was widely criticized by environmental and farmworker groups. EPA is releasing this assessment based on new information received since 2011, including public comments. The assessment is, in part, in response to a petition submitted by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) in 2007, which called on the agency to ban all uses of the insecticide. In 2000, EPA orchestrated a voluntary cancellation with the manufacturer Dow AgroSciences of  most residential uses of chlorpyrifos to limit children’s exposure, […]

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06
Jan

Fish and Wildlife Service to Consider Federal Protection for Monarch Butterfly

(Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2015) At the close of 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced plans to conduct a year-long status review of the monarch butterfly to determine whether the species is eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). FWS is taking this action as result of an August 2014 legal petition filed by health and environmental groups that presented substantial information indicating that listing under the ESA may be warranted. In November 2014, Beyond Pesticides joined over 200 environmental groups and businesses in a letter asking for federal protection for monarch butterflies in the wake of shocking declines. The North American monarch butterfly population fell by 90 percent in the past 20 years, dropping from a high of approximately  one billion in the mid-1990s to fewer than 35 million butterflies in the winter of 2013-2014— the lowest number ever recorded. Each year monarch butterflies travel over 2,000 miles between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico, across multiple generations, to reach their winter hibernation grounds in late October. As FWS indicates, this journey has become “more perilous for many monarchs” due to threats along their migratory paths. Scientists believe the butterfly’s decline is being driven in […]

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12
Nov

Fines Totaling $16,000 Issued for Pesticide Applicator and Company Role in Bee Deaths

(Beyond Pesticides, November 12, 2014) The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has issued two civil penalties totaling $16,000 in connection with a pesticide application of imidacloprid, a chemical in the neonicotinoid class of insecticides connected to widespread bee decline, this summer that resulted in the death of nearly 1,000 bees at a Eugene apartment complex. Although ODA is taking actions to address pollinator protection, the frequent and continued occurrence of pesticide-related bee deaths indicates that current laws still fall woefully short of preventing these incidences. ODA’s Pesticide Program conducted an investigation that determined that Glass Tree Care and Spray Service, Inc. and its pesticide applicator violated Oregon’s pesticide control law through gross negligence. ODA is authorized to issue a civil penalty of up to $10,000 for violations that are the result of gross negligence, the maximum in this case issued to the company, a commercial pest control  operator based in Eugene. In addition, the applicator, James P. Mischkot, Jr., was issued a $6,000 civil penalty. When the incident in Eugene occurred, the trees were in full bloom and attracting pollinators.  In this case, ODA determined that the company and its applicator knew or should have known of this standard of […]

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11
Nov

Herbicide-Induced Erosion Releases Banned Pesticides in Sediment

(Beyond Pesticides, November 11, 2014) An international team of scientists has uncovered a new mechanism through which long-banned pesticides such as DDT may reemerge in our environment. Although a number of more recent studies have focused on the role that climate change is playing in the movement of older toxic chemicals, this study highlights the unknowns associated with pesticide use, showing the unexpected impacts that can occur when pesticide use patterns change. The study, “Long-term relationships among pesticide applications, mobility, and soil erosion in a vineyard watershed,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), analyzed 100 years of sediment records collected from a lake near a French vineyard. Scientists were able to create a historical record of pesticide use in the region, and reconstruct erosion patterns seen over time. According to the study, the historical record lined up well with the restrictions and prohibitions on various pesticides that occurred over the years. That is, until the 1990s. Results show that increases in soil erosion line up with an influx of DDT into the lake. But the increase in soil erosion also lined up with the introduction and increase use of post-emergent herbicides such as glyphosate, the […]

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31
Oct

USDA To Provide Additional $4 million for Honey Bee Habitat, No Mention of Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2014) Without any mention of the role of pesticides in bee decline, or emphasis on organic practices to help pollinators, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday that more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance will be provided to help farmers and ranchers in the Midwest improve the health of honey bees. The announcement renews and expands on a $3 million pilot investment last spring to create pollinator-friendly habitat in five Midwestern states. The effort responds to the Presidential Memorandum, which directs USDA to expand the acreage and forage value in its conservation programs. The Memorandum, issued at the close of National Pollinator Week 2014, directed federal agencies to establish a Pollinator Health Task Force, and tasked agency leads at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a pollinator health strategy within 180 days that supports and fosters pollinator habitat. “The future of America’s food supply depends on honey bees, and this effort is one way USDA is helping improve the health of honey bee populations,” Vilsack said. “Significant progress has been made in understanding the factors that are associated with Colony Collapse Disorder and the overall health […]

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29
Oct

Ordinance to Outlaw County-wide Landscape Pesticide Use Introduced in Maryland

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2014) A landmark ordinance to protect children, pets, wildlife, and the wider environment from the hazards of unnecessary lawn and landscape pesticide use was introduced yesterday in Montgomery County, Maryland by County Council Vice President George Leventhal, chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. Bill 52-14 is based upon growing concerns in the community of the health risks associated with exposure to pesticides, and creates a safe space for residents in Montgomery County by prohibiting the use of non-essential land care pesticides on both public and private property. Introduction of this ordinance follows successful lawn pesticide regulations on private and public property in the City of Takoma Park in Montgomery County, and provides equal safeguards for human health and the environment. Similar cosmetic pesticide policies have been in place in Canadian provinces for many years. Unfortunately, most U.S. jurisdictions are unable to enact these same basic safeguards for their citizens.  Maryland is one of seven states that does not prohibit local governments from enacting protections from pesticides that are stricter than state laws. The role of local government in imposing pesticide use requirements is important to the protection of public health and the environment. This […]

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22
Oct

EPA Launches Voluntary Rating Program on Pesticide Drift

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a new voluntary Drift Reduction Technology (DRT) program to encourage the use of spray technologies scientifically verified to significantly reduce pesticide drift. But with the recent approval of increased uses of toxic pesticides, such as 2,4-D, and the general lack of compliance with pesticide labels, many believe that this new program may not go far enough to protect non-target sites and vulnerable communities from drift until serious efforts to reduce widespread use of toxic, highly volatile pesticides are undertaken. Pesticide drift is an inevitable consequence of pesticide use, and has been a problem for communities adjacent to agricultural areas and non-target sites for decades. Many pesticide products are released as foliar sprays into the air, or volatilize from surfaces where particles can travel for miles from their application site. This means that on a windy day pesticide residues can drift far distances, affecting  downwind, vulnerable communities, organic farms and other environments. Legal action has been taken against the agency to protect communities from drift, but EPA has consistently failed to meaningfully address concerns. To address issues of drift, EPA’s new program will attempt to reduce drift by […]

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10
Oct

Neonicotinoids Called “Bigger Threat” to Environment than DDT

(Beyond Pesticides, October 10, 2014) Many officials are no longer mincing words as they tie the global decline in bee populations with  mounting  evidence pointing to neonicotinoid pesticides. “All the science is not done, but everything that I have before me. . .  suggests to me that this is the biggest threat to the structure and ecological integrity of the ecosystem that I have ever encountered in my life, bigger than DDT, ” said Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller, of Ontario, Canada, as he released his annual report. The Annual Report of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, which has been released since 1994, has in recent years found particular scrutiny falling on neonicotinoids. Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane, more commonly known as DDT, was banned in Canada and in the United States in 1972, following a massive environmental movement spurred by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which documented the adverse environmental effects resulting from the indiscriminate use of pesticides. Mr. Miller called bees the “canary in the coal mine” on neonicotinoids, and said the impact of the pesticides is “clearly more wide scale” in the ecosystem. Neonicotinoids  are chemically similar to nicotine and are pesticides that are toxic to a broad range of insect pests. They […]

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02
Oct

California To Limit Chlorpyrifos’ Food Production Use, Environmentalists Sue EPA

(Beyond Pesticides, October 2, 2014) California state pesticide regulators are looking to curtail the use of chlorpyrifos, one of the most widely used insecticides on the market, due to concerns that it poses a threat to human health and the environment. At the same time, environmental groups are suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) because of the agency’s continued refusal to fully address a 2007 petition by the groups calling for a ban on the neurotoxic chemical. EPA in 2000 orchestrated a voluntary cancellation by DowAgroSciences of  most residential uses of chlorpyrifos (although uses with major exposure routes continue),  while virtually all agricultural uses remain in use, except tomatoes. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), a branch of the California Environmental Protection Agency that regulates the sale and use of pesticides, announced last week that it is  proposing to make  ‘restrictive use’  all pesticide products containing the organophosphate  insecticide chlorpyrifos.  If the proposed regulation passes, this would mean that only trained and licensed professionals who have a permit from a local county agricultural commissioner (CAC) would be able to use these products. The CAC would also have the ability to place additional conditions on use via the permit. […]

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25
Sep

“Garden City of Alaska” Passes Comprehensive Pesticide Ordinance, Bans Bee-Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, September 25, 2014) Last week, the Borough of Skagway, Alaska passed a comprehensive vegetative maintenance pesticide ordinance, joining a growing number of localities across the country in enacting restrictions that protect human health, wildlife, and the wider environment from the hazards associated with unnecessary pesticide use. Among a number of notable accomplishments, Skagway’s Ordinance 14-15 makes it the first municipality in Alaska to ban the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoids by government employees. However the new law goes further, prohibiting the sale and use of neonicotinoid-containing products on all public and private lands in the Borough of Skagway. The state of Alaska is one of seven states that affirms the right of a local jurisdiction  to restrict pesticide use throughout its jurisdiction by not adopting law that preempts localities. Skagway, Alaska’s Ordinance 14-15 also: Prohibits the sale and use of persistent herbicides (persistent according to the US Composting Council) on public and private property. Prohibits the use of restricted herbicides within 300 feet of any waterway. Creates a list of restricted pesticides (based in part upon the list of pesticides restricted in Takoma Park, Maryland). Although the ordinance establishes a waiver system by which restricted pesticides may be used, […]

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19
Sep

USDA Approves 2,4-D-Tolerant (GE) Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2014) The pesticide treadmill continues to turn with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent approval this week of three 2,4-D-tolerto ant corn and soybean crops, developed by Dow AgroSciences. Some growers have been pushing for the new Enlist crops in order to combat the rapid proliferation of glyphosate-resistant weeds. The use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup formulation, on genetically-engineered (GE) crops has proven to be an abject failure due to widespread weed resistance. So widespread is this resistance that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has  granted an emergency use exemption  for fluridone, which does not have registered uses in agriculture.  More recently, Texas regulators requested the use of propazine to combat glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth, or pigweed, which EPA recently denied,  citing risks to drinking water and other hazards.   Even though the agency denied the emergency use application, it accepted the argument put forth by the Texas Department of Agriculture that  glyphosate-resistant weeds in three million acres of herbicide-tolerant cotton constituted an  “urgent non-routine situation.”  Beyond Pesticides argued to EPA that the weed resistance in  herbicide-tolerant cropping systems is very predictable and has become routine, thus disqualifying states from using the […]

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17
Sep

DuPont Pays $1.9 Million Penalty to EPA, Fails to Disclose Data on Pesticide Hazard

­ ­ ­(Beyond Pesticides, September 17, 2014) DuPont agreed to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) $1.853 million to settle charges from the agency that the chemical giant’s herbicide product ImprelisTM was responsible for killing and damaging thousands of acres of spruce and pine trees in 2011. On Monday, EPA filed a Consent Agreement and Final Order against DuPont for violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) for selling and distributing its pesticide product -ImprelisTM herbicide. EPA contends that DuPont failed to submit in a timely manner  field trial studies indicating potential ecological adverse effects from the use of Imprelis. In 2011, in what some say was one of the biggest disasters of its kind, Norway spruce and white pine tree damage and deaths were reported throughout the Midwest, in East Coast states, and as far south as Georgia. It was determined that Imprelis, marketed as a “low environmental impact” pesticide, was applied during the spring to control weeds on lawns and other landscapes in the vicinity of the non-target evergreen trees. Imprelis, whose active ingredient is the potassium salt of aminocyclopyrachlor, was conditionally registered by EPA in September 2010, in a regulatory process reminiscent of […]

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10
Sep

Emory University To Ban Neonicotinoids from Campus

(Beyond Pesticides, September 10, 2014) As bee and other pollinator populations continue to decline around the world, with clear evidence pointing to neonicotinoid pesticides as a prime cause, Emory University announced last week that it will be eliminating the use of this controversial class of chemicals from its campus, joining institutions and  communities like University of Vermont Law School, Spokane  (Washington),  Eugene (Oregon), and Shorewood (Minnesota). Neonicotinoids are a class of insecticides that share a common mode of action that affects the central nervous system of insects,  affecting the organisms’ ability to function. These systemic pesticides, which move through the plant’s vascular system and express themselves through pollen and nectar, include imidacloprid, acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam. A continually growing body of science has implicated neonicotinoids, which are applied to or incorporated into seeds for agricultural, ornamental and garden plants, as a key factor in recent global bee die-offs. Beekeepers across the country reported losses of 40 to 90 percent of their bees last winter. The implications of this loss are staggering —one in every three bites of food is reliant on bee pollination, and pollinators make possible  $20-30 billion of annual U.S. agricultural production. Last week, Emory […]

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29
Aug

Groups Petition Federal Government to Protect Monarch Butterflies

(Beyond Pesticides, August 29, 2014) Environmentalists issued a legal petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday calling for the protection of the monarch butterfly as a threatened species under the  Endangered Species Act (ESA). Monarch butterflies, a striking and familiar symbol of beauty and nature in the U.S., have had their population decline by a staggering 90 percent in the past two decades alone, most likely due to a significant loss of habitat of more than 165 million acres – an area about the size of Texas -as well as nearly a third of their summer breeding grounds. Part of the decline of monarch butterflies  stems from the loss of milkweed, a native plant where the butterflies lay their eggs and is their main food source. Although little use to farmers, milkweed is an important plant to butterflies, wasps, and bees. A recent study attributed the disappearance of milkweed plants primarily to the use of genetically-engineered (GE) corn and soybean crops. The widespread adoption of GE agriculture and the ever-growing use of herbicides are contributing extensively to the loss of milkweed areas. Scientists also point to the prolific use of herbicides in the Midwest eliminating these plants, […]

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