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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Lawns/Landscapes' Category


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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15
Aug

Oregon Law Allowing Contamination from Farm and Forest Practices Challenged

(Beyond Pesticides, August 15, 2014) Residents of Southern Oregon are tired of being told that farming and forest industry rights to pollute and spray toxic chemicals trump their rights to live healthy lives, so they are taking the matter to court, except not in the way most would assume. Because unlike many instances where citizens could allege nuisance and trespass for toxic or smelly invasions onto private property and into their lives, Oregon residents and many others across the country are prohibited by law from filing such claims against agricultural industries. Known generally as Right-to-Farm Acts, Oregon’s Farm and Forest Practices Act prohibits local laws from making farming and forest practices a nuisance or trespass. The law also grants immunity from private actions, unless, of course, severe injury or death resulted. As one of the attorneys, Chris Winters of the Crag Law Center, representing the Oregon residents explained to reporters, “The law basically grants an immunity to people who spray pesticides from being held responsible.” In filing the lawsuit, plaintiffs hope that a court will change all of this and invalidate the Farm and Forest Practices Act as unconstitutional, because of the state’s constitutional guarantee of remedy for injury to […]

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24
Jul

EPA Denies Hazardous Pesticide Use on 3 Million Acres of Texas Cotton Fields

(Beyond Pesticides, July 24, 2014) Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied an emergency application to use a hazardous pesticide, propazine, on 3 million acres of Texas cotton fields, after groups representing environmental, public health, and organic farm interests urged the agency to reject the request based on environmental effects and the predictable nature of the weed resistance to currently used chemicals. Despite determining “that an urgent and non-routine condition exists for Texas growers” when certain weed-densities are reached, EPA’s primary reasons for denying the application focused on health and environmental concerns of the pesticide. As EPA explained, “When conducting human health risk assessment for new use the Agency must first consider the risk profile for currently registered uses and determine if an additional use can be added to the cup.” This aggregate risk assessment is required under the Food Quality Protection Actand in the case of propazine, EPA found that “drinking water estimates suggest that risks from drinking water alone may lead to unacceptable risks . . . .” “While we disagree with the EPA that this meets any of the criteria for emergency exemption, we applaud the EPA for putting the health of people and the […]

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22
Jul

Tamarisk Tree’s Role as ‘Invasive’ in Southwest Questioned

(Beyond Pesticides, July 22, 2014) As drought persists across the western U.S., farmers, ranchers, and government authorities looking for solutions to water worries have picked a tough battle, and many are questioning whether it’s worth the fight. The target is the ”˜invasive,’ tamarisk tree, also known as salt cedar, a hardy evergreen that can grow nearly 60 feet tall, and has been labeled as a water glutton. In Arizona, many are heralding the arrival of the small tamarisk beetle, itself an ”˜invasive’ imported from Kazakhstan by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to control the spread of tamarisk trees. But numerous questions surrounding the campaign highlight a persistent national debate: Are invasives categorically bad or simply convenient scapegoats? Are the solutions worse than the current state of affairs? Can we permanently restore native habitat? In 2005, USDA approved the release of the tamarisk beetle in Colorado, Utah and a number of other western states. However, five years later, the agency made a quiet about-face on the campaign and stopped any further releases of the beetle into western habitat. The stated reason for the cancellation was “potential effects on the critical habitat of the federally-listed, endangered southwestern willow flycatcher,” notes […]

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08
Jul

Maine Town Votes to Ban Lawn Pesticides on Public and Private Property, Becoming Second to Act in Last Year

(Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2014) [Eds. Note: Because of a procedural glitch in the ordinance, the Ogunquit pesticide ban ordinance was scheduled to be placed on the ballot again on November 4, 2014. The ordinance passed again, this time overwhelmingly.] In another key victory  for public health and the environment, last month residents in the small ocean-side community of Ogunquit, Maine (pop:~1,400) voted to become the first town in the state to prohibit the use of pesticides on public and private property for turf, landscape, and outdoor pest management activities. Ogunquit’s ordinance makes the town the second local jurisdiction in the United States in the last year  to ban pesticides on both public and private property, and the first to be passed by popular vote, 206 to 172. The ordinance, modeled in large part on the first private/public pesticide ban in Takoma Park, Maryland last year, was passed after a three-year education and awareness campaign, initiated by the town’s Conservation Commission. The law expands on  existing pesticide use restrictions on  town-owned property. The passage of this ordinance positions Ogunquit as a leader in the state for environmental sustainability and the protection of public health, and supports the Conservation Commission’s goals […]

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16
Jun

Pollinators More Important to Crop Yields than Fertilizers

(Beyond Pesticides, June 16, 2014) As pollinator week begins, the critical importance of pollinators is exemplified in a recent study out of the University of California, Berkeley. Not only do pollinators help increase crop yields, they may be even more important than fertilizers,  according to  the study suggests. Ecologist Alexandra-Maria Klein, Ph.D. and her colleagues at UC Berkeley found that when there is a lack of pollination, via bees and other pollinators, there is a stronger reduction in harvest yields than when there is a lack of either fertilizer or sufficient water for the crops. Their results, which were published in the journals Plant Biology and PLoS ONE, found that when crops were pollinated, the plants bear more fruit along with a change in their nutrient content. Dr. Klein and her team observed the effects that different conditions and treatment combinations had on almond trees. The conditions involved: preventing bees from pollinating blossoms via cages, allowing the bees to pollinate the blossoms, or pollinating the blossoms by hand. Additionally, researchers combined these conditions with four different treatments: watering and fertilizing the trees according to local practices, reduced watering, no fertilization, or reduced watering with no fertilization. In the case of […]

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12
Jun

Monarch Butterfly Decline Linked to GE Crops and Shrinking Habitat

(Beyond Pesticides, June 12, 2014) According to a new study in the Journal of Animal Ecology, the deficiency of milkweed plants due to the rapid spread of genetically engineered (GE) crops is one of the primary reasons for the decline in monarch butterflies. The widespread adoption of GE agriculture and the ever growing use of herbicides is contributing extensively to the loss of milkweed covered areas, which is the butterfly’s main food source and the only place where they lay their eggs. This study adds weight to previous reports linking GE crops, as well as climate change, to the decline of butterfly populations, which are at their lowest in two decades. Monarch butterflies make their way from the U.S. and Canada, usually arriving in Mexico around the beginning of November, clustering by the thousands in the boughs of fir trees. Although the same trip occurs every year, no individual butterfly makes it twice, as the butterfly’s life span is too short. How the migration route lives on in the butterflies’ collective memory is an enduring scientific mystery. Researchers note that to compensate for the continued loss of habitat, refuges of milkweed must be set up to provide a source of […]

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09
Jun

Scientist Warns of Ecological Effects Associated with Lawn Care Pesticide Runoff

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2014) A recent talk given by Donald Weston, PhD, a professor emeritus in UC Berkeley’s Department of Integrative Biology, to a community group in San Jose, California warned residents about the dangers that  lawn care insecticides present to  local aquatic life. The talk focused on the problems synthetic pyrethroids and fipronil can have on Hyalella azteca and Chironomus dilutes. Increasing levels of pesticide runoff in local stream systems have not only led to decreased populations of these aquatic crustaceans, but also populations that have become resistant to pesticides. Aquatic invertebrates are extremely sensitive to pesticide runoff and different states around the country have struggled with creating pesticide regulations that foster a healthy aquatic ecosystem. A good way to reduce pesticide runoff is to transition away from toxic land care methods and adopt organic practices. Hyalella crustaceans, a tiny shrimp-like animal, are hypersensitive to pyrethroids, which are a class of insecticides used by professional lawn care companies and found in common products like Raid and mixed with fertilizer products like Scotts Turf Builder under the name SummerGuard. Chironomus dilutes, a red worm-like invertebrate, is sensitive to fipronil, which is used to kill fleas on dogs and cats […]

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06
Jun

EPA Agrees to Greater Protection of Salmon from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2014) On June 4,  after a two year dispute between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a coalition of conservation organizations and fishing groups, an agreement  was finally reached to set reasonable no-spray buffer zones to protect salmon from five harmful insecticides: diazinon, chlorpyrifos, malathion, carbaryl, and methomyl. These buffer zones protect salmon habitat by stopping aerial spraying of pesticides within 300 feet, and ground based spraying within 60 feet of salmon supporting waters. According to the agreement, it also provides detailed notifications to state regulators, pesticide applicators, farmers and the public about the mandatory no-spray buffer zones. These stipulations will remain in place until the National Marine Fisheries Service has completed their analysis of the impacts of those five pesticides.  Then, once the analysis is completed, EPA will execute permanent protections based on their findings. EPA is required by law under the Endangered Species Act to protect what little salmon are left on the Pacific Coast. Salmon are a  critical indicator of how well we are maintaining both marine and terrestrial ecosystems, because their habitats are in streams, lakes, rivers, estuaries and the ocean. The fish  are extremely sensitive to changes in water quality, and […]

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03
Jun

EPA Rule on Treated Seeds Challenged, Activists Tell Lowe’s to Stop Selling Neonics

(Beyond Pesticides, June 3, 2014) In a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Center for Food Safety (CFS) challenged EPA’s position that seeds coated with pesticides, commonly neonicotinoid pesticides, are exempt from regulation  under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). EPA currently is arguing that pesticide-coated seeds are treated articles, exempting them from being regulated as a pesticide and should be regulated by USDA under the Federal Seed Act.   However, CFS argues in its letter that FIFRA precludes EPA from approving language at any stage of the pesticide’s supply chain that allows for exposures likely to adversely affect the environment, and which are not mitigated or investigated by EPA or state agencies. Neonicotinod seed treatments have become increasing common and are linked to the explosion of genetically engineered (GE) crops. At least 94% of the nation’s 92 million acres of corn –greater than the total size of the state of Minnesota, Nebraska, or both Dakotas–  will be treated with one of two neonicotinoids, both manufactured by Bayer. According the letter, CFS believes this inaction by EPA has led state regulators to avoid investigating bee deaths from exposure to dust […]

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27
May

Got Invasive Plants? Goats to the Rescue, Eating Unwanted Vegetation Yet Again!

(Beyond Pesticides, May 27, 2014) Bridgehampton’s Vineyard Field on Long Island, NY is joining the ever expanding movement of communities that are enlisting goats to help manage their land without the use of harmful herbicides. The Friends of Long Pond Greenbelt hired goats to manage the 40-acre field, which stretches from Ligonee Creek in Sagg Harbor to Sagg Pond in Sagaponack. With complaints from residents of overcrowding weeds on hiking trails, but not wanting to resort to using toxic herbicides, which harm sensitive species that live in the preserve, the volunteers looked to goats on May 17 as an answer. Goats are a great tool for managing invasive plants, because they add fertilizer and aerate the soil while they eat and physically remove the unwanted vegetation, creating healthier soil conditions. The Long Pond volunteers have come together to help pay for fencing, assist in its installation, and monitor the goats. The town board authorized the work and agreed to pay up to $3,500 for the project. Rhinebeck farmers  Annlilita Larry Cihanek, who have 65 goats, rent out half a dozen of their Nubian dairy goats. In Bridgehampton, the goats will be fenced in on a few acres of the field […]

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11
Apr

Connecticut Senate Moves Forward on GE Grass Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2014) Connecticut State Senate bill no.443, an act that bans the sale of genetically engineered (GE) grass seeds, passed the state Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 25-11. The bill shows Connecticut legislators are taking seriously the risks that increased pesticide use in residential areas pose to the health of the states residents, especially children, and pets. The bill will ban the sale, use, and marketing of lawn or turf seeds that are genetically engineered to be resistant to pesticides. The GE grass seed that is being developed by Monsanto and Scotts is currently not available in consumer markets and is being tested by Scotts employees in their front yards. The bill may face stronger challenges from Connecticut’s House as it is unclear if the House speaker, J. Brendan Sharkey, D-Hamden, will call for a vote on the bill before the session ends May 7. One of the major concerns  the bill addresses  is that allowing GE grass seeds for consumer use would lead to dramatic increases in residential pesticide use. “So you will spread this pesticide all across your lawn, back and forth, on your lawn,” said Sen. Edward Meyer, D-Guilford, as quoted in […]

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08
Apr

See You at “Advancing Sustainable Communities,” National Pesticide Forum, April 11-12, Portland, OR!

(Beyond Pesticides, April 8, 2014) With less than a week until the 2014 National Pesticide Forum, please take a moment to consider three reasons why you should attend this exciting and important event: 1. Learn from Leading Scientists and Experts: Many of the conference speakers are top leading experts in their fields, and you just aren’t exposed to these kinds of people every day. While you’re at the Forum you’ll have the opportunity to listen to them speak and interact with them during panel sessions: Longtime leader and visionary in sustainable organic agriculture, Fred Kirschenmann. Center for Food Safety’s leading environmental attorney George Kimbrell on genetic engineering and pollinators; Pierre Mineau, PhD, world-renowned environmental toxicologist; Cutting edge scientist on transgenerational effects of pesticide exposure, Michael Skinner, PhD; Mace Vaughan, Pollinator Program Director for The Xerces Society; and so much more. These highlighted speakers do not diminish the importance of all the incredible speakers on the program, from lawyers, scientists, town officials, and activists, to the Beyond Pesticides’ board of directors. Check out the full program for more information. 2. Engage with Organic Land Management Practitioners: The Forum presents a unique opportunity to learn and discuss ways to tackle turf, landscape, […]

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05
Mar

Community Passes Resolution Banning Neonicotinoids

(Beyond Pesticides, March 5, 2014) The City of Eugene, Oregon became the first community in the nation to specifically ban from city property the use of  neonicotinoid pesticides, which have scientifically linked to the decline of honey bee colonies.  The passage of the resolution came just one week after the Oregon state legislature passed a pollinator protection  bill that removed language requiring the restriction of neonicotinoid pesticides, and includes instead a weaker requirement to set up a task force that will examine the possibility of future restrictions. In addition to neonicotinoid restrictions, the City’s resolution also expands Eugene’s pesticide-free parks program and now requires all departments to adopt integrated pest management (IPM) standards. The Eugene City Council action was taken unanimously on February 26 with the passage of  Council Resolution,   “Enhancing Current Integrated Pest Management in Parks,”  Resolution 5101. The resolution also includes clear goals on children’s health,  expands the current Parks and Open Space Division’s  Pesticide-Free Parks program from 10 to potentially 40 parks, and requires IPM on all city property. The resolution notes that “children and infants may be especially sensitive to health risks posed by pesticides for several reasons: (a) their internal organs are still developing […]

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03
Mar

Register Today! Advancing Sustainable Communities: People, pollinators and practices

(Beyond Pesticides, March 3, 2014) Advancing Sustainable Communities: People, pollinators and practices, the 32nd National Pesticide Forum, will be held April 11-12, 2014 at Portland State University, in Portland, OR. This years’ forum will focus on solutions to the decline of pollinators and other beneficials; strengthening the organic food production system; regulating and right-to-know genetically engineered food; improving farmworker protection and agricultural justice; and creating healthy buildings, schools and homes. Join top scientists, local and national activists and grassroots organizers to strategize on solutions that protect health and the environment. For more information and to register, go to www.beyondpesticides.org/forum. In addition to the program, people,  science, sharing and strategizing, you won’t want to miss the  food! Organic food and beverages will be served for breakfast, lunch and dinner Saturday, and we will have organic hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine for receptions on Friday and Saturday night. Speaker highlights include: Longtime leader in sustainable and organic agriculture, Fred Kirschenmann; “Maverick” Scientist Michael Skinner, Ph.D., author of the landmark study that links exposure to DDT with multi-generational effects, ultimately contributing to obesity three generations down the line; Goat herder Lani Malmberg, who uses her heard of over 2,000 goats to manage invasive […]

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20
Feb

Town Asks MA Supreme Court to Affirm Right to Stop Private Pesticide Use in Sensitive Pond

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2014) The town of Chilmark located on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts is not backing down from its decision to challenge property owners and the local conservation commission’s attempts to introduce a toxic herbicide directly into the waters of the only enclosed, great pond of the well-known, destination island. While one might assume that the litigation centers around whether or not the herbicide proposed for use in the local water source poses as a danger, this issue is only a sideline debate. Instead, the central dispute highlights one of the greatest challenges facing local governments surrounding pesticide control and a locality’s authority to protect both its citizens and its local environment from the hazards that these chemicals bestow: preemption. Preemption is the ability of one level of government to override laws of a lower level. While local governments once had the ability to restrict the use of pesticides on all land within their jurisdictions, pressure from the chemical industry led many states to pass legislation that prohibits municipalities from adopting local pesticide ordinances affecting the use of pesticides on private property that are more restrictive than state policy. Unfortunately, Massachusetts is one of the many states that has […]

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04
Feb

Do Something Sweet for Honey Bees This Valentine’s Day!

(Beyond Pesticides, February 4, 2014) No strawberries, no honey — without bees Valentine’s Day just wouldn’t be the same. In fact, one out of three bites of food depend on honey bee pollination, but they are in danger from the use of neonicotinoid pesticides that Europe has already banned. We know bees can’t wait any longer for increased protections, so we need to take a stand wherever we can. That’s why we’re asking you to join thousands of people coast-to-coast to swarm Home Depot and Lowe’s stores the week of Valentine’s Day (February 10-16). We’ll be delivering valentines, asking these stores to “show bees some love” and stop selling bee-killing pesticides and garden plants poisoned with these harmful chemicals. Planting season is right around the corner. We can’t let another year pass with Home Depot and Lowe’s selling “poisoned plants” with no warning to consumers. Last year U.S. beekeepers reported a 30-100 percent loss of their hives, and right now they are likely facing another winter of historic bee die-offs. You can help BEE Protective of pollinators during another tough winter season by delivering a Valentine to retailers. We’ve made it easy: Sign up here and we’ll send you a […]

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21
Nov

Synthetic Nitrogen Fertilizer Leaches from Soils to Groundwater over Decades

(Beyond Pesticides, November 21, 2013) Scientists in France and at the University of Calgary say that nitrogen fertilizer applied to crops lingers in the soil and for decades leaches toward groundwater —much longer than previously thought. The study was led by researcher Mathieu Sebilo, Ph.D. at the Université Pierre et Marie Currie in Paris, France, and by Bernhard Mayer, Ph.D. in the U of C’s Department of Geoscience, and included several research organizations in France. The study, Long-term fate of nitrate fertilizer in agricultural soils, was published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences in the U.S. in October. The study shows that the loss of synthetic nitrogen (N) fertilizer in groundwater occurs at low rates over many decades, which means it could take years to reduce nitrate contamination in groundwater, including in aquifers that supply drinking water. The researchers recommend that as a result of the “legacies of past applications of synthetic fertilizers in agricultural systems,” mitigation or restoration measures must take into account this delay. In fact, the scientists found that three decades after application of isotopically labeled fertilizer N to agricultural soils in 1982 12—15% of the fertilizer-derived N is still residing in the soil […]

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