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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Litigation' Category


06
Nov

NY State Senator Calls For Statewide Triclosan Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, November 6, 2015) New York State Senator Tim Kennedy (D-NY) has called for a statewide ban on triclosan, one of the most prevalent antibacterial compounds found in common household products. Minnesota is the only state to have passed a triclosan  ban. If passed, the New York Bill (Bill S6070) would prohibit the sale of cleaning products containing triclosan, triclocarban, or derivatives of similar antibacterial compounds, and mark a clear victory for human health and safety interests within the state. Triclosan has been used for over 30 years in the U.S., mostly in a medical setting, but more recently in consumer products. Beyond Pesticides has generated extensive documentation  of the potential human and environmental health effects of triclosan and its cousin triclocarban, called on manufacturers to stop using triclosan in its products and retailers to stop carrying these products, and previously petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the cancellation of registered products that contain the antibacterial pesticide. In May 2015, EPA issued its long-awaited response to the Citizen Petition filed by Beyond Pesticides and Food & Water Watch, denying the request. When introduced to the market in 1972, triclosan was confined to hospital and health care settings. Since […]

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04
Nov

California Study Links Glyphosate Use and Environmental Injustice

(Beyond Pesticides November 4, 2015) On Monday, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Environmental Health, El Quinto Sol de America, Californians for Pesticide Reform, the Center for Food Safety and the Pesticide Action Network released a report with findings that that more than half of the commercial glyphosate sprayed in California is applied in the state’s eight most impoverished counties. Glyphosate is a phosphanoglycine herbicide that inhibits an enzyme essential to plant growth.  Commonly known as Roundup, glyphosate is classified as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for the Research of Cancer (IARC), based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals, and is currently under review to receive a similar designation from the state under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). The report,  Lost in the Mist:  How Glyphosate Use Disproportionately Threatens California’s Most Impoverished Counties, found that 54 percent of glyphosate spraying in California is applied in eight counties, many of which are located in the southern part of the Central Valley. The analysis finds that the populations in these counties are predominantly Hispanic or Latino, indicating that glyphosate use in California is distributed unequally along […]

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03
Nov

EPA Takes Long-Awaited Action to Eliminate Neurotoxic Chlorpyrifos in Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, November 3, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to revoke all food tolerances for the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos (also known as Dursban), a neurotoxic pesticide produced by Dow AgroSciences that poses particular risks to children and farmworkers. If EPA’s rule is finalized, chlorpyrifos would be effectively eliminated from use in agriculture 15 years after consumer uses were discontinued. However, other non-food uses, including golf courses, turf, green house and mosquito control are not affected by this decision and will remain. EPA’s proposed rule came on the day of a court-ordered deadline from the U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the Ninth Circuit, M. Margaret McKeown. In August of this year, Judge McKeown ordered EPA to respond to a petition filed by Pesticide Action Network North America and the Natural Resources Defense Council nearly nine years ago. The lawsuit called on the agency to ban all uses of the insecticide in light of scientific evidence and public comments ignored by the agency after its cumulative risk assessment for organophosphate insecticides. In 2012, EPA imposed “no-spray” buffer zones around public spaces, including recreational areas, schools, and homes to reduce bystander exposure risks. Earlier this year, the agency […]

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30
Oct

Inspector General Finds EPA Pesticide Petition Process Plagued by Delays

(Beyond Pesticides, October 30, 2015) The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Program (OPP) needs policies and procedures to manage pesticide petitions in a transparent and efficient manner, according to new report  that  highlights inadequacies in the way the agency responds to petitioners. The report, published by EPA’s Office of Inspector General, an independent office within EPA that investigates agency compliance with laws governing its programs, concludes that the lack of transparency and efficiency “leaves petitioners unaware of petition status, which can result in unreasonable delay lawsuits costing the agency time and resources.” While the public has the right to submit pesticide petitions to EPA and the agency is required to respond to these petitions “within a reasonable time,” there are no set requirements for what constitutes a specific time frame. However, petitioners can file a lawsuit claiming unreasonable delay if the petitioner finds that EPA has not responded within what the petitioner considers a reasonable amount of time. Of the 40 public petitions received by OPP from Fiscal Year 2005 through 2014, nearly a quarter of them are  associated with unreasonable delay lawsuits. The specific issues contributing to these delays involve: Petition documentation not being readily accessible; Some […]

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29
Oct

USDA Scientist Punished for Neonic Study Files Complaint

(Beyond Pesticides, October 29, 2015) One of the top entomologists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) filed a whistleblower complaint against a  federal agency, citing unprofessional retaliation following the publication of a study linking neonicotinoid insecticides to the decline of monarch butterflies. Jonathan Lundgren, Ph.D., Senior Research Entomologist and Lab Supervisor for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in South Dakota, is fighting suspension for publishing research deemed “sensitive” by his USDA superiors. According to Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which is providing legal services to Dr. Lundgren, this case underscores why legal protections for government scientists are sorely needed. Until recently, Dr. Lundgren worked for USDA for eleven years with great success, and his cutting edge research has drawn national attention and international recognition. In April of this year, Dr. Lundgren published a study in The Science of Nature that shows that clothianidin, a neonicotinoid seed treatment, kills monarch butterfly larvae in the laboratory. On August 3, 2015, USDA imposed a 14-day suspension against Dr. Lundgren for submitting the Science of Nature study and for a paperwork error in his travel authorization for his invited presentation about his research to a panel of […]

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28
Oct

Lawsuit Seeks to Stop Use of Bee-Toxic Pesticide Sulfoxaflor in EU

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2015) On the heels of a recent federal court decision that rejected the U.S. registration of sulfoxaflor, which cited inadequate and flawed review of the science on the chemical’s toxicity to bees, European beekeepers filed complaint that that asks the European Court of Justice to take the same action. The complaint  asks the court to cancel sulfoxaflor’s authorization. Sulfoxaflor is a neonicotinoid-like chemical that, like neonicotinoids, is highly toxic to bees. Three of the most widely used neonicotinoids are currently under a two-year European-wide moratorium which began December 2013, due to concerns about risks to bee populations. European beekeepers, Bee Life European Beekeeping Coordination, the Italian National Beekeeping Union (UNAAPI), and PAN Europe, filed the complaint which cites a published  negative opinion on Dow AgroScience’s sulfoxaflor by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). According to EFSA, the pesticide is categorized as ”˜highly toxic to bees’ and it identified crucial toxicity data gaps, which according to the beekeepers, makes a proper risk assessment for bees impossible. Despite these facts, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG Sante) and the EU member states authorized sulfoxaflor in July 2015, completely bypassing the pesticide regulation, the complaint […]

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27
Oct

Lawsuit Challenges EPA on Toxic Herbicide Cocktail for GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2015) Late Friday,  a coalition of public health, conservation and food safety groups filed their opening brief in the ongoing legal challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of the herbicide Enlist Duo for use on genetically engineered corn and soybeans. Enlist Duo, a blend of glyphosate and 2,4-D, was approved on October 15 for use on genetically engineered (GE) crops, despite concerns for human and environmental contamination. The challenge was originally brought in November 2014, shortly after the EPA approved the controversial herbicide for 6 Midwest states. Since then, EPA has expanded its approval to a total of 15 states, with more expected. Counsel from the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Earthjustice are jointly representing Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, CFS, the Environmental Working Group, the National Family Farm Coalition, and Pesticide Action Network North America. “The Enlist Duo approval violated the laws protecting our communities, land, and farms,” said George Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety senior attorney, counsel in the case. “Regulators bowed to the chemical industry, but we are committed to holding them accountable.” The groups argue that in its approval of Enlist Duo, a combination of the herbicides […]

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19
Oct

Monsanto Faces Lawsuits on Cancer Linked to Roundup

(Beyond Pesticides, October 19, 2015) Monsanto, the major producer of Roundup (glyphosate), has found itself in hot water recently, as personal injury lawsuits pile up over the link between glyphosate exposure and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL). Personal injury law firms around the U.S. have found a multitude of plaintiffs and are preparing for what could be a “mass tort” action against Monsanto for knowingly misinforming the public and farmworkers about the dangers of the chemical. The latest lawsuit was filed October 14 in Delaware Superior Court by three law firms representing three plaintiffs. One plaintiff in the Delaware lawsuit, Joselin Barrera, 24, a child of migrant farmworkers, relates  her non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) to glyphosate exposure. Elias de la Garza, a former migrant farm worker and landscaper diagnosed with NHL, has a similar claim. These follow other lawsuits filed last month in New York and California that  accuse Monsanto of knowing that glyphosate was hazardous to human health. Monsanto “led a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup was safe,” the lawsuit states. Glyphosate is touted as a “low toxicity” chemical and “safer” than other chemicals by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry […]

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08
Oct

Colorado Consumers Sue Over Illegal Pesticides in Marijuana

(Beyond Pesticides October 8, 2015) Colorado’s largest pot grower, LivWell Inc., was sued over illegal pesticide use in a law suit filed Monday in Denver District Court. Two marijuana users, one of whom suffers from a brain tumor and holds a medical card to use the product, allege that the grower used a potentially dangerous pesticide in the production of marijuana they later purchased. The suit asks for an undisclosed amount of damages and also claims that an implied promise to consumers was breached when LivWell sold high-grade and medical-grade marijuana treated with unapproved pesticides to consumers. The main pesticide at issue in this case is myclobutanil  or Eagle 20, which is the same product that led to tens thousands of plants being  quarantined last spring after testing positive for the  fungicide during a routine inspection by the Denver Department of Environmental Health. Growers claim that without the fungicide their plants are endangered. The 40-page lawsuit claims that myclobutanil, when heated, breaks down to “poisonous hydrogen cyanide” and alleges that consumers who smoke marijuana treated with Eagle 20 ingest the gas.” While neither plaintiff alleges they were sickened from ingesting the marijuana they purchased at LivWell, both claim they would […]

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24
Sep

Bayer Fined $5.6 Million for 2008 Factory Explosion

(Beyond Pesticides, September 24, 2015) Seven years after an explosion that killed two factory workers in Institute, West Virginia, Bayer CropScience is facing federal fines. Bayer is the manufacturer of neonicotinoid pesticides that are linked to severe decline in pollinator populations. On Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $5.6 million settlement with Bayer to resolve the 2008 violation of federal chemical  accident prevention laws. As a result, Bayer must commit to spending $4.23 million to improve emergency preparedness and institute response  measures to protect the Kanawha River, pay a $975,000 penalty, and spend approximately $452,000 to implement a series of reforms to improve safety at chemical storage facilities across the United States. On August 28, 2008, a pesticide waste tank exploded inside the Bayer plant, instantly killing one worker and sending another to the hospital where he would eventually die. Although Bayer officials assure the public that the explosion was secure and released no chemicals, residents living near the plant complained of air pollution exposure and related illnesses. The tank contained waste products from thiodicarb, including methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), hexane, methomyl, and dimethyl disulfide, all of which are acutely toxic […]

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14
Sep

Court Rejects USDA Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit on Organic Rule Change

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2015) On Thursday September 10, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in a bench ruling, rejected the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA)  motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit (Case3:15-cv-01690) that challenges the National Organic Program’s (NOP) failure to follow proper legal procedures  in making a substantial rule change to the organic standard. This court ruling allows the case to move forward  on the  proper procedure and the importance of formal notice and public comment regarding  the rules for organic food production. The lawsuit, filed earlier this year by the Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, and the Center for Food Safety (CFS), challenges the contaminated compost guidance  released by USDA, which weakens the long- standing prohibition of synthetic pesticide contaminants. Prior to the new contaminated compost guidance, organic regulations expressly prohibited fertilizers and compost from containing any synthetic substances not included on organic’s National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. Plaintiffs allege that the USDA’s decision weakens the integrity of organic food production, not only by creating inconsistent organic production standards but also by undermining the essential public participation function of organic policy making under the Administrative Procedure […]

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11
Sep

Federal Court Overturns EPA Approval of New Bee-Killing Insecticide Sulfoxaflor

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2015) On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unequivocally rejected the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) unconditional registration of the systemic and bee-toxic pesticide sulfoxaflor. The Court concluded that EPA violated federal law and its own regulations when it approved sulfoxaflor without reliable studies regarding the impact that the insecticide would have on honey bee colonies. The Court vacated EPA’s unconditional registration of the chemical, meaning that sulfoxaflor may no longer be used in the U.S. However, while the decision is good news for now, it still leaves the door open for sulfoxaflor’s future use once EPA obtains the necessary information regarding impacts to honey bees and re-approves the insecticide in accordance with law. The case is Pollinator Stewardship Council, American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Bee Advisory Board, American Beekeeping Federation, Thomas Smith, Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson v. U.S. EPA (9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals,  No. 13-7234). Dow AgroSciences (a Dow Chemical company)  joined  the case as an intervenor to support EPA. EPA initially proposed to conditionally register sulfoxaflor and requested additional studies to address gaps in the data regarding the pesticide’s effects on bees. A few months later, however, EPA unconditionally registered […]

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10
Sep

California to List Glyphosate (Roundup) as Cancer-Causing

(Beyond Pesticides, September 10, 2015) Last week, California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced that it intended to list glyphosate (Roundup) and three other chemicals as cancer-causing chemicals under California’s  Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Glyphosate  is a phosphanoglycine herbicide that inhibits an enzyme essential to plant growth. Under California law, Proposition 65 requires that certain substances identified by the International View postAgency for Research on Cancer (IARC) be listed as known cancer-causing chemicals. In March, a study by the IARC classified glyphosate as a Group 2A material, which means that the chemical is carcinogenic based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. The agency considered the findings from an EPA Scientific Advisory Panel report, along with several recent studies in making its conclusion. However, industry supporters of glyphosate all over the globe are conducting their own studies to attempt to prove that it is not a carcinogen. These studies, like one by German Federal Institute for Risk Assessments (BfR), are based almost solely on industry science and classified industry reports, each of which might not consider critical variables. With more glyphosate-focused studies being released, the growing evidence […]

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13
Aug

Court Ordered Deadline Mandates EPA Action on Toxic Insecticide Dursban

(Beyond Pesticides, August 13, 2015) On Monday, a federal appeals court judge mandated that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) respond to a petition filed nearly nine years ago that seeks  to force the agency to restrict  the dangerous insecticide  chlorpyrifos (an organophosphate also known as Dursban). U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the Ninth Circuit, M. Margaret McKeown,  delivered her opinion on August 10, stating that federal agencies should never practice the “venerable tradition” of putting off statutory requirements  when it comes to human health. The court issued the opinion and order in a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice on behalf of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and gives EPA until October 31 to finally respond to the petition requesting to ban chlorpyrifos. EPA took a tentative step towards further regulating chlorpyrifos in a July 2015 announcement to ban remaining agricultural uses by April 2016 date. Unhappy with the uncertainty that EPA delivered, the court felt that a mandated deadline would expedite the process. On June 8, 2000, EPA administrator Carol Browner announced a voluntary agreement between the agency and industry leaders, including Dow AgroSciences, to ban all home and garden uses of Dursban, which […]

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12
Aug

Town of Plattsburgh, NY Tackles Pesticides and GMOs in Non-Binding Resolution

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12 2015) Last week, the City of Plattsburgh, New York, unanimously approved a policy that encourages city departments and city residents to reduce and eventually eliminate their use of toxic pesticides, such as neonicotinoids and glyphosate. In the same resolution, city residents and department heads are also encouraged to refrain from genetically modified organism (GMO) cultivation, though they recognize there is very little of that taking place within Plattsburgh city limits. While this policy can only be used to discourage the use of pesticides and GMOs, not implement an outright ban, due to preemptive New York state law that occupies the field of pesticide regulation, city officials are hopeful that they will be able to use their influence to implore the state of New York and U.S. legislators to take statewide and nationwide measures on the production of GMO crops and to curb the use of toxic pesticides. The language of the resolution, sponsored by Councilman Mike Kelly, cites the health of honey bees and other insects as one of the main reasons for encouraging citizens to refrain from the use of pesticides in the practice of lawn care and beautification. It also specifically names neonicotinoids as […]

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04
Aug

Bee and Bird-Toxic Pesticides Found in Food Served at Congressional Dining Hall

(Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2015) Nearly every food available for purchase at the U.S. Congressional Dining Hall contains detectable levels of neonicotinoids (neonics), chemical insecticides implicated in the global decline of wild and managed pollinators. The results of a new study, performed by the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, reveals how reliance on these toxic chemicals can both directly and indirectly affect  our food supply. Authors of the study hope the results will build Congressional support for the Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2015, which would suspend the use of neonics while an independent review analyzes the chemical’s effects to birds, pollinators, and other wildlife. Researchers for the study conducted two rounds of food testing, the first in January, and the second in May 2015. Approximately half of samples were taken from the House Longworth Cafeteria and half from Senate Dirksen Cafeteria in Washington, D.C. In total, 66 food samples were tested for the presence of neonicotinoids. Of that, 60, or 91% of samples tested positive for one neonic, and 47, or 71% of samples had two or more neonics present. “We were surprised to find that most foods contained multiple neonicotinoids, […]

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30
Jul

USDA Allows Introduction of 2,4-D-Tolerant GE Cotton in Response to Roundup Resistance

(Beyond Pesticides, July 30, 2015) Despite concerns for human and environmental contamination, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) adds 2,4-D-tolerant cotton, a genetically engineered (GE) crop, to the list of unregulated GE crops, joining 2,4-D resistant corn and soybeans. Last week, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) division of USDA released its decision on Dow AgroSciences’ petition to deregulate the 2,4-D resistant GE cotton. The decision was signed off by Michael J. Firko, the Deputy Administrator of Biotechnology Regulatory Services. In September of last year, Deputy Firko also signed the determination paperwork that deregulated GE corn and soybean. The deregulation essentially releases the GE organism from the regulatory requirements of 7 CFR part 340 or the plant pest provisions of the Plant Protection Act. Dow’s GE cotton, part of the Enlist Weed Control System, is resistant to 2,4-D choline, glufosinate, and glyphosate. Growers in the cotton industry have been vying for the GE cotton to enter the market in order to combat herbicide-resistant weeds due to the broad scale use of Monsanto’s RoundUp (glyphosate), which continues to fail across the agricultural industry due to weed resistance. Glyphosate is a phosphanoglycine herbicide that inhibits an enzyme essential to plant […]

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29
Jul

Passage of the DARK Act Sheds Light on Next Steps for Opposition

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29 2015) The  Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015,  H.R. 1599, often referred to as the “DARK” Act or Denying Americans the Right to Know what is in their food, passed the U.S.  House of Representatives last week by a vote of 275-150. Backed largely by House Republicans, the DARK Act makes it harder for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require mandatory national labeling of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and strengthens current policies that allow companies to voluntarily label foods containing GE products, an option they rarely choose to do. The bill also continues to allow misleading “natural” claims for food that contain GE ingredients. Most concerning, however, is the prohibition  that H.R. 1599 would place  on states’ authority to require labeling of GE ingredients in food products, instituting federal  preemption of state and local authority. While the bill was being debated on the floor, co-sponsors Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) repeatedly cited a lack of scientific evidence that GEs were dangerous to support the passage of the bill, ignoring arguments from the opposition that people should be able to know what is in their food, regardless of whether it […]

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27
Jul

Legislative Proposal for Voluntary Action Fails to Protect Great Lakes from Toxic Runoff

(Beyond Pesticides, July 27, 2015) Two Michigan Representatives have introduced the Great Lakes Assurance Program Verification Act (HR 3120) in an effort to halt the pollution of the Great Lakes and other waterways by protecting them from agricultural run-off, which causes dangerous algae blooms ­. While the proposed legislation aims to reduce the effects of pesticides in water, the bill still allows the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers, and is only a voluntary measure, something that environmentalists says falls short. The bill is sponsored by Candice Miller (R-MI) and co-sponsored by Tim Walberg (R-MI). The bill aims to mimic the state program Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). Adopted in 1999, the MAEAP is a voluntary three-phase program that provides “on-farm verification to ensure the farmer has implemented environmentally sound practices.” This raises two concerns: lack of incentive for farmers to join the program and ambiguous language defining what environmentally sound means. The results of MAEAP are the driving force in the fight for federal Great Lakes legislation, but those numbers do not necessarily speak for themselves. A major goal of the MAEAP is the Farmstead System which, “focuses primarily on protecting surface and ground water” through the safe […]

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17
Jul

U.S. House May Prohibit States from Requiring Labeling of GE Ingredients

(Beyond Pesticides, July 17, 2015) The U.S. House of Representatives may pass a bill against the labeling of genetically-engineered (GE) food before the end of July. The House could vote as early as next week on a bill to preempt states from requiring labels on food made with GE ingredients. Backers say that the passage of the bill, HR 1599, named the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, but referred to by critics as the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act, seems assured, after speedy committee approval of the legislation. The Agriculture Committee, a quarter of whose members are cosponsors of the bill, approved an updated version on a voice vote during a session that ran less than 20 minutes. Only two members spoke against it. The legislation, reintroduced in March by Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), will maintain secrecy  about GE ingredients in food, and would block both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and individual states from requiring GE food labels, but allow voluntary labeling standards. The bill also has a provision that seeks to create a federal certification process for voluntary non-GE labels, now rendered moot by the U.S. Department […]

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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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09
Jul

Federal Judge Overturns Maui GE Crop Moratorium

(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2015) Last week, a federal judge ruled that a voter-passed ban on the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) crops in Maui is preempted by federal and state law, and is invalid. According to the SHAKA Movement legal counsel, the decision, at least temporarily, invalidates a local ordinance that sought to protect against serious harms caused by these practices, and ignores the harms to Maui county and the Hawaii Constitutional mandate placing obligations and duties on the counties to protect the natural environment. In addition to the SHAKA Movement, Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice have pledged to appeal the decision. “The District Court’s ruling is a big blow to Maui County voters that adopted this ordinance, given the dangers involved with GMO operations,” said  SHAKA spokesperson Mark Sheehan, PhD, who was also one of the five citizens who sponsored the ballot initiative. “We do intend to appeal this decision and are hopeful that the 9th Circuit will recognize the impact that today’s ruling has on the community.” In November 2014, Maui residents passed a ballot initiative prohibiting the growth, testing or cultivation of GE crops in Maui County until an environmental and public health study can […]

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02
Jul

Report Reveals Chemical Food Industry Tactics in Spinning Food Safety and Attacking Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, July 2, 2015) A report released this week by Friends of the Earth exposes the exorbitant amount of money food and agrochemical companies have spent over the past several years to defend industrial agriculture, sway public opinion, and influence elected officials. The report shines light on the both the tactics these companies use and the lengths to which they are willing to go to defuse public concern about the risks of chemical-intensive industrial agriculture and to undermine the reputation of organic food. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent from 2009-2013 on communication efforts to spin the media and drive consumer behavior, often using front groups that appear in the media to be independent sources, but are in fact funded by the interests of the industrial food sector. This report is an important link in shaping public conversation about food and influencing consumers to think twice about where the information they’re being fed is coming from, and who might be paying for it. When explaining the motivation behind writing the report, Anna Lappé, one of the co-authors and a national bestselling author and founder of the Real Food Media Project, states that, “The food industry is using a […]

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