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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Pesticide Regulation' Category


06
Jul

Glyphosate Extended for 18 Months in Europe – With Restrictions

(Beyond Pesticides, July 6, 2016) Unable to come to a formal decision on glyphosate, the European Commission has issued a limited license extension for  glyphosate,  the pesticide in Monsanto’s flagship product Roundup. The decision also comes with some restrictions, including obligations for member states to minimize use on playgrounds, and a ban on formulations with the ingredient POEA. The  18-month interim license will allow glyphosate-containing products to remain on the market until the European Chemicals Agency rules  on glyphosate’s safety, an action  due by the end of 2017. According to the European Commission, “Despite repeated efforts from the Commission to address concerns expressed about the re-approval of glyphosate, Member States were not prepared to take responsibility for a decision  as no qualified majority was reached”¦” Debate has been raging in Europe about the continued use of glyphosate in light of the 2015 classification by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.” However, confusion peaked when a few short months later the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published its report finding that glyphosate is  “unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans.” However, EFSA’s report is  limited in that […]

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23
Jun

Millions of Dead Bees and Over 4 Million Signatures Presented to EPA to Protect Pollinators from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2016) A truck full of dead bees made its final stop yesterday at a rally outside the headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), culminating a coast-to-coast tour to raise awareness about recent massive declines in pollinators. While the millions of dead bees stayed on the truck, advocates and beekeepers, including Beyond Pesticides, delivered over 4 million signatures urging an immediate ban on bee-killing pesticides. “In the five years since I started keeping bees, I’ve seen many hives killed by pesticides,” said James Cook, a Minnesota-based beekeeper who has been driving the truck across the country since last Monday. “If some fundamental things don’t change, it’s going to be really hard for beekeepers to adapt to the environment around us.” Bees pollinate most of the world’s most common crops, including summer favorites like peaches and watermelon. But over 40 percent of U.S. honeybee hives die each year, costing the farming and beekeeping industry more than $2 billion annually. The most significant culprit in the bee die-off is the widely-used class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, or neonics. Last spring EPA began a process to assess four types of neonics and their impacts on pollinators. In January […]

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21
Jun

Europe Releases Weakened Criteria for Regulating Endocrine Disruptors

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2016) New regulations issued by the European Commission (EU) last week to regulate endocrine disruptors in pesticide products are being criticized by public interest groups and scientists as undermining the precautionary legal standard governing pesticide use in Europe. Previous  investigations and reports  have uncovered  industry’s attempt to quash efforts to enact robust protections from these harmful chemicals, despite their likely contribution to billions of dollars in lost revenue due to health effects. EC’s new rules endorse the World Health Organization’s definition of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC). The WHO defines an endocrine disruptor as “an exogenous substance or mixture that alters function(s) of the endocrine system and consequently causes adverse health effects in an intact organism, or its progeny, or (sub)populations,” However, the proposed regulations go little beyond defining the term. “The WHO definition is not a criteria, it is just a definition,” said Andreas Kortenkamp, PhD to The Guardian. “In effect, the commission has decided to place the burden of deciding how to regulate endocrine-disrupting chemicals onto the assessors on a case-by-case basis.” Of concern is the level to which the rules reflect a hazard or risk-based criteria. While EC asserts that its rules will follow […]

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17
Jun

Report Details Industry Efforts to Derail Pollinator Protections

(Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2016) The pesticide industry has weakened and delayed pesticide reforms and is shaping new state pollinator “protection” plans nationwide that do little to protect bees, according to a new Friends of the Earth report.  The report is being released in advance of  Pollinator Week (June 20-26, 2016), as people assemble to ask for improved protection for pollinators. The investigation, Buzz Kill: How the Pesticide Industry is Clipping the Wings of Bee Protection Efforts Across the U.S., reveals an array of pesticide industry tactics to slow urgently needed pollinator protection measures at federal and state levels. The report details how new state pollinator protection plans, many still unfinished, have been heavily influenced by pesticide industry interests. According to the report, industry is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying to delay state and federal action on the chemicals they manufacture. As a result, state pollinator protection plans across the U.S. are falling short in several ways, including: State pollinator protection plans currently provide more protections for pesticides and pesticide users than for bee keepers and bee colonies. Pesticide industry influence is pervasive throughout states’ legislative and regulatory planning efforts. Plans lack metrics to measure effectiveness, improvement […]

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15
Jun

Report Compiles Over 400 Carcinogens Found in People’s Bodies

(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2016) A new report released yesterday by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found that up to 420 known or likely carcinogens have been measured in a diverse array of populations, and that exposure to these carcinogens is not limited to on-the-job contact with industrial chemicals, including pesticides. According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 1.7 million new cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2016. While some of these cases may be due to genetic makeup, others may be caused by substances in the air, soil, food and other materials in our environment. Through a review of scientific literature and publicly available biomonitoring studies, EWG compiled a comprehensive inventory of known or likely carcinogens that have been measured in people. According to the EWG report, data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey, or NHANES, conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, confirms that many of these carcinogens are in the bodies of Americans not at risk of occupational exposure — indeed, at any given time some people may harbor dozens or hundreds of cancer-causing chemicals. Over half of the people tested had levels of arsenic and acrylamide in their […]

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10
Jun

Glyphosate Approval in EU Up in the Air

(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2016) A proposal for a temporary ‘technical extension’ of the EU approval of the herbicide glyphosate failed to secure the support of a majority of EU governments at a meeting of the EU standing committee on plants, animals, food and feed on Monday. This action may force the withdrawal of the herbicide, widely sold as Monsanto’s Roundup, from shelves if no decision is reached by the end of the month, when its license expires. After a proposal to renew the license for glyphosate for up to 15 years failed to win support in two meetings earlier this year, the EU executive offered a limited 12 to 18 month extension to allow time for further scientific study. Yet, despite this compromise, the proposal failed to win the support of member states representing at least 65% of the EU’s population, which is needed for adoption, an EU official told The Guardian. Seven member states abstained from Monday’s vote, 20 backed the proposal and one voted against, a German environment ministry spokeswoman said. According to the news source, Germany was among those that abstained from Monday’s vote. Of note is that Bayer, the German chemical company, recently offered to […]

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09
Jun

Congress Passes Toxic Chemical Reforms, but Limits More Protective State Laws

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2016) The U.S. Congress passed a bill Tuesday to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, the national law that regulates industrial chemicals, but in the process took away the right of state governments to adopt more stringent standards than the federal government. A Senate voice vote late Tuesday passed the bill, following a House vote in late May. The bill will now go to President Obama’s desk for signature or veto, but it is likely that he will sign it into law. Congress has taken steps to address the vast shortcomings of the law to protect human health and safety, and  in the process has created opportunities for serious delays and restrictions on states’ ability to enact their own toxic chemical regulations.  As the bill heads to President Obama, environmental advocates are concerned that they will lose an important tool in the fight for public protections —with the adoption of federal legislation that will  diminish the right of states and communities to establish protective laws, regulations, and standards in the face of involuntary toxic chemical exposure. Under  current TSCA law, around 64,000 chemicals are not subject to environmental testing or regulation by the […]

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08
Jun

Public Comment Needed to End Atrazine Use after EPA Confirms Threat to Wildlife

(Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2016) With years of data documenting the harmful impacts of the herbicide atrazine on aquatic organisms and other wildlife, a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assessment now concludes that this widely used chemical poses risks to fish, amphibians, aquatic invertebrates, and even birds, reptiles and mammals. Atrazine is a potent endocrine disruptor with strong associations with birth defects, sex reversal and hermaphroditism in organisms, and whose risk to environmental and human health is exacerbated by pervasive surface, ground and drinking water contamination. Last week, EPA released its triazine ecological risk assessments for atrazine and its chemical cousins simazine, and propazine. The assessments evaluated risks to animals and plants including, amphibians, birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, aquatic invertebrates, aquatic plant communities, and terrestrial plants.  EPA is currently in the registration review process for these chemicals. For atrazine, EPA concludes, “aquatic plant communities are impacted in many areas where atrazine use is heaviest, and there is potential chronic risks to fish, amphibians, and aquatic invertebrate in these same locations. In the terrestrial environment, there are risk concerns for mammals, birds, reptiles, plants and plant communities across the country for many of the atrazine uses.” Levels of concerns were […]

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06
Jun

EPA Judge Rejects Bayer’s Challenge to Keep Flubendiamide on Market after Agency Pulls Conditional Registration

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2016) Bayer CropScience’s appeal of the cancellation of their toxic pesticide flubendiamide by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was rejected by EPA’s Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Susan Biro on Thursday, June 1. Judge Biro dismissed the complaints, saying that the agency was acting within its authority when it pulled its approval for the pesticide earlier this year after the two manufacturers, Bayer CropScience and Nichino America, failed to meet the terms laid out in a 2008 conditional registration. A startling number of pesticides, nearly 65% of the more than 16,000 pesticides now on the market, were first approved by the process of “conditional registration,” a loophole in which EPA allows new pesticides on the market without the full range of legally mandated toxicity tests for a full registration. Meanwhile, the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency finalized its  decision to discontinue granting new conditional registrations, also on June 1. In 2008, EPA granted Bayer a “conditional” registration for flubendiamide, a classification that allows a new pesticide to be registered and used in the field, despite outstanding data points on its toxicological impact. In this case, original data submitted to EPA by Bayer showed concern over […]

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03
Jun

Public Comment Needed on EPA’s Plans To Allow Bee-Toxic Sulfoxaflor despite Elevated Bee Losses

(Beyond Pesticides, June 3, 2016) Despite recent reports of continuing bee losses across the U.S., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced plans to reevaluate the use of the bee-toxic insecticide sulfoxaflor, and is proposing an amended registration. Sulfoxaflor’s initial 2013 registration was challenged by beekeepers and subsequently vacated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals due to overwhelming risks to bees and EPA’s inadequate review of the data. Last September, the  Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unequivocally rejected  EPA’s registration of sulfoxaflor. The Court concluded that EPA violated federal law when it approved sulfoxaflor without reliable studies regarding the impact that the insecticide may  have on honey bee colonies. The Court vacated EPA’s unconditional registration of the chemical, meaning that sulfoxaflor could no longer be used in the U.S. This decision was in response to a suit filed by beekeepers challenging EPA’s initial registration of sulfoxaflor, which cited the insecticide’s threat to bees and beekeeping. The case:  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) According to the court decision, EPA skirted its own regulations […]

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01
Jun

Study Finds Honey Bees Frequently Collect Contaminated Pollen from Non-Crop Plants

(Beyond Pesticides, June 1, 2016) A study  by researchers at Purdue University has concluded  that honey bees collect most of their pollen from non-crop plants that are frequently contaminated with agricultural and urban pesticides. The researchers found this to be true even in places where croplands dominate the area.  The study, which detected neonicotinoids, pyrethroids, fungicides, and others, highlights the large number of toxic pesticides to which bees are exposed to in the environment. Researchers collected pollen from Indiana honey bee hives at three sites over 16 weeks. The hives were placed in a variety of settings, such as an open meadow with wildflowers, woody shrubs and trees present (non-agricultural), the border of a corn field that was treated with the neonicotinoid clothianidin and three fungicides, and the border of a non-treated corn field. The pollen samples that were collected by the bees represented up to 30 plant families and contained residues from pesticides spanning nine chemical classes. The researchers found 29 pesticides in pollen from the meadow site, 29 pesticides in pollen from the treated cornfield, and 31 pesticides in pollen from the untreated cornfield. The most common chemical products found in pollen from each site were fungicides and […]

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31
May

TSCA Revisions Threaten State Power to Regulate Toxics

(Beyond Pesticides May 31, 2016) Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a revised version of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), marking the first time since 1976 Congress has taken steps to address the vast shortcomings of the law to protect human health and safety. Their revisions miss the mark, however, as the changes create the potential for new hurdles, delays, and restrictions on states’ ability to enact their own toxic chemical regulations. This is a dangerous development, expecially given the bipartisan recognition and acknowledgement of the need for TSCA reform. As the bill heads to the Senate, environmental advocates who believe in the preservation of state and local power to regulate toxics more stringently than the federal government must act to prevent its passage. Public health advocates and environmentalists have argued for decades that the  1976 Toxic Substances Control Act  is outdated and riddled with gaps that leave Americans exposed to harmful chemicals. Under current law, around 64,000 chemicals are not subject to environmental testing or regulation. In absence of federal reform over the past 40 years, many states, including Washington, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Minnesota, New York and Vermont, have stepped up to fill the void, taking […]

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26
May

Maryland Residents Asked to Urge Governor to Sign Pollinator Protection Act, Under Threat of Veto this Week

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2015) Maryland’s historic Pollinator Protection Act, (SB 198 and HB 211) may be in danger. Last month, lawmakers approved the bill by a 98-39 vote in the Maryland House of Delegates, however it faces the possibility of a veto by Governor Larry Hogan (R). While the governor’s office says that the bill is currently under review, according to local news source WBAL, the governor is prepared to veto the bill, which he has until tomorrow, Friday, May 27, to do. If the governor does veto the bill, Maryland’s Pollinator Protection Act will go back to the legislature for an override vote, which will take place in early 2017. Meanwhile, beekeepers continue to lose their bees at unprecedented rates. Last week, we reported results of 2015-16 Colony Loss Survey, which show no sign that the crisis of abating. According to the survey, beekeepers lost 28.1% of their colonies over this past winter, and a total of 44% of their colonies over the last year. This marks the second year in a row that summer declines (28.1%) were on par with declines experienced during winter. WBAL reports that the governor is likely to veto the bill because of […]

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18
May

The Controversy Heats Up on the Cancer Causing Properties of Roundup

(Beyond Pesticides, May 18, 2016) The controversy continues on glyphosate’s (Roundup) cancer causing properties, as some question the influence of the chemical industry and Monsanto, Roundup’s manufacturer, on newly announced  findings, according to The Guardian.  A joint review by the United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO) on  glyphosate, released this week,  seems to contradict earlier findings (at least based on food exposure) of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (the preeminent scientific body on carcinogenesis in the world), which classified Roundup as a “probable human carcinogen.” The Guardian disclosed, “Professor Alan Boobis, who chaired the UN’s joint FAO/WHO meeting on glyphosate, also works as the vice-president of the International Life Science Institute (ILSI) Europe. The co-chair of the sessions was Professor Angelo Moretto, a board member of ILSI’s Health and Environmental Services Institute, and of its Risk21 steering group too, which Boobis also co-chairs.  In 2012, the ILSI group took a $500,000 donation from Monsanto and a $528,500 donation from the industry group Croplife International, which represents  Monsanto, Dow, Syngenta and others, according to documents obtained by the US right to know campaign. Boobis was not able to comment on the issue, and ILSI’s office in Washington […]

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17
May

A Decade into the Pollinator Crisis, Unsustainable Bee Losses Continue

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2016) It was 10 years ago that commercial beekeepers first reported widespread, unsustainable winter losses of their honey bee colonies. A decade after the alarm was first sounded on pollinator declines, results of 2015-16 Colony Loss Survey show no sign the crisis of abating. According to the Bee Informed Partnership survey, beekeepers lost 28.1% of their colonies over this past winter, and a total of 44% of their colonies over the last year. This marks the second year in a row that summer declines (28.1%) were on par with declines experienced during winter. Beekeepers factor in that a small percentage, <15% of their colonies, will be lost each winter, but do not expect to lose colonies during the summer, when there is amble forage and nectar for bees. The costs beekeepers must incur to keep their hives alive continue to increase. More time and money is spent to maintain their hives, yet losses continue to be staggering ”” and unsustainable. As colony collapse disorder (CCD), the cryptic loss of honey bee colonies with no sign of dead bees in or around the hive, has faded from public discussion, concerns over pollinator declines in general, from bees […]

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10
May

EPA Finds Atrazine Threatens Ecological Health

(Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2016) Following an apparent accidental release of documents relating to the safety of the herbicide glyphosate, late last month the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also released and then retracted a preliminary ecological risk assessment of another toxic herbicide, atrazine. Under federal law, every pesticide registered in the United States is required to undergo a 15-year registration review to analyze human health and environmental impacts and determine whether the chemical’s use should continue another 15 years. The last decade and a half have seen plethora of studies underscoring that atrazine is harmful to human health, and poses unreasonable adverse risks to ecological health, despite attempts by its major manufacturer, Syngenta, to silence and discredit its critics. EPA’s preliminary ecological risk assessment finds that for current uses at prescribed label rates, atrazine may pose a chronic risk to fish, amphibians, and aquatic vertebrate animals. Where use is heavy, the agency indicates that chronic exposure through built-up concentrations in waterways is likely to adversely impact aquatic plant communities.  Levels of concern, a wonky equation that EPA produces to measure risk, were exceeded for birds by 22x, fish by 62x, and mammals by 198x. Even reduced label rates were […]

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06
May

EPA Releases then Pulls Its Report that Disputes Cancer Finding for Glyphosate (Roundup)

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2016) Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a long  awaited review of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, concluding that the chemical is not likely to be carcinogenic to humans —then the agency removed the review from its website. After  pulling the report, the agency stated that the document was not final. In March 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released its findings that show  glyphosate to be a probable human carcinogen. The 86-page report was published Friday on  regulations.gov by EPA’s cancer assessment review committee (CARC) and was reviewed  by Reuters. While the report finds  that glyphosate is  not likely to be carcinogenic to humans, EPA told Reuters that it took the action it did because the assessment was not final. According to Reuters, “The agency said the documents were ”˜preliminary’ and that they were published ”˜inadvertently.’” But, a cover memo, which was part of the assessment, described the report as CARC’s final cancer assessment document. “Final” was printed on each page of the report, which was dated October 1, 2015. This only furthers speculation that EPA has concluded that it will  renew glyphosate’s registration. The European Union […]

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05
May

500,000 Petitioners Demand EPA End Glyphosate Use

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2016) Yesterday, a large coalition of national organizations delivered over 500,000 petitions to EPA that demands an end to glyphosate use in the U.S. The groups held a rally outside the White House before marching over to EPA headquarters. The event, organized by Moms Across America and Care2, was also joined by Beyond Pesticides, Organic Consumers Association, Friends of the Earth, SumOfUs, and CREDO Action. Glyphosate  is a pervasive and toxic chemical found in Monsanto’s popular Roundup weedkiller and was classified by the  International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)  as a probable human carcinogen in 2015. This comes the week after news reports of the European Union indicating it  will re-approve glyphosate’s registration in the EU,  despite fierce public outcry, for another 10 years. Because EPA has not changed its classification of glyphosate as “not likely to be a carcinogen,” it is expected that  EPA will renew the registration  of glyphosate. (The report concluding that glyphosate is not likely  to be carcinogenic to humans was posted online  by EPA on Friday,  but taken down  the following Monday, pending the agency’s completion of its reevaluation.) “The current science confirms that glyphosate and Roundup are anything but […]

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04
May

Organic Consumers Association Sues to Keep Synthetics Out of Organic Infant Formula

(Beyond Pesticides May 3, 2016) Last week, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) filed lawsuits against two popular infant formula makers for falsely labeling their products as organic. The claims against both The Honest Co. and Hain Celestial Group allege that their products contain ingredients that are prohibited under the Organic Food Production Act (OFPA) of 1990 as well as non-organic and non-agricultural ingredients. The lawsuit against The Honest Company alleges the product contains 11 synthetic ingredients that are not allowed by federal law in organic products, including sodium selenite and taurine. In the court documents, OCA also claims that some of the ingredients have not been “assessed as safe for human foods — much less for infant formulas.” “No one is more concerned about food labels and ingredients than new mothers responsible for feeding infants whose immune systems and brain development are so underdeveloped and vulnerable. As consumers, these mothers must rely on truthful labeling in order to make the best choices for feeding their infants and toddlers. Our job as a consumer advocacy group is to call out and hold accountable companies like The Honest Co. and Hain Celestial when they knowingly and intentionally mislead consumers,” said OCA International […]

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27
Apr

Europe Bans Two Endocrine Disrupting Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2016) The  European Union (EU)  has placed a moratorium on two endocrine-disrupting herbicides that are linked to thyroid cancer, infertility, reproductive problems and fetal malformations. The chemicals, amitrole and isoproturon, will be banned as of September 30, 2016, after the European Commission voted unanimously, for the first time, to ban the two endocrine disruptors. Earlier this month, the European Commission’s Standing Committee on Phytopharmaceuticals voted to ban the uses of amitrole and isoproturon in accordance with 2009-EU pesticide rules,  which state that endocrine disrupting pesticides should not be allowed on the European market. The committee finds that amitrole is capable of causing malformations in offspring and inducing thyroid cancer, while isoproturon can cause adverse effects to reproduction and lower fertility. In 2013 amitrole was voluntarily cancelled by the registrant, while isoproturon is not registered for use in the U.S. According to the Guardian, amitrole is widely used in 10 EU countries, including the UK, in industrial farming. But  a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) analysis concluded  that it was an endocrine disruptor that could damage unborn children, and have toxic effects on the thyroid and reproductive organs. Similarly, EFSA recommended classifying  isoproturon as toxic for reproduction […]

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20
Apr

GAO Finds USDA Regulation of Genetically Engineered Crops Deficient

(Beyond Pesticides April 20, 2016) A recently released study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) assesses the actions of three government agencies responsible for regulating genetically engineered (GE) crops, finding several shortcomings in the process. The report, which was commissioned by U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), is entitled Genetically Engineered Crops:  USDA Needs to Enhance Oversight and better Understand Impacts of Unintended Mixing with Other Crops. The report finds that while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have taken some steps to regulate GE crops, USDA’s failure to update its regulations that oversee GE crops has created a large data gap on the extent and impact of the unintended mixing of GE and non-GE crops. To address this, GAO recommends, among other things, that USDA set a timeline for updating its regulations and include farmer’s growing identity-preserved crops in its survey efforts to better understand the impacts of unintended mixing. The issue of coexistence between farmers using genetically engineered (GE) crops and non-GE farmers is as important as ever. GE crops pose a constant threat to the livelihood of organic farmers and undermine the burgeoning growth of the organic […]

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17
Mar

Senate Blocks Vote on Bill To Stop GE Labeling

(Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2016)  Yesterday,  the U.S. Senate  voted to block a vote  on a food labeling bill that would eliminate consumers’ right to know whether genetically engineered (GE) ingredients are in the food they purchase. Senate Amendment  3450,  National Voluntary Bioengineered Food Labeling Standard, proposed by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), failed to garner the  60 votes necessary for cloture, which would have ended the debate and allowed a vote on the bill. The  vote of 48-49 effectively killed the Senate bill. The amendment is the Senate version of H.R. 1599, Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, sponsored by  Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS).  Opponents have dubbed the legislation the Deny Americans the Right to Know Act (DARK Act). The bill passed the House in July, 2015 on  a  vote of 275-150. In addition to  preempting the ability of all  states to impose mandatory labeling standards, the bill imposes a weak voluntary federal scheme in its place. Backed largely by House Republicans, the DARK Act makes it harder for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require mandatory national labeling of products containing GE ingredients, and safeguard current policies that allow companies to voluntarily decide whether to label foods containing […]

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15
Mar

GAO Report Finds USDA, EPA Not Doing Enough to Protect Pollinators

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2016) Executive agencies are falling short in their efforts to protect honey bees and other wild pollinators from catastrophic declines, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). GAO, an investigative agency that works on behalf of the U.S. Congress, was tasked by the Senate to evaluate the progress the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have made in their actions to address the multiple threats contributing to declining managed and wild pollinators. Since 2006, U.S. beekeepers have experienced unsustainable colony die-offs, averaging over 30% each year. Concurrent declines in wild and native pollinators are also occurring, though data on the magnitude of these losses have not undergone comprehensive scientific evaluation. While a range of factors, from habitat loss, to climate change, diseases, viruses, and parasites are all contributing to these declines, independent science has identified that pesticides, specifically a new class of systemic insecticides called neonicotinoids, are the major drivers of the crisis for both managed and wild bees. In fact, some studies show that the widespread exposure to neonicotinoids increases bees’ vulnerability to diseases, viruses, and mites. The GAO report recommends a number of action items […]

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