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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'California' Category


26
Jun

Study Finds Majority of “Bee-Friendly” Plants Sold at Garden Stores Contaminated with Bee-Killing Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2014) Over half of the “bee-friendly” home garden plants sold at garden supply centers such as Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Walmart have been pre-treated with pesticides shown to harm and kill bees, according to a study released yesterday by Friends of the Earth, Beyond Pesticides and allies. The study, Gardeners Beware 2014, shows that 36 out of 71 (51 percent) of garden plant samples purchased at top garden retailers in 18 cities in the United States and Canada contain neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides — a key contributor to recent bee declines. Some of the flowers contained neonic levels high enough to kill bees outright and concentrations in the flowers’ pollen and nectar are assumed to be comparable. Further, 40% of the positive samples contained two or more neonics. Gardeners Beware 2014 is a larger follow up to a first-of-its-kind pilot study co-released by Friends of the Earth, Beyond Pesticides, and other groups last August. The new study expanded the number of samples and number of locations where plants were purchased, and also assessed the distribution of neonic pesticides between flowers and the rest of the plant. “Our data indicate that many plants sold in nurseries and garden […]

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24
Jun

Close Proximity to Pesticide-Treated Fields Increases Risk of Autism

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2014) Research from the University of California, Davis CHARGE (Childhood Autism Risks from Genetics and the Environment) study finds that pregnant women who lived within a mile of agricultural fields treated with insecticides are more likely to have their child develop autism. The results of the CHARGE study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, strengthens calls from public health and environmental groups urging regulators take a precautionary approach to agricultural chemicals and institute increased protections for those who live, work, or go to school near pesticide-treated fields. The CHARGE study looked at pregnant women’s addresses to determine their location relative to fields treated with pesticides. For women who lived less than one mile from crops sprayed with organophosphate insecticides during their pregnancy, researchers found the likelihood of their child being diagnosed with autism increased 60%. Women in the second trimester living near fields treated with chlorpyrifos, a widely used organophosphate insecticide banned for household use in 2001, are 3.3 times more likely to have their children diagnosed with autism. In response to a legal petition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2012 instituted risk mitigation measures for chlorpyrifos, including reduced application rates and no-spray buffer zones […]

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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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11
Jun

Vermont Prepared for Challenges to GE Labeling Law

(Beyond Pesticides, June 11, 2014) Vermont is currently gearing up to defend against possible litigation its groundbreaking law to label genetically engineered (GE) food ingredients. The law, which is the first of its kind in the nation, was specially written so that it created  the Food Fight Fund that allows individuals to donate to defend the law if it were to be challenged in court. The Vermont law and polling data  show that consumers strongly want to know what is going into their food and are willing to stand up to industries that do not want consumers to have this right. As of the first week of June, the  Food Fight Fund raised just over $15,000, with over $$9,000 of it coming from outside the state. Most of the donations come in small amounts of less than $50, which is indicative of the grassroots structure of the GE labeling movement. The fund will be the initial money used by the Vermont attorney general’s office if the state’s GE labeling law is challenged in court. Currently, the $15,000 is not  enough funds to cover legal fees to  defend this law. Lawsuits brought against the state, according to testimony by Assistant Attorney […]

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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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05
Jun

EPA’s Response on Pesticide Drift and Children’s Health Challenged

(Beyond Pesticides, June 5, 2014) Environmental advocacy groups filed an Administration Objection and a court appeal last week in order to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) refusal to quickly correct errors in pesticide registrations and immediately implement measures to protect children from exposure to dangerous pesticides that drift from fields during and after application. EPA’s continued refusal to protect children’s health from pesticide drift is being criticized by numerous environmental, health, and farmworker advocacy groups. The groups, which include  United Farmworkers, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste, Pesticide Action Network of North America, Sea Mar Community Health Centers, California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Farm Labor Organizing Committee, originally filed a petition back in 2009 titled “Pesticides in the Air””Kids at Risk: Petition to EPA to Protect Children from Pesticide Drift (2009).” The petition asked that the agency properly comply with an existing law that requires EPA to protect children’s health from exposure to pesticides that drift from fields and orchards. After a more than four-year wait and a court appeal, EPA finally provided a response last March. These groups object to EPA’s recent response to their 2009 petition on the basis of two issues, […]

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15
May

USDA Advances Biological Controls for Citrus Greening Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2014) Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced  that it is broadening the use of tiny parasitic wasps, Tamarixia Radiata, to combat the rampant problem  of Huanglongbing, also known as citrus greening disease, which has killed thousands of orange trees in Florida. The citrus industry is valued at $2 billion dollars. Citrus greening is an incurable disease that is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid. Symptoms of this disease include yellow shoots, uneven discolored patches, and deficiencies with chlorophyll production. Chlorophyll is the green pigment found within plants. It is extremely important for photosynthesis, which allows plants to absorb energy from the sun. The disease is usually found in warmer climates like Asia, India and the Saudi Arabian Peninsula; however, it made its way to Florida in 1998 and is now endangering California’s citrus industry. USDA has already committed to provide $1.5 million dollars to the T. radiata  breeding and release program in California, Texas, and Florida. Congress has also allocated more than $125 million dollars over the next five years to fund more research on containing the spread of the Asian citrus psyllid. Although the psyllids do not directly kill citrus trees, they […]

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07
May

Report Finds Numerous Schools Near Toxic Pesticide Fields

(Beyond Pesticides, May 7, 2014) A new report from the California Department of Public Health finds 36 percent of public schools in the state have pesticides of public health concern applied within a quarter mile of the school. Persistent and toxic pesticides like chlorpyrifos, methyl bromide, and malathion are among the pesticides found to be applied near schools. The report also finds that Latino children are also more likely to attend schools near areas with the highest use of pesticides of concern. The report, “Agricultural Pesticide Use near Public Schools In California,” released this month, looked at 2,511 schools in the 15 California counties with the highest overall use of farm pesticides in California for 2010, and finds that counties in the southern part of the Central Valley had the most schools near farms where pesticides were applied. Fresno County had the highest number of schools —131 — with pesticides applied nearby. Five percent of schools are within a quarter mile of where the highest volumes of pesticides are used: 2,635—28,979 pounds of active ingredient. Latino children are 46 percent more likely than white children to attend schools where pesticides of concern were applied nearby. The report’s findings are being […]

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25
Apr

Multiple Accounts of Honey Bee Death and Damage Continue

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2014) Reports of honey bee deaths have been emerging around the nation: from bee deaths in California’s almond groves and ”˜mysterious’ road-side bee deaths in Oregon, to astronomical overwintering losses in Ohio. The reports are intensifying the ecological crises of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) ””a phenomenon typified by the mass abandonment of hives and bee die-off. CCD poses significant issues for many agricultural crops, such as almonds, apples, cherries and blueberries, that are almost completely reliant on honey bees for their pollination services. In California, a total of 80,000 dead or damaged bee hives were reported after pollinating almond trees in the San Joaquin Valley, a region that is known for its agricultural productivity. Beekeepers have pointed to pesticides as the primary culprit. Almond pollination in California requires an army of 1,300 commercial beekeepers from around the nation. However, this year beekeepers have seen higher damages to hives than usual. Damage to the honey bee hives this spring has been so pronounced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) convened an impromptu meeting with beekeepers in Los Banos, California. The meeting brought together 75 beekeepers who testified that 75 percent of their hives showed severe damage […]

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18
Apr

Mountain Lion Poisoned as Rodenticides Move Up the Food Chain

(Beyond Pesticides, April 18, 2014) Test results have confirmed that the charismatic mountain lion named P-22 ””that frequently roams the hills of the San Gabriel Mountains surrounding Los Angeles, California”” has been exposed to highly toxic rat poisons. When remote cameras in Griffith Park caught images of the puma, state park officials saw a thin mangy cat, far different from the majestic shots taken months ago by National Geographic against the Hollywood sign as a backdrop. Upon performing blood testing analysis, they found that P-22 had been exposed to anticoagulant pesticides, stoking the debate around rodenticide use, as further research suggests that these pesticide poisonings are a common occurrence. Researchers already know of the link between pesticides and mange””parasitic mites which burrow into the skin or hair follicles causing bald spots, scabbing and sore, which left untreated has contributed to the death of wild and domestic animals. Previous research by the National Park Service (NPS) has shown that bobcats that have ingested rodenticide are much more likely to suffer from mange. While the cougar has been treated with topical ointments for mange, and a dose of vitamin  D with vitamin  K as an antidote to the rat poisons, it is […]

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02
Apr

d-CON Manufacturer Sues California to Stop Rat Poison Restrictions

(Beyond Pesticides, April 2, 2014) Just last week it was announced that California ruled to remove from store shelves several rodenticide products identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as unsafe for children and wildlife.   The maker of these products, Reckitt Benckiser, aggressive in  challenging regulators who want to restrict the company’s loose bait products,  is  suing  California to stop it from acting. The state’s new restriction on retail sales of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides, due to take effect July 1, 2014, seeks to protect wildlife and pets from accidental poisoning from rat poisons. Reckitt Benckiser is also embroiled in challenging EPA’s decision to remove these products from the national marketplace for failure to meet federal standards. The California’ Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) ruled last week that second generation anticoagulant rodenticides, including the chemicals brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, and difethialone, found in d-CON brand products, must be classified as California-restricted materials, and only allowed to be used by certified pesticide applicators. This follows EPA’s 2013 issuance of a Notice of Intent to Cancel the registrations of rodenticide products that do not meet the agency’s new mitigation measures to reduce poisonings to children and wildlife. However, manufacturer of d-CON, Reckitt […]

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25
Mar

California Bans Controversial d-CON Products as EPA Stalled by Manufacturer

(Beyond Pesticides, March 25, 2014) Highly toxic rodenticides linked to the poisoning of pets, wildlife and young children will no longer be allowed on store shelves in California starting July 1 of this year. According to rules adopted last week by California’ Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR), “second generation anticoagulant rodenticides,” including the chemicals brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, and difethialone found in d-CON brand products, will be classified as California-restricted materials, and only allowed to be used by certified pesticide applicators. Attempts by the U.S. Environmental Agency (EPA) to remove these products from store shelves nationwide stalled last year after the manufacturer of d-CON rodenticides, Reckitt Benckiser, sued the agency to delay implementation of the cancellation process. In July of 2011, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife requested CDPR restrict the use of anticoagulant rodenticides due to numerous incidents involving direct and indirect poisoning of wildlife. Anticoagulants impair blood clotting and eventually cause internal bleeding in target animals. However, rodents can feed on poisoned bait multiple times before death (some are even resistant to the chemicals now), and as a result their carcasses may contain residues that are many times the lethal dose. Poisoning can occur to nontarget species when […]

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18
Feb

Advocates Urge California Officials to “Show Bees Some Love”

(Beyond Pesticides, February 18, 2014) On Valentine’s Day, Beyond Pesticides, Pesticide Action Network, and Center for Food Safety, represented by Earthjustice, submitted detailed comments to state officials urging them to stop approving pesticides linked to bee declines. The groups also underscored larger problems with the Department of Pesticide Regulation’s inability to complete evaluations of pesticides after five years. “California officials are rushing to approve yet another systemic bee-harming pesticide before they fully understand the range of impacts,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides and one of the groups that also filed federal comments. “After five years of evaluation, state officials continue to rubber stamp new products that are known to harm bees,” said Paul Towers, Organizing & Media Director for Pesticide Action Network. “The problem is urgent and unless California officials take swift action, they put California’s food system and agricultural economy at risk.” A growing body of independent science links a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids (“neonics”) to bee declines, both alone and in combination with other factors like disease and malnutrition. Oregon officials determined the neonic dinotefuran was the cause of two massive bee kills in the state last year. In the letter submitted on Friday, […]

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04
Dec

Feds Moves to Dismiss Case Seeking to Protect Children from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2013) The U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion in federal court asking a judge to dismiss a lawsuit alleging that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has failed to uphold environmental justice protections under civil rights law. EPA previously found that Latino schools in California disproportionately suffer from exposure to pesticides due to spraying near their schools, but has yet to adequately remedy these risks, prompting parents to file a civil rights complaint. The schools are near crop fields where toxic fumigants are routinely sprayed and drift off agricultural fields to the nearby community. More than a decade after Latino parents first filed a civil rights complaint with EPA detailing the dangerous levels of pesticides at Latino public schools throughout California, parents on Aug. 23, 2013 filed a lawsuit against EPA to force the agency to protect the civil rights of hundreds of Latino children. The parent say that  ongoing pesticide monitoring set up by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) has not protected children from excessive exposure to pesticides.  The case argues that the Latino community did not receive due process and that EPA’s agreement with CDPR does not prevent schools from pesticide […]

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15
Oct

Ongoing Shutdown Creates Problems for Organic Community

(Beyond Pesticides, October 14, 2013) The ongoing government shutdown is having dramatic impacts on the organic agricultural community. On October 10, it was announced that the semiannual National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting, scheduled in Louisville the week of October 21, has been canceled. During the NOSB’s semiannual meetings the board makes recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture regarding materials on the National List of Allowed or Prohibited Substances in organic operations after considering input from the public. The meeting was to come on the heels of a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announcement that the agency had changed the process for exempting synthetic materials. The shutdown has also affected the Farm Bill process that organic advocates are hoping will, in the least, restore organic programs from the 2008 Farm Bill. The shutdown has also raised several food safety questions about whether government can handle a recent salmonella outbreak. The semiannual NOSB meeting, previously scheduled for the week of October 21, in Louisville, Kentucky, has been canceled.   An e-mail distributed October 1 by Miles McEvoy for the National Organic Program, stated the meeting would be canceled if a Congress did not reach an agreement on the budget by […]

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09
Oct

California Passes Bill to Tackle Pesticide Drift

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2013) California Governor Jerry Brown has signed Assembly Bill 304, a bill designed to protect people from harmful pesticides identified as Toxic Air Contaminants (TACs). The bill will require the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to develop mitigation measures for the use of harmful pesticides that vaporize and drift from application sites. California, a major user of pesticidefumigants, has tried to tackle to prevalence of pesticide drift in the state, and is one of few states that monitor air-borne pesticides. AB 304: “Pesticides: toxic air contaminant: control measures” introduced by Assembly member Das G. Williams (D-Santa Barbara), gives the DPR two years to reduce the effects of harmful air toxins once the department determines that additional mitigation measures are necessary. Fumigants are some of the most dangerous pesticides on the market and include the controversial methyl iodide. They are applied in large quantities, vaporize easily, drift away and expose nearby farmworkers and other community members to harm, with health effects linked to headaches, vomiting, severe lung irritation, and neurological effects. Some fumigants are linked to cancer, reduced fertility, birth defects and higher rates of miscarriage. “Californians have a right to breathe clean air, and not worry […]

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20
Sep

Study Finds Women Near Pesticide-Treated Fields Have Lower Weight Babies

(Beyond Pesticides, September 20, 2013) A study of women in Northern California farm towns finds that those living within three miles of strawberries fields treated with methyl bromide gave birth to smaller, lighter babies. Methyl bromides, a fumigant pesticide injected into soils to eliminate soil-borne pests, can volatize into the air exposing nearby neighborhoods. The U.S. and other developed countries have banned the use of methyl bromide under an international treaty that recognized the role of chemicals like methyl bromide to deplete the ozone layer. However, some farmers continue to use the fumigant on strawberries and other crops due to the “critical use exemption” (CUE) stipulation of the laws, which allows the chemical to continue to be used when there are no feasible alternatives. The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, examined the health of babies born to 442 pregnant women living in Salinas Valley, CA in 1999 and 2000, when methyl bromide was widely used.   Utilizing data from California’s Pesticide Use Reporting System, the study was able to identify residences that were within 5 kilometers of methyl bromide application. Researchers find that women exposed to the chemical during their second trimester have babies that are  four ounces lighter […]

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18
Sep

Is Long Banned DDT Still Threatening Endangered Birds?

(Beyond Pesticides, September 18, 2013) DDT, a pesticide banned in 1972, is behind the mystery surrounding the reproductive problems of dozens of endangered condors. This is according to a peer-reviewed paper written by 10 condor experts, including biologists from the Los Angeles and Santa Barbara zoos and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The researchers, who spent six years studying the reproductive problems, including eggshell thinning, in California condors have “established a strong link” to DDT in the birds’ food source. Condors are large scavenger birds with wingspans up to 10 feet and were reintroduced to California’s coast in 1997 after a century-long population decline. However, in 2006 biologists began observing thinning shells in many condor nests. Over the next six years, scientists observed condors feeding on dozens of sea lions, and found that in Big Sur, California, condor populations had low hatching success ”” just 20-40 percent. In contrast, 70-80 percent of southern California condors in the Tejon area had hatched successfully over the same time. The southern California condors are inland, and sea lions are not a food source. According to the study published in the journal, The Condor, the outer crystalline layer of shells was absent or […]

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06
Sep

Utility Contracts Weed Eating Goats to Prevent Wildfires in Northern California

(Beyond Pesticides, September 6, 2013) The utility for northern California, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), has enlisted the help of over 900 goats to clear weeds and dried brush on 100 acres of its property. The goats will be used to clear poison oak and brush that is considered a fire hazard. Goats are being used across the country as an effective least-toxic solution for weed management. The pilot project started this past August and will run through mid to late September. The project is overseen by Flying Mule Farm owner Dan Macon, who has been contracting goats for land clearance for close to 10 years. The goats for the project are coming from Macon’s farm as well as Star Creek Ranch, a goat and sheep operation in the Central Valley. Goats graze the area in fenced in 5-to 10-acre sections and have already proven to be incredibly effective by reducing one area with two foot high grass to less than an inch high in just 24 hours. The goats were brought in specifically to reduce dry flammable vegetation. “We don’t want fires being sparked and goats are the perfect opportunity,” said Lynne Tomachoff of the California Department of Forestry […]

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09
Aug

Biological Pest Controls Combat Citrus Disease after Pesticide Failure

(Beyond Pesticides August 9, 2013) Citrus growers in California are now turning to a natural solution after pesticides have been shown to be ineffective. Teams of invasive species experts have started releasing tamarixia radiate, a tiny parasitic wasp, to control the invasive Asian citrus psyllid population. Asian citrus psyllid can spread a disease which causes greening, devastating citrus production. This use of biological pest control demonstrates that the use of toxic chemicals is unnecessary as safer alternatives have already been proven effective. California’s citrus production is a $2 billion industry, which accounts for 80% of the U.S. fresh market produce and after Asian citrus psyllid was detected in southern California in 2010 growers have spent close to $15 million yearly to fight this pest. The psyllids were first discovered in Florida in 1998 and has since spread to all of its 32 citrus growing counties. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has quarantined nine states, including California and Florida. The quarantines prohibit interstate movement of citrus trees and require labeling of citrus nursery stocks from areas where greening has been detected. The psyllids cause greening by spreading a disease known as Huanglongbing (HLB) to citrus trees. A pysllid that […]

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07
Aug

State Finds Toxic Insecticide in Air Samples

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2013) California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has detected the highly toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos in nearly 30% of air tests that are being conducted in three high risk communities surrounded by intensive agriculture. This result is part of DPR’s  2012 results from its  air-monitoring network (AMN)  sampling near the towns of  Ripon, Salinas and Shafter, in Kern County.  The state has been running tests for air particles from methyl bromide and 32 other pesticides and breakdown products and measuring the results against screening levels established by DPR. No state or federal agency has set health standards for pesticides in air. While the state believes the levels found present an acceptable risk, critics maintain that the state’s sampling is not representative of peak agricultural exposures and question whether any level of a toxicant in air is reasonable under the law, given the viability of alternative agricultural practices that do not rely on these chemicals. DPR said no residues were detected in 94.5 percent of the samples it collected, and the levels in the rest were well below thresholds for protecting people from pesticide-related illnesses. The communities in the study were selected from a list of 226 communities […]

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30
Jul

Pesticides Contaminate Frogs in California National Parks

(Beyond Pesticides, July 30, 2013) A recent study published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry found levels of pesticide contamination from agricultural drift in Pacific Tree frogs in remote mountain areas including national parks. The study supports past research on the pesticide transport through atmospheric dust and rain. To conduct the study, researchers collected Pacific Chorus frogs, as well as water and sediment samples, from seven ponds ranging from Lassen Volcanic National Park at the northern most location of Central Valley to the Giant Sequoia National Monument. The samples were tested for 98 types of pesticides, traces of which were found in frog tissues from all sites. Two fungicides, pyraclostrobin and tebuconazole, and one herbicide, simazine, were the most frequently detected compound. This was the first time these compounds have ever been reported in wild frog tissues. According to the study, chemical concentrations are often higher in the frog tissue than the environment. This happens as frogs store up small exposures over time, allowing pesticides to bioaccumulate in their bodies. Exposure to pesticides can decrease frog’s immune system and increase their risk of disease. Continual pesticide exposure has led to dramatic declines in amphibian populations. Amphibians are considered the most threatened […]

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06
Jun

Wal-Mart to Pay $110M for Clean Water Act and Pesticide Violations

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2013) Last week Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. plead guilty in cases filed by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles and San Francisco to six counts of violating the Clean Water Act by illegally handling and disposing of hazardous materials at its retail stores across the United States, including pouring pesticides down the drain. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company also plead guilty in Kansas City, MO to violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by failing to properly handle pesticides that had been returned by customers at its stores across the country. As a result of the three criminal cases brought by the Justice Department,  and the  related civil case filed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Wal-Mart will pay approximately $81.6 million for its unlawful conduct. Coupled with previous actions brought by the states of California and Missouri for the same conduct, Wal-Mart will pay a combined total of more than $110 million to resolve cases alleging violations of federal and state environmental laws. According to the Kansas City Star, the company stated that the fines and penalties would “not be material to its financial position.” “By improperly handling hazardous waste, pesticides and other materials in […]

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