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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'California' Category


04
Dec

Draft California Plant Pest Management Plan Threatens Health, Nature, and Organics

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2014) Earlier this fall, in a state known for its environmental and public health-focused policy and forward thinking, the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) released its draft Statewide Plant Pest Prevention and Management Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR), which  has been widely criticized by environmentalists. While PEIR  has been characterized by state officials as  providing an “overarching framework for efficient and proactive implementation of Statewide Program activities,” the proposed plant pest prevention strategy takes several steps backwards, giving CDFA authority to spray toxic pesticides anywhere in California, at any time into the indefinite future, with little to no recourse for those affected.  Critics say that the new framework could have been a tremendous opportunity to chart a course toward sustainable, ecologically, and scientifically, sound pest management policy. Under California law, CDFA is required to prevent the introduction and spread of injurious insect or animal pests, plant diseases, and noxious weeds. According to CDFA, to carry out this function, the agency must “provide an up-to-date, transparent, and comprehensive evaluation of CDFA’s activities,” and comply with the environmental impact analysis requirements under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The statewide program developed the draft PEIR. While […]

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13
Nov

California Strawberry Production Thrives as Regulators Allow Elevated Hazards

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2014) In an investigative report, Dark Side of the Strawberry, Center for Investigative Reporting provides a sordid story and analysis of  the rise of one of California’s most prized crops, strawberries, while state  regulators  ignored public health and environmental risks associated with the pesticides used in their production. The report focuses on a pesticide called 1,3-Dichloropropene (1,3-D), a restricted use soil  fumigant used to kill nematodes, insects, and weeds, that has strong links to cancer and other serious health issues. The use of the chemical in the production of strawberries came into prominence with the forced reduction of another fumigant, methyl bromide. As the report chronicles, besides the many other issues associated with methyl bromide, scientists began to become concerned sometime in 1970s that escaped methyl bromide gas had serious effects on the ozone and was blamed for between 5 and 10 percent of ozone depletion. With the signing of Montreal Protocol in 1987, a treaty that President Reagan signed on behalf of the U.S., methyl bromide became the only pesticide to be banned by treaty, a ban meant to be in full effect by 2005. While the European Union and other industrialized nations followed through […]

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21
Oct

Threatened Status Proposed for West Coast Fisher after Poisonings with Rodenticides

(Beyond Pesticides, October 21, 2014) Due in large part to the use of rodenticides in the cultivation of illegal marijuana grow operations, earlier this month the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced a proposal to list fishers, medium sized carnivores of the weasel family, as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Fishers are the second species in the West that have been recognized by regulators as adversely affected  by illegal marijuana grow operations. Coho salmon have also been affected as a result of pesticide and fertilizer use, water withdrawals, and clear-cut logging that have silted, dried up, and polluted streams where the salmon run. Fishers, which are found throughout North America and have been part of the forests in Pacific states for thousands of years, have all but virtually disappeared in much of Washington, Oregon and California, according to FWS. Illegal marijuana grow operations have been a troubling source of wildlife deaths as growers often use “industrial-sized quantities of poison in forests to fend off rodents,” says Humboldt County District Supervisor Rex Bohn. A study published in PLOS One in 2012 found that 79% of fishers surrounding an illegal marijuana grow operation had been exposed to anticoagulant rodenticides. Fishers […]

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02
Oct

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

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

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25
Aug

California Passes Bill That Mandates Response to Bee Crisis, but Delays Action until 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2014) In a blow to the adoption of urgently needed protections for pollinators, the California State Senate voted 35-1, after an earlier Assembly vote of 75-0,  to delay a requirement for action on bee-harming neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides until 2020. While advocates want mandates for  regulatory action to protect bees, the timeline in the bill ignores that ongoing crisis faced by bees, beekeepers, and agriculture dependent on bee pollination.  Assembly Bill 1789 provides the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CalDPR) another four years to reevaluate neonicotinoid pesticides, and an additional two years to implement any measures that would be needed to protect pollinator health. Given that CalDPR began its reevaluation of neonics in 2009, and existing law would have required a complete reevaluation within two years, the legislature’s new 2020 timeline has been met with strong criticism from beekeepers and environmental groups. The passage of AB 1789 sets the CalDPR on a track similar to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) timeline for neonic review. This timeline is widely seen as an unacceptable response to the pollinator crisis, given unsustainable declines of greater than 30% of managed honey bee colonies each year, and widespread adverse impacts on […]

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29
Jul

Pesticides Linked to Drug-Resistant Fungal Infections in Humans

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2014) A recent rise in drug resistant human pathogenic fungi may be fueled by the use of fungicides (pesticides that kill fungi) on agricultural fields, according to research led by Manchester University in the United Kingdom. Aspergillus, the genus of common soil-dwelling fungi analyzed by researchers, include an incredibly diverse group of mold species. Although some provide important commercial uses (such as in the production of citric acid, for instance), many species are pathogenic in humans, and can result in life-threatening lung infections. The rise of cross-resistant fungi is a serious concern for sensitive individuals with weakened immune systems, such as transplant patients, asthmatics, and those with leukemia. In the study, Occurrence of azole-resistant species of Aspergillus in the UK environment, UK scientists collected hundreds of samples across the country. Although no resistant strains were found in inner city locations, 1.7% of samples from rural agricultural areas had markers for drug resistance. However, previous research conducted in India in 2012 found resistant isolates in a number of urban and agricultural sites, including the soil beneath cotton trees and rice paddy fields, but also in air samples from hospital wards and even in the soil from flower […]

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08
Jul

Late Breaking News: Groups Challenge California’s Approval of Bee-Killing Pesticides

State rubber stamps expanded usage before determining effects on crop pollinators (Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2014) Today, environmental and food safety groups challenged California’s illegal practice of approving new agricultural uses for neonicotinoid pesticides despite mounting evidence that the pesticides are devastating honeybees. Pesticide Action Network, Center for Food Safety, and Beyond Pesticides, represented by Earthjustice, filed the legal challenge in the California Superior Court for the County of Alameda, urging the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to stop approving neonicotinoid pesticides pending its completion of a comprehensive scientific review of impacts to honeybees.   DPR began its scientific review in early 2009 after it received evidence that neonicotinoids are killing bees, but five years later, DPR has yet to take meaningful action to protect bees. Meanwhile, DPR has continued to allow increased use of neonicotinoids in California.   Today’s lawsuit challenges DPR’s June 13, 2014 decision to expand the use of two powerful neonicotinoid insecticides — sold under the trademarks Venom Insecticide and Dinotefuran 20SG — despite the agency’s still-pending review of impacts to pollinators.   The case underscores these larger problems with the DPR’s unwillingness to comply with laws enacted to ensure that pesticides do not threaten […]

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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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