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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'California' Category


26
Apr

Report Describes Dangers Female Farmworkers Face in the U.S.

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2013) Female agricultural workers experience the same hardships as their male counterparts, but have additional responsibilities and danger at home and in the field, according to a report released by the Association of Farmworker Opportunity Programs (AFOP). While women make up only 22 percent of agricultural labor in the U.S., AFOP makes a strong argument that women face disproportionate burdens, while at the same time earning less for their labor: On average they earn  just over $11,000 per year compared to male agricultural workers who earn $16,000. Through hundreds of interviews and focus groups of female farmworkers in California and Florida, AFOP revealed some of the most dangerous  conditions associated with farm work, among the worst being pesticide exposure. Carmela, a farmworker from Florida, indicated in the AFOP report that, “More than anything else, we have problems with pesticides. Sometimes they put us to work right after they’ve sprayed the pesticides. And this is bad for us because when we go in the field and start working with the plants, it gets in our eyes. It makes your head hurt too.” According to the EPA’s “Pesticide Industry Sales and Usage: 2000 and 2001 Market Estimates,” female […]

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23
Apr

Report Finds an Increase in Pyrethriod Pesticides in California Waters

(Beyond Pesticides, April, 23, 2013) A report released by the Surface Water Ambient Montioring Program (SWAP) has found in California that “detection of pyrethroid pesticides in sediment increased from 55 percent of the statewide samples in 2008 to 85 percent in 2010.” The findings are among the results of the Stream Pollution Treads, or SPoT, monitoring program, an annual assessment of pollution in streams in California. The report also found that stream beds in urban areas have higher levels of pyrethroids that those in agricultural areas. The SWAP report summarizes results of the 2009 and 2010 annual surveys and compares those results to the 2008 SPoT data. Beyond the 30 percent increase of pyerthriods detected in sediment, the percentage of highly toxic samples increased from 6 percent to 67 percent when toxicity tests were conducted at a colder temperature that more closely matched the normal surface water temperature in average watersheds. These results, according to the report, “suggest that current monitoring may underestimate the occurrence of parathyroid-associated toxicity using the standard protocol.”   The report also acknowledges that some pyrethroids, such as bifenthrin, may persist longer than others, and the chronic impacts of these pesticides may be underestimated by some […]

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11
Apr

California Plan Falls Short of Reducing Soil Fumigants

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2013) A report released Tuesday by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) lays out an “Action Plan” to reduce farmer’s reliance on toxic soil fumigants. The plan was created by the Nonfumigant Strawberry Production Working Group, which was made up of scientists, growers, and other specialists. The working group was assembled in April 2012 because of the health and environmental concerns posed by the continued use of soil fumigants in strawberry production. The working group was asked to develop an action plan of research priorities for developing nonfumigant management strategies. However, even as the working group acknowledged the health and environmental risks posed by the continued use of fumigants, the plan remained conservative in its recommendations; it concluded that, “Even with full commitment to implement this action plan, the strawberry industry will need to continue its use of fumigants for years to remain viable in California,” even though growing strawberries organically without the use of fumigants has been shown to be effective. The working group was most concerned about the continued use of methyl bromide. Historically methyl bromide has been used as a fumigant to eliminate the threat of soil borne pests. Methyl bromide has […]

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28
Feb

Genetic Engineering Labeling Bill to be Introduced in U.S. Congress

(Beyond Pesticides, February 28, 2013) Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) announced last Wednesday that he intends to co-sponsor a bill in Congress along with Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) to mandate the labeling of food containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients in the U.S. Earlier this week, the Maryland House Health and Government Operations Committee held a public hearing on state House Bill 0903, which would set requirements for labeling and disclosure of genetically engineered ingredients in food.  Other state labeling efforts have been launched in California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Oregon, Missouri and Washington. More than 90 percent of Americans believe that foods with GE ingredients should be required to be labeled; however, Rep. Polis recognizes that it is still going to be tough to get enough votes to pass. Corporate opponents have spent tens of millions of dollars lobbying against GE labeling, and a bill introduced in the state of Colorado by Representative Jeanne Labuda (D-Denver) to label GE foods was stopped after just five hours of testimony. The House Health, Insurance and Environment Committee in Denver voted 7-2 against the bill just a day after Rep. Polis’ announcement. Despite testimony from concerned consumers, parents, and health advocates, the committee said the […]

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12
Feb

Vanishing Honey Bee Colonies May Impact California’s Almond Production

(Beyond Pesticides, February 12, 2013)   Is 2013 the year colony collapse disorder (CCD) begins impacting our food supply? According to the American Bee Journal, almond growers in California may not have access to the honey bee colonies necessary to pollinate this year’s crop. “We need 1.6 million colonies, or two colonies per acre, and California has only about 500,000 colonies that can be used for that purpose. We need to bring in a million more colonies but due to the winter losses, we may not have enough bees,” says Eric Mussen, PhD,  extension apiculturist at the University of California Davis (UC Davis) Department of Entomology. The problem, Dr. Mussen explains, is due to heavy losses this winter and less populous hives overall. Some beekeepers are reporting astonishing winter losses upwards of 90 percent, and in select cases complete colony loss. Honey production in 2012 was one of the worst years in the history of the United States, Dr. Mussen notes. Less honey means less food for overwintering bees, putting increased stress on colonies attempting to fight off the spread of CCD. CCD is the name given to the precipitous decline of honey bee populations around the world beginning in […]

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28
Nov

Methyl Iodide Uses To Formally End in the U.S.

(Beyond Pesticides, November 28, 2012) Earlier this year the maker of the fumigant methyl iodide indicated it would stop producing the toxic chemical. Now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the registrant, Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to formally terminate all agricultural use of methyl iodide in the U.S. by the end of 2012 and ultimately remove all methyl iodide products from the U.S. market. EPA is opening a 30-day comment period for Arysta’s request for voluntary cancellation of all of the company’s methyl iodide product registrations, as stipulated in the agreement. Methyl iodide, or iodomethane, has been registered since 2007 for use as a pre-plant soil fumigant to control pests in soil where fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, and turf are to be grown. In March 2012, Arysta, the sole registrant, announced its plans to immediately suspend all sales of its methyl iodide MIDAS ® products in the U.S. Under the recently signed agreement and the voluntary cancellation request, all of Arysta’s existing methyl iodide end-use product registrations will be cancelled and use of existing stocks in the U.S. will be prohibited effective December 31, 2012. Further distribution and sale of methyl […]

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09
Nov

Prop 37 Defeated at Polls, but Battle Against GE Food Remains Strong

(Beyond Pesticides, November 9, 2012) Proposition 37, the statewide proposition California voted on to label foods produced with genetically engineered (GE) ingredients, was narrowly defeated at the polls on Wednesday night by a margin of 6.2 percentage points, however uncounted votes may shift the results. Had it been approved, Californians would have required labels for raw or processed food with GE ingredients and it would have prohibited the labeling and advertising of foods using the misleading term “natural.” Though campaign organizers and most news outlets are announcing defeat, the fight is not over yet. Organizers of the “Yes on 37” campaign have begun to regroup, focusing on 4.2 million Californians that voted yes and building a grassroots movement with 10,000 volunteers. Their campaign’s optimism is highlighted by their campaign statement that was released yesterday online: Yesterday, we showed that there is a food movement in the United States, and it is strong, vibrant and too powerful to stop. We always knew we were the underdogs, and the underdogs nearly took the day. Dirty money and dirty tactics may have won this skirmish, but they will not win the war. If Prop 37 passed, California would have been the first state […]

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15
Oct

Corporate Assault Targets California Voters in Attempt to Stop GE Labeling Proposition

(Beyond Pesticides, October 15, 2012) California’s Proposition 37, which would require mandatory labeling on genetically engineered (GE) foods, is facing a strong challenge as tens of millions of conventional food industry dollars have poured into television advertisements before the November 6th election. Poll results released Thursday by the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy and the California Business Roundtable show that 48.3% of respondents would vote yes for the measure on Nov. 6, while 40.2% would vote no. Prop 37 was authored by James Wheaton, president of the Environmental Law Foundation. Earlier this year, the California Right to Know campaign gathered 971,126 petition signatures for Prop 37, nearly double the 555,236 signatures required to qualify for inclusion on the ballot. As it currently stands, over 40 countries around the world, including all of Europe, Japan, and China have the right to know whether they are eating GE food. While opponents of the initiative are attempting to mislead the public about the costs of the proposition, an economic assessment from Joanna M. Shepherd-Bailey, Ph.D. of Emory University School of Law reveals that the initiative would not result in any additional expense to the taxpayers of California; Prop 37 is self-enforced and […]

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05
Sep

California Court OKs Pesticide Plan for Light Brown Apple Moth

(Beyond Pesticides, September 5, 2012) A California court has removed aerial spraying from a controversial statewide plan to control the light brown apple moth. However, the court let stand the rest of the large-scale plan implemented by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), limiting its duration and requiring a review of the environmental effects if the state proposes to continue the Light Brown Apple Moth (LBAM) Program beyond 2017. While the state cannot use aerial spraying methods, the plan approved by the court permits the use of pesticides to control the moth. In a ruling released last week, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly referred to “the experimental nature of the LBAM Program,” observing, “There is no evidence that the Department has been able to identify with any certainty the effectiveness of particular strategies in containing, controlling, suppressing or eradicating LBAM.” The Judge also ruled that, without additional evaluation under California environmental laws, CDFA’s approval of the environmental document would “foreclose the Department from reinstating the aerial releases to the LBAM Plan.” The court rejected a broader claim by a coalition of health and environmental organizations, which challenged CDFA’s failure to disclose or accurately describe all the harms […]

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29
Aug

Debate Grows Over New Water Rules In California

(Beyond Pesticides, August 29, 2012) Months after a highly publicized report concluded farming is responsible for underground water contamination in Central Valley, California, the state is poised to approve new groundwater rules to monitor underground water and control discharges of contaminants, such as fertilizers and pesticides. The new regulations, which may involve drilling monitoring wells and testing water, is receiving fierce opposition from industry and farmers who object to paying for monitoring. The new rules that are scheduled for approval early next year will affect about 3,000 farms in Fresno, Tulare, Kings and Kern counties, covering more than 1.6 million acres of farmland. More than 400 farmers and agriculture industry leaders packed an informational meeting held by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board last week to air their concerns over a plan to protect the region’s groundwater from contamination. The seven-member board heard a day-long presentation by staff members on a draft of the rules to monitor groundwater and control discharges of contaminants such as fertilizers and pesticides. For farmers, that could involve drilling monitoring wells, testing water, hiring consultants and completing paperwork. Staff for the Central Valley Regional Quality Control Board last month based cost estimates on […]

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03
Aug

Pesticide Corporations Pushing Hard to Stop GE Labeling in California

(Beyond Pesticides, August 3, 2012) Pesticide manufactures don’t want you to know what’s in your food. According to filings released Tuesday through the office of California’s Secretary of State, chemical company lobby groups have so far spent $750,000 in efforts to block the passage of California’s Prop 37, which would require mandatory labeling on genetically engineered (GE) foods. Opponents of the proposition raised over one million dollars this year for the “Coalition Against the Deceptive Food Labeling Scheme.” Members of this coalition include the ”˜big 6’ chemical companies Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta, Dow, DuPont, and BASF, which have spent $375,000 alone through their exclusive lobbying group Council for Biotechnology Information. Overlapping ”˜big 6’ membership, the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association (GMA), which also includes the corporations Pepsico Inc., The Coca-Cola Company, and Kelloggs, recently stated in a speech at the American Soybean Association that defeating the California initiative is “the single highest-priority of the GMA this year,” according to a story in The Huffington Post. GMA has also spent $375,000 this year lobbying against Prop 37. “The Big Six chemical & seed companies are working diligently to monopolize the food system at the expense of consumers, farmers and smaller seed companies,” said Philip […]

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31
Jul

Richmond, California Unanimously Approves Pesticide Restrictions

(Beyond Pesticides, July 31, 2012) Last week, Richmond, California’s City Council unanimously approved a pesticide reform ordinance targeting the use of toxic chemical pesticides within city boundaries. Barring a public health emergency or immediate threat to city property, the regulation bans city departments from using any pesticide considered a known carcinogen (Toxicity Category I and II) by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency. It also prohibits city workers and contractors from applying pesticide products which contain highly toxic organophosphate and carbamate class chemicals. Moreover, with the implementation of the new ordinance, picnic areas, playgrounds, and riparian areas will be considered “no-spray” zones. In other public areas, the legislation puts a strong emphasis on non-chemical methods of pest prevention and control. It would allow the use of least-toxic pesticides only as a last resort, with the intention to significantly reduce or eliminate the use of and exposure to pesticides. The legislation also requires all city departments involved in pest management to submit an implementation plan and undergo training and education programs on least-toxic pest control. According to Roger Roberts of the Contra Costa Times, when the City Council first considered the ordinance in June, some were skeptical of the proposal. They felt […]

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05
Jul

EPA Proposes to Reverse Decision to End Azinphos-Methyl Use

(Beyond Pesticides, July 5, 2012) After a 2006 cancellation of uses due to unreasonable risks to farmworker health and the environment, and a 6-year phase out scheduled to conclude this September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is conducting a risk-benefit analysis to make a determination whether to keep in place or amend the cancellation order for the organophosphate azinphos-methyl (AZM), citing new information on the economic costs of using alternatives. In 2001, EPA found that insecticides azinphos-methyl (AZM) posed unacceptable risks to farmworkers and announced that 28 crop uses were being canceled, seven crop uses were to be phased-out over four years, and eight crop uses were to be allowed to continue under a “time-limited” registration for another four years. Farmworker advocates challenged that decision in federal court citing that EPA failed to take into account the costs of poisoning workers, exposing children, and polluting rivers and streams. A settlement agreement effectively stayed the legal challenge pending EPA’s reconsideration of the “time limited” uses of AZM. In November 2006, EPA decided that AZM poses unreasonable adverse effects and issued a final decision to cancel AZM, but allowed continued use on some fruit crops (apples, cherries, pears) for six more […]

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07
May

USDA Quarantines Second California Farm in Mad Cow Disease Investigation

(Beyond Pesticides, May 7, 2012) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has quarantined a second California farm as part of its ongoing investigation into a confirmed incidence of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), first reported on April 24. USDA quarantined the second farm because it is operated in close association with the dairy that housed the BSE-infected cow before its condition was detected. Additionally, USDA is investigating the ranch where the BSE-infected cow was raised 10 years ago. USDA also announced that of the two progeny known to have been born to the BSE-infected cow in the past two years, one was stillborn and the second, after being humanely euthanized, tested negative for BSE. The origin and transmission of BSE to hundreds of thousands of cattle has been widely attributed to using cattle rendered protein produced from the carcasses of scrapie-infected sheep or cattle with a previously unidentified form of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy as livestock feed. This widespread practice of feeding substances derived from animals to other animals (even of the same species) was sharply curtailed following the BSE epidemic in the U.S. and Europe, but never fully eliminated. For example, livestock feed regulations in the U.S. continue to allow the […]

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04
May

Petition Filed to Put GE Labeling Referendum on November California Ballot

(Beyond Pesticides, April 5, 2012) The California Right to Know campaign announced this week that it has filed 971,126 petition signatures for the state’s first-ever ballot initiative to require labeling of genetically engineered (GE) foods. The huge signature haul, gathered in a 10-week period, is nearly double the 555,236 signatures the campaign needs to qualify for inclusion on the November ballot. If passed this November, Californians will join citizens of over 40 countries, including all of Europe, Japan, and China, who have the right to know whether they are eating GE food. “I am so proud of the army of volunteers, many of them mothers and grandmothers, who stood tireless in the rain and cold to gather signatures,” said Pamm Larry, a former midwife, farmer, and longtime Chico resident, who initiated the California Right to Know campaign through her group Label GMOs. “Thousands of volunteers across the state contributed to this victory. The people of California have spoken: we will have the right to know what we’re eating and no one will stop us.” “This bumper crop of signatures is a testament to the desire of Californians to know what’s really in our food,” said Grant Lundberg, CEO of Lundberg […]

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16
Apr

Fisheries Service Tells EPA to Better Protect Endangered Species from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, April 16, 2012) The U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has released a draft Biological Opinion finding that three commonly used herbicides are increasing the chance of extinction for threatened and endangered Pacific salmon and steelhead runs. The NMFS assessment reverses earlier assurances from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the pesticides are “not likely to adversely affect” the dwindling salmon populations. The draft Opinion also contains restrictions on applying the three pesticides near waterways in California, Washington, Oregon and Idaho that provide habitat for the threatened and endangered runs. Public comment on the draft is being accepted through April 30 and the restrictions on applying the pesticides will take effect no later than one year after the final assessment is released. NMFS prepared the draft Opinion in response to EPA’s initial assessment of the risk that current uses of the herbicides oryzalin, pendimethalin and trifluralin pose for the threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead species. NMFS’ findings contradict significant conclusions from EPA’s work and highlight weaknesses in the agency’s current ecological risk assessment process that underestimate risk and fail to meet modern standards of analysis. For example, NMFS cites EPA’s failure to provide any analysis of […]

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23
Mar

Methyl Iodide Maker Halts Sales in the U.S.

(Beyond Pesticides, March 23, 2012) In a victory for environmentalists and farmworkers, manufacturers of the controversial and highly toxic fumigant methyl iodide announced it will cease selling its products containing the chemical in the U.S. market earlier this week. Representatives from the Tokyo-based company, Arysta LifeScience say that the decision was made as a part of an internal review and based on its economic viability in the U.S.; however, the company will still continue to sell methyl iodide products in other countries. “Today I’m really happy. It feels like someone finally listened to us about something really important.” Gabriela Rincon, told the Los Angeles Times. Ms. Rincon is the daughter of farmworkers who pick strawberries in the Salinas area in California. Methyl iodide causes late term miscarriages, contaminates groundwater and is so reliably carcinogenic that it’s used to create cancer cells in laboratories. It is on California’s official list of known carcinogenic chemicals and has been linked to serious risks in reproductive and neurological health. The pesticide poses the most direct risks to farmworkers and those in the surrounding communities because of the volume that would need to be applied to fields and its tendency to drift off site through […]

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21
Mar

Dangerous Levels of DDT Still Plague San Francisco Bay

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2012) A half-century after California officials discovered that large amounts of the pesticide DDT had been discharged into a San Francisco Bay canal, the chemical is still poisoning fish and posing a threat to human health despite numerous cleanup attempts. After years of limited success with clean-up, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a three-year plan to pinpoint the cause of continuously high DDT levels and engage the surrounding community in cleanup and education efforts. The former plant and the adjacent canal, called the Lauritzen Channel, an inlet of the greater San Francisco bay, is one of the most polluted places in the nation. DDT levels have not decreased in the channel even after numerous dredging and other mitigation measures. In fact concentrations have increased. By 2011, DDT concentrations exceeded 1994 levels and some fish have DDT levels in their tissues hundreds of times higher than their counterparts in the rest of the San Francisco Bay. EPA said earlier this month it is launching a three-year plan to help unravel the mystery of why cleanup attempts are failing, and will work with the city to increase awareness among anglers who rely on bay fish […]

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15
Mar

Initiatives to Label Genetically Engineered Food Gain Momentum Across the Country

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2012) Earlier this week, 55 Members of Congress signed on to a letter that calls on U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D. to require the labeling of genetically engineered (GE) food. The bicameral letter, led by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR), was written in support of a legal petition filed by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) on behalf of the Just Label It campaign and its nearly 400 partner organizations and businesses, including Beyond Pesticides. So far, over 950,000 people have submitted comments in support of labeling since CFS filed the legal petition in October 2011. The campaign also recently launched a new infographic, (pictured to the right) which visually explains why FDA should Just Label It. It is designed to clearly show the need for labeling of GE foods, and is convenient for sharing on-line and via social media. Meanwhile, on the West coast, The California Right to Know Initiative Campaign is also gaining momentum with its signature gathering efforts across the state to place a voter backed initiative on the November 2012 ballot that would mandate labeling of genetically engineered food. The effort is supported […]

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14
Mar

Fertilizer Pollution Growing In California

(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2012) Yet another report documents hazards of chemical-intensive agriculture that could be avoided by switching to organic practices. Nitrate contamination in groundwater from fertilizer and animal manure is severe and getting worse for hundreds of thousands of residents in California’s farming communities, according to a study released by researchers at University of California Davis. The report states the problem is likely to worsen, threatening ground water wells and eventually drinking water. According to the report, Addressing Nitrate in California’s Drinking Water, nitrate runoff from agricultural regions is one of the state’s most widespread groundwater contaminants. Nearly 10 percent of the 2.6 million people living in the Tulare Lake Basin and Salinas Valley might be drinking nitrate-contaminated water, the report found. If nothing is done to stem the problem, the report warns, those at risk for health and financial problems may number nearly 80 percent by 2050. The report is the most comprehensive assessment so far of nitrate contamination in California’s agricultural areas. The study area includes four of the nation’s five counties with the largest agricultural production. It represents about 40% of California’s irrigated cropland (including 80 different crops) and over half of California’s dairy herd. […]

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21
Feb

California Farm County Says No to Methyl Iodide

Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2012) Last week, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors urged California Governor Jerry Brown to reconsider the state’s approval of the carcinogenic fumigant methyl iodide. Monterey County, one of the largest agricultural counties in California, joins Santa Cruz County in mounting pressure to re-examine the controversial decision to approve the toxic chemical as a replacement to the ozone-depleting methyl bromide. This news comes at the heels of the announcement earlier this month that Gov. Brown appointed Brian Leahy, a former organic farmer and the former assistant director at the California Department of Conservation, to head the state Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). According to The Californian, agricultural interests present asked County Supervisors to take no action. However, with dozens of local farm workers in attendance pleading their case, the board passed the resolution on a 4-1 recommending that Gov. Brown take another look at the fumigant. Methyl iodide is known to cause miscarriages, thyroid dysfunction, and cancer, and is applied to crops like strawberries and peppers. It was approved by California state pesticide regulators in December as an alternative to methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting chemical being phased out under international treaty. In 2007, EPA fast-tracked the […]

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15
Feb

California Proposes to Ease Permit Restrictions For Mosquito Spraying

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2012) California mosquito control agencies are charging that new NPDES permitting regulations would eliminate West Nile virus fogging and jeopardize public health. In response, the state of California has proposed to scale-back pesticide regulations, easing rules on fumigating adult mosquitoes. This is in spite of the high risk for further degradation of already contaminated surface waters in the state, and contrary to the stipulations and protections set out in the Clean Water Act. The current federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, which recently went into effect after much resistance from the pesticide and agriculture industry and intensive lobbying efforts in Congress, does not authorize the discharge of biological and residual pesticides or their degradation by-products to waters of the U.S. that are impaired by the same pesticide active ingredients or any pesticide in the same chemical family. ”˜Impaired waters’ are polluted waters, i.e. those waters not meeting water quality standards pursuant to section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act (CWA). The NPDES permit is authorized under the CWA to require pesticide applicators to apply for permits before applying pesticides on or near surface waters. This process involves keeping records of pesticides used and monitoring […]

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20
Jan

Judge Questions California Approval of Methyl Iodide

(Beyond Pesticides, January 20, 2012) A California Superior Court Judge has questioned whether the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) complied with its legal obligation to consider alternative options before approving use of the toxic fumigant methyl iodide in 2010. Judge Frank Roesch raised the concern in comments from the bench during a January 13 hearing involving a lawsuit filed by farm worker and environmental organizations against CDPR and the Arysta LifeScience Corporation, which manufactures the methyl iodide products used in the state. The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requires that state agencies consider alternative options to a regulatory action that meets the definition of a “project.” Projects include an action undertaken by a public agency which may cause either a direct physical change in the environment or a reasonably foreseeable indirect change in the environment. A project may not be approved as submitted if feasible alternatives or mitigation measures are able to substantially lessen the significant environmental effects of the project. While CDPR’s pesticide regulations have previously been recognized as “projects” as defined in the CEQA, it is unusual for judicial review to raise concerns about the validity of the alternatives assessments. “Did you consider not approving methyl iodide? […]

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