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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Illinois' Category


19
Apr

Illinois Judge Stops Construction to Protect Endangered Rusty Patch Bumblebee

(Beyond Pesticides, April 19, 2017) Local activists in Illinois were handed a victory on Monday when a judge granted a temporary restraining order to shut down a construction project due to the presence of the rusty patch bumblebee, a recently listed endangered species. The group Stop Longmeadow, in reference to the Longmeadow Parkway Bridge Corridor project, filed the lawsuit, Case: 1:16-cv-05435, based on the fact that the rusty patch bumblebee has been found in the Brunner Forest Preserve, which borders 5.6 miles of the corridor project. Defendants, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, argue that the scheduled construction will not affect bumblebee habitat. The court rejected their position, however, siding in the plaintiffs by finding “the balance of harms weighs in favor of the plaintiffs and against the public’s interest in reduced traffic congestions.” The restraining order was issued by Judge Sharon Coleman in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division. Based on the evidence presented by the plaintiff’s motion, Judge Coleman reasoned that “a brief stay to the project is warranted.” She went on to point out that, contrary to […]

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16
Apr

Court Grants Temporary Injunction to Endangered Protect Rusty Patch Bumblebee Habitat

(Beyond Pesticides, April 19, 2017) Local activists in Illinois were handed an exciting victory on Monday when a judge granted a temporary restraining order to shut down a construction project due to the presence of the rusty patch bumblebee, a recently listed endangered species. The group Stop Longmeadow, in reference to the Longmeadow Parkway Bridge Corridor project, filed the lawsuit, Case: 1:16-cv-05435, based on the fact that the rusty patch bumblebee has been found in the Brunner Forest Preserve, which borders 5.6 miles of the corridor project. The defendants, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, argue that the scheduled construction will not affect bumblebee habitat. The court rejected their position, however, siding in the plaintiffs by finding “the balance of harms weighs in favor of the plaintiffs and against the public’s interest in reduced traffic congestions.” The restraining order was issued by Judge Sharon Coleman in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division. Based on the evidence presented by the plaintiff’s motion, Judge Coleman reasoned that “a brief stay to the project is warranted.” She went on to point out that, […]

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24
Feb

Oak Park and Evanston Act to Repeal Preemption, Assert Local Authority to Restrict Pesticides in Illinois

(Beyond Pesticides, February 24, 2017) Over the last two weeks, both Oak Park and Evanston, IL have taken steps to repeal preemption of local authority to restrict community-wide pesticide use in the state of Illinois. The Village of Oak Park has approved a Resolution in Support of the Repeal of the State Pesticide Preemption, and the City of Evanston has approved a Resolution Urging the State of Illinois to Repeal Preemption of Local Regulation of Pesticides. Both of these actions urge the state of Illinois to repeal the preemption of local government regulation of pesticides and re-establish the right of local home rule governments to adopt pesticide restrictions on public and private land within their jurisdiction, as they deem appropriate. The push to pass these resolutions grew out of hard work from passionate residents and activists. For the Village of Oak Park, a local advocacy group, Go Green Oak Park, reached out to Beyond Pesticides (see PAY Mail section) for assistance in talking to itslocal board about these issues. Peggy Mcgrath, a member of Go Green Oak Park, said about the issue: “Big corporations are calling more and more of the shots. To protect our government ‘ Of The People,’ […]

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23
Apr

Two New Local Policies Showcase the Good and the Bad of IPM

(Beyond Pesticides, April 23, 2015) Just in time for Earth Day, two localities took action this week to advance their own pesticide policies. The city of Evanston, IL improved upon its  previous IPM policy by announcing a new pilot organic land care program on five city parks, however, Charlottesville, VA put in place an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) policy which codifies existing efforts by city officials, yet lacks clear and concise efforts to reduce dependency on toxic chemicals. Disappointment in Charlottesville, VA Despite pressure from local advocates, including over 1,000 signatures from community members, the city of Charlottesville, VA merely adopted a pest management policy that  makes official practices that were already in place for the past ten years. Though one could argue that enacting a formal policy is a step in the right direction, the new policy does not address recommendations advanced by local environmentalists, which called for an increase in organic-compatible products while reducing harmful synthetic pesticides. The local advocates, part of the Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club, were pushing for pesticide-free parks and school grounds throughout the city of Charlottesville. According to John Cruickshank, chairman of the local chapter, at the very least, there should be […]

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20
Nov

Illinois Ramps Up Effort to Enforce Pesticide Restrictions in Public Schools

(Beyond Pesticides, November 20, 2013) Illinois public health officials say that more than 200 Illinois schools and day care centers have failed to comply with the most basic of the state’s pest management regulations, and for the first time could face fines if they do not comply. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the state’s IPM regulations, including the requirements for reporting how pests are managed, are designed to protect children in day care centers and schools from unnecessary applications of pesticides. Last Friday, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced that it is ramping up its efforts to educate day care centers and schools about the rules aimed at reducing and managing pests in light of widespread non-compliance with pest management regulations in public schools and day care centers. State law requires public schools and licensed day care centers to file an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) form with the department to document how school officials plan to implement IPM. The state’s Structural Pest Control Act (Act), [225 ILCS 235] requires public schools and licensed day care centers to, when economically feasible, develop and implement an IPM program and resubmit their plans every 5 years. Additionally, all […]

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16
Oct

Banned Pesticides Threaten Illinois River Otters

(Beyond Pesticides, October, 16 2013)   Researchers at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the University of Illinois Urbana—Champaign have found that organochlorine pesticides and other organochlorine compounds like polychlorinated biphenyls (PBCs) are still contaminating river otters in the state, even though these chemicals have been banned for decades. Surprisingly, the levels detected are the same or higher than those detected in otters 20 years ago, highlighting the need to understand the exposure of wildlife and humans to organochlorine compounds despite their ban. In order to see what chemicals might be affecting otters, if any, the researchers examined the bodies of 23 river otters collected between 2009 and 2011. In the published study, River otters as biomonitors for organochlorine pesticides, PCBs, and PBDEs in Illinois,  scientists looked at liver concentrations of 20 organohalogenated compounds once used in agriculture and industry. The average concentrations of dieldrin, an insecticide that was used across the Midwest before being banned in 1987, actually exceeded those measured in river otters collected from 1984 to 1989. Liver concentrations of PCBs and DDE -a breakdown product of the banned DDT – were also similar to those in an earlier study showing that contamination has not decreased […]

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24
Jan

Funds from Atrazine Class Action Lawsuit Distributed

(Beyond Pesticides, January 24, 2013) Checks are now being sent to 1,085 community water systems across the U.S. in the final phase of a $105 million settlement with Syngenta, the largest manufacturer of the toxic weed killer atrazine. The class action settlement, City of Greenville v. Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., Case No.: 3:10-cv-00188-JPG-PMF, stems from a lawsuit spanning eight years and is meant to help reimburse communities for past expenses associated with atrazine removal. “Science has been fighting an uphill battle against giant pesticide manufacturers like Syngenta who claim that a little weed killer in your drinking water won’t hurt you. Independent scientists now believe that even trace amounts can harm you and your children for generations to come,” the lead plaintiff’s lawyer Stephen M. Tillery told the media. Atrazine is used nationwide to kill broadleaf and grassy weeds, primarily in corn crops. A potent toxicant, it is the most prevalent herbicide found in Minnesota’s waters. It is widely applied in the midwestern states and has been found in the drinking water supplies in the Midwest at high levels. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have determined that previous studies that assessed population-based exposure to atrazine were significantly […]

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09
Oct

Local Incidents Raise National Concerns Over Safety of Sewage Sludge as Fertilizer

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2012) Sewage sludge is big business in Channahon, IL, but many residents who live near fields treated with the fertilizer believe they’re the ones paying the price. Farms in the area began applying the “biosolids” in 2010, and residents say that’s when their health issues began, according to Morris Daily Herald. Biosolids, otherwise known as sewage sludge, are composed of dried microbes previously used to process wastewater in treatment plants. The material is increasingly being used in conventional agriculture, but its application is explicitly forbidden in organic production. This is because the sludge can contain high concentrations of toxic contaminants, such as pesticides, detergents, estrogenic hormones, antibiotics, dioxins, PCBs, flame retardants, and heavy metals. Past research gives credence to Channahon residents’ claims of adverse health effects as a result of living near sludge coated fields. A 2002 study revealed the material to be associated with an increased prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus infections, a condition known to cause skin rashes and respiratory problems, for people located in close proximity to biosolid application sites. “What they are doing is making a toxic dump of our area. It’s disgusting,” said Channahon resident Pat Budd in an interview with Kris […]

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19
Mar

Overuse of Genetically Engineered Bt Corn Tied to Accelerated Resistance

(Beyond Pesticides, March 19, 2012) A group of 22 prominent entomologists has submitted formal comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) casting doubt on the future viability of certain varieties of genetically engineered (GE) corn. The entomologists, including researchers from land grant institutions in the Corn Belt and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, cite increasing evidence that the western corn rootworm is developing resistance to a toxin derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which is inserted into seeds. Bt is a naturally occurring soil bacterium that when used in non-genetically engineered forms is an important biological pesticide for organic and sustainable farmers. The entomologists identify significant flaws in current practices for managing insect resistance to Bt corn and caution that failure to implement a series of alternative measures based on an integrated pest management (IPM) approach would result in all forms of Bt losing its effectiveness. The entomologists’ comments were cited recently in published research documenting the first field-evolved resistance of the western corn rootworm to certain Bt strains. They draw a connection between this research and field reports of greater than expected rootworm damage (an indication of emerging resistance) first observed in 2009. Detections of greater […]

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30
Nov

Syngenta Ordered To Appear in Court in Atrazine Lawsuit

(Beyond Pesticides, November 30, 2011) A federal judge in southern Illinois has ordered the Swiss parent company of Syngenta Crop Protection Inc. (SCPI), maker of the herbicide atrazine, to appear in court to defend its actions in a water-contamination lawsuit brought last year by Midwestern public water providers. The suit was filed by the law firm Korein Tillery of St. Louis, MO and holds that Syngenta is responsible for the costs the water utilities incurred in order to clean municipal drinking water supplies of atrazine. The order marked the first time the Swiss company has ever been held subject to the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. The notably detailed opinion by District Judge J. Phil Gilbert of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois was handed down the day before Thanksgiving and found that Syngenta AG (SAG) — the Basel, Switzerland-based international conglomerate — “has organized its group of subsidiary companies, including SCPI, purposefully to limit the jurisdictions in which it is subject to court authority.” Judge Gilbert focused on substance over form, however, and exercised jurisdiction because voluminous evidence revealed SAG’s pervasive operational control over SCPI — the agrochem giant based in Greensboro, N.C. that manufactures and […]

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29
Nov

Atrazine in Drinking Water May Cause Menstrual Cycle Irregularities in Women

(Beyond Pesticides, November 29, 2011) New research shows that women who drink water containing the widely used herbicide atrazine may be more likely to have irregular menstrual cycles and low estrogen levels, even at concentrations far below federal drinking water standards considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Researchers compared women living in Illinois farm towns where atrazine is used regularly to women living in Vermont where the herbicide is used sparingly, and found that the women in Illinois were almost five times more likely to report irregular menstrual cycles, including more than six weeks between periods. Consumption of over two cups of unfiltered Illinois water daily was associated with increased risk of irregular periods. The study, entitled “Menstrual cycle characteristics and reproductive hormone levels in women exposed to atrazine in drinking water,” was published in the journal Environmental Research earlier this month, and is based on municipal tap water tested between July and September of 2005. In the study, participants maintained menstrual cycle diaries, answered a questionnaire, and provided daily urine samples for analyses of luteinizing hormone and estradiol and progesterone metabolites. To measure exposure, analysts looked at the state of residence, concentrations of atrazine and chlorotriazine […]

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17
Oct

Residents Battle with City Park District To Prevent Toxic Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2011) Backlash from local residents in an Illinois city has pressured park officials to keep chemical pesticides off of athletic fields, successfully stopping a planned chemical treatment in November and postponing the city’s decision to spray until they hear more from concerned residents and turf experts. For four years, the Park Board of Highland Park, IL has managed its playing fields without the use of chemical pesticides and herbicides. Back in August, however, the Park Board decided to allow its groundskeepers to apply herbicides in order to control dandelions, clover, and other unwanted plants at three local parks. Over 70 residents sent emails to the Park Board and administration, and an online petition has collected 683 signatures opposed to the city park commissioners’ decision to spray the chemical pesticides. In response to public concern, Bruce Branham, PhD, a Professor of the Department of Crop Sciences at the University of Illinois wrote a statement to the park officials in favor of spraying, citing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pesticide registration process as establishing the safety of the pesticides being proposed for use by the Park Board. Beyond Pesticides responded with a letter

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17
May

Evanston, IL Passes Pesticide Reduction Policy

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2010) The City of Evanston in Cook County, Illinois has passed a resolution to reduce pesticide use on City-owned and leased property (buildings and grounds) when the City Council unanimously adopted the “Sustainable Pest Control and Pesticide Reduction Policy” on April 26, 2010. The policy requires City employees, agents and contractors to follow natural lawn care and “least-toxic Integrated Pest Management” (IPM) and prohibits high hazards pesticides. It shouldn’t be too difficult for the City, as according to Evanston’s website, the City “has been applying minimal to no pesticides or insecticides in its municipal parks and on City owned properties since the early 1990s.” IPM is described in the policy as, “A pest management technique that gives preference to the safest pest control methods and uses conventional chemical pesticides only when no other feasible alternative exists. It addresses the underlying causes of pest problems, and seeks to find effective long-term solutions that emphasize prevention.” The City will hold a training session at least once every two years for managers and staff responsible for pest management on City property. All contractors engaged in pest management on City property are also required to attend the trainings or must […]

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20
Apr

Towns Sue Atrazine Manufacturer for Drinking Water Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2010) Communities from six states filed a lawsuit last month in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois against Swiss chemical giant Syngenta AG and its American counterpart Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., the makers of Atrazine. The 16 municipalities in the states of Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, and Iowa want Syngenta to pay for the expensive carbon filters needed to remove atrazine from their drinking water supply. The United States’ largest private water utility, American Water Company, has also joined the suit, representing 28 additional communities. Atrazine is used to control broad leaf weeds and annual grasses in crops, golf courses, and even residential lawns. It is used extensively for broad leaf weed control in corn. The herbicide does not cling to soil particles, but washes into surface water or leaches into groundwater, and then finds its way into municipal drinking water. It has been linked to a myriad of health problems in humans including disruption of hormone activity, birth defects, and cancer. Atrazine is also a major threat to wildlife. It harms the immune, hormone, and reproductive systems of aquatic animals. Fish and amphibians exposed to atrazine can exhibit hermaphrodism. Male […]

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21
May

Two States Pass Bills on Lawn Pesticides Use at Day Care Centers

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2009) The Connecticut and Illinois legislatures have passed bills increase the protection of children at day care centers from toxic lawn chemicals. While providing different degrees of protection, both bills, which build on their existing state school pesticide laws, passed with overwhelming support in both chambers of their General Assembly. The bills passed both legislatures on unanimous votes with the exceptiion of five dissenting votes in the Connecticut House of Representatives. Connecticut State Representative Terrie Wood said, “We know that contact with pesticides and chemicals are not compatible with healthy living. It is time to err on the side of caution and ban these pesticides from use any place our children and grandchildren learn and play.” The Connecticut bill, Pesticide Applications at Child Day Care Centers and Schools, extends the states’ existing law that prohibits the application of pesticides on kindergarten through 8th grade schools’ grounds to include day care center grounds as well. In addition, the bill requires only licensed pest control operators apply pesticides in day care center facilities or on their grounds. There is an exemption that allows general use pesticides to be used in an emergency situation when a pest, such as […]

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03
Apr

Chicago Parks Limit Pesticides, Homeowners Urged To Do the Same

(Beyond Pesticides, April 3, 2009) A few dandelions in city parks is a good thing, says the Chicago Park District, they signify a healthy lawn and a chemical-free park. After the success of limiting the use of pesticides throughout the district last year, the Chicago Park District is again partnering with Safer Pest Control Project and Illinois Department of Environment to provide Chicagoans natural lawn and landscape care in their parks. In order to minimize the impact of chemicals on the environment, nearly 90 percent of Chicago parks are now pesticide-free. “The Park District is keeping our Chicago parks a healthy place for everyone to enjoy,” said Tim Mitchell, Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO. “We are encouraging all Chicago residents to follow the Park District’s example and use more natural lawn care techniques that keep your lawn safe and healthy.” “Residents can control weeds and get a naturally beautiful lawn without pesticides, which carry potential risks to human health and water quality,” said Rachel Rosenberg, Executive Director of Safer Pest Control Project. “A natural lawn will help reduce disease and pest problems safely, which can save time and money as an extra added benefit to your family.” The Chicago […]

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16
Feb

Details Announced for National Pesticide Forum, June 1-3, Chicago

(Beyond Pesticides, February 16, 2007) Changing Course in a Changing Climate: Solutions for health and the environment, the 25th National Pesticide Forum, will be held June 1-3 at Loyola University (Water Tower campus) in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile neighborhood. This exciting environmental health conference is convened by Beyond Pesticides and co-sponsored by Safer Pest Control Project, Nutrition for Optimal Health Association and others. The Forum begins Friday afternoon with a Chicago City Hall green roof tour and ends Sunday at noon. A Pesticide Working Group meeting will follow. See details below. Register online or call 202-543-5450 to register by phone. Forum topics include Global warming: Consequences and the organic connection; Environmental justice; Elevated risks of pesticide mixtures; The hazards and fate of common antibacterials; The truth about nanotechnology; Asthma and the pesticide link; New legislative opportunities; Passing local policies; Great Lakes/water contamination; Sustainable agriculture, nutrition and urban gardens; Scientific integrity; Safer pest management strategies; and more. Featured Speakers (see updated list with bios): Samuel S. Epstein, M.D. (2007 Dragonfly Award recipient), author of The Politics of Cancer, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois School of Public Health and chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition; Rolf Halden, Ph.D., P.E., professor at […]

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02
Feb

Chicago Chef To Begin Serving Organic School Lunches

(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2007) Joshua Grabowsky, a chef and CEO of busypeople inc., a suburban organic catering firm serving the Chicago area, is starting a business serving organic school lunches. Max’s Organic Planet, which he’ll run from within busypeople, is an effort to provide healthy, organic lunches to public and private schools in the city and on the North Shore. Mr. Grabowsky and busypeople, inc. will also be providing 100% certified organic meals at the upcoming 25th National Pesticide Forum convened by Beyond Pesticides in Chicago and co-sponsored by the Chicago-based Safer Pest Control Project. For many children, including Mr. Grabowsky, school lunch was a thing of dread, often reviled and discarded by unappetized students. With two kids of his own, Mr. Grabowsky is turning his long-lived school-lunch fear into a business that he hopes will help both parents and kids banish the concept of cafeteria mystery meat from their collective memories. Mr. Grabowsky is gearing up for the 2007—08 school year, gauging interest and offering pilot programs and weeklong taste tests, so that school administrators, parents and students will sign on for organic eats in September. One such test at Lake Forest Montessori resulted in kids eating double […]

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