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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Louisiana' Category


03
Jan

Herbicide Atrazine Affects Estuarine Phytoplankton Productivity, Threatens Aquatic Life

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2017)  A study published in December 2016 in Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, entitled The Effect of Atrazine on Louisiana Gulf Coast Estuarine Phytoplankton, finds that phytoplankton in estuaries in close proximity to agricultural operations are less productive than phytoplankton in an uncontaminated environment. The study examines three different estuaries of the Mississippi river in Louisiana and also evaluates microcosms with different concentrations of atrazine. Phytoplankton, incredibly important to estuary ecosystems and aquatic life, are an integral part of the aquatic food web and ultimately critical to the wild seafood market. As photosynthetic microorganisms, phytoplankton harness the sun’s energy for metabolism and create as a byproduct of photosynthesis dissolved oxygen, which oxygen-breathing sea life require. For the study, the researchers created microcosms, or large containers that are able to closely mimic ecosystems, so that they can observe the effects of independent variables. On average, phytoplankton in the microcosms are less productive at producing chlorophyll a in the presence of atrazine. The microcosm study design is important because it is difficult to separate and measure the effects of chemicals like atrazine in the environment, given the range of potential causes of phytoplankton decline. A variety of factors, like freshwater discharge rates, precipitation, […]

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23
Oct

Farmers and Environmental Groups to Challenge EPA over Herbicide Approval

(Beyond Pesticides, October 23, 2014) Lawsuit filed against Environmental Protection Agency for approval of 2,4-D use on genetically engineered corn, soy crops in six Midwest states.A coalition of farmers and environmental groups filed a lawsuit to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today on behalf of six Midwest states where a toxic herbicide cocktail called Dow’s Enlist Duo, a blend of glyphosate and 2,4-D, was approved on October 15 for use on genetically engineered (GE) crops. Approved for use on GE corn and soybeans that are engineered to withstand repeated applications of the herbicide, the creation of 2,4-D-resistant crops and EPA’s approval of Enlist Duo is the result of an overuse of glyphosate, an ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. The misuse resulted in an infestation of glyphosate-resistant super weeds which can now be legally combatted with the more potent 2,4-D. Dow Chemical has presented 2,4-D resistant crops as a quick fix to the problem, but independent scientists, as well as USDA analysis, predict that the Enlist crop system will only foster more weed resistance. “The toxic treadmill has to stop,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “EPA and USDA cannot continue to ignore the history, science, and public […]

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01
Jul

Human Rights Petition Challenges U.S. Environmental Racism

(Beyond Pesticides, July 1, 2008) On behalf of the African American residents of Mossville, Louisiana, the non-profit, public interest law firm Advocates for Environmental Human Rights (AEHR) on June 23, 2008 filed with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) a detailed account of the human rights abuses suffered by residents as a consequence of governmental approvals that allow industrial facilities to dump millions of pounds of toxic chemicals every year. The filing is an amended petition (Petition No. P-242-05), which includes a response to the U.S. Government’s arguments that attempt to defend its flawed environmental regulatory system that perpetuates environmental racism and denies basic human rights in Mossville and other similarly situated communities of color, according to AEHR. The petition states: “[The residents of] Mossville suffer from severe health problems, elevated levels of cancer-causing and hormone-disrupting chemicals, a devastated environment, and a deteriorated quality of life, all of which arise from governmental approvals of highly toxic industrial development in and around Mossville. The United States government and its political subdivisions have authorized fourteen industrial facilities to manufacture, process, store, and discharge toxic and hazardous substances in close geographic proximity to Mossville residents. Three of these facilities — an oil […]

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30
Aug

Vetiver Grass Repels Termites, Prevents Flooding

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2007) Vetiver grass, a species native to India, may provide protection against two plagues facing recovery in New Orleans: termite infestations and floods, according to Dr. Gregg Henderson, Ph.D. Already known for its effectiveness in erosion and sediment control, vetiver is both a repellent and toxicant to termites, which cause an estimated $5 billion in structural damage per year in the U.S. The plant is highly tolerant to extreme soil conditions, which, along with its deep roots, make it ideal for rehabilitation of contaminated lands and holding soil together on hillsides and contours. However, Dr. Henderson, an urban entomologist with Louisiana State University’s AgCenter, is interested in what is inside vetiver’s roots, namely the chemical responsible for turning away termites, as well as cockroaches, ants, ticks, weevils, nematodes, mole crickets, and other insects. His research team isolated several compounds from vetiver oils and determined that a chemical called nootkatone, is a repellent for Formosan subterranean termites. Dr. Henderson has been studying Formosan termites for years and is a strong advocate for taking advantage of the chemicals in vetiver grass to control the termites in many locations. Throughout the world, termites have caused problems on levees by […]

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09
Feb

Katrina Results in Increased Arsenic Levels

(Beyond Pesticides, February 9, 2007) The effects of Hurricane Katrina are still being felt in the Gulf Coast, a year and a half after it hit. Research shows one of the secondary effects of Katrina is increased arsenic levels, largely due to debris treated with the wood preservative chromated copper arsenate (CCA). The debris, mostly originating from damaged and destroyed residential buildings, total 72 million cubic meters, of which 16% has been estimated to be wood, and all of which must be added to landfills. The resulting risk to groundwater is an estimated 1,740 metric tons of arsenic, much of which has been deposited into unlined landfills. The source of this arsenic is primarily from chemically treated lumber, as chromated copper arsenate (CCA) was once commonly used to pressure-treat wood. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has since banned the use of CCA in residential projects, but many older structures still contain the treated wood. A study, released online in the January 2007 issue of Environmental Science & Technology, led by Helena Solo-Gabriele, Ph.D., of the University of Miami and Brajesh Dubey, Ph.D., of the University of Florida, surveyed debris in New Orleans. Out of 225 pieces of lumber tested in […]

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