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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'North Carolina' Category


14
Jun

Local Restaurants Launch Campaign to Protect Pollinators during National Pollinator Week

(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2016) To celebrate National Pollinator Week, June 20-26, 2016, several Washington, DC restaurants have teamed up with Beyond Pesticides and the Center for Food Safety to launch a campaign, “Made by Pollinators,” to protect pollinators suffering steep declines. With one out of every three bites of food reliant on bees, the participating restaurants’ patrons will be treated to a special menu featuring pollinator-friendly food and provided with information on what they can do to help pollinators. The restaurants hope to increase public awareness on the importance of pollinators and steps that can be taken to reverse the decline. Participating  restaurants include Busboys and Poets, Founding Farmers, Lavagna, the Tabard Inn and Restaurant Nora. Of the 100 crop varieties that provide 90% of the world’s food, 71 are pollinated by bees. Honey bees alone pollinate 95 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables, such as apples, avocados, almonds, and cranberries. The value of pollination services to U.S. agriculture alone amounts to nearly $30 billion and about 80% of flowering plants require animal pollination. A recent government survey reports that U.S. beekeepers lost 44 percent of their colonies between spring 2015 and 2016 —the second highest loss to date. […]

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03
Sep

In Coverup of Illegal Pesticide Use, Applicator Gets Two Year Prison Sentence

(Beyond Pesticides, September 3, 2014) The U.S. Justice Department sentenced Steven A. Murray, a pesticide operator with Bio-Tech Management in Pelham, Georgia, to two years in prison last week after as a result of charges related to a cover up illegal pesticide applications made at over 100 nursing homes. Mr. Murray pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, three counts of false statements, two counts of mail fraud, and 10 counts of unlawful use of a registered pesticide. In addition to being sentenced to two years in prison, Murray was subject to a $7,500 fine. His company was placed on three years of probation and also required to pay a $50,000 fine. From October 2005 to June 2009, Mr. Murray and Bio-Tech provided monthly pest control services to hundreds of nursing homes in several southern states including Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Alabama by spraying pesticides in and around their clients’ facilities. Bio-Tech employees routinely  applied  the pesticide Termidor indoors, contrary to the  manufacturer’s  label  instructions, and then created false service reports to conceal that illegal use. After the Georgia Department of Agriculture made inquiries regarding Bio-Tech’s illegal use of Termidor and other pesticides, Mr. Murray directed several of […]

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25
Oct

Judge Halts GE Crops on Southeastern Wildlife Refuges

(Beyond Pesticides, October 25, 2012) In stark contrast with last week’s decision in the midwest, a federal court ruled in favor of halting cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) crops in all national wildlife refuges in the Southeastern U.S. on Tuesday. The suit, filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), Center for Food Safety (CFS), and Beyond Pesticides, is a part of a series of legal actions taken against the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services (FWS) for entering into cooperative farming agreements for GE crops on wildlife refuge sites without the environmental review required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and refuge management laws. This latest ruling bars FWS from entering into cooperative farming agreements for GE crops on the 128 refuges across eight states, including the 25 refuges currently growing GE crops. The requirement of environmental reviews will likely prevent the planting of crops in 2013 and 2014, and may result in a permanent end to the practice, as native successional grasses reclaim fallow refuge tracts. This ruling is the third in a series of victories against FWS. In March 2009, the same groups won a similar lawsuit against GE plantings on Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. In […]

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18
Jan

GMO Development in Europe Takes a Hit, Focus on U.S. Markets To Intensify

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2012) Given the persistent wariness of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Europe, Germany’s BASF will stop developing new products targeting the European market. The group announced on January 16 that it plans to refocus its activities in the sector on more receptive regions. Unfortunately, this means BASF will redouble its efforts in the U.S. to develop new GMO products, leading to public and environmental health concerns in this country. In a statement, a BASF representative announced, “Biotechnologies are not accepted enough in many parts of Europe by the majority of consumers, farmers and political leaders. That is why it does not make sense economically to continue to invest in products aimed exclusively at this market.” BASF promotion of its GMO products has been stalled in the last couple years. BASF fought for a decade before obtaining European Union (EU) marketing authorization in 2010 for Amflora, a genetically modified high-starch potato. Shortly afterwards BASF mistakenly planted in an Amflora field in Sweden another of its GMO potatoes, Amadea, which had not received authorization from European officials. According to the company, after this scandal, “European sentiment towards transgenic products declined further.” BASF plans to halt the planting and […]

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05
Aug

Utility Sprays Right-of-Way and Nearly Kills Centuries-Old Grape Vine

(Beyond Pesticides, August 5, 2010) A 400-year old large old grape vine considered to be the nation’s oldest in Manteo, North Carolina and known lovingly as “Mother Vine,” is slowly recovering from a powerful dose of herbicide sprayed by a utility company. The Virginia-based Dominion Power Company contracted Lewis Tree Service to spray power poles along the roads in the Manteo in May. The herbicide they used, Garlon3A, was accidentally sprayed on a tiny shoot from the vine that had grown a few feet up a pole on 84-year old Jack Wilson’s property. Unaware of the recent herbicide spraying by the utility power company, he noticed various brown, dead sections that began to appear in the plant in May. Not only did the vine suffer, but about 10 feet of a nearby hedge died, along with three limbs of a large pecan tree that had to be trimmed. The active ingredient in Garlon 3A, a Dow Chemical product, is triclopyr. It is a systemic herbicide which means that the poison spreads from the ends of the vine back toward the root. As a broadleaf weed killer, triclopyr is frequently used along rights-of-way and on industrial sites. In laboratory tests, triclopyr […]

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05
May

Report Reveals Hazardous Pesticide Use in North Carolina Child Care Centers

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2009) Parents and child care providers work hard to provide a loving, stimulating environment that is safe for children, yet they may be exposing them to hazardous chemicals. A new report finds that more than half of surveyed child care providers use broadcast spray and/or “bug bombs” in their centers. The report, Avoiding Big Risks for Small Kids: Results of the 2008 NC Child Care Pest Control Survey, by the nonprofit group Toxic Free NC, is based on a survey of 89 child care providers from across North Carolina who answered questions about pests, pesticides and safety at their facilities. “As a pediatrician and a mother, I believe we should be avoiding the use of toxic chemicals in children’s environments,” says Katherine Shea, M.D., M.P.H. “Child care centers, where our youngest and most vulnerable children spend time eating and sleeping, playing and learning, should be safe and free from known chemical hazards like pesticides.” Babies and young children are among the most likely age groups to suffer long-term harm to their health from exposure to pesticides. Numerous scientific studies have connected pesticide exposure in early life to an increased risk of asthma, harm to growing brains, […]

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24
Mar

Final Program Set for National Pesticide Forum

(Beyond Pesticides, March 24, 2009) With the 27th National Pesticide Forum, Bridge to an Organic Future: Opportunities for health and the environment, less than two weeks away, the final program has been set and is available online (in both English and Spanish). This national conference will be held April 3-4, 2009 at the Century Center in Carrboro, NC. Simultaneous Spanish translation will be available. The Forum will begin with an optional tour of Piedmont Biofuels in Pittsboro, NC on Friday afternoon at 1:00pm. Piedmont Biofuels is a cooperative that runs a research farm and sustainable biodiesel production facility, manufacturing local fuel out of waste vegetable oil. Read more about the facility in an article about Piedmont’s Ecoindustrial Park. The tour is limited to 40 people. To attend the tour, please RSVP to info@beyondpesticides.org to reserve a seat on the bus. This year’s conference will feature a special appearance by the Paperhand Puppet Intervention. Giant insect puppets from their “I am an Insect” production will pay Forum participants a visit Friday night. Keynote speakers at this year’s conference include: Jim Hightower, national radio commentator and author of Swim Against the Current: Even a dead fish can go with the flow; Baldemar […]

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25
Feb

State Fails To Protect Workers in Pesticide Lawsuit

(Beyond Pesticides, February 25, 2009) After three years of legal battle, the North Carolina Pesticide Board on February 19, 2009 fined Florida-based Ag-Mart Produce Inc. a substantially lower fine of $3,000 than the originally proposed $185,000, after deciding that it can only prove six of about 200 worker safety accusations that had been levied against the company. This comes less than a month after the unprecedented ruling against Ag-Mart in New Jersey, where the company was ordered to pay penalties of more than $931,000 for misusing pesticides and jeopardizing the health and safety of workers in its New Jersey farm fields and packing houses. The Florida-based company, described as one of the biggest pesticide offenders, has been accused of routinely exposing hundreds of workers to toxic chemicals. Investigators in North Carolina, Florida and New Jersey, the three states where the international company grows its tomatoes, scrutinized the company’s records and charged it with ignoring laws intended to keep workers safe from toxic pesticide residue. The investigators alleged workers were sent into the fields too soon after dangerous chemicals had been sprayed. The case started three years ago when some workers gave birth to babies with severe birth defects. One mother […]

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10
Feb

Farm Labor Leader Baldemar Velásquez to Speak at National Pesticide Forum

(Beyond Pesticides, February 9, 2009) Baldemar Velásquez, president of the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), AFL-CIO, will be speaking at Bridge to an Organic Future, the 27th National Pesticide Forum, April 3-4, 2009 in Carrboro, NC. FLOC, founded by Mr. Velásquez in 1967, is both a social movement and a labor union focusing on migrant workers in the agricultural industry. The FLOC vision emphasizes human rights as the standard and self-determination as the process. The union struggles for full justice for those who have been marginalized and exploited for the benefit of others, and has sought to change the structures of society to enable these people a direct voice in their own conditions. FLOC President Baldemar Velásquez was raised as a migrant farmworker. Since his childhood, he has worked in the fields and orchards of many states from Texas to the Midwest. He suffered the oppression and discrimination of migrant workers, and watched his parents humiliated many times from the injustices they experienced trying to support their family. Finally, after one incident when his father was cheated out of promised wages in front of the family, Baldemar began organizing migrant workers to stand up for their rights. Following the model […]

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03
Nov

Pyrethroid Pesticides Found in Homes and Daycare Centers

(Beyond Pesticides, November 3, 2008) A new study, Pyrethroid pesticides and their metabolites in vacuum cleaner dust collected from homes and day-care centers (doi:10.1016/j.envres.2008.07.022), by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Exposure Research Laboratory finds concentrations of 13 synthetic pyrethroids and their degradates in indoor dust collected from homes and childcare centers in North Carolina and Ohio. The study results show the extent to which hazardous pesticides are present in indoor environments and threaten the public’s health, especially the health of children. With 85 vacuum cleaner bags analyzed, permethrin was present in all 85 dust samples, at least one pyrethroid pesticide was found in 69 samples and phenothrin was found in 36 samples. According to the study findings published in the November issue of the journal Environmental Research, the median concentration of permethrin in the samples is 1454ng/g of dust. Excluding permethrin, pyrethroid conectrations are less than or equal to 100ng/g of dust. The majority of the metabolites are present in more than half of the dust samples. This is not the first time researchers have found pesticides in dust in homes. A study published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health (208: 193-199) also found that […]

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24
Sep

Pesticides Contaminate Groundwater Wells in North Carolina

(Beyond Pesticides, September 24, 2008) Pesticides used on peach orchards over 50 years ago have been detected in the groundwater of three North Carolina counties. Tests have detected 117 tainted wells in Montgomery, Richmond and Moore counties in the past year, 77 of those at unsafe levels. Public Health officials are scrambling to deliver safe water to those whose wells have been contaminated. However, the number of contaminated wells is forecasted to increase as more residents opt to have their groundwater tested, as the news of tainted wells continues to spread. Many residents are also wondering how they have been impacted as a result of their exposure to the tainted water. Local officials are also worried over how far and wide the contamination has spread. Contamination levels as high as 55 times the federal safe drinking-water standard have been detected. Households where concentrations are highest have been told not to drink or cook with their well water, and limit showers to 10 minutes. Peach orchards now grow on a modest 1,350 acres in North Carolina, but production in 1941 was 12 times greater. The chemicals now detected in groundwater were first used in the 1950s and include ethylene dibromide (EDB) […]

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11
Sep

Hearing Begins in North Carolina Pesticide Violations Case

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2008) The North Carolina Pesticide Board has begun hearing evidence in a case from 2004 over suspected pesticide violations that were investigated after three female Ag-Mart farmworkers gave birth to babies with severe birth defects. In 2006, the family of Carlos Herrera Candelario, who was born without arms or legs, sued Ag-Mart over illegal pesticide exposure resulting in the boy’s birth defects. The case was settled out of court, with Ag-Mart agreeing to pay the medical expenses of the boy for life and provide him with a permanent income, but insisting that the settlement was not an admission of guilt. The current hearing will look at whether Ag-Mart’s farm manager, Jeff Oxley, is indeed guilty of over 200 violations, including forcing workers into the field too soon after dangerous pesticides were applied. The hearing is significant because the company insists that adequate practices are and have been in place to ensure workers are not exposed to pesticides, even though the testimony of Ag-Mart employees runs counter to this claim. This hearing could do a great deal to elucidate the truth about farmworker pesticide exposure, an important issue for the thousands of workers who plant and harvest […]

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18
Aug

NC Farmworker Protection Bill Signed Into Law

(Beyond Pesticides, August 18, 2008) North Carolina Governor Mike Easley last week signed into law Senate Bill 847, “An act to add agricultural workers to those protected against retaliation in the workplace and to direct the Pesticide Board to adopt rules requiring licensed pesticide applicators to record the specific time of day when each pesticide application is completed, as recommended by the Governor’s Task Force on Preventing Agricultural Pesticide Exposure”  headed by State Health Director Leah DevlinThis new law, along with funding approved by the legislature in the Governor’s budget, will help protect agricultural laborers, farmers and applicators who work with and around pesticides. “This new law helps us move forward to protect the health of our farm workers,” said Gov. Easley. “Requiring employers to keep more detailed records of pesticides being used and forbidding retaliation against those who might complain about exposure to these chemicals are important steps toward safety in agricultural workplaces.” The new law makes it illegal for employers to retaliate against farm workers who complain about unhealthy exposure to pesticides. It also directs the state Pesticide Board to require more detailed record keeping on the time of day and kinds of pesticides being used, and it […]

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22
Oct

School Districts Awarded for Combating Pests and Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2007) Twelve North Carolina public school districts received recognition from North Carolina State University’s school IPM program for their work in reducing pest problems while cutting down on the use of chemical pesticides. State and university officials, members of the nonprofit community, and industry representatives attended the third annual School IPM Recognition Awards ceremony Oct. 10 at North Carolina State University to honor school districts who have been able to protect children from the hazards of pests and pesticides. The awarded schools demonstrate that administrators do not have to choose between two ills, rather they can prevent students and teachers from exposure to both pests and toxic chemicals. The schools’ integrated pest management (IPM) programs emphasize cultural practices and structural repairs, including routine building inspections and maintenance, sanitation efforts and prompt repairs when slight leaks or cracks make an inviting home for unwanted guests. “The whole IPM effort is about striking while the bug is close,” State School Superintendent June Atkinson said in her keynote speech. “It’s going to take people like you to make sure our schools are safe.” Beyond Pesticides advocates IPM for school buildings with a clear definition containing eight essential program components: […]

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