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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'State/Local' Category


25
Mar

Glyphosate Found to Contaminate California Wine

(Beyond Pesticides, March 25, 2016) Glyphosate is found to contaminate California wines, according to a new report from the non-profit group Moms Across America. Glyphosate is pervasive and toxic chemical found in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller and was classified in 2015  as a probable carcinogen  by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The report finds that all of the ten wines tested positive for glyphosate. The highest level of glyphosate detected was nearly 30 times higher (at 18.74 parts-per-billion, or ppb) than other wines from a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon  sourced from a conventional, chemically farmed vineyard. The lowest level (.659 ppb) was from a biodynamic and organic vineyard, a 2013 Syrah. According to the owner, the vineyard has never been sprayed, indicating the possibility of pesticide drift from conventional agriculture, which has been a real and persistent problem for organic growers. EPA has done little to protect organic growers, who often bear the burden, both economic and otherwise, of pesticides applied to nearby conventional farmlands and vineyards. The report also points out that “the detection of glyphosate is an indicator of the presence of many other co-formulants in glyphosate-based herbicides, which have recently been shown”¦to be endocrine hormone disruptors […]

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23
Mar

Vermont House Votes to Authorize State Regulation of “Treated Articles,” such as Neonic-Coated Seeds

(Beyond Pesticides March 23, 2016) Last week, the Vermont House of Representatives passed a bill that authorizes state  regulation of pesticide-treated products,  including  telephone poles and coated seeds, that are exempt from federal pesticide regulations. H.861 is the latest in a string of laws introduced this legislative session in Vermont to address the impact of harmful neonicotinoid insecticides  on Vermont’s ecology and agriculture, and symbolizes a concentrated effort by the legislature to reverse pollinator declines within the state. If passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, the bill will  allow the Secretary of Agriculture to regulate above and beyond current federal laws, which exempt treated articles from regulation completely, and write appropriate rules in response to recommendations from a state Pollinator Protection Committee. The bill, which passed with wide support in the House, gives the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets the authority to regulate “treated articles,” a term coined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to denote products treated with pesticides, such as utility poles, commercial crop seeds, and lumber. Traditionally, EPA gives rulemaking authority over pesticides to states, but that authority does not extend to products pre-treated with pesticides, which, until this point, has posed […]

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21
Mar

Boulder County, Colorado to Phase Out GE Crops on Public Land

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2016) Last Thursday, Boulder County (CO) commissioners directed staff to draft up a plan to phase out genetically engineered (GE) crops on all farmland owned  by the county. The county’s current policy, adopted in 2011, allows tenant farmers to grow certain types of GE corn and sugar beets on land leased through Boulder County, and will remain in effect at least until the end of the year. The five-year policy old has frequently come under fire from individuals and environmental groups that challenge the safety of GE crop production systems, and their effect on human health, water quality, soil health, and the overall environment. The Boulder County commissioners heard  recommendations from the county’s advisory committees, including the county’s Croplands Policy Advisory Group, the Food and Agriculture Policy Group, and the Parks and Open Space Advisory Group. A public hearing was held on Feb. 29  also provided public input on whether to continue or change the current approval in Section 6.1 of the Boulder County Parks & Open Space Cropland Policy that allows for the use of certain genetically engineered (GE) crops on Open Space land. That approval expires on December 20, 2016. More than 100 people […]

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14
Mar

Report Calls for Improved Pesticide Regulation and Assessment on Kauai, Hawai’i

(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2016)  According to a draft version of a report commissioned by Hawaii and Kauai County, Hawaii should dramatically improve its regulation of pesticide use and study its impacts, which the state legislature has repeatedly refused to consider. Unsurprisingly, agrichemical companies that produce genetically engineered (GE) seeds criticized the new government report, saying it “raises unfounded and unsubstantiated fears about chronic exposure and chemicals in general.” Association members include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences and BASF, multi-billion-dollar multinational agrochemical companies that farm thousands of acres in Hawaii and produce the state’s largest export crop, seed corn. The Joint Fact Finding (JFF) report was conducted by Peter Adler of the consulting firm Accord3.0. and eight participants, including two representatives of DuPont Pioneer and Dow AgroSciences. According to the study website, it was commissioned by the  Hawaii State Department of Agriculture (HDOA)  and Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho in order to conduct a joint fact finding project on the island of Kauai. The preliminary results were released after a year-long investigation into the impacts and regulation of pesticide use by Hawaii’s GE seed industry and Kauai Coffee.  The draft report is available for public comment until April 8, 2016. […]

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11
Mar

Colorado Rancher To Be Jailed for Pesticide Drift

(Beyond Pesticides, March 11, 2016)  A judge found a Colorado rancher to be in violation of a court order that protected his neighbors, organic farmers Rosemary Bilchak and her husband Gordon MacAlpine, who suffers from leukemia, from sprayed pesticides that drifted onto their property. The decision in western Colorado’s North Fork Valley sets a precedent in protecting farmers and sensitive people from pesticides.  State Judge Jeff Herron sentenced Hopper to jail for two days ””and fined him $7,500 ”” ruling that his spraying until 2015  violated a 2012 court order  that protected his neighbors. Despite this court order, records say Mr. Hopper continued spraying through August 2015. Mr. Hopper had obtained a state license to spray pesticides in 2011 after his wife was diagnosed with West Nile virus, which is spread by mosquitoes. However, Mr. Hopper’s neighbors took him to court, claiming the pesticides were harmful to Mr. MacAlpine’s health and prevented them from expanding into organic vegetable production. The presiding judge at the time of the 2012 court ruling, Charles Greenacre, determined that an application of the insecticide, Fyfanon, a form of  malathion, had drifted, and thus trespassed, onto the neighboring organic farm of Rosemary Bilchak and her husband, […]

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25
Feb

Irvine, CA Adopts Organic Management Policy for City Property

(Beyond Pesticides, February 25, 2016)  On Tuesday, the City Council of Irvine, California, with a population of over 250,000 people, voted unanimously to stop the use of hazardous pesticides on city property. The Council adopted an  organic  management policy that limits  the use of synthetic pesticides on city property, which includes 570 acres of parks, more than 800 acres of right-of-way, 70,000 trees and nearly 1.5 million square feet of facilities. The policy permits pesticides   “only when deemed necessary to protect public health and economic impact.” The vote capped a campaign led by  the local advocacy group Non Toxic Irvine, which has been advocating that the city  nix synthetic pesticides in favor of better plant management and materials compatible with organic practices. The group is led by local mothers concerned about the synthetic pesticide health risks related to children.  Kathleen Hallal, a leader with Non Toxic Irvine, said, “It is not radical for a city to use organic methods. It’s radical to use toxic methods to control weeds and pests around our children.” According to the Orange County Register, in May 2015, the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) agreed to end the use of glyphosate (RoundUp) on all school […]

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24
Feb

Colorado Legislature Considers Pesticide-Free Marijuana Bill

(Beyond Pesticides February 24, 2016) Last Friday, Colorado’s House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee heard a proposal to create a contaminant-free certification system for marijuana sold within the state. This program, intended to resemble the federal National Organic Program, was offered as a legislative response to protect consumers after the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) failed to implement meaningful regulations to keep marijuana users within the state safe from the harms associated with unregulated pesticides use on cannabis crops. If the proposal moves forward, Colorado will becomes the first state to establish and regulate an organic label in its marijuana  industry, paving the way for other states with legalized marijuana industries to follow suit. Massachusetts and New Hampshire require that cultivation practices are consistent with USDA national organic standards. “Consumers have a right to know what they’re putting in their body,” said Colorado Rep. Jonathan Singer, co-sponsor of HB16-1079, which requires that CDA set up an independent program to certify that cannabis sold in the state is pesticide-free. Companies that  meet the standard would then be able to use special labeling to alert consumers that their products are entirely pesticide-free. The program will  also attempt to address concerns […]

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23
Feb

California Health Advocates Continue Call for Increased Buffer Zones Near Schools

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2016) A coalition of local parents and community health groups from California’s Central Valley are calling on the state to set one mile buffer zones around schools in order to reduce children’s exposure to highly toxic pesticides. The request comes after research from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found widely used fumigant pesticides in central California interact synergistically and increase health risks. Although California is subject to regressive pesticide preemption laws, county agricultural commissioners have the authority to regulate and enforce pesticide use at the local level. While the state currently sets minimum buffer zones around schools at 500 ft., certain California counties require increased levels of protection around these sensitive sites. However, activists charge that state standards and even locally wider buffer zones are not adequately protecting community health, and comprehensive statewide regulations are needed. In July of 2015, after years of pressure from activists, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) held a series of workshops to gather community input on new rules governing pesticide use near schools. According to The Desert Sun, CDPR is expected to release its first draft of the new regulations for public comment at the end of […]

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16
Feb

Intersex Fish at National Wildlife Refuges Considered for Further Study

(Beyond Pesticides, February 16, 2016) Last Thursday, officials reported that federal scientists for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) are recommending follow up studies for a portion of the Wallkill River in Sussex County, NJ, in addition to five other national wildlife refuges in the Northeast that were previously found to contain small-mouth bass with intersex characteristics. A study conducted  by FWS and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) points out that smallmouth and largemouth bass are showing intersex features, but researchers have  not pinpointed the cause. Scientists hope a follow up study will provide answers. Intersex fish and other species are  characterized  by one sex exhibiting traits  of the opposite sex. In the case of the FWS/USGS study, researchers found testicular oocytes ””female eggs found inside male testicles””in male smallmouth and largemouth bass. The source of intersex effects  can be hard to pinpoint, but pesticides are often cited as a cause given that they widely pollute waterways that  fish populate. Those chemicals have properties that disrupt the endocrine system and affect the reproductive system, causing development issues such as testicular oocytes. According to the USGS press release for the study, “Estrogenic endocrine-disrupting chemicals are derived from a variety of […]

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10
Feb

Hawaii Pesticide Disclosure Bill Passes Committee

(Beyond Pesticides February 10, 2016) Last week Hawaii’s House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee, chaired by Representative Chris Lee, unanimously passed a measure to require large-scale, outdoor commercial agricultural businesses to publicly disclose outdoor application of pesticides in various environmentally sensitive areas. House Bill 2574  will  make the reporting guidelines for the voluntary Kauai program mandatory across the state and will  also establish “disclosure and public notification requirements for outdoor applications of pesticides in and in the proximity of schools, health care facilities, child care facilities, elder care facilities, and other environmentally sensitive areas,” according to the bill. The bill’s next step is the Agriculture Committee, where chair Representative Clift Tsuji has killed pesticide-related bills in the past. House Bill 2574 is the latest in a string of laws proposed by local and state governments within Hawaii to try to  protect citizens from the harms of toxic pesticides. In 2015, Hawaiian legislators proposed House Bill 1514  to establish school and hospital buffer zones. The bill, which would have prohibited farmers from using large amounts of pesticides within a specified distance of schools and hospitals, stemmed from concerns about  the impact of genetically-engineered (GE) farming and its inherent dependency on increasing […]

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02
Feb

Local Hardware Store Acts to Protect Bees, Promote Natural Alternatives

(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2016) Boulder, Colorado’s McGuckin Hardware is setting an example for hardware stores across the country by removing bee-toxic neonicotinoids from its store shelves, and working to reorient its customers toward natural, holistic practices. McGuckin’s change is the latest in a movement among local hardware businesses to take a stand against toxic pesticides that are harmful to pollinators and unnecessary to control problem pests. “We wanted to be one of the first to get rid of them,” said Steve Wilke, McGuckins marketing communications specialist in a piece published in Hardware Retailing, a newsletter run by the North American Retail Hardware Association. Local and national advocates are praising McGuckin’s shift away from products that harm pollinators. “People are very excited about the dramatic steps McGuckin’s has taken to get neonics out of our environment,” said David Wheeler of the local pollinator-advocacy organization Bee Safe Boulder. Bee Safe Boulder is a coalition of concerned Boulder residents that successfully fought for the passage of a pollinator resolution in the City of Boulder, Layfayette, and Boulder County, Colorado. The organization also has a project aimed at encouraging local retailers to stop selling plants coated in neonicotinoids; 18 retailers in the area, […]

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01
Feb

City of St. Paul, MN Acts to Protect Pollinators

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2016) Last Wednesday, the city council of St. Paul, MN adopted a resolution to make the city more pollinator friendly by banning bee-toxic neonicotinoids and other pesticides “proven  to be harmful to pollinators” and require an  updating of its Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program, prioritizing non-chemical methods. The resolution recognizes that its authority to restrict pesticide use on private land  has been preempted by the State of Minnesota and then directs the city to encourage property owners within its jurisdiction to practice pollinator stewardship. Under the new resolution, St. Paul has committed to: Develop or update an IPM program that requires site inspections, monitoring and prevention strategies, an evaluation on the need for pest control, and when pest control is warranted the use of structural, mechanical, biological, organic, and other nonchemical methods will be utilized first. Eliminate the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, and other pesticides proven to be harmful to pollinators, on city grounds, with specific exceptions for golf course areas and certain athletic fields. Require all city departments with any inventory of materials containing neonicotinoids, and other pesticides proven to be harmful to pollinators, to discontinue their use and properly dispose of them unless a […]

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28
Jan

Oregon Proposes Legislation to Protect Farmers and Consumers from GE Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2016) Last week, Oregon Representative Paul Holyey introduced legislation that would protect traditional crops against contamination from their genetically engineered counterparts. As it stands, local governments are preempted (disallowed) from taking actions that protect traditional farmers from contamination by genetically engineered (GE) crops. With the help of advocates representing family farms and food safety, The Transgenic Contamination Prevention Bill (HB 4122) will  repeal sections of Senate-passed  Bill 863,  which  preempts local governments, and restore the  right of local jurisdictions to regulate the planting of GE  seed. The law, Bill 863, dubbed  Oregon’s Monsanto Protection Act by environmentalists, farmers and consumers, was passed in 2013 and signed into law by then-Governor John Kitzhaber. The new language in HB 4122 seeks to correct the chemical company-driven legislation of the former bill and restore protection for traditional and organic farmers. In May, 2014, the voters of Jackson and Josephine Counties, Oregon, passed a ballot initiative, Genetically Modified Organism Ban, Measure 15-119, which sparked the backlash in the state legislature. A federal court decision upheld the ballot initiatives, and the county  laws were  grandfathered in, or allowed to stay in effect. Center for Food Safety’s attorney, George Kimbrell, expressed support […]

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22
Jan

Oregon, Colorado Move Forward in Regulating Pesticides on Marijuana

(Beyond Pesticides January 22, 2016) Last week, the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) released a list of pesticide products available for use on marijuana cultivated within the state. The list, which contains 257 pesticide products, aligns with similar product lists published by Washington State and Colorado, and raises the same concerns over the allowance of products that violate the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and have not been subject to health evaluations of public exposure to the pesticides used. Those concerns were on full display last week in Colorado, when the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) held a public meeting to discuss amendments to its Pesticide Applicators’ Act that would allow growers to use pesticides that violate FIFRA. Additionally, in an attempt to address consumers’ concerns over the issue of unregulated pesticides in marijuana, two lawmakers in Colorado introduced a bill that would establish a program for certifying marijuana as “pesticide free” within the state. Oregon Releases List of Approved Pesticides for Cannabis Growers Like Colorado and Washington, the Oregon list construes broad label language to allow the use of pesticide products that have not been specifically tested for use on marijuana, despite the fact that the Environmental […]

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19
Jan

New Video Release: Cultivating Community and Environmental Health,The 34th National Pesticide Forum

(Beyond Pesticides, January 19, 2016) We hope you will join us at  Cultivating Community and Environmental Health: Models for sustainable and organic strategies to protect ecosystems, pollinators, and waterways, the 34th National Pesticide Forum. The forum will be held April 15-16, 2016 (Friday afternoon and all day Saturday) at the University of Southern Maine in Portland, ME. This year’s conference focuses adoption of policies to protect human health and the environment, and organic land and building management strategies. Other topics include ensuring scientific integrity, water quality, protecting pollinators, pesticides in schools and hospitals, and genetic engineering. The 2016 conference is convened by Beyond Pesticides, Toxics Action Center, and  Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA). Co-sponsors include:  Food and Water Watch Maine,  Friends of Casco Bay,  Organic Consumers Association,  Portland Protectors, and  Regeneration International, as well as other local environmental and human health advocacy organizations. Register Today! Reserve your spot at the 2016 Forum today and get the Early Bird Discount rate ($5 off until March 15). Registration starts at $45 and includes access to all sessions as well as organic food and beverages. In addition to access to amazing speakers and networking opportunities, we will serve light refreshments and […]

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13
Jan

WA Oyster Growers Request Approval to Spray Neonicotinoid Pesticides in Bay, Despite Public Opposition

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2016) Last Friday, the Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association (WGHOGA) in Washington State sent a 71-page request to the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) asking state regulators to approve  a permit to  spray neonicotinoid insecticides  that are having devastating effects on the ecosystems worldwide. Yet, WGHOGA is pursuing a single-minded approach to chemically control the shrimp that are hurting their oyster crops, while using chemicals that the preponderance of science finds cause ecosystem imbalance. In  April 2015, much to the dismay of activists and concerned local residents, Ecology approved a permit for the use of imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) to combat a growing native population of burrowing shrimp that threatens  valuable shellfish (oyster) beds in Willapa Bay and Grays  Harbor. But, with a  nationwide public outcry, the permit was withdrawn in May 2015. Ecology sent KING 5, a local Washington news agency, the below statement last Friday: “We received the permit application this morning from the Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association to use imidacloprid on shellfish beds. It will take some time for us to review the 71-page application. On May 3 (2015) the Oyster Growers Association asked Ecology to withdraw their permit. Since then, […]

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22
Dec

Save the Date: Esteemed Researchers Join Lineup of Speakers at 34th National Pesticide Forum

(Beyond Pesticides, December 22, 2015) Beyond Pesticides is pleased to announce the 34th National Pesticide Forum, which will be held April 15th-16th, 2016 at the University of Southern Maine, in Portland, ME. Leading scientists on  the lineup of speakers for the upcoming forum include: Aaron Blair, Ph.D., a National Cancer Institute researcher (retired), author of more than 450 publications on occupational and environmental causes of cancer,  and the overall chair  the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) evaluation panel that found  glyphosate (Roundup) to be a carcinogen; and Jonathan Lundgren, Ph.D., a top U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist who received a prestigious national award for civic courage  (Entomologist in the Crosshairs of Science  and Corporate Politics) for his work on neonicotinoids and pollinator decline in the face of agency attempts to suppress his work. Beyond Pesticides is collaborating with local groups, including the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA), Toxics Action Center, and Protect South Portland, as well as other local environmental and human health advocacy organizations. The 34th National Forum provides an opportunity for grassroots advocates, scientists, and policy makers to share our efforts and build local, state and national strategies for strength and growth. This […]

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18
Dec

Herbicides and Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Linked to Decline of Smallmouth Bass

(Beyond Pesticides, December 18, 2015) One of the most likely causes for the population decline of smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna River are endocrine-disrupting compounds and herbicides, concludes a multi-agency, multi-year study of one of the most complex river systems in Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC), along with nearly 50 participants and six partner agencies, released findings on Monday that narrow the likely causes from an initial field of 14 candidates to two. PFBC also found that pathogens and parasites are probable contributing factors. Following a smallmouth bass (SMB) population crash in 2005, and additional observed maladies, such as tumors and lesions on SMB, the team used ground-breaking monitoring strategies to collect more than 30,000 water quality records annually, along with review of existing research to isolate the possible causes keeping young-of-the-year (YOY) SMB from growing to adulthood. The study provides evidence to what Beyond Pesticides suspected back in May, when PFBC confirmed that a rare malignant tumor was found for the first time on a SMB caught by an angler back in the summer of 2014. Though the findings at the time did not point to a specific […]

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17
Dec

Records Show Suspended Oregon Pesticide Spray Company Continues Operations

(Beyond Pesticides, December 17, 2015) On September 25, Applebee Aviation’s license to spray pesticides commercially was suspended for one year, after an employee complained of chemical exposure and violated worker protection rights. After Applebee Aviation’s one-year suspension was issued, it  continued to operate and illegally sprayed at least 16 sites, according to reports.  Two of those sites were public parks, 71 acres in total, overseen by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). A series of back-and-forth communications between the Oregon Department of Agriculture and Applebee Aviation has resulted in a restraining order, $180,000 in fines, a five-year license revocation, and over 800 acres of state and private land illegally sprayed. According to recent investigations, ODF knew about the license revocation before Applebee Aviation illegally sprayed state forests. In April 2015, Applebee Aviation employee Darryl Ivy, a truck driver, spent 17 days on a spray crew in Oregon timber country. During that time, he and his crew were routinely exposed to aerial sprays. Mr. Ivy took shelter in his truck while a “milky chemical mixture” rained overhead and stained his vehicle. In the emergency room, Mr. Ivy’s urine showed elevated levels of the herbicide atrazine, a known endocrine disruptor. He suffered […]

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09
Dec

Oregon to Consider Stop-Gap Measure to Test for Pesticides on Marijuana

(Beyond Pesticides December 9, 2015) Last week, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) signaled its willingness to address a gap in the regulation  of pesticides in  marijuana production caused by a lag in the start date of the state’s revised testing program. After new regulations were adopted  last month to increase the amount of pesticide residue testing on cannabis required by the state, concerns were raised about the delayed  June 2016 start date. The  committee that advises OHA on medical marijuana pressured the agency to expedite the rules. While a final decision is pending, the    stop-gap testing rules would target the most commonly used pesticides in marijuana production and go into effect as early as January. Advocates are urging states to ban registered pesticides, since they are not labeled for use on marijuana and not evaluated for exposure associated with inhalation, ingestion, and dermal absorption, as well as potential environmental contamination. 70,000-plus medical marijuana users, as well as recreational users, within the state will be affected by the regulations. In November, the state of Oregon updated its rules governing pesticide use to require the mandatory testing of nearly  60 pesticide compounds  that are of particular concern. Under the new rules, […]

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08
Dec

Scientists Find Pesticide Exposure Decreases Lung Function in Children

(Beyond Pesticides, December 8, 2015) Exposure to common agricultural pesticides in early life leads to a measurable decrease in children’s lung functioning, according to researchers from the University of California, Berkeley. Organophosphate pesticides, a relatively older generation of crop chemicals still widely used on farms in California, have been associated with a broad range of diseases in both children and adults. This latest study adds to calls from health and environmental advocates to eliminate these toxic pesticides in agriculture, and move towards safer, sustainable, and organic management practices. The higher the rate of organophosphate exposure, the smaller a child’s lung capacity would be, scientists found. The UC Berkeley study traces exposure by looking at pesticide metabolites in urine five  times over the course of childhood (6 months to 5 years). Participants were part of the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS), a longitudinal birth cohort study investigating the effects of pesticides and other environmental chemicals on the growth, health, and development of children in California’s Salinas Valley. For every 10-fold increase in pesticide metabolites measured in a child’s urine, an average of approximately 8% air function within the lungs was lost. “Researchers have described […]

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17
Nov

Colorado Governor Calls Pesticide-Tainted Cannabis “A Threat to Public Safety,” Oregon Updates Regulations

(Beyond Pesticides, November 17, 2015) Last Thursday, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper issued an executive order directing state agencies to address public safety concerns related to pesticide-contaminated cannabis. The next day, the state of Oregon adopted new rules strengthening its requirements for laboratory testing of cannabis for pesticides. The state-level action on  pesticide-tainted cannabis is viewed as responsive to an ongoing public health threat. However, safety advocates say steps are needed to ensure that cannabis users, particularly medical patients with cancer, seizures, or other immune compromising diseases, are safe from toxic chemicals. Governor Hickenlooper’s Executive Order As a result of a number of quarantines on pesticide-laced cannabis in Denver, a warning letter and testimony delivered by Beyond Pesticides, and a recent lawsuit against a major Colorado grower, pressure has been building on the state to address this issue. In the executive order (EO), the governor acknowledges that because of cannabis’ status as a schedule 1 narcotic under federal law, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has “neither assessed the potential health hazards posed by treating marijuana with pesticides, nor has it authorized the application of any pesticide specifically for use on marijuana.” The EO notes that it is a violation of […]

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13
Nov

Sound Waves Disrupt Mating of Pest in Orange Groves

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2015) Research finds that sound waves could combat the Asian citrus psyllid, an insect that has been devastating Florida orange groves, and possibly reduce the need for pesticides. The Asian citrus psyllid carries a bacteria that causes “citrus greening,” an incurable disease with symptoms that include yellow shoots, uneven discolored patches, and deficiencies with the production of chlorophyll, green pigment found within plants. To stem the spread of the disease  —which is responsible for an estimated $3.63 billion in lost revenue from orange juice for the state of Florida from 2006-2012— researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and University of Florida (UF) are developing vibration traps that hijack psyllid mating calls to locally bring their populations under control. “We’re trying hard to cut down on use of pesticides in orange groves, partly because we are worried they’ll build up resistance to pesticides, and that will make things even worse,” said Richard Mankin, Ph.D., a research entomologist with USDA. He presented  findings  on acoustic disruption at the meeting of the American Acoustical Society  last month in Jacksonville. When a male Asian psyllid is looking for a mate, he situates himself on a twig and alerts […]

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