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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Wisconsin' Category


18
Oct

Pesticide Restrictions in Wisconsin Fail to Protect Groundwater Adequately

(Beyond Pesticides, October 18, 2016) A Wisconsin family is speaking out against groundwater contamination after their son fell ill two years ago, prompting them to test their well water. The test results found the water contaminated with fertilizers and pesticides, most notably the weed killer atrazine, which has been banned in their area for 20 years. Atrazine has been registered for use since 1958. Although many residential turf grass uses of the chemical have been eliminated voluntarily, homeowner uses do persist. The chemical has been linked to human health impacts such as childhood cancer, and rare birth defects, including gastroschisis, and choanal atresia. According to Minnpost, in the spring of 2014, Jacob, son of Doug and Dawn Reeves, fell mysteriously ill. His body became swollen and he developed an unusual rash. He was finally diagnosed with juvenile dermatomyositis, a rare inflammatory disease that affects the muscles, skin and blood vessels. The cause of the disease is unknown, so the Reeves family began their own hunt as to why Jacob became sick. When they received the test results from Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, it showed that their well contained atrazine at twice the state and federal drinking water health standard. […]

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31
Oct

USDA To Provide Additional $4 million for Honey Bee Habitat, No Mention of Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2014) Without any mention of the role of pesticides in bee decline, or emphasis on organic practices to help pollinators, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday that more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance will be provided to help farmers and ranchers in the Midwest improve the health of honey bees. The announcement renews and expands on a $3 million pilot investment last spring to create pollinator-friendly habitat in five Midwestern states. The effort responds to the Presidential Memorandum, which directs USDA to expand the acreage and forage value in its conservation programs. The Memorandum, issued at the close of National Pollinator Week 2014, directed federal agencies to establish a Pollinator Health Task Force, and tasked agency leads at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a pollinator health strategy within 180 days that supports and fosters pollinator habitat. “The future of America’s food supply depends on honey bees, and this effort is one way USDA is helping improve the health of honey bee populations,” Vilsack said. “Significant progress has been made in understanding the factors that are associated with Colony Collapse Disorder and the overall health […]

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25
Jul

Midwest Waterways Contaminated with Persistent Neonicotinoid Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2014) A new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study published yesterday found neonicotinoid pesticides persistent and prevalent in streams throughout the Midwestern United States. The study is the first to investigate the presence of neonicotinoids on a wide-scale level in the Midwest. While neonicotinoid use has increased throughout the country, the Midwest in particular has seen a dramatic increase over the last decade. The use of clothianidin, one of the chemicals studied, on corn in Iowa alone has approximately doubled in just two years, from 2011 and 2013. Neonicotinoids are chemically similar to nicotine and are pesticides that are toxic to a broad range of insect pests. They are also known as systemic pesticides, which are pesticides that spread throughout the entire plant structure, making everything from roots to pollen toxic to organisms that come in contact with it. As a result, neonicotinoids have been linked to the global disappearance of honey bees and other nontarget organisms, such as earthworms, birds, and aquatic invertebrates. USGS scientist Kathryn Kuivila, Ph.D., stated, “Neonicotinoid insecticides are receiving increased attention by scientists as we explore the possible links between pesticides, nutrition, infectious disease, and other stress factors in the environment possibly […]

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04
Mar

USDA Seeks to Increase Pollinator Habitat without Focus on Pesticides and GE

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2014) The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently committed to providing financial assistance to farmers and ranchers in five Midwestern states to improve and create bee-friendly habitat. This project comes as American beekeepers have continued to experience rapid colony declines with losses over the winter over 30 percent per year. The creation of pollinator-friendly habitat is an important step to slowing pollinator losses, however this project does not challenge the expansion of agriculture into current pollinator habitat, the use of systemic pesticides that are linked to pollinator decline, or the widespread adoption of genetically engineered crops with elevated use of herbicides that kill habitat. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide $3 million in technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers to create and improve bee friendly habitat in five Midwestern states. Ranchers can qualify for assistance to reseed pastures with alfalfa, clover and other plants that bees forage.  NRCS will also assist ranchers in building fences, installing water tanks and other changes to better move cattle between pastures so as not to wear down vegetation. Farmers can also qualify for funds to plant cover crops, and bee friendly forage in boarders and […]

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06
May

Will Deadly Pesticide’s Continued Use with Limitations Protect an Endangered Species?

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), is imposing use restrictions for the insecticide methoxyfenozide on cranberries in Wisconsin because of its potential effect on the Karner Blue butterfly. The Karner Blue butterfly is a federally listed endangered species. It remains to be seen whether, short of a ban, the complex and difficult to enforce restrictions on use and application methods will adequately protect the endangered species. The limitations for methoxyfenozide are contained in a series of county-specific Endangered Species Protection Bulletins (Bulletins) as part of EPA’s Endangered Species Protection Program (ESPP). EPA entered into consultation with USFWS after determining that use of methoxyfenozide on cranberries in Wisconsin may affect the listed Karner Blue butterfly. USFWS recommended a number of use limitations that, when implemented, should result in use that is not likely to adversely affect the Karner Blue butterfly, according to the bulletin. Limitations include not applying the pesticide within the designated pesticide use limitation area, ground applications- only which must be made using a drift retardant and nozzles, and when the wind speed is between 2-10 mph. These limitations are effective within specific areas […]

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24
Aug

Wisconsin Passes Stricter Herbicide Limits

(Beyond Pesticides, August 24, 2007) The Wisconsin Natural Resources Defense Board recently passed stricter limits on allowable groundwater levels of alachlor-ESA, the breakdown product of the herbicide alachlor, cutting in half the standard to 20 parts per billion (ppb). The reduction from the previous standard of 40 ppb was prompted by the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which has tried to pass a similar measure in recent years, only to be blocked by the Republican-controlled Senate. Officials hope that a Democratic majority will ensure adoption of the new standard. The board voted 7-0 in favor of lowering the allowable groundwater level of alachlor-ESA, after DNR cited studies showing the chemical causes blood problems in rats. Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection (DATCP) tests in 2001 showed alachlor-ESA in 28 percent of private wells tested, in spite of its declining use (on less than a quarter of the state’s 100,000 acres of corn). A similar proposal was rejected by the board in 2005, when DNR refused to agree to the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules’ request to allow Monsanto, manufacturer of alachlor, to fund a separate study in addition to the state’s data. Monsanto, as expected, issued […]

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14
May

Wisconsin Investigators Find Wal-Mart Improperly Labeled Products As Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2007) Wisconsin consumer fraud investigators have released the findings of a three month long look into claims that Wal-Mart has been mislabeling conventional products as organic. The state’s numerous findings of improper labeling confirmed a complaint placed by the Cornucopia Institute in January. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, in a letter to Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., advised the company that “use of the term ”˜Wal-Mart Organics’ in combination with references to a specific non-organic product may be considered to be a misrepresentation and therefore a violation” of Wisconsin state statutes. While the report did not take action beyond extending a warning to Wal-Mart, the Cornucopia Institute was pleased with the investigation’s outcome. “This finding is a victory for consumers who care about the integrity of organic food and farming,” said Mark Kastel, co-director of the Institute. “Wal-Mart cannot be allowed to sell organic food ”˜on the cheap’ because they lack the commitment to recruit qualified management or are unwilling to properly train their store personnel. Such practices place ethical retailers, their suppliers, and organic farmers at a competitive disadvantage.” While Wisconsin has completed their investigation, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has […]

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