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Archive for the 'Take Action' Category


30
Oct

Inspector General Finds EPA Pesticide Petition Process Plagued by Delays

(Beyond Pesticides, October 30, 2015) The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Program (OPP) needs policies and procedures to manage pesticide petitions in a transparent and efficient manner, according to new report  that  highlights inadequacies in the way the agency responds to petitioners. The report, published by EPA’s Office of Inspector General, an independent office within EPA that investigates agency compliance with laws governing its programs, concludes that the lack of transparency and efficiency “leaves petitioners unaware of petition status, which can result in unreasonable delay lawsuits costing the agency time and resources.” While the public has the right to submit pesticide petitions to EPA and the agency is required to respond to these petitions “within a reasonable time,” there are no set requirements for what constitutes a specific time frame. However, petitioners can file a lawsuit claiming unreasonable delay if the petitioner finds that EPA has not responded within what the petitioner considers a reasonable amount of time. Of the 40 public petitions received by OPP from Fiscal Year 2005 through 2014, nearly a quarter of them are  associated with unreasonable delay lawsuits. The specific issues contributing to these delays involve: Petition documentation not being readily accessible; Some […]

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28
Oct

Lawsuit Seeks to Stop Use of Bee-Toxic Pesticide Sulfoxaflor in EU

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2015) On the heels of a recent federal court decision that rejected the U.S. registration of sulfoxaflor, which cited inadequate and flawed review of the science on the chemical’s toxicity to bees, European beekeepers filed complaint that that asks the European Court of Justice to take the same action. The complaint  asks the court to cancel sulfoxaflor’s authorization. Sulfoxaflor is a neonicotinoid-like chemical that, like neonicotinoids, is highly toxic to bees. Three of the most widely used neonicotinoids are currently under a two-year European-wide moratorium which began December 2013, due to concerns about risks to bee populations. European beekeepers, Bee Life European Beekeeping Coordination, the Italian National Beekeeping Union (UNAAPI), and PAN Europe, filed the complaint which cites a published  negative opinion on Dow AgroScience’s sulfoxaflor by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). According to EFSA, the pesticide is categorized as ”˜highly toxic to bees’ and it identified crucial toxicity data gaps, which according to the beekeepers, makes a proper risk assessment for bees impossible. Despite these facts, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety (DG Sante) and the EU member states authorized sulfoxaflor in July 2015, completely bypassing the pesticide regulation, the complaint […]

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26
Oct

Major Popcorn Supplier to Eliminate Neonic Treated Seeds

(Beyond Pesticides, October 26, 2015) Last week, Pop Weaver, the second largest popcorn supplier in the country, released an official statement on its commitment to “removing 50 percent of its neonicotinoid usage in 2016, 75 percent in 2017, with a long-term commitment of further reducing usage by working with agricultural universities and those companies supplying neonicotinoids to the seed industry.” Widely-used neonicotinoids (neonics), which as systemic chemicals move through a plant’s vascular system and express poison through pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets, have been identified in multiple  peer-reviewed studies  and by beekeepers  as the major contributing factor in bee decline. This commitment is a response to a campaign led by Center for Food Safety (CFS), which asked citizens to sign a petition asking Pop Weaver, and other large popcorn suppliers, to protect bees and other pollinators by phasing out the use of neonicotinoid-coated corn seed. Over 37,000 people have signed their petition. Americans eat, on average, 17.3 billion quarts of popcorn each year; each American eats about 68 quarts. According to CFS, there are roughly 40 insecticides currently registered for use as an active chemical on popcorn, including 3 bee-toxic neonicotinoid chemicals: clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and imidacloprid. Between  79 and 100 […]

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23
Oct

Fresh Produce Tainted With Illegal Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, October 23, 2015) Tests on produce collected by California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) for 2014 show high levels of  illegal toxic pesticide residues. The CDPR report found 1 percent of produce containing an excess amount of pesticide residues, and an additional 5.5 percent of produce tested contained illegal residues of pesticides that are not allowed for use on that product. Additionally, the data shows residues of a banned  chemical, which was taken off the market  over 20 years in the U.S. due to health concerns related to farmworker exposure. These findings showcase issues related to  system-wide failure in  enforcement. Advocates stress that violations may continue to occur due to inadequacies in regulations governing enforcement authorities, which include warnings or low fines for violators. In raising concerns about the safety of food grown with chemical-intensive methods, advocates point to the need to expand the transition to organic agriculture for better protection of public health and safety. The highest percentage of illegal pesticides was found on cactus pads and cactus fruit imported from Mexico. Some of the other tainted fruit and vegetables include limes, papaya, summer squash, tomatillos, chili peppers, and tomatoes, also from Mexico, ginger imported from China, […]

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22
Oct

U.S. Senators to Advance Legislation to Stop States from Labeling GE Food

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2015) With increasing consumer concern about genetically engineered (GE) food, yesterday  the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing,  entitled Agriculture Biotechnology: a Look at Federal Regulation and Stakeholder Perspectives, that critics called lopsided. Most witnesses characterized GE food as safe or side-stepped the issue of safety, as government witnesses refused to distinguish GE from conventional food and opposed food labeling. “This is the first time in 10 years we’ve had a hearing on biotech. I guess we’re a little late, but we’re here,” said chair of the committee, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS). The ranking  minority member of the committee, Senator  Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)  said,  “Biotechnology is proven to be safe, beneficial, and I believe will play a major role in helping to solve these dual global challenges of climate change and global food security,” Central to the hearing is the the issue of labeling food products containing GE crops. Senator Stabenow called for the adoption of legislation on GE food labeling, presumably with language that will preempt the authority of states to adopt more stringent labeling standards. Senator Stabenow said that she wants labeling that “doesn’t stigmatize biotechnology.” The GE food […]

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21
Oct

Industry Celebrates 25 Years of Undermining Public Health

(Beyond Pesticides, October 21, 2015) Last week, Responsible Industry for a Sound Environment (RISE), an umbrella group representing pesticide manufacturers, celebrated its 25th year anniversary, touting its efforts to roll back critical protections from pesticide use in the U.S. The group emphasizes its role in quashing local government’s right to restrict pesticide use within its jurisdiction  after the Supreme Court, in Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Ralph Mortier (1991), upheld local  authority under federal pesticide law. RISE, formed out of the National Agricultural Chemicals Association to fight government regulation at the federal, state, and local level, launched with a  plan to defeat those opposing pesticide use in favor of sustainable practices, including concerned mothers, progressive businesses, and local and national health and environmental advocates. The platform  RISE articulates  showcases its plans to influence regulators and consumers to allow the widespread and less restricted use of pesticides. In the 1990’s, RISE joined with another industry group, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), to seek the adoption in state legislatures across the country pesticide preemption laws, which were adopted in over 40  states. These laws prevent local governments from adopting  their own restrictions governing pesticide use  on private property. At one point, the […]

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20
Oct

Study Finds Neonics “Severely Affect” Health of Honey Bee Queens

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2015) Exposure to neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides results in profound negative impacts to the health of honey bee queens, according to an international team of researchers led by Geoff Williams, MD, PhD, at the University of Bern in Switzerland. While most studies to date have investigated how neonics effect the health of individual workers or overall colony fitness, Dr. William’s study, Neonicotinoid pesticides severely affect honey bee queens, is one of the first to focus on the health of honey bee queens. Neither the European Union nor U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study the impacts of pesticides on queen health before allowing a pesticide to market. The results of this research are particularly concerning, given widespread anecdotal evidence from beekeepers across the globe that ”˜poor quality queens’ are playing a role in bee declines. To test the impacts of these chemicals on queen honey bees, scientists exposed a sample of 29 queens to field-realistic levels of the neonics  clothianidian and thiamethoxam (1 parts per billion and 4 ppb respectively), and compared them to a population of 28 control queens, which were not treated with neonics. Both groups experienced similar environmental circumstances in terms of food availability, rearing […]

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19
Oct

Monsanto Faces Lawsuits on Cancer Linked to Roundup

(Beyond Pesticides, October 19, 2015) Monsanto, the major producer of Roundup (glyphosate), has found itself in hot water recently, as personal injury lawsuits pile up over the link between glyphosate exposure and non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (NHL). Personal injury law firms around the U.S. have found a multitude of plaintiffs and are preparing for what could be a “mass tort” action against Monsanto for knowingly misinforming the public and farmworkers about the dangers of the chemical. The latest lawsuit was filed October 14 in Delaware Superior Court by three law firms representing three plaintiffs. One plaintiff in the Delaware lawsuit, Joselin Barrera, 24, a child of migrant farmworkers, relates  her non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) to glyphosate exposure. Elias de la Garza, a former migrant farm worker and landscaper diagnosed with NHL, has a similar claim. These follow other lawsuits filed last month in New York and California that  accuse Monsanto of knowing that glyphosate was hazardous to human health. Monsanto “led a prolonged campaign of misinformation to convince government agencies, farmers and the general population that Roundup was safe,” the lawsuit states. Glyphosate is touted as a “low toxicity” chemical and “safer” than other chemicals by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry […]

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15
Oct

Study Finds Wildflowers Contain More Neonics than Treated Fields

(Beyond Pesticides, October 15, 2015) A new study, published in Environmental Science & Technology, has found that wildflowers bordering fields that are treated with neonicotinoids contain a higher concentration of the bee-toxic pesticides than the actual treated fields, pointing out an often overlooked avenue of exposure for bees. Widely-used neonicotinoids, which as systemic chemicals move through a plant’s vascular system and express poison through pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets, have been identified in multiple  peer-reviewed studies  and by beekeepers  as the major contributing factor in bee decline. The study, titled Neonicotinoid Residues in Wildflowers, A Potential Route of Chronic Exposure for Bees, discovered neonicotinoid insecticides in wildflowers, including Hogweed and Poppy pollen (up to 86ppb and 64ppb, respectively). The study’s authors  found higher concentrations of neonicotinoids in wild flowers in field margins than in Oilseed rape flowers in the adjacent neonicotinoid treated crop — on average 15ppb vs. 3ppb.   They also found that more than 97% of the neonicotinoids being brought into the hive by honey bees are from wildflowers, while only 3% are  from the crop. Researchers have found  that chronic exposure to neonicotinoids increases neuronal vulnerability to mitochondrial dysfunction in the bumblebee. In other words, these pesticides […]

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09
Oct

EPA Seeks Public Opinion on Continued Use of Neurotoxic Organophosphate Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2015) Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released preliminary human health and ecological risk assessments for seven organophosphate pesticides (OPs) and announced the public open comment period for those chemicals. These risk assessments come as a result of the required periodic registration review, as required by  the Federal Insecticide, Fungicides, and Rodenticide Act. In general, OPs are highly toxic and many have been voluntarily removed from the market, considerably restricted, or denied reregistration. Unfortunately, EPA continues to rely on risk mitigation for individual OPs instead of phasing them out altogether. Seven OPs ­ ­—dimethoate, dictrotophos, chloyrophos-methyl, tribufos, terbufos, profenofors, and ethoprop—are among the first wave of chemicals whose preliminary risk assessments have been completed under the registration review program. Each of these was found by EPA to inhibit the enzyme acetylcholine esterase (AchE), which ultimately leads to neurotoxic  central nervous system effects. This information is not new, however. In 2012, University College London found long-term low-level exposure to OPs produces lasting damage to neurological and cognitive functions. In 2013, at least 25 children died after eating school lunches contaminated by OPs. One OP in particular, chlorpyrifos, chlorpyrifos (Dursban), is currently under petition for the same […]

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29
Sep

Reno, Nevada Kick-Starts Pesticide-Free Parks Program

(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2015) Last week, the City of Reno, Nevada officially approved a Pesticide-Free Parks program aimed at improving the health of its residents and the local environment. In addition to two downtown parks, Neighborhood Advisory Boards within each of City’s five wards chose two parks to join the program, bringing the total to 12 pesticide-free parks. The program is an outgrowth of resident concern over the use of pesticides linked to cancer, asthma, and learning disorders, as well as impacts to local water quality. Beyond Pesticides worked to support the pesticide-free parks movement by sponsoring a training session taught by nationally renowned turfgrass expert Chip Osborne on how to transition to organic practices. “This is a major win for the city in regards to our priority of providing and maintaining safe and healthy neighborhoods,” Ward 2 Reno City Councilmember Naomi Duerr told ABC8. “Community input will continue to drive the important decisions we make.” According to a staff report released by the Reno Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Services, there is not expected to be any burdensome financial implications put upon the City as a result of the program. “There will be no cost implications as […]

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21
Sep

County-wide Lawn Care Pesticide Ban Bill in Maryland Stripped of Major Provisions in Committee

(Beyond Pesticides September 21, 2015) Last Thursday, the  Transportation and Environment (T&E) Committee in Montgomery County, Maryland voted 2-1 to strip major provisions of the Healthy Lawn Bill 52-14, including a  ban of (i) cosmetic use of lawn pesticides throughout the county on private and public property and (ii) the treatment of playing fields with hazardous pesticides. The amended bill retains a pesticide ban on all playgrounds and sets up an organic pilot program on some  playing fields and parks. The bill’s prime sponsor and two of its cosponsors said they will work to gather the five votes necessary to restore critical protections for human health and the environment. The T&E Committee voted 2-1 on substitute legislation, proposed by Committee Chair Roger Berliner, to remove the central portions of the bill intended to transition Montgomery County land, including public and private property, to non-toxic sustainable management practices. While Committee members Nancy Floreen, an original co-sponsor of the bill and Mr. Berliner both voted for the substitute legislation, Council member Tom Hucker, a lead co-sponsor of the bill rejected the changes, stating that the county had a “very clear responsibility to protect public health.” Joining the committee discussion were Montgomery County […]

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17
Sep

City of Lafayette, Colorado Restricts Bee-Toxic Neonicotinoids

(Beyond Pesticides, September 17, 2015) On Tuesday, the City Council of Lafayette, Colorado unanimously approved a resolution to prohibit bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides on city property. The resolution restricts the use of neonicotinoids on any land owned or operated by the city, including public rights-of-way, parks, playing fields, watersheds and ditches, open space lands, and public landscapes. Modeled on  a resolution passed in May by neighboring Boulder city, the new resolution has been propelled through the City Commission with  support from grassroots organizations, including Bee Safe Boulder and Pesticide Free Boulder County Coalition. The resolution affirms that the City of Lafayette: Not purchase or use any neonicotinoid pesticides on city owned or operated land; Restrict city and agricultural contractors from using neonicotinoids like imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, etc.; Provide exceptions only when emergency situations where the life or health of a valuable, important land asset is at risk, such as a valuable tree or golf course, and when the neonicotinoid application is the most effective option; Urge all residents and business in Lafayette to suspend neonicotinoids for use in seed treatment, soil application, foliar treatment, and other bee-attractive settings; Purchase landscape materials that have not been treated with neonicotinoids and urge […]

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16
Sep

Despite Evidence of Harm and Lack of Need, USDA Supports Unrestricted Use of Bee-Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, September 16, 2015) In a letter posted to the federal docket, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) states that it is opposed to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent proposal to restrict pesticides highly toxic to bees on sites where managed bees are present, saying the measure “has not established the need for such a prohibition.” In its position, USDA  cites economic impacts to farmers and lack of a cost/benefit analysis. USDA’s critique of EPA’s proposal contrasts with a decision handed down last week by a federal court that ruled EPA should not ignore risk concerns for bees and rejected the registration of a pesticide known to be highly toxic to bees, highlighting a lack of collaboration and understanding between federal agencies in advancing  pollinator protection. USDA communicated its challenge to EPA despite the growing body of science on the hazards of neonicotinoid insecticides and findings in Europe that their restriction does not undermine crop productivity. Last May,  EPA announced a new proposal  to temporarily prohibit foliar applications of pesticides that are acutely toxic to bees during plant bloom and when managed bees are on site and under contract. The proposal received a mixed response, with many from […]

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15
Sep

Harvard Meta-Analysis Ties Childhood Cancer to Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, September 15, 2015) A study released this week in the journal Pediatrics finds that children’s exposure to pesticides in and around the home results in an increased risk of developing certain childhood cancers. Researchers made their findings through a meta-analysis, reviewing 16 epidemiological studies published since 1993 on the link between childhood cancer and pesticide exposure. Based on their findings, the authors of the study suggest “”¦public health policies should be developed to minimize childhood exposure to pesticides in the home,” and that “[e]very effort should be made to limit children’s exposure to pesticides.” While most meta-analytical reviews previously conducted on the link between pesticides and childhood cancer looked at parental exposure or agricultural exposure, the current study from scientists at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health focuses in on residential exposure in and around a child’s home. Authors found that cancer risks were connected most closely to the type of pesticide used and the location where it was applied. For example, while residential herbicide use was associated with an increased risk of leukemia, the link between outdoor insecticide use and childhood cancers was not found to be statistically significant. However, exposure to insecticides inside the […]

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14
Sep

Court Rejects USDA Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit on Organic Rule Change

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2015) On Thursday September 10, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, in a bench ruling, rejected the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA)  motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit (Case3:15-cv-01690) that challenges the National Organic Program’s (NOP) failure to follow proper legal procedures  in making a substantial rule change to the organic standard. This court ruling allows the case to move forward  on the  proper procedure and the importance of formal notice and public comment regarding  the rules for organic food production. The lawsuit, filed earlier this year by the Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, and the Center for Food Safety (CFS), challenges the contaminated compost guidance  released by USDA, which weakens the long- standing prohibition of synthetic pesticide contaminants. Prior to the new contaminated compost guidance, organic regulations expressly prohibited fertilizers and compost from containing any synthetic substances not included on organic’s National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. Plaintiffs allege that the USDA’s decision weakens the integrity of organic food production, not only by creating inconsistent organic production standards but also by undermining the essential public participation function of organic policy making under the Administrative Procedure […]

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11
Sep

Federal Court Overturns EPA Approval of New Bee-Killing Insecticide Sulfoxaflor

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2015) On Thursday, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unequivocally rejected the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) unconditional registration of the systemic and bee-toxic pesticide sulfoxaflor. The Court concluded that EPA violated federal law and its own regulations when it approved sulfoxaflor without reliable studies regarding the impact that the insecticide would have on honey bee colonies. The Court vacated EPA’s unconditional registration of the chemical, meaning that sulfoxaflor may no longer be used in the U.S. However, while the decision is good news for now, it still leaves the door open for sulfoxaflor’s future use once EPA obtains the necessary information regarding impacts to honey bees and re-approves the insecticide in accordance with law. The case is Pollinator Stewardship Council, American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Bee Advisory Board, American Beekeeping Federation, Thomas Smith, Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson v. U.S. EPA (9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals,  No. 13-7234). Dow AgroSciences (a Dow Chemical company)  joined  the case as an intervenor to support EPA. EPA initially proposed to conditionally register sulfoxaflor and requested additional studies to address gaps in the data regarding the pesticide’s effects on bees. A few months later, however, EPA unconditionally registered […]

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10
Sep

California to List Glyphosate (Roundup) as Cancer-Causing

(Beyond Pesticides, September 10, 2015) Last week, California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced that it intended to list glyphosate (Roundup) and three other chemicals as cancer-causing chemicals under California’s  Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Glyphosate  is a phosphanoglycine herbicide that inhibits an enzyme essential to plant growth. Under California law, Proposition 65 requires that certain substances identified by the International View postAgency for Research on Cancer (IARC) be listed as known cancer-causing chemicals. In March, a study by the IARC classified glyphosate as a Group 2A material, which means that the chemical is carcinogenic based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. The agency considered the findings from an EPA Scientific Advisory Panel report, along with several recent studies in making its conclusion. However, industry supporters of glyphosate all over the globe are conducting their own studies to attempt to prove that it is not a carcinogen. These studies, like one by German Federal Institute for Risk Assessments (BfR), are based almost solely on industry science and classified industry reports, each of which might not consider critical variables. With more glyphosate-focused studies being released, the growing evidence […]

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09
Sep

Ten-Year-Old Suffers Traumatic Brain Injury After Home Treated with Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides September 9, 2015) A young Florida boy and his family are reeling after a routine termite treatment resulted in a devastating outcome. Ten-year-old Peyton McCaughey of Palm City, Florida has been in the hospital for weeks following a severe reaction to chemicals used to fumigate his family’s home. According to news reports, the  fumigation was performed by Sunland Pest Control, a subcontractor of Terminix. The Florida Department of Agriculture has since issued a “Stop Work Order” while it  investigates the company in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state Department of Health. After returning to their home hours after the Terminix subcontractor told them it was safe to enter, the whole family became very ill. While the parents and the 7-year-old daughter recovered, the young boy’s condition continued to worsen. “He was having some uncontrollable muscle movements, couldn’t stand up, couldn’t speak, so they took him to a local walk-in and the doctor quickly recognized it was probably poisoning from a treatment,” said Peyton’s uncle, Ed Gribben. Current reports indicate that the boy has likely suffered brain damage and has lost all muscle control, rendering him unable to stand or speak. He remains in a […]

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01
Sep

Kidney, Liver Damage Linked to Chronic, Low-Dose Glyphosate Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, September 1, 2015) A  research study published in the journal Environmental Health  links chronic, ultra-low dose exposure to glyphosate in drinking water to adverse impacts on the health of liver and kidneys. The study, Transcriptome profile analysis reflects rat liver and kidney damage following chronic ultra-low dose Roundup exposure, is the latest in a string of data showing unacceptable risks resulting from exposure to glyphosate and products formulated with the chemical, like Monsanto’s Roundup. Researchers conducted the study by exposing rats to minute (0.1 parts per billion) doses of Roundup in drinking water for a period of 2 years. After noting tissue damage and biochemical changes in the blood and urine of exposed animals that was indicative of organ damage, the authors attempted to confirm their findings by analyzing changes in gene expression within liver and kidneys. Of 4,447 gene transcript clusters analyzed by scientists, 4,224 showed some alteration. Compared to non-exposed rats, “[t]here were more than 4,000 genes in the liver and kidneys whose levels of expression had changed,” said Michael Antoniou, PhD, senior author of the study to Environmental Health News. Authors indicate that the changes in gene expression observed in the study are associated with […]

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31
Aug

Synthetic Fertilizers Mobilize Uranium, Contaminating Water

(Beyond Pesticides, August 31, 2015) A study published in Environmental Science and Technology, funded in part by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), has found that almost 2 million people are living near aquifer sites contaminated with uranium that is mobilized by human-contributed nitrate. Nitrate is a common groundwater contaminant that is sourced mainly from chemical fertilizers and animal waste. Chronic exposure to elevated levels of uranium can lead to kidney damage and cancer. These findings emphasize the dangers of synthetic fertilizer overuse, and highlight the need to switch to safer alternatives. The study, “Natural Uranium Contamination in Major U.S. Aquifers Linked to Nitrate,” analyzed approximately 275,000 groundwater samples from the Great Plains regions and California, finding that many residents often live less than a mile from uranium-contaminated wells that exceed guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In the High Plains aquifer, researchers find uranium concentrations up to 89 times EPA standards, while the Central Valley aquifer measure up to 180 times EPA standards. The study also reports that 78% of these uranium-contaminated sites are linked with the presence of nitrates. Nitrate mobilizes naturally occurring uranium through a series of reactions that oxidize the material, making it water soluble. […]

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25
Aug

Minneapolis, MN Passes Organic, Pollinator-Friendly Resolution

(Beyond Pesticides, August 25, 2015) Last Friday, the City Council of Minneapolis, MN unanimously passed a resolution declaring Minneapolis a pollinator-friendly community and urging city residents to take steps to protect dwindling pollinator populations. A groundswell of public support from a wide range of local and national groups, including Beyond Pesticides, resulted in swift passage of the resolution, the latest in a long string of local government action to safeguard pollinators from harmful pesticides, as federal proposals fail to address the magnitude of the crisis. “With the passage of today’s resolution, Minneapolis is now doing its part in the global effort to protect and grow the pollinator populations,” Mayor Betsy Hodges said to CBS Minnesota. The resolution, introduced and written by Councilmember Cam Gordon, assigns a number of bee safe actions to various city departments. While the Health Department’s Environmental Services Unit will maintain a list of pollinator-friendly plants, the Community Planning and Economic Development Department and Property Services Division of the City Coordinator’s office will create habitat for local pollinators. The Minneapolis Public Works Department will pursue both increased bee habitat and adopt clear guidelines against the use of pesticides, including but not limited to systemic neonicotinoid  (“neonic”) insecticides, […]

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24
Aug

Back-to-School? Leave the Toxics Behind

(Beyond Pesticides, August 24, 2015) At the start of the  school year, it is critical to check in with school administrators to make sure that students and teachers will not be exposed to hazardous pesticides used in the school’s buildings or on playing fields. Whether a parent, teacher, student, school administrator, landscaper or community advocate, there are steps that  can taken to make sure the school environment is a safe from  toxic chemicals, as the new  school year begins. For Parents and Teachers: Because children face unique hazards from pesticide exposure due to their small size and developing organ systems, using toxic chemicals to get rid of insects, germs, and weeds can harm students much more than it helps. Studies show children’s developing organs create “early windows of great vulnerability” during which exposure to pesticides can cause great damage. This is supported by the  findings of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) which concluded that, “Children encounter pesticides daily and have unique susceptibilities to their potential toxicity.”  The report also discusses how children  are exposed to pesticides every day in air, food, dust, and soil. Children also frequently come into contact with pesticide residue on pets and after lawn, garden, […]

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