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It’s Time for Bayer/Monsanto to Leave Hawai’i after Pleading Guilty to Multiple Violations that Harm People and Environment of the State, Advocates Say

Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, December 15, 2021) Monsanto has pleaded guilty to multiple environmental crimes in HawaiĘ»i for the second time in less than four years, and the island communities are left asking “when is enough enough?” In the most recent case, Monsanto will plead guilty to 30 environmental crimes in HawaiĘ»i, related to pesticide use violations and putting field workers at risk.  In both cases, they admit that they knowingly violated pesticide law and put field workers in harmĘ»s way.  They will pay a $12 million fine this time, bringing their criminal fines and “community service payments” to a total of $22 million since 2019. At the center of these cases is the fact that the Monsanto field workers had to transport, apply, and suffer exposure to these toxic and banned pesticides as a part of their job. Autumn Ness, director of Beyond Pesticides’ Hawai’i organic land management program,  said: “In small island communities of HawaiĘ»i, Monsanto workers are our friends and family. Folks live just downwind and next door to these fields.  We are concerned about their health, and those concerns are glaringly missing from news reports and in the distribution agreements for the community service payments.” There are two […]

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Aquatic Wildlife Populations Take A Nosedive after Neonicotinoid Exposure

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 10, 2021) The diversity and abundance of freshwater aquatic insects plunges when commonly used neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides leach into waterways, finds research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this month. While this is the latest study exploring the effects of neonicotinoids in the field at real-world exposure levels, it is far from the first to show unacceptable hazards to wildlife and ecological health. As research on neonics piles up, advocates are watching in dismay as regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fail to respond to the science and allow indiscriminate poisoning to continue. To determine how neonicotinoids affect critical aquatic species near the bottom of the food chain, researchers created a series of 36 experimental ditches, split into four groups of nine. One group acted as a control and received no pesticide, and each other group received, 0.1, 1.0, or 10 parts per billion (ppb) of the thiacloprid, a neonic insecticide often cited by industry and regulators as having lower toxicity concerns than other neonicotinoids. Mimicking a pulse that may come from a nearby insecticide application, each group of ditches was dosed every two weeks for a period of three months. Scientists […]

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EPA and Congress Must Act to Correct a Failed Pesticide Program

Monday, November 1st, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2021) Join with 37 environmental and health groups, farm organizations, and beekeeper councils, who have delivered a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) leaders seeking major reforms in the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP). They provided a comprehensive list of OPP’s major failures as the lead federal office for pesticide regulation and management, including: Allowing chlorpyrifos to stay registered for more than 14 years after health experts and affected farmworkers petitioned for its removal based on its known neurological danger, Allowing unlimited use of Roundup (glyphosate) long after it was shown to contribute to deadly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in heavy users and it devastated the treasured monarch butterfly, now driven to near extinction in North America, Approving hundreds of neonicotinoid systemic insecticides, now the most widespread insecticide in the country where they are decimating honey and native bees and other key pollinators and beneficial species; and Registering dicamba in a highly volatile herbicide, a shocking blunder later overruled by a federal court ruling that stated OPP “not only substantially understated the risks …. It also entirely failed to acknowledge other risks, including those it was statutorily required to consider.” Take action: Tell EPA and Congress that the […]

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Groups Tell EPA’s Pesticide Program It’s a Failure, Call for Immediate Reforms

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 26, 2021) The Office of Pesticides Programs within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has become so captured by industry that it has lost sight of its health and environmental mission, according to a scathing critique issued today by 37 environmental, public health, and sustainable agriculture groups, including beekeeper councils. Led by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and Beyond Pesticides, the groups are urging the Biden administration to adopt reforms within OPP to ensure pesticide approval and use decisions are science-based. EPA’s OPP has registered more than 18,000 separate pesticide products — far more than any other country — and more than 2 billion pounds of pesticides are sold annually in the U.S. They are used annually over roughly 250 million acres of farmland, across millions of acres of urban and suburban lands, and inside millions of homes, schools, and other buildings.  The coalition letter points to employee reports that managers within  OPP – Push through “Yes packages” of pesticide approvals greased by industry lobbying; Suppress toxicological and other concerns raised by professional staff; and Engage in outrageous waivers of vital toxicity study requirements, instead relying on “conditional” registrations to allow pesticide uses, despite missing key data. Seeing […]

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EPA to Create Advisory Councils to Restore Scientific Integrity in Pesticide/Chemicals Division

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2021) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week plans to establish a new position and two advisory councils in order to enhance scientific integrity within the agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP). The move is being widely seen as a response to recent reporting over how EPA has allowed the chemical industry to distort and unduly influence its process for reviewing and approving toxic pesticides and other chemicals. “Scientific integrity is the backbone of the work we do to ensure the safety of chemicals used in our everyday lives,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff, PhD. “Strong, sound science underpins confidence in our decision-making among the public that we serve. Today’s announcements are the latest in a series of steps OCSPP is taking to reaffirm our commitment to scientific integrity and restore the public trust.” EPA will create a new internal advisory group called the OSCPP Science Policy Council “to provide advisory support and recommendations on science policy and scientific integrity issues that arise within its Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics and Office of Pesticide Programs.” The chair of this advisory group […]

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EPA Decisions Lacking Scientific Integrity Still In Place Under Biden Administration, Say Whistleblowers

Friday, October 1st, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 1, 2021) With this article, Beyond Pesticides rounds out its coverage of recent revelations about compromised science integrity at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As Sharon Lerner reports in her September 18 (and third in a series) article in The Intercept, new documents and whistleblower interviews reveal additional means by which EPA officials have gone out of their way to avoid assessing potential health risks of hundreds of new chemicals. Ms. Lerner writes that “senior staff have made chemicals appear safer — sometimes dodging restrictions on their use — by minimizing the estimates of how much is released into the environment.” Beyond Pesticides regularly monitors and reports on scientific integrity at EPA, including two recent articles that reference Ms. Lerner’s The Intercept reporting; see “EPA Agenda Undermined by Its Embrace of Industry Influence,” and “Whistleblowers Say EPA Managers Engaged in Corrupt and Unethical Practices, Removed Findings, and Revised Conclusions.” Whistleblowers had already provided evidence of agency malfeasance, particularly in EPA’s New Chemicals Division (NCD), such as “managers and other officials . . . pressuring [EPA scientists] to assess chemicals to be less toxic than they actually are — and sometimes removing references to their harms from […]

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Of Multiple Stressors, Pesticides Are the Most Harmful to Bees by Acting Synergistically to Increase Mortality

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 11, 2021) Multiple stressors, including pesticides, parasites, and poor nutrition, act synergistically to increase the risk of bee mortality, according to a meta-analysis recently published in the journal Nature. The findings are yet another indictment of the U.S. pesticide regulatory system’s ability to protect pollinators, as the authors note that their results, “…demonstrate that the regulatory process in its current form does not protect bees from the unwanted consequences of complex agrochemical exposure.” As scientific community continues to confirm the dangers of pesticides and other anthropogenic stressors to pollinators, it remains up to advocates and other concerned residents to get regulators and policymakers to listen to and act on these critically important conclusions.   Scientists aimed to evaluate how combinations of multiple pesticides, parasites, and lack of floral resulted in bee death or subchronic effects that impacted overall fitness (reproductive ability, colony health, etc), behavior, parasite load, or immune response. The effects of multiple stressors can be characterized as antagonistic when stressors cancel themselves out, additive when the impacts seen are what would be predicted when summing the individual effects, and synergistic when the effects are multiple times more harmful than what would be predicted additively. To […]

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Biden EPA Must Hold Pesticide Manufacturers Accountable for Poisoning

Monday, August 9th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2021) What’s going on at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? Last month, Bayer/Monsanto announced it would voluntarily cancel “residential lawn and garden” uses of glyphosate products, “exclusively to manage litigation risk and not because of any safety concerns.” EPA has done virtually nothing to restrict glyphosate/Roundup since the World Health Organization/International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015 classified the chemical as probably carcinogenic. It is now expected, as with other voluntary cancellations, that EPA will make no health or environmental findings that could affect other uses (e.g., agricultural) of glyphosate, but will accept the action by Bayer/Monsanto. The company refers to its action as “risk mitigation”—that’s risk to the company’s profitability, economic viability, and shareholder investment, not public health or environmental protection. Voluntary actions by the companies are highly compromised and do not include agency determinations or findings—allowing false claims of safety, offering a shield from liability, and unencumbered international marketing. The Biden administration began with high hopes for the environment. Combating climate change is a priority. On his first day in office, President Biden issued an executive memorandum, Modernizing Regulatory Review, that appears to establish a new framework supporting healthy people and ecosystems, as it […]

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Whistleblowers Say EPA Managers Engaged in Corrupt and Unethical Practices, Removed Findings and Revised Conclusions

Friday, August 6th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 6, 2021) The organization Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) has filed complaints with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on behalf of four EPA whistleblower scientists. The scientists maintain that during the Trump administration, risk assessments for both new and existing chemicals were improperly changed by agency managers to eliminate or reduce calculations of risks; further, they assert that some of this behavior at EPA is ongoing. Beyond Pesticides recently covered a report in The Intercept, written by Sharon Lerner, that examined the multiple aspects of undue industry influence on the regulation of pesticide chemicals. The PEER complaints address regulation of other kinds of toxic chemicals, but Beyond Pesticides maintains that some of the problems the whistleblowers identify hold true for EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs, as well. Appropriately enough, the nation again recognized National Whistleblower Appreciation Day on July 30. In 1989, Congress established the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA) to protect federal employees who report lawbreaking or other violations of rules or regulations; waste of funds; abuses of authority; gross mismanagement; or substantial and specific danger to public health or safety. In 2012, Congress passed the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement […]

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EPA Agenda Undermined by Its Embrace of Industry Influence, Article Documents

Friday, July 9th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2021) The investigative online publication The Intercept has turned its attention to the current and historical role of industry in distorting, undermining, and outright suppressing the protective function of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with regard to pesticide exposures. The subsequent reporting — “The Department of Yes: How Pesticide Companies Corrupted the EPA and Poisoned America” — is a devastating chronicle of the theme and particulars that Beyond Pesticides has covered for years. That is, that EPA has repeatedly disregarded its charge to protect human and environmental health in favor of enabling industry to continue its chemical experimentation on the populace and on the nation’s multiple natural resources. This pattern must change if the agency is to enact its mission and the public is to be protected. The Intercept interviewed more than 24 people with expertise on the regulation of pesticides, including 14 who have worked in EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP). The chief takeaway from those interviews, as written by reporter Sharon Lerner, is that EPA “is often unable to stand up to the intense pressures from powerful agrochemical companies, which spend tens of millions of dollars on lobbying each year and employ many […]

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Bayer Monsanto Skirts Felony Charge for Applying Banned Pesticide in Hawaii, by Calling on Connections at Justice Department

Tuesday, November 26th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, November 26, 2019) Bayer’s Monsanto endangered public health and the environment by knowingly storing and applying the highly hazardous and banned insecticide methyl parathion in Maui, Hawaii, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Central District of California. “We take this very seriously and accept full responsibility for our actions,” the company wrote on a blog post published to its website. To health and justice advocates, those words ring hollow, as widespread reports indicate that Bayer Monsanto worked behind the scenes, using high-powered connections to avoid true responsibility for its atrocious actions in the Hawaiian Islands. According to reports from the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), the California U.S. Attorney’s office was prepared to file full felony charges against the company for its violation of federal pesticide and hazardous waste disposal laws. Bayer Monsanto, however, had hired attorney Alice S. Fisher, a former senior official in the Department of Justice, now in private practice with the law firm Latham & Watkins. At the last minute, Ms. Fisher appealed to then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. This led to a directive, “to resolve the Monsanto criminal case with misdemeanors only,” according to documents obtained by POGO. […]

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U.S. Health Agency Concurs with International Findings Linking Weed Killer Glyphosate to Cancer, while Inspector General Investigates Misconduct at EPA

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, April 23, 2019) “If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Jess Rowland, former Deputy Division Director of the Office of Pesticide Programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told Dan Jenkins, U.S. Agency Lead for Regulatory Affairs at Monsanto, in April 2015. The two were discussing the Monsanto officials’ desire to halt an impending investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) into the health risks that the weed killer glyphosate poses to the public. But despite the attempts of an apparently corrupt EPA official, earlier this month DHHS’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released its first draft on the Toxicological Profile for Glyphosate. Top-line findings appear consistent with conclusions made by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) on the carcinogenicity of glyphosate. Although not officially “killed,” Mr. Rowland’s cozy relationship with Monsanto did lead to a delay in ATSDR’s report, and prompted an EPA Inspector General investigation into potential misconduct. While Mr. Rowland’s acts were concerning, Monsanto’s attempts to quash this investigation did not stop there. Toxicologist Mary Manibusan is a prime example of the revolving door between industry and the agency that is […]

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Emails Show EPA Let Monsanto Write the Rules on Its Toxic, Drift-Prone Herbicide

Friday, August 3rd, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, August 3, 2018) Documents made public in late July show that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) let Monsanto write its own rules after farmers and the public raised red flags over crop damage and contamination caused by its new line of dicamba herbicides. As part of the discovery process initiated by a lawsuit against EPA’s approval of its new dicamba product, called “XtendiMax with Vapor Grip Technology,” emails released (start at p. 147) show Monsanto line-editing regulations first proposed by EPA. This is only the latest in a long string of instances where EPA has worked hand in glove with the agrichemical industry it is charged with overseeing. When the new regulations were released, Beyond Pesticides’ noted broad criticism that the changes will not adequately address the damage caused by this new herbicide. The newest product in the agrichemical industry’s predictable trajectory toward increasingly toxic cropping systems, XtendiMax was developed to be sprayed on corn and soy genetically engineered to tolerate the herbicide. As its flagship Roundup Ready products have failed to control resistant weeds in farm fields throughout the U.S., Monsanto and others in the agrichemical industry continue to reach back towards older, more toxic pesticides […]

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Report Documents the Undermining of Science and Industry Influence at USDA

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, April 18, 2018) A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), Betrayal at the USDA, concludes that a myriad of personnel and policy decisions by Trump administration Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, in his first year, are harming the public. Enacted through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), these decisions have weakened public safety and health protections, ignored science, and advantaged agribusiness interests over those of the public, farmers, and rural communities. Given the mission of USDA — to provide “leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management” — the U.S. population would understandably expect that the agency would make good on that mission. People might assume the agency would employ sound science in promoting innovative, sustainable agricultural practices, and in helping maintain a domestic food system that ensures a safe and healthful food supply, supports farmers’ success, and protects the natural resources on which both of those depend. UCS concludes that, in the Trump era, people would be wrong. USDA has considerable, albeit not-always-obvious, impact on people’s everyday lives. As the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) notes, “The agency’s programs and […]

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EPA Nominee Withdraws Amid Bipartisan Opposition to His Chemical Industry Ties

Friday, December 15th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, December 15, 2017) The Trump Administration’s pick to become the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Michael Dourson, PhD, has withdrawn his name from consideration after it became increasingly likely he would not pass Senate confirmation due to his deep connections to the chemical industry. In a letter obtained by the Associated Press, Dr. Dourson indicated his move “avoids unnecessarily politicizing the important environmental protection goals of Administrator Pruitt.” Health and environmental groups, including Beyond Pesticides, which launched a campaign against Dr. Dourson’s nomination, are pleased by the withdrawal announcement, but remained deeply concerned with the Trump administration’s continued propensity to promote industry interests and industry-backed nominees over real measures to safeguard environmental health and justice. Dr. Dourson’s withdrawal was predicated on reports in November that North Carolina’s two Republican Senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, planned to vote against Dourson’s appointment.  North Carolina is the midst of a growing scandal implicating Chemours, a company spun-off from chemical giant DuPont in 2015, in widespread water contamination with the chemical GenX, used to make Teflon and other industrial products. Chemours operates a GenX production plant in Fayetteville, NC, and is accused of regularly […]

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Take Action: Tell Your Senators to Vote Against EPA Nominee with Chemical Industry Ties

Monday, October 16th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, October 16, 2917) Tell your U.S. Senators to oppose the Trump Administration’s nominee for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Michael L. Dourson, Ph.D., who has spent a good deal of his career helping chemical companies resist restrictions on their toxic compounds. The U.S. Senate’s August 20 hearing on Dr. Dourson’s nomination, was abruptly postponed on August 19, with no reason offered, but later held on October 4 under a cloud of controversy. Write your U.S. Senators now! Critics, including former EPA officials, Congressional Democrats, and public health scientists say that Dr. Dourson’s close ties to the chemical industry should disqualify him from becoming the country’s chief regulator of toxic chemicals. U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE), Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, said, “Dr. Dourson’s consistent endorsement of chemical safety standards that not only match industry’s views, but are also significantly less protective than EPA and other regulators have recommended, raises serious doubts about his ability to lead those efforts. This is the first time anyone with such clear and extensive ties to the chemical industry has been [nominated] to regulate that industry.” Dr. Dourson’s professional history provides important context for considering his nomination. […]

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The Ever-Revolving Door: Industry and the EPA

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, October 3, 2017) On August 20, the U.S. Senate was to have held a hearing on the Trump Administration’s nominee for Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator for chemical safety, Michael L. Dourson, PhD. The hearing was abruptly postponed on August 19, with no reason offered, and has not yet been rescheduled. Dr. Dourson has spent a good deal of his career helping companies resist constraints on their use of potentially toxic compounds in consumer products. Critics, including former EPA officials, Congressional Democrats, and public health scientists say that these ties with the chemical industry, in particular, should keep him from becoming the country’s chief regulator of toxic chemicals. U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) said, “Dr. Dourson’s consistent endorsement of chemical safety standards that not only match industry’s views, but are also significantly less protective than EPA and other regulators have recommended, raises serious doubts about his ability to lead those efforts. This is the first time anyone with such clear and extensive ties to the chemical industry has been [nominated] to regulate that industry.” Dr. Dourson is perhaps the most recent example of the “revolving door” phenomenon — the movement of people between roles as agency regulators or legislators, […]

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U.S. House Committee Wages War on Finding that Monsanto’s Glyphosate (Roundup) Causes Cancer

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, October 11, 2016) Last week, in a calculated attack on the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC), the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform summoned the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to answer questions about taxpayer contributions to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer agency. From reports, it is easy to gather that the committee has problems with IARC scientists’ findings that glyphosate, among other things, is a probable  carcinogen. Led by Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the hearing is  clearly aimed at  undermining IARC’s March 2015 listing of glyphosate as a probable carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity  found in laboratory studies. Set to take place in private, limiting any opportunity for public oversight, the hearing will consist of NIH officials answering questions on the scientific processes and public funding from politically-charged committee investigators. If Rep. Chaffetz is persuasive in this rouse against science, he stands to put in jeopardy  a significant amount funding for IARC provided by NIH, a devastating outcome for individuals who value the importance of IARC’s work in the scientific community. Glyphosate, which is produced and sold as RoundupTM  by Monsanto, has been touted by industry and EPA […]

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Report Details Industry Efforts to Derail Pollinator Protections

Friday, June 17th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2016) The pesticide industry has weakened and delayed pesticide reforms and is shaping new state pollinator “protection” plans nationwide that do little to protect bees, according to a new Friends of the Earth report.  The report is being released in advance of  Pollinator Week (June 20-26, 2016), as people assemble to ask for improved protection for pollinators. The investigation, Buzz Kill: How the Pesticide Industry is Clipping the Wings of Bee Protection Efforts Across the U.S., reveals an array of pesticide industry tactics to slow urgently needed pollinator protection measures at federal and state levels. The report details how new state pollinator protection plans, many still unfinished, have been heavily influenced by pesticide industry interests. According to the report, industry is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying to delay state and federal action on the chemicals they manufacture. As a result, state pollinator protection plans across the U.S. are falling short in several ways, including: State pollinator protection plans currently provide more protections for pesticides and pesticide users than for bee keepers and bee colonies. Pesticide industry influence is pervasive throughout states’ legislative and regulatory planning efforts. Plans lack metrics to measure effectiveness, improvement […]

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USDA Continues to Suppress Independent Science on Bee-Killing Pesticides

Monday, November 9th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, November 09, 2015) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cancelled a webinar on the presence of neonicotinoids in waterways in the Prairie Pothole region, according to the government watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). PEER states that the cancellation is “another example of USDA interfering with the release of new science-based information about adverse effects linked to  neonicotinoid (neonics) pesticides.” As a result, PEER continues, “Growing ecological risks posed by the most widely used insecticides in North America will likely not be considered in developing USDA policies, planning or management practices.” Neonicotinoids are a controversial class of chemicals that have been linked to the global bee decline by a rapidly growing body of scientific literature. A webinar, titled Pesticides and Potholes: Understanding the Risks of Neonicotinoid Insecticides to Aquatic Ecosystems in Prairie Canada and Beyond,  was supposed to take place June 24, 2014, according to PEER. Instead, the online event was cancelled by Wayne Honeycutt, Ph.D., the Deputy Chief for Science and Technology at USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The online event would have featured Christy Morrissey, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, School of Environment and Sustainability, whose research includes […]

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USDA Scientist Punished for Neonic Study Files Complaint

Thursday, October 29th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 29, 2015) One of the top entomologists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) filed a whistleblower complaint against a  federal agency, citing unprofessional retaliation following the publication of a study linking neonicotinoid insecticides to the decline of monarch butterflies. Jonathan Lundgren, Ph.D., Senior Research Entomologist and Lab Supervisor for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in South Dakota, is fighting suspension for publishing research deemed “sensitive” by his USDA superiors. According to Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which is providing legal services to Dr. Lundgren, this case underscores why legal protections for government scientists are sorely needed. Until recently, Dr. Lundgren worked for USDA for eleven years with great success, and his cutting edge research has drawn national attention and international recognition. In April of this year, Dr. Lundgren published a study in The Science of Nature that shows that clothianidin, a neonicotinoid seed treatment, kills monarch butterfly larvae in the laboratory. On August 3, 2015, USDA imposed a 14-day suspension against Dr. Lundgren for submitting the Science of Nature study and for a paperwork error in his travel authorization for his invited presentation about his research to a panel of […]

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Meeting Records Expose Industry’s Influence in UK’s Neonic Emergency Use Decision

Friday, July 31st, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, July 31, 2015) New information has surfaced regarding the role of agrochemical giants Bayer and Syngenta in the United Kingdom (UK)’s recent decision to temporarily allow the use of neonicotinoid seed treatment on oilseed rape crop. A record of the meeting, involving the UK government’s expert committee on pesticides (ECP) and industry representatives, had previously been suppressed. The newly released record of the meeting shows that Bayer and Syngenta were the only external representatives asked to answer the ECP’s questions. The emergency use, which has been granted for 120 days, allows growers to use Bayer’s Modesto (clothianidin) and Syngenta’s Cruiser OSR (thiamethoxam). The active ingredients of these products belong to a class of toxic chemicals known as neonicotinoids  (neonics), which have been  linked  to pollinator decline. These pesticides are associated with  decreased learning,  foraging  and navigational ability in bees, as well as increased vulnerability to pathogens and parasites as a result of suppressed bee immune systems. Used widely in agriculture as seed treatment for various crops, foraging bees, in the absence of their native habitat, are exposed to fields of poison where even pollen and nectar are contaminated. In addition to toxicity to bees, neonicotinoids have been shown […]

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Monsanto-Supported Group Attempting to Undercut Roundup Cancer Finding, According to Report

Monday, July 20th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, July 20, 2015) In response to  the recent cancer classification of glyphosate (Roundup)  by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization,  an industry-based  assessment has reached the opposite conclusion based on classified industry reports has concluded that Monsanto’s glyphosate is not carcinogenic.   According to The Guardian, the assessment by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessments (BfR) is based almost solely on industry science and classified industry reports. Three scientists on Germany’s scientific panel on pesticides work for the pesticide industry. Monsanto objected earlier this year, when IARC announced in a preliminary report that glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen based on laboratory animal studies. BfR and IARC’s findings have been released during a pivotal time, as a decision on whether to extend the license for glyphosate’s use in Europe is currently pending, and these studies are sure to be incorporated into the decision making process. According to The Guardian, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is delaying the release of its  opinion on glyphosate to take the full IARC report into account. The Guardian reports that BfR’s research relied heavily on unpublished reports provided by the […]

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