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Daily News Blog

04
Jun

The 2013 Farm Bill: Act Now to Protect Pollinators, Our Food, and Your Health

(Beyond Pesticides, June 4, 2013)¬†We all know the problems we‚Äôre having with Congress these days, and all this turmoil comes together this week as the Senate returns to debate amendments to the 2013 Farm Bill.The country‚Äôs environmental and public health is under attack in the current bill ‚Äď but at the same time there are some encouraging signs.

The fate of these proposals will have a profound impact on the future of food in the United States, as well as the health of people and the broader environment.

Beyond Pesticides has singled out several issues below that we urge you to act on today, before the Senate votes, in order to both maintain important safeguards for human and environmental health, advance organic, and develop critical protections for pollinators. Because these issues are complex, we are asking you to send separate letters on 5 key topics, which we’ve prepared with just 5 easy clicks!

  1. OPPOSE Senator Joe Donnelly’s (D-IN) amendment to the Farm Bill that will reverse our efforts to take the hazardous fumigant sulfuryl fluoride out of our food supply
  2. OPPOSE amendments SA 1100 and SA 1103 would remove commonsense protections from pesticide applications directly into our nation’s waterways
  3. OPPOSE amendment SA 984 that will repeal a section of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) that authorizes EPA to evaluate and restrict imported seeds that are treated with pesticides
  4. SUPPORT Amendment SA 1027 to protect pollinators
  5. SUPPORT Amendments 1093, 1080, and 1088 to advance organic food

More Information:

Keep Hazardous Sulfuryl Fluoride Out of Our Food Supply!

Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) is introducing an amendment (SA 1122) to the Farm Bill that will reverse our efforts to take the hazardous fumigant sulfuryl fluoride out of our food supply. Sulfuryl fluoride has been linked to cancer as well as neurological, developmental, and reproductive damages. It seems clear that Dow AgroScience, the chemical’s manufacturer, is pushing this amendment.

We are on the verge of getting this hazardous material banned because even EPA agrees that public exposure exceeds acceptable standards. In the European Union, the chemical has been banned from any food contact.

This amendment would undercut alternatives. Sulfuryl fluoride is not necessary for the safe storage and handling of our food supply, so there is no need to block the currently mandated phase out. Moreover, the chemical is a potent greenhouse gas, with the ability to trap 4,000 to 5,000 times the infrared radiation as carbon dioxide.

There are many viable alternatives to sulfuryl fluoride and methyl bromide fumigation, and neither fumigant is permitted in organic food production and handling. Please, tell your Senator we do not have to trade our health for those who want to use hazardous pesticides in food production.

Stand Up for Clean Water!

Senators Hagan (D-NC) and Johanns (R-NE) have both introduced legislation (SA 1100 and SA 1103 respectively) that would remove commonsense protections from pesticide applications directly into our nation’s waterways.

These highly controversial amendments would undermine the Clean Water Act and put our health and the environment at risk. If passed, these proposals would strip away critical protections from our nation’s rivers, lakes, and streams, leaving you to swim, fish, and boat on waters that are contaminated with carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and neurological toxicants without monitoring from state or federal officials. The environmental and health programs that are put at risk from this legislation have been in effect since October 2011 without any adverse impact on farmers.

Without the Clean Water Act, there are no commonsense backstops requiring applicators to at least consider alternatives to spraying toxic pesticides directly onto waterways.

These amendments would:

  • Undermine federal authority to protect U.S. waters under the Clean Water Act;
  • Allow spraying of toxic chemicals into waterways without local and state oversight;
  • Not reduce claimed burdens to farmers since there is no burden as there is no real economic cost and agricultural activities are exempt, and;
  • Contaminate drinking water sources and harm aquatic life.

Notification of Imported Treated Seeds

Senator Fischer (R-NE) has introduced a Farm Bill amendment (SA 984) that will repeal a section of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) that authorizes EPA to evaluate and restrict imported seeds that are treated with pesticides.

This amendment would eliminate EPA’s authority to protect farmers, consumers, and the environment from pesticides that, by virtue of their incorporation into seeds, can find their way into soil, food, waterways, and the environment generally. EPA must be authorized to consider the potential adverse effects associated with residues of the pesticides in pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets.

Unless imported seed treated with pesticides are subject to review by EPA, the agency in the interest of protecting farmers, consumers, and the environment will not be able to evaluate potentially toxic chemicals that may not be allowed to be used for this purpose in the U.S. This is a critical authority, given that the reach of EPA does not extend to use patterns in the country where the seeds are treated before being imported. Therefore, EPA must be able to evaluate the pesticides on seeds, or treated seeds, once they reach U.S. borders.

Protect Pollinators!

Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) amendment (SA 1027) would be a step in the right direction towards protecting honey bees and other pollinators. In the wake of another winter of record losses (over 30%) for U.S. beekeepers, and with one in three bites of food depending on honey bees, it is critical that Congress adopt these pollinator protections.
Senator Boxer’s amendment would:

  • Establish an interagency dialogue about pollinator health between the Department of Agriculture, Department of Interior, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Create a task force on bee health and commercial beekeeping;
  • Direct the government to regularly monitor and report on health and population status of pollinators (including bees, birds, bats, and other species);
  • Compel agencies to utilize the best available peer-reviewed science on environmental and chemical stressors to pollinators, including international efforts addressing pollinator declines, and;
  • Assess the feasibility for new public bee research labs.

Advance Organic Agriculture!

We are urging the support of important amendments that would advance organic agriculture and ensure investment in sustainable practices. Three amendments stand out: Senator Leahy’s amendment (SA1093) will improve organic funding through the environmental quality and incentives program. Senator Tester’s (D-MO) amendment (SA1080) supports classical plant and animal breeding, which will reduce reliance on toxic inputs. Senator Brown’s (D-OH) amendment (SA 1088) provides grants for local food systems and community programs.

Thank you for working with us on all of these important actions for the 2013 Farm Bill! In addition to sending letters, we urge you to call your Senators in Washington, D.C. at 202-225-3121. If you’d like more information, contact Beyond Pesticides at 202-543-5450 or email [email protected].

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03
Jun

Study Finds GE Salmon Able to Cross-Breed with Brown Trout

(Beyond Pesticides, June 3, 2013) A new study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, found that genetically engineered (GE) AquaBounty AquaAdvantage salmon can successfully cross-breed with brown trout, a closely related species. GE salmon, created by the biotech company AquaBounty, are designed to reach maturity faster than their wild counterparts and would be the first GE animal approved for human consumption in the United States. As a result of this study, the authors ‚Äú…suggest that interspecific hybridization be explicitly considered when assessing the environmental consequences should transgenic animals escape to nature.‚ÄĚspawning salmon

The study not only found that GE salmon can cross-breed with brown trout, but also that their GE hybrid offspring could outgrow wild salmon, non-GE hybrid offspring, and even GE salmon. The GE hybrids also out-competed wild salmon and GE salmon in simulated stream environments, further stunting the growth of other fish. According to Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety, ‚ÄúThis study highlights yet another ecological risk of these hazardous genetically engineered fish. The FDA‚Äôs [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] attempt to approve these gene altered fish without even analyzing these irreversible impacts on our native salmon and trout populations is unlawful and a gross abuse of their regulatory duties.‚ÄĚ

In order to create the transgenic fish, Aquabounty genetically engineered an Atlantic salmon by inserting a Chinook salmon growth-hormone gene, as well as a gene sequence from an ocean pout. The company claims this engineering causes the GE salmon to undergo an increase in growth rate that allows the fish to reach market size in half the normal time. Consumer groups Center for Food Safety, Food & Water Watch and Consumers Union submitted a formal petition to the agency in February 2012 to classify and evaluate the GE salmon as a food additive.

In December of last year, FDA announced its release of a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and Preliminary Finding of No Significant Impact on GE salmon. This action was widely viewed as confirmation that FDA was prepared to quickly approve GE salmon. FDA then accepted public comments on the draft EA and Finding of No Significant Impact, and received nearly 2 million public comments opposing its plan to approve GE salmon. One of the obvious problems with the draft environmental assessment was that it limited the assessment to only reviewing the environmental impacts of the Canadian and Panamanian facilities proposed in the application. Documents discovered through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request indicated that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has already received a request to import AquaAdvantage Salmon eggs into the U.S. for commercial production.

AquaBounty claims that the company’s process for raising GE fish is safer than traditional aquaculture, yet documents released by the Canadian government show that a new strain of infectious salmon anemia, a deadly fish flu that has been devastating fish stocks around the world, contaminated their Canadian production site. This information was not included in the FDA’s review.

Several food retailers have already promised they will not stock GE salmon if it is approved for sale by the FDA. Whole Foods Market Inc, Trader Joe‚Äôs, Aldi, and other food retailers representing more than 2,000 U.S. stores have committed not to sell GE salmon. ‚ÄúOur current definition of sustainable seafood specifies the exclusion of genetically modified [GE] organisms,‚ÄĚ said a spokeswoman for Aldi.

For more information on the environmental hazards associated with GE technology, and national and local efforts to label GE food, visit Beyond Pesticides’ Genetic Engineering webpage. The best way to avoid genetically engineered foods in the marketplace is to purchase foods that have the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Organic Seal. Under organic certification standards, genetically modified organisms and their byproducts are prohibited. For many other reasons, organic products are the right choice for consumers.

Source: BBC, Center for Food Safety

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

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31
May

Oregon Wheat Found Contaminated with Unapproved GE Wheat

(Beyond Pesticides, May 31, 2013) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that unapproved genetically engineered (GE) wheat was found growing in an Oregon wheat field. The discovery has implications for U.S. trade as Japan has already indicated it would stop purchasing U.S. wheat exports.

According to USDA officials, an Oregon farmer sprayed his wheat field, intending it to lay fallow for the next year. Despite multiple sprays of RoundUp, the farmer found so-called ‚Äúvolunteer‚ÄĚ crops unexpectedly persisted, just as GE crops are engineered to do. The discovery prompted him to send samples to Carol Mallery Smith, scientist at Oregon State University, who determined that the crops were infused with the RoundUp Ready gene. USDA confirmed the results but officials have declined to comment on how the seeds ended up in this farmer‚Äôs field to begin with considering Monsanto has not conducted field trials in Oregon since 2001 when it reportedly withdrew from the state.

Since 1994, Monsanto has conducted 279 field trials of RoundUp Ready wheat over more than 4,000 acres of land in 16 states. Tests have been conducted in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming. After facing intense opposition from farmers and activists, Monsanto reportedly stopped its efforts to introduce GE wheat, but restarted extensive field trials again in 2011.

Contamination of non-GE crops, particularly for USDA certified organic crops, is a serious concern. Worries about harm to human health and the environment have prompted several state legislatures to consider bills that would require labeling of products with GE ingredients so consumers know what they are eating. Additional legislation proposed by Senator Bill Bowman (R-ND) in 2002 would have allowed farmers in North Dakota the right to sue Monsanto if wheat was found to be contaminated with genetically modified crops. The discovery is likely to prompt similar legislation if not litigation.

USDA regulates GE herbicide-tolerant plants under the Plant Protection Act, however its scrutiny of the full range of potential human health and environmental effects has been challenged by environmental groups as inadequate.  GE wheat is not approved to be grown in the U.S. or anywhere world-wide.

While the world’s biggest wheat importer, Egypt, has made no move to stop importing U.S. wheat, Japan has cancelled its offer to buy U.S. western white wheat. Meanwhile the European Union has prepared to begin testing shipments for the RoundUp Ready gene. These discoveries may have major implications for the U.S. economy, In 2012, exported wheat represented a gross sum of $18.1 billion, with 90% of Oregon’s wheat exported abroad.

“Nobody’s going to want to buy wheat from the PNW (Pacific Northwest) for a while,” said Roy Huckabay, analyst with the Linn Group in Chicago.

For more information on the environmental hazards associated with GE technology, visit Beyond Pesticides’ Genetic Engineering webpage. The best way to avoid genetically engineered foods in the marketplace is to purchase foods that have the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Certified Organic Seal. Under organic certification standards, genetically modified organisms and their byproducts are prohibited. For many other reasons, organic products are the right choice for consumers.

Source: Reuters

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

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30
May

Study Shows Pesticides Dramatically Increase Risk of Developing Parkinson’s Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, May 30, 2013) New research published in the journal Neurology further supports the causative link between pesticide exposure and Parkinson’s disease. Emanuel Cereda, M.D., Ph.D., of the IRCCS university Hospital San Matteo Foundation in Pavia, Italy, and coauthor Gianni Pezzoli, M.D., analyzed 104 studies published between 1975 and 2011 to determine the link between pesticides and solvents to Parkinson’s disease.

The researchers analyzed exposure using information on proximity to large farms likely to use pesticides, likelihood of well water consumption, and occupations that cause greater exposure to pesticides and solvents used to kill weeds, insects, fungus, and rodents. Overall, researchers found exposure to pesticides increased the risk of developing the disease by 33% to 80%.  Some pesticides were considered to be of higher risk than others, with weed killers like paraquat and fungicides maneb and mancozeb causing twice the risk for development of Parkinson’s disease. While risk increased the longer people were exposed to pesticides, researchers indicate there is still a need for further research on the chemical threshold for harm to the brain.

The study builds on recent research that has linked Parkinson’s disease to pesticide exposure. In a 2011 article published in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration, researchers at the University of Missouri School of Medicine invented a new antibody that allowed them to detect how oxidative stress affected proteins when exposed to a variety of environmental toxins, such as the pesticide rotenone. In another study, individuals with certain genetic factors that are exposed to organophosphates exhibited more than twice the risk of Parkinson’s disease compared to others without exposure. Another recent publication found that rural residents who drank contaminated well water had an increased (up to 90 percent) risk of developing Parkinson’s.

The research adds to the body of knowledge on the role of pesticide¬†exposure¬†in diseases like Parkinson‚Äôs.”I think the study is actually a big advance in our research knowledge of the relation between chemical exposures and the basic neurological injuries,” said Arch Carson, Ph.D., at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. “This report is the first to show that there is a positive relationship between not only insecticides and herbicides but also some other solvent chemicals to which many people are exposed and the development of Parkinson’s syndrome.”

The second most common neurodegenerative disease, Parkinson’s disease occurs when nerve cells in the substantia nigra region of the brain are damaged or destroyed and can no longer produce dopamine, a nerve-signaling molecule that helps control muscle movement. People with Parkinson’s have a variety of symptoms including loss of muscle control, trembling and lack of coordination. They may also experience anxiety, constipation, dementia, depression, urinary difficulties, and sleep disturbances. Over time, symptoms intensify. At least one million Americans have Parkinson’s and about 50,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. With less than one percent of cases caused by genetics, researchers have been looking for the potential risk factors for developing Parkinson’s disease.

For more information on the latest research linking pesticides and Parkinson’s disease, see Beyond Pesticides’ Pesticide Induced Diseases Database (PIDD), or read the Parkinson’s Disease article from the Spring 2008 issue of Pesticides and You.

Source: Neurology

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

 

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29
May

Protesters March Worldwide Against Monsanto

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2013) Last weekend across the world thousands of protesters rallied in dozens of cities against industry giant Monsanto and its genetically engineered (GE) products. ‚ÄúMarch Against Monsanto,‚ÄĚ a coordinated day of action and protest, was held in 52 countries and 436 cities, including Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, even after Congress voted against allowing states to require labeling of GE foods.marchagainstmonsanto

The organizers of the May 25 rally call for labeling of GE foods and further scientific research on the health effects of GE foods. Demonstrators hoped to raise awareness of the issue and waved signs that read ‚ÄúReal Food 4 Real People‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúLabel GMOs, It‚Äôs Our Right to Know.‚ÄĚ They also urge supporters to ‚Äúvote with their dollar‚ÄĚ by buying only organic products and boycotting Monsanto-owned companies. Protesters in the U.S. urged opposition to the so-called ‚ÄúMonsanto Protection Act‚ÄĚ which takes away the authority of federal courts to halt the sale or production of GE crops, undermining the courts‚Äô ability to protect farmers and the environment from potentially hazardous GE crops.

“We’re marching to raise awareness,” said Dorothy Muehlmann, 30, of Corona, who organized the L.A. march with help from groups such as Occupy L.A. and Anonymous. “This is not just a ‘boo Monsanto’ protest. We want more people to know so they can make their own decisions.”

But just last Thursday the Senate rejected a Farm Bill amendment, introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), to affirm the right of states to require labels on food or beverages made with genetically modified ingredients, even though federal law does not currently preempt the rights of states institute GMO label requirement. Senators from farm states that use a lot of GE crops strongly opposed the amendment, saying the issue should be left up to the federal government and that labels could raise costs for consumers. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not require GE foods to carry a label, but organic food companies and some consumer groups have intensified their push for labels, arguing that the engineered seeds are floating from field to field and contaminating traditional crops.

Protests in California against GE foods have been gaining momentum after the defeat of Proposition 37, a ballot measure last November that would have made California the first state in the nation to require labels on some fresh produce and processed foods, such as corn, soybeans, and beet sugar. Opponents of the proposition argued that it was expensive, bureaucratic and full of illogical loopholes for certain foods, such as meat, dairy products, eggs and alcoholic beverages. Even though the measure was defeated with 53% of voters casting ballots against it, supporters say the concerns of the more than 4 million who voted for it remains valid. The use of GE crops has been a growing issue of contention in recent years, with health advocates pushing for mandatory labeling of GE products even though the federal government and industry argue the technology is safe. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently ordered an environmental impact statement (EIS) for Dow and Monsanto’s new GE 2,4-D tolerant crops. USDA is requiring the review in response to overwhelming concern expressed by farmers, consumers, and public health officials during the comment period for these new herbicide-resistant crops.

GE seeds and crops pose unique problems to farmers, consumers and the environment. Unfortunately, since the 1980s, seed patent rights have been granted to agrichemical corporations that have since patented a number of varieties of GE seed, including corn, soybean, cotton and canola. Now, five companies account for 58 percent of the world‚Äôs commercial seed sales. These patents mean farmers cannot save seed for future plantings and can be held liable if their crop is contaminated with GE material.¬† A recent unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that farmers cannot replant patented GE seed because it violates licensing agreements. This means that farmers must pay industry giants like Monsanto for seed each growing season, fundamentally¬†altering¬†the nature¬†of farming. The ruling was a blow to farmers who have been persecuted by Monsanto for ‚Äėtrespassing‚Äô on patent rights due to saving seed. The advent of these crops have led to environmental contamination of GE plant material that have contaminated farms, including organic farms, and wild plant species, which has led to the increase of ‚Äúsuperweeds‚ÄĚ highly resistant to chemical control. ¬†As of December 2012, Monsanto has filed 142 alleged seed patent infringement lawsuits involving 410 farmers and 56 small farm businesses in 27 states.

The March Against Monsanto movement began when founder and organizer Tami Canal created a Facebook page on Feb. 28 calling for a rally against the company‚Äôs practices. Protesters marched in Buenos Aires and other cities in Argentina, where Monsanto‚Äôs GE soy and grains now command nearly 100 percent of the market, and the company‚Äôs Roundup-Ready chemicals are sprayed throughout the year on fields where cows once grazed. They carried signs saying ‚ÄúMonsanto ‚ÄĒ Get out of Latin America.‚ÄĚ In Portland, thousands of protesters took to Oregon streets. Police estimate about 6,000 protesters took part in Portland‚Äôs peaceful march, and about 300 attended the rally in Bend. Other marches were scheduled in Baker City, Coos Bay, Eugene, Grants Pass, Medford, Portland, Prineville and Redmond. Across the country in Orlando, about 800 people gathered with signs, pamphlets and speeches in front of City Hall.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: Washington Post , LA Times

Photo Source: LA Times

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28
May

Oregon Health Authority Finds Forestry Pesticides in Residents in Long Delayed Report

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2013) A recent report by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) found that residents that live in the Highway 36 corridor of Western Oregon were exposed to toxic pesticides in the spring and fall of 2011. OHA collected urine and environmental samples in August and September of 2011 and found levels of 2,4-D and atrazine in residents’ urine. 2,4-D and atrazine have been detected in residents’ urine previously after they had sent samples to be analyzed by Emory University in 2011. Residents continue to argue that herbicides being aerially sprayed on private forests are drifting on their land and causing dangerous levels of exposure. Even though this report by OHA has been delayed several times, it still contains serious data gaps.

According to the report, ‚ÄúThe urine samples tested had levels of 2,4-D higher than the general U.S. population.‚ÄĚ Though the report found that urine samples also had detectable levels of atrazine, there are no national reference values for atrazine available for the general population, so the study could not conclude that the levels of atrazine exposure were higher than the national average. The report also found other pesticide residues in the environmental samples besides 2,4-D and atrazine. Three of the 36 drinking water samples collected had detectable amounts of DEET, flouridone, or hexazione. Three of the 29 soil samples collected had detectable amounts of 2,4-D and/or glyphosate. The report also found that residents may have been exposed to low levels of clopyralid in the air.

Despite chemical detections in these samples, the report concludes that it was unlikely that residents were exposed to 2,4-D and atrazine through drinking water or through soil contamination, but did not determine whether air was a pathway of exposure. OHA was not able to determine this because it did not have, according to the report, ‚Äúthe capacity to monitor air for the pesticides used in the area.‚ÄĚ However the report did find that, ‚Äúavailable evidence suggests it is possible that reported [forestry] applications may have contributed to the [pesticide] levels detected in participants‚Äô urine,‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúUrine samples collected after known atrazine applications contained statistically higher levels of atrazine metabolites than samples collected before any known atrazine applications.‚ÄĚ Previous allegations have been made that 2,4-D and atrazine have drifted on to schools and homes after they were sprayed in Western Oregon forest areas.

In forest management, pesticides are often aerially sprayed after an area is clear-cut. This process of clear-cutting and aerial spraying for lumber production is ubiquitous on private forest land in Oregon’s $13 billion timber industry. In practice, pesticides are sprayed twice a year, usually in the fall and spring, and the spraying can last for several hours. Aerial spraying in forest management is a risky management technique. In the area of Oregon where the study was conducted, the mountainous terrain forces pilots to fly at heights that would not be tolerated in crop agriculture. Regular cropdusters typically fly at 10 feet above the field, but in this case the planes have flown at 50, 70, or even 80 feet above the trees, which increases the likelihood of pesticide drift.

The dangers associated with the use of 2,4-D and atrazine are very well known. Atrazine is a widespread contaminant in drinking water and is linked to various birth defects, endocrine disruption and cancer, even at concentrations below EPA standards. Although it has been excluded from re-registration in the European Union because it is found above allowable thresholds in groundwater, it is still one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. and around the world. A 2009 study found that atrazine upped the risk of nine birth defects in babies born to mothers who conceived between April and July, when surface water levels of the pesticide are highest.

2,4-D has been linked to cancer, reproductive effects, endocrine disruption, kidney and liver damage, is neurotoxic and toxic to beneficial insects (such as bees), earthworms, birds, and fish. Scientific studies have confirmed significantly higher rates of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for farmers who use 2,4-D than those who don’t. Despite the known health and environmental effects of 2,4-D, it is the top selling herbicides and total annual usage in the U.S. tops 40 million pounds.

This recent report has been long delayed and questions of industry’s lack of cooperation have been raised. According to a 2012 report by the Center for Investigative Reporting, ‚ÄúThis spring [2012], the Oregon Health Authority tabled a follow-up effort to test residents during the spray season. The agency‚Äôs plan depended on close collaboration with industry to let the health authority know where atrazine and 2,4-D would be sprayed. But the notifications never came.‚ÄĚ

Though this new report helps shed light on the fact that residents in Western Oregon have been exposed to pesticides, the report acknowledges it contains several problematic data gaps. First, the OHA did not have the resources to collect air samples. The report suggests, ‚Äúmonitoring over several application seasons appears to be the best option to collect community wide air data‚ÄĚ, however this will take several years to collect the necessary data. Second, these urine samples only represent a snap shot in time. According to the report, ‚ÄúBecause 2,4-D and atrazine rapidly clear from the body the levels of these chemicals in urine can only be used to asses recent (within 24-48 hours) exposures.‚ÄĚ This means it is unknown if residents have experienced chronic exposure over long periods of time, and even if these samples represent the peak of their exposure. Third, the report states that the urine samples were only tested for 2,4-D and atrazine, so it is unknown if residents were exposed to other types of pesticides. A wide range of pesticides are used in forest management and, given the detections found in soil and water, ¬†it is unlikely that forest companies in the area only used 2,4-D and atrazine as management tools.

For more information on effects of these harmful chemicals watch presentations, such as Tyrone Hayes, PhD talk on atrazine, from the recent 31st National Pesticide Forum, ‚ÄúSustainable Families, Farms and Food Resilient Communities through Organic Practices.‚ÄĚ

Source: Oregon.gov

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

 

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24
May

Insecticide Sales Rise with Failure of GE Corn

(Beyond Pesticides, May 24, 2013) Insecticide sales have soared over the past year as target insects have developed resistance to crops genetically engineered (GE) to incorporate an insecticide. Contrary to industry claims that the technology would reduce pesticide use, crops like corn, engineered to protect against rootworm have been ineffective and farmers have begun applying additional insecticides.

The GE corn seed, developed by Monsanto, was released in 2003 to target a gene allowing plants to express a pest-killing toxin, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The pesticide incorporated plant (PIP) was developed to kill western corn rootworm, a potentially devastating pest that does its greatest damage in chemical-intensive agriculture during its larval stage by feeding upon the plant’s roots. Severe feeding inhibits the plant’s ability to absorb moisture and nutrients and opens a pathway for attack from soil-borne pathogens. In 2011, entomologists at Iowa State University published a study verifying the first field-evolved resistance of corn rootworm to a Bt toxin. The researchers documented resistance to the Bt toxin Cry3Bb1. Now, almost a decade after the seed was introduced, almost two thirds of U.S. grown corn contains the Bt toxin, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Although USDA data shows an initial decline in the share of acreage treated with insecticides between 2005 and 2010 by 14 percent, there has been a documented surge in insecticide sales, supporting the findings of academic research on resistance. Pesticide manufacturers American Vanguard, FMC Corp, and Syngenta have all reported higher sales in 2012 and 2013 than in previous years. Syngenta alone reported doubling sales in 2012. Similarly, American Vanguard reported soil insecticide revenues rose by 50% in 2012, and doubling its stock prices.

‚ÄúWhen Bt hybrids were introduced one upside was a reduction in soil insecticides,‚ÄĚ said Michael Gray, PhD at the University of Illinois, but¬†‚Äú‚Ķthose gains are quickly being reversed.‚ÄĚ

In early 2012, a group of 22 prominent entomologists, including researchers from land grant institutions in the Corn Belt and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), submitted formal comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency highlighting the uncertain future viability of Bt corn crops considering the severe rootworm damage that Midwestern farmers were facing despite planting Bt corn.

In addition to the problem of resistance to rootworm, recent research shows that the cultivation of Bt corn has negative impacts on beneficial soil life. Before monoculture production became standard practice for many farms, the western rootworm could be effectively managed by crop rotations, including pasture, hay and legume crop components, because the insect starves in fields not planted in corn.

Pest resistance is an inherent part of pesticide use. Farmers do not have to remain stuck on a pesticide treadmill that demands ever greater amounts of synthetic inputs and rewards chemical producers at the expense of farm profitability and the environment. A better option is to adopt organic agricultural practices, an ecologically-based management system that prioritizes cultural, biological, and mechanical production and natural inputs. By strengthening on-farm resources, such as soil fertility, beneficial organisms, and biodiversity, organic farmers avoid the production challenges that chemical inputs, such as synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and antibiotics, are marketed as solving.

Source: Wall Street Journal

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

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23
May

New Videos of 31st National Pesticide Forum Talks Support Action

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2013) Beyond Pesticides is pleased to announce the release of videos from Sustainable Families, Farms and Food, 31st National Pesticide Forum, held April 5-6, 2013 at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque, NM. The Forum, convened by Beyond Pesticides, La Montanita Co-op, and¬†UNM’s Sustainability Studies Program and co-sponsored by 13 local and state organizations in NM, included leaders in the fields of pesticide reform, public health, and organic agriculture, as well as many community leaders, local activists, and students. The videos span the range of topics that were discussed at the Forum and include keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops. You can access the playlist, which includes all of the available videos of the 2013 forum, on Beyond Pesticides‚Äô YouTube page.

Beyond Pesticides believes that the opportunity to get together and share information and strategy is vital to public health and environmental protection, and we are thankful for everyone who was a part of this important gathering. For those unable to attend, we hope that these videos will be useful public educational tools. As an organization, we strive to ensure that community and policy discussion addresses the science and effects of pesticides and chemical-intensive land and building management practices, while ensuring that people and communities have the tools to adopt organic and sustainable methods for producing food and managing homes, buildings, parks and open spaces.

 The videos include such notable presentations as:

Tyrone Hayes‚ÄúProtecting Life: From Research to Regulation‚ÄĚ by Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D. discusses his research on the impact of pesticides on frog deformities and its implications for human and environmental health. Dr. Hayes has an undergraduate degree in organismic and evolutionary biology from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in integrative biology from the University of California, Berkeley, where he currently serves as a professor. He has published more than 40 papers, over 150 abstracts and has given more than 300 talks on the role of environmental factors on growth and development in amphibians. Through his research, he states, “I have come to realize that the most important environmental factors affecting amphibian development are synthetic chemicals (such as pesticides) that interact with hormones in a variety of ways to alter developmental responses.”

‚ÄúOrganic Foods from the Pediatrician’s Perspective including the Unique Vulnerabilities of Children and Highlighting Pesticides‚ÄĚ by Joel Forman, MD. Dr. Forman is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Community and Preventive Medicine at Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City. Additionally, Dr. Forman is currently a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Environmental Health and a member of the CDC Lead in Pregnancy Workgroup. He is one of the lead authors of the recent AAP report, Organic Foods: Health and Environmental Advantages and Disadvantages, which marks the first time that the AAP has made a statement on organic foods, recommending that pediatricians talk to their patients about the potential health and environmental benefits of choosing organic.

‚ÄúA View from Congress‚ÄĚ by the Honorable Michelle Lujan Grisham, U.S. Representative for New Mexico‚Äôs 1st congressional district. Congreswoman Grisham has done remarkable work incorporating the precautionary principle into state government, by creating an advisory panel which promotes action on human health and the environment. Among the key goals for this effort are integrated pest management and better indoor air quality.

‚ÄúAn Organic Future: How We Apply What We Know‚ÄĚ by Jeff Moyer, farm director at Rodale Institute, brings an in-depth look at the greater theme of the conference and provides the tools needed to create resilient communities. Mr. Moyer has worked at Rodale Institute for nearly three decades to perfect an organic no-till system that reduces and eliminates both tillage and herbicides while maintaining yields that are comparable or better than chemically-intensive, conventional agriculture. He is an expert in organic crop production systems including weed management, cover crops, crop rotations, equipment modification and use, and facilities design. As a past chair of the National Organic Standards Board and a founding board member of Pennsylvania Certified Organic, he has helped countless farmers make the transition from conventional, chemical-based farming to organic or sustainable methods.

Also included are several workshops such as Pollinators and Pesticides, (featuring Les Crowder, President of the NM Beekeeping Association, Loretta McGrath, director of the Pollinator Partners Project at Farm to Table NM, and Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety), Genetically Engineered Food, (also featuring Mr. Kimbrell, Eleanor Bravo, Food and Water Watch NM and Isaura Andaluz, Cuatro Puertas). Be sure to visit the full playlist to see the rest of the videos.

Beyond Pesticides encourages activists, community leaders, scientists, and policy makers to attend its annual National Pesticide Forum to get together, share information, and elevate the pesticide reform movement. However, for those who do not have the opportunity to attend the Forum in person, the online videos of many of the Forum’s sessions are important educational tools for those seeking change at the local, state, and national level. Beyond Pesticides believes that sharing this information beyond the Forum is extremely valuable, and encourages you to share the presentations with friends, community organizations, networks, and state, local, and national decision makers.

The playlist, which includes all of the available videos of the 2013 forum, as well as previous conferences are available on Beyond Pesticides’ YouTube page.

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22
May

Seafood Company Commits To Limit Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2013) Norwegian seafood production company, Marine Harvest, has committed to certify its salmon farms by 2020¬†to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) Salmon Standard, with the condition that they¬†begin tightening restrictions of pesticide use and move from caged systems in coastal waters to closed containment systems. As the world’s largest producer of farmed salmon, responsible for 25% to 30% of the global salmon and trout production the move marks an important shift toward sustainable production of their fish products.
spawning salmon
The ASC Salmon Standard, an accreditation scheme developed and promoted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), requires members to diminish the use of toxic chemicals, address sourcing of feed ingredients, diminish the transmission of disease to wild salmon populations, control the escape of farmed salmon, reduce the use of antibiotics and genetically engineered products, and finaly address the labor issues on salmon farms. As of now Marine Harvest has only committed to accredit its fish farms within the United Kingdom, although they also produce fish in Norway, Canada, the Faroe Islands, Ireland and Chile.

The company’s move follows on the heels of recent media attention that revealed the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) had  found up to 450 times the recommended levels of teflubenzuron, used to kill sea lice parasites, surrounding their salmon cages. Additionally, anti-sea lice residues, emamectin and deltamethrin, were found at or near recommended levels. These pesticides attack the nervous systems of sea lice and inhibit the development of their outer shells. However, they are also considered neurotoxic, toxic birds, and toxic aquatic organisms, particularly lobsters and shrimp which also have shells.

In 2010, Health Canada approved the use of the restricted pesticide deltamethrin as a means of controlling an outbreak of sea lice on farmed Atlantic salmon. Deltamethrin is a synthetic pyrethroid, a synthesized deriviative of naturally occurring pyrethrins produced by the chrysanthemum flower. However, they are designed to be more toxic and take longer to break down than natural pyrethrins. These types of pesticides are extremely toxic to aquatic organisms, including fish, which is in part why it is a restricted pesticide.

Marine Harvest has committed to the voluntary changes required under the ASC scheme, but if it fails to meet the standards, the company‚Äôs farm would lose its accreditation. Environmental advocacy groups are skeptical of its success. Guy Linley Adams of the Salmon & Trout Association said ‚Äú”This isn’t the end of the story. Marine Harvest still have fish-farms in the wrong places, as do all fish-farmers. They are too near to wild salmonid rivers threatening wild fish conservation and those farms need to be relocated.”

For more information on pesticides and water quality, please visit Beyond Pesticides’ Threatened Waters page.

Source: The Guardian

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

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21
May

As Mosquito Season Approaches, Take Preventive Action Without Toxic Chemicals

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2013) The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently concluded that 2012 was the deadliest year for West Nile Virus (WNv) in the United States. ‚ÄúA total of 5,674 cases of West Nile virus disease in people, including 286 deaths, were reported to CDC from 48 states (excluding Alaska and Hawaii),‚ÄĚ said the CDC in a statement.

While it is still too early to determine whether this year will be as bad as last year’s outbreak (experts say the largest disease outbreaks  is strongly driven by weather patterns characterized by hot wet summers), one thing is certain: There are simple mosquito control techniques that can be performed in your community and backyard that will prevent the spread of WNv and nuisance biting mosquitoes without the use of highly toxic pesticides.

Aedes_aegypti_feedingBeyond Pesticides fielded calls from concerned residents across the U.S. whose communities were doused with pesticides in attempts to control WNv. Yet, these controls have been shown to be ineffective at managing mosquito populations. According to David Pimentel, PhD, professor emeritus of entomology at Cornell University, less than .0001% of adulticides (mosquito insecticides) reach target adult mosquitoes. Dr. Pimentel notes, ‚ÄúThus by both ground and aerial application 99.999% of the insecticide spreads into the environment, where it can cause public health and other environmental problems.‚ÄĚ

The widespread spraying of toxic pesticides (typically chemicals known as synthetic pyrethroids, organophosphates, or other nervous system poisons) does not provide a long-term sustainable solution to mosquito control. Those who are most at risk from mosquito-borne illnesses, such as young children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems are also those most at risk from pesticide exposure. Surely there are better ways to deal with mosquito problems then replacing one hazard with another.

Beyond Pesticides finds that the ideal mosquito management strategy comes from an integrated approach emphasizing education, aggressive removal of standing water sources, larval control, monitoring, and surveillance for both mosquito-borne illness and pesticide-related illness. We‚Äôd like to reinforce this point: public education is the key component to successful mosquito management. Spreading the word in your community is critical to addressing mosquito pests at the small and large scale ‚Äď in your backyard and across your region. To get the word out, communities should utilize all forms of educational tools: the media; websites; posters placed around schools, libraries, post offices, and markets; and, pamphlets distributed to doctors‚Äô offices and libraries. Public officials should also communicate mosquito prevention methods.

Beyond Pesticides advises communities to adopt a preventive, health-based mosquito management plan, and has several resource publications on the issue, including the Public Health Mosquito Management Strategy: For Decision Makers and Communities.

In your own backyard, avoid repellents containing DEET, as the product is quickly absorbed through the skin and has been linked to a range of health effects, including birth defects and nervous system disruption. Moreover, recent reports show mosquitoes developing a resistance to DEET after one application. Co-author of the recent report, James Logan, PhD, explains, ‚ÄúThere is something about being exposed to the chemical that first time that changes their olfactory system ‚Äď changes their sense of smell ‚Äď and their ability to smell DEET, which makes it less effective.‚ÄĚ

A wide range of least-toxic solutions are available in place of harmful products such as DEET and other synthetic-pyrethroid based sprays. The best preventive measure you can take is to avoid being outdoors during the evening hours when mosquitoes are most active, or wear long-sleeved clothing if you do. However, since this is not ideal for many people, essential oils can be used as repellents. Some of the most effective include cedarwood, soybean oil, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and geraniol (make sure to seek out organic products!). You can also make your own mosquito repellent by combining 10 drops of essential oils to 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, and apply a few drops on your skin and/or clothing. Be sure to take some with you if going outside for a prolonged period, and reapply often.

Here are some of the simple solutions you and your community can take to prevent and control mosquitoes:

‚ÄĘ Clean up ‚Äď Cut back any overgrown vegetation ‚Äď mosquitoes use these areas to hide. Ensure waterways are clear of debris; eliminate pooled or stagnant waters from debris, containers, drains, and anywhere that pools water. Watch out for leaky faucets. Mosquitoes can breed in puddles the size of dimes, so keep a keen eye out for stagnant water!

‚ÄĘ Natural Predators ‚Äď Use indigenous fish populations, like bluegills or minnows, to eat mosquito larvae in shallow waters and ornamental pools. Copepod crustaceans can also be used to eat mosquito larvae in ditches, pools and other areas of stagnant water. Don‚Äôt forget about bats either! One bat can consume 1,200 mosquitoes in an hour, and many bats are in trouble from a disease wiping out their population. Help conserve these important mammals while keeping the mosquito population down by installing a bat house!

‚ÄĘ Behavior Modification ‚ÄďAs indicated above, wear long sleeves and long pants/skirts, and use least-toxic mosquito repellent when outdoors. Try to avoid being outside at dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

‚ÄĘ Attentive Monitoring ‚Äď Check sources of water for signs of mosquito larvae often.

‚ÄĘ Least-toxic Pesticide Options ‚Äď Use Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bt), a biological larvicide (‚Äúmosquito dunk‚ÄĚ) that prevents mosquitoes from developing into breeding, biting adults in standing waters that cannot be drained.

‚ÄĘ Take Action ‚Äď Let your local council members, mayor, or state delegates know that safer, more sustainable options exist. Download our sample letter (opens in Word) to send to public health officials in your area.

Communities across the country, from Lyndhurst, OH to Marblehead, MA, Nashville, TN and the District of Columbia, have taken these steps towards safe, effective mosquito management. By focusing on a program of prevention through public education, strict monitoring, and control by least-toxic larvacides, mosquito populations and the diseases they carry are minimized.

For more information, including expert positions on mosquito adulticiding, fact sheets, media tips, sample public service announcements, sample petitions and opt-out forms, and tips on organizing those in your community, see Beyond Pesticides mosquito management program page. You can also contact Beyond Pesticides at 202-543-5450 or [email protected] for our WNv and Mosquito Management Toolkit for Concerned Citizens.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: NBC News

 

 

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20
May

USGS Documents Threat of Pesticides to Waterways; Farm Bill Amendment Undermines Clean Water Act

(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2013) The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a national assessment that shows the distribution and trends of pesticide use from 1992-2009, providing visible evidence that contamination of pesticides in our nation‚Äôs water is clearly a continuing threat. Meanwhile, U.S. Senators are gearing up to put their version of the Farm¬† Bill on the table that would eliminate common sense protections from pesticide applications into our nation’s waterways. These highly controversial¬†amendments would undermine the Clean Water Act and put our health and the environment at risk. Tell your Senators to oppose any efforts to undermine the Clean Water Act.

The USGS maps provide, for the first time, a visible depiction of the agricultural use of 459 pesticides for each year during 1992-2009. Maps were created by allocating county-level use estimates to agricultural land within each county. A graph accompanies each map, which shows annual national use by major crop for the mapped pesticide for each year during the period. These pesticide use estimates are suitable for evaluating national and regional patterns and trends of annual pesticide use.

glyphosate mapTo see the maps, go to USGS’s Pesticide National Synthesis Project Page and click on a pesticide. The map not only shows you how many pounds per square miles were used for each year, but also includes details about which crops they were used on. Glyphosate (pictured right) shows an increase of over 100 lbs from 2001 to 2009.

Pesticide use estimates from USGS’s study help provide national, regional, and watershed assessments of annual pesticide use, however the agency points out that reliability of estimates generally decreases with scale.  For example, detailed interpretation of use intensity distribution within a county cannot be gleaned from the maps.  Although county-level estimates were used to create the maps and are provided in the data set, surveyed pesticide-by-crop use was not available for all crop reporting districts (CRDs) and, therefore, extrapolation methods were used to estimate pesticide use for some counties. Also, surveyed pesticide-by-crop use may not reflect all agricultural use on all crops grown. With these caveats in mind, the maps, graphs, and associated county-level use data are critical data for water-quality models and provide a comprehensive graphical overview of the geographic distribution and trends in agricultural use in the conterminous United States.

Waterways in the U.S. are increasingly imperiled from various agents, including agricultural and industrial discharges, nutrient loading (nitrogen and phosphorus), and biological agents such as pathogens. Pesticides discharged into our nation‚Äôs rivers, lakes and streams can harm or kill fish and amphibians. These toxicants have the potential to accumulate in the fish we eat and the water we drink. The spirit of the Clean Water Act is that every community in the United States has the right to enjoy fishable and swimmable bodies of water. These regulations are currently under attack in Farm Bill amendments that would strip away critical protections from our nation’s rivers, lakes, and streams. Without the Clean Water Act, there are no common sense backstops requiring applicators to at least consider alternatives to spraying toxic pesticides directly into waterways.

Act Now! We can’t afford to lose these protections. Tell your Senators to oppose any efforts to undermine the Clean Water Act.

For more information, read our factsheet, Clearing up the Confusion Surrounding the New NPDES General Permit and visit our Threatened Waters page. To keep up to date on Congressional and government agency actions, sign-up for Beyond Pesticides’ action alerts

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17
May

California Regulators Propose Restrictions of Soil Fumigant

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2013) California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) have proposed restrictions on the use of chloropicrin, a fumigant commonly applied to strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, raspberries, and blackberries. The proposed rule would not only increase buffer zones around application sites, but also restrict application acreage, impose notification requirements, enhance emergency preparedness requirements, and prolong the time that chloropicrin-applied fields must remain covered. Public comments will be accepted until July 31.

The move is in response to recent data released by the California DPR, which indicates pesticide use in California has risen, causing 1,015 cases of illness between 1992 and 2007 for chloropicrin exposure alone. In total, more than 173 million pounds of pesticides were reported applied statewide, an increase of nearly 15 million pounds ‚Äďor 9.5 percent‚Äď from 2009. For chloropicrin, injuries ranged from eye or respiratory problems to skin irritation, rashes, and burns.farm worker2

Additional evidence from a 2010 report released by the Pesticide Action Network of North American and local community members of Sisquoc, California, reveals that chloropicrin contaminated half of the 57 air samples collected, with average levels of exposure over the 19-day period at 23 to 151 times higher than acceptable cancer risks.

Fumigant pesticides, like chloropicrin, are used to sterilize soil prior to planting and are ubiquitous in California‚Äôs $2 billion strawberry industry. While it is a far cry from establishing permanent restrictions to toxic chemicals, the state of California has begun to seriously consider the need for more protective soil fumigant regulations. “California does always put its extra layer of precaution above and beyond (federal regulators),” said Carolyn O’Donnell, spokeswoman for the California Strawberry Commission, “It presents more challenges, particularly for strawberries. People like to live where strawberries like to grow‚Ķ We want to make sure our communities are protected. If they’re not, we’re not going to be able to farm.”

Fumigants are highly volatile and prone to drift, with severe implications for human health. Some of the health effects linked to exposure can include headaches, vomiting, severe lung irritation, and neurological effects. Some fumigants are linked to cancer, reduced fertility, birth defects and higher rates of miscarriage.

Though this proposed rule is a move away from the use of toxic fumigants, it does not fully acknowledge the alternatives that already exists in organic production. The only way for consumers to prevent use of  hazardous soil fumigants is to buy organically produced food. Beyond Pesticides advocates for the national conversion to organic systems planning, which moves chemicals off the market quickly and replaces them with green management practices. To learn more about organic agriculture please visit Beyond Pesticides organic agriculture page.

Take Action (California): Public comments will be excepted until July 31, fax 916-445-4280, e-mail [email protected], or write Linda O’Connell, Department of Pesticide Regulation, Worker Health and Safety Branch, 1001 I St., P.O. Box 4015, Sacramento, CA 95812. Additionally, a public meeting will be held 6-8 p.m. June 10 and 10 a.m. to noon June 11 to discuss proposed chloropicrin rules. The meeting will be held in the Agricultural Center conference room, 1428 Abbott St., Salinas. For more information, see the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s Chloropicirin page.

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

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16
May

Manufacturer to Restrict Atrazine Sales, Use, and Distribution on Long Island

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2013) Recent public outcry over atrazine contamination of drinking water supplies on Long Island has pressured pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide manufacturer Makhteshim Agan of North America (MANA) to restrict the sale, use, and distribution of the toxic chemical. The move has been lauded by environmental advocacy groups, including Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE).

‚ÄúAtrazine is a dangerous chemical that poses an unacceptable risk to public health and the environment on Long Island,‚ÄĚ said Adrienne Esposito, CCE Executive Director. ‚ÄúRemoving this product from the shelves is an essential first step in protecting Long Island drinking water from unnecessary pesticide contamination. We are delighted by this news.‚ÄĚ

Unfortunately, stores will continue to sell its atrazine inventory until MANA implements the anticipated restriction date of spring of 2014.

Atrazine is one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world and is used on most corn, sugarcane and sorghum acreage in the United States; and can also be used on golf courses and residential lawns. In the U.S. alone, 60-80 million pounds are used per year to stop pre- and post-emergent broadleaf and annual grassy weeds, and is generally applied in the spring.

The herbicide is a common contaminant of municipal drinking water because it does not cling to soil particles and washes easily with the rain into surface and ground water. In previous studies, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) found atrazine in approximately 75 percent of stream waters and 40 percent of all groundwater samples from agricultural areas tested.

Atrazine has been linked to a myriad of health problems in humans, including disruption of hormone activity, low sperm quality, low birth weight, impaired immune system function and cancer. A 2009 study by Paul Winchester, MD, linked birth defects to time of conception, with the greatest impact on children conceived when concentrations of atrazine and other pesticides are highest in the local drinking water.

Studies show that atrazine harms the immune, hormone, and reproductive systems of aquatic animals. For example, a study of fish and amphibians exposed to atrazine exhibit hermaphrodism, creatures with both male and female sexual characteristics. Male frogs exposed to atrazine concentrations within federal standards can become so completely feminized that they can mate and lay viable eggs. Other research by Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D. and others demonstrates that exposure to doses of atrazine as small as 0.1 parts per billion, turns tadpoles into hermaphrodites. In yet another study, a mixture of small amounts of ten of the most commonly used pesticides, including atrazine, was found to kill 99 percent of leopard frog tadpoles.

‚ÄúResults of studies over the past 20 years show that atrazine is the most frequently detected pesticide in agricultural streams and rivers nationwide, and particularly in the Corn Belt states,‚ÄĚ according to Robert Gilliom, Chief of the National Water Quality Assessment¬†Program’s¬†(NAWQA) Pesticide National Synthesis Project. ‚ÄúAtrazine concentration data for Corn Belt streams and rivers show that 21-day average concentrations, similar to the exposure conditions studied by Dr. Tillitt, exceeded levels found to affect fish reproduction for most sites and years sampled.‚ÄĚ

Despite this evidence, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ¬†re-approved the use of atrazine in 2006, concluding that there was no evidence that atrazine was causing adverse impacts on the amphibians‚Äô development, and initiated a new evaluation of its potential health effects after well-publicized reports and a New York Times investigative piece found EPA‚Äôs regulations of atrazine in water to be insufficient. Even at levels considered ‚Äúsafe‚ÄĚ under EPA drinking water standards, atrazine is linked to endocrine-disrupting effects.

In March 2012, U.S. Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) reintroduced legislation to ban atrazine, HR 4318. ‚ÄúNo one should ever have to worry if the water they drink is making them sick or affecting fertility,‚ÄĚ said Rep. Ellison. ‚ÄúGermany and Italy banned atrazine use in 1991 and EU health officials banned its use in 2003. Yet, almost 10 years later the United States is still using it. We need to remove toxins like atrazine from our waterways.‚ÄĚ

With over 50% of the population drawing its drinking water supply from groundwater, much of which is contaminated with pesticides like atrazine, local efforts to implement restrictions will continue to play an integral role in the protection of human health and the environment.

For more information on pesticides and water quality please visit Beyond Pesticides’ Threatened Waters page.

Source: Citizens Campaign for the Environment

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

 

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15
May

Supreme Court Finds Farmer in Violation of Monsanto’s GE Seed Patent

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2013) The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that farmers cannot replant patented genetically engineered (GE) seed as it violates licensing agreements. This means that farmers must pay industry giants like Monsanto for seed each growing season, sealing the agribusiness giant’s quest to¬†fundamentally¬†alter¬†the nature¬†of farming. This ruling is a blow to farmers who have been persecuted by Monsanto for ‚Äėtrespassing‚Äô on patent rights due to saving seed.

The case, Bowman v. Monsanto, is a patent case which argues that Indiana farmer Vernon Bowman infringed on Monsanto’s GE soybean patent rights by purchasing from a third-party seed supplier instead of Monsanto, and benefited from successive harvests of the GE crop. Monsanto said Mr. Bowman’s plantings violated the company’s patent agreement that farmers are required to sign when they purchase GE seed. First, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit agreed and told Mr. Bowman to pay nearly $85,000 in damages. Mr. Bowman appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, which handed down its decision on Monday.

The Center for Food Safety (CFS), which filed a brief on behalf of Mr. Bowman, put forward a legal framework to the court to safeguard the right of farmers to save seed. Unfortunately, since the 1980s, seed patent rights have been granted to agrichemical corporations that have since then patented a number of varieties of GE seed, including corn, soybean, cotton and canola. Now, five companies account for 58 percent of the world’s commercial seed sales. These patents mean farmers cannot save seed for future plantings and can be held liable if their crop is contaminated with GE material. According to CFS, the Bowman case represents the mounting trend of seed and agrichemical companies investigating and prosecuting farmers for alleged patent infringement. CFS notes that as of December 2012, Monsanto has filed 142 alleged seed patent infringement lawsuits involving 410 farmers and 56 small farm businesses in 27 states. Sums awarded to Monsanto in 72 recorded judgments total over $23 billion.

‚ÄúThe Court chose to protect Monsanto over farmers. The Court‚Äôs ruling is contrary to logic and to agronomics, because it improperly attributes seeds‚Äô reproduction to farmers, rather than nature,‚ÄĚ said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of Center for Food Safety.

Mr. Bowman bought soybean seed from Monsanto, but strained by the high cost of the seed (the average cost to plant one acre of soybeans has risen 325 percent, while corn seed prices are up by 259 percent), bought cheaper seed the next year from a local grain elevator where farmers store harvested soybeans. Since over 90 percent of soybean seed in the U.S. is GE, Mr. Bowman was guaranteed to acquire GE seed that he then planted, tested for herbicide tolerance, and harvested successive GE soybean crops. In writing the decision for the court, Justice Elena Kagan said that Mr. Bowman is perfectly free to purchase grain elevator beans to eat or feed to livestock, or even to resell, but he could not plant the beans from the grain elevator in his own fields, test them for herbicide tolerance, and then harvest, re-harvest and re-harvest multiple times, without paying Monsanto for use of its patented product.

According to Justice Kagan, Monsanto would get “scant benefit” from its invention, and Mr. Bowman and other farmers would reap great rewards from the GE seed without paying for it, thereby threatening the incentive for invention that is at the heart of patent law. The court also rejected Mr. Bowman’s argument that since soybeans naturally self-replicate by sprouting, it was therefore nature, and not Mr. Bowman, that made replications of Monsanto’s patented invention.

GE crops are largely engineered to be tolerant to Monsanto‚Äôs flagship product, Roundup – an herbicide with broad spectrum activity. Once crops are tolerant to Roundup (and other herbicides), farmers can spray indiscriminately to fields without affecting their crop. However, the advent of these crops have led to environmental contamination of GE plant material that have contaminated farms, including organic farms, and wild plant species, which has led to the increase of ‚Äúsuperweeds‚ÄĚ highly resistant to chemical control. Just last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) determined that an environmental assessment into new varieties of GE 2,4-D tolerant crops is required in response to overwhelming concerns expressed by farmers, consumers, and public health officials.

Beyond Pesticides joined with CFS, farmers and other environmental groups across the country to appeal a court ruling dismissing Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto. The plaintiffs in this case are suing preemptively to protect themselves from being accused of patent infringement should their crop ever become contaminated by Monsanto’s GE seed. Two of the plaintiffs submitted sworn declarations in the case highlighting the prevalence of contamination by GE seed. Both Chuck Noble, an alfalfa farmer from South Dakota, and Fedco Seeds, a seed distributor in Maine, have repeatedly discovered GMO contamination in purportedly conventional seed they sought to purchase. To protect themselves from being contaminated, they have had to adopt expensive and time-consuming genetic testing procedures. Other plaintiffs have simply stopped growing certain types of crops due to the threat of contamination. The decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in this case is expected in spring 2013.

Sources: CFS Press release , CFS’ Report  Seed Giants vs. U.S. Farmers, and Washington Post

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

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14
May

Environmental Impact Statement Delays New Monsanto and Dow 2,4-D Resistant Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2013) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has determined that environmental impact statements (EIS) are required for Dow and Monsanto’s¬† new genetically engineered (GE),¬†2,4-D resistant crops.¬†According to Reuters, Dow had anticipated that their new crop would be on market by year‚Äôs end. Monsanto released a statement calling the move ‚Äúunexpected.‚ÄĚ USDA‚Äôs Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is requiring the reviews in response to overwhelming concern expressed by farmers, consumers, and public health officials during the comment period for these new herbicide-resistant crops.

corn-and-weedsDow‚Äôs new GE corn, dubbed ‚ÄúEnlist,‚ÄĚ tolerates repeated applications of both glyphosate and the powerful herbicide 2,4-D, while Monsanto‚Äôs GE cotton and soybean (produced in partnership with their ‚Äúcompetitor,‚ÄĚ agrichemical giant BASF)¬†is resistant to the herbicide dicamba. Both companies champion their crops as solutions to the widespread occurrence of weeds resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto‚Äôs Roundup herbicide, even though the ultimate cause for this resistance can be traced to overuse of the chemical on “Roundup-Ready” crops. A 2011 study in the journal Weed Science found at least 21 different species of weeds to be resistant to applications of Monsanto‚Äôs Roundup. Even without the presence of herbicide-ready crops, recent research reveals weed resistance to 2,4-D ¬†developing in areas of the western United States. As evidenced by these reports, new GE crops will not ‚Äúsolve‚ÄĚ resistance issues, but merely push the problems of weed management further down the road.

The actions by the agrichemical industry represent a very dangerous precedent for USDA to endorse, as an approval of these products essentially indicates that the United States’ answer to herbicide resistance is more powerful, more dangerous and highly toxic chemicals.  Many environmental groups have expressed concern about an impending spike in 2, 4-D and dicamba usage, which will be exacerbated by new herbicides that combine these chemicals with glyphosate. These new blended herbicides will be sprayed repeatedly during the growing season after weeds emerge and begin to compete with crops. Both 2, 4-D and dicamba are highly susceptible to drift and dicamba is known to volatilize (evaporate) and travel upwards of two miles from the point of application. The spraying of more 2, 4-D and dicamba during periods when specialty crops and home gardens are at their greatest risk of exposure is likely to increase the incidence of pesticide contamination and resultant damages. Growers of fruit, vegetable, and other non-row crops are particularly concerned about the potential introduction of these crops.

According to APHIS, there were approximately 500 individual comments and 31,000 petition signatures against Monsanto/BASF’s dicamba resistant plants, and 8,200 individual comments and 400,000 petition signatures against Dow’s 2,4-D resistant plants.

USDA has lost court challenges in the past due to hasty approvals of GE crops without an EIS.

2,4-D is a chlorophenoxy herbicide that kills broadleaf weeds by inducing rapid growth. The chemical has been linked to numerous human health problems, including cancer, particularly soft tissue sarcoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, neurotoxicity, kidney/liver damage, and harm to the reproductive system. 2,4,-D is made up roughly half of the herbicide known as Agent Orange, which was used to defoliate forests and croplands in the Vietnam War. Research by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that babies born in counties where high rates of chlorophenoxy herbicides are applied to farm fields are significantly more likely to be born with birth defects of the respiratory and circulatory systems, as well as defects of the musculoskeletal system like clubfoot, fused digits, and extra digits. These birth defects were 60% to 90% more likely in counties with higher 2,4-D application rates. The results also show a higher likelihood of birth defects in babies conceived in the spring, when herbicide application rates peak.

Dicamba is a chlorinated benzoic acid herbicide that, among other potential health effects, is neurotoxic and has been connected with reproductive and developmental problems in humans. The herbicide is extremely mobile in soils, regardless of organic matter or clay content, and has high water solubility. Dicamba residues are both quite persistent (2 months to 1 year) and able to move vertically in the soil column.

EPA does not test the human or environmental health implications of chemical mixtures, so these combined herbicides will be a novel hazard for farmers and rural communities.

Agriculture does not have to work this way. Farmers do not have to remain stuck on a pesticide treadmill that demands ever greater synthetic inputs and rewards chemical suppliers at the expense of community, worker, farm and environmental health. Organic agriculture is an ecologically-based management system that prioritizes cultural, biological, and mechanical production practices and natural and least-toxic¬†inputs. By strengthening on-farm resources, such as soil fertility, pasture and biodiversity, organic farmers can minimize and even avoid the production challenges that chemical inputs such as synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and antibiotics are marketed as ‚Äúsolving.‚ÄĚ

Source: USDA APHIS Press Release, Reuters

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13
May

New Report Details Mounting Bee Losses

(Beyond Pesticides, May 13, 2013) According to preliminary results of a survey by the Bee Informed Partnership, 31.1 percent of managed honey bee colonies in the U.S. were lost during the 2012/2013 winter.¬† Though these preliminary loss reports are similar to the past six year average of 30.5 percent, the new loss numbers represent a 42 percent increase compared to the previous winter. Survey participants indicate that they consider a loss rate of 15 percent as ‚Äúacceptable,‚ÄĚ but 70 percent of participants suffered losses greater than this. With continued winter bee losses of over 30%, and concern whether there will be enough bees to pollinate U.S. crops this year, beekeepers and environmentalists say it is imperative¬†that regulators act by banning the neonicotiniod pesticides that have been implicated in the global decline of honey bee populations.

In addition to this national report, several state level incidents of large scale honey bee colony losses have been reported. In a recent incident in Florida, citrus groves experienced an acute foliar poisoning that resulted in severely damaged colonies. Oranges had an early bloom this year, and were still blooming near the end of April. One beekeeper‚Äôs colonies suffered immense losses due to drift¬†from an application of Montana 2F, an imdacloprid-based insecticide, from a neighboring grove. 1000-1500 colonies were killed, while 10,000-13,000 colonies suffered severe damage. Citrus trees were sprayed while bees were actively foraging during daylight hours. The foliar application directions on Montana 2F‚Äôs label clearly state, ‚ÄúDo not apply during bloom or within 10 days prior to bloom or when bees are actively foraging.‚ÄĚ Imidacloprid is one of the neonicotinoid pesticides that have been linked to dramatic bee declines. Recently, the European Commission voted to ban the use of these chemicals.

In Maryland, close to 60 percent of the managed hives died during the 2012/2013 winter, according to the state bee inspector and local beekeepers. “This is the worst I’ve seen in 35 years. We didn’t all get stupid at once. I don’t know what it is, but it isn’t our stupidity,‚ÄĚ said Steve McDaniel, a 35-year beekeeper and retired chemist. Maryland depends on a robust honey bee population to pollinate a large volume of the state‚Äôs crops. ¬†These crops ‚ÄĒ apples, melons, berries and pumpkins ‚ÄĒ are valued in excess of $40 million.

In Canada, beekeepers are calling on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to allow commercial beekeepers to import package bees from the U.S. because of higher than expected bee losses this past winter. Some beekeepers reported average losses of up to 50 percent of their hives. Though weather is seen as a major factor in the wintering losses of Canadian honey bees, the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists also argue that the use of systemic pesticides are connected to these dramatic bee loses.

In study after study pesticides, specifically neonicotinoids, have been linked to bee declines. These chemicals are used extensively in U.S. agriculture, especially as seed treatment for corn and soybeans. Agriculture is not the only concern however, as pesticide applications in home gardens, city parks, and landscaping are also prime culprits in the proliferation of these harmful chemicals. The systemic residues of these pesticides not only contaminate pollen, nectar, and the wider environment, but have repeatedly been identified as highly toxic to honey bees.

Recently, Beyond Pesticides launched a comprehensive campaign called BEE Protective to support nationwide local action aimed at protecting honey bees and other pollinators from pesticides.  BEE Protective is releasing a variety of educational materials, including a BEE Protective Habitat Guide, providing information on creating native pollinator habitat in communities, eliminating bee-toxic chemicals, and other advocacy tools. The campaign also encourages municipalities, campuses, and homeowners to adopt policies that protect bees and other pollinators from harmful pesticide applications and create pesticide-free refuges for these beneficial organisms. In addition to scientific and regulatory information, BEE Protective also includes a model community pollinator resolution and a pollinator protection pledge.

For more information on bee losses please visit Beyond Pesticides’ Pollinators and Pesticides page.

Sources: American Bee Journal , Baltimore Sun, Bee Informed Partnership, The Vancouver Sun

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

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10
May

EPA Sets New Rules for Antimicrobial Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published on May 8 a final rule to revise and update use patterns and data requirements for antimicrobial pesticides. Though the new rule is the first revision to EPA data requirements for antimicrobial pesticide registrations since 1984,  remaining inconsistencies among data submissions and data gaps, these new rules are a step in the right direction when it comes to regulating antimicrobial pesticides, considering the proliferation of consumer products that contain these chemicals. However, even with these new rules in place, certain antimicrobial pesticides that are already in consumer products, such as triclosan, will still present serious hazards for human and environmental health.

More than 5,000 antimicrobial products are currently registered with EPA. Initially designed for hospitals and clinics, many antimicrobial pesticides are found in products ranging from household cleaners to mattresses and bedding, cosmetics, toys, toothpaste and even chopsticks. Antibacterial products are being marketed to the health conscious without firm evidence of real benefits and amid growing concern about unintended externalities. One prime example of this is triclosan, which is formulated into hundreds of personal care products, toys and textiles. Studies show that triclosan is an endocrine disruptor, accumulates in human fatty tissue and can influence the onset of bacterial resistance.

Recently, the Associated Press reported that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will rule on the safety of the antibacterial chemical triclosan this year, after 40 years of delay. FDA published several draft guidelines over the years but never finalized the results, which has allowed companies to keep the chemical in their products. Though the FDA review of triclosan is not connected to these new rules finalized by the EPA, it does show that federal agencies are slowly, but finally, moving towards determining the safety of the antimicrobial chemicals. EPA will also review the safety of triclosan this year.

Under these new rules, eleven new data requirements for antimicrobial pesticides are being codified. This codification of the rules is important because, according to comments released by Beyond Pesticides in 2009, ‚ÄúOften the agency [EPA] would conduct case by case determinations to instruct registrants on what data was needed for antimicrobial pesticides.‚ÄĚ This process leads to inconsistent data being submitted by registrants. These new rules set up unique data requirements specifically for antimicrobials and create a uniform process.

Some of the new data requirements establish evaluations for: developmental neurotoxicity; immunotoxicity; photodegradation in soil; soil residue dissipation; ready biodegradability study; porous pot study; activated sludge sorption isotherm study; and modified activated sludge, respiration inhibition test. Additionally, EPA will require a down-the-drain analysis for every product with an applicable use or exposure scenario.

According to Beyond Pesticides‚Äô 2009 comments, ‚ÄúThis [down-the-drain] model proposed by the agency to estimate concentrations of chemicals in surface waters, as a result of disposal of consumer products into wastewaters, is a useful tool to assist wastewater treatment agencies with the wastewater treatment process, and to monitor the fate and effects of these chemicals once in the waterways.‚ÄĚ

However, Beyond Pesticides’ 2009 comments also point out some of these new rules’ short comings. First, under these new rules, EPA will delineate between high and low indirect food use exposures to antimicrobial pesticides. Continual low dose exposure over time can result in high exposure as antimicrobial chemicals, like triclosan, can build in fat tissue. Continual low dose exposure has been shown in the scientific literature to pose significant long term risk, especially for developing infants.

Second, the EPA should take a closer look at chemical mixtures currently found in the nation’s waterways and their possible synergistic effects. Several studies detail the presence of varied concentrations of pharmaceuticals in surfaces waters, including several antimicrobials. However, the evaluation does not evaluate how these chemicals interact with each other in the environment, or their combined effects on human and environmental health.

The news rules will go into effect on July 8, 2013.

For more information on antimicrobials or antibacterials please visit Beyond Pesticides’ Antimicrobials and Antibacterials page.

Source: EPA

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

 

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09
May

Review Highlights Dangerous Health Effects of Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, May 9, 2013) A review of the scientific literature of the toxic effects of glyphosate, one of the most popular weed killers in the U.S. and the active ingredient in Roundup, links the herbicide to a wide range of diseases and suggests that more research is needed. The review, conducted by a scientist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), looks at the mechanisms through which the adverse effects may be happening and points to the chemical’s inhibition of cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, which plays the crucial role of detoxifying xenobiotics. Thus, glyphosate can enhance the negative effects of other environmental toxicants on the body. Authors argue that this has been a critically overlooked component in research on glyphosates’ toxicity to mammals.

We “have hit upon something very important that needs to be taken seriously and further investigated,” Stephanie Seneff, PhD, lead author and research scientist at MIT, told Reuters.

Not surprisingly, Monsanto, the developer of Roundup, the leading product containing glyphosate, has attempted to discredit the study, claiming that its product has a long track record of being safe – read Another Bogus “Study.” However, Beyond Pesticides has assembled ¬†extensive documentation on the human health and environmental risks of glyphosate. It has been linked to a number of serious human health effects, including increased cancer risk, neurotoxicity, and birth defects, as well as eye, skin, and respiratory irritation. One of the inert ingredients in product formulations of Roundup, polyoxyethyleneamine (POEA), has also been shown to kill human embryonic cells. In 2009, Beyond Pesticides, submitted comments to the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA) showing new and emerging science which illustrates that glyphosate and its formulated products pose unreasonable risk to human and environmental health, and as such should not be considered eligible for continued registration.

Glyphosate is used in almost all agricultural and urban areas of the U.S. Overall, agricultural use of glyphosate has increased from less than 11,000 tons in 1992 to more than 88,000 tons in 2007. The greatest glyphosate use is in the Mississippi River basin, where most applications are for weed control on genetically-modified corn, soybeans, and cotton. Additionally, glyphosate persists in streams throughout the growing season in Iowa and Mississippi, but is generally not observed during other times of the year. The pervasiveness of glyphosate in our food supply, and the general myth that it is ‚Äúessentially nontoxic,‚ÄĚ the researchers argue, may make glyphosate one of the most dangerous chemicals in the environment.

The paper concludes: ‚ÄúGiven the known toxic effects of glyphosate reviewed here and the plausibility that they are negatively impacting health worldwide, it is imperative for more independent research to take place to validate the ideas presented here, and to take immediate action, if they are verified, to drastically curtail the use of glyphosate in agriculture.‚ÄĚ

The peer-reviewed paper, ‚ÄúGlyphosate‚Äôs Suppression of Cytochrome P450 Enzymes and Amino Acid Biosynthesis by the Gut Microbiome: Pathways to Modern Diseases,‚ÄĚ is published in the April 2013 journal Entropy.

To see more scientific research on the effects of pesticides on human health, see Beyond Pesticides’ Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database, which supports the clear need for strategic action to shift away from pesticide dependency. Public policy must advance this shift, rather than continue to allow unnecessary reliance on pesticides.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

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08
May

EPA Green-Lights New Pesticide Highly Toxic to Bees, Dismisses Concerns

(Beyond Pesticides, May 8, 2013) In apparent contradiction to its stated intention to protect pollinators and find solutions to the current pollinator crisis, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the unconditional registration of the new insecticide sulfoxaflor,¬†which the agency classifies as highly toxic to honey bees. Despite warnings and concerns raised by beekeepers and environmental groups, sulfoxaflor will further endanger bees and beekeeping. EPA continues to put industry interests first to exacerbate an already dire pollinator crisis. ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† In January, the agency proposeddead bee- fade¬† to impose conditional registration on sulfoxaflor due to inconclusive and outstanding data on long-term honey bee brood impacts. At that time, the agency requested two additional studies ‚Äďa study on residue impacts, and a field test to assess impacts to honey bee colonies and brood development. This week, EPA granted full unconditional registration to sulfoxaflor stating that there were no outstanding data, and that even though sulfoxaflor is highly toxic to bees it does not demonstrate substantial residual toxicity to exposed bees, nor are ‚Äúcatastrophic effects‚ÄĚ on bees expected from its use. While sulfoxaflor exhibited behavioral and navigational abnormalities in honey bees, EPA downplays these effects as ‚Äúshort-lived.‚ÄĚ The agency says it has reviewed 400 studies in collaboration with its counterparts in Australia and Canada to support its decision. However, these studies do not seem to be currently available in the public scientific literature.

Instead of denying or suspending registration in the face of dire pollinator losses, EPA instead has chosen to mitigate sulfoxaflor impacts to bees by approving a reduced application rate from that initially requested by the registrant, Dow AgroSciences LLC, as well as increasing the time interval between successive applications. EPA also approved new pollinator label language it believes to be ‚Äúrobust‚ÄĚ to protect pollinators. Sulfoxaflor labels will state language such as;

‚ÄúDo not apply this product at any time between 3 days prior to bloom and until after petal fall;‚ÄĚ

and advisory pollinator statement;

‚ÄúNotifying known beekeepers within 1 mile of the treatment area 48 hours before the product is applied will allow them to take additional steps to protect their bees. Also limiting application to times when managed bees and native pollinators are least active, e.g., before 7 am or after 7pm local time or when temperature is below 55oF at the site of application, will minimize risk to bees.‚ÄĚ

However, beekeepers have noted that 48 hour notice is oftentimes insufficient to move their hives to a safer location and that prior notification is not always provided. Label statements, like those authorized for sulfoxaflor, not only underscore the risks to bees, but like most pesticide product labels are unrealistic since sulfoxaflor is a systemic pesticide whose residues can continue to exist in the plant (including pollen and nectar) for longer periods of time that well surpasses the recommended application intervals, and therefore exposes bees to residues longer than suggested. Similarly, label language such as this is extremely difficult to enforce at the use level.

Several comments were submitted by concerned beekeepers and environmental advocacy groups, like Beyond Pesticides, that stated that approval of a pesticide highly toxic to bees would only exacerbate the problems faced by an already tenuous honey bee industry and further decimate bee populations. However, EPA outrightly dismissed these concerns and instead pointed to a need for sulfoxaflor by industry and agriculture groups to control insects no longer being controlled by increasingly ineffective pesticide technologies.¬†EPA also noted that none of the objections to sulfoxaflor registrations pointed to any data ‚Äúto support the opinion that registration of sulfoxaflor will pose a grave risks to bees,‚ÄĚ even though the agency itself acknowledges that sulfoxaflor is highly toxic to bees. Instead, the agency says, ‚ÄúComments suggested that pesticides can pose risks to bees and that the agency should not allow yet another pesticide to threaten bees.‚ÄĚ

EPA’s response to Beyond Pesticides and other commenters can be found here.

The agency‚Äôs approval of sulfoxaflor and its attempts to mitigate risks to honey bees highlight the real deficiencies in the agency‚Äôs risk assessment process. Risk assessment approaches have historically underestimated real-world risks, and attempts to mitigate adverse impacts with measures that prove insufficient and impractical.¬†These risk assessment approaches make determinations that the risks are ‚Äúreasonable,‚ÄĚ while failing to take into account numerous circumstances and realities that make honey bees vulnerable to chemical exposures, including user failure to adhere to application rate guidelines, and local environmental conditions that may predispose crops, and other plants, to accumulate higher chemical residues, especially in nectar and pollen. In addition to risks to bees, sulfoxaflor is also classified as ‚Äúsuggestive evidence of carcinogenic potential‚ÄĚ based on the incidence of tumors and carcinomas in mice and rats.

Given the global phenomenon of bee decline and the recent precautions taken in the European Union regarding bee health with the two-year suspension of neonicotinoid pesticides known to be highly toxic to bees, it is irresponsible that EPA will allow yet another chemical with a high potential to be hazardous to bee health into the environment. It is also counterintuitive to current agency and interagency work to protect pollinators.

Sulfoxaflor is a new active ingredient, whose mode of action is similar to that of neonicotinoid pesticides ‚Äďit acts on the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) in insects. Even though it has not been classified as a neonicotinoid, it elicits similar neurological responses in honey bees, with many believing that sulfoxaflor is the new generation of neonicotinoid. Sulfoxaflor will be registered for use on vegetables, fruits, barley, canola, ornamentals, soybeans, wheat and others.

BEE Protective : Pollinators need our help!  This spring create pollinator friendly habitat by planting bee attractive flowers and grasses that provide food and forage for bees and other pollinators.  Avoid sulfoxaflor and neonicotinoid products.

Pledge your garden or backyard as a pesticide free zone for pollinators.

 

Source:  EPA New Release

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07
May

FDA to Review Triclosan After Decades of Delay

(Beyond Pesticides, May 7, 2013) After 40 years of delay, the Associated Press reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will rule on the safety of the antibacterial chemical triclosan this year. Triclosan is present in hundreds of consumer products ranging from antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, cosmetics, fabrics, toys, and other household and personal care products, appearing in some of these products in a formulation known as Microban. The agency’s review comes amid growing pressure from politicians and consumer advocates concerning the safety of this chemical in terms of both human health and the wider environment.

In 1972, Congress required FDA to set guidelines for many common antibacterial chemicals found in over-the-counter soaps and scrubs. FDA published tentative guidelines for chemicals used in liquid hand soaps and washes by 1978, stating triclosan was ‚Äúnot generally recognized as safe and effective.‚ÄĚ This was due to a lack of scientific research demonstrating the chemical‚Äôs safety and effectiveness.

Bubbles in orange liquid soapFDA published several draft guidelines over the years but never finalized the results. This has allowed companies to keep the chemical in their products. Last summer, FDA said its triclosan review would be completed by the end of 2012. The agency then pushed back the date to February 2013. After February passed without a review, a federal appeals court in March said that a lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council aimed at forcing FDA to complete its review could move forward. A lower court had previously tossed out the lawsuit, but the three-panel judge in March resinstated the case, noting that NRDC presented evidence that triclosan could be dangerous.

FDA is now planning to complete its review; FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Yao said the evaluation of triclosan is ‚Äúone of the highest priorities‚ÄĚ for the agency, but did not offer an explanation for the delay.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will also be reviewing the safety of triclosan this year.

Beyond Pesticides, with 15 organizations,¬†filed a citizens petition to FDA in October 2005, requesting the agency to ban all non-medical uses of triclosan.¬†In 2009, Beyond Pesticides, in partnership with Food and Water Watch and 80 other groups, submitted an amended petition to¬†FDA and a new petition to¬†EPA,¬†citing¬†violations of numerous federal statutes. Echoing these petitions, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) also submitted letters of concern to both EPA and FDA. In FDA‚Äôs response, the agency acknowledged that soaps containing triclosan offer no additional benefit over regular soap and water. FDA stated that ‚Äúexisting data raise valid concerns about the [health] effects of repetitive daily human exposure to these antiseptic ingredients‚ÄĚ and announced plans to address the use of triclosan in cosmetics or other products. FDA also expressed concern about the development of antibiotic resistance from using antibacterial products and about triclosan‚Äôs potential long-term health effects.

Beyond Pesticides has provided extensive documentation of the potential human and environmental health effects of triclosan and its cousin triclocarban. Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor and has been shown to affect male and female reproductive hormones and possibly fetal development. It is also shown to alter thyroid function, and other studies have found that due to its extensive use in consumer goods, triclosan and its metabolites are present in umbilical cord blood and human milk. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also found that triclosan is present in the urine of 75% of the U.S. population, with concentrations that have increased by 50% since 2004.

Last August, research from the University of California, Davis led by Dr. Issac Pessah, Ph.D., showed triclosan’s ability to impair muscle function, particularly in the heart. In the presence of triclosan, the normal communication between two proteins that function as calcium channels is impaired, causing skeletal and cardiac muscle failure. Dr. Pessah recently spoke about the health effects of triclosan at Beyond Pesticides 31st National Pesticide Forum. His speech can be viewed in part at this link.

In January of this year, a study from the University of Minnesota (UMN) revealed triclosan, along with several of its toxic breakdown products such as dioxin, to be present In freshwater lakes across Minnesota, including Lake Superior. Previous research by the team and UMN revealed triclosan’s ability to disrupt aquatic ecosystems by inhibiting photosynthesis in algae and killing beneficial bacteria.

In light of inaction at the federal level, this information spurred Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton to order state agencies to stop purchasing triclosan-containing products. ‚ÄúThere are alternatives, and they are at the same price,‚ÄĚ said Cathy Moeger, sustainability manager for the Minnesota‚Äôs Pollution Control Agency. ‚ÄúIf it has an environmental benefit, why not do it?‚ÄĚ

As Allison Aiello, Ph.D, professor at the University of Michigan‚Äôs School of Public Health (who also spoke at Beyond Pesticide 30th National Pesticide Forum), astutely notes, ‚ÄúTo me it looks like the risks outweigh any benefit associated with these products right now. At this point, it‚Äôs just looking like a superfluous chemical.‚ÄĚ

Beyond Pesticides urges concerned consumers to join the ban triclosan campaign and sign the pledge  to stop using triclosan today. Read the label of personal care products in order to avoid those containing triclosan. Encourage your local schools, government agencies, and local businesses to use their buying power to go triclosan-free. Urge your municipality, school, or company to adopt the model resolution that commits to not procuring or using products containing triclosan.

To learn more about triclosan please visit Beyond Pesticides’ Antibacterial page.

Source: Associated Press

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

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06
May

Nationwide GE Labeling Bill Introduced in Both Chambers of Congress

(Beyond Pesticides May 6, 2013) On Wednesday April 24, Senator Barbra Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Peter Defazio (D-OR) introduced companion legislation that would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ‚Äúclearly label‚ÄĚ all genetically engineered (GE) whole and processed foods, including fish and other seafood. The bills, the Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act, ¬†H.R. 1699 and S. 809, have 22 cosponsors in the House and 10 in the Senate. This national effort builds on the multiple ongoing campaigns to label GE foods at the state level.

‚ÄúAmericans have the right to know what is in the food they eat so they can make the best choices for their families,‚ÄĚ Senator Boxer said in a press release. ‚ÄúThis legislation is supported by a broad coalition of consumer groups, businesses, farmers, fishermen and parents who all agree that consumers deserve more ‚Äď not less ‚Äď information about the food they buy.‚ÄĚ

Representative Jared Polis (D-CO), one of the bills co-sponsors, said of the labeling act, ‚ÄúEmpowering consumers: consumers can choose to eat or not eat GMOs, or to pay more or less for GMOs.‚ÄĚ He said he believes consumers have a right to know what they are eating.¬† I believe consumers have a right to know what they are eating so they can make their own informed food choices. I am proud to be working toward more informative food labels.‚ÄĚ

Before this national legislative effort, state labeling campaigns were launched in California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Oregon, Maryland, Missouri, Vermont, and Washington. The precursor to these state efforts was the Proposition 37 campaign in California. Prop 37 was a statewide ballot initiative voted on by Californians during the 2012 elections. Even though national polls indicated 91 percent of Americans supported GE labeling, a campaign ad launched by the agrichemical industry, which public interest groups cited as misleading, is credited with helping to defeat the bill by a 6.2 percent margin. Polls indicated that a majority of Californians supported Prop 37 into October, right before the November election. However, industry opponents poured over $46 million into the ad campaign and were easily able to outspend supporters, who only raised $9 million. Supporters of Prop 37 are regrouping, focusing on the 4.2 million Californians that voted yes and building a grassroots movement with 10,000 volunteers.

Prop 37 also helped bring the discussion of GE food into the public spotlight. Popular food writers such as Mark Bittman, Michael Pollan, and Marion Nestle wrote actively about the issues of GE labeling during the Prop 37 campaign, giving a greater voice to the growing food movement. Mother Jones‚Äô writer Tom Philpott ¬†believed that the defeat of Prop 37 was not the defeat of the push to label GE crops: ‚ÄúGiven the formidability and deep pockets of the opposition, I think it‚Äôs overblown to treat Prop 37 as a pass-fail test of the food movement‚Äôs political viability.‚ÄĚ

GE legislative labeling efforts are important because, as Sec. 2 (b)(3) of HR 1699 states, ‚ÄúIndividuals in the United States have a right to know if their food was produced with genetic engineering for a variety of reasons, including health, economic, environmental, religious, and ethical.‚ÄĚ Study after study has shown GE crops and GE products to be dangerous to human and environmental health. Studies have observed that GE foods may cause some common toxic effects, such as hepatic, pancreatic, renal, or reproductive issues and may alter hematological, biochemical parameters. World renowned geneticist and biophysicist, and co-founder of the International Science Panel on Genetic Modification, Mae-Wan Ho, Ph.D., has cited numerous observations on the adverse impacts of GE foods, including severe inflammation of the lungs in mice, liver and kidney toxicity, damage to the organ system of young rats fed GE potatoes, and severely stunted pups.

The growth of GE crops also has negative effects on the environment. A recent study by researcher Charles Benbrook, Ph.D. shows that GE crops have significantly increased pesticide use and weed resistance, contrary to industry claims that the technology would reduce herbicide applications. As weed resistance increases growers have started to look towards other chemically intense methods to fight weeds. The explosion of GE crops has also been linked to a decline in pollinator populations.

For more information on GE crops, please visit Beyond Pesticides’ Genetic Engineering page.

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

Source: Food Safety News

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03
May

New Federal Report on Honey Bee Health

(Beyond Pesticides, May 3, 2013) Despite the groundbreaking decision in Europe earlier this week to protect honey bees by suspending the neonicotinoid pesticides shown to be highly toxic, the  U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report yesterday which fails to address the overwhelming scientific evidence of neonicotinoid-related bee death and decline. The report presents no long-term, sustainable solutions to address the current bee crisis. Instead, the report recommends further research on the role of pesticides in honey bee health, further highlighting the stymied pace of U.S. regulatory efforts.

The report follows on the National Stakeholders Conference on Honey Bee Health, which was led by federal researchers and managers and Pennsylvania State University in October 2012. Stakeholders at the conference included industry, federal beeofficials, scientists, beekeepers, and activists who discussed several factors pertaining to adverse pollinator heath. Parasites, disease, genetics, poor nutrition, and pesticide exposure were highlighted at the meeting as synergistic factors in the observable nationwide honey bee decline.

The report recommends further research on the impacts of pesticides on bees at the colony level in the field, but does not capture the science connecting pesticides to adverse effects or the need for protective action. Instead, the report merely summarizes stakeholder comments at the meeting and highlights the uncertainties, rather than the bounty of evidence and on-the-ground beekeeper testimony. The report states, ‚ÄúIt is clear, based on chemical analysis of bees and bee products, that exposure of bees to a gamut of pesticides is common place, but the level of exposure to any particular pesticide is generally not enough to immediately or acutely kill bees.‚Ä̬† However, acute testing for lethality does not include sublethal and chronic effects from prolonged exposure to multiple pesticides that occur in the field and cause demonstrable harm to bees, including immune suppression, navigational disruption, and decreased learning behavior.

Jim Jones, EPA Acting Assistant Administrator, made some important admissions during the conference call announcing the release of  the report, particularly that original EPA risk assessments and registration data requirements did not adequately consider sublethal effects to bee health. Recently published studies conclude that the systemic neonicotinoid insecticides, imidacloprid and clothianidin, cause cognitive damage in bees. While the bees are still alive, the lobes of the brain fail to communicate with each other with obvious implications for their survival. EPA’s  failure to adequately assess sublethal effects in bees prior to the registration of these pesticides, and others, highlights the regulatory failure that continues to plague the agency.

Some of the other discussion points included in the report are: the importance of the Varroa mite and its resistance to controls; the need for increased genetic diversity in honey bee colonies to improve resistance to mites and diseases; the role of poor nutrition and need for federal and state agencies to promote land management practices that improve and expand natural areas where bees can forage in pesticide-free zones; and the need for timely bee kill reporting, monitoring, and enforcement.

Unlike recent action in Europe, which placed a two-year ban on three neonicotinoid pesticides‚ÄĒimidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam‚ÄĒ due to their toxicity to bees, EPA has yet to implement immediate, strong, and protective measures for pollinator health. Instead, EPA is focusing on short-term risk mitigation measures, such as reducing contaminated field dust, which aligns with the pesticide industry’s focus. ‚ÄúEPA is working on advancing new equipment, releasing new formulations, and label standards,‚ÄĚ said Mr. Jones, ‚ÄúNew planting technology‚Ķshould be widely available next year.‚ÄĚ The agency continues to dismiss scientific evidence of the acute and chronic toxicity of neonicotinoids and other pesticides on bees and other pollinators, and instead focuses on technological stopgap measures. Beekeepers and environmentalists have said that EPA has yet to uphold the ‚Äúunreasonable adverse effect on the environment‚ÄĚ standard, which it is required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

In lieu of immediate, strong, and precautionary measures, the report recommends improving “best management practices,” which do not question either the use of pesticides or recognize the availability and success of organic management practices. The new restrictions across Europe suggest that EPA consider moving beyond writing meeting reports on honey bee health and adopt actual restrictions of pesticides that peer-reviewed science has tied to pollinator decline nationwide.

For the most recent action being taken to protect honey bees, see the Beyond Pesticides BEE Protective website.

Sources: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

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02
May

Report Finds Pesticide Hazards to Endangered Species Inadequately Reviewed by EPA

(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 2013) A committee of the National Academy of Sciences‚Äô Research Council (NRC) issued a new report that outlines steps to improve regulatory problems associated with pesticides that harm endangered and threatened species. The report, Evaluating Risks That Pesticides Pose to Endangered, Threatened Species ‚Äď New Report¬†suggests the need to overhaul¬†EPA‚Äôs deeply flawed pesticide approval process.

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), before a pesticide can be sold, distributed, or used in the United States, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to determine¬†that the pesticide does not cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment. However,¬†in the case of species¬†listed as endangered or threatened under¬†the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), all federal agencies, including¬†EPA,¬†are required to ensure that their actions will not jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species by diminishing the species’ numbers and¬†reproduction. To do this, in its pesticide registration process,¬†EPA is required to consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) when a federal action may adversely¬†affect a listed species or its habitat. Over the last decade, questions have been raised regarding the best approaches or methods for determining the risks pesticides pose to listed species and their habitats. EPA, FWS, and NMFS have developed different approaches to evaluating environmental risks because their legal mandates, responsibilities, institutional cultures, and expertise vary. As a result, the National Research Council was asked to examine the scientific and technical issues related to determining risks posed to listed species by pesticides.

The NRC report says that the agencies should use a risk assessment approach that addresses problem formulation, exposure analysis, effects analysis, and risk characterization when determining whether a pesticide is likely to pose a threat to endangered or threatened species. The committee examined several components of the risk assessment process it believes better coordination and agreement would facilitate an integrated approach to examining risks to listed species and their habitats. These include evaluating methods for identifying the best scientific data available, assessing approaches for developing modeling assumptions, identifying geospatial information that might be used in the risk assessment, reviewing approaches for characterizing effects, analyzing the scientific information available for estimating effects of mixtures and other, or¬†“inert,” ingredients, and examining the use of uncertainty factors to account for gaps in data. The findings imply that without a significant revamping of its review process, the operative agencies can not meet their statutory obligations.

Currently under ESA, EPA is required to determine how a pesticide will affect endangered species when that chemical is registered or has its registration reevaluated, and consult with FWS and NMFS for any necessary additional information and analysis. However, NRC concluded that EPA, NMFS, and FWS have not worked effectively in the consultation process and¬†the development of biological opinions. One reason for this problem is the difference in legal authorities and interpretation of law. EPA registers pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which authorizes a risk-based process that cost/benefit analyses in the agency’s determination of¬†allowable levels of harm. NMFS and FWS, under ESA, is more precautionary in its approach and has no cost/benefit directive.

According to NRC, if FWS and NMFS could build on EPA’s analysis of whether a pesticide is likely to adversely affect a listed species, rather than conduct a completely new analysis, the assessment would likely be more effective and scientifically credible. Furthermore, agreement among the agencies has been impeded by a lack of communication and coordination throughout the process. Therefore, the committee emphasized the need for coordination, which it views as necessary to ensure a complete and representative assessment of risk and that each agency’s technical needs are met.

However, EPA’s risk assessment process does not function to protect the most vulnerable in biological systems, but institutes restrictions intended to mitigate risks. The mandated consultations with FWS and NMFS could present the opportunity to evaluate alternative practices that would avoid harm to endangered species, but is largely limited to the risk management framework that has so long dominated EPA’s approach to regulating pesticides.

Background

Prior to 2004, EPA believed the extensive environmental risk assessments required in the registration process also would include impacts on endangered species. However, represented by the public interest law group Earthjustice, several stakeholder organizations including the Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen‚Äôs Associations (PCFFA), filed suit in January 2001 to force EPA to fulfill the distinct ESA requirements. Specifically, the lawsuit challenged EPA‚Äôs decision to register 54 pesticides without first consulting with federal fish biologists regarding the potential impact on protected salmon and steelhead species in the Northwest. The judge, in a lawsuit initiated in 2002, called EPA‚Äôs ‚Äúwholesale non-compliance‚ÄĚ with its ESA obligations ‚Äúpatently unlawful‚ÄĚ and ordered the agency to consult with NMFS regarding adverse impacts on the Northwest runs. More recently, EPA‚Äôs failure to consult with FWS on the impacts of hundreds of pesticides known to be harmful to more than 200 endangered and threatened species prompted a 2011 lawsuit.

Sources: National Academy of Sciences

All unattributed positions and opinions in this piece are those of Beyond Pesticides.

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