(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2018) Research published in early January 2018 has shown that — despite a partial ban on neonicotinoid insecticides instituted in 2014 — 25% of British honey is still contaminated with residue of these “potent, bee-killing” pesticides. The partial ban, which extended to flowering crops, such as oilseed rape (from which canola oil is made), was instituted by the European Union (EU) in response to evidence of serious threats to bee populations. Samples for this study came from beekeepers and were each from a single location. After the partial ban went into effect, scientists had seen some reduction in the contamination rate of neonicotinoids in honey, from greater than 50% prior to the ban. This study demonstrates that these powerful pesticides nevertheless remain common in agricultural areas, posing serious threats to bees (and other pollinators). This discovery is likely to accelerate pressure on the EU to ban all outdoor use of neonicotinoids, with a vote coming perhaps as soon as in the next few months. “While the frequency of neonicotinoid contaminated samples fell once the EU ban was in place, our data suggest that these pesticides remain prevalent in the farming . . .
(Beyond Pesticides, January 17, 2018) The organophosphate insecticides chlorpyrifos, malathion, and diazinon are likely to jeopardize the continued existence of endangered species and adversely modify their critical habitats, according to the newly released report from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The insecticide cholorpyrifos, whose ban was rescinded by the Trump Administration last year, despite overwhelming evidence of neurological and brain damage to children, is once again being shown to be too toxic for continued use. Under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), any agency action requires a finding that it “is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of habitat.” The December 31, 2017 Biological Opinion from NMFS followed an ecological assessment that relied upon multiple lines of evidence to determine effects to species and their designated habitats. These include “the direct and indirect toxicity of each chemical to aquatic taxa groups (e.g. fish, mammals, invertebrates); specific chemical characteristics of each pesticide (e.g. degradation rates, bioaccumulation rates, sorption affinities, etc.); expected environmental concentrations calculated for generic aquatic habitats; authorized pesticide product labels; maps showing the spatial overlap of listed . . .
(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2018) In spite of findings that neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides pose both acute and chronic risks to pollinators, aquatic life, and birds, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking comment that could support their continued use. Comments are due by February 20, 2018. Tell EPA that neonics pose unacceptable risks to pollinators, aquatic life, and birds! And, ask your Congressional delegation push EPA to do the right thing. Last month, EPA released preliminary ecological (non-pollinator) assessments for the neonicotinoids clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, and the terrestrial ecological assessment for imidacloprid, finding that these pesticides pose both acute and chronic risks to aquatic life and birds. Treated seeds are identified as posing the highest dietary risks to birds, confirming previous research that neonics are highly hazardous not only to bees, but also, to birds, aquatic life, and other non-target organisms. However, EPA’s assessments also cover spray treatments. EPA opened the public comment period for these assessments on December 15, 2017. Along with outlining the risks identified in the assessments, the agency is especially requesting feedback on the benefits of continued use of the neonics on cotton and citrus crops, identified in last year’s pollinator . . .
(Beyond Pesticides, January 12, 2018) Honey bees display a concerning attraction to the herbicide glyphosate and the fungicide chlorothalonil at certain concentrations, new research from scientists at the University of Illinois (UIL) reveals. Results are reminiscent of a 2015 study published in the journal Nature, which found that honey bees display a preference for foods treated with neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides implicated in global pollinator declines. Since the crisis became public knowledge in 2006, managed honey bees have experienced unsustainable levels of colony loss, and one in four species of native bees in North America and Hawaii are at risk of extinction. This new research adds to growing concerns that, while neonicotinoids continue to play a primary role in the pollinator crisis, their elimination would still leave a myriad of other toxic chemical threats to the recovery of these critical species, upon which so much of our food supply relies. UIL scientists investigated honey bees’ preference for a range of pesticides as well as a number of naturally occurring chemicals that honey bees would likely encounter in the field. In the experiment, pollinators were put in a large enclosure and allowed to fly . . .
(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2018) A California court has halted a state program allowing pesticide spraying at schools, organic farms, and backyards across California because of inadequate public disclosure of the chemicals’ adverse effects. The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) statewide “pest management” program required no site-specific analysis of risks before the application of 79 pesticides, including some known to cause cancer and birth defects and to be highly toxic to bees, butterflies, fish and birds. Relating to the broad application of pesticide use allowances under the state’s required Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR), issues of concern in the case included: i) a failure to conduct site-specific environmental impact asssessment, while allowing the “substantially similar” uses without environmental review; (ii) broad application of a PEIR to subsequent activities without a Notice of Determination ; (iii) includes an inadequate project description; (iv) a failure to adequately describe the baseline environmental conditions; (v) a failure to adequately analyze the Project’s environmental impacts (including biological, water, human health, and farming impacts); (vi) a failure to adequately analyze cumulative impacts; (vii) legally inadequate mitigation measures; (vii) a failure to consider a reasonable range of alternatives; and (viii) a . . .
(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2018) At the end of 2017, the City of Carlsbad, CA voted unanimously to adopt a policy prioritizing the use of organic and defined “least-toxic” pesticides to manage pest problems on city-owned and controlled property and public rights-of-way. Buoyed by a strong and growing coalition of Non Toxic advocates fighting for a healthier environment for their children, pets, and wildlife, Carlsbad is the newest in a string of southern California communities that are implementing safer pest control practices. In recognition of the significant progress and activity in southern California communities, Beyond Pesticides’ 36th National Pesticide Forum, Organic Neighborhoods: For healthy children, families, and ecology, will take place in Irvine, CA from April 13-14, 2018 (stay tuned to Beyond Pesticides’ website for additional updates!). Carlsbad’s new policy is, in fact, an update of an Integrated Pest Management plan the City last reviewed in 2003. While its previous policy only addressed City parks, the new plan will include all City maintained or operated land and facilities. The policy also takes a much tougher approach against toxic pesticides, prioritizing the use of organic products first and foremost when pest problems arise. Importantly, the policy . . .
(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2018) Comments are needed by January 17 on plans announced by the Trump Administration to scuttle the final rule on organic animal welfare (the Organic Livestock Poultry Practices rule, or OLPP) that was adopted as a final rule a year ago. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue has repeatedly delayed implementation of the final rule on animal welfare in organic production. The effective date of the final rule published on January 19, 2017, delayed on February 9, 2017, and again on May 10, 2017, is now delayed until May 14, 2018. By setting minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements and defining “outdoors,” the rule would make it more difficult for factory egg and poultry farms to be certified organic. Although many wished it to be stronger, the rule received widespread support. More than 40,000 agriculture groups, farmers, and others urged USDA to finalize the standard; only 28 commenters opposed it. The Organic Trade Association sued USDA in September for failing to finalize the standard. Now, USDA proposes to withdraw the rule altogether. Tell USDA to implement the Organic Livestock Poultry Practices rule now! Then give your message to your . . .
(Beyond Pesticides, January 8, 2018) With a long-documented history of children’s exposure to pesticides that drift from agricultural fields to school yards, California’s new regulations establishing no-spray buffers took effort January 1, as labor and public health groups acknowledged the progress and inadequacy of the measure. The new rule, DPR 16-004 Pesticide Use Near Schoolsites, adopted by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), prohibits many pesticide applications within a quarter mile of public K-12 schools and licensed child day-care facilities during school hours, Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. This includes all applications by aircraft, sprinklers, air-blast sprayers, and all fumigant applications. In addition, most dust and powder pesticide applications, such as sulfur, will also be prohibited during this time. The new rule was announced in November, 2017. Advocates say the new rules fail to address persistent low-level exposures associated with the use of the pesticides near schools, which are in agricultural areas that are disproportionately Latino and from farmworker families. There is continuing concern about children’s exposure to hazardous pesticides because children use school grounds after school hours and on weekends and residues from drift may remain on school grounds. Many pesticides used . . .
(Beyond Pesticides, January 5, 2018) After 11:00 pm on January 3, the City Council of Portland, ME voted unanimously (9-0) to restrict the use of toxic pesticides on all lawns and landscapes within the City, both public and private. Passage of the new pesticide ordinance, one of the strongest in the country, represents the culmination of nearly two and a half years of intense debate and discussion between residents, advocates, opponents, and City of Portland officials. Local and national health and environmental groups are praising the City for its diligence in addressing the issue, and its ultimate decision to restrict hazardous pesticide use in the face of insufficient protections from federal and state regulators. Read Beyond Pesticides’ and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s (MOFGA) op-ed in the Portland Press Herald. Outside of Maine, the City of Portland now joins neighboring South Portland and other jurisdictions in the state of Maryland (the City of Takoma Park and Montgomery County ), which have taken similar action. Twenty-eight jurisdictions throughout Maine have restricted pesticides in various ways, including on public property, but the comprehensive Portland-style ordinance stops virtually all hazardous pesticide use in the community, on . . .
(Beyond Pesticides, January 4, 2018) Last month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the preliminary ecological (non-pollinator) assessments for the neonicotinoids (neonics); clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, and the terrestrial ecological assessment for imidacloprid, finding that these pesticides pose both acute and chronic risks to aquatic life and birds. Treated seeds are identified as posing the highest dietary risks to birds, confirming previous research that neonics are highly hazardous not only to bees, but to birds, aquatic life, and other non-target organisms. Released December 15, 2017, EPA opened the public comment period for these assessments until February 20, 2018. Along with the risks identified in the assessments, the agency is specially requesting feedback on the benefits of continued use of the neonics in cotton and citrus crops identified in last year’s pollinator assessments as posing risks to honey bees. EPA states, “We believe early input from the public will be helpful in developing possible mitigation options that may be needed to address risks to bees.” This despite evidence of long-term systemic exposures to non-target organisms that support a phase-out of these pesticides. EPA believes that neonicotinoids are crucial for the management of Asian citrus psyllid, an . . .
(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2018) Companies licensed to grow cannabis in Canada will be required to submit to mandatory testing and will receive fines of up to $1 million if their product contains banned pesticides. The new measures announced by Health Canada come as the country prepares to launch its recreational market in July 2018, and reports from national news outlets are sounding the alarm over widespread contamination of the ongoing medical cannabis market. Canada’s move is being closely watched by growers and regulators in the United States, where 29 states currently allow some form of medical or recreational cannabis to be sold, each with different pesticide rules. Health Canada, the primary pesticide enforcement agency in the country, had previously indicated that fines were unlikely because, as regulators told The Globe and Mail, companies were aware that banned pesticides were illegal and disallowed. However, after the country began regular testing, and news outlets began reporting on multiple instances of banned and highly toxic pesticides making their way onto the market, the agency decided to change its approach. Both growers and patients are encouraged by the new rules. Chairman of the Cannabis Canada . . .
(Beyond Pesticides, January 2, 2018) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on December 19, 2017 announced it was removing from the market 24 over-the-counter (OTC) disinfectants or antimicrobial ingredients, including triclosan, used by health care providers primarily in medical settings like hospitals, health care clinics, and doctors’ offices. The agency took this action because the chemical industry did not respond to a 2015 request for data to support a finding of “generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE).” The decision, which follows a 2016 FDA decision to remove OTC consumer soap products with triclosan for the same reason, leaves numerous consumer products (fabrics and textiles, sponges, undergarments, cutting boards, hair brushes, toys, prophylactics, other plastics, etc.) on the market with triclosan (often labeled as microban) under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The December decision leaves in commerce six antiseptic compounds widely used in the hospital and medical setting, in response to industry requests for more time to develop safety and efficacy data. In what appears to contradict FDA’s finding that it does not have sufficient data to make a GRASE finding for antiseptic products used in the health care . . .
Thank you for your support and collaboration. Onward in 2018! (Beyond Pesticides, December 22, 2017) We deeply appreciate your donation to our program in 2017 and it is easy to donate HERE. Year in Review At Beyond Pesticides, we collaborate with organizations and advocate across the country to get our message out on the threat that pesticides pose to human health and the environment. We support local action to stop this threat. And, we assist communities nationwide with the adoption of organic management practices that are more effective and protective than chemical-intensive practices. The partnerships that have been established are, at a more rapid pace, resulting in the adoption of land management practices that are supported by Beyond Pesticides’ strategic vision for a world free of toxic pesticides. Information for Action Beyond Pesticides expanded its role in the forefront of pesticide and organic advocacy with our Action of Week and Q&A of the Week, in addition to our Daily News, which identifies and delves into key science, policy, and actions that inform local action. The Summer issue of our journal, Pesticides and You, highlighted David Montgomery’s talk at Beyond Pesticides’ National Forum on the importance of soil microbiota . . .
(Beyond Pesticides, December 21, 2017) On December 18, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared that glyphosate is likely not carcinogenic. Relatedly, after weeks of stalemate on a decision by European countries, the European Union (EU) voted, in late November, to extend the license for the herbicide for another five years, despite massive opposition in member countries. In the U.S., the Center for Biological Diversity charged that the EPA assessment relied heavily on industry studies to arrive it its conclusion, and ignored its own guidelines for assessing cancer risks. Senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity Nathan Donley said, “The only way the EPA could conclude that glyphosate poses no significant risks to human health was to analyze industry studies and ignore its own guidelines when estimating cancer risk. . . . The EPA’s biased assessment falls short of the most basic standards of independent research and fails to give Americans an accurate picture of the risks posed by glyphosate use.” Glyphosate is due for its EPA registration review in 2019, and opponents are concerned that the December 18 announcement portends likely re-registration — which advocates say is bad news for human . . .
(Beyond Pesticides, December 20, 2017) As California prepares to open up retail sales for its legal cannabis market, experts are urging consumers to be cautious, as the state has yet to fully phase-in its pesticide testing protocols. Donald Land, PhD, a chemistry professor at the University of California, Davis, who also works as a consultant for pesticide testing company Steep Hill Labs Inc. told the Associated Press, “Buyer beware.” Along with local news station KNBC 4, his company purchased cannabis products from 15 dispensaries in Southern California in early 2017, finding that 41 out of 44 samples tested, 93%, tested positive for pesticide residue higher than legal limits in Oregon, Washington state, Massachusetts, and Nevada. The California Bureau of Cannabis Control’s (CBCC) emergency rules implementing its legal cannabis market phases in quality testing for cannabis throughout 2018. However, when shops open on January 1st, retailers will be allowed to sell cannabis products without laboratory testing for pesticides or other contaminants, though they will have to be labeled as such. Any cannabis products harvested after January 1, 2018 will be tested for “contaminants with a high public health risk.” By July 1, 2018, “moderate relative . . .
(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2017) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to revisit, and potentially weaken, rules passed in 2015 to update farmworker protections from hazardous pesticides. Improvements to Agricultural Worker Protection Standards (AWPS) were proposed under the Obama Administration after over a 20-year delay. While certain provisions will go into effect next year, the Trump Administration and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will nonetheless propose new changes that are likely to significantly weaken safeguards for farmworker health. Health and farmworker groups are deriding the move as another signal that the current Administration is carrying out the orders of the pesticide industry. Most workers in the U.S. look to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for standards to protect them from exposure to hazardous chemicals. However, farmworkers are not eligible for protection under these rules. Protection for farmworkers from pesticides is left to EPA’s authority under AWPS, a standard that is far less protective than OSHA. EPA announced in a press release that three aspects of the Obama-era AWPS would be revisited: i) a requirement that the farmworker be a minimum age of 18 to apply toxic pesticides; ii) a provision that . . .