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Daily News Blog

23
Feb

Monsanto Loses Lawsuit to Stop Dicamba Ban in Arkansas

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2018) Agrichemical corporation Monsanto has lost its bid to halt a statewide ban on the use of its specialty dicamba herbicide in Arkansas. Despite a lengthy process of evaluation and public comment that led to a prohibition on the use of drift-prone dicamba herbicides during the growing season on Arkansas farms, Monsanto made one last-ditch attempt to stop the law from going into effect by suing the entire state. With the industry’s loss, Arkansas is on track to implement the toughest restrictions against dicamba in the U.S. State Circuit Court Judge Chris Piazza dismissed the lawsuit last week based on a recent Arkansas Supreme Court ruling, which held that the state cannot be made a defendant in court. Monsanto’s lawsuit argued against the makeup of the state’s Plant Board, which voted to prohibit the company’s product last November. Monsanto also made claims that the state did not consider the economic damage a ban on the herbicide would cause, despite not seeking monetary restitution in court. Beyond Pesticides led a nationwide campaign to urge action by the Arkansas Plant Board to ban dicamba. Dicamba is an herbicide originally registered for . . .

22
Feb

Amazon Fined $1.2 million for Selling Illegal Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, February 22, 2018) Online retailer Amazon will pay $1.2 million in penalties to settle violations to U.S. regulations for selling illegal and misbranded pesticides in its online store. Under the terms of the settlement, Amazon will monitor and remove illegal pesticide products from its website. These products, mostly imported, were not registered for use and sale in the U.S. and can pose hazards to unsuspecting consumers. As part of an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Amazon has agreed to pay $1.2 million in administrative penalties for nearly 4,000 violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by allowing third-party distributors to sell imported pesticide products on Amazon even though the products were not registered in the U.S. While agreeing to the settlement, Amazon neither admitted nor denied the specific facts alleged by the EPA. “This agreement will dramatically reduce the online sale of illegal pesticides, which pose serious threats to public health in communities across America,” EPA Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick said in a news statement. The most concerning illegal products being sold are insecticide chalk products imported from Chinese manufacturers (3 pcs Cockroaches Bugs Ants Roach . . .

21
Feb

Quebec Tightening Restrictions on Highly Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2018) Officials in Quebec announced this week that the Canadian province will implement new restrictions on the use of five highly toxic pesticides. As part of efforts to fulfill the vision of the Quebec Pesticide Strategy, a progressive, forward-thinking framework for pesticide regulation announced in 2015, atrazine, chlorpyrifos, and the neonicotinoids imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam will have new limits placed on their use. “Together with the groups involved, we have found a balanced regulatory solution to protect the health of our farmers, aquatic ecosystems and pollinators,” Isabelle Melancon, Quebec’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, and the Fight Against Climate Change (Environment Ministry) said in a press release. “We hope to obtain in this way a significant reduction in the use of the most at-risk pesticides in Quebec, in a framework of transparency and integrity.” Quebec’s new rules offer a range of positive developments for human health and wildlife. The changes will require the following: Prior to any application of atrazine, chlorpyrifos, or neonicotinoid class insecticide, farmers will need the approval of a certified agronomist from the Ordre des agronomes du Quebec (OAQ). Agricultural producers will be required to . . .

20
Feb

Take Action: Tell Your Governor to Ban Bug Bombs

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2018) The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) label restrictions on total release foggers, otherwise known as “bug bombs,” are a public health failure. Bug bombs pose a significant risk of acute illness to individuals even when they attempt to follow new label instructions. Beyond Pesticides has long called for bug bombs to be banned, as there are a myriad of non-toxic alternative strategies to successfully manage household pests. Urge your Governor to ban bug bombs in your state! Bug bombs are small cans primarily comprised of an insecticide, often a synthetic pyrethroid, a synergist such as piperonyl butoxide (PBO), and an aerosol propellant. In addition to the explosion/fire risk if the aerosol product is used in an unattended home near a pilot light or other spark-producing appliance, both synthetic pyrethroids and PBO pose acute and chronic human health risks. PBO is added to pesticide formulations to increase the toxicity of synthetic pyrethroids, and has been linked to childhood cough. Peer-reviewed research associates synthetic pyrethroids with behavioral disorders, ADHD, and delayed cognitive and motor development, and premature puberty in . . .

16
Feb

Saving America’s Pollinators Act To Be Reintroduced in Congress

(Beyond Pesticides, February 16, 2018) U.S. Representatives Blumenauer (D-OR) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) this week announced plans to reintroduce the Saving America’s Pollinators Act, (previously H.R. 3040) which suspends the registration of certain neonicotinoid insecticides until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducts a full scientific review that ensures these chemicals do not harm pollinators. Beyond Pesticides joined Rep. Blumenauer and other experts from environmental, conservation, whistleblower and farmworker health groups on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to take action to protect pollinators in the face of ongoing obstruction by an increasingly industry-influenced EPA. “Pollinators are the backbone of America’s agriculture system. Acting now to protect them and stop their decline is essential to the sustainability of our nation’s food supply,” Rep. McGovern said. “Simply taking the word of the manufacturers that their products are safe is not an option. Consumers need strong oversight. That is why I am proud to join Congressman Blumenauer in demanding the EPA fully investigate the effect that certain harmful pesticides may have on the vitality of our pollinators.” Numerous scientific studies implicate neonicotinoid pesticides as key contributors to the global decline of pollinator populations. EPA’s own scientists have found that . . .

15
Feb

Syngenta Gets Slap on the Wrist for Poisoning Workers

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2018) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) settled claims against pesticide giant, Syngenta, after dozens of workers in Kuai, Hawaii were exposed to the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos in 2016 and 2017. EPA backed away from the $4.8 million settlement that it was initially seeking from Syngenta and negotiated a civil penalty of $150,000. Nineteen workers were exposed to chlorpyrifos after Syngenta sprayed the insecticide on a field of genetically engineered (GE) corn at its Kekaha farm. According to the complaint, the workers were allowed to reenter the field before the reentry period expired and without protective equipment. Ten workers were taken to the hospital and three were held overnight. This incident occurred in 2016, however a second incident occurred in 2017 when Syngenta failed to post warnings for worker crews containing 42 employees after applying chlorpyrifos. At the time of the incident, an inspector from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) was present on the Syngenta farm, which triggered an immediate investigation from the state. Consequently, a civil administrative enforcement action was brought against Syngenta seeking $4.8 million for violating multiple federal statues including worker protection standards, allegedly . . .

14
Feb

‘Bug Bombs’ Still Deadly after EPA Label Changes, says CDC

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2018) Total release foggers, otherwise known as bug bombs, received updated labels from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2011 as part of efforts to reduce accidental poisonings, but a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that EPA restrictions are a public health failure. Bug bombs pose a significant risk of acute illness to individuals even when attempting to follow new label instructions. Beyond Pesticides has long called for bug bombs to be banned, as there are a myriad of non-toxic alternative strategies to successfully manage household pests. CDC’s report, Acute Illnesses and Injuries Related to Total Release Foggers, updates a previous study released in 2008 which found significant safety concerns about bug bombs and ultimately prompted EPA to revise the labels of these products. At the time, CDC found a total of 466 illnesses or injuries associated with the use of total release foggers between 2001-2006. Incidents ranged from failing to leave an area after releasing the bug bomb, reentering the premises too early, use of too many products for the space provided, and even explosions related to the ignition of . . .

13
Feb

Court Ruling Stops Trump Administration from Withholding Documents in GE Salmon Case

(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2018) Arguments by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to withhold from public and court review key documents revealing how it approved the first genetically engineered (GE) salmon were rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Now, documents detailing how the agency reviewed and approved the GE animal will have to be produced for court review in the ongoing case challenging its controversial approval. Thousands of pages of government documents pertaining to the 2015 approval of GE salmon for human consumption were being withheld even after plaintiffs challenging the approval demanded that FDA provide all the information the agency considered in its decision. The case, Institute for Fisheries Resources v. Burwell, Case No. 3:16-cv-01574-VC, brought by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Earthjustice on behalf the Institute for Fisheries Resources, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Golden Gate Salmon Association, Kennebec Reborn, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, Cascadia Wildlands, Ecology Action Center, Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, Food and Water Watch, and the Quinault Indian Nation, was filed in 2016 after FDA approved its first-ever GE food animal, an Atlantic salmon engineered to grow quickly. . . .

12
Feb

Take Action: Tell EPA to Ban Paraquat

(Beyond Pesticides, February 12, 2018)  The most recent findings on the development of Parkinson’s disease after exposure to the highly toxic paraquat add to the well-established body of scientific literature linking the herbicide to Parkinson’s — which should lead to finally eliminating the use of the herbicide in the U.S. The chemical was banned in the European Union in 2007, and many health groups, including Beyond Pesticides and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, are calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop the use of paraquat by denying its upcoming reregistration. In addition to its connection with Parkinson’s disease, paraquat is known to be highly acutely toxic. By generating free radicals, it essentially burns its way through the body, targeting the lungs —causing lung fibrosis— and other organs. Most acutely toxic exposures result in death, sometimes delayed by as much as three weeks. Although paraquat is a restricted use pesticide (RUP), EPA is proposing to eliminate the minimum age for applying RUPs, which would permit teenagers to use it. Tell EPA and Congress to ban paraquat! This link will send the following message to EPA and your Congressional . . .

09
Feb

States Join Monsanto Challenge of California’s Cancer Warning for Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, February 9, 2018) Attorneys General in eleven states join Monsanto and the National Wheat Growers Association last month in challenging California’s listing of glyphosate as a carcinogen under the state’s Proposition 65 law. California added glyphosate to the list of cancer-causing chemicals in July 2017, but has since been attacked by Monsanto and its allies for carrying out state law that requires carcinogens to be labeled and monitored. The plaintiffs, led by the National Association of Wheat Growers, argue that listing glyphosate as a carcinogen under Prop 65 will irreparably harm the agriculture industry, adversely affecting farmers and consumers throughout the U.S. The case, seeking a stay of the listing, was filed in the in Federal Court in the Eastern District of California in November, 2017. Earlier last year, Monsanto lost its case before a state Superior Court in which it sought to stay the Prop 65 listing. Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin have filed an amicus brief in support of the preliminary injunction sought by agriculture groups against California’s Prop 65 regulation. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the California Chamber of Commerce . . .

08
Feb

Intermediary Strips of Wildflowers across Fields Reduces Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, February 8, 2018) New trials are being launched in the United Kingdom (UK) to monitor fields that have long strips of wildflowers planted through croplands to boost natural predators and potentially reduce pesticide spraying. The large-scale trials are meant to determine how effective these strips can be as a tool for practitioners wishing to enhance biological pest control in the field. The field trials, carried out by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), are being conducted on 15 large arable farms in central and eastern England and would be monitored for five years. Until now, wildflower strips have been placed at the edge of fields as refuges. However, natural predators in these strips would be unable to access the center of large planted fields, and thereby unable to effectively target pests that are in the fields. In the new trials, six-meter wide strips of annual wild and cultivated plants – with 13 to 16 species – will be planted 100 meters apart so that predators will be able to attack aphids and other pests typically found in fields. The researchers at CEH’s ASSIST program (Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems) will determine . . .

07
Feb

Western Monarch Butterfly Count Lowest this Decade, Raising Fears of Extinction

(Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2018) New data from the California monarch butterfly count indicate that the western population of the species is continuing to decline at an alarming rate, with scientists and conservation groups pointing to man-made factors like logging, climate change, and herbicide use on genetically engineered (GE) crop fields as primary drivers. The annual California count of western monarch butterflies stationed volunteers at 262 sites, more than ever before, yet at 200,000 butterflies counted, the numbers nearly matched the lowest level recorded this decade, when only 145,000 butterflies were seen in 2012. The decline of these iconic butterflies demands swift action from lawmakers and regulators to protect their dwindling numbers. Dramatic declines in monarch populations mirror continuing declines in honey bees and other wild pollinator species. Species declines may be even broader than pollinators, affecting all insects in general. Research from Germany recently found that insect abundance declined 75% over the last 30 years, owing the results primarily to agricultural intensification. The western population of monarch butterflies – those found west of the Rocky Mountains – overwinter in coastal California forests. Throughout the warmer months, female butterflies will lay eggs only on . . .

06
Feb

EPA Sued over Policy that Limits Public Interest Group Participation on Fed Advisory Boards

(Beyond Pesticides, February, 6, 2018) Scientists, doctors, and environmental groups are pushing back against the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efforts to purge academic scientists who had previously received EPA grants from sitting on the agency’s advisory committees. Last October, EPA issued a new policy that changes the makeup of its advisory boards by limiting the participation of scientists from academia and nonpartisan nonprofit organizations. Critics say the change attempts to fill these advisory committees with more industry-friendly officials whose belief systems are anti-environmental protection. On January 23, 2018, a group of scientists filed suit against EPA, citing the directive as arbitrary, without any factual or legal grounding and in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which requires advisory committees to be fairly balanced and protected from inappropriate influence by the appointing authority. In 1978, Congress directed the EPA to establish the Science Advisory Board, which today is a 47-member panel, to provide scientific advice to the Administrator. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced in October that he would exclude anyone from serving on any of the 23 EPA scientific advisory boards if they had received EPA grants to fund any of their research. Administrator Pruitt claims the policy change . . .

05
Feb

Take Action: Tell Congress that EPA Must Not Allow Children To Apply Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2018) We are all concerned about the workers who grow and harvest our food. A sustainable food system must protect the land and the people who work the land, including the children and families of farmworkers. In two related actions, EPA is proposing to remove age requirements for application of pesticides. The actions involve changes to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS), which went into effect this January and covers farmworkers hired to apply pesticides, and the Certification of Applicators (CA) rule, which will go into effect May 22 and covers those allowed to apply highly toxic restricted use pesticides (RUPs), the most toxic pesticides. The proposals to remove the age requirements present unacceptable risks to teenagers, who “are still developing in critical physical and emotional areas, with particular regard to their brains and reproductive systems,” according to the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP). Tell your Congressional delegation that EPA must not eliminate the minimum age requirement. Under the Obama administration, EPA added a minimum age requirement of 18 to both rules. A 16-year-old may apply RUPs under the supervision of a certified applicator under the CA rule. Reportedly, the . . .

02
Feb

Nitrogen Fertilizer Found To Be a Significant Source of Air Pollution

(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2018) California regulators may be drastically underestimating chemical-intensive agriculture’s contribution to nitrogen oxide (NOx) caused air pollution, acid rain, and respiratory illness in the state, according to a new study published in Science Advances by researchers at University of California, Davis. While NOx  pollution is usually associated with energy production and vehicle emissions, fertilizer use on crop fields is contributing to significant air pollution problems. Advocates say that the study is an urgent call for farmers to eliminate dependency on soluble, synthetic, nitrogen-based fertilizers and adopt the use of insoluble soil amendments that support soil biology that provide plants with nutrients. NOx gasses are major sources of pollution in the U.S. and throughout the world, and include the compounds nitrogen oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Chemical-intensive, synthetic nitrogen fertilizers are applied in a form that is readily available to plants, while organic nitrogen fertilizers require the biological life in the soil to break down the fertilizer into a form that plants can use. These nitrogen fertilizers that are not immediately taken up by plants can cause pollution problems. Natural nitrogen in the atmosphere must be . . .

01
Feb

Herbicide Paraquat Again Linked to Parkinson’s Symptoms in Brain

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2018) Scientists at the European Institute for the Biology of Aging are finding new information about how Parkinson’s disease manifests itself after exposure to the herbicide paraquat, in hopes of finding ways to prevent the progression of the disease. Despite a well-established body of scientific literature linking the paraquat to Parkinson’s, and a ban on the use of the chemical in the European Union that dates back to 2007, its use is still permitted in the U.S. Many health groups, including Beyond Pesticides and organizations like the Michael J Fox Foundation are calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stop the use of paraquat by denying its upcoming reregistration. Published in the journal Cell Reports, this new research on Parkinson’s investigates the impact of “senescent” cells in the body. Senescent cells are those which, despite being able to divide, stop doing so in response to stress. This is an anti-cancer mechanism, as stress would otherwise cause the cells to multiply unchecked and create malignancies. Researchers suspected that despite the benefit of stopping cancer, senescent cells may be causing other problems in the body. Rather than dying, these cells can . . .

31
Jan

Australian Grocery Giant To Stop Selling Neonicotinoid Products

(Beyond Pesticides, January 31, 2018) Woolworths, one of Australia’s largest retailers, has decided to stop selling neonicotinoid products (neonics) linked to global declines in bee populations. This is the latest retailer in Australia to announce commitments to stop supplying the bee-toxic products. After thousands of Australians signed a petition calling on retailers to stop selling insecticides containing neonicotinoids, Woolworth announced it has, in fact, succumbed to public pressure and would join Bunnings Warehouse, Mitre 10 and Coles stores in pulling neonic products from their shelves. The week prior, retail chain Bunnings announced it would pull all items containing neonicotinoids from their shelves. Woolworth said it would stop selling the products by June 2018. The retail commitments come as a result of efforts launched by global consumer group SumOfUs that called on Australian retailers to stop selling insecticide products containing neonicotinoids, including the popular home and garden product, Confidor, which has been stocked by Woolworths and contains imidacloprid as the active ingredient. According to Australia’s The New Daily, about one-third of Australian fruit and vegetable crops are reliant on pollination. Speaking on the ban of neonic products, Katja Hogendoorn, PhD, of University of Adelaide, who researches the . . .

30
Jan

Neonicotinoid Insecticides Threaten Aquatic Life in the Great Lakes

(Beyond Pesticides, January 30, 2018) New data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reveals the year-round presence of neonicotinoids (neonics) in the Great Lakes – the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem. Neonics, which are highly toxic to aquatic organisms and pollinators, are prevalent in the tributaries of the Great Lakes with concentrations and detections increasing during planting season. This new data adds to burgeoning demand for a federal ban of these insecticides in order to safeguard vulnerable aquatic ecosystems and pollinators. The study, “Year-round presence of neonicotinoid insecticides in tributaries to the Great Lakes, USA,” sampled ten major tributaries to the Great Lakes from October 2015 to September 2016. Neonicotinoids were detected in every month sampled. At least one neonicotinoid was detected in 74 percent of the samples, with 10 percent of samples containing three neonicotinoids. The most frequently detected neonicotinoid was imidacloprid (53%), followed by clothianidin (44%), thiamethoxam (22%), acetamiprid (2%), and dinotefuran (1%). The detections of clothianidin and thiamethoxam are significantly correlated with the percentage of agricultural land use. Similarly, concentrations increased in the spring and summer months when the planting of neonic-coated seeds and broadcast applications are the highest. For instance, in the . . .

29
Jan

Tell Congress: This Is No Way to Balance a Budget; Trump Administration Set to Slash EPA Staff in Half

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2018) Scientists, public health managers, and others charged with protecting the health of the public and the environment at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are being encouraged to exit the agency –as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt plans to meet his goal of cutting agency staff and programs by 50 percent. Tell your Congressional delegation that EPA’s staff and budget cuts are false economy! Aides to Mr. Pruitt confirmed to the Washington Examiner that by the end of President Trump’s first term, the agency’s staff will be cut by nearly half. Administrator Pruitt told the Washington Examiner he was “proud” of his efforts to dismantle –some say cripple— the very agency he leads. This is false economy. It endangers the American public and its air, land, water, and biodiversity. EPA is responsible for enforcing the Safe Drinking Water Act, with a goal of making the nation’s waters fishable and swimmable. EPA enforces the Clean Air Act, which has cleaned up American cities, reducing illness and property damage from smog. And EPA is responsible for overseeing the clean-up of contaminated sites, thus preventing further pollution and illness. The agency also regulates pesticides under . . .

26
Jan

Antibacterial Triclosan Accumulates in Toothbrush Bristles

(Beyond Pesticides, January 26, 2018) Triclosan may be on its way out in soaps and disinfectants, but its presence on toothbrushes could stick around for a long time, according to research published in Environmental Science and Technology by a group of scientists from University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass Amherst). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of over the counter triclosan-containing soap in 2016, and late last year extended the ban to include health care and hospital settings, but the toxic antibacterial can still be found in toothpaste and other consumer products. Many may have have checked their toothpaste label and switched to a non-triclosan toothpaste after the recent news, but scientists say that exposure to this persistent chemical may continue through toothbrushes, if triclosan toothpaste was previously used. To test triclosan absorption while brushing, researchers purchased 22 different toothbrushes, each with different components, from bristles only, to those with polishing cups, gum protectors, or tongue cleaners. Different toothpastes, including six with and 15 without triclosan, were also used.  A mixture used to imitate saliva was added to toothpaste and put into a vial that was then brushed with different . . .
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