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Daily News Blog

Archive for May, 2018


31
May

Deforestation Found to Cause Malaria to Spread, in the Face of Harmful and Ineffective Mosquito Insecticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, May 31, 2018) Deforestation in tropical regions helps spread malaria, concludes a recent research study of the Amazon Rainforest. Published in Nature’s open-access journal, Scientific Reports, the study details researchers’ work, from 2009–2015, comparing patterns of deforestation to rates of malaria in nine states in the Brazilian rainforest. Investigators found that the highest malaria incidence concentrated in impacted patches of forest — areas deforested or otherwise degraded from an unmanaged or more-natural state. These medium-sized patches (from .1 to 5 sq. km. in size) seem to be the “sweet spots” at which wood extraction activity (logging, charcoal production, et al.) correlate most strongly with malarial infection rates. The researchers suggest that the finding is perhaps related to the habitat preferences of the primary malaria vector in the region, Anopheles (Nyssorhynchus) darlingi, which breed most happily in shady, watery, edges of forest habitat. Sixty of the 380 mosquitoes in the genus Anopheles can transmit the malaria parasites. Deforestation fragments the forest landscape, creating more forest “edges,” which means more places for mosquitoes to breed. This fragmentation may also help malaria-carrying mosquitoes spread to other areas as adults: “The new [fragmented] landscape delineated by the pattern of deforestation and soil occupation may favor […]

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30
May

Lawsuit Seeks to Restore Protections for Migratory Birds

(Beyond Pesticides, May 30, 2018) Six environmental groups have sued the Trump Administration for reversing a long standing interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treat Act (MBTA) that provides migratory bird protections from incidental killing or “taking” caused by industrial activities. The lawsuit, National Audubon Society v. Department of the Interior, was filed May 24, 2018 in the Southern District of New York, challenging as “unlawful and arbitrary and capricious the December 22, 2017 Solicitor’s Memorandum M-37050, which was issued by the office of the Solicitor of the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) and reverses Defendants DOI’s and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“FWS” or “Service”) longstanding interpretation and implementation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.” The Act’s prohibition on the killing or “taking” of migratory birds has long been understood to extend to incidental take from industrial activities — meaning unintentional but predictable and avoidable killing. Last year, the Trump Administration issued a Memorandum gutting federal protections for migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The plaintiffs, including American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, are seeking to protect waterfowl, […]

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29
May

Take Action: Help Defeat the Farm Bill –Unless Dramatic Changes Are Made

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2018) The Farm Bill is beginning to move in the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and your voice is critically needed to help stop provisions that are harmful to health and the environment. Tell your U.S. Senators and Representative that they should vote against the Farm Bill unless harmful provisions to health and the environment are removed. In addition to sending this urgent action on the Farm Bill, consider reaching out to your U.S. Senators and Representative when they return to your state for the Memorial Day holiday. If you’re part of a group, ask for a meeting. If you see them at an event or in town, let them know how important it is to keep the dangerous provisions listed below out of the Farm Bill. The Farm Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 2, reported favorably out of the House Agriculture Committee, is stalled, after being defeated on the floor over unrelated immigration legislation. The House bill is a direct attack on organic standard setting, the authority of local governments to restrict toxic pesticides, and the protection of farmworkers, endangered species, and the environment. Without public outcry, it is likely […]

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25
May

“Global Glyphosate Study” Finds Health Impacts at Levels Regulators Consider Acceptable

(Beyond Pesticides, May 25, 2018) The results of a pilot study conducted by an international team of researchers finds that exposure to the herbicide glyphosate results in adverse health effects at levels below those regulators deem “safe” or acceptable. These results represent the first phase of a Global Glyphosate Study based at the Ramazzini Institute in Bologna, Italy, in coordination with the University of Bologna, the Italian National Institute of Health, George Washington University, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, NY. Researchers are aiming to provide a truly independent, comprehensive evaluation of the risks posed by glyphosate-based herbicides. The pilot study, available now on the research team’s website and later this month in the journal Environmental Health, focused on generating data on how glyphosate effects early-life stages of development. A three-month study on rats, used as a surrogate for human development until 18, exposed the animals to both technical grade glyphosate and the formulated herbicide Roundup. Rats ingested 1.75 miligrams of glyphosate or Roundup per kilogram of body weight each day from the womb until 13 weeks after weening. This is the chronic reference dose used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and an exposure rate at which the […]

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24
May

State Agency Criticized for Failing to Protect Highest At-Risk Communities

(Beyond Pesticides, May 24, 2018) California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is falling short of protecting vulnerable communities in the state, especially low-income and communities of color. This, according to a new report by California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), which assesses state agencies on eight environmental justice principles. The poor showing by DPR comes at the forefront of reports that the state’s pesticide use has increased, nearing record highs. The findings are from California Environmental Justice Alliance’s (CEJA) 2017 Environmental Justice Agency Assessment, which provides full assessments of nine key agencies in the state including, California Air Resources Board, Department of Pesticide Regulation, and the Department of Toxic Substances Control, and lists an additional six agencies to monitor. The assessment gave the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) poor grades for its persistent failure to prioritize community health over industry profits. The agencies were judged on eight environmental justice principles, with a score of good, fair or poor for each. DPR’s scores were evenly divided between “fair” and “poor.” Specifically, the report concludes, “Many state agencies are not successfully integrating [environmental justice] into their decision-making. Overall, many state agencies still make decisions that actively harm [environmental justice] communities and fail to […]

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23
May

Connecticut State Legislature Bans Residential Mosquito Misters

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2018) Earlier this month, the Connecticut state legislature voted to ban the use of residential pesticide misting systems. (These are devices that are typically placed outdoors and spray insecticides –mostly in an attempt to control mosquitoes.) This is the latest move from a state legislature that has also recently banned the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoids and stopped the use of hazardous lawn care pesticides on public playgrounds. The vote was unanimous in the state Senate, and won by a count of 132-17 in the state House. The bill is set to become law on May 24, unless Governor Malloy vetoes the legislation, which is not expected. Pesticide misters are machines primarily used to spray mosquito adulticides. Many health advocates have expressed concern that these products, able to spray toxic pesticides on a timer at regular intervals, pose a significant risk to pets and children who can be directly in the path of a mister’s spray. The chemicals employed in these machines are often synthetic pyrethroids, which have been linked to a range of human health effects, from early puberty in boys, to behavioral disorders, learning problems, ADHD, and certain cancers. Neighbors who do not want to be […]

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22
May

Two Hundred Million Pounds of Toxic Pesticides Used in California, According to 2016 Annual Data

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2018)  A staggering 209 million pounds of pesticides were used in California in 2016, according to the latest data released by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). This figure refers only to applied “active” pesticide ingredients and not “inerts,” which often account for 80 to 99 percent of pesticide products and can be equally hazardous to human health and the environment. Even though pesticide use in the state has dropped by 1.4 percent from the previous year, pesticide use in 2016 was still the third highest in recorded history, since the inception of DPR’s comprehensive data collection program in 1990. In fact, the total pesticide use was only six million pounds shy of the highest amount ever recorded – 215 million pounds in 1998. The land area treated with carcinogens is as large as the size of New Jersey and Connecticut combined. Nearly 102 million cumulative acres of land were treated with pesticides in the state, ranging in toxicity from low to high risk. Each time an acre is pesticide-treated in a given year, DPR adds the acre to its cumulative list, even if the treatment is repeated on the same land. The 2016 figure represents an […]

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21
May

Tell U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Eliminate Pesticide Use on Refuges

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2018)  490,000 Pounds of Toxic Pesticides Sprayed on National Wildlife Refuges in 2016 The nation’s 562 national wildlife refuges play a critical role in protecting fish, plants, and other wildlife. They include forests, wetlands, and waterways vital to thousands of species of plants and animals, including 280 that are protected under the Endangered Species Act. However, private chemical-intensive commercial farming of crops like corn, soybeans, and sorghum has become common on refuge lands, with the increasing use of highly toxic pesticides that threaten the long-term health of sensitive habitats and the creatures who depend on them. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) estimates that 490,000 pounds of pesticides were applied to commodity crops like corn, soybeans, and sorghum grown in national wildlife refuges in 2016, the most recent year for which data are available. Tell FWS to take toxic pesticides out of wildlife refuges. The nearly half million pounds of pesticides used on wildlife refuges in 2016 include 2,4-D, dicamba, and paraquat, all of which are toxic to fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and other animals. Also included are 116,200 pounds of glyphosate, the herbicide that has caused widespread decreases in milkweed plants, helping to trigger the 80 percent […]

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18
May

USDA Ends Organic Checkoff Program

(Beyond Pesticides, May 18, 2018) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is putting an end to the process of creating an organic “check-off” promotion program, according to an announcement posted to the Federal Register earlier this week. The program, controversial from the start, split the organic community. While the industry group the Organic Trade Association (OTA) pushed for the program, small producers and family farmers cited exorbitant costs and ineffective government bureaucracy in their opposition. Check-off programs are traditionally created for producers to pool their money together to further research, information sharing, and promotion of a particular food commodity. Famous programs of the past include “Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner,” “Got Milk?” and “I Love Eggs.” The proposed organic program was unique in that it aimed to promote an entire industry, rather than a specific food product. However, opponents view the program as another tax on farmers that is unnecessary and potentially damaging to small organic producers, citing a history of rigid guidelines, fund mismanagement, and lack of accountability. In the past, successful checkoff programs were associated with declines in family farmers, and opponents believe the program would promote low-priced organic imports at the expense of growing U.S. organic acreage. […]

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17
May

Research Shows Greenspace and Biodiversity Protect Kids from Asthma

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2018)  Among the many reports of the salutary effects of nature on human health and well-being comes new research demonstrating that children who live in “green” neighborhoods have reduced risk of developing asthma. Researchers Jeroen Douwes, PhD and Geoffrey H. Donovan, PhD, of New Zealand’s Massey University (Centre for Public Health Research) and the U.S. Forest Service, respectively, conducted the longitudinal study with New Zealand subjects born in 1998, following them until 2016. The authors say the study results “suggest that exposure to greenness and vegetation diversity may be protective of asthma.” Of concern are the pesticides used in green spaces. See Beyond Pesticides’ brochure, Asthma, Children, and Pesticides and El Asma, los Niños y los Pesticidas: Lo que usted debe saber para proteger a su familia. Also, see Children and Pesticides Don’t Mix. In addition to the well-substantiated benefits of exposure to nature — reduction of the experience of stress; reduction in production of cortisol (the “stress” hormone that is linked to weight gain, hypertension, cardiac disease, weakened immune function, and loss of bone density); improved mental health; better cognitive function; and lower  BMI (body mass index) — this latest research evaluates the impact on children’s risk for asthma. […]

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16
May

Pesticides Contaminate Fish Farms, Fish Farm Fined

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2018) Northern Harvest Sea Farms, an ocean-based fish farm in New Brunswick, Canada, was appeared in court yesterday to answer legal charges stemming from the off-label use of an unnamed pesticide added to its operations to combat severe sea lice outbreaks. The company holds nine licenses for farmed Atlantic salmon cages on the Bay of Fundy, as well as for fish farms off the Newfoundland coast. Sea lice outbreaks are a common at over-crowded, ocean-based fish farms because such facilities afford the optimum conditions for rapidly reproducing and spreading lice. In response, some companies have turned to using illegal and off-label pesticide applications to stave off the problem, which causes huge farmed salmon kills. The company was issued a $12,000 fine that was challenged as inadequate by the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association. Bonnie Morse, project manager for the association told Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) news, “I think any time there’s a fine that’s a deterrent to illegal activity, it should be an actual deterrent to the activity,” said Morse. “When you’re looking at $1.5 million worth of fish, their actions speak for themselves.” Maria Recchia, the executive director of the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association, questioned the allowance of fish […]

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15
May

National Wildlife Refuges Contaminated with Thousands of Pounds of Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2018) According to a new report from the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), hundreds of thousands of pounds of pesticides are sprayed on lands that are designated as refuges for wildlife and protected under U.S. law. Approximately 490,000 pounds of pesticides have been sprayed on crops grown in national wildlife refuges in 2016 alone. Pesticide use in these sensitive areas poses risks to pollinators, aquatic organisms, migratory birds, and other wildlife on refuges that were created to protect them. The report, No Refuge, released last week, analyzes pesticide use on national wildlife refuges using records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The report finds that in 2016 more than 270,000 acres of refuge lands were sprayed with pesticides for agricultural purposes. Five national wildlife refuge systems are identified as most reliant on pesticides for agriculture: Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex in California and Oregon, with 236,966 pounds of pesticides; Central Arkansas Refuges Complex in Arkansas, with 48,725 pounds of pesticides; West Tennessee Refuge Complex in Tennessee, with 22,044 pounds of pesticides; Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Tennessee, with 16,615 pounds of pesticides; and, Chesapeake Marshlands National Wildlife Refuge Complex on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, with […]

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14
May

Secrecy of Pesticide Safety Data and Ingredients Does Not Protect Public Health and the Environment

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2018) Under EPA Administrator Pruitt’s proposed “transparency” plan, the public will still lack access to key data about the effects and efficacy of commercial poisons approved for sale and application in their communities and homes. Tell EPA to adopt a real transparency plan for pesticides! The proposed policy, posted on April 30 in the Federal Register, declares that it will “help ensure that EPA is pursuing its mission of public health and the environment in a manner that the public can trust and understand,” yet it applies only to a very limited set of studies used to support certain EPA regulations. The pesticide registration and review processes are particularly lacking in transparency, opportunity for public review, and access to data. Because pesticides are toxic chemicals broadcast into the environment, nowhere is transparency more important than in pesticide registration. The proposed new policy does not cover pesticide registrations, warning labels, use restrictions, or proof of effectiveness. In the current process, the pesticide manufacturer produces the underlying data for these EPA approvals and controls access to them. Thus, despite Pruitt’s sweeping claims of “transparency in regulatory science”: The public does not have access to the underlying data provided by the manufacturer […]

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11
May

USDA Proposed Rule for GE Labeling Criticized as Misleading

(Beyond Pesticides, May 11, 2018) Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its long-awaited proposal for disclosing the presence of genetically engineering (GE) in foods. Much to the disappointment of health, environmental, and consumer advocates, the draft rule appears as an attempt mask or to promote GE products, rather than caution consumers. Concerned individuals can send comments to USDA on the proposed rule through regulations.gov until July 3rd. USDA’s proposal will move forward with wholly insufficient disclosure requirements that the Department’s own study had indicated are discriminatory, according to analysts. Rather than use the phrase “genetically modified,” or “genetically engineered,” or include the acronyms “GE” or “GMO,” USDA is using the term “bioengineered.” The symbols proposed by USDA are a happy, smiling sun that would read either “bioengineered” or “may be bioengineered food.” Of course, such a symbol suggests to consumers that these foods are a positive, rather than concerning addition to a food product. However, USDA is also giving the option of simply including the words “bioengineered food,” “contains a bioengineered food ingredient,” or even leaving that language out and directing consumers to a QR code. A lawsuit by the Center for Food Safety forced USDA […]

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10
May

Research Assesses Ability of Rodent Poisons to Act as a “Super-Predator” in Ecosystems

(Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2018) Rodenticides like bromadiolone, used to kill vole populations on farms, act like “super-predators” that imperil ecosystem health, according to preliminary results published by researchers working for the European Union. “Controlling voles with bromadiolone reduces the amount of food available to predators and increases their risk of secondary poisoning when they eat the contaminated rodents,” project researcher Javier Fernandez de Simon, PhD, said in a press release. The study provides a model that may alleviate the impact of rodenticide use and provide a balance between on-farm pest management and sustainability. There are several types of rodenticides available on the market, including acute poisons like strychnine, fumigants like phosphine gas, and anti-coagulants such as warfarin and bromadiolone. Anti-coagulants, the focus of the present study, work by blocking the ability of the body to form blood clots. Animals exposed to bromodialone and other anti-coagulants experience ruptured blood vessels, hair loss and skin damage, nosebleeds, and bleeding gums prior to death. These pesticides are generally applied through secured bait boxes that only allow rodent pests to feed, however secondary poisoning is a common occurrence, leading researchers to dub these rodenticides, in effect, as “super-predators.” Rodents that ingest anti-coagulant pesticides […]

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09
May

Researchers Delve into Role of Gut Bacteria in Insect Resistance to Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, May 9, 2018) An insect’s gut microbiome plays an important role in conferring pesticide resistance, according to a new review published in the Annals of the Entomological Society of America. “Whether you’re looking at agricultural pests, household pests like cockroaches, or medical pests like disease-carrying mosquitoes, insects are great at adapting to whatever we throw at them, especially when it comes to different chemicals,” said lead author Jose Pietri, Ph.D to Entomology Today. The review adds to the numerous ways pests can evade the effects of chemical agriculture, reinforcing calls from recent studies showing that the best method of addressing this issue is to simply stop using synthetic pesticides and employ alternative pest management practices. The authors identify two overarching methods through which microbes help confer resistance to toxic pesticides. The first involves the pest accepting a physiological trade-off, where a pest is able to better withstand an insecticide at the cost of losing its ability to regulate certain gut bacterium. For instance, diamondback moths resistant to fipronil and chlorpyrifos are found to contain higher levels of Lactobacillales, Pseudomonadales, and Xanthomonadales bacteria than non-resistant moths. While this trade-off affects the fitness of the organism, alterations of the bacterial […]

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08
May

Pesticide Safety Data Transparency a Blind Spot under EPA Policy

(Beyond Pesticides, May 8, 2018) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s controversial plan for disclosing the underlying data supporting its regulatory science has a big blind spot –pesticides.  An analysis released today by Beyond Pesticides and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) points out that under Pruitt’s plan the public will still lack access to key data about the effects and efficacy of commercial poisons approved for sale and application in their communities and homes. The proposed policy posted on April 30 in the Federal Register declares that it will “help ensure that EPA is pursuing its mission of public health and the environment in a manner that the public can trust and understand” yet it only applies to a very limited set of studies used to support certain EPA regulations. It does not cover pesticide registrations, warning labels, use restrictions, or proof of effectiveness.  In the current process, the pesticide manufacturer produces the underlying data for these EPA approvals and controls access to it.  Thus, despite Pruitt’s sweeping claims of “transparency in regulatory science” – The public does not have access to the underlying data provided by the manufacturer to justify registering a new pesticide for commercial distribution; Industry […]

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07
May

Judge Rules Non-Profits Can Sue Monsanto for Misleading Safety Labeling of Popular Herbicide Roundup

(Beyond Pesticides, May 7, 2018) Beyond Pesticides and The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) today responded to a federal judge’s ruling against Monsanto Co.’s motion to dismiss the groups’ lawsuit, filed in April, 2017. The lawsuit challenged Monsanto’s safety claim on its Roundup (glyphosate) products as misleading and fraudulent. Monsanto displays a claim on its Roundup product label that states that the chemicals in the product “targets an enzyme bound in plants but not in people or pets,” when, in fact, the chemical adversely affects beneficial bacteria essential to the gut biome and normal body functions. Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, the lead plaintiff in the case, said: “In the face of EPA’s poor regulation of pesticides, misleading pesticide product labeling cannot be left unchecked. The court’s decision to allow our case to move forward, in denying Monsanto’s motion to dismiss, is critical to showing that the company is deceiving the public with a safety claim on its Roundup (glyphosate) label. Its advertising and labeling claim that Roundup ‘targets an enzyme found in plants but not in people or pets’ is false, given the devastating harm that glyphosate has on beneficial bacteria in the gut biome. The disruption of the […]

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06
May

Help Finalize Decision to Keep Imidacloprid Out of National Treasure, Willapa Bay; Previous Public Comments Led to Temporary Denied of Use

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2018) The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) temporarily denied a permit to spray Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor with the toxic neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid. Your comments helped achieve the temporary decision and comments are now needed again to make the denial permanent. The public comment period closes on May 14, 2018. Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, with a number of unique ecosystems, and among the most pristine estuaries in the U.S., have been targeted with a plan to spray the toxic neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid to kill the native burrowing shrimp in beds of commercial Japanese oysters. This insecticide use will have deadly effects on keystone aquatic organisms. Based on a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) and public input, Ecology temporarily denied the permit. Tell Ecology to restore the bays instead of spraying them! Ecology bases its decision on these factors: Too great an impact on the marine organisms that live in the sediments where the pesticide application is proposed. Too much uncertainty about the long-term impacts associated with this pesticide. Negative impacts on fish and birds caused by killing sources of food and disrupting the food web. Even at low concentrations, imidacloprid has significant impacts […]

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04
May

Mr. Pruitt’s Proposed “Science Transparency” Rule: Greenlighting Industry?

(Beyond Pesticides, May 4, 2018) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed a new rule, on April 24, that, if adopted, will restrict the use of certain kinds of science research in the agency’s writing of regulations. Titled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” the rule will permit EPA to consider only research studies for which the underlying data are publicly available when considering new “significant” regulations — typically, those estimated to impose costs of $100 million or more. Supporters of the rule say that EPA has, in crafting regulations in the past, relied on “secret science” — studies for which the underlying data cannot necessarily be accessed by members of the public. At face value, this may sound reasonable. Administrator Pruitt and proponents call the proposed rule a plus for transparency that will boost public confidence in the science bases of EPA decision making. “Today is a red-letter day,” Mr. Pruitt told supporters at agency headquarters. “The science that we use is going to be transparent.” That so-called “transparency,” however, comes at a huge cost: the elimination of decades of scientific studies from consideration when EPA regulations are written. In studies over the past few decades, researchers frequently collected data — […]

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03
May

Hawaii Bans Chlorpyrifos, First in the Nation

(Beyond Pesticides, May 3, 2018) Hawaii’s bill to ban the dangerous, neurotoxic pesticide, chlorpyrifos, passed its final hurdle this week in the state legislature. Governor David Ige is expected to readily sign SB3095 into law, in light of the unanimous support it received from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The statewide prohibition of chlorpyrifos will take effect beginning in January 2019. This legislative action marks the first time that any state in the country has passed an outright ban on the highly toxic organophosphate pesticide. While multiple scientific studies have determined that chlorpyrifos damages fetal brains and produces cognitive and behavioral dysfunctions, particularly in utero and in children, states have been slow to institute a complete prohibition, due to its widespread use in agriculture. Lawmakers in New Jersey and Maryland have recently tried unsuccessfully to pass similar bans. Hawaii’s bill contains a caveat that allows the state’s Department of Agriculture (DOA) to grant special permits for companies that argue that they need more time to phase-out chlorpyrifos, but that exemption will end at the close of 2022. The new law also requires restricted use pesticide (RUP) users to report to the Hawaii’s DOA which ones they are applying on […]

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02
May

FDA Scientists Find Glyphosate in Common Foods, Internal Emails Show

(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 2018) Granola, cereal, and wheat crackers all contain “a fair amount” of glyphosate, the herbicide in Monsanto’s popular Roundup, according to internal emails from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although the results of these tests have not been formally released, FDA had stated it will be conducting tests for glyphosate in food. Previous reports have detailed the presence of glyphosate, the chemical classified as a “probable carcinogen,” in a wide range of foods and in people’s bodies. Internal emails obtained by The Guardian through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request reveal communication between FDA scientists regarding glyphosate residues in common foods. One email, dated January 2017, detail one scientist’s results from foods taken from his own home. “I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal and cornmeal from home and there’s a fair amount in all of them,” FDA chemist Richard Thompson wrote to colleagues in the email last year regarding glyphosate. He further went on to write that broccoli was the only food he had “on hand” that he found to be glyphosate-free. According to The Guardian, another FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem separately found “over-the-tolerance” levels of glyphosate in corn, detected at 6.5 parts per million, an FDA […]

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01
May

European Nations Back Near Complete Ban on Neonicotinoids

(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2018) On April 27, 2018, European Union (EU) member states backed a proposal to further restrict uses of bee-toxic neonicotinoids finding the pesticides’ outdoor uses harm bees. These restrictions go beyond those already put in place in 2013, and now all outdoor uses of clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam will be banned. Uses will only be allowed in permanent greenhouses where contact with bees is not expected. This historic move in Europe comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) still drags its feet on finding neonicotinoids are too toxic for bees and other organisms and bans their use. According to the European Commission, the protection of bees is an important issue since it concerns biodiversity, food production, and the environment. An EU committee approved the plan to tightly restrict the use of the insecticides, acting upon scientific advice this past February from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to tighten existing restrictions and protect bees, crucial pollinators. EFSA analyzed over 1,500 studies from academia, beekeeper associations, chemical companies, farmer groups, non-governmental organizations, and national regulators, and concluded that neonicotinoids do pose risks to honey bees and wild pollinators. In 2013, the EU placed a ban on […]

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