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Daily News Blog

23
May

Broadscale Devastating Ecological and Health Effects Associated with Herbicide Indaziflam; Ask To Go Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2022)  The climate change-induced increase in wildfire frequency and intensity has lent new urgency to efforts to manage so-called “invasive” plants. Unfortunately, the herbicide-based approach favored by many is both counterproductive and hazardous. It must be replaced by an organic system, incorporating biological control agents like goats and establishing a more resilient ecology.   

Tell your county/city officials to replace herbicides with organic vegetation management. Tell EPA and Congress that herbicides must be evaluated in the context of the availability of organic systems.

Use of the herbicide indaziflam is an example of the ineffectiveness of management based on herbicides. While indaziflam is considered a “selective” herbicide, it actually kills and prevents germination of a wide range of broad-leaved plants and grasses and comes close to being a soil sterilant. The action on seedlings is long-lasting, thus inhibiting the growth and establishment of a resilient plant community that is resistant to invasion. Given its persistence and nonselective action and the extent of the damage it causes to native soil seed banks and plant biodiversity, indaziflam could contribute to the eventual ecological collapse of ecosystems where it’s applied, similar to the cascading impacts of the systemic insecticides, fipronil and the neonicotinoids on animals. The impacts of indaziflam could be even greater than insecticides since plants are the foundation of all living systems.  Building resilience and resistance into a plant community requires working with succession, which requires the growth of some annuals, in preparation for the longer term community of mostly perennials—contrary to the approach of killing all “weeds.”

As one might expect from an herbicide with such wide-ranging effects, indaziflam—which was promoted and used for 10 years with an incomplete (“conditional”) registration—has serious and pervasive ecological impacts. Plants are the foundation of both terrestrial and aquatic food chains, and thus impacts of this long-lasting herbicide reverberate through the ecosystem. In spite of these risks, EPA considers registration of indaziflam to be “in the public interest.” EPA’s conclusion is based on considerations that do not include alternative management systems— or, indeed, the inadequacies of the management systems in which it is used. No determination weighing risks and benefits can be adequate if it does not consider the conditions under which the user decides to use it.

In addition to the substantial negative ecological impacts, indaziflam’s health effects are also significant. The nervous system is the major target for toxicity in mammals. Evidence of neurotoxicity (e.g., decreased motor activity, clinical signs, and neuropathology) was observed in rats and dogs, in acute, subchronic, and chronic toxicity studies. Organs affected by indaziflam in mice and rats include the kidney, liver, thyroid, stomach, seminal vesicles, and ovaries. Adverse effects on the thyroid indicating potential endocrine disruption include increased thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroid histopathology. Chronic exposures also led to atrophied small seminal vesicles (which produce semen) in male rats and glandular erosion/necrosis in the stomach and blood-filled ovarian cysts/follicles in female mice. Developmental toxicity is evidenced by decreased fetal weight with decreased maternal body weight gain and food consumption. Decreased pup weight and delays in sexual maturation were observed in offspring in the rat two-generation reproductive toxicity study, along with clinical signs of toxicity, at a dose causing parental toxicity.

Herbicide treatments should be replaced by . Organic vegetation management occurs within a system of defined parameters, which determine which materials may be used. In the case of vegetation control for fire management, many have found that no synthetic chemicals are needed—that goats can provide both vegetation removal and soil preparation. Although overgrazing with cattle can contribute to “invasive” plant problems by creating bare spots for them to colonize, well-managed cattle grazing can reduce exotic annual grasses that pose a fire hazard. 

Tell your county/city officials to replace herbicides with organic vegetation management. Tell EPA and Congress that herbicides must be evaluated in the context of the availability of organic systems.  

Letter to county/city officials:

The climate change-induced increase in wildfire frequency and intensity has lent new urgency to efforts to manage so-called “invasive” plants. Unfortunately, the herbicide-based approach favored by many is both counterproductive and hazardous. It must be replaced by an organic system, incorporating biological control agents like goats and establishing a more resilient ecology.

Use of the herbicide indaziflam is an example of the ineffectiveness of management based on herbicides. While indaziflam is considered a “selective” herbicide, it actually kills and prevents germination of a wide range of broad-leaved plants and grasses and comes close to being a soil sterilant. The action on seedlings is long-lasting, thus inhibiting the growth and establishment of a resilient plant community that is resistant to invasion. Given its persistence and nonselective action and the extent of the damage it causes to native soil seed banks and plant biodiversity, indaziflam could contribute to the eventual ecological collapse of ecosystems where it’s applied, similar to the cascading impacts of the systemic insecticides, fipronil and the neonicotinoids on animals. The impacts of indaziflam could be even greater than insecticides since plants are the foundation of all living systems.  Building resilience and resistance into a plant community requires working with succession, which requires the growth of some annuals, in preparation for the longer term community of mostly perennials—contrary to the approach of killing all “weeds.”

As one might expect from an herbicide with such wide-ranging effects, indaziflam—which was promoted and used for 10 years with an incomplete (“conditional”) registration—has serious and pervasive ecological impacts. Plants are the foundation of both terrestrial and aquatic food chains, and thus impacts of this long-lasting herbicide reverberate through the ecosystem. In spite of these risks, EPA considers registration of indaziflam to be “in the public interest.” EPA’s conclusion is based on considerations that do not include alternative management systems— or, indeed, the inadequacies of the management systems in which it is used. No determination weighing risks and benefits can be adequate if it does not consider the conditions under which the user decides to use it.

Herbicide treatments should be replaced by organic management. Organic vegetation management occurs within a system of defined parameters, which determine which materials may be used. In the case of vegetation control for fire management, many have found that no synthetic chemicals are needed—that goats can provide both vegetation removal and soil preparation. Although overgrazing with cattle can contribute to “invasive” plant problems by creating bare spots for them to colonize, well-managed cattle grazing can reduce exotic annual grasses that pose a fire hazard.

I request that you replace the use of herbicides with organic alternatives. Thank you.

Letter to EPA:

The climate change-induced increase in wildfire frequency and intensity has lent new urgency to efforts to manage so-called “invasive” plants. Unfortunately, the herbicide-based approach favored by many is both counterproductive and hazardous. It must be replaced by an organic system, incorporating biological control agents like goats and establishing a more resilient ecology.

Use of the herbicide indaziflam is an example of the ineffectiveness of management based on herbicides. While indaziflam is considered a “selective” herbicide, it actually kills and prevents germination of a wide range of broad-leaved plants and grasses and comes close to being a soil sterilant. The action on seedlings is long-lasting, thus inhibiting the growth and establishment of a resilient plant community that is resistant to invasion. Given its persistence and nonselective action and the extent of the damage it causes to native soil seed banks and plant biodiversity, indaziflam could contribute to the eventual ecological collapse of ecosystems where it’s applied, similar to the cascading impacts of the systemic insecticides, fipronil and the neonicotinoids on animals. The impacts of indaziflam could be even greater than insecticides since plants are the foundation of all living systems.  Building resilience and resistance into a plant community requires working with succession, which requires the growth of some annuals, in preparation for the longer term community of mostly perennials—contrary to the approach of killing all “weeds.”

As one might expect from an herbicide with such wide-ranging effects, indaziflam—which was promoted and used for 10 years with an incomplete (“conditional”) registration—has serious and pervasive ecological impacts. Plants are the foundation of both terrestrial and aquatic food chains, and thus impacts of this long-lasting herbicide reverberate through the ecosystem. In spite of these risks, EPA considers registration of indaziflam to be “in the public interest.” EPA’s conclusion is based on considerations that do not include alternative management systems— or, indeed, the inadequacies of the management systems in which it is used. No determination weighing risks and benefits can be adequate if it does not consider the conditions under which the user decides to use it.

Herbicide treatments should be replaced by organic management. Organic vegetation management occurs within a system of defined parameters, which determine which materials may be used. In the case of vegetation control for fire management, many have found that no synthetic chemicals are needed—that goats can provide both vegetation removal and soil preparation. Although overgrazing with cattle can contribute to “invasive” plant problems by creating bare spots for them to colonize, well-managed cattle grazing can reduce exotic annual grasses that pose a fire hazard.

I request that you reconsider the registration of indaziflam and other herbicides for which organic alternatives are readily available.

Thank you.

Letter to U.S. Representative and Senators:

The climate change-induced increase in wildfire frequency and intensity has lent new urgency to efforts to manage so-called “invasive” plants. Unfortunately, the herbicide-based approach favored by many is both counterproductive and hazardous. It must be replaced by an organic system, incorporating biological control agents like goats and establishing a more resilient ecology.

Use of the herbicide indaziflam is an example of the ineffectiveness of management based on herbicides. While indaziflam is considered a “selective” herbicide, it actually kills and prevents germination of a wide range of broad-leaved plants and grasses and comes close to being a soil sterilant. The action on seedlings is long-lasting, thus inhibiting the growth and establishment of a resilient plant community that is resistant to invasion. Given its persistence and nonselective action and the extent of the damage it causes to native soil seed banks and plant biodiversity, indaziflam could contribute to the eventual ecological collapse of ecosystems where it’s applied, similar to the cascading impacts of the systemic insecticides, fipronil and the neonicotinoids on animals. The impacts of indaziflam could be even greater than insecticides since plants are the foundation of all living systems.  Building resilience and resistance into a plant community requires working with succession, which requires the growth of some annuals, in preparation for the longer term community of mostly perennials—contrary to the approach of killing all “weeds.”

As one might expect from an herbicide with such wide-ranging effects, indaziflam—which was promoted and used for 10 years with an incomplete (“conditional”) registration—has serious and pervasive ecological impacts. Plants are the foundation of both terrestrial and aquatic food chains, and thus impacts of this long-lasting herbicide reverberate through the ecosystem. In spite of these risks, EPA considers registration of indaziflam to be “in the public interest.” EPA’s conclusion is based on considerations that do not include alternative management systems— or, indeed, the inadequacies of the management systems in which it is used. No determination weighing risks and benefits can be adequate if it does not consider the conditions under which the user decides to use it.

Herbicide treatments should be replaced by organic management. Organic vegetation management occurs within a system of defined parameters, which determine which materials may be used. In the case of vegetation control for fire management, many have found that no synthetic chemicals are needed—that goats can provide both vegetation removal and soil preparation. Although overgrazing with cattle can contribute to “invasive” plant problems by creating bare spots for them to colonize, well-managed cattle grazing can reduce exotic annual grasses that pose a fire hazard.

I request that you prevent EPA from abusing the conditional registration of pesticides, which allows companies to market products before they are fully evaluated.

Thank you.

 

 

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