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Biosolid Biohazard: EPA Sued for Failing to Protect Farmers and Public from PFAS-Contaminated Biosolids

Thursday, June 27th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2024) Earlier this month, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on behalf of a group of ranchers and farmers in Texas harmed by biosolids contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The plaintiffs charge that their health and livelihoods were severely damaged due to contaminated biosolids leaching from neighboring properties onto their land. Despite EPA’s responsibility under the Clean Water Act (Section 405(d) and 40 CFR Part 503) to identify toxic pollutants in biosolids and regulate them to protect human health and the environment, the agency has not effectively addressed the dangers posed by PFAS in biosolid fertilizers. EPA’s failure has dramatic impacts on farmers as well as the public, who are eating or drinking PFAS-contaminated crops, dairy milk, beef, or other meat products. The shortcomings of federal regulations underscore the urgent need for a shift in how federal and state agencies approach these issues, prioritizing precaution to prevent future harm. The persistence of these legacy or “forever” chemicals in the environment illustrates the severe consequences of a historically lax regulatory framework in the U.S.  The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) has identified […]

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House Agriculture Farm Bill Escalates Climate Disasters Then Requires Taxpayers to Pay for It, Advocates Say

Monday, June 3rd, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, June 3, 2024) Environmental advocates continue to raise concerns about the Farm Bill (H.R.8467—Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024) that emerged from the House Agriculture Committee on May 23 with provisions they say will allow the escalation of environmental threats and then insure big agriculture commodity producers for losses attributable to those environmental disasters through an expansion of USDA’s crop insurance program. Through this taxpayer supported program, USDA covers farm revenue losses due to “natural causes such as drought, excessive moisture [e.g., floods], hail, wind, frost, insects, and disease. . .” Petrochemical pesticide and fertilizer use in chemical-intensive land management and agricultural production contributes to the climate emergency and associated weather, insect, and plant disease threats. Advocates point out that the House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill reduces environmental protections by (i) preempting local and state government authority to allow more restrictive standards at the municipal level, (ii) taking away the right to sue pesticide manufacturers and allied companies for a failure to fully disclose adverse effects of the products they produce or use, and (iii) weakening the regulatory process intended to protect endangered species and biodiversity from pesticides.   Tell Your U.S. Representative and Senators To Support […]

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House Farm Bill Moves Out of Agriculture Committee Undermining Health, Ecosystems, and Democracy, Advocates Say

Thursday, May 30th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, May 30, 2024) The House Agriculture Committee voted 33-21 on May 23 to move the Farm, Food, and National Security Act out of committee after a contentious markup and onslaught of amendments that undermine water health, soil health, and local democratic authority to protect people and the environment from toxic pesticide exposure. One of nearly sixty amendments introduced in the markup last week included the continuation of a decade-long attack on National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit via Clean Water Act (CWA) for pesticide discharge. What was most illuminating however was not the passage of the bill itself, but Big Agriculture’s raucous approval. Advocates see pesticide industry and its allies’ support for what it is—the reliance on petrochemical-based pesticides leading to economic instability, ecosystem collapse, and the degradation of democratic institutions. With support for entrenched dependency on petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers, the committee’s bill requires taxpayers to pay through the government’s crop insurance program for escalating losses caused by chemical-intensive farming practices, contributing to yield losses that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) says are “natural causes such as drought, excessive moisture [e.g., floods], hail, wind, frost, insects, and disease. . .” However, the frequency of these […]

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“Forever Chemical” PFAS Drinking Water Rules Issued, Urgency to Shift from Petrochemicals Pesticides

Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, April 17, 2024) With headlines drawing public attention to the contamination of drinking water after years of federal government neglect, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 10 new standards to reduce public exposure to PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because of their persistence. EPA has finalized a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for six PFAS, including PFOA and PFOS, which EPA has recognized have no safe level of exposure, regulating new chemicals for the first time since the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). PFAS persistence and bioaccumulation in humans, wildlife, and the environment is due to the strength of a resulting fluorine–carbon atom bond. PFAS contamination of drinking water, surface and groundwater, waterways, soils, and the food supply—among other resources—is ubiquitous worldwide. PFAS is used in everyday products, including cookware, clothes, carpets, as an anti-sticking and anti-stain agent, in plastics, machinery, and as a pesticide. The action was welcomed by environmentalists and public health advocates as an important step but left many concerned that any level of exposure to these chemicals is unacceptable and critical of EPA’s ongoing failure to act despite years […]

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Take Action: Advocates Ask Congress to Include Protections from PFAS Contamination in Farm Bill

Tuesday, February 20th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2024) With health risks including developmental, metabolic, cardiovascular, and reproductive harm, cancer, damage to the liver, kidneys, and respiratory system, as well as the potential to increase the chance of disease infection and severity, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and their toxic trail of contamination in the environment is wreaking havoc with all life. The use of PFAS in industrial and commercial applications has led to widespread contamination of water and biosolids used for fertilizer, poisoning tens of millions of acres of land and posing a significant threat to the biosphere, public health, gardens, parks, and agricultural systems. Farmers and rural communities, in particular, bear the brunt of this contamination, as it affects their drinking water, soil quality, and livestock health.   Tell Congress that the Farm Bill must include the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act and the Healthy H2O Act to protect farmers and rural communities from PFAS contamination.  Led by Chellie Pingree (D-ME), U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Susan Collins (R-ME), a bipartisan and bicameral bill—the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act—has been introduced to provide assistance and relief to those affected by PFAS. A second bill, the Healthy H2O Act, introduced by Representatives Pingree and David Rouzer (R-NC) and Senators Baldwin […]

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U.S. House Again Trying to Kill Controls for Pesticides Getting into Waterways

Monday, November 27th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, November 27, 2023) The waters of the United States are again under attack by the U.S. Congress. After the chemical industry and pesticide users won a major victory in the U.S. Supreme Court that limits the definition of protected waterways in May, 2023, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation that would ease restrictions of pesticides that could contaminate the remaining waterways protected under the Clean Water Act. Capitol Hill watchers expect the bill’s supporters will try to attach it to the 2023 Farm Bill. The legislation, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, HR 5089, was introduced in the House of by Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC) in July. It would reverse a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirement to obtain a permit before spraying pesticides on or near waterways. This is a repeat of HR 953, which passed the House and failed to pass the Senate in 2017. The House had passed similar legislation in 2011 amending the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) to eliminate provisions requiring pesticide applicators to obtain a permit to allow pesticides or their residues to enter waterways. CWA was adopted “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological […]

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Advocates Urge EPA Integration of Safer Chemicals and Organic Practices in Pesticide Assessments

Monday, August 21st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 21, 2023) As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safer Choice program asks for public input into the expansion of its work to label green chemicals, the need to recognize the importance of holistic management systems in sync with nature looms large. Will simple chemical substitution ignore the value of natural processes that require nurturing for sustainable future? EPA’s Safer Choice is a non-regulatory program that identifies alternative chemicals for a number of uses that meet expanded safety criteria. Tell EPA and Congress that substituting chemicals alone is not the Safer Choice. Use Safer Choice to eliminate harmful practices and emissions by compelling a transition to practices that build a climate- and sustainability-focused economy. For problems requiring a chemical solution—for example, laundry detergents—EPA’s Safer Choice is a valuable resource, and consumers can look for products with the Safer Choice label, which requires that EPA review all chemical ingredients that must meet safety criteria for both human health and the environment, including carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, toxicity to aquatic life, and persistence in the environment. While EPA’s Safer Choice/Design for the Environment (DfE) program performs alternatives analyses on chemicals and identifies chemicals that are less hazardous, it […]

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Feds To Evaluate Endangered Species Impacts under Clean Water Act’s General Pesticide Permits

Wednesday, August 9th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2023) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have agreed to assess the harms of applying pesticides in waterways to threatened and endangered wildlife under a legal agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). Under the Clean Water Act, a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permit is needed when pollutants are discharged from a point source (an identifiable source) into the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS), but federal authorities, in their general permitting process, have long failed to assess effects to threatened and endangered species. According to the terms of the settlement agreement, FWS must complete consultations required under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to prevent harm to protected species such as bull trout, pallid sturgeon, Oregon spotted frogs, and other threatened aquatic organisms.  The agreement is a step in implementing the 1973 ESA, a law that is saving numerous species from extinction, facilitating the recovery of hundreds more, and enabling the preservation of habitats. The humpback whale, bald eagle, and snail darter are among the species that have been saved thanks to the ESA. For years, Beyond Pesticides has reported on decades of neglecting to fully implement and fund […]

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U.S. House Votes to Reverse Protection of Threatened Waterways; Will Senate Uphold Rule Set for March 20?

Friday, March 17th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2023) The U.S. House of Representatives’ Republican majority voted on March 9 to overturn a Biden administration rule that expands the definition of and protections for the “waters of the United States.” The rule, Revised Definition of Waters of the United States, clarifies that thousands of wetlands, smaller streams, and other kinds of waterways are included under the Clean Water Act’s protection provisions. The overturning resolution now goes to the Senate, and is expected to be taken up very soon; President Biden has said he will exercise his veto power if it reaches his desk. Were that veto overridden, this rollback would put at greater risk the nation’s waterways, from all sorts of pollution, including the more than 90% of the nation’s rivers and streams that are contaminated with five or more pesticides, according to Beyond Pesticides 2020 coverage. You can contact your U.S. Senators HERE to let them know you want them to support Clean Water by voting against legislation that undermines protection of our waterways. The rules promulgated by EPA and other federal agencies to protect the nation’s waters arise primarily from 1972’s Clean Water Act (amended in 1977 and 1987). That act, although […]

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Hawai’i Agribusiness Development Corporation in Violation of Clean Water Act Due to Glyphosate Contamination

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, July 24, 2019) The U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai’i has found the state’s Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) guilty of violating the Clean Water Act. The case, brought by organizations including Surfrider Foundation, Pesticide Action Network North America, and others, represented by Earthjustice, accused ADC of dumping water contaminated with pesticides, including the cancer-causing herbicide glyphosate, into the Pacific Ocean off of West Kauai without a permit since 2015. Hawai’i bears the brunt of agribusiness wrongdoings, and Kauai in particular has faced past issues of pesticide injustice at the hands of the ADC. However, this new ruling marks a turn in past decisions that have favored agribusiness, as the judge found ADC violations. Advocates hope that this decision will highlight the need for government accountability, and increase transparency about what pesticides and chemicals are entering our oceans. The ADC system collects groundwater and storm water runoff through a series of canals, ditches, and pumps. The polluted water, full of toxic pesticides and chemicals, discharges into the Pacific Ocean along popular beaches that residents use for recreational activities, including surfing and fishing. The case brought against ADC accuses the department of dumping this water without a National […]

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Victory! State Finds Imidacloprid Insecticide Too Risky for Use in Sensitive Willapa Bay

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2018) The request by shellfish growers in Washington State to apply the neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid, on oyster and clams beds to control native burrowing shrimp was denied by the Department of Ecology (Ecology) after it determined “environmental harm from this neonicotinoid pesticide would be too great.” Concerned resident and environmental advocates have been opposed to the proposed use citing harms to aquatic life including fish habitat, and long-term ecological damage. Shellfish growers from Willapa-Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association requested a permit from the state to use the imidacloprid on burrowing shrimp that the growers said impede traditional shellfish cultivation. They sought a state National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to apply imidacloprid to 500 acres of shellfish beds within Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, over a period of five years. The growers first applied for a permit in 2015 to treat 2,000 acres of tidelands, but after a strong public outcry, they withdrew the request. In 2016, they applied for a new permit to treat less acreage and Ecology published a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in 2017 on the potential impacts imidacloprid application would have to the bay. Now, Ecology, after thoroughly evaluating […]

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U.S. House of Representatives Votes to Rollback Waterway Protections

Friday, May 26th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2017) On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a bill that would reverse an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirement to obtain a permit before spraying pesticides on or near waterways. The passage of HR 953, The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (known by environmentalists as the “Poison Our Waters Act”), is the latest update in a multi-year string of attempts to rollback commonsense protections for the public waterways all Americans use for swimming, fishing, and other forms of recreation. It will now move forward to be considered by the Republican-majority Senate, where it will most likely pass and be signed into law. HR 953, if signed into law, would reverse a 2009 decision issued by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, in the case of National Cotton Council et al. v. EPA, which held that pesticides applied to waterways should be considered pollutants under federal law and regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA), through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. Prior to the decision, the EPA, under the Bush Administration, had allowed the weaker and more generalized standards under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to be followed. This allowed pesticides to be discharged […]

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Take Action: Bill Will Eliminate Permit Requirement to Spray Pesticides into Waterways

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2016) The Agriculture Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill last week that will eliminate protections from toxic pesticides for the nation’s waterways. The bill now moves on to the full House for a vote and the public has an opportunity to let Representatives hear the concerns about weakening local protection of waterways from toxic pesticides. HR 953, The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (code for the sponsors and supporters as legislation to eliminate environmental protection of water quality), is the committee’s latest effort in a multi-year string of attempts to rollback common sense protections for the public waterways all Americans use for swimming, fishing, and other forms of recreation. The bill would repeal the Clean Water Act requirement that those who apply pesticides to waterways, with an exemption for farm use pesticides not directly deposited into waterways, obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Last May, at the height of fears over the Zika epidemic, the same Committee ushered through the same bill under another misleading name, The Zika Vector Control Act. Pensive lawmakers and the public saw through the ruse, and the bill was defeated. But, like previous iterations, including the 2015 Sensible Environmental […]

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Congress Cites Zika Virus in Effort to Attack Water Protections

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, May 19, 2016) Using fear without facts, Congress is yet again attempting to gut Clean Water Act (CWA) provisions that protect waterways and communities from excessive pesticide pollution. In a move that was blasted by House Democrats this week, HR 897  (which was introduced as the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2015) was renamed the  Zika Vector Control Act, despite the fact that the bill does not actually do anything to address the threat of Zika. The legislation was defeated Tuesday on a suspension vote, 262-159, however the bill will be going to the Rules Committee on Monday, with anticipated House floor activity on Tuesday, May 24. (Take action: urge your representative to oppose HR 897.) “In a brazenly political act, the Republican leadership is trying to mask gutting the Clean Water Act as having something to do with fighting Zika,” Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), said in a statement to The Hill. “This bill has nothing to do with Zika and everything to do with Republicans’ relentless special interest attacks on the Clean Water Act,” he said. “It will do nothing to stem the growing threat of the Zika virus.” The bill […]

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Congress Continues Attacks on Clean Water Act Protections

Friday, June 5th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 05, 2015) A new federal bill was introduced Wednesday that, if passed, would undermine the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to issue Clean Water Act permits for pesticide spraying over waterways. Titled the Sensible Environmental Protection Act  and introduced by Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo), this new bill would reverse a 2009 federal court decision in National Cotton Council v. EPA that directed EPA to require permits from applicators who spray over “navigable waters,” as outlined in the Clean Water Act (CWA). The bill’s authors claim that the need for water permits is duplicative, given that pesticide applicators also comply with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the law that requires applicators to follow instructions on pesticide labels. “This issue is a prime example of an unnecessary, duplicative federal regulation impacting a variety of stakeholders in Idaho and across the nation that must be fixed,” Senator Crapo said in a statement.  “Our rural communities are already under a substantial amount of financial strain and regulatory pressure and are looking to Congress for much-needed relief.” Contrary to  Senator  Crapo’s claims, the  CWA permit serves as a valuable tool that lets authorities know […]

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Toxic Imidacloprid To Be Sprayed on Oyster Beds in Washington Bays

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, April 29, 2015) Much to the dismay of activists and concerned local residents, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) approved a permit for the use of imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) to combat a growing native population of burrowing shrimp that threatens valuable shellfish (oyster) beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor in Washington state. Imidacloprid is known to be toxic to bees but is also toxic to aquatic organisms, raising questions on the impacts of its use on the long-term ecological health of the bays. The shellfish industry is important to the Pacific Northwest, injecting an estimated $270 million or more into the region’s economy, and providing jobs for many. Washington’s tidelands, especially those in Willapa Bay, have been particularly productive for more than 100 years. However, according to shellfish growers, the burrowing shrimp (ghost shrimp, Neotrypaea californiensis,  and mud shrimp, Upogebia pugettensis) undermines the industry. The creatures burrow into shellfish beds, making the beds too soft for shellfish cultivation. Their burrowing churns the tidelands into a sticky muck, smothering the oysters. After several years of deliberations and studies, Ecology identified imidacloprid as its  preferred choice for eradicating the shrimp. According to the agency, imidacloprid disrupts the burrowing shrimps’ […]

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Yet Again, Congress Attacks Clean Water Act Protections

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, March 24, 2015) Last week, to the dismay of health and environmental advocates, the House Agriculture Committee unanimously passed the latest version of the inaccurately titled “Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2015” (H.R. 897), which would nullify regulations that require pesticide applicators to apply for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits under the Clean Water Act (CWA) before applying pesticides on or near surface waters. The legislation also amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by stating that no permit shall be required for the use of a pesticide that is registered under FIFRA. Generally, it means that pesticide applicators can discharge pesticides into waterways with no EPA oversight under the the standards of the CWA and the permitting process, which takes into account local conditions that are not addressed under FIFRA. The  CWA permit lets authorities know what is sprayed and when it is sprayed, so that the public may know what chemicals are used in their waterways and the potential dangers to sensitive aquatic ecosystems. Existing pesticide regulations under FIFRA do not achieve these protections and, contrary to the assertions made by supporters of the bill, most agricultural pesticide applications are exempt from […]

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House Votes to Roll Back Protections from Pesticides Put in Nation’s Waters

Monday, August 4th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2014) The Clean Water Act (CWA) provides critical safeguards for our nation’s waterways, with the goal of fishable and swimmable waters for all residents of the United States. Last Thursday, the House of Representatives voted to strip away an important part of these protections concerning pesticides applied directly to U.S. waters. The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013 (HR 935) would reverse a 2009 ruling in National Cotton Council v. EPA that requires CWA permits for pesticide users who spray over waterways. After failing in a vote under a suspension of the rules last Monday, the House took the bill back up and passed it 267-161. “This is a good bill that reduces burdensome regulations without rolling back any environmental safeguards,” said U.S. Representative Bob Gibbs (R-OH), the bill’s sponsor, to The Hill. Unfortunately, Rep. Gibb’s statement couldn’t be farther from the truth. Under the deceptive title of “Reducing Regulatory Burdens,” this bill would instead eliminate critical CWA protections. “This legislation will undermine one of our nation’s most successful environmental laws, the Clean Water Act, in limiting the potential contamination of our nation’s waters by pesticides. All this would do is make it harder to locate […]

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Report Finds Pesticide Residues in Hawaii’s Waterways

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2014) A statewide pilot pesticide sampling project has found over 20 different types of pesticides in Hawaiian waterways, some of which are no longer registered for use in Hawaii. State officials believe the pesticides, many detected in urban areas, are from residential and golf course applications. These preliminary findings help highlight the need for local oversight of pesticide use, currently a controversial issue in the state. Conducted in partnership with the Hawaiian Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Hawaiian Department of Health, the survey-study finds herbicides like glyphosate (Roundup) and atrazine, as well as a fungicide that is no longer registered for use in the state, contaminating the state’s waterways. The study measured pesticides in surface waters and in sediment at multiple locations in Hawaii. 25 herbicides, 11 insecticides and 6 fungicides were detected, with atrazine the most commonly found. This pilot survey responds to growing community concerns about the impacts of pesticides on local communities and ecosystems, and provides preliminary information on pesticide residues in state waterways. Recently, Kauai County passed an ordinance —Ordinance 960—  that requires public disclosure of pesticides used and the location of genetically engineered (GE) crops, as […]

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Unregulated Contaminants Found Widespread in U.S. Drinking Water

Friday, December 13th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2013) A recent survey conducted by researchers at the U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found traces of 18 unregulated chemicals in drinking water from more than one third of U.S. water utilities. Of the 21 total chemicals found, researchers discovered among them 11 perfluorinated chemicals, an herbicide, two solvents, caffeine, an antibacterial chemical, a metal and an antidepressant. Preliminary findings were presented by scientists at an annual toxicology conference held by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry last month in Nashville. Federal researchers took samples from 25 U.S. utilities from around the nation who voluntarily participated in the study, providing samples of treated and untreated water. Disturbingly, 18 of the chemicals found are not regulated under the Safe Water Drinking Act, meaning utility companies are not required to treat, limit, or even monitor for their presence. “The good news is the concentrations are generally pretty low,” said USGS research hydrologist Dana Kolpin, PhD. to Environmental Health News. “But,” he continued “there’s still the unknown. Are there long-term consequences of low-level exposure to these chemicals?” While there is a paucity of data on some of the contaminants, regulated chemicals such […]

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House Farm Bill Provision Would Make Eating Fish More Dangerous

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2013) It’s farm bill debate time””again. And as conferee members saddle up to the negotiation table to attempt yet another meeting of the minds before the winter recess, most of the public watching and waiting for word on a resolution are focused on issues like food stamps and milk. What most are not waiting for and has not been at the forefront of the media and public discussion concerning the pending farm bill negotiations are the small but dangerous provisions of the House bill concerning the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (expanded and overhauled  as the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to regulate pesticides used near, over, and in water. It should be. Seeking to nullify the Sixth Circuit’s ruling in National Cotton Council v. EPA and the resulting general permit, sections 12323 and 100013 amend CWA to exclude pesticides from the law’s standards and its permitting requirements. Known as the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), CWA requires all point sources, which are discernible and discreet conveyances, to obtain either individual or general permits. Whether a point source must obtain an individual or general permit depends […]

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It’s Back! Provision that Undermines Clean Water Act Resurfaces in Congress

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, October 30, 2013) Once again, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators is urging Farm Bill conference committee members to accept a provision that would eliminate what they call a redundant permitting requirement for pesticide users. H.R. 935: Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013 is similar to a previous piece of legislation that was passed in the U.S.  House of Representatives  in 2011 to eliminate the requirement that pesticide applicators obtain Clean Water Act (CWA) permits (known as National Pollutant Discharge Elimination  System (NPDES) permit)  for applications where pesticides could be discharged into water. A  bipartisan group of  Senators hope to use the Farm Bill to eliminate permitting requirement, continuing to believe the myth that permits burden farmers and applicators. The Senate and House are now in a conference committee to work out the details of a new Farm Bill to reauthorize the current law. A dozen Senators, led by Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., have asked House and Senate negotiators to do away with the CWA regulation of pesticide discharges as they consider a compromise Farm Bill. Legislation eliminating the CWA permitting requirement last year passed the House, but the move to strip the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) […]

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Third Time in Three Years – Pesticides Believed to be Cause of Fish Kills in Canada

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, July 31, 2013) Environmental officials are investigating why dozens of dead fish are washing up on the banks of two rivers in western Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.), Canada. For the third time in three years, dead fish have been spotted rising to the surface of Barclay Brook where thousands of fish died in 2011 and 2012 after pesticides from farmers’ fields ran off into the water.   Almost exactly one year ago, when more than 2,000 dead fish were scooped from the near two-mile stretch of Barclay Brook, dead fish again began washing up on the banks of the same river in western P.E.I. following heavy rains last Friday. About a dozen were found the day of the rains, but officials and volunteers with the local watershed group have since found more than 100. The nearby Mill River also experienced a fish kill, with the first dead fish reported being washed up on Monday. P.E.I. Department of Environment and Environment Canada officials are investigating the fish kills. Government spokesman Wayne MacKinnon says pesticide run-off could be the cause of the latest fish kill, but water samples collected on the weekend have yet to be tested. Dale Cameron, a […]

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