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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Agriculture' Category


10
Jun

USDA Announces Dramatic Increases in Support for Organic Agriculture Without Call for Total Transition

(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2022) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on June 1 that it will provide a potential 15-fold increase in funding aimed at organic food production — up to $300 million. The subject Organic Transition Initiative provision is embedded in a new USDA Food System Transformation framework (FSTF), whose raison d’ĂȘtre is captured in the press release: “to transform the food system to benefit consumers, producers and rural communities by providing more options, increasing access, and creating new, more, and better markets for small and mid-size producers.” That funding for organic transition, the invocation of climate as a significant driver of multiple features of the initiative, and a focus on equity concerns are all welcome news. Beyond Pesticides maintains that it will be critical that this FSTF result in concrete goals that set out specific metrics and timelines — particularly around the magnitude of acres shifted to organic production and the pace of the phaseout of non-organic substances and protocols. The headline of the press release bespeaks the rationale: “Shoring Up the Food Supply Chain and Transforming the Food System to Be Fairer, More Competitive, More Resilient.” Broadly, the initiative addresses four sectors of agricultural activity: production, […]

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09
Jun

Highlighting the Connection Environmental Racism and the Agricultural Industry Through History

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2022) A report from the Organic Center finds that people in U.S. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities endure a significant disproportionate risk of exposure to pesticides and subsequent harms. The report also contains a lesson plan that informs young activists on how to improve the food system. Many communities of color and low-socioeconomic backgrounds experience an unequal number of hazards, including nearby toxic waste plants, garbage dumps, and other sources of environmental pollution and odors that lower the quality of life. Therefore, these populations experience greater exposure to harmful chemicals and suffer from health outcomes that affect their ability to learn and work. Doctoral candidate at Northwestern University and author of the report and lesson plan, Jayson Maurice Porter, notes, “Urban planning and city policy considers certain people in certain communities more or less disposable and puts them in harm’s way, giving them an uneven burden of experiencing and dealing with things like pollutants.”  The father of environmental justice, Robert Bullard, Ph.D., defines environmental racism as any policy or practice that unequally affects or disadvantages individuals, groups, or communities based on their race. Dr. Bullard stated that, until the 1980s, environmentalism and pollution were separate. During the Jim […]

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31
May

DDT Still Harming Birds of Prey, 50 Years After Its Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, May 31, 2022) Fifty years after the banning of DDT, the notorious insecticide is still harming iconic birds of prey along the California coastline. According to research published in Environmental Science and Technology, California condors and marine mammals along California’s coast are contaminated with several dozen different halogenated organic compounds (hazardous, often-chlorinated chemicals) related to DDT, chlordane, and other now-banned legacy chemicals. The findings highlight the incredible importance of addressing these original “forever chemicals,” and making certain that we do not continue to repeat the mistakes of the past with new and different, yet equally dangerous, chemistries. Between 1947 and 1971, the Montrose Chemical Corporation of California, the largest historical producer of DDT, released over 1,700 tons of DDT into the LA sewer system, which eventually made its way into the Pacific Ocean. During this time, several other companies discharged PCBs, leading to further chemical contamination of land and sediment. As recent as April 2021, scientists discovered 25,000 barrels likely containing DDT near Catalina Island along the southern California coast. These releases have resulted in serious environmental and health problems throughout the coastal food chain. Yet, as the present study shows, scientists are only beginning to understand the […]

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27
May

Drift-Prone Weed Killer Out of Control with the Chemical Industry at the Wheel

(Beyond Pesticides, May 27, 2022) In a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) court document filed on May 16, the agency signaled potential changes to the labeling it requires for “over the top” (OTT, or post-emergent) herbicides containing dicamba, a very problematic pesticide. The filing — in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, where EPA currently faces litigation about its 2020 dicamba registrations — comes as a result of Bayer, Inc.’s March 2022 proposed amendments to EPA registration for its XtendiMax herbicide, which contains dicamba and glyphosate. Beyond Pesticides has covered the dicamba saga for years, including the EPA Office of the Inspector General’s critical 2021 report citing an abandonment of science and assault on agency integrity for EPA’s dicamba decisions during the Trump years. Dicamba has been linked to cancer, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, birth defects, and kidney and liver damage. It is toxic to birds, fish, and other aquatic organisms, and is known to leach into waterways after application. Dicamba also causes serious damage to non-GE (genetically engineered), non-target plants, damaging habitat and food sources for various organisms, especially for birds and insects. According to Progressive Farmer, EPA is currently considering some dicamba use restrictions after Bayer submitted them to […]

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25
May

Agrichemical Industry Demands Biden Administration Rescind Support for Cancer Victims Before Supreme Court

(Beyond Pesticides, May 25, 2022) Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice urged the Supreme Court to deny a request by Bayer to review a verdict that found the corporation liable for damages from the use of its Roundup (glyphosate) herbicides. Now, Bayer is using proxy organizations to place pressure on the Biden Administration and Justice Department to rescind its decision. Alongside a range of chemical industry umbrella groups, many of which—like Croplife America—Bayer is a member of, a letter was sent to President Biden expressing “grave concern” about the opinion filed by Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar. Among a range of baseless claims, the agrichemical industry is deflecting lower court findings on the hazards and cancer risk of their products with the claim that their toxic chemicals are needed to feed the world, as crops shipments from Ukraine have been halted during the ongoing war. “The agrichemical industry has long tried to sell the idea that their toxic pesticides are needed to feed the world, as if to suggest that their motives are altruistic when, in fact, they have shown a callous disregard for life and a sustainable future,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. ” We […]

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18
May

Bat Losses Costing American Farmers Half a Billion Dollars Annually

(Beyond Pesticides, May 18, 2022) Bat population declines are costing American farmers as much as $495 million each year, finds research published this month in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. Since 2006, a devastating fungal pathogen known as  Pseudogymnoascus destructans has torn through U.S. bat populations, causing a disease known as White Nose Syndrome that has killed over 90% of northern long eared, little brown, and tricolored bats. As researchers try to get a handle on the devastating and rapidly spreading disease, the effects are becoming apparent in agriculture as farmers lose their critical ecosystem services. “Lost bat populations have harmful ripple effects on food and agriculture,” says study coauthor Amy Ando, PhD. “Crop yields fall and input costs rise as farmers try to compensate for the services bats usually provide. That drives down the value of farmland and the number of acres planted, and the supply shock probably also hurts consumers as ag production becomes more costly.” White nose syndrome and its fungal pathogen were first discovered in a cave in New York in the mid-2000s, having likely traveled from Europe on the gear of a hiker or spelunker. The syndrome is characterized by […]

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04
May

Climate Change and Industrial Agriculture Are Supercharging the Insect Apocalypse

(Beyond Pesticides, May 4, 2022) Agricultural intensification and climate change are driving unprecedented losses in insect abundance and biodiversity, placing key ecosystem functions like food production in peril. The findings of this research, published in Nature by scientists at University College London, UK, are the first to elucidate the interactions between major drivers of the ongoing insect apocalypse. As civilization moves deeper into a time in which the impacts of a rapidly warming planet meet the devastating effects of habitat loss and rampant chemical use, it becomes ever more critical that action be taken now to avert the worst outcomes for the future of life on the planet. While the solutions are in reach, tremendous public action is needed to stop the fossil fuel and agrichemical industries from their short-sighted pursuit of profit at any cost, climate advocates say. To conduct their analysis, scientists utilized both short-term studies and the Projecting Responses of Ecological Diversity in Changing Terrestrial Systems (PREDICTS) database, which contains insect biodiversity sampling comprising twenty years of information (1992 to 2012). Species richness and total abundance were reviewed for nearly 20,000 insect species, including dragonflies/damselflies, moths and butterflies, flies, true bugs, beetles, bees and wasps, and grasshoppers/crickets […]

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19
Apr

Maine Moves to Ban Pesticides and Fertilizers Contaminated with PFAS

(Beyond Pesticides, April 19, 2022) Both houses of Maine’s legislature have just approved a bill that would, by 2030, ban pesticides that contain PFAS chemicals — the so-called “forever chemicals.” The bill’s next stop is the Appropriations Committee, for approval of $200,000 in annual funding to enact the bill; if successful there, it will move to the desk of Maine Governor Janet Mills for her signature. The legislation is one of a suite of lawmaker efforts in the state to address the growing PFAS problem with which localities across the U.S. are struggling. In this Daily News Blog article, Beyond Pesticides continues its coverage of the scourge of PFAS chemicals, particularly as it relates to pesticide use and the use of fertilizers made from PFAS-contaminated “biosludge” from municipal treatment facilities. PFAS — “per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances” — are any of a family of more than 9,000 synthetic chemicals, invented in, and widely deployed since, the 1950s in a multitude of industrial and consumer products. PFAS molecules are made up of a chain of linked carbon and fluorine atoms; the carbon–fluorine bond is one of the strongest chemical bonds that exists, which means that these compounds do not break down in the […]

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18
Apr

USDA Must Take Steps To Prevent an Avian Flu Pandemic

(Beyond Pesticides, April 18, 2022) Industrial poultry operations—generally indoors and with crowded conditions—provide the perfect incubator for pandemic influenza. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), “These involve the congregation of large numbers of genetically identical animals of the same age (young) and sex, with rapid turnover and ‘all-in, all-out’ systems.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is delaying the adoption of organic rules that would require meaningful outdoor access and prevent indoor crowding. Influenza pandemics have killed millions of people—between 20 and 40 million people died in the 1918 pandemic, one million in 1957, and one to three million in 1968. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Influenza type A viruses are of most significance to public health due to their potential to cause an influenza pandemic.” There are several subtypes of type A influenza, which originates in birds. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were 700 human cases of the H5N1 subtype since 2003, and only 40% survived. Tell USDA to promulgate a strong Organic Livestock and Poultry Standard. Tell USDA to protect against flu pandemics by applying the same rules to all poultry. Because avian flu poses a risk to […]

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15
Apr

Beyond Pesticides Makes Science-based Case that It Is Imperative to Phase Out Pesticides in a Decade

The organic solutions to problems highlighted in the latest issue of Pesticides and You—based on the importance of healthy ecosystems and public health protection—are within reach, and the data creates an imperative for action now that phases out pesticides within a decade, while ensuring food productivity, resilient land management, and safe food, air, and water. (Beyond Pesticides, April 15, 2022) The current issue of Pesticides and You, RETROSPECTIVE 2021: A Call to Urgent Action, is a look at a year of science, policy, and advocacy that informs both the existential problems that the U.S. and the world are facing due to toxic pesticide dependency, and solutions that can be adopted now. The information in this issue captures the body of science that empowers action at the local, state, and federal level, and provides a framework for challenging toxic pesticide use and putting alternatives in place. The issue finds that 2021 was a pivotal year in both defining the problem and advancing the solution. This year in review is divided into nine sections that provide an accounting of scientific findings documenting serious pesticide-induced health and environmental effects, disproportionate risk to people of color and those with preexisting conditions, regulatory failures, at the same time […]

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11
Apr

International Aid Needed To Support Traditional and Organic, Not Chemical-Intensive, Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2022) As the U.S. encourages the spread of chemical-intensive, industrialized agriculture, local farmers are increasingly pressured into giving up traditional agricultural practices in favor of monocultures to increase the demand  for agrichemical pesticides and fertilizers worldwide. This policy is promoted by the industry with vested economic interests as good for the U.S. economy, but it is not good for either planetary health or global food security. Instead, U.S. foreign aid agencies, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and other agencies, should be supporting traditional practices and organic agriculture. Tell Congress and U.S. AID to support aid that promotes traditional and organic agriculture.  Industrial agriculture depends on monoculture—growing single crops that can be easily planted, fertilized, treated with pesticides, and harvested—especially on large-scale, mechanized farms. In spite of the perceived advantages of monoculture, however, it is a significant contributor to biodiversity loss and pollinator decline. Loss of biodiversity feeds the pesticide treadmill by removing predators and parasites who keep crop-feeding insects below damaging levels. The vast majority of crop plants depend on pollinators. Traditional agriculture, like organic agriculture, depends on interacting species. Most organic agriculture resembles monoculture piecewise, but integrates cover crops, hedgerows and other […]

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08
Apr

Broken Promises, Empty Pledges Leading to Irreversible Climate Disaster: UN Says It’s Now or Never

(Beyond Pesticides, April 8, 2022) “The jury has reached a verdict. And it is damning. This report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a litany of broken climate promises. It is a file of shame, cataloguing the empty pledges that put us firmly on track towards an unlivable world. We are on a fast track to climate disaster.” These words came from United Nations Secretary-General AntĂłnio Guterres in a statement responding to the latest IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report released on April 4. As a Beyond Pesticides Daily News Blog headline virtually shouted in October 2021, “Climate Crisis, Soil, Pesticides, Fertilizers: Red alert! This is Not a Drill!” This IPCC report — Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change — is the third and final part of the panel’s latest review of climate science. It is informed by the work of thousands of scientists, and follows on the first two of the trio of reports that comprise the comprehensive Sixth Assessment Report. The first, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis, from the IPCC Working Group I, was released on August 9, 2021. The second, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability, from Working Group II, […]

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07
Apr

Industry, Money, and Politics Drive Legislation to Squelch Local Pesticide Restrictions

(Beyond Pesticides, April 7, 2022) Legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) last week would roll back, preempt, and prohibit local jurisdictions from enacting policies that protect resident health and a community’s unique local environments from hazardous pesticides. The bill, H.R.7266, is a direct attack on the scores of local communities that have enacted common sense safeguards from toxic pesticides, and represents the pesticide industry’s response to the growing momentum of the pesticide reform movement. Health and environmental advocates are expecting Rep. Davis and his partners in the agrichemical industry to attempt to work the provisions of the legislation into the upcoming 2023 farm bill. The industry had previously attempted to work federal preemption into the 2018 farm bill, an effort that ultimately failed after massive pushback from health advocates, local officials, and Congressional allies. Rep. Davis’ press release for the bill, in which he was joined with quotes from a range of agrichemical industry leaders, is titled “Davis Introduces Legislation to Prevent Liberal Local Governments from Banning or Restricting Pesticide Use,” striking a partisan tone. Caring about public and environmental health is typically not viewed as a liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican issue. Those monitoring local governments […]

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06
Apr

Conventional Apples Found to Be Coated in Fungicides and Drug-Resistant Fungi

(Beyond Pesticides, April 6, 2022) Conventional apples sold at market and sprayed with synthetic fungicides may not only contain drug-resistant fungi, but function as a transmission reservoir and route to spread these dangerous pathogens, finds research published in mBio late last month by a team of researchers from India and Canada. As reports of fungal resistance rise, particularly in hospitals and among the immunocompromised, there is an urgent need to understand and address the root causes of these emerging disease threats. “When we look at human pathogens, we tend to look at what’s immediate to us,” said study coauthor Jianping Xu, PhD. “But we have to look at it more broadly. Everything is connected, the whole system. Fruit is just 1 example.”   Researchers set out their research with the suspicion that stored fruits sprayed with synthetic fungicides were acting as a source and route of transmission for the deadly fungi Candida auris. This yeast is considered an “emerging fungal pathogen” by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and has increased its rate of infection significantly since its initial identification in the mid 1990s. The fungi has been found in every continent save Antarctica. It has proven to […]

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31
Mar

Traditionally-Produced Compost Improves Soil, Outperforms Synthetic Chemical Fertilizers

(Beyond Pesticides, March 31, 2022) Composts produced using traditional ecological knowledge create healthier, more fertile soil than industrial, chemical-based fertilizers, according to the findings of a recent study published in PLOS Sustainability and Transformation. As the dangers posed by industrial agriculture become increasingly apparent, organic and traditional practices show a time-tested path toward a sustainable farming future. According to study author Seema Sharma, PhD, “The research was already there because the ancient people did their research long ago,” she said to EOS. “But when it comes to the scientific community, you need research that is in a peer-reviewed journal and then finally verified.” The study focuses its comparison within the Kachchh district, a semi-arid farming area of Western India that experiences erratic rainfall and has higher salt levels in its soils than much of the rest of the country. Twenty farms were chosen based on their fertilizer management practices, split between farmers employing traditional composting techniques and those using chemical fertilizers. For the chemical farms, an initial application of animal-based manure was applied, and synthetic sources of nitrogen (urea) and phosphorus (ammonium phosphate) were then spread as a top dressing at a rate of roughly 60kg (132lbs)/ha approximately 20 days […]

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21
Mar

Government Inaction Threatens Endangered Species, Calls for Action

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2022) With a history of unenforceable and impractical pesticide label restrictions resulting in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) findings of ludicrously small or no risk, the agency is at it again with its latest announcement that spins its approval of the continued use of the deadly organophosphate insecticide malathion as “protecting threatened and endangered species.” This just the latest example of an irresponsible federal agency falling far short, as the nation and world sit on the brink of biodiversity collapse and deadly pesticide-induced diseases. Tell EPA to protect endangered species. Tell Congress to make sure the Biden administration protects endangered species.  The announcement follows the release of a final biological opinion by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which, according to the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), “relies on scientifically unfounded assessment methods imposed during the Trump administration [and] stands in sharp contrast to the agency’s 2017 conclusion that 1,284 species would likely be jeopardized by malathion.” Meanwhile, the National Marine Fisheries Service, a sister agency to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, released an updated biological opinion that determined malathion and two other toxic organophosphate pesticides are causing jeopardy to virtually every endangered U.S. salmon, sturgeon, […]

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18
Mar

Pesticide Drift or Chemical Trespass Continue Uncontrolled, Despite Successful Litigation

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2022) A 2020 lawsuit related to pesticide drift was resolved on March 8, 2022 in San Joaquin (California) Superior Court with the finding that Alpine Helicopter Services, which specializes in pesticide applications for government and tourism entities, had violated pesticide drift laws and endangered public health and safety. The court further found Alpine liable for damage related to its actions, though penalties in the case, brought by California state prosecutors and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), have yet to be determined. The case exposes a handful of the many instances of pesticide drift, also known as “chemical trespass,” that occur every year in the U.S. In 2004, Beyond Pesticides covered the issue with Getting the Drift on Chemical Trespass; its monitoring of drift issues is ongoing, as can be seen in its “Pesticide Drift” archives. The long history of nontarget exposure, contamination, and poisoning teaches that drift is a function of pesticide use, but not considered adequately by regulators who allow the marketing of poisons that are known to move through the environment uncontrolled. Cases like the Alpine case highlight a relentless problem associated with the daily use of pesticides. Pesticide drift is any airborne […]

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09
Mar

Minnesota Biomonitoring Study Addresses Children’s Exposure to Pesticides, Air Pollutants, and Toxic Metals

(Beyond Pesticides, March 9, 2022) In response to local concerns around children’s environmental exposures, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) recently published biomonitoring data collected from young children living in urban and rural areas of the state. The findings provide local residents and lawmakers with baseline data on the hazards children are encountering where they live, learn, or play, and point to ways in which families can reduce or eliminate these dangers. With evidence that early life exposures during “critical windows of vulnerability” increase risk of long-term health problems, it is critical for state agencies to both collect data, and take meaningful action to protect children from future harms. Minnesota lawmakers established a state biomonitoring program in 2007, and have since expanded the project. The current report represents the results of MDH’s Healthy Rural and Urban Kids Project aimed at biomonitoring chemicals in young children. For this round, the agency focused on preschool-aged children living in MN’s rural Becker, Todd, and Wadena counties, as well as those living in urban North Minneapolis. MDH enrolled 232 families during the summer of 2018, provided them with a questionnaire, and tested children for 21 different chemicals in their urine. The chemicals tested were […]

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08
Mar

Covid Leads to Transformational Moment for Launching of School-Based Feeding Programs with Organic Food

(Beyond Pesticides, March 8, 2022) A silver lining has emerged from the past two devastating Covid years, according to Civil Eats. A large California school district has used pandemic changes — in the regulatory schema of the federal and state governments, in supply chain function, and in available funding — to catalyze the transition to organic food in school-based feeding programs. For the past decade or so, U.S. school districts have, here and there, been moving gradually in this direction. The West Contra Costa Unified School District (WWCUSD) is robustly making the transition to organic, in no small part through its collaboration with Conscious Kitchen, a local nonprofit that seeks to “break the cycle of conventional, packaged, overly processed food, [and] transitioning to meals based on five foundational attributes: fresh, local, organic, seasonal and nutritious.” Beyond Pesticides has long pointed to the importance of shifting school-based meals to organic for multiple reasons, but centrally, because the pesticides with which conventional food is generally contaminated have outsized health and developmental impacts on children. The WWCUSD, which is northeast of San Francisco, boasts 30,000 students — 75% of whom come from low-income households. The district’s food service director, Barbara Jellison, and other food […]

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07
Mar

USDA Allowing a Synthetic Hormone in Organic Milk Production, Despite a Mandate Against It

(Beyond Pesticides, March 7, 2022) Contrary to the demands of consumers for hormone-free organic dairy products and the requirements of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allow continued use of the synthetic hormone oxytocin in organic dairy production. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) voted unanimously in 2017 to reject the use of the synthetic hormone oxytocin in livestock production. Since administration of oxytocin has been linked to a range of serious health problems and early onset puberty, autism, and psychiatric disorders, it is important to avoid residues in food that may cause a hormone imbalance in food consumers. Tell USDA Secretary Vilsack to reverse the decision to allow oxytocin in organic dairy. Tell Congress that greater oversight is needed to ensure that USDA upholds the Organic Foods Production Act.  Substances on the National List are reconsidered every five years to determine whether they still meet criteria in OFPA—that is, that their use is (1) not harmful to human health or the environment, (2) necessary for organic production, and (3) consistent with organic practices. In the case of oxytocin, a hormone involved in the milk “let-down” reflex, there is longstanding concern that misuse […]

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02
Mar

Sewage Sludge Creates a “Safe Haven” for Covid Viral Particles, Placing Public Health at Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2022) Covid (SARS-CoV-2) is being detected in wastewater, sludge, and biosolids, providing a “safe haven” for the virus and creating a health risk for wastewater workers and farmers. Published in Geoscience Frontiers, an international team of researchers systematically reviewed the available literature on the prevalence of pandemic coronavirus in wastewater in order to better determine risks to workers and public health. The timely review comes as many communities and states are reevaluating their use reclaimed human effluent due to a range of toxic contaminants, including per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Researchers found 20 articles from published literature that met the criteria for their review. Each of three environmental materials –wastewater effluent, sludge, and biosolids were analyzed for the presence of Covid. Effluent is the liquid that remains after a sewage treatment process, sludge is organic matter separated from effluent, and biosolids are the fully processed product that is then often applied to farm fields. Of the three materials, sludge contained the highest prevalence of covid RNA, followed by biosolids and then effluent, according to modeling of the data employed by researchers. Covid amounts were found to be related to the number of infected individuals living within […]

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01
Mar

Pesticide Use on Crops for Meat and Dairy Feed Further Threatens Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2022) A report by the Independent finds chemical-intensive farming of crops for animal feed puts thousands of endangered species at risk. U.S. farmlands use more than 235 million pounds of pesticide (i.e., herbicides and insecticides) solely for animal feed production, many of which are highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs). Several HHP hazard categories include acutely toxic, chronic health hazards, and environmental hazards. Therefore, animal feed production intensifies global pollution, increases pesticide exposure, and degrades human, animal, and ecological health.  Although the report demonstrates a need to eliminate toxic pesticide use for the sake of human, animal, and ecosystem health, it will take more than eliminating the worst chemicals to address the impending biodiversity collapse and the climate crisis. Experts highlight the need for an urgent shift to organic land and agricultural management practices. The study notes, “These pesticides are taking a toll on our environment and biodiversity. Endangered species like the highly imperiled whooping crane, monarch butterflies, all species of salmon, the rusty-patched bumble bee, the San Joaquin kit fox, and the northern long-eared bat, as examples, all face significant threats from industrial agricultural operations and the chemicals applied. In order to conserve biodiversity and better protect vulnerable species and their habitats, […]

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15
Feb

One-Third of Americans Have Hazardous Weed Killer in Their Bodies

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2022) A synthetic weed killer linked to cancer, endocrine (hormone) disruption, reproductive harm and birth defects can be found in the bodies of 1 in 3 Americans, according to research published in Environmental Health by scientists at George Washington University. The chemical in question is not glyphosate (though current data indicate similar results are likely) but 2,4-D, an herbicide that is increasingly used when weeds growing near genetically engineered  (GE) crops have developed resistance to the repeated use of Roundup and other glyphosate-based weed killers. “Our study suggests human exposures to 2,4-D have gone up significantly and they are predicted to rise even more in the future,” Marlaina Freisthler, a PhD student and researcher at the George Washington University, said. “These findings raise concerns with regard to whether this heavily used weed-killer might cause health problems, especially for young children who are very sensitive to chemical exposures.” Researchers conducted their analysis based on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which includes urinary concentrations of 2,4-D from 14,395 participants spanning 2001 to 2014. Between those years, the use of 2,4-D increased rapidly from its relative low point at the beginning of the century. “Roundup […]

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