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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Agriculture' Category


08
Aug

California to List Chlorpyrifos as a Toxic Air Contaminant

(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2018) On July 30, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released its scientific assessment concluding that the organophosphate insecticide, chlorpyrifos, should be listed as a Toxic Air Contaminant (TAC) in the state based on evidence of its neurological effects and exposure risks of concern. This comes after the 2017 decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed its decision to ban the dangerous chemical after intervention by its manufacturer. Decades of scientific data show that chlorpyrifos damages fetal brains and produces cognitive and behavioral dysfunctions, particularly in utero and in children. Even at low levels of exposure chlorpyrifos can impact the developing fetus in pregnant women resulting in impaired learning, change in brain functions, and alter thyroid levels of children into adulthood. A study conducted by the Columbia University Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) found that chlorpyrifos in umbilical cord blood samples corresponded with a decrease in the psychomotor and mental development in three-year olds. Additional data collected by CCCEH researchers demonstrated that children exposed to high levels of chlorpyrifos experience developmental delays, attention deficit, hyperactivity, as well as other pervasive developmental disorders. But despite this, and the advice of the agency’s own scientists, EPA, under the direction […]

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07
Aug

Trump Administration Reverses Ban of Bee-Toxic Pesticides on National Wildlife Refuges, as California Confirms Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2018) At the same time that a new analysis by California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), current neonicotinoid uses in the state expose bees to residue levels known to cause harm, the Trump administration has reversed a 2014 U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) decision to ban neonicotinoids on National Wildlife Refuges. In 2014, newly passed state legislation required DPR to study the impacts of neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and dinotefuran) and adopt control measures to protect sensitive pollinator health within two years. In its report, released last month, DPR finds the highest risk to bees is posed by use of two neonicotinoids, thiamethoxam and clothianidin, on cereal grains like corn, wheat, rice, and barley. The seeds of these crops are typically coated with neonicotinoids before planting, where residues persist in the pollen and nectar. Although these findings are not surprising and have been documented in the scientific literature, California’s analysis indicates neonicotinoids can cause much broader harm, including to pollinators commonly found on many types of vegetables, cereal grains, tree nuts, fruits and tobacco. Shortly after a decision in the Pacific Region, FWS announced that all National Wildlife Refuges would join in the phase-out of neonics (while also phasing out genetically engineered […]

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02
Aug

Weeds on Missouri Cropland Found To Be Resistant to Six Different Herbicides

(Beyond Pesticides, August 2, 2018) Weed scientists from the University of Missouri (UM) have just published evidence of a water hemp population resistant to six different herbicides. The study is sending shock waves throughout the chemical-intensive agricultural community, particularly in light of the plant’s resistance to 2,4-D. In its reporting on the study, KTIC Rural Radio begged the question, “If we’re already seeing 2,4-D resistance now, what will happen when use of the herbicide becomes even more commonplace?” KTIC is referring to the impending commercialization of products like Enlist Duo, developed by DowDupont in an attempt to address widespread weed resistance to glyphosate. Enlist Duo is an herbicide containing both glyphosate and 2,4-D, and is intended to be sprayed only on crops genetically engineered (GE) to tolerate exposure to both chemicals. However, with growing reports like this, many farmers may begin to rethink their approach. In 2014, a farmer contacted UM indicating that water hemp was not responding to 2,4-D during a regular ‘burndown’ the farmer conducted before planting a new crop. (Chemical-intensive farmers will often use a synthetic herbicide to clear their field for new plantings.) The farmer had also used other herbicides, fomesafen and glyphosate, in this process […]

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26
Jul

Another Lawsuit Blames Monsanto for Crop Loss

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2018) A legal complaint filed by a Kansas farmer claims industry giant, Monsanto, knew its new dicamba-formulated product would harm other crops, but marketed and sold it anyway, damaging thousands of acres of crops. The lawsuit, filed by 4-R Farms based in Corning Kansas, lost over 200 acres of soybeans. This is the latest in a string of lawsuits Monsanto is facing. Farmers in Arkansas, Missouri, and elsewhere have been hit with crop losses as a result of the dicamba damage. Advocates  and victims of damage argue that Monsanto places profits ahead of possible damage to crops when it markets seeds resistant to a powerful weedkiller before making a less volatile herbicide available. This, according to the lawsuit filed in court. The petition, filed last week, could be the catalyst for a class action lawsuit of Kansas farmers against Monsanto, which faces a growing docket of legal challenges. The lawsuit also names chemical company BASF as a co-defendant. BASF is facing its own mounting pile of lawsuits over dicamba. The lawsuit requests unspecified damages and a trial by a federal jury in Topeka. Monsanto marketed its new line of dicamba products, Xtend, to go hand in hand with […]

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24
Jul

Trump Taps Former Pesticide Company Executive as Chief Scientist at USDA

(Beyond Pesticides, July 24, 2018) The White House named Scott Hutchins, PhD, former Dow Chemical Company executive, as Undersecretary of Agriculture for Research, Education and Economics for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Dr. Hutchins is now the third Dow alumnus to be hired by the Trump Administration. As a scientist who oversaw Dow’s pesticide research and development, his appointment, if confirmed, has troubling consequences to USDA’s research programs. Described as a “global leader of integrated field sciences,” Dr. Hutchins worked at Corteva—the newly created agricultural (pesticide and seed) division of the DowDuPont entity that focuses on “chemical solutions to pest management.” Dr. Hutchins has been with Dow since 1987 and worked in regional research and development management and global development of pesticide products. He is also a former president of the Entomological Society of America, serving in that role in parts of 2006 and 2007, and is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska. The lead science position directs the Agricultural Research Service, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (ARS), the Economic Research Service and the National Agricultural Statistics Service, and sets the agenda for USDA’s research budget. Dow Chemical, now merged with Dupont as DowDupont, […]

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19
Jul

Scotts-Monsanto Genetically Engineered Experimental Bentgrass Threatens Oregon Environment, Waterways, and Seed Industry

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2018) A variety of bentgrass, genetically engineered by Scotts Miracle-Gro and Monsanto to tolerate the glyphosate herbicide Roundup, escaped from an experimental field planting in Eastern Oregon 15 years ago, and continues to plague area farmers. Bentgrass is prized by those who maintain golf course greens because of its fine texture and habit of spreading in even, horizontal mats. But the genetically engineered (GE) version has become a giant annoyance for farmers and other growers who battle its spread through the irrigation systems of Malheur County in eastern Oregon. The escape of this GE version of Agrostis stolonifera is especially alarming in Oregon, the grass seed capital of the world. The GE grass showed up after crossing the Snake River from where it had been planted in seed fields in Idaho, despite the fact that the USDA had not approved its release into the seed market. By 2010, farmers and others found it spreading in mats across most of the irrigation canals and ditches that snake across Malheur County. It is now found in Jefferson County, Oregon, and Canyon County, Idaho, as well. The growth habit of the perennial grass is what greenskeepers love, but its persistent […]

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27
Jun

Clean Up the Farm Bill, Protect Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2018) Farm Bill Headed for a Showdown on Key Environmental, Public Health, and Organic Issues With a flawed bipartisan Farm Bill expected to sail through the U.S. Senate this week, we need to turn our attention to the upcoming House-Senate Conference Committee that will attempt to resolve differences between the Republican House bill (with no support from Democrats) and the Senate bill. Despite some advances in the Senate Farm Bill for the organic market, including boosts to organic research funding, some provisions to address fraudulent imports, some enhanced conservation programs, and maintaining certification cost-share programs, the Senate bill contains troubling language affecting organic standard setting that could open the door to more damaging provisions in the House bill. It’s like fixing up a house while allowing the foundation to crumble. Tell your U.S. Senators and Representative to protect organic in the Farm Bill, remove any changes to the organic standard setting process, and uphold environmental protections. Beyond Pesticides opposes any provisions in the Farm Bill that amend the standard setting procedures of the federal organic law and believes that no improvements are worth the damage that can be done to the standard setting process and public […]

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26
Jun

House Passes Farm Bill with Provisions that Weaken Organic, Poison Waterways and Harm Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2018) On June 21, 2018, the controversial 2018 Farm Bill (H.R. 2) narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives 213 to 211 with provisions that will eliminate federal review of pesticide impacts on endangered species, undermine organic standards, and ease requirements regarding releases of pesticides into waterways. In May, the bill failed to pass when it got caught in the debate over immigration reform, but now this dangerous bill is much closer to becoming a major threat to the environment. The bill, H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, is a major win for the pesticide industry, which spent $43 million on lobbying this Congressional season, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. At the forefront are provisions that weaken the organic standards and the elimination of the requirement that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) assess pesticide impacts on endangered species before U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves a pesticide for use. The bill also exempts those applying pesticides to lakes, streams, and rivers from having a permit under the Clean Water Act. This will allow indiscriminate contamination of waterways in spite of reports that pesticides are detected frequently and at environmentally relevant […]

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15
Jun

Plan Actions to Protect Pollinators During National Pollinator Week, June 18-24

(Beyond Pesticides, June 15, 2018) In recognition of the importance of pollinators and biodiversity to a healthy environment and healthy people during National Pollinator Week, June 18-24, Beyond Pesticides announces a week of activities and actions. Monday (June 18) Watch and share the new short-film “Seeds that Poison.” To kick off Pollinator Week 2018, Beyond Pesticides is releasing a new video highlighting the hazards associated with a major use of bee-toxic pesticides – seed coatings. Please watch and share with friends and family! Click here to watch Seeds that Poison. After distributing the film, please contact your state elected officials to ask that they act to protect pollinators. (Connecticut and Maryland have taken action.) Folks in the DC area can also attend a “Pollinator Forum” to learn about pollinators and celebrate them. The event is taking place at the Tabard Inn (Monday, June 18) and will feature Beyond Pesticides’ Science and Regulatory Director Nichelle Harriott. Click here to purchase tickets. Tuesday Plant pollinator habitat. Explore Beyond Pesticides’ resources to find ideas for native plantings or sources of untreated flowers and dig your pollinator-friendly garden today. Use the Bee Protective Habitat Guide and or Pollinator-Friendly Seed Directory to help! Wednesday Take local action. […]

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08
Jun

Bayer Ditches Monsanto Name in Merger

(Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2018) In the wake of U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) approval of the buyout of Monsanto by Bayer, the new mega-corporation — now the world’s largest agrochemical and seed company — has announced that it will drop the “Monsanto” name, possibly as soon as late summer, when the acquisition is expected to be completed. Bayer first needs to sell off $9 billion in assets to German chemical giant BASF in compliance with a DOJ antitrust agreement that will permit the merger. The union of these two corporations, which joins Bayer’s pesticide business with Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) seed operations, faced vigorous opposition from health and environment advocates both in the U.S. and abroad. Fortune magazine has pointed out that dropping a well-known name is unusual, but given that Monsanto is one of the world’s most-hated companies, perhaps the move is understandable. Ditching the “Monsanto” moniker is reportedly one aspect of a coming Bayer campaign to regain public trust and make efforts to engage with critics, according to Bayer spokespeople. Liam Condon, president of Bayer’s Crop Science Division, has said, “Just changing the name doesn’t do so much — we’ve got to explain to farmers and ultimately to […]

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06
Jun

EU’s Highest Court Upholds Ban of the Three Top Bee-Killing Neonicotinoid Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2018) By the close of 2018, three top neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides, linked to the worldwide decline in bee populations, will be banned for outdoor use in the European Union (EU), based on the General Court of the European Union’s (GCEU) ruling last month. The GCEU, the equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court, ruled in favor of taking precautionary action to protect pollinators from clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam. This ruling allows for the limited use of neonic-treated seeds grown in permanent greenhouses where contact with bees is not expected. In its lawsuit, multinational seed and chemical companies, Syngenta and Bayer –manufacturers of the neonics in question– argued unsuccessfully that the pesticides do not necessarily harm bees if farmers use them according to label instructions. Syngenta also sought compensation of approximately $435 million to offset market losses resulting from the ban, but that, too, was denied. In rejecting the arguments of Syngenta and Bayer, the high court aligned itself with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and its assessment of the harm caused by the widely used pesticides. EFSA’s updated assessment, released in February of this year, provided convincing evidence that neonics represent a risk to wild bees and […]

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01
Jun

States and Health Groups Sue EPA to Protect Farmworker Health

(Beyond Pesticides, June 1, 2018) States and civil society organizations launched new lawsuits in late May against the Pruitt Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its continued attack against farmworker health and safety. Two separate lawsuits, one filed by attorneys general in the states of California, Maryland, and New York, and another by health and justice advocates represented by Earthjustice and Farmworker Justice take aim at EPA’s decision to delay the implementation of training requirements designed to protect farmworkers and their families. This is the latest in a series of lawsuits which began when EPA announced it would delay the Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule in May of last year. Under the Obama administration, EPA released new rules updating farmworker protections after over 20 years of inaction. These rules are important because unlike your average American worker, farmworkers do not have protections under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). At its introduction, the new standards raised the age to apply toxic pesticides to 18, and improved the frequency and quality of training materials farmworkers are provided, among a number of other positive changes. After EPA announced it would be delaying the implementation of these changes, and reviewing the age requirement, […]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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30
Apr

Tell Congress to Vote Against the Farm Bill if It Weakens Organic Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, April 30, 2018) Organic standards are under attack in the Farm Bill, H.R. 2, passed by the Agriculture Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives and in language emerging in the Senate Agriculture Committee. This adds to the attacks on which we have previously taken action. Tell Congress to Vote Against the Farm Bill if It Weakens Organic Standards The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) gives the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) broad authority and responsibility to ensure organic integrity. The Farm Bill contains provisions that: Will permit the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to sidestep the NOSB in allowing post-harvest handling substances (sanitizers) to be used in organic production; Change the classification of types of people who may be appointed to the NOSB by adding employees of farmers, handlers, and retailers; and Force consideration of the judgment of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) when those agencies find a material to meet their own (less stringent) criteria for use. These provisions are a direct attack on the strength of organic standards. When OFPA was passed and placed under USDA authority, Congress established a board composed of members of the organic community –farmers, handlers/processors, […]

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27
Apr

European Parliament Sets Stronger Organic Regulations than U.S., Rejects Labeling Hydroponic as Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2018)  After more than five years of intensive negotiations, European Members of Parliament (MEP) overwhelmingly passed the long-anticipated, new organic certification and labeling regulations, with 466 voting in favor, 124 against and 50 abstentions. While the European Union (EU) Council of Ministers, must formally adopt the regulations, their easy passage is expected. Regulations will take effect in January 2021. The new organic regulations are purported to provide more clarity to organic producers and consumers and to harmonize organic regulation across the EU. But, they also are likely to fuel disharmony with the U.S. National Organic Program (NOP) by failing to act swiftly to curtail fraudulent organic exports and by prohibiting hydroponics systems of production in organic, which the US currently allows. “The development of organic production is a political objective of the EU,” According to the EP’s background document on the regulations. As a strategy for increasing organic agriculture, which now encompasses 6.7% of EU agricultural land, MEPs intend for the new regulations to encourage more farmers to go organic, enhance consumer trust in the EU organic logo, and improve the quality of organic food. According to the European Parliament’s press release, “Strict, risk-based checks will take […]

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26
Apr

More Reasons than Ever to Buy, Eat, and Support Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2018) Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes its Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™. The guide includes the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean 15” lists of conventionally grown produce items that, respectively, are the most heavily tainted by toxic pesticide residue, and by contrast, have little if any residue. EWG analyzes testing conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Pesticide Data Program to arrive at its annual assessment. Its report for 2018 found that nearly 70% of conventional produce is contaminated with residue and/or breakdown byproducts of one or more of the 230 pesticides that USDA evaluated. The top items on the 2018 Dirty Dozen list include strawberries, spinach, nectarines, apples, and grapes. One-third of all the strawberry samples harbored 10 or more pesticides, and one sample showed residue of 22 different compounds. Pesticide contamination was found in 97% of spinach samples, 94% of nectarines, 90% of apples, 96% of grapes, and 99% of peaches. Topping the 2018 Clean 15 list of the least-toxic conventionally grown produce items are avocados (99+% of samples tested negative for pesticides), sweet corn (98+%), pineapples (90%), onions (90+%), and cabbage (86%). EWG again this year added hot peppers as […]

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13
Apr

Hawaii Poised to Ban the Insecticide Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, April 13, 2018) Hawaii is poised to become the first state in the nation to prohibit the use of pesticides containing the developmental neurotoxicant, chlorpyrifos. SB3095, passed unanimously by the State House of Representatives this week, prohibits the application of restricted use pesticides (RUPs) within 100 feet of schools when they are in session, and it requires commercial agricultural entities to regularly report their RUP use to the Department of Agriculture (DOA). In the absence of adequate federal procedures to protect communities from hazardous pesticide drift, this bill represents the culmination of efforts by the people of Hawaii to ban and restrict the most egregious pesticides and to increase the transparency regarding their use. As bill supporters rallied in the Capitol’s Rotunda this week, SB3095 was sent to the Senate. No date has yet been set for its consideration, but Senators who support the bill hope to secure the 13 votes needed to pass it and avoid further weakening of its provisions. Beyond Pesticides has actively supported this and previous iterations of SB3095, arguing for the establishment of a much more protective one mile buffer zone between schools and RUP applications to safeguard school children where they learn. […]

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