[X] CLOSEMAIN MENU

  • Archives

  • Categories

    • ALS (2)
    • Announcements (586)
    • Antibiotic Resistance (11)
    • Aquaculture (23)
    • Aquatic Organisms (8)
    • Beneficials (30)
    • Biofuels (6)
    • Biological Control (15)
    • Biomonitoring (28)
    • Birds (8)
    • btomsfiolone (1)
    • Bug Bombs (1)
    • Canada (10)
    • Cannabis (24)
    • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (5)
    • Children (30)
    • Children/Schools (222)
    • Climate Change (40)
    • Clover (1)
    • contamination (80)
    • Environmental Justice (118)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (154)
    • Events (82)
    • Farm Bill (10)
    • Farmworkers (128)
    • Fertilizer (4)
    • Forestry (2)
    • Fracking (3)
    • Fungicides (7)
    • Goats (1)
    • Golf (11)
    • Health care (32)
    • Holidays (24)
    • Household Use (1)
    • Integrated and Organic Pest Management (59)
    • International (305)
    • Invasive Species (29)
    • Label Claims (47)
    • Lawns/Landscapes (196)
    • Litigation (294)
    • Microbiata (6)
    • Microbiome (6)
    • Nanosilver (1)
    • Nanotechnology (53)
    • National Politics (386)
    • Pesticide Drift (135)
    • Pesticide Efficacy (1)
    • Pesticide Regulation (693)
    • Pesticide Residues (150)
    • Pets (18)
    • Preemption (21)
    • Resistance (83)
    • Rodenticide (22)
    • synergistic effects (2)
    • Synthetic Pyrethroids (2)
    • Take Action (456)
    • Toxic Waste (1)
    • Uncategorized (583)
    • Wildlife/Endangered Sp. (345)
    • Wood Preservatives (22)
  • Most Viewed Posts

Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Agriculture' Category


17
Oct

Despite Damning Scientific Evidence, EPA Dismisses Link Between Parkinson’s and Exposure to the Herbicide Paraquat

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is downplaying the connection between exposure to the herbicide paraquat and the development of Parkinson‚Äôs disease, per registration review documents released by the agency this week. Although unsurprising given the current administration‚Äôs track record of defending some of the most heinous chemicals still on the market, the review nonetheless marks a low point for scientific integrity within EPA‚Äôs Office of Pesticide Programs, according to advocates. Health and environmental advocates have already discounted EPA‚Äôs industry-biased review, and are instead pushing hard for Congressional action ‚Äď namely HR 3817, the Protect Against Paraquat Act, introduced by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY). Under federal law, pesticides are required to undergo reevaluation every 15 years. Paraquat is a potent restricted use herbicide, not available to be applied by residential users, but permitted for use on multiple agriculture crops. Over the last decade, independent peer-reviewed scientific studies have repeatedly found strong associations between paraquat to the development of Parkinson‚Äôs disease. Many of these studies have been covered in Beyond Pesticides‚Äô Daily News or are recorded in the Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database. In response to this growing body of literature, EPA conducted an epidemiological evaluation of published […]

Share

15
Oct

Take Action: EPA Must Evaluate the Effects of Multiple Pesticide Ingredient Use and Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, October 15, 2019)¬†EPA is requesting comment on its proposal to require data that will help it determine synergistic effects of some pesticides. EPA has received on a pressure on a number of fronts, including a report by the Center for Biological Diversity, a report by its own Inspector General, a letter from 35 Congressional Representatives, and research pointing to the unavoidability of synergistic effects‚ÄĒthe chemical combinations that cause greater effects when mixed together than the sum of the individual chemical effects. Despite all of the evidence that synergism is the rule rather than the exception, EPA‚Äôs consideration focuses on a narrow range of cases in which pesticide product patents make claims of synergy. Tell EPA to always investigate synergy and to determine need for pesticides. One such product is Dow‚Äôs Enlist Duo, which combines glyphosate and 2,4-D in an attempt to overcome weed resistance. The focus on products and tank mixes where synergism is a selling point brings to light the fact that as a rule, EPA does not request efficacy data in registering pesticides not intended to protect public health. Thus, although required by law to weigh pesticide risks and benefits, EPA rarely has data to make […]

Share

08
Oct

Take Action: Congressional Oversight Needed on Illegal Pesticide Use in Cannabis Production and Resulting Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, October 8, 2019)¬†As medicinal and recreational marijuana continue to be legalized in a growing number of states, concerns about the safety of the burgeoning industry‚ÄĒhow the substance is grown, harvested, processed, distributed, sold, and used‚ÄĒhave emerged. Pesticides have not been registered for use in cannabis production, yet they are being widely used under state-adopted enforcement levels that imply safety, but not subject to any standard of review that meets pesticide registration standards. Pesticide contamination of medical cannabis is important not only because it introduces toxic chemicals into a medicine, but also because medical cannabis can interfere with the body’s ability to detoxify those pesticides. Cannabinoids have been shown to inhibit the activity of enzymes that help detoxify chemicals, which can make pesticides more toxic. Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to hold oversight hearings and request investigations into EPA and state responsibilities to prevent misuse of pesticides on cannabis. New Frontier Data CEO Giadha Aguirre de Carcer, pointing to California residue testing results, cites a threat to the medicinal cannabis market. She notes that 84% of 2016 product batches tested were found to harbor pesticide residue; and that in the recent California round of assays 20% failed established […]

Share

07
Oct

Banana Workers Made Sterile from Pesticide Sue Dow in France

(Beyond Pesticides, October 7, 2019)¬†Central American agricultural workers, exposed in the 1970s and early 1980s to a highly toxic pesticide, subsequently began suing manufacturers in the mid-1980s, with mixed success. Now, some of those workers have stepped up their game: they have brought suit against three big agrochemical industries in France to try to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in damages awarded to them by Nicaraguan courts, but never paid. As reported by The New York Times, ‚Äúthe case could set a legal precedent and lead to more lawsuits in France for harm done in other countries by the pesticide Nemagon.‚ÄĚ Farmworkers in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, the Philippines, West Africa, and the U.S. were exposed to the highly toxic, brominated organochlorine pesticide ingredient, DBCP (dibromochloropropane), from the 1960s until cessation of its use, which has varied from country to country. DBCP was sold in the pesticide products Nemagon and Fumazone as a soil fumigant and nematocide on banana plantations and other crops across Central America (especially), in western Africa, and in Hawaii. As acknowledged by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), DBCP has multiple adverse health impacts: decreased sperm production and mobility, disturbed estrous cycles, reduced phagocytosis […]

Share

04
Oct

Court Strikes Down Aerial Pesticide Spray Ban in Lincoln County, Oregon ‚ÄĒ Challenging Local Rights to Protect Communities

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2019)¬†A Circuit Court judge in Lincoln County, Oregon has overturned a hard-won ban on aerial spraying of pesticides, citing preemption of state law¬†over any local ordinance. In her late-September decision, Judge Sheryl Bachart wrote that Oregon‚Äôs Pesticide Control Act ‚Äúexpressly and conclusively displaces any local ordinance regarding pesticide use. The intention of the legislature is apparent and unambiguous.‚ÄĚ She noted in her opinion that the Oregon Revised Statutes (the codified laws of the state of Oregon), Chapter 634.057 ‚Äúprohibits local governments from making any ordinance, rule or regulation governing pesticide sale or use.‚ÄĚ Voters in the county approved the subject ban on the aerial spraying of pesticides (Measure 21-177) in 2017, the initiative having been spurred by the work of Lincoln County Community Rights (LCCR), a grassroots organization that ‚Äúseeks to educate and empower people to exercise their right of local community self-government in matters that pertain to their fundamental rights, their natural environment, their quality of life, their health and their safety.‚ÄĚ In its advocacy for the initiative, the group cited both the harm done by aerial pesticide spraying to people and ecosystems, and the injustice of laws ‚ÄĒ often drafted by corporations for approval […]

Share

01
Oct

Common Fungicides’ Use Leads to Algae Blooms

(Beyond Pesticides, October 1, 2019) Commonly used fungicides induce trophic cascades that can lead to the overgrowth of algae, according to research published in the journal Chemosphere. While the current process for regulating pesticides in the U.S. focuses on the acute toxicity of pesticides, and may consider some chronic impacts, real world complexities as described in the current study are not reviewed. This gap in our assessment can lead to significant adverse effects not just on individual species, but entire ecosystems. Researchers investigated how fungal parasites known as chytrids control the growth of phytoplankton. While some strains of chytrids are notorious for their impact to frog species, some do in fact provide important stopgaps within ecosystems. “By infecting cyanobacteria, parasitic fungi limit their growth and thus reduce the occurrence and intensity of toxic algal blooms,” says IGB researcher Ramsy Agha, PhD, co-author the study. “Whereas we usually perceive disease as a negative phenomenon, parasites are very important for the normal functioning of aquatic ecosystems and can — as in this case — also have positive effects. Pollution by fungicides can interfere with this natural process,” the researcher adds. The agricultural fungicides tebuconazole and azoxystrobin were tested on chytrid-infected toxic bloom-forming […]

Share

30
Sep

Fall 2019 National Organic Standards Board Meeting: Last Chance to Comment

(Beyond Pesticides, September 30, 2019)¬†A warm thank you to all who have sent in comments for¬†the¬†Fall 2019 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting. We are sending out a second reminder so that those who have not commented can take this opportunity to do so. If you have already submitted,¬†we encourage you to make a¬†second round of comments to make sure your voice is heard! Public comments are due by October 3, 2019. Your comments and participation are critical to the integrity of the organic label. Written comments may be submitted through Regulations.gov until 11:59 pm ET October 3, 2010. Reservations for in-person and webinar comments close at the same time. The proposals of the NOSB, as a part of its ongoing review of practices and materials, are published for public comment. ¬†Beyond Pesticides/OrganicEye is providing the public with a listing and analysis of the issues under consideration by the Board when it meets in Pittsburgh, PA on October 23 – 25, 2019. You can view USDA’s announcement of the NOSB’s meeting and proposals here. Issues before the NOSB include materials allowed in organic production as well as some policy issues. Materials are either being considered for initial use in organics […]

Share

20
Sep

Toxic Pesticides Found, Again, to Yield No Increase in Productivity or Economic Benefit for Farmers

(Beyond Pesticides, September 20, 2019) The actual utility of pesticides to achieve their purported goals is an under-recognized failing of the regulatory review of pesticide compounds for use. A study published in Scientific Reports now exposes the faulty assumptions underlying the use of neonicotinoids ‚ÄĒ the most widely used category of insecticides worldwide. The study demonstrates that use of neonicotinoids (neonics) to treat seeds ‚ÄĒ a very common use of these pesticides ‚ÄĒ actually provides negligible benefits to soybean farmers in terms of yield and overall economic benefit. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should take notice, and consider that efficacy ought to have a role in the agency‚Äôs evaluation of pesticides for registration. Neonicotinoids are systemic pesticides that move through a plant‚Äôs vascular system and are expressed in pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets (drops of sap exuded on the tips or edges of leaves of some vascular plants). They can also persist in the environment ‚ÄĒ in soil and water ‚ÄĒ for extended periods. Neonics are applied to seed, as well as to crop soils and to plant foliage. Corn and soybean seed treatments represent the largest uses of neonics in the U.S.: for somewhere between 34% and 50+% […]

Share

18
Sep

Study Finds that Regenerative Agriculture Is Undermined by Toxic Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, September 18, 2019)¬†A new report published by Friends of the Earth (FOE), ‚ÄúPesticides and Soil Health‚ÄĚ highlights healthy soil as a key pillar of regenerative, organic agriculture. There are numerous methods that regenerative agriculture utilizes to maximize soil health such as cover cropping, crop rotation, and compost applications. FOE focuses in on an often-overlooked aspect to soil health, ‚Äúthat eliminating or greatly reducing toxic pesticides is key to building healthy soils and ecosystems for a healthy planet.‚ÄĚ Beyond Pesticides has long believed that toxic pesticide use has no place in organic and regenerative land management practices and that they can and should be eliminated. According to Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides and former member of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) said, “Pesticide reduction strategies that allow continued use of toxic substances undermine the soil biology and biodiversity that is critical to healthy plants and¬† unnecessary to achieving pest management goals.” “It’s past time to talk elimination of toxic pesticides and nothing short of that.” Toxic pesticides have a diverse range of unintended impacts, including ¬†cancer and other diseases to those exposed via usage or drift, and crop loss. Lesser known is the impact that pesticides […]

Share

17
Sep

Study Finds Neonics Result in the Silent Demise of Songbirds

(Beyond Pesticides, September 17, 2019) The poisonous farm fields migratory birds forage on during their journey reduce their weight, delay their travel, and ultimately jeopardize their survival, according to new research published in the journal Science. ¬†Like their effects on pollinator populations, neonicotinoid insecticides generally are not killing migratory songbirds outright, but instead precipitating a cascade of sublethal impacts that reduces their fitness in the wild. As the authors told Environmental Health News, the study is a call not simply to ban neonics or one class of chemical, but to change the entire farming system toward more sustainable bird and bee-friendly practices. Using new technology, this study was not only able to dose wild-caught songbirds (white-crowned sparrows), but also track their migration route using automated telemetry. Apart from the control group that received no pesticide exposure, sparrows were treated at levels well below the median lethal dose (3% of the lethal dose in the ‚Äėlow‚Äô exposure group and 10% within the ‚Äėhigh‚Äô exposure group), and permitted to continue on their migratory path. These are exposure amounts similar to a songbird accidentally ingesting a few treated seeds, according to the study. Within six hours, both the ‚Äėlow‚Äô and ‚Äėhigh‚Äô exposure group […]

Share

16
Sep

Take Action: Support Strong Organic Standards, Submit Your Comments to the Fall 2019 National Organic Standards Board Meeting

(Beyond Pesticides, September 16, 2019)¬†The Fall 2019 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting dates have been announced and public comments are due by October 3, 2019. Your comments and participation are critical to the integrity of the organic label. Written comments may be submitted through Regulations.gov until 11:59 pm ET October 3, 2010. Reservations for in-person and webinar comments close at the same time. The proposals of the NOSB, as a part of its ongoing review of practices and materials, are published for public comment. ¬†Beyond Pesticides/OrganicEye is providing the public with a listing and analysis of the issues under consideration by the Board when it meets in Pittsburgh, PA on October 23 – 25, 2019. You can view USDA’s announcement of the NOSB’s meeting and proposals here. Issues before the NOSB include materials allowed in organic production as well as¬†some policy issues. Materials are either being considered for initial use in organics or the subject of a five-year Sunset Review. To be allowed, materials must have evidence demonstrating that they meet Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) requirements of essentiality, no adverse effects on humans and the environment, and compatibility with organic practices. Major issues before the NOSB at the […]

Share

13
Sep

Herbicide Drift from Agricultural Use Found to Harm Bird Habitat

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2019)¬†A study on the use of the herbicide dicamba‚Äôs off-target effects finds broad impacts, in both geographic spread and the variety of affected species, with use of the weed killer on Arkansas cropland putting birds at risk in agricultural landscapes. Audubon of Arkansas is reporting results of its community science dicamba monitoring project, conducted under the direction of Bird Conservation Director Dan Scheiman, PhD, and launched in late spring 2019. The project monitored dicamba symptomology in species on municipal, state, and federal lands, where dicamba was not applied, but where its impacts were nonetheless detected. Arkansas Audubon ‚Äúpredicts that in a landscape full of GMO crops [genetically modified organisms] (on which dicamba is typically used), the atmospheric loading of volatile dicamba could be enough to cause landscape scale damage to our state natural areas, wildlife management areas, national wildlife refuges, family farms, and the wildlife they harbor.‚ÄĚ Dicamba herbicides are volatile compounds used to control broadleaf weeds ‚ÄĒ especially on fields of GMO soybean and cotton crops that have been genetically engineered for resistance to dicamba. These herbicides damage non-GMO crops and native plants well beyond intended application areas. (In 2017,¬†more than 3 million acres of […]

Share

04
Sep

Health and Environmental Groups Call on EPA to Revoke Glyphosate’s Registration

(Beyond Pesticides, September 4, 2019) Sixteen organizations representing health, environmental, farmer, and farmworker communities joined together yesterday to call on EPA to remove glyphosate from the marketplace. The groups cite a combination of high-profile lawsuits, environmental impacts, increasing reports of weed resistance, and growing public concern over the health effects of glyphosate in their comments on EPA‚Äôs interim reregistration review decision for the chemical. The comments warn that EPA is at risk of damaging the public‚Äôs trust in the agency‚Äôs review process for toxic pesticides. ‚ÄúEPA‚Äôs myopic review and response to the dangers posed by glyphosate does a disservice to American farmers, farmworkers, and commercial landscapers wishing to use least-toxic products that do not put them at risk of health impacts, and consumers aiming to make the safest choice in regards to what to feed their family and how to manage their yards,‚ÄĚ the comments read. The document likewise replies to EPA‚Äôs attacks against the World Health Organization‚Äôs International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which determined glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental organisms. EPA has indicated that its process for evaluating glyphosate, ‚Äú‚Ķis more transparent than IARC‚Äôs process‚ÄĚ and that IARC‚Äôs […]

Share

03
Sep

Take Action: Help Save the Amazon Rainforest ‚ÄĒ #BoycottBrazilianFood

(Beyond Pesticides, September 3, 2019)¬†Brazil’s environment is under siege, as President Jair Bolsonaro has approved hundreds of new toxic pesticides this year and gutted watchdog environment agencies. Among the many dreadful results, news reports indicate that between December 2018 and March 2019, Brazilian beekeepers found more than 500 million dead bees. As the Amazon burns,¬†Indigenous activists are calling on the world to help, and Beyond Pesticides is responding by promoting a boycott started by a Swedish supermarket owner: #BoycottBrazilianFood. Pledge to #BoycottBrazilianFood, and ask major U.S. supermarkets to do the same. The Amazon rainforest is the world’s biggest terrestrial carbon sink, and home both to the planet’s richest biodiversity and approximately 400 indigenous tribes. The country has 2300 pesticides registered for use; a total of 290 new toxic pesticides have been approved as of late August 2019. Swedish supermarket owner Johannes Cullberg¬†started an international boycott in response to Brazil’s approval and use of hazardous pesticides in food production. #BoycottBrazilianFood began in June of 2019 when the total of newly registered pesticides stood at 197.¬†Cullburg declared, “We need to stop (the president) Bolsonaro, he’s a maniac.‚ÄĚ The boycott prompted a response from the Brazilian embassy, stating, ‚Äú‚Ķthe Embassy wishes to inform […]

Share

30
Aug

Brain Function Damage from Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides, including Chlorpyrifos, Documented with Imaging

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2019) The indictment of organophosphate pesticides gained more traction with the publication, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, of a new research study out of the University of California, Berkeley. The research, among the first to use advanced brain imaging to assess cortical activation, shows altered brain activity, during tasks that call on executive function, in teenagers from California‚Äôs Salinas Valley (the site of significant organophosphate use) whose mothers were exposed prenatally. The UC Berkeley study underscores the slow-motion calamity of the Trump administration Environmental Protection Agency‚Äôs (EPA‚Äôs) failure to ban the use of this class of pesticides, and of chlorpyrifos in particular, which compounds carry extreme risks for children. The effects of this prenatal exposure continue to unfold during children‚Äôs critical developmental periods. Researchers used fNIRS (functional near-infrared spectroscopy) imaging to monitor blood flow in the brains of the teens, 15‚Äď17, born and raised in the Salinas Valley. They used data from the California¬†Pesticide Use Reporting¬†program (which documents locations and times of pesticide spraying) to estimate the subjects‚Äô mothers‚Äô proximity to organophosphate (OP) applications during pregnancy. The subject adolescents ‚ÄĒ estimated to have relatively high levels of prenatal exposure to organophosphates ‚ÄĒ […]

Share

29
Aug

USDA “People’s Garden” Turned Over to Agrichemical Corporations to Promote Pesticides and GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, August 29, 2019) The Peoples Garden, located on the grounds on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the national mall, has been renamed and remodeled to highlight genetically engineered (GE) crops and farming techniques that directly counter the organic movement. The new exhibit, entitled ‚ÄúVoice of the Farmer,” is part of the ‚ÄúTrust in Food‚ÄĚ initiative of Farm Journal magazine. This marks a continuation of trends in the Trump administration: pushing for GE/GMOs and pesticides. Since 2009, the USDA Peoples Garden has highlighted organic agriculture. It was originally envisioned by the Obama administration as a place where visitors could learn about what differentiates organic from conventional chemical-intensive food production, and the practices used in organic land management. The garden had several different exhibits: the Three Sisters Garden, the People‚Äôs Garden Apiary, three green roofs, a certified organic vegetable garden, a tool shed with a rain barrel and green roof, wildlife and pollinator friendly landscaping, and a bat house. With an emphasis on sustainable gardening practices such as cover cropping, storm water collection, and composting, the garden served as a headquarters for numerous Peoples Gardens founded between 2009 and 2016. The People‚Äôs Garden and other projects of the […]

Share

27
Aug

EPA Sued for Registering Known Bee-Killing Pesticide for Use on Bee-Attractive Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, August 27, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the subject to a new legal challenge from environmental groups after approving the use an insecticide shown to be highly toxic to bees and other pollinators.¬† The lawsuit, filed in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals by the Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety, aims to stop the use of sulfoxaflor on more than 200 million acres of crops. As EPA under the Trump administration has become increasingly emboldened to fight for industry priorities, concerned organizations and people are responding by supporting legal challenges and working to pass policies that truly protect wildlife and the environment. According to EPA‚Äôs ecological risk assessment for sulfoxaflor, the chemical is ‚Äúvery highly toxic‚ÄĚ to bees. A study published last year in the journal Nature found significant concerns with the chemical‚Äôs ability to harm already declining pollinator populations. ‚ÄúThere is an urgent need to pre-emptively evaluate the potential sub-lethal effects of sulfoximine-based pesticides on pollinators, because such effects are rarely detected by standard ecotoxicological assessments, but can have major impacts at larger ecological scales,‚ÄĚ the authors wrote. EPA had already run in to legal problems associated with its registration […]

Share

26
Aug

Take Action: Help Organic Farmers Save the Planet‚ÄĒSupport the Climate Stewardship Act

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2019)¬†U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) recently released¬†draft¬†legislation¬†that will ‚Äď among other initiatives ‚Äď promote carbon-sequestering practices in agriculture. The draft Climate Stewardship Act includes farmers as a critical component in the response to the climate crisis by encouraging ‚Äúcarbon farming‚ÄĚ through incentives, training, and research. U.S. Representative Deb Haaland (D-NM) is championing companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill will likely be introduced in September when Congress reconvenes. Ask your U.S. Representative and Senators to Co-sponsor the Climate Stewardship Act and Help Farmers Save the Planet. July of 2019 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth. The last time atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were this high (over 415 ppm) was during the Pliocene period ‚Äď between 5.3 and 2.6 million years ago. The best time to have addressed global warming was 20 years ago, but the second-best time is now. Organic, regenerative agricultural practices help mend the earth from the ground up. In addition to incentivizing soil health practices that organic farmers already employ, the bill adds $75,000,000 to the organic research and extension initiative (OREI). The bill contains a requirement that no less than 50% of these funds apply to reducing […]

Share

22
Aug

European Regulators Issue Warning on Danger of Chlorpyrifos Prior to Release of Full Review

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2019) In early August, experts from European Union (EU) member states and staff members of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced their conclusion that chlorpyrifos fails to meet criteria for renewed approval for use, potentially moving the EU a step closer to an outright ban. This ends the green light that chlorpyrifos (and its structurally close cousin, chlorpyrifos-methyl) have enjoyed at the EU level since 2006. That permitting is set to expire in January of 2020, although eight member states ‚ÄĒ Germany, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovenia ‚ÄĒ had already either banned or never authorized chlorpyrifos use in their countries. In the U.S., states are picking up the slack on efforts against chlorpyrifos use as, in the tenure of the current administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has chosen to protect industry rather than human health and the environment. The step EFSA took was unusual in that the agency does not typically publish findings before ongoing peer reviews are completed. EUObserver.com reports that EFSA‚Äôs public statement was triggered by a July 2019 EU request for information ‚Äúon the available outcomes of the human health assessment in the context of the pesticides peer […]

Share

15
Aug

Chemical-Intensive Agriculture Is Increasingly Toxic to Insects

(Beyond Pesticides, August 15, 2019) An article in the journal Plos One, ‚ÄúAn assessment of acute insecticide toxicity loading (AITL) of chemical pesticides used on agricultural land in the United States,‚ÄĚ shows that recent shifts in insecticide use‚ÄĒfrom organophosphates and carbamates to synthetic pyrethroids and neonicotinoids‚ÄĒhave made a large contribution to the ongoing insect apocalypse. This shift to insecticides that target insects based on both selective toxicity and delivery method occurs within a context of shrinking habitat and biodiversity. The study, by Michael DiBartolomeis, PhD, Susan Kegley, PhD, Pierre Mineau, PhD, Rosemarie Radford, and Kendra Klein, PhD, presents a measure of acute insecticide toxicity loading that incorporates acute toxicity, quantity used, and the rate at which the insecticide degrades. Goulson et al. applied a similar measure in Great Britain that did not incorporate the rate of degradation. Both studies use the median lethal dose (LD50) to honey bees as a measure of acute toxicity and calculate the potential number of bee deaths based on the number of lethal doses of various insecticides applied in the field. In both cases, researchers used toxicity estimates for honey bees because they are widely available. Other insects may be more or less sensitive. The […]

Share

05
Aug

Remind USDA that Genetic Engineering Is NOT Acceptable in Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, August 5, 2019)¬†The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) appears to have forgotten the lesson learned 20 years ago when it was forced to ban genetic engineering (GE) in organic regulations. At a July 17 hearing called by the U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture, and Research on ‚ÄúAssessing the Effectiveness of the National Organic Program,‚ÄĚ Greg Ibach, the USDA’s Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, stated, ‚ÄúThere is the opportunity to open the discussion to consider whether it is appropriate for some of these new technologies, including gene editing, to be eligible to be used to enhance organic production.” In 1997, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published a draft rule that would have allowed GE, irradiation, and sewage sludge (the ‚ÄúBig Three‚ÄĚ) in organic production, which was met by the second largest number of comments the agency had ever received‚ÄĒwell before the days of internet advocacy‚ÄĒoverwhelmingly opposing the inclusion of the ‚ÄúBig Three.‚ÄĚ ¬†The prohibition of gene editing falls under the ‚Äúexcluded methods‚ÄĚ provision of the organic regulations. The law prohibits “a variety of methods used to genetically modify organisms or influence their growth and development by means that are not possible under natural conditions […]

Share

01
Aug

Brazil Approves 262 New Hazardous Pesticides, Makes Death Sole Criteria for Toxicity

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2019) Last month, the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture approved the registration of 51 additional hazardous pesticides and brought the total to 262 newly approved pesticides this year. Moreover, Brazil‚Äôs health surveillance agency, Anvisa, approved new rules that establish risk of death as the singular criteria for determining toxicity of pesticides. Human Rights Watch, a nonprofit that conducts local investigations, reports that the government has simultaneously been unresponsive to incidents of pesticide poisoning. Brazil‚Äôs president, Jair Boslonoro, is known for his far-right politics, and has been accused of corruption, scandals, and disregard for the environment. This rapid registration of novel pesticides is unprecedented in Brazil. Many of the products are generic versions of existing formulas, with government officials seeking to lower the price of pesticides. Products include insecticides with the active ingredient sulfoxaflor, a bee-toxic pesticide that has also recently gained traction in the U.S. despite pushback from beekeepers and environmentalists. While an American license for a pesticide, for example, lasts 15 years, Brazilian registration of pesticides never expires. Generic products lower the price barrier to amplified use of these interminable, toxic pesticides. In 1989, Brazil established one of the toughest pesticide laws in the world that […]

Share

29
Jul

EPA’s Office of Inspector General Must Investigate EPA’s Failure to Fully Assess Pesticide Hazards

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2019)¬†A research study, published in March in¬†Scientific Reports, uncovers a pesticide effect on a sugar-metabolizing enzyme common to all cells that has broad health ramifications ignored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) safety testing protocol. This finding raises a¬†larger question regarding the need for EPA to test for the synergistic effects of pesticides, whereby pesticides and chemicals in combination have an even greater effect than they do by themselves. The research, by T. Tristan Brandhorst, PhD, Iain Kean, PhD, and others in the lab of Bruce Klein, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin‚ÄďMadison and UW School ofMedicine and Public Health, specifically sheds light on the mode of action of the fungicide¬†fludioxonil. Fludioxonil, a phenylpyrrole fungicide, was developed to treat seeds during storage, and has come to be used commonly on grains, vegetables, fruits, and ornamental plants during cultivation, and produce after harvest to extend ‚Äúshelf life.‚ÄĚ As reported by the American Association for the Advancement of Science publication,¬†EurekAlert, ‚ÄúThe ability of [the fungicide] fludioxonil to act on a sugar-metabolizing enzyme common to all cells, and to produce the damaging compound methylglyoxal, may mean that the pesticide has more potential to harm non-fungal cells than previously […]

Share