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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Agriculture' Category


13
Jun

85 Pesticides Banned Around the World Account for a Quarter of U.S. Use

(Beyond Pesticides, June 13, 2019) The U.S. allows the use of 85 pesticides that have been banned or are being phased out in the European Union, China or Brazil, according to a peer-reviewed study published last week by the academic journal Environmental Health. In 2016, the U.S. used 322 million pounds of pesticides that are banned in the E.U., accounting for more than one-quarter of all agricultural pesticide use in this country, according to the study. U.S. applicators also used 40 million pounds of pesticides that are banned or being phased out in China and 26 million pounds of pesticides that are banned or being phased out in Brazil. “It’s appalling the U.S. lags so far behind these major agricultural powers in banning harmful pesticides,” said Nathan Donley, PhD, a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity and author of the study. “The fact that we’re still using hundreds of millions of pounds of poisons other nations have wisely rejected as too risky spotlights our dangerously lax approach to phasing out hazardous pesticides.” The study compared the approval status of more than 500 pesticides used in outdoor applications in the world’s four largest agricultural economies: the United States, European Union, China and Brazil. Report […]

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11
Jun

Unapproved, Roundup-Ready Wheat Found in Washington Farm Field

(Beyond Pesticides, June 11, 2019) Genetically engineered (GE) wheat developed to tolerate repeated applications of Bayer Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide has been discovered in a farm field in Washington State. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has never approved a GE wheat variety for commercial production, making the incident a potential economic export risk. In the past, Asian and European countries have temporarily blocked purchases of U.S. wheat as a result of GE contamination. Organic and non-GE farmers are also at risk as any contamination with non-GE varieties can result in loss of certifications and price premiums. According to USDA, the discovery was made on an unplanted wheat field, though officials have refused to disclose where in the state the GE plants were found. In 2013, a similar situation played out in Oregon after a farmer noticed wheat plants persisting after an application of Roundup. The discovery led to a number of lawsuits against agrichemical company Monsanto, which is now owned by Bayer Cropscience. At the time, Monsanto indicated that the incident was isolated, or potentially even the result of “sabotage.” An investigation by USDA was inconclusive, indicating the case “appears to be an isolated occurrence and that there is no […]

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07
Jun

Study Documents Playgrounds Contaminated with Pesticides from Neighboring Chemical-Intensive Ag Land

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2019) Fruit orchards and vineyards endure some of the most intensive chemical management in all of agriculture. What has not been investigated — until now — is how pesticide drift from such agricultural sites may be affecting nearby public spaces. A recent, first-of-its-kind study out of northern Italy tested 71 public playgrounds near to apple orchards and vineyards in four valleys of the North Tyrol, and finds that 45% are contaminated with a single pesticide, and 24% by more than one. Study authors note that the playground contamination will likely grow worse over the course of the growing season. This would likely amplify the impacts of such chemical trespass on nearby public spaces, never mind the varieties of harm to the sites themselves and the food produced on them. Organic agriculture, of course, remedies all these concerns. The study randomly chose 71 public playgrounds in the four South Tyrolean regions, and analyzed grass samples for potential contamination by 315 different pesticides. Because pesticides applied to agricultural fields, orchards, and vineyards are easily volatized, carried aloft by wind, and/or washed by rain off of the target site, the study also evaluated the impacts of those (and other) factors […]

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06
Jun

Pesticide Use Kills Off Mosquito Predators Faster than Target Mosquitoes

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2019) Pesticide use eliminates pest predators and permits mosquito populations to flourish, according to research conducted in Costa Rica by scientists at Utah State University. The new study, “Adaptation to agricultural pesticides may allow mosquitoes to avoid predators and colonize novel ecosystems,” highlights the dangers of human intervention through broad scale pesticide applications, and the urgent need to consider ecosystem-wide impacts before allowing chemicals to be placed on the market. As lead study author Edd Hammill, PhD, told National Geographic, the investigation got its start after he observed higher numbers of mosquitoes in orange groves he was visiting, when compared to other, non-agricultural areas. “We felt like we were getting a lot more mosquito bites in plantations than in pristine areas and started to wonder why,” noted Dr. Hammill. The study focuses first on the role that bromeliads, a tropical flowering plant that grows on tree branches, play in affecting mosquito populations. Mosquitoes use the water that these plants catch in between their leaves to lay eggs. Many other species are found to lay eggs within the leaves, including the top-level predator in this system, the damselfly. Dr. Hammill’s team looked at community composition within bromeliad […]

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31
May

Organic Animal Farms Improve Bird Abundance

(Beyond Pesticides, May 31, 2019) Research from Finland provides clear evidence that there is a positive relationship between organic animal farms and bird abundance. While chemical-intensive agriculture is currently a major driver of biodiversity loss worldwide, organic practices can, conversely, bolster wild populations. Furthermore, the research points to the value of scientific analysis to inform policy. Researchers questioned whether agri-environment-climate schemes (AES), policy elements in the EU where farmers are rewarded for various practices that support biodiversity, are having an impact on the abundance of 46 bird species associated with farmland. They studied the effect of various AES measures related to bird species traits (e.g. diet, migration ecology, Red List status). Using citizen science data from local bird watchers and land use assessments, researchers utilized ArcGIS mapping tools and statistical analysis to quantify relationships among factors. Organic livestock farming was the only AES measure that had a significant effect on bird abundance. Insectivorous birds as well as long-distance migrant species had the highest positive relationship to organic animal farms. In the discussion, the authors reason that organic animal farms with nutrient-rich, antibiotic-free manure likely increases insect abundance which in turn supports insectivorous and, to a lesser degree, omnivorous birds. Previous […]

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29
May

Citizen Scientist Farmers Use Worms to Analyze Soil Health

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2019) A soil health monitoring study in England finds that an alarming 42% of surveyed fields are deficient in a wriggly measurement—earthworm populations. Over half the farmers recruited in this citizen science evaluation said they planned to change their soil management practices as a result of the earthworm monitoring results. The #60minworms method, named for the time it takes to conduct, is to dig a soil pit and place the soil onto a mat, then sort out the earthworms into a bucket. After sorting, the total number of earthworms is counted, and juveniles are returned to the soil. Adults are sorted and recorded by type using a simple key (surface worms: epigeic—small and red, anecic—pale or green; deep-burrowing worms: endogeic—heavily pigmented and large). This is repeated ten times using a W-style sampling pattern across a field. Jacqueline Stroud, PhD, the study author and soil scientist, developed survey booklets to distribute to volunteer farmers. Recruitment methods included events, workshops, and Twitter. Farmers conducted tests on their own private land during a 6-week window in 2018. They recorded their results in the given booklets and sent the information for analysis. A total of 126 fields were surveyed. Worm data […]

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22
May

Glyphosate Exposure Linked to Fatty Liver Disease in Humans, Adding Weight to Earlier Animal Studies

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2019) Glyphosate weed killers may be contributing to the growing worldwide epidemic f non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition that causes swelling of the liver, and can eventually lead to cirrhosis, cancer, or liver failure. Researchers at the University of California (UC) San Diego found that higher levels of glyphosate detected in urine corresponded significantly with individuals that have also been diagnosed with NAFLD. Advocates are urging lawmakers at every level to respond to the accumulating science on the danger of glyphosate herbicides, ban their use, and adopt policy changes that put into place organic land management practices. “There have been a handful of studies, all of which we cited in our paper, where animals either were or weren’t fed Roundup or glyphosate directly, and they all point to the same thing: the development of liver pathology,” said Paul J. Mills, PhD, professor and chief in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine in a press release. “So I naturally thought: ‘Well, could it be exposure to this same herbicide that is driving liver disease in the U.S.?’” Dr. Mills and his team received urine samples from […]

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21
May

Organic Agriculture is Growing as Chemical-Intensive Farming Struggles

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2019) As farmers nationwide are facing extreme stressors and either consolidating or retiring, organic is going against the grain. Despite overall declines in the number of U.S. farms, the number of organic farms increased 27% between 2012 and 2017, according to new data from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. The value of organic sales in 2017 was $7.2 billion, and the average value of sales per farm has increased a remarkable 84% since 2012. Laura Batcha, the executive director of the Organic Trade Association, told Bloomberg that young families are among the drivers in the organic market as they seek to avoid residues of chemicals, antibiotics, and hormones on food. Organic products fetch a higher price point than conventional. Indiana farmer Joe Mills can sell his organic food-grade corn for about $10.50 a bushel, while chemical-intensive sells for about $3.50/bushel. Mr. Mills notes, “Yes, it’s economical, but there is a huge learning curve and a mindset change. We relied on commercial fertilizers and pesticides for so long.” At the same time, the benefits and affordability of organic food are critical to the market, as consumers consider their purchasing choices. Read the Beyond Pesticides’ report Low Food […]

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20
May

Take Action: As EPA Fails to Act, States Take Up the Responsibility to Protect Health and the Environment

(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2019) The bans of chlorpyrifos in three important agricultural states show the support for a ban of the chemical nationwide. Hawai’i banned chlorpyrifos a year ago with a unanimous vote of the legislature. New York and California banned it this month. States have been pursuing bans since the Environmental Protection Agency rescinded its proposed ban in 2017. Tell Your Governor to Ban Neurotoxic Pesticides and Support Organic; Send Thanks to Your Governor in Hawai’i, New York, and California Like other organophosphate pesticides, chlorpyrifos has been linked to damaging and often irreversible health outcomes in workers, pregnant women, and children. A widely used pesticide, agriculture companies annually spray six million pounds on crops like citrus, apples, and cherries.  In the same family as Sarin gas, the substance was initially developed prior to World War II as a chemical weapon. It can overstimulate the nervous system to cause nausea, dizziness, and confusion. With very high exposures (accidents or spills), it can cause respiratory paralysis and even death. When applying the chemical to fields, workers must wear protective garments such as respirators. Workers are then blocked from entering the fields from 24 hours up to 5 days after application due to the chemical exposure risk. A group of leading toxics […]

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14
May

Take Action: Tell EPA and Congress to Ban Streptomycin and Tetracycline in Crop Production to Protect Medical Uses

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2019) Your voice is needed to stop the use of two specific antibiotics, streptomycin and oxytetracycline, whose uses in agriculture are under EPA review. Thank you to those who, last week, told Congress and EPA to ban antibiotic use in agriculture – to help stop the worldwide crisis in bacterial resistance to antibiotics needed for medical purposes in life-threatening cases. Tell EPA and Congress to Ban Streptomycin and Tetracycline in Agriculture In spite of growing bacterial resistance, these two antibiotics are used for important medical purposes. Tetracycline is used for many common infections of the respiratory tract, sinuses, middle ear, and urinary tract, as well as for anthrax, plague, cholera, and Legionnaire’s disease, though it is used less frequently because of resistance. Streptomycin is used for tuberculosis, tularemia, plague, bacterial endocarditis, brucellosis, and other diseases, but its usefulness is limited by widespread resistance. The unnecessary use of these antibiotics in agriculture must be stopped to protect their efficacy for medical purposes. The good news is that organic management practices do not use these antibiotics in crop production and therefore their use is unnecessary with smart sustainable farming practices.  The EPA docket is accepting comments on these two registrations through Friday, May 17. You can sign […]

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10
May

UN Brings Together 145 Experts, 50 Countries, 15,000 Studies, Documents Accelerating Biodiversity Loss Threatening All Life; Ecosystem Protections Urgently Needed

(Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2019) The Earth, its natural systems, and as many as a million species are at enormous risk from human activity, says a new assessment from the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity project — the IPBES Global Assessment Summary for Policymakers. The net finding might be expressed as: humans are not immune from the sequelae of biodiversity loss; the ecosystem functions on which human lives depend are in increasingly dire straits. The 1,500-page report, convened by IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), is the most comprehensive look to date at the biodiversity crisis and its implications for human civilization. A summary of the report’s findings, approved by representatives from the U.S. and other member countries, was released in Paris on May 6; the complete report is expected later in 2019. It is of note and commendable that the summary, though lengthy, is digestible for a lay audience. IPBES is an intergovernmental body of 132 member states, established in 2012, that assesses the state of biodiversity and of the ecosystem services such diversity provides to societies. The group also provides reporting to policymakers on those assessments, and on the dynamics (i.e., causes and impacts) between human […]

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08
May

Take Action: Stop Antibiotic Use in Agriculture and Protect Human Health

` (Beyond Pesticides, May 8, 2019) The spread of antibiotic resistance is a health care crisis of major proportions and requires a moratorium on the use of antibiotics in agriculture. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) call antibiotic resistance “one of the world’s most pressing public health problems.” Many bacterial infections are becoming resistant to the most commonly prescribed antibiotics, resulting in longer-lasting infections, higher medical expenses, and the need for more expensive or hazardous medications. The development and spread of antibiotic resistance is the inevitable effect of the use of antibiotics. Bacteria evolve quickly, and antibiotics provide strong selection pressure for those strains with genes for resistance. Tell EPA and Congress to save antibiotics for important medical uses and eliminate use as pesticides. In spite of the spread of antibiotic resistance, the antibiotics used in plant agriculture are both important for fighting human disease. Tetracycline is used for many common infections of the respiratory tract, sinuses, middle ear, and urinary tract, as well as for anthrax, plague, cholera, and Legionnaire’s disease, though it is used less frequently because of resistance. Streptomycin is used for tuberculosis, tularemia, plague, bacterial endocarditis, brucellosis, and other diseases, but its usefulness is limited by widespread […]

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07
May

New York Bans Chlorpyrifos, Pressuring EPA to Impose Country-Wide Protections Against Brain-Damaging Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, May, 7, 2019) Last week, the New York State legislature voted to phase out and eventually ban the use of the neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyrifos. The vote, 44-18 in the state Senate and 94-50 in the Assembly, is still awaiting the Governor’s signature, who is expected to sign the measure. As evidence of harm continues to accumulate, scientists have called for a ban, and a legal case works its way through the courts, pressure is mounting on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to once and for all remove this harmful pesticide from use. New York’s legislation sets implementation dates that leapfrog a similar law banning chlorpyrifos that passed in Hawai’i last year. Although Hawai’i’s law takes effect beginning in July of this year, the state may provide temporary use permits for the chemical until December 2022. New York also phases in restrictions, first prohibiting aerial applications beginning January 2020, then prohibiting all use except on apple trees starting January 2021. The chemical will be completely banned for use in New York in December 2021. Chlorpyrifos is a highly toxic insecticide that has been linked to damaging and often irreversible health outcomes, particularly for pregnant mothers and their children, […]

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29
Apr

Protect Organic Family Farmers Who Safeguard the Earth and Our Health

(Beyond Pesticides, April 29, 2019) It Is Time to Stop the Attack on Organic and Protect the Family Farmers Who Safeguard the Earth and Our Health. Listening to and talking with dairy farmers at the National Organic Standards Board meeting in Seattle last week, it is clear that organic consumers and farmers everywhere need to rise up to protect the standards of organic. This is the only way we can ensure a livable future—clean air, water, air, and a reversal of the climate crisis and the insect apocalypse. While there are numerous problems with the current administration’s attack on organic across the board—and we are focused on the range of problems, dairy is a good place where we must join together before more organic family farmers literally go out of business. Organic dairy is the first place families look to protect their children. Tell USDA and your members of Congress to protect organic family farmers who safeguard the environment and animal welfare. As a result of abuses in government management of organic, we are seeing an attack on organic that can be corrected with the adoption of proposed rules that have been waiting to be adopted—the Origin of Livestock and the Access to […]

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26
Apr

Study Finds High Levels of Pesticide Exposure among Teenage Girls in California’s Salinas Valley

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2019) Research by the youth participatory action team of the CHAMACOS of the Salinas Evaluating Chemicals in Homes and Agriculture (COSECHA) reveals that teenagers in the Salinas Valley, California are routinely exposed to concerning levels of multiple toxic pesticides, several of them known endocrine disruptors. In an interview with Kion News, COSECHA research director Kimberly Parra remarked that the study is especially important because teenagers are in a stage of rapid reproductive development. As the study authors emphasize, it is their developmental stage that makes teenagers more vulnerable to the effects of endocrine disrupting pesticides, with potentially devastating consequences for lifelong health. The COSECHA study quantifies exposure to 72 pesticides, captured through volatile-trapping silicone wristbands, across 97 teenage girls living in various areas of the Salinas Valley region. Of the 72 pesticides analyzed, authors report that subjects are exposed to as many as 20 and an average of 8 pesticides over one week of routine indoor and outdoor activity. Given the well-documented dangers of pesticide co-exposures, these multiple-exposure findings are particularly concerning. Ranking the highest for prevalence among the studied pesticides is fipronil sulfide, a breakdown product of the insecticide fipronil, detected in 86.6% of the analyzed wristbands. […]

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25
Apr

Deadly Fungal Infection Raises Concerns about Fungicides Used in Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, April 25, 2019) As reported by Mother Jones, the New York Times (NYT) published, on April 6, a distressing report about a deadly fungus that has been advancing steadily across the world during the past five years. Candida auris is an emerging fungal pathogen that threatens those with compromised or immature immune systems, such as infants, the elderly, people taking steroids for autoimmune disorders, diabetics, those undergoing chemotherapy, and even smokers. Nearly half of those who contract a C. auris infection die within 90 days. One of the factors making this fungus so deadly is that it has developed resistance to existing antifungal medicines, with 90% of infections resistant to one drug, and 30% to two or more. As is true for resistant bacteria, culprits in C. auris’s development of resistance may be the overuse of antifungal medications in health care and overreliance on fungicides in agriculture. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added C. auris to its list of pathogens considered “urgent threats.” It is an “emerging fungal pathogen,” meaning that the incidence of infection has been increasing across multiple countries since it was first recognized in 2009 in Japan (although a different strain had […]

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24
Apr

Federal Court Orders EPA to Justify Use of Chlorpyrifos within 90 Days

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2019) On April 19, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide a justification for why chlorpyrifos, a neurotoxic insecticide commonly used in agriculture, should remain in the U.S. market. The EPA has 90 days to comply. Chlorpyrifos has been linked to damaging and often irreversible health outcomes in workers, pregnant women, and children. Low levels of exposure early in life can lead to increased risk of learning disabilities including lowered IQ, developmental delay, and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Farmworkers and their children are disproportionately affected by the use of this chemical because they are exposed at work, home, and even at school. “While we are moving forward, the tragedy is that children are being exposed to chlorpyrifos, a pesticide science has long shown is unsafe,” said Earthjustice Attorney Patti Goldman in a statement. “We hope Trump’s EPA finally decides to protect the future of countless children and the health of millions of farmworkers.” The battle against chlorpyrifos has been long and drawn out, though there has been significant movement in the last few months. Beyond Pesticides has put together a brief timeline of events: A […]

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18
Apr

Organic Farming Curbs the Spread of Foodborne Pathogens, According to Study

(Beyond Pesticides, April 18, 2019) Organic farming promotes natural resistance to common foodborne human pathogens, according to a study that evaluates the benefit of soil organisms. By protecting valuable species of dung beetles and soil bacteria, organic farming systems naturally act to clean up and decompose potentially pathogen-bearing animal feces. While these natural systems suppr ess pathogens on organic farms, coventional chemical-intensive farms are left with higher levels of fecal residues and are therefore significantly more likely to yield produce carrying such foodborne pathogens as E. coli. The authors emphasize that curbing the spread of common foodborne pathogens could save thousands of lives and prevent millions of illnesses each year. The study, “Organic farming promotes biotic resistance to foodborne human pathogens,” published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, compares dung beetle populations, soil bacteria diversity, and feces removal rates on 70 organic and conventional broccoli farm fields across the west coast of the U.S. In addition to studying field conditions, authors conducted additional microcosm studies to directly test the effects of dung beetles and soil microbes on the suppression of introduced E. coli. Results from field analyses show that organic management practices lead to greater biodiversity among dung beetles and soil […]

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08
Apr

Focus on Pesticide Bans Continues in U.S. and EU, While Toxic Pesticide Use Continues

(Beyond Pesticides, April 8, 2019) Officials in Europe and the U.S. focus on banning problem pesticides, raising concerns about their replacements in the face of pesticide-intensive management strategies, while organic advocates call for a systems change in land management. In reference to widespread community bans of Roundup/glyphosate, Cary Gillam, author of Whitewash, told last year’s Beyond Pesticides’ Forum, “Glyphosate is the poster child for the bigger pesticide problem.” She continues, “If it goes away tomorrow, we are not okay.” Because of this, Beyond Pesticides has strategically sought to transform our country’s approach to pest management, both agricultural and residential/structural, by eliminating a reliance on pesticides and advancing organic management practices that do not rely on toxic inputs. This Daily News Blog post offers updates on progress in the European Union (EU), in the U.S. Congress, and in communities and sates nationwide. The EU is poised to ban clorothalanil, a commonly used — and highly toxic — organochlorine fungicide, The Guardian reported, in mid-to-late May 2019. After a review by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), EU states voted to approve a ban. EFSA identified as a chief safety concern the possibility that breakdown products (metabolites) of the compound may cause damage […]

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01
Apr

Protect the Integrity of Organic Food Production and Continuous Improvement

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2019) National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meets next month in Seattle, Washington to debate issues concerning what goes into your organic food. Written comments are due April 4. The format for messaging the NOSB requires copying and pasting comments into regulations.gov, so we apologize that this is not a “single click” action. Please add a personal message about why this is important to you at the top of your comments, if possible. Lend your voice to continuous improvement by learning about issues and submitting comments to regulations.gov (directions below, or click here). From the very beginning, with the passage of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) in 1990, “organic” has meant “continuous improvement ” in organic food production. The primary mechanism for this is the high level of public involvement that comes from twice-annual meetings of the stakeholder board and decisions related to the allowance of substances/materials used in organic production. The second mechanism is the sunset process, which helps move synthetic substances out of organic production as we learn more about hazards and alternatives. Those substances allowed in organic production must be placed on the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances and may be re-listed every five […]

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26
Mar

Another Study Links Glyphosate to Cancer

(Beyond Pesticides, March 26, 2019) In a study investigating the carcinogenic effects of pesticide exposure by analyzing data on 316,270 farmers and farmworkers in the U.S., Norway, and France, researchers have identified elevated risk for non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and some subtypes, linking glyphosate and large B-cell lymphoma. Other pesticides linked to the disease include the pyrethroid deltamethrin and chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma; and terbufos and NHL overall. Researchers also found “inverse associations of NHL overall with the broader groups of organochlorine insecticides and phenoxy herbicides, after adjusting for exposure to other pesticides”; such inverse associations were not found with active ingredients within these groups. The research underscores how complex the science of pesticide impacts on human health, and on cancer incidence, can be. To wit: in evaluating 14 different pesticide categories and 33 individual, active chemical ingredients, Maria E. Leon, et al., conclude that associations of pesticides with the development of NHL appear to be (NHL) subtype- and chemical-specific. Published in the International Journal of Epidemiology in mid-March, the study, “Pesticide use and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoid malignancies in agricultural cohorts from France, Norway and the USA: a pooled analysis from the AGRICOH consortium,” uses data from three large cohort […]

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25
Mar

Take Action: Help Stop Pesticide-Treated Seeds from Poisoning the Environment

(Beyond Pesticides, March 25, 2019) EPA is using a regulatory loophole – the “treated articles exemption” – to allow systemic insecticides to be used in mass quantities, without regulating or labeling them as required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). EPA does not currently assess adverse effects on the environment and public health caused by widespread use of neonicotinoid insecticides delivered through seeds coated with the insecticides, resulting in widespread exposure to one of the most environmentally damaging classes of chemicals on the market. Tell your Congressional delegation that EPA must fully regulate treated seeds to protect the environment and public health. Pesticide-coated seeds are now ubiquitous, yet their far-reaching impacts on wildlife and human health continue to go unregulated. The introduction and spread of seed-delivered pesticides to major field crops, beginning around 2003, caused a massive increase in total neonicotinoid use nationwide. As of 2011, 34 to 44% of soybeans and 79 to 100% of maize acres were planted with coated seeds, accounting for an astounding 35-fold increase in nationwide neonicotinoid use from baseline rates prior to 2003 (Douglas and Tooker, 2015). Alarmingly, because the national pesticide survey conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service fails to […]

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22
Mar

Study Finds that Commonly Occurring Levels of Neonicotinoid Insecticide Harm White-tailed Deer

(Beyond Pesticides, March 22, 2019) A two-year study, published March 14,  finds that field-relevant contamination with the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid causes reduced body weight and metabolism in white-tailed deer, and – in fawns – mortality. Remarkably, researchers uncovered imidacloprid levels in free-ranging deer a full 3.5 times higher, on average, than the levels in the animals treated in their experiment. These new findings add to the mounting evidence of the hazards posed by current patterns of neonicotinoid use, while evidence of benefits remains sparse. The study, published in Nature Scientific Reports, includes two years of data on the physiological and behavioral outcomes of imidacloprid contamination in 80 white-tailed deer housed in a South Dakota State University captive research facility. Notably, researchers were unable to entirely control imidacloprid levels in untreated deer, most likely due to background contamination from corn- and soy-based feed, and surrounding vegetation infiltrated by runoff from nearby agricultural fields. This background contamination altered, but did not compromise, the analysis. Researchers found that imidacloprid levels detected in the spleens of treated and control animals were significantly predictive of reduced thyroid hormone levels, shorter jawbones, lower activity levels, and higher fawn mortality. Lead authors Elise Berheim, Jonathan Jenks, PhD, […]

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