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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Alternatives/Organics' Category


12
May

Environmental Pesticide Exposure Alters Gut Microbes, Increasing Urgency for Organic Transition

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2022) A report published in Environmental Health finds that exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of pesticides can alter gut microbial communities, as demonstrated through fecal samples. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood and urine samples. Ample evidence demonstrates that environmental contaminants, including pesticides, negatively affect the human mouth and gut microbes. However, fecal samples provide an accurate representation of the microbial community existing in the gut. These toxicants can alter hormone metabolism, which adversely affects health outcomes. Adverse health effects of environmental contaminants include reproductive and developmental defects, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, obesity, thyroid disorders, and improper immune operation. Although studies show how chemical exposures affect human health, more research is now questioning how these toxic chemicals influence gut health. Therefore, studies like these highlight the importance of evaluating how chemical contaminants deregulate normal bodily function through microbiome changes. The report notes, “Our results highlight the need for future dietary intervention studies to understand effects of pesticide exposure on the gut microbiome and possible health consequences.” Researchers examined dietary exposure to 186 common pesticide residues in the fecal excrement to determine impacts on the microbiome among 65 twins in the United Kingdom. […]

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10
May

Chemical No-Till Failure Due to Herbicide Resistance Increases Greenhouse Gas Emissions

(Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2022) Widespread weed resistance on chemical corn and soybean farms is leading farmers to till their fields more often, significantly increasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. These findings were published late last month in the journal Nature Food by a team of Iowa State University researchers. With agricultural practices accounting for roughly 10% of U.S. GHG emissions, and 25% of worldwide releases, farming practices that preserve soil health and sequester GHGs are essential for the future of food production. Tillage is a farming practice that can provide a range of benefits for crop production, but only in the right conditions. A range of tillage practices exist, ranging from yearly conventional tillage, where most crop residue is plowed into the soil, to conservation tillage where some residue remains, and no-till systems where the soil remains covered. Repeated tillage causes significant harm to soil structure and biology, and result in erosion and the release of GHGs like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide from soil into the atmosphere. The harms of tillage have led both chemical and organic farmers toward no-till or reduced tillage systems. Organic no-till farming, as practiced by farming groups like the Rodale Institute, employs the […]

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04
May

Climate Change and Industrial Agriculture Are Supercharging the Insect Apocalypse

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

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02
May

No Mow May—Support Organic Habitat

(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 2022) Lawns occupy 40 million acres, or 2% of the land in the U.S. Their maintenance typically involves pesticides and fertilizers that kill pollinators and soil life and wash into streams, where they do more damage. Lawn maintenance also involves a lot of mowing. While mowing is an effective way to encourage grasses over most broadleaved plants, it also has broader ecological impacts. The 3,600 species of bees in the U.S. and Canada range from large bumblebees to tiny sweat bees. There are many things you can do in your yard and community to protect these bees—starting with managing lawns and landscapes organically and planting flowers favored by bees and other pollinators. This one—No Mow May—requires less work. Participate in No Mow May. Manage your landscape organically. Plant flowers for pollinators. Send a message to your mayor.  No Mow May began with research by Plantlife in the UK and was taken up by property owners in Appleton, WI, who demonstrated that “homes that participated in No Mow May had more diverse and abundant flora than regularly mowed green spaces throughout the city.” May is the month when many bees emerge from hibernation throughout the U.S. and […]

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26
Apr

CDC Study: Pesticide Use Does Not Reduce Risk of Lyme, Other Tick-Borne Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2022) Using pesticides to reduce the number of ticks in residential areas does not translate to lower rates of tick-borne disease in humans. This finding is the culmination of research overseen by scientists at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which have been studying the effectiveness of pesticides to manage tick bites and tick borne-diseases for over a decade. While earlier research focused on direct pesticide applications to individual household lawns, the most recent publication, under early release in the Journal of Emerging Infectious Diseases, represented a broader, neighborhood-wide implementation of control measures. Yet in both instances, pesticide use did not play a role in reducing tick-borne disease. The studies are a stark warning for states and communities considering vector disease spray campaign for ticks in a similar manner to mosquito spraying. “The bottom line is that toxic pesticide use is not the answer to tick bites or tick-borne disease,” said Beyond Pesticides executive director Jay Feldman. “To manage ticks, we must embrace ecological solutions that work with natural processes and education campaigns emphasizing personal protection.” Researchers set out to test two methods of broad area tick control in 24 residential neighborhoods in […]

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25
Apr

Time Running Out to Save the Earth, We Can Make a Difference in Our Communities

(Beyond Pesticides, April 25, 2022) In a campaign to set in place practical programs to address the existential crises of pesticide-induced health threats, the climate emergency, and biodiversity collapse, Natural Grocers continues its fifth annual Ladybug LoveSM drive throughout the month of April, generating broader support for Beyond Pesticides. The campaign celebrates insects that play a crucial role in food supply stability, and regenerative farming practices that use ladybugs and other beneficial insects instead of harmful synthetic pesticides to control pests. Natural Grocers will donate $1 to Beyond Pesticides for each person who pledges (including renewals) to “not use chemicals that harm ladybugs and other beneficial insects on their lawn or garden, and to support 100% organic produce.” You do not need to shop at Natural Grocers to sign, but you will support the environment, public health, and Beyond Pesticides’ hands-on program to assist communities with the transition to organic parks and playing fields. Please Take Three Actions. Sign the Ladybug Pledge this year (even if you have previously) and support Beyond Pesticides. April shoppers at Natural Grocers’ 162 stores—all in 20 states west of the Mississippi—are also invited to donate to Beyond Pesticides at checkout. Ladybug Love also features […]

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15
Apr

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

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

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14
Apr

Winning the “War on Rats” Requires Community-Wide Systemic Change, Says New Study

(Beyond Pesticides, April 14, 2022) Over the last century, cities across the world have engaged in a “war on rats” that has failed to achieve meaningful results, and should consider a new paradigm for rodent management, according to a review of relevant literature published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution last month. As awareness regarding the widespread dangers of commonly used rodenticides increases, and states like California begin to rein in their use, the importance of alternative management approaches has grown. Reviewing over 100 studies on municipal rat management, the authors outline a path forward that embraces a systems approach and calls for a change in public expectations. Since the early 1900s, municipal rat management has primarily focused on killing rats and removing their food, water and harborage, but data available on the efficacy of this approach is sparse. Successful programs, according to the literature, are often grant funded and time limited, or employ such substantial amounts of rodenticide that it carries significant risks regarding secondary poisoning of people and nontarget species. Failures consistently note the ephemeral nature of rodent reductions. A 1909 study referenced in the review, from which the authors indicate much of present-day rodent management is based, […]

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13
Apr

Ecosystem Services Provided by Birds and Bees Synergize to Increase Farm Yield and Profit

(Beyond Pesticides, April 13, 2022) The combined effects of insect pollination and natural pest control provided by birds synergize to improve yields and income for coffee farmers, finds research published this month in the journal PNAS. Ecosystem services – the positive benefits provided by ecosystems, wildlife, and their natural processes – underpin agricultural production, but are often analyzed in silos, on a case by case basis in the scientific literature. The current research finds that the quantitative benefits of ecosystem services can be greater when considering their interactive effects. “Until now, researchers have typically calculated the benefits of nature separately, and then simply added them up,” says lead author Alejandra MartĂ­nez-Salinas, PhD of Costa Rica’s Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE). “But nature is an interacting system, full of important synergies and trade-offs. We show the ecological and economic importance of these interactions, in one of the first experiments at realistic scales in actual farms.”   Researchers based their experiment in Costa Rica, working with 30 shade grown coffee farms owned by small landholders. Eight coffee plants on each farm were selected for the study. Pest control services provided by birds were assessed using a 20mm mesh screen that excludes […]

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11
Apr

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

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

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31
Mar

Traditionally-Produced Compost Improves Soil, Outperforms Synthetic Chemical Fertilizers

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

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28
Mar

Public Voice Keeps Organic Strong, Comment by April 1

(Beyond Pesticides, March 28, 2022) Last Chance This Spring To Tell the NOSB To Uphold Organic Integrity. Comments are due 11:59 pm EDT April 1 (No Fooling!) The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public through April 1. April 1 is also the deadline for registering for the upcoming public comment webinar on April 19 and 21, which precedes the online meeting April 26-28—in which the NOSB deliberates on issues concerning how organic food is produced. Written comments must be submitted through Regulations.gov. As always, there are many important issues on the NOSB agenda this Spring. For a complete discussion, see Keeping Organic Strong (KOS) and the Spring 2022 issues page, where you can find Beyond Pesticides’ comments on all issues facing the NOSB at this meeting. In the spirit of “continuous improvement,” we urge you to submit comments (please feel free to use our comments on the KOS page or use language below) that contribute to an increasingly improved organic production system. Here are some high priority issues for us: The NOSB must insist that the National Organic Program (NOP), which is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) follow through with NOSB recommendations. […]

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17
Mar

Are Your Plants “Talking”? New Study Finds Plants Communicate and Prepare Defenses when a Predator Is Nearby

(Beyond Pesticides, March 16, 2022) Pest damaged plants release volatile chemical “scents” that alert other nearby plants of potential predators and give them time to prepare their defenses, according to research recently published in Plant Physiology by researchers at Tokyo University of Science. The findings have important implications for agriculture, including new practices that utilize this novel process. “The effective use of plants’ natural survival strategies in production systems will bring us closer to the realization of a sustainable society that simultaneously solves environmental and food problems,” says study coauthor Gen-ichiro Arimura, PhD. Budding research conducted since the turn of the century has discovered and confirmed that plants can communicate through specific volatile organic compounds (VOCs).  These compounds, referred to by researchers as “infochemicals,” can act as airborne signals that an herbivore danger is in the vicinity. Not only can plants within the same species communicate, there is evidence that plants will react to infochemicals produced by different species the other plant cannot produce, and may never have encountered. A recent experiment found, for instance, that soybean plants grown near mint are better able to withstand pest pressure by “eavesdropping” on VOCs produced by mint. Likewise, corn and tomato plants […]

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15
Mar

Monoculture Rice Production Outperformed by Traditional Techniques that Integrate Aquatic Animals

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2022) Adding animal diversity to rice paddy farms reduces weed pressure, increases food production, and makes fertilizer use more efficient, according to a study published late last month in the journal eLife. As chemical-dependent, industrialized agriculture has spread across the world, local farmers are increasingly pressured into eschewing traditional agricultural practices in favor of monocultures in an attempt to meet the demands of global markets. This one-size-fits-all approach oversimplifies the interdependency within ecosystems, failing to incorporate the complexity of nature that many traditional and organic practices embrace. As the present study shows, research and investment into systems that promote natural diversity can provide insights that allow these approaches to leapfrog the chemical-dependent, monoculture paradigm of industrial agriculture. Rice paddy fields are intentionally flooded, and crops are often grown in shallow water. In industrialized fields, monocultures of rice are planted out, and fertilizers and weed killers are applied at regular intervals. However, many traditional rice farmers around the world integrate aquatic animals into their paddies. In the present experiment, researchers conducted a 4-year long evaluation comparing the benefits of monoculture production against co-cultures of rice and aquatic animals. Co-culturing animals and rice differs slightly from traditional practices […]

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14
Mar

Proposals Challenge Organic Integrity; Take Action

(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2022) The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public through April 1. This precedes the upcoming public hearing on April 19 and 21—concerning how organic food is produced. Written comments must be submitted through Regulations.gov. For details on the all the issues of importance to organic integrity, please see Beyond Pesticides’ Keeping Organic Strong webpage. The NOSB is responsible for guiding the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in its administration of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), including the materials allowed to be used in organic production and handling. The role of the NOSB is especially important as we depend on organic production to protect our ecosystem, mitigate climate change, and enhance our health The NOSB plays an important role in bringing the views of organic producers and consumers to bear on USDA, which is not always in sync with organic principles. There are many important issues on the NOSB agenda this Spring. For a complete discussion, see Keeping Organic Strong and the Spring 2022 issues page. Here are some high priority issues for us: Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) is a quaternary ammonium compound (quat or QAC) that is being petitioned for […]

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08
Mar

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

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

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07
Mar

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

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

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04
Mar

Are Your Fruits and Vegetables Vegan? Specific Pesticide Use Makes Produce Non-Vegan?

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2022) An article in My London reported by Finn Byrne, finds labeling on conventionally grown fruits and vegetables marked as non-vegan. The non-vegan label shocked many shoppers who buy the produce with chemical-intensive practices, as fruits and vegetables are inherently vegan. However, pesticides used in the production of fruits and vegetables render these foods non-vegan because of the harm that pesticides cause to animals and since a wax coating on fruits and vegetables made of shellac, a resin secreted from female lac beetles and thus non-vegan. Recent studies indicate plant-based diets can mitigate excessive pesticide use and exposure if they are organically grown. However, a plant-based diet reliant on pesticides does little to lessen the health and ecological effects of conventional agriculture. Fungicides are ubiquitous in agricultural and residential settings puts human and animal health at risk. Exposure to fungicides can manifest adverse health effects, including reproductive dysfunction, birth/developmental effects, kidney/liver damage, and cancer. Several researchers find that fungicide use promotes more drug-resistant fungal infections in humans as these fungicides are structurally similar to medical antifungal medications. After investigating fruits and vegetables at various United Kingdom (UK) grocery stores (i.e., Tesco, Morrisons, and Marks and Spencer), the report finds fungicides imazalil and propiconazole present […]

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14
Feb

Fighting the Climate Crisis with Compost, One Meal at a Time

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2022) When your food scraps are sent to the landfill, their anaerobic decomposition releases methane, a greenhouse gas with 84 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide over its first 20 years in the atmosphere. By composting those scraps instead, you not only reduce methane emissions, but also support organic practices that eliminate other greenhouse gases, like nitrogen fertilizer. California’s SB 1383, signed into law in 2016, now requires individuals and businesses to separate food waste from trash. While individuals and businesses can compost their own food waste, local agencies also facilitate the process by providing separate bins for organic materials, including food waste, lawn and garden trimmings, and paper. The law also provides a means for collecting and distributing surplus edible food. Tell your Governor and state legislators to follow the lead of California in fighting climate change with composting. If you live in California, thank your legislators and Governor for passing SB 1383. Methane comprises 16% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but due to its greater warming potential, it affects climate change at least as much as carbon dioxide (CO2). Agriculture, energy production, and landfills are among the greatest sources of methane emissions. […]

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27
Jan

Manatees in Florida Seriously Threatened from Pollution, Pesticides, and Other Human-Induced Stressors

(Beyond Pesticides, January 27, 2022) Wildlife officials in Florida have resorted to supplementing starving manatees with cabbage and lettuce in an attempt to keep their rapidly dwindling populations alive. Massive Red Tides exacerbated by runoff from urban and agricultural pollution have directly killed off dozens of manatees over the last several years, but the indirect effects of these harmful algae blooms have been most catastrophic, resulting in significant loss of the seagrass beds upon which manatees rely. While Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has announced plans to spend $481 million on water quality improvement projects, conservationists note that the funds are primarily directed toward point source wastewater treatment, and more is needed to address nonpoint source herbicide and fertilizer runoff from agricultural, and urban and suburban yards. Florida manatees, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, can live as long as 60 years old, weigh up to 1,200 lbs, and have no natural predators within their range. The biggest threat to these peaceful marine mammals is human activity and environmental stressors. Unfortunately, the former is well-known to exacerbate the latter. Humans harm manatees primarily through boat strikes, but the animals can also die from eating or becoming entangled in fishing equipment, […]

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03
Jan

Call for Serious Change of Pesticide Law in the New Year, as Health Threats Escalate

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2022) Environmentalists and public health advocates are calling for an aggressive program of policy change in 2022—change they say is critical to addressing existential crises of public health threats, biodiversity collapse, and severe climate disruption that is not being taken seriously by policy makers. On November 23, 2021, Senator Cory Booker introduced legislation to eliminate many of the current problems with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which regulates the registration and use of pesticides in the U.S. It corrects some of the worst mistakes in registering pesticides and removes some of the worst loopholes in the law. However, in order to prevent future pesticide problems, we need reform that goes deeper. Urge your Senators to co-sponsor legislation to reform the toxic core of federal pesticide law. Specifically, the bill, the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2021 (PACTPA), would provide some desperately-needed improvements to FIFRA to better protect people and the environment, including: Bans some of the most damaging pesticides scientifically known to cause significant harm to people and the environment: Organophosphate insecticides, which are designed to target the neurological system and have been linked to neurodevelopmental damage in children; Neonicotinoid insecticides, which […]

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17
Dec

Community Pesticide Use Restrictions Expand; Organic Takes Root Across the Country

(Beyond Pesticides, December 17, 2021) Los Alamos, New Mexico is the latest locality to act on some degree of protection of the community from pesticides. Its County Council passed a proposal on December 15 that will ban use of glyphosate-based herbicides on county properties, among other provisions (outlined below). Cities, towns, and counties (and occasionally, a state) across the U.S. are moving to protect their parks, playing fields, other green spaces, and the communities broadly from the harms of synthetic pesticide and fertilizer use. The approaches vary: sometimes comprehensive, though often piecemeal, i.e., tackling the problem one compound, one category of pesticide, or one or two kinds of properties at a time. Beyond Pesticides endorses comprehensive approaches that embrace the transition to organic land management. Because these can sometimes be more challenging for localities to enact, Beyond Pesticides has announced its program — Parks for a Sustainable Future — that helps localities learn about, secure training in, and benefit from the guidance of experts on, organic management. Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are used widely in agriculture, but also, in a large variety of public spaces — on and in playgrounds, parks, and playing/recreational fields and courts; along roads, sidewalks, and […]

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09
Dec

The Expense of Pesticides Significantly Outweigh Economic Benefits

(Beyond Pesticides, December 9, 2021) The cost to maintain crops using conventional pesticides outweighs the economic benefits from crop production and yield, according to a report, Pesticides ‘cost double the amount they yield,’ by the French-based organization Bureau for the Appraisal of Social Impacts for Citizen Information (BASIC). Moreover, the annual cost of increasing organic farms three-fold by 2030 is less than the cost of pesticides to society (i.e., adverse health and ecological effects from pesticide use and contamination). However, the price to pay from pesticide use encompasses much more than the products themselves. Researchers point to the need for government and health officials to consider the billion-dollar costs associated with adverse health effects from pesticide use, especially as studies confirm that pesticides cause cancer, Parkinson’s, and other diseases that are increasing. Thus, this report adds to the growing body of research demonstrating the unsustainability of conventional, chemical-intensive agricultural practices. The National Academy of Sciences identifies four goals of sustainable agriculture—productivity, economics, environment, and social well-being for future generations. However, current chemical pesticide use threatens sustainable agriculture. Although the primary concerns about pesticide usage centers on health and ecological concerns, including food security, this report provides an economic assessment that offers an […]

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