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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Alternatives/Organics' Category


13
Jun

Study Confirms Serious Flaws in EPA’s Ecological Risk Assessments, Threatening Bees and Other Pollinators

(Beyond Pesticides, June 13, 2024) A study published in Conservation Letters, a journal of the Society for Conservation Biology, exposes critical shortcomings in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ecological risk assessment (ERA) process for modeling the risks that pesticides pose to bees and other pollinators. For the study, “Risk assessments underestimate threat of pesticides to wild bees,” researchers conducted a meta-analysis of toxicity data in EPA’s ECOTOX knowledgebase (ECOTOX), an EPA-hosted, publicly available resource with information on adverse effects of single chemical stressors to certain aquatic and terrestrial species. The meta-analysis found that the agency’s approach, which relies heavily on honey bee data from controlled laboratory studies, drastically underestimates the real-world threats from neonicotinoid insecticides (and likely other pesticides) to native bees and other pollinators. The study “challenges the reliability of surrogate species as predictors when extrapolating pesticide toxicity data to wild pollinators and recommends solutions to address the (a)biotic interactions occurring in nature that make such extrapolations unreliable in the ERA process.” Beyond Pesticides executive director Jay Feldman remarked, “EPA’s ecological risk assessment process is fundamentally flawed and puts thousands of bee species at risk of pesticide-caused population declines and extinctions.” Mr. Feldman continued, “This underscores the urgent […]

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03
Jun

House Agriculture Farm Bill Escalates Climate Disasters Then Requires Taxpayers to Pay for It, Advocates Say

(Beyond Pesticides, June 3, 2024) Environmental advocates continue to raise concerns about the Farm Bill (H.R.8467—Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024) that emerged from the House Agriculture Committee on May 23 with provisions they say will allow the escalation of environmental threats and then insure big agriculture commodity producers for losses attributable to those environmental disasters through an expansion of USDA’s crop insurance program. Through this taxpayer supported program, USDA covers farm revenue losses due to “natural causes such as drought, excessive moisture [e.g., floods], hail, wind, frost, insects, and disease. . .” Petrochemical pesticide and fertilizer use in chemical-intensive land management and agricultural production contributes to the climate emergency and associated weather, insect, and plant disease threats. Advocates point out that the House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill reduces environmental protections by (i) preempting local and state government authority to allow more restrictive standards at the municipal level, (ii) taking away the right to sue pesticide manufacturers and allied companies for a failure to fully disclose adverse effects of the products they produce or use, and (iii) weakening the regulatory process intended to protect endangered species and biodiversity from pesticides.   Tell Your U.S. Representative and Senators To Support […]

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28
May

To Make Regenerative Meaningful, It Must Require Organic Certification as a Starting Point, according to Advocates

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2024) Public comments are due May 29, 2024. With 40 percent of all vegetables grown in the U.S. coming from the state of California, the current state level process to define “regenerative agriculture” could have major impact on land management practices that address the current climate, biodiversity, and health crises. That is, according to advocates, if the process, directed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) departs from a history of poorly defined and unenforceable terms like Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Sustainable Agriculture. Virtually all consumers of food have a stake in the outcome of the definition of “regenerative,” so the current public comment period, which closes tomorrow, May 29, 2024, can help influence the outcome. As Beyond Pesticides has reported previously, the term “regenerative” is now increasingly being advanced as a loosely defined alternative to the organic standard and label, which is transparent, defined, certified, enforced, and subject to public input. The  publication AgFunderNews (AFN) in February published its updated “2024 list of agrifood corporates making regenerative agriculture commitments,” a who’s who of the largest food and agribusiness corporations worldwide. The list includes companies such as ADM, Cargill, Danone, General Mills, Tyson, Unilever, Walmart, and more with commitments […]

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23
May

Study Shows Value of Organic Practices in Lowering Environmental Impact of Agriculture 

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2024)  A study recently published in the journal Nature compared the impact of organic and conventional food production using eight environmental health indicators and found that organic food has a significantly lower environmental impact than conventional food production for six of the eight indicators, including a lower potential for contributing to acidification of the environment, energy use, and biodiversity loss. For the analysis, scientists reviewed 100 different “life cycle assessments” (LCA) of organic and conventionally grown food products from cradle-to-farm gate.    LCA is a commonly used methodology to estimate food production system impacts on the environment through resource depletion and pollutant emissions. The results—that organic food production is less impactful on the environment—add to the robust body of research that underscores the importance of organic farming to the development of a sustainable global food system while addressing climate change. Beyond Pesticides has long argued that one of the most powerful tools in fighting global warming is organic agriculture, as it sequesters atmospheric carbon, eliminates the use of fossil fuel-based synthetic fertilizers and synthetic pesticides, and provides environmental and human health benefits. This study and most of the 100 studies it evaluates, do not recognize that conventional […]

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20
May

House Republican Farm Bill Draft Would Cripple Pesticide Restrictions, Advocates Say

(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2024)  (Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2024) The Republican Farm Bill draft in the U.S. House of Representatives, released on Friday, May 17, is a broad attack on pesticide restrictions and the right to sue chemical manufacturers and allied users of pesticides when harmed. “This legislation is a complete nonstarter for the millions of people who want stronger pesticide restrictions, democratic decision making on toxic chemicals in communities, and the right to sue manufacturers and pesticide users when harmed and misled on the hazards of pesticides,” said Jay Feldman, executive director. “We vehemently oppose this Republican legislation with the understanding and experience—bridging farmers, medical practitioners, land managers, local policy makers, and families—that we can and must transition to safe practices and products that protect our health, biodiversity, and climate,” Mr. Feldman continued. The Farm Bill attack takes place on many critical fronts. The draft legislation: 1. Takes away the right to sue for failure to warn when harmed by pesticides. The language says: “prohibit. . .a court from directly or indirectly imposing or continuing in effect any requirements for, or penalize or hold liable any entity for failing to comply with requirements with respect to, labeling or […]

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14
May

Multiple Studies Demonstrate the Importance of Strengthening Organic in the Farm Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2024) As research continues to emerge on the value of organic farming, U.S. Congress debates its future as Farm Bill negotiations have been stalled for months. Recent studies published within the past few months show the significance of organic agriculture’s support of fungal and microbial life, which is essential to soil health. Meanwhile, last week the Democrat-led Senate and Republican-led House of Representatives presented their respective visions to amend the 2024 Farm Bill. The office of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, released an initial Senate framework for the (now 2024) Farm Bill. At the same time, U.S. Representative Glenn Thompson (R-PA), chair of the House Agriculture Committee, released an outline of the House version, then followed up with more details. While the Senate Democratic proposal includes more robust support for expanding and strengthening organic product supply chains and domestic production, the House Republican support for organic land management principles and practices demonstrates that the Farm Bill could recognize, across the political spectrum, its economic, ecological, and public health benefits in the United States. Despite this, a growing coalition of advocates is alerting the public and members of Congress that the […]

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10
May

Organic Farming Shown to Reduce Pesticide Load in Bird of Prey Species

(Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2024) A study published by scientists in France from La Rochelle University’s ChizĂ© Center for Biological Studies, in collaboration with the University of Strasbourg and the University of Burgundy, finds lower pesticide load in chicks from a bird of prey species in areas with organic farming. A correlation between lower numbers of pesticides in the blood of birds with the presence of organic farms surrounding the habitats was determined after analyzing 55 Montagu’s harrier (Circus pygargus) nestlings from 22 different nests in southwestern France. As the percentage of organic agriculture around the nests increased, there was a significant decrease in the quantity and types of pesticides detected within the chicks’ blood.  In beginning this study, the scientists hypothesized that “the application of organic farming practices is expected to reduce contamination levels in the environment and consequently in wildlife.” They also referenced studies, such as a soil study, that aided in this speculation: “In an analysis of topsoil samples collected across Europe, samples from organic farms showed significantly fewer pesticide residues and in lower concentrations than those from conventional farms … [with] 70 to 90% lower concentrations.”   This study screened for 104 total compounds, 28 of which […]

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09
May

Take Action: Advocates Call for Strong Organic Mushroom and Pet Food Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, May 8-9, 2024) In its proposal on mushrooms and pet food, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program is following up on recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to ensure that two areas of organic production are clarified and in compliance with the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). The notice raises questions of standards that ultimately grow the organic market while ensuring that the USDA organic label is backed by standards that have integrity and garner the public’s trust. In this spirit, Beyond Pesticides participates in the NOSB review/recommendation process and USDA rulemaking through public comments. [Note: Beyond Pesticides has served on the NOSB for a five-year term (2010-2015) and urges other environmental organization representatives to consider self-nominating for service on the board.] The issues relating to clear standards for mushrooms and pet food have been before the NOSB and in discussion for some time as a part of ongoing efforts to ensure continuous improvement of standards governing the organic sector. While virtually all in the organic community and industry agree that the USDA proposals are needed and long overdue, Beyond Pesticides points to problems in the proposed rule that need correcting: (i) Re. […]

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06
May

CR Analysis Finds Pesticide Exposure and Hazards Persist, Despite Availability of Safer Alternatives

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2024) The pattern of failure to protect the public from pesticides is again brought to public attention by an analysis by Consumer Reports (CR) that effectively updates its previous report released in 2020. The report and its earlier iteration identify deep structural weaknesses with the institutions charged with protecting the public’s health and safety. The health risks outlined by CR in 2020 and related to ongoing pesticide exposure, even at low levels, include cardiovascular diseases, cancers, reproductive dysfunction, respiratory problems (e.g., asthma, bronchitis), neurological impacts (e.g., developmental effects and dementia/Alzheimer’s), and endocrine dysfunction, among others. Previously, the magazine reported, “CR’s experts say the government hasn’t upheld its responsibility to protect consumers [and that] the research used to set [pesticide residue] tolerances is imperfect, and they’re often too high.” CR has cited the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which is primarily responsible for pesticide regulation, for multiple inadequacies. According to the latest CR analysis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary has once again failed to accurately portray the safety of some of the most commonly sold fruits and vegetables in the United States. CR reviewed seven years of PDP data, finding that 20% […]

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01
May

Pesticide Residues in Food Do Not Tell the Full Story on Hazards and the Importance of Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2024) According to a new analysis by Consumer Reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary has once again failed to accurately portray the safety of some of the most commonly sold fruits and vegetables in the United States. A review of seven years of PDP data show that 20% of the foods tested pose a “high risk” to the public and 12 specific commodities are so dangerous that children or pregnant people should not eat more than one serving per day, according to Consumer Reports analysis. Consumer Reports contend that U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) pesticide residue tolerances are too lenient. To better evaluate potential health risks associated with various foods, Consumer Reports applied stricter residue limits than the EPA tolerances (see here for CR’s analytical methodology). Notably, USDA certified organic food products are not permitted to be produced with the pesticides identified by the report. Pesticide residues found in organic, with rare exception, are a function of the off-target chemical-intensive agriculture pollution through pesticide drift, water contamination, or background soil residues. The Consumer Reports results fly in the face of the rosy outlook reported by the USDA in its 2022 […]

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24
Apr

EPA Draft Herbicide Strategy Update Further Weakens Plan to Protect Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2024) On April 16, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted an “update” to the Draft Herbicide Strategy Framework (Draft Herbicide Strategy Framework to Reduce Exposure of Federally Listed Endangered and Threatened Species and Designated Critical Habitats from the Use of Conventional Agricultural Herbicides) that was released last summer, weakening aspects of the agency’s efforts to “protect” endangered species from herbicide use. The update outlines three types of modifications to the Draft Strategy, including “simplifying” its approach, increasing growers’ “flexibility” when applying mitigation measures, and reducing the mitigation measures required in certain situations. By reducing the stringency of the Strategy, advocates are again questioning EPA’s commitment to fulfilling legal requirements under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) or protecting endangered species and their habitats in the midst of an unprecedented rate of global extinction. ESA is celebrated as one of the most far-reaching conservation laws globally, credited with preventing the extinction of 99 percent of those species the government targets for protection, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). ESA establishes a framework to categorize species as “endangered” or “threatened,” granting them specific protections. Under ESA, EPA is required to consult with relevant agencies […]

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22
Apr

On Earth Day, Especially, Take Action to Ensure a Sustainable Future

(Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2024) Today, on Earth Day, the future of the planet and the health of all its inhabitants come into focus from numerous human and ecosystem health perspectives, with particular concern for the health of the next generation—as childhood cancer continues to be a leading cause of death from disease among children. Many studies demonstrate an association between environmental or occupational pesticide exposure and the risk of childhood cancer in offspring. Taking Action in Your Community: On Earth Day, Beyond Pesticides invites communities to join together in its nationwide campaign to convert parks to organic land management practices through the Parks for a Sustainable Future program. Through this program, Beyond Pesticides works with park managers, bringing hands-on horticultural support to eliminate petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers and instead nurture soil organisms to cycle nutrients naturally while creating resilient landscapes that resist weeds, insects, and disease. This program outlines the steps to become a parks advocate and how Beyond Pesticides works with communities committed to safe parks and playing fields for communities, children, and pets. One major impetus for the Parks program are the many studies that find prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental toxicants increases disease susceptibility. For decades, studies have […]

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17
Apr

“Forever Chemical” PFAS Drinking Water Rules Issued, Urgency to Shift from Petrochemicals Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, April 17, 2024) With headlines drawing public attention to the contamination of drinking water after years of federal government neglect, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 10 new standards to reduce public exposure to PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because of their persistence. EPA has finalized a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for six PFAS, including PFOA and PFOS, which EPA has recognized have no safe level of exposure, regulating new chemicals for the first time since the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). PFAS persistence and bioaccumulation in humans, wildlife, and the environment is due to the strength of a resulting fluorine–carbon atom bond. PFAS contamination of drinking water, surface and groundwater, waterways, soils, and the food supply—among other resources—is ubiquitous worldwide. PFAS is used in everyday products, including cookware, clothes, carpets, as an anti-sticking and anti-stain agent, in plastics, machinery, and as a pesticide. The action was welcomed by environmentalists and public health advocates as an important step but left many concerned that any level of exposure to these chemicals is unacceptable and critical of EPA’s ongoing failure to act despite years […]

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12
Apr

Natural Grocers Supports Organic Communities and Beyond Pesticides’ Parks for a Sustainable Future—Ladybug Love Pledge

(Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2024) In honor of Earth Month, Natural Grocers® is partnering with Beyond Pesticides for its seventh annual Ladybug LoveSM campaign. Natural Grocers, a longtime leader of the organic movement through national advocacy efforts and rigorous product standards, encourages its communities to pledge to protect beneficial insects and further Beyond Pesticides’ critical mission of converting local parks and playing fields to organic landscape management practices.   Natural Grocers’ annual Earth Month fundraising efforts benefit the nonprofit organization, Beyond Pesticides and its Parks for a Sustainable Future program. Cleaner air, water, and land make for a healthier food supply – a principle Natural Grocers has championed since 1955. Click here to see the campaign from last year. April shoppers at Natural Grocers’ 168 stores are also invited to donate to Beyond Pesticides at checkout. Ladybug Love also features in-store promotions! LADYBUG LOVE & BEYOND PESTICIDES Natural Grocers’ Ladybug Love campaign aims to bring awareness to the precious insects that play a crucial role in the stability of our food supply and regenerative farming. The annual Earth Month fundraising efforts benefit Beyond Pesticides and its Parks for a Sustainable Future program, designed to assist communities in transitioning away from pesticide use at local parks […]

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11
Apr

Chemical-Intensive Practices in Florida Citrus Lead to Harm and Collapse, as Organic Methods Offer Path Forward

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2024) Scientists are moving forward in testing an agroecological method of “push-pull” pest management (reducing the attractiveness of the target organism and luring pest insects towards a trap) to fight the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) in Florida orange groves, as it spreads a plant disease known as the pathogenic bacteria huanglongbing (HLB), also known as citrus greening, which is deadly to citrus trees. The disease is spread by the pathogenic bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas).  The chemical-intensive, or conventional, citrus industry is under intense pressure to find alternatives, as synthetic antibiotic use for this purpose has been successfully challenged in court. ACP is the carrier, or vector, for HLB, spreading it through the citrus groves and killing the trees. The chemical-intensive industry has focused on using antibiotics, which the environmental and public health community has rejected because of serious medical concerns associated with life-threatening bacterial resistance to antibiotics used to protect humans. A federal district court decision in December 2023 found illegal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to register the antibiotic streptomycin in Florida citrus without adequate review of its impact on endangered species. The streptomycin lawsuit, filed in 2021 by a coalition of […]

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09
Apr

Industry Stops PFAS Restrictions, Reverses EPA in Court, as Plastic Leaches Contaminants

(Beyond Pesticides, April 9, 2024) The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in an opinion authored by Circuit Judge Cory T. Wilson, has vacated an action by the U.S. Environmental Protection  Agency (EPA) that had ordered the Texas-based manufacturer Inhance Technologies, L.L.C. to stop producing plastic containers that leach toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) into pesticides, household cleaners, condiments, and additional products. EPA has taken action after the agency determined that the PFAS created during the fluorination process “are highly toxic and present unreasonable risks that cannot be prevented other than through prohibition of manufacture.” While the court is not challenging EPA’s authority to determine the hazards associated with PFAS exposure to be unacceptable, on a technicality, it is finding that the agency used the wrong section of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Section 5, which the court says is focused on new uses. According to the Court, “The EPA is just not allowed to skirt the framework set by Congress by arbitrarily deeming Inhance’s decades-old fluorination process a “significant new use,” even though EPA’s awareness of the PFAS contamination was “new” to the agency and not disclosed by the manufacturer. Even if EPA were […]

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02
Apr

Private Capital Invests in “Regenerative Organic” Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, April 2, 2024) There is a nascent capital investment effort in the transition to certified organic agriculture beginning to take hold across the U.S., something advocates say is critically needed to meet the current and escalating existential health threats, biodiversity decline, and climate emergency. Mad Agriculture has received early commitments from the Rockefeller Foundation, Builders Vision, and nearly a dozen other investors to contribute to the $50 million Perennial Fund II (PFII), to advance the growth of “regenerative organic” agriculture. Forbes is reporting that PFII’s primary objective is to jumpstart the organic land transition, given that this slice of U.S. agriculture makes up less than one percent of total farmland in the country relative to the European Union’s nearly 10 percent of total farmland. “We commend the work of Mad Agriculture in harnessing the spirit of organic agriculture and mobilizing the private sector to invest in farmers who engage in regenerative organic agricultural practices,” said Max Sano, organic program associate at Beyond Pesticides. In Rockefeller Foundation’s press release announcing their early commitment, Mad Capital co-founder Brandon Welch spoke on their vision: “We are aiming to build a bridge between two distant worlds that need one another to transition […]

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01
Apr

Advocates Seek To Keep Organic on the Cutting Edge of Change for a Sustainable Future

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2024) Comments are due 11:59 pm EDT, Wednesday, April 3. For the public comment period—deadline Wednesday, April 3—in the lead up to the National Organic Standard Board (NOSB) meeting, advocates have identified the following priority issues: Getting plastics our of organic; Removing endocrine disrupting nonylphenols (NPs) and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) iodine from dairy production and replace with available alternatives; and Continuing to improve the science supporting ongoing decisions of the NOSB. (See below for details and opportunity to submit comments on these with one click!) Previously, Beyond Pesticides has reported on three additional priority issues, including; Reject the petition to allow unspecified “compostable materials” in compost allowed in organic production; Eliminate nonorganic ingredients in processed organic foods as a part of the Board’s sunset review of allowed materials; and  Ensure that so-called “inert” ingredients in the products used in organic production meet the criteria in OFPA with an NOSB assessment.  (Please see the prior action on these issues and submit comments, if not done previously.) Beyond Pesticides asks the public to join in commenting on priority issues that protect health and the environment as part of the upcoming NOSB meeting. The NOSB is receiving written comments from the […]

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27
Mar

Synthetic Turf Fields, Forever Chemicals and the Safer Alternative: Organic Grass

(Beyond Pesticides, March 27, 2024) A preliminary experiment conducted by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) reveals concerning levels of toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) on the skin of soccer players and coaches after playing on artificial turf fields. The Washington Post reported on March 12 on the PEER test results, which found PFAS levels increased on the skin in three out of four participants following soccer matches on artificial turf. In contrast, no similar increase was observed after games on natural grass fields. The presence of PFAS is alarming due to their association with several serious health issues, including cancer, birth defects, and developmental and immune deficiencies, among others. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) writes that PFAS exposure risks are particularly concerning for young children, who are more susceptible due to their developing bodies and at risk for higher levels of exposure than adults. Known as “forever chemicals” for their persistence in the environment, PFAS continue to accumulate in the human body, posing long-term health risks. Kyla Bennett, PhD, science policy director at PEER and a former scientist and lawyer with EPA, emphasized the need for further research. “Although this study is preliminary, it highlights the potential […]

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26
Mar

Study Finds Copper Sulfate and Glyphosate in Waterways, Linked to Human and Environmental Hazards

(Beyond Pesticides, March 26, 2024) The authors of a case study in Canale D’Aiedda, Taranto, Italy, published in Scientific Reports, conclude that, “[T]he results of monitoring and modeling activities revealed a chronic risk associated with the presence of Cu [copper] from November to April in several river reaches and acute risk associated to the presence of glyphosate in several reaches mainly in the wet season.”  According to the authors, “The most important factor influencing the chronic risk for Cu were the combination of two factors: the high surface runoff and the Cu applications. The most important factor influencing the glyphosate peaks of concentration is the streamflow.” The authors of the study measure the flow of pesticide concentrations through the soil and water assessment tool (SWAT). The ecotoxicological data was collected at two stations in Germany that flow into Italy, within the Canale d’Aiedda basin. The streamflow was monitored between August 2017 and December 2019. Out of hundreds of pesticides and six metabolities investigated in this study, “only traces of copper and glyphosate were found.” The authors continue, “The banks and the bed of the river system are almost all covered by concrete. The hydrological regime is natural and intermittent in […]

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25
Mar

Data Supports Need to Transition Away from Plastics and Pesticides with Holistic Strategy

(Beyond Pesticides, March 25, 2024) Because of their widespread infiltration into the environment and the bodies of all organisms, including humans, plastics contamination requires a holistic strategy to protect life— with consideration given to practices and chemical use that reduce or eliminate harm. Pesticides and other toxic chemicals are adsorbed (adhered) to microplastics, resulting in bioaccumulation and widespread contamination. This adds to the complexity of the problem, which is largely ignored by federal regulatory agencies. While most environmental policies attempt to clean up or mitigate health threats, new data reinforces the need to stop the pipeline of hazardous chemicals, wherever possible. With new data on the harm associated with plastics and related contamination, it becomes urgently necessary for all government agencies to participate in a comprehensive strategy to eliminate plastics and pesticides. Beyond Pesticides points to the evolving science on plastics contamination and their interaction with pesticides as yet another reason to transition to holistic land management systems that take on the challenge of eliminating hazardous chemical use. Organic land management policy creates the holistic systems framework through which plastics can be eliminated. >> Tell USDA, EPA, and FDA to create strong restrictions on plastics in farming, water, and food. […]

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22
Mar

Plastics in Agriculture and Packaging Clog Arteries Raising Rate of Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke

(Beyond Pesticides, March 22, 2024) With long-running efforts to keep organic land management in the forefront of public health and environmental measures to eliminate petrochemical synthetic substances, including pesticides and fertilizers, plastic again emerges as an increasing threat in a study linking microplastics to cardiovascular disease. The study by Italian researchers, published in the March 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, finds an elevated risk factor for heart attack and stroke associated with plastics found in the plaque of the majority of patients’ carotid arteries. A holistic approach to agriculture that embraces principles and values to enhance biodiversity and protect health, the organic system requires that synthetic substances are compatible with that system. In this context, the environmental and public health effects of plastics are increasingly subject to scrutiny as they permeate nearly every aspect of food production, including fields, crops, foods, and food packaging. Plastics also migrate from other sectors into agriculture via wind and water and are now ubiquitous in every environment. Removing plastics from any ecosystem is extremely problematic, so getting them out of agriculture will be difficult – but necessary, given the accumulating evidence of their toxicity. Beyond Pesticides continues to push for […]

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21
Mar

Hazardous Pesticide with Reproductive and Developmental Effects Enters U.S. Food Supply through Imported Food

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2024) Alarming levels of a hazardous pesticide plant growth regulator linked to reproductive and developmental effects, chlormequat, is found in 90% of urine samples in people tested, raising concerns about exposure to a chemical that has never been registered for food use in the U.S. but whose residues are permitted on imported food. Published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology in February 2024 and led by Environmental Working Group toxicologist Alexis Temkin, PhD, a pilot study finds widespread chlormequat exposure to a sampling of people from across the country. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations only permit the use of chlormequat on ornamental plants and not food crops grown in the U.S. As explained in the journal article, “In April 2018, the U.S. EPA published acceptable food tolerance levels for chlormequat chloride in imported oat, wheat, barley, and some animal products, which permitted the import of chlormequat into the U.S. food supply.” In 2020, EPA increased the allowable level of chlormequat in food. Then in April 2023, EPA proposed allowing the first-ever U.S. use of chlormequat on barley, oat, triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye), and wheat. Existing regulatory standards explain the […]

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