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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Alternatives/Organics' Category


14
Dec

Open Letter to Biden-Appointed USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack: Moving Forward, Meeting Challenges, Correcting the Past

(Beyond Pesticides, December 14, 2020) As the President-elect chooses the leadership in his administration, it is critical that we in the affected communities establish our expectations of what is needed from agencies to address critical issues of the day. While we may feel that different choices of personnel could have been made, ultimately we are looking forward to advancing programs across all agencies that represent meaningful and foundational changes to our social, economic, and environmental norms. As we focus on the appointment of a Secretary of Agriculture, issues of foundational change come into sharp focus, relating to sustainable land management, distribution of resources and access to land, food security, protection of human and ecosystem health, and climate. It is normal, therefore, to look at any individual appointee’s past performance and positions as a measure of future decisions or policies that may be advanced. Ultimately, though, it is the administration that sets the tone, establishes a framework, and forges the direction of the government’s programs and policies. President-elect Biden has talked about a framework for policy to which we can and must hold all officials in the administration accountable across all agencies. These key elements of the framework intersect with the […]

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09
Dec

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like an Organic Christmas
Tree?

(Beyond Pesticides, December 9, 2020) For consumers, the holiday season is full of complicated choices, including the conundrum of how to find the perfect Christmas tree. The most important part of selecting a tree is not its size and shape, but rather finding one that will pose the least risk to the health of your family, pets, and the environment. Thus, the safest holiday choice for you, and yours, is purchasing an organic tree as opposed to one that is artificial or grown using harsh chemical methods. However, the organic tree industry is still fairly novel, therefore following these helpful tips can ensure you purchase a beautiful organic tree and dispose of it in a responsible way to begin the New Year. Why Buy Organic? Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States, with Christmas trees accompanying the celebration of the holiday season. On average, Americans purchase 25 to 30 million Christmas trees annually, with 2020 showing an almost 30 percent increase in sales. However, organic Christmas trees, which follow the same U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic standards as agricultural crops, make up only 1% of all Christmas tree purchases. Fortunately, public awareness regarding the need for more ecologically friendly, organic products is […]

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04
Dec

Philadelphia, PA Passes Herbicide Ban Bill that Encourages Transition to Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2020) The Philadelphia City Council, yesterday afternoon, passed Bill #200425, known as Healthy Outdoor Public Spaces (HOPS), a sweeping ban of herbicides (weed killers) on its public property that stops short of banning all toxic pesticides, while encouraging the adoption of organic land management. With wide support for broad pesticide restrictions from public health and labor groups, scientists, and land managers, the bill was adopted by a unanimous vote. The effort was spearheaded by Toxic Free Philly, a group of local residents deeply concerned about the impacts of pesticides on health and the environment. While the hearing record and the bill’s language indicates a clear spirit and intent to move Philadelphia’s public spaces to organic practices, advocates cite the importance of public involvement and oversight to ensure their goals are achieved. Beyond Pesticides testified for broad language based on the model it is advancing nationwide, and offered the city council free horticultural services to implement an organic program under the new policy. “Toxic chemicals, including pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, are not needed to manage landscapes and increasingly local governments are recognizing that neither EPA nor state agencies, and their underlying statutes, provide adequate protection for their […]

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01
Dec

Growth in Organic Underscores Need for Stronger Standards, Increased Consumer Advocacy and Government Support

(Beyond Pesticides, December 1, 2020) The market for certified organic products is thriving, according to the 2019 Organic Survey recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Between 2008 and 2019, sales of organic products tripled. As more and more farmers and consumers see the benefits of switching to organic, advocates say it is critically important to protect and strengthen the standards behind the organic seal. Only an engaged public will be successful in pushing back against attempts by the agrichemical industry to undermine organic integrity. USDA’s 2019 Organic Survey is part of the 2017 Census on Agriculture, receiving information from every farmer who indicated they are certified or were transitioning to organic production. In total, USDA recorded 16,585 farms, up 17% from the last survey taken in 2016. Organic sales are also up 31%, to nearly $10 billion annually. The percentage of farmland under organic production increased a modest 9%.   California continues to be the state with the largest organic industry activity, with over a third of sales ($3.6 billion, or 36%) occurring there. Washington and Pennsylvania follow behind California, but it would take the next eight states combined to match California’s contribution to organic sales. It […]

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24
Nov

Food For Thought: Eating Organic Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

(Beyond Pesticides, November 24, 2020) Reinforcing a body of scientific evidence, a new study finds that eating organic food lowers one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes. With 1 in 10 (34 million) Americans afflicted with type 2 diabetes, and 1 in 3 (88 million) with prediabetes, new strategies focused on prevention are urgently needed. The results of the study, published by a team of French and American researchers in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, reinforce the triple bottom line (profit, people, and the environment) benefits of organic food for public health, the environment, and the wider economy. Scientists used data from NutriNet-SantĂ©, a massive study including over 170,000 participants (averaging 52 years old) that regularly respond to questions concerning lifestyle, dietary intake, body type, physical activity, and health status. Roughly 33,000 NutriNet-SantĂ© participants completed food frequency questionnaire regarding how often they consumed organic food. After four years, 293 surveyed individuals had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Researchers then looked at how organic food consumption affected the risk of developing the disease, adjusting for body mass index, gender, family history of diabetes, physical activity, education, economic status, occupation, smoking, and alcohol consumption. Higher organic food […]

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23
Nov

Tell the Biden Transition Team to Harness the Power of Organic to Combat Climate Change 

(Beyond Pesticides, November 23, 2020) The Biden transition plan for combatting climate change caused by agriculture does not mention organic. Yet research shows the potential of organic agriculture for reducing and preventing climate change. These studies also apply to land management in cities, parks, and playing fields. Tell the Biden transition team to harness the power of organic to combat climate change. Organic agriculture practices combat climate change by: Reducing Emissions of Nitrogen Oxides. Excessive use of nitrogen fertilizers in chemical-intensive agriculture is driving global nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions higher than any projected scenario, putting the world at greater risk of a climate catastrophe. According to research published by an international team of scientists in the journal Nature, failure to adequately address nitrous oxide emissions has the potential to impede the ability for the world to keep warming below the 2°C target established under the Paris Climate Agreement, necessitating further cuts in other greenhouse gasses.  A 2018 study from the University of Virginia and The Organic Center found that “reactive” nitrogen, in the form readily available to be taken up by plants, is conserved in organic systems. Jessica Shade, PhD of The Organic Center, noted that the research was “significant […]

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16
Nov

Tell President-elect Biden that We Need an Organic USDA

(Beyond Pesticides, November 16, 2020) Since the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sits at the nexus of complex and systemic problems that need urgent attention—pesticide-dependent genetically engineered crops, the integrity of certified organic agriculture, and the climate crisis—the choice of the agency’s head is critical to meeting the challenges necessary to sustaining life. USDA has long been a big promoter of chemical-intensive agriculture. With President-elect Joe Biden committed to priorities of addressing health care, systemic racism, and climate change, the time is now for USDA to change the way it does business. We need an organic advocate in the Secretary of Agriculture, who must be committed to transitioning chemical-intensive agriculture to organic practices—thereby eliminating petroleum-based pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, sequestering atmospheric carbon, protecting farmworker and farmer health, delivering a safe food supply, and ensuring clean air, water, and healthy terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Tell President-elect Biden to appoint an organic leader as USDA Secretary. The purview of USDA is far-ranging—from SNAP (food stamps) to agricultural support programs to research to inspections and other regulations. And the National Organic Program. Research includes programs promoting pesticides and genetically engineered crops. USDA’s history with President-elect Biden’s priority issues has not been good historically. […]

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16
Oct

Scientists Warn of Another Pandemic If Officials Continue to Ignore Explosion of ‘Antimicrobial Resistance’

(Beyond Pesticides, October 16, 2020) The Lancet has published an article that identifies several of the multiple and interacting crises the U.S. and world face, with a focus on another “looming potential pandemic . . . [a] rise in multidrug-resistant bacterial infections that are undetected, undiagnosed, and increasingly untreatable, [whose rise] threatens the health of people in the USA and globally.” It calls on leaders in the U.S. and beyond, asking that even as they address the current coronavirus pandemic, they also attend to the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) problem, which is a growing threat to public health. The co-authors outline a number of strategies for progress on AMR, including banning of medically important antibiotics in agribusiness, and promoting consumer, and supplier and private sector, awareness and action on food choices. Beyond Pesticides endorses these strategies, but insists that a genuine solution would include the transition to organic agriculture, not least for the health benefits it would provide. The introduction to the article adds another crisis layer — the climate emergency — and asserts that any resolutions of these crises will, or will not, unfold in a political context: “The outcome of the U.S. election will have far-reaching consequences for planetary […]

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15
Oct

Literature Review: Pesticides Exposure Highly Correlated with Respiratory Diseases

(Beyond Pesticides, October 15, 2020) A review of scientific literature on the correlation between respiratory diseases and pesticides exposure—published in the journal Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine (AAEM), “Influence of pesticides on respiratory pathology—a literature review”—finds that exposure to pesticides increases incidents of respiratory pathologies (i.e., asthma, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]—or chronic bronchitis). The review by researchers at the Iuliu Hatieganu’ University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj-Napoca, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, looks at how pesticide exposure adversely propagates and reinforces respiratory diseases in humans. This review highlights the significance of evaluating how pesticide exposure impacts respiratory function, especially since contact with pesticides can happen at any point in the production, transportation preparation, or application treatment process. Researchers in the study note, “Knowing and recognizing these respiratory health problems of farmers and their families, and also of [pesticide] manipulators/retailers, are essential for early diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and preventive measures.” This study results are critically important at a time when exposure to respiratory toxicants increases vulnerability to Covid-19, which attacks the respiratory system, among other organic systems. The respiratory system is essential to human survival, regulating gas exchange (oxygen-carbon dioxide) in the body to balance acid and base tissue cells for normal […]

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07
Oct

Baltimore Becomes Latest Maryland Locality to Restrict Toxic Pesticides on Public and Private Property

(Beyond Pesticides, October 7, 2020) This week the Baltimore, Maryland City Council passed an ordinance restricting the use of toxic pesticides on public and private property—including lawns, playing fields, playgrounds, children’s facility (except school system property [golf courses are exempt]—following an approach similar to legislation first spearheaded by Montgomery County, MD in 2015. While the legislation, 20-0495, An Ordinance Concerning Pesticide Control and Regulation, generally limits inputs to the allowed materials under federal organic law, it provides for allowances for glyphosate by the Department of  Recreation and Parks. If signed by the Mayor, as expected, Baltimore City will become the most recent Maryland jurisdiction to exercise its authority to regulate pesticide use on private property, after a ruling of the state’s highest court. Language in the Baltimore ordinance tracks a similar framework to the Healthy Lawns Act passed in Montgomery County, Maryland. Any pesticide that is not compatible with organic land care—allowed under certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or considered minimum risk by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)—is subject to the bill’s restrictions. Use can only occur under limited exceptions, such as to manage particularly invasive species, as well as health or economic threats. Bee-toxic […]

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01
Oct

Court Rejects Case to Reinstate Environmental Protections on U.S. Wildlife Refuges, as Report Shows Increasing Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, October 1, 2020) A federal judge on September 24, 2020 dismissed an  environmental lawsuit seeking to reinstate a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule, killed by the Trump Administration, which banned the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, genetically engineered (GE) crops, and adopted a precautionary approach to pest management. The decision comes on the heels of a Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) analysis that reports a 34% increase in the pesticide use on U.S. national wildlife refuge acres over a two year period from 2016-2018. This analysis is an update to CBD’s 2018 report, No Refuge, which is the first of its kind to offer comprehensive details of agricultural pesticide spraying in national wildlife refuges. Wildlife refuges act as a sanctuary, providing habitat and protection essential for the survival and recovery of species nationwide. However, pesticide spraying in or around wildlife refuges threatens the survivability and recovery of species that reside there as many of these pesticides are highly toxic to human and animal health. Analyses like these are significant, especially since the globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one million species of plants and animals at risk of extinction. In 2012, […]

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29
Sep

Biological Management Has Added Billions in Benefits to Agricultural Economies

(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2020) While the green revolution is often heralded in conventional agriculture circles as the key agricultural innovation of the last century, new research finds that biological controls likely had a bigger beneficial impact on world crop production. The study, Ecological Pest Control Fortifies Agricultural Growth in Asia–Pacific Economies, published in Nature Ecology and Evolution, makes the case that the introduction of predators to manage non-native pest species was just as important as the introduction of new cereal grain varieties. “Our work constitutes an empirical demonstration of how insect biological control helped solidify the agrarian foundation of several Asia-Pacific economies and, in doing so, places biological control on an equal footing with other biological innovations such as Green Revolution germplasm,” said study co-author Michael Furlong, PhD, of the University of Queensland, Australia. The study, focusing in on the Asia-Pacific region between 1918-2018, relied primarily on the BIOCAT database, a record cataloging “classical biological control” introductions. Of 252 unique interventions reviewed within individual countries, pest predators established themselves in 96. Of those roughly 4 in 10 introductions that were able to maintain populations over the long term, 48% achieved full or partial pest control. The success of these […]

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28
Sep

Tell USDA to Strengthen Organic Enforcement and Allow More Time for Public Comment

(Beyond Pesticides, September 28, 2020) These comments are due by October 5 at 11:59 pm EDT. Separate comments to the National Organic Standards Board are due October 1 at 11:59 EDT. After hearing for years about inadequate enforcement of the rules governing organic production, USDA has issued a massive draft rule on strengthening organic enforcement (SOE). The draft rule presented to the public constitutes an impressive and far-reaching rewrite of the regulations implementing the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). However, unlike the process by which the initial regulations were established in 2002, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) was only consulted on a portion of the elements in this draft rule. Public engagement was, thus, also limited. USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) is accepting comments on its draft rule via Regulations.gov. Please use this opportunity to remind USDA of the proper public process while commenting on the proposed rule itself. Please join us in asking for an extension of the pubic comment to facilitate fuller public scrutiny. Tell USDA that strengthening organic enforcement starts with the National Organic Standards Board. USDA must involve the NOSB and public as required by law. Section 2119 of OFPA states the Secretary shall establish […]

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21
Sep

Please Submit Comments: Organic Can Prevent Ecological Collapse with Our Help

(Beyond Pesticides, September 21, 2020) The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meets online October 28-30 to debate issues—after hearing public comment October 20 and 22—concerning how organic food is produced. Written comments are due October 1. They must be submitted through Regulations.gov. Everywhere we look, we see signs of ecological collapse—wildfires, the insect apocalypse, crashing populations of marine organisms, organisms large and small entangled in plastic, more and more species at risk, rising global temperatures, unusual weather patterns, horrific storms, and pandemics. As we focus on one of the most blatant examples of environmental abuse—the dispersal of toxic chemicals across the landscape—it is important to seek a solution. Organic can be a big part of the solution, but only if it doesn’t stray from its core values and practices. Tell the National Organic Standards Board to support core organic values. From its very beginnings, the organic sector has been driven by an alliance of farmers and consumers who defined the organic standards as a holistic approach to protecting health and the environment, with a deep conviction that food production could operate in sync with nature and be mindful of its interrelationship with the natural world—protecting and enhancing the quality of air, […]

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17
Sep

Fashion Killer: Report Finds that the Apparel Industry is a Major Contributor to Biodiversity Loss

(Beyond Pesticides, September 17, 2020) The apparel industry becomes the latest contributor to global biodiversity loss, directly linking soil degradation, natural ecosystems destruction, and environmental pollution with apparel supply chains, according to the report, “Biodiversity: The next frontier in sustainable fashion,” by McKinsey & Company. Although there are many studies on the fashion industry’s impact on climate change, much less research discusses the impact the industry has on biodiversity. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one million species of plants and animals at risk of extinction. With the increasing rate of biodiversity loss, advocates say it is essential for government agencies to hold the fashion industry accountable for the direct (i.e., excessive agrochemical use, water consumption) and indirect (i.e., water pollution from run-off) impacts on the environment, not only to protect the well-being of animals, but humans, as well. Researchers in the study note, “We expect biodiversity to become an even greater concern for consumers and investors in the coming years. Covid-19, instead of slowing the trend, has accelerated it—perhaps because people now understand more deeply that human and animal ecosystems are interdependent. It’s time for the apparel industry, which to date has contributed heavily […]

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10
Sep

Pesticides and Heavy Metals Found in Blunt (Cigar) Wrappers, Cellulose-Based Rolling Papers, and other Plant-based Rolling Paper Products

(Beyond Pesticides, September 10, 2020) A new analysis by Science of Cannabis Laboratories Inc. (SC Labs) finds detectable concentrations of pesticides and heavy metals in rolling papers, with hemp/blunt wraps and cellulose-based rolling papers containing the highest levels of contaminants. The analysis follows a SC Labs’ finding of high levels of chlorpyrifos—a neurotoxic, organophosphate insecticide—in the rolling paper of pre-rolled cannabis, which was undergoing compliance testing. Although the rolling paper regulations generally track standards for toxic tobacco products (which means there is very little meaningful regulation), the rolling paper use with cannabis may add an addition layer of scrutiny since some statewide cannabis regulations and independent certifications adhere to stricter guidelines similar to organic practices. Researchers note the goals of the experiment “were to assess the exposure risks to the consumer as well as identify any potential liabilities for cannabis producers who use these products to make their pre-roll products.” This report, and others like it, are significant as cannabis use expands in in the U.S. and around the world, and given that one of the most popular ways to consume cannabis product is as a rolled cigarette. Study author and president of SC Labs Josh Wurzer, Ph.D., said, “This [issue] is something that cannabis and paper […]

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01
Sep

As CBD Market Grows Exponentially, Misleading Organic Claims Abound and Group Calls for Enforcement Against Fraudulent Claims

(Beyond Pesticides, September 1, 2020) In its new report, industry watchdog OrganicEye, a project of Beyond Pesticides, examines the rapidly expanding CBD market, uncovering numerous examples of gross violations flying under the radar. In its report, Spotting the Hackers of Hemp: The Value of Authentic Certified Organic CBD Products, OrganicEye offers examples of companies claiming organic status without going through the rigorous third-party inspection and auditing process required by federal law. As with food, organic CBD, produced from hemp/cannabis, eliminates the risks and hazards of environmentally dangerous farming practices, including the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, sewage sludge, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Organics also shuns toxic food ingredients and food processing substances like volatile solvents. Since Congress charged USDA with protecting organic stakeholders from fraudulent practices, illegal organic marketing claims have been the most common violations reported to the agency. “In addition to representing conventional hemp products as organic, marketers have engaged in illegal subterfuge, including creating their own ‘organic’ logos because they can’t use the official USDA seal and using the word ‘organic’ in their brand names when the products do not qualify for organic labeling,” said Mark A. Kastel, a 30-year industry veteran and director of OrganicEye. The meteoric growth […]

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31
Aug

Act by Sept. 3—Help Keep Toxic Herbicides Out of Lake Tahoe, Protect this Treasured and Sacred Ecosystem; Advance Alternatives 

(Beyond Pesticides, August 31, 2020) We don’t need to use toxic weed killers to manage unwanted vegetation in Lake Tahoe, given the havoc they will wreak on a treasured and sacred ecosystem. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (TRPA/LRWQCB) are accepting comments on a draft environmental impact report/ environmental impact statement (EIR/EIS) analyzing environmental impacts of a proposed Tahoe Keys Lagoons Aquatic Weed Control Methods Test (“Project”). Unless we all speak up, the Project could involve the application of herbicides to Lake Tahoe. The Action Alternative 1: Testing of Non-Herbicidal Methods Only is the environmentally best choice and should be selected for the proposed weed control test program. Protect Lake Tahoe from toxic weed killers—take action by Sept. 3, 11:59 pm. Located on the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is treasured for its scenic and ecological values not just by residents of those states, but by many others. The Washoe Tribe considers the lake to be a sacred life-sustaining water, the center of the world. The lake is designated an “Outstanding National Resource Water” under the Clean Water Act, and is recognized nationally and globally as a natural resource of special significance.  The […]

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27
Aug

Pesticides and Fertilizers Outrank Fossil Fuels as the Number One Contributor of Hazardous Sulfur Emissions

(Beyond Pesticide, August 27, 2020) The latest research finds that pesticides and fertilizers supersede fossil fuels as the greatest contributor of sulfur emissions in the environment, according to U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded study, published in Nature Geoscience. Particularly, atmospheric sulfur dioxide and reactive sulfur emissions contribute to sulfur deposition via acidic rain and snow, causing a multitude of human and animal of health problems and environmental degradation. Although some U.S. policy regulations curb sulfur emissions from atmospheric sources, alternative sulfur inputs from agricultural sources can cause similar issues as atmospheric sulfur emissions, including acid rain. With peak sulfur concentrations from agricultural outputs up to ten-fold higher than previous 20th-century sulfur levels, studies like these are significant in understanding how underrepresented pollution sources may contribute to overall environmental pollution. Lead author of the study, Eve-Lyn Hinckley, Ph.D., states, “We have an imperative to understand the impact that we’re having on the environment. And then we need to work together towards solutions to mitigate those effects.” Sulfur is a naturally occurring element found in vast, underground deposits. Although relatively stable underground, it is highly reactive once it reaches the surface, transforming into chemical compounds, like sulfur oxides, upon exposure to oxygen. Over […]

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25
Aug

Maryland Community Opts-In to Healthy Lawns Act, Restricting Toxic Pesticide Use on Public and Private Property

(Beyond Pesticides, August 25, 2020) The City of Gaithersburg, MD has chosen to opt-in to Montgomery County’s Healthy Lawns Act, restricting toxic pesticide use on public and private property. According to the local Patch, the mayor and City Council voted to adopt the law in mid-August, and it will take effect for all residents and businesses in city on December 1. Although Montgomery County passed the Healthy Lawns Act approximately five years ago, incorporated cities within the county are required to proactively opt-in to the law for it to apply within their jurisdiction. Gaithersburg is the latest, and largest city to opt-in to the county’s law, which encourages organic practices by limiting pesticide use on lawns and landscapes to products that are certified organic or considered minimum risk by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In mid-June, the Town of Garrett Park also opted in to the law, according to reports. Advocates are advocating that all cities within Montgomery County adopt the law. The same group of grassroots advocates that pushed Montgomery County leaders to adopt its Healthy Lawns Act years ago is also leading the push for opt-ins. Safe Grow Montgomery, a group of concerned mothers and fathers working for […]

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24
Aug

Take Action: Tell Congress to Restore Organic Funding Taken Away by USDA

(Beyond Pesticides, August 24, 2020) USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) announced on August 10 that it will be reducing reimbursement rates for the organic certification cost share program, which provides reimbursements to organic farms and handling operations. The August 10 Federal Register notice stated that FSA is “revising the reimbursement amount to 50 percent of the certified organic operation’s eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $500 per scope.” The 2018 Farm Bill clearly set reimbursement rates at 75% of the certified organic operation’s eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $750 per regulated activity. This change hurts the transition to organic production at a time when it is crucial that the organic sector grows—eliminating petroleum-based pesticides and synthetic fertilizers that are contributing to devastating pollution, the climate crisis, and biodiversity decline. This action by USDA is unwarranted and completely unacceptable. The 2018 Farm Bill provided new funding for the program and also directed USDA to use the program’s carryover balances from previous years to fund the program for fiscal years 2019 through 2023. Given these sources of funding, there should be plenty of funds available for the program’s operation in fiscal year 2020. Either USDA’s accounting for this program […]

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20
Aug

Arctic Glaciers Entrap Pesticides and Other Environmental Pollutants from Global Drift and Release Hazardous Chemicals as They Melt from Global Warming

(Beyond Pesticides, August 20, 2020) Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including banned and current-use pesticides are present in snow and ice on top of Arctic glaciers, according to the study, “Atmospheric Deposition of Organochlorine Pesticides and Industrial Compounds to Seasonal Surface Snow at Four Glacier Sites on Svalbard, 2013–2014,” published in Environmental Science & Technology. Past research finds that air contaminated with these environmentally bioaccumulative, toxic chemicals drift toward the poles, becoming entrapped in ice under the accumulating snowfall. As the global climate continues to rise and the climate crisis worsens, studies like this become significant, as glaciers encapsulating these toxic chemicals are melting. Upon melting, some chemicals can volatize back into the atmosphere releasing toxicants into air and aquatic systems, with the ensuing consequences. Although this research demonstrates that specific computer programs can track the trajectory of chemically contaminated air parcels with practical precision, it falls to global leaders to curtail the continued manufacturing of these chemical pollutants. [For related pieces, see Silent Snow: The unimaginable impact of toxic chemical use and DDT in Glacial Melt Puts Alaskan Communities at Risk.] Countless scientists consider Arctic environments to be “pristine,” void of direct chemical inputs from pesticides and other POPs. However, the Arctic has become a sink for […]

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17
Aug

Take Action: Tell Lowe’s and Home Depot to Promote Organic Instead of Poisons

(Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2020) Once numbering in the millions, barely 29,000 western monarch butterflies were found in California at last count. Pesticides pack a one-two punch against monarchs. Insecticides—particularly neonicotinoids—poison the caterpillars and butterflies as they feed. Glyphosate—the active ingredient in Bayer-Monsanto’s RoundupÂź — is wiping out milkweed, the only food source for monarch caterpillars. This has contributed to monarchs’ 90% decline in the past 20 years alone. They could vanish within our lifetimes. Home and garden stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot can play a huge role in ending the use of this toxic pesticide in our backyards and across the country. Already, Lowe’s is removing neonicotinoid products from its live plant offerings and store shelves, and Home Depot is eliminating use of neonicotinoids in its live plant offerings. They could stop selling RoundupÂź. More importantly, they could encourage organic practices through their product offerings and consumer education. Ask Home Depot and Lowe’s to get RoundupÂź off their shelves and promote and educate on organic! Companies like Lowe’s and Home Depot could be leaders by removing products containing glyphosate/RoundupÂź from their physical stores and online—following the example of their competitor, Costco. This would send a powerful message to Bayer […]

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