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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Chemicals' Category


25
Jan

EPA: Reverse Approval of Highly Toxic Insecticide Aldicarb on Oranges

(Beyond Pesticides. January 25, 2021) First registered in 1970 and voluntarily cancelled in 2010, aldicarb (Temik™) was being manufactured in Bhopal, India in 1984 when a leak of a precursor‚ÄĒmethyl isocyanate (MIC)‚ÄĒspread over the city, ultimately killing more than 25,000 people and leaving more than 120,000 people who still suffer from severe health problems as a result of their exposure. In 1989, Union Carbide Corporation‚ÄĒthe manufacturer of aldicarb at the time‚ÄĒpaid $470 million (equivalent to $860 million in 2019) to settle litigation stemming from the disaster. Aldicarb, now made by Bayer, has been allowed by the outgoing Trump EPA for use on oranges. Tell EPA to Reverse Approval of Highly Toxic Insecticide Aldicarb! No pesticide epitomizes the ‚Äúcradle-to-grave‚ÄĚ dangers of pesticides better than aldicarb. The disaster in Bhopal was followed by others, including a leak in Institute, WV in 1985 that injured at least 135 people and a 2008 explosion in Institute, WV that killed two and injured at least eight. In use, it has been implicated in poisoning of workers and their children, poisoning deer and other game consuming contaminated seeds, and notably, poisoning food grown in soil treated with the chemical. The effects don‚Äôt stop there‚ÄĒaldicarb is also […]

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22
Jan

Will Biden Reverse Last Minute Trump EPA Approval of the Deadly Insecticide Aldicarb, Previously Cancelled?

(Beyond Pesticides, January 22, 2021) After the past four devastating years, hopes and expectations of the Biden/Harris administration abound among the environmental and public health communities. The ears and eyes of many advocates, as well as those in the agricultural community, are attuned (among myriad candidates) to the fate of the pesticide aldicarb. Although Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration of this terribly toxic insecticide was cancelled in 2010, various limited-use reapprovals since then have meant that the compound has found its way to increasing levels of use. On January 12, as another parting shot of midnight rulemaking, Trump‚Äôs EPA approved expanded uses (see below). The $64,000 question is whether the new administration will use its authority under¬†the Congressional Review¬†Act ‚ÄĒ which enables Congress to pass a joint resolution (then signed by the President) to overturn a new federal agency rule and prevent its reissuance in the future ‚ÄĒ to get this pesticide retired for good. Beyond Pesticides urges President Biden‚Äôs EPA to do so. Notably, the Trump administration used the Congressional Review Act to destroy myriad environmental rules when it came into power. This permitting of expanded aldicarb uses fits the pattern. Environmental Health News notes that, as of early […]

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20
Jan

EPA Confirms Widespread PFAS Contamination of Pesticides, Announces “Investigation,” Stops Short of Action to Protect Public

(Beyond Pesticides, January 20, 2021) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that PFAS (per and polyfluorinated alykyl substances) ‚Äėforever chemicals‚Äô are contaminating containers that store pesticide products, and subsequently the products themselves. The confirmation comes after preliminary testing from the watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) found PFAS in the widely used mosquito pesticide Anvil 10+10. In response EPA announced further investigation and said, “EPA understands the need to provide guidance to states, tribes, and other users as they prepare to purchase mosquito control products for 2021 and will provide more information as it continues its investigation.¬†EPA will update the following webpage with information as it becomes available:¬†https://www.epa.gov/pesticides/pfas-packaging.” ‚ÄúEPA‚Äôs discovery has opened a Pandora‚Äôs Box of health risks,‚ÄĚ stated PEER Science Policy Director Kyla Bennett, PhD, whose testing of the insecticide first raised the alarms, according to the EPA statement.¬† ‚ÄúShipping containers may be a significant source of PFAS exposure through the entire U.S. agricultural sector.‚ÄĚ According to EPA, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers used to store and transport pesticides are commonly treated with fluoride in order to create a ‚Äúchemical barrier‚ÄĚ that will ‚Äúprevent changes in chemical composition.‚ÄĚ The fluorinated container is supposed to be more stable, […]

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14
Jan

Study Finds Link Between Pesticide Exposure and Rare Blood Cancer Predecessor (MGUS)

(Beyond Pesticide, January 14, 2021) Long-term exposure to permethrin and legacy organochlorine pesticides (aldrin, dieldrin, and lindane) increase the risk of developing monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), a blood disease that likely precedes multiple myeloma (MM)‚ÄĒa type of blood cancer, according to research in the journal¬†Environmental Health Perspectives.¬†Globally,¬†cancer¬†is one of the leading causes of death, with over eight million people succumbing to the disease every year. Notably,¬†the International Agency for Cancer Research¬†(IARC) predicts new cancer cases to rise by 67.4% in 2030. Although there is a vast amalgamation of research linking cancer risk to genetic and external factors (e.g., cigarette smoke), there is increasing evidence that pesticide exposure augments the risk of developing both common and rare cancers, including MM. This study highlights the importance of understanding how pesticide use can increase the risk of latent diseases, which do not readily develop upon initial exposure. Study researchers state, ‚ÄúOur findings provide important insights regarding exposures to specific pesticides that may contribute to the excess of MM among farmers‚Ķ [T]he continued widespread residential and other use of permethrin and environmental exposure to organochlorine insecticides due to legacy contamination‚Ķcould have important public health implications for exposed individuals in the general population.‚ÄĚ […]

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13
Jan

Ethanol Plant Processing Pesticide Coated Seeds Contaminates Nebraska Town

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2021) An ethanol processing plant located in the small village of Mead, Nebraska has been using seeds coated in bee-toxic chemicals as part of its production process, according to reporting published in The Guardian earlier this week. The plant, owned by a company called AltEn, may be the only plant in the U.S. producing biofuels with toxic seeds. There is a reason for that, and Mead residents are experiencing the adverse effects of EPA not regulating treated seeds. The prevalence of the use of seed coatings in chemical agriculture has increased over the last several decades, as the pesticide industry works to increase product sales by exploiting a loophole in federal pesticide law. Under FIFRA (the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act), a clause known as the ‚Äútreated article exemption‚ÄĚ permits seeds to be coated with highly toxic pesticides without any requirement for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess environmental or public health effects of their use. This allows hazardous pesticides (primarily insecticides and fungicides) to be used indiscriminately with no effective oversight. Research finds that over 150 million acres of farmland are planted with toxic seeds, including nearly four tons of bee-killing neonicotinoids […]

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12
Jan

New York State Bans Glyphosate/Roundup on State Land, While Advocates Push for Organic Land Management

(Beyond Pesticides, January 12, 2021) New York State is set to prohibit on December 31, 2021 the use of glyphosate on all state property after Governor Andrew Cuomo signed bill S6502A/A732b late last year. The state legislature passed the legislation in July, 2020. The move is an important recognition by the nation‚Äôs fourth most populous state that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not adequately protecting people and the environment from hazardous pesticides (pesticide is an umbrella term that includes insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, etc). However, the law‚Äôs ability to improve these protections will depend significantly upon the management approach that replaces glyphosate use. ¬†‚ÄúA transition away from Roundup and other glyphosate-based pesticides must reject the use of regrettable substitutes, and embrace sound organic principles and practices,‚ÄĚ said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. In pest and weed management, regrettable substitutions occur when one toxic chemical is banned or restricted, and another hazardous pesticide is simply used in its place. The substitution may have a different chemical formulation, mode of action, and set of health and environmental impacts, but nonetheless fills the same role as Roundup/glyphosate when it comes to weed management. When the answer to eliminating glyphosate is to […]

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11
Jan

TAKE ACTION: Tell President-Elect Biden and Congress to Clean Up at EPA‚ÄĒ End the Era of Corporate Deception

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2021)¬†Treatment of chemical companies as clients rather than regulated entities is not new at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but corruption reached new highs during the Trump administration. With a new administration, it is time to end the rule of corporate deception at EPA. This goes beyond the use of the Congressional Review Act to reverse individual rules (adopted in the last six months) that defy scientific findings and compliance with environmental and public health standards. We can no longer rely on bad science and unscrupulous chemical manufacturers that put profits above concerns for the health of people and the environment. EPA must audit pesticide registrants for integrity to scientific process and set a moratorium on future pesticide registration until the agency can assure the public that their science is not corrupt, as it has been in the past. Tell President-elect Biden and Congress to clean up the corruption of science at EPA and set a moratorium on future pesticide registrations‚ÄĒuntil the agency can assure the public that the chemical manufacturers’ science supporting pesticide registrations is not corrupt. The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting published a story in early December on yet another example of the […]

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06
Jan

Long-Term Roundup Exposure Found to Harm Keystone Wildlife Species

(Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2021) Long-term exposure to formulated Roundup and glyphosate results in significant harm to wildlife species that form the bottom of aquatic food chains, according to a study published in Microbiome by researchers at University of Birmingham, UK. The water flea Daphnia spp. often functions as a keystone species in lakes and ponds, and because of its ecological importance is frequently used as an indicator species in toxicity tests performed by pesticide regulators. Lead author Luisa Orsini, PhD, notes that most of this testing is flawed by limitations in its scope. ‚ÄúThe problem is that much of the evidence is rooted in outdated toxicity tests which only look at the number of animals that die on exposure to extremely high concentrations of these chemicals,‚ÄĚ Dr. Orsini said. ‚ÄúThese tests also overlook the pathological effects arising from long-term exposure to low doses. What we‚Äôre proposing is that toxicity is measured by looking at what happens to the animal at a molecular and fitness level following long-term exposure, which encompasses the entire animal life cycle.‚ÄĚ Dr. Orsini and her research team exposed populations of Daphnia magna to the maximum contaminant level (1 mg/L) of both the formulated product Roundup, […]

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23
Dec

Trump EPA Gives Neurotoxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos Another Thumbs Up, Ignoring Brain Effects in Children

(Beyond Pesticides, December 23, 2020) The litany of parting shots by the waning Trump administration got longer on December 4, when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed interim decision on the very toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos, functionally continuing its registration for many agricultural uses. The interim decision purports to put in place new limitations on use of this pesticide, but they are wholly inadequate to the threat this compound represents ‚ÄĒ to young children, most concerningly, as well as to farmworkers, critical species and ecosystems, and the public. Chlorpyrifos should not be re-registered for use ‚ÄĒ i.e., its sale and use should be banned altogether, as Beyond Pesticides has asserted for years. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate pesticide used on scores of food crops, for mosquito (and other pest) control, and for some turf management (golf courses, especially). It has been demonstrated to be highly neurotoxic, especially to young children, leading to impaired cognitive function, developmental delays, lower IQs, attention deficit disorder, and a variety of other pervasive developmental and learning disorders. The essence of the compound‚Äôs toxicity to developing brains lies in its function as a cholinesterase inhibitor; chlorpyrifos binds to the receptor sites for acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme […]

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22
Dec

Farmworkers and Conservationists Ask Court to Remove Monsanto’s Roundup from the Market

(Beyond Pesticides, December 22, 2020)¬†Opening arguments and evidence¬†were filed by a coalition of farmworkers, farmers, and conservationists last week in litigation challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) re-approval of¬†glyphosate, best known as the active ingredient in Monsanto’s “Roundup” pesticides. The lawsuit charges that the Trump Administration unlawfully ignored cancer risks and ecological damage of glyphosate.¬† Represented by the Center for Food Safety (CFS), plaintiffs, including the Rural Coalition, Farmworker Association of Florida, Organizaci√≥n en California de Lideres Campesinas, and Beyond Pesticides,¬†filed the federal lawsuit¬†in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in March. The groups seek to have the pesticide prohibited from use or sale because of its unlawful approval. “Farmworkers are on the frontlines of nearly every health and environmental crisis, from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change, and are particularly at risk of health impacts from pesticide spraying,”¬†said Amy van Saun, senior attorney at CFS.¬†“EPA failed these essential workers. It rejected evidence that glyphosate causes cancer and entirely failed to assess the main way people are exposed at work, through their skin.” The court filing includes volumes of evidence showing how EPA ignored glyphosate’s health risks, including cancer risks, to farmworkers and farmers exposed during spraying. The evidence […]

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18
Dec

Investigation on Weed Killer Dicamba Adds to Pattern of Corporate Deception on Pesticide Hazards

(Beyond Pesticides, December 18, 2020)¬†The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting published a story in early December on yet another example of the corporate malfeasance that exalts profit far above concerns for safety, health, and ecosystems. The Midwest Center‚Äôs investigation finds that Monsanto and BASF, makers of the extremely problematic herbicide dicamba, engaged in a variety of deceitful, unethical, and possibly fraudulent practices to enable its use. The bottom line is that the companies knew, before they released dicamba, about the massive damage it would cause ‚ÄĒ and then put it on the market. Beyond Pesticides has reported on the corporate greed that fuels the downstream public health, environmental, and economic devastation these pesticides cause, and advocated for their removal from the market. Such unscrupulous behavior is not confined to these companies; Bayer (which now owns Monsanto) and Syngenta are also implicated in similar actions related to other pesticides: glyphosate and atrazine, respectively. Over the course of the past couple of decades, large agrochemical corporations have pursued not only extreme market penetration for their toxic products, but also, vertical integration that, in the case of Bayer/Monsanto, ‚Äúrepresents a near-monopoly on the agriculture supply chain.‚ÄĚ Corporate ownership of the patent on genetically […]

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17
Dec

EPA Considers Approving Uses for Highly Toxic, Broadly Banned Pesticide on Citrus Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, December 17, 2020) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is contemplating the reapproval of toxic, widely banned insecticide aldicarb for use on citrus fruits in Texas and Florida. A vast amount of scientific evidence reports a dramatic decline in insect population (i.e., the insect apocalypse), like pollinators and other beneficial biotas, from environmental pollution sources like pesticides. Therefore, it is important to assess regulatory decisions that can potentially jeopardize the protection of these species and, consequently, human health. Nathan Donley, PhD, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), states, ‚ÄúThe fact that U.S. regulators would even consider expanding use of this dangerous, widely banned pesticide is a stunning indictment of our broken regulatory system. This application vividly reaffirms why the pesticide industry considers us the dumping ground for the world‚Äôs worst pollutants. We‚Äôll be watching closely to see whether the Biden administration steps up and puts public health before pesticide company profits.‚ÄĚ Aldicarb is a highly toxic, systemic carbamate insecticide, with initial production beginning in 1965. The chemical is a fast-acting cholinesterase inhibitor that permanently binds to the active site of an essential enzyme for normal nerve impulse transmission, acetylcholinesterase (AChE), deactivating the enzyme. In […]

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11
Dec

Chemicals to Avoid: Groundbreaking Database of Illnesses from Pesticide Exposure Launched

(Beyond Pesticides, December 11, 2020) The national environmental and public health group Beyond Pesticides announced today the updating of its Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database (PIDD), including over 1,100 study entries, with a relational search feature to address the complex pervasiveness of adverse health effects of pesticides. This comprehensive database captures the range of diseases linked to pesticides and tracks the latest epidemiologic and real-world exposure using peer-reviewed studies. PIDD is comprised of epidemiologic and laboratory exposure studies and is continually updated to track the emerging findings and trends. ‚ÄúWe created this unique database to fill the gap between pesticides and multiple disease pathways. Pesticide exposure can promote the development of various diseases, many of which are co-occurring. This tool makes it easy for consumers and health officials alike to access scientific resources that bring to light both specific illnesses and a range of illnesses that affect public health from pesticide exposure,‚ÄĚ Warren Porter, PhD, Beyond Pesticides board member and professor emeritus of zoology and environmental toxicology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Why is this database so important? Connections to pesticide exposure are being found in a growing number of studies that evaluate the causes of preventable diseases‚ÄĒincluding asthma, autism and learning […]

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04
Dec

Ubiquitous Herbicide Glyphosate/Roundup Threatens Nearly All Endangered Species, Says EPA

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2020) Amid the maelstrom of national political¬†news related to the recent election, and the Trump administration‚Äôs upcoming exit, comes a release of the Environmental Protection Agency‚Äôs (EPA‚Äôs) draft biological evaluation (BE) of glyphosate. The assessment indicates that use of this ubiquitous herbicide likely threatens nearly every animal and plant species on the U.S. list of threatened and endangered species ‚ÄĒ 93% of them, in fact. Chemical and Engineering News reports that the EPA announcement was made public only a few days after the agency also reported that atrazine (another commonly used and toxic herbicide) probably harms more than half of those species. Given the Trump EPA‚Äôs eagerness, during the past four years, to serve industry interests rather than protect human health, biodiversity, and functional ecosystems, the timing of this released evaluation during the so-called ‚Äúlame duck‚ÄĚ period is puzzling. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in many herbicides, including RoundupTM, Monsanto‚Äôs (now Bayer‚Äôs) ubiquitous and widely used weed killer; it is very commonly used with genetically modified companion seeds for a variety of staple crops, as well as for weed control on managed landscapes. These seeds are¬†genetically engineered to be glyphosate tolerant. Glyphosate-based herbicides are the most […]

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02
Dec

PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Mosquito Pesticide, Raising Concerns Over Widespread Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, December 2, 2020) PFAS (per and polyfluorinated alykyl substances) ‚Äėforever chemicals‚Äô are being detected in a commonly used mosquito pesticide known as Anvil 10+10, according to reporting from the Boston Globe based on independent testing from a watchdog group and state regulators. PFAS are a large family of nearly 5,000 chemicals that may never break down in the environment and have been linked to cancer, liver damage, birth and developmental problems, reduced fertility, and asthma. The chemicals already disproportionately contaminate people of color communities, and there is evidence they reduce the efficacy of vaccines. While many may be familiar with PFAS for its use in nonstick cookware, electrical wire insulation, personal care products, food packaging, textiles, and other consumer goods, its presence within an already toxic pesticide is alarming. Perhaps most concerning, neither the manufacturer nor regulators have a good understanding of how exactly PFAS chemicals made their way into pesticide products. ‚ÄúThis is an issue that cuts to the core of what‚Äôs wrong with our federal system for regulating pesticides,‚ÄĚ said Drew Toher, community resource and policy director at Beyond Pesticides. ‚ÄúThe finding makes it imperative that EPA review and disclose full pesticide formulations before allowing the […]

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20
Nov

Flea Treatment Pesticides Found to Contaminate Waterways

(Beyond Pesticides, November 20, 2020)¬†Many pet owners likely do not consider what is actually in the flea treatments they administer to their animals. That should change, and recent research demonstrates why. Scientists sampling rivers in England found extreme contamination with two neurotoxic pesticides commonly used in flea products for dogs and cats: fipronil and the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. In many instances, the concentrations in the waterways were far higher than accepted ‚Äúsafe‚ÄĚ levels. Though these compounds are banned for agricultural uses in the United Kingdom (UK), risk assessment for them, as used on animals, has been minimal because of the assumption that the amounts used for veterinary treatments would mean far-less-significant environmental impact than might be expected with agricultural-scale use. This research out of the University of Sussex voids that assumption, and the researchers recommend ‚Äúre-evaluation of the environmental risks posed by pet parasite products, and a reappraisal of the risk assessments that these products undergo prior to regulatory approval.‚ÄĚ   Apart from being an active ingredient in flea treatments for pets, fipronil is used in insect baits, and in turf management and agriculture in the U.S. It is highly toxic to insects, including bees, to birds, and to aquatic invertebrates. […]

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13
Nov

EPA by Fiat Overturns State Authority to Restrict Pesticides in the Face of Its Faltering Programs

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2020)¬†The toxic herbicide dicamba is once again at the center of a larger story about states‚Äô authority to regulate pesticides beyond federal dictates. The Trump EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has just made it much harder for state regulations to be more protective than federal rules are. It did so via a footnote embedded in dozens of pages of regulatory documents related to EPA‚Äôs registration of three new dicamba products. Given conservatives‚Äô long-standing lip service to ‚Äústates‚Äô rights,‚ÄĚ this EPA‚Äôs thwarting of the wishes of individual states to respond to their respective circumstances could easily be regarded as an odd ‚ÄĒ though, during this administration, hardly singular ‚ÄĒ stance. This latest development underscores EPA‚Äôs continuing failures to protect people and the environment, and the increasing tension between centralized, federal regulation and more-local regulation, whether by states or smaller localities. For nearly 30 years, state regulators have used a Section 24 provision of FIFRA, the Federal, Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act ‚ÄĒ the law that gives EPA authority to regulate pesticides ‚ÄĒ to establish specific restrictions, on use of federally registered pesticide products, that go beyond what EPA has mandated. The agency has long allowed states to add […]

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11
Nov

Bees Lose Sleep Over Pesticides, Adding Stress and Increasing Risk of Death

(Beyond Pesticides, November 11, 2020) Neonicotinoid insecticides inhibit honey bee sleep cycles, leading to stress and population declines, according to research from Vanderbilt University, published in Scientific Reports. Although there is already ample evidence of the dangers these systemic insecticides pose to pollinators ‚Äď as evidenced by recent bans in the European Union and Canada ‚Äď this new line of investigation add further detail to the ongoing crisis in the pollinator world. ‚ÄúI was thinking about honey bee disappearances and it clicked‚ÄĒif pesticides are killing bees indirectly but we don‚Äôt know exactly how, maybe it‚Äôs because they‚Äôre getting physically lost,‚ÄĚ said study coauthor Michael Tackenberg, PhD.¬† Scientists conducted the experiment using honey bees located on Vanderbilt‚Äôs campus, which does not use neonicotinoid insecticides. After returning from pollen collection, forager bees were captured at their hive entrance and moved into monitoring tubes, which were subsequently transferred to the lab. In the lab, scientists were able to control light and dark cycles, and exposed bees to levels neonicotinoids they would likely experience if foraging on contaminated flowers. Foraging bees were first exposed to light/dark at 12/12 cycles, followed by four days of complete darkness, at which time some bees were provided neonics, […]

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06
Nov

Lawsuit Launched Against EPA Approval of Toxic Herbicide Atrazine

(Beyond Pesticides, November 6, 2020) Beyond Pesticides joined health and environmental groups suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) late last month over its decision to reapprove the endocrine disrupting herbicide atrazine with fewer protections for children‚Äôs health. Despite the chemical being banned across much of the world, EPA continues to make decisions that benefit chemical industry executives. “EPA’s failure to remove atrazine represents a dramatic failure of a federal agency charged with safeguarding the health of people, wildlife, and the environment,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “We seek to uphold the agency’s duty to act on the science, in the face of viable alternatives to this highly toxic weedkiller.” It is not hyperbole, but in fact scientifically documented, that atrazine exposure ‚Äúchemically castrates‚ÄĚ frogs, impairs fish reproduction, and can result in birth defects and cancer in humans. EPA decision comes on the heels of a rash of industry-friendly decisions. Within the last month, the agency has finalized rules weakening farmworker buffer zone protections, reapproving dicamba use on genetically engineered crops, and reregistering some of the most toxic pesticides on the market. The lawsuit, filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, contends that before reapproving atrazine, […]

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05
Nov

Pesticide Exposure Increases the Risk of Developing Gene-Specific and Sporadic Parkinson’s Disease Incidences

(Beyond Pesticides, November 5, 2020) Research at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) finds that pesticide exposure increases the risk of developing Parkinson‚Äôs disease (PD), regardless of whether disease onset is idiopathic (spontaneous) or genetic (GBA¬†genetic risk variant). Although the exact etiology of PD remains unknown, epidemiological and toxicological research repeatedly identifies exposure to pesticides, as well as specific gene-pesticide interactions, as significant adverse risk factors that contribute to PD. Furthermore, this study, ‚ÄúGene Variants May Affect PD Risk After Pesticide Exposure,‚ÄĚ suggests that environmental triggers like occupational exposure to pesticides can prompt PD in individuals with or without the genetic precursor. This research demonstrates the importance of assessing disease etiology concerning occupational pesticide exposure, especially if disease triggers are overwhelmingly non-hereditary. Since not all individuals genetically predisposed to the disease develop PD, with only 10 to 15 percent of PD cases being genetic, government officials need to consider alternate etiological pathways that include environmental risk factors. Study researchers note, ‚Äú‚ÄėEnvironmental exposures may have differential effects in different genotypes‚Äô and may predispose people with PD to different symptom burden.‚Ä̬† Parkinson‚Äôs disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, with at least one million Americans living with PD and about […]

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04
Nov

After Court Rules Herbicide “Would Tear the Social Fabric of Farming Communities,” Dicamba in Genetically Engineered Crops Given Go-Ahead by EPA

(Beyond Pesticides, November 4, 2020) Despite a recent court ruling voiding the registration of drift-prone dicamba herbicides on genetically engineered (GE) cotton and soybeans, EPA has renewed¬† the registration of these chemicals. The court‚Äôs ruling stated that EPA, ‚Äúsubstantially understated risks that it acknowledged and failed entirely to acknowledge other risks,‚ÄĚ in regards to the herbicides XtendiMax and Eugenia (dicamba), produced by agrichemical corporations Bayer and BASF for their genetically engineered (GE) crops. In announcing the decision, Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the agency made its decision ‚Äú[a]fter reviewing substantial amounts of new information, conducting scientific assessments based on the best available science, and carefully considering input from stakeholders.‚ÄĚ Yet, it is evident that the most important stakeholders for EPA continues to be chemical corporations. The history of dicamba‚Äôs use in GE agriculture reveal this to be the case. In the mid-2010s, Bayer‚Äôs Monsanto developed new dicamba-tolerant seeds and received approval to sell them from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. EPA had not yet approved its corresponding herbicide, but nonetheless, Bayer‚Äôs Monsanto urged farmers to plant its seed, claiming they would increase yields. The results of this were predictable: farmers began to use older, unapproved dicamba formulations on their new GE […]

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28
Oct

Captured by Extremist Pro-Pesticide Agenda, A Broken EPA Reregisters Several Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2020) This month the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized decisions allowing continued use of a range of highly toxic pesticides, including the herbicide paraquat, and the synthetic pyrethroid class of insecticides. The move has been met with stinging criticism from the health and environmental community, but the decisions come as no surprise. Continued allowance of hazardous pesticides is a result of a weak law, lax regulations, and an administration that has consistently refused to follow even deficient protections. ‚ÄúThe EPA‚Äôs pesticide office has sunk to a despicable new low in allowing farmworkers, small children and the environment to be sacrificial pawns in the profit schemes of its friends in the pesticide industry,‚ÄĚ said Nathan Donley, PhD, senior scientist at Center for Biological Diversity. ‚ÄúIn rushing to reapprove these deadly chemicals, it‚Äôs ignored its own scientists and independent researchers, refused to protect human health and the environment, and shown itself to be the panting lapdog of a morally bankrupt industry.‚ÄĚ EPA reregistered paraquat despite overwhelming evidence that the chemical cannot be used without ‚Äėunreasonable adverse effects on the environment‚Äô — the lackluster standard in federal pesticide law to which the agency is required to regulate a […]

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27
Oct

Ecosystem-Killer Fipronil More Toxic Than Previously Thought, Found in Waterways Throughout the U.S.

(Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2020) The insecticide fipronil is more toxic to aquatic insects than previously thought, often present in U.S. waterways, and can trigger trophic cascades that disrupt entire aquatic ecosystems, finds new research published by the U.S. Geological ¬†Survey (USGS). The data have important implications for waterways throughout the country, but particularly in the Southeast U.S. where the chemical was found at hazardous levels in over half of sampled steams. Despite the high quality of the findings by a U.S. government agency, pesticide regulators at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do not adequately consider ecosystem-level effects when determining whether to register a pesticide. As a result, without public pressure on the agency, it is unlikely it will follow the science and take the action necessary to rein in use and safeguard the environment. Fipronil is a systemic pesticide that can travel through plant tissues and be expressed in its pollen, nectar, and dew droplets. Due to its systemic properties and similar toxicity profile, it is often targeted for restriction alongside the notorious neonicotinoid class of insecticides. Although fipronil is equally concerning, there is less data on the range of harm the chemical may cause. To better understand […]

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