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Daily News Blog

Archive for the '2,4-D' Category


23
Oct

Farmers and Environmental Groups to Challenge EPA over Herbicide Approval

(Beyond Pesticides, October 23, 2014) Lawsuit filed against Environmental Protection Agency for approval of 2,4-D use on genetically engineered corn, soy crops in six Midwest states.A coalition of farmers and environmental groups filed a lawsuit to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today on behalf of six Midwest states where a toxic herbicide cocktail called Dow’s Enlist Duo, a blend of glyphosate and 2,4-D, was approved on October 15 for use on genetically engineered (GE) crops. Approved for use on GE corn and soybeans that are engineered to withstand repeated applications of the herbicide, the creation of 2,4-D-resistant crops and EPA’s approval of Enlist Duo is the result of an overuse of glyphosate, an ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. The misuse resulted in an infestation of glyphosate-resistant super weeds which can now be legally combatted with the more potent 2,4-D. Dow Chemical has presented 2,4-D resistant crops as a quick fix to the problem, but independent scientists, as well as USDA analysis, predict that the Enlist crop system will only foster more weed resistance. “The toxic treadmill has to stop,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “EPA and USDA cannot continue to ignore the history, science, and public […]

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22
Oct

EPA Launches Voluntary Rating Program on Pesticide Drift

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a new voluntary Drift Reduction Technology (DRT) program to encourage the use of spray technologies scientifically verified to significantly reduce pesticide drift. But with the recent approval of increased uses of toxic pesticides, such as 2,4-D, and the general lack of compliance with pesticide labels, many believe that this new program may not go far enough to protect non-target sites and vulnerable communities from drift until serious efforts to reduce widespread use of toxic, highly volatile pesticides are undertaken. Pesticide drift is an inevitable consequence of pesticide use, and has been a problem for communities adjacent to agricultural areas and non-target sites for decades. Many pesticide products are released as foliar sprays into the air, or volatilize from surfaces where particles can travel for miles from their application site. This means that on a windy day pesticide residues can drift far distances, affecting  downwind, vulnerable communities, organic farms and other environments. Legal action has been taken against the agency to protect communities from drift, but EPA has consistently failed to meaningfully address concerns. To address issues of drift, EPA’s new program will attempt to reduce drift by […]

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17
Oct

GMO Labeling Movement Marches Forward with Vermont Release of Draft Rules

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2014) The Vermont Attorney General’s Office, as part of a continuous effort to label genetically modified organisms (GMO) and increase transparency for consumers, released a draft of the rules written to govern the state’s law to require the labeling of food produced with genetic engineering. The nine page rulemaking, describe a range of issues, from the definition of “food” and “genetic engineering” to the required disclosures that will read “Produced with Genetic Engineering” or “Partially Produced with Genetic Engineering.” The attorney general’s office has scheduled three public hearings for next week to give the public the opportunity to comment on the law. Members of the public can also submit a comment via email. Attorney General William Sorrell said his office is moving to write the rules as quickly as possible so that the industry can prepare before the law takes effect in 2016. The law, which was signed by Governor Peter Shumlin in May and is the first of its kind in the nation, has been met with substantial backlash. The state is  currently involved in a legal battle  by  major trade associations, including Grocery Manufacturers of America (GMA). In  a statement, GMA has called the […]

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16
Oct

EPA Approves Enlist Duo®, Opens Gate to New Wave of GE Woes

(Beyond Pesticides, October, 16, 2014) Despite a massive outpouring of public opposition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced yesterday that it has registered Enlist Duo ®, officially putting the rubber stamp of approval on the sale and use of a new wave of genetically-engineered (GE) 2,4-D tolerant crops. Developed by Dow AgroSciences, Enlist Duo ® is an herbicide that incorporates a mix of glyphosate and a new formulation of 2,4-D, intended for use on GE Enlist-Duo ®-tolerant corn and soybean crops. While registration of the herbicide was anticipated by most of the public since the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s approval of the Enlist Duo ®-tolerant crops in mid-September, the announcement still comes as a disappointing shock, demonstrating the failings of the U.S. pesticide and agricultural regulatory system to put people and the environment before economic incentives and industry bottom lines. “EPA approval of this herbicide sets a dangerous precedent,” says Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “Instead of looking to alternatives, regulators are signaling that the answer to widespread weed resistance is more toxic products that endanger farmworkers and farming communities.” As Beyond Pesticides noted in its comments submitted to EPA in June of this year, the […]

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19
Sep

USDA Approves 2,4-D-Tolerant (GE) Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2014) The pesticide treadmill continues to turn with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent approval this week of three 2,4-D-tolerto ant corn and soybean crops, developed by Dow AgroSciences. Some growers have been pushing for the new Enlist crops in order to combat the rapid proliferation of glyphosate-resistant weeds. The use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup formulation, on genetically-engineered (GE) crops has proven to be an abject failure due to widespread weed resistance. So widespread is this resistance that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has  granted an emergency use exemption  for fluridone, which does not have registered uses in agriculture.  More recently, Texas regulators requested the use of propazine to combat glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth, or pigweed, which EPA recently denied,  citing risks to drinking water and other hazards.   Even though the agency denied the emergency use application, it accepted the argument put forth by the Texas Department of Agriculture that  glyphosate-resistant weeds in three million acres of herbicide-tolerant cotton constituted an  “urgent non-routine situation.”  Beyond Pesticides argued to EPA that the weed resistance in  herbicide-tolerant cropping systems is very predictable and has become routine, thus disqualifying states from using the […]

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02
Sep

U.S. Representative Questions EPA’s Risk Assessment of 2,4-D-Based Herbicide

(Beyond Pesticides, September 2, 2014) U.S. Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week asking them a poignant question: Why didn’t the human health risk assessment of Dow’s newest 2,4-D-based herbicide apply the ten-fold safety factor required by national law to protect children and infants? The question is a good one and events leading up to it began back in April 2014, when EPA opened up a public comment period for Dow AgroSciences’s application to expand the use of its 2,4-D choline salt herbicide, known as Enlist Duo ®, on 2,4-D-tolerant corn and soybeans. This application was the next step in ushering in a new wave of genetically-engineered (GE) crops sought to replace the quickly waning glyphosate-resistant or Roundup Ready ® varieties. As EPA described on its Enlist-Duo ® webpage, “Weeds are becoming increasingly resistant to glyphosate-based herbicides and are posing a problem for farmers. If [the Enlist Duo ® application is] finalized, this action would provide an additional tool to reduce the spread of glyphosate resistant weeds.” In other words, because of the overuse of glyphosate on GE glyphosate-resistant crops and the resulting development of weeds across the U.S. showing resistance […]

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26
Aug

Oregon Spray Pilot Fined $10,000 for Pesticide Drift that Residents Say Poisoned Them

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2014) Nearly a year after residents in Curry County Oregon were sprayed with herbicides, the pilot responsible for the incident had  his license suspended for a year and was fined $10,000 by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA). The Pacific Air Research Company, which employed the pilot, was also fined $10,000 and had all its licenses revoked for a year for providing false information to the state. The initial incident happened in October 2013, when  residents complained of experiencing rashes, headaches, asthma, and stomach cramps right after the application. As reported in the The Oregonian, after the investigation, ODA was criticized by environmental groups and the general public for not doing a proper investigation. It took 6 months for any information to be disclosed even though the poisoned residents requested it. Pacific Air Research at the time of the incident stated that the only chemical being sprayed was glyphosate. Then, ODA conducted an investigation and concluded that the spray was not directly linked to the conditions displayed by residents. Unsatisfied with  the state’s findings, a local environmental group, Beyond Toxics, forced  ODA to produce all its records, which confirmed that 2, 4-D and triclopyr were the […]

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08
Aug

New Wave of Herbicide-Tolerant Crops Awaiting Likely U.S. Approval

(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2014) Despite the continued documentation of weed resistance all over the United States, as well as the world, another line of herbicide-tolerant crops developed by Monsanto is currently in the pipeline awaiting likely approval by U.S. regulators. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on Tuesday, which, according to regulators, will pave the way for the approval of new  genetically modified cotton and soybean plants tolerant to a mixture of the herbicides glyphosate and dicamba. Monsanto’s new soybean and cotton crops were developed to withstand their new herbicide formulation, called Roundup Xtend, which combines the pesticides dicamba and glyphosate. The “Roundup Ready Xtend crop system” was developed to curb the proliferation of millions of acres of weeds that have grown resistant to Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup, which has been used on the company’s biotech corn, soybeans, and cotton. Weed resistance due to cropping systems dependent on herbicides has been documented for years, making APHIS’ conclusions in the EIS all the more alarming. A report that Beyond Pesticides published 12 years ago, “The Environmental Risks of Transgenic Crops: An Agroecological Assessment is the failed pesticide […]

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27
Jun

Roundup Resistance Spurs Texas Push for Emergency Use of Controversial Herbicide on GE Cotton

(Beyond Pesticides,  June 27, 2014) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering a  request  by Texas regulators to allow the use of a controversial herbicide, propazine, to battle Palmer amaranth, a glyphosate-resistant “super weed” that has been plaguing growers of genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-tolerant cotton in the state. Propazine, an active ingredient in Milo-Pro, would be sprayed on up to 3 million acres, which amounts to approximately half of the state’s estimated crop acreage for this season. As currently proposed, the maximum amount of product to be applied would be 70,314 gallons. The Texas Department of Agriculture, on behalf of  chemical-intensive GE cotton growers,  asked EPA last month for an exemption to permit growers to spray fields with the herbicide this summer in order to control this highly invasive plant, also known as pigweed. Pigweed can grow up to 3 inches a day and is one of many plant species that has developed a resistance to  glyphosate, a systemic herbicide found in Roundup that has become one of the most widely used pesticides on the market.  Public comments are due by July 3, 2014. The occurrence of super weeds coincides strongly with the use of toxic herbicides on genetically engineered […]

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28
May

Report Finds Pesticide Residues in Hawaii’s Waterways

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2014) A statewide pilot pesticide sampling project has found over 20 different types of pesticides in Hawaiian waterways, some of which are no longer registered for use in Hawaii. State officials believe the pesticides, many detected in urban areas, are from residential and golf course applications. These preliminary findings help highlight the need for local oversight of pesticide use, currently a controversial issue in the state. Conducted in partnership with the Hawaiian Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Hawaiian Department of Health, the survey-study finds herbicides like glyphosate (Roundup) and atrazine, as well as a fungicide that is no longer registered for use in the state, contaminating the state’s waterways. The study measured pesticides in surface waters and in sediment at multiple locations in Hawaii. 25 herbicides, 11 insecticides and 6 fungicides were detected, with atrazine the most commonly found. This pilot survey responds to growing community concerns about the impacts of pesticides on local communities and ecosystems, and provides preliminary information on pesticide residues in state waterways. Recently, Kauai County passed an ordinance —Ordinance 960—  that requires public disclosure of pesticides used and the location of genetically engineered (GE) crops, as […]

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10
Apr

Pesticide Law Violations Uncovered in Oregon Timberland Spraying

(Beyond Pesticides, April 10, 2014) — The results of an on-going investigation into allegations of improper pesticide spraying on timberland near residential areas in Southern Oregon confirmed what residents of the small towns had known since the day they were unwillingly sprayed with dangerous pesticides””the applications were illegal. Statements released on April 8, 2014, by Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) concerning its investigation into the allegations, indicated multiple violations by the pesticide operator and applicator responsible for the spraying had been found, as well as evidence of the presence of pesticides on properties in Cedar Valley, near Gold Beach, Oregon. Specifically, ODA concluded that Pacific Air Research — a licensed commercial pesticide operator based in White City, Oregon— and its aerial applicator, allowed pesticide products to fall on properties other than the intended application site, applied one product at a rate above the maximum allowed by the label instructions, and provided multiple false records that misled ODA about the actual products used. The confirmed pesticides at issue, 2,4-D and triclopyr, are a serious matter, exacerbated by spray applications  in excess of pesticide label restrictions and other regulations. Under the Federal, Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the nation’s primary pesticide […]

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31
Mar

Timberland Pesticide Spray Investigation Records Ordered Released in Oregon

(Beyond Pesticides, March 31, 2014) On March 24 the Oregon Department of Justice (ODJ) ordered the Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) to turn over records that are part of an investigation of an aerial herbicide spraying over timberland in southwestern Oregon. This public disclosure of records may allow residents to have a better understanding of the chemicals associated with ongoing exposure incidents.  This recent spray event is just one in line of many that have led environmental groups and federal agencies to call into question the effectiveness of Oregon’s regulation of pesticide use on timberland. ODA began its investigation in November of 2013 after complaints that herbicides sprayed from a helicopter on commercial timberlands near Gold Beach drifted on to residential areas. ODA is investigating five herbicide active ingredients: 2,4-D, triclopyr, glyphosate, imazapyr, and  metsulfuron methyl.  However, ODA has not released information about the specific products it believes were used or their potential toxicity. Fifteen residents filed complaints with the department after they experienced rashes, headaches, asthma, and stomach cramps directly after the application. Recently, the Oregon Department of Justice ordered ODA to turn over records that are part of an investigation after the agency denied a request made in […]

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28
Feb

USDA Report Cites Concerns with GE Crops as the Agency Approves New Uses

(Beyond Pesticides, February 28, 2014) A report released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers the trends of genetically engineered (GE) crops over the past 15 years, since they were first introduced. Responding to increasing GE use, USDA also points to major concerns such as increasing herbicide resistance and higher levels of herbicide use as major potential threats to human health and the environment. The report comes as USDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are poised to  approve  new forms of GE corn and soybeans designed to be resistant to 2,4-D products,  one of the active ingredients in Agent Orange and a known carcinogen. Released  by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) on February 20, the report not only details the trends in GE use but also the known and unknown threats that GE crops pose. The number of GE varieties approved by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) grew exponentially between 1984 and 2002, the report said. Today the majority of GE crops, corn and soy, are grown on the nation’s largest farms. In 2013, more than 169 million acres of GE crops were planted in the U.S., comprising half of all cropland. […]

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25
Feb

Health Risks Found from Exposure to Agent Orange Residues on Military Aircraft

(Beyond Pesticides, February 25, 2014) During the Vietnam War, over 10 million pounds of the toxic herbicide Agent Orange were applied from military aircraft to defoliate forests and destroy civilian crops. Outfitted with spraying equipment, UC-123 transport planes played a major role in the American military’s campaign to eliminate forest cover for Vietcong fighters. After the war, these aircraft were returned to use in the United States for basic transport operations such as cargo shipping and medical evacuation missions. However, these planes never underwent any form of decontamination or testing before being repurposed for use back in the states. Although the U.S. Air Force and Department of Veteran Affairs have asserted that “dried residues” on these aircraft were not likely to pose a health threat to aircraft crew – a justification used to deny sickened veterans medical support, a new study from the journal Environmental Research finds strong evidence of health risks from residual exposure. The study, Post-Vietnam military herbicide exposures in UC-123 Agent Orange spray aircraft, modeled flight crew’s potential exposure to dioxin, a contaminant in Agent Orange and a  highly potent carcinogen. Scientists based their models on monitoring tests that found dioxin contamination in the mid-1990’s and late […]

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28
Jan

State Bill to Overturn Local GE and Pesticide Limits Introduced in Hawaii

Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2014) In the latest attempt to suppress the voice of local communities and scuttle the implementation of laws to protect health and the environment, last week a bill was introduced in the Hawaii State House of Representatives that will preempt (block) local governments from restricting the use of hazardous pesticides and genetically engineered (GE) crops. Though House Bill 2506 is being promoted as the expansion of the state’s “Right-to-Farm Act,” the bill will prevent the implementation of new laws recently passed in Kauai and Hawaii County. Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser explained to The Garden Island, “Both of these bills take away 100 percent of the authority of the county to regulate agriculture, which includes pesticides. It is without question an attempt to nullify Ordinance 960 (formerly Bill 2491), as well as the ordinance passed on the Big Island.” Local communities in the Hawaiian Islands fought a number of hard-won battles last year against intrusions by agrichemical companies spraying pesticides and planting GE crops near where they work, live, and go to school. After massive outpourings of public support, numerous late-night council sessions, and overcoming a mayoral veto, Kauai County passed Bill 2491. Kauai’s Ordinance 960 requires […]

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13
Jan

With Legalization of Marijuana, Chemical-Intensive Production Practices Questioned

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2013) As medical and recreational production of marijuana in the U.S. increases, new and complicated questions have risen over how to limit consumers’ exposure to pesticides through marijuana consumption. Many growers are facing limited institutional knowledge and economic forces that could lead to the unnecessary use of pesticides. States are also still wrestling with the adequate  regulation of production and testing practices. Exposure to pesticides from marijuana consumption may also be more harmful than exposure through food consumption when consumed through inhalation. As marijuana consumption becomes more widely legalized, many are calling for  stronger safety standards for marijuana production. Alan Schreiber, Ph.D., President of the Agriculture Development Group, believes that the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Washington will lead to immense demand for pest prevention research. Currently, growers of marijuana lack institutional assistance from federal agencies or state agricultural extension services, which have limited understanding of marijuana production. There is a concern that the lack of  field research and increased demand may lead to heavy pesticide use. In Washington, the state will allow the equivalent of 46 acres to be grown for recreational use, a factor that Dr.. Schreiber says will drive most […]

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06
Jan

Environmentalists, Farmers Challenge USDA’s Call for the Deregulation of Crops with Genetically Engineered Tolerance to the Highly Toxic Herbicide 2,4-D

(Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2014) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Friday released for public input its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which calls for the deregulation of genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybeans engineered to be tolerant to the toxic herbicide 2,4-D. These new varieties of GE corn and soybean, created partly due to proliferate weed resistance resulting from the widespread use of glyphosate (Roundup) on other GE crops, is set to usher in dramatic increases in 2,4-D use with associated health and environmental hazards, according to environmental scientists. The GE crops are being produced by Dow AgroSciences under the brand name “Enlist.” According to Nichelle Harriott, senior scientist at the national environmental group Beyond Pesticides, “The engineered varieties will not only spawn new weed resistant strains, but contaminate the environment and increase the public health risks to cancer and Parkinson’s disease, especially in farmworkers and farming communities exposed to 2,4-D.” The failure of GE-glyphosate (Roundup) tolerant crops to live up to their promises is a main contributing factor behind the development of stacked varieties such as “Enlist,” which combines resistance to 2,4-D and glyphosate. So widespread is glyphosate resistance that EPA has granted emergency use exemptions for pesticides […]

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23
Dec

Fed To Require Strengthened State Protection from Nonpoint Pesticide Pollution

Beyond Pesticides, December 23, 2013) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)  in a  Federal Register notice  has found that the state of Oregon’s program to reduce nonpoint coastal pollution is inadequate. Both federal agencies state that Oregon’s program does not adequately protect streams that provide habitat for Coho Salmon, an endangered species, and drinking water from herbicides that are aerially sprayed by lumber companies. This notice comes just after a recent report was released by Beyond Toxics on the health and environmental problems caused by aerial herbicide application on timber forests near Triangle Lake. EPA and NOAA’s proposed disapproval action of Oregon’s Coastal Nonpoint Program finds that the state has failed to adequately protect certain waterways within the state. Under the Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA) of 1990, states are required to submit an approvable Costal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program to NOAA and EPA. In 1998, federal agencies approved the Oregon Nonpoint Program with conditions that the state meet certain water pollution issues. This proposed disapproval action is part of a settlement of a lawsuit brought by the Northwest Environmental Advocates in 2009, which charged Oregon has failed to meet the conditions […]

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23
Oct

Pesticide Spraying Stopped after Concerned Parents Mobilize

(Beyond Pesticides, October 23, 2013) Ball State University, Indiana has cancelled plans to spray herbicides on the lawns around its K-12 school after objections from parents worried that it would expose their children to toxic chemicals. The university planned to use Trimec 992, a 2,4-D product, but a petition started by parents helped to put a stop to the weedkiller. The spraying was scheduled for last week, the start of the fall break at Burris Laboratory School, a separate K-12 school district overseen by Ball State University. School Principal Cathlene Darragh sent an email to Burris parents last Friday  explaining that  the school decided against the spraying. “We have received a great deal of feedback from parents and the community about possible weed and pest control for the school lawn that was scheduled for this weekend. We have worked with the facilities department to further evaluate the need to spray. Upon further consideration, we have decided to forgo the scheduled spraying.” Parents mobilized after it became known that the school planned to spray Trimec 992, a 2,4-D product on school grounds. 2,4-D, a widely used herbicide in many ‘weed and feed’ lawn care products, is associated with many human and […]

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30
Aug

World Bank Loan Supports Plantation Practices Linked to Chronic Kidney Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2013) Months after Central American health ministries issued a  joint declaration citing kidney disease as a top public health priority, the World Bank just approved a new loan to expand sugar cane plantations in Nicaragua. The Bank’s loan represents renewed support for an industry whose workers have been devastated by the disease, which has increasingly been linked to pesticide exposure and exacerbated by heat stress. Kidney disease afflicts agricultural workers in sugar cane fields, killing thousands each year in Central America as well as in Sri Lanka and India. Scientists have yet to definitively uncover the cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD), although emerging research points to toxic heavy metals contained in pesticides as one of the primary culprits. CKD is a condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function and is often lethal for poor agricultural workers. As the kidneys begin to fail, wastes can build in the blood causing complications such as high blood pressure, anemia, weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. Several published studies demonstrate that exposure to certain  organochlorine pesticide products and their heavy metal contaminants used on sugar cane plantations are causally linked to CKD. The recent joint […]

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28
May

Oregon Health Authority Finds Forestry Pesticides in Residents in Long Delayed Report

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2013) A recent report by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) found that residents that live in the Highway 36 corridor of Western Oregon were exposed to toxic pesticides in the spring and fall of 2011. OHA collected urine and environmental samples in August and September of 2011 and found levels of 2,4-D and atrazine in residents’ urine. 2,4-D and atrazine have been detected in residents’ urine previously after they had sent samples to be analyzed by Emory University in 2011. Residents continue to argue that herbicides being aerially sprayed on private forests are drifting on their land and causing dangerous levels of exposure. Even though this report by OHA has been delayed several times, it still contains serious data gaps. According to the report, “The urine samples tested had levels of 2,4-D higher than the general U.S. population.” Though the report found that urine samples also had detectable levels of atrazine, there are no national reference values for atrazine available for the general population, so the study could not conclude that the levels of atrazine exposure were higher than the national average. The report also found other pesticide residues in the environmental samples besides 2,4-D and […]

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14
May

Environmental Impact Statement Delays New Monsanto and Dow 2,4-D Resistant Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2013) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has determined that environmental impact statements (EIS) are required for Dow and Monsanto’s   new genetically engineered (GE),  2,4-D resistant crops.  According to Reuters, Dow had anticipated that their new crop would be on market by year’s end. Monsanto released a statement calling the move “unexpected.” USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is requiring the reviews in response to overwhelming concern expressed by farmers, consumers, and public health officials during the comment period for these new herbicide-resistant crops. Dow’s new GE corn, dubbed “Enlist,” tolerates repeated applications of both glyphosate and the powerful herbicide 2,4-D, while Monsanto’s GE cotton and soybean (produced in partnership with their “competitor,” agrichemical giant BASF)  is resistant to the herbicide dicamba. Both companies champion their crops as solutions to the widespread occurrence of weeds resistant to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, even though the ultimate cause for this resistance can be traced to overuse of the chemical on “Roundup-Ready” crops. A 2011 study in the journal Weed Science found at least 21 different species of weeds to be resistant to applications of Monsanto’s Roundup. Even without the presence of […]

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08
Apr

GE Industry Practice of “Stacking” Insecticides Called into Question by Researchers

 (Beyond Pesticides, April 8, 2013)  Given the rise of targeted plant and animal pests that are resistant to the tactics of the biotechnology industry, companies that produce genetically engineered (GE) crops have begun producing plants with “stacked” traits. For herbicide resistant crops, this means adding traits that incorporate crop resistance to increasingly dangerous and toxic chemicals, such as 2,4-D, a major component in the Vietnam-era herbicide Agent Orange. For crops engineered to produce their own natural insecticide, namely the toxin Bacillus thuringiensis, this means adding new formulations of the bacterium. Although this practice is widely considered acceptable and effective by the biotechnology industry, a new study from the University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, published in the journal PNAS, casts doubt on this assumption. Most scientists assume that two-toxin plants will be more durable than one-toxin plants. The extent of the advantage of the pyramid strategy, however, rests on assumptions that are not always met, the study reports. “The pyramid strategy has been touted mostly on the basis of simulation models,” said Yves Carrière, PhD, lead author of the study. “We tested the underlying assumptions of the models in lab experiments with a major pest of corn […]

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