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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Glyphosate' Category


09
Jun

EU and U.S. Pesticide Regulators Ignore Developmental Neurotoxicity of Pesticides, Industry Hides Data

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2023) Glyphosate, usually marketed as the herbicide Roundup, has long been the poster child for shoddy regulation by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). In a study published June 1, 2023 in Environmental Health by Axel Mie and Christina RudĂ©n, PhD, of Stockholm University and the Centre for Organic Food and Farming in Uppsala, the authors followed up on earlier work that documented deficiencies in information provided to European Union (EU) regulators by manufacturers. They identified nine studies on developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) that had been submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) but were not disclosed to EU authorities. According to the research, those studies would have “actual or potential regulatory impact.” According to the authors: “Of the nine undisclosed DNT studies, three were sponsored by Bayer and performed in their own laboratory. Three studies were sponsored by Syngenta and performed in their Central Toxicology Laboratory. One study each was sponsored by Nissan Chemicals and Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha (ISK), and these were performed at Huntingdon Life Sciences. For the remaining study, the sponsor and laboratory are unknown to us.” This study is a new example of regulatory […]

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27
Mar

Corporations Are Asked to Stand Up for Health and the Environment; Sell Organic Compatible Products

(Beyond Pesticides, March 27, 2023) In a move labeled “risk mitigation”—that is, mitigation of the risk to its shareholders—Bayer-Monsanto announced in 2021 that it would phase out Roundup™ products containing glyphosate for the residential lawn and garden market as of January 2023. In taking this action, Bayer-Monsanto is making no admissions, and glyphosate products will still be available to farmers. However, Lowe’s and Home Depot are still selling the glyphosate-based lawn and garden products. Tell Lowe’s and Home Depot to eliminate Roundup™ and other toxic pesticides, promote organic practices, and sell organic compatible products.  In fact, since this is a voluntary reformulation, and Bayer-Monsanto has decided its own timing, the company cannot be held accountable to anything. The company could change its mind, and stores can continue to sell the glyphosate-based products as long as they want. And keep in mind that replacement versions of Roundup™ products are also toxic. RoundupÂź Dual Action, for example, contains the following active ingredients: triethylamine salt of triclopyr, fluazipop-P-butyl, diquat dibromide, and ammonium salt of imazapic. Thus, Bayer/Monsanto announces that it is changing the formulation of Roundup and moving away from glyphosate, while continuing to sell Roundup™ products formulated both with and without glyphosate—leaving consumers unaware of their risks. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has […]

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07
Mar

Glyphosate Exposure Associated with Liver and Metabolic Disorders in Children, Young Adults

(Beyond Pesticides, March 7, 2023) Exposure to glyphosate (Roundup) and its breakdown products is associated with an increased risk of liver and metabolic disorders in children and young adults, according to research published in Environmental Health Perspectives earlier this month. While glyphosate has developed a well-deserved reputation as a carcinogen, research is finding that cancer is one of a myriad of chronic diseases associated with the notorious chemical. As this body of literature grows, growing awareness by the public is increasing pressure on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to cancel its allowed uses. Researchers began their investigation concerned about the rise of liver disorders and metabolic syndrome among young people. This trend has been pronounced among populations of color. The worrying increase has led many to consider synthetic chemical exposure as a contributing factor, as lack of diet and exercise is unlikely to account for the entirety of the increase. To better understand these impacts, researchers enrolled existing participants in the CHAMACOS (Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas) study, a long running cohort of mothers and their children born between the years 2000 and 2002 in the Salinas Valley of California. Enrolled participants consistent mostly […]

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15
Feb

Glyphosate Weed Killers Reduce Crop Yields and Hamper Climate Mitigation Efforts

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2023) Glyphosate use in grassland pastures reduces crop yield and impedes climate change mitigation, finds two studies (1,2) published this month from the University of Turku, Finland. While massive public relations campaigns by the agrichemical industry have poured in millions of dollars to convince politicians and the public that pesticides are necessary to ‘feed the world’ and address the climate crisis, the data does not support these claims. “Only in recent years, we have started to realise that intensive agriculture and agrochemical pollution in fact contribute to a reversal of the intended purpose. Soils are polluted with pesticides and at the same time, extreme weather events erode soil nutrients,” says study coauthor Benjamin Fuchs, PhD. Researchers approached their investigation through two separate experiments on the grass Festuca pratensis, an important forage crop grown for grazing animals throughout the world. The first experiment was conducted in an enclosed greenhouse, while the second took place in a field setting. For both experiments, plots were separated between glyphosate-sprayed and unsprayed controls. All plots received three different approaches to cutting the grass: one group that was intensely cut to two inches (5cm), the second group cut to six inches (15cm), […]

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08
Feb

Garden Pesticide Use Harms Local Bird Populations, Study Authors Say “We Should Simply Ban These Poisons”

(Beyond Pesticides, February 8, 2023) Spraying pesticides around one’s garden negatively impacts local bird populations, according to research published by scientists at the University of Sussex, UK in Science of the Total Environment. Although this reasoning sounds common sense to those versed in the works of Rachel Carson, it underscores the immense importance of carrying on the legacy of her work and continuing to educate the public about the ongoing dangers posed by modern pesticides. As the study authors write, “Overall, our study shows that garden bird abundance and richness is strongly influenced by both extrinsic and intrinsic factors, and suggests that garden management, particularly regarding pesticide use, has a significant effect on bird life.” Researchers collected data by partnering with the British Trust for Ornithology, which conducts annual citizen-science counts of bird populations in UK gardens. Nearly 24,000 residents participate in the survey, which also includes information about the urbanization level surrounding their gardens, and other habitat characteristics. A group of these volunteers were provided with a questionnaire about their pesticide practices between 2020-2021, recording information on how often the pesticides were applied, as well as the pesticide brand name. After removing incomplete or unusable data, 615 individual gardens […]

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31
Jan

Glyphosate Induces Oxidative Stress, A Cancer Precursor, According to NIH Study

(Beyond Pesticides, January 31, 2023) Glyphosate exposure induces oxidative stress in the body, a key biomarker known to heighten an individual’s risk of cancer, according to research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute by a team of scientists from the National Institutes of Health. The findings, which tracked study participants’ past use of glyphosate and exposure levels through urine, are particularly concerning in light of recent data showing that four out of five (81.6%) U.S. residents have detectable levels of glyphosate in their bodies. Despite these concerning data, evidence of widespread exposure to a carcinogen has so far failed to sway regulators at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, necessitating meaningful change by elected officials to reform pesticide regulation. Scientists began with the determination from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) that there is epidemiological evidence associating glyphosate with blood cancers like non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and strong evidence of carcinogenicity in laboratory animal research brought on by genotoxicity (DNA damage) and oxidative stress. “Oxidative stress occurs when the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and other free radicals exceeds the body’s antioxidant defense mechanisms, causing damage to DNA, proteins, and lipids,” the study explains. This process can […]

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16
Dec

Denying Science, Manufacturing Doubt: Monsanto/Bayer’s Promotion and Defense of Glyphosate/Roundup

(Beyond Pesticides, December 16, 2022) A report released last week — Merchants of Poison: How Monsanto Sold the World on a Toxic Pesticide — exposes not only Bayer/Monsanto malfeasance in its “promotion” of its glyphosate-based herbicide products, including the notorious RoundupÂź, but also, the broader landscape of corporate efforts to white- or green-wash products that companies know are harmful to people and the environment. The report was issued by U.S. Right to Know (USRTK, a nonprofit investigative research group focused on promoting transparency for public health), Friends of the Earth (FOE), and Real Food Media. It carries the pithy subtitle, “A case study in disinformation, corrupted science, and manufactured doubt about glyphosate,” a description cited by the Friends of the Earth press release as “at the core of the pesticide industry’s public relations playbook.” Beyond Pesticides welcomes this report, which comports with much of our previous coverage of the pesticide industry’s egregious misbehavior, and of glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide. FOE calls the report the “first comprehensive review” of the Bayer/Monsanto “defense strategy” employed in attempts to deny science, manufacture doubt, and discredit critics who have researched, reported on, and/or advocated against the company’s flagship glyphosate products because […]

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25
Nov

Hormone Mimicking Properties of Glyphosate Weed Killer and Related Compounds Increase Breast Cancer Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, November 25, 2022) A study published in Chemosphere adds to the growing body of research demonstrating the endocrine (hormone) disrupting effects of glyphosate play in breast cancer development. Exposure to the herbicide glyphosate and other glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) at high concentrations mimics the estrogen-like cellular effects of 17ÎČ-estradiol (E2), altering binding activity to estrogen receptor α (ERα) sites, thus causing fundamental changes in breast cancer cell proliferation (abundance).  Glyphosate is the most commonly used active ingredient worldwide, appearing in many herbicide formulas, not just Bayer’s (formerly Monsanto) RoundupÂź. The use of this chemical has been increasing since the inception of crops genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate over two decades ago. The toxic herbicide readily contaminates the ecosystem with residues pervasive in food and water commodities. In addition to this study, literature proves time and time again that glyphosate has an association with cancer development, as well as human, biotic, and ecosystem harm. Therefore, advocates point to the need for national policies to reassess hazards associated with disease development and diagnosis upon exposure to chemical pollutants. The researchers note, “The results obtained in this study are of toxicological relevance since they indicate that glyphosate could be a potential endocrine disruptor in the mammalian system. Additionally, […]

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21
Nov

EPA’s Deficient Pesticide Analysis Contributes to Ecological Decline

(Beyond Pesticides, November 21, 2022) Once again, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered a new pesticide without performing a thorough review of its impacts on biodiversity as well as threatened and endangered species. Inpyrfluxam was registered in 2020 and only after being sued by the Center for Biological Diversity for failure to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) did EPA commit to completing draft effects determinations by Fall 2022. Once again, EPA’s draft biological evaluation is incomplete and inadequate. EPA is accepting comments on its draft biological evaluation at Regulations.gov.  Tell EPA and Congress that Pesticide Registrations Require Complete Science. The Review of Inpyrfluxam is Incomplete and Inadequate.  The agency’s draft effects assessment is flawed and incomplete. We share the details because it shows that EPA is out of step with the science and its regulatory responsibility when it comes a thorough review for ecosystem effects of pesticides.   The agency used fish early life stage (ELS) tests to estimate chronic fish toxicity. This is inappropriate. The fish ELS is a sub-chronic test of sensitive life stages. Although it is often used as a surrogate or predictor of chronic toxicity, it does not adequately address potential adverse effects on reproduction or transfer of the test chemical to eggs/offspring […]

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11
Nov

Weed Killer Use Destroys Soil Life and Ecosystems, Paper Finds

(Beyond Pesticides, November 11, 2022) A paper published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution in late October sounds an unnerving alarm about the globally ubiquitous use of herbicides and the ecological destruction being caused. It asserts that widespread environmental contamination with these herbicide compounds is influencing soil, plant, and animal microbiomes in ways that are not only not well understood, but also, can have significant impacts on the functioning of organisms and their ecosystems — with evolutionary implications. Impacts of herbicides on microbiota in soils include, for example, those on nutrient cycling, and altered organism and plant performance, which can affect pollination and animal consumption of plants. This research reinforces what Beyond Pesticides wrote in covering a 2021 study: “The popular herbicide glyphosate negatively affects microbial communities, indirectly influencing plant, animal, and human health. Exposure to sublethal concentrations of glyphosate shifts microbial community composition, destroying beneficial microorganisms while preserving pathogenic organisms.” Herbicides are a category of pesticide used to control weeds in agriculture and commercial forests, on managed landscapes, byways, gardens, and lawns, and directly on surface waters to control aquatic weeds. They are designed to kill “target” plant species considered undesirable in any of those circumstances. Herbicide use has exploded […]

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08
Nov

Glyphosate Induces Antibiotic Resistance in Deadly Hospital-Acquired Infection

(Beyond Pesticides, November 8, 2022) Glyphosate weed killers induce antibiotic resistance in deadly hospital-acquired bacteria, according to a new study published late last month in the journal Scientific Reports. This is the latest finding connecting commonly used herbicides to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, with prior research showing glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba able to create resistance in Salmonella and E. coli. While federal regulatory agencies continue ignore the role of pesticides in the development of antibiotic resistance, it is critical for states and localities to take action to protect their most vulnerable both from toxic exposure to these herbicides and the multitude of indirect effects caused by their use. This is all happening as antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world, according to the World Health Organization. In the May 1, 2022 issues of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Samira Choudhury, PhD, et al. writes, “Often referred to as the silent pandemic, antimicrobial resistance claims the lives of over 700,000 people annually.” The authors continue, “A study suggests that if no actions are taken, antimicrobial resistance will cause 10 million deaths per year by 2050 and an economic impact of […]

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20
Oct

Glyphosate Based Herbicides and Bee Health: The American Bumble Bee

(Beyond Pesticide, October 20,2022) Exposure to environmentally relevant levels of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) weakens bumblebees’ (Bombus Terrestris) ability to distinguish between colors or fine-color discrimination. According to research published in Science of The Total Environment, a lack of fine-color discrimination skills can threaten bumble bee survivability through impact on colony fitness and individual foraging success. Much research attributes the decline of insect pollinators (e.g., commercial and wild bees and monarch butterflies) over the last several decades to the interaction of multiple environmental stressors, from climate change to pesticide use, disease, habitat destruction, and other factors. In the U.S., an increasing number of pollinators, including the American bumblebee and monarch butterfly, are being added or in consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act, with specific chemical classes like systemic neonicotinoid insecticides putting 89% or more of U.S. endangered species at risk. Pollinator decline directly affects the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many plant species, both agricultural and nonagricultural, will decline or cease to exist as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly among native wild bees, limits crop yields. In turn, the economy will take a hit, as much of the economy (65%) depends upon the strength of the agricultural sector. As science shows, pesticides are one of the most significant stressors […]

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13
Oct

Chemical Alterations in the Body from Glyphosate-Based Herbicide During Perinatal Exposure Induces Chronic Liver Injury

(Beyond Pesticides, October 13, 2022) Offspring’s exposure to glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) preceding and proceeding birth (perinatal) induces liver damage. A study published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology demonstrates the role excess iron in the body from GBH exposure plays in liver toxicity via an increased uptake of calcium and oxidative stress. The liver, the largest solid organ in the human body, is an essential part of the digestive system, responsible for blood detoxification, nutrient metabolization, and immune function regulation. The rates of chronic liver diseases are increasing, representing the second leading cause of mortality among all digestive diseases in the U.S. Because GBHs are ubiquitous in many herbicide products, studies report that these toxic chemical compounds are detectable in infants, children, and pregnant women. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Although studies show how chemical exposures affect overall human health, more research is now questioning how these toxic chemicals influence digestive health and the subsequent occurrence of diseases. Therefore, it is essential to understand how harmful chemical exposure impacts health and well-being during critical developmental periods. The study notes, “[T]he possible role played by perinatal exposure to GBH […]

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30
Sep

EPA’s Failure to Ban Glyphosate Keeps Burden of Protection with Consumers and Local and State Governments

(Beyond Pesticides, September 30, 2022) In late September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the withdrawal of its Interim Decision on glyphosate, the active ingredient in multiple herbicides, most notably Monsanto’s (now Bayer’s) Roundup. The action follows a slew of developments related to the herbicide, including: the 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer’s declaration of its carcinogenicity; legal judgments and massive rewards to victims who developed cancers after chronic exposures; advocate efforts to get EPA to recognize the dangers of, and curtail, its use; and pushback from industry — most of the latter two coming in the form of litigation. The withdrawal of that Interim Decision means, on the ground that this harmful compound can continue to be used until a next regulatory review decision by EPA. Beyond Pesticides has long been engaged in education on and advocacy against glyphosate use, and was a plaintiff in the 2020 lawsuit, with the Center for Food Safety (CFS), et al., against EPA for this 2020 Interim Decision (ID). Under FIFRA (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act) each pesticide must be reviewed by EPA every 15 years “to ensure that existing pesticide products continue to perform their intended function without […]

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30
Aug

New Evidence Shows Roundup Damages the Nervous System

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2022) Minuscule amounts of the weed killer Roundup and its active ingredient glyphosate can result in damage to the nervous system, finds research led by scientists at Florida Atlantic University, published in Scientific Reports. As hundreds of millions of pounds of glyphosate continue to be sprayed on hundreds of millions of acres of land throughout the United States each year, recent data indicate that four out of five U.S. children and adults contain detectable levels of glyphosate in their bodies. The pesticide industry and its paid supporters tell Americans that although contamination is widespread, the levels found in humans are not cause for concern. This latest research significantly undermines that specious argument, finding impacts on critical nervous system processes at levels 300 times less than the the lowest suggested amount on the Roundup label. “It is concerning how little we understand about the impact of glyphosate on the nervous system,” said Akshay S. Naraine, MSc., coauthor and a PhD student at Florida Atlantic University. “More evidence is mounting for how prevalent exposure to glyphosate is, so this work hopefully pushes other researchers to expand on these findings and solidify where our concerns should be.”  To investigate […]

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26
Aug

As Thyroid Cancer Cases Rise, Study Finds Pesticides Link

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2022) New research from a team in California finds one-third of pesticides it reviewed — including glyphosate, paraquat dichloride, and oxyfluorfen — to be associated with the development of thyroid cancer. Researchers investigated the links between exposure to pesticides — including 29 that cause DNA cell damage — and the risk of this cancer. The researchers also find that in all the single-pollutant models they employed, paraquat dichloride — a widely used herbicide — was linked to this cancer. In 2021, Beyond Pesticides covered research by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) that demonstrated that exposures to lindane and metalaxyl also cause heightened risk of thyroid cancer. These study findings add to the already considerable concern about pervasive pesticide exposure — not only among farmers and applicators, but also in the general population. It is worth noting that, in addition to elevated thyroid cancer risks, multiple pesticides can cause other health damage. Paraquat is also acutely toxic, and can cause longer-term reproductive, renal, and hepatic damage to humans; it is toxic to birds, fish, and other aquatic organisms, and slightly so to honeybees. Glyphosate, as Beyond Pesticides has written frequently, is carcinogenic, and is associated […]

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04
Aug

Glyphosate Weed Killer Crosses Blood-Brain Barrier, Linked to Alzheimer’s and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

(Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2022) An Arizona State University (ASU) study shows that the popular herbicide glyphosate can infiltrate the brain through the blood (blood-brain barrier), increasing neurological disease risk. The blood-brain barrier filters various molecules entering the brain from the circulatory system. However, the permeation of glyphosate molecules elevates the expression of TNFα and the accumulation of soluble beta-amyloid (AÎČ) proteins in the brain and has associations with immune, inflammatory, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease (AD). More than 6 million people in the U.S. are living with Alzheimer’s, and cases are expected to double by 2050. Although Alzheimer’s research has focused heavily on finding genetic causes of the disease, fewer than half of cases are genetic. Thus, researchers are now evaluating how environmental contaminants may increase disease risk. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood and urine samples and can increase neurotoxicity risk when crossing the brain barrier. Therefore, studies like this highlight the importance of understanding how chemical accumulation in the body can impact long-term health and disease prognosis. The study notes, “Brain glyphosate correlates with increased TNFα levels, suggesting that exposure to this herbicide may trigger neuroinflammation in the brain, which may […]

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26
Jul

Inspector General Finds Secret EPA Meetings with Industry and Use of Untested Science to Lower Cancer Risk for Dangerous Fumigant

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2022) Secret meetings with industry, the elevation of unqualified individuals to decision-making roles, using an untested scientific approach, failing to conduct a simple literature review, and an overall absence of public transparency. This is how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) conducted its cancer review for the potent fumigant pesticide 1,3-Dichloropropane (1,3-D; brand name: Telone), according to a report from EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). EPA’s actions allowed a product once considered to pose a 1 in 10,000 risk of cancer to Americans to increase exposure by 9,000% (from 7.7 ÎŒg/m3 to 690 ÎŒg/m3). “These departures from established standards during the cancer assessment for 1,3-D undermine the EPA’s credibility, as well as public confidence in and the transparency of the Agency’s scientific approaches, in its efforts to prevent unreasonable impacts on human health,” the OIG report states. Yet, even with the agency’s failings laid out in clear view, EPA’s lackluster response to OIG’s corrective actions in this case add insult to its injurious actions against public health. OIG initiated a review of EPA’s cancer assessment for 1,3-D after the submission of multiple complaints. 1,3-D is a highly toxic fumigant used on a variety of crops, […]

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12
Jul

Four Out of Five People in U.S. Contaminated with Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2022) More than four out of five U.S. children and adults over the age of six have detectable levels of glyphosate in their bodies, according to data recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With strong evidence implicating this chemical as a carcinogen, and emerging data associating it with adverse birth outcomes, the findings raise broad concerns for public health. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to permit widespread public exposure to toxic chemicals based on obscure economic arguments over the claimed benefits of pesticides, advocates say it is time for a change that embraces health and the environment over the profits of pesticide manufacturers. CDC’s testing data was developed as part of its National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a long-running program that began in the early 1960s and has since become a continuous program focused on American health and nutrition measurements. Data from this program are subsequently analyzed to help inform the prevalence of disease in the U.S. population and are used to develop public health policies. A total of 2,310 urine samples retained from studies conducted in 2013-2014 were analyzed by NHANES researchers for the presence […]

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22
Jun

Supreme Court Permits Large Jury Verdicts on Roundup, Appeals Court Finds EPA Registration Unlawful

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2022) Bad news is piling up for Bayer (Monsanto) and its carcinogenic flagship weed killer, glyphosate (Roundup). Last week, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit handed down a ruling that held the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2020 approval of its notorious weed killer glyphosate unlawful. Then, yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider (deny certiorari) Bayer’s “Hail Mary” petition attempt to save the company from being held accountable to those diagnosed with cancer after using Roundup (glyphosate) herbicides. In both cases, the courts are acting as a check on a company, while EPA regulators charged with stopping this behavior continue to rubber stamp the agrichemical industry’s dangerous decisions. This is not the first time that the Supreme Court has upheld the rights of victims of the pesticide industry. In 2004, Bates v. Dow Agrosciences (U.S. Supreme Court, No. 03-388), the court found: “The long history of tort litigation against manufacturers of poisonous substances adds force to the basic presump­tion against pre-emption. If Congress had intended to deprive injured parties of a long available form of compen­sation, it surely would have expressed that intent more clearly. See Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee Corp., 464 U. […]

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07
Jun

Glyphosate Weed Killer Disrupts Bumblebees’ Nest Temperature, Leading to Colony Failure

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2022) Bumblebee colonies exposed to low levels of the weed killer glyphosate are unable to adequately regulate nest temperature, imperiling the next generation of bumblebees and long-term colony growth and survival. This latest finding, published this month in the journal Science, is a stark reminder that a pesticide does not have to kill an animal outright in order to create effects that ultimately result in death and population declines. “Sublethal effects, i.e. effects on organisms that are not lethal but can be seen, for example, in the animals’ physiology or behaviour, can have a significant negative impact and should be taken into account when pesticides are approved in future,” said Anja WeidenmĂŒller, PhD, of the University of Konstanz, Germany. With regulators at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refusing to adequately account for sublethal impacts, and myopically focused on the acute effects of pesticide exposure, bumblebee populations in the United States are in free fall and require urgent protective action. To better understand how glyphosate exposure affects bumblebee colony growth and brood (young larval bee) development, researchers first split colonies in two. One side of the colony was fed sugar water containing 5mg/liter of glyphosate, while […]

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12
May

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

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

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10
May

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

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

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