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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Climate Change' Category


14
Mar

Petrochemical Pesticides, Fertilizers, and Plastics Linked to Dire Health Effects while Alternatives Are Available

 (Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2024)  A recent review in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) highlights the urgent need to address the widespread chemical pollution stemming from the petrochemical industry, underscoring the dire implications for public health. Tracey Woodruff, PhD, author and professor at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), emphatically states in an email comment to Beyond Pesticides, “We need to recognize the very real harm that petrochemicals are having on people’s health. Many of these fossil-fuel-based chemicals are endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with hormonal systems, and they are part of the disturbing rise in disease.” Beyond Pesticides echoes this concern, noting that endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) include many pesticides and are linked to a plethora of health issues such as infertility, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, early puberty, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and childhood and adult cancers.  (See Beyond Pesticides’ Disease database here and news coverage here). The review further calls on the clinical community to advocate for policy changes aimed at mitigating the health threats posed by petrochemical-derived EDCs and climate change. Beyond Pesticides urgently calls for the elimination of petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers and advocates for a systemic […]

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13
Mar

Study Shows Organic Agriculture Mitigates Climate Crisis in Contrast to Conventional Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2024) A comprehensive study released in Journal of Cleaner Production in August 2023 identifies the potential for organic agriculture to mitigate the impacts of agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the fight to address the climate crisis. In “The spatial distribution of agricultural emissions in the United States: The role of organic farming in mitigating climate change,” the authors determine that “a one percent increase in total farmland results in a 0.13 percent increase in GHG emissions, while a one percent increase in organic cropland and pasture leads to a decrease in emissions by about 0.06 percent and 0.007 percent, respectively.” This descriptive study affirms the urgency of Beyond Pesticides’ mission to ban toxic petrochemical pesticides by 2032, given the projected adverse impacts that conventional agricultural dependence on these toxic pesticides will continue to have on people, wildlife, and ecosystems. The study refers to various studies focused on a comparative analysis of conventional to organic farming on energy use, greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe), nutrient leaching, soil quality, and biodiversity. The consensus is that organic farming is more sustainable than conventional agriculture. For example, “[S]everal studies comparing conventional to organic agriculture found that the latter used 10%–70% […]

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05
Dec

Upcoming EPA Review of Nitrates in Waterways Raises Health and Environmental Questions About Synthetic Nitrogen Fertilizer Use

Upcoming EPA Review of Nitrates in Waterways Raises Health and Environmental Questions About Synthetic Nitrogen Fertilizer Use. In  a quiet reversal of a 2018 Trump administration decision, EPA is resuming an evaluation of the health impacts of nitrate in water, reflecting the long-standing and mounting evidence of synthetic nitrogen’s adverse effects on human health and the environment, particularly in vulnerable communities.

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30
Nov

Viruses Shown to Be Effective Biological Control

(Beyond Pesticides, November 30, 2023) Scientists at Minami Kyushu University in Japan have made a groundbreaking discovery of a new biological control for a target insect. They have identified a virus in tobacco cutworms that kills males, creating all-female generations. The discovery was described in a recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences and The New York Times as evidence that multiple viruses have evolved to kill male insects. This “male-killing” virus could be added to the growing attempts to control unwanted insects with biological, as distinguished from genetically engineered (GE) solutions. Efforts range from the introduction of natural predators, to radiation-based sterilization of insects, CRISPR-based genetic mutations, and other techniques. While the GE approach has run into controversy because of unanswered questions associated with their release into natural ecosystems, some approaches have also run into resistance problems. Nearly a decade ago, researchers found armyworm resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt)-incorporated genetically engineered (GE) maize in the southeastern region of the U.S., calling this evolution of insect resistance to a naturally occurring soil bacterium engineered into crops “a serious threat to the sustainability of this technology.” The general population knows to avoid eating raw eggs because the bacteria salmonella, […]

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01
Nov

NFL Players Association Calls for Stadiums to End Synthetic Turf Use

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2023) As communities consider maintenance and renovation of their playing fields, it is not uncommon for synthetic (or artificial) turf to come up as an alternative to natural grass. Promoters of synthetic turf argue that it provides a solution to climate change, reduces water use and maintenance costs, and allows for year-round play. But is this true? Is synthetic turf an environmentally responsible alternative to its organic grass counterpart? An established and growing body of scientific evidence is demonstrating environmental and health risks with synthetic turf. In addition, there is growing concern for the safety of those playing on artificial grass, which has led to a call from the National Football League’s (NFL) Players Association to utilize natural grass on all 30 NFL stadiums after New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending Achilles tear in September and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce’s mid-game ankle injury. Synthetic turf playing fields are reliant on polluting plastic (can contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances-PFAS) and toxic pesticides for managing bacteria, mold and fungus, create contaminated water runoff, and cover over the natural environment, which is critical to preserving health and biodiversity, and averting climate disasters. Artificial […]

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24
Oct

Depleted Soils and Petrochemical Fertilizers Destabilize Africa and Globe

(Beyond Pesticides, October 24, 2023) Sub-Saharan Africa, often celebrated for its rich cultural diversity and stunning landscapes, is also home to a growing crisis beneath its surface – the depletion of its ancient soils. These soils–some of the oldest in the world–have undergone long periods of weathering and erosion, leading to severe nutrient deficiencies. Potassium, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus, vital for crop growth, are notably absent from these soils. Due to this and a dependency on synthetic fertilizers, along with an absence of soil and water conservation programs and other complex issues stemming from poor infrastructure, pervasive government instability, and colonialism, African soils have a markedly decreased ability to sustain high-yielding food crops. As a result, restoring soil health through the nurturing of microbial activity and the natural cycling of nutrients is identified as the number-one priority to improve agricultural productivity and ensure food sovereignty. While it might seem that African farmers could turn to organic or chemical fertilizers to address soil nutrient deficiencies, the reality is quite different. The high costs associated with these fertilizers make them largely inaccessible to most African farmers. Even though the average fertilizer application rate In Sub-Saharan Africa is 22 kilograms per hectare, significantly […]

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09
Oct

On Indigenous Peoples Day, Highlighting Indigenous Knowledge To Address the Biodiversity Crisis

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2023) On this Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the world turns its attention to the invaluable wisdom that Indigenous communities possess, highlighting their crucial role in addressing the global biodiversity crisis.  While facing disproportionate harm from unjust policies and practices that pollute, Indigenous communities are gaining federal and international recognition as key players in preserving the planet’s ecological balance.  Many Indigenous communities have a profound connection to, and unique relationship with its land, carrying with them ancestral wisdom that has sustained their ecosystems for generations. Indigenous knowledge, passed down through centuries, emphasizes the intricate relationships between species, the balance of ecosystems, and the importance of coexistence with nature. This knowledge has allowed Indigenous Peoples to thrive sustainably for millennia.  In the face of the growing biodiversity and climate crises, Indigenous wisdom and traditional insights are a part of the solution. During the 2022 White House Tribal Nations Summit, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) unveiled historic guidance for federal departments and agencies regarding Indigenous Knowledge. This guidance, accompanied by an implementation memorandum, acknowledges the importance of valuing and adopting Indigenous Knowledge into federal decisionmaking to enhance scientific and […]

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28
Sep

Beyond Pesticides Celebrates the 50th Birthday of the Endangered Species Act

(Beyond Pesticides, September 28, 2023) As the United States commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), there is a growing recognition that the planet faces an existential biodiversity crisis, with a rising number of species on the brink of extinction. In a collective effort to address threats to global biodiversity (i.e. diversity of all life), a coalition of environmental organizations including Beyond Pesticides, are sending an urgent letter to President Joe Biden. This letter, titled “Meeting the Challenges of the Biodiversity and Extinction Crisis Over the Next 50 Years,” calls for bold and comprehensive action to preserve our planet’s natural heritage for future generations. The ESA is celebrated as one of the most effective conservation laws globally, credited with preventing the extinction of 99 percent of listed species. Over the past five decades, the ESA has played a pivotal role in preventing these extinctions by safeguarding the most critically endangered species within biological communities. However, this concentration on highly threatened species often results in temporary solutions that may not comprehensively address the broader issue of biodiversity loss. The ESA establishes a framework to categorize species as “endangered” or “threatened,” granting them specific protections. While it is crucial […]

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14
Sep

(Reflection) This Organic Month, Transition Your Park to Organic Land Management

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2023) As we celebrate National Organic Month this September, it is the perfect time to reflect on why you should consider going organic. Do you try to buy organic food when you can? Are you looking for a way to reduce your and your family’s exposure to toxic pesticides? The benefits of choosing an organic lifestyle extend far beyond your diet or your own health. Beyond Pesticides is helping communities transition parks and public lands to organic land management. Here are some reasons why Beyond Pesticides believes in building organic communities: Why Go Organic? Health and Safety: Organic foods and parks are free from harmful pesticides, fossil-fuel-based substances, and toxic chemicals, making them safer and healthier for all ages. Visit Beyond Pesticide’s 40 Common Lawn and Landscape Chemicals page to learn more about the health impacts of pesticides in communities. Environmental Stewardship: Opting for organic parks and products supports practices that protect pollinators, improve soil health, increase biodiversity, and reduce toxic runoff into water bodies. Learn more about how to protect pollinators in your community by reading BEE Protective. Trust and Transparency: The USDA Certified Organic label ensures strict standards and regulations for organic products, providing […]

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08
Sep

[Reflection] Climate March on September 17 and Action: Interconnection between Climate Change and Petrochemical Pesticides and Fertilizers

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2023) In a united effort, climate and environmental justice movements from around the world have come together to announce a global “end to fossil fuels,” including the end of pesticides. The “March to End Fossil Fuels” is scheduled for September 17 and the Secretary General’s Summit in New York City on September 20. See the full map for other marches around the world. At the Beyond Pesticides, 2022 National Forum session on climate (November, 2022), we discussed the science and the urgent need for a strategic response to the climate crisis as part of a constellation of crises that intersect. Whether we are talking about a health crisis borne out of chemical-induced diseases, the collapse of life-sustaining biodiversity, or the dramatic catastrophes caused by greenhouse gases and rising temperatures—the interconnectedness of the crises requires strategic solutions that are holistic and nurturing of our relationship with nature —a relationship we have minimized as a matter of policy and practice. The data on climate calls on us to be audacious in our demand for urgent change in our households and communities, and from decision makers at all levels of government. At Beyond Pesticides, our audacious goal is to […]

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03
Aug

Reflections: “I’m a Barbie girl, in the Barbie world. Life in plastic is [NOT] fantastic”

It’s hard to escape the impacts of the Barbie movie’s estimated $150 million marketing campaign. You may have noticed advertisements with Burger King’s pink burgers to Airbnb’s Barbie Dreamhouse. Perhaps you have seen viral memes or news stories about the movie’s takedown of the patriarchy or critiques that the movie is overly woke. The pink symbol of Barbie is often followed by a second symbol — plastic. The total mass of plastics on Earth now doubles the total mass of all living mammals, so would Barbie say life is fantastic? Or, might she urge the National Organic Standards Board to ban plastic mulch, an issue on the agenda at the Board’s upcoming October meeting? Plastic products, including those used in chemical-intensive and organic agriculture, and pesticides, play a seemingly necessary role in modern life, encompassing many items beyond straws and grocery bags. However, the convenience of plastic comes at a considerable cost to the planet and human health. The majority of plastics are manufactured using oil and gas, exacerbating climate change. Scientists are becoming increasingly alarmed by the repercussions of microplastics, which are plastic particles smaller than 5 mm in size. In 2022, Philip Landrigan, M.D., et al., announced the […]

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18
Jul

Funds Support Compliance with International Treaty To Save the Oceans and Biodiversity, Combat Climate Threats

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2023) The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council, the governing body for the world’s largest source of multilateral funding for biodiversity loss and climate change, has authorized $34 million USD to support the new high seas treaty agreement announced on March 4. The move marks a significant step toward safeguarding the delicate ecosystems of the world’s oceans and promoting sustainable practices on a global scale. The oceans suffer from severe pollution caused by various substances, including pesticides, agricultural runoff, industrial and petrochemical waste, and synthetic chemicals found in plastics. These pollutants pose a significant threat to human health. The ecological consequences of ocean pollution have long been highlighted by Beyond Pesticides. The March draft agreement was approved by 193 countries under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). Then in June, the BBNJ agreement was adopted by consensus at the United Nations meeting in New York. The agreement will be open for countries to sign on September 20, 2023, after the Sustainable Development Goal Summit. In order for the treaty to be entered into force, sixty countries must […]

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19
May

Agricultural Pesticide Use the Primary Driver of Bird Declines in Europe

(Beyond Pesticides, May 19, 2023) Agricultural intensification is the leading factor driving declines in bird populations across Europe, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) this week. Among all potential anthropogenic impacts, agricultural intensification, in particular pesticide and fertilizer use, was found to be more dramatic than forest alterations, urbanization, and climate change. “I don’t think a study has looked at all these factors in one go, in such a sophisticated fashion, correcting for one variable alongside another; and it comes out with a very clear message,” lead author Richard Gregory, PhD, of UK nonprofit The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, told The Guardian. Researchers utilized data dating back to the early-1980s, including annual bird surveys and national and supranational analyses, as well as information on land use cover, farm inputs, and temperature changes within the time frame. Bird habitat and ecological traits were also considered in the context of declines, and a statistical analysis aided researchers in capturing trends over time. Results confirmed that birds are overall experiencing significant declines in Europe, with data recording 25% losses in bird abundance since 1980. However, certain groups of birds are faring worse […]

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06
Apr

Pesticides and the Climate Crisis: Bumble Bee Behavior Thwarted by Temperature and Chemical Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, April 6, 2023) A study published in Global Change Biology adds to research demonstrating that climate change can exacerbate the adverse impacts of pesticide exposure on managed and wild bees. Temperature can alter the sublethal effect pesticides, particularly the neonicotinoid (neonic) imidacloprid and the sulfoximine sulfoxaflor, have on bumble bee behavior tied to fitness and pollination services. Both an increase and decrease in temperature can cause diverging thermal responses in bumble bee behavior. However, increasing temperature bares more severe behavior abnormalities than cooler temperatures. The pervasiveness of pesticide exposure combined with climate change threatens global species biodiversity. As has been widely reported, pollinators (such as bees, monarch butterflies, and bats) are a bellwether for environmental stress as individuals and as colonies. Pesticides intensify pollinators’ vulnerability to health risks (such as pathogens and parasites), with pesticide-contaminated conditions limiting colony productivity, growth, and survival. Now more than ever, people are changing their sentiment toward sustainability, with two-thirds of consumers stating the importance of limiting climate change impacts and 88 percent supporting greater pollution reduction. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one million species of plants and animals at risk. With the increasing rate of biodiversity loss, advocates say it is essential for […]

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24
Mar

As Global Warming Accelerates to Catastrophic Levels, President Biden Vetoes Bill that Would Exacerbate Crisis

(Beyond Pesticides. March 24, 2023) The news on March 20 yielded a telling juxtaposition as the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a report asserting that the world is on the “brink of catastrophic warming” — even while Congressional Republicans passed a measure to allow corporate profiteers to make that warming worse. Fortunately, President Biden vetoed that “ESG” bill, which sought to overturn a Labor Department rule that eased the ability of pension and 401(k) fund managers to consider environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) impacts of investments and shareholder rights decisions. (On March 23, House Republicans tried, but failed, to override the veto.) The IPCC‘s definitive report finds that humanity is very close to a dangerous climate threshold, but that “it does not mean we are doomed” if humans rapidly transition off of burning fossil fuels. Beyond Pesticides endorses both investment rules that advance protection of the climate, people, and the environment, and dramatic action on climate — including the cessation of use of fossil-fuel-derived synthetic pesticides and fertilizers and the transition to organic agriculture and land management. The IPCC report, says The Washington Post (WaPo), asserts that the world is very likely to blow by the […]

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27
Feb

Take Action: Sustainable “Roadmap” Falls Short of What Is Needed To Solve Existential Crises

(Beyond Pesticides, February 27, 2023) California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is asking for comments on its “Sustainable Pest Management (SPM) Roadmap” by 5 pm (PST) March 13, 2023. While recognizing problems inherent in traditional integrated pest management (IPM), DPR’s roadmap is directing us to a destination that includes another generation of exposure to the worst of the worst pesticides—while failing to embrace the elimination of farm inputs harmful to ecosystems and the capacity of soil biology to cycle nutrients and draw down the maximum amount of atmospheric carbon. The Roadmap’s off-handed rejection of organic practices, rather than building on organic systems, creates a lost opportunity for adopting a holistic and serious solution to the current crises of health threats from pesticides, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency. Tell DPR to revise its destination to immediately eliminate the worst pesticides and implement wide scale transition to organic practices. DPR’s Roadmap states these goals: By 2050, eliminate the use of Priority Pesticides by transitioning to SPM. By 2050, SPM will be adopted as the de facto pest management system in California. DPR says “The criteria for classifying pesticides as “Priority Pesticides” include, but are not limited to, hazard and risk classifications, […]

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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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25
Jan

Western Bumblebee Declines a Result of Pesticides and Climate Change, No End in Sight

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2023) Populations of the western bumblebee are in free fall, with 57% declines across the species’ historical range, finds new research led by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey. These data are in line with trends for other once common bumblebees in the United States, like the rusty patched and American, of which the former is now listed as endangered and the latter is under consideration. Most critically, the study authors did not simply generalize the most likely and common reasons, but instead establish the contribution that pesticide use, climate change, and land use changes have on western bumblebee declines. As the study shows, both the drivers and solutions to pollinators declines are in human hands, necessitating a broad rethinking of the nation’s approach to energy use and food production. The western bumblebee has been under considerable stress for decades. In the 1990s, there were attempts to commercialize the species as a greenhouse pollinator. This industrial approach resulted in the spread of a fungal disease called Vairimorpha bombi, and captive rearing of the western bumblebee was eventually halted and deemed untenable. These dislocations resulted in local declines of the species in certain regions of U.S. Northwest […]

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27
Nov

Tackling Climate Crisis with Elimination of Toxic Pesticides and Fertilizers, Webinar Nov. 29—What Is Practical Now

(Beyond Pesticides, November 27, 2022) On Tuesday, November 29 (at 1:00-2:30pmEST), two preeminent researchers will present their research and worldwide collaborative work to fully characterize the effects of the climate crisis and the viable solutions associated with land management. The Forum headliners are (i) Rachel Bezner Kerr, PhD, Cornell University professor just back from COP 27 [27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change] and co-author of the definitive United Nations (UN) report on climate and food production and (ii) Andrew Smith, PhD, chief operating officer of the Rodale Institute and coauthor of several landmark reports on soil biology and carbon sequestration, including the just released Farming Systems Trial—40-Year Report. With livability of the planet on the brink, the speakers at the upcoming Forum make the case to immediately reverse the increase of greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane to stop the changes on the horizon that destroy life—from floods, fires, and associated climate-induced hazards to food production. The good news, according to the scientists, is that there are solutions available now in the agricultural and land management sectors that can reverse the threat if dramatic changes are made. Dr. Bezner Kerr, […]

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03
Nov

California Petition Seeks Removal of Hazardous Fumigant Linked to Climate Crisis

(Beyond Pesticides, November 3, 2022) In a fight against global warming, environmental groups Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR) filed a formal legal petition in October 2022 urging the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to phase out the use of sulfuryl fluoride insecticides. Sulfuryl fluoride is a fluoride compound with various adverse health effects, including cancer, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity (reduced IQ), and reproductive damage. CARB added sulfuryl fluoride to its list of “short-lived climate pollutants,” being the only state to do so since 1990. However, California does not include sulfuryl fluoride in the list of GHG emissions to reduce by 2020 as researchers were unaware the chemical was a greenhouse gas (GHG) until 2008. These termite and food use insecticides are 4,800 times more potent GHG than carbon dioxide at trapping carbon in the atmosphere. Furthermore, sulfuryl fluoride has high global warming potential and can remain in the atmosphere for more than 36 years. The case of sulfuryl fluoride presents an all too familiar pattern of widespread chemical use without proper knowledge of health and environmental effects before implementation and a failure to take regulatory action on known hazards after allowed in commerce. Therefore, CBD’s […]

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08
Jul

Supreme Court Politicizes Fed Agency Response to Climate Crisis, Limiting Broad Regulatory Action without Congressional Mandate

(Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2022) Among the multiple, wrenching decisions handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in a week-long tranche (June 24–30) was one that limits the ability of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants. The decision may also, and with much broader implication, call into question the established authority of federal agencies to promulgate regulations not specifically authorized by Congress, but related to their overall mission to protect health and the environment. In this respect, the current court majority of six, arguably very conservative, justices has thus dealt a serious-though-not-fatal blow to EPA’s ability to carry out efforts to thwart the existential climate crisis and other crises on the short horizon, such as biodiversity collapse. The court has left these science-based decisions and strategies to a body locked in political logjam—the U.S. Congress. As Chief Justice John Roberts opined for the majority, “A decision [on carbon emissions] of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body.” Beyond Pesticides and other health, environmental, and environmental and climate justice advocates, as well as Democrats across […]

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07
Jul

Pesticides Exacerbate the Threats of Biodiversity Collapse and the Climate Emergency

(Beyond Pesticides, July 7, 2022) A review article published in the International Journal on Environmental Sciences highlights how pervasive pesticide exposure and climate change threaten global species biodiversity. Now more than ever, people are changing their sentiment toward sustainability, with two-thirds of consumers stating the importance of limiting climate change impacts and 88 percent supporting greater pollution reduction. The relationship between climate change and biodiversity—a “distinct but related issue”— is often overlooked in the regulation of the pesticide industry. Climate change and biodiversity loss are interdependent, and an adverse impact on one can bolster adverse effects on the other. Biodiversity is intricate and affects all environmental ecosystems—from oceans and freshwater to forests and soils; it encompasses all life forms on earth. Without biodiversity, food production, energy production, clean water, fertile soil, sustained air quality, and climate will suffer. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one million species of plants and animals at risk. With the increasing rate of biodiversity loss, advocates say it is essential for government agencies to hold the pesticide industry accountable for the direct (i.e., excessive agrochemical use) and indirect (i.e., water pollution from run-off) impacts on ecosystems. The review notes, “The enormous use […]

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05
May

First Report of Environmental Pollutant Risk Among Tropical Mammals Across the Globe

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2022) A report published in Biological Conservation finds environmental pollutants, including pesticides, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and particulate matter, adversely affect tropical terrestrial wildlife. Specifically, these contaminants can interact with one another, altering the chemical landscape of the ecosystem, and causing changes in the endocrine and microbiome systems of mammals. Since the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), global attention to the danger of pesticides has increased, with environmental agencies banning the use of legacy pesticides like organochlorines for their devastating toxic—sometimes lethal—effects. However, these chemicals can remain in the environment for decades and interact with various current-use pesticides, including organophosphates, neonicotinoids, and pyrethroids. Although many studies demonstrate that environmental pollution plays a significant role in premature deaths among humans, there is a lack of research on how environmental pollution directly affects tropical species mortality. Considering human and wildlife habitats tend to overlap, and chemical pollutants can drift from chemically treated areas, wildlife populations are more likely to experience similar health effects. With the number of chemicals in the ecosystem growing, studies like these highlight the need for pesticide policies that protect human health in addition to the integrity of the chemical landscapes accommodating wildlife. The researchers note, “Using […]

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