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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Corporations' Category


19
Oct

EPA Considers 300,000-Acre Expansion of Bee-Toxic Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, October 19, 2018) Pollinator advocates and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) are imploring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deny Bayer CropScience’s application for use of “Sivanto,”a pesticide product with the active ingredient flupyradifurone, a chemical the company claims is safer for bees, but poses the same risks at the notorious bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides. If approved, Sivanto would be sprayed in tobacco-growing states along 300,000 acres in the southeast U.S., areas home to more than three dozen species protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Bayer’s proposal for expanded uses comes after EPA’s own assessment indicated risks to endangered species, and despite the fact that the agency has not undergone an ESA mandated consultation with federal wildlife agencies. For the countless flying insects, birds, and bats already under significant threat from neonicotinoids, adding another systemic insecticide to the mix will only make the situation worse. Bayer AG is characterizing flupyradifurone as being harmless to honeybees. However, flupyradifurone, being a systemic pesticide, can negatively impact many non-target species.  In fact, flupyradifurone impacts honey bee brains in a similar way to neonicotinoids, as it impairs learning, memory and the honey bees’ affinity for nectar rewards. Advocates worry that growing […]

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16
Oct

Roundup, Other Herbicides Advance Antibiotic Resistance

(Beyond Pesticides, October 16, 2018) Bacteria exposed to widely used herbicides like Roundup develop antibiotic resistance 100,000 times faster than average, according to new research published by New Zealand scientists in PeerJ. The results have ominous implications for the modern world’s ability to avert a post-antibiotic era. Even if new antibiotics are discovered, or existing compounds used more judiciously, scientists say that will not be enough to prevent the ongoing crisis – the world is also confronting bacterial exposure to herbicides and other non-antibiotic agents that have the ability to rapidly induce resistance. “Herbicides are among the most widely used and dispersed manufactured products on Earth. Some form of exposure for people, pets and livestock can be routinely expected,” study author Jack Heinemann, PhD, told Newsweek. “Meanwhile, antibiotics are used at high rates particularly on people, pets and livestock. Therefore, the combination of exposures for bacteria that live on us is all but guaranteed.” This current round of research by Dr. Heinemann and his team is the outgrowth of previous studies (1, 2) that established the ability of common herbicides to induce antibiotic resistance in strains of pathogenic bacteria Salmonella eterica and Escherichia coli. Now, the scientists are drilling into […]

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15
Oct

Take Action: Tell Kroger to Stop Selling Food Grown with Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, October 15, 2018) As a leader in organic sales, it is critical that Kroger take additional expedited steps to increase the market share of organic food and eliminate the use of toxic pesticides harmful to public health and the environment. Kroger is among the major food retailers that sells food that has been grown with toxic pesticides, such as the extremely hazardous insecticide chlorpyrifos which causes neurological and brain damage in children. Kroger should immediately end its misleading and fraudulent advertising and labeling of food products as “natural” and replace these with certified organic products. In fact, by misleading consumers with “natural” labeling and advertising of food, Kroger supports chemical-intensive agriculture that poisons children, causes cancer, and threatens biodiversity through the use of toxic chemicals like chlorpyrifos, glyphosate, and neonicotinoids. This is unnecessary and unacceptable. Tell Kroger to stop selling food grown with toxic pesticides. Chlorpyrifos  is a highly neurotoxic organophosphate pesticide that is linked to neurologic developmental disorders in children. Exposure to even low levels of organophosphates like chlorpyrifos during pregnancy impairs learning, changes brain function, and alters thyroid levels of offspring into adulthood. EPA’s own assessment finds that children exposed to high levels of chlorpyrifos have developmental delays, attention problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder […]

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10
Oct

Shareholders Urge General Mills to Stop Pesticide Use in Its Supply Chain, Popular Products

(Beyond Pesticides, October 10, 2018) Nearly one-third of General Mills shareholders called on the company last month to improve product stewardship and eliminate pesticides like bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides or the probable carcinogenic weed killer glyphosate from its supply chain. The proposal was put forward by nonprofit organization As You Sow, and Green Century Equity Fund (GCEF), a mutual fund. This is the latest public shareholder action GCEF has made in regards to corporate pesticide reform, with the company previously putting pressure on the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group for its allowance of pesticides within its supply chain. While the actions are encouraging, some advocates are urging shareholder groups to go beyond increased accountability and transparency and push companies to focus on sourcing organic to ensure that no pesticides make their way into food products. The shareholder proposal ultimately garnered support from 31% of General Mills shareholders. “Shareholders believe the company can, and should, do more to protect the health of their supply chain and the public from toxic pesticides,” said Christy Spees, environmental health program manager at As You Sow to the StarTribune. The proposal states, “While the company asserts that it is currently ‘document[ing] continuous improvement’ concerning environmental impacts from its supply […]

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05
Oct

Oregon Temporarily Bans Herbicide Known to Kill Trees… after the Herbicide Is Found to Kill Trees

(Beyond Pesticides, October 5, 2018) The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is temporarily banning the use of any products containing the herbicide aminocyclopyrachlor to rights-of-way after finding widespread tree deaths along a scenic highway that cuts across the center of the state. While Oregon is the first state to ban the chemical, it is not the first instance of the pesticide killing stands of established, otherwise healthy trees. In 2014, chemical company DuPont settled a class action lawsuit totaling over $1.8 million in civil penalties after its aminocyclopyrachlor product Imprelis was cited for misbranding and failure to report adverse incidents of trees dying after applications. Oregon first encountered evidence of abnormal growths, curling, and die-backs of coniferous trees along roadsides back in 2012. A report on tree damage produced by ODA in 2015 narrowed the cause down to the use of aminocyclopyrachlor-based herbicides, including DuPont’s Imprelis, as well as Bayer’s Perspective. At the time, ODA indicated the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) had sent letters to the agency requesting the cessation of aminocyclopyrachlor use along roadsides. Oregon officials indicate that the contractor did stop spraying the chemical in areas cited in the report. An update to the first report, published in […]

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21
Sep

Bayer’s Monsanto Asks Judge to Reverse $289 Million Glyphosate Decision

(Beyond Pesticides, September 21, 2018) Monsanto, now an integrated unit of Bayer AG, is asking Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos to reverse the verdict, reduce the award, or grant a new trial for the company after a jury determined that a California groundskeeper contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from spraying glyphosate for years. Dewayne Johnson, who maintained the grounds of a California Bay-area school district, was awarded $289 million by a jury, which found that Monsanto acted with “malice or oppression.” Mr. Johnson’s case was the first of its kind to go to trial – fast tracked based on the severity of his illness – but over 8,000 similar lawsuits are pending in U.S. courts. Bayer’s Monsanto claims that the verdict does not reflect the scientific data. “While we are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family, glyphosate is not responsible for his illness, and the verdict in this case should be reversed or set aside,” Bayer said in a September 18 statement. While Bayer contends that glyphosate does not result in individual applicators contracting cancer, this view is at odds with a 2015 designation from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which determined the chemical is a probable carcinogen, […]

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05
Sep

House GOP Seeks to Scuttle Playground Bans on Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, September 5, 2018) Local Limits on Spraying Monsanto’s Toxic Weed Killer in Parks, Playgrounds, and Schoolyards. More than 50 city and county ordinances banning the use of the toxic weed killer glyphosate on local playgrounds, parks and schoolyards could be overturned by a provision championed by House Republicans in their version of the farm bill, a Beyond Pesticides and EWG analysis found. A four-page provision tucked away in the 748-page farm bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June would likely preempt local governments from adopting their own pesticide regulations, including ordinances that prohibit the use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, in parks and playgrounds. Beyond Pesticides found that 58 local ordinances ban the use of glyphosate. Overall, 155 local ordinances that regulate the use of toxic chemicals in parks and playgrounds could be preempted by Sec. 9101 of the House’s farm bill. Glyphosate is classified by the state of California as a chemical known to cause cancer, and as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization. Earlier this month, a San Francisco jury ordered Monsanto to pay $289 million to a school groundskeeper who said years of working with Roundup caused his terminal cancer. […]

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04
Sep

Vietnam Demands Compensation from Monsanto for Devastating Harm Caused by Agent Orange During War

(Beyond Pesticides, September 4, 2018) Close on the heels of the recent landmark California decision against Monsanto, maker of the glyphosate-based pesticide Roundup, Vietnam has demanded that the company pay damages to the many victims of its Agent Orange herbicide and defoliant, which Monsanto supplied to the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. (Monsanto was not the only U.S. manufacturer of the compound; there were nine in total.) U.S. forces, in a program dubbed Operation Ranch Hand, used more than 13 million gallons of the compound in Vietnam — nearly one-third of the 20 million gallons of all herbicides used during the war in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. In Vietnam alone, 4.5 million acres were impacted by Agent Orange. Nguyen Phuong Tra, a spokesperson for Vietnam’s foreign ministry, said, “The [U.S.] verdict serves as a legal precedent which refutes previous claims that the herbicides made by Monsanto and other chemical corporations in the U.S. and provided for the U.S. army in the war are harmless. . . . Vietnam has suffered tremendous consequences from the war, especially with regard to the lasting and devastating effects of toxic chemicals, including Agent Orange.” Around the world, the U.S. case may be sparking […]

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16
Aug

Independent Science Plus Industry Corruption Convince Jury that Monsanto’s Glyphosate/Roundup Causes Cancer; Take Action in Your Community

(Beyond Pesticides, August 16, 2018) The jury verdict last week awarding groundskeeper Dewayne “Lee” Johnson $289 million in compensatory and punitive damages because of the carcinogenic effect caused by the herbicide glyphosate/Roundup, which he used, brought to the forefront a long standing concern about inadequate regulation of hazardous pesticides and chemical industry corruption. In the case, the jury heard from numerous scientists and medical experts, including Christopher Portier, Ph.D., who has researched the toxicity and carcinogenicity of glyphosate. One of the challenges in the court case was overcoming the lack of regulatory action on glyphosate, despite the overwhelming science indicating its adverse effects, including its connection to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Globally, food safety agencies have spent the past few years insisting that glyphosate is not carcinogenic. Health and environment advocates point to the 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) designation of glyphosate as a “probable carcinogen” as the knell to which regulators, pesticide users, and the public should pay attention. The jury listened and considered the scientific facts. Glyphosate has perhaps been the subject of more controversy than any other pesticide in recent memory. Advocates in the scientific and environmental realms note the multiple risks its use represents, while […]

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15
Aug

Australia, Germany Urged to Restrict Glyphosate after U.S. Court Ruling

(Beyond Pesticides, August 15, 2018) The recent court ruling awarding $289 million in compensatory and punitive damages to a groundskeeper after he contracted cancer while working with Monsanto’s Roundup (glyphosate) is having a ripple effect around the globe. In light of the decision, the environmental group Greenpeace is calling on the Australian government to suspend the sale of Roundup. Meanwhile, German lawmakers are eager to see glyphosate banned. A California jury found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit filed by a man who worked as as groundskeeper and used the company’s glyphosate-based herbicide, which he proved caused his cancer. The jury found that Monsanto “knew for decades” the product was potentially dangerous and acted “with malice or oppression” by failing to warn Johnson of the risks. Now Greenpeace is calling on the Australian government to take “urgent action” to suspend the sale of the weedkiller. “We need to be urgently exercising the precautionary principle,” said Jamie Hanson, Greenpeace’s head of campaigns. “Use of this dangerous product should be severely restricted. In Australia, the U.S. court decision sent shares of Australian pesticide-maker, Nufarm Ltd, tumbling almost 17 percent to a more than two-year low. Analysts estimate Nufarm earns about a fifth of its […]

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14
Aug

Brazilian Judge Suspends Glyphosate; Monsanto Stock Plunges after San Francisco Jury Orders Cancer Victim Paid $289 Million

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2018) A federal judge in Brazil has ordered the suspension of the most widely used pesticide in the world, glyphosate. Under the ruling, new products may not be registered in the country until the Brazilian government reevaluates the herbicide’s toxicity. Glyphosate (Roundup) is used widely in Brazil on genetically engineered (GE) crops, which have been subject of concern in the country. This decision preceded a jury verdict last Friday in San Francisco that handed a 46-year-old groundskeeper $289 million for compensatory and punitive damages associated with his non-Hodgkin lymphoma tied to glyphosate/Roundup exposure. Monsanto, glyphosate’s manufacturer saw its stock plunge 14%, or approximately $11 billion, the next day, according to Bloomberg News. Monsanto told the Wall Street Journal that it would appeal the decision. According to Therecorder, “So far, more than 4,000 people have sued over Roundup, most in Missouri and California state courts. About 470 cases have been coordinated in California federal court as multidistrict litigation.” The San Francisco case was heard first because of the plaintiff’s poor health. The judge in Brasilia ruled on August 3, 2018 that new products containing the chemical could not be registered in the country and existing registrations would be […]

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12
Aug

Groundskeeper Who Used Monsanto’s Herbicide Roundup and Contracted the Cancer non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) Wins $289 Million Jury Verdict

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2018) In a stunning legal victory for a man who contracted non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) after using the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup), groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson won a $289 million jury verdict against the chemical’s manufacturer, Monsanto. The jury on August 10, 2018 awarded the 46-year old Mr. Johnson $39 million in compensatory damages, and $250 million in punitive damages. The jury found that Monsanto acted with “malice or oppression.” “We applaud and thank Mr. Johnson, and his family and attorneys, for persevering in this litigation, which sets a critically important standard for protecting people’s right not be poisoned by pesticides in the marketplace,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. Mr. Feldman continued: “While we know that the jury verdict cannot restore Mr. Johnson’s health, we believe that the verdict is a clarion call to manufacturers that ignore the devastating impact that their products can have on unsuspecting workers, consumers, and families. We look forward to the day in the not-too-distant future when we recognize as a society that products like glyphosate (Roundup) are not necessary, and effective and affordable land and building management can be achieved without toxic chemicals. The case should also signal to all […]

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10
Aug

U.S. Court Tells EPA to Ban Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, August 10, 2018) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must ban a widely used organophosphate pesticide linked to brain damage in children, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday. The appellate court ordered EPA to finalize its proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, produced by DowDupont, based on undisputed findings that the pesticide is unsafe for public health, and particularly harmful to children and farmworkers. The ruling comes in a lawsuit brought by a coalition of labor and health organizations, represented by Earthjustice. In the absence of EPA action, states have started to stand up. In May, the state legislature in  Hawaii passed legislation, which took effect in May, to become the first state to ban the chemical. On July 30, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released its scientific assessment concluding that the organophosphate insecticide, chlorpyrifos, should be listed as a Toxic Air Contaminant (TAC) in the state based on evidence of its neurological effects and exposure risks of concern. Legislation is also pending in Congress to ban chlorpyrifos and similar pesticides nationwide. Chlorpyrifos is a dangerous nerve agent pesticide that can damage the developing brains of children. Prenatal and early life exposure to chlorpyrifos is linked to lower birth weight […]

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02
Aug

Weeds on Missouri Cropland Found To Be Resistant to Six Different Herbicides

(Beyond Pesticides, August 2, 2018) Weed scientists from the University of Missouri (UM) have just published evidence of a water hemp population resistant to six different herbicides. The study is sending shock waves throughout the chemical-intensive agricultural community, particularly in light of the plant’s resistance to 2,4-D. In its reporting on the study, KTIC Rural Radio begged the question, “If we’re already seeing 2,4-D resistance now, what will happen when use of the herbicide becomes even more commonplace?” KTIC is referring to the impending commercialization of products like Enlist Duo, developed by DowDupont in an attempt to address widespread weed resistance to glyphosate. Enlist Duo is an herbicide containing both glyphosate and 2,4-D, and is intended to be sprayed only on crops genetically engineered (GE) to tolerate exposure to both chemicals. However, with growing reports like this, many farmers may begin to rethink their approach. In 2014, a farmer contacted UM indicating that water hemp was not responding to 2,4-D during a regular ‘burndown’ the farmer conducted before planting a new crop. (Chemical-intensive farmers will often use a synthetic herbicide to clear their field for new plantings.) The farmer had also used other herbicides, fomesafen and glyphosate, in this process […]

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26
Jul

Another Lawsuit Blames Monsanto for Crop Loss

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2018) A legal complaint filed by a Kansas farmer claims industry giant, Monsanto, knew its new dicamba-formulated product would harm other crops, but marketed and sold it anyway, damaging thousands of acres of crops. The lawsuit, filed by 4-R Farms based in Corning Kansas, lost over 200 acres of soybeans. This is the latest in a string of lawsuits Monsanto is facing. Farmers in Arkansas, Missouri, and elsewhere have been hit with crop losses as a result of the dicamba damage. Advocates  and victims of damage argue that Monsanto places profits ahead of possible damage to crops when it markets seeds resistant to a powerful weedkiller before making a less volatile herbicide available. This, according to the lawsuit filed in court. The petition, filed last week, could be the catalyst for a class action lawsuit of Kansas farmers against Monsanto, which faces a growing docket of legal challenges. The lawsuit also names chemical company BASF as a co-defendant. BASF is facing its own mounting pile of lawsuits over dicamba. The lawsuit requests unspecified damages and a trial by a federal jury in Topeka. Monsanto marketed its new line of dicamba products, Xtend, to go hand in hand with […]

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24
Jul

Trump Taps Former Pesticide Company Executive as Chief Scientist at USDA

(Beyond Pesticides, July 24, 2018) The White House named Scott Hutchins, PhD, former Dow Chemical Company executive, as Undersecretary of Agriculture for Research, Education and Economics for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Dr. Hutchins is now the third Dow alumnus to be hired by the Trump Administration. As a scientist who oversaw Dow’s pesticide research and development, his appointment, if confirmed, has troubling consequences to USDA’s research programs. Described as a “global leader of integrated field sciences,” Dr. Hutchins worked at Corteva—the newly created agricultural (pesticide and seed) division of the DowDuPont entity that focuses on “chemical solutions to pest management.” Dr. Hutchins has been with Dow since 1987 and worked in regional research and development management and global development of pesticide products. He is also a former president of the Entomological Society of America, serving in that role in parts of 2006 and 2007, and is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska. The lead science position directs the Agricultural Research Service, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (ARS), the Economic Research Service and the National Agricultural Statistics Service, and sets the agenda for USDA’s research budget. Dow Chemical, now merged with Dupont as DowDupont, […]

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19
Jul

Scotts-Monsanto Genetically Engineered Experimental Bentgrass Threatens Oregon Environment, Waterways, and Seed Industry

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2018) A variety of bentgrass, genetically engineered by Scotts Miracle-Gro and Monsanto to tolerate the glyphosate herbicide Roundup, escaped from an experimental field planting in Eastern Oregon 15 years ago, and continues to plague area farmers. Bentgrass is prized by those who maintain golf course greens because of its fine texture and habit of spreading in even, horizontal mats. But the genetically engineered (GE) version has become a giant annoyance for farmers and other growers who battle its spread through the irrigation systems of Malheur County in eastern Oregon. The escape of this GE version of Agrostis stolonifera is especially alarming in Oregon, the grass seed capital of the world. The GE grass showed up after crossing the Snake River from where it had been planted in seed fields in Idaho, despite the fact that the USDA had not approved its release into the seed market. By 2010, farmers and others found it spreading in mats across most of the irrigation canals and ditches that snake across Malheur County. It is now found in Jefferson County, Oregon, and Canyon County, Idaho, as well. The growth habit of the perennial grass is what greenskeepers love, but its persistent […]

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16
Jul

Federal Bill Benefits Monsanto/Bayer, Overriding Labeling of Roundup/Glyphosate as a Carcinogen under California Law

(Beyond Pesticides, July 16, 2018)  Legislative Sneak Attacks Continue. Yet another bill has been introduced in Congress to remove accountability from Monsanto/Bayer for its glyphosate herbicide Roundup.™ The so-called “Accurate Labels Act” (S.3019/H.R.6022) would repeal most, if not all, existing labeling and information disclosure laws adopted by state or local governments, including California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Prop 65), which has been responsible for the removal of hundreds of dangerous toxic chemicals, including lead, cadmium, and mercury, from commercial and consumer products nationwide. California listed Roundup as a probable carcinogen in 2015, requiring a label warning in the state, and California’s Fifth District Court of Appeal upheld the decision in April of this year, rejecting Monsanto’s challenge to the listing. Tell your U.S. Senators and Representative to oppose S.3019/H.R.6022. California will not only move ahead with warning labels on products that contain glyphosate, but also, prohibit discharge of the pesticide into public waterways. Proposition 65 requires notification, primarily through labeling, of all chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm, and prohibits their discharge into the state’s drinking waters. As with previous sneak attacks, Monsanto’s fingerprints — if not its name – are all over […]

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20
Jun

New Research Finds Neonics Kill-Off Bumblebee Queens During Nest-Building Period

(Beyond Pesticides, June 20, 2018) Bumblebee queens that wake up from hibernation to a neonicotinoid-contaminated, monofloral landscape take longer to set up their nest and die-off at higher rates, according to new research from the University of California, Riverside (UCR) published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.  While this is the first study to evaluate multiple stressors – pesticide exposure and a monotypic diet – on bumblebee pollinators as they initiate a new colony, it is far from the first to conclude that the neonicotinoid class of insecticides result in unacceptable adverse impacts to insect pollinators. With Pollinator Week 2018 underway, advocates say it is time that the U.S. catches up to the European Union and Canada and starts to ban the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides. Bumblebee queens only live long enough to produce one colony. After establishing a colony over the spring and summer months, by fall a new queen hatches and the old queen dies. The new queen leaves the nest and mates, then goes underground to seek shelter and hibernate over the winter. If she makes it through the winter, the single queen will then emerge in spring to begin her own colony […]

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15
Jun

Plan Actions to Protect Pollinators During National Pollinator Week, June 18-24

(Beyond Pesticides, June 15, 2018) In recognition of the importance of pollinators and biodiversity to a healthy environment and healthy people during National Pollinator Week, June 18-24, Beyond Pesticides announces a week of activities and actions. Monday (June 18) Watch and share the new short-film “Seeds that Poison.” To kick off Pollinator Week 2018, Beyond Pesticides is releasing a new video highlighting the hazards associated with a major use of bee-toxic pesticides – seed coatings. Please watch and share with friends and family! Click here to watch Seeds that Poison. After distributing the film, please contact your state elected officials to ask that they act to protect pollinators. (Connecticut and Maryland have taken action.) Folks in the DC area can also attend a “Pollinator Forum” to learn about pollinators and celebrate them. The event is taking place at the Tabard Inn (Monday, June 18) and will feature Beyond Pesticides’ Science and Regulatory Director Nichelle Harriott. Click here to purchase tickets. Tuesday Plant pollinator habitat. Explore Beyond Pesticides’ resources to find ideas for native plantings or sources of untreated flowers and dig your pollinator-friendly garden today. Use the Bee Protective Habitat Guide and or Pollinator-Friendly Seed Directory to help! Wednesday Take local action. […]

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08
Jun

Bayer Ditches Monsanto Name in Merger

(Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2018) In the wake of U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) approval of the buyout of Monsanto by Bayer, the new mega-corporation — now the world’s largest agrochemical and seed company — has announced that it will drop the “Monsanto” name, possibly as soon as late summer, when the acquisition is expected to be completed. Bayer first needs to sell off $9 billion in assets to German chemical giant BASF in compliance with a DOJ antitrust agreement that will permit the merger. The union of these two corporations, which joins Bayer’s pesticide business with Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) seed operations, faced vigorous opposition from health and environment advocates both in the U.S. and abroad. Fortune magazine has pointed out that dropping a well-known name is unusual, but given that Monsanto is one of the world’s most-hated companies, perhaps the move is understandable. Ditching the “Monsanto” moniker is reportedly one aspect of a coming Bayer campaign to regain public trust and make efforts to engage with critics, according to Bayer spokespeople. Liam Condon, president of Bayer’s Crop Science Division, has said, “Just changing the name doesn’t do so much — we’ve got to explain to farmers and ultimately to […]

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06
Jun

EU’s Highest Court Upholds Ban of the Three Top Bee-Killing Neonicotinoid Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2018) By the close of 2018, three top neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides, linked to the worldwide decline in bee populations, will be banned for outdoor use in the European Union (EU), based on the General Court of the European Union’s (GCEU) ruling last month. The GCEU, the equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court, ruled in favor of taking precautionary action to protect pollinators from clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam. This ruling allows for the limited use of neonic-treated seeds grown in permanent greenhouses where contact with bees is not expected. In its lawsuit, multinational seed and chemical companies, Syngenta and Bayer –manufacturers of the neonics in question– argued unsuccessfully that the pesticides do not necessarily harm bees if farmers use them according to label instructions. Syngenta also sought compensation of approximately $435 million to offset market losses resulting from the ban, but that, too, was denied. In rejecting the arguments of Syngenta and Bayer, the high court aligned itself with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and its assessment of the harm caused by the widely used pesticides. EFSA’s updated assessment, released in February of this year, provided convincing evidence that neonics represent a risk to wild bees and […]

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24
May

State Agency Criticized for Failing to Protect Highest At-Risk Communities

(Beyond Pesticides, May 24, 2018) California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is falling short of protecting vulnerable communities in the state, especially low-income and communities of color. This, according to a new report by California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), which assesses state agencies on eight environmental justice principles. The poor showing by DPR comes at the forefront of reports that the state’s pesticide use has increased, nearing record highs. The findings are from California Environmental Justice Alliance’s (CEJA) 2017 Environmental Justice Agency Assessment, which provides full assessments of nine key agencies in the state including, California Air Resources Board, Department of Pesticide Regulation, and the Department of Toxic Substances Control, and lists an additional six agencies to monitor. The assessment gave the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) poor grades for its persistent failure to prioritize community health over industry profits. The agencies were judged on eight environmental justice principles, with a score of good, fair or poor for each. DPR’s scores were evenly divided between “fair” and “poor.” Specifically, the report concludes, “Many state agencies are not successfully integrating [environmental justice] into their decision-making. Overall, many state agencies still make decisions that actively harm [environmental justice] communities and fail to […]

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