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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Corporations' Category


17
Sep

Study Finds Neonics Result in the Silent Demise of Songbirds

(Beyond Pesticides, September 17, 2019) The poisonous farm fields migratory birds forage on during their journey reduce their weight, delay their travel, and ultimately jeopardize their survival, according to new research published in the journal Science. ¬†Like their effects on pollinator populations, neonicotinoid insecticides generally are not killing migratory songbirds outright, but instead precipitating a cascade of sublethal impacts that reduces their fitness in the wild. As the authors told Environmental Health News, the study is a call not simply to ban neonics or one class of chemical, but to change the entire farming system toward more sustainable bird and bee-friendly practices. Using new technology, this study was not only able to dose wild-caught songbirds (white-crowned sparrows), but also track their migration route using automated telemetry. Apart from the control group that received no pesticide exposure, sparrows were treated at levels well below the median lethal dose (3% of the lethal dose in the ‚Äėlow‚Äô exposure group and 10% within the ‚Äėhigh‚Äô exposure group), and permitted to continue on their migratory path. These are exposure amounts similar to a songbird accidentally ingesting a few treated seeds, according to the study. Within six hours, both the ‚Äėlow‚Äô and ‚Äėhigh‚Äô exposure group […]

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11
Sep

Germany Moves to Phase-Out Glyphosate/Roundup; EPA Unmoved

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2019)¬†Germany is the latest entity to take action on getting glyphosate-based pesticides out of the marketplace. Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that, beginning in 2020, the country will phase out herbicides that contain glyphosate by the end of 2023. The phase-out will occur through a series of scheduled reductions in amounts allowed for use, with a goal of a 75% reduction over the next four years. The announcement comes after ‚Äúnation-wide protests and demands from [Merkel‚Äôs] junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats, for more decisive action on environmental issues.‚ÄĚ This action stands in telling contrast to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‚Äôs (EPA‚Äôs) repeated failures to protect people, ecosystems, and our food supply, from this toxic compound. The German government also plans to oppose any European Union (EU) request for renewal of licensing of these herbicides, according to the environment ministry. Bayer AG, maker of glyphosate-based herbicides and owner of original manufacturer Monsanto, has pushed back, saying that the government is ‚Äúgetting ahead of itself‚ÄĚ by banning glyphosate-based herbicides prior to any decision by the relevant EU authority, and that EU laws disallow unilateral decisions by member states. (Pesticide licensing decisions lie with EU governance in Brussels, […]

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12
Aug

EPA Refuses to Approve Labeling that Discloses Roundup (Glyphosate) as a Carcinogen

(Beyond Pesticides, August 13, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is refusing to approve product labels that disclose that the herbicide glyphosate may cause cancer, according to a press release published last week. The move comes after the state of California listed glyphosate on its Prop 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. Health advocates are condemning the decision as the latest in a long string of EPA actions aimed at benefiting industry at the expense of consumer and public health. Many are concerned that the incessant stream of industry-friendly decisions is eroding public trust in the agency and its ability to act as an independent regulator. While a state judge gave the Prop 65 warning labels the go-ahead, a prior ruling from U.S. District Court Judge William Shubb in Sacramento placed a preliminary injunction on the California requirement that remains in place today. The state added glyphosate to its Prop 65 list after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) designated the chemical as a group 2A carcinogen. ¬†Under Prop 65, California regulators are required to provide ‚Äúclear and reasonable‚ÄĚ warning labels when any one of four requirements in the […]

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22
Jul

EPA Allows Continued Use of Neurotoxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos on American Food

(Beyond Pesticides, July 22, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will permit the continued use of a known neurotoxic insecticide on the food the Americans eat, the agency announced yesterday in response to a lawsuit filed by public health groups. Health advocates say the move to continue chlorpyrifos use is the latest example of the agency working to protect the profits of industry over the health of Americans. ‚ÄúBy allowing chlorpyrifos to stay in our fruits and vegetables, Trump‚Äôs EPA is breaking the law and neglecting the overwhelming scientific evidence that this pesticide harms children‚Äôs brains,‚ÄĚ said Patti Goldman, an attorney for Earthjustice.¬†‚ÄúIt is a tragedy that this administration sides with corporations instead of children‚Äôs health.‚ÄĚ Under a lawsuit filed in the 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals, EPA had 90 days to provide a justification for why the pesticide should remain on the market. EPA denied the petition yesterday, and rather than providing positive justification for continued use of the chemical, attacked the sound science claimants urged the agency to consider as ‚Äúnot‚Ķvalid, complete, and reliable.‚ÄĚ In the absence of EPA action, several states are leading in the protection of their residents by rejecting the agency‚Äôs determination regarding […]

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18
Jul

Dicamba Herbicide Poses Greater Threat of Drift when Mixed with Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2019) Pesticide products containing the weed killer dicamba become more volatile and drift-prone in hot conditions and when tank-mixed with glyphosate, according to a recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Tennessee. The findings help explain rampant complaints from farmers in the South and Midwest experiencing crop loss and economic hardship as a result of drift from new dicamba products, which are formulated with glyphosate for use on genetically engineered (GE) cotton and soy. While states have taken the lead in regulating the use of GE dicamba products, top political officials within Administrator Andrew Wheeler‚Äôs EPA overruled the findings from agency scientists urging larger buffer zones to protect neighboring crops and farm fields. During a 60-hour window, scientists applied various GE dicamba products (Clarity and XtendiMax) over a range of temperatures and took air samples. As temperatures increased, so did the volatilization and drift of dicamba, even in formulations touted as ‚Äúlow volatility.‚ÄĚ Adding glyphosate to the mixture produced stark results, increasing concentrations of dicamba in the air up to nine times compared to dicamba alone. Tom Mueller, PhD, a professor in the UT Department of Plant Sciences, stated in a press release that […]

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15
Jul

Court Upholds Right of Local Maryland County to Restrict Pesticides, Rejects Pesticide and Lawn Care Industry Stomping on Local Rights

(Beyond Pesticides, July 15, 2019)¬† On Friday, Maryland‚Äôs highest court upheld the right of local governments to restrict the use of toxic lawn care pesticides more stringently than the state. By denying an appeal from the pesticide industry‚Äôs challenge to a lower court ruling, the Maryland Court of Appeals has made official Montgomery County‚Äôs 2015 Healthy Lawns Act, which prohibits toxic pesticides from being used on public and private property for cosmetic purposes. ‚ÄúThis long-awaited decision affirms local democratic decision making to protect health and the environment, upholding the first U.S. county law to ban toxic pesticides on private and public property,‚ÄĚ said Jay Feldman, executive director of the organization Beyond Pesticides. ‚ÄúThe law, now in force, will bring critical health protections for pregnant mothers, children and other vulnerable residents in Montgomery County, and safeguard sensitive wildlife species like pollinators.‚ÄĚ The decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals upholds local democratic decision making in the face of a challenge by industry groups representing lawn care companies and chemical manufacturers. The chemical industry has fought for nearly three decades to suppress the right of local governments in the U.S. to protect public health and safety with pesticide law, having successfully lobbied […]

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05
Jul

Widely Used Fungicide Found to Adversely Affect Enzyme Common to All Cells

(Beyond Pesticides, July 5, 2019) This is a story about a chemical pesticide, a fungicide, in wide use for which the mode of action, i.e., the ability to cause harm, has not been fully understood. It is not a story unique to this pesticide. Rather, it is an important story to consider when deciding to use a pesticide or allowing a pesticide to be used. The question is whether the chemical could be broadly problematic beyond the target organisms, in this case fungi?¬†In its coverage of a study published in March, the American Association for the Advancement of Science publication, EurekAlert, reported that, ‚ÄúThe ability of [the fungicide] fludioxonil to act on a sugar-metabolizing enzyme common to all cells, and to produce the damaging compound methylglyoxal, may mean that the pesticide has more potential to harm non-fungal cells than previously thought. Although fludioxonil has been deemed safe for use, the authors . . . suggest that the effects of this widely used pesticide has upon animals be re-examined.‚ÄĚ The research study, published in March in Scientific Reports and led by T. Tristan Brandhorst, PhD (in the lab of Dr. Bruce Klein at the University of Wisconsin‚ÄďMadison and UW School of […]

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28
Jun

Swiss Government Challenged by United Nations for Human Rights Violations Associated with Pesticide Use and Actions of Pesticide Companies

(Beyond Pesticides, June 28, 2019)¬†As is the case in many countries, the conversation about the use of pesticides has been especially vigorous in the past few years. Switzerland is a case in point: it is undergoing deep scrutiny of pesticide use, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Toxics, Baskut Tuncak, has now said publicly that pesticide companies‚Äô behavior is ‚Äúseriously deficient‚ÄĚ regarding human rights (especially those of children), and that the Swiss government¬†should act more aggressively to phase out use of these hazardous chemicals. Recently, the pesticide conversation has ratcheted up several notches, not only in the U.S., but also globally, due to greater public awareness of the health and environmental threats of pesticide use, more and more research underscoring those threats, and pointedly, the cascade of litigation against Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) for harm to individuals who have used its glyphosate-based products. Public awareness in Switzerland is also mounting in response to global developments, to recent discoveries that small streams in Swiss agricultural areas are heavily polluted with pesticides, and to broadening recognition that pesticides are linked to a plethora of harms to human health, pollinators, water, farmworkers, wildlife, ecosystems and biodiversity, and more. In 2017, a UN […]

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20
Jun

Customers Demand Kroger Stop Selling Food Grown with Bee-killing Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 19, 2019) To mark National Pollinator Week (June 17-23), more than 10,000 people across the country are joining to demand that Kroger (NYSE: KR) help stop the extreme decline of pollinators. Customers are delivering letters to stores asking the nation‚Äôs largest conventional grocery store to eliminate pollinator-toxic pesticides from its food supply chain and increase domestic organic food offerings to help stop the catastrophic decline of pollinators and other insects. Pollinators and other insects could go extinct within a century, threatening a ‚Äúcatastrophic collapse of nature‚Äôs ecosystems,‚ÄĚ the first comprehensive global meta-analysis of insect decline states. This is largely due to the widespread use of neonicotinoids and other toxic insecticides in industrial agriculture. ‚ÄúSystemic neonicotinoid insecticides and the broad range of pesticides that harm people and pollinators have no place in our food supply,‚ÄĚ said Drew Toher, community resource and policy director at Beyond Pesticides. ‚ÄúKroger customers are asking the company to be part of the solution to the pollinator crisis by eliminating hazardous pesticides and expanding organic options.‚ÄĚ ‚ÄúTo avoid the ‚Äėbee apocalypse‚Äô it is critical that Kroger immediately commit to stop selling food with pollinator-toxic pesticides,‚ÄĚ said Tiffany Finck-Haynes, pesticides and pollinators program manager at […]

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23
May

Fulfilling Legal Settlement with Limited Scope, EPA Cancels Twelve Neonicotinoid Products

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2019) On Monday in the conclusion of a lawsuit, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the final notices of cancellation on the registration of twelve neonicotinoid pesticide products in the Federal Register, each of which contains chlothianidin or thiamathoxam as an active ingredient. The decision to pull these products from the market was required as part of a legal settlement under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in December 2018 of a successful case,¬†Ellis v. EPA, brought by beekeeper Steve Ellis and a coalition of other beekeepers and environmental groups, including Beyond Pesticides. The case establishes a legal precedent in which the court required action to address the bee-toxic effects of pesticides; however, the effect of the settlement and its impact on overall neonicotinoid and other systemic insecticide use is limited. For all but two of the twelve canceled products, a nearly identical surrogate remains actively registered. Furthermore, the fact remains that there are hundreds more products containing the active ingredients targeted by the lawsuit that have not been removed in any capacity ‚Äď 106 products containing clothianidin and 95 containing thiamethoxam remain untouched on the market. Breaking down the impacts of the EPA ruling even […]

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20
May

Take Action: As EPA Fails to Act, States Take Up the Responsibility to Protect Health and the Environment

(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2019) The¬†bans of chlorpyrifos in three important agricultural states show the support for a ban of the chemical nationwide.¬†Hawai’i¬†banned chlorpyrifos a year ago with a unanimous vote of the legislature. New York and¬†California¬†banned it this month. States have been pursuing bans since the¬†Environmental Protection Agency¬†rescinded its proposed ban in 2017. Tell Your Governor to Ban Neurotoxic Pesticides and Support Organic; Send¬†Thanks to Your Governor¬†in¬†Hawai’i, New York, and California Like other organophosphate pesticides, chlorpyrifos has been linked to damaging and often irreversible health outcomes in workers, pregnant women, and children. A widely used pesticide, agriculture companies annually spray six¬†million pounds on crops like citrus, apples, and cherries. ¬†In the same family as Sarin gas, the substance was initially developed prior to World War II as a chemical weapon. It can overstimulate the nervous system to cause nausea, dizziness, and confusion. With very high exposures (accidents or spills), it can cause respiratory paralysis and even death. When applying the chemical to fields, workers must wear protective garments such as respirators. Workers are then blocked from entering the fields from 24 hours up to 5 days after application due to the chemical exposure risk. A group of leading toxics […]

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16
May

Oregon Officials Finalize Restrictions on Bayer’s Tree-Killing Herbicide, Stop Short of a Full Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2019) ¬†Use of the tree-killing herbicide aminocyclopyrachlor (ACP) is now restricted in Oregon, according to rulemaking finalized last week by the state‚Äôs department of agriculture (ODA). While an important step in the right direction, many environmentalists are perplexed by the state’s decision not to proceed with a ban on all uses of the inherently toxic chemical, which has killed¬†thousands of old-growth pine trees along state scenic highways. Over five thousand comments from Oregonians and concerned individuals across the country urged ODA to scrap its convoluted proposed rule and simply eliminate the chemical from state commerce. While advocates will continue to urge ODA to completely eliminate ACP use, the current restrictions did not come without a fight. Public meetings were attended by representatives from the chemical‚Äôs manufacturer, Bayer. The company strongly opposed any restrictions on its product, and acted to delay the original implementation date for ODA‚Äôs rule. Oregon had intended to finalize the rule in late March. ‚ÄúWe were pretty much set to file the final paperwork,‚ÄĚ said Oregon pesticide program manager Rose Kachadoorian to The Bulletin. But through the work of its corporate lawyers, Bayer was able to track down an arcane Oregon law that […]

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13
May

Trump Officials Propose to Rollback Endangered Species Protection, Break Agreements to Act, and Block Public Review of Decisions

(Beyond Pesticides, May 13, 2019)¬†The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed four lawsuits last week challenging the Trump administration‚Äôs failure to release a trove of documents detailing how the administration is regulating dangerous pesticides, especially as they relate to endangered species. Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a set of proposed¬†changes¬†last week that would dramatically reduce protections for the nation‚Äôs most endangered plants and animals from pesticides known to harm them. The proposals ignore the real-world, science-based assessments of pesticides‚Äô harms, instead relying on arbitrary industry-created models. The EPA proposals would, for example, gut protections for endangered plants that are pollinated by butterflies and other insects by ignoring the fact that animals routinely move back and forth between agricultural areas and places where endangered species live. The proposals follow intensive efforts by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to halt federal work on protecting wildlife from pesticides. They were released over a year after a draft biological opinion that was scuttled by the Trump administration found that the loss of pollinators from the insecticide chlorpyrifos would put hundreds of endangered species on a path to extinction. The so-called ‚Äúrefinements‚ÄĚ will make it easier for the EPA to claim that pesticides […]

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01
May

Weed Killer Glyphosate Linked to Multi-Generational Adverse Health Effects

(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2019)¬†Evidence of the dangers of glyphosate continues to mount: researchers at Washington State University have identified, in research that exposed pregnant rats to the compound, significant disease and pathology in subsequent generations. The rats were exposed, from day 8 through day 14 of gestation, to half the observable adverse effect level (NOAEL) of glyphosate. Although this study found negligible impacts on the pregnant rats themselves or on their first-generation offspring, dramatic increases in incidence of pathology showed up in the two subsequent generations, including reproductive (prostate and ovarian) and kidney diseases; obesity; and birth anomalies. The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports (an open access, multidisciplinary journal from Nature Research), and conducted by Michael Skinner, Ph.D. and five colleagues, is the first to assess the potential transgenerational impacts of glyphosate in mammals. Its results point to an emerging frontier in assessing the risks of glyphosate and other toxic chemicals, and add to the urgent and growing demand that the use of this particular toxic ‚ÄĒ and pervasive ‚ÄĒ pesticide be halted. The research team was interested in looking at possible transgenerational impacts of glyphosate in part because of its ubiquity: it is one of the […]

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09
Apr

Take Action: Ban Glyphosate, Adopt Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, April 9, 2019)¬†It is time for all local and state governments and school districts to stop the use of glyphosate/Roundup. The last month has seen a level of activity that supports immediate action. A second jury came in with the verdict that the herbicide caused plaintiffs’ non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma¬†(NHL) ‚ÄĒthis time handing the manufacturer, Monsanto/Bayer, a bill for¬†$80 million ($5 million in compensatory damages and $75 million in punitive damages). Tell your Governor to act now to stop the use of glyphosate/Roundup. ¬†Insurance companies are now backing away from Roundup.¬†Harrell’s¬†is a company that sells chemical pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, and ‚Äúadjuvants and colorants,‚ÄĚ among other products, primarily to golf courses, and to the horticulture-nursery, turf, and landscape sectors.¬†The company announced¬†on March 11 that it stopped selling products containing glyphosate¬†as of March 1, 2019 because neither its current insurance company nor others the company consulted would underwrite coverage for the company for any glyphosate-related claims. Harrell’s CEO stated:¬†‚ÄúDuring our annual insurance renewal last month, we were surprised to learn that our insurance company was no longer willing to provide coverage for claims related to glyphosate due to the recent high-profile lawsuit and the many thousands of lawsuits since. We sought coverage […]

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03
Apr

Following a Finding that Roundup Caused Plaintiff’s Cancer, Jury Awards $80 Million in First Federal Case

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2019)¬† Following on its verdict that the herbicide Roundup caused plaintiff Edwin Hardeman’s¬† non-Hodgkin lymphoma¬†(NHL), the jury on March 27 issued an award of $80 million‚ÄĒ$5 million in compensatory damages and $75 million in punitive damages‚ÄĒfor improper labeling and negligence on the part of the manufacturer and defendant, Monsanto. The trial, the first federal Roundup cancer trial, marks the first of a multidistrict litigation against Monsanto, with more than 1,600 similar lawsuits pending in San Francisco‚Äôs federal court. The jury‚Äôs second verdict affirmed Mr. Hardeman‚Äôs allegations that Roundup‚Äôs design is defective and lacks sufficient warnings, and that Monsanto was negligent by not using reasonable care to warn about Roundup‚Äôs NHL risk. The Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto Co. jury verdict marks the second multi-million dollar award to be granted in a landmark case against Bayer/Monsanto within the past year. Last August in San Francisco Superior Court, California groundskeeper Dewayne ‚ÄúLee‚ÄĚ Johnson was awarded $39 million in compensatory damages, and $250 million in punitive damages in the first case that linked his NHL to Monsanto‚Äôs glyphosate/Roundup. In October, the judge in the case upheld the verdict, but reduced the award to $78 million. Mr. Hardeman is represented by […]

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28
Mar

Documents Reveal that Interior Nominee Censored Endangered Species Assessment of Organophosphates

(Beyond Pesticides, March 28, 2019) A set of documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity reveals that the Trump administration has known for over a year ‚Äď and actively concealed ‚Äď that the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos jeopardizes the existence of 1,399 endangered species. Top officials at the U.S. Department of the Interior, including Acting Secretary David Bernhardt, were privy to and prevented the release of a ‚Äúbiological opinion,‚ÄĚ completed by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in 2017, which contains a full analysis of the extensive environmental impacts wrought by three organophosphate insecticides. While chlorpyrifos is the worst of the three, the censored biological opinion includes similarly concerning findings for two other organophosphate pesticides, malathion and diazinon, which are currently jeopardizing 1,284 and 175 species, respectively. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that that all organophosphates have a common mechanisms of effect and therefore the multiple exposures to these pesticides lead to a cumulative risk. ‚ÄúIt’s outrageous that Trump, Bernhardt and the industry hacks inhabiting this administration are speeding the extinction of nearly 1,400 endangered species by refusing to take any action on chlorpyrifos,‚ÄĚ said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity […]

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21
Mar

General Mills Commits to Large Acreage of Regenerative Agriculture, Short of Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2019) Corporate food giant General Mills has thrown some weight behind regenerative agriculture, committing to converting one million acres of farmland to regenerative practices by 2030. Some – but not all – of the initiative involves organic land management. Regenerative agriculture is a term with a range of interpretations, but the key element is improving soil health through carbon sequestration. Robert Rodale, one of the early proponents of organic agriculture and a major publisher, coined the name to characterize a process that moves beyond sustainable maintenance and into improvement of resources. This methodology is gaining traction in the farming world because it is economically beneficial to farmers and promotes environmental remediation. A 2018 study shows that ecologically-based farming systems have fewer pests and generate higher profits than their conventional counterparts. ‚ÄúPractitioners who have done this the longest point to the fact that in extreme years, their farms will do better than those who do not,‚ÄĚ says Jerry Lynch, General Mills‚Äô chief sustainability officer, ‚ÄúAfter some transition time, depending on their location and cropping system, farmers are saving a lot of money because they‚Äôre using fewer inputs.‚ÄĚ In their press release, General Mills lays out three foci […]

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20
Mar

A Second Jury Delivers Blow to Bayer/Monsanto’s Claim that Glyphosate/Roundup Is Safe

(Beyond Pesticides, March 20, 2019)¬†In a second verdict against Bayer/Monsanto yesterday, a jury found unanimously that a California man‚Äôs non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) was substantially caused by the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup). The case being heard in federal court in San Francisco now moves to the damages phase. Last August in San Francisco Superior Court, a California groundskeeper was awarded $39 million in compensatory damages, and $250 million in punitive damages in a case that linked his NHL to Monsanto‚Äôs glyphosate/Roundup. In October, the judge in the case upheld the verdict, but reduced the award to $78 million. According to the Associated Press, the trial judge, U.S. Judge Vince Chhabira ‚Äúis overseeing hundreds of Roundup lawsuits and has deemed [this case] and two others ‚Äėbellwether trials.‚Äú The case was brought by Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, CA. He said he had been using Roundup since the 1980‚Äôs. During the trial, according to The Guardian, Judge Chhabria, ‚Äúapproved Monsanto‚Äôs request¬†to¬†prohibit¬†Hardeman‚Äôs attorneys from raising allegations about the corporation‚Äôs conduct, saying issues about its influence on science and government were a ‚Äėsignificant ‚Ķ distraction.‚Äô‚ÄĚ This set up a limitation that required the plaintiff‚Äôs attorneys to focus solely on studies linking the chemical to cancer […]

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15
Mar

A Pesticide Distributor, an Insurance Company, a Major City, and a Scientific Study Nix Glyphosate (Roundup)

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2019)¬†Beyond Pesticides and others have worked for many years to educate stakeholders and policy makers about the dangers of pesticides, and to transform pest management by eliminating a reliance on toxic pesticides and advancing organic management practices. Considerable focus has been on glyphosate, which is used in several herbicides, most notably in Bayer‚Äôs (then Monsanto‚Äôs, until its 2018 purchase by Bayer) Roundup. The compound has had a relatively high profile in the pesticide landscape, due in part to the ubiquity of its use, and in part to the tireless work of health and environmental advocates and scientists to expose its risks. With that profile, glyphosate has been a bit of a stand-in for the dangers of pesticides broadly. As journalist Carey Gillam said at Beyond Pesticides‚Äô 36th National Pesticide Forum in 2018, ‚ÄúGlyphosate is the poster child for the bigger pesticide problem. . . . If it goes away tomorrow, we are [still] not okay.‚ÄĚ The variety of risks this compound poses is broad, and pushback and risk evidence on its use come from multiple sides. This Daily News Blog focuses on recent developments on several of those fronts, all of which advanced knowledge and momentum, […]

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13
Mar

Pesticide Exposure Alters Gene Expression in Bumblebees

(Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2019) A study on the impact of two neonicotinoid pesticides shows differential gene expression in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) after exposure. Considering the current worldwide plight of insects, the authors of point to the cutting edge research as both a reason and a methodology to more carefully examine the effects of pesticides. ‚ÄúCaste- and pesticide-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticide exposure on gene expression in bumblebees‚ÄĚ was published in the journal Molecular Ecology in early March. Researchers fed variable colonies with clothianidin or imidacloprid-laced sucrose. They analyzed gene expression in the heads of worker bumblebees and colony queens using RNA sequencing (RNA-seq), inspired by biomedical techniques. This approach allowed for new insight on what genes and pathways are affected by neonicotinoid exposure. Study author Yannick Wurm, PhD, stated in a press release, ‚ÄúOur work demonstrates that the type of high-resolution molecular approach that has changed the way human diseases are researched and diagnosed, can also be applied to beneficial pollinators. This approach provides an unprecedented view of how bees are being affected by pesticides and works at large scale. It can fundamentally improve how we evaluate the toxicity of chemicals we put into nature.‚ÄĚ Clothianidin had a stronger […]

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12
Mar

Deadly Dioxin, An Agent Orange By-Product, Continues to Contaminate Vietnam

(Beyond Pesticides, March 12, 2019) Fifty years after the end of the Vietnam War, the Agent Orange byproduct dioxin continues to contaminate Vietnam‚Äôs soils and wildlife, and subsequently affect human health. In¬†their review, scientists at Iowa State and the University of Illinois focus on the locations where hot spots and contaminated sediments have persisted after 130,000 fifty-five gallons drums of toxic herbicides were sprayed over Vietnam‚Äôs farm fields and jungle canopies during the war. “Existing Agent Orange and dioxin research is primarily medical in nature, focusing on the details of human exposure primarily through skin contact and long-term health effects on U.S. soldiers,” says Ken Olson, PhD, co-author on the article. “In this paper, we examine the short and long-term environmental effects on the Vietnamese natural resource base and how persistence of dioxin continues to affect soils, water, sediment, fish, aquatic species, the food supply, and Vietnamese health.” While public attention has generally focused on the ‚Äúrainbow herbicides,‚ÄĚ such as Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam war, it is the dioxin TCDD (2,3,7,8 tetrachlorodibenzodioxin), a byproduct of Agent Orange‚Äôs manufacturing process, that has caused the most lasting damage within the country. While the breakdown period for Agent Orange herbicides 2,4-D […]

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08
Mar

Study Raises Ecological Concerns about EPA-Approved RNAi Pesticides that Turn Off Genes

(Beyond Pesticides, March 8, 2019)¬†Researchers from the U.S. and Switzerland have published their findings, a beginning assessment of how use of a new category of pesticides ‚ÄĒ dsRNA (double stranded RNA), which is less a traditional pesticide than a genetically based pesticide ‚Äútechnology‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ might impact soils and non-target microorganisms in the soil. The co-authors (Kimberly M. Parker, PhD, et al.) note that, ‚ÄúThe ecological risk assessment of these emerging pesticides necessitates an understanding of the fate of dsRNA molecules in receiving environments, among which agricultural soils are most important.‚ÄĚ Their research appeared in late January 2019 in Environmental Science & Technology. Previously, technical hurdles in measuring dsRNA had stymied scientists‚Äô ability to quantify the genetic material and its degradation products in soil, but these investigators were able to attach a radioactive atom to the molecule, ‚Äútagging‚ÄĚ it so it could be followed through a series of simulated soil systems representative of those in the ‚Äúreal‚ÄĚ world. Researchers were able to measure the presence of the material¬†at concentrations as low as a few nanograms of dsRNA per gram of soil. The work of these researchers represents the beginning of understanding the ecological risks of these emerging dsRNA pesticides. They demonstrated […]

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