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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Corporations' Category


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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05
Mar

Glyphosate Use in Forestry Drifts on Wild, Edible Plants, Leading to Lasting Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, March 5, 2019) Wild, edible plants subject to drift from the herbicide glyphosate during forestry operations can be contaminated with the chemical an entire year after an initial application, according to a new study published in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research. Glyphosate is often used in forestry to knock down unwanted trees, shrubs, and other plants after clear-cutting to provide room for the regrowth of trees deemed valuable. However, this new research shows that ‚Äúnon-target‚ÄĚ species, such as raspberries and blueberries, eaten by wildlife and sometimes wild foraged by humans can retain significant levels of glyphosate contamination due to drift and overspray. Forester Lisa Wood, PhD, from the University of Northern British Columbia began this research based on input and requests from Canadian indigenous First Nations communities. Back in 2013, shrubs foraged by traditional berry-pickers in northeastern British Columbia were sampled and found to contain glyphosate residues, leading to the need for a broader investigation. Dr. Wood sampled the roots and shoots of 10 plant species from an area that had been aerially sprayed with glyphosate a year prior as part of forestry operations to clear aspen and make room for coniferous re-plantings. The 10 plants, which […]

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04
Mar

Take Action: Saving America’s Pollinators Act Reintroduced in Congress

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2019) Last week, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) reintroduced the Saving America‚Äôs Pollinators Act¬†(H.R.1337) to cancel specific bee-toxic pesticides and establish a review and cancellation process for all pesticides that are potentially harmful to pollinators. The specific pesticides targeted in the bill include the systemic insecticides imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, acetamiprid, sulfoxaflor, flupyradifurone, and fipronil. The bill also establishes requirements for review of other potentially bee-toxic chemicals by an independent pollinator protection board, and requires annual reports on the health and population status of pollinators. The bill creates a sustainable model for pollinator protection in the face of ongoing obstruction by an increasingly industry-influenced EPA. There are 29 cosponsors to date. The current bill is the fifth version of Saving America’s Pollinators Act (SAPA), which was first introduced by U.S. Representative Conyers (D-MI) in 2013. The newest version differs from previous bills in its bold definition of who should have responsibility for assessing harm to pollinators. SAPA 2019 calls for the establishment of a Pollinator Protection Board, to be composed of expert scientists, beekeepers, farmers, members of environmental organizations and other key stakeholders, nearly all of whom must not have any conflict of interest or affiliation […]

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11
Feb

Tell Oregon Department of Agriculture to Ban Tree-Killing Herbicide, Aminocyclopyrachlor (ACP) [Perspective]

(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2019)¬†Aminocyclopyrachlor (ACP) is a tree-killing pesticide masquerading as a broadleaf herbicide. The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has the opportunity to lead the country in banning this inherently dangerous chemical. According to ODA, nearly 1,500 dead or dying trees have been reported along Oregon‚Äôs iconic Interstate 20, home to old growth ponderosa pines. Many of these 150- to 300-year old trees are now dead from ACP exposure. ODA indicated that ‚Äúbecause [ACP] is a relatively new herbicide it is unknown how many trees stressed from past applications of [ACP] will die in the future.‚ÄĚ Even at tiny levels, ACP run-off and drift kills trees. Tell Oregon‚Äôs Department of Agriculture to lead the country in completely banning its use. In 2014, DuPont chemical company settled a nearly $2 million lawsuit with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after the herbicide (under the brand name Imprelis¬ģ) was found to kill trees at golf courses, homeowners associations, businesses, and private residences. Despite this history, regulators left ACP on the market. Its use was banned on lawns and turfgrass, but allowed for roadside rights-of-way. A couple years ago, Bayer purchased the rights to ACP from DuPont and continues to market […]

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06
Feb

Researchers Awarded for Uncovering Link between Glyphosate and Kidney Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, February 6, 2019) The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has awarded two researchers the group‚Äôs Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award for their work uncovering the link between glyphosate and chronic kidney disease (CKD), which has killed at least 25,000 Sri Lankans and 20,000 Central Americans. Award recipients Sarath Guanatilake, MD, and Channa Jayasumana, PhD, faced death threats and claims of research misconduct as they went toe to toe with agrichemical industry giant Monsanto (now Bayer‚Äôs Monsanto), the major manufacturer of glyphosate-based products like Roundup. “To right a wrong when significant financial interests are at stake and the power imbalance between industry and individual is at play takes the unique combination of scientific rigor, professional persistence and acceptance of personal risk demonstrated by the two scientists recognized by this year’s award,” says Jessica Wyndham, director of the Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program at AAAS. In the mid-90s, reports began to emerge of Sri Lankan rice farmers ‚Äď many otherwise healthy, young adults, succumbing to CKD. Dr. Gunatilake, a researcher at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), was hired by the Sri Lanka Ministry of Health to investigate the cause of the disease. Around the […]

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01
Feb

Largest County in Maryland Bans Glyphosate (Roundup) in Its Parks, Pending Complete Pesticide Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2019)¬†Prior to a pesticide ban taking effect in Montgomery County Maryland Parks, the Department of Parks announced in mid-December 2018 that it would discontinue the use of glyphosate-based herbicides through March 2019. The agency has used these hazardous herbicides as part of its IPM (Integrated Pest Management) program for weed management. Montgomery Parks indicates it will release further information on the use of glyphosate in mid-March. In November last year, Montgomery County Council member Tom Hucker wrote to the head of Parks, supported by a community-wide petition, urging that glyphosate be banned immediately, pending implementation of the county ban. He cited the finding of the International Agency for Research on Cancer‚Äôs (World Health Organization) finding that the chemical probably causes cancer in humans and the $289 million jury verdict last year that the chemical caused a school groundskeeper‚Äôs non Hodgkin lymphoma. In 2016, Montgomery Parks instituted a pesticide reduction program in compliance with Montgomery County, Maryland‚Äôs 2015 adoption of County Code 33B, which aimed to regulate use of pesticides on county-owned property, including parks, and on private property. In 2017, a Montgomery Circuit Court overturned the portion of the law pertaining to a ban on private […]

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22
Jan

Help Get Neurotoxic Pesticide, Chlorpyrifos, Out of Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, January 22, 2019)¬†Earlier this month, U.S. Representative Nydia Vel√°squez (D-NY) introduced The Ban Toxic Pesticides Act, H.R.230 which bans the insecticide chlorpyrifos from commerce. Chlorpyrifos is a toxic chemical that has been linked to damaging and often irreversible health outcomes in workers, pregnant women, and children. As a result of a revised human health risk assessment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a regulation to ban chlorpyrifos in 2016. Under the Trump Administration, the EPA has taken steps to reverse the regulation. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs unconscionable for EPA to turn a blind eye as children and workers are exposed to this poison,‚ÄĚ Vel√°zquez said. ¬†‚ÄúIf the EPA won‚Äôt do its job when it comes to chlorpyrifos, then Congress needs to act ‚Äď and do so quickly.‚ÄĚ Ask your U.S. Representative to Co-Sponsor H.R. 230 to Stop the Use of the Toxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos, which Is Damaging Children‚Äôs Brains.¬† Chlorypyrifos is a widely used pesticide. Agriculture companies annually spray 6 million pounds of the substance 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 […]

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18
Jan

More Documentation of EPA’s Failures in Allowing Use of Roundup, as French Court Bans It

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2019)¬†A new analysis by Charles Benbrook, PhD, published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, adds to the chronicle of the failures of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect human health from toxic pesticides, and in this subject instance, from glyphosate. Meanwhile, a French Court has pulled the license for a Roundup product, citing the French government‚Äôs failure to protect public health. In his paper, Dr. Benbrook examines the divergent positions on the carcinogenicity of glyphosate ‚ÄĒ the active ingredient in a number of herbicides, most notably Monsanto‚Äôs (now Bayer‚Äôs) Roundup ‚ÄĒ taken by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and by EPA. The paper calls out EPA‚Äôs handling of science related to the safety of glyphosate, suggesting that the agency has discounted evidence of the compound‚Äôs association with genotoxicity ‚ÄĒ destructive effects on cellular genetic material that can cause mutations ‚ÄĒ which can result in cancer. Dr. Benbrook is an American agricultural economist, former executive director of the National Academy of Sciences board on agriculture, and former research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University. He has long studied pesticide use related to genetically engineered […]

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04
Jan

Settlement Bans Some Bee-Toxic Pesticides, Requires Public Comment Period on Testing All Pesticide Product Ingredients and Regulating Pesticide-Treated Seeds

(Beyond Pesticides, January 4, 2019)¬†First, the good news: plaintiffs in a 2013 lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can allow themselves a small victory dance. In that suit, plaintiffs made a number of claims related to EPA‚Äôs failure to protect pollinators from dangerous pesticides, its poor oversight of the bee-killing pesticides clothianidin and thiamethoxam, and its practice of ‚Äúconditional registration,‚ÄĚ as well as labeling deficiencies. The parties in the suit negotiated a settlement, as directed by a federal judge (see below), that was signed in October 2018 and portends some positive movement in curtailing the use of some toxic pesticides¬†[12 products, each of which contains chlothianidin or thiamathoxam as an active ingredient] that harm pollinators in particular, as well as other organisms and the environment. It also establishes a public process for EPA to consider requiring whole formulations of pesticide products during registration, and redefining EPA’s interpretation of law that allows seeds treated with bee-toxic pesticides to escape regulation as a pesticide. The suit was brought by a number of individual beekeepers and several organizations, including Beyond Pesticides, Center for Food Safety (CFS), Sierra Club, and Center for Environmental Health, and named as defendants Steven Bradbury, then-director of the […]

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13
Dec

U.S. Asks World Trade Organization to Force Lower International Safety Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2018)¬†The U.S. is pushing back against international standards that restrict pesticides by appealing to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to intervene. At issue are new EU maximum residue levels (MRLs) on food for the following pesticides: buprofezin, diflubenzuron, ethoxysulfurom, ioxynil, molinate, picoxystrobin and tepraloxydim. Advocates are concerned that a U.S. challenge to stronger EU standards could cause the WTO to force a weakening of standards internationally. Most significantly, EU proposed lowering its MRLs on imports. The EU said lower MRLs are needed to protect consumers, as research shows pesticides are shown to be carcinogenic, and that, contrary to chemical-industry claims, no level of allowable exposures can be assumed. Taking issue with the new MRLs ‚Äď as with all other STCs mentioned above ‚Äď the U.S. said new MRLs would cause barriers to trade, and therefore, must be rejected by the WTO.¬†Advocates point to the introduction of GMOs as an example of the U.S. using the WTO to block standards that restrict potentially hazardous products. Recently, the U.S. has been involved in four of five new specific trade concerns (STCs) raised before WTO. As part of reviewing the current agreement of the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary […]

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10
Dec

Take Action: Tell Your U.S. Senators to Reject Dow’s Hutchins as USDA Chief Scientist

(Beyond Pesticides, December 10, 2018)¬†The Senate Agriculture Committee has cleared the way for the whole U.S. Senate to vote on the confirmation of Scott Hutchins, PhD, recently retired from research and management at what is now the agricultural division of DowDuPont, as chief scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). If confirmed, he will become the third member of Dow‚Äôs pesticide and seed division to hold a high-level position in the Trump administration‚Äôs USDA.¬† Tell your U.S. Senators to Reject Dow‚Äôs Hutchins as USDA Chief Scientist. Dr. Hutchins has a history of defending toxic pesticides like Dow‚Äôs chlorpyrifos, which makes him unsuitable for leading USDA‚Äôs research on the future of the U.S. food system. The chief scientist at USDA can determine the direction of USDA research‚Äďwhich should be shaped by an organic, rather than a chemical-intensive, vision. USDA needs a chief scientist who will help farmers get off the pesticide treadmill and adopt organic practices that address critical issues of protecting farmer and farmworker health, water resources, biodiversity, and soil health, while reducing the escalating crisis in global climate change. USDA‚Äôs research mission must be focused on sustainability and protect farmers, families, and the environment. Since 1987, Dr. Hutchins […]

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06
Dec

Endocrine Disrupting Herbicide, Atrazine, Exceeds Legal Limits in Midwest

(Beyond Pesticides, December 6, 2018)¬†A recent analysis of annual drinking water quality reports has revealed that many community drinking water systems in the Midwest have seasonal exceedances of the allowable limit for the herbicide atrazine. Atrazine, linked to endocrine disruption, neuropathy, and cancer, is the second most widely used pesticide in corn growing areas, with over 73 million pounds applied to agricultural fields each year. ¬†A¬†2009 study¬†by Paul Winchester, MD, professor of clinical pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine and a neonatologist at St. Francis Hospital in Indianapolis, linked¬†birth defects to time of conception, with the greatest impact on children conceived when concentrations of atrazine and other pesticides are highest in the local drinking water. (See Reproductive Effects Peak with Pesticide Exposure.) During peak use, atrazine levels in drinking water have been recorded at three to seven times above the legal limit. In addition to the well documented impact on the environment, recent ¬†studies have linked prolonged pesticide exposure to not only shortened gestation and preterm birth for women, but also neurodevelopment delays in children. Ultimately, these unreported seasonal peaks may result in persistent adverse health impacts in impacted communities. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), enacted in 1974, […]

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04
Dec

California Criticized for Adopting Inadequate Measures to Restrict the Highly Toxic Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2018)¬†In mid-November, the state whose agricultural operations used more than 900,000 pounds of chlorpyrifos in 2016 (down from two million pounds in 2005) moved to establish some temporary restrictions on its use. Regulators at the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) issued interim restrictions on the compound while the agency works on a formal regulatory process to list chlorpyrifos as a ‚Äútoxic air contaminant‚ÄĚ and develop permanent restrictions on its use.¬†A neurological toxicant, chlorpyrifos damages the brains of young children: impacts of exposure, even at very low levels, include decreased cognitive function, lowered IQ, attention deficit disorder, and developmental and learning delays. It was slated to be banned for food uses by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year, but the decision was reversed by the Trump administration. The interim measures in California include: banning aerial application of chlorpyrifos; ending its use on many crops ‚ÄĒ except for those determined to be ‚Äúcritical‚ÄĚ by virtue of there being few, if any, alternatives (as determined by the University of California Cooperative Extension and listed on DPR’s website); establishing a quarter-mile buffer zone for 24 hours after any application of the pesticide; and requiring a 24/7/365, 150-foot […]

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27
Nov

Continuing Pattern, Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler Ignores Science, Embraces Monsanto (Bayer), and Continues Dicamba Herbicide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, November 27, 2018) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ignored the input of an expert weed scientist on the controversial herbicide dicamba, bending to Bayer‚Äôs Monsanto and the pesticide industry, according to emails obtained by the Arkansas Democrat and Chronicle (ADC) through a Freedom of Information Act request. The scandal centers on the recent re-approval of the pesticide, a highly volatile and drift-prone herbicide that has become a serious problem for¬†many farmers and state regulators. As top-level EPA officials continue to work with industry to subvert their own agency‚Äôs scientific findings, more and more consumers are moving to organic products in order avoid the pesticide risks government regulators ask consumers to accept. Emails ADC received indicate that Jason Norsworthy, PhD, a weed scientist with the University of Arkansas, worked closely with Bayer‚Äôs Monsanto in conducting field trials this past summer, but found high volatility and drift of the company‚Äôs new dicamba-based herbicide XtendiMax. The product was developed in the face of¬†widespread resistance to glyphosate-based herbicides¬†in genetically engineered (GE) farm fields. However, recent accounts from farmers in the south and midwest indicate that, not only is the switch to dicamba unhelpful¬† in eliminating drift and reversing¬†escalating weed resistance, its […]

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15
Nov

Neonicotinoids Found to Change Frog Behavior

(Beyond Pesticides, November 15, 2018) Neonicotinoids are widely known for their link to declining pollinator populations, but new research finds that the ill effects of these chemicals also extends to amphibian populations. In a study published late last month, scientists from the National Wildlife Research Center in Ottawa, Canada found that chronic exposure to real-world levels of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid limits the ability of juvenile wood frogs to escape a predator attack. This research adds additional evidence that neonicotinoids are harming aquatic food chains, and reinforces calls for U.S. regulators to follow the science and adequately restrict these toxic pesticides. Researchers investigated the impact of neonicotinoids on the post-tadpole life stage of wood frogs, which has been identified as critical to sustaining viable populations of the species. Rather than determine acute impacts that assess how lethal a pesticide is, scientists opted to observe how wood frog behavior changes as a result of chronic, real-world exposure scenarios. In particular, scientists sought to figure out whether exposure resulted in an altered behavioral response to the presence of a predator. As tadpoles, wood frogs were chronically exposed to real world levels of imidacloprid (1, 10, and 100 micrograms/liter), while others were left unexposed […]

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