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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Syngenta' Category


28
Nov

Study Finds Pesticides Take the Buzz Out of Bumblebees

(Beyond Pesticides, November 28, 2017) Bumblebees exposed to field-realistic levels of neonicotinoid insecticides have problems with “buzz pollination” that results in reduced pollen collection, according to new research published in Scientific Reports. This is the latest science to tease out the complex ways in which neonicotinoids interfere with these important pollinators, providing yet another reason to eliminate these highly toxic, systemic insecticides from the environment. Flowers that bumblebees pollinate require the insects to emit soundwaves, or ‘sonicate’ to release their pollen, and bumblebees must perfect their techniques over time in order to maximize the pollen they are able to collect. Researchers tested the effect of neonicotinoids on bumblebees’ sonication abilities by exposing them to field realistic doses of the insecticide thiamethoxam at rates of 2 parts per billion (ppb) and 10 ppb, and observing their ability to successfully collect pollen. A control group that never came in contact with thiamethoxam was also used to compare the progress of the exposed group. Lead author of the study, Penelope Whitehorn, PhD, indicated, “We found that control bees, who were not exposed to the pesticide, improved their pollen collection as they gained experience, which we interpreted as an ability to learn to buzz […]

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14
Mar

EPA to Investigate Civil Rights Abuses Over Pesticide Use in Hawaii

(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2017)  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is opening an investigation into whether the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) and the state Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) are discriminating against Native Hawaiians in their administration of the state’s pesticide program. The investigation comes after a number of local community groups, represented by the nonprofit environmental law organization Earthjustice, filed a complaint in September 2016 asking EPA to take action against systemic abuses of Native Hawaiian peoples. Local efforts to protect pesticide-exposed communities have been repeatedly stymied by giant pesticide corporations operating on the island, which filed lawsuits that ultimately struck down local laws. EPA’s investigation will focus on the state’s activity on the islands of Kauai and Moloka’i. “The External Civil Rights Compliance Office will investigate whether in administering the pesticides program and the leasing and licensing of the state land program the HDOA and/or ADC discriminated on the basis of race and/or national origin against farm workers and residents of West Kauai and Molokai, in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, and EPA’s implementing regulation,” wrote Lilian Dorka, director of EPA’s External Civil Rights Compliance Office(ERCO), in a letter to Earthjustice. Under Title […]

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24
Jan

University Scientists Dispute Syngenta Study Conclusion that Pesticide Is Low Risk to Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, January 24, 2017) An analysis conducted by scientists at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland is calling into question the conclusions reached in a study conducted by multinational chemical company Syngenta, which indicated that honey bees were not at risk from the widely used neonicotinoid insecticide thiamethoxam. The challenge to the Pilling et al 2013 study is important because while many experiments have been performed in the lab or semi-lab environment, this study was a field experiment developed to test pollinator exposure under normal agricultural conditions. The conclusions of such real-world experiments are weighed more heavily by regulators when making safety and use determinations. St. Andrews’ scientists focus in on the Pilling et al claim that because its study did not have high levels of replication, that it would have been misleading to perform formal statistical analysis. They respond that this would indeed be the case if Pilling et al had intended on finding statistical significance and concluded that there was no effect based on those tests. However, Syngenta’s scientists instead simply graphed average values over time based on their measurements (measurements such as number of bees in a hive, hive weight, number of brood, etc.), and compared […]

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19
Dec

Syngenta Research Farm Fined $4.8 Million for Illegal Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week filed a complaint against a Syngenta research farm in Kauai, Hawaii for exposing a dozen agricultural workers to an unregistered insecticide on the farm in early 2016. Syngenta Seeds, LLC is facing over $4.8 million in fines from EPA for allegedly violating multiple federal pesticide regulations meant to protect agricultural workers. At the time of the incident, 19 agricultural workers went to work on fields freshly sprayed with the insecticide chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate insecticide. The incident with this highly neurotoxic chemical sent 10 workers to the hospital for medical treatment. EPA’s complaint states that Syngenta Hawaii LLC misused the pesticide “Lorsban Advanced” and that violated EPA’s worker protection standard. Due to its neurotoxicity, EPA banned chlorpyrifos for residential uses in 2000, but retained most agricultural use. EPA maintains that Syngenta failed to provide a waiting period for the workers to re-enter the fields. Additionally, Syngenta did not provide workers with personal protective equipment, as well as proper decontamination supplies once the exposure had occurred. At the time of the incident, an inspector from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) was present on the Syngenta farm, which triggered an immediate investigation from the […]

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22
Nov

Court Knocks Down Local Pesticide Restrictions on Private Property in Hawaii, Upholds Restrictions on GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, November 22, 2016) Last week the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down local county laws aimed at protecting residents’ health and the environment in Hawaii. The ruling, handed down by federal Circuit Judge Consuelo M. Callahan, finds that Hawaii state law is comprehensive in regulating pesticides, and “impliedly preempts” local jurisdictions from passing laws with stricter standards than the state’s. The decision represents a victory for Monsanto, Syngenta, and the agrichemical industry, and a blow to the efforts of grassroots activists that say Hawaii is “ground zero” for toxic and experimental pesticide and genetically engineered (GE) crop use. Judge Callahan’s ruling overturns a number of laws passed over the last several years on different Hawaiian Islands that all aim to protect residents, the environment, and organic farms from the toxic effects of pesticide use and drift from GE cropland. This includes Bill 2491, a measure in Kauai County that imposed common-sense buffer zones for pesticide use within 500 feet of schools and medical facilities, and within 100 feet of any park, public roadway, or shoreline that flows into the ocean. The bill withstood heavy industry lobbying, passed by a vote of 6-1 after a 19-hour council […]

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07
Nov

In Letter to EPA on Atrazine Hazards, House Republicans Challenge Science, Call the Weedkiller Safe

(Beyond Pesticides,  November 7,  2016) In a letter  last week on the widely used weedkiller  atrazine, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) and 105 of his colleagues told Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that, “It would be irresponsible to greatly restrict one of the safest and most trusted herbicides on the market.” The  letter was triggered by EPA’s release in June of its  draft  Ecological Risk Assessment on atrazine, which found levels of concerns exceeded by as much as 200-fold for some organisms. Lawmakers indicated that the draft assessment in its present form, “Would have a significant impact on farmers and rural communities nationwide.” Despite a wealth of information to the contrary, they claim that restricting the use of atrazine would put an unnecessary financial burden on farmers. Atrazine, produced by Syngenta,  is the second-most widely used pesticide in the U.S., with over 73 million pounds applied each year. While Rep. Buck claims that atrazine is a safe chemical, years of research shows that the chemical poses unacceptable risks to human health and the environment.  Once applied, the chemical often washes into surface water and leaches into groundwater. Water contamination issues spurred community water utilities  across the […]

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01
Nov

Genetically Engineered Crops Fail to Increase Yields and Reduce Pesticide Use, Exposé Reveals

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2016) A report published this weekend in The New York Times finds that the shift to genetically engineered (GE) crops in the United States and Canada over the past two decades has increased the use of pesticides in North America, and failed to produce any significant yield increases. When the technology was first introduced, multinational agrichemical companies claimed just the opposite would occur- yields would spike and pesticide use would be minimized. As far back as 1998, Beyond Pesticides asked, “Is the failed pesticide paradigm being genetically engineered?” As the Times and numerous other publications before it have found, the answer was and still is yes. The far-ranging expose by the Times on the state of the GE industry used publicly available data from the United Nations to compare yields between that of Europe and North America. Their data show “no discernible advantage in yields — food per acre” for the United States and Canada over Western Europe during the time of GE crop adoption. A comparison between rapeseed yields in Canada and Western Europe shows increases in both regions, with Europe’s yields consistently higher, independent of the use of GE crops. For corn, gains in […]

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19
Sep

Two Chemical Companies Tied to Human and Environmental Atrocities, Bayer and Monsanto, Set to Merge

(Beyond Pesticides,  September 19, 2016) Last week, a  proposed Bayer-Monsanto merger was announced, as St. Louis-based agrichemical giant  Monsanto Co. agreed to sell the company  to German pharmaceutical and chemical conglomerate, Bayer, in  an unprecedented $66 billion dollar deal. It is the merger of two companies that have been tied to past atrocities against humanity, one whose chemical product was  used  to kill  concentration camp victims under Adolf Hitler and the other a producer of the  deadly defoliant, Agent Orange, which was sprayed by the U.S. government over Vietnam and left a legacy of health damage to the Vietnamese people and U.S. veterans of the armed forces. At the same time, these companies are currently embroiled in controversy on  some of the most hazardous pesticides, including glyphosate (RoundupTM) and neonicotinoids, used in food production and in communities and home gardens    —continuing a history of profiting from a technology that has adverse effects on human life and the environment, but has been shown to be unnecessary and unsustainable in food production and the management of lawns, landscapes, playing fields, and parks. In 1995, the Associated Press reported that the then-CEO of Bayer,  Helge Wehmeier, apologized to Elie Wiesel, Ph.D., holocaust […]

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07
Sep

Bayer Increases Historic Takeover Bid For Monsanto

(Beyond Pesticides, September 7, 2016) Industry giant Bayer has increased its offer to acquire Monsanto to $65 billion, making it the largest all-cash takeover bid in history. Bayer is now offering $127.50 per share- up two percent from its earlier bid of $125. The pharmaceutical giant has been pursuing Monsanto in an attempt to become the world’s largest biotechnology and pesticide manufacturer. But many are concerned that should this merger be successful, farmers would have even fewer choices for acquiring seed, ensuring that the American food supply is dominated by a few mega-corporations. According to The Guardian, Bayer’s proposal will create a global pharmaceutical and farm supplies giant, just as  rival firms are also consolidating. ChemChina earlier this year offered  to buy Switzerland’s Syngenta for $43bn, after the latter rejected takeover approaches from the St. Louis-based Monsanto. This ChemChina-Syngenta merger is all set to move forward after getting approval from the regulatory agency, Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS). U.S. firms Dow Chemical and DuPont are pursuing a $130bn merger, to be followed by a breakup into three businesses. Bayer’s previous offers for Monsanto were rejected, but Monsanto remains open to further discussion. However, Monsanto has faced financial […]

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29
Aug

US Allows ChemChina-Syngenta Merge to Move Forward, EU Considers Impact Next

(Beyond Pesticides August 29, 2016)  Last week, the state-owned China National Chemical Corporation cleared a major hurdle in its  quest to acquire Swiss seed and chemical company Syngenta, getting the nod of approval from a United States regulatory agency to move forward with the deal. The decision came from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), a government body with the  power to block deals  it deems a threat to the nation’s security. Environmental groups opposed to the merger were waiting on this decision with baited breath, urging  CFIUS to  oppose the deal, given it has  previously proven to be an obstacle for cross-border agreements involving Chinese companies. The  agency’s  authority to weigh in on the merger stems  from the fact that about a quarter of Syngenta’s sales come from North America. CFIUS’s decision to let the merger move forward is a major cause of concern to those who would like to see a transition away from chemical-intensive, or conventional,  agriculture, as China has been open about its  plans to use this deal to increase the availability of genetically engineered seeds and their correlating herbicides and  insecticides  available for use within their country. Such a drastic increase in […]

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21
Jul

Mixtures of Multiple Pesticide Ingredients in Products Not Evaluated by EPA for Elevated Toxicity

(Beyond Pesticides, July 21, 2016) An investigative report released yesterday by Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) concludes  that, over the past six years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved nearly 100 pesticide products with chemical mixtures that elevate the formulations’  toxicity, but are not specifically evaluated  by the agency. CBD finds that these formulations add  more stress to already-jeopardized pollinators and rare plants. The report Toxic Concoctions: How the EPA Ignores the Dangers of Pesticide Cocktails, highlights a long-running blind spot within EPA’s pesticide evaluation program, which Beyond Pesticides has long sounded the alarm on: the risk associated with combining mixtures of different pesticide active ingredients, which independent science shows may be more toxic than a single active ingredient by itself, also known as pesticide synergism. The mixtures occur as a result of multiple ingredients in individual products or  because of exposure to multiple pesticide product residues in food, air, water, and land areas, such as lawns, playing fields, and parks. “It’s alarming to see just how common it’s been for the EPA to ignore how these chemical mixtures might endanger the health of our environment,” said Nathan Donley, Ph.D., a scientist with the CBD, and author of […]

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13
Jul

California to List Atrazine and Other Triazine Weedkillers to Prop 65 as Reproductive Toxicants

(Beyond Pesticides, July 13, 2016) California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has announced that atrazine, its chemical cousins,  propazine,  simazine,  and its break down triazine compounds des-ethyl atrazine (DEA),  des-isopropyl atrazine (DIA)  and  2,4-diamino-6-chloro-s-triazine (DACT)  would be added to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity for purposes of the state’s Proposition 65. The formal listing has been delayed and will not be effective until July 15, 2016 due to litigation from the manufacturer, Syngenta, which opposes the listing. In 2014 the state announced its Notice of Intent to list the triazines: atrazine, propazine, simazine and their breakdown products under Proposition 65 — the state’s law on toxic chemicals. The listing of these chemicals was initially to be effective on August 3, 2015. However, Syngenta, manufacturer of atrazine, challenged the listing decision, leading to a delay in the formal decision. Syngenta Crop Protection v OEHHA  (Sacramento Superior Court case#34-2014-800001868). Syngenta’s challenge was unsuccessful and now the official listing can move forward, in spite of Syngenta’s pending appeal. The six chemicals will now be known as reproductive toxicants in the state of California effective July 15, 2016. See listing notice. http://oehha.ca.gov/media/downloads/crnr/listingnoticetriazines070516.pdf Proposition 65, officially […]

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31
Jul

Meeting Records Expose Industry’s Influence in UK’s Neonic Emergency Use Decision

(Beyond Pesticides, July 31, 2015) New information has surfaced regarding the role of agrochemical giants Bayer and Syngenta in the United Kingdom (UK)’s recent decision to temporarily allow the use of neonicotinoid seed treatment on oilseed rape crop. A record of the meeting, involving the UK government’s expert committee on pesticides (ECP) and industry representatives, had previously been suppressed. The newly released record of the meeting shows that Bayer and Syngenta were the only external representatives asked to answer the ECP’s questions. The emergency use, which has been granted for 120 days, allows growers to use Bayer’s Modesto (clothianidin) and Syngenta’s Cruiser OSR (thiamethoxam). The active ingredients of these products belong to a class of toxic chemicals known as neonicotinoids  (neonics), which have been  linked  to pollinator decline. These pesticides are associated with  decreased learning,  foraging  and navigational ability in bees, as well as increased vulnerability to pathogens and parasites as a result of suppressed bee immune systems. Used widely in agriculture as seed treatment for various crops, foraging bees, in the absence of their native habitat, are exposed to fields of poison where even pollen and nectar are contaminated. In addition to toxicity to bees, neonicotinoids have been shown […]

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02
Jul

Report Reveals Chemical Food Industry Tactics in Spinning Food Safety and Attacking Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, July 2, 2015) A report released this week by Friends of the Earth exposes the exorbitant amount of money food and agrochemical companies have spent over the past several years to defend industrial agriculture, sway public opinion, and influence elected officials. The report shines light on the both the tactics these companies use and the lengths to which they are willing to go to defuse public concern about the risks of chemical-intensive industrial agriculture and to undermine the reputation of organic food. Hundreds of millions of dollars were spent from 2009-2013 on communication efforts to spin the media and drive consumer behavior, often using front groups that appear in the media to be independent sources, but are in fact funded by the interests of the industrial food sector. This report is an important link in shaping public conversation about food and influencing consumers to think twice about where the information they’re being fed is coming from, and who might be paying for it. When explaining the motivation behind writing the report, Anna Lappé, one of the co-authors and a national bestselling author and founder of the Real Food Media Project, states that, “The food industry is using a […]

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12
May

Kaua’i Activists Take Fight to Syngenta’s Swiss Headquarters, Residents Win Damages from DuPont Pioneer

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2015) Last week Kaua’i County Councilmember Gary Hooser returned from agrichemical giant Syngenta’s shareholder meeting in Basel, Switzerland, where he addressed the company and its stakeholders on  the corporation’s lawsuit against the  small Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. The Councilmember indicates that, although the company is unlikely to meet his request to drop its lawsuit against Ordinance 960, which generally creates buffer zones prohibiting pesticide use around schools, hospitals, and parks, the trip overall was a success. “Our main purpose was one of education and information, to tell our story in the home city of Syngenta, and we were greeted with open arms and really managed to get the word out,” Mr. Hooser said to The Garden Isle on Monday. VIDEO: See Councilmember Hooser’s speech to Syngenta: Part 1 | Part 2 (Note: Credit and thanks to Kauai activist Fern Rosenstiel for filming this video despite attempts by Syngenta to suppress her ability to do so.) In a related matter, it  was announced earlier this week that  a federal court awarded over $500,000 to 15 Kaua’i residents who launched a  lawsuit (separate from the one above) against another agrichemical company on the island, DuPont Pioneer. Residents won […]

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23
Mar

Take Action! Join the national call-in to President Obama to save our bees

(Beyond Pesticides, March 23, 2015) The fight to save our bees and other pollinators is at a critical moment. The Obama Administration charged federal agencies with  improving pollinator health this last June, and now, after months of delay, the President’s plan is expected imminently. Your voice is needed because  the chemical  companies that manufacture bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, Bayer and Syngenta, have been working aggressively to  stop the President from taking action to restrict their chemicals, despite the critical threat they pose to bee health. A  week ago, more than four million Americans called on President Obama to take swift action to protect bees from toxic pesticides, and Beyond Pesticides joined with allies to rally in front of the White House to reinforce  this important message. We urgently need to ramp up pressure on the Obama administration to do the right thing for bees and our food system. Call President Obama’s office TODAY to deliver this message. It’s easy, we’ll patch you straight through. Call details: Call number: 1-877-796-1948 Just dial the number, you’ll hear an automated message with instructions and then be patched through to the White House to deliver your urgent message. When you’re connected to the White House, […]

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16
Mar

Bayer Attempt to Silence Critics of Its Bee-Poisonous Pesticides Rejected by Judge

(Beyond Pesticides, March 16, 2015) Last week, a judge in Duesseldorf Regional Court ruled that the German branch of Friends of the Earth (BUND) has a right to speak out against chemical company giant Bayer CropScience’s neonicotinoid pesticide, thiacloprid, regarding its potential danger to bees. The court considered the allegations put forth by BUND to be a form of free speech, a protected right. Neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides, affect the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and eventual death. These pesticides have consistently been implicated as a key issue in pollinator declines, not only through immediate bee deaths, but also through sub-lethal exposure causing changes in bee reproduction, navigation and foraging. The science has become increasingly clear that pesticides, either working individually or synergistically, play a critical role in the ongoing decline of honey bees. Pesticide exposure can impair both detoxification mechanisms and immune responses, rendering bees more susceptible to viruses, parasites and other diseases, leading to devastating bee losses. Thiacloprid is one of the seven most commonly used neonicotinoids. It is used to control sucking and biting insects in cotton, rice, vegetables, pome fruit, sugar beet, potatoes and ornamentals. Low doses of neonicotinoids are considered highly […]

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15
Jan

Member EU States Authorized to Plant GE Crops

(Beyond Pesticides, January 15, 2015) Yesterday, the European Union (EU) passed legislation meant to bridge a long-standing divide amongst EU nations (and the United States) on the planting of genetically-engineered (GE) crops by granting individual countries the authority to opt-out of EU crop approval and institute country-based legislative and regulatory restrictions. Makers of GE crops (like Monsanto) and proponents of GE crop cultivation have faced staunch and successful opposition in getting the required EU permission to plant GE crops. Opposition comes from both EU citizens and certain member states, like France, Italy, and Germany. By giving opposing countries an EU-sanctioned means to opt-out and establish individual member state restrictions, the new law may accelerate  opt-outs in those countries that do not oppose GE crop planting. Countries like France that have repeatedly fought back against GE crop cultivation welcome the new EU legislation, as do environmental advocates. “This is another nail in the coffin of genetically modified crops,” said Mute Schimpf, a campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, told Bloomberg. “While not perfect, this new law allows governments to shut the door on biotech crops in Europe.” Countries in favor of GE crop cultivation, like Britain, also view the action […]

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02
Dec

Ontario Proposes Restrictions on Neonicotinoid-Treated Seeds

(Beyond Pesticides, December 2, 2014) Last week, the government of Ontario, Canada proposed a plan to reduce the use of neonicotinoid (neonic)-treated corn and soybean seeds by 80% as part of a broad initiative to improve pollinator health. It sets a goal of reducing over-winter honey bee deaths to 15% by 2020, and calls for the development of a comprehensive Pollinator Health Action Plan. To address the regulation of treated seeds, Ontario’s pollinator health proposal recommends the creation a new class of pesticides to include seeds treated with pesticides. The government would then restrict the sale and use of neonic-treated corn and soybean seed. In the U.S., EPA establishes the “treated article exemption” (40 CFR 152.25(a))  as  limiting its ability to regulate  seeds, under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA),  that act  as  toxic pesticides when applied to agricultural fields and landscapes. According to  EPA, the treated article exemption,  “allows an exemption for: An article or a substance treated with or containing a pesticide to protect the article or substance itself (for example, paint treated with a pesticide to protect the paint coating, or wood products treated to protect the wood against insects or fungus infestation), if the […]

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01
Dec

Over 100 Scientists Call for Action on Bee-Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, November 26, 2014) Last week, over 100 scientists from diverse disciplines released a letter citing the growing body of scientific evidence that neonicotinoids and other systemic pesticides harm bees, and called on leaders of President Barack Obama’s Pollinator Health Task Force to quickly take action on pesticides to protect and promote healthy populations of bees and other pollinators. The letter was submitted in response to the recent “listening sessions” hosted by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). These sessions were held by the agencies to  collect public  feedback  on federal efforts on pollinator protection, and the Task Force convened to develop a National Pollinator Health Strategy. In June, the White House issued a Presidential Memorandum directing federal agencies to  join the  Pollinator Health Task Force, led by USDA, to develop pollinator health solutions. The 108 scientists ””whose areas of expertise include entomology, agronomy, ecology, ecotoxicology”” called on Task Force co-chairs, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, to place a moratorium on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the U.S., and increase investment, research and funding for growers to adopt alternatives. In the letter, the scientists note that, “While gaps […]

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19
Nov

Canadian Doctors and Nurses Urge Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, November 19, 2014) A group of doctors and nurses is urging the Ontario government to ban neonicotinoid pesticides, blamed for the decline of bees and other insect pollinators. As Canada’s first neonicotinoid campaign organized by doctors and nurses, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario say that these pesticides are a “major threat to both nature and people.” The doctors and nurses in Ontario, Canada, now urging the province to ban the pesticides adds to growing pressure on the Ontario government to take action on neonicotinoids (neonics), the insecticide class of chemicals linked to the deaths of bees across Canada and the U.S. Central to the initiative is an advertising buy which starts this week on the Toronto subway system. The ads show an anxious child beneath the caption, ”˜Doctors and Nurses say neonic pesticides hurt our bees and us.’ The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) and the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) also plan to meet with the Ontario Environment Minister, Glen Murray, later this year  to urge the government to ban the chemicals. CAPE is the campaign’s main funder, with contributions from David Suzuki […]

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20
Oct

EPA Finds Neonicotinoid Seed Treatments To Be of Little or No Benefit

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report Thursday that soybean  seed treatments with neonicotinoid insecticides provide little or no overall benefits in controlling insects or improving yield or quality in soybean production. While pesticide manufacturer Syngenta has petitioned EPA to raise the allowable levels of another systemic pesticide thiamethoxam on a number of crops, EPA’s report confirms  scientific findings  that these chemical treatments are unnecessary and inefficacious. Widely used neonicotinoids, which as systemic chemicals move through a plant’s vascular system and express poison through pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets, have been identified in multiple  peer-reviewed studies and by beekeepers  as the major contributing factor in bee decline. The report concludes that not only is there no increase in soybean yield when compared to using no pest control at all, but also the potential benefit of neonicotinoid seed treatment is not likely to be large or widespread throughout the U. S. EPA also found that seed treatments fail to provide protection from target pests during critical times of plant activity, ultimately leading to the assessment that “much of the existing usage on soybeans is prophylactic in nature.” “This report demonstrates, yet again, the need for […]

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18
Sep

Cargill Sues Syngenta after China Forbids the Sale of Its GE Corn

(Beyond Pesticides, September 18, 2014) After a reported $90 million loss from rejected shipments of genetically engineered (GE) corn seeds that are not approved in China, the U.S. grain company Cargill Inc. sued the biotech giant Syngenta AG. According to Cargill, since mid-November 2013, China has rejected imports of U.S. corn due to the presence of Syngenta’s MIR 162 trait because of its lack of approval for import, virtually halting U.S. corn trade with China.  The lawsuit, filed Friday in Louisiana, will ultimately decide whether responsibility for the marketplace risks and economic damage of introducing GE crops in international trade should be placed on the seed companies that develop unapproved GE traits, or the merchants who sell contaminated grain. “Unlike other seed companies, Syngenta has not practiced responsible stewardship by broadly commercializing a new product before receiving approval from a key export market like China,” said Mark Stonacek, president of Cargill Grain & Oilseed Supply Chain North America.  “Syngenta also put the ability of U.S. agriculture to serve global markets at risk, costing both Cargill and the entire U.S. agricultural industry significant damages.” Syngenta’s corn seed in question, Agrisure Viptera corn, also known as MIR 162, was deregulated by USDA […]

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