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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'coronavirus' Category


08
Aug

Tell Congress and Governors that Schools Must Reopen Only When Safe; Toxic Disinfectants Are Not a Shortcut to Safety

(Beyond Pesticides, August 10, 2020) Despite pressure to reopen schools, concerns persist about the threat to the health of children, teachers, school staff, and families. There are many complex social, scientific, and logistical issues involved in a decision to reopen schools for in-person teaching.  >>Tell Congress and Governors that schools must reopen only when safe. Schools must have adequate resources to ensure safety. Beyond Pesticides joins the National Education Association (NEA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), National Parent and Teacher Association (PTA), and others in calling for a well-thought-out approach to reopening schools only when it is shown that: The pandemic is under control in the community—as evidenced, for example, by an average daily community infection rate among those tested for COVID-19 below 5% and a transmission rate below 1%. Protections have been put in place to keep the virus under control and protect students and staff. These include accommodations for students and staff at high risk; measures and building retrofits to protect against all forms of transmission; procedures for detecting disease, quarantining, and notification; involvement of families and educators in decisions; monitoring; and enforcement. Plans are in place that ensure continuous learning equitably for all students, with training for educators, […]

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03
Aug

Tell Congress to Require EPA to Stop Ignoring People of Color in Setting Safety Standards—Agency Ignores People at Elevated Risk to Deadly Combination of Pesticides and Covid-19 Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, August 3, 2020) The effects of pesticide use are important, yet ignored, factors affecting people of color (POC) who face elevated risk from Covid-19 as essential workers, as family members of those workers, and because of the additional or cumulative risk that pesticides pose. As a part of this deadly combination, exposure to pesticides occurs at work, in community parks, schools and playing fields, and through food residues. EPA is ignoring the real hazards resulting from a combination of exposures that is reflected in the statistics that have emerged—with farmworkers suffering a rate of coronavirus five times higher and landscapers three times higher than community rates. Why is this the case? Because pesticide exposure weakens the respiratory, immune, and nervous system and makes those exposed more susceptible to the coronavirus.  EPA has the power to immediately, on an emergency basis, adjust allowable pesticide use and exposure, recognizing that we have alternative practices and products to meet food production and landscaping needs. Tell Congress to require EPA to examine the contribution of pesticide exposure to Covid-19 and protect those at greatest risk, people of color. Farmworkers and landscapers have been deemed essential employees during the coronavirus outbreak, but without mandated […]

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29
Jul

Much Higher Rates of Covid-19 Infection and Death in Farmworkers and Landscapers, May Be Enhanced by Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2020) Farmworkers and landscapers are deemed essential employees during the coronavirus outbreak, but without mandated safety protocols or government assistance, have experienced an explosion in Covid-19 cases. Workers in these industries are primarily Latinx people of color, many of whom are undocumented. According to a report published by the University of California Los Angeles, Latinx Californians aged 50 to 64 have died from the virus at rate five times higher than white people of the same age. The poor working conditions farmworkers and landscapers are subject to already put them at disproportionate risk of pesticide-induced diseases. Alongside other hardships such preexisting health problems, family obligations, cramped housing and transportation, threat of deportation, and communication difficulties, the risks of these essential workers contracting and dying from Covid-19 are compounded exponentially. The PBS Frontline documentary “Hidden Toll” follows the experiences of many California farmworkers, and how their daily struggle has been exacerbated as a result of the virus. One worker profiled, Sinthia Hernandez, has both diabetes and cancer but must continue to go to work to support her family. “In these times, it’s necessity that makes us work despite the fear we have,” Hernandex told Frontline. Despite the […]

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27
Apr

Tell Your Governor that Lawn Care Pesticides Are Not Essential and Increase Risk of COVID-19

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2020) Federal guidance and orders by most Governors have identified “landscaping” as an essential activity that is permitted in spite of stay at home or shelter in place requirements. Tell Your Governor that Lawn Care Pesticides are Not Essential and Increase Risk of COVID-19. Most states follow some variation of guidance issued by the Department of Homeland Security, Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response, in determining which industries are “essential” and can therefore remain in operation. DHS guidance identifies as essential, “Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, builders, contractors, HVAC Technicians, landscapers, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, businesses and buildings such as hospitals, senior living facilities, any temporary construction required to support COVID-19 response.” While some of the services provided by landscapers and exterminators may be necessary to maintaining safety, sanitation, and essential operations, pesticide application for cosmetic lawn care purposes is not. The hazards of pesticides may be amplified during this pandemic. Threats to the immune and respiratory systems posed by pesticides are likely to make those exposed more susceptible to the coronavirus. Governors should designate as essential outdoor maintenance, including vegetation, only when necessary to […]

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27
Mar

Safer Practices and Disinfectants for Coronavirus Identified by CDC, As EPA Advances Toxic Products, Suspends Public Health and Environmental Protections

(Beyond Pesticides, March 27, 2020) Faced with the COVID-19 (coronavirus) threat, there is tremendous pressure to use toxic disinfectants, despite the availability of safer products. In fact, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending 70% alcohol for surface disinfection, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs is advising the use of unnecessarily toxic substances, and reducing standards that govern their allowance on the market. EPA’s pesticide program allowed 70 new disinfectants yesterday, at the same time that the agency overall announced that it is waiving enforcement of environmental standards during the coronavirus outbreak—a devastating blow to public health and environmental protection. Beyond Pesticides, in its factsheet, Protecting Yourself from COVID-19 (coronavirus) without Toxic Sanitizers and Disinfectants, says, “Fight the coronavirus with common sense prevention and safer disinfection products. Avoid products that increase vulnerability to respiratory problems.” (See the factsheet below.) To some extent, the expanded allowance of disinfection products on top of the 281 disinfectants previously permitted has been made possible by relaxing oversight on so-called “inert” or other ingredients that are not disclosed on product labels and often highly toxic. The agency says it is allowing the use of these “inerts” with “no […]

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