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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)' Category


01
Feb

Study on National Pollinator Declines Blames Pesticides, Pests, and Extreme Weather

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2023) Honey bee declines in the United States are “primarily related” to pesticide exposure, parasitic mites, and extreme weather conditions, research published by Penn State scientists have determined. Publishing the results in Scientific Reports, the researchers aim to provide a national overview of the range of factors harming bee colonies. “Some previous studies have explored several potential stressors related to colony loss in a detailed way but are limited to narrow, regional areas,” said study co-author Luca Insolia, PhD. “The one study that we know of at the national level in the United States explored only a single potential stressor. For this study, we integrated many large datasets at different spatial and temporal resolutions and used new, sophisticated statistical methods to assess several potential stressors associated with colony collapse across the U.S.” The results reinforce calls from bee health advocates in the U.S. and around the world: eliminate toxic pesticide use, the lowest hanging fruit contributing to pollinator declines. In order to create a more comprehensive national overview, geographers, entomologists, and statisticians all participated in the study, reviewing publicly available data on colony health, land use, weather, and other environmental factors over a five-year period from […]

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30
Jan

As Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics Grows, There Are Continued Calls for Immediate Action

(Beyond Pesticides, January 30, 2023) Because antibiotics and fungicides are widely used in agriculture (except organic), they contribute significantly to the increasing efficacy problems with antimicrobial (antibiotic and antifungal medicines) use in health care, contributing to a growing crisis. According to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, World Health Organization Director-General, “Antimicrobial resistance undermines modern medicine and puts millions of lives at risk.”  Microorganisms—including bacteria, fungi, and viruses—are notoriously quick to evolve resistance to antimicrobial medicines. We know that selection for resistance is directly related to the frequency and intensity of antimicrobial use, so medical practitioners try to avoid using those medicines unless they are necessary. Tell EPA to cancel all uses of a pesticide when resistance is discovered or predicted to occur. Tell Congress to ensure that EPA protects public health from deadly antifungal and antibiotic resistance. Unfortunately, the medical profession lacks complete control over the use of antimicrobials. Many of the same chemicals used in human medicine are also used in agriculture. These may show up in or on treated food, but can also spread antimicrobial resistance through horizontal gene transfer. So, in addition to ingesting antibiotics in our food, the movement of resistant bacteria and fungi in the environment […]

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25
Jan

Western Bumblebee Declines a Result of Pesticides and Climate Change, No End in Sight

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2023) Populations of the western bumblebee are in free fall, with 57% declines across the species’ historical range, finds new research led by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey. These data are in line with trends for other once common bumblebees in the United States, like the rusty patched and American, of which the former is now listed as endangered and the latter is under consideration. Most critically, the study authors did not simply generalize the most likely and common reasons, but instead establish the contribution that pesticide use, climate change, and land use changes have on western bumblebee declines. As the study shows, both the drivers and solutions to pollinators declines are in human hands, necessitating a broad rethinking of the nation’s approach to energy use and food production. The western bumblebee has been under considerable stress for decades. In the 1990s, there were attempts to commercialize the species as a greenhouse pollinator. This industrial approach resulted in the spread of a fungal disease called Vairimorpha bombi, and captive rearing of the western bumblebee was eventually halted and deemed untenable. These dislocations resulted in local declines of the species in certain regions of U.S. Northwest […]

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24
Jan

Legal Case Opens To Stop Antibiotics in Citrus and Advance Organic, Given Resistant Bacteria Crisis

(Beyond Pesticides, January 24, 2023) Oral arguments begin this week in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of the antibiotic streptomycin as a pesticide on citrus crops. Brought forth by a coalition of farmworker, health, and environmental groups, the lawsuit aims to stop the use of a critical medical treatment for agricultural purposes. “Humanity’s dwindling supply of medically effective antibiotics is not worth sacrificing for an industry that has safer alternatives available,” said Drew Toher, community resource and policy director at Beyond Pesticides. “Despite the challenges, we know from the elimination of this material in organic production that we don’t need antibiotics in order to produce a glass of orange juice.”  In 2020, the Lancet published an article that identifies several of the multiple and interacting crises the U.S. and world face, with a focus on another “looming potential pandemic . . . [a] rise in multidrug-resistant bacterial infections that are undetected, undiagnosed, and increasingly untreatable, [whose rise] threatens the health of people in the USA and globally.” It calls on leaders in the U.S. and beyond, asking that even as they address the current coronavirus pandemic, they also attend to the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) problem, […]

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23
Jan

EPA, USDA and Interior Challenged to Incorporate in All Decisions Impact on Climate Crisis, from Soil to Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, January 23, 2023) There is no doubt that the climate crisis is upon us. And the consequences are undeniably grave. So, we must incorporate our understanding of the grave health and environmental effects into the deliberations on all policy decisions regarding petrochemical pesticide registrations and synthetic fertilizer use in agriculture and nonagricultural land management. Of critical importance, in this context, is the effect of policy decisions on soil health—in particular, soil organic carbon, which sequesters atmospheric carbon and reduces its damaging atmospheric effects. Tell USDA, EPA, and Congress to incorporate in ALL its policy decisions an analysis of impact on the climate crisis, with particular attention to the protection of soil health. Although the soil is commonly recognized as a sink for atmospheric carbon, there is a false narrative that says carbon can be sequestered in the soil through chemical-intensive no-till agriculture. Now the Rodale Institute’s 40-Year Report on their “Farming Systems Trial” should end the myth of the toxic, petrochemical-based, GMO-herbicide, no-till systems. Rodale’s scientific trials clearly show that these degenerative no-till systems are inferior to Regenerative Organic Agriculture on every key criterion. The highest yields of corn in the tilled organic manure system and the best increases […]

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20
Jan

Apology Issued for Testing Pesticides on Humans

(Beyond Pesticides, January 20, 2023) In late December 2022, the University of California San Francisco made a public apology for the unethical actions of two School of Medicine faculty members who conducted experiments in the 1960s and 1970s on some 2,600 prisoners held at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville. The connection to the work of Beyond Pesticides? The experiments involved exposing male prisoners, by dermal application and via injection, to insecticides and herbicides; this continued until 1977, when the State of California banned all human subject research at state prisons. The investigation and apology — which arose through the work of the UCSF Program for Historical Reconciliation — surface multiple issues surrounding scientific research on human subjects, including ethics and regulations related to consent and to risk of harm. Beyond Pesticides has assiduously chronicled the huge variety of health harms that pesticide use can cause, has reported on many studies evidencing the presence of pesticide residues in human bodies, and in the mid-2000s weighed in on the then-vociferous ethics and regulations controversies surrounding research practices (see more below). UCSF investigated the case of two dermatology professors who, the university learned, had failed to secure consent from the prisoners — […]

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18
Jan

Growing Sunflowers Near Honey Bee Colonies Helps Reduce Mite Problems

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2023) Sunflower plantings have the potential to significantly reduce mite infestations in nearby honey bee colonies, according to research recently published in the Journal of Economic Entomology by researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). With pollinators under threat from pesticides, climate change, loss of habitat, and the spread of disease and parasites, sustainable methods that address multiple factors at once are needed. This study points to a way to address destructive Varroa mites, while reducing the need for in-hive use of miticides that can likewise harm colony health. “If sunflowers are as big of a factor in mite infestation as indicated by our landscape-level correlations … having a few more acres of sunflower within a mile or two of apiaries could bring colonies below the infestation levels that require treatment of hives with acaracides (i.e., mite-controlling chemicals),” said lead author Evan Palmer-Young, PhD, of USDA’s Bee Research Lab in Beltsville, MD. Prior research has pointed to sunflower pollen as a potential benefit for a number of common bee diseases and infestations, including the Varroa mite, the fungal parasites Nosema spp, and various viruses. Investigations went through four different experiments aimed at characterizing any potential […]

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16
Jan

Building Collective Action with a Call for Justice, Equity, and Safety on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2023) Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke about individual greatness on February 4, 1968 to his congregation at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta two months before he was assassinated. We take this day—Monday, January 16— to commemorate the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. as an inspiration for taking on the challenges of justice, equity, and safety as a central part of all our work for a sustainable future. It will take the recognition of the greatness that all individuals have within to raise our voices in our communities to stop the toxic petrochemical assault and advance viable solutions that effect a transformation to organic practices and products. In so doing, we will address those who suffer the most harm from petrochemicals—in their production, transportation, use, and disposal. Whether determining our community’s management of public lands, playing fields, and parks, or choosing food grown without toxic chemicals, or creating habitat for biodiversity, we as individuals and collectively are the instruments for effecting meaningful change. This is true whether focused on an individual chemical exposure or in taking on the existential health, biodiversity, and climate crises of our day. Dr. King’s complete quote from which the […]

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11
Jan

Study Connects Neonicotinoids to Liver Damage Ignored by EPA

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2022) Neonicotinoid insecticides can have detrimental effects on liver health, according to research published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials. While this is the first study to investigate how these chemicals harm the liver, there is increasing evidence that neonicotinoids, otherwise notorious for their effects on pollinators and aquatic life, can cause direct harm to human health. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to protect the pesticide industry from any measure of meaningful regulation around these hazardous products, the job falls to advocates to place pressure on elected officials to make the changes necessary to safeguard long-term health and well-being. Scientists postulated that neonicotinoids are neither metabolized by the liver nor excreted by urine. To test that hypothesis, 201 individuals from a hospital in China were enrolled into a study. Of the enrolled,  81 were cancer patients, and 120 were not. These individuals underwent a procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography whereby samples of their bile, a fluid produced in the liver, were retrieved and analyzed. Researchers also performed a series of blood tests, measuring a range of biomarkers, including cholesterol, bilirubin, bile acids, white blood cells, platelets, and others. Lastly, scientists determined the amount […]

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09
Jan

Calling for Reform of Pesticide Regulation to Address Health, Biodiversity, and Climate Crises

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2023) The Biden EPA still needs a new vision in order to meet the existential crises in public health, climate change, and biodiversity. The Trump Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed in four years much of the progress made by the EPA in decades. Despite a broad new perspective embodied in President Biden’s Executive Memorandum (EM) Modernizing Regulatory Review issued on his first day in office, the Biden EPA has not adopted a new direction for regulating pesticides. Tell President Biden, EPA, and Congress to adopt a new direction for pesticide regulation. Immediately following his inauguration, President Joe Biden issued the EM, which directs the heads of all executive departments and agencies to produce recommendations for improving and modernizing regulatory review, with a goal of promoting public health and safety, economic growth, social welfare, racial justice, environmental stewardship, human dignity, equity, and the interests of future generations. This EM could reverse the historical trend of status-quo regulatory reviews required by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) that typically support vested economic interests of polluters (e.g., petroleum-based pesticide and fertilizer manufacturers). The President’s EM sets the stage for the adoption of agency policy across government to […]

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06
Jan

EPA’s Failure to Regulate Endocrine-Disrupting Pesticides before a Federal Court. . . Again

(Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2023) Plaintiffs in a recent pesticide lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reprise, in their arguments, a critique proffered repeatedly by Beyond Pesticides: the agency has failed, for many years, to evaluate and regulate endocrine-disrupting pesticides adequately. The suit, according to Progressive Farmer, argues that the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) — legislation that mandated that EPA establish “tolerances” for pesticides in foods and regulate on those bases — required EPA to develop an endocrine disruptor screening program (EDSP) and to implement it by 1999. The litigation goes on to note that “more than twenty-five years after the passage of the FQPA, EPA has yet to implement the EDSP it created and further, has failed to even initiate endocrine testing for approximately 96% of registered pesticides.” Plaintiffs are asking the court, among other requests (see below) to order “EPA to complete all actions required under the FQPA at issue in this case as soon as reasonably practicable, according to a Court-ordered timeline.” Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can, even at low exposure levels, disrupt normal hormonal (endocrine) function. Endocrine disruptors function by: (1) mimicking the action of a naturally produced hormone, such as estrogen […]

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03
Jan

Hazardous Fumigant in Food Production Harmful to Farmworkers, Groups Call for Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2023) The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) announced new rules that remove existing limits on the use of 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D or Telone), allowing Californians to breathe much more 1,3-D than state toxicologists in the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) say is safe and highlighting the dangers to which farmworkers are routinely exposed. It is outrageous that the state of California and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would allow farmworkers—whose labor was judged “essential” during the pandemic—to be routinely exposed to highly toxic pesticides, which could be replaced by organic practices. While the state of California describes its action as increasing protection, advocates point to continued use, unacceptable harm, and the availability of alternative organic agricultural production methods that eliminate the use of 1,3-D. Since over a third of the country’s vegetables and three-quarters of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California, most people who buy their food in a grocery store have a stake in how food is grown in the state and the impact that it has on those who live and work there. Tell the state of California, U.S. EPA, an the U.S. Congress to cancel the registration […]

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16
Dec

Denying Science, Manufacturing Doubt: Monsanto/Bayer’s Promotion and Defense of Glyphosate/Roundup

(Beyond Pesticides, December 16, 2022) A report released last week — Merchants of Poison: How Monsanto Sold the World on a Toxic Pesticide — exposes not only Bayer/Monsanto malfeasance in its “promotion” of its glyphosate-based herbicide products, including the notorious Roundup®, but also, the broader landscape of corporate efforts to white- or green-wash products that companies know are harmful to people and the environment. The report was issued by U.S. Right to Know (USRTK, a nonprofit investigative research group focused on promoting transparency for public health), Friends of the Earth (FOE), and Real Food Media. It carries the pithy subtitle, “A case study in disinformation, corrupted science, and manufactured doubt about glyphosate,” a description cited by the Friends of the Earth press release as “at the core of the pesticide industry’s public relations playbook.” Beyond Pesticides welcomes this report, which comports with much of our previous coverage of the pesticide industry’s egregious misbehavior, and of glyphosate, the world’s most widely used herbicide. FOE calls the report the “first comprehensive review” of the Bayer/Monsanto “defense strategy” employed in attempts to deny science, manufacture doubt, and discredit critics who have researched, reported on, and/or advocated against the company’s flagship glyphosate products because […]

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01
Dec

Federal Court Sets Deadline for EPA to Implement Endangered Species Protections from Toxic Insecticide

(Beyond Pesticides, December 1, 2022) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must put measures in place to protect endangered species from the hazardous insecticide cyantraniliprole before September 2023. The requirements stems from a recent federal appeals court ruling that found EPA in violation of its statutory obligations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency originally lost its legal case on this chemical in 2017, but has since done nothing to fulfill the initial court order, necessitating further litigation by conservation groups. “It’s outrageous that the EPA is thumbing its nose at a federal court order even as cyantraniliprole wreaks havoc on our most endangered wildlife,” said Jonathan Evans, environmental health legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The EPA has acknowledged that this pesticide is incredibly toxic to bees and other invertebrates, but the agency is so accustomed to putting the profits of the pesticide industry ahead of its duty to protect human health and our environment that for years it simply ignored a direct court order.” Cyantraniliprole is a systemic insecticide registered for use in 2014. It presents similar risks to pollinators and wildlife as other widely used systemics, such as the neonicotinoid class of chemicals. Its […]

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21
Nov

EPA’s Deficient Pesticide Analysis Contributes to Ecological Decline

(Beyond Pesticides, November 21, 2022) Once again, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered a new pesticide without performing a thorough review of its impacts on biodiversity as well as threatened and endangered species. Inpyrfluxam was registered in 2020 and only after being sued by the Center for Biological Diversity for failure to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) did EPA commit to completing draft effects determinations by Fall 2022. Once again, EPA’s draft biological evaluation is incomplete and inadequate. EPA is accepting comments on its draft biological evaluation at Regulations.gov.  Tell EPA and Congress that Pesticide Registrations Require Complete Science. The Review of Inpyrfluxam is Incomplete and Inadequate.  The agency’s draft effects assessment is flawed and incomplete. We share the details because it shows that EPA is out of step with the science and its regulatory responsibility when it comes a thorough review for ecosystem effects of pesticides.   The agency used fish early life stage (ELS) tests to estimate chronic fish toxicity. This is inappropriate. The fish ELS is a sub-chronic test of sensitive life stages. Although it is often used as a surrogate or predictor of chronic toxicity, it does not adequately address potential adverse effects on reproduction or transfer of the test chemical to eggs/offspring […]

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08
Nov

Glyphosate Induces Antibiotic Resistance in Deadly Hospital-Acquired Infection

(Beyond Pesticides, November 8, 2022) Glyphosate weed killers induce antibiotic resistance in deadly hospital-acquired bacteria, according to a new study published late last month in the journal Scientific Reports. This is the latest finding connecting commonly used herbicides to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, with prior research showing glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba able to create resistance in Salmonella and E. coli. While federal regulatory agencies continue ignore the role of pesticides in the development of antibiotic resistance, it is critical for states and localities to take action to protect their most vulnerable both from toxic exposure to these herbicides and the multitude of indirect effects caused by their use. This is all happening as antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world, according to the World Health Organization. In the May 1, 2022 issues of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Samira Choudhury, PhD, et al. writes, “Often referred to as the silent pandemic, antimicrobial resistance claims the lives of over 700,000 people annually.” The authors continue, “A study suggests that if no actions are taken, antimicrobial resistance will cause 10 million deaths per year by 2050 and an economic impact of […]

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01
Nov

Pesticide Mixtures Reduce Life Span of Honey Bees, Damage Gut Microbiome

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2022) Honey bees exposed to a combination of multiple pesticides suffer a reduced lifespan and experience adverse changes to their gut microbiome, increasing susceptibility to pathogens and disease. This finding comes from a study published recently in Science of the Total Environment, which examines the interactions between the insecticides flupyradifurone and sulfoxaflor and the fungicide azoxystrobin on honey bee health. Both insecticides studied are considered substitutes for notorious bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides, which move through the vascular system of the plant and contaminates its pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets. As declines in pollinator and insect life continue throughout the world, it is critical not only to understand and restrict widely used chemicals like neonicotinoids, but also the regrettable and deleterious substitutions the agrichemical industry has developed to replace them. As the present study reveals, pesticide risk assessments do not inadequately capture the range of harm that can result when pesticides are combined, necessitating a shift toward safer, alternative, and regenerative organic farming systems that do not use these dangerous chemicals. To better understand the impacts of combined pesticide exposure on honey bees, researchers employed three colonies located in Germany’s Martin Luther University that were inspected and free […]

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31
Oct

EPA Opens Door to Indoor Air Contamination with Virus Spray, Efficacy Questioned

(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2022) Just as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a request for information on improving indoor air quality, it approved 32 varieties of a new “air sanitizer” to kill bacteria and viruses in the air. These products contain 14% dipropylene glycol and 86% secret (“other”) ingredients, including fragrances. Tell EPA that clean air, NOT “sanitized” air, protects against disease. Through its approval of such sanitizers, EPA promotes the false reasoning that a chemical that kills a pathogen necessarily protects health. Although disinfectants and sanitizers kill viruses, bacteria, and other microbes, they can also negatively affect the immune system, thus reducing resistance to disease. People who have a preexisting condition or are of advanced age, who may have a weakened immune or respiratory system, are more vulnerable to the effects of the virus. Children are at elevated risk from exposure. When managing viral and bacterial infections, chemicals that exacerbate the risk to vulnerable individuals are of serious concern. EPA opened a 60-day public comment period “to solicit information and recommendations from a broad array of individuals and organizations with knowledge and expertise relating to the built environment and health, indoor air quality, epidemiology, disease transmission, social sciences […]

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28
Oct

Bill in Congress Will Pay for Treating Illness and Financial Impact Caused by PFAS

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2022) The Maine Congressional delegation — Senators Collins (R) and Angus King (I), and Representatives Chellie Pingree (D) and Jared Golden (D) — along with New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D), have introduced a bipartisan and bicameral bill — the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act — to help farmers who have been impacted by the scourge of PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals. (The Senate version of the bill is available; the House version should be soon.) PFAS contamination has, as Beyond Pesticides documented in two Daily News Blog articles (here and here), become a huge, life-altering problem for agricultural producers in Maine and many other states. An early 2022 Safer States analysis of state-level legislation on PFAS demonstrated the extent of the problem via the response: more than 32 states have begun to act on the issue. Beyond Pesticides has covered the presence of PFAS in pesticides and pesticide containers, and in so-called “biosludge” or “biosolids”— realities that only reinforce the call for a rapid transition off of chemical-dependent agriculture and to regenerative organic agricultural practices that do not carry the enormous health and environmental risks of pesticide products and contaminated fertilizers. There […]

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26
Oct

Common Herbicide Contributes to Development of Inflammatory Bowel Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, October 26, 2022) Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may be exacerbated by exposure to the herbicide propyzamide, used in both agriculture and on ornamental lawns and landscapes, according to research published in the journal Nature this month. As the rate of autoimmune diseases continues to increase rapidly in the U.S. and the world, it is critical for scientists to better understand the etiology behind these diseases and the environmental factors contributing to their development. Recent data show that the number of people living with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, common types of IBD, have risen annually by 3.4% and 2.8% respectively, between just the years 2001 to 2018. “As we learn more about the environmental factors that might contribute to disease, we can develop state- and national-level strategies to limit exposures,” said study coauthor Francisco Quintana, PhD. “Some chemicals don’t seem to be toxic when tested under basic conditions, but we do not yet know about the effect of chronic, low-level exposures over decades, or early-on in development.” Researchers did not begin their study investigating propyzamide. Initial intent focused on better understanding environmental factors that may be contributing to IBD. Using a range of different models, scientists cross-referenced data […]

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24
Oct

Advocates Urge Elimination of Toxic Pesticide Use to Prevent Breast Cancer

(Beyond Pesticides, October 24, 2022) We need prevention of the causes of breast cancer, not just awareness. In 1985, Imperial Chemical Industries and the American Cancer Society declared October “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” as part of a campaign to promote mammograms for the early detection of breast cancer. Unfortunately, most of us are all too aware of breast cancer. Detection and treatment of cancers do not solve the problem. Tell EPA to evaluate and ban endocrine-disrupting pesticides, and make organic food production and land management the standard that legally establishes toxic pesticide use as “unreasonable.”  Next to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, causing the second most cancer-related deaths in the United States. Genetic factors only play a minor role in breast cancer incidence, while exposure to external environmental factors such as pesticides plays a more notable role. For breast cancer, one in eight women will receive a diagnosis, and genetics can only account for five to ten percent of cases. Therefore, it is essential to understand how environmental exposure to chemicals like pesticides can drive breast cancer development. Several studies and reports, including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data, identify hundreds of chemicals as influential factors associated with breast cancer […]

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21
Oct

While Allowing Indoor Pesticide Spray for Covid, EPA Seeks Advice on Improving Indoor Air Quality

(Beyond Pesticides, October 21, 2022) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just made two announcements, related to the quest for improved indoor air quality in buildings, that address mitigation of disease transmission — and that of COVID-19, in particular. Related to enactment of the National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, EPA issued guidance on the efficacy of antimicrobial products used on surfaces, and registered a new pesticide product the agency says can be used against influenza and corona viruses (some of the latter cause COVID-19 infections). In addition, EPA opened a 60-day public comment period “to solicit information and recommendations from a broad array of individuals and organizations with knowledge and expertise relating to the built environment and health, indoor air quality, epidemiology, disease transmission, social sciences and other disciplines.” Beyond Pesticides cannot help but note the irony of an intention to improve air quality that EPA couples with registration of a new, airborne pesticide for indoor use. EPA expands on its RFI (Request for Information) related to indoor air quality, saying that it is “seeking input from a diverse array of stakeholders . . . about actions, strategies, tools and approaches that support ventilation, filtration and air cleaning improvements, and […]

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18
Oct

Washington DC Sues for Damages from Historical Pesticide Contamination, as Threats Persist

(Beyond Pesticides, October 18, 2022) Washington, D.C. Attorney General (AG) Karl Racine is suing chemical manufacturer Velsicol to recover damages caused by the company’s production and promotion of the insecticide chlordane despite full knowledge of the extreme hazards posed by the pesticide. Over 30 years after it was banned, chlordane is still contaminating homes, schools, yards, private wells and waterways throughout the United States, including DC’s Anacostia and Potomac rivers. While the District’s focus on restitution and remediation for this highly hazardous, long-lived insecticide is laudable, many advocates say the city is not doing enough to stop pesticide contamination currently entering the city’s waterways. Despite passage of a strong pesticide bill in 2016 limiting toxic pesticide use on schools, child occupied facilities, and within 75ft of a waterbody, D.C. Department of Energy and Environment (DDOE) director Tommy Wells has failed to update regulations and enforce the law. Chlordane is an organochlorine insecticide, of the same class as DDT, and was likewise discussed extensively in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Like other organochlorines, it is bioaccumulative, increasing contamination levels as it works its way up the food chain, and highly persistent, remaining in the environment for decades and perhaps even centuries, with breakdown […]

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