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Daily News Blog

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


22
May

Two Hundred Million Pounds of Toxic Pesticides Used in California, According to 2016 Annual Data

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2018)  A staggering 209 million pounds of pesticides were used in California in 2016, according to the latest data released by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). This figure refers only to applied “active” pesticide ingredients and not “inerts,” which often account for 80 to 99 percent of pesticide products and can be equally hazardous to human health and the environment. Even though pesticide use in the state has dropped by 1.4 percent from the previous year, pesticide use in 2016 was still the third highest in recorded history, since the inception of DPR’s comprehensive data collection program in 1990. In fact, the total pesticide use was only six million pounds shy of the highest amount ever recorded – 215 million pounds in 1998. The land area treated with carcinogens is as large as the size of New Jersey and Connecticut combined. Nearly 102 million cumulative acres of land were treated with pesticides in the state, ranging in toxicity from low to high risk. Each time an acre is pesticide-treated in a given year, DPR adds the acre to its cumulative list, even if the treatment is repeated on the same land. The 2016 figure represents an […]

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14
May

Secrecy of Pesticide Safety Data and Ingredients Does Not Protect Public Health and the Environment

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2018) Under EPA Administrator Pruitt’s proposed “transparency” plan, the public will still lack access to key data about the effects and efficacy of commercial poisons approved for sale and application in their communities and homes. Tell EPA to adopt a real transparency plan for pesticides! The proposed policy, posted on April 30 in the Federal Register, declares that it will “help ensure that EPA is pursuing its mission of public health and the environment in a manner that the public can trust and understand,” yet it applies only to a very limited set of studies used to support certain EPA regulations. The pesticide registration and review processes are particularly lacking in transparency, opportunity for public review, and access to data. Because pesticides are toxic chemicals broadcast into the environment, nowhere is transparency more important than in pesticide registration. The proposed new policy does not cover pesticide registrations, warning labels, use restrictions, or proof of effectiveness. In the current process, the pesticide manufacturer produces the underlying data for these EPA approvals and controls access to them. Thus, despite Pruitt’s sweeping claims of “transparency in regulatory science”: The public does not have access to the underlying data provided by the manufacturer […]

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08
May

Pesticide Safety Data Transparency a Blind Spot under EPA Policy

(Beyond Pesticides, May 8, 2018) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s controversial plan for disclosing the underlying data supporting its regulatory science has a big blind spot –pesticides.  An analysis released today by Beyond Pesticides and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) points out that under Pruitt’s plan the public will still lack access to key data about the effects and efficacy of commercial poisons approved for sale and application in their communities and homes. The proposed policy posted on April 30 in the Federal Register declares that it will “help ensure that EPA is pursuing its mission of public health and the environment in a manner that the public can trust and understand” yet it only applies to a very limited set of studies used to support certain EPA regulations. It does not cover pesticide registrations, warning labels, use restrictions, or proof of effectiveness.  In the current process, the pesticide manufacturer produces the underlying data for these EPA approvals and controls access to it.  Thus, despite Pruitt’s sweeping claims of “transparency in regulatory science” – The public does not have access to the underlying data provided by the manufacturer to justify registering a new pesticide for commercial distribution; Industry […]

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04
May

Mr. Pruitt’s Proposed “Science Transparency” Rule: Greenlighting Industry?

(Beyond Pesticides, May 4, 2018) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed a new rule, on April 24, that, if adopted, will restrict the use of certain kinds of science research in the agency’s writing of regulations. Titled “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science,” the rule will permit EPA to consider only research studies for which the underlying data are publicly available when considering new “significant” regulations — typically, those estimated to impose costs of $100 million or more. Supporters of the rule say that EPA has, in crafting regulations in the past, relied on “secret science” — studies for which the underlying data cannot necessarily be accessed by members of the public. At face value, this may sound reasonable. Administrator Pruitt and proponents call the proposed rule a plus for transparency that will boost public confidence in the science bases of EPA decision making. “Today is a red-letter day,” Mr. Pruitt told supporters at agency headquarters. “The science that we use is going to be transparent.” That so-called “transparency,” however, comes at a huge cost: the elimination of decades of scientific studies from consideration when EPA regulations are written. In studies over the past few decades, researchers frequently collected data — […]

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03
May

Hawaii Bans Chlorpyrifos, First in the Nation

(Beyond Pesticides, May 3, 2018) Hawaii’s bill to ban the dangerous, neurotoxic pesticide, chlorpyrifos, passed its final hurdle this week in the state legislature. Governor David Ige is expected to readily sign SB3095 into law, in light of the unanimous support it received from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The statewide prohibition of chlorpyrifos will take effect beginning in January 2019. This legislative action marks the first time that any state in the country has passed an outright ban on the highly toxic organophosphate pesticide. While multiple scientific studies have determined that chlorpyrifos damages fetal brains and produces cognitive and behavioral dysfunctions, particularly in utero and in children, states have been slow to institute a complete prohibition, due to its widespread use in agriculture. Lawmakers in New Jersey and Maryland have recently tried unsuccessfully to pass similar bans. Hawaii’s bill contains a caveat that allows the state’s Department of Agriculture (DOA) to grant special permits for companies that argue that they need more time to phase-out chlorpyrifos, but that exemption will end at the close of 2022. The new law also requires restricted use pesticide (RUP) users to report to the Hawaii’s DOA which ones they are applying on […]

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17
Apr

Federal Indictment Issued in Poisoning of Family with Banned Home Use of a Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides, April 17, 2018) In a case that appalled the nation, the U.S. Justice Department finally last week secured an indictment against an applicator who illegally applied a fumigant at a U.S. Virgin Island resort, causing devastating and long-term health effects to a family on vacation. Terminex has already been fined and paid a multi-million dollar settlement with the poisoned family. Jose Rivera, 59, was indicted last Thursday by a federal grand jury for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). According to the indictment, Mr. Rivera illegally applied fumigants containing methyl bromide in multiple residential locations in the U.S. Virgin Islands, including the condominium resort complex in St. John, where a family of four fell seriously ill in March 2015, announced Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Environment and Natural Resources Division and U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert for the District of the Virgin Islands.   The indictment alleges that Mr. Rivera knowingly applied restricted-use fumigants at the Sirenusa resort in St. John for the purpose of exterminating household pests on or about Oct. 20, 2014, and on or about March 18, 2015.  The defendant was also charged with applying the restricted-use pesticide in eight residential […]

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16
Apr

Ethics Scandals Surround EPA Administrator Pruitt, Call for Firing

(Beyond Pesticides, April 16, 2018) Ethics scandals pile up regarding Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s failure to do his job, leading to the inevitable conclusion that he must go. Tell Congress and the President to Dump Pruitt. On the ethics side, there are: A unique too-good-to-be-true housing deal at a rental owned by an industry lobbyist; High-priced first class airfare for Pruitt and his personal security detail; Questionable claims of a need for expensive personal security measures; Reassigning or demoting EPA employees who question him; Using “special hires” to bring on political appointees; and Failing to investigate civil rights complaints. All of these ethics issues are in addition to Pruitt’s attacks on the environment he is charged with protecting: Reversing a ban on chlorpyrifos; Delaying rules designed to protect farmworker children; Eliminating from EPA advisory boards those scientists who have received EPA grants; and Attempting to slash EPA’s staff in half. Tell Congress and the President to dump Pruitt. [Link to anchor in action page; in email link to action page.] Letter to Congress (Reps and Senators) and the President: Please tell President Trump to fire Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt. His ethical choices reflect poorly on the administration […]

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13
Apr

Hawaii Poised to Ban the Insecticide Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, April 13, 2018) Hawaii is poised to become the first state in the nation to prohibit the use of pesticides containing the developmental neurotoxicant, chlorpyrifos. SB3095, passed unanimously by the State House of Representatives this week, prohibits the application of restricted use pesticides (RUPs) within 100 feet of schools when they are in session, and it requires commercial agricultural entities to regularly report their RUP use to the Department of Agriculture (DOA). In the absence of adequate federal procedures to protect communities from hazardous pesticide drift, this bill represents the culmination of efforts by the people of Hawaii to ban and restrict the most egregious pesticides and to increase the transparency regarding their use. As bill supporters rallied in the Capitol’s Rotunda this week, SB3095 was sent to the Senate. No date has yet been set for its consideration, but Senators who support the bill hope to secure the 13 votes needed to pass it and avoid further weakening of its provisions. Beyond Pesticides has actively supported this and previous iterations of SB3095, arguing for the establishment of a much more protective one mile buffer zone between schools and RUP applications to safeguard school children where they learn. […]

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06
Apr

Is EPA Administrator Pruitt Colluding with the Regulated Industry?

(Beyond Pesticides, April 6, 2018) Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is getting plenty of attention for what the public and some members of Congress see as his spendthrift and potentially corrupt behaviors since taking office in early 2017. Pundits and prognosticators who focus on the Washington, DC scene are speculating that this attention is not welcome by the White House, and wonder if Mr. Pruitt will soon be on the “wrong end of a Trump tweet.”  This may be refreshing news to environmental advocates, scientists, and public health experts, who have objected to the “changes” he’s brought to the agency, which frequently favor industry interests over science-based protection of the environment and public health. EPA’s moves to reduce enforcement, roll back protective regulations, and install industry-friendly personnel have been covered extensively by Beyond Pesticides; examples include: “Where Has All the EPA Enforcement Gone,” “The Threat to Scientific Integrity at EPA,” and regular posts in its Daily News Blog. Administrator Pruitt calls his approach to EPA’s function “Back to Basics,” which he says includes a refocus on EPA’s “intended mission, a return of power to the states, and creation of an environment where jobs can grow.” The […]

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27
Mar

Judge Rules EPA Violated Pesticide Rules in Delaying Protections for Farmworker Children

(Beyond Pesticides, March 27, 2018) In a major win for farmworker and health groups, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled last Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) illegally delayed implementation of key pesticide rules that in part prevent minors from working with the most dangerous pesticides. The rule revised rules mandate pesticide applicators be at least 18 years old. According to the EPA, there are about one million certified applicators nationwide. Before delaying implementation, the agency said the revised rule could prevent some 1,000 acute poisonings every year. In addition to requiring applicators to be at least 18-years-old, the revised 2017 Certification of Pesticide Applicators (CPA) rule also improves the quality of training materials and says certified pesticide applicators must be able to read and understand the instructions. The main purpose of the CPA rule is to protect workers and the public from poisonings, by ensuring that those who handle the most dangerous pesticides are properly trained and certified. “We commend the court for recognizing that this important pesticide safeguard is needed to prevent injury to farmworkers and the public,” said Stacey Geis, Earthjustice managing attorney. “This ruling puts EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on notice that the courts […]

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22
Mar

Twenty-Eight Senators Urge EPA Administrator to Retain Farmworker Protections

(Beyond Pesticides, March 22, 2018) Last week Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt received a letter from twenty-eight U.S. Senators urging the preservation of rules that would protect farmworkers and disallow minors to handle highly toxic pesticides. At issue are two proposals from Administrator Scott Pruitt’s EPA that would roll back Agricultural Worker Protection Standards (AWPS) and the Certification of Pesticide Applicators (CPA) rules put in place during the Obama Administration. In their letter, the Senators stress the impact of any potential changes, noting “the lives of children and families across the country at stake.” During the Obama era, EPA completed rulemaking that revised AWPS for the first time in over 20 years. Key components expanded training, prohibited children under 18 from applying highly toxic restricted use pesticides, created new no-entry application-exclusion zones, improved record keeping, provided farmworkers a designated representative to request pesticide records, and other safety improvements. The final rules put in place long-overdue protections, but still represented a compromise for workers and farmworker advocates. At the time the rules were released, advocacy organization Farmworker Justice released a statement noting, “While we are disappointed that the final rule does not include some significant safety measures, we will […]

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20
Mar

Report Finds Regulators Failing to Protect Pollinators and Public Health by Ignoring “Inert” Ingredients in Pesticide Products

(Beyond Pesticides, March 20, 2018) Regulations that separate ingredients in pesticide products as either “other/inert” or “active” have no scientific basis, according to a new review of the toxicity of formulated pesticide products published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health. Despite widespread awareness that “other” or “inert” pesticidal ingredients present toxicity concerns, only “active” ingredients undergo a full risk assessment, and pesticide products containing both active and inert ingredients are not tested in formulation before being sold to the public. Using glyphosate and neonicotinoid based products as examples, the study recommends sweeping changes to the way pesticide formulations are regulated in the Western world. Inert, or other ingredients –not disclosed on pesticide product labels, are often adjuvants that are added to a pesticide formulation to modify the effect of the active ingredient. However, they can also be sold separately and used in agriculture where pesticides are often “tank mixed” on site before application. Adjuvants take many forms, including surfactants, dyes, stabilizers, propellants, emulsifiers, solvents, antifoaming agents, and still other uses. Surfactants, likely the most common adjuvant, are added to a pesticide formulation in order slow the degradation time or improve the penetration of the active ingredient on a target […]

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07
Mar

European Regulators Confirm Neonicotinoids Harm Bees, Increasing Likelihood of Continent-Wide Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2018) Neonicotinoids, the most widely used class of insecticides in the world, do pose risks to honey bees and wild pollinators, according to a comprehensive assessment released last week by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). Encompassing an analysis of over 1,500 studies from academia, beekeeper associations, chemical companies, farmer groups, non-governmental organizations, and national regulators, EFSA’s risk assessment provides a definitive, independent conclusion that overall, continued use of these chemicals risks the long-term health of pollinator populations. After delaying a vote that would ban all outdoor uses of neonicotinoids in December in anticipation of EFSA’s assessment, the European Commission will revisit the issue as soon as March 22. “The availability of such a substantial amount of data as well as the guidance has enabled us to produce very detailed conclusions,” said Jose Tarazona, PhD, head of EFSA’s Pesticides Unit in a press release. This is EFSA’s second comprehensive evaluation of the three most commonly used neonicotinoids: imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam. Earlier research finalized in 2013 led the European Union (EU) to ban use of the three neonicotinoids on agricultural flowering crops. The new assessment builds upon the initial review, and includes literature not only on […]

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05
Mar

Pesticide Chlorpyrifos Linked to Brain Damage, Advocates Call for Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, March 5, 2018) Even if you don’t live in California, chances are that you eat food that is grown there. Unless all that food is organic, some of it was probably sprayed with chlorpyrifos, exposing not only you, but also the farmworkers responsible for its cultivation and harvest. Farmworker families –especially children—who usually live close to the treated fields, suffer higher impacts than those living further away. Tell Governor Brown to ban chlorpyrifos now, for the sake of the children. Five months after the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) issued its weak and inadequate draft risk assessment for the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos, the state’s Scientific Review Panel (SRP) ordered DPR back to the drawing board to produce a much stronger draft that properly considers the risk of harm to the developing brain. In view of EPA’s retraction of its proposal to revoke food residue tolerances of the highly neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyrifos, despite its own assessment that the chemical is too toxic to children, it is especially important that California take action to ban the chemical. California, the home of the largest agriculture industry in the country, used over one million pounds of chlorpyrifos on over a million acres […]

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26
Feb

Take Action: Tell Your Representative to Cosponsor the Saving America’s Pollinators Act

(Beyond Pesticides, February 26, 2017) U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) reintroduced the Saving America’s Pollinators Act (H.R. 5015), which suspends the registration of certain neonicotinoid insecticides until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducts a full scientific review that ensures these chemicals do not harm pollinators. Last week, Beyond Pesticides joined Rep. Blumenauer and other experts from environmental, conservation, whistleblower, and farmworker health groups on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to take action to protect pollinators in the face of ongoing obstruction by an increasingly industry-influenced EPA. Tell your Representative to cosponsor the Save America’s Pollinators Act!“ Pollinators are the backbone of America’s agriculture system. Acting now to protect them and stop their decline is essential to the sustainability of our nation’s food supply,” Rep. McGovern said. “Simply taking the word of the manufacturers that their products are safe is not an option. Consumers need strong oversight. That is why I am proud to join Congressman Blumenauer in demanding the EPA fully investigate the effect that certain harmful pesticides may have on the vitality of our pollinators.” Numerous scientific studies implicate neonicotinoid pesticides as key contributors to the global decline of pollinator populations. EPA’s own scientists have found that […]

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22
Feb

Amazon Fined $1.2 million for Selling Illegal Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, February 22, 2018) Online retailer Amazon will pay $1.2 million in penalties to settle violations to U.S. regulations for selling illegal and misbranded pesticides in its online store. Under the terms of the settlement, Amazon will monitor and remove illegal pesticide products from its website. These products, mostly imported, were not registered for use and sale in the U.S. and can pose hazards to unsuspecting consumers. As part of an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Amazon has agreed to pay $1.2 million in administrative penalties for nearly 4,000 violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) by allowing third-party distributors to sell imported pesticide products on Amazon even though the products were not registered in the U.S. While agreeing to the settlement, Amazon neither admitted nor denied the specific facts alleged by the EPA. “This agreement will dramatically reduce the online sale of illegal pesticides, which pose serious threats to public health in communities across America,” EPA Region 10 Administrator Chris Hladick said in a news statement. The most concerning illegal products being sold are insecticide chalk products imported from Chinese manufacturers (3 pcs Cockroaches Bugs Ants Roach Kills chalk; Miraculous Insecticide Chalk; […]

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16
Feb

Saving America’s Pollinators Act To Be Reintroduced in Congress

(Beyond Pesticides, February 16, 2018) U.S. Representatives Blumenauer (D-OR) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) this week announced plans to reintroduce the Saving America’s Pollinators Act, (previously H.R. 3040) which suspends the registration of certain neonicotinoid insecticides until the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducts a full scientific review that ensures these chemicals do not harm pollinators. Beyond Pesticides joined Rep. Blumenauer and other experts from environmental, conservation, whistleblower and farmworker health groups on Capitol Hill to urge Congress to take action to protect pollinators in the face of ongoing obstruction by an increasingly industry-influenced EPA. “Pollinators are the backbone of America’s agriculture system. Acting now to protect them and stop their decline is essential to the sustainability of our nation’s food supply,” Rep. McGovern said. “Simply taking the word of the manufacturers that their products are safe is not an option. Consumers need strong oversight. That is why I am proud to join Congressman Blumenauer in demanding the EPA fully investigate the effect that certain harmful pesticides may have on the vitality of our pollinators.” Numerous scientific studies implicate neonicotinoid pesticides as key contributors to the global decline of pollinator populations. EPA’s own scientists have found that neonicotinoids pose far-reaching risks to […]

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14
Feb

‘Bug Bombs’ Still Deadly after EPA Label Changes, says CDC

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2018) Total release foggers, otherwise known as bug bombs, received updated labels from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 2011 as part of efforts to reduce accidental poisonings, but a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that EPA restrictions are a public health failure. Bug bombs pose a significant risk of acute illness to individuals even when attempting to follow new label instructions. Beyond Pesticides has long called for bug bombs to be banned, as there are a myriad of non-toxic alternative strategies to successfully manage household pests. CDC’s report, Acute Illnesses and Injuries Related to Total Release Foggers, updates a previous study released in 2008 which found significant safety concerns about bug bombs and ultimately prompted EPA to revise the labels of these products. At the time, CDC found a total of 466 illnesses or injuries associated with the use of total release foggers between 2001-2006. Incidents ranged from failing to leave an area after releasing the bug bomb, reentering the premises too early, use of too many products for the space provided, and even explosions related to the ignition of aerosols released from the product. Bug […]

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12
Feb

Take Action: Tell EPA to Ban Paraquat

(Beyond Pesticides, February 12, 2018)  The most recent findings on the development of Parkinson’s disease after exposure to the highly toxic paraquat add to the well-established body of scientific literature linking the herbicide to Parkinson’s — which should lead to finally eliminating the use of the herbicide in the U.S. The chemical was banned in the European Union in 2007, and many health groups, including Beyond Pesticides and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, are calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop the use of paraquat by denying its upcoming reregistration. In addition to its connection with Parkinson’s disease, paraquat is known to be highly acutely toxic. By generating free radicals, it essentially burns its way through the body, targeting the lungs —causing lung fibrosis— and other organs. Most acutely toxic exposures result in death, sometimes delayed by as much as three weeks. Although paraquat is a restricted use pesticide (RUP), EPA is proposing to eliminate the minimum age for applying RUPs, which would permit teenagers to use it. Tell EPA and Congress to ban paraquat! This link will send the following message to EPA and your Congressional delegation: I urge EPA to join other countries […]

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05
Feb

Take Action: Tell Congress that EPA Must Not Allow Children To Apply Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2018) We are all concerned about the workers who grow and harvest our food. A sustainable food system must protect the land and the people who work the land, including the children and families of farmworkers. In two related actions, EPA is proposing to remove age requirements for application of pesticides. The actions involve changes to the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS), which went into effect this January and covers farmworkers hired to apply pesticides, and the Certification of Applicators (CA) rule, which will go into effect May 22 and covers those allowed to apply highly toxic restricted use pesticides (RUPs), the most toxic pesticides. The proposals to remove the age requirements present unacceptable risks to teenagers, who “are still developing in critical physical and emotional areas, with particular regard to their brains and reproductive systems,” according to the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP). Tell your Congressional delegation that EPA must not eliminate the minimum age requirement. Under the Obama administration, EPA added a minimum age requirement of 18 to both rules. A 16-year-old may apply RUPs under the supervision of a certified applicator under the CA rule. Reportedly, the reason for removing the age requirement is […]

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29
Jan

Tell Congress: This Is No Way to Balance a Budget; Trump Administration Set to Slash EPA Staff in Half

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2018) Scientists, public health managers, and others charged with protecting the health of the public and the environment at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are being encouraged to exit the agency –as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt plans to meet his goal of cutting agency staff and programs by 50 percent. Tell your Congressional delegation that EPA’s staff and budget cuts are false economy! Aides to Mr. Pruitt confirmed to the Washington Examiner that by the end of President Trump’s first term, the agency’s staff will be cut by nearly half. Administrator Pruitt told the Washington Examiner he was “proud” of his efforts to dismantle –some say cripple— the very agency he leads. This is false economy. It endangers the American public and its air, land, water, and biodiversity. EPA is responsible for enforcing the Safe Drinking Water Act, with a goal of making the nation’s waters fishable and swimmable. EPA enforces the Clean Air Act, which has cleaned up American cities, reducing illness and property damage from smog. And EPA is responsible for overseeing the clean-up of contaminated sites, thus preventing further pollution and illness. The agency also regulates pesticides under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and […]

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26
Jan

Antibacterial Triclosan Accumulates in Toothbrush Bristles

(Beyond Pesticides, January 26, 2018) Triclosan may be on its way out in soaps and disinfectants, but its presence on toothbrushes could stick around for a long time, according to research published in Environmental Science and Technology by a group of scientists from University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass Amherst). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of over the counter triclosan-containing soap in 2016, and late last year extended the ban to include health care and hospital settings, but the toxic antibacterial can still be found in toothpaste and other consumer products. Many may have have checked their toothpaste label and switched to a non-triclosan toothpaste after the recent news, but scientists say that exposure to this persistent chemical may continue through toothbrushes, if triclosan toothpaste was previously used. To test triclosan absorption while brushing, researchers purchased 22 different toothbrushes, each with different components, from bristles only, to those with polishing cups, gum protectors, or tongue cleaners. Different toothpastes, including six with and 15 without triclosan, were also used.  A mixture used to imitate saliva was added to toothpaste and put into a vial that was then brushed with different toothbrushes over a 3 month period – the […]

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19
Jan

Trump Administration Set to Slash EPA Staff in Half

(Beyond Pesticides, January 19, 2018) Scientists, public health managers, and others charged with protecting the health of the public and the environment at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are being encouraged to exit the agency. This, as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt plans to meet his goal of cutting agency staff and programs by 50 percent. Aides to Mr. Pruitt confirmed to the Washington Examiner that by the end of President Trump’s first term, the agency’s staff will be cut by nearly half. Administrator Pruitt told the Washington Examiner he was “proud” of his efforts to dismantle, some say cripple, the very agency he leads, which is responsible for enforcing the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the pesticide registration program the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and the Superfund toxic waste cleanup program, among others. By early 2021, Mr. Pruitt and his team are aiming to reduce the staff of what was nearly 15,000 to below 8,000. Among the people who are being encouraged to “retire” are more than 200 scientists and nearly 100 environmental protection specialists. According to the Washington Examiner, as of January 3, 2018, the EPA has 14,162 employees. The last time EPA was at […]

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