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Daily News Blog

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


03
Apr

With Wildlife Extinction on the Rise, Trump Administration Reduces Protections for Endangered Species, Allows Greater Harm from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, April 3, 2020) In mid-March, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rolled out new rules for ‚Äúbiological evaluations‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ assessments of pesticide risks to endangered plant and animal species that are supposed to be protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency‚Äôs press release announcing the change is misleadingly titled: ‚ÄúTrump Administration Takes Major Step to Improve Implementation of the Endangered Species Act.‚ÄĚ But as the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) reports, the ‚Äúrevised methods for assessing pesticide risks . . . will allow widespread harm to most of the nation‚Äôs most endangered plants and animals.‚ÄĚ Beyond Pesticides reviewed the status of pesticide threats to endangered species in November 2019 and provides ongoing coverage of the issue. ESA requires EPA to conduct biological evaluations (BEs) of pesticides to assess their impacts on listed (endangered and threatened) species and their critical habitats. EPA‚Äôs new ‚ÄúRevised Method‚ÄĚ ignores many of the ways that protected species are commonly hurt or killed by pesticides, and allows the continued marketing and use of pesticides without sensible constraints that would protect those species. CBD cites two examples of ignored impacts: downstream impacts of pesticide runoff into waterways from treated farmland, and the loss of […]

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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‚Äôs (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs is advising the use of unnecessarily toxic substances, and reducing standards that govern their allowance on the market. EPA‚Äôs 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‚ÄĒa 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, ‚ÄúFight the coronavirus with common sense prevention and safer disinfection products. Avoid products that increase vulnerability to respiratory problems.‚ÄĚ (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 ‚Äúinerts‚ÄĚ with “no […]

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26
Mar

Toxic Textiles Infused with Antimicrobial Nanosilver Poised for EPA Pesticide Registration

(Beyond Pesticides, March 26, 2020) An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determination could allow toxic antimicrobial nanosilver to be registered for use in textiles, including clothing, according to Bloomberg Environment. Nanotechnology products harm¬†human,¬†environmental, and¬†animal health. Despite this, EPA‚Äôs preliminary conclusion approves the registration of nanosilver-containing Polyguard as a textile “protectant.”¬† Public challenges have blocked nanosilver registration in the past when courts found EPA lacks the authority to register these toxic particles. ‚ÄúThey‚Äôve failed to collect data about potential exposure routes for nanosilver products, including textiles, which toddlers or pets could chew or put in their mouths,‚ÄĚ says Jaydee Hanson, policy director at the Center for Food Safety. ‚ÄúAnother challenge is how do you accurately test the actual product and what data do you have which suggests that other kinds of nanosilver work the same way?‚Ä̬† Nanosilver, or silver nanoparticles, are microscopic particles that are used as antimicrobials, which kill bacteria and fungi. They range in size from 1-100 nanometers (nm) across or 0.1% the diameter of a human hair.¬† Some research attributes nanosilver toxicity impacts to its small size, which allows it to be absorbed through the skin and enter the bloodstream and lymphatic system to disrupt normal organ function. The […]

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25
Mar

Trump Administration’s Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Planting of Genetically Engineered Crops in Southeast National Wildlife Refuges

(Beyond Pesticides, March 25, 2020) The Trump administration‚Äôs U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is moving forward with a proposal to grow genetically engineered crops (GECs) on national wildlife refuges in the Southeast United States. The draft environmental assessment allows wildlife to consume pesticide-laden produce, considers chemical-intensive genetically engineered crops no less damaging to the environment than ‚Äúnon-use of GECs,‚ÄĚ and permits and escalation of climate change with toxic pesticide use increases. USFW‚Äôs proposal fails to mention the success of organic agriculture and consider it as one of the alternative management strategies. The proposal is up for public comment until April 10, 2020. In 2014, public pressure and lawsuits by environmental groups led to the Obama administration‚Äôs decision to phase out GE crops and ban neonicotinoid insecticide use on national wildlife refuges. On August 2, 2018, the Trump administration‚Äôs USFWS issued a memorandum that reversed the prohibition. The reversal allows the refuge system to make decisions on the use of GECs and neonics on a case-by-case basis in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which is also under attack by the Trump administration. The Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, and others quickly challenged the 2018 […]

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24
Mar

Maryland Legislature Passes Limited Ban on Chlorpyrifos Insecticide

(Beyond Pesticides, March 24, 2020) Last week, Maryland became the latest state to prohibit use of the brain-damaging insecticide chlorpyrifos, after a measure cleared both the state Senate and House. Although the legislation implements a limited ban that sunsets after four years, advocates consider this action a step in the right direction that will protect the health and safety of Maryland residents. ‚ÄúEven amidst our current public health crisis, the Maryland legislature acted to protect all Marylanders‚Äô health for years to come by banning this toxic pesticide, and we are so grateful,‚ÄĚ said Ruth Berlin, Executive Director of the Maryland Pesticide Education Network to WBOC. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide known to inhibit the proper nerve functioning by affecting the enzyme acetylcholine esterase. The impacts of this pesticide are particularly concerning for young children, as research finds that children exposed to high levels of chlorpyrifos had mental development delays, attention problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder problems, and pervasive developmental disorder problems at three years of age. While Maryland is the fourth state to restrict the use of chlorpyrifos, it is the second to implement these restrictions through legislation. In California, the state Department of Pesticide Regulation is implementing a phase out of […]

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23
Mar

Farmworkers and Conservationists Sue EPA for Re-Approving Monsanto/Bayer’s Cancer-Causing Pesticide, Glyphosate/Roundup

(Beyond Pesticides, March 23, 2020)¬†Ignoring science to side with Monsanto/Bayer, EPA has repeatedly failed to assess glyphosate‚Äôs impacts on public health and endangered species. Last week, a broad coalition of farmworkers, farmers, and conservationists, filed a federal lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its January 2020 re-approval of the pesticide glyphosate, best known as the active ingredient in Monsanto‚Äôs Roundup pesticides. With Center for Food Safety (CFS) serving as legal counsel, the suing organizations are¬† Beyond Pesticides, the Rural Coalition, Organizaci√≥n en California de Lideres Campesinas, and the Farmworker Association of Florida. While EPA defends glyphosate, juries in several cases have found it to cause cancer, ruling in favor of those impacted by exposure. Glyphosate formulations like Roundup are also well-established as having numerous damaging environmental impacts. After a registration review process spanning over a decade, EPA allowed the continued marketing of the pesticide despite the agency‚Äôs failure to fully assess glyphosate‚Äôs hormone-disrupting potential or its effects on threatened and endangered species. The review began in 2009, has already taken 11 years, without a full assessment of the widespread harmful impacts on people and the environment in that time period. ‚ÄúEPA‚Äôs half-completed, biased, and unlawful approval sacrifices the […]

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17
Mar

Monarch Population, Under Threat from Pesticide Use and Habitat Loss, Declines by Half in One Year

(Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2020) The number of monarch butterflies overwintering in Mexico is down 53% from last year, according to a count conducted by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Mexico. While WWF indicates the decline was expected due to unfavorable weather conditions during the species southward migration, other environmental groups are raising red flags. “Scientists were expecting the count to be down slightly, but this level of decrease is heartbreaking,‚ÄĚ said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. ‚ÄúMonarchs unite us, and more protections are clearly needed for these migratory wonders and their habitat.‚ÄĚ WWF‚Äôs count found that monarchs occupied seven acres this winter, down from 15 acres last year. Reports indicate that 15 acres is a minimum threshold needed to prevent a collapse of the butterfly‚Äôs migration and possible extinction. This was the goal stated by the 2015 White House Pollinator Task Force, which the current administration is failing to see through. While weather conditions play an important role in monarch migration from the U.S. and Canada south to Mexico, the species is under threat from a range of environmental factors. Monarchs depend on milkweed plants to lay eggs, and monarch caterpillars feed solely on […]

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16
Mar

Take Action: Toxic Chemicals Unnecessary To Protect Against the Coronavirus; CDC Advises Preventive Measures

(Beyond Pesticides, March 16, 2020)¬†As the number of people infected with Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) increases, many people are looking for sound advice about how to protect themselves and their families. There is much uncertainty. ‚ÄúIt’s fair to say that as the trajectory of the outbreak continues, many people in the United States will at some point in time either this year or next be exposed to this virus, and there’s a good chance many will become sick,‚ÄĚ said¬†Nancy Messonnier, M.D.,¬†director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.¬†‚ÄúBut ‚Ķ based on what we know about this virus, we do not expect most people to develop serious illness.‚ÄĚ Tell EPA not to recommend toxic chemicals for disease prevention. While people are seeking answers, EPA’s published list,¬†Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the Cause of COVID-19,¬†does not offer helpful advice. The list contains products containing toxic chemicals such as chlorine bleach, peroxyacetic acid, alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chlorides, didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, and other ‚Äúquats,‚ÄĚ sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione, and hydrochloric acid. In addition to their outright toxicity, some of these¬†can also trigger asthmatic attacks. On the other hand,¬†CDC’s website¬†makes it […]

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02
Mar

Take Action Today: Tell EPA to Ban Atrazine

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2020) Deadline today! Tell EPA to Ban Atrazine; Protect Children and Frogs from this Endocrine Disrupting Pesticide. Atrazine, the second most-used herbicide in the U.S., is an insidious poison. Atrazine is known for producing developmental abnormalities in frogs. It also affects the endocrine system and reproductive biology of humans. In addition to its agricultural uses on corn, sorghum, and sugar cane, atrazine is also used on home lawns, school grounds, and parks, where exposure to children is common. Nontoxic alternatives are available for all of these uses. Act today, March 2. Sign the petition demanding that EPA ban atrazine and its cousins simazine and propazine. Act today! Beyond Pesticides will submit comments: Docket: EPA-HQ-OPP-2017-0750 (FRL-10002-92) Petition to EPA‚Äôs Office of Pesticide Programs: We have serious concerns with the proposed interim decisions on reregistration of three triazine pesticides: atrazine, simazine, and propazine. These triazines are highly mobile and persistent in the environment and have been linked to numerous adverse health and environmental effects which have motivated numerous public interest campaigns to ban their use in the U.S. as well as in Europe. The Draft Ecological Risk Assessments for the Registration Review of Atrazine, Simazine, and Propazine dated October 5, 2016 […]

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21
Feb

Minnesota Introduces Bee-Friendly Pesticide Legislation and Fights for Local Rights

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2020) Last week in Minnesota, state Representative Jean Wagenius introduced measure H.F. 1255 that would give cities the opportunity to ban local use of bee-lethal pesticides. This is the latest in a series of attempts to fight state pesticide preemption, an industry-promoted law that prevents localities from restricting pesticide use more stringently than the state. In the face of inaction at the federal and state levels, advocates and legislators in Minnesota are attempting to regain local control to help save their declining, Midwestern pollinators. Representative Wagenius says about the measure, ‚ÄúMinnesotans should be able to protect pollinators if they want to. We value local control in this state, and we always have.‚ÄĚ H.F. 1255 will allow cities to opt into a blanket ban of pesticides determined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to be hazardous to bees. Pesticides with an EPA bee-advisory box are listed on the state‚Äôs Department of Agriculture website and referred to as ‚Äúbee-lethal‚ÄĚ by Minnesota legislators. Patrick Hanlon, director of environmental programs for the city of Minneapolis, says cities would work with Department of Agriculture, businesses, and residents that might be impacted by these restrictions before enacting the bill. Local advocates have […]

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20
Feb

Bader Farms Wins $265 Million in Lawsuit Against Bayer’s Monsanto, BASF

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2020) Missouri‚Äôs largest peach farm, Bader Farms, is set to receive $265 million in compensation from two multinational agrichemical companies after the companies’ dicamba-based weed killers caused widespread damage to the farm’s fruit trees. Bayer‚Äôs Monsanto and BASF were found to be responsible for negligence in the design of their dicamba herbicides, and failure to warn farmers about the dangers of their products. The jury determined that the joint venture between the two companies amounted to a conspiracy to create an ‚Äúecological disaster‚ÄĚ in the name of profit. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved Bayer Monsanto‚Äôs release of a new line of genetically engineered (GE) seeds designed to tolerate repeated spraying of dicamba. With glyphosate resistant ‚Äėsuper-weeds‚Äô widespread and threatening GE farmer‚Äôs yields, the company aimed to redeploy dicamba, one of the oldest herbicides in the market, on cotton and soybeans throughout the U.S. Knowing the propensity of dicamba to drift for miles off site, Bayer‚Äôs Monsanto promised a new product line with much lower volatility. ¬†But as the company was waiting on approval for this product by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it nonetheless began selling its dicamba-tolerant seeds. This led to […]

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14
Feb

“Hey Farmer Farmer, Put Away that” Dicamba Weed Killer

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2020)¬†The weed killer dicamba has been blamed for killing or damaging millions of acres of non‚Äďgenetically modified crops and other plants that have no protection against the compound. Litigation, legislation, and manufacturer machination abound as dicamba damage mounts. The trial in a suit filed in 2016 by a Missouri peach farmer against dicamba manufacturers Bayer and BASF has just begun; an Indiana state laboratory struggles to keep up with demand to evaluate dicamba damage; Idaho lawmakers are poised to weaken rules that protect farmworkers who apply dicamba (and other pesticides) aerially; agricultural officials in Missouri are pressuring the state legislature to increase funding to handle the exploding numbers of dicamba complaints; and Indiana‚Äôs legislature is considering two bills aimed at curtailing dicamba drift that kills neighboring crops. This Daily News Blog will round up the plethora of recent news on dicamba ‚ÄĒ the toxic and destructive culprit behind each of these stories. In the face of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‚Äôs (EPA) failure to mitigate dicamba hazards, states have been scrambling to enact limits on when and how dicamba can be used, amend buffer zones around application sites, and in some cases, ban its use outright. […]

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12
Feb

Major Manufacturer of Chlorpyrifos Drops Out of Market, But EPA Continues to Allow Use

(Beyond Pesticides, February 12, 2020) Corteva, a company spun-off from DowDupont, will stop producing chlorpyrifos by the end of this year as a result of declining sales. Despite the move being in the interest of public health, the company is earning little praise from health advocates for what amounts to simply a shrewd financial decision. As news articles on the announcement have noted, Corteva will continue to support Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration of chlorpyrifos, which allows generic manufacturers to continue to sell this brain-damaging chemical. ‚ÄúOther people are going to continue to profit from harming children,‚ÄĚ said Marisa Ordonia, an attorney with the group EarthJustice to Canada‚Äôs National Observer. ‚ÄúIt is big that such a major player is saying no, we‚Äôre not going to do this any more. It‚Äôs a great signal that people don‚Äôt want brain-damaging pesticides on their food. But we‚Äôre going to continue to keep fighting to make sure children and farmworkers are protected.‚ÄĚ At odds is the difference between halting production of chlorpyrifos and cancelling its EPA registration. While Corteva has the ability to voluntarily stop producing its own product, EPA registration permits other generic manufacturers to continue to producing the product. And, over the […]

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04
Feb

EPA Set to Reapprove Cancer-Causing Glyphosate and Bee-Toxic Neonicotinoids

(Beyond Pesticides, February 4, 2020) It was a good day for Bayer/Monsanto. The chemical company’s weed killer glyphosate and its neonicotinoid insecticides are set for reapproval by the U,S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to interim decisions published last week. EPA reapproval of human carcinogens and chemicals contributing to the pollinator crisis is disappointing for health and environmental advocates, but not surprising to those watchdogging the agency during the current administration. ‚ÄúThis is how a captured agency behaves,‚ÄĚ said Beyond Pesticides community resource and policy director Drew Toher. ‚ÄúWhen EPA‚Äôs decision making repeatedly reflects the exact wishes of the chemical industry, public trust erodes, and we must look to new policy mechanisms that support the protection of health and the environment.‚ÄĚ ¬† On Glyphosate EPA‚Äôs glyphosate decision document glosses over the hazards of the chemical and is requiring very few new safety measures when using the herbicide. These measures are focused on agriculture, including minor label changes around drift, guidelines on resistance management, and a label advisory indicating the chemical is toxic to plants and may adversely impact pollinator foraging. The restrictions fail to match those proposed by Health Canada in 2015, which included buffer zones and restricted entry intervals. […]

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03
Feb

Save Mayflies and the Ecosystems that Depend on Them

(Beyond Pesticides, February 3, 2020) In more bad news from the insect world, recent research published in the¬†Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences¬†reveals a precipitous decline in numbers of mayflies where they have been historically abundant. The research finds that in the Northern Mississippi River Basin, seasonal emergence of burrowing mayfly (genus¬†Hexagenia) adults declined by 52% from 2012 to 2019; in the Western Lake Erie Basin, from 2015 to 2019, the reduction was a shocking 84%.¬†Neonicotinoid insecticides are a significant factor¬†in this decline because mayflies are extremely vulnerable to their impacts, even at very low exposure levels. Ask Congress to tell EPA, USDA, and the Department of Interior to develop a joint effort to ensure that its decisions and compliance with its authorizing statutes address the crisis of the threat to mayflies. Ephemeroptera to entomologists‚ÄĒ‚Äúmayflies‚ÄĚ to the rest of us‚ÄĒis an insect order comprising keystone species, on which other species in an ecosystem are very dependent, and without which, the ecosystem would undergo drastic change. The plummeting mayfly ‚Äúcount‚ÄĚ is especially alarming because mayflies are a critical, primary food source in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and provide an important ecological service. As the research study notes, ‚ÄúSeasonal animal movement […]

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31
Jan

Trump Administration Hands Over Clean Water Standards to Agrichemical, Construction, and Mining Industry

(Beyond Pesticides, January 31, 2020)¬†In the latest of a long litany of destructive decisions by the Trump administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced on January 23 the establishment of a new weaker federal rule on protection of U.S. waterways, which replaces the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that the agency repealed in September 2019. In an obeisant gesture to industrial interests ‚ÄĒ the agrichemical, construction, and mining sectors ‚ÄĒ Mr. Wheeler chose to announce the replacement rule, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, at a Las Vegas National Association of Home Builders International Builders‚Äô Show. This decision will significantly weaken protections by drastically reducing the number of U.S. waterways and acreage of wetlands protected, and by jettisoning proscriptions on activities that threaten waterways from a variety of pollution harms. President Obama‚Äôs WOTUS, aka Clean Water Rule, has provided protections from pesticide runoff and other pollutants to millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams. According to Administrator Wheeler, ‚Äú‚ÄėAll states have their own protections for waters within their borders, and many regulate more broadly than the federal government. . . . Our new rule recognizes this relationship and strikes the proper […]

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10
Jan

Study Links Pyrethroid Insecticides to Cardiovascular Disease and Other Health Hazards

(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2020) A new study by researchers out of the University of Iowa College of Public Health, published in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) Internal Medicine, demonstrates that greater exposure to pyrethroid insecticides is associated with higher risks of death from all causes and from cardiovascular disease. These compounds can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin; they are highly neurotoxic, and have also been linked to certain cancers, endocrine disruption, and suppression of the immune system, as well as respiratory and reproductive impacts. The researchers gathered data, for 2,116 adults aged 20 or older, from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Each of those subjects had contributed a urine sample at some point between 1999 and 2002. Urine samples reflect levels of a pyrethroid metabolite (3-phenoxybenzoic acid) present, which in turn offer information about pyrethroid exposure. The researchers followed the participants until 2015; the research analysis was performed in the summer of 2019. Data were adjusted to accommodate multiple factors (age, sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, diet and lifestyle, smoking status, body mass index, and urinary creatinine levels). The co-authors report that subjects with the highest levels of metabolites had a 56% […]

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29
Oct

EPA Moves to Weaken Pesticide Exclusion Zones Intended to Protect Farmworkers and Their Families

(Beyond Pesticides, October 29, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing changes to the way farmworkers and bystanders are protected from toxic pesticide applications, per an announcement published on the agency‚Äôs website last week. Billed as ‚Äúimprovements‚ÄĚ that will ‚Äúreduce regulatory burdens for farmers,‚ÄĚ the actions would instead significantly shrink Application Exclusion Zones (AEZs), buffer areas where individuals are not supposed to enter during a pesticide application. Health and justice advocates say the move will put farmworkers at risk. ‚ÄúAlthough the proposal is framed as a narrow revision, it would in fact eliminate, reduce or weaken various AEZ provisions,‚ÄĚ said Farmworker Justice attorney Iris Figueroa to Politico. ‚ÄúThese changes threaten to increase exposure to toxic pesticide drift for farmworkers and their families.‚ÄĚ EPA‚Äôs proposal, announced in a press release featuring the heads of industry associations like the American Farm Bureau, would do the following: Make AEZs applicable only to a farm owners‚Äô property. Under the current rules, pesticide handlers were required to keep individuals out of an area where pesticides were applied both on and off site. Exempt on-farm family members from all aspects of the AEZ. EPA says this will allow farmers and their family ‚Äúto decide whether […]

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18
Oct

EPA Directive to End Animal Testing of Pesticides Welcomed and Challenged as Not Addressing Inadequate Reviews of Adverse Effects

(Beyond Pesticides, October 18, 2019)¬†The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a directive in September, under Administrator Andrew Wheeler, that changes its pesticide approval process and aims to reduce (mammalian) animal testing significantly by 2035. The agency also announced awards totaling $4.25 million to four universities for development of alternative methods to evaluate chemicals, including pesticides. The move will likely be seen both as an advancement of animal rights, and as a setback for the kinds of testing that can have important implications for human health. Resolution of this issue could be found in a shift away from chemical agriculture and to organic and regenerative practices, which eschew toxic chemicals and synthetic fertilizers, and obviate need for them. The directive affects not only the agency‚Äôs own research, but also, as the memo says, EPA will ‚Äúcome as close as possible to excluding from its approval process any reliance on mammal studies conducted after January 1, 2035, including those performed by third parties.‚ÄĚ The schools receiving EPA funds to work on alternative testing are Johns Hopkins University, Vanderbilt University and Vanderbilt‚Äôs Medical Center, Oregon State University, and the University of California-Riverside. President of the International Science Consortium for People for the […]

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17
Oct

Despite Damning Scientific Evidence, EPA Dismisses Link Between Parkinson’s and Exposure to the Herbicide Paraquat

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is downplaying the connection between exposure to the herbicide paraquat and the development of Parkinson‚Äôs disease, per registration review documents released by the agency this week. Although unsurprising given the current administration‚Äôs track record of defending some of the most heinous chemicals still on the market, the review nonetheless marks a low point for scientific integrity within EPA‚Äôs Office of Pesticide Programs, according to advocates. Health and environmental advocates have already discounted EPA‚Äôs industry-biased review, and are instead pushing hard for Congressional action ‚Äď namely HR 3817, the Protect Against Paraquat Act, introduced by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez (D-NY). Under federal law, pesticides are required to undergo reevaluation every 15 years. Paraquat is a potent restricted use herbicide, not available to be applied by residential users, but permitted for use on multiple agriculture crops. Over the last decade, independent peer-reviewed scientific studies have repeatedly found strong associations between paraquat to the development of Parkinson‚Äôs disease. Many of these studies have been covered in Beyond Pesticides‚Äô Daily News or are recorded in the Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database. In response to this growing body of literature, EPA conducted an epidemiological evaluation of published […]

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26
Sep

Settlement Reached to Protect Habitat of Endangered Bumblebee

(Beyond Pesticides, September 27, 2019) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will be required to protect the habitat of the endangered rusty patched bumblebee, per a settlement with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reached earlier this week. The bee was listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2017, but USFWS has yet to designate the ‚Äúcritical habitat‚ÄĚ for the bee where improved protections must be made to ensure its recovery. With the decline of both wild and managed pollinators throughout the U.S., action on this issue by federal agencies is sorely needed. According to NRDC, the settlement will require FWS to propose critical habitat by July 31, 2020, unless it makes a finding that habitat protections are not prudent. The Service must then finalize any habitat protections by July 31, 2021. Under ESA, FWS is required to designate the critical habitat of a listed species within one year of its listing if not included within its listing announcement. Thus, by drawing out this process, FWS is flouting this important action that will lead to real on-the-ground protections. ‚ÄúThe U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has violated federal law‚ÄĒagain‚ÄĒby not designating critical habitat for the rusty patched bumble bee,‚ÄĚ […]

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11
Sep

Germany Moves to Phase-Out Glyphosate/Roundup; EPA Unmoved

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2019)¬†Germany is the latest entity to take action on getting glyphosate-based pesticides out of the marketplace. Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that, beginning in 2020, the country will phase out herbicides that contain glyphosate by the end of 2023. The phase-out will occur through a series of scheduled reductions in amounts allowed for use, with a goal of a 75% reduction over the next four years. The announcement comes after ‚Äúnation-wide protests and demands from [Merkel‚Äôs] junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats, for more decisive action on environmental issues.‚ÄĚ This action stands in telling contrast to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency‚Äôs (EPA‚Äôs) repeated failures to protect people, ecosystems, and our food supply, from this toxic compound. The German government also plans to oppose any European Union (EU) request for renewal of licensing of these herbicides, according to the environment ministry. Bayer AG, maker of glyphosate-based herbicides and owner of original manufacturer Monsanto, has pushed back, saying that the government is ‚Äúgetting ahead of itself‚ÄĚ by banning glyphosate-based herbicides prior to any decision by the relevant EU authority, and that EU laws disallow unilateral decisions by member states. (Pesticide licensing decisions lie with EU governance in Brussels, […]

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04
Sep

Health and Environmental Groups Call on EPA to Revoke Glyphosate’s Registration

(Beyond Pesticides, September 4, 2019) Sixteen organizations representing health, environmental, farmer, and farmworker communities joined together yesterday to call on EPA to remove glyphosate from the marketplace. The groups cite a combination of high-profile lawsuits, environmental impacts, increasing reports of weed resistance, and growing public concern over the health effects of glyphosate in their comments on EPA‚Äôs interim reregistration review decision for the chemical. The comments warn that EPA is at risk of damaging the public‚Äôs trust in the agency‚Äôs review process for toxic pesticides. ‚ÄúEPA‚Äôs myopic review and response to the dangers posed by glyphosate does a disservice to American farmers, farmworkers, and commercial landscapers wishing to use least-toxic products that do not put them at risk of health impacts, and consumers aiming to make the safest choice in regards to what to feed their family and how to manage their yards,‚ÄĚ the comments read. The document likewise replies to EPA‚Äôs attacks against the World Health Organization‚Äôs International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which determined glyphosate to be a probable carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental organisms. EPA has indicated that its process for evaluating glyphosate, ‚Äú‚Ķis more transparent than IARC‚Äôs process‚ÄĚ and that IARC‚Äôs […]

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