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Daily News Blog

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


23
May

Fulfilling Legal Settlement with Limited Scope, EPA Cancels Twelve Neonicotinoid Products

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2019) On Monday in the conclusion of a lawsuit, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the final notices of cancellation on the registration of twelve neonicotinoid pesticide products in the Federal Register, each of which contains chlothianidin or thiamathoxam as an active ingredient. The decision to pull these products from the market was required as part of a legal settlement under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in December 2018 of a successful case, Ellis v. EPA, brought by beekeeper Steve Ellis and a coalition of other beekeepers and environmental groups, including Beyond Pesticides. The case establishes a legal precedent in which the court required action to address the bee-toxic effects of pesticides; however, the effect of the settlement and its impact on overall neonicotinoid and other systemic insecticide use is limited. For all but two of the twelve canceled products, a nearly identical surrogate remains actively registered. Furthermore, the fact remains that there are hundreds more products containing the active ingredients targeted by the lawsuit that have not been removed in any capacity – 106 products containing clothianidin and 95 containing thiamethoxam remain untouched on the market. Breaking down the impacts of the EPA ruling even […]

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17
May

Children’s Environmental Health Centers to Lose All EPA Funding Under Administration Proposal

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2019) After two decades of co-sponsoring and co-funding research centers that do important scientific investigation related to children’s health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) are planning to end their support. EPA has announced that it will no longer renew its grants to these centers. As of July, they will lose a huge portion of the funding that has allowed them to deploy hundreds of scientists — in genetics, toxicology, and neurodevelopment — on unusually comprehensive and longitudinal studies of what factors in children’s experiences and communities impact their health. The work of these centers has been critical in uncovering the relationships between children’s exposures to toxic chemicals, including pesticides, and diseases and health anomalies later on in their developing years. This announcement represents yet another attack by the Trump administration on science, public health, and children and families, as well as another wink and nod to industries whose products harm. Says Tracey Woodruff, who runs the University of California, San Francisco Pregnancy Exposures to Environmental Chemicals Children’s Center: When EPA weights the harms of a chemical against its benefits, this “works out perfectly for industry. . . […]

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16
May

Oregon Officials Finalize Restrictions on Bayer’s Tree-Killing Herbicide, Stop Short of a Full Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2019)  Use of the tree-killing herbicide aminocyclopyrachlor (ACP) is now restricted in Oregon, according to rulemaking finalized last week by the state’s department of agriculture (ODA). While an important step in the right direction, many environmentalists are perplexed by the state’s decision not to proceed with a ban on all uses of the inherently toxic chemical, which has killed thousands of old-growth pine trees along state scenic highways. Over five thousand comments from Oregonians and concerned individuals across the country urged ODA to scrap its convoluted proposed rule and simply eliminate the chemical from state commerce. While advocates will continue to urge ODA to completely eliminate ACP use, the current restrictions did not come without a fight. Public meetings were attended by representatives from the chemical’s manufacturer, Bayer. The company strongly opposed any restrictions on its product, and acted to delay the original implementation date for ODA’s rule. Oregon had intended to finalize the rule in late March. “We were pretty much set to file the final paperwork,” said Oregon pesticide program manager Rose Kachadoorian to The Bulletin. But through the work of its corporate lawyers, Bayer was able to track down an arcane Oregon law that […]

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13
May

Trump Officials Propose to Rollback Endangered Species Protection, Break Agreements to Act, and Block Public Review of Decisions

(Beyond Pesticides, May 13, 2019) The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed four lawsuits last week challenging the Trump administration’s failure to release a trove of documents detailing how the administration is regulating dangerous pesticides, especially as they relate to endangered species. Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a set of proposed changes last week that would dramatically reduce protections for the nation’s most endangered plants and animals from pesticides known to harm them. The proposals ignore the real-world, science-based assessments of pesticides’ harms, instead relying on arbitrary industry-created models. The EPA proposals would, for example, gut protections for endangered plants that are pollinated by butterflies and other insects by ignoring the fact that animals routinely move back and forth between agricultural areas and places where endangered species live. The proposals follow intensive efforts by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to halt federal work on protecting wildlife from pesticides. They were released over a year after a draft biological opinion that was scuttled by the Trump administration found that the loss of pollinators from the insecticide chlorpyrifos would put hundreds of endangered species on a path to extinction. The so-called “refinements” will make it easier for the EPA to claim that pesticides […]

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09
May

Contradicting Scientific Evidence, EPA Releases Interim Decision Denying Glyphosate Carcinogenicity

(Beyond Pesticides, May 9, 2019) On Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed interim decision on glyphosate’s registration review, ignoring widespread scientific consensus on the herbicide’s carcinogenicity and instead restating the agency’s firm position that glyphosate is “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans.” EPA’s bold statement stands in stark contrast to scientific consensus to the contrary. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) found glyphosate to be a probable human carcinogen. In response to resistance from the European Food Safety Authority, 94 expert scientists published an article in support of IARC’s methodologies and findings. Since 2015, several more publications have added significant weight to the body of evidence supporting glyphosate’s carcinogenicity. A February 2018 meta-analysis of studies on glyphosate suggested “a compelling link between exposures to GBH [glyphosate-based herbicides] and increased risk of NHL [non-Hodgkin lymphoma]. A February 2019 University of Washington study found that glyphosate increased the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by as much as 41%. Despite attempts by current and former EPA top officials to “kill” their report, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a agency at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, released its […]

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08
Apr

Focus on Pesticide Bans Continues in U.S. and EU, While Toxic Pesticide Use Continues

(Beyond Pesticides, April 8, 2019) Officials in Europe and the U.S. focus on banning problem pesticides, raising concerns about their replacements in the face of pesticide-intensive management strategies, while organic advocates call for a systems change in land management. In reference to widespread community bans of Roundup/glyphosate, Cary Gillam, author of Whitewash, told last year’s Beyond Pesticides’ Forum, “Glyphosate is the poster child for the bigger pesticide problem.” She continues, “If it goes away tomorrow, we are not okay.” Because of this, Beyond Pesticides has strategically sought to transform our country’s approach to pest management, both agricultural and residential/structural, by eliminating a reliance on pesticides and advancing organic management practices that do not rely on toxic inputs. This Daily News Blog post offers updates on progress in the European Union (EU), in the U.S. Congress, and in communities and sates nationwide. The EU is poised to ban clorothalanil, a commonly used — and highly toxic — organochlorine fungicide, The Guardian reported, in mid-to-late May 2019. After a review by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), EU states voted to approve a ban. EFSA identified as a chief safety concern the possibility that breakdown products (metabolites) of the compound may cause damage […]

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29
Mar

EPA Wants to Squelch State Authority to Adopt Pesticide Restrictions More Protective than the Fed

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a low-key announcement on March 19 suggesting that it may change its handling of requests from states to exert stricter controls on use of pesticides than the federal agency sets out in its registration of the compounds — by disapproving them. This is potentially a big deal because it signals that the agency will be less-kindly disposed to states’ desires to establish either somewhat different parameters of use based on local conditions and needs, or more-stringent regulations on pesticide use than those set out by federal regulators. This issue of preemption of localities’ desires to protect their populations and environment has become an increasingly dynamic frontier at the nexus of pesticide use, health, and environment. Beyond Pesticides has written more frequently about this issue in recent years as the tension between centralized, federal regulation and more-local regulation has risen; see more below. EPA appears distressed by some of the approximately 300 annual requests it gets to make some adjustment to the federal regulation. This can happen under Section 24(c) of FIFRA, which allows for a Special Local Need Label, which can be requested under a variety of conditions, including […]

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25
Mar

Take Action: Help Stop Pesticide-Treated Seeds from Poisoning the Environment

(Beyond Pesticides, March 25, 2019) EPA is using a regulatory loophole – the “treated articles exemption” – to allow systemic insecticides to be used in mass quantities, without regulating or labeling them as required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). EPA does not currently assess adverse effects on the environment and public health caused by widespread use of neonicotinoid insecticides delivered through seeds coated with the insecticides, resulting in widespread exposure to one of the most environmentally damaging classes of chemicals on the market. Tell your Congressional delegation that EPA must fully regulate treated seeds to protect the environment and public health. Pesticide-coated seeds are now ubiquitous, yet their far-reaching impacts on wildlife and human health continue to go unregulated. The introduction and spread of seed-delivered pesticides to major field crops, beginning around 2003, caused a massive increase in total neonicotinoid use nationwide. As of 2011, 34 to 44% of soybeans and 79 to 100% of maize acres were planted with coated seeds, accounting for an astounding 35-fold increase in nationwide neonicotinoid use from baseline rates prior to 2003 (Douglas and Tooker, 2015). Alarmingly, because the national pesticide survey conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service fails to […]

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22
Mar

Study Finds that Commonly Occurring Levels of Neonicotinoid Insecticide Harm White-tailed Deer

(Beyond Pesticides, March 22, 2019) A two-year study, published March 14,  finds that field-relevant contamination with the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid causes reduced body weight and metabolism in white-tailed deer, and – in fawns – mortality. Remarkably, researchers uncovered imidacloprid levels in free-ranging deer a full 3.5 times higher, on average, than the levels in the animals treated in their experiment. These new findings add to the mounting evidence of the hazards posed by current patterns of neonicotinoid use, while evidence of benefits remains sparse. The study, published in Nature Scientific Reports, includes two years of data on the physiological and behavioral outcomes of imidacloprid contamination in 80 white-tailed deer housed in a South Dakota State University captive research facility. Notably, researchers were unable to entirely control imidacloprid levels in untreated deer, most likely due to background contamination from corn- and soy-based feed, and surrounding vegetation infiltrated by runoff from nearby agricultural fields. This background contamination altered, but did not compromise, the analysis. Researchers found that imidacloprid levels detected in the spleens of treated and control animals were significantly predictive of reduced thyroid hormone levels, shorter jawbones, lower activity levels, and higher fawn mortality. Lead authors Elise Berheim, Jonathan Jenks, PhD, […]

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17
Mar

Take Action: What’s In the Bottle, Bag, or Box Is Not Tested Fully for Adverse Effects

(Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2019) Forget about single-pesticide issues: this affects every single one of them. EPA is allowing massive data gaps to persist for each and every pesticide product it registers by conducting the bulk of its health and environmental risk assessments using active ingredients alone. With its current practices, EPA is failing its federal mandate to protect public health and the environment and misleading the public about what is “safe.” Tell your Congressional delegation that EPA must assess the real risks of pesticide use, not rely on false representations of risk based on tests of isolated ingredients. When pesticides are sprayed on our crops, lawns, and roadsides, and enter into our waterways, groundwater and drinking water, we are exposed to whole formulations, whole tank mixtures, and whole pesticide combinations, not just active ingredients (those that the manufacturer claims are the only ingredients that attack the target pest). It is the whole formulation that makes the poison, and that whole formulation must be regulated. Active ingredients are far from the whole story of pesticide poisoning. Despite their name, “inert” ingredients are very often not chemically, biologically, nor toxicologically inert or innocuous. According to a peer-reviewed study, as of 2006, more […]

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11
Mar

Take Action: Call for Moratorium on the Release of RNAi Pesticides that Manipulate Genes

(Beyond Pesticides, March 11, 2019)  We must stop the expanded commercialization of genetically engineered pesticides. The failure of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to fully evaluate environmental impacts of gene-manipulating pesticides raises serious concerns in light of the agency’s ongoing failure to predict ecological effects of pesticides, such as the dramatic decline of pollinators. With the release of a 2019 peer-reviewed scientific article, Environmental Fate of RNA Interference Pesticides: Adsorption and Degradation of Double-Stranded RNA Molecules in Agricultural Soils, on the potential impact on soil and non-target microorganisms in soil, the study’s co-author, Kimberly Parker, PhD, remarked, “The ecological risk assessment of these emerging pesticides necessitates an understanding of the fate of dsRNA [double stranded RNA] molecules in receiving environments, among which agricultural soils are most important.” This technology, given that it is systemic to the plant and leaves traces in the soil, can cause widespread indiscriminate poisoning—as has been seen with bees, butterflies, birds, and the larger catastrophic decline of insect populations. Tell your members of Congress that the ecological effects of RNAi gene-manipulating pesticides raise serious questions—they have not been fully studied by EPA and, until they are, the agency should issue a moratorium on their release. Previously, […]

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08
Mar

Study Raises Ecological Concerns about EPA-Approved RNAi Pesticides that Turn Off Genes

(Beyond Pesticides, March 8, 2019) Researchers from the U.S. and Switzerland have published their findings, a beginning assessment of how use of a new category of pesticides — dsRNA (double stranded RNA), which is less a traditional pesticide than a genetically based pesticide “technology” — might impact soils and non-target microorganisms in the soil. The co-authors (Kimberly M. Parker, PhD, et al.) note that, “The ecological risk assessment of these emerging pesticides necessitates an understanding of the fate of dsRNA molecules in receiving environments, among which agricultural soils are most important.” Their research appeared in late January 2019 in Environmental Science & Technology. Previously, technical hurdles in measuring dsRNA had stymied scientists’ ability to quantify the genetic material and its degradation products in soil, but these investigators were able to attach a radioactive atom to the molecule, “tagging” it so it could be followed through a series of simulated soil systems representative of those in the “real” world. Researchers were able to measure the presence of the material at concentrations as low as a few nanograms of dsRNA per gram of soil. The work of these researchers represents the beginning of understanding the ecological risks of these emerging dsRNA pesticides. They demonstrated […]

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05
Mar

Glyphosate Use in Forestry Drifts on Wild, Edible Plants, Leading to Lasting Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, March 5, 2019) Wild, edible plants subject to drift from the herbicide glyphosate during forestry operations can be contaminated with the chemical an entire year after an initial application, according to a new study published in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research. Glyphosate is often used in forestry to knock down unwanted trees, shrubs, and other plants after clear-cutting to provide room for the regrowth of trees deemed valuable. However, this new research shows that “non-target” species, such as raspberries and blueberries, eaten by wildlife and sometimes wild foraged by humans can retain significant levels of glyphosate contamination due to drift and overspray. Forester Lisa Wood, PhD, from the University of Northern British Columbia began this research based on input and requests from Canadian indigenous First Nations communities. Back in 2013, shrubs foraged by traditional berry-pickers in northeastern British Columbia were sampled and found to contain glyphosate residues, leading to the need for a broader investigation. Dr. Wood sampled the roots and shoots of 10 plant species from an area that had been aerially sprayed with glyphosate a year prior as part of forestry operations to clear aspen and make room for coniferous re-plantings. The 10 plants, which […]

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04
Mar

Take Action: Saving America’s Pollinators Act Reintroduced in Congress

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2019) Last week, U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) reintroduced the Saving America’s Pollinators Act (H.R.1337) to cancel specific bee-toxic pesticides and establish a review and cancellation process for all pesticides that are potentially harmful to pollinators. The specific pesticides targeted in the bill include the systemic insecticides imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, dinotefuran, acetamiprid, sulfoxaflor, flupyradifurone, and fipronil. The bill also establishes requirements for review of other potentially bee-toxic chemicals by an independent pollinator protection board, and requires annual reports on the health and population status of pollinators. The bill creates a sustainable model for pollinator protection in the face of ongoing obstruction by an increasingly industry-influenced EPA. There are 29 cosponsors to date. The current bill is the fifth version of Saving America’s Pollinators Act (SAPA), which was first introduced by U.S. Representative Conyers (D-MI) in 2013. The newest version differs from previous bills in its bold definition of who should have responsibility for assessing harm to pollinators. SAPA 2019 calls for the establishment of a Pollinator Protection Board, to be composed of expert scientists, beekeepers, farmers, members of environmental organizations and other key stakeholders, nearly all of whom must not have any conflict of interest or affiliation […]

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28
Feb

Study Confirms Findings on Carcinogenic Glyphosate, Suggests “Compelling Link”

(Beyond Pesticides, February 28, 2019) Earlier this month, a team of U.S. scientists published a meta-analysis of studies on glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH), concluding that the evidence “suggests a compelling link between exposures to GBH and increased risk of NHL [non-Hodgkin lymphoma],” corroborating findings by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The analysis, authored by researchers from University of California, Berkeley, University of Washington, Seattle, and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, is the latest to support the conclusions established by the International Agency for Research on Cancer that products containing glyphosate pose a cancer risk to humans. As research continues to accumulate on the risks posed by this chemical, the case for transitioning to less toxic alternatives to safeguard public health is becoming increasingly urgent. Researchers took every available published human study on NHL and glyphosate, including the most recently updated data from the ongoing U.S. Agricultural Health Study (AHS), in conducting their review. Focus was put on individuals within these studies exposed to the highest amounts of glyphosate. The reasoning, researchers indicate, is that if there is a true association between glyphosate and a health outcome like cancer, exposures to higher amounts for a longer […]

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05
Feb

EPA-Registered Herbicide Found to Trigger Inflammation Linked to Onset of Multiple Sclerosis

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2019) Linuron, an herbicide registered for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), yet recently banned in Europe due to health concerns, appears to trigger inflammatory signals that have been linked to the onset of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). This new evidence, published in the journal Cell by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, indicates that exposure to chemicals and pesticides in the environment may be a risk factor in the development of neurodegenerative diseases. “We created a platform to systematically investigate the understudied effects of environmental exposures,” said study coauthor Francisco Quintana, PhD. “The goal of our work is to return results that can guide future epidemiological studies and identify actionable targets.” Researchers began their investigation with 976 chemicals identified by EPA’s ToxCast program, an inventory of compounds that have undergone screening for a battery of laboratory tests. Within that inventory, 75 chemicals, including linuron, were found to interfere with the signaling pathways linked to MS. To confirm the adverse impacts, scientists used the embryos of zebrafish, animals often used as models in laboratory research. The zebrafish embryos were altered to contain low levels of myelin, a protein that protects nerve cells, as […]

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30
Jan

Bug Bombs Don’t Work – At All, According to Study

(Beyond Pesticides, January, 30, 2019) Bug bombs are completely ineffective at reducing German cockroach infestations, according to new research published in the journal BMC Public Health.  Not only are they ineffective, research indicates that these products are putting people at unnecessary risk. “In a cost-benefit analysis, you’re getting all costs and no benefits,” said Zachary DeVries, PhD, co-author of the study. “Bug bombs are not killing cockroaches; they’re putting pesticides in places where the cockroaches aren’t; they’re not putting pesticides in places where cockroaches are and they’re increasing pesticide levels in the home.” Scientists enrolled residents in 30 low-income apartments that had ongoing German cockroach infestations. Of the 30 homes, 20 were treated with a name-brand total release fogger (TRF), or bug bomb, and and 10 were treated only with gel baits. Baseline pesticide residue levels were recorded in all residences, and new data was collected after use of the bug bombs. Bug bombs were set off in each infested apartment’s kitchen, according to EPA label precautions. Residents waited 4-6 hours before ventilating and returning to their homes. In apartments receiving baiting gel treatments, the products were applied three times on an as-needed basis during the course of a month. […]

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28
Jan

Take Action: Help Close the “Emergency” Pesticide Use Loophole

(Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2019) A  September 2018 report from the Office Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identified issues important to protecting health and the environment. The EPA’s response to the report left many of these problems unresolved. Measures and Management Controls Needed to Improve EPA’s Pesticide Emergency Exemption Process (Report No. 18-P-0281, September 25, 2018), finds that the agency’s practice of routinely granting “emergency” approval for pesticides through its Section 18 program does not effectively measure risks to human health or the environment. Tell Congress to Ask the EPA Administrator to Close the “Emergency” Pesticide Use Loophole, and Adopt All the Recommendations of the Office of the Inspector General. Under Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA has the authority to approve the temporary emergency use of unapproved pesticides if the agency determines the pesticide is needed to prevent the spread of an unexpected outbreak of crop-damaging insects, for example. But this provision has been widely abused. The inspector general recommends EPA “develop and implement applicable outcome-based performance measures to demonstrate the human health and environmental effects of the EPA’s emergency exemption decisions.” EPA disagreed and said, [T]he development […]

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25
Jan

Government Shutdown Puts Food Safety at Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2019) The partial government shutdown–now in its second month–is disrupting federal oversight of food safety for various pathogens and pesticides. Labs are shuttered, many government agency employees are furloughed, and those still working are doing so without pay. The ongoing obstruction to government assessment of the food supply puts U.S. consumers at risk. Workers from the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) have expressed concerns about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) AMS Pesticide Data Program. This program samples, tests, and reports about pesticide residues in U.S. agricultural commodities, with a focus on chemicals that could cause problems for infants and children. Peter Kyriacopoulos, senior director of public policy at APHL, stated that only one of the ten public health laboratories is planning on continuing testing samples during the shutdown without compensation. Additionally, APHA has reported issues regarding DNA analysis of food samples involved in foodborne outbreaks. DNA samples from sick patients are used to trace back the source of outbreaks and lead to assessment of food production facilities. While outbreak investigations are headed by the currently fully-operational Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), interdepartmental research involving the USDA and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is […]

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22
Jan

Help Get Neurotoxic Pesticide, Chlorpyrifos, Out of Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, January 22, 2019) Earlier this month, U.S. Representative Nydia Velásquez (D-NY) introduced The Ban Toxic Pesticides Act, H.R.230 which bans the insecticide chlorpyrifos from commerce. Chlorpyrifos is a toxic chemical that has been linked to damaging and often irreversible health outcomes in workers, pregnant women, and children. As a result of a revised human health risk assessment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a regulation to ban chlorpyrifos in 2016. Under the Trump Administration, the EPA has taken steps to reverse the regulation. “It’s unconscionable for EPA to turn a blind eye as children and workers are exposed to this poison,” Velázquez said.  “If the EPA won’t do its job when it comes to chlorpyrifos, then Congress needs to act – and do so quickly.” Ask your U.S. Representative to Co-Sponsor H.R. 230 to Stop the Use of the Toxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos, which Is Damaging Children’s Brains.  Chlorypyrifos is a widely used pesticide. Agriculture companies annually spray 6 million pounds of the substance on crops like citrus, apples, and cherries.  In the same family as Sarin gas, the substance was initially developed prior to World War II as a chemical weapon. It can overstimulate the nervous system to cause […]

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18
Jan

More Documentation of EPA’s Failures in Allowing Use of Roundup, as French Court Bans It

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2019) A new analysis by Charles Benbrook, PhD, published in the journal Environmental Sciences Europe, adds to the chronicle of the failures of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect human health from toxic pesticides, and in this subject instance, from glyphosate. Meanwhile, a French Court has pulled the license for a Roundup product, citing the French government’s failure to protect public health. In his paper, Dr. Benbrook examines the divergent positions on the carcinogenicity of glyphosate — the active ingredient in a number of herbicides, most notably Monsanto’s (now Bayer’s) Roundup — taken by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and by EPA. The paper calls out EPA’s handling of science related to the safety of glyphosate, suggesting that the agency has discounted evidence of the compound’s association with genotoxicity — destructive effects on cellular genetic material that can cause mutations — which can result in cancer. Dr. Benbrook is an American agricultural economist, former executive director of the National Academy of Sciences board on agriculture, and former research professor at the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources at Washington State University. He has long studied pesticide use related to genetically engineered […]

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15
Jan

Petition Challenges Lack of Protection for Endangered Species from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, January 14, 2019)  A petition submitted on January 7 by the Center for Biological Diversity calls on the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to initiate rulemaking to proscribe nearly all pesticide use in areas that are deemed critical habitat for endangered species. It asks these federal agencies to use the authority they have under the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA) to protect wildlife from the threats represented by pesticides — which threats both agencies have long recognized. The language of the ESA says its purpose is “to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved.” In its press release on the petition, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) notes that it comes “after decades of intransigence by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has refused to comply with the legal mandates of the Endangered Species Act to protect the nation’s most imperiled species from highly toxic pesticides like chlorpyrifos and atrazine that are known to harm wildlife.” CBD environmental health director Lori Ann Burd said, “Pesticides pose a devastating danger to endangered wildlife, from coast to coast. If the EPA isn’t going to […]

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11
Jan

EPA Negotiates Deal to Drop Plans to Weaken Farmworker Protections

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2019) Plans to weaken farmworker protections from toxic pesticides were dropped by Acting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, according to an undated letter sent to Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) late last year. Reports indicate the action was part of a deal cut by both parties that permitted confirmation of Alexandra Dunn to the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention in exchange for EPA concessions that would improve pesticide and chemical safety measures. While advocates are generally pleased with the outcome of the apparent deal, the irony that deals needed to be made for an agency with protection in its name to do its job is not lost. Under former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, the agency backtracked on provisions put in place during the Obama administration that would update farmworker protections following decades of inaction. Pruitt determined to revisit rules put in place that would require farmworkers be 18 to spray highly toxic pesticides, implement 25 to 100 ft application exclusion zones (AEZ) after pesticide applications, and permit farmworkers to have a designated representative obtain health and safety information on their behalf. These simple, commonsense protections were strongly opposed by the agrichemical […]

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