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Daily News Blog

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


19
Aug

Historic Federal Support Could Effectively Take on Climate, Health, and Biodiversity Crises—with Grassroots Advocacy

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2022) On August 16, President Biden signed a bill — the “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” — that will provide unprecedented sums to address the existential threats we face related to climate, biodiversity, and health. The $750 billion total appropriation is far less than the original $1.75 trillion hoped for early in the legislative process, but nevertheless is an historic level of federal investment. Beyond Pesticides sees in the bill, now law, opportunities to make significant headway on our call for the elimination of toxic pesticides over the next decade, which launches during our 2022 National Forum Series. The new law could (and should) also provide investment in the critical transition to organic production methods in agriculture. Should the federal government advance organic systems as a climate, health, and environmental justice solution, those two priorities would go far to improve health, reduce dependence on synthetic, fossil-fuel-based pesticides and fertilizers, and allow natural systems to begin to heal from 70+ years of chemical assault. Component sections of the Inflation Reduction Act include those on Clean Energy and Transmission, Clean Transportation, Buildings and Energy Efficiency, Manufacturing, Environmental Justice, Conservation and Agriculture, Fossil Fuels, and Permitting Reform. Within those categories, […]

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16
Aug

Toxic Pesticide Residues on Over Half of U.S. Food, 1 in 10 Samples Violate Legal Limits, Says FDA

(Beyond Pesticides, August 16, 2022) Over half of all food samples tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) contain the residues of at least one pesticide, and one in ten samples have levels that violate legal limits established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These findings, published by FDA this month in its 2020 Pesticide Residue Monitoring Report, are simply par for the course for government regulators, as FDA indicates the 2020 results “were consistent with recent years.” However, while reporting on the dangerous pesticides present in U.S. food has become routine for FDA, more and more Americans are rejecting regular exposure to unnecessary toxics in their food by going organic with their food choices, planting their own pesticide-free gardens, and encouraging their elected officials to embrace safer, sustainable land care policies.   FDA has conducted a review of pesticide residues on food on an annual basis since 1987, evaluating both domestic and imported foodstuffs into the US market. While EPA sets “pesticide tolerances,” also known as “maximum residue levels,” of allowed pesticide residues on certain foods, FDA (and USDA, for some specific items like meat, poultry, and eggs) is tasked with enforcing these provisions. Pesticide tolerances, […]

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09
Aug

“Inert” Pesticide Ingredients and Failure to Regulate Raise Dangers for All U.S. Residents

(Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2022) The most widely used pesticide chemicals in the United States are not listed on product labels, yet pose widespread environmental and public health hazards, according to commentary published this month in Environmental Health Perspectives by two veteran researchers. At issue are adjuvants and so-called “inert” (or “other”) ingredients, chemicals that are added to formulated pesticide products, but do not undergo the same safety reviews as the active ingredient in pesticide products. This donut hole of regulation has permitted, as the commentary shows, millions of pounds of chemicals to be applied in California and throughout the country without proper scientific evaluation of their human health or ecological impact. Researchers first draw a distinction between adjuvant products and inert ingredients in pesticide products. Adjuvants are materials specifically designed to improve the performance of a pesticide spray and are sold separately from formulated pesticide products. Adjuvants are “tank mixed” with a pesticide prior its application. Inert ingredients are any ingredient within a formulated pesticide product that is not designed to prevent, destroy, or repel a pest. Adjuvants and inert ingredients can be the same material – the difference lies in when they are added to a formulated pesticide […]

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08
Aug

Stop Chemical and Service Industry from Restricting Local Authority to Protect Health and Local Ecosystems

(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2022) The pesticide industry has selected August as Anti-Democracy Month, as it launches a month-long campaign to undermine local control over pesticides. The National Pest Management Association is encouraging members to lobby members of Congress in August to support H.R. 7266, to “prohibit local regulations relating to the sale, distribution, labeling, application, or use of any pesticide or device” subject to state or federal regulation under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Beyond Pesticides urges you to make August Preserve Local Democracy Month by participating in actions in support of allowing communities to protect themselves from chemical exposure when state and federal regulation is inadequate. Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to support communities by opposing H.R. 7266 and supporting the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA), which contains a provision affirming local authority to restrict pesticides. The fight to defend the authority of local governments to protect people and the environment has been ongoing for decades, reaching the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991. The Court specifically upheld the authority of local governments to restrict pesticides throughout their jurisdictions under federal pesticide law. In Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier, the Court ruled that federal […]

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29
Jul

With Industry Support, a Republican U.S. Senator Introduces Bill to Codify Easier Access to Ag Pesticides–As If It Wasn’t Easy Enough

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2022) Perhaps attempting to capitalize on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision limiting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ability to regulate carbon emissions, Senator Roger Marshall of Kansas (R) has filed a bill in the Senate that seeks to limit the agency’s ability to regulate pesticide use. The so-called EPA Transparency for Agriculture Products Act of 2022 is touted, on Senator Marshall’s website, as “a comprehensive bill to prevent . . . EPA . . . from overregulating essential pesticides that the ag industry heavily depends upon.” In truth — and perversely, given that he is a medical doctor — the bill aims to provide more license to use toxic pesticides that harm human health, the environment broadly, and ecosystems already under assault from toxic, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, habitat destruction, and climate change. Couched in language about “feeding the world,” the bill’s central concern seems to be financial impacts or challenges that farms (a good portion of which, let us remember, are giant, well-resourced agribusinesses) may face because of EPA pesticide regulations. Those regulations, of course, are promulgated by the agency to protect people, organisms, ecosystems, and natural resources from harmful impacts and risks […]

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26
Jul

Inspector General Finds Secret EPA Meetings with Industry and Use of Untested Science to Lower Cancer Risk for Dangerous Fumigant

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2022) Secret meetings with industry, the elevation of unqualified individuals to decision-making roles, using an untested scientific approach, failing to conduct a simple literature review, and an overall absence of public transparency. This is how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) conducted its cancer review for the potent fumigant pesticide 1,3-Dichloropropane (1,3-D; brand name: Telone), according to a report from EPA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG). EPA’s actions allowed a product once considered to pose a 1 in 10,000 risk of cancer to Americans to increase exposure by 9,000% (from 7.7 μg/m3 to 690 μg/m3). “These departures from established standards during the cancer assessment for 1,3-D undermine the EPA’s credibility, as well as public confidence in and the transparency of the Agency’s scientific approaches, in its efforts to prevent unreasonable impacts on human health,” the OIG report states. Yet, even with the agency’s failings laid out in clear view, EPA’s lackluster response to OIG’s corrective actions in this case add insult to its injurious actions against public health. OIG initiated a review of EPA’s cancer assessment for 1,3-D after the submission of multiple complaints. 1,3-D is a highly toxic fumigant used on a variety of crops, […]

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25
Jul

Help Stop Collapse of Ocean Life, Part of the Biodiversity Decline Crisis

(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2022) We have seen pesticide use, habitat destruction, and climate change result in dramatic losses of insect biodiversity and biomass—an “insect apocalypse” that is resulting in cascading impacts on other species that depend on them. A preliminary report on two years of water sampling from sites in the Atlantic Ocean near the United Kingdom (UK), by a team from the Global Oceanic Environmental Survey Foundation (GOES), suggests that plankton populations may have plummeted by 90% since baseline 1940 levels. Just as insects are crucial as the basis of terrestrial ecosystems, plankton are the base of aquatic and marine food chains. The authors of the report conclude, “An environmental catastrophe is unfolding. We believe humanity could adapt to global warming and extreme weather changes. It is our view that humanity will not survive the extinction of most marine plants and animals.” Tell EPA to protect our oceans and our lives. Tell Congress to ensure that EPA does its job. Action is needed now to stop the ongoing plankton apocalypse. Researchers blame chemical pollution from pesticides, farm fertilizers, and oil spills in the water. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has responsibilities under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act […]

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19
Jul

Banned Pesticides Still Present in the Environment Linked to Hearing Loss

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2022) Banned pesticides still persistent in the environment pose an increased risk of hearing impairment for U.S. adults, according to research published this month in Scientific Reports. Although regular use of DDT and hexachlorobenzene (HCB) no longer occurs in the United States, exposure to these persistent chemicals can still occur through a range of sources, including air, water, sediment, soil and food. As new science continues to find harmful health effects of older pesticides, advocates say new laws are needed to ensure long term hazards don’t arise from the more than 1,200 active ingredients currently registered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with little to no independent scientific oversight. Hearing loss affects nearly 40 million (~15%) American adults over age 18. While it is clear that common causes like aging and noise exposure can result in hearing loss, there has been increasing attention to the role environmental contaminants may be playing in hearing disorders. To explore any potential connection, researchers analyzed data from the long-running U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Blood serum levels of the organochlorine insecticides HCB, p, p’-DDE (a breakdown product of DDT), trans-nonachlor, and dieldrin were compared against audiometry […]

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18
Jul

Take Action: Male Fertility Harmed by Pesticides and EPA Dysfunction

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2022) The failure of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to meet its statutory responsibility to protect people and wildlife from the dire consequences of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals must end. A study published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology adds urgency to the need to eliminate endocrine-disrupting pesticides. The authors find that prepubescent exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including pesticides, impairs male reproduction through the interruption of testicular homeostasis and development of reproductive Leydig cells, and can have multigenerational effects. This adds to the long list of scientific articles showing EPA neglect of the devastating effects of widely used pesticides. Tell EPA that pesticide use cannot continue without findings of no endocrine disruption. Tell Congress to ensure that EPA does its job. More than 50 pesticide active ingredients have been identified as endocrine disruptors that mimic the action of a naturally-produced hormone, such as estrogen or testosterone, thereby setting off similar chemical reactions in the body; block hormone receptors in cells, thereby preventing the action of normal hormones; or affect the synthesis, transport, metabolism and excretion of hormones, thus altering the concentrations of natural hormones. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), […]

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12
Jul

Four Out of Five People in U.S. Contaminated with Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2022) More than four out of five U.S. children and adults over the age of six have detectable levels of glyphosate in their bodies, according to data recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With strong evidence implicating this chemical as a carcinogen, and emerging data associating it with adverse birth outcomes, the findings raise broad concerns for public health. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to permit widespread public exposure to toxic chemicals based on obscure economic arguments over the claimed benefits of pesticides, advocates say it is time for a change that embraces health and the environment over the profits of pesticide manufacturers. CDC’s testing data was developed as part of its National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a long-running program that began in the early 1960s and has since become a continuous program focused on American health and nutrition measurements. Data from this program are subsequently analyzed to help inform the prevalence of disease in the U.S. population and are used to develop public health policies. A total of 2,310 urine samples retained from studies conducted in 2013-2014 were analyzed by NHANES researchers for the presence […]

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08
Jul

Supreme Court Politicizes Fed Agency Response to Climate Crisis, Limiting Broad Regulatory Action without Congressional Mandate

(Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2022) Among the multiple, wrenching decisions handed down by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) in a week-long tranche (June 24–30) was one that limits the ability of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants. The decision may also, and with much broader implication, call into question the established authority of federal agencies to promulgate regulations not specifically authorized by Congress, but related to their overall mission to protect health and the environment. In this respect, the current court majority of six, arguably very conservative, justices has thus dealt a serious-though-not-fatal blow to EPA’s ability to carry out efforts to thwart the existential climate crisis and other crises on the short horizon, such as biodiversity collapse. The court has left these science-based decisions and strategies to a body locked in political logjam—the U.S. Congress. As Chief Justice John Roberts opined for the majority, “A decision [on carbon emissions] of such magnitude and consequence rests with Congress itself, or an agency acting pursuant to a clear delegation from that representative body.” Beyond Pesticides and other health, environmental, and environmental and climate justice advocates, as well as Democrats across […]

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22
Jun

Supreme Court Permits Large Jury Verdicts on Roundup, Appeals Court Finds EPA Registration Unlawful

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2022) Bad news is piling up for Bayer (Monsanto) and its carcinogenic flagship weed killer, glyphosate (Roundup). Last week, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit handed down a ruling that held the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2020 approval of its notorious weed killer glyphosate unlawful. Then, yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider (deny certiorari) Bayer’s “Hail Mary” petition attempt to save the company from being held accountable to those diagnosed with cancer after using Roundup (glyphosate) herbicides. In both cases, the courts are acting as a check on a company, while EPA regulators charged with stopping this behavior continue to rubber stamp the agrichemical industry’s dangerous decisions. This is not the first time that the Supreme Court has upheld the rights of victims of the pesticide industry. In 2004, Bates v. Dow Agrosciences (U.S. Supreme Court, No. 03-388), the court found: “The long history of tort litigation against manufacturers of poisonous substances adds force to the basic presump­tion against pre-emption. If Congress had intended to deprive injured parties of a long available form of compen­sation, it surely would have expressed that intent more clearly. See Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee Corp., 464 U. […]

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21
Jun

Pollinators Still Need Help; Act for Pollinator Week

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2022) June 20-24 is Pollinator Week, during which we recognize—and take action to protect—this important ecosystem link. Pollinators––bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other organisms––make a critical contribution to plant health, crop productivity, and the preservation of natural resources, but their existence is threatened by their pesticide-contaminated habitat. Pesticides have consistently been implicated as a key contributor to dramatic pollinator declines. Of the 100 crop varieties that provide 90% of the world’s food, 71 are pollinated by bees. Honey bees alone pollinate 95 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables, such as apples, avocados, almonds, and cranberries. Take action to protect pollinators. Providing protection for pollinators also protects the ecosystem in which they live. That protection requires eliminating harm as well as providing safe habitats where they can live and reproduce.  Provide organic habitat on your own property and encourage your town to go organic. Since plant starts in many garden centers across the country are grown from seeds coated with bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, or drenched with them, Beyond Pesticides has compiled a comprehensive directory of companies and organizations that sell organic seeds and plants to the general public. Included in this directory are seeds for vegetables, flowers, and herbs, as well as […]

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15
Jun

DOJ Continues Pesticide Crackdown, with Millions in Fines for Illegal Claims of Protection from Covid

(Beyond Pesticides, June 15, 2022) The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is cracking down on companies and individuals that took advantage of Americans desire for antimicrobial products that would work against coronavirus during the height of the Covid pandemic. Late last week, a New Jersey man pled guilty to selling nearly $3 million worth of unregistered pesticides he claimed were approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to combat the coronavirus. And yesterday, U.S. Attorney Office for the Southern District of New York announced a record $1.5 million settlement with TZUMI Innovations LLC for illegal distributing millions of products claiming to have antimicrobial properties, while specifically targeting low-income customers. The case in New Jersey centers around chemist Paul Andrecola, 63, who established an elaborate scheme to sell a product he named “GCLEAN.” Mr. Andrecola used the pesticide registration numbers of a different company on his product, and forged documents to support his advertised claim that his product was “EPA approved to kill coronavirus.” From March 2020 to May 2021, Mr. Andrecola made over 150 sales, making a profit of more than $2.7 million. He specifically defrauded a number of government agencies, including a Delaware police department, Virginia fire department, […]

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14
Jun

U.S. Attorneys Bust Pesticide Smuggling Operation, but Online Purchasing Continues

(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2022) The ringleader of a pesticide smuggling operation conducted across the United States border with Mexico has been sentenced to eight months in prison by a U.S. District Court Judge. According to a press release by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, Sofia Mancera Morales used individuals recruited over social media Bovitraz and Taktic, pesticide products banned in the US that pose hazards to pollinators and cancer risks to humans. “In exchange for ill-begotten profits, this cavalier smuggling operation was more than willing to risk the public’s health and the honeybee industry, which is critical to pollinating our food supply,” said U.S. Attorney Randy Grossman. While the Department of Justice deserves praise for this enforcement action, health and environmental advocates say that more must be done to stop illegal pesticide sales. A quick search for the two pesticide products in question brings up webpages, including well-known sites like Etsy.com, where the same illegal pesticides cited in this case are currently being sold to U.S. consumers. Over Facebook, Ms. Morales offered to pay individuals between $40-150 per package of pesticide products they delivered across the border. Those recruited were instructed to open a […]

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07
Jun

Glyphosate Weed Killer Disrupts Bumblebees’ Nest Temperature, Leading to Colony Failure

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2022) Bumblebee colonies exposed to low levels of the weed killer glyphosate are unable to adequately regulate nest temperature, imperiling the next generation of bumblebees and long-term colony growth and survival. This latest finding, published this month in the journal Science, is a stark reminder that a pesticide does not have to kill an animal outright in order to create effects that ultimately result in death and population declines. “Sublethal effects, i.e. effects on organisms that are not lethal but can be seen, for example, in the animals’ physiology or behaviour, can have a significant negative impact and should be taken into account when pesticides are approved in future,” said Anja Weidenmüller, PhD, of the University of Konstanz, Germany. With regulators at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refusing to adequately account for sublethal impacts, and myopically focused on the acute effects of pesticide exposure, bumblebee populations in the United States are in free fall and require urgent protective action. To better understand how glyphosate exposure affects bumblebee colony growth and brood (young larval bee) development, researchers first split colonies in two. One side of the colony was fed sugar water containing 5mg/liter of glyphosate, while […]

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27
May

Drift-Prone Weed Killer Out of Control with the Chemical Industry at the Wheel

(Beyond Pesticides, May 27, 2022) In a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) court document filed on May 16, the agency signaled potential changes to the labeling it requires for “over the top” (OTT, or post-emergent) herbicides containing dicamba, a very problematic pesticide. The filing — in U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, where EPA currently faces litigation about its 2020 dicamba registrations — comes as a result of Bayer, Inc.’s March 2022 proposed amendments to EPA registration for its XtendiMax herbicide, which contains dicamba and glyphosate. Beyond Pesticides has covered the dicamba saga for years, including the EPA Office of the Inspector General’s critical 2021 report citing an abandonment of science and assault on agency integrity for EPA’s dicamba decisions during the Trump years. Dicamba has been linked to cancer, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, birth defects, and kidney and liver damage. It is toxic to birds, fish, and other aquatic organisms, and is known to leach into waterways after application. Dicamba also causes serious damage to non-GE (genetically engineered), non-target plants, damaging habitat and food sources for various organisms, especially for birds and insects. According to Progressive Farmer, EPA is currently considering some dicamba use restrictions after Bayer submitted them to […]

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25
May

Agrichemical Industry Demands Biden Administration Rescind Support for Cancer Victims Before Supreme Court

(Beyond Pesticides, May 25, 2022) Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice urged the Supreme Court to deny a request by Bayer to review a verdict that found the corporation liable for damages from the use of its Roundup (glyphosate) herbicides. Now, Bayer is using proxy organizations to place pressure on the Biden Administration and Justice Department to rescind its decision. Alongside a range of chemical industry umbrella groups, many of which—like Croplife America—Bayer is a member of, a letter was sent to President Biden expressing “grave concern” about the opinion filed by Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar. Among a range of baseless claims, the agrichemical industry is deflecting lower court findings on the hazards and cancer risk of their products with the claim that their toxic chemicals are needed to feed the world, as crops shipments from Ukraine have been halted during the ongoing war. “The agrichemical industry has long tried to sell the idea that their toxic pesticides are needed to feed the world, as if to suggest that their motives are altruistic when, in fact, they have shown a callous disregard for life and a sustainable future,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. ” We […]

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23
May

Broadscale Devastating Ecological and Health Effects Associated with Herbicide Indaziflam; Ask To Go Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2022)  The climate change-induced increase in wildfire frequency and intensity has lent new urgency to efforts to manage so-called “invasive” plants. Unfortunately, the herbicide-based approach favored by many is both counterproductive and hazardous. It must be replaced by an organic system, incorporating biological control agents like goats and establishing a more resilient ecology.    Tell your county/city officials to replace herbicides with organic vegetation management. Tell EPA and Congress that herbicides must be evaluated in the context of the availability of organic systems. Use of the herbicide indaziflam is an example of the ineffectiveness of management based on herbicides. While indaziflam is considered a “selective” herbicide, it actually kills and prevents germination of a wide range of broad-leaved plants and grasses and comes close to being a soil sterilant. The action on seedlings is long-lasting, thus inhibiting the growth and establishment of a resilient plant community that is resistant to invasion. Given its persistence and nonselective action and the extent of the damage it causes to native soil seed banks and plant biodiversity, indaziflam could contribute to the eventual ecological collapse of ecosystems where it’s applied, similar to the cascading impacts of the systemic insecticides, fipronil and […]

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16
May

Tell Congress that Environmental Laws without Compliance Are Worthless

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2021) Despite the fact that many more people die from living and working in unhealthy environments than from homicides or traffic crashes, resources put into preventing those deaths have been lacking—even decreasing in recent years. Tell Congress to double budgets for environmental law enforcement.  Toxic pesticide residues readily contaminate soils, water (solid and liquid), and the surrounding air at levels exceeding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set standards. Scientific literature demonstrates pesticides’ long history of adverse effects on the environment, including wildlife, biodiversity, and human health. Pesticides can present acute and long-term health impacts worldwide, especially to farmers, 44 percent of whom experience pesticide poisoning every year. Furthermore, a 2020 study attributes approximately 385 million cases of non-fatal unintentional poisonings and 11,000 deaths annually to pesticides.  The risks to human and environmental health must be met with strong environmental law enforcement. In the case of pesticides, this involves not only enforcement of label restrictions in the field, but also closer attention to ensuring that pesticides are not registered for uses in which risks outweigh benefits—as required by law. The commitment to stronger environmental law enforcement should begin with a doubling of the budget for these activities. […]

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13
May

As EPA Oversight of Pesticides Shrinks, Workload Doubles—Raising Safety Concerns

(Beyond Pesticides, May 13, 2022) The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting has covered a report, released days ago by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that acknowledges the agency’s failures to meet its responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and sets out a plan for improving its performance and meeting its obligations. The report, Balancing Wildlife Protection and Responsible Pesticide Use: How EPA’s Pesticide Program Will Meet Its Endangered Species Act Obligations, 2022, notes that these failures have resulted “not only in inadequate protections for listed species, but also, litigation against the Agency that has increased in frequency in recent years” — to the tune of more than 20 lawsuits covering 1,000+ pesticide products. Beyond Pesticides has covered the many chemical assaults on ESA species, as well as a number of lawsuits brought on their behalf — most recently, the Center for Biological Diversity’s (CBD’s) suit about the threats of synthetic pyrethroid insecticides to fragile species. Beyond Pesticides reported on a 2019 CBD lawsuit seeking to force the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to initiate rulemaking to prevent most pesticide use in critical habitat for endangered species — an aspect of the […]

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09
May

With Decision on Insecticide, EPA Betrays Protection of Pollinators. . .Again

(Beyond Pesticides, May 9, 2022) While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated its guidelines for pollinator risk assessments in 2014, the agency continues to either fail to conduct full assessments, or dismiss concerning data it receives. EPA appears to discount threats like the insect apocalypse, evidenced by a 75% decline in insect abundance, which threatens not only global ecosystems, but also food production that depends on animal pollination. As pesticides move through the food web, birds are also at risk. Bird numbers are down 29% since Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring in 1962. Tell EPA To Protect Against Other Threats to Pollinators. Tell Congress To Insist that EPA Does Its Job. The problem is highlighted by EPA’s recent Interim Decision on fenbuconazole, in which the agency notes that, “For larval bees, RQs (risk quotients) exceed the LOC (level of concern) for all pollinator attractive uses including when assessed at the lowest application rate of 0.0938 lb a.i./Acre (RQ = 1.1).” Yet in the same document, the agency declares that “…the benefits of fenbuconazole (e.g., efficacy in management of fungal pathogens) outweigh any remaining risk and that continuing to register fenbuconazole provides significant benefits, including its ability to increase crop […]

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03
May

Fungicide Found to Jeopardize Male Pollinator’s Ability to Find a Mate, as EPA Ignores Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, May 3, 2022) Exposure to a commonly used fungicide considered to be ‘slightly toxic or nontoxic’ to pollinators makes male mason bees less likely to find a mate, jeopardizing future generations of critically important pollinators. This determination comes from research recently published in the Journal of Applied Ecology by scientists at Germany’s University of Würzburg. The timing of these findings comes after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reapproved uses of fenbuconazole, the fungicide in question, late last year without completing all required studies on pollinator health effects. Horned mason bees (Osmia cornuta), a solitary bee species, have a complex mating process that includes a range of “pre-copulatory behaviors” used by male bees attract females. Males create thoracic vibrations with their flight muscles, rub the eyes of female bees with their antennae, and emit a distinct odor from their body. If the female likes the presentation, she will mate with the male. Otherwise, she will move him to the side and wait for another male to try to win her affection. To see how this process was influenced by pesticide exposure, researchers conducted a range of different experiments. For the first, newly emerged male and female bees were […]

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