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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Federal Agencies' Category


25
Aug

Harmful Pollutants in Minnesota Waterways Highlights the Continuing Issue of Water Source Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2023) A U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and National Park Service collaborative survey report finds a harmful mixture of pollutants, including pesticides, pharmaceuticals, caffeine, methylparaben, algal toxins, and fecal and parasitic bacteria, in Pipestone Creek at Pipestone National Monument in Minnesota, U.S.— adding to evidence of widespread pesticide contamination in waterways across the U.S. Pesticide contamination in waterways is historically commonplace. A 1998 USGS analysis revealed pesticides are commonly found in all U.S. waterways, with at least one pesticide detectable. Thousands of tons of pesticides enter rivers and streams around the US from agricultural and nonagricultural sources, which contaminate essential drinking water sources, such as surface water and groundwater. As the number of pesticides in waterways increases, it has detrimental impacts on aquatic ecosystem health, especially as some pesticides work synergistically with others to increase the severity of the effect. Reports like these are significant tools for determining appropriate regulatory action to protect human, animal, and environmental health.  The survey collected water samples from Pipestone Creek, the pipestone quarries, and Winnewissa Falls, all of which are on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) list of impaired waters for turbidity (reduced water clarity) and fecal coliform bacteria (E. coli). Turbidity and fecal coliform […]

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18
Aug

Groups Sue U.S. Interior Department to Protect the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge from Industrial Aquaculture

(Beyond Pesticides, August 18, 2023) Yesterday, three environmental organizations filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Interior for failing to protect the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge from industrial aquaculture. The groups, including Protect the Peninsula’s Future, Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat, and Beyond Pesticides, filed their complaint in the U.S. Western District Court of Washington State. The complaint states that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Department of Interior, must “take action that is required by the Refuge Improvement Act and conduct a compatibility determination and require a special use permit for a proposed industrial aquaculture use” that will abut and impact the Refuge. The plaintiffs are represented by the Seattle, WA law firm of Bricklin and Newman LLP. The shellfish operation leases 50 acres of Washington State bottomlands; 34 acres to be covered with up to 80,000 plastic bags of non-native shellfish and staked into the bottomlands, potentially killing all benthic life underneath and snaring wildlife in the netting. This operation would shift the natural year-round-sediment movement, directing the sediment into the eelgrass beds – beds protected for rearing salmon for whales and nourishing particular migratory ducks. Additionally, the plastic bags will cover primary feeding […]

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15
Aug

The Ultimate Buzz Kill – Officials Find Pesticides in Marijuana… Again

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2023) Marijuana regulators in the state of Washington issued administrative holds on 18 licenses due to pesticide-contaminated marijuana, forcing producers and processors to cease operations until now. This shutdown of legal marijuana businesses serves as a window into a broader historical backdrop of pesticide issues within the marijuana industry. Within Washington, pesticide concerns have been growing since a study in 2018 of legal marijuana farms in the state had 84.6% (of 26 samples) with significant quantities of pesticides including insecticides, fungicides, miticides, and herbicides. Last year, a national study identified a list of contaminants in 36 states and the District of Columbia and found 551 pesticides within cannabis products. For over a decade, Beyond Pesticides has sounded the alarm about the highly-concentrated levels of pesticides in marijuana products, calling on state officials to require organic marijuana, especially in the context of medical marijuana. The absence of federal regulations for pesticides in cannabis production has raised significant concerns about exposure risks for recreational and medicinal use, exposure risks to workers, and potential environmental contamination impacting wildlife. Since marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act, the EPA does not regulate pesticides in […]

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01
Aug

EPA Releases Ten Years of Data on How Pesticides Impact Humans, Pets, Wildlife, and More

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2023) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it is publishing a decade’s worth of pesticide incident data in a searchable database that will be updated on a monthly basis. The Incident Data System (IDS), with poisoning reports generated mostly from chemical manufacturers, states, a national hotline, and poison control centers, offers information on reported pesticide exposures from accidental poisoning of pets, wildlife, and humans, to pesticide drift, noncompliance, and other pesticide incidents that may be associated with product uses in compliance with label instructions. Tracking this incident data is essential to understanding the risks and damages associated with pesticide use.   The bulk of the data on incidents is from consumer reports to chemical manufacturers. Chemical companies are required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), Section 6(a)(2) to report incidents: “If at any time after the registration of a pesticide the registrant has additional factual information regarding unreasonable adverse effects on the environment of the pesticide, the registrant shall submit such information to the Administrator.” The determine of threshold number of incidents required to be reported as a pattern of “unreasonable adverse effects” is left to the manufacturers to determine. Through […]

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25
Jul

Advocates and Scientists Urge that USGS Pesticide Data Program Be Elevated, Not Eliminated as Proposed 

(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2023) How can scientists fight the elimination of national pesticide data? More data! A new report surveys 58 academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations, government officials, and businesses to measure the scientific, educational, and policy use of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) Pesticide National Synthesis Project (PNSP), a database that is getting phased out by the current administration.   According to the report authors, Maggie Douglas, PhD, Bill Freese, Joseph G. Grzywacz, PhD, and Nathan Donley, PhD, the PNSP is the “most comprehensive public description of pesticide use in U.S. agriculture.” Despite its widespread use across the government and 348 citations since 2010, the database has been degraded in recent years, including a shift from monitoring 400 pesticides to 72 pesticides in 2019. Moreover, starting in 2024, estimates of agricultural pesticide use will be released every five years (instead of annually). Advocates believe the loss of PNSP data could further hinder the ability to manage pesticide impacts on humans, agriculture, and the environment. These concerns are outlined in a letter to USGS and the Department of Interior, signed by more than 250 scientists.  Beyond Pesticides extensively tracks USGS data and resulting findings to inform local and state […]

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19
Jul

45% of U.S. Tap Water Is Contaminated with PFAS, According to USGS Survey

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2023) A study in Environment International (August issue) by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) finds that almost half of U.S. tap water is contaminated with PFAS chemicals, with measured concentrations in both private wells and public water sources. Authors of the study “estimate that at least one PFAS could be detected in about 45% of U.S. drinking-water samples.” Although there are more than 12,000 different types of PFAS, only 32 are detectable by USGS lab tests, so 45% is likely a low estimate.  Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals found in a variety of common household products such as nonstick pans and stain resistant carpeting, as well as pesticides and biosolids used as fertilizer. Long-chain PFAS, such as PFOA and PFOS, are more widely known because of their high toxicity and controversial use in the past. Today, long-chain PFAS are often replaced with short-chain PFAS, as the latter are not as bioaccumulative; however, short-chained PFAS also pose a significant threat because they remain highly persistent in the environment. Past Beyond Pesticides’ articles have described the prevalence of PFAS in products as well as their negative health consequences, including cancer, decreased fertility, […]

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03
Jul

Take Action: The Protection of Birds Linked to Mosquito Management

(Beyond Pesticides, July 3, 2023) Mosquito season is upon us, and to many that means spraying pesticides to kill them. But not only is spraying flying mosquitoes the most ineffective way to prevent mosquito problems, it is also counterproductive because it eliminates some of our most attractive and helpful allies—birds. Tell EPA to eliminate pesticides that threaten birds or their insect food supply. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior to protect birds by eliminating the use of pesticides that threaten them. Tell Congress that EPA and other agencies need to do their job and protect birds and other mosquito predators. While the appetite of purple martins for mosquitoes is well known, most songbirds eat insects at some stage of their life. Many birds who eat seeds or nectar feed insects to their young, including flying insects that may be bothersome–like mosquitoes or flies. Altogether, birds consume as many as 20 quadrillion individual insects, totaling 400-500 million metric tons, per year. Mosquito-eating birds include many well-known residents of our communities. They include, for example, wood ducks, phoebes and other flycatchers, bluebirds, cardinals, downy woodpeckers, swallows, swifts, robins, orioles, wrens, great tits, warblers, nuthatches, hummingbirds, red-winged blackbirds, […]

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15
Jun

Recent Supreme Court Ruling on Clean Water Act “will take our country backwards”

(Beyond Pesticides, June 15, 2023) The Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Sackett v. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the Clean Water Act’s jurisdiction dramatically limits the EPA’s ability to protect critical wetland ecosystems. On May 25, in a 5-4 majority decision, the Supreme Court ruled that EPA has authority to protect only “wetlands with a continuous surface connection to bodies that are ‘waters of the United States’ in their own right.” Wetlands must appear “indistinguishable” from larger waterways at a surface-level perspective. Wetlands next to a large waterway are no longer protected if they are separated by a manmade or terrestrial barrier. Water flows underground from upstream to downstream sources and exits the confines of its customary boundaries during periods of flooding, so to declare waterways distinct based merely on a surface-level perspective defies scientific understanding of ecosystem health.  Critical Nature of Wetland Ecology  The conservation of wetland ecology is critical to the health of our environment. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) states, “Wetlands are among the most productive habitats on earth” given their role in flood resilience, improvement in water quality, and coastal erosion control. Wetlands are essential nursery grounds for many species of fish and oases for […]

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12
Jun

Take Action: Help Boost Transition to Organic Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, June 12, 2023) In view of the urgent need to enact a transformation to organic agriculture in order to address existential threats to human health, climate, and biodiversity, U.S. Senator Peter Welch (VT) and U.S. Representatives Jimmy Panetta (CA-19) and Alma Adams (NC-12) have introduced Senate and House versions of the Opportunities in Organic Act to reduce cost-barriers, expand access to new markets and resources, and provide support and training. >>Tell your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators to cosponsor H.R. 3650 and S. 1582, the Opportunities in Organic Act. Thank those who are current cosponsors. Although some existing programs support organic agriculture, transition, and research, they do not level the playing field for organic producers and do not adequately or holistically meet their needs. Organic certification costs and processes remain a barrier for many, and most producers have limited access to organic-specific technical assistance or mentorship – especially in regions with smaller organic sectors. The Opportunities in Organic Act will expand the existing National Organic Certification Cost-Share Program to reduce these barriers and better serve organic producers. The Opportunities in Organic Act has three major components: Organic Certification Cost-Share. The Opportunities in Organic Act will modernize reimbursements for organic certification, […]

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05
Jun

Take Action: With Butterfly Decline Mounting, EPA Allows Continued Pesticide Use that Causes Threat

(Beyond Pesticides, June 5, 2023) Butterflies—the most attractive of our insect fauna—are disappearing at an appalling rate, largely due to pesticide use. Recent studies have documented declines of almost 50% from 1990 to 2011 in Europe (with trends continuing), of 58 percent between 2000 and 2009 in the U.K., and of 33% from 1996–2016 in the state of Ohio in the U.S. Even steeper declines have been documented for Monarch butterflies, with an 80 percent decline of Eastern monarchs and 99 percent decline of Western monarchs. Tell EPA to eliminate pesticides that threaten butterflies. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior to help bring back butterflies by eliminating the use of pesticides that threaten them. Tell Congress that EPA and other agencies need to do their job and protect our most charismatic insects. Last year, EPA admitted that three neonicotinoid pesticides are “likely to adversely affect from two-thirds to over three-fourths of America’s endangered species—1,225 to 1,445 species in all,” including many butterfly species. On May 5 of this year, EPA released new analyses of these neonics’ effects on endangered species. EPA’s analyses focus on the species most at risk of extinction, and the results represent […]

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17
May

Efficacy and Health Issues Stop Release of Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes in California; Florida Continues

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2023) British biotechnology company Oxitec is withdrawing its application to release billions of genetically engineered mosquitoes in California, according to a recent update from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. The withdrawal is a victory for environmental and health campaigners concerned about the release of a novel mosquito that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had previously authorized under an “experimental use” permit. “Genetically engineered mosquitoes are an environmental justice issue for Tulare County residents who should not be human experiments,” said Angel Garcia, codirector of the statewide coalition Californians for Pesticide Reform and Tulare County resident in a press release. “We are already impacted by some of the worst pollution problems in the state and deserve prior informed consent to being part of an open-air biopesticide experiment. Ahead of any future proposal for genetically engineered insects, DPR needs to have robust regulations in place that protect community members, and meaningful, inclusive public participation in any decision making.”     Oxitec began releasing its GE mosquitoes over a decade ago, first introducing the insects in the Brazilian town of Itaberaba. The company has made efforts to launch its mosquitoes in the United States, likely as a way […]

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16
May

Groups Announce Intent to Sue Fish and Wildlife Service Over Failure to Protect Manatees

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2023) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is set to be sued for its failure to implement strong protections for imperiled manatee populations. Earlier this month, the Harvard Animal Law and Policy Clinic, Center for Biological Diversity, Miami Waterkeeper, and engineer Frank GonzĂĄlez Garcia sent USFWS a notice of intent to sue after USFWS failed to respond to a petition sent by the groups last fall. “It has been months of agony and unjustified time lost for manatees in Puerto Rico,” said Mr. Garcia, an engineer who is concerned with the loss of natural resources. “Recent fatal accidents and unprecedented toxic water discharges aggravate the already precarious living and survival conditions of this beloved species,” Mr. Garcia said. Recent reporting has captured a dismal situation for manatee populations. The species is under threat from a range of anthropogenic impacts, from boat strikes to harmful herbicide contamination, pollution-driven red tides, and algae blooms that have destroyed seagrass beds the species rely upon. Starvation resulting from the loss of seagrass beds was the cause of death for more than 1,000 manatees in 2021, prompting wildlife officials to feed them cabbage and lettuce as a last resort to keep […]

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10
May

Scientists Zero In on “Rapidly Evolving” Human Pathogenic Fungi, May Be Tied to Widespread Fungicide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2023) Scientists are uncovering more information about a fungal pathogen behind a disease outbreak in Indian hospitals that sickened 10 pre-term infants. According to a study published in mBIO late last month, the yeast pathogen Lodderomyces elongisporus was the causative agent of this outbreak and is rapidly evolving resistance to control measures. There is growing concern globally over the spread of fungal pathogens, with scientists increasingly identifying agriculture as the driver behind pathogenic mutations and resistance. Scientists in Delhi, India were called to investigate an outbreak of L. elongisporus that sickened ten infants with low birthweight in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) from September 2021 to February 2022. L. elongisporus is more commonly known for attacking severely immunocompromised adults, including those with heart conditions or a history of intravenous drug use. However, there are an increasing number of reports of fungal infections in neonatal care units. Further, the fungus appears to be spreading globally, with reports of infections in the Middle East, Europe, Australia, and North America. “This yeast is among a growing list of fungi capable of causing severe infections among humans,” said lead study author Jianping Xu, PhD a professor at McMaster University […]

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02
May

Europe Moves to Disclose and Restrict Endocrine Disruptors, While U.S. Rejects Action

(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 2023) On April 20, the European Commission’s new rules on endocrine disrupting chemicals took effect. Called “Classification, Labelling & Packaging” (CLP), the rules create four new hazard categories for endocrine disruptors. The categories range from “suspected of causing” or “may cause” endocrine disruption in the environment to “suspected of causing” or “may cause” endocrine disruption in humans. After a transition period, users will have to indicate on labels and packaging if a substance falls into any of the hazard classes. All actors in the supply chain are obligated to provide the information to every downstream participant. The  new CLP rules, implementing a 2022 measure adopted by the European Commission and then the European Parliament, also specify a minimum font size for the hazard information and for the first time include standards for labeling in online commerce and in places where customers use refillable containers to transport, store, and use the chemicals. According to the EU Directorate-General for the Environment: “The new hazard classes are the result of extensive scientific discussions and will provide easier access to information to all users of such chemicals, notably consumers, workers and businesses. They allow further action to address and mitigate […]

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01
May

Take Action: U.S. Geological Survey Critical to Pesticide Monitoring and Regulatory Action

(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2023) The sheer number of different chemicals in the nation’s waterways and thus potential for toxic mixtures presents significant risks to health and the environment. However, the range of pesticides and the widespread contamination across the country would not be as fully uncovered without the work of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Research conducted by USGS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on urban runoff across the country in 2019 found 215 of 438 sampled toxic compounds present in the water. The toxic soup in many U.S. waterways is unsustainable and threatens the foundation of many food chains. Imbalances in aquatic environments can ripple throughout the food web, creating trophic cascades that further exacerbate health and environmental damage. The data on water contamination has become one of the compelling reasons to abandon reliance on toxic chemicals in favor of organic land management to eliminate these threats. Tell Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland to expand USGS mapping of pesticide use and monitoring of waterways. Tell EPA Administrator Michael Regan that pesticides shown to contaminate rivers and streams must be banned. The USGS Water Resources Mission Area (WMA) researches pesticide use, trends in pesticide occurrence in streams, concentrations […]

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24
Apr

Call for Farm Bill with Organic, Restoration and Resilience without Petrochemicals, and Native Ecosystem Support

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2023) It is well-known that trees and other plants help fight climate change by sequestering carbon in their wood and roots—especially when they are allowed to grow continuously. However, plants help in other ways as well.  Plants—especially trees—also moderate the climate through their participation in the water cycle. And when the weather is hot and dry, they hold the soil, preventing dust bowl conditions. In the 1930’s, the U.S. Forest Service, Civilian Conservation Corps, and the Works Progress Administration, together with local farmers, planted more than 220 million trees, developing 18,000 miles of windbreaks on the Great Plains. Unfortunately, those windbreaks are now endangered by the same economic impetus that helped create the Dust Bowl—making more room for economically valuable crops.  Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to address climate change in the Farm Bill by incorporating a large-scale, national transition to certified organic agriculture and restoration and resilience strategies that prohibit the use of petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers. Tell Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack to implement the NOSB recommendation to remove incentives to convert native ecosystems to organic farms.    Organic farming helps resist climate change in several ways. Regenerative organic farming sequesters carbon in the soil. Organic […]

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18
Apr

France’s Drinking Water Contaminated with Toxic Fungicide Chlorothalonil, Banned in EU but Widely Used in U.S.

(Beyond Pesticides, April 18, 2023) Health officials in France are alerting the public that a majority of drinking water samples tested by the government contain the presence of the highly toxic fungicide chlorothalonil. The findings highlight a stark divide between regulations and public health management in the European Union and United States. While EU member states have banned this chemical and are working to understand and address lingering effects, tens of millions of pounds of chlorothalonil continue to be sprayed throughout the U.S. annually. French officials say they conducted this research after researchers in Switzerland found evidence of the fungicide in drinking water. A few years ago, Swiss scientists released a report showing Evian bottled water, touted for its claims of purity, was found to contain measurable levels of chlorthalonil.  “The fact that even the Evian springs in the French Alps, which are hardly affected by humans, contain pesticide residues is alarming and shows the far too careless handling of these substances,” Roman Wiget, president of the international drinking water association AWBR told the German-language Swiss weekly at the time. The EU banned uses of chlorothalonil in 2019, due to concerns over water contamination, the effects of such contamination on fish […]

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14
Apr

Two Pesticides Threaten Dozens of Endangered Species, EPA Proposes Failed Risk Mitigation Measures

(Beyond Pesticides, April 14, 2023) In March, scientists at the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a draft Biological Opinion (BiOp) stating that carbaryl and methomyl — two commonly used carbamate insecticides — cause significant harm to dozens of already-endangered fish species in the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia, Willamette, and Snake rivers. The BiOp indicates that these toxic compounds, in wide use on orchards and field vegetables throughout the Willamette Valley, the Columbia River Gorge, and southeastern Washington, will likely threaten scores of species on the Endangered Species list: 37 species at risk from carbaryl and 30 from methomyl. In addition, the BiOp says, “both are likely to harm or destroy many areas designated as critical habitat for endangered species.” The mitigation measures proposed by NMFS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in light of this BiOp, are likely to be inadequate to the problem, given that both compounds can drift through air and/or migrate into groundwater and generate toxic runoff. These two neurotoxic insecticides, carbaryl and methomyl, are very toxic to bees, birds, fish, and other aquatic organisms. In addition, carbaryl is a likely human carcinogen and an endocrine disruptor, and has harmful impacts on multiple bodily systems. Methomyl is […]

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03
Apr

A Livable Future Tied to Growth of Organic Land Management with Strong Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, April 3, 2023) The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) has opened its public comment period, with comments on organic standards due by 11:59 pm EDT April 5. April 5 is also the deadline for registering for the upcoming public comment webinar on April 18 and 20, which precedes the online meeting April 25-27—in which the NOSB deliberates on issues concerning how organic food is produced. Written comments must be submitted through Regulations.gov. As always, there are many important issues on the NOSB agenda this Spring. For a complete discussion, see Keeping Organic Strong (KOS) and the Spring 2023 issues page, where you can find Beyond Pesticides’ comments on all issues facing the NOSB at this meeting. In the spirit of “continuous improvement,” we urge you to submit comments (please feel free to use our comments on the KOS page) that contribute to an increasingly improved organic production system. If you have already submitted comments on the key issues we have suggested (below), please take a look at the Beyond Pesticides’ KOS page and pick an issue to comment on. (The public is welcome to cut-and-paste from the Beyond Pesticides’ comments posted on its KOS page.) Here are some […]

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20
Mar

Strong Organic Standards Require Continuing Public Involvement; Comments Are Due 11:59pmEDT April 5

(Beyond Pesticides, March 20, 2023) As a means of taking on the challenges of health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency, the review and updating of organic standards requires the public involvement in the current public comment period. This is required to keep organic strong and continually improving. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public through April 5, 2023. This precedes the upcoming public comment webinar on April 18 and 20 and deliberative hearing April 25-27—concerning how organic food is produced. Sign up for a 3-minute comment to let U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) know how important organic is at the webinar by April 5. Written comments must be submitted through Regulations.gov. by 11:59 pm EDT April 5. Links to the virtual comment webinars will be provided approximately one week before the webinars. The NOSB is responsible for guiding USDA in its administration of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), including the materials allowed to be used in organic production and handling. The role of the NOSB is especially important as we depend on organic production to protect our ecosystem, mitigate climate change, and enhance our health. The NOSB plays an important role […]

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14
Feb

Harming Wildlife, Pesticides in Waterways Run into the Great Lakes Year-Round

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2023) The waterways that flow into the Great Lakes are experiencing year-round pesticide contamination that exceeds benchmarks meant to protect aquatic life, according to research published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). “What you use makes it into the water,” study coauthor Sam Oliver, PhD, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. These data buttress growing calls from pesticide reform advocates that new laws are needed to protect the nation’s increasingly threatened waters. USGS scientists conducted their analysis on 16 tributaries that feed into the Great Lakes, including sites that correspond to urban, agricultural, and undeveloped land. Samples were taken at locations closest to the lake the tributary flowed into over a period of roughly one year from October 2015 to September 2016. Each sample was tested for 231 pesticides and their breakdown products. Researchers used aquatic life benchmarks set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and created a relative hazard index (RHI) for the study to evaluate whether specific sites should be prioritized for further protections.   Across every sampled tributary, pesticides were found. Accordingly, 96% (190 out of 198) of samples taken contained pesticides or their breakdown products. […]

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02
Feb

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

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

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27
Jan

Enforcement Rules for Organic Standards Far Surpass Those in Chemical-Intensive Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, January 27, 2023) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through its Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), announced on January 19 its final rulemaking, the Strengthening Organic Enforcement Rule (SOE). The new requirements aim to strengthen the integrity of the National Organic Program (NOP) through both enhanced oversight and enforcement of existing program regulations, and the introduction of new ones to address occurrences of fraud in organic supply chains. Beyond Pesticides welcomes this important step in increased rigor for the burgeoning organic sector; the organization has long advocated for strong enforcement of the provisions of the 1990 Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), the statute that gave rise to the NOP. It must also be noted that there is a significant difference between the (appropriate) attention being paid to oversight and enforcement in organic, and the long-standing lack of same in regard to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) pesticide regulations, weak as they are. Beyond Pesticides Executive Director Jay Feldman commented, “It is difficult to have a balanced conversation about any weaknesses in organic enforcement — which must be strengthened — without assessing the entire food system. The NOP provides the structure and the requirements for compliance with the OFPA. […]

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