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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Golf' Category


Take Action to Protect Manatees: Toxic Runoff Is Killing Them

(Beyond Pesticides, January 31, 2022) Public concern is now heightened as Florida manatees are facing extremely severe threats—so severe that wildlife officials have resorted to feeding them cabbage and lettuce in an attempt to keep their rapidly dwindling populations alive. Protecting manatees will require a multi-faceted approach, including upgrading their status to endangered and protecting their watery habitat from toxic threats. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to upgrade the Florida manatee to endangered and require protection from chemical pollution. Tell your Congressional Representative and Senators to support H.R. 4946. Tell Florida’s Governor DeSantis to protect manatees. Florida manatees, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), can live as long as 60 years old, weigh up to 1,200 lbs, and have no natural predators. The biggest threat to these peaceful marine mammals is human activity. Humans harm manatees directly through boat strikes and encounters with fishing equipment, canal locks, and other flood control structures, but the largest threat comes from chemical pollutants. In 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service downgraded Florida manatees from fully endangered to threatened status under the Endangered Species Act. However, with recent reports indicating that over 1,000 manatees died in just the […]



Manatees in Florida Seriously Threatened from Pollution, Pesticides, and Other Human-Induced Stressors

(Beyond Pesticides, January 27, 2022) Wildlife officials in Florida have resorted to supplementing starving manatees with cabbage and lettuce in an attempt to keep their rapidly dwindling populations alive. Massive Red Tides exacerbated by runoff from urban and agricultural pollution have directly killed off dozens of manatees over the last several years, but the indirect effects of these harmful algae blooms have been most catastrophic, resulting in significant loss of the seagrass beds upon which manatees rely. While Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has announced plans to spend $481 million on water quality improvement projects, conservationists note that the funds are primarily directed toward point source wastewater treatment, and more is needed to address nonpoint source herbicide and fertilizer runoff from agricultural, and urban and suburban yards. Florida manatees, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee, can live as long as 60 years old, weigh up to 1,200 lbs, and have no natural predators within their range. The biggest threat to these peaceful marine mammals is human activity and environmental stressors. Unfortunately, the former is well-known to exacerbate the latter. Humans harm manatees primarily through boat strikes, but the animals can also die from eating or becoming entangled in fishing equipment, […]



Tell EPA to Ban ALL Uses of Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2021) As with other actions on pesticides, EPA’s chlorpyrifos decision is filled with exceptions that respond to vested interests seeking to ignore or deflect the science. EPA, since announcing its decision in 1999 to ban “residential” uses of chlorpyrifos, continues to allow the following uses: (i) Residential use of containerized baits; (ii) Indoor areas where children will not be exposed, including only ship holds, railroad boxcars, industrial plants, manufacturing plants, or food processing plants; (iii) Outdoor areas where children will not be exposed, including only: golf courses, road medians, Industrial plant sites; (iv) Non-structural wood treatments including: fenceposts, utility poles, railroad ties, landscape timers, logs, pallets, wooden containers, poles, posts, and processed wood products; (v) Public health uses: Fire ant mounds (drench and granular treatment); (vi) nurseries and greenhouses; and (vii) Mosquito control. These uses are unaffected by EPA’s announcement. We need to finish the chlorpyrifos job. Tell EPA to ban all uses of chlorpyrifos. The collective effort to remove this one chemical is a tremendous feat in eliminating one exposure to a hazardous material for children. Achieving the ban on food uses required an enormously resource-intensive effort at a time in history when we are […]



Commentary: Are Children, Agricultural Workers, and the Food Supply Safe with EPA’s Chlorpyrifos Decision?

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2021) Does a science-based, public health-oriented, occupational safety focused, children-concerned, ecologically protective society allow the use of toxic pesticides that are unnecessary to achieve land management, quality of life, and food productivity goals? Should victims of poisoning have to plead with regulators to protect them? Should organizations have to fight chemical-by-chemical to achieve basic levels of protection from individual neurotoxic, cancer causing, endocrine disrupting pesticides? Of course not. But, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement that it is stopping food uses of the insecticide chlorpyrifos after being registered 65 years ago provides us with an important opportunity for reflection, not just celebration. The collective effort to remove this one chemical is a tremendous feat in eliminating one exposure to a hazardous material for children. That is the point. The action we’re celebrating required an amazingly resource-intensive effort at a time in history when we are running against the clock in an urgent race to transition our society and global community away from the use of petroleum-based, toxic pesticides—to move to meaningful practices that sustain, nurture, and regenerate life. In this context, let’s put chlorpyrifos in perspective. EPA was forced into its decision by a court […]



Investigative Report Uncovers Dangerous Pesticide Misuse on Golf Courses in New York

(Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2016) Complaints about a green residue that appeared on golfers’ shoes at Rye Golf Club in New York last spring prompted an investigative report by The Journal News/lohud.com, that  revealed what reporters are describing a region-wide “environmental toxic time bomb” caused by the over and misuse of pesticides throughout the state. The investigation uncovered (i) gaps in the oversight of millions of pound of toxic pesticides applied throughout the Lower Hudson Valley, (ii) heightened health risks in Westchester and Rockland counties where pesticides are used the most, (iii) significant flaws in pesticide data collected in the state of New York, and (iv) the failure of authorities to catch the illegal sale and use of unregistered pesticides. Rye Golf Club, which turned into a “field of dustbowls” within weeks of the green residue appearing on golfer’s shoes, had to close 18 putting greens, leading members to demand thousands of dollars in refunds and city leaders to address the severely damaged city-owned golf course. The cause of the mysterious green residue was later revealed to be the result of an application of a contaminated batch of the fungicide ArmorTech ALT 70, whose active ingredient is azoxystrobin. Rye Golf […]



Pesticide Manufacturers Sued over Golf Course Superintendent’s Death

(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2014) Pittsburgh sportscaster Rich Walsh is suing multinational chemical companies after his father’s untimely death from cancer in 2009. According to a story from local Pittsburgh station WTAE, Mr. Walsh’s father, Tom Walsh, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2008, after a career as a golf course superintendent. “He loved golf. He loved working outside. He loved to take care of golf courses,” Rich told WTAE. Rich’s lawsuit was filed against Monsanto, Bayer CropScience, BASF, Syngenta, Dow Agroscience, Deere and Company, and John Deere Landscapes in 2010. Genetic testing from Tom’s oncologist showed chromosomal alterations as a result of years of working with pesticides, the only chemicals Mr. Walsh ever worked with. Part of the log books he kept throughout his career included the pesticides he applied, which included the insecticides Dylox and Dursban, active ingredients trichlorfon and chlorpyrifos respectively, and the fungicides Daconil and Chipco, active ingredients chlorothalonil and iprodione. All of these chemicals have been shown to be likely carcinogens, according to Beyond Pesticides’ Pesticide Gateway or Pesticide Induced Diseases Database. Chlorpyrifos, for instance, was banned for homeowner use back in  2001, but uses on agriculture and golf courses were allowed to continue […]



Danish Government Agrees to Reduce Pesticides on Golf Courses

(Beyond Pesticides, February 18, 2011) The Danish government has announced that it has reached an agreement that aims to phase out pesticide use on golf courses throughout the country. The agreement, which was made between the Danish Government, the Danish People’s Party, the Social Democrats, the Socialist People’s Party and the Danish Social-Liberal Party, seeks to replace the present ”Agreement on the golf courses of the future” dating from June 2005. It states that the long-term objective is a phasing-out of the consumption of pesticides on Danish golf courses coupled with increases in education regarding pesticide-neutral care utilizing alternative methods, such as mechanical weed control. Part of the agreement involves an evaluation of the results achieved so far, to be carried out before the end of 2014, in order to inform efforts to tighten the requirements. The partial aim of the 2005 agreement was that, before the end of 2008, the use of pesticides on golf courses should be reduced to 0.1 kg of active ingredient per hectare (ha). As part of the 2005 agreement, golf courses were to submit their pesticide use data in the form of annual “green accounts” to The Danish Golf Union, which has advocated for […]



Fully Organic Golf Course Set for Return of President

(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2010) While on vacation in Martha’s Vineyard, President Obama will be returning to the organically-managed Vineyard Golf Club, where he played while on vacation last year. While golf courses around the country have begun to incorporate organic techniques and reduce pesticide use, the exclusive club is believed to be the only completely organic golf course in the country, meaning that synthetic pesticide, fertilizer, or other chemical treatment is strictly forbidden. American golf courses hold themselves to a high standard, when it comes to maintaining the thick perfectly manicured and weed free turf on greens and fairways. To attain this standard golf course managers rely on a toxic assortment of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and other chemicals. These practices have been linked to numerous diseases in humans including cancer, as well as damage to local wildlife. Jeff Carlson, the superintendent of the Vineyard golf club recalls one of his earlier jobs where he used mercury based fungicides, soon his wife’s hair started to fall out from mercury poisoning. Environmentalists and human health advocates have mounted strong opposition to the creation of new golf courses. In recent years however golf course managers have begun to work with […]



Florida Golf Course Discontinues Use of Arsenic Weed Killer

(Beyond Pesticides, October 29, 2009) Concerns from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) about groundwater contamination in a golf course have temporarily halted the use of an herbicide by the Tampa Sports Authority. Recent soil and groundwater testing in Tampa has revealed higher than acceptable levels of arsenic that may be attributed to the use of the arsenical herbicide monosodium methanearsonate (MSMA) on the golf course, Rogers Park. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, chronic exposure to organic arsenic, such as MSMA, is known to cause cancer and has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and declines in brain functions. It is also been identified as a potential leacher and is toxic to birds, fish, aquatic organisms and bees. EPA’s Reregulation Eligibility Decision (RED) states that most uses of this product as well as other arsenical herbicides, disodium methanearsonate (DSMA) and hydroxydimethylarsine oxide (cacodylic acid, or sodium salt) are banned except for use on cotton, and will be phased out by the end of 2013, in two phases. In the meantime, many new restrictions apply in an attempt to protect water resources. For instance, MSMA use on golf […]



President to Play on Golf Course Using Organic Practices during Vacation

(Beyond Pesticides, August 24, 2009) While the media is expecting President Obama to head for a golf date with Tiger Woods this week during his vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, environmental and public health advocates are applauding his choice of a course that uses organic practices. Conventional golf course management practices have long been associated with environmental contamination, including impacts on wildlife and waterways, and health hazards. The Vineyard Golf Club (VGC) was featured in an article on the hazards and promise of golf course management in an article in Golf Digest in May 2008. The article, How Green is Golf?, asks the hard questions about the environmental impact of golf in a series of in-depth interviews with the golf course superintendent of VGC, Jeff Carlson, a golf course builder, golf course superintendent, regulator and environmentalists, including Beyond Pesticides’ Jay Feldman. Other courses around the country are striving for ways to reduce the environmental impact of golf course management, some adopting integrated pest management (IPM) techniques that reduce pesticide use. The question, of course, is whether the continued use of poisons in sensitive ecosystems with techniques that are not adhering to organic turf management practices are adequate in protecting human health […]



Study Finds Plants Remove Golf Course Pesticides From Soil

(Beyond Pesticides, June 20, 2008) University of Massachusetts (UMass) researchers have identified certain plants that can absorb excess pesticides from soil and prevent their runoff into adjacent waterways. Golf courses typically use considerable amounts of herbicides and fungicides to maintain perfectly manicured greens, much of which ends up polluting water and harming aquatic organisms. This study found that plants like blue flag iris can act as “living filters” on the edge of greens.“ Studies from golf greens have shown that five percent to ten percent of the total pesticides applied are lost in runoff. In worst case conditions, this figure can be as high as 30 percent,” says John Clark, Ph.D., a professor of veterinary and animal science and a principal investigator on the grant. “We have identified plant species that can reduce the amount of certain pesticides in soil by up to 94 percent in the greenhouse.” Blue flag iris reduced chlorpyrifos by 76 percent and levels of chlorothalonil by 94 percent after three months of growth. The study was funded by the UMass Amherst Environmental Institute, the Massachusetts Pesticide Analysis Laboratory, and the U.S. Golf Association. Interest in “greener” turf management practices have risen lately along with golf’s […]



Aquatic Organisms Harmed by Golf Course Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2008) A new study indicates that some pesticides applied to golf courses in the Precambrian Shield of central Ontario may have an impact on aquatic organisms in adjacent watersheds. The study is published in the April issue of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. Golf courses affect the environment by altering the habitat through the release of nutrients and pesticides. The Precambrian Shield region of central Ontario, Canada, a major recreational area, is especially susceptible to the impacts of golf courses as a result of the geology and hydrology of the region. The Shield area is characterized by many lakes, rivers, and streams. Golf courses in this area typically place turf on top of a sand base which allows chemicals used on the courses to migrate into surrounding bodies of water. The study set out to determine (1) whether organic substances that are toxic to early life stages of fish are transported from golf courses in the Precambrian Shield and (2) whether toxic compounds occur in watersheds of golf courses at times that coincide with the application of pesticides to golf courses and other conditions conducive to surface runoff. To do so, two golf courses in the Muskoka […]



Experts Discuss the Greening of Golf Courses

(Beyond Pesticides, April 17, 2008) In what it calls the most important article it has ever published, Golf Digest in its May 2008 issue (pp 196-232) publishes an article, How Green is Golf?, which asks the hard questions about the environmental impact of golf in a series of in-depth interviews, including a builder, golf course superintendent, regulator and environmentalist. The article spans a range of opinions on water usage, pesticide contamination, and management practices, with general agreement that golfer expectations and management practices must move and are moving in an environmental direction, citing important ways in which attitudes and understanding must change. Despite the documented problems with pesticides, the head of EPA’s pesticide program, in what is described as a “rebuttal” to criticism of pesticides and the pesticide registration process that are highlighted, responds without addressing key specifics identified in the article and preferring to extol the virtues of the EPA’s pesticide program. The article says in its introduction, “As water becomes scarcer, as organic management practices increase, as environmentalism and environmental legislation start to bite more than they have, as the economy struggles, and as we come to appreciate the aesthetics of golf courses in all their many natural, […]



Golf Course Survey to Examine Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2007) Beginning in January of 2008, golf course managers around the country will have an opportunity to participate in a survey of their pest and turf management strategies. The three-month survey is part of a larger project, which also maps water use, conservation efforts and playing surfaces. Conducted by the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, the Golf Course Environmental Project is sponsored by Toro and The Environmental Institute for Golf (EIG). The pesticide phase, the fourth of the project, which concludes in March 2008, will be submitted to the journal Applied Turfgrass Science for review and publication, according to EIG. Information included in this survey will be “regarding pest management and associated practices on golf courses throughout the United States,” such as product use and integrated pest management programs.” The third phase, which has been completed, gathered information on fertilizer and nutrient programs. According to EIG, “GCSAA and the golf industry need information specific to the environmental attributes of golf courses. This will include natural resource inventories, management inputs and current environmental stewardship practices. This information will provide baseline data for documenting changes in environmental practices over time and help to set priorities for education, […]



Florida Restricts Phosphate Fertilizers To Improve Water Quality

(Beyond Pesticides, April 3, 2007) Responding to concerns about the state’s polluted waterways, Florida will become the first in the nation to enact a statewide restriction on the content of fertilizers. If passed, fertilizers sold in Florida must be no- or low-phosphate. Phosphorus, along with nitrogen, is a pollutant that contributes to algae blooms, fish kills, and dead zones, all of which alter already fragile ecosystems. The high phosphate levels are due in large part to Americans’ affinity for heavily-fertilized, brilliantly green lawns, golf courses, and recreational areas. The proposed rule was designed in response to a number of local fertilizer restrictions in the state; rather than deal with the confusion of regulating a wide variety of local standards, the Department of Agriculture’s rule will clarify and standardize the movement to reduce pollution from lawn fertilizers. According to Richard Budell, director of water resources protection for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, “One of the things we’re trying to prevent is a patchwork of local ordinances that would be almost impossible to enforce.” Local regulations include a similar rule that has been in place in Wellington since 2000, one in Crystal River than allows only slow-release fertilizers, and a […]