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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'International' Category


08
Jul

With 400,000 Malaria Deaths Worldwide, Insect Resistance to Mosquito Pesticides Calls for Urgent Need to Shift to Alternative Management Strategies

(Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2020)¬†Efforts to control the transmission of malaria are encountering a big, though predictable, problem: the mosquitoes that transmit malaria are developing resistance to at least five of the insecticides that have been central to limiting transmission of the disease. A study released in late June reveals a dramatic increase in resistance to pyrethroid insecticides and DDT across sub-Saharan Africa. This signals the failure of a mainstay chemical approach to the spread of malarial mosquitoes; this same problem ‚ÄĒ resistance ‚ÄĒ is happening with chemical management of agricultural pests and weeds, and with antibiotics to treat human bacterial infections. This study underscores a point Beyond Pesticides has made repeatedly: resistance to pesticides (whether insecticides, herbicides, biocides, fungicides, or medical antibiotics) is nearly inevitable. The solution to containing the spread of malaria lies not in the use of more and different chemicals, but in nontoxic approaches that respect nature and ecological balance. Malaria is a sometimes deadly disease caused by female Anopheles mosquitoes infected with any of four varieties of the Plasmodium parasite. The disease kills roughly 400,000 people annually, with half that mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. sees approximately 2,000 cases of malaria annually, primarily in […]

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01
Jul

U.S. and Brazil Trying to Force Thailand to Accept Food Coated in Hazardous Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, July 1, 2020) As the U.S. is subject to searing criticism for inadequately regulated hazardous pesticides domestically, administration officials are standing in the way as other countries’ work toward modest reforms. According to a report published in Reuters, the U.S. is standing alongside the corrupt Bolsonaro administration in Brazil to oppose Thailand‚Äôs efforts to protect its citizens from highly toxic pesticides used in food production. Both countries launched separate complaints to the World Trade Organization after Thailand announced it would ban imports of the brain-damaging insecticide chlorpyrifos and weedkiller paraquat, which has been strongly linked to Parkinson‚Äôs disease. On June 1, Thailand added paraquat and chlorpyrifos to its list of most hazardous substances. This listing initiated a follow-on regulation that banned the import of these substances on food, set to take effect in mid-July. Thailand has been feeling the brunt of U.S. diplomatic pressure since it first proposed restrictions on toxic chemicals late last year. By December, the U.S. was able to get Bangkok to remove glyphosate from its proposal, and delay the listing of paraquat and chlorpyrifos until June. But as the current situation shows, the U.S. had no plans to stop pressuring the Bangkok government after […]

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19
Jun

Toxic Trade: Will the U.S. Force a Trade Agreement that Allows More Poisons in the UK?

(Beyond Pesticides, June 19, 2020)¬†As it navigates an exit from the European Union (EU) and its trade agreements, the UK is considering the establishment of its own Free Trade Agreements, including commodities treated with pesticides, with various partner countries. Toxic Trade, a new report from Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK) and others, reveals how such agreements between the UK and other countries ‚ÄĒ and the U.S., in particular ‚ÄĒ threaten to weaken existing protections from pesticides in the UK, which are stronger than those in most other countries. The report points to potential harms to UK residents, environment, and wildlife; it further suggests that the likelihood of the U.S. successfully imposing a weakening of UK protections is high. In November 2019, Beyond Pesticides covered the warnings from PAN UK and the Soil Association that the UK‚Äôs ‚ÄúBrexit‚ÄĚ might result in greater pesticide use and/or exposure. The UK, and other European countries, have taken a more-precautionary approach to the permitting of pesticide use than does the U.S., Australia, or India. The UK bans a long list of pesticides that threaten human health, pollinators, ecosystems, and natural resources; many of these same compounds continue to be used in these three other […]

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08
Jun

Report Finds Monocropping and Toxic Pesticides Threaten Brazil’s Native Bees as Country’s President Challenges Environmental Protection

(Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2020) Brazil is home to more than 300 native bee species ‚ÄĒ many of them stingless ‚ÄĒ that help pollinate the nation‚Äôs valuable agricultural crops and provide other important environmental services. Yet, chemical-intensive agriculture‚Äôs intensive pesticide use and devotion to monocropping are a serious threat to these bees, Mongabay reports. Beyond Pesticides maintains that elimination of such pesticides is key to protecting critical pollinators, ensuring a nontoxic food supply, supporting ecosystems and biodiversity, and ensuring safe working conditions for agricultural workers and safety for rural residents. Organic, regenerative agricultural practices, which often avoid monocropping, achieve all of these important goals. Advocates maintain that a transition to such practices is imperative in ensuring a far less toxic future for humans, other residents of Planet Earth, and Nature itself. The Brazilian Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services estimates the financial value of pollinators in Brazil, which include bees, moths, bats, butterflies, wasps, beetles, and other organisms, at roughly $8 billion annually. Most honey production in Brazil (and globally) comes from one species, Apis mellifera ‚ÄĒ a hybrid of European and African species that arrived in the Americas in the early 17th century. A. mellifera is still the dominant […]

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26
May

EU Proposes 2030 Goal to Reduce Pesticide Use by 50% and Increase Arable Land in Organic Production by At Least 17%

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2020)¬†Across the pond, the European Commission (EC) has announced plans to protect biodiversity and build a more sustainable food system, and identified the reduction of pesticide use¬† and the expansion of organic agriculture as pillars of the scheme. The EC expects that the initiative, which will require EU member states‚Äô endorsement, will advance progress on the EU goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, given that 10% of emissions arise from the agricultural sector. The EC‚Äôs goals are important and laudable, but Beyond Pesticides is clear: reduction of pesticide use in service of them is not an adequate strategy to ensure long-term success. Genuine success requires the elimination of the use of synthetic chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and other toxic inputs, and the transition to agricultural and land management systems that work with nature, rather than fight against it. Regenerative, organic practices are the path to a livable future, according to Beyond Pesticides. The EC, which is the executive branch of the EU, expects its plan to reduce use of pesticides by 50% by 2030; reduce use of antimicrobial chemicals, including antibiotics, in fish and animal farming by 50%; dedicate a minimum of 25% of arable […]

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17
Apr

Farmed Salmon during Covid-19 Pandemic Subject to Increased Pesticide Use in Scotland

(Beyond Pesticides, April 17, 2020) As the novel coronavirus pandemic upends much of human activity, some governments are acting to loosen environmental regulations ‚ÄĒ purportedly, in the interests of public health in the face of Covid-19 threats, and/or in deference to economic concerns of certain industrial sectors. There has been little analysis, to date, of what the ‚Äúon the ground‚ÄĚ impacts of these relaxed rules may be, but news out of Scotland illustrates some kinds of concerns critics and advocates have about such loosening of regulations. The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has issued new, temporary rules that allow some salmon farms both to ignore newly established limits on the amount of emamectin, an insecticide used to control sea lice that plague the salmon, and to boost use of azamethiphos, another insecticide used against the lice, beyond previous 24-hour limits. SEPA says the relaxed rules will endure only as long as the Covid-19 ‚Äúlockdown‚ÄĚ remains in place (perhaps the end of June), and apply only to new or expanding enterprises, which to date total approximately 14 of the country‚Äôs 200+ salmon farms. The farmed salmon industry represents a huge domestic and export commodity worth approximately $2.5 billion annually. In addition […]

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10
Apr

Brazilian Government Gives $2.2 Billion in Annual Tax Subsidies to the Multinational Agrichemical Industry

(Beyond Pesticides, April 9, 2020) Brazilian tax exemptions benefit the agrichemical industry to the tune of $2.2 billion USD annually, according to researchers from the Oswaldo Cruz foundation and the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro. ABRASCO, the Brazilian Association of Collective Health, headed a new study which illuminates a tight relationship between Brazilian government and industry. Researchers additionally point to millions of dollars given from public resource funds to the companies. While industry lobby groups argue that toxic pesticides are necessary for development and food production, environmental and health advocates say the people of Brazil bear the brunt of toxic pesticide contamination while international companies profit. ‚ÄúIt is as if you lived in a condominium and your neighbor didn‚Äôt have to pay the condominium fees. And that they got the pool dirty, and the shared gym space, generating costs for everyone else,‚ÄĚ says Marcelo Novaes, a S√£o Paulo State public defender who has spent years investigating this issue, ‚ÄúThese benefits give large agribusiness companies a break while throwing the cost back on society.‚ÄĚ By value, Brazil is the world‚Äôs largest consumer of toxic pesticides. Since President Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2018, the country has rapidly approved new […]

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18
Mar

Infectious Human Disease, Snail Fever, Worsened by Pesticide Run-Off into Fresh Waterways

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2020) Freshwater habitats are threatened now‚ÄĒmore than ever‚ÄĒby the adverse effects of pesticide pollution, according to a report published in Scientific Reports by a collaborative research team from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the Kenya-based International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE). Pesticide pollution, attributed to runoff from agricultural farms, indirectly increased the rate of the tropical disease schistosomiasis, which infects over 280 million people (2018). This research underlines the range of uncertainties that exist as a result of pesticide contamination, making it critically important that subtropical areas where this disease threat exists move toward organic and pesticide-free approaches.¬† Increased prevalence of this disease is devastating to socioeconomic development in affected regions, as life expectancy, employment rate, and gross domestic product (GDP) decreases. Schistosomiasis (snail fever), or bilharzia, is a tropical disease caused by parasitic flatworms (trematodes) in the genus¬†Schistosoma¬†and transmitted via freshwater snail (genus¬†Biomphalaria) to its definitive human host. Freshwater snails act as a vector for schistosomiasis as they play a vital role in the lifecycle of the parasitic flatworm. Professor Matthias Liess (Ph.D.), Head of the Department of System Ecotoxicology at the UFZ, and his research team investigated pesticide pollution‚Äôs […]

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17
Mar

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

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

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13
Mar

European Commission’s Agricultural Policy Clashes with Its ‘Green Deal’ Plan

(Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2020) The European Commission‚Äôs proposed (post-2020) Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a failure and must be dramatically changed to embrace organic practices and support small farmers, according to a paper written by 21 scientists and published in the British Ecological Society‚Äôs journal, People and Nature. The authors point to provisions that permit anemic implementation of critical sustainability goals, and say that as it stands, the CAP fails ‚Äúwith respect to biodiversity, climate, soil, [and] land degradation as well as socio‚Äźeconomic challenges.‚ÄĚ The authors call on the European Parliament, Council, and Commission to adopt 10 urgent action points that advance a goal that ‚Äúall CAP elements, without exception, should be aligned with the principles of sustainability, multi‚Äźfunctionality and public payments for public goods.‚ÄĚ The paper‚Äôs authors say that the CAP continues, in fact, to support practices that exacerbate the climate emergency, soil erosion, land degradation, and biodiversity loss, and fails to fund initiatives that could address climate and other critical issues. Happening concurrently with the CAP is development of the European Commission‚Äôs (EC‚Äôs) ‚ÄúEuropean Green Deal,‚ÄĚ which the EC describes as a roadmap for¬†making the EU‚Äôs economy sustainable, and making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. […]

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11
Mar

Global Growth of Organic Farmland Further Advances UN Sustainable Development Goals

(Beyond Pesticides, March 11, 2020) Worldwide, organic farming practices quadrupled from 2000 to 2018, with over 180 countries leading a global transition to organic agriculture. Newly published global survey data by the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements ‚Äď Organics International (IFOAM) reveal global organic agriculture to be at an all-time high, with 71.5 million hectares (mha) of farmland in production. Organic agriculture’s rise in popularity makes important progress toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,¬†as organic agriculture is essential for a sustainable future; it is a solution to the global food crisis and eliminating the health risks engendered by chemical-intensive farming. According to Monica Rubiolo, PhD of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), “Access to quality data on organic farming not only helps to measure success toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals but also to orient decision-makers and other stakeholders along the whole value chain.” In a period of rapid population growth, a climate crisis, environmental degradation, and high energy costs, organic farming addresses human health, environment, and socioeconomic concerns. Organically managed farmland increased by a total of 2 mha (2.9%), in all continents, between 2017 and 2018. Australia has […]

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29
Jan

Rate of Male Breast Cancer on the Rise in Scotland, Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Suspected

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2020) A study of male breast cancer (MBC) in Scotland reports an alarming, increasing trend of this rare disease ‚Äď especially in agricultural areas. While only accounting for 1% of diagnosed breast cancer, MBC forms in the breast tissue of men and is often fatal because of delayed diagnosis and lack of research on male-specific treatment. The authors point to risk factors that include increased exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, such as pesticides, and a need for further study. Researchers analyzed data from the Information Services Scotland database spanning from 1992-2017. Results showed that incidence of breast cancer in men rose with age, and that the total number and age-adjusted incidence of MBC increased in the last 25 years. Overall, the incidence rose by 38.5%. There was a total of 558 diagnoses in Scotland in the entire period. The trend is clearest in certain regions, including the North of Scotland and some rural areas. ‚ÄúWithin the confines of this observational study, reasons for these regional differences are difficult to reconcile, but potential explanations are offered,‚ÄĚ the authors write, ‚ÄúExposure to environmental compounds that mimic oestrogens (so-called Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals; (EDCs)) might be exacerbated in areas of higher agricultural […]

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17
Jan

European Union Bans Neonicotinoid Insecticide, Citing Health and Environmental Concerns

(Beyond Pesticides, January 17, 2020)¬†In Brussels, the European Commission (EC) has just decided not to renew approval of the neonicotinoid pesticide thiacloprid, citing both environmental and health concerns related to use of and exposure to the pesticide. The decision was approved by a majority of European Union (EU) governments last fall, after the EC had made the proposal to them. The EC based that proposal on findings of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published in January 2019, which highlighted concerns about toxicity to humans and high concentrations in groundwater. European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides commented, ‚ÄúThere are environmental concerns related to the use of this pesticide, particularly its impact on groundwater, but also related to human health, in reproductive toxicity.‚ÄĚ The current EU use approval for thiacloprid products expires on April 30, 2020. The EC decision ‚ÄĒ functionally, a ban ‚ÄĒ means that farmers will need to turn to other means to deal with the primary thiacloprid targets in agriculture, aphids and whiteflies. Beyond Pesticides and many organic agricultural resources advocate for widespread adoption of organic, regenerative systems and practices. Such systems may include management features such as mechanical and biological controls, trap crops, natural […]

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30
Oct

US Government Opposes Toxic Chemical Bans in Thailand

(Beyond Pesticides, October 30th, 2019) This month, the Thai government moved to ban some toxic chemicals out of concern for the health of its residents and environment. In response, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary Ted McKinney sent a document to Thailand‚Äôs Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha pushing back on their plan. As the Thai government makes changes to protect the health and represent the will of the people, the U.S. acts on behalf of its allegiance to agrichemical companies on an international stage. After powerful and sustained activism from local advocacy groups such as BioThai, the Thai government decided to upgrade glyphosate, chlorpyrifos, and paraquat from Type 3 toxic substances to Type 4, meaning these chemicals will no longer be allowed to be produced, imported, or possessed in the country. Witoon Lianchamroon, director of BioThai, says glyphosate and paraquat ‚Äúcontaminate our water, the soil, and some species like crab or fish or frog. These two main herbicides cover around half of the total pesticide use in the country and they cause a lot of problems.‚ÄĚ The ban was approved by the National Hazardous Substances Committee, made up of 29 experts in the field, on October 22.¬†Beginning December 1, the ban […]

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24
Oct

Study Adds to Evidence that Organic Fruit Consumption Leads to Lowers Levels of Pesticide Contamination in Children, Pregnant Women

(Beyond Pesticides, October 24, 2019) Fish and fruit are undoubtedly healthy foods, but modern-day contamination is leading scientists to caution pregnant mothers and young children to stick within current dietary guidelines, or switch to organic, in order to avoid adverse health effects. This new public health message is based on research published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives by scientists from University of Southern California (USC) and several European Countries, finding that overconsumption of fish and fruits leads to higher levels of contamination with toxic persistent chemicals. ‚ÄúDuring gestation and early development, the fetus and the child, respectively, are vulnerable to the effects of environmental chemicals, said Lida Chatzi, MD, associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. ‚ÄúA balanced diet during these periods is also critical for optimal nutritional status, but what to eat, and how much, are critical questions.‚ÄĚ Scientists studied a cohort of 1,288 children (between 6 and 11 years) and 818 pregnant mothers from six European countries, who were provided questionnaires to assess their weekly diet. Blood levels of a range of environmental toxicants, including organochlorine compounds like PCB, PFHSs, PFOS, PFOA, pesticides like DDT and DDE, and heavy metals including […]

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07
Oct

Banana Workers Made Sterile from Pesticide Sue Dow in France

(Beyond Pesticides, October 7, 2019)¬†Central American agricultural workers, exposed in the 1970s and early 1980s to a highly toxic pesticide, subsequently began suing manufacturers in the mid-1980s, with mixed success. Now, some of those workers have stepped up their game: they have brought suit against three big agrochemical industries in France to try to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in damages awarded to them by Nicaraguan courts, but never paid. As reported by The New York Times, ‚Äúthe case could set a legal precedent and lead to more lawsuits in France for harm done in other countries by the pesticide Nemagon.‚ÄĚ Farmworkers in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, the Philippines, West Africa, and the U.S. were exposed to the highly toxic, brominated organochlorine pesticide ingredient, DBCP (dibromochloropropane), from the 1960s until cessation of its use, which has varied from country to country. DBCP was sold in the pesticide products Nemagon and Fumazone as a soil fumigant and nematocide on banana plantations and other crops across Central America (especially), in western Africa, and in Hawaii. As acknowledged by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), DBCP has multiple adverse health impacts: decreased sperm production and mobility, disturbed estrous cycles, reduced phagocytosis […]

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11
Sep

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

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

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03
Sep

Take Action: Help Save the Amazon Rainforest ‚ÄĒ #BoycottBrazilianFood

(Beyond Pesticides, September 3, 2019)¬†Brazil’s environment is under siege, as President Jair Bolsonaro has approved hundreds of new toxic pesticides this year and gutted watchdog environment agencies. Among the many dreadful results, news reports indicate that between December 2018 and March 2019, Brazilian beekeepers found more than 500 million dead bees. As the Amazon burns,¬†Indigenous activists are calling on the world to help, and Beyond Pesticides is responding by promoting a boycott started by a Swedish supermarket owner: #BoycottBrazilianFood. Pledge to #BoycottBrazilianFood, and ask major U.S. supermarkets to do the same. The Amazon rainforest is the world’s biggest terrestrial carbon sink, and home both to the planet’s richest biodiversity and approximately 400 indigenous tribes. The country has 2300 pesticides registered for use; a total of 290 new toxic pesticides have been approved as of late August 2019. Swedish supermarket owner Johannes Cullberg¬†started an international boycott in response to Brazil’s approval and use of hazardous pesticides in food production. #BoycottBrazilianFood began in June of 2019 when the total of newly registered pesticides stood at 197.¬†Cullburg declared, “We need to stop (the president) Bolsonaro, he’s a maniac.‚ÄĚ The boycott prompted a response from the Brazilian embassy, stating, ‚Äú‚Ķthe Embassy wishes to inform […]

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22
Aug

European Regulators Issue Warning on Danger of Chlorpyrifos Prior to Release of Full Review

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2019) In early August, experts from European Union (EU) member states and staff members of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced their conclusion that chlorpyrifos fails to meet criteria for renewed approval for use, potentially moving the EU a step closer to an outright ban. This ends the green light that chlorpyrifos (and its structurally close cousin, chlorpyrifos-methyl) have enjoyed at the EU level since 2006. That permitting is set to expire in January of 2020, although eight member states ‚ÄĒ Germany, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovenia ‚ÄĒ had already either banned or never authorized chlorpyrifos use in their countries. In the U.S., states are picking up the slack on efforts against chlorpyrifos use as, in the tenure of the current administration, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has chosen to protect industry rather than human health and the environment. The step EFSA took was unusual in that the agency does not typically publish findings before ongoing peer reviews are completed. EUObserver.com reports that EFSA‚Äôs public statement was triggered by a July 2019 EU request for information ‚Äúon the available outcomes of the human health assessment in the context of the pesticides peer […]

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01
Aug

Brazil Approves 262 New Hazardous Pesticides, Makes Death Sole Criteria for Toxicity

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2019) Last month, the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture approved the registration of 51 additional hazardous pesticides and brought the total to 262 newly approved pesticides this year. Moreover, Brazil‚Äôs health surveillance agency, Anvisa, approved new rules that establish risk of death as the singular criteria for determining toxicity of pesticides. Human Rights Watch, a nonprofit that conducts local investigations, reports that the government has simultaneously been unresponsive to incidents of pesticide poisoning. Brazil‚Äôs president, Jair Bolsonoro, is known for his far-right politics, and has been accused of corruption, scandals, and disregard for the environment. This rapid registration of novel pesticides is unprecedented in Brazil. Many of the products are generic versions of existing formulas, with government officials seeking to lower the price of pesticides. Products include insecticides with the active ingredient sulfoxaflor, a bee-toxic pesticide that has also recently gained traction in the U.S. despite pushback from beekeepers and environmentalists. While an American license for a pesticide, for example, lasts 15 years, Brazilian registration of pesticides never expires. Generic products lower the price barrier to amplified use of these interminable, toxic pesticides. In 1989, Brazil established one of the toughest pesticide laws in the world that […]

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19
Jul

Report Calls for Radical Transformation of Food and Agricultural Production System

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2019) A high-level, nongovernmental commission in the United Kingdom (UK) ‚ÄĒ the RSA (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) Food, Farming and Countryside Commission ‚ÄĒ has just released an important report: Our Future in the Land. As reported by The Guardian, ‚ÄúThe true cost of cheap, unhealthy food is a spiralling public health crisis and environmental destruction.‚ÄĚ The commission‚Äôs report calls for radical transformation of the UK food and agricultural system, by 2030, to sustainable, agroecological farming, and establishes steps to launch the process. A notable one of those steps is the creation of a nonprofit National Agroecology Development Bank to hasten and enable a fair and sustainable transition of a complex system. The commission also published a Field Guide to the Future, which it describes as a ‚Äúpractical guide, with interviews and stories from the RSA Food, Farming and Countryside Commission’s work across the UK, [including] case studies of good practice and stories of change [that] hint at a better future.‚ÄĚ Our Future in the Land declares, ‚ÄúOur future depends on the land. The land nourishes and supports us. It provides for our nutrition, our health and our wellbeing. Food and […]

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28
Jun

Swiss Government Challenged by United Nations for Human Rights Violations Associated with Pesticide Use and Actions of Pesticide Companies

(Beyond Pesticides, June 28, 2019)¬†As is the case in many countries, the conversation about the use of pesticides has been especially vigorous in the past few years. Switzerland is a case in point: it is undergoing deep scrutiny of pesticide use, and the UN Special Rapporteur on Toxics, Baskut Tuncak, has now said publicly that pesticide companies‚Äô behavior is ‚Äúseriously deficient‚ÄĚ regarding human rights (especially those of children), and that the Swiss government¬†should act more aggressively to phase out use of these hazardous chemicals. Recently, the pesticide conversation has ratcheted up several notches, not only in the U.S., but also globally, due to greater public awareness of the health and environmental threats of pesticide use, more and more research underscoring those threats, and pointedly, the cascade of litigation against Monsanto (now owned by Bayer) for harm to individuals who have used its glyphosate-based products. Public awareness in Switzerland is also mounting in response to global developments, to recent discoveries that small streams in Swiss agricultural areas are heavily polluted with pesticides, and to broadening recognition that pesticides are linked to a plethora of harms to human health, pollinators, water, farmworkers, wildlife, ecosystems and biodiversity, and more. In 2017, a UN […]

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26
Jun

Colorado Couple Sues Dominican Resort for Pesticide Poisoning

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2019) ¬†“We were drooling excessively. My eyes would not stop watering,‚ÄĚ Kaylynn Knull said to Denver ABC7, after she and her boyfriend filed suit against a Dominican Republic resort they claimed poisoned them with toxic pesticides. This year, the same resort, the Grand Bajia Principe, has had three Americans die on its premises. This is not the first time an island resort has been implicated in improper, potentially illegal pesticide use. In 2015, a family of four was poisoned by Terminix after the highly toxic fumigant methyl bromide was applied in a nearby room seeped in while they slept. Ms. Knull told ABC7 that the couple‚Äôs symptoms began after rejecting a time share offer at the resort. “As soon as we came back to the room, we noticed it smelled like somebody had dumped paint everywhere. I was having the worst intestinal cramping I have ever experienced. It felt like a chainsaw going through my gut.” The couple booked the first flight off the island, and went to a doctor, who diagnosed them with “Likely Organophosphate poisoning.” Organophosphates are acutely toxic insecticides that bind to and block the transmission of the acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme important to […]

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