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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'International' Category


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’ behavior is “seriously deficient” 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,” 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’s 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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06
Jun

Pesticide Use Kills Off Mosquito Predators Faster than Target Mosquitoes

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2019) Pesticide use eliminates pest predators and permits mosquito populations to flourish, according to research conducted in Costa Rica by scientists at Utah State University. The new study, “Adaptation to agricultural pesticides may allow mosquitoes to avoid predators and colonize novel ecosystems,” highlights the dangers of human intervention through broad scale pesticide applications, and the urgent need to consider ecosystem-wide impacts before allowing chemicals to be placed on the market. As lead study author Edd Hammill, PhD, told National Geographic, the investigation got its start after he observed higher numbers of mosquitoes in orange groves he was visiting, when compared to other, non-agricultural areas. “We felt like we were getting a lot more mosquito bites in plantations than in pristine areas and started to wonder why,” noted Dr. Hammill. The study focuses first on the role that bromeliads, a tropical flowering plant that grows on tree branches, play in affecting mosquito populations. Mosquitoes use the water that these plants catch in between their leaves to lay eggs. Many other species are found to lay eggs within the leaves, including the top-level predator in this system, the damselfly. Dr. Hammill’s team looked at community composition within bromeliad […]

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10
May

UN Brings Together 145 Experts, 50 Countries, 15,000 Studies, Documents Accelerating Biodiversity Loss Threatening All Life; Ecosystem Protections Urgently Needed

(Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2019) The Earth, its natural systems, and as many as a million species are at enormous risk from human activity, says a new assessment from the United Nations Decade on Biodiversity project — the IPBES Global Assessment Summary for Policymakers. The net finding might be expressed as: humans are not immune from the sequelae of biodiversity loss; the ecosystem functions on which human lives depend are in increasingly dire straits. The 1,500-page report, convened by IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), is the most comprehensive look to date at the biodiversity crisis and its implications for human civilization. A summary of the report’s findings, approved by representatives from the U.S. and other member countries, was released in Paris on May 6; the complete report is expected later in 2019. It is of note and commendable that the summary, though lengthy, is digestible for a lay audience. IPBES is an intergovernmental body of 132 member states, established in 2012, that assesses the state of biodiversity and of the ecosystem services such diversity provides to societies. The group also provides reporting to policymakers on those assessments, and on the dynamics (i.e., causes and impacts) between human […]

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08
Apr

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

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

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04
Apr

European Regulators Ban Carcinogenic, Frog-Killing Fungicide

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2019) Contamination of drinking water with toxic breakdown products and risks to fish and and amphibians has led to a ban on the fungicide chlorothalonil in the European Union (EU). While the pesticide will be out of use in the EU next decade, tens of millions of pounds will continue to be sprayed throughout the U.S. unless regulators take action quickly. “The [chlorothalonil ban] is based on [the European Food Safety Authority’s] EFSA’s scientific assessment which concluded that the approval criteria do not seem to be satisfied for a wide range of reasons,” a spokeswoman for the European Commission told The Guardian. “Great concerns are raised in relation to contamination of groundwater by metabolites of the substance.” EFSA’s review of chlorothalonil categorized it as a 1B carcinogen, meaning it “may cause cancer,” with the most significant risk found for kidney cancer based on laboratory animal studies. Further research was needed into many of the metabolites (break-down substances) created when chlorothalonil degrades. However, regulators determined enough data was present to conclude that these breakdown substances may be genotoxic, with the potential to damage DNA and lead to cancer. European regulators also identified a high acute risk to […]

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12
Mar

Deadly Dioxin, An Agent Orange By-Product, Continues to Contaminate Vietnam

(Beyond Pesticides, March 12, 2019) Fifty years after the end of the Vietnam War, the Agent Orange byproduct dioxin continues to contaminate Vietnam’s soils and wildlife, and subsequently affect human health. In their review, scientists at Iowa State and the University of Illinois focus on the locations where hot spots and contaminated sediments have persisted after 130,000 fifty-five gallons drums of toxic herbicides were sprayed over Vietnam’s farm fields and jungle canopies during the war. “Existing Agent Orange and dioxin research is primarily medical in nature, focusing on the details of human exposure primarily through skin contact and long-term health effects on U.S. soldiers,” says Ken Olson, PhD, co-author on the article. “In this paper, we examine the short and long-term environmental effects on the Vietnamese natural resource base and how persistence of dioxin continues to affect soils, water, sediment, fish, aquatic species, the food supply, and Vietnamese health.” While public attention has generally focused on the “rainbow herbicides,” such as Agent Orange, used during the Vietnam war, it is the dioxin TCDD (2,3,7,8 tetrachlorodibenzodioxin), a byproduct of Agent Orange’s manufacturing process, that has caused the most lasting damage within the country. While the breakdown period for Agent Orange herbicides 2,4-D […]

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14
Feb

Bavarians Gather Enough Petition Signatures to Advance Legislation to Save the Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2019) Over the course of the last two weeks in Bavaria – a southern state of Germany – locals rallied in an effort to save the bees. Braving the cold in eye-catching bee outfits, a broad coalition of activists collected over a million signatures (the necessary 10% of the state’s eligible voters) to move a petition into legislature. The petition pushes forward changes in farming practices to support pollinators; while bees are the charismatic champion of the campaign, changes will support biodiversity in general. Now that signatures are gathered, the state parliament has three months to handle citizens’ requests. Then, parliament can either accept the proposal as is or put it to a statewide referendum. In a statewide referendum, there will be a “yes” or “no” vote by a simple majority, with government bound by the result. A central motion within the petition is to increase percentage of organic farmland from 10% to 30% by 2030. This number is based on the global movement to conserve 30% of the world by 2030 in order to avoid environmental catastrophe. Proponents of the petition suggest that the demand for organic products is higher than current Bavarian capabilities, and that the […]

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12
Feb

Study Predicts Demise of Insects within Decades if Pesticide Dependence Continues

(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2019) A new systematic review of insect population studies worldwide reports on “the dreadful state of insect biodiversity in the world, as almost half of the species are rapidly declining and a third are being threatened with extinction.” The study concludes with the dire prediction that insects as a whole will go extinct in the next few decades if patterns of intensive agriculture, in particular pesticide use, continue. The review, published in Biological Conservation, analyzes 73 insect population studies conducted within the past 40 years, filtered to include only those that quantitatively assess all insect species within a taxa over a span of 10 or more years. Researchers Francisco Sánchez-Bayo, PhD and Kris A.G. Wyckhuys, PhD uncover the disturbing truth behind this mass of data: one in every three insect species monitored worldwide is threatened with extinction. Even more concerning is the finding that 41% of insect species worldwide are in decline, outpacing the more well-publicized vertebrate declines by 200%. Only a few species are expanding in range or occupying vacant niches – not nearly enough to compensate for the massive losses. In 8% of the studies in the review, citizen science data is analyzed in […]

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29
Jan

EU Committee of Parliament Calls for Stiffer Pesticide Restrictions, Total Overhaul to Protect Health

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2019) After eight months of deliberation and discussion, the European Parliament’s Special Committee (the PEST Committee) overwhelmingly approved its draft report in early December 2018 with recommendations to strengthen pesticide restrictions. PEST was established in January 2018 to assess the European Union’s authorization procedure for pesticides. The group’s charge was to review the European Union’s (EU’s) pesticide authorization process, identify its failures in evaluating and approving pesticides and their use (including any conflicts of interest impacting the process), and make recommendations to improve the protection of human, animal, and environmental health from pesticides. The 30-member committee concluded: improvement of the system will require changes in the entirety of the pesticide approval process — from the point of industry application for authorization of a pesticide, to the sale and use of any products containing the compound in EU Member States, to evaluation of impacts of its use once on the market. The approval, sale, use, and regulation of what the EU calls “Plant Protection Products” [PPP] — active substances used to “1) to protect plants or plant products against pests/diseases, 2) to influence the life processes of plants (such as substances influencing their growth, excluding nutrients) and […]

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24
Jan

Study Reveals Pollinator Conservation Necessitates Social Justice Perspective

(Beyond Pesticides, January 24, 2019) A UK Study has concluded that the expansion of community gardens, identified as “pollinator hotspots” with “high pollinator diversity,” offer an important opportunity for assisting ailing pollinator species and improving community quality of life, particularly in low income neighborhoods. Consequently, researchers suggest towns and cities can be planned and managed more effectively to steward existing urban biodiversity to create essential havens for pollinators and people under stress. The study finds that, “A high level of community robustness to species loss is increasingly recognized as an important goal in restoration ecology, since robust communities are better able to withstand perturbations.” As previous research has shown that organic agriculture boosts local economies, researchers account for and compare a key socioeconomic factor; household income. Affluent neighborhoods have larger, more numerous, and more consistently maintained gardens and green spaces. To increase city-scale robustness, researchers suggest increasing community garden allotments, planting perennial flowering plants in cemeteries, and improving management of public parks. However, researchers explain that increasing the number of community gardens, particularly in communities of low-income, would be the best strategy per unit area, as it would expand viable habitat for pollinators throughout cities while providing much-needed green space […]

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18
Jan

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

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

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13
Dec

U.S. Asks World Trade Organization to Force Lower International Safety Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2018) The U.S. is pushing back against international standards that restrict pesticides by appealing to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to intervene. At issue are new EU maximum residue levels (MRLs) on food for the following pesticides: buprofezin, diflubenzuron, ethoxysulfurom, ioxynil, molinate, picoxystrobin and tepraloxydim. Advocates are concerned that a U.S. challenge to stronger EU standards could cause the WTO to force a weakening of standards internationally. Most significantly, EU proposed lowering its MRLs on imports. The EU said lower MRLs are needed to protect consumers, as research shows pesticides are shown to be carcinogenic, and that, contrary to chemical-industry claims, no level of allowable exposures can be assumed. Taking issue with the new MRLs – as with all other STCs mentioned above – the U.S. said new MRLs would cause barriers to trade, and therefore, must be rejected by the WTO. Advocates point to the introduction of GMOs as an example of the U.S. using the WTO to block standards that restrict potentially hazardous products. Recently, the U.S. has been involved in four of five new specific trade concerns (STCs) raised before WTO. As part of reviewing the current agreement of the Committee on Sanitary and Phytosanitary […]

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30
Nov

Multiple Pesticide Residues in Soil Raise Alarm

(Beyond Pesticides, November 30, 2018) A study published this month in Science of the Total Environment reveals numerous pesticide residues persisting in soil, harming the viability of agricultural lands and increasing risk of off-site contamination. Funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Commission, researchers from the European Diverfarming project at the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands suggest nations urgently reevaluate conventional land use and inputs including water, energy, fertilizers, machinery and pesticides. Researchers decrying the lack of soil protection policies endeavored to determine which pesticides had the highest soil persistence and toxicity to non-target species. Three hundred seventeen surface soil samples were analyzed from 11 European countries. Selected countries were those with the largest amounts of active agricultural land, characterizing six distinct cropping systems. Sampled soils purposefully represented different soil properties and were taken from crops with the highest pesticide use per hectare. Samples were then analyzed for the concentration of 76 pesticide residues. These 76 pesticides were selected as being most often applied on conventional crops. Eighty-three percent of samples contained varying degrees of pesticide residues, with 25 percent showing one pesticide residue and 58 percent showing mixtures of two or more. Only 17 percent of […]

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28
Sep

French President Calls for Glyphosate/Roundup Ban, MPs Balk

(Beyond Pesticides, September 28, 2018) Despite French President, Emmanuel Macron’s pledge to see glyphosate banned in his country, French ministers of parliament (MPs) have once again refused to enter the banning of glyphosate into legislation. Glyphosate’s use in Europe has come under scrutiny and heated debate. But despite evidence of harms, and interference by Monsanto, the European Union (EU) extended its license last year. However, France has pledged to ban the chemical within a few years. French MPs –who were voting at second reading on a comprehensive reform measure aimed at reforming the trade relations in the agricultural sector and promoting healthier food – have once again refused to approve the banning of glyphosate. A promise by Emmanuel Macron, the banning of glyphosate within the next three years was not initially included in the government’s bill. Following the intensification of the debate about the herbicide’s renewal at European level, the question of including the president’s promise in the legislative text was posed in the parliamentary debate. In May, MPs followed recommendations of the government to consider a ban. But they were opposed to a ban within the framework of the French law, and rejected the amendments mentioning a ban of the […]

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14
Aug

Brazilian Judge Suspends Glyphosate; Monsanto Stock Plunges after San Francisco Jury Orders Cancer Victim Paid $289 Million

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2018) A federal judge in Brazil has ordered the suspension of the most widely used pesticide in the world, glyphosate. Under the ruling, new products may not be registered in the country until the Brazilian government reevaluates the herbicide’s toxicity. Glyphosate (Roundup) is used widely in Brazil on genetically engineered (GE) crops, which have been subject of concern in the country. This decision preceded a jury verdict last Friday in San Francisco that handed a 46-year-old groundskeeper $289 million for compensatory and punitive damages associated with his non-Hodgkin lymphoma tied to glyphosate/Roundup exposure. Monsanto, glyphosate’s manufacturer saw its stock plunge 14%, or approximately $11 billion, the next day, according to Bloomberg News. Monsanto told the Wall Street Journal that it would appeal the decision. According to Therecorder, “So far, more than 4,000 people have sued over Roundup, most in Missouri and California state courts. About 470 cases have been coordinated in California federal court as multidistrict litigation.” The San Francisco case was heard first because of the plaintiff’s poor health. The judge in Brasilia ruled on August 3, 2018 that new products containing the chemical could not be registered in the country and existing registrations would be […]

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01
Aug

Suburban Bees Still Vulnerable to Neonicotinoids Despite EU Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2018) According to new research from the University of Sussex, bees living in suburban habitats are still being exposed to high levels of neonicotinoid pesticides. Even though there is a European Union (EU) ban on these chemicals, the ban focuses on agricultural and not residential applications. The study’s authors are urging gardeners to forgo the use of these pesticides in favor of more holistic, pesticide-free approaches. The authors of the study say it is the first of its kind to highlight the risk to bees in urban areas posed by garden use of pesticides. Entitled Monitoring neonicotinoid exposure for bees in rural and peri-urban areas of the UK during the transition from pre- to post-moratorium, the study sampled pollen and nectar from bumblebee colonies in rural and peri-urban habitats in three UK regions–Stirlingshire, Hertfordshire, and Sussex over three years. Sampling began prior to the ban (2013), during the initial implementation when some seed-treated winter-sown oilseed rape was still grown (2014), and following the ban (2015). Honey bee colonies in rural habitats were also sampled to compare species-level differences between bumblebees and honey bees. Not surprisingly, the researchers find pesticide contamination in more than 50 percent of the samples, […]

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06
Jun

EU’s Highest Court Upholds Ban of the Three Top Bee-Killing Neonicotinoid Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2018) By the close of 2018, three top neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides, linked to the worldwide decline in bee populations, will be banned for outdoor use in the European Union (EU), based on the General Court of the European Union’s (GCEU) ruling last month. The GCEU, the equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court, ruled in favor of taking precautionary action to protect pollinators from clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam. This ruling allows for the limited use of neonic-treated seeds grown in permanent greenhouses where contact with bees is not expected. In its lawsuit, multinational seed and chemical companies, Syngenta and Bayer –manufacturers of the neonics in question– argued unsuccessfully that the pesticides do not necessarily harm bees if farmers use them according to label instructions. Syngenta also sought compensation of approximately $435 million to offset market losses resulting from the ban, but that, too, was denied. In rejecting the arguments of Syngenta and Bayer, the high court aligned itself with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and its assessment of the harm caused by the widely used pesticides. EFSA’s updated assessment, released in February of this year, provided convincing evidence that neonics represent a risk to wild bees and […]

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05
Jun

Switzerland to Vote on Country-wide Pesticide Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, June 5, 2018) After more than 100,000 Swiss citizens signed a petition calling for a ban on pesticides, Switzerland will soon have to vote on a complete ban on the use of synthetic pesticides. The ban would apply to farmers, industries, and imported goods, and advocates hope this measure would cause other EU nations to follow. Switzerland, home of the world’s largest pesticide manufacturer, Syngenta, has been engaged in the debate raging across the European Union (EU) about the future use of pesticides. Recently, the EU reapproved glyphosate (Roundup) after months of deadlock, while certain countries like France have indicated that it will ban the chemical within three years. Now, the Swiss initiative, according to the BBC, will make it the first country in Europe to ban all synthetic pesticides, and the second in the world after Bhutan imposed a ban in 2013. Swiss group, Future3, advocated for a ban and began collecting signatures in a crowd-funded initiative. More than 100,000 signatures have been collected, and on May 25, the details of the signatures will be checked and transferred to the Federal Council – the Swiss federal cabinet – which has one year to give recommendations to parliament. […]

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12
Mar

Based on New Data,Tell Your Governor to Ban Neonicotinoid Insecticides

(Beyond Pesticides, March 12, 2018) European Regulators Confirm Neonicotinoids Harm Bees, Increasing Likelihood of Continent-Wide Ban A comprehensive assessment released last week by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) confirmed that neonicotinoids, the most widely used class of insecticides in the world, pose risks to honey bees and wild pollinators. EFSA analyzed over 1,500 studies from academia, beekeeper associations, chemical companies, farmer groups, non-governmental organizations, and national regulators. EFSA’s risk assessment provides a definitive, independent conclusion that overall, continued use of these chemicals risks the long-term health of pollinator populations. Tell Your Governor to Ban Neonicotinoid Insecticides “The availability of such a substantial amount of data as well as the guidance has enabled us to produce very detailed conclusions,” said Jose Tarazona, PhD, head of EFSA’s Pesticides Unit in a press release. This is EFSA’s second comprehensive evaluation of the three most commonly used neonicotinoids: imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam. Earlier research finalized in 2013 led the European Union (EU) to ban use of the three neonicotinoids on agricultural flowering crops. The new assessment applies EFSA guidance to assessing risks to bees and on the initial review. It includes literature not only on honey bees, but also on wild pollinators, including bumblebees […]

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01
Feb

Herbicide Paraquat Again Linked to Parkinson’s Symptoms in Brain

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2018) Scientists at the European Institute for the Biology of Aging are finding new information about how Parkinson’s disease manifests itself after exposure to the herbicide paraquat, in hopes of finding ways to prevent the progression of the disease. Despite a well-established body of scientific literature linking the paraquat to Parkinson’s, and a ban on the use of the chemical in the European Union that dates back to 2007, its use is still permitted in the U.S. Many health groups, including Beyond Pesticides and organizations like the Michael J Fox Foundation are calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stop the use of paraquat by denying its upcoming reregistration. Published in the journal Cell Reports, this new research on Parkinson’s investigates the impact of “senescent” cells in the body. Senescent cells are those which, despite being able to divide, stop doing so in response to stress. This is an anti-cancer mechanism, as stress would otherwise cause the cells to multiply unchecked and create malignancies. Researchers suspected that despite the benefit of stopping cancer, senescent cells may be causing other problems in the body. Rather than dying, these cells can cause inflammation in the area around where […]

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14
Nov

EU Fails to Approve Continuing Glyphosate Use

(Beyond Pesticides, November 14, 2017) The European Commission has again been unable to come to a consensus over renewing approval for Monsanto’s popular herbicide,  glyphosate.  Member states voted last week, but failed to approve, continued use even after months of deliberation over the controversial herbicide. Glyphosate (Roundup) is also up for review in the U.S., but many expect the herbicide to be reregistered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), despite health concerns. The proposal to renew the European Union (EU) license for glyphosate for another five years failed to a reach a qualified majority, meaning a decision has again been postponed, according to reports. The current license is due to expire on December 15, 2017, but there is an 18-month grace period. Fourteen countries voted in favor of the renewal, nine against, while five, including Germany, abstained from voting. According to reports, a qualified majority requires that 55 percent of EU countries vote in favor and that the proposal is supported by countries representing at least 65 percent of the total EU population. France, which voted against the proposal, said it would only support a renewal for three-year phase-out. The proposal could now be referred to an appeals committee, or alternatively, the Commission could draw […]

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27
Jun

French Prime Minister Retains Bee-Toxic Neonicotinoid Pesticide Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2017) French Prime Minister, Edouard Philippe, is retaining the neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticide ban, which is set to go into effect in 2018 and is stronger than the current European Union restrictions on neonics. This decision follows a disagreement with French Agriculture Minister, Stephane Travert, who was in favor of relaxing the ban and told media outlets that he wants to address “the possibility of a number of exemptions until we find substitution products.” In July 2016, lawmakers in France approved plans to ban neonicotinoid pesticides by 2018, based on their link to declining populations of pollinators, specifically bees. The outright ban on neonicotinoid pesticides in France was adopted by a narrow majority of the country’s National Assembly, as part of a bill to protect biodiversity. In March 2017, the European Commission (EC) proposed a complete ban of agricultural uses of the widely used bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides across Europe under draft regulations. The EC cites neonicotinoids’ “high acute risks to bees.” In 2013, three neonicotinoids were temporarily banned because of concerns about their high toxicity to bees. A vote by member states is still being awaited. In 2013, the European Commission voted to suspend the use of the neonicotinoid pesticides […]

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