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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'National Politics' Category


11
Oct

U.S. House Committee Wages War on Finding that Monsanto’s Glyphosate (Roundup) Causes Cancer

(Beyond Pesticides, October 11, 2016) Last week, in a calculated attack on the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC), the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform summoned the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to answer questions about taxpayer contributions to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) cancer agency. From reports, it is easy to gather that the committee has problems with IARC scientists’ findings that glyphosate, among other things, is a probable  carcinogen. Led by Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), the hearing is  clearly aimed at  undermining IARC’s March 2015 listing of glyphosate as a probable carcinogen based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity  found in laboratory studies. Set to take place in private, limiting any opportunity for public oversight, the hearing will consist of NIH officials answering questions on the scientific processes and public funding from politically-charged committee investigators. If Rep. Chaffetz is persuasive in this rouse against science, he stands to put in jeopardy  a significant amount funding for IARC provided by NIH, a devastating outcome for individuals who value the importance of IARC’s work in the scientific community. Glyphosate, which is produced and sold as RoundupTM  by Monsanto, has been touted by industry and EPA […]

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30
Sep

Make Your Voice Heard to Protect Organic Integrity!

(Beyond Pesticides, September 30, 2016) Stand up for organic! The public comment period has opened on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) proposed recommendations affecting  organic standards, materials and policy. The fall 2016 meeting dates have been announced and public comments are due by October 26, 2016. Your comments and participation are critical to the integrity of the organic label. Make your voice heard before the comment period closes. We’ve made tremendous progress in creating an organic food production system. Let’s not let USDA turn back the clock. Beyond Pesticides has  begun to analyze the numerous recommendations and are providing you  with our positions that we hope you will use as the basis for your comments. We will provide positions on additional topics in the near future. Please feel free to develop your own comments or cut and paste ours. If you cut and paste our comments into regulations.gov, please first put a personal note of concern in order to reflect the importance if these issues to you as an organic consumer, farmer or other concerned party. Some of the major issues before the fall 2016 National Organic Standards Board include: Chlorine Dioxide Gas: Beyond Pesticides is appalled that the […]

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27
Sep

EPA Fines Syngenta $1.2 Million for Multiple Safety Violations under Settlement

(Beyond Pesticides, September 27, 2016)  Multinational pesticide manufacturer Syngenta Crop Protection was handed a  $1.2 million fine last week for multiple violations of federal pesticide law, according a settlement reached with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA charged Syngenta with three major violations of the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), including: (1) Failure to have repackaging agreement and/or maintain records on registered pesticides; (2) Distributing misbranded pesticides, and; (3) Failure to maintain data submitted for pesticide registration. However, under the consent agreement reached with EPA, the company neither admits nor denies the allegations. The settlement comes at a time of increased scrutiny of Syngenta, as the company is in the process of reregistering the herbicide atrazine, and Chinese National Chemical Corporation (ChemChina) continues its attempts to complete a $43 billion merger. While the plan appears to have cleared U.S. regulatory hurdles, European lawmakers have yet to sign off on the deal. “The repackaging, sale and distribution of unregistered and misbranded pesticides is illegal and puts people and the environment at risk. Users rely on accurate, up-to-date information about ingredients, directions for use, hazards and safety precautions,” said Anne Heard, Acting Regional Administrator for the Southeast in an […]

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26
Sep

Public Health Watchdog Sues Dow Chemical in California Over Air Pollution Caused by Toxic Pesticide

(Beyond Pesticides September 26, 2016) Last week, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) filed a lawsuit against Dow Agrosciences LLC, also known as Dow Chemical, charging  that the “chemical manufacturing giant” fails to warn communities across California about the dangers associated with wide use of the chemical Telone. A trade name for the chemical 1,3-Dicholoropropene, or 1,3-D, Telone is a known carcinogen and is the third most heavily used pesticide in the state. The case focuses on the air pollution caused by the pesticide, as it has been found to linger in the air for multiple days after application, disproportionately impacting the rural communities, often with large minority populations, that live in the immediate vicinity. The case was filed in the State of California Alameda County Superior Court, and Dow has yet to comment or release a statement addressing the allegations against the company. Routinely applied to strawberry fields, almond orchards, vineyards, and an array of other crops, 1,3-D is a restricted use soil  fumigant, used to kill nematodes, insects, and weeds that has strong links  to cancer and other serious health issues. The use of the chemical in the production of strawberries came into prominence with the forced reduction […]

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21
Sep

EPA Proposes that Glyphosate (Roundup) Does Not Cause Cancer

(Beyond Pesticides, September 21, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs released last week  its Glyphosate Issue Paper in which the agency is proposing to classify glyphosate as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans at doses relevant for human health risk assessment.” Glyphosate, the controversial active ingredient in Roundup, was classified in 2015 by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “probable carcinogen” and numerous studies have associated the chemical with cancer and other human health issues. However, EPA’s proposed a classification that is contrary, not only to WHO’s, but also a position  it had previously held. The issue paper was released in preparation for the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) meeting, October 18-21, which convenes to review EPA’s evaluation of the carcinogenic potential of glyphosate. Glyphosate, produced by Monsanto, is one of the most popular weedkillers in the U.S., and the active ingredient in Roundup. Glyphosate is often promoted by industry as a “low toxicity” chemical and “safer” than other chemicals, yet has been shown to have  detrimental impacts  on humans and the environment. Given its widespread use on residential and agricultural sites, its toxicity is of increasing […]

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16
Sep

Take Action to Ban Atrazine: EPA Must Protect Wildlife!

(Beyond Pesticides, September 16, 2016) Tell EPA to ban all uses of atrazine in the United States! Atrazine, widely used on food and feed crops, golf courses, and residential lawns, is a potent endocrine disruptor that is  strongly associated with birth defects, cancer, sex reversal and hermaphroditism in many different animals. The European Union and other countries have banned atrazine, however EPA continues to put U.S. citizens and the environment in harm’s way, allowing nonstop use of this toxic chemical. Sign Beyond Pesticides’ petition to ban atrazine by October 5, 2016. Atrazine is the second-most widely used pesticide in the U.S., with over 73 million pounds applied each year. Atrazine has washed into surface water and leached into groundwater, spurring community water utilities  across the U.S. to file class-action lawsuits to remove the pesticide from drinking water supplies. Even at levels established as “safe” or acceptable by EPA drinking water standards, atrazine is linked to endocrine-disrupting effects. EPA is not adequately assessing the effects of atrazine by using high dose testing models, which are not appropriate for hormonally-active substances  that  often show effects at minute doses. Studies by Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley,  and others have shown that […]

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15
Sep

EPA and CDC Mislead Local and State Officials and the Public on Safety of Mosquito Pesticides Used for Zika Virus

(Washington D.C. September 15, 2016)  Beyond Pesticides today urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to immediately alert local and state mosquito control officials, elected officials, and the public throughout the U.S. to the fact that EPA’s key data reviews on the safety of widely used mosquito control pesticides, including naled and synthetic pyrethroids, are  outdated and incomplete and the scientific literature raises safety concerns. In a letter to EPA, Beyond Pesticides said, “As local and state officials implement mosquito abatement programs to address the Zika virus, it is critical that they have complete transparent safety information that they are not currently getting from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).” Beyond Pesticides continues, “This information, specific to residential exposure to the insecticides naled and its main degradation product dichlorvos (DDVP), as well as synthetic pyrethroids, is necessary for officials on the ground to make fully informed decisions and for public right to know.” According to EPA documents, the agency did not meet a planned 2015 deadline for a final review decision evaluating residential exposure to naled, a neurotoxic organophosphate insecticide that is currently being used in community mosquito spraying, and its highly toxic breakdown product DDVP. In addition to the toxic […]

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12
Sep

Court Rules Consumers and Farmers Can Sue USDA for Weakening Standard that Allows Synthetics in Organic

(Beyond Pesticides September 12, 2016) On Thursday, September 8, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California rejected the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) motion to dismiss a federal lawsuit (Case No. 15-cv-01590-HSG) that challenges changes to the rules that review the potential hazards and need for allowed synthetic and prohibited natural substances used in certified  organic food production. Finding that plaintiffs had established both proper jurisdiction and a viable claim, this ruling allows the case to move forward on its merit. The court will now  be able to review the substantive importance of formal notice and public comment regarding  the rules for organic food production, which were changed dramatically by USDA in 2013. Plaintiffs in this case, recognized  by the court as “approximately a dozen advocacy and industry groups representing organic farmers, retailers, and consumers,” filed a complaint last April asking the court to require USDA to reconsider its decision on the rule change and reinstitute the agency’s customary public hearing and comment process. Specifically at issue in the lawsuit is a rule that implements the organic law’s “sunset provision,” which since its origins has been interpreted, under a common reading of the […]

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06
Sep

FDA Bans Antibacterial Pesticide Triclosan in Soaps, While EPA Allows Its Use in Common Household Products and Toys

(Beyond Pesticides,  September 6, 2016) “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision today to remove the antibacterial triclosan, found in liquid soaps (toothpaste use will remain), is a long time coming,” Jay Feldman, Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides, said today. He continued: “The agency’s failure to regulate triclosan for near two decades, as the law requires, put millions of people and the environment at unnecessary risk to toxic effects and elevated risk to other bacterial diseases. Now, FDA should remove it from toothpaste and EPA should immediately ban it from common household products from plastics to textiles.” Many companies had decided under consumer pressure to remove triclosan from its liquid soap products years ahead of the FDA decision today. FDA’s announcement today indicates that soaps containing the antibacterial ingredient triclosan do not have substantiated germ-killing health benefits. Beyond Pesticides raised concerns about the health effects of triclosan in 2004 in its piece The Ubiquitous Triclosan, and petitioned the agency to ban the chemical in 2005. In 2015, triclosan was banned in the European Union. For nearly two decades, scientific studies have disputed the need for the chemical and linked its widespread use to health and environmental effects and the development […]

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26
Aug

Judge Orders Release of Terminix Documents in Methyl Bromide Poisoning of Family

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2016) Virgin Islands Superior Court Judge, Harold Willocks denied a request made by Terminix to stop a subpoena for Terminix documents in the methyl bromide poisoning case  issued  by Attorney General Claude Earl Walker, according to The Virgin Islands Consortium. The paper reported that the subpoena ordered the pest control company to provide documents and information relating to an ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ). This follows two settlement agreements made by Terminix; one to pay $10 million to DOJ and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, and another to pay $87 million to the Esmond family, poisoned by the misuse of a neurotoxic pesticide fumigant, methyl bromide, when they vacationed in the Virgin Islands in the spring of 2015. According to the Virgin Islands Consortium, DOJ launched  another investigation into Terminix after the Esmonds were poisoned to determine if there had been a violation of the Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (CICO). Attorney General Walker issued the original subpoena on April 28, requesting that Terminix surrender all information related to the purchase, use and import of methyl bromide obtained within the past three years. […]

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23
Aug

Senator Blumenthal Calls for Repeal of New, Weak GE Labeling Law that Preempts States

(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2016) “Fundamentally anti-consumer,” said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) of the new genetic engineered (GE) labeling bill signed into law by President Obama late last month. Senator Blumenthal’s frustration with the new legislation and its preemption of state-level laws such as Vermont and Connecticut’s led the Senator to announce he will be introducing a bill next session to repeal the divisive law. After years of state-level ballot initiatives in California, Oregon, Washington State, and Colorado, which were defeated after the chemical industry poured millions of dollars into ad buys that played on consumer fears of higher prices at the check-out line, Maine and Connecticut took a stand for consumer’s right to know. While their legislation required trigger clauses to go into effect, Vermont’s was passed shortly after without such a clause, and withstood a legal challenge from the multinational food and chemical industry. Vermont’s law propelled industry to move its efforts to Congress, and the state’s legislation actually went into effect on July 1, 2016, as industry was still working to garner the necessary votes for its new DARK deal.   Pushed forward by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KS), the new law has […]

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05
Aug

Fighting Zika – Growing Concerns over Pesticide Resistance

(Beyond Pesticides, August 5, 2016) Concerned health officials in Miami, Florida are investigating suspicions that Zika-spreading mosquitoes have become resistant to the pesticides commonly used synthetic pyrethroid insecticides used in mosquito control. As the region works to contain a Zika outbreak in northern Miami, officials are beginning to recognize that broadcast pesticide applications are not effective at controlling populations, and are looking into cases in the U.S.  and in other parts of the world of mosquitoes developing resistance to chemical controls, or whether other factors are at work. At the same, the broadcasting of the pesticides by truck and plane and the resulting exposure to people and the environment also raise serious health issues. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which has the ability to live indoors and reproduce even in tiny pools of water, is the primary way the Zika virus is spread, although there are reports that the disease can also be transmitted through sexual contact. Zika virus has been linked to cases of microcephaly, in which babies are born with underdeveloped brains. The virus has been detected in several Latin American countries, including Brazil where the outbreak was first observed and linked to increased cases of microcephaly. However, locally […]

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03
Aug

Terminix To Pay Delaware Family $87 Million Settlement for Poisoning with Methyl Bromide in U.S. Virgin Islands

(Beyond Pesticides, August 3, 2016) Home pest control giant Terminix reached a tentative settlement agreement this week of $87 million with  the  Esmond family for the severe poisoning of the mother, father and two teenage children with the highly neurotoxic pesticide fumigant  methyl bromide.  The company treated  a neighboring unit  to  their vacation residence  last spring  at a  condo resort complex in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. This amount is in addition to $3 million already paid to the family to cover the insurance deductible, and an undisclosed amount that the company’s insurance carriers have agreed to pay pursuant to their general liability insurance policies, according to an earnings report filed by the Terminix’s parent company, ServiceMaster Global Holdings, Inc. of Memphis, Tennessee. Stephen Esmond became paralyzed after the March 2015 incident, while his two sons spent weeks in critical condition. The mother,  Theresa Devine is still recovering. Beyond Pesticides’ executive director, Jay Feldman, spoke to CBS Evening News August 2 on the poisoning. Watch news piece  here.   Methyl bromide is a restricted use pesticide and is not registered for residential use, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2013 Methyl Bromide Preliminary Workplan. It was taken off […]

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01
Aug

President Signs Weak Product Labeling Law on Genetically Engineered Ingredients, Preempts States

(Beyond Pesticides, August  1, 2016) As expected, President Obama signed into law an amendment to S. 764, the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law, which establishes a national GMO (genetically modified  organisms or genetically engineered-GE) food labeling requirement that food safety advocates say may be deceptive, preempts states from adopting stronger label language and standards, and excludes a large portion of the population without special cell phone technology. Pushed by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KS), the law is being characterized by its supporters as a compromise, stronger than the original legislation, the Biotechnology Food Labeling and Uniformity Act (S.2621), which was dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act. That bill failed to reach cloture in the Senate in March. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, a big supporter of genetically engineered food production, will have two years to develop the standard, during which time it will assess the question of equitable access to the disclosure of ingredients. This new law will invalidate a stronger GMO labeling law that took effect in Vermont on July 1. The law, signed by the President on July 29, does very little to ensure that consumers will actually be able to […]

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25
Jul

Oregon Prohibits 14 Horticultural Products Used in Marijuana Production, Not Labeled as Containing Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides July 25, 2016) The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) last week issued 12 notices of statewide detainment and stop sale and removal orders for horticultural pesticide products that contain active ingredients not listed on the label. The orders call for the product manufacturers to immediately cease all sales, offers of sale, or other distribution in Oregon. This is the latest effort by a state with a legalized marijuana market to try to  curb the use of illegal pesticides in cannabis production, a practice that poses potential health threats to consumers, creating a regulatory challenge for state officials in states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal and or recreational purposes. Because the U.S. government classifies cannabis as a narcotic, the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) does not register pesticide products for use in its production, leaving consumers exposed to hazardous pesticides through inhalation, ingestion, and dermal absorption without any evaluation of potential health effects. The products in question are commonly used in horticulture and hydroponics, including cannabis production. The 12 notices cover 14 products sold in Oregon that were also identified by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) in late June as containing undeclared pesticide active ingredients. In an […]

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21
Jul

Mixtures of Multiple Pesticide Ingredients in Products Not Evaluated by EPA for Elevated Toxicity

(Beyond Pesticides, July 21, 2016) An investigative report released yesterday by Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) concludes  that, over the past six years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved nearly 100 pesticide products with chemical mixtures that elevate the formulations’  toxicity, but are not specifically evaluated  by the agency. CBD finds that these formulations add  more stress to already-jeopardized pollinators and rare plants. The report Toxic Concoctions: How the EPA Ignores the Dangers of Pesticide Cocktails, highlights a long-running blind spot within EPA’s pesticide evaluation program, which Beyond Pesticides has long sounded the alarm on: the risk associated with combining mixtures of different pesticide active ingredients, which independent science shows may be more toxic than a single active ingredient by itself, also known as pesticide synergism. The mixtures occur as a result of multiple ingredients in individual products or  because of exposure to multiple pesticide product residues in food, air, water, and land areas, such as lawns, playing fields, and parks. “It’s alarming to see just how common it’s been for the EPA to ignore how these chemical mixtures might endanger the health of our environment,” said Nathan Donley, Ph.D., a scientist with the CBD, and author of […]

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14
Jul

Congress Proposes to Strip Farmworker Protection Standards in Funding Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, July 14, 2016) A funding bill (H.R. 5538) for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Interior Department is receiving pushback from conservation groups, environmental lobbyists, and workers’ rights advocates for containing dozens of controversial amendments, including  one that would strip funding for parts of the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS), which establishes many  protections for  those  in the country who experience the highest and most dangerous pesticide exposure — farmworkers. Title IV, Section 437 of H.R. 5538 states that, “None of the funds made available by this or any other Act may be used to implement or enforce, or to require States to implement or enforce, the provisions of 40 CFR 170.311(b)(9) as published in the Federal Register on November 2, 2015.” The provisions of 40 CFR 170.311(b)(9) refer to the WPS revisions passed in 2015, which had previously not been updated for over 20 years. The revisions are designed to provide at least some protections from pesticide exposure to farmworkers and their families is scheduled to effect in  December 2016. Historically, farmworker advocates have criticized  WPS as woefully inadequate in protecting the health of agricultural workers, but these new revisions strengthen the standards through increased training for […]

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13
Jul

California to List Atrazine and Other Triazine Weedkillers to Prop 65 as Reproductive Toxicants

(Beyond Pesticides, July 13, 2016) California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) has announced that atrazine, its chemical cousins,  propazine,  simazine,  and its break down triazine compounds des-ethyl atrazine (DEA),  des-isopropyl atrazine (DIA)  and  2,4-diamino-6-chloro-s-triazine (DACT)  would be added to the list of chemicals known to the state to cause reproductive toxicity for purposes of the state’s Proposition 65. The formal listing has been delayed and will not be effective until July 15, 2016 due to litigation from the manufacturer, Syngenta, which opposes the listing. In 2014 the state announced its Notice of Intent to list the triazines: atrazine, propazine, simazine and their breakdown products under Proposition 65 — the state’s law on toxic chemicals. The listing of these chemicals was initially to be effective on August 3, 2015. However, Syngenta, manufacturer of atrazine, challenged the listing decision, leading to a delay in the formal decision. Syngenta Crop Protection v OEHHA  (Sacramento Superior Court case#34-2014-800001868). Syngenta’s challenge was unsuccessful and now the official listing can move forward, in spite of Syngenta’s pending appeal. The six chemicals will now be known as reproductive toxicants in the state of California effective July 15, 2016. See listing notice. http://oehha.ca.gov/media/downloads/crnr/listingnoticetriazines070516.pdf Proposition 65, officially […]

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11
Jul

CDC, EPA Urge Aerial Mosquito Spraying in Puerto Rico Amid Protest

(Beyond Pesticides, July 11, 2016) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last Wednesday, July 6 that Zika is spreading rapidly in Puerto Rico, and recommends aerial spraying of the toxic pesticide Naled for mosquito control, much to the dismay of many area farmers, activists and concerned citizens who feel that the decision was made without consultation or information provided to the local population. Aerial spraying of pesticides have long been used for mosquito control, but many experts believe that these methods fail to sufficiently manage mosquito populations, increase pesticide resistance, and kill other species that would have acted as a natural predator to mosquitoes. Many experts  agree that combating mosquito-borne diseases should include good surveillance and scientific understanding for controlling mosquito populations, including a focus on  eliminating or managing  breeding areas,  utilizing  biological controls, exclusion from indoor environments with screening, and repellents. An efficient mosquito management strategy emphasizes public awareness, prevention, and monitoring methods. However, if these methods are not used properly or in time, communities must determine if they should risk exposing vulnerable populations to potentially harmful diseases caused by mosquitoes or to chronic or deadly illnesses caused by […]

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07
Jul

U.S. Senate Moves to Limit GMO Labeling

(Beyond Pesticides, July 7, 2016) Despite an outpouring of letters, calls and protests, in a key procedural vote yesterday, the Senate voted to deny Americans the right to know what is in in their food products, and to preempt states’ rights to create their own genetically engineered food labeling laws. In a cloture vote of 65-32, the highly-flawed genetically engineered (GE or GMO) labeling bill, S.B. 764, offered by Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KY), also known as the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act, passed through the Senate. This “compromise” bill allows producers to use QR codes and “smart labels” instead of clear, on-package labeling of food products that contain genetically modified organisms, which means that consumers will need to use a smart phone for the information. The bill also exempts major portions of current and future GE foods from being labeled, and, in an affront against democracy, preempts the genetically engineered food labeling laws in Vermont (which went into effect July 1), Connecticut, Maine and Alaska. “The American people have a right to know what they’re eating,” said Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who vowed to put a hold on the bill if they didn’t […]

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05
Jul

Malibu, CA City Council Unanimously Votes to Ban Pesticides on Public Property

(Beyond Pesticides, July 5, 2016) Last week, Malibu City Councilmembers, in a unanimous decision (5-0), voted to make Malibu, California’s (CA) public spaces poison free, which means an immediate ban on all pesticides, rodenticides and herbicides. During a marathon meeting that ran into the early hours past midnight, more than 24 Malibu residents and stakeholders came to give public comments on pesticide use on public parks and city property. You can view the city council meeting here. The entire discussion and vote is included, starting at 3:29:37 (or section 6.A.). Many of the residents were with an community  group called Poison Free Malibu, which is a group that advocates for the elimination of toxic pesticide use in the area. According to the Malibu Times, Kian Schulman, RN, founder of Poison Free Malibu, gave a presentation on the effects of pesticide chemicals and their connection to diseases such as cancer and neurological issues like ADHD and Alzheimer’s. Ms. Schulman’s presentation included a picture of a city worker spraying pesticides on Legacy Park, while wearing a full hazmat suit as a child rode their bicycle close by. Several Poison Free Malibu supporters attended the meeting and gave a presentation on the adverse […]

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27
Jun

Organic Seed Production Is Not Keeping Up With Demand

(Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2016) A new report released last  week by the Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) found that the supply of organic seeds is not keeping up with the rising demand for organic products. The organic sector grew 11 percent between 2014 and 2015, with sales last year totaling $43 billion. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s National Organic Program (NOP) does require the use of organic seed when commercially available, but because the organic seed sector was almost nonexistent when the program began, it is still working to meet demand. In cases where organic seeds are not commercial available, organic farmers are allowed to turn to conventional seed alternatives. According to OSA’s State of Organic Seed report, funded by the Clif Bar Family Foundation’s Seed Matters Initiative, the UNFI Foundation, and New Belgium Brewing Company, the biggest organic operations actually use a relatively small amount of organic seed. They found that vegetable farmers that grow on less than ten acres use, on average, 75 percent organic seed, while growers that farm over 480 acres use only 20 percent organic seed. The authors of the report surveyed 1,365 organic farms, 16 seed companies, 46 researchers and 22 accredited […]

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24
Jun

USDA Aligns with Chemical Industry for Pollinator Festival, Disinvites Environmentalists

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2016) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), during its Pollinator Week Festival at the “People’s Garden” on Friday, has shut out environmental public interest groups that are advocating pesticide restrictions to protect bees. Instead, the agriculture agency is teaming up with other federal agencies and chemical industry groups that advocates say have been tone deaf to beekeepers’ pleas for federal government action. This new controversy emerges in the midst of an escalating pollinator crisis with 44% bee colony losses in the last year. Advocates, who bring the voice of independent science and point to the dangers of bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides as a major contributor to the decline in pollinator populations, have been disinvited to the event. Meanwhile, the Pollinator Partnership, an organization closely affiliated with the chemical industry (Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, CropLife, have all been previously listed as sponsors) will be in attendance. Groups like Beyond Pesticides, which bridges environmental, consumer and farm interests, have participated for several years in the Festival. “The foundation for a constructive dialogue between federal agencies and the public regarding the decline of our critical pollinator populations rests upon the free exchange of information and viewpoints,” said Jay Feldman, executive director […]

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