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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Pesticide Regulation' Category


30
Sep

EPA’s Failure to Ban Glyphosate Keeps Burden of Protection with Consumers and Local and State Governments

(Beyond Pesticides, September 30, 2022) In late September, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the withdrawal of its Interim Decision on glyphosate, the active ingredient in multiple herbicides, most notably Monsanto‚Äôs (now Bayer‚Äôs) Roundup. The action follows a slew of developments related to the herbicide, including: the 2015 International Agency for Research on Cancer‚Äôs declaration of its carcinogenicity; legal judgments and massive rewards to victims who developed cancers after chronic exposures; advocate efforts to get EPA to recognize the dangers of, and curtail, its use; and pushback from industry ‚ÄĒ most of the latter two coming in the form of litigation. The withdrawal of that Interim Decision means, on the ground that this harmful compound can continue to be used until a next regulatory review decision by EPA. Beyond Pesticides has long been engaged in education on and advocacy against glyphosate use, and was a plaintiff in the 2020 lawsuit, with the Center for Food Safety (CFS), et al., against EPA for this 2020 Interim Decision (ID). Under FIFRA (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act) each pesticide must be reviewed by EPA every 15 years ‚Äúto ensure that existing pesticide products continue to perform their intended function without […]

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27
Sep

Neonicotinoid Insecticide Exposure Harms Amphibians Across Multiple Life Stages

(Beyond Pesticides, September 27, 2022) Exposure to widely used neonicotinoid insecticides harms amphibians at multiple life stages, adversely affecting their ability to survive in the wild, according to research published in the Journal of Zoology. As long-lived, systemic insecticides, neonicotinoids are consistently found in U.S. waterways, ¬†often above federal safety limits, making these findings particularly dangerous for frogs and other amphibians throughout the country. As troubling data piles up on this class of dangerous insecticides, which are damaging pollinators, birds, deer, aquatic wildlife, and human health, it is left to the public to place pressure on federal regulators and members of Congress to act. To understand the impact of neonicotinoids on amphibian life stages, researchers conducted a range of ¬†experiments. These were designed to investigate how exposure to the neonicotinoid imidacloprid affected larval survival, sexual development, locomotor skills, and avoidance behavior of the wood frog (Rana sylvatica). Larval survival was examined by exposing tadpoles to 10 parts per billion (ppb) of imidacloprid, a rate lower than the lethal concentration expected to kill half of other frogs species in acute toxicity tests. Four treatment protocols were established, adding the variable of natural pond drying to half of the tested frogs to […]

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06
Sep

Ending Fossil Fuel-Based Pesticides and Fertilizers Central to National Forum and Legislation

(Beyond Pesticides, September 6, 2022)¬†Beyond Pesticides is holding its National Forum series, Health, Biodiversity, and Climate: A Path for a Livable Future, beginning on September 15. The National Pesticide Forum has undergone tremendous change in the format, giving participants easier access to timely, bite-sized, and provocative learning experiences and empowering action to fuel change. This year, it focuses on meeting the health, biodiversity, and climate crises with a path for a livable future. We examine both the existential problems associated with current public health and environmental crises and chart a course for a future that solves these urgent problems‚ÄĒpublic health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency.¬†The first seminar launches September 15, the second on October 12, and a third will be announced for November. Register for free! The Forum will address both the science that defines the problems associated with the threats and the solutions, some of which are contained in legislation such as the Zero Food Waste Act and the Compost Act. Two ways of helping to reduce agricultural carbon emissions and reduce hunger are addressed in these two bills‚ÄĒby maximizing the amount of food that is eaten and ensuring that food waste is composted to build soil […]

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02
Jun

California Court Bans State-Run Pesticide Spraying for Failure to Consider Adverse Impacts

(Beyond Pesticides, June 2, 2022) A¬†California judge ordered state-run pesticide spraying to cease on public, agricultural, wild lands, and private properties. The judge states that government officials fail to consider and minimize the potential health and environmental risk associated with pesticide use. Moreover, officials failed to notify the public on the risks of pesticide spraying. The suit was brought by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the City of Berkeley and ten other public health, conservation and food safety organizations, including Beyond Pesticides. Board member of the California Environmental Health Initiative Nan Wishner states, ‚ÄúThe court made the right decision to throw out CDFA‚Äôs plan to cement into place for the indefinite future the agency‚Äôs ‚Äėspray now, ask questions later approach to pest management, which would have perpetuated the existing situation, in which Californians learn their yards or neighborhoods are to be sprayed only when the treatments are about to happen and have little or no recourse to stop the use of pesticides.‚Ä̬† On May 19, 2022, the Superior Court of California ‚Äď County of Sacramento ruled to remove an environmental impact report allowing California‚Äôs Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to spray pesticides at any time and any place. Removal […]

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05
May

First Report of Environmental Pollutant Risk Among Tropical Mammals Across the Globe

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2022) A report published in¬†Biological Conservation finds environmental pollutants, including pesticides, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and particulate matter, adversely affect tropical terrestrial wildlife. Specifically, these contaminants can interact with one another, altering the chemical landscape of the ecosystem, and causing changes in the endocrine and microbiome systems of mammals. Since the publication of Rachel Carson‚Äôs¬†Silent Spring (1962), global attention to the danger of pesticides has increased, with environmental agencies banning the use of legacy pesticides like organochlorines for their devastating toxic‚ÄĒsometimes lethal‚ÄĒeffects. However, these chemicals can remain in the environment for decades and interact with various current-use pesticides, including organophosphates, neonicotinoids, and pyrethroids. Although many studies demonstrate that environmental pollution plays a significant role in premature deaths among humans, there is a lack of research on how environmental pollution directly affects tropical species mortality. Considering human and wildlife habitats tend to overlap, and chemical pollutants can drift from chemically treated areas, wildlife populations are more likely to experience similar health effects. With the number of chemicals in the ecosystem growing, studies like these highlight the need for pesticide policies that protect human health in addition to the integrity of the chemical landscapes accommodating wildlife. The researchers note, ‚ÄúUsing […]

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15
Apr

Beyond Pesticides Makes Science-based Case that It Is Imperative to Phase Out Pesticides in a Decade

The organic solutions to problems highlighted in the latest issue of¬†Pesticides and You‚ÄĒbased on the importance of healthy ecosystems and public health protection‚ÄĒare within reach, and the data creates an imperative for action now that phases out pesticides within a decade, while ensuring food productivity, resilient land management, and safe food, air, and water. (Beyond Pesticides, April 15, 2022) The current issue of Pesticides and You,¬†RETROSPECTIVE 2021: A Call to Urgent Action,¬†is a look at a year of science, policy, and advocacy that informs both the existential problems that the U.S. and the world are facing due to toxic pesticide dependency, and solutions that can be adopted now. The information in this issue captures the body of science that empowers action at the local, state, and federal level, and provides a framework for challenging toxic pesticide use and putting alternatives in place. The issue finds that 2021 was a pivotal year in both defining the problem and advancing the solution. This year in review is divided into nine sections that provide an accounting of scientific findings documenting serious pesticide-induced health and environmental effects, disproportionate risk to people of color and those with preexisting conditions, regulatory failures, at the same time […]

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21
Mar

Government Inaction Threatens Endangered Species, Calls for Action

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2022)¬†With a history of unenforceable and impractical pesticide label restrictions resulting in U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) findings of ludicrously small or no risk, the agency is at it again with its latest announcement that spins its approval of the continued use of the deadly organophosphate insecticide malathion as ‚Äúprotecting threatened and endangered species.‚ÄĚ This just the latest example of an irresponsible federal agency falling far short, as the nation and world sit on the brink of biodiversity collapse and deadly pesticide-induced diseases. Tell EPA to protect endangered species. Tell Congress to make sure the Biden administration protects endangered species.¬† The announcement follows the release of a final biological opinion by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), which, according to the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), ‚Äúrelies on scientifically unfounded assessment methods imposed during the Trump administration [and] stands in sharp contrast to the agency‚Äôs 2017 conclusion that 1,284 species would likely be jeopardized by malathion.‚ÄĚ Meanwhile, the National Marine Fisheries Service, a sister agency to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, released an updated biological opinion that determined malathion and two other toxic organophosphate pesticides are causing jeopardy to virtually every endangered U.S. salmon, sturgeon, […]

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04
Feb

USDA Food Pesticide Residue Survey Raises Alarm, while Pesticide Industry and EPA Mislead Public

(Beyond Pesticides, February 4, 2022)¬†In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued its 30th Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary report (which evaluates each year the presence of pesticide residues on produce) and misleads the public on the safety of food and agricultural practices. This 2020 report concludes that more than 99% of the produce samples tested showed residues below established U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) benchmark levels. At first blush, this sounds very reassuring, but Beyond Pesticides maintains that there is (always) more to the ‚Äúsafety‚ÄĚ story, not least of which are serious deficiencies in EPA‚Äôs establishment of those ‚Äútolerances.‚ÄĚ Those flaws include a lack of risk assessment for vulnerable sub-populations, such as farmworkers, people with compromised health, children, and perhaps, cultural/ethnic and regional sub-groups of the general population, and a failure to fully assess serious health outcomes such as disruption of the endocrine system (which contributes to numerous serious diseases). For everyone, Beyond Pesticides recommends choosing organic produce whenever possible ‚ÄĒ the vast majority of which does not contain synthetic pesticide residues. The PDP report asserts that ‚Äúthe data . . . illustrate that residues found in agricultural products sampled are at levels that do not pose […]

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14
Dec

Repeat Offender Amazon.com Fined $2.5 Million for Illegal Pesticide Sales

(Beyond Pesticides, December 14, 2021) Multinational technology corporation Amazon.com, Inc will pay $2.5 million as part of a settlement with the Washington state Attorney General over illegal sales of highly toxic restricted use pesticides. The company has entered into a consent decree with the state of Washington, requiring the retailer to perform certain actions if it wants to restart pesticide sales, in addition to the fine. This is the second major penalty Amazon has received for illegal pesticide sales in recent years. The company was fined $1.2 million by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2018. Heath advocates are applauding Washington State officials for addressing the issue and urging increased vigilance and enforcement from other states regarding illegal online pesticide sales. According to the legal complaint, between 2013-2020, Amazon sold thousands of both restricted and general use pesticides to individuals in the state of Washington without a pesticide sales license. The company failed to disclose this information to consumers, and also failed to connect information from buyers of restricted use pesticides, a requirement in Washington state. As a result of Amazon‚Äôs illegal activities, there are now thousands of highly hazardous pesticides being used in Washington without documentation on its use […]

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09
Dec

The Expense of Pesticides Significantly Outweigh Economic Benefits

(Beyond Pesticides, December 9, 2021) The cost to maintain crops using conventional pesticides outweighs the economic benefits from crop production and yield, according to a¬†report,¬†Pesticides ‚Äėcost double the amount they yield,‚Äô by the French-based organization Bureau for the Appraisal of Social Impacts for Citizen Information (BASIC). Moreover, the annual cost of increasing organic farms three-fold by 2030 is less than the cost of pesticides to society (i.e., adverse health and ecological effects from pesticide use and contamination). However, the price to pay from pesticide use encompasses much more than the products themselves. Researchers point to the need for government and health officials to consider the billion-dollar costs associated with adverse health effects from pesticide use, especially as studies confirm that pesticides cause cancer, Parkinson’s, and other diseases that are increasing. Thus, this report adds to the growing body of research demonstrating the unsustainability of conventional, chemical-intensive agricultural practices. The National Academy of Sciences identifies four goals of sustainable agriculture‚ÄĒproductivity, economics, environment, and social well-being for future generations. However, current chemical pesticide use threatens sustainable agriculture. Although the primary concerns about pesticide usage centers on health and ecological concerns, including food security, this report provides an economic assessment that offers an […]

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01
Nov

EPA and Congress Must Act to Correct a Failed Pesticide Program

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2021)¬†Join with 37 environmental and health groups, farm organizations, and beekeeper councils, who have delivered a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) leaders seeking major reforms in the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP). They provided a comprehensive list of OPP‚Äôs major failures as the lead federal office for pesticide regulation and management, including: Allowing chlorpyrifos to stay registered for more than 14 years after health experts and affected farmworkers petitioned for its removal based on its known neurological danger, Allowing unlimited use of Roundup (glyphosate) long after it was shown to contribute to deadly non-Hodgkin‚Äôs lymphoma in heavy users and it devastated the treasured monarch butterfly, now driven to near extinction in North America, Approving hundreds of neonicotinoid systemic insecticides, now the most widespread insecticide in the country where they are decimating honey and native bees and other key pollinators and beneficial species; and Registering dicamba in a highly volatile herbicide, a shocking blunder later overruled by a federal court ruling that stated OPP ‚Äúnot only substantially understated the risks ‚Ķ. It also entirely failed to acknowledge other risks, including those it was statutorily required to consider.‚ÄĚ Take action: Tell EPA and Congress that the […]

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20
Oct

EPA to Create Advisory Councils to Restore Scientific Integrity in Pesticide/Chemicals Division

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2021) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week plans to establish a new position and two advisory councils in order to enhance scientific integrity within the agency‚Äôs Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP). The move is being widely seen as a response to recent reporting over how EPA has allowed the chemical industry to distort and unduly influence its process for reviewing and approving toxic pesticides and other chemicals. ‚ÄúScientific integrity is the backbone of the work we do to ensure the safety of chemicals used in our everyday lives,‚ÄĚ said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff, PhD. ‚ÄúStrong, sound science underpins confidence in our decision-making among the public that we serve. Today‚Äôs announcements are the latest in a series of steps OCSPP is taking to reaffirm our commitment to scientific integrity and restore the public trust.‚ÄĚ EPA will create a new internal advisory group called the OSCPP Science Policy Council ‚Äúto provide advisory support and recommendations on science policy and scientific integrity issues that arise within its Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics and Office of Pesticide Programs.‚ÄĚ The chair of this advisory group […]

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28
May

Inspector General Blasts Trump’s Politicized EPA, No Announced Plans to Reverse Unscientific Decisions

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2021)¬†A report by the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concludes that scientific analyses by the agency were altered so as to favor top Trump administration officials‚Äô policy choices in the 2018 reapproval of the highly toxic and problematic pesticide, dicamba. The report, ‚ÄúEPA Deviated from its Typical Procedures in Its 2018 Dicamba Pesticide Registration Decision,‚ÄĚ was publicly released on May 24. It confirms aspects of what Beyond Pesticides and many others in the science, advocacy, public health, and environmental communities have been saying and reporting since 2016: the Trump administration executed a wholesale assault on scientific integrity in federal decision making. In its research on the matter, the Inspector General‚Äôs office (OIG) reviewed EPA‚Äôs 2016 and 2018 decisions on dicamba‚Äôs registration, documentation that purported to support those decisions, and the concerns forwarded in the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and by many stakeholders. (See more in figure below.) It also reviewed EPA internal procedures and guidance on pesticide registration, and agency scientific integrity materials; interviewed career scientists and other agency staff; and communicated with EPA‚Äôs Scientific Integrity (Science Advisor) program staff. As reported […]

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13
May

Advocates Call for Ban of Toxic Pesticides Linked to Deaths from Chemical Suicides

(Beyond Pesticides, May 13, 2021) Scientists are advocating for stricter pesticide bans to lower deaths from deliberate pesticide ingestion. The request for this toxic pesticide ban follows a University of South Australia¬†study¬†detailing discrepancies in World Health Organization (WHO) classifications of pesticide hazards that rely on animal rather than human data. Previous¬†studies¬†demonstrate an increased risk of developing depression, especially among agricultural workers and landscapers who use pesticides. Acute exposure to chemicals, including organophosphate and carbamate pesticides, tends to put farmers at¬†greater risk¬†of suicide than the general population. This research highlights the significance of assessing pesticide toxicity and health effects using human data rather than animals to understand health effects resulting from pesticide exposure. Society tends to rank mental health risks second to physical health. However, pesticide poisonings account for one in five suicides globally. Therefore, it is vital to address the accessibility and necessity of conventional pesticide use to safeguard human well-being, especially in countries lacking adequate chemical regulations. The study‚Äôs scientists note, ‚ÄúThe human data for acute toxicity of pesticides should drive hazard classifications and regulation. We believe that a global benchmark for registration of pesticides should include a less than 5% case fatality after self-poisoning, which could prevent many […]

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03
May

Tell EPA to Remove Risky Disinfectants from Its Recommended List;¬†They’re Not Necessary to Protect from COVID-19

(Beyond Pesticides, May 3, 2021)¬†Hazardous disinfectants are not necessary for protection against COVID-19, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is agreeing. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) seems to now agree, but has not changed it recommendations and listing for the public. Since last March, EPA has recommended disinfectants on List N for protecting against exposure to surfaces that would spread the virus causing COVID-19. Beyond Pesticides has evaluated the disinfectants, categorizing them as materials to seek out or to avoid. More recently, we evaluated the available evidence and recommended that schools and other institutions concentrate on providing adequate ventilation and protection from airborne virus. Tell EPA to remove risky disinfectants from its recommended list. EPA‚Äôs List N contains products containing toxic chemicals such as chlorine bleach, peroxyacetic acid, alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chlorides, didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, and other ‚Äúquats,‚ÄĚ sodium dichloro-s-triazinetrione, and hydrochloric acid. In addition to their outright toxicity, some of these can also trigger asthma attacks. Now, EPA has recognized this evidence and offered revised recommendations, stressing the need to avoid airborne transmission and stating in an infographic that the risk of contracting disease by touching contaminated surfaces is low and that disinfectants […]

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02
Apr

Lawsuit Challenges EPA Allowance of Antibiotic Streptomycin in Citrus

(Beyond Pesticides, April 2, 2021) Having raised the alarm for many years (and most recently in November 2020) on the dangers of the burgeoning antibiotic resistance crisis, Beyond Pesticides has joined a coalition of public interest groups in a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its approval of use of the medically important antibiotic streptomycin on citrus trees. Beyond Pesticides executive director Jay Feldman comments: ‚ÄúIt is past time to take urgent action to transition away from practices in agriculture that are dependent on antibiotics, advance organic farm management, and avoid new deadly pandemics. This lawsuit is an important action to reverse the previous administration‚Äôs decision to ignore the science and allow expanded use of an antibiotic in agriculture.‚ÄĚ According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the suit charges that EPA ‚Äúfailed to ensure that the approved uses of streptomycin as a pesticide would not cause unreasonable harm to human health or the environment and failed to adequately assess impacts to endangered species.‚ÄĚ The coalition of plaintiffs includes Beyond Pesticides, NRDC, Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida, Farmworker Association of Florida, Farmworker Justice, Migrant Clinicians Network, and U.S. PIRG. The coalition is represented […]

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21
Dec

Stop EPA from Limiting State Pesticide Restrictions as Corporate Deception on Hazards Continues

(Beyond Pesticides, December 21, 2020) The toxic herbicide dicamba is once again at the center of a larger story about states’ authority to regulate pesticides more stringently federal dictates and a response to corporate corruption in the marketing of pesticide products. The Trump EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) has just made it much harder for state regulations to be more protective than federal rules. It did so via a footnote embedded in dozens of pages of regulatory documents related to EPA’s registration of three new dicamba products.¬† Tell the Biden transition team that EPA must respect states’ rights to protect people and property in their states. Meanwhile, a report by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found Monsanto and BASF, a German chemical company that worked with Monsanto to launch the system coupling dicamba with resistant crops, knew their dicamba herbicides would cause large-scale damage to fields across the U.S., but decided to push them on unsuspecting farmers anyway, in a bid to corner the soybean and cotton markets with their dicamba-resistant seeds. For nearly 30 years, state regulators have used Section 24 (‚ÄúSpecial Local Needs‚ÄĚ section) of FIFRA, the Federal, Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act‚ÄĒthe law that gives EPA […]

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18
Dec

Investigation on Weed Killer Dicamba Adds to Pattern of Corporate Deception on Pesticide Hazards

(Beyond Pesticides, December 18, 2020)¬†The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting published a story in early December on yet another example of the corporate malfeasance that exalts profit far above concerns for safety, health, and ecosystems. The Midwest Center‚Äôs investigation finds that Monsanto and BASF, makers of the extremely problematic herbicide dicamba, engaged in a variety of deceitful, unethical, and possibly fraudulent practices to enable its use. The bottom line is that the companies knew, before they released dicamba, about the massive damage it would cause ‚ÄĒ and then put it on the market. Beyond Pesticides has reported on the corporate greed that fuels the downstream public health, environmental, and economic devastation these pesticides cause, and advocated for their removal from the market. Such unscrupulous behavior is not confined to these companies; Bayer (which now owns Monsanto) and Syngenta are also implicated in similar actions related to other pesticides: glyphosate and atrazine, respectively. Over the course of the past couple of decades, large agrochemical corporations have pursued not only extreme market penetration for their toxic products, but also, vertical integration that, in the case of Bayer/Monsanto, ‚Äúrepresents a near-monopoly on the agriculture supply chain.‚ÄĚ Corporate ownership of the patent on genetically […]

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22
Sep

EPA Reapproves Toxic Weedkiller Atrazine with Fewer Protections for Children’s Health

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2020) Use of the highly hazardous, endocrine disrupting weed killer atrazine is likely to expand¬†following¬†a decision made¬†earlier¬†this month by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Under the guise of ‚Äúregulatory certainty,‚ÄĚ the agency is reapproving use of this notorious herbicide,¬†as well as its cousins simazine and propazine in the triazine family of chemicals,¬†with fewer safeguards for public health, particularly young children. Advocates are incensed by the decision and vow to continue to put pressure on the agency.¬†‚ÄúUse of this extremely dangerous pesticide should be banned, not expanded,‚ÄĚ Nathan Donley,¬†PhD,¬†a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity¬†said¬†in a press release. ‚ÄúThis disgusting decision directly endangers the health of millions of Americans.‚ÄĚ Beyond Pesticides has long argued against the continued use of the triazine herbicides, which includes¬†atrazine. Triazines¬†are well known to interfere with the body‚Äôs endocrine, or hormonal system. Disruptions within this delicately¬†balanced process in the body can result in a range of ill health effects, including cancer, reproductive dysfunction, and developmental¬†harm.¬†These weedkillers¬†interfere with the pituitary gland‚Äôs release of luteinizing hormones,¬†which regulate the function of female ovaries and male gonads.¬†In comments¬†written by Beyond Pesticides to EPA, the organization notes, ‚ÄúOf the¬†numerous adverse effects associated with this disruption, […]

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28
Aug

EPA Threatens Public Health, Waiving Safety Review of Disinfectants To Be Used by American Airlines and Health Care Facilities; Need Questioned while More Uses Expected

(Beyond Pesticides, August 28, 2020)¬†The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has granted ‚Äúemergency‚ÄĚ permission to the State of Texas to allow the use of SurfaceWise¬ģ2, an unregistered pesticide, as an anti-viral surface coating. The manufacturer, Allied Bioscience, says the compound can kill coronaviruses (including SARS-CoV-2) starting at two hours post application and for up to seven days, but it is not included on EPA’s List N, of disinfectants effective against SARS-CoV-2.¬†EPA has permitted this use via the authority of Section 18 of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which allows for ‚Äúemergency‚ÄĚ use of non-registered pesticides, typically to deal with extreme threats to agricultural activities. It is rarely used for public health emergencies. Beyond Pesticides recognizes the need for protection from transmission of the novel coronavirus, and maintains that it ought to and can be done without exposing people to toxic synthetic pesticides that have not undergone evaluation for safety. See Beyond Pesticides‚Äô guidance on effective and safe precautions against the novel coronavirus. The Texas Department of Agriculture secured the EPA exemption, making the state the first to do so; Allied BioScience is pursuing this emergency waiver across all 50 states. The exemption grants American Airlines and two health […]

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17
Jun

Court Victory on Three Dicamba Weed Killers Underscores the Need to Reform Pesticide Law

(Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2020) The June 3 decision in a high-profile ‚Äúdicamba case‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and for the plaintiffs, a coalition of conservation groups ‚ÄĒ was huge news in environmental advocacy, agriculture, and agrochemical circles. The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated EPA‚Äôs 2018 conditional registration of three dicamba weed killer products for use on an estimated 60 million acres of DT (dicamba-tolerant through genetic modification/engineering) soybeans and cotton. There is, however, a related issue that accompanies this and many other pesticide cases. When EPA decides to cancel or otherwise proscribe use of a pesticide (usually as a result of its demonstrated toxicity and/or damage during litigation), the agency will often allow pesticide manufacturers to continue to sell off ‚Äúexisting stocks‚ÄĚ of a pesticide, or growers and applicators to continue to use whatever stock they have or can procure. Beyond Pesticides has opposed, covered, and litigated against this practice. To greenlight predictable harm is a violation of any recognized moral code, never mind of the agency‚Äôs mission ‚ÄĒ ‚Äúto protect human health and the environment.‚ÄĚ According to Beyond Pesticides, EPA should never permit continued use of a dangerous pesticide once that compound‚Äôs […]

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21
May

Study Finds an Association between Dicamba Use and Increased Risk of Developing Various Cancers

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2020) Use of the herbicide dicamba increases humans’ risk of various acute and chronic cancers, according to¬†research¬†published in the¬†International Journal of Epidemiology¬†by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Many pesticides are¬†‚Äúknown or probable‚Ä̬†carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), and their widespread use only amplifies chemical hazards, adversely affecting human health. However, past research lacks comprehensive information regarding human health effects associated with long-term pesticide use. This study highlights the significant role that long-term research plays in identifying potential health concerns surrounding registered pesticides, especially as¬†the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to reaffirm¬†its decision to allow dicamba use on genetically engineered (GE) crops. Nathan Donley, Ph.D., a scientist with the environmental health program at the Center for Biological Diversity, comments: ‚ÄúThis sweeping study exposes the terrible human cost of the EPA‚Äôs reckless decision to expand the use of dicamba. [‚Ķ]For the EPA to approve widespread use of this poison across much of the country without assuring its safety to people and the environment is an absolute indictment of the agency‚Äôs persistent practice of rubber-stamping dangerous pesticides.‚ÄĚ Dicamba‚ÄĒa benzoic acid chemical that controls broadleaf weeds‚ÄĒis one of the most widely applied herbicides in corn production. As a result of¬†weed resistant to […]

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07
May

Court Requires EPA to Respond to Petition to Ban Toxic Pesticide in Pet Products

(Beyond Pesticides,¬†May 7, 2020) On April 22, 2020,¬†the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals¬†granted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 90 days to respond to Natural Resources Defense Council‚Äôs (NRDC) petition requesting cancellation of¬†tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP), a toxic organophosphate pesticide in pet products. The order followed the Ninth Circuit‚Äôs decision to grant NRDC‚Äôs petition for a¬†writ of mandamus (a court‚Äôs order requiring a lower court or public authority to perform its statutory duty) as EPA withheld action to fulfill NRDC‚Äôs judicial review of TCVP, for over a decade. A favorable ruling on NRDC‚Äôs mandamus petition can influence other petitioners that hope to coerce agency action, especially when public health is at risk. The court states, ‚ÄúRepeatedly, the EPA has kicked the can down the road and betrayed its prior assurances of timely action, even as it has acknowledged that the pesticide poses widespread, serious risks to the neurodevelopmental health of children.‚ÄĚ NRDC petitioned EPA to cancel TCVP pesticide registration under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) in April 2009, after studies indicated humans absorb TCVP through contact with pesticide-treated pet products. EPA failed to respond to the initial petition after five years, and NRDC filed a 2014 mandamus requiring […]

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