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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Pesticide Residues' Category


15
Feb

USDA Pesticide Data Program Continues to Mislead the Public on Pesticide Residue Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2024) The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pesticide residue report, the 32nd Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary report, released in January, finds that over 72 percent of tested commodities contain pesticide residues (27.6 percent have no detectable residues), mostly below the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set for tolerances (allowable residues) whose safety standards have been called into question by advocates. USDA spins its report findings as a positive safety finding because, as the Department says, “[m]ore than 99 percent of the products sampled through PDP had residues below the established EPA tolerances.” USDA continues, “Ultimately, if EPA determines a pesticide use is not safe for human consumption, EPA will mitigate exposure to the pesticide through actions such as amending the pesticide label instructions, changing or revoking a pesticide residue tolerance, or not registering a new use.” As Beyond Pesticides reminds the public annually when USDA uses the report to extol the safety of pesticide-laden food, the tolerance setting process has been criticized as highly deficient because of a lack of adequate risk assessments for vulnerable subpopulations, such as farmworkers, people with compromised health or preexisting health conditions, children, and perhaps, […]

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07
Feb

Consumers Left High and Dry: Public Health Issues Persist with Cannabis Products and Production Practices

(Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2024) Sun + Earth Certified (SEC), a West Coast third-party regenerative organic certifier of cannabis products, approved the first certification for an East Coast farm in Brattleboro, Vermont – Rebel Grown. The expansion of independent certifications amidst the ongoing legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana usage raises questions on the regulation of toxic petrochemical pesticides found in a range of cannabis products. SEC does establish, in its standards, the use of “biopesticides…[o]nly if the product brand name is approved for use in certified organic farming.” Additionally, the label goes beyond the stringency of the National Organic Program in its policy on potassium bicarbonate as an approved input. For example, SEC standards dictate that this input should be, “[f]or pest control as a last resort only… [and] only if the product brand name is approved for use in certified organic farming.” Rebel Grown– the new farm that acquired the SEC label – owner reported to Brattleboro Reformer, “Cannabis grown regeneratively, under the sun and in the soil, without toxic chemicals, is not only high quality but also the best for the earth.” Before delving into the weeds, there is important legal context on current regulations regarding marijuana […]

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19
Dec

Groups Petition EPA to Remove from the Market the Weed Killer Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2023) Last week, farmworker organizations and Beyond Pesticides, represented by the Center for Food Safety, filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging that the weed killer glyphosate be removed from the market. The petition cites 200 studies, which represent a fraction of the independent scientific literature on the hazards of glyphosate and formulation ingredients of glyphosate products. This action follows previous litigation in 2022 in which a federal court of appeals struck down EPA’s human health assessment, finding that the agency wrongfully dismissed glyphosate’s cancer risk. The farmworker groups petitioning include Farmworker Association of Florida, OrganizaciĂłn en California de Lideres Campesinas, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, and the Rural Coalition.   Meanwhile, verdicts against glyphosate’s manufacturer, Bayer, continue to pile up with a December jury verdict in Pennsylvania awarding $3.5 million and a November jury in Missouri ordering $1.56 billion to be paid to four plaintiffs. All link their cancer to use of the Roundup. Bayer has lost almost all of the cases filed against it for compensation and punitive damages associated with plaintiffs’ charge that its product (previously manufactured by Monsanto) caused them harm.  The petition summarizes its purpose and justification as […]

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12
Dec

Scientific Literature Review Again Identifies Pesticide Disruption of Bee Gut Microbiota

(Beyond Pesticides, December 12, 2023) A review published in Nature Reviews Microbiology finds pesticides can disrupt honeybee (Apis mellifera) microbiota (bacteria) in their gut, altering the immune system, metabolism, behavior, and development. Many studies emphasize chemical-driven agricultural systems dependent upon pollinators and products that harm or kill off these sensitive species. Previous studies have linked adverse impacts to bee microbiome to pesticide exposure. Toxic (manufactured poison) pesticides readily contaminate the ecosystem with residues pervasive in food and water commodities. In addition to this study, the scientific literature commonly associates pesticides with human, biotic, and ecosystem harm, as a doubling of toxic effects on invertebrates, like pollinators, has been recorded since 2004.  Pollinator declines directly affect the environment, society, and the economy. Many agricultural and nonagricultural plant species will decline or cease to exist without pollinators. In turn, the economy will take a hit, since much of the economy (65%) depends upon the strength of the agricultural sector. As the science shows, pesticides are one of the most significant stressors for pollinators. Additionally, pesticides have a devastating impact on bees and other pollinators and the larger context of what has been called by scientists as the “insect apocalypse.” In a world where habitat loss and fragmentation show no sign […]

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21
Nov

Plant-Based Diets: Beneficial for the Environment But Potentially High in Pesticides?

(Beyond Pesticides, November 21, 2023) According to a study in the Scientific Reports Journal, plant-forward diets might increase exposure to pesticide residues compared to meat-heavy diets. However, a switch to organic plant-based options significantly reduces this risk, with a separate research study indicating that vegetarians and vegans—often favoring organic products—are generally less exposed to synthetic pesticides than omnivores. The study also corroborates other research emphasizing the environmental benefits of plant-based diets, advocating for policies that make organic plant-based foods more widely accessible and emphasizing their crucial role in enhancing both environmental and human health.   Plant-based diets are increasingly popular—and with good reason. The intensification of animal agriculture is a major cause of deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and high water usage. In particular, Brazil accounts for one-third of global tropical deforestation, with 80% of this deforestation in the Amazon due to cattle ranching. Additionally, animal products like fish, eggs, and meat, responsible for about 83% of land use, supply only 37% of the global protein. Numerous studies suggest that reducing meat and animal product consumption can significantly mitigate environmental impacts, particularly regarding land use and greenhouse gas emissions. However, managed grazing in organic animal agriculture reduces many of the hazards […]

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06
Nov

Sports World Rejects Synthetic Turf, Favors Natural Grass as Organic Offers Safe Alternative

(Beyond Pesticides, November 6, 2023) Communities discussing synthetic versus natural turf are faced with a number of issues that go to safety, environmental health, and cost. The chemicals used to manage synthetic turf for bacteria, mold, and fungus raise serious health issues and represent a threat that does not exist in organic land management. When all the synthetic turf issues are considered, including chemical use, maintenance, heat effects, water contamination and treatment, playability and safety, organic grass turf offers an approach that checks all the critical boxes for protecting health and the environment at a competitive price. Hazards of synthetic (artificial) turf made news this fall following injuries to New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rogers and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, among others. Following safety concern, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) issued a  call to end the use of synthetic turf and a return to natural turf. The FIFA World Cup soccer association requires a grass playing field. The players are not the only ones demanding grass fields. Fans of singer-songwriter Taylor Swift came out in full force in favor of the switch after the injury to Ms. Swift’s rumored boyfriend Travis Kelce. Beyond sports injuries, concerns […]

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02
Nov

Childhood Leukemia Linked to Pesticides Used in Vineyards

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2023) A study published in Environmental Health Perspective finds the risk of acute childhood leukemia (AL), specifically acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), slightly increases with exposure to pesticides (i.e., insecticides and herbicides) from uses on vines, a crop subject to intensive pesticide use. Within 1 kilometer [km] of vineyards, the risk of ALL among children increases in areas with a higher density of vines. Although medical advancements in disease survival are more common nowadays, childhood AL remains the secondary cause of child mortality following physical injury. Furthermore, childhood leukemia survivors can suffer from chronic or long-term health complications that may be life-threatening. The etiology or cause of childhood AL involves the interaction of multiple components, including lifestyle and genetics; emerging evidence indicates that environmental contaminants (e.g., pesticides, air pollution, solvents, diet, etc.) play a role in disease. Pesticide contamination is widespread in all ecosystems, and chemical compounds can accumulate in human tissues, resulting in chronic health effects. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Already, studies find low levels of pesticide exposure during pregnancy or childhood cause adverse health effects, from metabolic disorders to mental and physical disabilities. Moreover, […]

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23
Oct

Don’t Get Comfortable: Government Shutdown Exacerbates Food Safety Threats

(Beyond Pesticides, October 23, 2023) As the immediate threat of a government shutdown has temporarily subsided, concerns are mounting over the potential threats to food safety in the United States if the government shuts down in mid-November. Experts are warning that a shutdown could jeopardize critical food safety inspections and oversight. A partial government shutdown in 2019 disrupted federal oversight of food monitoring for various pathogens and pesticides, as labs were shuttered, with agency employees furloughed. See Beyond Pesticide’s reporting about food safety risks during the last government shutdown. However, it should be noted that residues of pesticides in food continue to raise concerns about safety of food grown in chemical-intensive (conventional) farming operations. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) contingency plans dictate that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) continue its regulatory inspection of meat, poultry, and egg products, as mandated by law. However, it is important to note that the FSIS will operate with a reduced workforce, with a portion of employees deemed “essential personnel” for food safety operations. Meanwhile, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which includes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is also preparing for a potential shutdown. According to HHS’s contingency […]

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11
Oct

Rachel Carson Conservation Park Faces Controversy Over Toxic Herbicide Spraying

(Beyond Pesticides, October 11, 2023) Rachel Carson Conservation Park, a 650-acre conservation area in Montgomery County, Maryland, named in honor of the renowned scientist and author Rachel Carson, is now at the center of a controversy surrounding the use of toxic herbicides. Ms. Carson played a pivotal role in raising awareness about the harmful ecosystem and human health effects of pesticides that led to the banning of DDT. Environmentalists and concerned citizens have raised alarm over the recent spraying of “invasive weeds” with Garlon 3A, a powerful herbicide, within the park’s boundaries. Concern about pesticide use in Montgomery County is complicated by competing jurisdictions and restrictions within the county, and highlights the stark difference between nontoxic organic practices and pesticide-dependent Integrated Pest Management. (See more below on Montgomery County land management policy for local parks.) According to the Montgomery County website: “Montgomery County Parks [Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission or M-NCPPC] are a State agency. M-NCPPC operates under an integrated pest management plan (IPM). Montgomery Parks manages all playgrounds, community gardens and common lawn areas within local parks without the use of pesticides. In 2016, Montgomery Parks designated ten pesticide-free parks. In September 2019, the program expanded to 45 […]

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05
Sep

“Legalized Poisoning of 5,500 People” Message Highlights Controversy Over Aerial Pesticide Spray in Oregon

(Beyond Pesticides, September 5, 2023) Lincoln County, Oregon  community members are fighting a plan announced by a private landowner to aerially spray 473 acres of clear-cut forest over the Beaver Creek watershed with a pesticide mixture containing carcinogenic glyphosate (commonly found in Roundup).  The aerial spraying is slated to take place approximately one mile from a water intake at Seal Rock Water District, which supplies water to 5,500 residents. Beyond the risks to human health, residents are concerned about the impacts on wildlife in the creek valley. Local advocates describe the area to include native wetland plants, birds, and fish, including the federally protected Coho Salmon and Marbled Murrelet, beaver, river otter, and roaming elk herds. Beavercreek is also a protected state natural area, where families paddle and walk along the state park marshlands.  Neighbors of Beaver Creek and the surrounding community are organizing phone banking, public art displays, and a petition urging Governor Tina Kotek to put a moratorium on the spray operation. One of the efforts displays the message “legalized poisoning of 5,500 people” through lights projected onto a basalt rock formation at Seal Rock State Park. The community has gathered over 2,000 petition signatures and over 100 […]

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02
Jun

Scientists Identify 97 Pesticides and Chemical Pollutants in Study of Primate Population

(Beyond Pesticides, June 2, 2023) Scientists have identified 97 different types of pesticides and flame retardants in primate fecal samples, recently reporting their results in the journal Biology Letters. In Uganda’s Kibale National Park, researchers studied the chemical exposure of four species of primates (chimpanzees, Ugandan red colobus, olive baboons and red-tailed monkeys), adding to previous research on the subject. The chemicals demonstrate a measurable effect on primate growth and development, sparking considerable unease as to the future health of these critical species. This study shows how even within a protected national park, wildlife species are at risk from chemical pollution. According to advocates, the use of dangerous pesticides and flame retardants, therefore, must be entirely stopped in order to protect the future viability of wildlife species.  Scientists collected a total of 71 fecal samples from the four chosen species to measure levels of chemicals and hormones in a noninvasive manner. After sample analysis, researchers highlight three main groups of chemical pollutants: organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), brominated flame retardants (BFRs), and organophosphate esters (OPEs). Although in a protected area, wildlife species encounter humans through tourism, research, and human development surrounding the park. As these pesticides are so prevalent in areas of […]

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07
Oct

Pyrethroid Insecticides Associated with Liver Disease

(Beyond Pesticides, October 7, 2022) Pyrethroid insecticides are associated with the growing worldwide epidemic of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition that causes swelling of the liver and can eventually lead to cirrhosis, cancer, or liver failure. According to research published in Environmental Science and Ecotechnology, exposure to pyrethroids like bifenthrin can induce gut microbiota dysbiosis (an imbalance in microorganisms in the intestines). This dysbiosis results in abnormal lipid (fat) metabolism and subsequent accumulation of lipids in liver cells, contributing to NAFLD development. Gut microbiota plays a crucial role in lifelong digestion, immune and central nervous system regulation, as well as other bodily functions. Through the gut biome, pesticide exposure can enhance or exacerbate the adverse effects of additional environmental toxicants on the body. Since the gut microbiome shapes metabolism, it can mediate some toxic effects of environmental chemicals. However, with prolonged exposure to various environmental contaminants, critical chemical-induced changes may occur in the gut microbes, influencing adverse health outcomes. Considering NAFLD is becoming the most prevalent form of liver disease, impacting at least 25 percent of the globe, and a growing body of evidence demonstrates the significance gut microbiota play in overall health, safety analyses that currently do not consider the […]

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04
Oct

Pesticides in Sediment Contribute to Secondary Source of Chemical Pollution in Aquatic Environments

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2022) A study published in Environmental Pollution finds pyrethroid insecticides contribute to a secondary source of contamination in water resources. Various pyrethroids, including bifenthrin, are detectable in urban catch basins (storm drains) that collect runoff water before draining into the open environment. There is a lack of information regarding the pesticides’ presence in urban catch basins. However, pesticide contamination in water resources is historically commonplace and widespread throughout U.S. rivers and streams, with at least five different pesticides present in 90 percent of water samples. Moreover, thousands of tons of pesticides not only enter waterways (e.g., rivers, streams, lakes, oceans) around the U.S. through urban catch basins but agricultural and nonagricultural sources as well, contaminating essential drinking water sources, such as surface water and groundwater. Reports like these are essential for determining appropriate regulatory action to protect the human, animal, and environmental health from chemical toxicant contamination, especially if chemical contamination is highly detectable. The study notes, “The high detection frequency of bifenthrin and overall pyrethroid concentrations, especially for particle-bound residues, suggest that underground urban catch basins constitute an important secondary source for extended and widespread contamination of downstream surface waters by pesticides such as pyrethroids in urban […]

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15
Sep

With Global Disease Rates Rising, Do Pesticides Take Some of the Blame? Science Says, “Yes.”

(Beyond Pesticides, September 15, 2022) A review published in Scientific African finds pesticide exposure contributes to the increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Tanzania, reflecting implications for global health. There are four main NCDs, including cardiovascular diseases, cancers, respiratory diseases, and endocrine-disrupting diseases like diabetes. These diseases have no bacterial, viral, or fungal causes, but are chronic diseases with risk factors like genetics, tobacco/alcohol use, physical activity, and diet, thus lacking transmission between people. However, research is now investigating the role environmental factors play in NCD risks, such as outdoor and indoor air pollution, exposure to chemicals, radiation, and occupation. Regardless of whether working together or separately, these risk factors contribute to NCDs and subsequent health conditions. Non-communicable diseases are on the rise, and the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies non-communicable diseases as the number one cause of death globally, affecting 41 million individuals. Moreover, WHO estimates NCD death rates to increase by 17 percent in the next decade, significantly surpassing deaths from communicable, maternal, perinatal, and nutritional diseases combined. Therefore, the report notes, “This review is informative to the policy, practices, and intervention towards the existing situation of pesticides in Tanzania. In addition, it calls for further investigation of the absence of data […]

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08
Sep

Ingestion of Real-World Pesticide Residues in Grain Threatens Bird Offspring More than Parents

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2022) A study published in Environmental Pollution finds parental exposure to real-world, sublethal concentrations of pesticide residues on grains is a major contributor to unfavorable offspring development among foraging birds. Parents’ ingestion of grains with conventional pesticide residues, whether from contaminated or pesticide-treated seeds, results in chronic exposure that adversely affects offspring health, even at low doses. The adverse effects pesticides and other environmental pollutants have on birds are amply documented and researched. Although many studies evaluate acute or chronic health implications associated with pesticide exposure in a single generation, there is a lack of information on multi-generational impacts that can provide vital information on the fundamental survivability or fitness of bird species. Considering this study emphasizes parental exposure to environmental pollutants can have adverse consequences for future generations, it is necessary that future risk assessments for birds address these implications when implementing agricultural pesticide policies. The study notes, “[S]ublethal effects of such compounds [pesticides] on non-target species should be included in the regulation. Moreover, as agroecosystem pollution is not resulting only from pesticides, there is an urgent need to analyze cocktail effects, not only between molecules of pesticides but also between pesticides and other pollutants such as […]

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23
Mar

Climate-Induced Melting of Arctic Ice Threatens the Reemergence of Toxic Chemicals

(Beyond Pesticides, March 23, 2022) A study published in Nature Reviews Earth & Environment warns that thawing of permafrost (a ground that remains completely frozen for two or more years) in the Arctic region can prompt the reemergence of greenhouse gases (e.g., methane and carbon dioxide), microbes, and chemicals (e.g., banned pesticides like DDT). Past research finds gases, microbes, and chemicals drift near the poles, becoming entrapped in ice under the accumulating snowfall. As the global climate continues to rise and the climate crisis worsens, studies like this show significant effects, as ice encapsulating these toxic chemicals is melting. Upon melting, some chemicals can volatilize back into the atmosphere, releasing toxicants into the air and aquatic systems, with the ensuing consequences. Microbes frozen for thousands to millions of years can also emerge from thawing permafrost, with unknown implications on human, animal, and ecosystem health. The melting permafrost is already beginning to impact infrastructure, creating sinkholes that damage roads, trees, and utility poles. Moreover, mixtures of chemicals, microbes, and greenhouse gases (GHGs) in permafrost are difficult to assess. Therefore, studies like this highlight the need to evaluate the health and ecological effects of melting arctic permafrost (and glaciers) from anthropogenic (human)-induced climate change. […]

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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 “safety” story, not least of which are serious deficiencies in EPA’s establishment of those “tolerances.” 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 — the vast majority of which does not contain synthetic pesticide residues. The PDP report asserts that “the data . . . illustrate that residues found in agricultural products sampled are at levels that do not pose […]

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09
Nov

Unless You Go Organic, Switching to ‘Healthier’ Mediterranean Diet Increases Pesticide Exposure Three-fold

(Beyond Pesticides, November 9, 2021) Replacing a modern, ‘western’ diet of highly processed foods with a Mediterranean diet filled with conventional, chemically-grown fruits and vegetables triples exposure to toxic pesticides, according to research recently published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. However, this disturbing change can be eliminated by eating a Mediterranean diet consisting entirely of organic food, which is not sprayed with synthetic pesticides. The advantages of the Mediterranean diet, often ranked as the ‘best diet’ and emphasized by medical practitioners for its health benefits, now appear to depend on the production practices involved in the meals an individual eats. “There is growing evidence from observational studies that the health benefits of increasing fruit, vegetables and wholegrain consumption are partially diminished by the higher pesticide exposure associated with these foods,” said study coauthor Per Ole Iversen, MD. “Our study demonstrates that consumption of organic foods allows consumers to change to a healthier diet, without an increased intake of pesticides.” Researchers began their investigation by establishing a randomized trial consisting of 27 adults, all of whom were postgraduate student volunteers on a study abroad course in Greece. The experiment lasted a total of five weeks, including a two-week intervention in the […]

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08
Jul

Chemicals, including Pesticides, in Wastewater Discharge Contaminate Oysters in Pacific Northwest

(Beyond Pesticides, July 08, 2021) A Portland State University (PSU) study finds oysters of varying distances from wastewater discharge pipes along the Oregon and Washington state coast contain low levels of chemical contaminants. Although wastewater treatment facilities clean water draining from sinks and toilets, the process does not adequately remove all contaminants. The process can leave behind pharmaceutical drugs and personal care products (e. g., shampoos, make-up, deodorant) residues in treated water. PSU has already found that pesticides from the forestry industry threaten clams, mussels, oysters (bivalves) along the Oregon coast. Marine ecosystem pollution is difficult to track and measure, and pesticide regulations can invoke variations in water quality requirements through discrepancies in buffer zones and application concentrations. The combined presence of pesticides, medicine, and personal care products in aquatic environments has direct implications for species and ecosystem health and indirect consequences for human well-being. Therefore, studies like this can help government and health officials develop strategies to reduce the number of chemicals entering aquatic ecosystems, with researchers noting officials can “better understand whether contaminant exposure affects oyster condition.” Researchers wanted to evaluate how proximity to wastewater facilities affects variations in aquatic pollution. Thus, scientists transplanted one-week-old Pacific oysters along the Oregon and […]

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22
Apr

Grandmother’s Exposure to DDT Increases Granddaughters’ Breast Cancer and Cardiometabolic Disorder Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2021) Past maternal exposure to the pesticide dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) during pregnancy can increase the risk of breast cancer and cardiometabolic disorders (e.g., heart disease, obesity, diabetes) up to three successive generations, according to a new study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Although previous studies highlight early life or in utero exposure to DDT increasing breast cancer risk later in life, this study is the first to note generational effects on grandchildren’s health. DDT continues to adversely affect the health of the U.S. population, nearly 50 years after its ban. However, this ban is not global, as many countries still use or manufacture the chemical compound. Furthermore, residues of DDT metabolite, DDE, continue to readily contaminate food and water worldwide. Therefore, studies like these highlight the need to investigate how first-generation pesticide exposure can impact future generational health in order to prevent adverse health outcomes, especially during sensitive developmental periods (i.e., in utero, infancy/childhood). The study researchers note, “Discovery of actionable biomarkers of response to ancestral environmental exposures in young women may provide opportunities for breast cancer prevention.” To assess the association between multi-generational health risks and chemical exposure, researchers used the Public Health Institute’s Child […]

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04
Mar

Implications for Human Health: Glyphosate-Related Soil Erosion Re-Releases Toxic Pesticides from Soil

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2021) A new study finds glyphosate use stimulates soil erosion responsible for releasing banned, toxic pesticide chlordecone (Kepone), which was used in banana production. For years, an unknown pollution source continuously contaminated water surrounding islands in the French West Indies (Martinique and Guadeloupe). However, researchers from the University of Savoie Mont Blanc in France have found that chlordecone—extensively used on banana farms from 1972 to 1993—is the contamination culprit. Glyphosate is the most popular herbicide in the world, thus ubiquitous in the environment. Therefore, it is vital to understand the implication glyphosate use has on soil health and the potential re-release of soil-bound, toxic contaminants into the surrounding environment to safeguard human health. Researchers note, “[Chlordecone] fluxes drastically increased when glyphosate use began, leading to widespread ecosystem contamination. As glyphosate is used globally, ecotoxicological risk management strategies should consider how its application affects persistent pesticide storage in soils, transfer dynamics, and widespread contamination.” Conventional pesticide use contaminates soil and their respective Critical Zone (CZ) compartments. These CZ compartments interact between the four main spheres (i.e., hydrosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere) of the Earth to support life. Recent decades demonstrate an increase in soil erosion due to sediment changes […]

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18
Sep

Consumer Reports Study Rates Foods with Pesticide Residues; Doesn’t Include Worker, Environmental Justice, Biodiversity Impacts

(Beyond Pesticides, September 18, 2020) In late August, Consumer Reports magazine (CR) issued a report titled, “Stop Eating Pesticides,” which offers consumers a rating system CR developed and employed to help them “get the health benefits from fruits and vegetables while minimizing [the] risk from toxic chemicals.” In addition to providing its analysis and ratings of the pesticide risk of a variety of produce items, CR recommends eating organically grown and raised foods whenever possible. It also makes a host of recommendations on federal pesticide policies and emphasizes the importance of maintaining the integrity of the National Organic Standards (of the USDA-housed National Organic Program). Beyond Pesticides appreciates that this mainstream publication has arrived at many shared, science-based assessments of the risks of pesticides. That said, a wholesale transition to organic and regenerative agriculture — rather than making the public figure out which fruits and vegetables are “safer” or “less safe” — is the real answer to the health risks of pesticides in the food supply, according to Beyond Pesticides. The CR analysis used data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Pesticide Data Program for 2014–2018. Those pesticide residue data were compiled from tests of approximately 450 pesticides across 24,000 […]

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10
Sep

Pesticides and Heavy Metals Found in Blunt (Cigar) Wrappers, Cellulose-Based Rolling Papers, and other Plant-based Rolling Paper Products

(Beyond Pesticides, September 10, 2020) A new analysis by Science of Cannabis Laboratories Inc. (SC Labs) finds detectable concentrations of pesticides and heavy metals in rolling papers, with hemp/blunt wraps and cellulose-based rolling papers containing the highest levels of contaminants. The analysis follows a SC Labs’ finding of high levels of chlorpyrifos—a neurotoxic, organophosphate insecticide—in the rolling paper of pre-rolled cannabis, which was undergoing compliance testing. Although the rolling paper regulations generally track standards for toxic tobacco products (which means there is very little meaningful regulation), the rolling paper use with cannabis may add an addition layer of scrutiny since some statewide cannabis regulations and independent certifications adhere to stricter guidelines similar to organic practices. Researchers note the goals of the experiment “were to assess the exposure risks to the consumer as well as identify any potential liabilities for cannabis producers who use these products to make their pre-roll products.” This report, and others like it, are significant as cannabis use expands in in the U.S. and around the world, and given that one of the most popular ways to consume cannabis product is as a rolled cigarette. Study author and president of SC Labs Josh Wurzer, Ph.D., said, “This [issue] is something that cannabis and paper […]

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