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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'State/Local' Category


14
Mar

Study Finds Public Health Threatened by State Laws that Preempt Local Government Authority to Restrict Pesticides Community-wide

(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2019) A study, supported by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, finds that state pesticide preemption laws “compromise public health and economic well-being” by preventing localities from enacting pesticide use restrictions on private property that are more restrictive than their state’s regulations. In the words of the authors, “By eliminating the ability of local governments to enact ordinances to safeguard inhabitants from health risks posed by pesticides, state preemption laws denigrate public health protections.” The study, Anti-community state pesticide preemption laws prevent local governments from protecting people from harm, published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, reviews scientific and historical evidence of the failure of state and federal pesticide laws to protect localities from pesticide poisoning, and highlights the inability of localities to compensate for that failure under present laws. Communities seeking to protect their residents would typically issue community-wide restrictions to ensure protection of shared community resources, including air, land, and waterways, from pesticide drift, runoff, and other nontarget effects —as is the case with other community decisions on recycling, smoking, and zoning. The study’s authors document how industry influence led to the adoption of state laws that undermine the ability of localities […]

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06
Mar

Nutrient Runoff, Aquatic Weed Killers, and Florida’s Red Tide Collide in Public Debate

(Beyond Pesticides, March 6, 2019) After a brief hiatus, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is continuing use of aquatic herbicides, including glyphosate, for invasive species management. Public pressure and feedback caused FWC to take a temporary pause from spraying while the commission collected public comment  through public hearings and emails from late January through February. FWC ultimately decided to resume spraying invasive species, and points to its improved integrated management system as reducing overall herbicide use. Glyphosate, one of the 17 aquatic herbicides that FWC uses regularly has sparked opposition from environmentalists and the general public due to its wide usage and known adverse effects. According to FWC data, 12,263 pounds of glyphosate-based herbicides were used on Florida’s Lake Okeechobee in 2017. About 175,000 people have signed North Palm Beach photographer and wildlife advocate Jim Abernathy’s petition titled “Stop The State-Sanctioned Poisoning of Our Lakes and Rivers!”. The petition decries the use of glyphosate to kill invasive aquatic plants and warns of subsequent nutrient pollution caused by decay. An excess of nutrients (e.g. nitrogen and phosphorus) in water bodies contribute to algal blooms. Eutrophication can eventually result in oxygen depletion and thereby decrease biodiversity. FWC denies that the […]

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25
Feb

New York Bill and Lawsuit Push for Farmworkers’ Right to Organize

(Beyond Pesticides, February 22, 2019) A bill introduced in the New York State Assembly and the Senate this month will break the century-long legal exclusion of agricultural workers from common labor protections. Among other protections, the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act will give New York farmworkers the right to collective bargaining, making employer intimidation and retaliation against organizing workers illegal. Citing farmworkers’ exposure to toxic chemicals among other occupational risks, former dairy farmworker and worker organizer Crispin Hernandez states, “The legislation would do a lot to end the pervasive climate of fear, intimidation and retaliation that exists on farms today. It would also make farmworkers’ lives safer.” The National Farm Worker Ministry notes that, “A union contract allows workers to report problems on the job without fear of getting fired.” In the case of farmworkers, problems on the job include exposures to toxic pesticides that workers, if organized, could freely report and collectively negotiate to remove from use to ensure their safety. The bill, introduced to the Assembly by Queens Assemblymember Cathy Nolan and to the Senate by freshman Senator Jessica Ramos (D), will amend the New York State Labor Relations Act (NYSLRA) by removing farmworkers from the list of […]

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11
Feb

Tell Oregon Department of Agriculture to Ban Tree-Killing Herbicide, Aminocyclopyrachlor (ACP) [Perspective]

(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2019) Aminocyclopyrachlor (ACP) is a tree-killing pesticide masquerading as a broadleaf herbicide. The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has the opportunity to lead the country in banning this inherently dangerous chemical. According to ODA, nearly 1,500 dead or dying trees have been reported along Oregon’s iconic Interstate 20, home to old growth ponderosa pines. Many of these 150- to 300-year old trees are now dead from ACP exposure. ODA indicated that “because [ACP] is a relatively new herbicide it is unknown how many trees stressed from past applications of [ACP] will die in the future.” Even at tiny levels, ACP run-off and drift kills trees. Tell Oregon’s Department of Agriculture to lead the country in completely banning its use. In 2014, DuPont chemical company settled a nearly $2 million lawsuit with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after the herbicide (under the brand name ImprelisÂŽ) was found to kill trees at golf courses, homeowners associations, businesses, and private residences. Despite this history, regulators left ACP on the market. Its use was banned on lawns and turfgrass, but allowed for roadside rights-of-way. A couple years ago, Bayer purchased the rights to ACP from DuPont and continues to market […]

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07
Feb

Study Finds State Pollinator Protections Fall Short

(Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2019) A new study, released in Environmental Science and Policy, systematically reviews all state-level pollinator protection acts passed since 2000 and makes a somewhat dim diagnosis: as a rule, state policies fall far below the mark for protecting invaluable ecosystem services and ensuring long-term, sustainable food production. Authors judge the legislation against a set of pollinator protection policy benchmarks established in 2016 by a group of scientists from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Citing the ten policy recommendations laid out by IPBES experts, researchers point to the failure of all enacted state policies to address three main target areas – (1) to improve genetically modified crop risk assessment, (2) to incentivize farmers to make the switch from agrochemical dependence to sustainable benefits from ecosystem services, and, critically, (3) to support diversified farming systems. Beyond Pesticides notes one additional missed target: (4) funding for research on organic, diversified, and ecologically intensified farming. The study includes a total of 109 state laws passed from 2000 to 2017, which authors tracked down by searching usa.gov and state legislative websites and by submitting requests to state librarians. To uncover common themes and patterns among these […]

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01
Feb

Largest County in Maryland Bans Glyphosate (Roundup) in Its Parks, Pending Complete Pesticide Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2019) Prior to a pesticide ban taking effect in Montgomery County Maryland Parks, the Department of Parks announced in mid-December 2018 that it would discontinue the use of glyphosate-based herbicides through March 2019. The agency has used these hazardous herbicides as part of its IPM (Integrated Pest Management) program for weed management. Montgomery Parks indicates it will release further information on the use of glyphosate in mid-March. In November last year, Montgomery County Council member Tom Hucker wrote to the head of Parks, supported by a community-wide petition, urging that glyphosate be banned immediately, pending implementation of the county ban. He cited the finding of the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (World Health Organization) finding that the chemical probably causes cancer in humans and the $289 million jury verdict last year that the chemical caused a school groundskeeper’s non Hodgkin lymphoma. In 2016, Montgomery Parks instituted a pesticide reduction program in compliance with Montgomery County, Maryland’s 2015 adoption of County Code 33B, which aimed to regulate use of pesticides on county-owned property, including parks, and on private property. In 2017, a Montgomery Circuit Court overturned the portion of the law pertaining to a ban on private […]

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22
Jan

Help Get Neurotoxic Pesticide, Chlorpyrifos, Out of Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, January 22, 2019) Earlier this month, U.S. Representative Nydia VelĂĄsquez (D-NY) introduced The Ban Toxic Pesticides Act, H.R.230 which bans the insecticide chlorpyrifos from commerce. Chlorpyrifos is a toxic chemical that has been linked to damaging and often irreversible health outcomes in workers, pregnant women, and children. As a result of a revised human health risk assessment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a regulation to ban chlorpyrifos in 2016. Under the Trump Administration, the EPA has taken steps to reverse the regulation. “It’s unconscionable for EPA to turn a blind eye as children and workers are exposed to this poison,” VelĂĄzquez said.  “If the EPA won’t do its job when it comes to chlorpyrifos, then Congress needs to act – and do so quickly.” Ask your U.S. Representative to Co-Sponsor H.R. 230 to Stop the Use of the Toxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos, which Is Damaging Children’s Brains.  Chlorypyrifos is a widely used pesticide. Agriculture companies annually spray 6 million pounds of the substance on crops like citrus, apples, and cherries.  In the same family as Sarin gas, the substance was initially developed prior to World War II as a chemical weapon. It can overstimulate the nervous system to cause […]

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10
Jan

Take Action: Stop Antibiotic Use in Citrus Production, Leading to Life-Threatening Illness

(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2019) The Trump administration is opening the floodgates to allow widespread use of antibiotics in citrus (grapefruits, oranges and tangerines) production, expanding on an emergency use decision it made in 2017. The public has an opportunity to comment on the widespread use of streptomycin by January 19, 2019. You can comment on the federal government’s public comment page (regulations.gov) by leaving a comment opposing any additional use of antibiotics in food production during a national and international crisis of deadly disease resistance to antibiotics. You can copy Beyond Pesticides’ prepared comment below and add your own concerns. Strikingly, the decision allows for up to 480,000 acres of citrus trees in Florida to be treated with more than 650,000 pounds of streptomycin per year, and 23,000 citrus acres in California will likely be treated annually. The two approved antibacterial chemicals to be used as a pesticide in citrus production are streptomycin and oxytetracycline. These uses were permitted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under an emergency exemption in May, 2017, allowing residues of antibiotics in Florida orange juice, for the antibiotics streptomycin and oxytetracycline –allowing their use for a bacterial disease, citrus greening (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) bacterium that causes Huanglongbing), […]

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03
Jan

Watchdog Groups Urge Maryland to Better Enforce State’s Pollinator Protection Act

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2019) Bee-toxic pesticides banned for consumer use by the state of Maryland are still being sold in hardware and garden stores, according to reports from beekeeper and consumer watchdog groups. In 2016, Maryland passed the Pollinator Protection Act, which limited the use of neonicotinoids, insecticides implicated in the global decline of pollinator populations, to only certified applicators. According to spot checks by the Maryland Pesticide Education Network (MPEN) and the Central Maryland Beekeepers Association (CMBA), state enforcement agencies still have a ways to go to ensure retailers are complying with the law. From May to October 2018, six volunteers visited 30 Maryland stores along the Baltimore-Washington corridor to see whether they are complying with the law by removing bee-toxic neonicotinoids from retail consumer sale. Eleven of the 30 stores were not in compliance, ranging from local home and garden stores to national big-box chains. “I’ve taken bottles off the shelf and taken them up to an employee or a manager, and said, ‘You really need to stop selling this stuff — it’s illegal,’” said Steve McDaniel, a master beekeeper in Carroll County to the Bay Journal. The state, for its part, indicates that staffing problems at […]

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21
Dec

Blackberry Leaves Decompose to Thwart Mosquito Breeding

(Beyond Pesticides, December 21, 2019) A study at the University of Maine (UMaine) finds that adding blackberry leaf litter in stormwater catch basins creates an “ecological trap,” enticing mosquito females to lay eggs in sites unsuitable for larvae survival. Employing this new and incredibly viable “attract-and-kill’ tool for mosquito control shows potential for preventing the breeding of mosquitoes that may carry insect-borne diseases, especially in urban environments. Stormwater catch basins regularly accumulate leaf litter, which serve as habitat for the mosquito species Culex pipiens (Cx. Pipiens) that may carry West Nile virus. Previous University of Maine research discovered decomposing leaf litter from Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) and common blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis) produces chemical compounds that attracts and stimulates Cx. Pipiens female to oviposit, or lay eggs. Investigating the attractiveness and lethality of varying catch basin conditions to mosquitoes, researchers hypothesized that blackberry leaf litter could be shown to be lethal to developing mosquito larvae, and, therefore, act as a natural ecological trap for Cx. Pipiens. Five varying treatments were applied to a total 50 catch basins. Treatments included (1) all debris dredged weekly throughout the duration of the study, (2) no change to debris naturally occurring in catch basins, (3) […]

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14
Dec

Pollinator Disappearance Documented in Vermont, Confirming Insect Apocalypse

(Beyond Pesticides, December 14, 2018) The richness, diversity, and abundance of wild bumblebees in Vermont has plummeted over the last century, according to an analysis from researchers at the University of Vermont and Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE). This research adds fresh evidence to the growing realization that mankind is witnessing and contributing to, as the New York Times recently labeled, a worldwide insect apocalypse. “We’re losing bumblebees even before we fully understand their benefits to our economy and well-being, or how they fit into ecosystems,” said Kent McFarland, study coauthor and conservation biologist at VCE in a press release. Researchers conducted surveys with the help of 53 trained citizen scientists. Alongside the researchers, these individuals surveyed bumblebee populations through a combination of photos of wild bees and net collections. In total, over 81% of the state’s municipalities were included in the survey, representing all of Vermont pollinator’s biophysical regions. These data, consisting of over 10,000 bee encounters, were then compared to a database of almost 2,000 historical public and private insect collections amassed by researchers. With the first records beginning at 1915, scientists are able to compose a century-long assessment of pollinator populations in Vermont. “These collections are priceless,” […]

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11
Dec

DDT in Glacial Melt Puts Alaskan Communities at Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, December 11, 2018) Meltwater and runoff from Alaskan glaciers contain detectable levels of organochlorine pesticides that bioconcentrate in fish and put individuals at risk, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Maine (UMaine). DDT, lindane, and other organochlorines have been detected throughout the world, even in natural areas thought to be untouched, and pristine. As UMaine scientists show, the atmospheric transport and ubiquitous deposition of these pesticides continues to pose risks to U.S. residents long after regulations banned their use. Although most of the highly toxic class of organochlorine pesticides like DDT were banned in the early 1970s, some chemicals retained certain uses. Lindane, for example, had its pest management uses phased out gradually until 2007, but is still allowed today as a scabies and lice shampoo. While use of these pesticides has declined in the U.S., much of the developing world, including many Asian countries, such as China, India, and North Korea, still report use. This results in atmospheric transport of the pesticides, and relevant to the UMaine research, increases the likelihood that the chemicals will eventually be deposited onto Alaskan glaciers through snow or rain. The UMaine research team investigated the amount of […]

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04
Dec

California Criticized for Adopting Inadequate Measures to Restrict the Highly Toxic Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2018) In mid-November, the state whose agricultural operations used more than 900,000 pounds of chlorpyrifos in 2016 (down from two million pounds in 2005) moved to establish some temporary restrictions on its use. Regulators at the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) issued interim restrictions on the compound while the agency works on a formal regulatory process to list chlorpyrifos as a “toxic air contaminant” and develop permanent restrictions on its use. A neurological toxicant, chlorpyrifos damages the brains of young children: impacts of exposure, even at very low levels, include decreased cognitive function, lowered IQ, attention deficit disorder, and developmental and learning delays. It was slated to be banned for food uses by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year, but the decision was reversed by the Trump administration. The interim measures in California include: banning aerial application of chlorpyrifos; ending its use on many crops — except for those determined to be “critical” by virtue of there being few, if any, alternatives (as determined by the University of California Cooperative Extension and listed on DPR’s website); establishing a quarter-mile buffer zone for 24 hours after any application of the pesticide; and requiring a 24/7/365, 150-foot […]

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27
Nov

Continuing Pattern, Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler Ignores Science, Embraces Monsanto (Bayer), and Continues Dicamba Herbicide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, November 27, 2018) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ignored the input of an expert weed scientist on the controversial herbicide dicamba, bending to Bayer’s Monsanto and the pesticide industry, according to emails obtained by the Arkansas Democrat and Chronicle (ADC) through a Freedom of Information Act request. The scandal centers on the recent re-approval of the pesticide, a highly volatile and drift-prone herbicide that has become a serious problem for many farmers and state regulators. As top-level EPA officials continue to work with industry to subvert their own agency’s scientific findings, more and more consumers are moving to organic products in order avoid the pesticide risks government regulators ask consumers to accept. Emails ADC received indicate that Jason Norsworthy, PhD, a weed scientist with the University of Arkansas, worked closely with Bayer’s Monsanto in conducting field trials this past summer, but found high volatility and drift of the company’s new dicamba-based herbicide XtendiMax. The product was developed in the face of widespread resistance to glyphosate-based herbicides in genetically engineered (GE) farm fields. However, recent accounts from farmers in the south and midwest indicate that, not only is the switch to dicamba unhelpful  in eliminating drift and reversing escalating weed resistance, its […]

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08
Nov

Study Confirms Chemical-Intensive Production Contaminates Organic with Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, November 8, 2018) Two months after publishing its first series of tests, part two of an Environmental Working Group (EWG) study finds residues of Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, in all General Mills’ Cheerios and PepsiCo’s Quaker Oats products sampled. Health advocates are expressing concern about the consequences of chronic glyphosate exposure, and say U.S. federal agencies must limit the herbicide’s use on oat-based breakfast foods regularly marketed to children. In addition, organic itself is under threat, as chemical-intensive management practices undermine the future of the growing organic movement. In this second round of testing, EWG scientists purchased products around San Francisco and Washington DC. 28 samples of conventional and 16 samples of organic oat products were collected. Approximately 300 grams of each General Mills and PepsiCo product were packaged and shipped to Anresco Laboratories, in San Francisco. Detected glyphosate residues were compared to EWG’s own health benchmark of 160 parts per billion (ppb). This benchmark is based on risks of lifetime exposure and what EWG scientists consider allowable and protective of children’s health with an adequate margin of safety.  EWG’s results detected glyphosate residues in all 28 samples of conventionally grown oat products. The vast majority (all but two) […]

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22
Oct

Take Action: Tell California Department of Pesticide Regulation to Ban Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2018) The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is accepting comments on its proposal to classify chlorpyrifos as a toxic air pollutant. The classification would require DPR to develop control measures that adequately protect public health. What happens in California affects all of us because products of California agriculture are available all over the country –and the world. In addition, policies set by the state of California are often examples for other states and the federal government. Tell California Department of Pesticide Regulation to ban chlorpyrifos. California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) states: Under the Toxic Air Contaminant Identification and Control Act (AB 1807, Chapter 1047, Statutes of 1983) and its implementing regulations (Title 3, California Code of Regulations, Section 6864), one of the criteria for identifying a pesticide as a TAC is if its concentration in the air exceeds one-tenth of the level that has been determined to be adequately protective of human health. The draft TAC document shows that bystanders can be exposed to modeled air concentrations of chlorpyrifos that exceed one-tenth the protective level, and thus meet the criteria for TAC identification. OEHHA’s findings below serve to reinforce this overall conclusion, and […]

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12
Oct

Vermont Watershed Protected from Hazardous Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, October 12, 2018) For the first time in its history, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied a permit to apply toxic pesticides to a local waterbody, according to reports from the regional nonprofit organization Toxics Action Center. The DEC decision responded to an application from the Town of Williston, VT to use the herbicide SePRO Sonar ASÂŽ on Lake Iroquois, a 237 acre spring-fed body of water used for public recreation, in order to control Eurasian watermilfoil. DEC ruled that use of the herbicide posed risks to the holistic integrity of the lake waters, the Champlain watershed, and surrounding ecology. Sonar contains the active ingredient fluridone, which studies have linked to endocrine disruption, kidney/liver damage and toxicity to fish/aquatic organisms. It has also been identified as a potent groundwater contaminant. With this background, fluridone use has been the subject of public opposition. The permit application submitted by Williston city officials identified $350,000 in costs to apply the pesticide over the next five years, with 3-4 applications scheduled each summer. Milfoil typically takes over shallow coastal waters, out competes native aquatic plants for space and sunlight, reduces oxygen levels and harms fish habitat. Milfoil, like other invasive plants, […]

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05
Oct

Oregon Temporarily Bans Herbicide Known to Kill Trees… after the Herbicide Is Found to Kill Trees

(Beyond Pesticides, October 5, 2018) The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is temporarily banning the use of any products containing the herbicide aminocyclopyrachlor to rights-of-way after finding widespread tree deaths along a scenic highway that cuts across the center of the state. While Oregon is the first state to ban the chemical, it is not the first instance of the pesticide killing stands of established, otherwise healthy trees. In 2014, chemical company DuPont settled a class action lawsuit totaling over $1.8 million in civil penalties after its aminocyclopyrachlor product Imprelis was cited for misbranding and failure to report adverse incidents of trees dying after applications. Oregon first encountered evidence of abnormal growths, curling, and die-backs of coniferous trees along roadsides back in 2012. A report on tree damage produced by ODA in 2015 narrowed the cause down to the use of aminocyclopyrachlor-based herbicides, including DuPont’s Imprelis, as well as Bayer’s Perspective. At the time, ODA indicated the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) had sent letters to the agency requesting the cessation of aminocyclopyrachlor use along roadsides. Oregon officials indicate that the contractor did stop spraying the chemical in areas cited in the report. An update to the first report, published in […]

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26
Sep

Nonprofits Sue Pret A Manger for Deceptive Marketing of Foods as ‘Natural’

(Beyond Pesticides, September 26, 2018) Beyond Pesticides, GMO Free USA, and Organic Consumers Association filed a lawsuit against Pret A Manger restaurant chain for the deceptive marketing and sale of certain bread and other baked goods as “natural food,” after the products tested positive for glyphosate, a component of Roundup weedkiller. The lawsuit charges that Pret exploits consumers’ preferences and willingness to pay more for products marketed as ‘natural.’ “Consumers expect Pret’s food to be free of synthetic pesticides, including glyphosate. Glyphosate, patented as a chelator and an antibiotic, is linked to adverse health effects including cancer, infertility and non-alcoholic fatty liver and kidney diseases. Glyphosate shouldn’t be present in the food system at all, but a company that willfully misrepresents its products needs to be held accountable,” said Diana Reeves, executive director of GMO Free USA. Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides said: “Consumers want truthful information on product ingredients, with labeling and advertising that is transparent about production practices and residues of toxic materials. Given the widespread use of pesticide-intensive practices, this lawsuit establishes the responsibility of purveyors of food products to know the origins of their product ingredients before making a ‘natural’ claim.” Ronnie Cummins, Organic Consumers […]

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21
Sep

Bayer’s Monsanto Asks Judge to Reverse $289 Million Glyphosate Decision

(Beyond Pesticides, September 21, 2018) Monsanto, now an integrated unit of Bayer AG, is asking Superior Court Judge Suzanne Bolanos to reverse the verdict, reduce the award, or grant a new trial for the company after a jury determined that a California groundskeeper contracted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma from spraying glyphosate for years. Dewayne Johnson, who maintained the grounds of a California Bay-area school district, was awarded $289 million by a jury, which found that Monsanto acted with “malice or oppression.” Mr. Johnson’s case was the first of its kind to go to trial – fast tracked based on the severity of his illness – but over 8,000 similar lawsuits are pending in U.S. courts. Bayer’s Monsanto claims that the verdict does not reflect the scientific data. “While we are sympathetic to Mr. Johnson and his family, glyphosate is not responsible for his illness, and the verdict in this case should be reversed or set aside,” Bayer said in a September 18 statement. While Bayer contends that glyphosate does not result in individual applicators contracting cancer, this view is at odds with a 2015 designation from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which determined the chemical is a probable carcinogen, […]

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14
Sep

Settlement Reached in Lawsuit Over Dioxin Contamination from Poison Poles in Central California

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2018) A lawsuit first filed nearly a decade ago over dioxin contamination released from the storage of chemical treated utility poles was settled this week in U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Judge Richard Seeborg signed the agreement between California utility company Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and the Ecological Rights Foundation (ERF), which commits PG&E to identifying storage yards holding treated poles, and implementing technologies that reduce dioxin levels through the year 2026. The utility poles of concern were treated with the chemical pentachlorophenol, which is regulated as a pesticide by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and is known to produce dioxin as a byproduct of its manufacture. “Dioxins are among the most toxic chemicals known to science,” noted ERF attorney Fredric Evenson to KPIX 5.  “This has been a hard-fought legal battle, but in the end PG&E now appears to understand that dioxin has no business in our bay, and will now take meaningful action to benefit San Francisco Bay’s wildlife and residents who eat locally caught seafood.” As part of the settlement, PG&E is not required to admit any wrongdoing. “Because environmental stewardship is a guiding principle at PG&E, we are pleased […]

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12
Aug

Groundskeeper Who Used Monsanto’s Herbicide Roundup and Contracted the Cancer non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) Wins $289 Million Jury Verdict

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2018) In a stunning legal victory for a man who contracted non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) after using the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup), groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson won a $289 million jury verdict against the chemical’s manufacturer, Monsanto. The jury on August 10, 2018 awarded the 46-year old Mr. Johnson $39 million in compensatory damages, and $250 million in punitive damages. The jury found that Monsanto acted with “malice or oppression.” “We applaud and thank Mr. Johnson, and his family and attorneys, for persevering in this litigation, which sets a critically important standard for protecting people’s right not be poisoned by pesticides in the marketplace,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. Mr. Feldman continued: “While we know that the jury verdict cannot restore Mr. Johnson’s health, we believe that the verdict is a clarion call to manufacturers that ignore the devastating impact that their products can have on unsuspecting workers, consumers, and families. We look forward to the day in the not-too-distant future when we recognize as a society that products like glyphosate (Roundup) are not necessary, and effective and affordable land and building management can be achieved without toxic chemicals. The case should also signal to all […]

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09
Aug

Massachusetts Pollinator Advocates Vow to Advance Protections after Legislature Fails to Restrict Neonicotinoids

(Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2018) Last week, the Massachusetts legislature failed to pass legislation that would have restricted the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the state in order to protect sensitive pollinators, but advocates vow to campaign for a victory in the next legislative session. H. 4041, would have restricted neonicotinoid uses to certified applicators only. Massachusetts beekeepers lost 65 percent of honey bee hives this year, a rate 25 percent higher than the national average. H. 4041, An Act to Protect Massachusetts Pollinators, introduced in 2017, failed to make it to the floor before the end of the legislative session, which ended July 31. The bill gained the support of more than 100 Massachusetts scientists and academics who sent a letter to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture in support. Over 180 scientists, businesses, beekeepers, farmers, and conservationists formally endorsed this bill to restrict neonicotinoid use to licensed applicators. The Massachusetts County Beekeepers Association worked to organize an extensive grassroots advocacy movement in support of the bill. H.4041 would have placed “common-sense” restrictions on unlicensed use of neonicotinoids. It would require neonicotinoids to be used by licensed or certified applicators, and would also limit the use […]

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