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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'California' Category


26
Aug

As Thyroid Cancer Cases Rise, Study Finds Pesticides Link

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2022) New research from a team in California finds one-third of pesticides it reviewed — including glyphosate, paraquat dichloride, and oxyfluorfen — to be associated with the development of thyroid cancer. Researchers investigated the links between exposure to pesticides — including 29 that cause DNA cell damage — and the risk of this cancer. The researchers also find that in all the single-pollutant models they employed, paraquat dichloride — a widely used herbicide — was linked to this cancer. In 2021, Beyond Pesticides covered research by the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) that demonstrated that exposures to lindane and metalaxyl also cause heightened risk of thyroid cancer. These study findings add to the already considerable concern about pervasive pesticide exposure — not only among farmers and applicators, but also in the general population. It is worth noting that, in addition to elevated thyroid cancer risks, multiple pesticides can cause other health damage. Paraquat is also acutely toxic, and can cause longer-term reproductive, renal, and hepatic damage to humans; it is toxic to birds, fish, and other aquatic organisms, and slightly so to honeybees. Glyphosate, as Beyond Pesticides has written frequently, is carcinogenic, and is associated […]

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28
Jun

Pesticides Linked to Adult and Childhood Cancer in Western U.S., with Incidence Varying by County

(Beyond Pesticides, June 28, 2022) There is a strong connection between pesticide use and cancer rates in the Western United States, finds research recently published by scientists at University of Idaho and Northern Arizona University. Two studies (here and here) published in the peer-reviewed journal GeoHealth used geospatial data and publicly available pesticide databases to uncover the relationship between chemical heavy agricultural practices and cancer in both adults and children. As the rate of chronic diseases like cancer continue to increase in the United States, and more and more studies find these diseases to be pesticide-induced, it is imperative for the public to put increased pressure on regulators and lawmakers to enact meaningful measures that eliminate pesticide use and the hazards these chemicals pose. Of the two studies conducted by the research team, the first study modeled the connection between pesticide use and cancer incidence for adults and children in 11 western states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming), while the second study focuses on childhood cancer rates in Idaho’s 44 counties. Both studies utilized databases established by public entities, including U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Pesticide National Synthesis Project database, EPA Pesticide Industry […]

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23
Jun

Disappearance of California Bumble Bees Calls for Urgent Protection of Pollinators Nationwide

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2022) In the first California statewide bumble bee census in 40 years, a University of California—Riverside (UCR) study, published in Ecology and Evolution, reveals that once common bumble bee species in California are disappearing from the ecosystem. Wild pollinators like bumble bees provide pollination to billions of dollars worth of crops each year as these insects can flourish in cooler habitats and lower light levels than commercial honey bees. However, pollinators (such as bees, monarch butterflies, and bats) are a bellwether for environmental stress as individuals and as colonies. Both wild and commercial bees and other pollinators encounter multiple stressors, including pesticides, parasites, and poor nutrition, that act together to increase the risk of bee mortality. Therefore, studies like these highlight the need to establish monitoring and conservation frameworks incorporating varying habitats and species to assess fluctuations in biodiversity. The study notes, “Specifically, our study shows that greater monitoring of the diverse bumble bees of California is needed in order to better understand the drivers of biodiversity and decline in this genus, and to more effectively manage bumble bee conservation in the state.”  Researchers compared data on bumble bee populations in California in 1980 and 2020. After collecting bumble […]

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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, “The court made the right decision to throw out CDFA’s plan to cement into place for the indefinite future the agency’s ‘spray 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.”  On May 19, 2022, the Superior Court of California – County of Sacramento ruled to remove an environmental impact report allowing California’s Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) to spray pesticides at any time and any place. Removal […]

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31
May

DDT Still Harming Birds of Prey, 50 Years After Its Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, May 31, 2022) Fifty years after the banning of DDT, the notorious insecticide is still harming iconic birds of prey along the California coastline. According to research published in Environmental Science and Technology, California condors and marine mammals along California’s coast are contaminated with several dozen different halogenated organic compounds (hazardous, often-chlorinated chemicals) related to DDT, chlordane, and other now-banned legacy chemicals. The findings highlight the incredible importance of addressing these original “forever chemicals,” and making certain that we do not continue to repeat the mistakes of the past with new and different, yet equally dangerous, chemistries. Between 1947 and 1971, the Montrose Chemical Corporation of California, the largest historical producer of DDT, released over 1,700 tons of DDT into the LA sewer system, which eventually made its way into the Pacific Ocean. During this time, several other companies discharged PCBs, leading to further chemical contamination of land and sediment. As recent as April 2021, scientists discovered 25,000 barrels likely containing DDT near Catalina Island along the southern California coast. These releases have resulted in serious environmental and health problems throughout the coastal food chain. Yet, as the present study shows, scientists are only beginning to understand the […]

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14
Feb

Fighting the Climate Crisis with Compost, One Meal at a Time

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2022) When your food scraps are sent to the landfill, their anaerobic decomposition releases methane, a greenhouse gas with 84 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide over its first 20 years in the atmosphere. By composting those scraps instead, you not only reduce methane emissions, but also support organic practices that eliminate other greenhouse gases, like nitrogen fertilizer. California’s SB 1383, signed into law in 2016, now requires individuals and businesses to separate food waste from trash. While individuals and businesses can compost their own food waste, local agencies also facilitate the process by providing separate bins for organic materials, including food waste, lawn and garden trimmings, and paper. The law also provides a means for collecting and distributing surplus edible food. Tell your Governor and state legislators to follow the lead of California in fighting climate change with composting. If you live in California, thank your legislators and Governor for passing SB 1383. Methane comprises 16% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, but due to its greater warming potential, it affects climate change at least as much as carbon dioxide (CO2). Agriculture, energy production, and landfills are among the greatest sources of methane emissions. […]

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10
Dec

Court Steps In to Stop Pesticide Use Not Adequately Regulated, Protects Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, December 10, 2021) In a win for pollinators, a California Superior Court has issued a ruling that sulfoxaflor, a systemic pesticide that is “field legal” but “bee lethal,” can no longer be used in the state. The suit was brought by the Pollinator Stewardship Council and the American Beekeeping Federation. The ruling of the Superior Court of the State of California for Alameda County finds that the argument of the petitioners — that sulfoxaflor approval decisions by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) — is valid. Eliminating this highly bee-toxic pesticide from use in the state is expected to protect not only native bees and other pollinators (including Monarch butterflies in early Spring), but also, the many millions of managed-colony bees that are transported to California for pollination of almond and other crops. The suit was filed against DPR, Corteva inc., Dow Agrosciences LLC, the Siskiyou County Department of Agriculture, and James E. Smith as Siskiyou County Agricultural Commissioner. Having found for the petitioners’ request for a Writ of Mandate (a court order requiring a lower court or public authority to perform its statutory duty), the court instructed the petitioners to […]

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29
Nov

Aerial Drop of Rodenticides on Farallon Islands in California Threatens Ecosystem, Comments Due

(Beyond Pesticides, November 29, 2021) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is reviving its proposal to aerially apply (by helicopter) the toxic rodenticide brodifacoum to kill house mice on the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge off the Northern California coast. Globally significant wildlife populations inhabit the Farallones, including hundreds of thousands of seabirds and thousands of seals and sea lions. According to FWS, these include: thirteen species seabird species that nest on the islands including Leach’s Storm-petrel, Ashy Storm-petrel, Fork-tailed Storm-petrel, Double-crested Cormorant, Brandt’s Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Black Oystercatcher, Western Gull, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Cassin’s Auklet, Rhinocerous Auklet, and Tufted Puffin; pinnipeds including Northern fur seals, Steller sea lions, California sea lions, harbor seals, and northern elephant seals that breed or haul-out onto Farallon Refuge; and endemic species including white sharks, hoary bats, and arboreal salamanders. Tell the California Coastal Commission to deny the proposed aerial dispersal of the highly toxic rodenticide brodifacoum on the Farallon Islands. Brodifacoum is a “second generation anticoagulant rodenticide” (SGAR) that is highly toxic to birds, mammals, and fish. It also poses a secondary poisoning risk to predators. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation quotes the FWS: “Secondary exposure to SGARs is particularly […]

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05
Nov

California Releases Strategy for Land Management Practices that Confronts Climate Crisis

(Beyond Pesticides, November 5, 2021) Once again earning its environmental leadership reputation, California has released a draft strategy document designed to catalyze near- and long-term climate action through focused attention on the state’s natural and working lands, and on nature-based solutions. The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) announced the draft Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy in mid-October. In the announcement, CNRA asserts that the state’s 105 million acres can “sequester and store carbon emissions, limit future carbon emissions into the atmosphere, protect people and nature from the impacts of climate change, and build resilience to future climate risks.” The agency also notes that the plan would secure food and water supplies, improve public health and safety, and forward equity. It has invited public comment, and a coalition of California (and national) nonprofit advocates is delivering a letter that calls on the agency to include, in the plan, ambitious targets to move the state’s agricultural sector away from the use of harmful synthetic pesticides. Beyond Pesticides will sign on to the letter. This “natural and working lands” document will inform California’s 2021 State Adaptation Strategy and the 2022 Scoping Plan — master documents guiding the state’s climate action during […]

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22
Oct

Appeal Court Strikes Down Hazardous Statewide California Pesticide Spray Program

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2021) The California Court of Appeal (Third District, Sacramento) has ruled that a statewide pesticide spraying program violates state law. The court found that the program, launched in 2014 and administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), contravenes California’s landmark 1970 Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). It does so, the court found, by failing to: assess and reduce damages of pesticide applications to bees, other pollinators, and water bodies; conduct site-specific environmental reviews; and notify the public before spraying is conducted. This decision is a victory, and a step toward a less-toxic California, say plaintiffs and many health and environmental advocates, including Beyond Pesticides. The history of CDFA’s actions in the state is riddled with invocations of emergency provisions of California’s Food and Agriculture Code. These emergency declarations have allowed CDFA to conduct pesticide spraying for invasive species nearly anywhere — in back yards, on school and recreational grounds, on organic farms, on public lands, and sometimes, across entire neighborhoods — without any analysis of the health and environmental impacts of those applications, or any notice to the public or opportunity to comment on the program. From 2014 to 2018, CDFA conducted more than […]

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22
Sep

EPA Urged to Stop Use of Misbranded “Minimum Risk” Pesticides, Step Up Oversight and Enforcement

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2021) Health and environmental organizations are urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state pesticide regulators to immediately stop the use and sale of dangerous and misbranded Eco-MIGHT and W.O.W. (Whack Out Weeds!) products, falsely labeled as 25(b) minimum risk. Recent laboratory testing by the state of California found the presence of hazardous pesticides, including glyphosate, bifenthrin, permethrin, cypermethrin, and carbaryl in these products. “From organic farmers to municipal landscapers and home gardeners, consumers employing minimum risk products are working intentionally to avoid the dangers associated with toxic pesticide exposure,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “It is critical that EPA and state regulators coordinate to ensure the integrity of the minimum risk program.” Coordination is critical yet reports indicate that EPA is falling down on the job. The issue first came to light in late July, when the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) State Organic Program issued a Stop Use Notice to farmers alerting them to adultered Eco-MIGHT and W.O.W products. The products make a range of claims, marketed as “organic,” “natural,” “glyphosate-free,” and “non-toxic and safe.” As CDFA Secretary Karen Ross noted, “It is imperative that we alert California […]

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14
Jul

Parents of Harmed Children Sue Manufacturer of Brain-Damaging Insecticide Chlorpyrifos

(Beyond Pesticides, July 14, 2021) Corteva (formerly DowDupont) is facing a potential class-action lawsuit after several California families filed suit claiming that the use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos around their homes resulted in birth defects, brain damage, and developmental problems in their children. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide that has been linked to a range of health ailments, posing significant hazards particularly for pregnant mothers and their children. The lawsuits come as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approaches a court-imposed 60-day deadline to decide the fate of the pesticide’s registration. Attorneys for the court cases, filed on behalf of individuals located in four California communities (Fresno, Kings, Medera, and Tulare counties), indicate they intend to pursue class-action status, which would allow additional injured parties to join the lawsuit. The plaintiffs argue that the effects of chlorpyrifos exposure lingers in the agricultural communities where they reside. “We have found it in the houses, we have found it in carpet, in upholstered furniture, we found it in a teddy bear, and we found it on the walls and surfaces,” said Stuart Calwell, lead attorney for the plantiffs. “Then a little child picks up a teddy bear and holds on to it.” […]

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21
Apr

Study Finds Eagle Populations Experiencing Widespread Rodenticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, April 21, 2021) The vast majority of bald and golden eagles in the United States are contaminated with toxic anticoagulant rodenticides, according to research published in the journal PLOS One earlier this month. Although eagle populations have largely recovered from their lows in the 1960s and 70s, the study is a stark reminder that human activity continues to threaten these iconic species. “Although the exact pathways of exposure remain unclear, eagles are likely exposed through their predatory and scavenging activities,” said study author Mark Ruder, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Georgia to CNN. Eagle carcasses were retrieved from the University of Georgia’s ongoing Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study. Eighteen state wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service all sent in specimens from a period spanning 2014 to 2018. In total, 116 bald eagle and 17 golden eagle carcasses had their livers tested for the presence of anticoagulant rodenticides. Out of the 116 bald eagles tested, 96, or 83% had were exposed to toxic rodenticides. Forty of the eagles  (35%) were exposed to more than one rodenticide compound. Thirteen out of 17 golden eagles were contaminated was rodenticides, with four exposed to a single rodenticide […]

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09
Sep

California Legislature Votes to Ban Highly Hazardous Rodenticides

(Beyond Pesticides, September 9, 2020) Late last month the California legislature voted to ban, with limited exceptions, the use of highly toxic rat poisons. The California Ecosystems Protection Act of 2020, AB 1788, was passed after over a year of advocacy by groups and individuals concerned about the impact of second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGAR) on state and local wildlife. Proponents of the legislation are advocating that lawmakers in other states follow California’s lead by passing similar legislation. The bill must be signed by Governor Gavin Newsom or allow the bill to become a law without his signature by September 30, 2020. The legislation hones in on the use of SGARs, specifically the chemicals brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum, and difethialone, which present significant hazards to non-target wildlife. Unlike the first generation of blood thinning rodenticides on the market (such as chlorophacinone, warfarin, and diphacinone, which present their own hazards), SGARs cannot be quickly excreted by the body and can deal a lethal dose to rodents in a single feeding. However, SGAR-poisoned rodents do not die immediately, and are often left lethargic and exposed to the elements. This makes them easy prey for birds and mammals. In California, SGARs gained considerable attention for […]

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31
Aug

Act by Sept. 3—Help Keep Toxic Herbicides Out of Lake Tahoe, Protect this Treasured and Sacred Ecosystem; Advance Alternatives 

(Beyond Pesticides, August 31, 2020) We don’t need to use toxic weed killers to manage unwanted vegetation in Lake Tahoe, given the havoc they will wreak on a treasured and sacred ecosystem. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board (TRPA/LRWQCB) are accepting comments on a draft environmental impact report/ environmental impact statement (EIR/EIS) analyzing environmental impacts of a proposed Tahoe Keys Lagoons Aquatic Weed Control Methods Test (“Project”). Unless we all speak up, the Project could involve the application of herbicides to Lake Tahoe. The Action Alternative 1: Testing of Non-Herbicidal Methods Only is the environmentally best choice and should be selected for the proposed weed control test program. Protect Lake Tahoe from toxic weed killers—take action by Sept. 3, 11:59 pm. Located on the border of California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe is treasured for its scenic and ecological values not just by residents of those states, but by many others. The Washoe Tribe considers the lake to be a sacred life-sustaining water, the center of the world. The lake is designated an “Outstanding National Resource Water” under the Clean Water Act, and is recognized nationally and globally as a natural resource of special significance.  The […]

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26
Jun

Bayer-Monsanto Chalks Up Court Victory that Takes Cancer Warning Off Roundup™-Glyphosate in California, Makes Case for Fundamental Overhaul of Pesticide Law

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2020) A court decision in California, challenging a cancer warning on products containing the weed killer glyphosate, highlights the distinct  ways in which scientific findings are applied under regulatory standards, in toxic tort cases evaluated by juries, and by consumers in the marketplace. These differences came into focus as a U.S. court quashed California’s decision to require cancer warning labels on glyphosate products on June 22. The ruling, by Judge William Shubb of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, bars the state from requiring labeling that warns of potential carcinogenicity on such herbicides. The World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015 classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. At this point, Monsanto began a worldwide campaign to challenge glyphosate’s cancer classification. The IARC finding spurred the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, in the same year, to announce that glyphosate would be listed as a probable cancer-causing chemical under California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). With that announcement came another: the state would mandate that cancer warning labels be applied to glyphosate-based products in the state when any of four […]

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19
May

California Proposes “Comparable-to-Organic” Marijuana Certification

(Beyond Pesticides, May 19, 2020) The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is taking public comments on a proposal to establish statewide comparable-to-organic standards for cannabis production. Although cannabis remains illegal at the federal level, and thus cannot be labeled with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified organic seal, there is no prohibition on a state-specific program that follows federal organic requirements, but does not use the word “organic.” While such a program has the potential to provide another level of protection for medical patients, questions and concerns remain over the allowance of certain products, and the impact the certifying scheme may have on the future trajectory of the cannabis production industry. Under the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation Safety Act, passed in 2017 after the success of Proposition 64 by California voters, state agencies were tasked with establishing a state-level program to certify cannabis to the standards set out by USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP). CDFA is required to finalize this program for cannabis production by the start of 2021, while the California Department of Public Health will create a separate program to certify manufactured cannabis products. As outlined by CFDA, cannabis would be certified through third-party […]

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12
May

California Governor Emphasizes Pesticide Enforcement During Coronavirus Outbreak

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2020) California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) is issuing new enforcement guidelines intended to protect children and residents from toxic pesticides during the Covid-19 pandemic. With schoolchildren spending their time at home while in quarantine, many, particularly those in agricultural communities, are at increased risk of pesticide exposure. “During this public health crisis, it is important to ensure the strict enforcement and oversight of regulations that protect children from pesticide exposure,” Governor Newsom wrote in a letter to the state Environmental Protection Agency (CalEPA). While much of the guidance simply reinforces current legal requirements, it places an emphasis on strict enforcement. County Agricultural Commissioners (CACs), the state’s primary enforcement officers for pesticide laws, must “strictly enforce all applicable health protections around homes and schools” during the pandemic, seven days a week. Further, it stresses that pesticide applications “are expressly prohibited,” when there is, “reasonable possibility of contamination of the bodies or clothing of persons not involved in the application.” The state will prioritize the investigation of any violations made in residential areas. The state will also “take a strict approach to assessing penalties.” Violations of pesticide law that occur near homes or schools during coronavirus quarantine will […]

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21
Apr

California Fish and Game Commission Grants Mountain Lions Temporary Protective Status

P-22 is being treated for mange; blood tests found anti-coagulant rodenticides, commonly known as rat poison. (Beyond Pesticides, April 21, 2020) Last week, the California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to give mountain lion populations in certain parts of the state temporary protective status, and initiate a year-long study to consider permanent safeguards. Mountain lions in California are under considerable threat from a range of issues, including inbreeding, human developments, and the use of hazardous rodenticides. “There’s an extraordinary urgency for action to preserve this population,” said Commissioner Samantha Murray prior to the unanimous vote, according to the OC Register. According to a study published last year in the journal Ecological Applications, mountain lion populations in Southern California’s Santa Ana and Santa Monica Mountains are at risk of local extinction within 50 years without intervention. Highways and other man-made structures have hemmed in the cougars, resulting in inbreeding that threatens genetic diversity and can result in sterile offspring.  Although specific actions under the new status are not guaranteed, it will force changes within California executive agencies. “For Caltrans, this could include building wildlife crossings over or under existing freeways or as part of freeway expansion projects,” J.P. Rose, staff […]

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27
Oct

Take Action: Tell University of California to Stop Hazardous Pesticide Use and Adopt Organic Land Management

(Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2019) The spraying of toxic herbicides for weed control on campuses exposes students, workers and the general public to chemicals linked to health problems such as cancer and reproductive issues. Any day now, the University of California system will decide whether or not to continue using glyphosate and other toxic herbicides — including Roundup — on their campuses. The University of California temporarily banned the use of cancer-causing glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, but the ban doesn’t stop the UC system from using other dangerous herbicides. Student activists are asking UC to commit to transitioning to all organic land care maintenance on all University of California campuses by 2025. This could be an opportunity for the University of California, which prides itself on its commitment to sustainability, to join other universities such as Harvard, the University of Colorado at Boulder, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, and others as a national leader in the field. Tell University of California President Napolitano to issue a full, permanent ban on toxic herbicides and shift the UC land care system to organic! Message to University of California President First of all, I would like to thank you for temporarily suspending the use of glyphosate-based herbicides on […]

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17
Jul

Same Pesticides that Are Killing Bees Killed Off Dozens of Goldfinches in Modesto, CA, Study Finds

(Beyond Pesticides, July 17, 2019) A March 2017 bird kill incident in Modesto, CA can be traced directly back to an insecticide “soil drench” applied to the base of several elm trees by pesticide applicators hired by the city, as detailed in a study published last month in the Journal of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. The chemical in question, the neonicotinoid imidacloprid, is implicated in the ongoing pollinator crisis and insect apocalypse, but can also affect bird populations. Prior research estimated that a single seed coated with the insecticide is enough to kill a songbird; this study confirms that such a scenario can and does play out in the real world. Progress and improvement will only occur when pest management practices stop focusing on pesticide use to solve routine pest problems and emphasize prevention. As part of city-wide pest management activities, Modesto officials said that imidacloprid was applied to elm trees in several front yards in a local neighborhood. The application took the form of a “soil drench,” which is when pesticide products are applied to the soil around the base of a tree or shrub. The systemic property of imidacloprid and other systemic insecticides means that the chemical will […]

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10
Jul

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes to Drop 1.5 Tons of Rodenticide on National Wildlife Refuge

(Beyond Pesticides, July 10, 2019) The California Coastal Commission will host a public hearing today on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposal to drop 1.5 tons of the rodenticide brodifacoum, an extremely potent anticoagulant, on the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge. The Los Angeles Times headline on July 7 read, “Biologists say it’s for the best.” At the least, it is important to highlight that all biologists have not come to a consensus and the topic is very much still under debate. The commission has already received over 700 emails regarding the drop, with 600 opposing it. Home to rare, endemic seabirds such as the ashy storm-petrel, the Farallon Islands certainly have a serious mouse problem – 59,000 rodents occupy the rocky islands. Mice compete with native species for resources and attract an average of six burrowing owls a year. Owls feast upon ashy storm-petrels when mouse populations drop during the winter, killing hundreds of petrels annually. The global population of the ashy storm-petrel is small (10,000 – 20,000), but it is not considered an endangered species. The Audubon Society in California, which supports the brodifacoum program, worked with experts who say the eradication of invasive mice is […]

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24
May

University of California Suspends Use of Weed Killer, Glyphosate, as Bans Mount Across the U.S.

(Beyond Pesticides, May 24, 2019) University of California (UC) President Janet Napolitano announced, on May 15, a temporary ban on the use of glyphosate on all of UC’s 10 campuses. Set to begin on June 1, the ban will affect the more than 200,000 students in the UC system, and countless other staff, faculty, and visitors to the campuses. In announcing the ban, the university cited “concerns about possible human health and ecological hazards, as well potential legal and reputational risks associated with this category of herbicides.” (There are exceptions to the temporary suspension, such as uses for “agricultural operations, fuel-loaded management programs to reduce wildfire risk, native habitat preservation or restoration activities and research that requires glyphosate-based herbicides.”) The UC ban is the latest in a snowball-turning-avalanche of actions and decisions on glyphosate — the active ingredient in the Monsanto (now owned by Bayer AG) products Roundup and Ranger, and in many other herbicides. The suspension of glyphosate use at UC comes in large part as a result of the campaign, Herbicide-Free UC — which began as Herbicide-Free Cal, founded by student-athletes Mackenzie Feldman and Bridget Gustafson. The students became active on pesticides issues when they discovered that herbicides were […]

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