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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'California' Category


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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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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08
Aug

California to List Chlorpyrifos as a Toxic Air Contaminant

(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2018) On July 30, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released its scientific assessment concluding that the organophosphate insecticide, chlorpyrifos, should be listed as a Toxic Air Contaminant (TAC) in the state based on evidence of its neurological effects and exposure risks of concern. This comes after the 2017 decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reversed its decision to ban the dangerous chemical after intervention by its manufacturer. Decades of scientific data show that chlorpyrifos damages fetal brains and produces cognitive and behavioral dysfunctions, particularly in utero and in children. Even at low levels of exposure chlorpyrifos can impact the developing fetus in pregnant women resulting in impaired learning, change in brain functions, and alter thyroid levels of children into adulthood. A study conducted by the Columbia University Center for Children’s Environmental Health (CCCEH) found that chlorpyrifos in umbilical cord blood samples corresponded with a decrease in the psychomotor and mental development in three-year olds. Additional data collected by CCCEH researchers demonstrated that children exposed to high levels of chlorpyrifos experience developmental delays, attention deficit, hyperactivity, as well as other pervasive developmental disorders. But despite this, and the advice of the agency’s own scientists, EPA, under the direction […]

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07
Aug

Trump Administration Reverses Ban of Bee-Toxic Pesticides on National Wildlife Refuges, as California Confirms Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm Bees

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2018) At the same time that a new analysis by California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), current neonicotinoid uses in the state expose bees to residue levels known to cause harm, the Trump administration has reversed a 2014 U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) decision to ban neonicotinoids on National Wildlife Refuges. In 2014, newly passed state legislation required DPR to study the impacts of neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and dinotefuran) and adopt control measures to protect sensitive pollinator health within two years. In its report, released last month, DPR finds the highest risk to bees is posed by use of two neonicotinoids, thiamethoxam and clothianidin, on cereal grains like corn, wheat, rice, and barley. The seeds of these crops are typically coated with neonicotinoids before planting, where residues persist in the pollen and nectar. Although these findings are not surprising and have been documented in the scientific literature, California’s analysis indicates neonicotinoids can cause much broader harm, including to pollinators commonly found on many types of vegetables, cereal grains, tree nuts, fruits and tobacco. Shortly after a decision in the Pacific Region, FWS announced that all National Wildlife Refuges would join in the phase-out of neonics (while also phasing out genetically engineered […]

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28
Jun

California Establishes Testing for Pesticides in Marijuana Products

(Beyond Pesticides, June 28, 2018) Having voted to allow retail recreational cannabis sales as of January 1, 2018, California will mandate testing for pesticide residue in cannabis products beginning July 1. Cannabis farmers welcome the regulations. Nikolai Erickson of Full Moon Farms in Dinsmore, California says, the new requirements will “clear the shelves of poor quality product and give small craft, organic farmers a chance to prove their quality over larger farms. . . . We’re the ones taking the time and energy, putting in the extra hours and the extra cost to ensure that we’ll pass testing. So we’re creating shelf space finally, getting value added for craft.” The new California laws require that any cannabis products sold by retailers must have undergone both quality and pesticide testing. Whereas from January 1 to June 30, 2018 regulations mandated testing for 21 pesticides and for microbial contaminants, such as E. coli, that number jumps to 66 in July. The regulations also institute new quality standards that analyze products for contaminants, such as feces, mold, and insect and rodent parts. The quality“bar” will jump again in December, when testing must also look for mycotoxins, terpenoids, and heavy metals. The stakes are high for producers […]

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01
Jun

States and Health Groups Sue EPA to Protect Farmworker Health

(Beyond Pesticides, June 1, 2018) States and civil society organizations launched new lawsuits in late May against the Pruitt Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its continued attack against farmworker health and safety. Two separate lawsuits, one filed by attorneys general in the states of California, Maryland, and New York, and another by health and justice advocates represented by Earthjustice and Farmworker Justice take aim at EPA’s decision to delay the implementation of training requirements designed to protect farmworkers and their families. This is the latest in a series of lawsuits which began when EPA announced it would delay the Certification of Pesticide Applicators Rule in May of last year. Under the Obama administration, EPA released new rules updating farmworker protections after over 20 years of inaction. These rules are important because unlike your average American worker, farmworkers do not have protections under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). At its introduction, the new standards raised the age to apply toxic pesticides to 18, and improved the frequency and quality of training materials farmworkers are provided, among a number of other positive changes. After EPA announced it would be delaying the implementation of these changes, and reviewing the age requirement, […]

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24
May

State Agency Criticized for Failing to Protect Highest At-Risk Communities

(Beyond Pesticides, May 24, 2018) California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is falling short of protecting vulnerable communities in the state, especially low-income and communities of color. This, according to a new report by California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), which assesses state agencies on eight environmental justice principles. The poor showing by DPR comes at the forefront of reports that the state’s pesticide use has increased, nearing record highs. The findings are from California Environmental Justice Alliance’s (CEJA) 2017 Environmental Justice Agency Assessment, which provides full assessments of nine key agencies in the state including, California Air Resources Board, Department of Pesticide Regulation, and the Department of Toxic Substances Control, and lists an additional six agencies to monitor. The assessment gave the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) poor grades for its persistent failure to prioritize community health over industry profits. The agencies were judged on eight environmental justice principles, with a score of good, fair or poor for each. DPR’s scores were evenly divided between “fair” and “poor.” Specifically, the report concludes, “Many state agencies are not successfully integrating [environmental justice] into their decision-making. Overall, many state agencies still make decisions that actively harm [environmental justice] communities and fail to […]

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22
May

Two Hundred Million Pounds of Toxic Pesticides Used in California, According to 2016 Annual Data

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2018)  A staggering 209 million pounds of pesticides were used in California in 2016, according to the latest data released by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). This figure refers only to applied “active” pesticide ingredients and not “inerts,” which often account for 80 to 99 percent of pesticide products and can be equally hazardous to human health and the environment. Even though pesticide use in the state has dropped by 1.4 percent from the previous year, pesticide use in 2016 was still the third highest in recorded history, since the inception of DPR’s comprehensive data collection program in 1990. In fact, the total pesticide use was only six million pounds shy of the highest amount ever recorded – 215 million pounds in 1998. The land area treated with carcinogens is as large as the size of New Jersey and Connecticut combined. Nearly 102 million cumulative acres of land were treated with pesticides in the state, ranging in toxicity from low to high risk. Each time an acre is pesticide-treated in a given year, DPR adds the acre to its cumulative list, even if the treatment is repeated on the same land. The 2016 figure represents an […]

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24
Apr

Court Affirms Listing Glyphosate as Probable Carcinogen

(Beyond Pesticides, April, 24, 2018) On April 19, 2018, an Appellate Court in California sided with the State of California, affirming that Monsanto’s glyphosate can be listed as a probable carcinogen under the state’s Proposition 65 and rejecting Monsanto’s challenge to law. The state will not only move ahead with warning labels on products that contain glyphosate but also prohibit discharge of the pesticide into public waterways. Monsanto’s lawsuit challenged the 2015 decision by California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) to list glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s herbicide, Roundup, under California’s Proposition 65. Proposition 65 requires notification and labeling of all chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm, and prohibits their discharge into drinking waters of the state. In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic.”  Under the Labor Code listing mechanism of Proposition 65, substances identified by IARC must be listed in the state of California as known to cause cancer. This listing requires warning labels on products and the listed substances are subject to limits on discharges into surface waters. California added glyphosate to the list of cancer-causing chemicals in July […]

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15
Mar

Scientists Urge Action to Protect California Waterways from Neonicotinoid Insecticides

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2018) On Tuesday, a group of 56 scientists studying the effects of neonicotinoids sent a letter to California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) highlighting the threat neonicotinoids pose to the health of California’s waterways. The scientists urge CDPR to take steps to reduce neonicotinoid contamination of the state’s streams and rivers. This comes as neonicotinoids were recently reported to be pervasive throughout the Great Lakes, and federal assessments confirm high risks to aquatic species. According to the letter, neonicotinoids are already found in California waterways at levels that exceed the freshwater invertebrate aquatic life benchmarks and could harm or kill many sensitive aquatic invertebrate species. Citing a 2016 study by the Xerces Society that found imidacloprid frequently in California’s rivers and streams at levels harmful to species such as mayflies and caddisflies. Imidacloprid samples in California from 2010-2015 showed that 42% (197 of 468) of detections exceeded the acute invertebrate benchmark and all of the detections exceeded the chronic invertebrate benchmark. In certain regions of the state, particularly agricultural areas, the imidacloprid benchmark for acute effects was more frequently exceeded. The scientists note these chemicals can “have consequences for broader ecosystems. Declines in aquatic invertebrates put other species […]

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05
Mar

Pesticide Chlorpyrifos Linked to Brain Damage, Advocates Call for Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, March 5, 2018) Even if you don’t live in California, chances are that you eat food that is grown there. Unless all that food is organic, some of it was probably sprayed with chlorpyrifos, exposing not only you, but also the farmworkers responsible for its cultivation and harvest. Farmworker families –especially children—who usually live close to the treated fields, suffer higher impacts than those living further away. Tell Governor Brown to ban chlorpyrifos now, for the sake of the children. Five months after the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) issued its weak and inadequate draft risk assessment for the brain-harming pesticide chlorpyrifos, the state’s Scientific Review Panel (SRP) ordered DPR back to the drawing board to produce a much stronger draft that properly considers the risk of harm to the developing brain. In view of EPA’s retraction of its proposal to revoke food residue tolerances of the highly neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyrifos, despite its own assessment that the chemical is too toxic to children, it is especially important that California take action to ban the chemical. California, the home of the largest agriculture industry in the country, used over one million pounds of chlorpyrifos on over a million acres […]

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02
Mar

California Court Halts State Spray Programs over Failure to Conduct Environmental Impact Analyses

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2018) California’s Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) can no longer use toxic pesticides in accordance with its Statewide Plant Pest Prevention and Management Program, due to a Superior Court-ordered injunction issued last week. This action came in response to a lawsuit filed by the City of Berkeley and 11 public health, environmental, conservation, citizen and food safety groups, which argued that CDFA has failed in its duty to protect human health, the environment and the state’s organic agriculture. CDFA’s lack of compliance with California’s Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) resulted in the court’s suspension of “all chemical activities undertaken…to control or eradicate pests,” “unless and until” the agency corrects violations. The injunction follows a January 8 court ruling annulling CDFA’s Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR), due to numerous state environmental law violations. Under CEQA, agencies must produce an Environmental Impact Report (EIR –the California state equivalent of an EIS) for any project with potentially significant environmental impacts. Unlike the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), it also requires the state to prevent or mitigate negative impacts. Agencies may avoid conducting an EIR for each action by conducting a programmatic EIR (PEIR) for its program. In its outline of implementation […]

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09
Feb

States Join Monsanto Challenge of California’s Cancer Warning for Glyphosate

(Beyond Pesticides, February 9, 2018) Attorneys General in eleven states join Monsanto and the National Wheat Growers Association last month in challenging California’s listing of glyphosate as a carcinogen under the state’s Proposition 65 law. California added glyphosate to the list of cancer-causing chemicals in July 2017, but has since been attacked by Monsanto and its allies for carrying out state law that requires carcinogens to be labeled and monitored. The plaintiffs, led by the National Association of Wheat Growers, argue that listing glyphosate as a carcinogen under Prop 65 will irreparably harm the agriculture industry, adversely affecting farmers and consumers throughout the U.S. The case, seeking a stay of the listing, was filed in the in Federal Court in the Eastern District of California in November, 2017. Earlier last year, Monsanto lost its case before a state Superior Court in which it sought to stay the Prop 65 listing. Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin have filed an amicus brief in support of the preliminary injunction sought by agriculture groups against California’s Prop 65 regulation. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the California Chamber of Commerce filed their own amicus brief in support of […]

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11
Jan

Court Rejects California’s Blanket Approval for Pesticide Applications

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2018) A California court has halted a state program allowing pesticide spraying at schools, organic farms, and backyards across California because of inadequate public disclosure of the chemicals’ adverse effects. The California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) statewide “pest management” program required no site-specific analysis of risks before the application of 79 pesticides, including some known to cause cancer and birth defects and to be highly toxic to bees, butterflies, fish and birds. Relating to the broad application of pesticide use allowances under the state’s required Program Environmental Impact Report (PEIR), issues of concern in the case included: i) a failure to conduct site-specific environmental impact asssessment, while allowing the “substantially similar” uses without environmental review; (ii) broad application of a PEIR to subsequent activities without a Notice of Determination ; (iii) includes an inadequate project description; (iv) a failure to adequately describe the baseline environmental conditions; (v) a failure to adequately analyze the Project’s environmental impacts (including biological, water, human health, and farming impacts); (vi) a failure to adequately analyze cumulative impacts; (vii) legally inadequate mitigation measures; (vii) a failure to consider a reasonable range of alternatives; and (viii) a failure comply with public agency consultation […]

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10
Jan

Carlsbad, California Adopts Ordinance Prioritizing an Organic and “Least-Toxic” Approach

(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2018) At the end of 2017, the City of Carlsbad, CA voted unanimously to adopt a policy prioritizing the use of organic and defined “least-toxic” pesticides to manage pest problems on city-owned and controlled property and public rights-of-way. Buoyed by a strong and growing coalition of  Non Toxic advocates fighting for a healthier environment for their children, pets, and wildlife, Carlsbad is the newest in a string of southern California communities that are implementing safer pest control practices. In recognition of the significant progress and activity in southern California communities, Beyond Pesticides’ 36th National Pesticide Forum, Organic Neighborhoods: For healthy children, families, and ecology, will take place in Irvine, CA from April 13-14, 2018 (stay tuned to Beyond Pesticides’ website for additional updates!). Carlsbad’s new policy is, in fact, an update of an Integrated Pest Management plan the City last reviewed in 2003. While its previous policy only addressed City parks, the new plan will include all City maintained or operated land and facilities. The policy also takes a much tougher approach against toxic pesticides, prioritizing the use of organic products first and foremost when pest problems arise. Importantly, the policy also places pesticides last on the list […]

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08
Jan

Protections from Agricultural Pesticide Drift over Schools Take Effect in California

(Beyond Pesticides, January 8, 2018)  With a long-documented history of children’s exposure to pesticides that drift from agricultural fields to school yards, California’s new regulations establishing no-spray buffers took effort January 1, as labor and public health groups acknowledged the progress and inadequacy of the measure. The new rule, DPR 16-004 Pesticide Use Near Schoolsites, adopted by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), prohibits many pesticide applications within a quarter mile of public K-12 schools and licensed child day-care facilities during school hours, Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. This includes all applications by aircraft, sprinklers, air-blast sprayers, and all fumigant applications. In addition, most dust and powder pesticide applications, such as sulfur, will also be prohibited during this time. The new rule was announced in November, 2017. Advocates say the new rules fail to address persistent low-level exposures associated with the use of the pesticides near schools, which are in agricultural areas that are disproportionately Latino and from farmworker families. There is continuing concern about children’s exposure to hazardous pesticides because children use school grounds after school hours and on weekends and residues from drift may remain on school grounds. Many pesticides used are persistent and systemic, lingering […]

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18
Sep

Action: Tell California To Ban Chlorpyrifos, a Dangerous Developmental Poison!

(Beyond Pesticides, September 18, 2017) Ask California to ban the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos that’s on the food we eat from California –since the administrator of EPA refused to take the action agency scientists said is necessary to protect children. Tell California to ban chlorpyrifos! In view of EPA’s retraction of its proposal to revoke food residue tolerances of the highly neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyrifos, despite its own assessment that the chemical is too toxic to children, it is especially important that California take action to ban the chemical. California, the home of the largest agriculture industry in the country, used over 1 million pounds of chlorpyrifos on over a million acres in 2012. EPA’s assessment is also support for the classification of chlorpyrifos as a developmental toxicant, an issue being considered on a parallel track by California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which oversees the “Prop 65” list. EPA’s assessment, which incorporates recommendations from a 2016 Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP), finds that children exposed to high levels of chlorpyrifos have mental development delays, attention problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder problems, and pervasive developmental disorders. The SAP agreed with EPA that there is an association between chlorpyrifos prenatal exposure and neurodevelopmental outcomes in children. […]

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13
Sep

Monarch Butterflies at Risk of Extinction; Pesticides, Habitat Loss to Blame

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2017) According to a study published in the journal Biological Conservation, Monarch butterfly populations from western North America have declined far more dramatically than was previously known and face a greater risk of extinction – 86 percent in the next 50 years. The researchers do not know the exact cause but identify habitat loss and widespread pesticide use as likely culprits. Migratory monarchs in the west could disappear in the next few decades if steps are not taken to recover the population, the study’s lead author, Cheryl Schultz, PhD, an associate professor at Washington State University Vancouver states. “Western monarchs are faring worse than their eastern counterparts. In the 1980s, 10 million monarchs spent the winter in coastal California. Today there are barely 300,000,” she said. Western monarchs (Danaus plexippus) have a spectacular migration. They overwinter in forested groves along coastal California, then lay their eggs on milkweed and drink nectar from flowers in the spring in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah. They then return to their coastal overwintering sites in the fall. Eastern monarch, whose numbers are also in decline, travel instead across the border into Mexico to wait out the winter. The researchers from […]

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31
Aug

Birth Abnormalities Linked to Pesticide Exposures

(Beyond Pesticides, August 31, 2017) Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara report in a new study that exposure to pesticides as a result of living near agricultural areas increases the risk of giving birth to a baby with abnormalities. These results are more significant for those exposed to very high levels of pesticides, underscoring the continued risks faced by farmworkers and farmworker families, especially mothers living near chemically-intensive treated fields. The study, “Agricultural pesticide use and adverse birth outcomes in the San Joaquin Valley of California,” looked at individual birth and demographic characteristics for over 500,000 birth observations between 1997 and 2011 in the agriculturally dominated San Joaquin Valley, California. The researchers, who report their findings as, “the most comprehensive to date, bringing together the largest data file ever compiled on street-address level birth outcomes and fine scale exposure to agricultural pesticides,” analyzed residential agricultural pesticide exposure during gestation, by trimester, and by toxicity influences on birth outcomes: birth weight, gestational length, or birth abnormalities. Adverse birth outcomes increased by 5–9% among those exposed to very high quantities of pesticides (e.g., top 5th percentile, i.e., ~4,200 kg per square mile applied over gestation). According to the results, “ The magnitude of effects were further enlarged […]

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29
Aug

Neurotoxic Pesticide Detected in Air at High Levels in California County

(Beyond Pesticides, August 29, 2017) Air monitoring in Kern County, California, finds levels of the highly neurotoxic pesticide, chlorpyrifos, in excess of the levels of concern established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for pregnant women. Chlorpyrifos is linked to low IQs, autism and other developmental neurological effects. Earlier this year, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt refused to ban chlorpyrifos to the dismay of many scientists, medical professionals, and farmworker organizations. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) released its 2016 air monitoring data where it was revealed that chlorpyrifos air concentrations for a one-month period at the air monitoring site on the campus of Shafter High School in Kern County was 39.4 nanograms per cubic meter (ng/m3) – more than 18 times higher than EPA’s level of concern for pregnant women (2.1 ng/m3).  Shafter High School is some distance from fields in an area where chlorpyrifos use is not as high as in other parts of Kern County or elsewhere in California. More than 1.1 million pounds of chlorpyrifos was used in California in 2015, and more than a quarter of that is used in Kern County. High chlorpyrifos levels at a school means that children and unsuspecting teachers and […]

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