Upcoming EPA Review of Nitrates in Waterways Raises Health and Environmental Questions About Synthetic Nitrogen Fertilizer Use. InÂ a quiet reversal of a 2018 Trump administration decision, EPA is resuming an evaluation of the health impacts of nitrate in water, reflecting the long-standing and mounting evidence of synthetic nitrogenâ€™s adverse effects on human health and the environment, particularly in vulnerable communities.
(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2021) An ethanol processing plant located in the small village of Mead, Nebraska has been using seeds coated in bee-toxic chemicals as part of its production process, according to reporting published in The Guardian earlier this week. The plant, owned by a company called AltEn, may be the only plant in the U.S. producing biofuels with toxic seeds. There is a reason for that, and Mead residents are experiencing the adverse effects of EPA not regulating treated seeds. The prevalence of the use of seed coatings in chemical agriculture has increased over the last several decades, as the pesticide industry works to increase product sales by exploiting a loophole in federal pesticide law. Under FIFRA (the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act), a clause known as the â€śtreated article exemptionâ€ť permits seeds to be coated with highly toxic pesticides without any requirement for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess environmental or public health effects of their use. This allows hazardous pesticides (primarily insecticides and fungicides) to be used indiscriminately with no effective oversight. Research finds that over 150 million acres of farmland are planted with toxic seeds, including nearly four tons of bee-killing neonicotinoids […]
(Beyond Pesticides, October 23, 2014) Lawsuit filed against Environmental Protection Agency for approval of 2,4-D use on genetically engineered corn, soy crops in six Midwest states.A coalition of farmers and environmental groups filed a lawsuit to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today on behalf of six Midwest states where a toxic herbicide cocktail called Dowâ€™s Enlist Duo, a blend of glyphosate and 2,4-D, was approved on October 15 for use on genetically engineered (GE) crops. Approved for use on GE corn and soybeans that are engineered to withstand repeated applications of the herbicide, the creation of 2,4-D-resistant crops and EPAâ€™s approval of Enlist Duo is the result of an overuse of glyphosate, an ingredient in Monsantoâ€™s Roundup. The misuse resulted in an infestation of glyphosate-resistant super weeds which can now be legally combatted with the more potent 2,4-D. Dow Chemical has presented 2,4-D resistant crops as a quick fix to the problem, but independent scientists, as well as USDA analysis, predict that the Enlist crop system will only foster more weed resistance. â€śThe toxic treadmill has to stop,â€ť said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. â€śEPA and USDA cannot continue to ignore the history, science, and public […]
(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2014) A new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study published yesterday found neonicotinoid pesticides persistent and prevalent in streams throughout the Midwestern United States. The study is the first to investigate the presence of neonicotinoids on a wide-scale level in the Midwest. While neonicotinoid use has increased throughout the country, the Midwest in particular has seen a dramatic increase over the last decade. The use of clothianidin, one of the chemicals studied, on corn in Iowa alone has approximately doubled in just two years, from 2011 and 2013. Neonicotinoids are chemically similar to nicotine and are pesticides that are toxic to a broad range of insect pests. They are also known as systemic pesticides, which are pesticides that spread throughout the entire plant structure, making everything from roots to pollen toxic to organisms that come in contact with it. As a result, neonicotinoids have been linked to the global disappearance of honey bees and other nontarget organisms, such as earthworms, birds, and aquatic invertebrates. USGS scientist Kathryn Kuivila, Ph.D., stated, â€śNeonicotinoid insecticides are receiving increased attention by scientists as we explore the possible links between pesticides, nutrition, infectious disease, and other stress factors in the environment possibly […]
(Beyond Pesticides, January 24, 2013) Checks are now being sent to 1,085 community water systems across the U.S. in the final phase of a $105 million settlement with Syngenta, the largest manufacturer of the toxic weed killer atrazine. The class action settlement, City of Greenville v. Syngenta Crop Protection, Inc., Case No.: 3:10-cv-00188-JPG-PMF, stems from a lawsuit spanning eight years and is meant to help reimburse communities for past expenses associated with atrazine removal. â€śScience has been fighting an uphill battle against giant pesticide manufacturers like Syngenta who claim that a little weed killer in your drinking water wonâ€™t hurt you. Independent scientists now believe that even trace amounts can harm you and your children for generations to come,â€ť the lead plaintiffâ€™s lawyer Stephen M. Tillery told the media. Atrazine is used nationwide to kill broadleaf and grassy weeds, primarily in corn crops. A potent toxicant, it is the most prevalent herbicide found in Minnesotaâ€™s waters. It is widely applied in the midwestern states and has been found in the drinking water supplies in the Midwest at high levels. Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have determined that previous studies that assessed population-based exposure to atrazine were significantly […]
(Beyond Pesticides, March 19, 2012) A group of 22 prominent entomologists has submitted formal comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) casting doubt on the future viability of certain varieties of genetically engineered (GE) corn. The entomologists, including researchers from land grant institutions in the Corn Belt and the U.S. Department of Agricultureâ€™s Agricultural Research Service, cite increasing evidence that the western corn rootworm is developing resistance to a toxin derived from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), which is inserted into seeds. Bt is a naturally occurring soil bacterium that when used in non-genetically engineered forms is an important biological pesticide for organic and sustainable farmers. The entomologists identify significant flaws in current practices for managing insect resistance to Bt corn and caution that failure to implement a series of alternative measures based on an integrated pest management (IPM) approach would result in all forms of Bt losing its effectiveness. The entomologistsâ€™ comments were cited recently in published research documenting the first field-evolved resistance of the western corn rootworm to certain Bt strains. They draw a connection between this research and field reports of greater than expected rootworm damage (an indication of emerging resistance) first observed in 2009. Detections of greater […]
(Beyond Pesticides, December 7, 2009) In an investigation and legal case that dragged on for almost four years, one of the largest organic cattle producers in the United States, Promiseland Livestock, LLC, is suspended from organic commerce, along with its owner and key employees, for four years. The penalty is part of an order issued by administrative law judge Peter Davenport in Washington, DC on November 25, 2009, a multimillion dollar operation with facilities in Missouri and Nebraska, including over 13,000 acres of crop land, and managing 22,000 head of beef and dairy cattle, had been accused of multiple improprieties in formal legal complaints, including not feeding organic grain to cattle, selling fraudulent organic feed and “laundering” conventional cattle as organic. “We are pleased that justice has been served in the Promiseland matter,” said Mark A. Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst for the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute. Scrutiny from Cornucopia, one of the industry’s most aggressive independent watchdogs, was part of the genesis for the comprehensive USDA investigation and subsequent legal proceedings. Promiseland became the focus of Cornucopia’s investigation into giant factory farms, milking thousands of cows that were allegedly operating illegally. Promiseland sold thousands of dairy cows to giant factory […]