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, June 14, 2016) To celebrate National Pollinator Week, June 20-26, 2016, several Washington, DC restaurants have teamed up with Beyond Pesticides and the Center for Food Safety to launch a campaign, â€śMade by Pollinators,â€ť to protect pollinators suffering steep declines. With one out of every three bites of food reliant on bees, the participating restaurantsâ€™ patrons will be treated to a special menu featuring pollinator-friendly food and provided with information on what they can do to help pollinators. The restaurants hope to increase public awareness on the importance of pollinators and steps that can be taken to reverse the decline. Participating Â restaurants include Busboys and Poets, Founding Farmers, Lavagna, the Tabard Inn and Restaurant Nora. Of the 100 crop varieties that provide 90% of the worldâ€™s food, 71 are pollinated by bees. Honey bees alone pollinate 95 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables, such as apples, avocados, almonds, and cranberries. The value of pollination services to U.S. agriculture alone amounts to nearly $30 billion and about 80% of flowering plants require animal pollination. A recent government survey reports that U.S. beekeepers lost 44 percent of their colonies between spring 2015 and 2016 â€”the second highest loss to date. […]
(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2014) Without any mention of the role of pesticides in bee decline, or emphasis on organic practices to help pollinators, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Wednesday that more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance will be provided to help farmers and ranchers in the Midwest improve the health of honey bees. The announcement renews and expands on a $3 million pilot investment last spring to create pollinator-friendly habitat in five Midwestern states. The effort responds to the Presidential Memorandum, which directs USDA to expand the acreage and forage value in its conservation programs. The Memorandum, issued at the close of National Pollinator Week 2014, directed federal agencies to establish a Pollinator Health Task Force, and tasked agency leads at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop a pollinator health strategy within 180 days that supports and fosters pollinator habitat. “The future of America’s food supply depends on honey bees, and this effort is one way USDA is helping improve the health of honey bee populations,” Vilsack said. “Significant progress has been made in understanding the factors that are associated with Colony Collapse Disorder and the overall health […]
(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, March 4, 2014) The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently committed to providing financial assistance to farmers and ranchers in five Midwestern states to improve and create bee-friendly habitat. This project comes as American beekeepers have continued to experience rapid colony declines with losses over the winter over 30 percent per year. The creation of pollinator-friendly habitat is an important step to slowing pollinator losses, however this project does not challenge the expansion of agriculture into current pollinator habitat, the use of systemic pesticides that are linked to pollinator decline, or the widespread adoption of genetically engineered crops with elevated use of herbicides that kill habitat. USDAâ€™s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide $3 million in technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers to create and improve bee friendly habitat in five Midwestern states. Ranchers can qualify for assistance to reseed pastures with alfalfa, clover and other plants that bees forage. Â NRCS will also assist ranchers in building fences, installing water tanks and other changes to better move cattle between pastures so as not to wear down vegetation. Farmers can also qualify for funds to plant cover crops, and bee friendly forage in boarders and […]
(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, September 8, 2011) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final cancellation order on August 8, 2011 for Rozol Prairie Dog Bait following a court order issued on July 27, 2011, which finds that EPA failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). As required by the court order, the blood-thinning pesticide Rozol (chlorophacinone) is no longer allowed for use in four states, including Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota, as of August 8, 2011 pending the completion of the endangered species consultation with the two agencies. Rozol is an anti-coagulant rodenticide in the chemical class of indandiones. It works by blocking vitamin K-dependent synthesis of the blood clotting substance prothrombin. Animals that ingest anti-coagulant rodenticides suffer from the following list of immediate toxic effects: nosebleeds, bleeding gums, blood in urine and feces; bruises due to ruptured blood vessels; and skin damage. Rozol may still be used in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. However, Lipatech, the manufacturer of Rozol may not sell or distribute existing stocks in its possession and control unless they have been relabeled to eliminate the portion of the label authorizing use in the four canceled states. […]