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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Washington' Category


17
Apr

“Forever Chemical” PFAS Drinking Water Rules Issued, Urgency to Shift from Petrochemicals Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, April 17, 2024) With headlines drawing public attention to the contamination of drinking water after years of federal government neglect, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 10 new standards to reduce public exposure to PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because of their persistence. EPA has finalized a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for six PFAS, including PFOA and PFOS, which EPA has recognized have no safe level of exposure, regulating new chemicals for the first time since the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). PFAS persistence and bioaccumulation in humans, wildlife, and the environment is due to the strength of a resulting fluorine–carbon atom bond. PFAS contamination of drinking water, surface and groundwater, waterways, soils, and the food supply—among other resources—is ubiquitous worldwide. PFAS is used in everyday products, including cookware, clothes, carpets, as an anti-sticking and anti-stain agent, in plastics, machinery, and as a pesticide. The action was welcomed by environmentalists and public health advocates as an important step but left many concerned that any level of exposure to these chemicals is unacceptable and critical of EPA’s ongoing failure to act despite years […]

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14
Feb

EPA’s Worker Protection Standard Fails to Protect Farmworkers’ Health, Report Finds

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2024) The latest in a series of reports on the state of farmworker protection, released last December, highlights the long history of health threats, regulatory failures, and structural racism that is imbued in the chemical-intensive agricultural system that feeds the nation and world. The authors conclude that farmworkers “face a level of occupational risk unrivaled by most workers.” They continue: “From repeated exposure to pesticides and extreme heat, to injuries from machinery and repetitive motion, conditions on American farms involve myriad hazards. Meanwhile, a lack of access to healthcare and legal services, low wages, marginalization, language barriers, racism, and the threat of deportation among these largely immigrant communities compound their many challenges.” Describing the U.S. food system and the workers who serve as its foundation, Precarious Protection: Analyzing Compliance with Pesticide Regulations for Farmworker Safety is the third publication in a series of reports on farmworker health and safety, led by the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) at Vermont Law and Graduate School and written with the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic and the nonprofit group Farmworker Justice. Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future and Farmworker Justice partnered on the […]

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11
Sep

Take Action: Officials Implored To Protect Ecosystems of National Wildlife Refuges

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2023) As environmental groups pursue a legal strategy to challenge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) for its failure to protect a wildlife refuge from industrial aquaculture, they are also urging the public to hold Refuge officials accountable to the Refuge Improvement Act with a write-in campaign. (See Take Action campaign below.) Earlier this year, USFWS allowed the establishment of a commercial aquaculture operation that cultivates 34 acres of non-native Pacific oysters within a 50-acre tideland parcel leased  from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources within the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. The failure to fully evaluate the compatibility of this use with the purposes of the refuge raises concerns of compliance with the law governing National Wildlife Refuges throughout the country. Beyond Pesticides has said, “USFWS is willing to allow, for private profit, the industrialization of refuge lands for shellfish operations.”  Refuges are critical habitat throughout the U.S. that protect critical ecosystems. According to the lawsuit, the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge shelters a bay rich in marine life. Eelgrass beds attract brant, shorebirds feed on the tideflats, and ducks find sanctuary in the calm waters. The Refuge is a preserve and breeding ground for more than […]

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15
Aug

The Ultimate Buzz Kill – Officials Find Pesticides in Marijuana… Again

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2023) Marijuana regulators in the state of Washington issued administrative holds on 18 licenses due to pesticide-contaminated marijuana, forcing producers and processors to cease operations until now. This shutdown of legal marijuana businesses serves as a window into a broader historical backdrop of pesticide issues within the marijuana industry. Within Washington, pesticide concerns have been growing since a study in 2018 of legal marijuana farms in the state had 84.6% (of 26 samples) with significant quantities of pesticides including insecticides, fungicides, miticides, and herbicides. Last year, a national study identified a list of contaminants in 36 states and the District of Columbia and found 551 pesticides within cannabis products. For over a decade, Beyond Pesticides has sounded the alarm about the highly-concentrated levels of pesticides in marijuana products, calling on state officials to require organic marijuana, especially in the context of medical marijuana. The absence of federal regulations for pesticides in cannabis production has raised significant concerns about exposure risks for recreational and medicinal use, exposure risks to workers, and potential environmental contamination impacting wildlife. Since marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act, the EPA does not regulate pesticides in […]

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10
Feb

Four Pesticides Restricted to Protect Salmon, Thousands of Other Endangered Species Imperiled

(Beyond Pesticides, February 10, 2023) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced, on February 1, new measures to protect 28 endangered salmon species (including steelhead trout) from the use of four pesticides that threaten them and their critical habitats. Those compounds comprise three herbicides — metolachlor, bromoxynil, and prometryn, and one soil fumigant, 1,3-Dichloropropene. The protections, aimed at salmon populations in Washington, Oregon, and California, are meant to reduce impacts from pesticide runoff and spray drift, and to minimize potential “take.” (Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), “take” means, essentially, the unintentional harming or killing of an individual of a protected species — in this case, harm or death from exposures to these toxic pesticide compounds.) Beyond Pesticides and other advocates have for years warned that multiple pesticides are threats to Northwest salmon and other species at risk. This EPA announcement is the second of two, recently, that offer slight redress to the agency’s historical failures to act (see more below). Indeed, advocates have engaged in multiple litigation efforts over the years to try to force EPA to take action; EarthJustice in 2001 noted some early instances. As Chemical and Engineering News says pointedly, “Environmental groups, which have been suing […]

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14
Dec

Repeat Offender Amazon.com Fined $2.5 Million for Illegal Pesticide Sales

(Beyond Pesticides, December 14, 2021) Multinational technology corporation Amazon.com, Inc will pay $2.5 million as part of a settlement with the Washington state Attorney General over illegal sales of highly toxic restricted use pesticides. The company has entered into a consent decree with the state of Washington, requiring the retailer to perform certain actions if it wants to restart pesticide sales, in addition to the fine. This is the second major penalty Amazon has received for illegal pesticide sales in recent years. The company was fined $1.2 million by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2018. Heath advocates are applauding Washington State officials for addressing the issue and urging increased vigilance and enforcement from other states regarding illegal online pesticide sales. According to the legal complaint, between 2013-2020, Amazon sold thousands of both restricted and general use pesticides to individuals in the state of Washington without a pesticide sales license. The company failed to disclose this information to consumers, and also failed to connect information from buyers of restricted use pesticides, a requirement in Washington state. As a result of Amazon’s illegal activities, there are now thousands of highly hazardous pesticides being used in Washington without documentation on its use […]

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17
Jun

Past Use of Lead Arsenate Pesticides Continue to Contaminate Residential Areas 70 Years Later

(Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2021) Lead arsenate pesticides continue to contaminate Central Washington residential areas that were once tree fruit orchards. Although these toxic legacy pesticides have not been in use for almost 70 years, the Washington State Department of Ecology report finds lead and arsenic soil concentrations above the Washington State cleanup levels. It is well-known that traces of legacy (past-use) pesticides, like organochlorines, remain in the environment for decades—possibly centuries, post-final application. However, these chemicals have profound adverse impacts on human health, with links to cancer, reproductive and endocrine (hormone) disruption, and birth/developmental abnormalities. Current-use pesticides also contaminate the ecosystem via drift, runoff, and leaching. Therefore the impact of both current and past use of pesticides on human, animal, and environmental health, especially in combination, is critical to any safety analysis. The researchers note, “Historical application of lead arsenate (LA) pesticides on tree fruit orchards has resulted in the accumulation of lead and arsenic in shallow soil at concentrations above Washington State cleanup levels. These are levels that may be harmful to human health when properties are used for activities other than agricultural or industrial land uses. This report outlines a recommended approach for managing and mitigating LA pesticide soil contamination, […]

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11
Jun

Unapproved, Roundup-Ready Wheat Found in Washington Farm Field

(Beyond Pesticides, June 11, 2019) Genetically engineered (GE) wheat developed to tolerate repeated applications of Bayer Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide has been discovered in a farm field in Washington State. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has never approved a GE wheat variety for commercial production, making the incident a potential economic export risk. In the past, Asian and European countries have temporarily blocked purchases of U.S. wheat as a result of GE contamination. Organic and non-GE farmers are also at risk as any contamination with non-GE varieties can result in loss of certifications and price premiums. According to USDA, the discovery was made on an unplanted wheat field, though officials have refused to disclose where in the state the GE plants were found. In 2013, a similar situation played out in Oregon after a farmer noticed wheat plants persisting after an application of Roundup. The discovery led to a number of lawsuits against agrichemical company Monsanto, which is now owned by Bayer Cropscience. At the time, Monsanto indicated that the incident was isolated, or potentially even the result of “sabotage.” An investigation by USDA was inconclusive, indicating the case “appears to be an isolated occurrence and that there is no […]

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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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06
May

Help Finalize Decision to Keep Imidacloprid Out of National Treasure, Willapa Bay; Previous Public Comments Led to Temporary Denied of Use

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2018) The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) temporarily denied a permit to spray Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor with the toxic neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid. Your comments helped achieve the temporary decision and comments are now needed again to make the denial permanent. The public comment period closes on May 14, 2018. Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, with a number of unique ecosystems, and among the most pristine estuaries in the U.S., have been targeted with a plan to spray the toxic neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid to kill the native burrowing shrimp in beds of commercial Japanese oysters. This insecticide use will have deadly effects on keystone aquatic organisms. Based on a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) and public input, Ecology temporarily denied the permit. Tell Ecology to restore the bays instead of spraying them! Ecology bases its decision on these factors: Too great an impact on the marine organisms that live in the sediments where the pesticide application is proposed. Too much uncertainty about the long-term impacts associated with this pesticide. Negative impacts on fish and birds caused by killing sources of food and disrupting the food web. Even at low concentrations, imidacloprid has significant impacts […]

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11
Apr

Victory! State Finds Imidacloprid Insecticide Too Risky for Use in Sensitive Willapa Bay

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2018) The request by shellfish growers in Washington State to apply the neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid, on oyster and clams beds to control native burrowing shrimp was denied by the Department of Ecology (Ecology) after it determined “environmental harm from this neonicotinoid pesticide would be too great.” Concerned resident and environmental advocates have been opposed to the proposed use citing harms to aquatic life including fish habitat, and long-term ecological damage. Shellfish growers from Willapa-Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association requested a permit from the state to use the imidacloprid on burrowing shrimp that the growers said impede traditional shellfish cultivation. They sought a state National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to apply imidacloprid to 500 acres of shellfish beds within Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, over a period of five years. The growers first applied for a permit in 2015 to treat 2,000 acres of tidelands, but after a strong public outcry, they withdrew the request. In 2016, they applied for a new permit to treat less acreage and Ecology published a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in 2017 on the potential impacts imidacloprid application would have to the bay. Now, Ecology, after thoroughly evaluating […]

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23
Aug

Lawsuit Filed to Stop Expansion of Aquaculture Industry that Decimates Marine Life

(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2017) The Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a federal lawsuit to stop the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from moving forward with an expansion of industrial shellfish aquaculture on the Washington state coast without any water quality or marine life protections from pesticide use and habitat loss. This is just the latest in efforts to protect sensitive coastal areas in Washington from shellfish farming that is contributing to increased pesticide use and environmental degradation. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington earlier this month, challenges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issuance of a nationwide permit (NWP 48), which, according to the suit, “greenlights a massive expansion of shellfish aquaculture with entirely inadequate protections.” The Corps has a duty to protect public water from adverse impacts, but potential environmental impacts have not properly assessed or considered, the suit claims, in violation of the Corps’ environmental protection mission. The lawsuit argues that the Corps, when it approved the Washington state permit, violated numerous environmental laws, including the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Administrative Procedure Act. According to CFS, the permit issued will allow shellfish aquaculture acreage […]

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06
Jul

Washington Oyster Growers Request Approval to Apply Neonicotinoid in Aquatic Environments

(Beyond Pesticides, July 6, 2017) The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) is evaluating a new permit application for the use of imidacloprid, a toxic neonicotinoid, to combat a growing native population of burrowing shrimp that threatens oyster beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor in Washington state. The application was recently submitted to Ecology by a group of oyster farmers from the Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association (WGHOGA), who “propose to use the pesticide to treat tide lands to support their aquaculture practices.” Imidacloprid is known to be toxic to bees and aquatic organisms, raising questions on the impacts of its use on the long-term ecological health of the bays. In April 2015, much to the dismay of activists and concerned local residents, Ecology approved a permit submitted by oyster farmers for the use of imidacloprid to combat burrowing shrimp in these aquatic ecosystems. But with a nationwide public outcry, the permit was withdrawn in May 2015. The recent request that was submitted differs in several ways from this 2015 permit, including: The new permit proposes treating 485 acres in Willapa Bay and 15 acres in Grays Harbor, compared to 2,000 acres combined from both water bodies in the 2015 permit. The oyster farmers […]

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06
Dec

Pesticide Exposure Alters Bacterial Diversity in the Mouth

(Beyond Pesticides, December 6, 2016) A new study released by researchers at the University of Washington, Seattle finds that exposure to organophosphate insecticides is associated with changes in oral bacterial diversity, particularly for exposed farmworkers. The study provides insight into the far-reaching changes pesticide exposure can cause to the human body, which are not captured by current risk assessment models used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Although past research has investigated the impact of pesticide exposure on the gut microbiome, this is one of the first studies to look at oral bacterial diversity. For the study, scientists took oral swabs from 65 adult farmworkers and 52 non-farmworker adults in the Yakima Valley of Washington State. Swabs were taken both during the spring/summer, when exposure to pesticides is high, as well as winter, when lower exposure is expected. At the same time the swabs were taken, researchers also took blood samples of individuals in the study. Scientists focused on exposure to the organophosphate insecticide Azinphos-methyl (AZM), which at the time of the study (2005-2006) had not begun its cancellation proceedings. Results show that farmworkers have greater concentrations of AZM in their blood than non-farmworking adults in the area. It […]

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25
Jul

Oregon Prohibits 14 Horticultural Products Used in Marijuana Production, Not Labeled as Containing Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides July 25, 2016) The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) last week issued 12 notices of statewide detainment and stop sale and removal orders for horticultural pesticide products that contain active ingredients not listed on the label. The orders call for the product manufacturers to immediately cease all sales, offers of sale, or other distribution in Oregon. This is the latest effort by a state with a legalized marijuana market to try to  curb the use of illegal pesticides in cannabis production, a practice that poses potential health threats to consumers, creating a regulatory challenge for state officials in states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal and or recreational purposes. Because the U.S. government classifies cannabis as a narcotic, the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) does not register pesticide products for use in its production, leaving consumers exposed to hazardous pesticides through inhalation, ingestion, and dermal absorption without any evaluation of potential health effects. The products in question are commonly used in horticulture and hydroponics, including cannabis production. The 12 notices cover 14 products sold in Oregon that were also identified by the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) in late June as containing undeclared pesticide active ingredients. In an […]

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24
May

Washington State Institutes Recall Procedures for Pesticide Tainted Pot

(Beyond Pesticides May 24, 2016) Nearly two years after the first legal retail sales of marijuana in Washington State, the state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) finally took action to protect the rights of consumers by strengthening its ability to issue product recalls when there is a risk to health and safety. Under the new rules, businesses will be required to isolate and prevent the distribution of products that violate state pesticide regulations, and, in certain cases, may mandate that some products be destroyed under the LCB’s supervision. This action is the final codification of emergency rules that were passed by the state earlier this year to combat contaminated cannabis products. The move by Washington follows  widespread cannabis recalls  in the City of Denver,  and actions from Colorado’s Governor  to declare pesticide-tainted cannabis “a threat to public safety.” However, it is not all good news as the state also set allowable levels for unapproved pesticides on pot. Washington State currently lists  over 200  pesticide products as permitted in cannabis production, despite their lack of compliance with federal and state testing requirements for the range of consumer, worker, and environmental exposures. Outside of that list, the state previously employed a “zero […]

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29
Mar

Washington State’s Emergency Rule Allows Recall of Contaminated Cannabis Products

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2016) Last week, Washington State’s Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) adopted emergency rules allowing the state to recall cannabis products that have been tainted with illegal pesticide residues. The move follows widespread cannabis recalls in the City of Denver, and actions from Colorado’s Governor to declare pesticide-tainted cannabis “a threat to public safety.” Earlier in the month, Beyond Pesticides sent letters to Washington State Department of Agriculture  (WSDA) and Governor Jay Inslee imploring the state to take a proactive approach in restricting the use of hazardous pesticides in cannabis production. Until now, Washington State had no process in place to remove illegally contaminated cannabis products from the market. WSLCB will now issue recalls or allow producers to initiate product removal if there is evidence that pesticides not approved by the state were used or are present on salable marijuana plants or products. However, because the state does not mandate batch testing of cannabis plants or products, it is unclear how or whether the new rule will be enforced. In an interview with the Seattle Times, WSLCB spokesman Brian Smith indicated that the state will not be taking a zero-tolerance approach.  “If a product tests very high […]

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13
Jan

WA Oyster Growers Request Approval to Spray Neonicotinoid Pesticides in Bay, Despite Public Opposition

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2016) Last Friday, the Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association (WGHOGA) in Washington State sent a 71-page request to the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) asking state regulators to approve  a permit to  spray neonicotinoid insecticides  that are having devastating effects on the ecosystems worldwide. Yet, WGHOGA is pursuing a single-minded approach to chemically control the shrimp that are hurting their oyster crops, while using chemicals that the preponderance of science finds cause ecosystem imbalance. In  April 2015, much to the dismay of activists and concerned local residents, Ecology approved a permit for the use of imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) to combat a growing native population of burrowing shrimp that threatens  valuable shellfish (oyster) beds in Willapa Bay and Grays  Harbor. But, with a  nationwide public outcry, the permit was withdrawn in May 2015. Ecology sent KING 5, a local Washington news agency, the below statement last Friday: “We received the permit application this morning from the Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association to use imidacloprid on shellfish beds. It will take some time for us to review the 71-page application. On May 3 (2015) the Oyster Growers Association asked Ecology to withdraw their permit. Since then, […]

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29
Jul

Passage of the DARK Act Sheds Light on Next Steps for Opposition

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29 2015) The  Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015,  H.R. 1599, often referred to as the “DARK” Act or Denying Americans the Right to Know what is in their food, passed the U.S.  House of Representatives last week by a vote of 275-150. Backed largely by House Republicans, the DARK Act makes it harder for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require mandatory national labeling of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and strengthens current policies that allow companies to voluntarily label foods containing GE products, an option they rarely choose to do. The bill also continues to allow misleading “natural” claims for food that contain GE ingredients. Most concerning, however, is the prohibition  that H.R. 1599 would place  on states’ authority to require labeling of GE ingredients in food products, instituting federal  preemption of state and local authority. While the bill was being debated on the floor, co-sponsors Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and G.K. Butterfield (D-NC) repeatedly cited a lack of scientific evidence that GEs were dangerous to support the passage of the bill, ignoring arguments from the opposition that people should be able to know what is in their food, regardless of whether it […]

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05
May

Plans to Spray Toxic Insecticide in Washington Bays Are Canceled

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2015) In a major  victory for the environment and health, the Washington state Department of Ecology (Ecology) and oyster growers association agreed to withdraw a permit allowing the use of the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid to control burrowing shrimp in oyster beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. The decision was reached in large part due to vocal public outrage over the plan, as consumers, environmental organizations, and prominent local chefs spoke out against the spraying. “One of our agency’s goals is to reduce toxics in our environment,” said Ecology Director Maia Bellon in a News Release published by the agency over the weekend. “We’ve heard loud and clear from people across Washington that this permit didn’t meet their expectations, and we respect the growers’ response.” In an article published in the Seattle Times Friday, the largest shellfish producer in country, Taylor Shellfish, announced it will not treat its oyster beds with imidacloprid in response to numerous calls, emails, and social media comments made by its customers. “Our customers spoke loud and clear today, and that speaks volumes to us,” said Bill Dewey, spokesman for Taylor Shellfish. Given Taylor Shellfish’s size, it is likely that the Willapa/Grays […]

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29
Apr

Toxic Imidacloprid To Be Sprayed on Oyster Beds in Washington Bays

(Beyond Pesticides, April 29, 2015) Much to the dismay of activists and concerned local residents, the Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) approved a permit for the use of imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid) to combat a growing native population of burrowing shrimp that threatens valuable shellfish (oyster) beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor in Washington state. Imidacloprid is known to be toxic to bees but is also toxic to aquatic organisms, raising questions on the impacts of its use on the long-term ecological health of the bays. The shellfish industry is important to the Pacific Northwest, injecting an estimated $270 million or more into the region’s economy, and providing jobs for many. Washington’s tidelands, especially those in Willapa Bay, have been particularly productive for more than 100 years. However, according to shellfish growers, the burrowing shrimp (ghost shrimp, Neotrypaea californiensis,  and mud shrimp, Upogebia pugettensis) undermines the industry. The creatures burrow into shellfish beds, making the beds too soft for shellfish cultivation. Their burrowing churns the tidelands into a sticky muck, smothering the oysters. After several years of deliberations and studies, Ecology identified imidacloprid as its  preferred choice for eradicating the shrimp. According to the agency, imidacloprid disrupts the burrowing shrimps’ […]

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30
Jan

Persistent Organic Pollutants, Pesticides Linked to Early Menopause

(Beyond Pesticides, January 30, 2015) Extensive exposure to common chemicals may be linked to an earlier start of menopause, according to a new study out of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Researchers of the study found that women whose bodies have high levels of these chemicals, including three pesticides, experience menopause two to four years earlier than women with lower levels of the chemicals. The pesticides found to have a significant correlation with an early start in menopause were p,p’-DDE (a metabolite of DDT), β-hexachlorocyclohexane (a byproduct of the production of lindane), and mirex. All three pesticides are organochlorine insecticides or their breakdown products that have been banned for use  in the U.S., but continue to persist in the environment and in the food chain. The study, Persistent Organic Pollutants and Early Menopause in U.S. Women, published this week in the journal PLoS ONE, investigates the link between levels in blood and urine of 111 endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), or chemicals that interfere with the body’s hormonal activity, and focused on known reproductive toxicants or persistent environmental contaminants. The findings suggest a significant association between 15 chemicals —nine polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs, which are industrial products), three pesticides, two […]

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27
Jan

CDC Reports Deficiencies in Farmworker Protection from Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, January 27, 2015) In  evaluating a farmworker poisoning incident in Washington State last year, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report identifies “at least three potential occupational hazards in agriculture: off-target pesticide drift, toxicity of some recently marketed pesticides, and a gap in worker notification requirements.” The report recounts the poisoning in  April 2014 of 20 farmworkers at a Washington State cherry farm who were trellising cherry tree branches when a new pesticide mixture being applied to a neighboring pear orchard drifted on to their work site, causing acute illness within minutes. Sixteen farmworkers sought medical treatment for symptoms ranging from headache and eye irritation to gastrointestinal disorders and respiratory problems. Half of the affected workers had symptoms which persisted over two weeks. The workers were not notified of the planned pesticide application at the neighboring orchard. The  CDC report on the incident, authored by Geoffrey M. Calvert, MD (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), Luis Rodriguez, and Joanne Bonnar Prado, MPH  (Washington  State Department of Health), cites 31% of acute pesticide related illnesses for farmworkers between 2005 and 2012 occurring as a result of off-target drift from a neighboring farm. In the April incident, […]

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