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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Washington' Category


WA County Recalls Consumer Pesticide Guide Under Industry Pressure

(Beyond Pesticides, August 13, 2008) Last month, King County, Washington discontinued a popular wallet-sized consumer guide in which fruits and vegetables containing the most and least pesticide residues were listed, after agricultural industry-sponsored groups claimed that the consumer guide was oversimplified, misleading and influencing consumers to not eat locally grown produce. Industry groups repeatedly lobbied the county program to remove the information saying that the guide did not contribute to food safety but instead hurt local farmers, whose crops are among those that contain the most pesticides. The Local Hazardous Waste Management Program, a coalition of health and hazardous-materials agencies in King County, Seattle and 38 neighboring communities introduced the informational card about a year ago in printed form and soon after on the King County website. “It is outrageous that the pesticide industry is trying to prevent people from getting information that will help them make healthier choices about their food. We urge King County to make the information available to the public,” said Ivy Sager-Rosenthal, environmental health advocate for the Washington Toxics Coalition. The consumer guide lists suggestions on “how to shop for the safest household products” on one side of the card, and on the other lists […]



National Fisheries Agency Agrees to Review Harmful Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, August 6, 2008) On July 30, 2008, a coalition of fishing and environmental groups settled a lawsuit (NCAP et al. v. NMFS, No. 07-1791 RSL) that requires an impact analysis of 37 pesticides on protected salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest and California. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the federal agency charged with protecting threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead, agreed to the settlement, which requires the design and adoption of permanent measures to help pesticide users minimize the harmful effects of those pesticides. The lawsuit, filed last year in the U.S. District Court in Seattle, petitioned the court to order the NMFS to uphold a five-year-old rule that directs the agency to identify measures needed to protect salmon from the pesticides. The petitioners pointed out that NMFS failed to carry out these measures. (See Daily News Blog of November 7, 2007.) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that the 37 toxic pesticides at issue in the settlement may harm protected salmon and steelhead. Most of the pesticides have been detected in major salmon and steelhead rivers in the Pacific Northwest and California. Scientists have found that, even at low levels, toxic pesticides can harm salmon […]



Vineyards and Community College Receive “Salmon-Safe” Certification

(Beyond Pesticides, May 7, 2008) Twenty-five vineyards representing 925 acres or 56 percent of vineyard acreage in the Walla Walla Basin in Washington state, as well as the 110-acre Walla Walla Community College (WWCC), are newly certified “Salmon-Safe” for their land practices that help accelerate salmon’s recovery. The designation means that landowners go above and beyond regulations to adopt significant and specific measures that restore in-stream habitat, conserve water, protect streamside habitat and wetlands on site, reduce erosion and sedimentation, and reduce or eliminate the use of chemical pesticides.Certification is awarded only after comprehensive on-site assessments by independent inspectors based on Salmon-Safe’s rigorous standards. Salmon-Safe is a leading regional eco-label that in 11 years has certified more than 60,000 acres of farm and urban lands in Oregon and Washington, including one-third of Oregon’s vineyard acreage, as well as the headquarters campuses of Nike, Washington State Department of Ecology, and Kettle Foods.“The magnitude of the participation underscores the Walla Walla valley’s leadership in adopting and committing to sustainable practices that benefit people and land, and help salmon spawn and thrive,” said Dan Kent, Salmon-Safe managing director. “The certifications and assessments also mark a major expansion of Salmon-Safe east of the Cascades, […]



Washington State Begins Mandated Pesticide Drift Study

(Beyond Pesticides, November 14, 2007) As directed by the 2007 legislature, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is starting a 2-year, $150,000 Voluntary Notification Study Project concerning the application of “Danger/Poison” pesticides near schools, hospitals, nursing homes and adult and child daycares. This project will collect data to determine if notification is a significant factor in reducing pesticide exposures when agricultural “Danger/Poison” pesticides are applied by aerial or airblast application methods near these facilities. The Study Project will be limited to Chelan, Kittitas and Yakima Counties and will run from October 1, 2007 to October 1, 2009. It will focus on pesticides labeled with the signal words “Danger/Poison” that are applied either by air or by airblast application equipment. A voluntary notification register will be maintained by the Department and made available for applicators to check contact information if they plan on making specific types of applications near facilities. The primary source of information regarding location of facilities and facility contact information will be the WSDA website. Contact information will also be available by phone for those applicators who do not have access to the Internet. This is a Voluntary Notification Project. No regulatory action will be taken against […]



Rent-A-Goats Earn Their Keep in Seattle

(Beyond Pesticides, June 15, 2007) What is herbicide-free, cheap, has four fury legs, produces fertilizer and is winning over the city of Seattle? Rent-A-Goats. The ruminants’ tendency to eat just about anything in its path in combination with their four-chambered stomachs has put goats in demand with Seattle-area developers and government agencies. Eating up to eight pounds of green foliage a day, the goats’ appetites are quickly converting skeptics. John Iwanczuk, a project manager for a Seattle construction company was a skeptic, but he found “not only did it [the goats] reach our objective, we saved a pile of money and made incredible inroads with the neighborhood.” Mr. Iwanczuk’s project entailed a lot covered with impenetrable brush — something he estimated would take a crew at least a week to clear, filling numerous trucks with debris. Instead, his lot was cleared within four days by 60 goats while attracting elementary school groups and numerous neighborhood residents. Besides being a cheap non-chemical method to remove undesirable and invasive plants, the goats draw a crowd. The animals are popular with children and parents, and gardeners looking for free fertilizer. Seattle Metro Transit Agency, Seattle City Light and Seattle Parks and Recreation are […]



Martex Farms Receives Second Highest Worker Safety Fines

(Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2007) On January 19, 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assessed the second highest penalty for violating worker protection provisions of U.S. pesticide laws to an agricultural company based in Puerto Rico. According to the EPA, Martex Farms has been ordered to pay a total penalty of $92,620 by EPA’s Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). Martex has been found liable for 170 alleged violations of EPA’s worker protection standards. The farm owners also failed to display specific pesticide application information for its agricultural workers and pesticide handlers, failed to provide them with decontamination materials, and failed to provide handlers with personal protective equipment. The recent decision, rendered by the ALJ, underscores EPA’s position that failing to provide agricultural workers and pesticide handlers with specific pesticide application information on the same application constitutes separate, independent violations. In addition, this ruling reaffirms the requirement that every handler applying pesticides must be provided with personal protection equipment. In January 2005, EPA filed a complaint against Martex for improperly using pesticides and endangering worker safety. Martex Farms grows, processes, packs and ships tropical fruits and plants. The family-owned business was established in 1989, and employs hundreds of people at its numerous […]