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Archive for the 'Take Action' Category


10
Jun

Federal Framework Seeks to Accelerate Adoption of Genetically Engineered (GE) Crops with Exemptions from Regulation

(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2024) Expanding the planting of genetically engineered crops is the major focus of “The Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology – Plan for Regulatory Reform under the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology” (Framework), released in May by three federal agencies. In its Framework, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) use the words “exempt” or “exemption” in reference to federal safety regulations 21 times. Then, another 21 times the agencies identify their efforts to “streamline” the process for bringing genetically engineered “plant-incorporated protectants” (PIPs) to market. Without including the word “resistance” even once, the Framework advances the interests of the biotech and allied industries, ignoring the serious scientific issues regarding health and environmental effects and the economic failure for farmers facing crop loss. Meanwhile, the issue of resistance is not new to EPA, which has for years acknowledged the resistance problem despite allowing continued weed resistance to weed killers used with herbicide-tolerant crops and insect resistance to the pesticides incorporated into plants.   >> Tell USDA, FDA, and EPA to replace agricultural provisions in the Framework with policies that discourage GE crops […]

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03
Jun

House Agriculture Farm Bill Escalates Climate Disasters Then Requires Taxpayers to Pay for It, Advocates Say

(Beyond Pesticides, June 3, 2024) Environmental advocates continue to raise concerns about the Farm Bill (H.R.8467—Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024) that emerged from the House Agriculture Committee on May 23 with provisions they say will allow the escalation of environmental threats and then insure big agriculture commodity producers for losses attributable to those environmental disasters through an expansion of USDA’s crop insurance program. Through this taxpayer supported program, USDA covers farm revenue losses due to “natural causes such as drought, excessive moisture [e.g., floods], hail, wind, frost, insects, and disease. . .” Petrochemical pesticide and fertilizer use in chemical-intensive land management and agricultural production contributes to the climate emergency and associated weather, insect, and plant disease threats. Advocates point out that the House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill reduces environmental protections by (i) preempting local and state government authority to allow more restrictive standards at the municipal level, (ii) taking away the right to sue pesticide manufacturers and allied companies for a failure to fully disclose adverse effects of the products they produce or use, and (iii) weakening the regulatory process intended to protect endangered species and biodiversity from pesticides.   Tell Your U.S. Representative and Senators To Support […]

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28
May

To Make Regenerative Meaningful, It Must Require Organic Certification as a Starting Point, according to Advocates

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2024) Public comments are due May 29, 2024. With 40 percent of all vegetables grown in the U.S. coming from the state of California, the current state level process to define “regenerative agriculture” could have major impact on land management practices that address the current climate, biodiversity, and health crises. That is, according to advocates, if the process, directed by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) departs from a history of poorly defined and unenforceable terms like Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and Sustainable Agriculture. Virtually all consumers of food have a stake in the outcome of the definition of “regenerative,” so the current public comment period, which closes tomorrow, May 29, 2024, can help influence the outcome. As Beyond Pesticides has reported previously, the term “regenerative” is now increasingly being advanced as a loosely defined alternative to the organic standard and label, which is transparent, defined, certified, enforced, and subject to public input. The  publication AgFunderNews (AFN) in February published its updated “2024 list of agrifood corporates making regenerative agriculture commitments,” a who’s who of the largest food and agribusiness corporations worldwide. The list includes companies such as ADM, Cargill, Danone, General Mills, Tyson, Unilever, Walmart, and more with commitments […]

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20
May

House Republican Farm Bill Draft Would Cripple Pesticide Restrictions, Advocates Say

(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2024)  (Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2024) The Republican Farm Bill draft in the U.S. House of Representatives, released on Friday, May 17, is a broad attack on pesticide restrictions and the right to sue chemical manufacturers and allied users of pesticides when harmed. “This legislation is a complete nonstarter for the millions of people who want stronger pesticide restrictions, democratic decision making on toxic chemicals in communities, and the right to sue manufacturers and pesticide users when harmed and misled on the hazards of pesticides,” said Jay Feldman, executive director. “We vehemently oppose this Republican legislation with the understanding and experience—bridging farmers, medical practitioners, land managers, local policy makers, and families—that we can and must transition to safe practices and products that protect our health, biodiversity, and climate,” Mr. Feldman continued. The Farm Bill attack takes place on many critical fronts. The draft legislation: 1. Takes away the right to sue for failure to warn when harmed by pesticides. The language says: “prohibit. . .a court from directly or indirectly imposing or continuing in effect any requirements for, or penalize or hold liable any entity for failing to comply with requirements with respect to, labeling or […]

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09
May

Take Action: Advocates Call for Strong Organic Mushroom and Pet Food Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, May 8-9, 2024) In its proposal on mushrooms and pet food, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program is following up on recommendations of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to ensure that two areas of organic production are clarified and in compliance with the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). The notice raises questions of standards that ultimately grow the organic market while ensuring that the USDA organic label is backed by standards that have integrity and garner the public’s trust. In this spirit, Beyond Pesticides participates in the NOSB review/recommendation process and USDA rulemaking through public comments. [Note: Beyond Pesticides has served on the NOSB for a five-year term (2010-2015) and urges other environmental organization representatives to consider self-nominating for service on the board.] The issues relating to clear standards for mushrooms and pet food have been before the NOSB and in discussion for some time as a part of ongoing efforts to ensure continuous improvement of standards governing the organic sector. While virtually all in the organic community and industry agree that the USDA proposals are needed and long overdue, Beyond Pesticides points to problems in the proposed rule that need correcting: (i) Re. […]

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22
Apr

On Earth Day, Especially, Take Action to Ensure a Sustainable Future

(Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2024) Today, on Earth Day, the future of the planet and the health of all its inhabitants come into focus from numerous human and ecosystem health perspectives, with particular concern for the health of the next generation—as childhood cancer continues to be a leading cause of death from disease among children. Many studies demonstrate an association between environmental or occupational pesticide exposure and the risk of childhood cancer in offspring. Taking Action in Your Community: On Earth Day, Beyond Pesticides invites communities to join together in its nationwide campaign to convert parks to organic land management practices through the Parks for a Sustainable Future program. Through this program, Beyond Pesticides works with park managers, bringing hands-on horticultural support to eliminate petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers and instead nurture soil organisms to cycle nutrients naturally while creating resilient landscapes that resist weeds, insects, and disease. This program outlines the steps to become a parks advocate and how Beyond Pesticides works with communities committed to safe parks and playing fields for communities, children, and pets. One major impetus for the Parks program are the many studies that find prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental toxicants increases disease susceptibility. For decades, studies have […]

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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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08
Apr

U.S. Acts To Block Mexico’s Protection of Traditional Varieties against Contamination from Engineered Corn, Challenges Food Sovereignty

(Beyond Pesticides, April 8, 2024) When Mexico in 2020 decided to protect its traditional varieties of corn for reasons of health, safety, environmental protection, and food sovereignty with the banning of the importation of genetically engineered (GE or GM-genetically modified) corn by 2024, the powerful biotech industry and the U.S. government began a concerted campaign to stop the country’s efforts. With the opposition spearheaded by BIO, “the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations” (as described in its March 15 press release), including companies like Bayer/Monsanto, the U.S government is calling Mexico’s action a trade barrier. The U.S. is invoking the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the trade agreement that replaced the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 2020. This is just one of the latest examples of corporate power reigning over U.S. environmental and economic policies. Mexico has already announced a delay in the planned April 1 ban on the importation, production, distribution, and use of glyphosate. Interestingly, this is all happening despite reports that the Biden administration is seeking to “tackle corporate abuses,” which is apparently limited  to tax reform and […]

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01
Apr

Advocates Seek To Keep Organic on the Cutting Edge of Change for a Sustainable Future

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2024) Comments are due 11:59 pm EDT, Wednesday, April 3. For the public comment period—deadline Wednesday, April 3—in the lead up to the National Organic Standard Board (NOSB) meeting, advocates have identified the following priority issues: Getting plastics our of organic; Removing endocrine disrupting nonylphenols (NPs) and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) iodine from dairy production and replace with available alternatives; and Continuing to improve the science supporting ongoing decisions of the NOSB. (See below for details and opportunity to submit comments on these with one click!) Previously, Beyond Pesticides has reported on three additional priority issues, including; Reject the petition to allow unspecified “compostable materials” in compost allowed in organic production; Eliminate nonorganic ingredients in processed organic foods as a part of the Board’s sunset review of allowed materials; and  Ensure that so-called “inert” ingredients in the products used in organic production meet the criteria in OFPA with an NOSB assessment.  (Please see the prior action on these issues and submit comments, if not done previously.) Beyond Pesticides asks the public to join in commenting on priority issues that protect health and the environment as part of the upcoming NOSB meeting. The NOSB is receiving written comments from the […]

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18
Mar

Getting Toxics Out of Food Production and Communities Requires Strong Organic Standards

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2024) Comments are due by 11:59 pm EDT on April 3, 2024. Organic standard setting provides for democratic input, full transparency, and continuous improvement. The current public comment period is an important opportunity for the public to engage with the organic rulemaking process to ensure that the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and the USDA National Organic Program uphold the values and principles set forth in the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). With the threats to health, biodiversity, and climate associated with petrochemical pesticide and fertilizer use in chemical-intensive land management, advocates stress that this is critical time to keep organic strong and continually improving. Organic maintains a unique place in the food system because of its high standards, public input, inspection system, and enforcement mechanism. But, organic will only grow stronger if the public participates in voicing positions on key issues to the NOSB, a stakeholder advisory board. Beyond Pesticides has identified key issues for the upcoming NOSB meeting below! The NOSB is receiving written comments from the public on key issues through April 3, 2024. This precedes the upcoming public comment webinar on April 23 and 25 and the deliberative hearing on April 29 through […]

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04
Mar

Take Action: Federal Food Program Asked to Stop Feeding Children Pesticides that Contribute to Obesity

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2024) With 14.7 million children and adolescents in the U.S. recognized as obese by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the established connection with endocrine disrupting contaminants, including many pesticides, Beyond Pesticides is calling on federal food assistance programs to go organic. The problem of childhood obesity is higher in people of color and, as a result, is an environmental justice issue. According to CDC, the prevalence of childhood obesity is “26.2% among Hispanic children, 24.8% among non-Hispanic Black children, 16.6% among non-Hispanic White children, and 9.0% among non-Hispanic Asian children.” While childhood obesity is recognized as a serious problem, the National School Lunch Program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—although improved by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010—still provides lunches laced with obesogenic pesticides. To take meaningful steps against childhood obesity, school lunches must be organic. The program served 4.9 billion meals in fiscal year 2022 in over 100,000 public and nonprofit schools, grades Pre-Kindergarten-12. Contrary to popular opinion, the blame for the obesity epidemic cannot be attributed solely to diet and exercise broadly, but relates directly to pesticide and toxic chemical exposures, including residues in food, that may lead […]

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26
Feb

Take Action: Pesticide Manufacturers Ask States To Shield Them from Lawsuits by Those Harmed

(Beyond Pesticides, February 26, 2024) Beyond Pesticides today launched an action to stop a nationwide campaign by chemical manufacturers to shield themselves from liability cases filed by those who have been harmed by pesticide products. As widely reported, Bayer/Monsanto has been hit with numerous jury awards and settlements totaling billions of dollars for adverse health effects associated with their weed killer glyphosate (RoundupTM). After unsuccessfully seeking U.S. Supreme Court review of two of these cases, the industry is now pushing legislation in state legislatures that will shield them from future liability litigation. This is not the first time that the pesticide and toxic chemical industry has sought protection from the states after losing in the highest U.S. Court. After the Supreme Court upheld the right of localities to restrict pesticides more stringently than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state regulatory agencies in Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier (501 U.S. 597, 1991), the industry went to every state legislature in the country to seek state preemption of their local jurisdictions’ authority to restrict pesticides. They were successful in putting state preemption laws in place in 43 states and have since added another.   Having failed in the courts, history is […]

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20
Feb

Take Action: Advocates Ask Congress to Include Protections from PFAS Contamination in Farm Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2024) With health risks including developmental, metabolic, cardiovascular, and reproductive harm, cancer, damage to the liver, kidneys, and respiratory system, as well as the potential to increase the chance of disease infection and severity, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and their toxic trail of contamination in the environment is wreaking havoc with all life. The use of PFAS in industrial and commercial applications has led to widespread contamination of water and biosolids used for fertilizer, poisoning tens of millions of acres of land and posing a significant threat to the biosphere, public health, gardens, parks, and agricultural systems. Farmers and rural communities, in particular, bear the brunt of this contamination, as it affects their drinking water, soil quality, and livestock health.   Tell Congress that the Farm Bill must include the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act and the Healthy H2O Act to protect farmers and rural communities from PFAS contamination.  Led by Chellie Pingree (D-ME), U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Susan Collins (R-ME), a bipartisan and bicameral bill—the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act—has been introduced to provide assistance and relief to those affected by PFAS. A second bill, the Healthy H2O Act, introduced by Representatives Pingree and David Rouzer (R-NC) and Senators Baldwin […]

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12
Feb

Amid Damning Criticism of Its Scientific Integrity, EPA Takes Public Comments on Updated Policy

(Beyond Pesticides, February 12, 2024) Public Comments Due February 23, 2024. As the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) takes public comments on its updated scientific integrity policy (until February 23, 2024), Beyond Pesticides issued an action and reminds the agency that when it fails to carry out its mission to protect health and the environment—by allowing use of pesticides that are known to be hazardous and not fairly and scientifically evaluated, it is responsible for a toxic tragedy that has debilitating and deadly consequences for people and the ecosystems critical to sustaining life. Key to the recommendations Beyond Pesticides is urging EPA to consider are the following: (i) incorporate independent and emerging science into its chemical reviews; (ii) Update protocol to keep pace with new science; (iii) address vulnerabilities of those at highest risk, including those with preexisting health conditions; (iv) consider safer alternatives in calculating unreasonable risk; (v) disclose uncertainties associated with agency science or data gaps, and (vi) establish criminal penalties for EPA staff integrity violations. In the wake of intense criticism of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) scientific integrity, the agency has announced updates to its scientific integrity guidelines. As the agency acknowledges in its 2012 Scientific Integrity Policy: […]

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09
Feb

Take Action: EPA Accepting Public Comments on Seeds and Paint that Contain Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, February 9, 2024) EPA is accepting public comments through today, Friday February 9, on its long-held policy of exempting “treated objects,” including seeds and paint, from pesticide registration. Although EPA does not ask the most important question—“Should pesticide-treated seeds and paint be exempt from the scrutiny given pesticide products?”—this comment period offers an opportunity to respond to EPA’s questions and express concern about hazards associated with chemical use and product ingredients. Despite exposure patterns associated with the use of pesticides in treated objects that are linked to environmental contamination and human poisoning, EPA is focused on labeling and not regulation. Instead of focusing on the exposure and harm associated with the object’s use—whether treated seeds poison pollinators, soil, and water or whether paint treated with fungicides poisons people exposed to the paint—EPA takes the position that unless the manufacturer makes a pesticidal claim, the object is not regulated as a pesticide for its pesticidal effects.  Beyond Pesticides states: At the very least, if EPA deems the hazards associated with the use of the pesticide in the treated article acceptable, then the agency should disclose the chemical used in the treatment (of the seed or the paint) and require […]

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05
Feb

EPA’s Proposed Endocrine Disrupting Pesticide Review Called Deficient

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2024) Public Comment Period Ends February 26, 2024. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) never completed protocol for testing pesticides that disrupt the fundamental functioning of organisms, including humans, causing a range of chronic adverse health effects that defy the common misconception that dose makes the poison (“a little bit won’t hurt you”)—when, in fact, minuscule doses (exposure) wreak havoc with biological systems. After a nearly two decade defiance of a federal mandate to institute pesticide registration requirements for endocrine disruptors, EPA has now opened a public comment period ending February 26, 2024 and advocates are criticizing the agency’s proposed evaluation as too narrow. A detailed examination of EPA’s proposal can be found in draft comments by Beyond Pesticides.  Endocrine disruption as a phenomenon affecting humans and other species has been critically reviewed by many authors. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can, even at extremely low exposure levels, disrupt normal hormonal (endocrine) function. Such endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC) include many pesticides, exposures to which have been linked to infertility and other reproductive disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and early puberty, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and childhood and adult cancers. EPA […]

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29
Jan

Group Says Broader Biological Evaluation of Rodenticides Needed to Protect Endangered Species

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2024) With its draft Biological Evaluation of the impacts of rodenticides open for public comment until February 13, advocates are warning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that its inadequate review is unconscionable in view of the looming biodiversity collapse. “This is not a moment for business as usual and weak reviews that lead to wholly inadequate regulations in a time of crisis,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. Beyond Pesticides has tracked the scientific literature on the threat of rodenticides to wildlife, including an important study on contamination of eagles with rodenticides. Central to the concern about the deficiencies in EPA’s biological evaluation is the inadequate focus on secondary poisoning of listed endangered species fish and aquatic reptiles associated with predation of animals poisoned with rodenticides. In 2020, California passed the California Ecosystems Protection Act, AB 1788, which mostly bans on state lands rodenticides associated with secondary poisonings and initiated a broader review. Tell EPA to improve its protection of endangered species from rodenticides. In announcing the  2022 COP15 conference — the United Nation’s (UN’s) Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Development Programme set out the context for […]

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22
Jan

Comment Period Ends Today: Advocates Say USDA Needs Organic Certifier Information on Soil Fertility

(Beyond Pesticides, January 22, 2024) Today, Monday, January 22, is the last day for public comment on a three-year extension of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (through its Agricultural Marketing Service’s National Organic Program (NOP)) authority to collect information from certifiers entrusted with ensuring compliance with organic standards. Beyond Pesticides, along with allied organizations and organic advocates, is urging USDA to use this process to clarify the need for USDA to collect key information needed to verify compliance with key language in OFPA (Section 6513(b))—a provision that requires farming practices that “foster soil fertility.” Advocates maintain that information on organic farmers’ practices to foster soil fertility, required in the law, is critical to organic integrity, public trust in the organic label, and certifier responsibility. As USDA states, “The Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA), as amended (7 U.S.C. 6501–6524), authorized the Secretary of Agriculture to establish the National Organic Program (NOP) and accredit certifying agents to certify that farms and businesses meet national organic standards. Under OFPA, the purpose of the NOP is to: (1) establish national standards governing the marketing of certain agricultural products as organically produced products; (2) assure consumers that organically produced products meet a consistent standard; […]

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16
Jan

Take Action: EPA Challenged for Not Assessing Claimed Pesticide “Benefits,” Opens Public Comment Period

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2024) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has long been criticized for its failure to evaluate the effectiveness (or efficacy) of all the pesticides it registers. A petition, for which there is now an open public comment period (submit comments by January 22, 2024), challenges what advocates call a basic failure of the agency to evaluate the claimed benefits of pesticides. Because of this long-standing situation, those who purchase pesticides do not know that the pesticides they buy will meet expectations for control. For farmers, that means that EPA has not evaluated whether the pesticide’s use actually increases productivity of the treated crops and/or whether over time the target pest (weed, insect, fungus) will become resistant. For consumers, it also means that there is not an independent analysis of whether the pesticide products work. As EPA implements the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), not only is there no agency assessment of whether the pesticide’s use will achieve its intended purpose, there is not a determination as to whether there is a less toxic way of achieving the pest management goal. As Beyond Pesticides cited last year, a piece published in the Proceedings of the […]

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18
Dec

Take Action: Tell California You Care about Transparency in How Your Food Is Grown

(Beyond Pesticides, December 18, 2023) Since nearly three-quarters of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in California, new regulations being proposed by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), governing public disclosure of pesticide use, concern all food eaters. Food consumers are increasingly concerned about not only the residues of pesticides and other toxic materials in their food, but the impact of the production practices to the workers, the communities, and the environment where their food is grown. While the precedent-setting DPR proposal is an important step in providing the public with information on the chemicals used in California food production, advocates are asking that the regulations include information on the exact location of planned pesticide applications so that people in the toxic chemical application area can take protective action. Tell DPR to require exact field locations for dangerous pesticide applications and commit to improvements based on community input. The DPR proposal, while precedent-setting in providing Californians with the basic right-to-know about planned use of toxic chemicals in their neighborhoods, will not provide the exact location of planned pesticide applications. Under the DPR proposal, the public would be provided with an application location of one square mile—even though the […]

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04
Dec

Protection of Pregnant Farmworkers Under Civil Rights Protection; Will There Be Enforcement.

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2023) With a history of neglect of farmworker protection in the workplace, advocates are pointing to the need for ensuring stringent enforcement of regulations that are expected to take effect under the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA) this month. In addition to weak laws and protections that typically exempt farmworkers, enforcement for farmworker protections that do exist has been lacking. A report on enforcement of wage and hour law under Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has documented diminished capacity to detect and enforce against violations. A report by the Economic Policy Institute (2020) shows the dramatic failures of DOL, which is underfunded and understaffed to enforce the law. As the agency charged with operationalizing the new law to protect farmworkers, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will be up against a federal pesticide law enforcement system that is dependent by agreements with state agencies, mostly departments of agriculture, that have a history of failing to enforce the limited protections provided for farmworkers. The EEOC is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and operates 53 field offices in every part of the country. Farmworkers have endured a long history of discrimination in the United […]

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13
Nov

Commentary and Action: Court Decision and History Calls into Question Value of Pesticide Law

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2023) The news of a federal Appeals Court’s reversal of a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision in early November calls into question the value of the basic structures, processes, and authorities of pesticide law that the public has been told are protective of health and the environment. After decades of review and litigation, this reversal, especially on a highly neurotoxic insecticide like chlorpyrifos, identifies a fundamentally flawed system that does not protect the health of people, in this case, children’s brains. >>Tell your governor and mayor to adopt policies that support organic land management.  It was EPA’s finding that chlorpyrifos was destructive of the nervous system, particularly in children, and the functioning of the brain that led to an EPA-negotiated chemical company (Corteva/Dow Chemical) settlement in 1999 (took effect in 2000) that removed residential uses of chlorpyrifos from the market. The 2020 EPA decision, 21 years later, to stop agricultural uses followed another Appeals Court decision, departing from the agency’s usually long drawn-out negotiations that ultimately compromise health and the environment. EPA banned agricultural uses of chlorpyrifos in 2016 in the Obama Administration, but the decision was reversed by the Trump Administration in 2017. Because […]

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06
Nov

Sports World Rejects Synthetic Turf, Favors Natural Grass as Organic Offers Safe Alternative

(Beyond Pesticides, November 6, 2023) Communities discussing synthetic versus natural turf are faced with a number of issues that go to safety, environmental health, and cost. The chemicals used to manage synthetic turf for bacteria, mold, and fungus raise serious health issues and represent a threat that does not exist in organic land management. When all the synthetic turf issues are considered, including chemical use, maintenance, heat effects, water contamination and treatment, playability and safety, organic grass turf offers an approach that checks all the critical boxes for protecting health and the environment at a competitive price. Hazards of synthetic (artificial) turf made news this fall following injuries to New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rogers and Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, among others. Following safety concern, the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) issued a  call to end the use of synthetic turf and a return to natural turf. The FIFA World Cup soccer association requires a grass playing field. The players are not the only ones demanding grass fields. Fans of singer-songwriter Taylor Swift came out in full force in favor of the switch after the injury to Ms. Swift’s rumored boyfriend Travis Kelce. Beyond sports injuries, concerns […]

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