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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category


21
Mar

Chemical-Driven Agriculture Damages Microbial Health of Bee Colonies

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2023) Placing honey bee hives in agricultural areas creates stress that leads to microbial imbalances, according to research published in Scientific Reports by Croatian scientists this month. The research highlights the fragility and absurdity of chemical-driven agricultural systems dependent upon both pollinators and products that harm or kill off these sensitive species. While regulators in the United States continue to prop up unsustainable practices, more and more consumers are seeking out and engaging with the key alternative to this system by supporting organic farms and foodstuffs at their farmers market and grocery store. Scientists began by creating 33 colonies from three apiaries within an agricultural region in Croatia, utilizing four brood frames, two honey frames, and mated queens. Of these 33 newly created hives, 22 were relocated to a separate agricultural region, and 11 were placed roughly six miles away from a nature preserve and considered a semi-natural area. A separate group of 10 hives that had been established on a small island (Unije, Croatia) in the Adriatic Sea were included in the study in order to represent a completely natural location. After roughly two weeks of colony formation, scientists collected samples to represent the multiple […]

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20
Mar

Strong Organic Standards Require Continuing Public Involvement; Comments Are Due 11:59pmEDT April 5

(Beyond Pesticides, March 20, 2023) As a means of taking on the challenges of health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency, the review and updating of organic standards requires the public involvement in the current public comment period. This is required to keep organic strong and continually improving. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public through April 5, 2023. This precedes the upcoming public comment webinar on April 18 and 20 and deliberative hearing April 25-27—concerning how organic food is produced. Sign up for a 3-minute comment to let U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) know how important organic is at the webinar by April 5. Written comments must be submitted through Regulations.gov. by 11:59 pm EDT April 5. Links to the virtual comment webinars will be provided approximately one week before the webinars. The NOSB is responsible for guiding USDA in its administration of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), including the materials allowed to be used in organic production and handling. The role of the NOSB is especially important as we depend on organic production to protect our ecosystem, mitigate climate change, and enhance our health. The NOSB plays an important role […]

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17
Mar

U.S. House Votes to Reverse Protection of Threatened Waterways; Will Senate Uphold Rule Set for March 20?

(Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2023) The U.S. House of Representatives’ Republican majority voted on March 9 to overturn a Biden administration rule that expands the definition of and protections for the “waters of the United States.” The rule, Revised Definition of Waters of the United States, clarifies that thousands of wetlands, smaller streams, and other kinds of waterways are included under the Clean Water Act’s protection provisions. The overturning resolution now goes to the Senate, and is expected to be taken up very soon; President Biden has said he will exercise his veto power if it reaches his desk. Were that veto overridden, this rollback would put at greater risk the nation’s waterways, from all sorts of pollution, including the more than 90% of the nation’s rivers and streams that are contaminated with five or more pesticides, according to Beyond Pesticides 2020 coverage. You can contact your U.S. Senators HERE to let them know you want them to support Clean Water by voting against legislation that undermines protection of our waterways. The rules promulgated by EPA and other federal agencies to protect the nation’s waters arise primarily from 1972’s Clean Water Act (amended in 1977 and 1987). That act, although […]

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16
Mar

PFAS Leaches into Ketchup, Mayo, Other Common Foods, Elevating Health Hazards

(Beyond Pesticides, March 16, 2023) Highly hazardous PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are leaching out of plastic containers and contaminating food products, according to research published in Environment Technology and Letters this month. The data confirm the results of prior research focused on the propensity of PFAS to contaminate various pesticide products through the storage containers. That data led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to issue a warning over the potential for direct PFAS contamination of food. The current study, conducted by scientists at Notre Dame University, confirms these worst fears and shows that the containers of commonly used products like ketchup and mayonnaise are leaching out levels that post a threat to human health. “Not only did we measure significant concentrations of PFAS in these containers, we can estimate the PFAS that were leaching off creating a direct path of exposure,” said study coauthor Graham Peaslee, PhD, professor of physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Notre Dame. In breaking news on Tuesday, EPA is setting standards for two PFAS, PFOA and PFOS at no more than 4 parts per trillion in drinking water. While testing will be required, this measure is limited by its scope, […]

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15
Mar

Maui County, Hawai’i Leads Nation in Supporting Transition to Organic Agriculture with New Law

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2023) In a move that will improve land access for Mauiʻs organic farmers, Maui County Council passed Bill 160 (Kula Agricultural Park Phase I Expansion Area),  reserving 262 acres in the Kula Agricultural Park for practices that comply with the Organic Foods Production Act and USDA organic standards, and removing barriers in the application process in favor of emerging farmers. Councilmember Gabe Johnson, chair of the Agriculture, Diversification, Environment and Public Transportation Committee, sponsored the bill. “Regenerative agriculture is a forward-thinking system that works to nurture soil, protect water resources and biodiversity, and combat climate change,” said Mr. Johnson. “We need to create an environment that supports our farmers and agriculture economy.” Maui County currently has an operational 445 acre Agriculture Park, available for lease at the affordable rate of $100 per acre per month. All users of the current Agriculture Park practice chemical-intensive methods, making it an unsuitable area for organic farmers. In 2018, Maui County purchased an additional 262 acres to expand the Agriculture Park, and Bill 160 reserves the expansion area for organic practices, giving organic farmers the same opportunity for affordable land access. The Kula Agriculture Park expansion will be available for […]

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13
Mar

United Nations and White House Calls for Action to Protect the Oceans

(Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2023) The United Nations has just announced on March 4, 2023, an agreement on a new high seas treaty. The treaty, which must be adopted by member states and then ratified by at least 60 countries to take effect could be a critical development for meeting the UN’s COP15 “30 by 30” goal of protecting 30% of the world’s land and sea by 2030 to slow and arrest global biodiversity losses. The treaty represents a step toward implementation of President Biden’s “America the Beautiful Initiative” set in 2021, proclaiming “the first-ever national conservation goal” established by a President –a goal of conserving at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.” However, he U.S. has a poor track record on approval of UN environmental treaties; approval requires a two-thirds majority affirmative vote in the Senate, and failure on that would block a Presidential signature and ratification. Meanwhile, a report just reissued by an international coalition of scientists led by Boston College’s Global Public Health Program and Global Observatory on Planetary Health and the Centre Scientifique de Monaco documents the widespread and growing pollution of the ocean. The full report, “Human Health and Ocean Pollution,” is […]

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10
Mar

193 Countries in the United Nations Approve Treaty to Stop the Oceans from Dying

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2023) Following years of discussions and negotiations, 193 United Nations member countries have just approved — for the first time — a draft treaty for protection of the globe’s “high seas” and their denizens. The March 4 adoption of the draft marks the achievement of a potential legal framework for such protections, but is also the beginning of “a long journey to ensure the world’s oceans are adequately protected for future generations,” according to coverage by NewScientist. As research out of Boston College identifies, our oceans are badly polluted by multiple substances — including pesticides and other agricultural runoff; industrial and petrochemical waste; and the synthetic chemicals embedded in plastics — that threaten human health. The treaty, which must be adopted by member states and then ratified by at least 60 countries to take effect could be a critical development for meeting the COP15 “30 by 30” goal of protecting 30% of the world’s land and sea by 2030 to slow and arrest global biodiversity losses. Beyond Pesticides has long covered the ecological harms of ocean pollution.  The treaty represents a step toward implementation of President Biden’s 2021 “America the Beautiful Initiative,” proclaiming “the first-ever national conservation goal” established […]

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08
Mar

Creosote-Induced Health Problems Persist from Springfield, MO Production, Now Superfund, Site

(Beyond Pesticides, March 7, 2023) An old Kerr-McGee Wood Treatment Facility is still causing health issues among residents in Springfield, Missouri. The former site of pressure-treated railroad tie production remains contaminated with creosote, a concoction of dangerous chemicals including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, phenols, and creosols. While residents are still dealing with lingering effects of a now shuttered production site, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is set to reregister creosote (wood preservatives are regulated as pesticides in the U.S.), perpetuating the harm caused by this material despite the wide availability of alternatives. The wood treatment facility in question operated for nearly 100 years, releasing significant levels of creosote-related chemicals throughout the immediate region. The Kerr-McGee Corporation spun off its liability for a range of hazardous sites previously under its control to a separate company called Tronox, which subsequently declared bankruptcy in 2009. Andarko Petroleum then purchased Kerr-McGee, but, during bankruptcy proceedings, Tronox filed a complaint against both Andarko and Ker-McGee, alleging fraudulent conveyance of the liabilities. As EPA explains, “At the core of the plaintiffs’ complaints is the allegation that the Defendants fraudulently transferred valuable assets out of Tronox and left Tronox with insufficient funds to pay the billions of […]

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07
Mar

Glyphosate Exposure Associated with Liver and Metabolic Disorders in Children, Young Adults

(Beyond Pesticides, March 7, 2023) Exposure to glyphosate (Roundup) and its breakdown products is associated with an increased risk of liver and metabolic disorders in children and young adults, according to research published in Environmental Health Perspectives earlier this month. While glyphosate has developed a well-deserved reputation as a carcinogen, research is finding that cancer is one of a myriad of chronic diseases associated with the notorious chemical. As this body of literature grows, growing awareness by the public is increasing pressure on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to cancel its allowed uses. Researchers began their investigation concerned about the rise of liver disorders and metabolic syndrome among young people. This trend has been pronounced among populations of color. The worrying increase has led many to consider synthetic chemical exposure as a contributing factor, as lack of diet and exercise is unlikely to account for the entirety of the increase. To better understand these impacts, researchers enrolled existing participants in the CHAMACOS (Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas) study, a long running cohort of mothers and their children born between the years 2000 and 2002 in the Salinas Valley of California. Enrolled participants consistent mostly […]

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06
Mar

Take Action: Farmworker Protections Fall Short

(Beyond Pesticides, March 6, 2023) After the Trump EPA was blocked from weakening the application exclusion zone (AEZ) provisions for protecting farmworkers, the rules reverted to the Obama era rules. Now, EPA proposes to reaffirm part of that rule, while accepting some of the weakening amendments from the Trump administration. Tell EPA to strengthen pesticide rules to protect farmworkers. Tell President Biden to sign the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families.    EPA’s Worker Protection Standards (WPS) are rules that govern labor safety standards within federal pesticide law (the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, or FIFRA). Farmworkers are not covered for toxic chemical exposure by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and WPS have long been criticized by farmworker, labor, and health advocates for providing insufficient protections for farmworkers, their children and communities. Under the WPS, AEZs are buffer zones where people are not allowed to enter during the course of a pesticide application. Like all buffer zones, they are designed to allow application of toxic pesticides while providing a nominal degree of protection. Pesticides drift long distances when being applied and they […]

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03
Mar

Groups Challenge EPA on Allowing Toxic Pesticides that Do Not Even Work and Without Its Review

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2023) On February 22, a group of 65 nonprofit organizations (including Beyond Pesticides) filed a citizen petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that asks the agency to close a gaping — and well exploited — regulatory loophole by revoking a 1984 regulation that waived efficacy data requirements in pesticide evaluations. This means that EPA has, for 39 years, registered pesticides without demonstrated proof of efficacy and benefits. The petition is aimed primarily at the widespread use of neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics), which are so harmful to hundreds of species — and to bees, other pollinators, and birds, in particular — that many advocates have insisted they should be banned altogether. Beyond Pesticides has advocated for a neonics ban because of their extensive harms to pollinators, multiple other organisms (including humans), ecosystems, and natural resources. The Center for Food Safety, Pesticide Action Network North America, Center for Biological Diversity, Beyond Pesticides, and other advocates have filed lawsuits in recent years to get EPA to act protectively on neonics and other pesticides. The coalition of groups in the subject case seeks to rein in a plethora of harmful impacts of neonics, given EPA’s overall lack of protective action. (For […]

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01
Mar

Strawberries Lose Their Sweetness, Aroma, and Taste after Being Sprayed with Chemical Fungicides, Study Finds

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2023) Fungicides sprayed on chemically farmed strawberries reduce their flavor quality, according to research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry this week. This explanation is a major insight for frustrated consumers who may remember when the strawberries sold at retail contained deeper, more complex flavors. As the agrichemical industry claims that dangerous pesticides are needed to grow food to feed the world, it is evident these practices health and environmental hazards, but also affect the quality of the food grown. As savvy shoppers and gardeners already know, buying and growing organic addresses this range of issues, improving flavor while protecting wildlife and public health. Scientists developed their study to better understand the mechanisms leading to flavor deterioration by growing strawberry plants in a greenhouse with chemical-intensive practices, including the use of synthetic fertilizers. One group was treated with the fungicide boscalid, another with the fungicide difenconazole, and a control group received no spray. Fruits were sprayed beginning at the green, small fruit stage, a total of two times, and collections from each group were taken at the white, turning, and red fruit stage (zero, three, and seven days after the second pesticide application). […]

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28
Feb

EPA Proposes Reinstating Obama-era Farmworker Protections and Adds Compromises with Industry

(Beyond Pesticides, February 28, 2023) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed a proposed rule this month to update the way farmers, farmworkers, and bystanders are protected from toxic pesticide applications. The rule, which governs “Application Exclusion Zones” (AEZs), is being put forth to reinstate an Obama-era rule with the addition of some new industry-friendly provisions. EPA characterizes a return to the past with the adoption of former protections, after a period of deep deregulation under the Trump Administration, as a step forward in protecting farmworkers from toxic exposure. “EPA’s top priority is to protect public health and the environment, and today’s proposal is a significant step forward to further protect the farmworkers, farmers and pesticide handlers who deliver the fuel, fiber and food that runs America,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Farmworker justice is environmental justice, and we’re continuing to take action to make sure these communities are protected equally under the law from pesticide exposure.” However, within the historical context of this proposal, it appears as though the agency will end up with rules that are weaker, and more industry-friendly than those currently in place before the Trump Administration. AEZs are buffer zones where individuals are not allowed […]

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27
Feb

Take Action: Sustainable “Roadmap” Falls Short of What Is Needed To Solve Existential Crises

(Beyond Pesticides, February 27, 2023) California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is asking for comments on its “Sustainable Pest Management (SPM) Roadmap” by 5 pm (PST) March 13, 2023. While recognizing problems inherent in traditional integrated pest management (IPM), DPR’s roadmap is directing us to a destination that includes another generation of exposure to the worst of the worst pesticides—while failing to embrace the elimination of farm inputs harmful to ecosystems and the capacity of soil biology to cycle nutrients and draw down the maximum amount of atmospheric carbon. The Roadmap’s off-handed rejection of organic practices, rather than building on organic systems, creates a lost opportunity for adopting a holistic and serious solution to the current crises of health threats from pesticides, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency. Tell DPR to revise its destination to immediately eliminate the worst pesticides and implement wide scale transition to organic practices. DPR’s Roadmap states these goals: By 2050, eliminate the use of Priority Pesticides by transitioning to SPM. By 2050, SPM will be adopted as the de facto pest management system in California. DPR says “The criteria for classifying pesticides as “Priority Pesticides” include, but are not limited to, hazard and risk classifications, […]

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24
Feb

Perennial Crops Identified as Tools to Fight Biodiversity Collapse

(Beyond Pesticides, February 24, 2023) Among the solutions to the dire state of global biodiversity is, Civil Eats reports, perennial agriculture, which improves biodiversity both on- and off-farm. Increased adoption of perennial cropping provides critical on-farm habitat for many kinds of pollinators, insects, birds, and myriad additional creatures. Below ground, where plant roots remain active year-round, perennials create far-richer ecosystems for microbial communities and fungal networks. Planting annual crops — and often, the same ones year after year across huge swaths of acreage, as conventional agriculture generally does — leads to multiple bad outcomes: intensive synthetic pesticide and fertilizer use and the harms that flow from them; poor soils; erosion; inefficient holding and use of water; depleted carbon capacity; and a denuded above-soil landscape and diminished microbial, fungal, and nutrient environment below. Thus, perennial cropping boosts on-farm biodiversity as noted, and benefits off-farm biodiversity by reducing the unsavory impacts, on the broader environment, of traditional, chemically intensive, monoculture farming. Biodiversity loss has emerged in the past decade as yet another crisis humanity faces — one that continues to go unaddressed at the level the loss requires. Beyond Pesticides has written extensively about the crisis and the central solution of ending […]

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22
Feb

Neonicotinoids Combined with Other Pesticides Elevate Hazards to Honey Bee

(Beyond Pesticides, February 22, 2023) Combining neonicotinoid insecticides with other commonly used pesticides can result in synergistic effects on honey bees, increasing toxicity more than any individual chemical could, according to research published in Scientific Reports earlier this month. The data highlight the grave inadequacy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) process for evaluating pesticide risks. Under current regulations, EPA requires chemical manufacturers to submit data only on singular active ingredients. Yet, pesticide products may be packaged or ‘tank mixed’ with other, equally toxic pesticides without any obligation to determine the toxicity of the material that is actually being applied. Independent research is left to fill in these gaps, and the data increasingly shows that toxicity with pesticide mixtures amounts to a roll of the dice: sometimes combinations are less toxic, sometimes their toxicities are merely additive. But more often than not, pesticide mixtures result in synergistic effects that make the product significantly more toxic than either individual chemical alone. To understand how pesticide combinations are harming pollinators, scientists began with baseline data on the individual toxicity range  that common pesticides pose to honey bee colonies. Research was conducted on honey bees reared in the Stoneville Wildlife Management Area […]

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21
Feb

Toxic Train Derailment Raises Need for Systemic Change  

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2023) The recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, should be a reminder to all of us that problems with our reliance on toxic chemicals go beyond broadcasting them on fields. In order to get pesticides to their point of use, toxic precursors and ingredients must be transported. Toxic waste products are also delivered to a location where they may be burned or deposited in a landfill. In weighing the hazards of toxic pesticides, these ancillary hazards should also be considered. Tell EPA and Congress that all impacts of toxic chemicals—from cradle to grave—must be considered before allowing their use.      The freight train that derailed February 3, 2023 in East Palestine was carrying a number of toxic chemicals. EPA notified the railroad, “EPA has spent, or is considering spending, public funds to investigate and control releases of hazardous substances or potential releases of hazardous substances at the Site. Based on information presently available to EPA, EPA has determined that Norfolk Southern Railway Company (Norfolk Southern or “you”) may be responsible under CERCLA [Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act–Superfund] for cleanup of the Site or costs EPA has incurred in cleaning up the Site.” But […]

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17
Feb

Train Tragedy Highlights Law’s Failure to End Use of Needless Toxic Pesticides and Co-formulants

(Beyond Pesticides, February 17, 2023) The February 3 derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in Ohio has been huge news. Less well known perhaps is that 20 of the 50 cars involved were carrying hazardous materials, defined by the National Transportation Safety Board as “cargo that could pose any kind of danger ‘including flammables, combustibles, or environmental risks.’” The incident resulted in a huge fire, evacuations, and worries about explosions and discharge of toxic chemical gases; on February 6, officials conducted “controlled releases” of some of the chemicals. Some of the toxic chemicals involved are precursors to production of synthetic pesticides. [Eds. Note: We are deeply concerned for the victims of this terrible crisis who are asking legitimate questions about contaminated drinking water and the effects of both the initial acute exposure after the derailment, resulting in the release of toxic chemicals, and long-term exposure to low levels of toxic residues in homes and the environment.] Among the compounds on board those 20 cars were “inert” pesticide ingredients (vinyl chloride, ethylhexyl acrylate, and isobutylene), an antimicrobial compound (ethylene glycol monobutyl ether [EGBE]), benzene (a carcinogenic solvent), and butyl acrylate. This event brings into high relief the cradle-to-grave issues that travel […]

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15
Feb

Glyphosate Weed Killers Reduce Crop Yields and Hamper Climate Mitigation Efforts

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2023) Glyphosate use in grassland pastures reduces crop yield and impedes climate change mitigation, finds two studies (1,2) published this month from the University of Turku, Finland. While massive public relations campaigns by the agrichemical industry have poured in millions of dollars to convince politicians and the public that pesticides are necessary to ‘feed the world’ and address the climate crisis, the data does not support these claims. “Only in recent years, we have started to realise that intensive agriculture and agrochemical pollution in fact contribute to a reversal of the intended purpose. Soils are polluted with pesticides and at the same time, extreme weather events erode soil nutrients,” says study coauthor Benjamin Fuchs, PhD. Researchers approached their investigation through two separate experiments on the grass Festuca pratensis, an important forage crop grown for grazing animals throughout the world. The first experiment was conducted in an enclosed greenhouse, while the second took place in a field setting. For both experiments, plots were separated between glyphosate-sprayed and unsprayed controls. All plots received three different approaches to cutting the grass: one group that was intensely cut to two inches (5cm), the second group cut to six inches (15cm), […]

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14
Feb

Harming Wildlife, Pesticides in Waterways Run into the Great Lakes Year-Round

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2023) The waterways that flow into the Great Lakes are experiencing year-round pesticide contamination that exceeds benchmarks meant to protect aquatic life, according to research published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). “What you use makes it into the water,” study coauthor Sam Oliver, PhD, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. These data buttress growing calls from pesticide reform advocates that new laws are needed to protect the nation’s increasingly threatened waters. USGS scientists conducted their analysis on 16 tributaries that feed into the Great Lakes, including sites that correspond to urban, agricultural, and undeveloped land. Samples were taken at locations closest to the lake the tributary flowed into over a period of roughly one year from October 2015 to September 2016. Each sample was tested for 231 pesticides and their breakdown products. Researchers used aquatic life benchmarks set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and created a relative hazard index (RHI) for the study to evaluate whether specific sites should be prioritized for further protections.   Across every sampled tributary, pesticides were found. Accordingly, 96% (190 out of 198) of samples taken contained pesticides or their breakdown products. […]

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13
Feb

Local Authority to Restrict Pesticides Would Be Codified by Federal Reform Bill

(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2023) As more and more communities across the country outlaw pesticides on their public land, parks, and playing fields, most states prohibit (or preempt) localities from restricting hazardous use on private property. As a result, pesticides used on landscapes—uses that can be replaced by organic management practices—result in chemical drift and runoff, putting the community in harms way and people involuntarily exposed. The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2023 (PACTPA), S.269, includes a provision that grants communities under federal pesticide law (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act—FIFRA) local authority to restrict pesticides on all property, public and private, within their jurisdiction. While the U.S. Supreme Court (in Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier) in 1991 found that FIFRA does not preempt local governments’ authority to restrict pesticide use in their town, cities, or counties, state governments have taken that authority away in 44 states at the behest of the pesticide lobby. Urge your Senators to co-sponsor PACTPA and reforms to the toxic core of FIFRA, including upholding the right of local governments to restrict pesticides. As local governments debate the hazards associated with pesticide use in their communities, many have decided to transition their […]

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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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08
Feb

Garden Pesticide Use Harms Local Bird Populations, Study Authors Say “We Should Simply Ban These Poisons”

(Beyond Pesticides, February 8, 2023) Spraying pesticides around one’s garden negatively impacts local bird populations, according to research published by scientists at the University of Sussex, UK in Science of the Total Environment. Although this reasoning sounds common sense to those versed in the works of Rachel Carson, it underscores the immense importance of carrying on the legacy of her work and continuing to educate the public about the ongoing dangers posed by modern pesticides. As the study authors write, “Overall, our study shows that garden bird abundance and richness is strongly influenced by both extrinsic and intrinsic factors, and suggests that garden management, particularly regarding pesticide use, has a significant effect on bird life.” Researchers collected data by partnering with the British Trust for Ornithology, which conducts annual citizen-science counts of bird populations in UK gardens. Nearly 24,000 residents participate in the survey, which also includes information about the urbanization level surrounding their gardens, and other habitat characteristics. A group of these volunteers were provided with a questionnaire about their pesticide practices between 2020-2021, recording information on how often the pesticides were applied, as well as the pesticide brand name. After removing incomplete or unusable data, 615 individual gardens […]

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