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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category


29
Sep

EPA Reverses on Decision to Ban Flea Collars with Toxic Pesticide, Leaving Children at Risk

(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2023) In unsurprising news, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reversed itself and decided not to ban a dangerous pesticide: tetrachlorovenphos (TCVP) used in pet flea collars and other flea products. This is despite its own earlier decision to ban TCVP in pet collars and scathing criticism of its methods and conclusions by the courts. First registered in 1966, TCVP belongs to the notoriously toxic organophosphate chemical family and is classified by the World Health Organization as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” It was originally registered to Shell Chemical, then to E.I. duPont de Nemours, then to Hartz Mountain Corporation and Fermenta Animal Health Company.  Early on, it was registered for use on food crops and livestock, but the crop uses were voluntarily de-registered in 1987. It is still widely used on pets and farm animals. In 1995, EPA issued the opinion that “all uses of tetrachlorvinphos, with the exception of oral feed-through larvicide treatment to livestock intended for food use, will not cause unreasonable risk to humans or the environment.” Since then, the agency has contorted itself repeatedly to allow TCVP to remain on the market. There is little research available on TCVP’s human health effects; the […]

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28
Sep

Beyond Pesticides Celebrates the 50th Birthday of the Endangered Species Act

(Beyond Pesticides, September 28, 2023) As the United States commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), there is a growing recognition that the planet faces an existential biodiversity crisis, with a rising number of species on the brink of extinction. In a collective effort to address threats to global biodiversity (i.e. diversity of all life), a coalition of environmental organizations including Beyond Pesticides, are sending an urgent letter to President Joe Biden. This letter, titled “Meeting the Challenges of the Biodiversity and Extinction Crisis Over the Next 50 Years,” calls for bold and comprehensive action to preserve our planet’s natural heritage for future generations. The ESA is celebrated as one of the most effective conservation laws globally, credited with preventing the extinction of 99 percent of listed species. Over the past five decades, the ESA has played a pivotal role in preventing these extinctions by safeguarding the most critically endangered species within biological communities. However, this concentration on highly threatened species often results in temporary solutions that may not comprehensively address the broader issue of biodiversity loss. The ESA establishes a framework to categorize species as “endangered” or “threatened,” granting them specific protections. While it is crucial […]

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26
Sep

Africa’s Resilient Refusal of Agrochemicals Offers a Lesson in Tackling Invasive Species

(Beyond Pesticides, September 26, 2023) In Ethiopia’s Bahir Dar, where Lake Tana feeds into the Blue Nile, a major hydroelectric power plant stands, serving as an emblem of the ecosystem services the river provides to over two million inhabitants. Yet ever since its first appearance in 2012, this crucial waterway has been under attack by one of the world’s most invasive species: the water hyacinth.   In America and Europe, where agrochemical giants such as Bayer and Syngenta are headquartered, such problems might quickly be remedied using herbicides. However, the prevailing ethos coming from the African continent is quite different. Dion Mostert, whose South African boat business has suffered due to the water hyacinths infestation, encapsulates this sentiment, saying he has considered herbicides but sees them as a temporary fix to a much larger challenge.  Instead of relying on temporary—and often harmful—agrochemical solutions, Ethiopia and other African countries are embracing holistic and sustainable solutions.   For instance, Lake Victoria–a water body shared by Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda—suffered from a water hyacinth infestation in the 1990s. In response, scientists introduced two species of weevils known to be natural predators of the hyacinth: Neochetina bruchi and Neochetina eichhorniae. The initiative was extremely successful, […]

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25
Sep

Take Action: Organic Integrity on the Agenda of Upcoming USDA Meeting

(Beyond Pesticides, September 25, 2023) It happens twice a year. The transparent process of a stakeholder board of farmers, consumers, environmentalists, a scientist, retailer, and certifier get together as members of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and vote on allowable materials and standards in organic agriculture. This Congressionally mandated board has authorities not often given to people outside of government—authorities to determine what should be allowed in organic food production, under assessments of synthetic and natural substances. And the underlying law that makes this happen, the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), stipulates that the Secretary of Agriculture may not allow synthetic and prohibited natural materials unless they are recommended by the NOSB. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public, which must be submitted by September 28, 2023. The values and principles embedded in OFPA far exceed the standards of health and environmental protection of any other health and environmental laws, which establish risk mitigation measures to determine allowable harm, under a set of guiding standards that require the board to (i) protect health (from production of inputs to their disposal), (ii) ensure compatibility with organic systems (with determinations that inputs do not hurt […]

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22
Sep

Second Session of National Forum on Environmental Justice; Recording of Forum Talks by Dave Goulson and André Leu Released

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2022) Beyond Pesticides today announced the second session of the National Forum, Forging a Future with Nature: The existential challenge to end petrochemical pesticide and fertilizer use, scheduled for October 24, 2:00pm EDT. The hard-hitting talks of Dave Goulson, PhD, and AndrĂ© Leu, DSc. are now available as recordings on the Beyond Pesticides website.  Beyond Pesticides introduces the Forum: A future supported by the natural environment depends on our effective involvement in decisions in our homes, communities, states, and at the federal level to ensure that we are taking the steps necessary to protect against existential threats to health, biodiversity, and climate. The Forum is an important opportunity to hear from those working as scientists, advocates, land managers (from gardens, parks, play fields to farms), and public decisionmakers about steps being taken and action needed to prevent catastrophic collapse of the natural systems that sustain life. A key part of this conversation, according to Beyond Pesticides, is addressing inequities associated with elevated rates of poisoning, contamination, and diseases in people of color communities. In introducing the importance of environmental justice and addressing the disproportionate risk from toxic pollution to people of color communities as a key […]

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19
Sep

Bayer’s Use of EU-Forbidden Pesticides Ignites Protest in South Africa 

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2023) Farmworkers in Paarl, South Africa took to the streets on Friday, September 8, demanding an end to the indiscriminate importation and use of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides containing substances prohibited by the European Union (EU). This protest is part of a broader global trend of outcry against systemic issues of environmental racism that disproportionately burden communities with environmental and health risks.   Organized by the Women on Farms Project, the protesters marched to the headquarters of Bayer. The German pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and pesticide company, responsible for producing and exporting agrochemicals known to be toxic to ecosystem and human health, has previously faced multiple lawsuits, including a multimillion-dollar one linking their glyphosate weed killer products (RoundupÂź) to non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. At the Bayer office, the protesters presented a memorandum demanding an end to the importation and use of EU-prohibited substances.    Protesters sought to expose the hypocritical tactics European agrochemical companies use to sell products in developing nations, even when those products are deemed unsafe in their home countries. Numerous farmworkers, like victim-turned-activist Antie Dina, spoke out about their health issues from petrochemical exposure. In her talk, Dina emphasizes that, “… enough is enough, we do not want any […]

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18
Sep

Standards Now Open to Public Comments To Protect the Integrity of the USDA Organic Label—Due by Sept 28!

(Beyond Pesticides, September 18, 2023) Advocates for organic have consistently maintained that public engagement with the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is critical to protecting the values and principles embedded in the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). While the NOSB is a stakeholder board that reflects the sectors of the organic community—from consumers, farmers, processors, certifiers, retailers, and scientists—public interaction with the board offers critical input to the NOSB’s decision-making process. Ultimately, Board authority over the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances and its advisor relationship to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture have a direct effect on the underlying decisions that determine the credibility of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic label that is now widely found on products in virtually all grocery stores. A major issue that continues to plague label integrity is the Board’s review of so-called “inert” ingredients in materials allowed in organic. These are potentially toxic ingredients that should be reviewed by the Board, substances not disclosed on labels of products that may be used in organic production or processing. The NOSB has access to the complete list of “inerts” used in organic materials, and advocates are urging the Board to begin immediately its […]

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15
Sep

A Very Slow EPA Settlement Process Keeps a Harmful Herbicide on the Market

(Beyond Pesticides, September 15, 2023) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suspended the registration of the herbicide dimethyl tetrachloroterephthalate (DCPA) (also widely known as Dacthal), effective August 22, 2023 and leaves existing stocks (products containing DCPA manufactured before August 22) available on the market. The decision is one of a series of EPA attempts dating to 2013 to get more data from the manufacturer as the agency considers reregistration of DCPA. The suspension is toothless, however, since EPA did not totally close the book on this chemical. Six days before the suspension, EPA signed a settlement agreement with the sole manufacturer, AMVAC Corporation, to reinstate the registration upon receipt of the complete toxicological data—that is, animal and laboratory tests— needed to determine the chemical’s safety and how and where it can be used. DCPA is currently classified by EPA as a possible human carcinogen and has also been shown to be a thyroid hormone disrupter. DCPA is regulated under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Pesticides are supposed to undergo reregistration every 15 years to take new science into consideration, but this process is glacial. Congress amended FIFRA in 1988 to speed up reregistration of products registered before 1984, and […]

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14
Sep

(Reflection) This Organic Month, Transition Your Park to Organic Land Management

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2023) As we celebrate National Organic Month this September, it is the perfect time to reflect on why you should consider going organic. Do you try to buy organic food when you can? Are you looking for a way to reduce your and your family’s exposure to toxic pesticides? The benefits of choosing an organic lifestyle extend far beyond your diet or your own health. Beyond Pesticides is helping communities transition parks and public lands to organic land management. Here are some reasons why Beyond Pesticides believes in building organic communities: Why Go Organic? Health and Safety: Organic foods and parks are free from harmful pesticides, fossil-fuel-based substances, and toxic chemicals, making them safer and healthier for all ages. Visit Beyond Pesticide’s 40 Common Lawn and Landscape Chemicals page to learn more about the health impacts of pesticides in communities. Environmental Stewardship: Opting for organic parks and products supports practices that protect pollinators, improve soil health, increase biodiversity, and reduce toxic runoff into water bodies. Learn more about how to protect pollinators in your community by reading BEE Protective. Trust and Transparency: The USDA Certified Organic label ensures strict standards and regulations for organic products, providing […]

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12
Sep

Forging a Future with Nature—Join Us for an EPIC Meeting of the Minds this Thursday at 1 PM Eastern (EDT) on Zoom!

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2023) A future supported by the natural environment depends on our effective involvement in decisions in our homes, communities, states, and at the federal level to ensure that we are taking the steps necessary to protect against existential threats to health, biodiversity, and climate. The 40th National Forum Series is an important opportunity to hear from those working as scientists, advocates, land managers (from gardens, parks, and play fields to farms), and public decision makers about steps being taken and action needed to prevent catastrophic collapse of the natural systems that sustain life. The goal of the Forum—to enable a collective strategy to address the existential health, biodiversity, and climate threats and chart a path for a livable and sustainable future. We come together to empower effective action.   We are honored to begin this year with two international experts in their fields as they discuss steps that can and must be taken in our communities around the globe: Internationally renowned researcher and author David Goulson, PhD, is able to draw together essential scientific research on the elements of nature that we must cherish, support, and enhance if we are to have a future. The data, […]

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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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08
Sep

[Reflection] Climate March on September 17 and Action: Interconnection between Climate Change and Petrochemical Pesticides and Fertilizers

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2023) In a united effort, climate and environmental justice movements from around the world have come together to announce a global “end to fossil fuels,” including the end of pesticides. The “March to End Fossil Fuels” is scheduled for September 17 and the Secretary General’s Summit in New York City on September 20. See the full map for other marches around the world. At the Beyond Pesticides, 2022 National Forum session on climate (November, 2022), we discussed the science and the urgent need for a strategic response to the climate crisis as part of a constellation of crises that intersect. Whether we are talking about a health crisis borne out of chemical-induced diseases, the collapse of life-sustaining biodiversity, or the dramatic catastrophes caused by greenhouse gases and rising temperatures—the interconnectedness of the crises requires strategic solutions that are holistic and nurturing of our relationship with nature —a relationship we have minimized as a matter of policy and practice. The data on climate calls on us to be audacious in our demand for urgent change in our households and communities, and from decision makers at all levels of government. At Beyond Pesticides, our audacious goal is to […]

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06
Sep

EPA’s Failure to Assess Multiple Chemical Exposure Threat Creates Environmental Injustice, Says Inspector General

(Beyond Pesticides, September 6, 2023) In late August, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report concluding that EPA “took a siloed approach” to the cumulative impacts of chemical exposures and the disproportionate nature of those exposures. This approach keeps different parts of the EPA from coordinating their efforts and hinders understanding of the breadth and depth of chemical exposures. OIG reached this disturbing finding despite the issuance of several executive orders by President Biden requiring EPA to develop policies and actions to assess cumulative impacts of chemical exposures across departments, laws, and environmental media (air, water, bodies, food etc.) and to pay more attention to environmental justice. Beyond Pesticides has stressed that the whole constellation of chemical exposures and effects should be considered when governments set public policies and regulations. Just last March, Daily News covered another OIG report castigating EPA for betraying its mission by failing to address the fact that very high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds known as “forever chemicals” have been found in some common pesticides. OIG also berated EPA for succumbing to Donald Trump’s interference with setting toxicity values for the “forever chemical” perfluorobutane […]

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05
Sep

“Legalized Poisoning of 5,500 People” Message Highlights Controversy Over Aerial Pesticide Spray in Oregon

(Beyond Pesticides, September 5, 2023) Lincoln County, Oregon  community members are fighting a plan announced by a private landowner to aerially spray 473 acres of clear-cut forest over the Beaver Creek watershed with a pesticide mixture containing carcinogenic glyphosate (commonly found in Roundup).  The aerial spraying is slated to take place approximately one mile from a water intake at Seal Rock Water District, which supplies water to 5,500 residents. Beyond the risks to human health, residents are concerned about the impacts on wildlife in the creek valley. Local advocates describe the area to include native wetland plants, birds, and fish, including the federally protected Coho Salmon and Marbled Murrelet, beaver, river otter, and roaming elk herds. Beavercreek is also a protected state natural area, where families paddle and walk along the state park marshlands.  Neighbors of Beaver Creek and the surrounding community are organizing phone banking, public art displays, and a petition urging Governor Tina Kotek to put a moratorium on the spray operation. One of the efforts displays the message “legalized poisoning of 5,500 people” through lights projected onto a basalt rock formation at Seal Rock State Park. The community has gathered over 2,000 petition signatures and over 100 […]

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30
Aug

Management of New Insect Pests Presents Safety Challenge for People and Environment: Yellow-Legged Hornets

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2023) Invasive yellow-legged hornets have been spotted near Savannah, Georgia, causing concern among agriculture officials. These hornets are known for their ability to prey on honeybees and other pollinators, and their presence in the United States is a cause for alarm. This is the first time a live specimen of this species has been detected in the open United States, according to the Georgia Department of Agriculture. The hornets, which are native to Southeast Asia, have been spotted in other parts of the world, including Europe, where they have caused significant damage to bee populations. They are considered “invasive,” which means the hornet is not native and officials expect their introduction to result in economic, environmental, or health-related damage to humans, animals, plants, or the environment. In response to the sighting in Georgia, officials are taking action to eradicate the hornets before they can cause any harm to US agriculture. One of the methods being used to eradicate the hornets is the localized use of the highly toxic insecticide cypermethrin on nests. The pesticide has been registered for use in agriculture and residential pest control since the 1970s. It kills insects such as mosquitoes, flies, ticks, […]

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29
Aug

Pollinator Health: Common Fungicide Linked to Changes in Honey Bees’ Brain through Oxidative Stress

(Beyond Pesticides, August 29, 2023) A study published in Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology finds the widely used azole fungicide, tebuconazole, has damaging impacts on the redox homeostasis (the process of maintaining balance between oxidizing and reducing reactions) and fatty acid composition in honey bees’ brain via oxidative stress. Acute, field-realistic sublethal exposure to tebuconazole decreased the brain’s antioxidant capacity, key antioxidant defense systems, and oxidative degradation and alteration of lipids (fats) in the brain. Thus, this study adds to the scientific literature on the adverse effects of chemical exposure on pollinator health, especially in sublethal concentrations. Degenerating cognitive skills can threaten honey bee survivability, decreasing colony fitness and individual foraging success. Much research attributes the decline of insect pollinators (e.g., commercial and wild bees and monarch butterflies) over the last several decades to the interaction of multiple environmental stressors, from climate change to pesticide use, disease, habitat destruction, and other factors. Pollinator declines directly affect the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many plant species, both agricultural and nonagricultural, will decline or cease to exist, as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly among native wild bees, depress crop yields. In turn, the economy will take a hit, since much of the economy (65%) depends upon the […]

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28
Aug

Labeling Can Help Buyers Avoid Hazards of Petrochemical Fertilizers—Public Comment by Sep 11

(Beyond Pesticides, August 28, 2023) As the need to eliminate petrochemical fertilizers looms large in the context of existing existential crises relating to health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency, the leadership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under increasing public scrutiny. One program that is being closely watched is the agency’s Safer Choice product labeling program which could, according to advocates, be strategic in differentiating in the marketplace those products that are not contributing to the climate crisis, biodiversity collapse, and dramatic health effects. Beyond Pesticides is advocating, in response to a request for public comment from EPA (due September 11, 2023), that EPA (under its Safer Choice program) evaluate fertilizers for compatibility with natural systems, protection of soil organisms, waterways, human health, and helping to mitigate the climate and biodiversity crises. With the Safer Choice label, consumers—from farmers, landscapers, to gardeners—could determine at the point of sale which fertilizer products are not contributing to the floods, fires, and loss of life associated with the climate crisis. Beyond Pesticides previously initiated an action urging that EPA’s Safer Choice program be more holistic and in sync with natural systems, not just a product substitution program. This week, Beyond […]

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24
Aug

Have a pesticide problem? GLO FISH – Scientific Breakthrough Sheds Glowing Light on Pesticide Research

(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2023) Researchers are investigating a cutting-edge method to identify the impact of pesticides on reproductive health—shrinking the wait time from months to weeks. Scientists at the University of California, Davis, are developing a method for identifying harmful chemicals in pesticides with the help of glowing fish. This scientific breakthrough could revolutionize pesticide research and help prevent long-term health problems caused by exposure to these chemicals.  Pesticide exposure can cause acute and long-term health problems for the human endocrine system, the hormone system that regulates many biological processes from reproduction to blood sugar, growth, and more. Beyond Pesticides has written about the connections between EPA-registered pesticides and involuntary abortions, reproductive cancers, pregnancy loss, early-onset puberty, and more.   The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has expressed concern over the limited or missing data regarding the health effects of pesticides and food additives on infants and children, who are more vulnerable to chemical exposures. AAP has identified several compounds as being of particular concern, including bisphenols, which are commonly used in the lining of metal cans; phthalates, which are used in adhesives and plasticizers; nonpersistent pesticides, which have been addressed in a previous AAP policy statement; perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFCs), […]

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23
Aug

Serious Water Contamination from Pesticides Used on Pets, Ignored by Regulators, Again Confirmed

(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2023) The use of pesticides on pets for fleas and ticks (parasiticides) has been traced to environmental contamination in a study that confirms earlier work both by the authors and internationally, according to researchers Rosemary Perkins, a veterinary surgeon, and David Goulson, PhD at the University of Sussex. The results are published in their recent study, “To flea or not to flea: survey of UK companion animal ectoparasiticide usage and activities affecting pathways to the environment,” which concludes that, “[T]he potential cumulative impact of parasiticide emissions [into the environment] from many millions of pets treated multiple times each year is of serious concern.” The UK provides an opportunity to pinpoint water contamination from pet use for ectoparasites (e.g., fleas and ticks) of hazardous pesticides since, unlike in the U.S., the country has banned outdoor use of those chemicals commonly detected—the insecticides fipronil and imidacloprid (the same neonicotinoid bug killer tied to devastating losses of bees and other organisms). These findings confirm the historical peer reviewed scientific literature and defy the assumption of regulators that home or veterinary use of pesticides do not reach levels of concern for environmental contamination, either through exposure from down-the-drain (DTD) contamination […]

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22
Aug

Illness Tied to Petrochemicals’ Impact on Body’s Essential Mast Cells (immune system regulators), Study Finds

A recently completed study (available in preprint before peer review) identifies the development of what the authors term Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT), the constellation of symptoms associated with chemical exposures.

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21
Aug

Advocates Urge EPA Integration of Safer Chemicals and Organic Practices in Pesticide Assessments

(Beyond Pesticides, August 21, 2023) As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safer Choice program asks for public input into the expansion of its work to label green chemicals, the need to recognize the importance of holistic management systems in sync with nature looms large. Will simple chemical substitution ignore the value of natural processes that require nurturing for sustainable future? EPA’s Safer Choice is a non-regulatory program that identifies alternative chemicals for a number of uses that meet expanded safety criteria. Tell EPA and Congress that substituting chemicals alone is not the Safer Choice. Use Safer Choice to eliminate harmful practices and emissions by compelling a transition to practices that build a climate- and sustainability-focused economy. For problems requiring a chemical solution—for example, laundry detergents—EPA’s Safer Choice is a valuable resource, and consumers can look for products with the Safer Choice label, which requires that EPA review all chemical ingredients that must meet safety criteria for both human health and the environment, including carcinogenicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, toxicity to aquatic life, and persistence in the environment. While EPA’s Safer Choice/Design for the Environment (DfE) program performs alternatives analyses on chemicals and identifies chemicals that are less hazardous, it […]

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18
Aug

Groups Sue U.S. Interior Department to Protect the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge from Industrial Aquaculture

(Beyond Pesticides, August 18, 2023) Yesterday, three environmental organizations filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Interior for failing to protect the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge from industrial aquaculture. The groups, including Protect the Peninsula’s Future, Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat, and Beyond Pesticides, filed their complaint in the U.S. Western District Court of Washington State. The complaint states that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), U.S. Department of Interior, must “take action that is required by the Refuge Improvement Act and conduct a compatibility determination and require a special use permit for a proposed industrial aquaculture use” that will abut and impact the Refuge. The plaintiffs are represented by the Seattle, WA law firm of Bricklin and Newman LLP. The shellfish operation leases 50 acres of Washington State bottomlands; 34 acres to be covered with up to 80,000 plastic bags of non-native shellfish and staked into the bottomlands, potentially killing all benthic life underneath and snaring wildlife in the netting. This operation would shift the natural year-round-sediment movement, directing the sediment into the eelgrass beds – beds protected for rearing salmon for whales and nourishing particular migratory ducks. Additionally, the plastic bags will cover primary feeding […]

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17
Aug

[REFLECTION] The Lies about Maui’s Largest Wildfires: There is Nothing “Natural” about the Disaster on Maui and the Flames Fueled by Biodiversity Collapse, Climate Change, and Colonization

(Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2023) Governor Josh Green of Hawai’i declares the recent Maui wildfires as the largest natural disaster in the state’s history, yet advocates say the tragedy is anything but “natural.” As of Wednesday, the death toll has risen to over 100 lives lost and more than 2,200 structures in Lāhainā — the original capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom have burned to ash. With so much loss, many people are asking who is responsible and how another disaster can be prevented. The answer to who is to blame is not simple. The initial reports of the fire repeated a trope that Lāhainā is a dry area on Maui and is prone to wildfire, yet in recent days, the news stories have shifted to reveal the area’s ecological history as a wetland. Lāhainā was historically known for its aquatic landscape, with common images of boats around Waiola Church, and the Hawaiian fish pond systems. People in Hawai’i lament Lahaina’s devastation, mourning the loss of its Native Hawaiian history and culture, while also bracing for the lasting impact this tragedy might have on their communities. Kaniela Ing, the national director of the Green New Deal Network, shared his perspective in […]

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