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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category


17
Jul

France, UK Elections Indicate Turning Point for Pesticide Regulation on the Global Stage

(Beyond Pesticides, July 17, 2024) National election results in the United Kingdom (UK) and France in recent weeks have shocked the world amidst concerns of a rising tide of right-wing authoritarianism on the eve of European Parliament election results—trending toward what was initially perceived as a conservative majority earlier in June. With new leadership in some of the biggest economies and policy leaders across the Atlantic, environmental and health advocates are hopeful that this will signal a new momentum to advance the mission of transitioning to a fully organic land management and food system that replaces the status quo reliant on toxic petrochemical-based pesticides and fertilizers that exacerbate the climate crisis, biodiversity collapse, and public health fragility. Citizens of the United Kingdom overwhelmingly voted for the center-left Labour Party, which won an unprecedented margin of 291 seats, winning 412 seats out of the 650 total seats up for grabs. The Conservative Party won just 121 seats, a clear rejection of their nearly fifteen-year leadership position in UK politics. UK-based advocates welcome the news given the Labour Party platform to “ban neonicotinoid pesticides imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam due to their impact on bees,” according to reporting by Politico. Neonicotinoids have long […]

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16
Jul

Adding to Similar Findings, Organophosphate Insecticide Linked to Depression and Suicide, Farm to Home

(Beyond Pesticides, July 16, 2024) Yet another study in the August 2024 journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety has found that exposure to organophosphorus pesticides (OPPs) is correlated with increased suicidal thoughts in some people. This study is just the latest in a long line of studies from around the world that have linked pesticide exposure to mental health conditions, including sleep disorders, depression, and suicidal ideation (SI). As the rate of suicide increased by 30% between 2000 and 2020, there is an urgent public health need to investigate and address all potential contributing factors. A 2019 study, covered in Daily News, found that teens and adolescents living in agricultural areas and exposed to organophosphate (OP) insecticides are at higher risk of depression, In July and January this year, other studies link farmer psychiatric episodes to pesticide exposure, adding to the body of science. Exposure to household pesticides is also linked to depression in a 2020 study.   Study and Methodology  The study entitled “Association between exposure to organophosphorus pesticide and suicidal ideation among U.S. adults: A population-based study,” analyzes information on the mental and physical health of over 5,000 individuals aged 20 and up in the United States. The study aims […]

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15
Jul

It Is Really Hot. Will Insurance Companies and Congress Meet the Moment?

(Beyond Pesticides, July 15, 2024) It is hot. Really hot. A serious response to this climate emergency requires, according to environmental advocates, a dramatic transformation in land management and an end to the use of petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers. Beyond the real-world adverse effects of the climate crisis— more intense and frequent fires, floods, hurricanes and hail storms, as well as the harm to health and biodiversity—the rising insurance premiums imposed by the insurance industry speaks to the need for an urgent systemic response. According to the paper, Pricing of Climate Risk Insurance: Regulation and Cross-Subsidies, “The unprecedented rise in natural disasters has led to catastrophic losses of more than $600 billion in the United States over the last two decades, roughly twice the losses of the previous 40 years combined.” While the events associated with climate are more accurately described as “human-made” rather than “natural” disasters, a 2023 Washington Post article reports that, “U.S. insurers have paid out $295.8 billion in natural disaster losses from 2020 to 2022, a record for a three-year period.” This has led to dramatic changes in the cost of insurance coverage and the decision of many carriers to deny coverage. The Washington Post writes, “At least […]

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12
Jul

Study Captures Agronomists’ Advice to Farmers and Continued Reliance on Toxic Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2024) No one can deny that the dominant agricultural system developed in the 20th century is unsustainable, and indeed is in escalating crisis from the combined effects of pesticide resistance, climate change and resource overexploitation. The frontline members of this system are farmers, who must juggle numerous considerations to maintain their livelihoods. Any proposal for improvement that threatens their bottom lines is likely to encounter resistance, and any proposal that promises to improve the bottom line is more likely to be implemented. Thus there is a powerful incentive to accept suggestions from “crop advisors”—usually known as agronomists—a category that includes government extension agents, independent consultants usually paid directly by farmers, and those who work for agribusiness, particularly chemical companies. A study published in the Journal of Rural Studies in April by Iowa State University sociologist Katherine Dentzman, PhD examines the relationships among agronomists, farmers and farming communities. Dr. Denzman conducted focus groups with agronomists in in Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, Northwest, and Southwest states to determine what pressures limit the types of advice they give farmers. When it comes to pesticides and resistance to them, the advice provided by typical agronomists has generally led to more pesticide use, despite […]

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11
Jul

Dozens of Pesticide Residues, Including Illegal Compounds, Found through BeeNet Project

(Beyond Pesticides, July 11, 2024) Can the health of pollinator hives serve as a nature-based indicator for pesticide residue drift? Researchers in a study published in Science of the Total Environment in June find this to be the case. Through the BeeNet Project, led by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food Sovereignty, and Forestry (MAFSF), researchers detected the presence of 63 different pesticide residues in hives across northern Italy. Of these residues, 15 are not approved for use under European Union (EU) law. Environmental advocates observe the mounting scientific literature on pollinator decline, in part due to the inadequate regulation of toxic petrochemical-based pesticides, as a call to action to push forward land management, agricultural, and climate policy that aligns with organic principles centering on soil health, biodiversity, public health, worker protections, and economic security. Methodology The study is cowritten by a cohort of ten researchers working in the Research Center for Agriculture and Environment in Bologna, Italy—a research institution within the Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural Economics Analysis (CREA) at MAFSF. Supported by the BeeNet Project (funded by Italian National Fund), BeeNet is a national monitoring project that tracks the health of honey bee and wild bee populations […]

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09
Jul

Pesticide Contaminated Cannabis in California Reveals Testing and Regulatory Failures

(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2024) Last month, California cannabis regulators recalled a pesticide-tainted vape, one of the contaminated products identified in a Los Angeles Times investigation. The report reveals that the California Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) has for months been aware of the presence of dangerous chemicals in legal cannabis sold to the public. Conducted by Los Angeles Times and WeedWeek, a cannabis industry newsletter, the investigation has uncovered alarming levels of the insecticide chlorfenapyr in legal cannabis products sold in state dispensaries. According to an article via the National Institutes of Health, “Although [chlorfenapyr] has been identified as a moderately toxic pesticide by the World Health Organization (WHO), the mortality rate of poisoned patients is extremely high. There is no specific antidote for chlorfenapyr poisoning.” The chemical is associated with adverse liver effects and is toxic to bees, birds, and aquatic organisms. Despite claims that the state’s cannabis is safe and regulated, many popular brands of vapes and pre-rolled joints were found to contain dangerous pesticides at levels exceeding state limits and federal standards for tobacco. This investigation comes on the heels of the discovery of large amounts of illegal Chinese pesticides at cannabis grow operations around the state. […]

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08
Jul

Take Action: Elimination of the Insecticide Is Both a Public Health and Ecosystem Issue

(Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2024) Please submit comments by Wednesday, July 31, 2024. Acephate, an insecticide and member of the highly toxic organophosphate (OP) family, is so toxic that EPA is proposing to ban all uses except the systemic injection into trees. A comment period is open, and EPA is accepting comments through Wednesday, July 31, after extending the earlier July deadline. With this remaining use, EPA is still not recognizing that systemic neonicotinoid pesticides can cause serious environmental harm to the ecosystem through indiscriminate poisoning of organisms. >> Submit a comment on acephate and tell EPA that no pesticide should be allowed to be used if the crop can be produced organically.  EPA proposes to cancel all uses of acephate other than tree injection to eliminate all risks of concern it has identified that exceed its level of concern for dietary/drinking water risk, residential and occupational risks, and risks to non-target organisms. As Beyond Pesticides points out, although the tree injection method does not pose excessive dietary or aggregate health risk and does not pose any untoward occupational or post-application human health risks of concern, there are significant ecological risks posed that the agency has neglected. Rather than assessing the ecological risks of tree […]

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05
Jul

Environmental and Trade Groups Successfully Call for End to Pesticide Company Alliance with UN-FAO

(Beyond Pesticides, July 5, 2024) After years of advocacy against corporate interference in global pesticide policy, the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) has ended its “strategic partnership” with petrochemical pesticide and fertilizer trade association CropLife International. This decision, which allows the expiration of a 2020 Letter of Intent (LoI), was announced in a June press release by a coalition of international public interest, environmental, and trade groups. The organizations objected to the partnership from the inception of the agreement and has issued objections, including in 2022 and covered by Daily News. The signatories to the release last month believe that this severing of ties with the chemical industry will contribute to building momentum from frontline communities for “sustainable, resilient and equitable production systems under the agroecological paradigm.” The groups say, however, “We remain concerned about the FAO’s continuing informal engagements with CropLife and call for greater transparency and accountability in this regard.” Beyond Pesticides has urged that models for change, whether advanced by FAO or other international or national institutions, must embrace clear definitions and standards that are certified and enforceable in order to reverse the existential threats to health, biodiversity, and climate from petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers. […]

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04
Jul

This Independence Day, Protect Democracy

(Beyond Pesticides, July 4, 2024) In reflecting on recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions that reduce federal government powers to restrict hazardous chemicals, including pesticides (see Clean Water Act decision and federal restrictions of toxic hazards under the reversal of Chevron decision), two remaining authorities in state and local governments and in the courts have become the next battleground to protect health and the environment. What is at stake are two major backstops to weak federal controls and chemical company disregard for safety: the critical importance of state and local governments’ exercise of authority to restrict toxic chemicals, and the ability of people to sue corporations for their failure to warn about their products’ hazards.  The attack on state and local authority in the Farm Bill The Farm Bill in the U.S. House of Representatives: Prohibits the rights of states and local governments to restrict pesticides and protect public health and the environment. The language says the Farm Bill will “prohibit any State, instrumentality or political subdivision thereof… 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 packaging that is in […]

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03
Jul

Vermont Leverages New York Limits on Neonic Insecticides with Deference to Chemical-Intensive Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, July 3, 2024) In June, the Vermont legislature officially passed H.706 into law – a bill that narrows and reduces the use of neonicotinoid insecticides and neonicotinoid-treated seeds. The legislature came together to override a veto of the bill issued by Governor Phil Scott (R). Gov. Scott said the bill’s language had “the potential to produce severe unintended environmental and economic consequences–—particularly for Vermont’s dairy farmers.” The advocacy in support of the legislation called for a holistic, systems change approach to legislative priorities that considers economic, ecological, public health, and climate resilience. The Vermont legislation builds on New York legislation, which in turn is inspired by Quebec’s “verification of need” prescription model (a.k.a. emergency exemptions) that has proven to dramatically reduce the use of certain neonicotinoids, yet enables the continued use of toxic pesticides and a legacy of pesticide dependency in land management and crop production. Vermont Bill Building on New York The Vermont Bill (See pages 29 to 44 for final text) mirrors the language of New York’s Birds and Bees Protection Act (S. 1856-A and A. 7640) and adopts New York’s language on timing regarding when critical sections go into effect. The Vermont language contains trigger language that […]

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01
Jul

Call for EPA to Reject Harmful Weed Killer; Politicized Supreme Court Takes the Reins from Agencies

(Beyond Pesticides, July 1, 2024) Comments on proposed new dicamba uses are due Friday, July 5 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting public comments until July 5 on whether it should allow the expanded use of the weed killer dicamba, which has been associated with adverse impacts related to its propensity to drift off of the target application site. The comment period addresses a BASF chemical company proposal for additional food use of a dicamba product on dicamba-tolerant cotton and dicamba-tolerant soybeans. (See Beyond Pesticides’ comments.) This application is similar to Bayer CropScience’s application for XtendiMax®, for which Beyond Pesticides submitted comments in June. The proposed label for BASF’s Engenia® allows for application preplant, at-planting, preemergence, and postemergence (in-crop) for broadleaf weeds. >> Tell EPA to ban use of dicamba and other drift-prone pesticides. The U.S. Supreme Court Reversal This proposal is under consideration on the heels of a U.S. Supreme Court decision on June 28 that reverses a 40-year old decision in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, which created a deference to federal agencies in the rulemaking process. In the dissent to this 6-3 decision of the court, the dissenters focus on the role of executive […]

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28
Jun

Seeds Coated with Neonicotinoid Insecticides Again Identified as an Important Factor in Butterfly Decline

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2024) Most people don’t like bugs, but the fact is that insects form the foundation of human flourishing, both for their ecosystems services, like pollination of food crops, and for their aesthetic joys. But insect populations globally are declining two to four percent a year, with total losses over 20 years of 30-50 percent, according to a new study of the interacting effects of pesticides, climate, and land use changes on insects’ status in the Midwest. Teasing out the relative influence of these stressors has been a major obstacle in determining the causes of the declines and ways to mitigate them. The icon of insect beauty in the U.S. is the monarch butterfly, whose vibrant coloring, elegant form, and spectacular migrations inspire everyone. Beyond Pesticides has covered the distressing decline of these creatures, most recently in the June 24 Daily News. Monarchs prefer milkweed plants, but also visit many other flowers. Milkweed often grows along the margins of fields, so monarchs are widely exposed to pesticides and habitat disturbances associated with agriculture. The new study was published in PLoS One by a team of scientists from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Michigan State University, […]

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27
Jun

Biosolid Biohazard: EPA Sued for Failing to Protect Farmers and Public from PFAS-Contaminated Biosolids

(Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2024) Earlier this month, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on behalf of a group of ranchers and farmers in Texas harmed by biosolids contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The plaintiffs charge that their health and livelihoods were severely damaged due to contaminated biosolids leaching from neighboring properties onto their land. Despite EPA’s responsibility under the Clean Water Act (Section 405(d) and 40 CFR Part 503) to identify toxic pollutants in biosolids and regulate them to protect human health and the environment, the agency has not effectively addressed the dangers posed by PFAS in biosolid fertilizers. EPA’s failure has dramatic impacts on farmers as well as the public, who are eating or drinking PFAS-contaminated crops, dairy milk, beef, or other meat products. The shortcomings of federal regulations underscore the urgent need for a shift in how federal and state agencies approach these issues, prioritizing precaution to prevent future harm. The persistence of these legacy or “forever” chemicals in the environment illustrates the severe consequences of a historically lax regulatory framework in the U.S.  The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) has identified […]

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26
Jun

Pesticide Free Towns Taking Hold Worldwide with Growth in Europe

Image: Globetrotter19, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons (Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2024) The Hungarian city of Törökbálint (featured above) is one of several dozen towns to join the European Pesticide Free Towns Network, an initiative of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) Europe, based on a recent blog post welcoming the city into its Network. With elections coming up in European Union Parliament and EU member state nations across the continent, advocates believe in the importance of proactive actions local governments and towns launch to address the cascading crises of climate change, biodiversity deterioration, and public health fragility. In the U.S., Beyond Pesticides is working with communities nationwide, providing hands-on technical assistance in the adoption of organic land management practices. “In recent years, our municipality has begun to explore the possibility of tackling an increasing number of city management problems with environmentally friendly solutions,” says Sándor Elek, mayor of Törökbálint in a public statement announcing the city’s membership. “We are phasing out chemical treatments in public areas and working on the continuous information and awareness-raising of the public. We are also working to promote the public acceptance of environmentally friendly mosquito control.” In joining the European Pesticide Free Towns Network, each […]

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25
Jun

GOP Senate Farm Bill Framework, Similar to House Bill, Elevates Threat to Health, Biodiversity, and Climate

(Beyond Pesticides, June 25, 2024) It has been a couple of weeks since U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), ranking GOP member on the Senate Agriculture Committee, released the Republican framework vision without statutory language for a Senate Farm Bill that would renew the law’s commitment to chemical-intensive agriculture and undermines efforts to curtail pesticide use and hold chemical company polluters accountable. In his press statement, Sen. Boozman issues an approach that largely mirrors the House-side text, passed by the House Agriculture Committee earlier this month in a 33-21 vote. On the same day that Sen. Boozman announced the framework, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved the federal food and agriculture budget for Fiscal Year 2025 with a $355 million cut from last year’s budget, affecting specific programs that support pollinator health, ecosystem health, and public health related to pesticide use and organic agriculture. The full House Appropriations Committee will vote on this budget on July 10 before moving to the House floor. Advocates are adamant in their resolve to demand more – not less – support from Congress to address the climate emergency, insect apocalypse, and public health implications borne from reliance on toxic petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers. The Senate […]

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24
Jun

Pollinator Week Ends; Pollinator Decline and Biodiversity Collapse Continue with Inadequate Restrictions

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2024) National Pollinator Week ended last week, but the crisis associated with pollinator decline and biodiversity collapse continues. If there were not enough data to prove that regulators are woefully behind the curve in protecting pollinators, yet another study was published during Pollinator Week that reminded regulators, elected officials, farmers, gardeners, all eaters, and lovers of nature that federal, state, and local environmental laws in place have been an abject and unconscionable failure in protecting the biodiversity that supports all life. The study, “Insecticides, more than herbicides, land use, and climate, are associated with declines in butterfly species richness and abundance in the American Midwest,” published in PLOS ONE, cries out as a further warning that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “mitigation measures,” which tinker with limited pesticide restrictions, represent a catastrophic disregard for the scientifically documented facts, according to environmental advocates. Daily News will cover this study in more detail in a later piece, however, the abstract of the journal piece is worth reprinting here in reflecting on Pollinator Week: “Mounting evidence shows overall insect abundances are in decline globally. Habitat loss, climate change, and pesticides have all been implicated, but their relative effects […]

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20
Jun

EPA “Mitigation Menu” Called Complex, Raising Doubts about Required Endangered Species Protection

(Beyond Pesticides, June 18, 2024) As part of its update to the proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Endangered Species Act (ESA) Workplan, the agency held a public webinar on June 18, 2024, which provided an overview of the agency’s “Mitigation Menu Website” for “reducing pesticide exposure to nontarget species from agricultural crop uses.” [Check back to see webinar when posted by EPA.] After court decisions forced EPA to develop a strategy to meet its statutory responsibility to protect endangered species from pesticide use, the agency recognized that it is, in its own words, “unable to keep pace” with its legal obligations. Despite this acknowledgement, the agency said it would “provide flexibility to growers to choose mitigations that work best for their situation.” In this spirit, a range of people, including grower groups, gathered earlier in the year for a series of workshops in the Pacific Northwest to discuss possible mitigation measures. According to a report written by commercial beekeeper Steve Ellis (more background), concrete decisions were not reached at the workshops as participants recognized the complexities in crafting pesticide product label restrictions to protect endangered species. Mr. Ellis concluded: “If it’s so complex that it’s impossible, then no one […]

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19
Jun

Juneteenth 2024–Taking Action to Fight Disproportionate Adverse Effects to People of Color

Calls for Holistic Environmental Justice and a Shift Away from Societal Dependence on Petrochemical Pesticides and Fertilizers (Beyond Pesticides, June 18-19, 2024) Juneteenth (June 19) commemorates the date in 1865 when the enslavement of Black Americans ended in the westernmost Confederate state of Texas, over two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 and the defeat of the Confederacy on April 9, 1865. On June 19, 1865, Union Major General Gordon Granger brought federal troops to Galveston, Texas and finally, and belatedly, implemented the Emancipation Proclamation, which proclaimed on January 1, 1863 freedom from slavery across the nation. Carl Mack, PhD, a historian and former President of the Seattle-King County NAACP, reminds us that there were still 225,000 enslaved Black Americans in Kentucky and Delaware after June 19, 1865 and the end of the Civil War until December 6, 1865 when Georgia became the 27th state to ratify the 13th amendment. “That is the day in which Georgia ratified the 13th amendment,” Dr. Mack goes on to discuss the remaining three former border states on their progress in adopting the 13th amendment. “As it applies to Delaware and Kentucky, Delaware did not ratify the 13th amendment until […]

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17
Jun

National Pollinator Week Starts Today with Opportunities for Action Every Day of the Week (June 17-23)

(Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2024) Every year, Beyond Pesticides announces National Pollinator Week—this year beginning today, June 17—to remind eaters of food, gardeners, farmers, communities (including park districts to school districts), civic organizations, responsible corporations, policy makers, and legislators that there are actions that can be taken that are transformative. All the opportunities for action to protect pollinators, and the ecosystems that are critical to their survival, can collectively be transformational in eliminating toxic pesticides that are major contributors to the collapse of biodiversity. This is why Beyond Pesticides starts most discussions and strategic actions for meaningful pollinator and biodiversity protection with the transition to practicing and supporting organic. In launching National Pollinator Week, Beyond Pesticides makes suggestions for individual actions to increase efforts to think and act holistically to protect the environment that supports pollinators. The impact that people have starts with grocery store purchases and the management of gardens, parks, playing fields, and pubic lands. The introduction of pesticides into our food supply and our managed lands has contributed to a downward spiral that is unsustainable. The good news is that it is now proven that we do not need toxic pesticides to grow food productively and profitably […]

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14
Jun

Report Finds Industry Influences Academic Society of Entomologists, Squelches Bee-Toxic Pesticide Science

(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2024) The influence of the chemical industry over public policy and regulation, especially in agriculture, is glaringly obvious and has little popular support, yet no one can seem to do anything about it. Numerous analyses have detailed the ways this influence is applied—through lobbying and political donations including dark money; industry experts named to regulatory agency scientific advisory boards; and the massive public relations machines that create and sustain public uncertainty using the tobacco industry playbook revealed by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway in their 2010 book Merchants of Doubt. A more insidious tendril of industry influence is explained in U.S. Right to Know’s (USRTK) report, released this month, on pesticide manufacturers’ infiltration of the Entomological Society of America (ESA). The report, “Anatomy of a science meeting: How controversial pesticide research all but vanished from a major conference,” examines the ESA’s 2023 annual meeting—its program, sponsorships, presentations, panelists, poster sessions, meet-and-greets, budget, revenue sources, and other aspects of the event. What is revealed is a systematic and comprehensive industry presence throughout the society and its meeting. A direct consequence is the near-elimination of any scientific presentations addressing the effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on insects, particularly bees. […]

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11
Jun

Literature Review Compiles Decades of Research Finding Linkage to Pesticide Exposure and Breast Cancer

(Beyond Pesticides, June 11, 2024) Published in Science of The Total Environment in May, a comprehensive literature review of population-based studies finds strong linkages between direct and acute pesticide exposure and elevated risk of breast cancer (BC). A majority of the studies analyzed in this review were based on population groups in the United States, but also extends to Australia and three European countries (Greece, France, and Italy). Included in these studies are women who worked in chemical-intensive agricultural settings, directly sprayed pesticides in their at-home gardens, and/or handled pesticide-contaminated clothing. The findings in this literature review underscore organic advocates’ concerns of relying on pesticide substitution models that inevitably impact the health of land stewards, farmers, farmworkers, and the broader public rather than transforming food systems to an organic model that bans the use of toxic petrochemical-based pesticides. The goal of this review was to synthesize existing literature on pesticide exposure and breast cancer to determine the specific pathways and underlying mechanisms that contribute to female participants’ heightened risk. This literature review was published online by researchers at the University of Arizona’s R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy and Coit Center for Longevity and Neurotherapeutics and the Laboratory of Tumor […]

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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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07
Jun

“Sí, se puede”—Letter and Reflection From the Women of Beyond Pesticides

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2024) This week, climate scientist and former mayor of Mexico City Claudia Sheinbaum shattered a proverbial glass ceiling, emerging as the first woman president of Mexico.   The election of a woman with a background in environmental protection— who signed an accord promising Mexican farmers to uphold the ban on transgenic corn and replace glyphosate with safer alternatives this past April—did not happen in a vacuum. According to an article by CBS News, President-elect Sheinbaum shared the following wisdom in the middle of a downtown hotel as her polling lead became definitive:  “I do not make it alone. We’ve all made it, with our heroines who gave us our homeland, with our mothers, our daughters, and our granddaughters.” As the new president-elect steps into the leadership of a country grappling with the ravages of the climate crisis, we reflect on the leadership of women in advancing Beyond Pesticides’ mission to end the use of petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers.  Leading the Fight for Farmworker Justice—Dolores Huerta    Earlier this year, Acting Governor Eleni Kounalakis of California honored the lifelong efforts of 94-year-old social justice activist Dolores Huerta, joining Washington State in recognizing Huerta’s decades of leadership in the […]

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