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Regulatory Capture: USDA’s Organic Governance Board Dominated by Affiliates of Industry’s Corporate Lobby

(Beyond Pesticides, January 24, 2019) Continuing a trend well established by prior Republican and Democratic administrations, the five new members recently appointed by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) all have a current or past relationship with the industry’s major lobby group, the Organic Trade Association (OTA). Over the past decade, Big Food has consolidated ownership of most of the largest and best-known organic brands. At the same time, many have criticized USDA for “stacking” the board, which is charged with guiding the regulatory oversight of organic farming and food production, with members from, or friendly to, corporate agribusiness interests. OrganicEye, the investigative arm of Beyond Pesticides, has issued an industry briefing paper profiling the five newly appointed members of the NOSB with a focus on their relationship to corporate agribusiness and the industry’s powerful lobby group, the Organic Trade Association (OTA). The NOSB was established when Congress passed the Organic Foods Production Act as part of the 1990 farm bill. The board was created to ensure that the voice of organic farmers and consumers drove the direction of USDA’s organic program when there was grave concern about handing over the budding organic farming movement […]



University of California Makes Changes to Reduce Use of Toxic Pesticides, Fails to Embrace Organic

Photo: Beyond Pesticides’ board member Chip Osborne and student advocate Bridget Gustafson meet on a University of California organic land management pilot site, supported by Beyond Pesticides. (Beyond Pesticides, January 23, 2020) University of California (UC) President Janet Napolitano recently has approved recommendations made by the UC Herbicide Task Force, a proposal that falls short of systems change that student activists are advocating. New changes will, however, restrict the use of some toxic pesticides and increase transparency across the university’s ten campuses. While the decision represents an important step forward, advocates remain critical of integrated pest management (IPM) policy and support an overall transition to organic land management. The UC Board of Regents will meet today to discuss the decision. President Napolitano will continue the suspension of glyphosate, established last year, until a UC-wide integrated pest management (IPM) policy is implemented and all ten UC campus locations complete individual IPM plans. A system-wide “oversight committee” will guide and authorize school IPM committees. The overarching IPM policy will restrict application of highly toxic pesticides, only permitting use after a local IPM committee has reviewed and approved its specific use application following an IPM-based assessment. Other synthetic pesticides will be subject to […]



Nitrate Contaminates Water for Half a Million People in Minnesota

(Beyond Pesticides, January 22, 2020) About half a million Minnesotans have been subject to drinking water contaminated by nitrate, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Synthetic fertilizer and manure runoff from cropland are the leading causes of the toxic water pollutant. Nitrate consumption is linked to cancer and blue baby syndrome, a fatal infant blood disease. As the state begins to address the issue through the newly instated Groundwater Protection Rule, advocates say the reaction may be “too little, too late.” EWG analyzed federal and state nitrate test results from all public water systems where groundwater is the main source in Minnesota from 2009 to 2018. The Minnesota Department of Health fulfilled EWG’s public records requests and the group searched the data for contamination code number 1040: nitrate.   Researchers at EWG found that 727 public groundwater systems serving 473 thousand people tested positive for at least 3mg/L of contamination at least once in the 9 years of analyzed data. 124 systems tested positive for ≄ 10mg/L, of contamination, serving over 150,000 individuals.   Coarse textured soils, karst geology and shallow bedrock are more vulnerable to groundwater contamination than other types of sediment. The EWG […]



Send a Message to EPA: Do Your Job to Protect Health and the Environment

(Beyond Pesticides, January 21, 2020) As news reports come in demonstrating the threats to major groups of organisms, such as insects and birds, and the stability of Earth’s ecosystems, and scientists appeal for major policy changes, recent actions by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board highlight the need for public insistence that EPA do its job. Tell EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to follow the advice of scientists and do his job. Tell your Congressional representatives to support scientific integrity at EPA and other agencies. Although the influence of regulated corporations has historically silenced science that threatens profits–as shown by industry reaction to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring—attacks on science in federal agencies have increased in the Trump administration. EPA has dismissed findings of scientists concerning chlorpyrifos, atrazine, and synthetic pyrethroids. Now EPA’s war on its own scientists has reached the point that its Science Advisory Board, which oversees the scientific integrity of the agency’s regulation, posted letters on-line criticizing EPA’s rollback of environmental protections. As reported in a front page story on January 1, 2020 by The New York Times, “A top panel of government-appointed scientists, many of them hand-selected by the Trump administration, said on Tuesday that three of President Trump’s most far-reaching and scrutinized proposals to weaken major […]



European Union Bans Neonicotinoid Insecticide, Citing Health and Environmental Concerns

(Beyond Pesticides, January 17, 2020) In Brussels, the European Commission (EC) has just decided not to renew approval of the neonicotinoid pesticide thiacloprid, citing both environmental and health concerns related to use of and exposure to the pesticide. The decision was approved by a majority of European Union (EU) governments last fall, after the EC had made the proposal to them. The EC based that proposal on findings of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published in January 2019, which highlighted concerns about toxicity to humans and high concentrations in groundwater. European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides commented, “There are environmental concerns related to the use of this pesticide, particularly its impact on groundwater, but also related to human health, in reproductive toxicity.” The current EU use approval for thiacloprid products expires on April 30, 2020. The EC decision — functionally, a ban — means that farmers will need to turn to other means to deal with the primary thiacloprid targets in agriculture, aphids and whiteflies. Beyond Pesticides and many organic agricultural resources advocate for widespread adoption of organic, regenerative systems and practices. Such systems may include management features such as mechanical and biological controls, trap crops, natural […]



Environmental Chemicals Are Stealing IQ Points from American Children and Costing Trillions to the U.S. Economy

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2020) Exposure to environmental chemicals in the U.S. since the turn of the century has resulted in millions of lost IQ points, hundreds of thousands of cases of intellectual disability, and trillions of dollars of lost economic activity. This is according to a study led by a team of scientists at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology. “Although people argue against costly regulations, unrestricted use of these chemicals is far more expensive in the long run, with American children bearing the largest burden,” says senior study author Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP in a press release. Exposure to environmental chemicals can result in neurotoxic effects. Prenatal exposure represents a critical window when these effects can be particularly pronounced and result in lasting damage to a child. Researchers focused their study on contact with mercury, lead, organophosphate pesticides, and flame retardants in the womb. Biomonitoring data from a long-running Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study on environmental chemicals was used to determine exposure levels. Because each chemical results in differing levels of intellectual damage, each was assigned an IQ impact based on past research. For example, scientists indicated […]



Exploratory Study Indicates Pesticide Exposure May Relate to Higher Risk for Endometriosis

(Beyond Pesticides, January 15, 2019) A study published in the journal Environment International, Association of urinary metabolites of organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides, and phenoxy herbicides with endometriosis, is the first of its kind. Researchers considered the endocrine-disrupting properties of pesticides (such as reduced sperm counts) and investigated whether there might be a relationship between pesticide exposure and endometriosis. Endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent gynecologic disease that affects about 176 million women globally. It can cause extreme pain and infertility as well as increased risk for cancer and cardiovascular diseases. This study finds a positive correlation between some pesticide metabolites and endometriosis, though authors encourage further study to corroborate the findings. Researchers examined exposure to 11 “universal pesticides” and their metabolites and its relationship to endometriosis in 492 reproductive-age women recruited from 14 surgical centers in Utah and California from 2007-2009. The women at these clinics were scheduled for laparoscopy or laparotomy—the “gold standard” for identifying endometriosis is through these surgeries. The study compares results from the clinical cohort to a group of women in the same age bracket from areas surrounding the participating clinics. 619 urine samples were analyzed from the operative and population cohorts. This study detected six of the […]



Take Action: Help Restore Protections for Migratory Birds

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2020) Birds are facing an existential crisis. Three billion birds have disappeared since 1970. Two out of three birds are threatened by climate change. In spite of this crisis, our nation’s most important bird protection law, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) is being weakened by the Trump Administration’s Department of the Interior. Ask your U.S. Representative to support and cosponsor the Migratory Bird Protection Act. Thank those who are already cosponsors. Songbirds Threatened. The poisonous farm fields that migratory birds forage reduce their weight, delay their travel, and ultimately jeopardize their survival, according to “A neonicotinoid insecticide reduces fueling and delays migration in songbirds,“ published in the journal Science. Like their effects on insect pollinator populations, neonicotinoid insecticides generally do not cause acute poisoning and immediate death, but instead precipitate a cascade of sublethal impacts reducing their fitness in the wild. As the authors told Environmental Health News, the study is a call not simply to ban neonics or one class of chemical, but to change the entire farming system toward more sustainable bird and bee-friendly practices. Bird Habitat Threatened in Arkansas. A citizen science monitoring project of Audubon Arkansas found evidence of contamination from the weed killer dicamba far […]



Study Links Pyrethroid Insecticides to Cardiovascular Disease and Other Health Hazards

(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2020) A new study by researchers out of the University of Iowa College of Public Health, published in JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) Internal Medicine, demonstrates that greater exposure to pyrethroid insecticides is associated with higher risks of death from all causes and from cardiovascular disease. These compounds can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin; they are highly neurotoxic, and have also been linked to certain cancers, endocrine disruption, and suppression of the immune system, as well as respiratory and reproductive impacts. The researchers gathered data, for 2,116 adults aged 20 or older, from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Each of those subjects had contributed a urine sample at some point between 1999 and 2002. Urine samples reflect levels of a pyrethroid metabolite (3-phenoxybenzoic acid) present, which in turn offer information about pyrethroid exposure. The researchers followed the participants until 2015; the research analysis was performed in the summer of 2019. Data were adjusted to accommodate multiple factors (age, sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, diet and lifestyle, smoking status, body mass index, and urinary creatinine levels). The co-authors report that subjects with the highest levels of metabolites had a 56% […]



At a Time of Precarious Military Actions, Trump Administration Delays Benefits to Agent Orange Veterans

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2020) United States military veterans suffering from bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, hypertension and Parkinson’s-like symptoms after their exposure to Agent Orange will remain unprotected and uncompensated until at least late 2020, a letter sent by Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Robert Wilkie to U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) indicates. Congress included a provision in the must-pass December federal spending bill requiring VA to provide legislators “a detailed explanation” for the now multi-year delay in determining whether to list the diseases. This is seen by advocates for veterans as a serious lack of support and compensation just at a time when the current administration mobilizes the military. According to Military Times, 83,000 veterans suffer from bladder cancer, Parkinson’s-like symptoms or hypothyroidism, and an untold number have high blood pressure. The paper interviewed Army Sgt. Maj. John Mennitto, who explained, “Since we first spoke in 2016, I have been diagnosed with bladder cancer. . . I also have hypothyroidism. My greatest concern for me and my fellow veterans who have debilitating diseases caused by exposure to Agent Orange is that our family members will be left with nothing.” A robust 2014 review by the National Academy of Medicine recommended including […]



International Scientists Offer Solutions to Turn Around the Insect Apocalypse

(Beyond Pesticides, January 8, 2019) Researchers across the planet are calling on policymakers to take action to reverse insect decline. In a letter to the editor in Nature Ecology & Evolution, over 70 scientists compiled necessary steps to categorize and rebuild the world’s populations of invertebrates. “We must act now,” they urged. International evidence points to a massive decline of insect populations at a global scale. This year, researchers warned that, if current trends continue, insects as a whole may go extinct in the next few decades. The rapid loss of invertebrate biodiversity is extremely alarming both because of the dramatic loss of life and devastating affect on the valuable ecosystem services, such as pollination and pest control, that insects provide. In addition, these small-yet-usually-abundant creatures are a vital part of the food chain and, as a result, scientists have documented a massive decline in bird populations in part due to the loss of insect food matter. The letter offers a tiered response of actions: Immediate: Implement no-regret solutions to slow or stop insect declines. Prioritize conservation of endangered species. Solutions include reducing greenhouse gases, reversing trends in agriculture intensification, increasing landscape heterogeneity, and phasing out pesticide use by replacing […]



End Factory Farms: Support the Farm System Reform Act

(Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2020) In the midst of recalls of romaine lettuce contaminated with a pathogenic strain of E. coli, states and counties across the country are calling for a moratorium on large confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Now Senator Cory Booker is seeking to pass similar legislation at the national level. These industrial-scale operations are commonly referred to as “factory farms.” Tell your U.S. Senator to cosponsor the Farm System Reform Act introduced by Sen. Cory Booker. In the last week of November 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a food safety alert concerning a multistate outbreak of E. coli linked to romaine lettuce harvested from Salinas, California. As of November 25, 67 cases had been reported across 19 states, 39 of which required hospitalization, including six who developed kidney failure. The E. coli strain causing the outbreak — O157:H7, also known as STEC — is genetically identical to that responsible for lettuce-related outbreaks in 2017 and 2018. STEC is a dangerous, Shiga toxin-producing type of E. coli. Other outbreaks occurred earlier in 2019 as well. Dangerous strains of E. coli, including O157:H7, are typically associated with cattle in feedlot conditions. The first of the two […]



Malibu, California Passes Pesticide Ban in a Big Win for Local Wildlife

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2020) In a hard-earned win, the city of Malibu, California collaborated with the Coastal Commission to ban toxic pesticide use in their community. While the city had already voted to ban all toxic pesticides back in 2016, the state’s pesticide law preempts, or prohibits, a municipality from restricting private use of pesticides more stringently than the state. However, the Coastal Commission, as a state agency that establishes agreements with municipalities—known as a “Local Coastal Program” or “LCP”—circumvents the preemption issue. The  municipal agreement document codifies regulations that are set up between the Coastal Commission and a local jurisdiction. On December 9, 2019, Malibu City Council unanimously voted to amend Malibu LCP to ban the use of toxic pesticides. Many advocates gave passionate testimony at the voting session, including environmental experts and attorneys that spoke to the legality of the move and the legal protection from predicted pesticide industry backlash. Activist Joel Schulman of Poison Free Malibu said about the ban, “We’re basing our local coastal program amendment on what [unincorporated L.A.] County did in 2014.” That year, L.A. County and the Coastal Commission banned anticoagulant rodenticides and some toxic pesticides in the unincorporated Santa Monica Mountains […]



Study Highlights Lasting Benefits of Organic Practices on Soil Health and Crop Productivity

(Beyond Pesticides, January 2, 2020) Organic farming practices enhance soil life, resulting in long-term benefits for soil health that ultimately improve crop productivity, a study published in the journal Agricultural Systems finds. The research, published by scientists at Cornell University, underlines the important role soil-dwelling organisms (SDOs) must play in a sustainable agricultural future. “When I think about crop management, nutrient amendments are not going to be the limiting factor [in crop productivity] for farmers in the U.S.,” said study co-author Ashley Jernigan, a Cornell University graduate student in entomology. “Really, we need to be optimizing these biotic processes in our soil and focusing more on biotic measurements,” Ms. Jernigan said. Scientists began their research at an experimental farm that, since 2005, had been managed under four different organic cropping systems (reduced tillage, low fertility, high fertility, and enhanced weed management). In 2017, the entire site was plowed under and seeded with sorghum in order to understand how these prior practices affected soil health and crop productivity. The metrics measured by researchers include SDO abundance and community structure, crop productivity, and weed abundance. These metrics are found to be highly dependent on past management practices. For instance, sorghum planted on […]



Best Wishes for a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season and New Year

(Beyond Pesticides, December 24, 2019) The staff and board of Beyond Pesticides wish our members and network all the best for the holiday season and new year. We look forward to working with you in the new year to meet the serious environmental and public health challenges with truly organic solutions. Our accomplishments are your victories. We are seeing the outcomes in communities across the country—the adoption of organic land management policies and practices that eliminate toxic pesticides, protect children and families, and protect the local ecology. Beyond Pesticides’ program responds to the urgent need to address the public health and environmental crises of our times—climate crisis, insect apocalypse, pesticide-induced illness, and the dramatic decline in biodiversity. With on-the-ground practices and local policies, we replace fossil fuel-based, toxic, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers with organic management strategies. TAKING A STAND Beyond Pesticides’ program supports a clear message: End toxic pesticide use and embrace organic practices and policies that respect the power of nature to heal— in the face of devastating and destructive toxic chemical-dependency. This past year has again elevated important public discourse on the threats that pesticides pose to health and the environment. We see in the mainstream culture increased […]



Take Action: USDA’s National Organic Program Must Protect Biodiversity

(Beyond Pesticides, December 23, 2019) An unintended consequence of the National Organic Standards, the rules that govern certified organic agricultural production, actually provides an incentive for the conversion of critical ecosystems to organic cropland, fueling deforestation and biodiversity loss. Tell the National Organic Program to issue regulations that will prevent the conversion of native ecosystems to organic cropland. One National Organic Program (NOP) requirement for organic certification—a three-year waiting period during which land must be free of disallowed substances—encourages the conversion of critical ecosystems, which do not require the three-year waiting period. Conversions of native landscapes to working organic land to date include losses of: a California forest, Colorado prairies, a New Mexico wetland, and native sagebrush lands in Washington and Oregon. The Wild Farm Alliance, which provides critical leadership on the issue, points out, “These areas, that were once delivering critical ecosystem services and providing essential habitat for wildlife, are no longer performing the same functions and [it] would take hundreds of years to reverse the damage.” The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which is responsible for advising the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on implementation of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), has been studying this problem since 2009, ultimately resulting […]



USDA Sits on Organic Board Recommendation to Eliminate Unintended Incentive to Convert Native Ecosystems to Organic Production

(Beyond Pesticides, December 20, 2019) Organic advocates are raising the alarm on what may be an unintended consequence of a provision in the National Organic Standards (NOS), the rules that govern certified organic agricultural production. The concern is that one National Organic Program (NOP) requirement for organic certification — a three-year waiting period during which land must be free of disallowed substances — is actually incentivizing the conversion of critical ecosystems, and fueling deforestation and biodiversity loss. Conversions of native landscapes to working organic land to date include losses of: a California forest, Colorado prairies, a New Mexico wetland, and native sagebrush lands in Washington and Oregon. The Wild Farm Alliance has pointed out that, “These areas, that were once delivering critical ecosystem services and providing essential habitat for wildlife, are no longer performing the same functions and [it] would take hundreds of years to reverse the damage.” No doubt this development was neither the intention of the NOP rule, nor an anticipated byproduct. But as Civil Eats notes, “USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] organic regulations mandate that farmers must ‘maintain or improve the natural resources’ on their farms, but there is no written requirement that addresses the natural resources that […]



Environmental Group Sues to Ban Rodenticides that Threaten Endangered Species in California

(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2019) Identifying ongoing risk to endangered species, the environmental group Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) announced an intent to sue California pesticide regulators to cancel the registration of four rodenticides in California. The suit seeks to expand the prohibition of use by the general consumer to include agricultural users and licensed pest-control operators. The group calls for protection of the endangered San Joaquin kit foxes, California condors, and 11 other endangered species from these rat poisons. Rodenticides are grouped into three categories: first-generation anticoagulants, second-generation anticoagulants, and non-anticoagulants. Both first- and second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides interfere with blood clotting in mammals and cause death from hemorrhage. Animals can be poisoned by eating the bait directly, or by consuming a poisoned animal (secondary poisoning). Secondary poisoning poses the greatest risk to wildlife. Second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs), such as brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difethialone and difenacoum, are more likely to cause secondary poisonings because they persist in body tissue for extended periods of time. These four poisons are the focus of this lawsuit. In 2014, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) banned the use of SGARs for public consumers. Advocates were motivated by the need to protect children and wildlife from […]



France Withdraws Approval of 36 Glyphosate-Based Weed Killer Products

(Beyond Pesticides, December 18, 2019) France is making headlines this month in the great, global glyphosate (Roundup) debate. Last week, the French health and safety agency, ANSES (Agence Nationale de sĂ©curitĂ© sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environment et du travail or the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety), made preliminary decisions within its review of authorizations for the 69 glyphosate (Roundup) weed killer products allowed for sale in the country. ANSES called for immediate withdrawal of authorization for 36 of those products “due to a lack or absence of scientific data which would allow all genotoxical risk to be ruled out.” The agency also announced it has denied authorization of 4 out of 11 glyphosate-based products submitted for approval since January, 2018. According to ANSES, the 36 pesticides taken off the market represent almost 75% of glyphosate-based products sold in France for both agricultural and non-agricultural uses. The agency strengthened its framework for requirements regarding glyphosate following the 2017 European Union (EU) re-evaluation and 5-year approval of the active ingredient glyphosate. ANSES now requires that companies provide additional data considering health and environmental risks, particularly regarding genotoxicity. The provisions mandate specific studies be carried out using “standardized […]



Help Ban Predator Poisons

(Beyond Pesticides, December 16, 2019) Thousands of wild and domestic carnivores will continue to be poisoned by hydrogen cyanide after the Trump Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) re-approved the use of M-44 “cyanide bombs” earlier this month. Cyanide bombs are small, poison-filled land mines baited with food and placed on rural land with the intent of killing predators that prey on grazing livestock. Along with the extremely toxic Compound 1080, these bombs threaten both domestic and wild non-target animals. Tell your Congressional Representative to support H.R. 2471, banning the use of Compound 1080 and M-44 cyanide bombs for predator control. Thank those who have already co-sponsored. Everything is wrong with the use of these poisons. They poison non-target animals, including humans and pets. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services, M-44s killed 13,232 animals in 2017. Of these, more than 200 deaths were nontarget animals, including family dogs, a wolf, opossums, raccoons, ravens, and skunks. Wildlife Services is one of the agencies allowed to set M-44s, and is notorious for poor data collection. Compound 1080 is one of the deadliest poisons on earth and has no antidote. It is now allowed to be used in the U.S. only in bladders worn […]



Fluoride in Science News Again, This Time for Effects on Children’s IQ

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2019) The findings of a new Canadian study will be cold comfort for parents whose babies and children have consumed baby formula constituted with fluoridated drinking water. Scheduled for January 2020 publication in Environment International, the research paper, titled “Fluoride exposure from infant formula and child IQ in a Canadian birth cohort,” reports a significant drop in IQ for such children, compared to formula-fed children living in non-fluoridated areas. Researchers found that for each 0.5 mg/L increase in fluoride concentration in drinking water, there was an average decrease of 4.4 IQ points among preschool children who were formula-fed during their first six months of life. The scientists found no significant association between water fluoride concentration and IQ among exclusively breastfed children. Further, the paper’s findings suggest that exposure to fluoride, both pre- and postnatally, has greater impact on the development of non-verbal intelligence than on that of verbal intelligence. The co-authors note, “These findings suggest that using optimally fluoridated water (0.7 mg/L) to reconstitute infant formula may diminish the development of intellectual abilities in young children, particularly for non-verbal abilities.” The research team, out of York University in Toronto, examined nearly 400 mother–child pairs. The subjects were part of the […]



Scientists Find New Biocontrol to Manage Invasive Fruit Fly

(Beyond Pesticides, December 12, 2019) A breakthrough study in biological pest management has found a species of wasp can, when combined with other non-toxic methods, readily replace toxic pesticide use in the management of the invasive spotted-wing drosophila (SWD). SWD is a fruit fly originally from southeast Asia that has caused significant crop losses in the U.S. over the last decade, estimated at over $700 million each year. The success of this integrated biological approach underlines the importance of public funding for non-chemical methods of pest management. SWD looks like any other fruit fly, laying its eggs in fruit that subsequently hatches maggots, which feed on and ruin the fruit. It has been particularly virulent and damaging in the U.S. due to a lack of natural predators. Scientists at Oregon State University tested the viability of the parasitic wasp Pachycrepoideus vindemmiae to manage SWD because it is one of very few species found to kill SWD under field conditions. The parasitoid’s pest-management capacity was investigated by identifying the resources required to keep it alive, and how the provision of resources affected its host-killing potential P. vindemmiae performed well as a SWD control agent due to its ability to life quite […]



European Union Bans Brain-Damaging Insecticide Chlorpyrifos; NY Governor Bans Aerial Application and Proposes Phase-Out of All Uses

(Beyond Pesticides, December 11, 2019) Last week, the European Union voted to ban the neurotoxic insecticides chlorpyrifos and chorpyrifos-methyl from use beginning February 1, 2020. Yesterday, the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo vetoed a statutory chlorpyrifos ban and issued an immediate ban on aerial application, and proposed a regulatory phase-out that bans all uses by December 2020, except use on apple tree trunks by July 21. The proposal is subject to a public comment period.  The European Union regulatory committee decided not to renew approvals following a European Food Safety Authority (ESFA) analysis, released in August, that there is no safe exposure level for chlorpyrifos. The decision to protect the public in EU differs from the trajectory of the United States, where individual states are having to step up to act in lieu of an independent, science-based federal regulatory system. Chlorpyrifos damages fetal brains and produces cognitive and behavioral dysfunctions, particularly in children. Prenatal and early life exposure to chlorpyrifos is linked to lower birth weight and neurodevelopmental harms, including reduced IQ, loss of working memory, attention disorders, and delayed motor development. Farmworkers are at heightened risk of acute exposure effects of the chemical (including accidents and spills), which can cause respiratory […]