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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Water' Category


24
Sep

U.S. Geological Survey Finds Mixtures of Pesticides Are Widespread in U.S. Rivers and Streams

(Beyond Pesticides, September 24, 2020) A new report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project, reveals the presence of pesticides is widespread in U.S. rivers and streams, with over almost 90 percent of water samples containing at least five or more different pesticides. Pesticide contamination in waterways is historically commonplace as a 1998 USGS analysis revealed pesticides are commonly found in all U.S. waterways, with at least one pesticide detectable. Thousands of tons of pesticides enter rivers and streams around the U.S. from agricultural and nonagricultural sources, which contaminate essential drinking water sources, such as surface water and groundwater. As the number of pesticides in waterways increases, it has detrimental impacts on aquatic ecosystem health, especially as some pesticides work synergistically with others to increase the severity of the effect. Reports like these are a significant tool in determining appropriate regulatory action to protect human, animal, and environmental health. USGS concludes, “Identification of primary contributors to toxicity could aid efforts to improve the quality of rivers and streams to support aquatic life.” Water is the most abundant and important chemical compound on earth, essential to survival and the main component of all living things. Less than three percent of that water […]

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17
Sep

Fashion Killer: Report Finds that the Apparel Industry is a Major Contributor to Biodiversity Loss

(Beyond Pesticides, September 17, 2020) The apparel industry becomes the latest contributor to global biodiversity loss, directly linking soil degradation, natural ecosystems destruction, and environmental pollution with apparel supply chains, according to the report, “Biodiversity: The next frontier in sustainable fashion,” by McKinsey & Company. Although there are many studies on the fashion industry’s impact on climate change, much less research discusses the impact the industry has on biodiversity. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one million species of plants and animals at risk of extinction. With the increasing rate of biodiversity loss, advocates say it is essential for government agencies to hold the fashion industry accountable for the direct (i.e., excessive agrochemical use, water consumption) and indirect (i.e., water pollution from run-off) impacts on the environment, not only to protect the well-being of animals, but humans, as well. Researchers in the study note, “We expect biodiversity to become an even greater concern for consumers and investors in the coming years. Covid-19, instead of slowing the trend, has accelerated it—perhaps because people now understand more deeply that human and animal ecosystems are interdependent. It’s time for the apparel industry, which to date has contributed heavily […]

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20
Aug

Arctic Glaciers Entrap Pesticides and Other Environmental Pollutants from Global Drift and Release Hazardous Chemicals as They Melt from Global Warming

(Beyond Pesticides, August 20, 2020) Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), including banned and current-use pesticides are present in snow and ice on top of Arctic glaciers, according to the study, “Atmospheric Deposition of Organochlorine Pesticides and Industrial Compounds to Seasonal Surface Snow at Four Glacier Sites on Svalbard, 2013–2014,” published in Environmental Science & Technology. Past research finds that air contaminated with these environmentally bioaccumulative, toxic chemicals drift toward the poles, becoming entrapped in ice under the accumulating snowfall. As the global climate continues to rise and the climate crisis worsens, studies like this become significant, as glaciers encapsulating these toxic chemicals are melting. Upon melting, some chemicals can volatize back into the atmosphere releasing toxicants into air and aquatic systems, with the ensuing consequences. Although this research demonstrates that specific computer programs can track the trajectory of chemically contaminated air parcels with practical precision, it falls to global leaders to curtail the continued manufacturing of these chemical pollutants. [For related pieces, see Silent Snow: The unimaginable impact of toxic chemical use and DDT in Glacial Melt Puts Alaskan Communities at Risk.] Countless scientists consider Arctic environments to be “pristine,” void of direct chemical inputs from pesticides and other POPs. However, the Arctic has become a sink for […]

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19
Aug

Dolphins Stranded Along Eastern Seaboard Are Diseased, Contaminated with Pesticides, Plastics, Disinfectants, and Heavy Metals

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2020) Stranded dolphins and whales along the United States Eastern Seaboard contain herbicides, disinfectants, plastics, and heavy metals, research published in Frontiers of Marine Science finds. The witches brew of toxins is likely contributing to ill health among these ecologically important, intelligent, and charismatic species, and may be playing a role in the occurrence of strandings. “It’s really hard to judge, when an animal strands, if the toxins in the animal were related to why it stranded,” said James Sullivan, PhD, executive director of Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Florida, which participated in the study, to UPI. “But these health problems do stack up. The animal is much more susceptible to succumbing to natural disease and environmental problems, just like humans are more likely to get ill from coronavirus if they have underlying conditions.” Dr. Sullivan’s statement rings true across a range of impacts resulting from chemical exposure or other stressors – while an individual may not be killed outright, weakening that occurs after exposure can significantly affect long term fitness in the wild. Eventually, these effects can add up to significant population declines. Unfortunately, this phenomenon in the natural world is often presented as “mysterious” […]

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27
Jul

TAKE ACTION! Tell Evian to Protect the Integrity of Its Purity Claim by Supporting a Worldwide Shift to Organic

(Beyond Pesticides, July 27, 2020) Evian bottled water, produced by the French company Danone, is supposed to be so pure that scientists will calibrate their measuring devices with it. But new data from Swiss researchers finds it to be contaminated with a toxic fungicide. “The fact that even the Evian springs in the French Alps, which are hardly affected by humans, contain pesticide residues is alarming and shows the far too careless handling of these substances,” Roman Wiget, president of the international drinking water association AWBR told the German-language Swiss weekly. The answer is not to simply ban another toxic pesticide, only to be followed by another toxic pesticide, but foundational changes to agriculture and land management with a shift to organic practices.  Tell Evian to protect water quality and the integrity of its purity claim by prominently supporting a worldwide shift to organic agriculture and land management. Danone claims that the purity of Evian bottled water comes from its source in Cachat Spring at the base of the French Alps in the town of Évian-les-Bains, France, where it is “[p]rotected under a fortress of geological layers built by glaciers 30,000 years ago, it slowly travels through natural snowy, glacial […]

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21
Jul

Combined Effects of Pesticide Exposure and Climate Change Significantly Harm Coral Reef Fish

(Beyond Pesticides, July 21, 2020) Climate change and pesticide pollution are known to put coral reef fish at significant risk, but research published in Nature Communications shows how these risks can be both overlapping and synergistic. “Fish face a variety of human-induced stressors including increasing water temperatures and pollution from agricultural pesticides,” says study coauthor William Feeney, PhD from Griffith University. According to researchers, both of these stressors alone harm the endocrine (hormone) system and are subsequently exacerbated in combination with each other. To study the impact of climate change and pesticide pollution, researchers exposed convict surgeon fish (Acanthurus triostegus) to varying levels of water temperature increases, as well as varying levels of the insecticide chlorpyrifos. The scientists then observed how these changes affected the level of hormones the fish were expressing, and how they acted in the presence of predators. “Both a three-degree temperature increase and exposure to pesticide led to a decrease in the amount of thyroid hormones in exposed fish,” said Marc Besson, PhD, lead author, from PSL Research University, Paris. “These hormones control the development of sensory structures such as the retina, the nostrils and the lateral line, which enables fish to detect nearby water movement.” […]

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17
Jul

Unregulated, “Shocking” and Destructive Levels of Pesticide Mixtures Found in Waterways

(Beyond Pesticides, July 17, 2020) Researchers have discovered that the rivers and creeks that discharge into the lagoon of the Great Barrier Reef are riddled with mixtures of pesticides. The University of Queensland team expected to find some such mixtures in their sampling, but was shocked to find that 99.8% of their samples contained up to 20 different pesticides. Michael Warne, PhD, lead researcher and associate professor at the University of Queensland’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, says, “The issue with having mixtures of pesticides is that as the number of pesticides increases the impact to aquatic ecosystems generally increases.” Beyond Pesticides has covered waterway pesticide contamination in Europe and the U.S. The organization has long advocated for protective federal regulation that considers potential synergistic and additive threats, to ecosystems and organisms, from admixtures of pesticides — whether in formulated products, or “de facto” in the environment, as this study addresses. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Lagoon is the open water of the Coral sea that lies between the reef and the Queensland, Australia coast. The GBR is the world’s largest coral reef system, comprising more than 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands, and extending across an area of approximately 133,000 square miles. It […]

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15
Jul

Evian Bottled Water, Touted for Its Purity, Tainted With Toxic Fungicide Pervasive in the Environment

(Beyond Pesticides, July 15, 2020) Evian bottled water is supposed to be so pure that scientists will calibrate their measuring devices with it. But new data from Swiss researchers finds it to be contaminated with a toxic fungicide.  “The fact that even the Evian springs in the French Alps, which are hardly affected by humans, contain pesticide residues is alarming and shows the far too careless handling of these substances,” Roman Wiget, president of the international drinking water association AWBR told the German-language Swiss weekly. Researchers looked specifically at the levels of the fungicide chlorothalonil in Swiss waterways, as Switzerland and the European Union took steps last year to ban use of the pesticide. In banning the chemical, regulators at the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) noted, “Great concerns are raised in relation to contamination of groundwater by metabolites of the substance.” EFSA designated the fungicide as a 1B carcinogen, meaning that it “may cause cancer.” Chlorothalonil has been in production and use since the 1960s, but it is only now that regulators are starting to take a closer look at its health and environmental impacts. In addition to cancer, chlorothalonil is neurotoxic, can harm the human reproductive system, damage kidneys, […]

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02
Jul

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, Including Pesticides, Have a Multi-Generational Impact on Commercially Beneficial Inland Silverside Fish

(Beyond Pesticides, July 2, 2020) Exposure to low levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonly in waterways, including pesticides, can impact future generations of major commercial fish, despite no direct exposure to the chemicals, according to research published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science by Oregon State University (OSU) researchers. Many studies assess the acute or chronic health implications associated with endocrine disruptors on a single generation but lack information on multi-generational impacts that can provide vital information on the fundamental survivability or fitness of many species. This study highlights the significance of understanding the implications of endocrine disruptors, even at low levels of exposure, as parental exposure can have adverse epigenetic consequences for future generations. Kaley Major, a Ph.D. fellow at Oregon State University (OSU) and lead research author, explains, “What t[his] gets at is something your grandparents may have come into contact within their environment can still be affecting the overall structure of your DNA in your life today.” Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotics (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem). Past research shows exposures to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can adversely impact human, animal—and thus environmental—health, by altering the natural hormones in the body responsible for […]

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15
Jun

Take Action: Tell Congress to Save Our Oceans from Trump’s Executive Order

(Beyond Pesticides, June 15, 2020)  On May 7, President Trump issued an executive order (EO) purporting to “promote American seafood competitiveness and economic growth,” while, in fact, permitting offshore aquaculture in federal waters with reduced environmental safeguards. Instead, we need stronger federal regulation in order to protect the environment and public health. This EO adds to the Trump Administration’s shameful record of dismantling environmental protections, failing to enforce those that do exist, undermining science, and weighing agrochemical and other industry interests over those of the public and the environment. The EO will further erode regulations that have governed the operation of so-called “fish farms” and open enormous marine areas to exploitation by this industry. Tell Congress to save our oceans. U.S. aquaculture is a $1.5 billion industry, with almost 3,000 operations. Regulation of aquaculture is shared by a number of federal, state, and local agencies. Much of the regulation is at the state and local level because each state and locality may regulate permitting based on zoning, water use, waste discharge, wildlife management, processing, and other aspects of aquaculture operations.  Trump’s EO reduces federal regulation by designating the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) as the lead agency in the […]

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04
Jun

The Pesticide Atrazine and 200 Other Toxic Chemicals Found in Fracking Wastewater; Contamination Goes Unregulated

  (Beyond Pesticides, June 4, 2020) A new, simultaneous chemical identification method has found the presence of the weed killer atrazine and 200+ other hazardous chemicals in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) wastewater or produced water, according to collaborative research published in the Journal of Separation Science by scientists at the University of Toledo (UToledo) and the University of Texas at Arlington. Although produced water is a waste product of fracking, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows many states to reuse produced water in agriculture and other industries or dispose of it into waterways. There is serious concern about the safety of produced water and it being a widespread source of pollution. Current disposal and purification practices do not guarantee environmental pollutant’s removal from produced water. This research, “Optimization of thin film solid phase microextraction and data deconvolution methods for accurate characterization of organic compounds in produced water,” highlights the need for comprehensive chemical composition assessment of produced water, whether for reuse or disposal. Currently, EPA waives requirements that chemical companies (e.g., Syngenta in the case of atrazine) monitor for the presence of pesticides in waterways, endangering public health of the environment. Because produced water, whether treated or not, is typically not void of toxic […]

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14
May

DDT Metabolite (DDE) and Other Banned Pesticides Found in Blood Sample of African American Women in Detroit

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2020) Four banned organochlorine pesticides (OCP) are present in over 60% of a cohort of reproductive-age, black women in Detroit, according to a study published in Environmental Research by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). OCPs are lipophilic (fat combining/dissolving), environmentally steadfast chemicals linked to harmful health effects. This study stresses the importance of monitoring pesticide accumulation, particularly regarding environmentally persistent chemicals and their metabolization via indirect exposure routes. Lead author Olivia Orta, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Epidemiology at BUSPH, highlights the significance of water monitoring—especially in light of historically disproportionately high hazards for people of color (e.g., Flint, Michigan)—and testing sources prone to OCP contamination. She remarks, “The sources that we identified as potential OCP correlates should be tested for pesticide contamination,[…] especially drinking water.” Environmental contaminants, like organochlorine pesticides (OCP), can persist in the environment decades after use stops, as OCPs have greater chemical stability and gradual attenuation. Minority populations are at higher exposure risk of environmental contaminants (i.e., pesticide) exposure that can catalyze adverse health and birth effects, especially in metropolitan areas. Although black women endure higher body burdens than other U.S. populations, there remains a lack of research surrounding the association. Boston University researchers enrolled […]

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06
May

Trump EPA Waives Requirement to Monitor Waterways for Hazardous Weedkiller

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2020) The Trump Administration announced late last month that it is waiving a requirement that multinational chemical company Syngenta-Chemchina continue to monitor Midwest waterways for the presence of the weedkiller atrazine throughout 2020. While rationalized by the Administration as “due to the unanticipated impact of Covid-19,” the move will instead put residents health at increased risk. Atrazine is one of 78 pesticides that has been linked to the development of respiratory ailments like wheeze. “The public will now have no idea whether dangerous levels of atrazine are reaching rivers and streams throughout the Midwest. That’s absurd and reckless,” said Nathan Donley, PhD a senior scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Syngenta should suspend the sale and use of this extremely toxic pesticide until it can safely ensure it’s not polluting Corn Belt waterways.” Syngenta, which merged with state-owned China Nation Chemical Corporation (Chemchina) in 2016, has been bound by EPA to monitor Midwestern waterways since a 2004 review by the agency. This is because atrazine is a potent groundwater contaminant. Just two years ago, an analysis by the Environmental Working Group found atrazine to be exceeding legal limits in drinking water for many Midwestern states. […]

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18
Mar

Infectious Human Disease, Snail Fever, Worsened by Pesticide Run-Off into Fresh Waterways

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2020) Freshwater habitats are threatened now—more than ever—by the adverse effects of pesticide pollution, according to a report published in Scientific Reports by a collaborative research team from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and the Kenya-based International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE). Pesticide pollution, attributed to runoff from agricultural farms, indirectly increased the rate of the tropical disease schistosomiasis, which infects over 280 million people (2018). This research underlines the range of uncertainties that exist as a result of pesticide contamination, making it critically important that subtropical areas where this disease threat exists move toward organic and pesticide-free approaches.  Increased prevalence of this disease is devastating to socioeconomic development in affected regions, as life expectancy, employment rate, and gross domestic product (GDP) decreases. Schistosomiasis (snail fever), or bilharzia, is a tropical disease caused by parasitic flatworms (trematodes) in the genus Schistosoma and transmitted via freshwater snail (genus Biomphalaria) to its definitive human host. Freshwater snails act as a vector for schistosomiasis as they play a vital role in the lifecycle of the parasitic flatworm. Professor Matthias Liess (Ph.D.), Head of the Department of System Ecotoxicology at the UFZ, and his research team investigated pesticide pollution’s […]

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05
Mar

Glyphosate Causes Biodiversity Loss in Freshwater Ecosystems, According to Study

Experimental ponds in Gault Nature Reserve. Photo credit: Vincent Fugère (Beyond Pesticides, March 5, 2020) A new study conducted by researchers at McGill University investigated phytoplankton (microscopic algae) response and resilience to Roundup exposure. “Community rescue in experimental phytoplankton communities facing severe herbicide pollution” was published in Nature Ecology & Evolution. Researchers found that algae can develop resistance to contamination, but surviving phytoplankton communities are much less diverse. Diversity loss is cause for concern as it could hinder adaptation to other potential stressors, such as climate change.  Using experimental ponds, researchers first exposed some phytoplankton communities to low levels of Roundup over time, then dosed the ponds with a lethal amount.  Groups that had been given low doses survived the lethal phase whereas unpolluted, control ponds did not. Researchers observed “community rescue,” where genetic changes avert population collapse in a lethal environment. In fact, glyphosate eventually became a fertilizer in resistant ponds as it is a significant source of phosphorus. Other studies, too, have noted that phosphorous loading is an overlooked impact of glyphosate contamination. Phytoplankton matter because their disruption can cause a trophic cascade and impact other organisms. “These tiny species at the bottom of the food chain play […]

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31
Jan

Trump Administration Hands Over Clean Water Standards to Agrichemical, Construction, and Mining Industry

(Beyond Pesticides, January 31, 2020) In the latest of a long litany of destructive decisions by the Trump administration, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced on January 23 the establishment of a new weaker federal rule on protection of U.S. waterways, which replaces the 2015 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule that the agency repealed in September 2019. In an obeisant gesture to industrial interests — the agrichemical, construction, and mining sectors — Mr. Wheeler chose to announce the replacement rule, the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, at a Las Vegas National Association of Home Builders International Builders’ Show. This decision will significantly weaken protections by drastically reducing the number of U.S. waterways and acreage of wetlands protected, and by jettisoning proscriptions on activities that threaten waterways from a variety of pollution harms. President Obama’s WOTUS, aka Clean Water Rule, has provided protections from pesticide runoff and other pollutants to millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams. According to Administrator Wheeler, “‘All states have their own protections for waters within their borders, and many regulate more broadly than the federal government. . . . Our new rule recognizes this relationship and strikes the proper […]

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22
Jan

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 […]

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24
Jul

Hawai’i Agribusiness Development Corporation in Violation of Clean Water Act Due to Glyphosate Contamination

(Beyond Pesticides, July 24, 2019) The U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai’i has found the state’s Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) guilty of violating the Clean Water Act. The case, brought by organizations including Surfrider Foundation, Pesticide Action Network North America, and others, represented by Earthjustice, accused ADC of dumping water contaminated with pesticides, including the cancer-causing herbicide glyphosate, into the Pacific Ocean off of West Kauai without a permit since 2015. Hawai’i bears the brunt of agribusiness wrongdoings, and Kauai in particular has faced past issues of pesticide injustice at the hands of the ADC. However, this new ruling marks a turn in past decisions that have favored agribusiness, as the judge found ADC violations. Advocates hope that this decision will highlight the need for government accountability, and increase transparency about what pesticides and chemicals are entering our oceans. The ADC system collects groundwater and storm water runoff through a series of canals, ditches, and pumps. The polluted water, full of toxic pesticides and chemicals, discharges into the Pacific Ocean along popular beaches that residents use for recreational activities, including surfing and fishing. The case brought against ADC accuses the department of dumping this water without a National […]

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11
Apr

Europe’s Waterways Contaminated by Pesticides and Antibiotics

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2019) A recent study of 29 discrete, small European waterways found ubiquitous pesticide contamination. Analyzed samples contained a total of 103 different pesticides and 21 veterinary drugs. These data add to the growing body of evidence that there is a significant, ongoing threat to the aquatic environment as a result of chemical-intensive farming practices. Researchers took a “snapshot” of samples from streams, rivers, and canals in ten different countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Sample sites were chosen in rural areas with arable land. The water samples were screened for a wide range of pesticides and veterinary drugs using liquid chromatography. The study was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment. Pesticides find their way into water systems via dry deposition (absorption of particles from the atmosphere), pesticide drift, and runoff from contaminated soils. Of the total 103 detected pesticides, 45% were herbicides. Terbuthylazine, a broadleaf herbicide in the chemical class triazine (the same class that contains the U.S.-utilized atrazine), was found in all samples. There were 24 unapproved pesticides in the water samples. Rather than illegal current use, it is more likely that these […]

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22
Feb

Fighting for the Environmental Rights of Lake Erie with a Creative Legal Strategy

(Beyond Pesticides, February 22, 2019) Lake Erie, the 11th largest freshwater lake in the world, is once again plagued with pollution, although in this decade it is due primarily to agricultural runoff — as opposed to the raw sewage and industrial effluents that afflicted it in the mid-20th century. Concerned and weary Toledo, Ohio residents are seeking remedies through the adoption of a ballot initiative, “Lake Erie Bill of Rights,” that will go before local voters this month. It asks: should Lake Erie, as an entity, have the legal right “to exist, flourish, and naturally evolve”? The New York Times reported on this unusual ballot question, which asks whether the lake ought to be granted rights more typically ascribed to people. If the measure passes, people would be able to sue polluters on behalf of the lake, using the argument that Lake Erie’s rights had been violated. Fifty years ago, prior to the passage of the 1972 Clean Water Act, U.S. water bodies, including the Great Lakes and their tributaries, were in big trouble. One of Lake Erie’s tributaries — the Cuyahoga River — became infamous for literally catching fire due to the sewage and industrial waste that were freely dumped into it. […]

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10
Jan

Take Action: Stop Antibiotic Use in Citrus Production, Leading to Life-Threatening Illness

(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2019) The Trump administration is opening the floodgates to allow widespread use of antibiotics in citrus (grapefruits, oranges and tangerines) production, expanding on an emergency use decision it made in 2017. The public has an opportunity to comment on the widespread use of streptomycin by January 19, 2019. You can comment on the federal government’s public comment page (regulations.gov) by leaving a comment opposing any additional use of antibiotics in food production during a national and international crisis of deadly disease resistance to antibiotics. You can copy Beyond Pesticides’ prepared comment below and add your own concerns. Strikingly, the decision allows for up to 480,000 acres of citrus trees in Florida to be treated with more than 650,000 pounds of streptomycin per year, and 23,000 citrus acres in California will likely be treated annually. The two approved antibacterial chemicals to be used as a pesticide in citrus production are streptomycin and oxytetracycline. These uses were permitted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under an emergency exemption in May, 2017, allowing residues of antibiotics in Florida orange juice, for the antibiotics streptomycin and oxytetracycline –allowing their use for a bacterial disease, citrus greening (Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) bacterium that causes Huanglongbing), […]

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19
Dec

Analysis: Wins and Losses in the Farm Bill—Time for a Green New Deal

(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2018) As the dust still settles on the final Farm Bill, which passed the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives last week, it is clear that neither the substance nor the process on a range of issues meet the urgent need to address key sustainability issues that put the future in peril. We must not allow this Farm Bill to be the final word on a number of critical environmental and public health issues facing the nation and world. That is why it is absolutely critical that we get to work immediately, with the new Congress, to set a new course that transforms the institutions of government that are holding back the urgently needed transition to a green economy. On the Farm Bill, our victories were mostly measured in terms of what we were able to remove from the legislation—not the standard of achievement that we need to face critical environmental threats. The good. Our major victory in the Farm Bill does not move us forward, but simply protects the status quo of our democracy—protecting the power of states and local government to adopt pesticide restrictions that are more stringent than the federal government. With your help […]

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06
Dec

Endocrine Disrupting Herbicide, Atrazine, Exceeds Legal Limits in Midwest

(Beyond Pesticides, December 6, 2018) A recent analysis of annual drinking water quality reports has revealed that many community drinking water systems in the Midwest have seasonal exceedances of the allowable limit for the herbicide atrazine. Atrazine, linked to endocrine disruption, neuropathy, and cancer, is the second most widely used pesticide in corn growing areas, with over 73 million pounds applied to agricultural fields each year.  A 2009 study by Paul Winchester, MD, professor of clinical pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine and a neonatologist at St. Francis Hospital in Indianapolis, linked birth defects to time of conception, with the greatest impact on children conceived when concentrations of atrazine and other pesticides are highest in the local drinking water. (See Reproductive Effects Peak with Pesticide Exposure.) During peak use, atrazine levels in drinking water have been recorded at three to seven times above the legal limit. In addition to the well documented impact on the environment, recent  studies have linked prolonged pesticide exposure to not only shortened gestation and preterm birth for women, but also neurodevelopment delays in children. Ultimately, these unreported seasonal peaks may result in persistent adverse health impacts in impacted communities. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), enacted in 1974, […]

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