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Daily News Blog

Archive for the 'Water' Category


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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12
Oct

Vermont Watershed Protected from Hazardous Pesticide Use

(Beyond Pesticides, October 12, 2018) For the first time in its history, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied a permit to apply toxic pesticides to a local waterbody, according to reports from the regional nonprofit organization Toxics Action Center. The DEC decision responded to an application from the Town of Williston, VT to use the herbicide SePRO Sonar ASÂŽ on Lake Iroquois, a 237 acre spring-fed body of water used for public recreation, in order to control Eurasian watermilfoil. DEC ruled that use of the herbicide posed risks to the holistic integrity of the lake waters, the Champlain watershed, and surrounding ecology. Sonar contains the active ingredient fluridone, which studies have linked to endocrine disruption, kidney/liver damage and toxicity to fish/aquatic organisms. It has also been identified as a potent groundwater contaminant. With this background, fluridone use has been the subject of public opposition. The permit application submitted by Williston city officials identified $350,000 in costs to apply the pesticide over the next five years, with 3-4 applications scheduled each summer. Milfoil typically takes over shallow coastal waters, out competes native aquatic plants for space and sunlight, reduces oxygen levels and harms fish habitat. Milfoil, like other invasive plants, […]

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06
May

Help Finalize Decision to Keep Imidacloprid Out of National Treasure, Willapa Bay; Previous Public Comments Led to Temporary Denied of Use

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2018) The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) temporarily denied a permit to spray Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor with the toxic neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid. Your comments helped achieve the temporary decision and comments are now needed again to make the denial permanent. The public comment period closes on May 14, 2018. Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, with a number of unique ecosystems, and among the most pristine estuaries in the U.S., have been targeted with a plan to spray the toxic neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid to kill the native burrowing shrimp in beds of commercial Japanese oysters. This insecticide use will have deadly effects on keystone aquatic organisms. Based on a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) and public input, Ecology temporarily denied the permit. Tell Ecology to restore the bays instead of spraying them! Ecology bases its decision on these factors: Too great an impact on the marine organisms that live in the sediments where the pesticide application is proposed. Too much uncertainty about the long-term impacts associated with this pesticide. Negative impacts on fish and birds caused by killing sources of food and disrupting the food web. Even at low concentrations, imidacloprid has significant impacts […]

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11
Apr

Victory! State Finds Imidacloprid Insecticide Too Risky for Use in Sensitive Willapa Bay

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2018) The request by shellfish growers in Washington State to apply the neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid, on oyster and clams beds to control native burrowing shrimp was denied by the Department of Ecology (Ecology) after it determined “environmental harm from this neonicotinoid pesticide would be too great.” Concerned resident and environmental advocates have been opposed to the proposed use citing harms to aquatic life including fish habitat, and long-term ecological damage. Shellfish growers from Willapa-Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association requested a permit from the state to use the imidacloprid on burrowing shrimp that the growers said impede traditional shellfish cultivation. They sought a state National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to apply imidacloprid to 500 acres of shellfish beds within Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, over a period of five years. The growers first applied for a permit in 2015 to treat 2,000 acres of tidelands, but after a strong public outcry, they withdrew the request. In 2016, they applied for a new permit to treat less acreage and Ecology published a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in 2017 on the potential impacts imidacloprid application would have to the bay. Now, Ecology, after thoroughly evaluating […]

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29
Mar

Contamination from Antibacterial Nanosilver Sparks Efforts to Contain It

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2018) Rising use of antibacterials like nanosilver in textiles and other consumer goods is leading scientists to consider methods to filter out these materials before they pollute the environment. As detailed by research published in Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, experts at University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, are developing a process to filter out these toxic materials from our washing machines. While preventing downstream waste is laudable, it misses the fundamental question whether nanosilver and other antibacterials need to be added to consumer clothing in the first place. Nanosilver is antimicrobial nanoparticle (typically defined as a particle between 1-100 nanometers) regulated as a pesticide that is added to consumer goods such as textiles, cosmetics, disinfectants, toys and other household items in attempts to kill bacteria or reduce odor. See the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies for an extensive listing of products containing nanoparticles on the market. Nanosilver, which makes up roughly 25% of nanomaterials used in the consumer market, is a particularly concerning nanoparticle given past research on its risks to health and the environment. Studies have found that, when impregnated into textiles like sportswear, nanosilver does not just wash out in the washing machine, it can also seep […]

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15
Mar

Scientists Urge Action to Protect California Waterways from Neonicotinoid Insecticides

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2018) On Tuesday, a group of 56 scientists studying the effects of neonicotinoids sent a letter to California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) highlighting the threat neonicotinoids pose to the health of California’s waterways. The scientists urge CDPR to take steps to reduce neonicotinoid contamination of the state’s streams and rivers. This comes as neonicotinoids were recently reported to be pervasive throughout the Great Lakes, and federal assessments confirm high risks to aquatic species. According to the letter, neonicotinoids are already found in California waterways at levels that exceed the freshwater invertebrate aquatic life benchmarks and could harm or kill many sensitive aquatic invertebrate species. Citing a 2016 study by the Xerces Society that found imidacloprid frequently in California’s rivers and streams at levels harmful to species such as mayflies and caddisflies. Imidacloprid samples in California from 2010-2015 showed that 42% (197 of 468) of detections exceeded the acute invertebrate benchmark and all of the detections exceeded the chronic invertebrate benchmark. In certain regions of the state, particularly agricultural areas, the imidacloprid benchmark for acute effects was more frequently exceeded. The scientists note these chemicals can “have consequences for broader ecosystems. Declines in aquatic invertebrates put other species […]

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30
Jan

Neonicotinoid Insecticides Threaten Aquatic Life in the Great Lakes

(Beyond Pesticides, January 30, 2018) New data from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) reveals the year-round presence of neonicotinoids (neonics) in the Great Lakes – the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem. Neonics, which are highly toxic to aquatic organisms and pollinators, are prevalent in the tributaries of the Great Lakes with concentrations and detections increasing during planting season. This new data adds to burgeoning demand for a federal ban of these insecticides in order to safeguard vulnerable aquatic ecosystems and pollinators. The study, “Year-round presence of neonicotinoid insecticides in tributaries to the Great Lakes, USA,” sampled ten major tributaries to the Great Lakes from October 2015 to September 2016. Neonicotinoids were detected in every month sampled. At least one neonicotinoid was detected in 74 percent of the samples, with 10 percent of samples containing three neonicotinoids. The most frequently detected neonicotinoid was imidacloprid (53%), followed by clothianidin (44%), thiamethoxam (22%), acetamiprid (2%), and dinotefuran (1%). The detections of clothianidin and thiamethoxam are significantly correlated with the percentage of agricultural land use. Similarly, concentrations increased in the spring and summer months when the planting of neonic-coated seeds and broadcast applications are the highest. For instance, in the agriculturally dominated basin (corn and soybean) […]

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14
Dec

UK Rivers Contaminated with Neonicotinoids; EU Delays Decision to Extend Ban

(Beyond Pesticides, December 14, 2017) Tests of waterways in the United Kingdom (UK) reveal rivers contaminated with neonicotinoids, the class of chemicals highly toxic to bees and aquatic invertebrates. And now, although neonicotinoids were banned from use on certain crops in the European Union (EU) in 2013, an EU vote to extend the ban has been delayed. The test results raise concerns over neonicotinoids’ impacts on waterways, especially to fish and birds. Under a new EU mandate -Water Framework Directive ‘Watch List’ initiative – the UK was required to monitor for all five commonly used neonicotinoids: imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, acetamiprid and thiacloprid. Twenty-three sites were sampled in 2016, 16 in England, four in Scotland, three in Wales and three in Northern Ireland. This is the first systematic testing of neonicotinoids in rivers in Britain. According to the results, half the rivers tested in England had either chronic or acute levels of contamination. Of the 23 rivers tested across Britain, all but six contain neonicotinoids. Eight rivers in England exceed recommended chronic pollution limits, and two are acutely polluted. Neonicotinoids are not only highly toxic to bees but also highly toxic to aquatic insects, which are a vital food source to […]

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06
Jul

Washington Oyster Growers Request Approval to Apply Neonicotinoid in Aquatic Environments

(Beyond Pesticides, July 6, 2017) The Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) is evaluating a new permit application for the use of imidacloprid, a toxic neonicotinoid, to combat a growing native population of burrowing shrimp that threatens oyster beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor in Washington state. The application was recently submitted to Ecology by a group of oyster farmers from the Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association (WGHOGA), who “propose to use the pesticide to treat tide lands to support their aquaculture practices.” Imidacloprid is known to be toxic to bees and aquatic organisms, raising questions on the impacts of its use on the long-term ecological health of the bays. In April 2015, much to the dismay of activists and concerned local residents, Ecology approved a permit submitted by oyster farmers for the use of imidacloprid to combat burrowing shrimp in these aquatic ecosystems. But with a nationwide public outcry, the permit was withdrawn in May 2015. The recent request that was submitted differs in several ways from this 2015 permit, including: The new permit proposes treating 485 acres in Willapa Bay and 15 acres in Grays Harbor, compared to 2,000 acres combined from both water bodies in the 2015 permit. The oyster farmers […]

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28
Jun

Manslaughter Charges Filed by State AG Against Officials for Flint, MI Water Poisoning

(Beyond Pesticides, June 28, 2017) In a move that could portend broader action in the case of environmental crimes, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed charges of involuntary manslaughter against five state officials in a death resulting from Flint’s water crisis. While most criminal charges resulting from environmental mishaps and disasters are filed against corporations or their CEOs, one law review article notes, “Prosecutors have become aggressive in seeking out responsible parties. The net of criminal liability is no longer limited to those directly involved in causing the disaster, but may now extend to those involved in the response, as well as officials whose derelictions in office helped create the risk.” In announcing the charges, the Attorney General stated, “All defendants charged with involuntary manslaughter are charged in relation to the death of Robert Skidmore, 85, of Mt. Morris, Michigan. Skidmore died of Legionnaires’ disease after many others had been diagnosed with the illness, yet no public outbreak notice had been issued. The charges allege failure to notify and lack of action to stop the outbreak allowed the disease to continue its spread through Flint’s water system.” Involuntary manslaughter is punishable by up to 15 years in prison, and/or a $7,500 […]

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26
May

U.S. House of Representatives Votes to Rollback Waterway Protections

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2017) On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass a bill that would reverse an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirement to obtain a permit before spraying pesticides on or near waterways. The passage of HR 953, The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (known by environmentalists as the “Poison Our Waters Act”), is the latest update in a multi-year string of attempts to rollback commonsense protections for the public waterways all Americans use for swimming, fishing, and other forms of recreation. It will now move forward to be considered by the Republican-majority Senate, where it will most likely pass and be signed into law. HR 953, if signed into law, would reverse a 2009 decision issued by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, in the case of National Cotton Council et al. v. EPA, which held that pesticides applied to waterways should be considered pollutants under federal law and regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA), through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. Prior to the decision, the EPA, under the Bush Administration, had allowed the weaker and more generalized standards under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to be followed. This allowed pesticides to be discharged […]

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06
Apr

Study Finds Neonicotinoids in Water Straight from the Tap

(Beyond Pesticides, April 5, 2017) A new study, Occurrence of Neonicotinoid Insecticides in Finished Drinking Water and Fate during Drinking Water Treatment, has detected neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides known for their detrimental effects on bees, in treated drinking water. This marks the first time that these insecticides have been found in water sourced straight from the tap. Federal regulators have not yet addressed safe levels of neonicotinoids in drinking water, so at this point, any detection of these chemicals is cause for concern. The study authors “report for the first time the presence of three neonicotinoids in finished drinking water and demonstrate their general persistence during conventional water treatment.” Drinking water samples “collected along the University of Iowa treatment train” over a seven week period, May through July, 2016 directly after corn and soy planting, find three neonicotinoids, clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam at levels ranging from 0.24 to 57.3 ng/L (nanogams per liter). The University of Iowa tap water is run through a water treatment plant that uses conventional treatment methods.  In contrast, the Iowa City water treatment methods (granular activated carbon filtration) result in substantially lower levels of the neonicotinoids. Additionally, the researchers found that extensive transformation of clothianidin […]

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21
Feb

Take Action: Bill Will Eliminate Permit Requirement to Spray Pesticides into Waterways

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2016) The Agriculture Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill last week that will eliminate protections from toxic pesticides for the nation’s waterways. The bill now moves on to the full House for a vote and the public has an opportunity to let Representatives hear the concerns about weakening local protection of waterways from toxic pesticides. HR 953, The Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act (code for the sponsors and supporters as legislation to eliminate environmental protection of water quality), is the committee’s latest effort in a multi-year string of attempts to rollback common sense protections for the public waterways all Americans use for swimming, fishing, and other forms of recreation. The bill would repeal the Clean Water Act requirement that those who apply pesticides to waterways, with an exemption for farm use pesticides not directly deposited into waterways, obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Last May, at the height of fears over the Zika epidemic, the same Committee ushered through the same bill under another misleading name, The Zika Vector Control Act. Pensive lawmakers and the public saw through the ruse, and the bill was defeated. But, like previous iterations, including the 2015 Sensible Environmental […]

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31
Jan

Judge Rules Against Monsanto, Allows California to List Glyphosate Products as Cancer Causing

(Beyond Pesticides, January 31, 2017) A tentative ruling last week by Fresno County Superior Court Judge Kristi Culver Kapetan moves California closer to listing glyphosate (Roundup) as a carcinogen under the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Monsanto, a leading manufacturer of glyphosate under its Roundup brand, sued California to stop the listing, as it would require cancer warning labels be placed on its end-use product. The company indicates it will challenge the tentative ruling. California’s proposed to list glyphosate as a carcinogen after a 2015 determination of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a United Nations body under the World Health Organization, that the chemical is a cancer-causing agent for humans based on laboratory studies. Monsanto refutes these claims, and since the determination has worked directly, and through proxy organizations, to discredit and attack IARC, as well as individual scientists that have participated in its decision-making process. Shortly after IARC’s Monograph on glyphosate, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR), a Monsanto-supported group, released a report dismissing glyphosate’s link to cancer. In October of last year, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, led by Rep. Jason Chaffetz […]

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03
Jan

Herbicide Atrazine Affects Estuarine Phytoplankton Productivity, Threatens Aquatic Life

(Beyond Pesticides, January 3, 2017)  A study published in December 2016 in Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, entitled The Effect of Atrazine on Louisiana Gulf Coast Estuarine Phytoplankton, finds that phytoplankton in estuaries in close proximity to agricultural operations are less productive than phytoplankton in an uncontaminated environment. The study examines three different estuaries of the Mississippi river in Louisiana and also evaluates microcosms with different concentrations of atrazine. Phytoplankton, incredibly important to estuary ecosystems and aquatic life, are an integral part of the aquatic food web and ultimately critical to the wild seafood market. As photosynthetic microorganisms, phytoplankton harness the sun’s energy for metabolism and create as a byproduct of photosynthesis dissolved oxygen, which oxygen-breathing sea life require. For the study, the researchers created microcosms, or large containers that are able to closely mimic ecosystems, so that they can observe the effects of independent variables. On average, phytoplankton in the microcosms are less productive at producing chlorophyll a in the presence of atrazine. The microcosm study design is important because it is difficult to separate and measure the effects of chemicals like atrazine in the environment, given the range of potential causes of phytoplankton decline. A variety of factors, like freshwater discharge rates, precipitation, […]

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18
Oct

Pesticide Restrictions in Wisconsin Fail to Protect Groundwater Adequately

(Beyond Pesticides, October 18, 2016) A Wisconsin family is speaking out against groundwater contamination after their son fell ill two years ago, prompting them to test their well water. The test results found the water contaminated with fertilizers and pesticides, most notably the weed killer atrazine, which has been banned in their area for 20 years. Atrazine has been registered for use since 1958. Although many residential turf grass uses of the chemical have been eliminated voluntarily, homeowner uses do persist. The chemical has been linked to human health impacts such as childhood cancer, and rare birth defects, including gastroschisis, and choanal atresia. According to Minnpost, in the spring of 2014, Jacob, son of Doug and Dawn Reeves, fell mysteriously ill. His body became swollen and he developed an unusual rash. He was finally diagnosed with juvenile dermatomyositis, a rare inflammatory disease that affects the muscles, skin and blood vessels. The cause of the disease is unknown, so the Reeves family began their own hunt as to why Jacob became sick. When they received the test results from Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, it showed that their well contained atrazine at twice the state and federal drinking water health standard. […]

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06
Oct

Nitrate Pollution in Groundwater Linked to Birth Defects, Cancers and Thyroid Problems

(Beyond Pesticides, October 6, 2016) According to a report published last week by the Iowa Environmental Council (IEC), the associations between elevated levels of nitrate in drinking water and health risks go well beyond the “blue-baby syndrome” and nitrate concentrations lower than the drinking water standard may be harmful through long-term exposure. The lead author of the report, Ann Robinson, Agricultural Policy Specialist at IEC, stated that the focus was on “significant findings that multiple studies have associated with nitrate in drinking water, including birth defects, bladder cancer and thyroid cancer.”  Nitrate is a common groundwater contaminant that is sourced mainly from chemical fertilizers and animal waste. Nitrate is a common contaminant of drinking water, particularly in agricultural areas where nitrogen fertilizers are used. In 1962, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the drinking water standard of 10 mg/L of nitrate to prevent blue baby syndrome, a fatal infant blood disease. In addition to Iowa, the U.S. Geological Survey has also identified the following states as areas with high risk clusters from nitrate contamination to groundwater: Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, North and South Dakota, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. The report reviewed studies conducted in the U.S., Canada, and Australia […]

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04
Oct

Former Undisclosed Ingredients in Pesticide Products Found in Fish, Birds, and Dolphins

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2016) Chemicals previously used as  inert ingredients in pesticide formulations have been detected in a wide range of North American wildlife species, according to research published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. The compounds, perfluroalkyl phosphinic acids (PFPIAs), were widely used as anti-foaming agents in pesticide formulations until 2006, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took regulatory action to cancel  their use, citing “human health and environmental risks of concern.” However, the chemicals continue to be used today in consumer goods, including carpet cleaning formulas. While scientists did not find what they would consider high concentrations of the chemicals in wildlife, the ubiquity of the detections was found to be most concerning. Researchers detected the presence of PFPIAs in the blood of 100% of animals sampled. This includes northern pike in Montreal, Canada, cormorants from the Great Lakes, and bottlenose dolphins from Sarasota Bay, Florida. “We aimed for diversity: air-breathing versus water-breathing, differences in habitat, different taxonomic groups,” Amila O. De Silva, PhD, coauthor of the study, said to CNN. Part of the reason for the wide range of detection lies with the properties of these chemicals. They are highly stable and resist degradation from […]

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16
Sep

Take Action to Ban Atrazine: EPA Must Protect Wildlife!

(Beyond Pesticides, September 16, 2016) Tell EPA to ban all uses of atrazine in the United States! Atrazine, widely used on food and feed crops, golf courses, and residential lawns, is a potent endocrine disruptor that is  strongly associated with birth defects, cancer, sex reversal and hermaphroditism in many different animals. The European Union and other countries have banned atrazine, however EPA continues to put U.S. citizens and the environment in harm’s way, allowing nonstop use of this toxic chemical. Sign Beyond Pesticides’ petition to ban atrazine by October 5, 2016. Atrazine is the second-most widely used pesticide in the U.S., with over 73 million pounds applied each year. Atrazine has washed into surface water and leached into groundwater, spurring community water utilities  across the U.S. to file class-action lawsuits to remove the pesticide from drinking water supplies. Even at levels established as “safe” or acceptable by EPA drinking water standards, atrazine is linked to endocrine-disrupting effects. EPA is not adequately assessing the effects of atrazine by using high dose testing models, which are not appropriate for hormonally-active substances  that  often show effects at minute doses. Studies by Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley,  and others have shown that […]

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14
Sep

Legacy Contaminants Found in Swallow Eggs around the Great Lakes

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2016) According to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), high concentrations of dioxins and furans have been detected in tree swallow eggs collected near several sites around the Great Lakes. Other chemicals detected include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which were at background levels. The study is part of efforts to clean up a toxic chemical legacy around the Great Lakes, and the researchers believe their results are critical to regulators to assess “bird or animal deformity or reproductive problems” The study, “Concentrations and spatial patterns of organic contaminants in tree swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) eggs at United States and binational Great Lakes Areas of Concern, 2010—2015,” used tree swallows to quantify current exposure to organic contaminants across all five Great Lakes including 59 sites within 27  Areas of Concern (AOCs)  and 10 nearby  locations. The Great Lakes Areas of Concern refers to a U.S.-Canada  Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement  (Annex 1 of the 2012 Protocol) that  defines AOCs as “geographic areas designated by the Parties where significant  impairment of beneficial uses  has occurred as a result of human activities at the local level.” An AOC is a location that has […]

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15
Jul

Toxic Algae Bloom in Florida’s Largest Lake Tied to Chemical-Intensive Agriculture

(Beyond Pesticides, July 15, 2016) A toxic algae bloom that has expanded throughout Florida’s largest freshwater body, Lake Okeechobee, and around south Florida beaches, has created vast problems for residents, compelling Governor Rick Scott to declare an environmental state of emergency.  However, the Governor’s  declaration fails to address the root of the problem””including the extreme levels of nutrient buildup and the dangerous amount of phosphorous and nitrogen found in the water, caused by excess fertilization runoff from both chemically-intensive agricultural and residential sources. Instead, Gov. Scott has placed blame on the federal government due to their lack of proper maintenance on the Herbert Hoover Dike, which prevents Lake Okeechobee from overflowing into nearby water sources. While this is certainly problematic, the crux of the issue stems from the polluted water itself, which allows bacteria to grow swiftly when nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen are abundant. “We just are putting way too much nitrogen and phosphorus into our natural waters, and they respond,” Florida Atlantic University research professor, Bill Louda, Ph.D. told CBS news. A few weeks ago, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, as a means of flood prevention,  released  the lake’s water  into local canals  with a […]

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08
Jun

Public Comment Needed to End Atrazine Use after EPA Confirms Threat to Wildlife

(Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2016) With years of data documenting the harmful impacts of the herbicide atrazine on aquatic organisms and other wildlife, a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assessment now concludes that this widely used chemical poses risks to fish, amphibians, aquatic invertebrates, and even birds, reptiles and mammals. Atrazine is a potent endocrine disruptor with strong associations with birth defects, sex reversal and hermaphroditism in organisms, and whose risk to environmental and human health is exacerbated by pervasive surface, ground and drinking water contamination. Last week, EPA released its triazine ecological risk assessments for atrazine and its chemical cousins simazine, and propazine. The assessments evaluated risks to animals and plants including, amphibians, birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, aquatic invertebrates, aquatic plant communities, and terrestrial plants.  EPA is currently in the registration review process for these chemicals. For atrazine, EPA concludes, “aquatic plant communities are impacted in many areas where atrazine use is heaviest, and there is potential chronic risks to fish, amphibians, and aquatic invertebrate in these same locations. In the terrestrial environment, there are risk concerns for mammals, birds, reptiles, plants and plant communities across the country for many of the atrazine uses.” Levels of concerns were […]

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