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Weed Killers Dicamba and 2,4-D Found in Pregnant Women in Midwest USA, Linked to Serious Effects

Tuesday, May 21st, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2024) In a first-of-its kind series of biomonitoring studies published in Agrochemicals, researchers identified the presence of the herbicides dicamba and 2,4-D in all pregnant participants from both cohorts in 2010-2012 and 2020-2022. The findings from this research are not surprising given the explosion of toxic petrochemical pesticides in the Midwest region of the United States. “The overall level of dicamba use (kilograms applied in one hundred thousands) in the U.S. has increased for soybeans since 2015 and slightly increased for cotton and corn,” the authors report, based on U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agriculture Statistics Service surveys. “The overall level of 2,4-D use (kilograms applied in one hundred thousands) in the U.S. was highest in 2010 for wheat, soybeans, and corn. The amount of 2,4-D applied increased the most for soybeans and corn from 2010 to 2020.” The researchers focused on the states of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, given the increase in dicamba and 2,4-D during the study period for both cohorts (2010-2022). The researchers are based at Indiana University School of Medicine in the Department of Biostatistics and Health Data Science and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Quebec Toxicology Center within the Institut national […]

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EPA Draft Herbicide Strategy Update Further Weakens Plan to Protect Endangered Species

Wednesday, April 24th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2024) On April 16, 2024, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) posted an “update” to the Draft Herbicide Strategy Framework (Draft Herbicide Strategy Framework to Reduce Exposure of Federally Listed Endangered and Threatened Species and Designated Critical Habitats from the Use of Conventional Agricultural Herbicides) that was released last summer, weakening aspects of the agency’s efforts to “protect” endangered species from herbicide use. The update outlines three types of modifications to the Draft Strategy, including “simplifying” its approach, increasing growers’ “flexibility” when applying mitigation measures, and reducing the mitigation measures required in certain situations. By reducing the stringency of the Strategy, advocates are again questioning EPA’s commitment to fulfilling legal requirements under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) or protecting endangered species and their habitats in the midst of an unprecedented rate of global extinction. ESA is celebrated as one of the most far-reaching conservation laws globally, credited with preventing the extinction of 99 percent of those species the government targets for protection, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). ESA establishes a framework to categorize species as “endangered” or “threatened,” granting them specific protections. Under ESA, EPA is required to consult with relevant agencies […]

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Attack on Vulnerable Species Pilot Project: Opportunities to Engage with EPA on Endangered Species

Wednesday, February 28th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 28, 2024) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is putting on hold its Vulnerable Species Project (VSP) after vociferous comments from the petrochemical pesticide industry to instead, “create a narrow, tailored policy rather than a sweeping, burdensome one,” according to a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Upon heavy pushback from the petrochemical pesticide industry and agribusiness, EPA is hosting a variety of workshops and openings for the public to provide feedback not just on VSP, but the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Workplan the Biden Administration originally introduced in 2021 in its entirety. Advocates are calling for the strengthening of pesticide regulation given the impending decisions that may shape the fate of ESA-FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act) compliance for years to come. As EPA continues through its pesticide registration program to advance continued dependency on pesticides through its interpretation of FIFRA, despite the availability of nontoxic alternatives, endangered species extinction and biodiversity collapse has never been a high priority. While EPA has initiated efforts to address a significant backlog of pesticide evaluations, Civil Eats has reported that the agency faces a task so extensive that it may require several additional decades to fully catch up. EPA officials stated, “Even if EPA completed […]

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Bayer/Monsanto in Roundup/Glyphosate Case Stung with Largest Multi-Billion Dollar Jury Award, Asks States to Stop Litigation

Friday, February 23rd, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2024) The latest string of billion-dollar plaintiff judgments against Bayer/Monsanto, the maker of Roundup™ with active ingredient glyphosate, does not yet signal a capitulation by Bayer or a win for public health or the environment in the United States. A jury award of $2.25 billion, the largest to-date, was handed down in Philadelphia in January. As Beyond Pesticides reported previously, Monsanto has a long history of challenging scientific findings on Roundup/glyphosate and evidence of harm to human health, the environment, and crops themselves (see resistant super weeds here and here), as it seeks to avoid liability claims by those suffering from cancer.  Bayer Looking to State Legislatures for Protection from Lawsuits  As result of its failure in quash lawsuits, Bayer has moved its case to state legislatures, where it is seeking the adoption of statutes that preempt liability claims by damaged parties.  As reported by Beyond Pesticides, a rash of state legislation has been introduced in Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, and Florida, which would block plaintiff liability claims when pesticide products, like Roundup, cause harm. The chemical industry pushes the notion that the registration of its pesticide products with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a […]

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State Legislation Popping Up to Limit Liability of Pesticide Manufacturers

Thursday, February 22nd, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, Feb 22, 2024) The Idaho Senate failed to pass SB 1245 last week which would have provided legal protection to pesticide manufacturers from “failure-to-warn” liability. This legal framework has been pivotal not only for plaintiffs, who are typically users of a toxic product, seeking redress from exposure to glyphosate-based herbicide products such as Roundup, but can also potentially extend to any toxic pesticide products. Similar bills have recently been introduced in the Iowa, Florida, and Missouri state legislatures as petrochemical pesticide industry actors such as Bayer face billions of dollars in legal settlements from victims of pesticide injury. While the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) registration process permits the labeling of products with pesticidal claims based on compliance with testing requirements, the state legislation would establish EPA-authorized pesticide labels as definitive evidence that cannot be challenged in a court of law. The Idaho legislation, SB 1245, was introduced in January in the state Senate by Senator Mark Harris, who represents Soda Springs County, which has North America’s largest elemental phosphorus mine (phosphorus is a critical ingredient in developing glyphosate). Proponents of SB 1245 argue, “[This bill] protect[s] companies that produce safe pesticides critical to agriculture in […]

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Court Strikes Down EPA’s Allowance of Weedkiller Dicamba after Scathing Inspector General Report

Tuesday, February 13th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2024) Last week, the United States District Court for the District of Arizona struck down the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2021 approval of three dicamba-based herbicides. This is the second lawsuit since 2020 to call out EPA’s violation to both the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) to authorize the use of over-the-top (OTT) dicamba-based herbicide products from Bayer and other petrochemical pesticide companies. This rejection of dicamba-based herbicides fuels advocates’ push for stronger regulatory actions by EPA for all petrochemical pesticides and their push for the more widespread adoption of organic practices that do not use these chemicals. The case was filed by Center for Food Safety (CFS), Center for Biological Diversity, National Family Farm Coalition, and Pesticide Action Network North America. Beyond Pesticides has covered the dicamba tragedy for years, including the EPA Office of the Inspector General’s critical 2021 report, EPA Deviated from its Typical Procedures in Its 2018 Dicamba Pesticide Registration Decision. The report identifies EPA’s abandonment of science and assault on agency integrity. In addition to citing adverse impact on nontarget crops and the environment, the Court zeroes in on EPA’s failure to adequately manage […]

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Consumers Left High and Dry: Public Health Issues Persist with Cannabis Products and Production Practices

Wednesday, February 7th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2024) Sun + Earth Certified (SEC), a West Coast third-party regenerative organic certifier of cannabis products, approved the first certification for an East Coast farm in Brattleboro, Vermont – Rebel Grown. The expansion of independent certifications amidst the ongoing legalization of recreational and medicinal marijuana usage raises questions on the regulation of toxic petrochemical pesticides found in a range of cannabis products. SEC does establish, in its standards, the use of “biopesticides…[o]nly if the product brand name is approved for use in certified organic farming.” Additionally, the label goes beyond the stringency of the National Organic Program in its policy on potassium bicarbonate as an approved input. For example, SEC standards dictate that this input should be, “[f]or pest control as a last resort only… [and] only if the product brand name is approved for use in certified organic farming.” Rebel Grown– the new farm that acquired the SEC label – owner reported to Brattleboro Reformer, “Cannabis grown regeneratively, under the sun and in the soil, without toxic chemicals, is not only high quality but also the best for the earth.” Before delving into the weeds, there is important legal context on current regulations regarding marijuana […]

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Group Says Broader Biological Evaluation of Rodenticides Needed to Protect Endangered Species

Monday, January 29th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2024) With its draft Biological Evaluation of the impacts of rodenticides open for public comment until February 13, advocates are warning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that its inadequate review is unconscionable in view of the looming biodiversity collapse. “This is not a moment for business as usual and weak reviews that lead to wholly inadequate regulations in a time of crisis,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. Beyond Pesticides has tracked the scientific literature on the threat of rodenticides to wildlife, including an important study on contamination of eagles with rodenticides. Central to the concern about the deficiencies in EPA’s biological evaluation is the inadequate focus on secondary poisoning of listed endangered species fish and aquatic reptiles associated with predation of animals poisoned with rodenticides. In 2020, California passed the California Ecosystems Protection Act, AB 1788, which mostly bans on state lands rodenticides associated with secondary poisonings and initiated a broader review. Tell EPA to improve its protection of endangered species from rodenticides. In announcing the  2022 COP15 conference — the United Nation’s (UN’s) Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Development Programme set out the context for […]

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Court Finds EPA Allowance of Antibiotic Streptomycin Use on Citrus Illegal

Wednesday, December 20th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, December 20, 2023) A federal district court decision last week (December 13) found illegal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to register the antibiotic streptomycin for use in Florida citrus to control Huanglongbing (HLB), also known as “citrus greening,” a plant disease spread by the Asian citrus psyllid. This decision comes just as EPA may allow yet another controversial pesticide, aldicarb, whose registration faces similar issues of agency malfeasance. The streptomycin lawsuit, filed in 2021 by a coalition of farmworker and public interest groups including Beyond Pesticides, raises critical issues of antibiotic resistance, public health protection, and impacts on bees. The case was filed by: Natural Resources Defense Council and U.S. PIRG, represented by NRDC; Beyond Pesticides, Environmental Confederation of Southwest Florida (ECOSWF), Farmworker Association of Florida, Farmworker Justice, and Migrant Clinicians Network, represented by Earthjustice; and the Center for Biological Diversity, represented by in-house counsel. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals took EPA to task for its failure to conduct required analyses and issue findings to support the use of streptomycin for citrus greening. The court is particularly concerned about the agency’s failure to reach findings on the impacts on bees and the agency’s responsibility for […]

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Groups Petition EPA to Remove from the Market the Weed Killer Glyphosate

Tuesday, December 19th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2023) Last week, farmworker organizations and Beyond Pesticides, represented by the Center for Food Safety, filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging that the weed killer glyphosate be removed from the market. The petition cites 200 studies, which represent a fraction of the independent scientific literature on the hazards of glyphosate and formulation ingredients of glyphosate products. This action follows previous litigation in 2022 in which a federal court of appeals struck down EPA’s human health assessment, finding that the agency wrongfully dismissed glyphosate’s cancer risk. The farmworker groups petitioning include Farmworker Association of Florida, OrganizaciĂłn en California de Lideres Campesinas, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, and the Rural Coalition.   Meanwhile, verdicts against glyphosate’s manufacturer, Bayer, continue to pile up with a December jury verdict in Pennsylvania awarding $3.5 million and a November jury in Missouri ordering $1.56 billion to be paid to four plaintiffs. All link their cancer to use of the Roundup. Bayer has lost almost all of the cases filed against it for compensation and punitive damages associated with plaintiffs’ charge that its product (previously manufactured by Monsanto) caused them harm.  The petition summarizes its purpose and justification as […]

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Paraquat—The Continuing Environmental Threat Among All Species

Thursday, December 7th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, December 7, 2023) A new review published in Ecotoxicology reiterates what past studies have repeatedly stated: the herbicide paraquat (PQ) has profound adverse effects on wildlife at environmentally relevant concentrations. Moreover, these adverse effects span beyond the wilderness, as exposure to this highly toxic herbicide also impacts the health of people working with this chemical (e.g., pesticide applicators) or living adjacent to areas of chemical use. Current data gaps regarding the effects of environmentally relevant concentrations and exposure times, population- or ecosystem-level effects, and biomagnification potential contribute to the uncertainty of predicting risk from environmental PQ exposure. Furthermore, Beyond Pesticides has previously pointed out deficiencies in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ecological risk assessments for paraquat, highlighting failures to perform complete evaluations of the impacts of pesticides on threatened and endangered species. All this occurs amid documented threats to biodiversity from the combined effects of pesticides and climate change.  The review investigated paraquat in the environment, the chemical’s toxicity to nontarget species, and significant data gaps. Overall, the long-term risks of environmental PQ contamination for human and ecological communities can be challenging since the potential chronic effects from extended use are nearly unstudied. Most concerning is that PQ is […]

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Take Action Today: Tell EPA To End Pesticide Dependency, Endangered Species Plan Is Inadequate

Friday, October 20th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2023) Comments are due October 22. This action requires use of Regulations.gov. See instructions and proposed comment language that can be copy and pasted by clicking HERE. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plan to “protect” endangered species, its Draft Herbicide Strategy Framework, continues a legacy of failed risk assessment and mitigation measures that do not meet the moment of looming biodiversity collapse. This is a critical time for the agency to embrace real fundamental change in how it regulates pesticides, recognizing that land management strategies, including in agriculture, exist that are no longer reliant on pesticides. This is not a time to tinker with strategies that EPA admits fall short. Recognizing that its Pesticide Program has failed to meet its obligation to protect endangered species from registered pesticides, EPA has come up with a strategy to redefine its responsibilities to protect endangered species in its pesticide registration and registration review program. According to EPA, “The proposed Strategy is structured to provide flexibility to growers to choose mitigations that work best for their situation. Additionally, the draft Strategy may require more or less mitigation for growers/pesticide applicators depending on their location.” Understandably, EPA has taken this approach, […]

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EPA Rejects Petition Seeking Review of Complete Ingredients in Pesticide Products

Monday, October 16th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 16, 2023) After six years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally responded to a citizen petition requesting that the agency evaluate complete formulations of pesticide products, not just the ingredients the manufacturer claims attack the target pest (so-called “active” ingredients). EPA’s response: No. Nowhere in EPA’s denial of the need for a more robust toxicological analysis is the problem more evident than in its refusal to require analyses of the so-called “inert ingredients” or “adjuvants” included in various formulations of pesticide products. The citizen petition [see more background] was followed by a lawsuit for the same purpose in 2022. Inerts and formulants are substances that enhance the distribution or adhesion of the active ingredient; adjuvants enhance the effectiveness of the active ingredient. These terms suggest that those chemicals have no effect on anything in the area where the pesticide is applied—a wildly inaccurate implication. At least as early as 1987, EPA had recognized that some inerts and adjuvants were “of toxicological concern,” yet it still requires very few toxicological tests of whole-formula pesticides or their purportedly inactive components. EPA responded to the petition as follows: “[T]he Agency appropriately assesses, as part of its review, the impacts to […]

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Confronting Dramatic Biodiversity Loss on 50th Anniversary of Endangered Species Act

Monday, October 2nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 2, 2023) On the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), statements out of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raise concerns about the agency’s ability to meet the challenge of evaluating pesticides for their adverse impact on threatened and endangered species. While EPA has initiated efforts to address a significant backlog of pesticide evaluations, the agency faces a task so extensive that it may require several additional decades to fully catch up. EPA officials stated, “Even if EPA completed this work for all of the pesticides that are currently subject to court decisions and/or ongoing litigation, that work would take until the 2040s, and even then, would represent only 5 percent of EPA’s ESA obligations.”   As part of a “whole of government” approach, EPA must redirect its pesticide program to protecting all species and their habitats.   The speed and depth of biodiversity loss has reached crisis proportions. A 1,500-page report in 2019 by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES )—Global Assessment Summary for Policymakers, the most comprehensive look to date at the biodiversity crisis and its implications for human civilization, makes the following finding: “Since 1970, trends in agricultural production, fish harvest, […]

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

Thursday, September 28th, 2023

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

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Feds To Evaluate Endangered Species Impacts under Clean Water Act’s General Pesticide Permits

Wednesday, August 9th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2023) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have agreed to assess the harms of applying pesticides in waterways to threatened and endangered wildlife under a legal agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). Under the Clean Water Act, a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permit is needed when pollutants are discharged from a point source (an identifiable source) into the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS), but federal authorities, in their general permitting process, have long failed to assess effects to threatened and endangered species. According to the terms of the settlement agreement, FWS must complete consultations required under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to prevent harm to protected species such as bull trout, pallid sturgeon, Oregon spotted frogs, and other threatened aquatic organisms.  The agreement is a step in implementing the 1973 ESA, a law that is saving numerous species from extinction, facilitating the recovery of hundreds more, and enabling the preservation of habitats. The humpback whale, bald eagle, and snail darter are among the species that have been saved thanks to the ESA. For years, Beyond Pesticides has reported on decades of neglecting to fully implement and fund […]

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Degradation of Color Discrimination Associated with Glyphosate Exposure Impairs Bees’ Foraging Ability

Friday, July 28th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2023) A study published in Science of the Total Environment finds glyphosate can adversely impact sensory and cognitive processes in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris). Glyphosate exposure impairs bees’ learning of aversive stimuli like electric shocks paired with specific color discrimination. Additionally, the pesticide reduces attraction to UV (ultraviolet) light, specifically the color blue, and temporarily impacts locomotion and phototaxis (movement in response to light). These impairments to sensory and cognitive processes render foraging difficult for these glyphosate-exposed pollinators and vulnerable to unavoidable predators. The study highlights that symptoms of widespread chemical exposure may reduce foraging efficiency and adversely affect ecosystems, especially those dependent on insect pollinators.  Pollinator decline directly affects the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many plant species, both agricultural and nonagricultural, will decline or cease to exist as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly among native wild bees, limit crop yields. In turn, the economy will take a hit, since much of the economy (65%) depends upon the strength of the agricultural sector. As the science shows, pesticides are one of the most significant stressors for pollinators. In a world where habitat loss and fragmentation show no sign of abating, scientists have concluded that the globe cannot afford to continue […]

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A Reminder for Pollinator Week: Protect Pollinator and Habitat and Well-Being Against Dramatic Declines

Wednesday, June 21st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2023) Pollinators––bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other organisms––make a critical contribution to plant health, crop productivity, and the preservation of natural resources. However, pesticides consistently act as a key contributor to dramatic pollinator declines. Much research attributes the decline of insect pollinators over the last several decades to the interaction of multiple environmental stressors, from climate change to pesticide use, disease, habitat destruction, and other factors. Roughly a quarter of the global insect population has disappeared since 1990, according to research published in the journal Science. Monarchs are near extinction, and beekeepers continue to experience declines that are putting them out of business. We continue to lose mayflies, the foundation of many food chains, and fireflies, the foundation of many childhood summer memories. The declines in many bird species likely have close links to insect declines. Recent research finds that three billion birds, or 29% of bird abundance, have been lost since the 1970s. In a world where habitat loss and fragmentation show no sign of abating, scientists have concluded that the globe cannot afford to continue to subject its critically important wild insects to these combined threats.  Clean air, water, and healthy soils are integral to ecosystem function, interacting between Earth’s four main spheres (i.e., hydrosphere, […]

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Two Pesticides Threaten Dozens of Endangered Species, EPA Proposes Failed Risk Mitigation Measures

Friday, April 14th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 14, 2023) In March, scientists at the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a draft Biological Opinion (BiOp) stating that carbaryl and methomyl — two commonly used carbamate insecticides — cause significant harm to dozens of already-endangered fish species in the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia, Willamette, and Snake rivers. The BiOp indicates that these toxic compounds, in wide use on orchards and field vegetables throughout the Willamette Valley, the Columbia River Gorge, and southeastern Washington, will likely threaten scores of species on the Endangered Species list: 37 species at risk from carbaryl and 30 from methomyl. In addition, the BiOp says, “both are likely to harm or destroy many areas designated as critical habitat for endangered species.” The mitigation measures proposed by NMFS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in light of this BiOp, are likely to be inadequate to the problem, given that both compounds can drift through air and/or migrate into groundwater and generate toxic runoff. These two neurotoxic insecticides, carbaryl and methomyl, are very toxic to bees, birds, fish, and other aquatic organisms. In addition, carbaryl is a likely human carcinogen and an endocrine disruptor, and has harmful impacts on multiple bodily systems. Methomyl is […]

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Four Pesticides Restricted to Protect Salmon, Thousands of Other Endangered Species Imperiled

Friday, February 10th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 10, 2023) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced, on February 1, new measures to protect 28 endangered salmon species (including steelhead trout) from the use of four pesticides that threaten them and their critical habitats. Those compounds comprise three herbicides — metolachlor, bromoxynil, and prometryn, and one soil fumigant, 1,3-Dichloropropene. The protections, aimed at salmon populations in Washington, Oregon, and California, are meant to reduce impacts from pesticide runoff and spray drift, and to minimize potential “take.” (Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), “take” means, essentially, the unintentional harming or killing of an individual of a protected species — in this case, harm or death from exposures to these toxic pesticide compounds.) Beyond Pesticides and other advocates have for years warned that multiple pesticides are threats to Northwest salmon and other species at risk. This EPA announcement is the second of two, recently, that offer slight redress to the agency’s historical failures to act (see more below). Indeed, advocates have engaged in multiple litigation efforts over the years to try to force EPA to take action; EarthJustice in 2001 noted some early instances. As Chemical and Engineering News says pointedly, “Environmental groups, which have been suing […]

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Meaningful Budget Required to Save Endangered Species

Tuesday, January 17th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 17, 2023) One of the world’s most successful conservation laws—the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA)—was enacted in 1973. Since then, it has saved countless imperiled species from extinction, put hundreds more on the road to recovery, and has enabled the preservation of habitats that support all of us. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, the humpback whale, bald eagle, and snail darter are still with us. The ESA is our most powerful tool to combat the extinction crisis and stem the loss of biodiversity currently facing our country and the global community. However, decades of underfunding have kept it from realizing its full potential. Tell the Biden Administration and Congress to provide adequate funding for the Endangered Species Act. The Biden Administration must significantly increase its budget request for endangered species in FY24. A budget of $841 million for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is needed to fully implement the Endangered Species Act. Currently, FWS only receives around 50% of the funding required to properly implement the Act. The money is needed to support the following activities. Listing: FWS needs at least $66.3 million, or an increase of at least $11.3 million per year for at […]

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EPA’s Failure to Regulate Endocrine-Disrupting Pesticides before a Federal Court. . . Again

Friday, January 6th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2023) Plaintiffs in a recent pesticide lawsuit against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reprise, in their arguments, a critique proffered repeatedly by Beyond Pesticides: the agency has failed, for many years, to evaluate and regulate endocrine-disrupting pesticides adequately. The suit, according to Progressive Farmer, argues that the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) — legislation that mandated that EPA establish “tolerances” for pesticides in foods and regulate on those bases — required EPA to develop an endocrine disruptor screening program (EDSP) and to implement it by 1999. The litigation goes on to note that “more than twenty-five years after the passage of the FQPA, EPA has yet to implement the EDSP it created and further, has failed to even initiate endocrine testing for approximately 96% of registered pesticides.” Plaintiffs are asking the court, among other requests (see below) to order “EPA to complete all actions required under the FQPA at issue in this case as soon as reasonably practicable, according to a Court-ordered timeline.” Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can, even at low exposure levels, disrupt normal hormonal (endocrine) function. Endocrine disruptors function by: (1) mimicking the action of a naturally produced hormone, such as estrogen […]

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Time Running Out To Save the Manatees, Effort Launched to Classify Them as Endangered

Monday, December 5th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2022) A petition filed last week with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) urges increased protections for the West Indian manatee after dramatic declines in its population over recent years. In 2017, USFWS downgraded the classification of the manatee from endangered—a category that broadly protects against “take,” defined as “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct”—to threatened, for which an “acceptable” level of “take” is allowed. Following the downlisting of the species, manatee populations have declined dramatically. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to upgrade the Florida manatee to endangered and require protection from chemical pollution. Tell your Congressional Representative to cosponsor H.R. 4946 and your Senators to introduce identical legislation. Tell Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to protect manatees. Florida manatees, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), can live as long as 60 years, weigh up to 1,200 lbs, and have no natural predators. The biggest threat to these peaceful marine mammals is human activity. Humans harm manatees directly through boat strikes and encounters with fishing equipment, canal locks, and other flood control structures, but the largest threat […]

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