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EU and U.S. Pesticide Regulators Ignore Developmental Neurotoxicity of Pesticides, Industry Hides Data

Friday, June 9th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2023) Glyphosate, usually marketed as the herbicide Roundup, has long been the poster child for shoddy regulation by both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). In a study published June 1, 2023 in Environmental Health by Axel Mie and Christina Rudén, PhD, of Stockholm University and the Centre for Organic Food and Farming in Uppsala, the authors followed up on earlier work that documented deficiencies in information provided to European Union (EU) regulators by manufacturers. They identified nine studies on developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) that had been submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) but were not disclosed to EU authorities. According to the research, those studies would have “actual or potential regulatory impact.” According to the authors: “Of the nine undisclosed DNT studies, three were sponsored by Bayer and performed in their own laboratory. Three studies were sponsored by Syngenta and performed in their Central Toxicology Laboratory. One study each was sponsored by Nissan Chemicals and Ishihara Sangyo Kaisha (ISK), and these were performed at Huntingdon Life Sciences. For the remaining study, the sponsor and laboratory are unknown to us.” This study is a new example of regulatory […]

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Spring into Action in 2023; Be the Best You can Be(e)

Wednesday, April 12th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2023) Spring represents a period of increased water, soil, and general ecosystem pollution, correlated with increased pesticide use and increased rainfall. Thus, April showers bring May flowers, and often pesticides. We offer this overview to share with friends, family, and your community in an effort to elevate the urgent need to eliminate pesticides and make the shift to organic land management. Pesticides are pervasive in the environment, affecting all ecosystems, including air, water, and soil. Like clean air and water, healthy soils are integral to ecosystem function, interacting between Earth’s four main spheres (i.e., hydrosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere) to support life. Pesticide use results in pervasive contamination of treated and nontarget sites. Even organic farmers and gardeners globally suffer from the widespread movement of pesticides through the air, water, and runoff from land. Attempts to protect property and ecosystems from pesticide use are a difficult, some say impossible, challenge. Efforts to prevent contamination become a large burden, with attempts to curtail pesticide drift with buffer zone areas and eliminate fertilizers or soil supplements with pesticide residues (e.g., manure and compost). Furthermore, the effects of climate change only exacerbate threats to ecosystem health, as studies show a […]

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Toxic Train Derailment Raises Need for Systemic Change  

Tuesday, February 21st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2023) The recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, should be a reminder to all of us that problems with our reliance on toxic chemicals go beyond broadcasting them on fields. In order to get pesticides to their point of use, toxic precursors and ingredients must be transported. Toxic waste products are also delivered to a location where they may be burned or deposited in a landfill. In weighing the hazards of toxic pesticides, these ancillary hazards should also be considered. Tell EPA and Congress that all impacts of toxic chemicals—from cradle to grave—must be considered before allowing their use.      The freight train that derailed February 3, 2023 in East Palestine was carrying a number of toxic chemicals. EPA notified the railroad, “EPA has spent, or is considering spending, public funds to investigate and control releases of hazardous substances or potential releases of hazardous substances at the Site. Based on information presently available to EPA, EPA has determined that Norfolk Southern Railway Company (Norfolk Southern or “you”) may be responsible under CERCLA [Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act–Superfund] for cleanup of the Site or costs EPA has incurred in cleaning up the Site.” But […]

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Train Tragedy Highlights Law’s Failure to End Use of Needless Toxic Pesticides and Co-formulants

Friday, February 17th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 17, 2023) The February 3 derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in Ohio has been huge news. Less well known perhaps is that 20 of the 50 cars involved were carrying hazardous materials, defined by the National Transportation Safety Board as “cargo that could pose any kind of danger ‘including flammables, combustibles, or environmental risks.’” The incident resulted in a huge fire, evacuations, and worries about explosions and discharge of toxic chemical gases; on February 6, officials conducted “controlled releases” of some of the chemicals. Some of the toxic chemicals involved are precursors to production of synthetic pesticides. [Eds. Note: We are deeply concerned for the victims of this terrible crisis who are asking legitimate questions about contaminated drinking water and the effects of both the initial acute exposure after the derailment, resulting in the release of toxic chemicals, and long-term exposure to low levels of toxic residues in homes and the environment.] Among the compounds on board those 20 cars were “inert” pesticide ingredients (vinyl chloride, ethylhexyl acrylate, and isobutylene), an antimicrobial compound (ethylene glycol monobutyl ether [EGBE]), benzene (a carcinogenic solvent), and butyl acrylate. This event brings into high relief the cradle-to-grave issues that travel […]

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USDA Urged to Evaluate Undisclosed Inert Ingredients in Organic, as Required by Law

Monday, December 12th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 12, 2022) It is time for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to follow through on its duty to assess individual “inert” ingredients used in organic production. In creating the original regulations for the National Organic Program (NOP), USDA—based on the recommendation of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB)—decided to postpone the evaluation of so-called “inert” ingredients until active materials had been reviewed for the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. In this context, “inert” is a misleading legal term since the ingredient may be chemically or biologically active, but not included for purposes of attacking a target organism. The first regulation and all subsequent revisions have allowed the use of “inert” ingredients on EPA’s former Lists 4A (“minimal risk inert ingredients”) and 4B (“other ingredients for which EPA has sufficient information to reasonably conclude that the current use pattern in pesticide products will not adversely affect public health or the environment”). A limited number on List 3 (“inerts of unknown toxicity”) were allowed in pheromone products. [This action requires a submission at Regulations.gov. You can copy and paste from the suggested comment below. Comments are due December 31, 2022.] Tell USDA that the National Organic Program […]

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Weed Killer Use Destroys Soil Life and Ecosystems, Paper Finds

Friday, November 11th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 11, 2022) A paper published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution in late October sounds an unnerving alarm about the globally ubiquitous use of herbicides and the ecological destruction being caused. It asserts that widespread environmental contamination with these herbicide compounds is influencing soil, plant, and animal microbiomes in ways that are not only not well understood, but also, can have significant impacts on the functioning of organisms and their ecosystems — with evolutionary implications. Impacts of herbicides on microbiota in soils include, for example, those on nutrient cycling, and altered organism and plant performance, which can affect pollination and animal consumption of plants. This research reinforces what Beyond Pesticides wrote in covering a 2021 study: “The popular herbicide glyphosate negatively affects microbial communities, indirectly influencing plant, animal, and human health. Exposure to sublethal concentrations of glyphosate shifts microbial community composition, destroying beneficial microorganisms while preserving pathogenic organisms.” Herbicides are a category of pesticide used to control weeds in agriculture and commercial forests, on managed landscapes, byways, gardens, and lawns, and directly on surface waters to control aquatic weeds. They are designed to kill “target” plant species considered undesirable in any of those circumstances. Herbicide use has exploded […]

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Pesticide Mixtures Reduce Life Span of Honey Bees, Damage Gut Microbiome

Tuesday, November 1st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2022) Honey bees exposed to a combination of multiple pesticides suffer a reduced lifespan and experience adverse changes to their gut microbiome, increasing susceptibility to pathogens and disease. This finding comes from a study published recently in Science of the Total Environment, which examines the interactions between the insecticides flupyradifurone and sulfoxaflor and the fungicide azoxystrobin on honey bee health. Both insecticides studied are considered substitutes for notorious bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides, which move through the vascular system of the plant and contaminates its pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets. As declines in pollinator and insect life continue throughout the world, it is critical not only to understand and restrict widely used chemicals like neonicotinoids, but also the regrettable and deleterious substitutions the agrichemical industry has developed to replace them. As the present study reveals, pesticide risk assessments do not inadequately capture the range of harm that can result when pesticides are combined, necessitating a shift toward safer, alternative, and regenerative organic farming systems that do not use these dangerous chemicals. To better understand the impacts of combined pesticide exposure on honey bees, researchers employed three colonies located in Germany’s Martin Luther University that were inspected and free […]

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Glyphosate Based Herbicides and Bee Health: The American Bumble Bee

Thursday, October 20th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticide, October 20,2022) Exposure to environmentally relevant levels of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) weakens bumblebees’ (Bombus Terrestris) ability to distinguish between colors or fine-color discrimination. According to research published in Science of The Total Environment, a lack of fine-color discrimination skills can threaten bumble bee survivability through impact on colony fitness and individual foraging success. Much research attributes the decline of insect pollinators (e.g., commercial and wild bees and monarch butterflies) over the last several decades to the interaction of multiple environmental stressors, from climate change to pesticide use, disease, habitat destruction, and other factors. In the U.S., an increasing number of pollinators, including the American bumblebee and monarch butterfly, are being added or in consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act, with specific chemical classes like systemic neonicotinoid insecticides putting 89% or more of U.S. endangered species at risk. 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, limits crop yields. In turn, the economy will take a hit, as much of the economy (65%) depends upon the strength of the agricultural sector. As science shows, pesticides are one of the most significant stressors […]

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EPA Confirms PFAS “Forever Chemicals” Leach into Pesticides from Storage Containers

Wednesday, September 14th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2022) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is confirming that PFAS (per and polyfluorinated alykyl substances) forever chemicals leach into pesticides from their storage containers, and is taking steps to remove 12 “inert” PFAS ingredients that are currently allowed to be added to pesticide products. The agency’s move is a step toward some measure of health protections from chemicals that may have been widely sprayed throughout many American communities, and have been linked to cancer, liver damage, birth and developmental problems, reduced fertility, and asthma. However, many advocates indicate EPA’s actions on PFAS inerts do not go far enough, and the agency’s findings regarding leaching storage containers are accompanied by no meaningful restrictions on their use. Following reports and preliminary testing conducted in 2020 showing that PFAS chemicals are present in a widely used mosquito adulticide, EPA began investigating the source of this contamination. Testing on the product Anvil 10+10, produced by the company Clarke, resulted in detection of nine different PFAS chemicals. Early indications indicate that the high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers used to store pesticides contained PFAS substances on their walls, and that those chemicals are leaching into the liquid pesticides stored in contaminated barrels. These […]

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PFAS Rain? ‘Forever Chemicals’ Contaminate Global Water Resources

Wednesday, August 31st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 31, 2022) No rainwater on Earth is safe for consumption and use as per-, and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) readily contaminate the hydrological ecosystem (properties, distribution, and circulation of water), according to a study published in Environmental Science and Technology. This finding is concerning as it adds to research demonstrating chemical pollutants (e.g., pesticides, pharmaceuticals, PFAS, heavy metals, radioactive material, etc.) exceed the “planetary boundary” contamination and needs addressing. The Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University study, “Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity,” emphasizes that there are nine “planetary boundaries” related to climate change, biodiversity loss, the nitrogen cycle, the phosphorous cycle, stratospheric ozone depletion, ocean acidification, global freshwater use, changes/intensification of land use, atmospheric aerosol loading, and chemical pollution. When crossing these boundaries, the risk of generating large-scale abrupt or irreversible environmental changes increases. In fact, anthropogenic (human) activities are increasing global contamination levels past safe thresholds. Studies have already found that current human operations are quantifiable in almost all nine planetary boundaries and exceed the threshold for at least four out of the nine boundaries. Most recently, a 2022 report concludes that humanity exceeds planetary boundaries related to environmental pollutants and other “novel entities,” including plastics and pesticides. […]

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Take Action: Male Fertility Harmed by Pesticides and EPA Dysfunction

Monday, July 18th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2022) The failure of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to meet its statutory responsibility to protect people and wildlife from the dire consequences of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals must end. A study published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology adds urgency to the need to eliminate endocrine-disrupting pesticides. The authors find that prepubescent exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including pesticides, impairs male reproduction through the interruption of testicular homeostasis and development of reproductive Leydig cells, and can have multigenerational effects. This adds to the long list of scientific articles showing EPA neglect of the devastating effects of widely used pesticides. Tell EPA that pesticide use cannot continue without findings of no endocrine disruption. Tell Congress to ensure that EPA does its job. More than 50 pesticide active ingredients have been identified as endocrine disruptors that mimic the action of a naturally-produced hormone, such as estrogen or testosterone, thereby setting off similar chemical reactions in the body; block hormone receptors in cells, thereby preventing the action of normal hormones; or affect the synthesis, transport, metabolism and excretion of hormones, thus altering the concentrations of natural hormones. Endocrine disruptors have been linked to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), […]

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Maine Moves to Ban Pesticides and Fertilizers Contaminated with PFAS

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, April 19, 2022) Both houses of Maine’s legislature have just approved a bill that would, by 2030, ban pesticides that contain PFAS chemicals — the so-called “forever chemicals.” The bill’s next stop is the Appropriations Committee, for approval of $200,000 in annual funding to enact the bill; if successful there, it will move to the desk of Maine Governor Janet Mills for her signature. The legislation is one of a suite of lawmaker efforts in the state to address the growing PFAS problem with which localities across the U.S. are struggling. In this Daily News Blog article, Beyond Pesticides continues its coverage of the scourge of PFAS chemicals, particularly as it relates to pesticide use and the use of fertilizers made from PFAS-contaminated “biosludge” from municipal treatment facilities. PFAS — “per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances” — are any of a family of more than 9,000 synthetic chemicals, invented in, and widely deployed since, the 1950s in a multitude of industrial and consumer products. PFAS molecules are made up of a chain of linked carbon and fluorine atoms; the carbon–fluorine bond is one of the strongest chemical bonds that exists, which means that these compounds do not break down in the […]

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Increased Accumulation of Disinfectant Chemicals in the Body during the Pandemic Threatens Health, Despite Available Alternatives

Tuesday, February 1st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2022) A study published in Environmental Science and Technology finds that concentrations of quaternary ammonium compounds (QUATs or QACs) in the human body have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, raising health and safety concerns. QACs include a variety of chemicals in personal care, pharmaceutical, and medical products used as disinfectants, sanitizers, antimicrobials. However, over the past 70 years, large-scale production and use of these compounds led to accumulation in the environment, including surface water, sediment, and soil. Previously, researchers thought most QACs lack the potential to bioaccumulate,  as the chemicals are highly water-soluble, while dermal and oral absorption rates are low. However, emerging evidence demonstrates that specific QACs bioaccumulate in blood and other body tissues and can cause a range of toxic effects. Therefore, studies like this highlight the significance of monitoring chemical exposure for adverse health effects. The researchers note, “Further efforts are needed to explore the relationship between the use of QAC-containing products and the levels of QACs in human blood or of their metabolites in urine. Considering the increased use of some QACs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, our findings warrant further exposure and epidemiological research focused on QACs.” Amidst the outbreak […]

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Global Chemical Pollution Exceeds Safe Limits for Humanity

Friday, January 21st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, January 21, 2022) The bottom-line conclusion of a recent study is that global chemical pollution has now exceeded a safe limit for humanity. As reported by The Guardian, “The cocktail of chemical pollution that pervades the planet now threatens the stability of global ecosystems upon which humanity depends.” Published in Environmental Science & Technology, the research paper asserts that the creation and deployment (into the materials stream and environment) of so many “novel entities” (synthetic chemicals) is happening at a pace that eclipses human ability to assess and monitor them. The study team calls this exceedance of the “planetary boundary” of such chemical pollution “the point at which human-made changes to the Earth push it outside the stable environment of the last 10,000 years.” According to Beyond Pesticides, which covers pesticide (and other kinds of) chemical pollution, these results underscore a grim twin reality to the human-caused climate emergency, and should be a dire warning on the state of our shared environment and a time for systemic movement to eliminate fossil fuel-based pesticides and fertilizers. Hailing from Sweden, the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, and Switzerland, members of the research team define “novel entities” as those compounds and materials […]

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Secret Inert Ingredient in ‘Bee Safe’ Pesticide Found to Kill Bumblebees

Thursday, November 11th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 11, 2021) Evidence is building that so-called ‘inert’ ingredients in pesticide formulations are harming pollinators and undermining regulatory determinations that designate products as ‘bee-safe.’ According to a new study published in Scientific Reports, the fungicide Amistar causes lethal and sublethal effects that can be primarily attributed not to its active ingredient azoxystrobin, but to alcohol ethoxylates, a co-formulant, or inert ingredient intentionally added to a pesticide formulation. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) utilizes a ‘bee advisory box’ on pesticide labels to indicate danger to pollinators, results of this and previous studies on inert ingredients underline how EPA’s ‘cute little bee icon’ is little more than window dressing for massive regulatory failures and a pollinator crisis that has shown no signs of abating. Scientists at Royal Holloway University in London, UK began their study with three packaged colonies of Bombus terrestris, a European bumblebee often bred for commercial use in greenhouses throughout the world. In order to suss out differences in toxicity between the various ingredients in the formulated Amistar fungicide, bees were separated into multiple groups. One group acted as a positive control, and was dosed with dimethoate, a pesticide known to be highly toxic […]

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Tell EPA and Congress to Protect the Integrity of Minimum Risk Pesticides

Monday, October 4th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2021) Recent findings of high levels of toxic pesticides in products permitted to be used as “minimum risk pesticides” (terminology used for essentially nontoxic) point to the need for greater oversight of these products and more severe penalties for violations. Pesticides classified as minimum risk are allowed under Section 25(b) of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) [40 CFR 152.25(f)] to be used without going through EPA’s pesticide registration process. These products are limited to a specific list of ingredients, and all ingredients, including “inert” ingredients, are required to be listed on the label.  Minimum risk pesticides are used by organic growers, municipalities, and others who are not permitted to use, or choose to avoid, toxic chemicals.  Tell EPA and Congress to protect the integrity of minimum risk pesticides. Organic growers can lose their organic certification if they apply materials that are prohibited, which include the toxic ingredients glyphosate, bifenthrin, permethrin, cypermethrin, and carbaryl, found by the state of California in dangerous and misbranded Eco-MIGHT and W.O.W. (Whack Out Weeds!) products, falsely labeled as 25(b) minimum risk. Contamination of these products came to light in late July, when the California Department of Food and […]

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Organic Must Lead the Way in Environmental and Health Protection

Monday, September 13th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2021) The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public through September 30. This precedes the upcoming public comment webinar on October 13-14 and online meeting October 19-21—in which the NOSB deliberates on issues concerning how organic food is produced. Written comments must be submitted through Regulations.gov. As always, there are many important issues on the NOSB agenda this Fall. For a complete discussion, see Keeping Organic Strong (KOS) and the Fall 2021 issues page. In the spirit of “continuous improvement,” we urge you to submit comments (please feel free to use our comments on the KOS page) that contribute to an increasingly improved organic production system. The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) requires that all synthetic materials used in organic production be approved by the NOSB, included on the National List, and reassessed every five years. Among those up for sunset review this Fall are some controversial materials—copper sulfate, carrageenan, and list 3 “inerts.” In addition, the NOSB is once more considering a petition to allow the antibiotic kasugamycin in fruit production. Copper sulfate is used in organic rice production to control algae and an invertebrate known as tadpole shrimp. It […]

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Inspector General Rips EPA for Failure to Test Pesticides for Endocrine Disruption

Friday, August 20th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 20, 2021) The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a damning report on the agency’s progress in protecting the population from potentially damaging endocrine disruption impacts of exposures to synthetic chemical pesticides (and other chemicals of concern). The report’s summary statement says, “Without the required testing and an effective system of internal controls, the EPA cannot make measurable progress toward complying with statutory requirements or safeguarding human health and the environment against risks from endocrine-disrupting chemicals.” This OIG report identifies and details the failings that Beyond Pesticides covered in an April 2021 Daily News Blog article, and many more — the net of which is that “we have yet to see EPA use endocrine disruption findings in pesticide registration decisions.” The OIG report chronicles a litany of failures. It finds that EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), which is responsible for testing all pesticide chemicals for endocrine disrupting activity in humans, has failed to do so. Specifically, it has not implemented a section of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), as amended by the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act — the legislation that […]

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Breakdown Products (Metabolites) from Pesticides May Be More Toxic than Parent Compound, Study Finds

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2021) Nearly half of all breakdown products (transformation products) from four common-use environmental pesticides produce stronger endocrine (hormone) disrupting (ED) effects than the parent compound, according to new research published in Environment International. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts—from chemicals in plastics to cosmetic/personal care products—are commonly present in water bodies, food commodities, and human blood/urine samples. These toxicants can alter hormone metabolism, producing endocrine-disrupting effects that put the health of animals, humans, and the environment at risk. Many ecological and health risk assessments for pesticides focus on the effects of parent chemical compound products, overlooking the potential impacts of transformation products (TPs). Therefore, studies like these highlight the need to assess the implications of TPs to safeguard human, animal, and environmental health. The researchers note, “Since an increasing number of pesticide TPs have been detected in various environmental media, a more comprehensive understanding of the ecological risk of pesticide TPs is imperative for risk assessments more extensively and regulatory policy-making on pesticide restriction in the future.” Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotics (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem), including pesticides, bisphenols, phthalates, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and heavy metals. Past research demonstrates exposure […]

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Roundup Shown to Kill Bees—But Not How You Might Expect

Tuesday, April 20th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2021) Roundup products manufactured by Bayer-Monsanto kill exposed bumblebees at high rates, according to a new study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, which points to undisclosed inert ingredients (those that typically make up a majority of the product formulation) as the primary culprit. Roundup products have become synonymous with their main active ingredient glyphosate, but Bayer-Monsanto has been quietly reformulating its flagship product with different herbicides in a likely attempt to rebrand as glyphosate cancer lawsuits drag down the company’s performance. The new study reveals that these new Roundup products present the same hazards to pollinators as glyphosate-based formulations, raising important questions about the pesticide regulatory process. Researchers based at Royal Holloway University of London, UK conducted the present study to better understand the hazards posed by herbicides often characterized as “bee safe” to the public. To do so, 10 healthy bumblebee (Bombus spp) colonies were retained, split into small groups, and sprayed with a particular herbicide. Four different herbicide products were employed, including: i) Fast Action Roundup® Ready‐To‐Use (containing glyphosate); ii) Roundup® Speed Ultra (containing acetic acid and no glyphosate); iii) Weedol® Gun! Rootkill Plus (containing glyphosate) and; iv) Roundup® ProActive (contains glyphosate […]

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Breast Cancer Rates Higher Among African American Women from Disproportionate Chemical Exposure

Thursday, February 25th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, February 25, 2021) A University of Michigan study finds a link between elevated rates of breast cancer incidents and chemical exposure from pesticides among African American women. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, causing the second most cancer-related deaths in the United States. However, breast cancer outcomes differ significantly among women of various races/ethnicities, with African American women being 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than women of any other race. Furthermore, incidences of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC)—an aggressive breast cancer subtype lacking remediation—is approximately three-fold higher in non-Hispanic Black women (NHBW) compared to non-Hispanic White women (NHWW). Although past studies suggest genetic and environmental factors interact to produce these differences in breast cancer outcomes, genetic factors only play a minor role while disparities (differences) in external factors (i.e., chemical exposure) may play a more notable role. This study highlights the significance of understanding how chemical exposure drives disease outcomes and increases disease risk, especially for more virulent diseases that disproportionately (unequally) impact specific communities. Prior research infers differences in chemical exposure may explain racial disparities for several illnesses, and growing evidence suggests common chemical exposure patterns influence the risk of breast cancer. […]

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Scientists Discover Parasite that “Liquifies” Slugs, Shows Promise as Potential New Biological Control

Tuesday, December 8th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, December 8, 2020) Researchers at Oregon State University recently made a promising discovery that could significantly improve the ability for North American farmers and gardeners to manage invasive, crop damaging slugs. It isn’t a pesticide, but a nematode (Phasmarhabditis spp.), a microscopic animal whose phylum contains potentially millions of different species. Oregon State researchers think they’ve found the specific type of nematode that will parasitize and kill Deroceras reticulatum, also known as the grey garden slug. The research underscores the critical importance of funding and supporting research on biological controls and other non-toxic pest management approaches.   Researchers were keyed into the potential to use nematodes for slug biocontrol by a product that has been successfully used in Europe for over 25 years, known as Nemaslug. However, the product is not registered in the United States by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “The thought process is that if it works in Europe and we find it here and it works here, it might be easier to get it registered by the EPA,” study coauthor Rory Mc Donnell, PhD, said. “If we can provide evidence it’s native, that makes a strong case for developing it as a bio-control. […]

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PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Mosquito Pesticide, Raising Concerns Over Widespread Contamination

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, December 2, 2020) PFAS (per and polyfluorinated alykyl substances) ‘forever chemicals’ are being detected in a commonly used mosquito pesticide known as Anvil 10+10, according to reporting from the Boston Globe based on independent testing from a watchdog group and state regulators. PFAS are a large family of nearly 5,000 chemicals that may never break down in the environment and have been linked to cancer, liver damage, birth and developmental problems, reduced fertility, and asthma. The chemicals already disproportionately contaminate people of color communities, and there is evidence they reduce the efficacy of vaccines. While many may be familiar with PFAS for its use in nonstick cookware, electrical wire insulation, personal care products, food packaging, textiles, and other consumer goods, its presence within an already toxic pesticide is alarming. Perhaps most concerning, neither the manufacturer nor regulators have a good understanding of how exactly PFAS chemicals made their way into pesticide products. “This is an issue that cuts to the core of what’s wrong with our federal system for regulating pesticides,” said Drew Toher, community resource and policy director at Beyond Pesticides. “The finding makes it imperative that EPA review and disclose full pesticide formulations before allowing the […]

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