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Advocates Seek To Keep Organic on the Cutting Edge of Change for a Sustainable Future

Monday, April 1st, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2024) Comments are due 11:59 pm EDT, Wednesday, April 3. For the public comment period—deadline Wednesday, April 3—in the lead up to the National Organic Standard Board (NOSB) meeting, advocates have identified the following priority issues: Getting plastics our of organic; Removing endocrine disrupting nonylphenols (NPs) and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) iodine from dairy production and replace with available alternatives; and Continuing to improve the science supporting ongoing decisions of the NOSB. (See below for details and opportunity to submit comments on these with one click!) Previously, Beyond Pesticides has reported on three additional priority issues, including; Reject the petition to allow unspecified “compostable materials” in compost allowed in organic production; Eliminate nonorganic ingredients in processed organic foods as a part of the Board’s sunset review of allowed materials; and  Ensure that so-called “inert” ingredients in the products used in organic production meet the criteria in OFPA with an NOSB assessment.  (Please see the prior action on these issues and submit comments, if not done previously.) Beyond Pesticides asks the public to join in commenting on priority issues that protect health and the environment as part of the upcoming NOSB meeting. The NOSB is receiving written comments from the […]

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Getting Toxics Out of Food Production and Communities Requires Strong Organic Standards

Monday, March 18th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2024) Comments are due by 11:59 pm EDT on April 3, 2024. Organic standard setting provides for democratic input, full transparency, and continuous improvement. The current public comment period is an important opportunity for the public to engage with the organic rulemaking process to ensure that the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and the USDA National Organic Program uphold the values and principles set forth in the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). With the threats to health, biodiversity, and climate associated with petrochemical pesticide and fertilizer use in chemical-intensive land management, advocates stress that this is critical time to keep organic strong and continually improving. Organic maintains a unique place in the food system because of its high standards, public input, inspection system, and enforcement mechanism. But, organic will only grow stronger if the public participates in voicing positions on key issues to the NOSB, a stakeholder advisory board. Beyond Pesticides has identified key issues for the upcoming NOSB meeting below! The NOSB is receiving written comments from the public on key issues through April 3, 2024. This precedes the upcoming public comment webinar on April 23 and 25 and the deliberative hearing on April 29 through […]

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Petrochemical Pesticides, Fertilizers, and Plastics Linked to Dire Health Effects while Alternatives Are Available

Thursday, March 14th, 2024

 (Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2024)  A recent review in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) highlights the urgent need to address the widespread chemical pollution stemming from the petrochemical industry, underscoring the dire implications for public health. Tracey Woodruff, PhD, author and professor at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), emphatically states in an email comment to Beyond Pesticides, “We need to recognize the very real harm that petrochemicals are having on people’s health. Many of these fossil-fuel-based chemicals are endocrine disruptors, meaning they interfere with hormonal systems, and they are part of the disturbing rise in disease.” Beyond Pesticides echoes this concern, noting that endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) include many pesticides and are linked to a plethora of health issues such as infertility, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, early puberty, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and childhood and adult cancers.  (See Beyond Pesticides’ Disease database here and news coverage here). The review further calls on the clinical community to advocate for policy changes aimed at mitigating the health threats posed by petrochemical-derived EDCs and climate change. Beyond Pesticides urgently calls for the elimination of petrochemical pesticides and fertilizers and advocates for a systemic […]

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Inspector General Finds Widely Used Flea Collars Still Not Fully Evaluated by EPA 

Wednesday, March 6th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, March 6, 2024) With over 2,500 pet deaths and 900 reports of adverse effects to people, an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report, published on February 29, 2024, reveals multiple systemic failures by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), citing inadequate safety reviews of Seresto pet collars. The report, The EPA Needs to Determine Whether Seresto Pet Collars Pose an Unreasonable Risk to Pet Health, concludes, “The EPA’s response to reported pesticide incidents involving Seresto pet collars has not provided assurance that they can be used without posing unreasonable adverse effects to the environment, including pets.” At the time the animal effects made headlines in 2021, the agency defended the product’s registration, telling the media that, despite these incidents, EPA deemed Seresto collars “‘eligible for continued registration’ based on best available science, including incident data… No pesticide is completely without harm, but EPA ensures that there are measures on the product label that reduce risk.” Despite the scathing criticism, EPA maintains the position that it conducted an adequate review of the two active insecticide ingredients in the pet collars—the neurotoxic insecticide flumethrin, and the notorious neonicotinoid imidacloprid—proven to have adverse effects on the endocrine system as […]

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Oregon Is the Latest State to Step In and Ban Widely Used Neurotoxic Pesticide, Chlorpyrifos, as EPA Stalls

Thursday, February 29th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 29, 2024)  In the face of federal inaction, an Oregon regulation banning the agricultural uses of the highly toxic chlorpyrifos took effect on January 1, 2024. Chlorpyrifos was voluntarily withdrawn from the market in 2000 for most residential uses by its manufacturer, Dow Chemical, and has been the subject of extensive litigation. At that time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowed most agricultural uses to continue. Oregon joins four other states that have acted to ban chlorpyrifos, including Hawai’i, New York, California, and Maryland.   Central to state action are nervous system and brain effects in children, especially farmworker children. Chlorpyrifos is banned in 39 countries, including the European Union (see here for more Beyond Pesticides coverage). State action has become important since the November 2023 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, which overturned the EPA rule revoking all food tolerances for chlorpyrifos, an effective ban on chlorpyrifos use. The final EPA rule, issued in August 2021, came in response to a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found the agency’s inaction on chlorpyrifos unlawful. The case was filed by Earthjustice, on behalf of public health, labor, and disability organizations.  The […]

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Hidden Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Indoor Air Cause Adverse Effects

Tuesday, October 31st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2023) With cooler weather setting in and people heading indoors and closing windows, the issue of COVID-19 transmission escalates, as do concerns about toxic chemicals filling the indoor ambient air. As a recent segment of 60 Minutes (October 29, 2023) stresses, COVID-19 spreads elevated public concern and understanding about the importance of ventilation, filtration, and air exchange to indoor air quality. Unfortunately, the concerns about indoor air are not limited to COVID-19 as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) invade most spaces where people live and work. These invisible toxic substances can be found in common household products, furniture, mattresses, and more, including pesticides in and around the house. Recognizing the risks associated with VOCs and the potentially hazardous off-gassing process is crucial for protecting public health.  VOCs are a group of chemicals that can easily vaporize into the air at room temperature. These compounds are found in many everyday items, including furniture, cleaning products, pesticides, cosmetics, and even air fresheners. Some household products, particularly pesticides, can introduce their own set of risks in addition to the risks they pose due to their VOC content. VOCs can range from harmless to harmful, and their presence can have a […]

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Pollinator Health: The Climate Crisis Weakens Bees’ Ability to Withstand Pesticide Exposure

Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2023) A study published in Global Change Biology finds climate change increases bees’ sensitivity to pesticide exposure, impairing the pollinators’ ability to respond to light (Ultra-Violet [UV] stimuli), reducing floral syrup consumption, and lessening longevity (length of life) up to 70 percent. Notably, the reduction in floral syrup consumption indicates nutritional stress that further impacts bee species’ fecundity (productiveness), driving bee declines. Unless more is done to combat the climate crisis, the current global warming scenario increasing bees’ sensitivity to pesticide exposure will continue to threaten all pollinator health. The pervasiveness of pesticide exposure, combined with climate change, threatens global species biodiversity. As has been widely reported, pollinators (such as bees, monarch butterflies, and bats) are a bellwether for environmental stress as individuals and as colonies. Pesticides intensify pollinators’ vulnerability to health risks (such as pathogens and parasites), with pesticide-contaminated conditions limiting colony productivity, growth, and survival. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one million species of plants and animals at risk, including pollinators. Pollinator declines directly affect the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many agricultural and nonagricultural plant species will decline or cease to exist as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly […]

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EPA’s Failure to Assess Multiple Chemical Exposure Threat Creates Environmental Injustice, Says Inspector General

Wednesday, September 6th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 6, 2023) In late August, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report concluding that EPA “took a siloed approach” to the cumulative impacts of chemical exposures and the disproportionate nature of those exposures. This approach keeps different parts of the EPA from coordinating their efforts and hinders understanding of the breadth and depth of chemical exposures. OIG reached this disturbing finding despite the issuance of several executive orders by President Biden requiring EPA to develop policies and actions to assess cumulative impacts of chemical exposures across departments, laws, and environmental media (air, water, bodies, food etc.) and to pay more attention to environmental justice. Beyond Pesticides has stressed that the whole constellation of chemical exposures and effects should be considered when governments set public policies and regulations. Just last March, Daily News covered another OIG report castigating EPA for betraying its mission by failing to address the fact that very high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds known as “forever chemicals” have been found in some common pesticides. OIG also berated EPA for succumbing to Donald Trump’s interference with setting toxicity values for the “forever chemical” perfluorobutane […]

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Transport of Pesticides through Waterways Raises Serious Contamination Problems

Friday, August 4th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2023) The results of an Australian study published in Nature strike a contrast between land and water contamination with pesticide active substances (PAS), highlighting contamination as pesticides are transported through waterways.  The study results on water transport raise serious contamination issues. Only about one percent of the pesticides entering rivers degrade, so that long stretches of waterways and the oceans suffer the direct impact of a pesticide’s active ingredient. The lack of degradation also means that water organisms are being exposed to levels of pesticides exceeding many of the regulatory threshold limits set by governments. Although observation data are highly variable, the authors note that measured concentrations of pesticides in some river reaches of North America, East Asia and Europe exceed one or more regulatory threshold limits “at least once a year.” Further, the pesticides can bioaccumulate at each level of the aquatic food web, which can multiply concentrations by a thousand or more in the highest trophic levels, according to the study authors. The study finds that more than four-fifths of PAS are degraded in the soil, leaving about 10 percent of the original chemical in the soil as residue. Nearly half of that residues […]

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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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Despite Nearly 1,700 Pet Deaths from Seresto Pet Collars, Pesticide Product Remains on Market

Thursday, July 20th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 20, 2023) Despite evidence of toxicity to pets from Seresto pet collars (manufactured with the neurotoxic insecticide flumethrin, as well as the notorious neonicotinoid imidacloprid), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) has announced that the popular flea and tick collars will remain on the market, but with new mitigation measures. However, advocates say that these measures will do little to protect people and pets from chemical exposure using these collars. The agency will require Elanco — the manufacturer of Seresto — to conduct enhanced reporting for various factors, including adverse symptoms, veterinary community outreach, and warnings on the product’s label. Seresto, developed by Bayer and sold by Elanco, has been linked to nearly 1,700 pet deaths, injuries to tens of thousands of animals, and harm to hundreds of people. There are nontoxic ways to protect pets from fleas and other pests while protecting human family members. Children Ignored by the Agency EPA has a history of ignoring the exposure patterns to children who come into close contact with pets and their flea collars and the potential adverse health threats, opting for warnings instead of regulatory action. In 2017, EPA issued a warning for tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) flea collars that advised: “not […]

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Pesticide Threat to Pollinators Decreases Agricultural and Economic Productivity, and Food Security

Thursday, June 22nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2023) Since the early twentieth century, ‘migratory’ beekeepers have provided a critical service to U.S. agriculture by moving their hives seasonally to pollinate a variety of crops. Annually, commercial beekeeping adds between $15 and $20 billion in economic value to agriculture, which is a major industry in the United States, with 21.1 million full- and part-time jobs related to the agricultural and food sectors—10.5 percent of total U.S. employment. Before insects and pollinators like bees evolved to pollinate, pollination occurred through the wind, scattering the pollen from the plants and landing on other flowers that could reproduce. However, commercial pollination services contribute to increased yields. Without commercial pollination, food prices would rise, the farm sector would suffer globally, and the security and variety of the food supply would diminish. With the wild insect pollinator populations already in serious decline, commercial, migratory beekeeping is more than ever a vital piece of the agricultural economy. With pollinator decline, as an integral part of worldwide biodiversity collapse and the “insect apocalypse,” commercial beekeepers face collapse as well. The United Nations states that 80 percent of the 115 top global food crops depend on insect pollination, with one-third of all U.S. crops depending on pollinators, according to the U.S. […]

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National Pollinator Week 2023—Preserve and “BEE-Protective” of Pollinators!

Tuesday, June 20th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 20, 2023) Welcome to National Pollinator Week, during which time we recognize—and take action to protect—this important ecosystem link. Pollinators—bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other organisms—make a critical contribution to plant health, crop productivity, and the preservation of natural resources, but their existence is threatened by their pesticide-contaminated habitat.   Check out this week’s calendar of activities and actions below! On social media, we will be featuring Pollinator Artwork submitted by the community, as well as the numerous cute (and “not so cute!”) pollinators that live in the world around us!  Also, check out our live Pollinator Poll! Follow us and like our page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn!  Monday: Juneteenth and Environmental Justice  As Pollinator Week launches with the celebration of Juneteenth, it is time to renew our commitment to environmental justice while seeking the adoption of transformational policies and practices that recognize the urgency to address disproportionate harm inflicted by toxic pesticide use.   Those fighting for environmental justice understand that the harms inflicted by toxic chemical production and use cause disproportionate adverse effects on people of color—from fenceline communities near chemical production plants to the hazardous and inhumane working conditions in agricultural fields, to […]

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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 RudĂŠn, 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, seven of these 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 […]

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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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