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Pollinators Still Need Help; Act for Pollinator Week

Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2022) June 20-24 is Pollinator Week, during which 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. Pesticides have consistently been implicated as a key contributor to dramatic pollinator declines. Of the 100 crop varieties that provide 90% of the world’s food, 71 are pollinated by bees. Honey bees alone pollinate 95 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables, such as apples, avocados, almonds, and cranberries. Take action to protect pollinators. Providing protection for pollinators also protects the ecosystem in which they live. That protection requires eliminating harm as well as providing safe habitats where they can live and reproduce.  Provide organic habitat on your own property and encourage your town to go organic. Since plant starts in many garden centers across the country are grown from seeds coated with bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, or drenched with them, Beyond Pesticides has compiled a comprehensive directory of companies and organizations that sell organic seeds and plants to the general public. Included in this directory are seeds for vegetables, flowers, and herbs, as well as […]

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DDT Still Harming Birds of Prey, 50 Years After Its Ban

Tuesday, May 31st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 31, 2022) Fifty years after the banning of DDT, the notorious insecticide is still harming iconic birds of prey along the California coastline. According to research published in Environmental Science and Technology, California condors and marine mammals along California’s coast are contaminated with several dozen different halogenated organic compounds (hazardous, often-chlorinated chemicals) related to DDT, chlordane, and other now-banned legacy chemicals. The findings highlight the incredible importance of addressing these original “forever chemicals,” and making certain that we do not continue to repeat the mistakes of the past with new and different, yet equally dangerous, chemistries. Between 1947 and 1971, the Montrose Chemical Corporation of California, the largest historical producer of DDT, released over 1,700 tons of DDT into the LA sewer system, which eventually made its way into the Pacific Ocean. During this time, several other companies discharged PCBs, leading to further chemical contamination of land and sediment. As recent as April 2021, scientists discovered 25,000 barrels likely containing DDT near Catalina Island along the southern California coast. These releases have resulted in serious environmental and health problems throughout the coastal food chain. Yet, as the present study shows, scientists are only beginning to understand the […]

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Breakthrough Study Shows Organophosphate Nerve Gas Caused Gulf War Illness

Tuesday, May 24th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 24, 2022) New research is providing strong causal evidence that Gulf War Illness (GWI) is the result of exposure to sarin gas, an organophosphate nerve agent used by Saddam Hussein as a chemical weapon during the Gulf War. The findings, published earlier this month in Environmental Health Perspectives, have important implications for the hundreds of thousands of American service members suffering from a constellation of chronic symptoms without a true understanding of how they became sick. “Quite simply, our findings prove that Gulf War illness was caused by sarin, which was released when we bombed Iraqi chemical weapons storage and production facilities,” said Robert Haley, MD, lead author of the study and epidemiologist at University of Texas Southwestern. “There are still more than 100,000 Gulf War veterans who are not getting help for this illness and our hope is that these findings will accelerate the search for better treatment.” Sarin was first synthesized in the late 1930s by Nazi chemists working for IG Farben (a consortium that included Bayer) in an attempt to create stronger and more powerful insecticides. Sarin is a G-series organophosphate (named after the scientists that created them), characterized by high acute toxicity and […]

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Pesticides Used in Farmed Fish Operations Threaten Health of Swimmers

Friday, May 6th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 6, 2022) A December 2021 report commissioned by the trade group Salmon Scotland concludes that the use of pesticide products by the nation’s salmon farms represents potential risk to “wild” swimmers (those who swim in open ocean waters). The report’s primary finding is that the use of insecticide products containing azamethiphos (an organophosphate), deltamethrin, and hydrogen peroxide to control sea lice in farmed fish contaminates sea water and, thus, threatens swimmers in the areas around the farms. Beyond Pesticides has reported on pesticide use in aquaculture, and most recently, on developing resistance — in the parasitic lice (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) that endanger both wild and farmed fish populations in the North Atlantic — to some of the chemical treatments used by aquaculturists to combat the parasite. The intense exploitation of wild fish and other marine creatures for human food (and as an ingredient in animal feeds) has caused, in recent decades, depletion of fish and seafood stocks across the world. The aquaculture industry — in which various aquatic species (fish, shellfish, and some plants) are bred, raised, and harvested in the open ocean — has grown rapidly as a response. Since the 1960s, the farming of salmon in the […]

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Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Community at Disproportionate Risk from Pesticides, Study Finds

Friday, April 22nd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2022) A study published on April 18 finds that people in U.S. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities, as well as those living in low-income communities, endure a very disproportionate rate of exposure to pesticides, and of subsequent risks of harm. It finds that such disparities exist in both urban and rural communities, and at all points in the pesticide “life cycle,” from manufacture to application. A section of Beyond Pesticides’ recent mega-issue of Pesticides and You, “Retrospective 2021: A Call to Urgent Action,” is devoted to such inequities. Section IV, “Disproportionate Pesticide Harm Is Racial Injustice: Documenting Victimization: Structural Racism,” reprises Beyond Pesticides’ 2021 coverage of environmental injustices. It also calls for urgent action re: federal and state “evaluations that go into toxic chemical regulation . . . to reform and replace the current regulatory decision-making process, which is empirically racist, with one that acknowledges and cares for those with the highest real-world vulnerabilities and exposure[s].” The first comprehensive assessment of disparities in pesticide protections and oversight in the U.S., the study paper appeared in the journal BMC Public Health. The authors set out the broad history of how humanity moved from “Traditional Ecological […]

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Coverup of Dog Deaths at EPA, According to Internal Emails on Seresto Flea and Tick Collars

Friday, April 1st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2022) According to reporting by E&E’s Greenwire, internal emails at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that career scientists at the agency expressed worry about pesticide-laced pet collars, such as the notorious Seresto flea and tick collars, but that EPA managers “instructed them to avoid documenting those worries in publicly accessible records.” The emails were released pursuant to a 2021 FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) lawsuit, brought by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), that sought records of internal communications. The documents evidence staff concern about the collars that has not been a part of EPA’s public communications on the subject. EPA staff, in the emails, expressed a range of degrees of outrage at managers’ behavior and at the very registration of the product, given the significant harms. Seresto collars are plastic pet collars embedded with pesticides designed to kill fleas, ticks, and lice; they contain the active ingredients flumethrin and imidacloprid. Flumethrin, a chemical in the pyrethroid class of synthetic neurotoxic insecticides, has been linked repeatedly to neurological issues, such as seizures and learning disabilities in children, to gastrointestinal distress, and to damage to nontarget invertebrates, according to EPA’s own analysis. Imidacloprid is a commonly used pesticide linked to […]

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Cockroaches Exhibit Resistance to Pesticides at 10x Label Application Rates

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, March 22, 2022) German cockroaches collected from U.S. residential homes have evolved resistance mechanisms so strong that many can consume ten times the pesticide required to kill a laboratory-susceptible strain and still not die. These are the findings of recent research published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, which focused on determining cockroach resistance levels to commonly used gel bait insecticides in infested Southern California homes. The findings underscore the importance of an integrated approach to cockroach management that recognizes and responds to pest ecology, rather than search for an ever-elusive silver bullet. Researchers collected five different strains of German cockroaches from various locations around Southern California, two from public housing and three from apartment dwellers. All sites had long-standing cockroach infestations, with varying treatment histories that generally included significant use of common gel bait insecticides. Tests were conducted on male cockroaches as they are gregarious foragers and thus more susceptible to baited food; it was indicated that if an insecticide cannot kill a male, it is highly unlikely to kill a juvenile or female roach. A separate group of cockroaches reared in the laboratory and never exposed to insecticides was used as a baseline for comparison. This […]

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Pesticide Drift or Chemical Trespass Continue Uncontrolled, Despite Successful Litigation

Friday, March 18th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2022) A 2020 lawsuit related to pesticide drift was resolved on March 8, 2022 in San Joaquin (California) Superior Court with the finding that Alpine Helicopter Services, which specializes in pesticide applications for government and tourism entities, had violated pesticide drift laws and endangered public health and safety. The court further found Alpine liable for damage related to its actions, though penalties in the case, brought by California state prosecutors and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), have yet to be determined. The case exposes a handful of the many instances of pesticide drift, also known as “chemical trespass,” that occur every year in the U.S. In 2004, Beyond Pesticides covered the issue with Getting the Drift on Chemical Trespass; its monitoring of drift issues is ongoing, as can be seen in its “Pesticide Drift” archives. The long history of nontarget exposure, contamination, and poisoning teaches that drift is a function of pesticide use, but not considered adequately by regulators who allow the marketing of poisons that are known to move through the environment uncontrolled. Cases like the Alpine case highlight a relentless problem associated with the daily use of pesticides. Pesticide drift is any airborne […]

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Are Your Fruits and Vegetables Vegan? Specific Pesticide Use Makes Produce Non-Vegan?

Friday, March 4th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2022) An article in My London reported by Finn Byrne, finds labeling on conventionally grown fruits and vegetables marked as non-vegan. The non-vegan label shocked many shoppers who buy the produce with chemical-intensive practices, as fruits and vegetables are inherently vegan. However, pesticides used in the production of fruits and vegetables render these foods non-vegan because of the harm that pesticides cause to animals and since a wax coating on fruits and vegetables made of shellac, a resin secreted from female lac beetles and thus non-vegan. Recent studies indicate plant-based diets can mitigate excessive pesticide use and exposure if they are organically grown. However, a plant-based diet reliant on pesticides does little to lessen the health and ecological effects of conventional agriculture. Fungicides are ubiquitous in agricultural and residential settings puts human and animal health at risk. Exposure to fungicides can manifest adverse health effects, including reproductive dysfunction, birth/developmental effects, kidney/liver damage, and cancer. Several researchers find that fungicide use promotes more drug-resistant fungal infections in humans as these fungicides are structurally similar to medical antifungal medications. After investigating fruits and vegetables at various United Kingdom (UK) grocery stores (i.e., Tesco, Morrisons, and Marks and Spencer), the report finds fungicides imazalil and propiconazole present […]

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Trillions in Subsidies Worldwide Are Driving Environmental Collapse Instead of Advancing Solutions

Friday, February 25th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, February 25, 2022) Together, governments of the world over are spending at least $1.8 trillion annually — 2% of global gross domestic product — on subsidies that drive the destruction of ecosystems and species extinction, and exacerbate the climate crisis. This news comes from a study commissioned by The B Team and Business for Nature, and released in a joint brief, Financing Our Survival: Building a Nature Positive Economy through Subsidy Reform. The Business for Nature website offers a remedy to this entropy: “With political determination and radical public–private sector collaboration, we can reform these harmful subsidies and create opportunities for an equitable, nature-positive and net-zero economy.” To that end, the two organizations have issued, in their brief, calls to action to multiple sectors, including one to the governments participating in the coming UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15): “Adopt a clear and ambitious target within the Global Biodiversity Framework . . . that commits governments to redirect, repurpose, or eliminate all environmentally harmful subsidies by 2030 and increase positive incentives to enable an equitable, net-zero, nature-positive world.” A press release from The B Team reports that the fossil fuel, agriculture, and water sectors are the recipients of more than […]

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USDA Food Pesticide Residue Survey Raises Alarm, while Pesticide Industry and EPA Mislead Public

Friday, February 4th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, February 4, 2022) In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued its 30th Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary report (which evaluates each year the presence of pesticide residues on produce) and misleads the public on the safety of food and agricultural practices. This 2020 report concludes that more than 99% of the produce samples tested showed residues below established U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) benchmark levels. At first blush, this sounds very reassuring, but Beyond Pesticides maintains that there is (always) more to the “safety” story, not least of which are serious deficiencies in EPA’s establishment of those “tolerances.” Those flaws include a lack of risk assessment for vulnerable sub-populations, such as farmworkers, people with compromised health, children, and perhaps, cultural/ethnic and regional sub-groups of the general population, and a failure to fully assess serious health outcomes such as disruption of the endocrine system (which contributes to numerous serious diseases). For everyone, Beyond Pesticides recommends choosing organic produce whenever possible — the vast majority of which does not contain synthetic pesticide residues. The PDP report asserts that “the data . . . illustrate that residues found in agricultural products sampled are at levels that do not pose […]

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Court Steps In to Stop Pesticide Use Not Adequately Regulated, Protects Bees

Friday, December 10th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, December 10, 2021) In a win for pollinators, a California Superior Court has issued a ruling that sulfoxaflor, a systemic pesticide that is “field legal” but “bee lethal,” can no longer be used in the state. The suit was brought by the Pollinator Stewardship Council and the American Beekeeping Federation. The ruling of the Superior Court of the State of California for Alameda County finds that the argument of the petitioners — that sulfoxaflor approval decisions by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) — is valid. Eliminating this highly bee-toxic pesticide from use in the state is expected to protect not only native bees and other pollinators (including Monarch butterflies in early Spring), but also, the many millions of managed-colony bees that are transported to California for pollination of almond and other crops. The suit was filed against DPR, Corteva inc., Dow Agrosciences LLC, the Siskiyou County Department of Agriculture, and James E. Smith as Siskiyou County Agricultural Commissioner. Having found for the petitioners’ request for a Writ of Mandate (a court order requiring a lower court or public authority to perform its statutory duty), the court instructed the petitioners to […]

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Groups Tell EPA’s Pesticide Program It’s a Failure, Call for Immediate Reforms

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 26, 2021) The Office of Pesticides Programs within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has become so captured by industry that it has lost sight of its health and environmental mission, according to a scathing critique issued today by 37 environmental, public health, and sustainable agriculture groups, including beekeeper councils. Led by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and Beyond Pesticides, the groups are urging the Biden administration to adopt reforms within OPP to ensure pesticide approval and use decisions are science-based. EPA’s OPP has registered more than 18,000 separate pesticide products — far more than any other country — and more than 2 billion pounds of pesticides are sold annually in the U.S. They are used annually over roughly 250 million acres of farmland, across millions of acres of urban and suburban lands, and inside millions of homes, schools, and other buildings.  The coalition letter points to employee reports that managers within  OPP – Push through “Yes packages” of pesticide approvals greased by industry lobbying; Suppress toxicological and other concerns raised by professional staff; and Engage in outrageous waivers of vital toxicity study requirements, instead relying on “conditional” registrations to allow pesticide uses, despite missing key data. Seeing […]

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Appeal Court Strikes Down Hazardous Statewide California Pesticide Spray Program

Friday, October 22nd, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2021) The California Court of Appeal (Third District, Sacramento) has ruled that a statewide pesticide spraying program violates state law. The court found that the program, launched in 2014 and administered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), contravenes California’s landmark 1970 Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). It does so, the court found, by failing to: assess and reduce damages of pesticide applications to bees, other pollinators, and water bodies; conduct site-specific environmental reviews; and notify the public before spraying is conducted. This decision is a victory, and a step toward a less-toxic California, say plaintiffs and many health and environmental advocates, including Beyond Pesticides. The history of CDFA’s actions in the state is riddled with invocations of emergency provisions of California’s Food and Agriculture Code. These emergency declarations have allowed CDFA to conduct pesticide spraying for invasive species nearly anywhere — in back yards, on school and recreational grounds, on organic farms, on public lands, and sometimes, across entire neighborhoods — without any analysis of the health and environmental impacts of those applications, or any notice to the public or opportunity to comment on the program. From 2014 to 2018, CDFA conducted more than […]

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Studies Show How Pesticides Harm Organisms that Form the Foundation of Freshwater Ecosystems

Wednesday, September 15th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, September 15, 2021) Toxic pesticide use, and glyphosate in particular, degrades the health of freshwater ecosystems by harming species that form the basis of aquatic food chains, according to research published by scientists at McGill University. In a series of studies, scientists investigated how freshwater bacteria and zooplankton were affected by varying levels the weed killer glyphosate, the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid, and nutrient levels. “Because plankton form the foundation of the food chain in freshwater ecosystems, it is very important to understand how plankton communities respond to widely used pesticides,” said Jesse Shapiro, PhD, an Associate Professor in McGill’s Department of Microbiology and Immunology. “Our research shows that the structure of these communities can be impaired under currently acceptable North American water quality guidelines.” Two separate experiments were conducted under similar conditions in order to properly investigate the effects of pesticide exposure on either zooplankton or freshwater bacteria. For both studies, target species were exposed to varying rates of glyphosate, imidacloprid, or both chemicals at either high or low water nutrient levels. Researchers conducted this study by establishing a series of outdoor experimental ponds, intended to mimic freshwater ecosystems by using Lake water and evenly distributing organisms throughout […]

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Meta-Review: Pesticides Kill or Harm Soil Invertebrates Essential to Soil Health

Friday, May 7th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, May 7, 2021) Soil health is one of the linchpins on which the food production that sustains human life — as well as biodiversity, pollinator health, and carbon sequestration — depend. A recent meta-review of nearly 400 studies finds that, in 71% of the cases reviewed, pesticides kill or otherwise harm soil invertebrates that contribute mightily to soil health. In their paper, “Pesticides and Soil Invertebrates: A Hazard Assessment,” published in Frontiers in Environmental Science in early May, the researchers write, “A wide variety of soil-dwelling invertebrates display sensitivity to pesticides of all types . . . [These results] support the need for pesticide regulatory agencies to account for the risks that pesticides pose to soil invertebrates and soil ecosystems.” Beyond Pesticides, which has long reported on impacts of pesticides on soil health, concurs with that conclusion, and adds that the real solutions to noxious pesticide impacts lie in the adoption of  regenerative organic approaches to all land management because they obviate any need for petroleum-based toxic chemical controls. The term “pesticide” can refer to myriad kinds of chemical treatments — including antimicrobials, disinfectants, rodenticides, and others — but in the agricultural and land management realms, primarily means insecticides, […]

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Study Finds Eagle Populations Experiencing Widespread Rodenticide Exposure

Wednesday, April 21st, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, April 21, 2021) The vast majority of bald and golden eagles in the United States are contaminated with toxic anticoagulant rodenticides, according to research published in the journal PLOS One earlier this month. Although eagle populations have largely recovered from their lows in the 1960s and 70s, the study is a stark reminder that human activity continues to threaten these iconic species. “Although the exact pathways of exposure remain unclear, eagles are likely exposed through their predatory and scavenging activities,” said study author Mark Ruder, PhD, assistant professor at the University of Georgia to CNN. Eagle carcasses were retrieved from the University of Georgia’s ongoing Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study. Eighteen state wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service all sent in specimens from a period spanning 2014 to 2018. In total, 116 bald eagle and 17 golden eagle carcasses had their livers tested for the presence of anticoagulant rodenticides. Out of the 116 bald eagles tested, 96, or 83% had were exposed to toxic rodenticides. Forty of the eagles  (35%) were exposed to more than one rodenticide compound. Thirteen out of 17 golden eagles were contaminated was rodenticides, with four exposed to a single rodenticide […]

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Despite 1,700 Dog and Cat Deaths from Flea Collars, EPA Silent; Children at Risk

Friday, March 5th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, March 5, 2021) Pet owners will be alarmed to read the report, by USA Today, that a popular flea and tick collar — 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. At the time of publication, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which regulates pesticides, had issued no informational alert to let the public know about these risks to pets — despite many hundreds of incident reports in its Office of Pesticide Programs Incident Report database. Beyond Pesticides and other advocates have warned of the toxicity of pet pesticide treatments, not only to the animals themselves, but also, to children and other household members. There are nontoxic ways to protect pets from fleas and other pests, and to protect human family members at the same time. Beyond Pesticides is calling on EPA to recognize, finally, that the label on flea collars is not adequately protective, as evidenced by the number of deaths and 75,000 incidents. “EPA has the authority to act now, and it should use its powers to protect the health and lives of pets,” […]

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Support National Reckoning to Bridge Racial Divides with Meaningful Action

Monday, March 1st, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2021) The greatest impediment to entering organic farming is access to land. Since organic farming requires a long-term commitment to avoiding prohibited substances, building soil, and conserving biodiversity, it is difficult to manage on rented land or land farmed on “shares.” Black, Indigenous, and other people of color are especially disadvantaged because of institutionalized racism embodied in U.S. policies, which has either prevented access or has undermined land ownership. With deep reflection into the injustice associated with past policies, from pioneers to slaveholders, members of Congress are elevating the national discussion of policy changes and reparations to address a past of racial injustice. This discussion has taken on greater general public understanding since the killing of George Floyd, as there is more national awareness of systemic racial injustice and the deep adverse impact that it has on all aspects of life. One of those institutional effects to Indigenous, Black, and other people of color is the taking away or denying access to land ownership. Tell your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative to support for increased equity for Black, Indigenous, and other people of color in farming. Holistic systemic change is needed to restore relationships between members of […]

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TAKE ACTION: Save Monarch Butterflies from Extinction!  

Monday, February 1st, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2021) The yearly winter monarch count along the California coast, overseen each year by the conservation group Xerces Society, was the lowest ever. In 2020, citizen scientists counted only 2,000 butterflies. The findings indicate that many on the planet today are, within their lifetimes, likely to experience a world where western monarchs are extinct. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list monarch butterflies on the list of threatened and endangered species. Tell the Environmental Protection Agency to eliminate pollinator poisons. Western monarchs migrate from the Pacific Northwest to overwintering grounds along the California coast, where they remain in relatively stationary clusters that are easy to count. In the 1980s, roughly 10 million monarchs overwintered along the coast. By the 1990s, that number fell to 1.2 million. Five years ago, counts were at roughly 300,000. By 2019, numbers crashed below 30,000. This year’s count saw no monarchs at well-known overwintering sites like Pacific Grove. Other locations, like Pismo State Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove and National Bridges State Park, saw only a few hundred. “These sites normally host thousands of butterflies, and their absence this year was heartbreaking for volunteers and visitors flocking to these locales hoping […]

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TAKE ACTION: Tell President-Elect Biden and Congress to Clean Up at EPA— End the Era of Corporate Deception

Monday, January 11th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2021) Treatment of chemical companies as clients rather than regulated entities is not new at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but corruption reached new highs during the Trump administration. With a new administration, it is time to end the rule of corporate deception at EPA. This goes beyond the use of the Congressional Review Act to reverse individual rules (adopted in the last six months) that defy scientific findings and compliance with environmental and public health standards. We can no longer rely on bad science and unscrupulous chemical manufacturers that put profits above concerns for the health of people and the environment. EPA must audit pesticide registrants for integrity to scientific process and set a moratorium on future pesticide registration until the agency can assure the public that their science is not corrupt, as it has been in the past. Tell President-elect Biden and Congress to clean up the corruption of science at EPA and set a moratorium on future pesticide registrations—until the agency can assure the public that the chemical manufacturers’ science supporting pesticide registrations is not corrupt. The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting published a story in early December on yet another example of the […]

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Investigation on Weed Killer Dicamba Adds to Pattern of Corporate Deception on Pesticide Hazards

Friday, December 18th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, December 18, 2020) The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting published a story in early December on yet another example of the corporate malfeasance that exalts profit far above concerns for safety, health, and ecosystems. The Midwest Center’s investigation finds that Monsanto and BASF, makers of the extremely problematic herbicide dicamba, engaged in a variety of deceitful, unethical, and possibly fraudulent practices to enable its use. The bottom line is that the companies knew, before they released dicamba, about the massive damage it would cause — and then put it on the market. Beyond Pesticides has reported on the corporate greed that fuels the downstream public health, environmental, and economic devastation these pesticides cause, and advocated for their removal from the market. Such unscrupulous behavior is not confined to these companies; Bayer (which now owns Monsanto) and Syngenta are also implicated in similar actions related to other pesticides: glyphosate and atrazine, respectively. Over the course of the past couple of decades, large agrochemical corporations have pursued not only extreme market penetration for their toxic products, but also, vertical integration that, in the case of Bayer/Monsanto, “represents a near-monopoly on the agriculture supply chain.” Corporate ownership of the patent on genetically […]

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Crop Diversity in Commercial Agriculture Decreases Pests and Pesticide Use, Stabilizes Biodiversity

Thursday, November 19th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, November 19, 2020) A new study by researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) finds that crop diversity in commercial agriculture is just as essential to supporting a stable biological system as plant diversity on non-commercial landscapes. Furthermore, less diverse crop areas lead to higher, more intensive pesticide use, indicating a threat to environmental and human health, as well as food security. This research highlights the need to develop policies that facilitate a decrease in overall pesticide use by helping farmers and global leaders make more knowledgeable decisions about crop area size and diversity to sustain biodiversity. Researchers note, “While [crop] complexity increases stability and reduces high deviations in insecticide use, accounting for crop and farmer-specific characteristics is crucial for statistical inference and sound scientific understanding. In this study, researchers aim to understand how crop and landscape diversity impacts pest populations, using insecticide use data as a surrogate for pest populations data. Data observations are from Kern County Agricultural Commissioner (CAC), California, over the period 2005 to 2017. Crop data includes crop type, acceptable field size, field and farmer permit number, and active dates for the field. To estimate pesticide use variance, researchers summated annually and peak insecticide […]

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