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Evaluation Used to Support Registration of Neurotoxic Chlorpyrifos Found To Be Fundamentally Flawed

Tuesday, November 20th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, November 20, 2018) Scientific conclusions used to support the registration of the insecticide chlorpyrifos were flawed and omitted key health impacts, according to a fresh analysis of the original data by a team of independent scientists from northern Europe and the U.S. This re-review not only casts further doubt on the safety of the neurotoxic chlorpyrifos, it highlights a major flaw within federal pesticide regulation that allows pesticide producers to submit their own safety evaluations to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency without public oversight. “One conclusion we draw is that there is a risk that the results of industry-funded toxicity tests are not reported correctly,” says co-author Axel Mie, PhD. “This makes it difficult for the authorities to evaluate the pesticides in a safe and valid way.” In both the U.S. and European Union, pesticide producers contract with laboratories to perform required safety tests of active ingredients they hope to register for use. While these studies are generally considered ‘confidential business information’ and not available to the public, using Swedish freedom of information laws, researchers were able to obtain two key studies relating to the developmental neurotoxicity of chlorpyrifos. Although not disclosed within the study, it is well […]

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Military Base Has Legacy of Pesticide and Other Toxic Chemical Exposure and Harm

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2018) “‘Don’t get pregnant at George Air Force Base’” was the advice imparted from one female Air Force member to another in 1975 at that base, located 100+ miles north of San Diego and used as an active military site from 1941–1992. From the start of their service at George AFB, both parties to this conversation came to be familiar with the shared horror stories of repeated infections, vaginal bleeding, ovarian cysts, uterine tumors, birth defects, and miscarriages among female Air Force members at the site. Many women who served at George AFB in the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s suffered, but did not know what was causing, such health issues, which were frequent enough that even base doctors would sometimes privately warn women off of getting pregnant while serving there. Among the many contaminants found at George AFB and other military sites are organochlorine-based pesticides (OCPs), such as DDT, dieldrin/aldrin, heptachlor, lindane, endrin, chlordane, mirex, toxaphene, hexachlorobenzene, chlordane, and others. (A comprehensive list of OCPs is available here.) Most of these compounds were used on military bases for decades for vegetation control, as building pesticides or fumigants, or for personal pesticide treatments for lice and scabies, and […]

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Vietnam Demands Compensation from Monsanto for Devastating Harm Caused by Agent Orange During War

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, September 4, 2018) Close on the heels of the recent landmark California decision against Monsanto, maker of the glyphosate-based pesticide Roundup, Vietnam has demanded that the company pay damages to the many victims of its Agent Orange herbicide and defoliant, which Monsanto supplied to the U.S. military during the Vietnam War. (Monsanto was not the only U.S. manufacturer of the compound; there were nine in total.) U.S. forces, in a program dubbed Operation Ranch Hand, used more than 13 million gallons of the compound in Vietnam — nearly one-third of the 20 million gallons of all herbicides used during the war in Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam. In Vietnam alone, 4.5 million acres were impacted by Agent Orange. Nguyen Phuong Tra, a spokesperson for Vietnam’s foreign ministry, said, “The [U.S.] verdict serves as a legal precedent which refutes previous claims that the herbicides made by Monsanto and other chemical corporations in the U.S. and provided for the U.S. army in the war are harmless. . . . Vietnam has suffered tremendous consequences from the war, especially with regard to the lasting and devastating effects of toxic chemicals, including Agent Orange.” Around the world, the U.S. case may be sparking […]

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U.S. Court Tells EPA to Ban Chlorpyrifos

Friday, August 10th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, August 10, 2018) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must ban a widely used organophosphate pesticide linked to brain damage in children, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday. The appellate court ordered EPA to finalize its proposed ban on chlorpyrifos, produced by DowDupont, based on undisputed findings that the pesticide is unsafe for public health, and particularly harmful to children and farmworkers. The ruling comes in a lawsuit brought by a coalition of labor and health organizations, represented by Earthjustice. In the absence of EPA action, states have started to stand up. In May, the state legislature in  Hawaii passed legislation, which took effect in May, to become the first state to ban the chemical. On July 30, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) released its scientific assessment concluding that the organophosphate insecticide, chlorpyrifos, should be listed as a Toxic Air Contaminant (TAC) in the state based on evidence of its neurological effects and exposure risks of concern. Legislation is also pending in Congress to ban chlorpyrifos and similar pesticides nationwide. Chlorpyrifos is a dangerous nerve agent pesticide that can damage the developing brains of children. Prenatal and early life exposure to chlorpyrifos is linked to lower birth weight […]

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Bayer Ditches Monsanto Name in Merger

Friday, June 8th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2018) In the wake of U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) approval of the buyout of Monsanto by Bayer, the new mega-corporation — now the world’s largest agrochemical and seed company — has announced that it will drop the “Monsanto” name, possibly as soon as late summer, when the acquisition is expected to be completed. Bayer first needs to sell off $9 billion in assets to German chemical giant BASF in compliance with a DOJ antitrust agreement that will permit the merger. The union of these two corporations, which joins Bayer’s pesticide business with Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) seed operations, faced vigorous opposition from health and environment advocates both in the U.S. and abroad. Fortune magazine has pointed out that dropping a well-known name is unusual, but given that Monsanto is one of the world’s most-hated companies, perhaps the move is understandable. Ditching the “Monsanto” moniker is reportedly one aspect of a coming Bayer campaign to regain public trust and make efforts to engage with critics, according to Bayer spokespeople. Liam Condon, president of Bayer’s Crop Science Division, has said, “Just changing the name doesn’t do so much — we’ve got to explain to farmers and ultimately to […]

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It is an honor to work with you, the members and network of Beyond Pesticides

Friday, December 22nd, 2017

Thank you for your support and collaboration. Onward in 2018! (Beyond Pesticides, December 22, 2017)  We deeply appreciate your donation to our program in 2017 and it is easy to donate HERE. Year in Review At Beyond Pesticides, we collaborate with organizations and advocate across the country to get our message out on the threat that pesticides pose to human health and the environment. We support local action to stop this threat. And, we assist communities nationwide with the adoption of organic management practices that are more effective and protective than chemical-intensive practices. The partnerships that have been established are, at a more rapid pace, resulting in the adoption of land management practices that are supported by Beyond Pesticides’ strategic vision for a world free of toxic pesticides. Information for Action Beyond Pesticides expanded its role in the forefront of pesticide and organic advocacy with our Action of Week  and Q&A of the Week, in addition to our Daily News, which identifies and delves into key science, policy, and actions that inform local action. The Summer issue of our journal, Pesticides and You, highlighted David Montgomery’s talk at Beyond Pesticides’ National Forum on the importance of soil microbiota and gut microbiome to healthy ecosystems […]

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Take Action: Don’t Allow Dow Chemical to Poison Farms and Communities

Monday, December 4th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2017) You told the Arkansas Plant Board to exercise its authority to protect farmers, consumers, and the environment from use of the herbicide dicamba on genetically engineered (GE) soybeans, and the board listened. Now, we need to ask the board to stop the use of 2,4-D on GE cotton. The action of states is critical as the federal government ignores basic safety concerns. Action in Arkansas will influence other states. Tell the Arkansas Plant Board to adopt the proposed rule and to prohibit use of 2,4-D on cotton! The decision concerning 2,4-D use on herbicide-tolerant cotton goes to the Arkansas Plant Board on December 12. The choice has many similarities to the decision to allow — and then prohibit — the use of dicamba on herbicide-tolerant soybean varieties. Both 2,4-D and dicamba are phenoxy herbicides — 2,4-D being the infamous ingredient (along with 2,4,5-T) of Agent Orange. Our voices were heard when the Arkansas Plant Board considered dicamba, so please weigh in on 2,4-D. At this December 12 meeting, the Arkansas Plant Board is holding a hearing on a proposed regulation that would allow the Board to request more information from pesticide registrants, which could support restrictions based on conditions within Arkansas. The […]

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Veterans’ Coverage of Agent Orange-Related Diseases Delayed

Thursday, November 9th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, November 9, 2017) Vietnam veterans suffering from certain Agent Orange-related health conditions will continue to wait for compensation. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin announced last week he intends to delay a decision to expand coverage to new illnesses. Despite a robust review by the National Academy of Medicine, which recommended expanding disability compensation for bladder cancer, hyopothyroidism, high blood pressure, and Parkinson’s-like tremors due to past exposure to the toxic herbicide cocktail, the VA decided to take no action. “After thoroughly reviewing the National Academy of Medicine (NAM)’s latest report regarding Veterans and Agent Orange, and associated data and recommendations from the NAM Task Force, I have made a decision to further explore new presumptive conditions for service connection that may ultimately qualify for disability compensation,”  Secretary Shulkin said in a press release last week.  “I appreciate NAM’s work and the commitment and expertise of VA’s NAM Task Force, and look forward to working with the Administration on the next steps in the process.” Given a promise from VA Secretary Shulkin to provide a decision on the new ailments by November 1st, Veterans groups are crying foul, and placing blame on the Trump administration, […]

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Government and Chemical Industry Collusion Going Back Decades Showcased in “Poison Papers”

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2017) A collection of long archived documents dating back to the 1920s were released last week showcasing the efforts of the chemical industry and the federal government to conceal from the public the real dangers associated with the use and manufacture of chemical products. The Bioscience Resource Project and the Center for Media and Democracy released more than 200,000 pages of these documents now accessible on the “Poison Papers” website. First reported in The Intercept, the project, “Poison Papers,” makes publicly available documents obtained through legal discovery in lawsuits against Dow, Monsanto, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Forest Service, the Air Force, and pulp and paper companies, among others. Activist Carol Van Strum stored much of these documents in her rural Oregon barn. Ms. Van Strum’s activism on pesticides and other toxic chemicals began in the mid-1970s, when she and her neighbors in Oregon filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Forest Service to stop the spraying of 2,4,5-T, a dangerously toxic herbicide that made up one-half of the ingredients in the deadly Agent Orange (the other ingredient was the still widely used herbicide 2,4-D). The spraying directly doused her four children, who developed headaches, nosebleeds, and bloody diarrhea. Miscarriages […]

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International Legal Opinion Details Monsanto’s Violation of Human Rights

Thursday, April 20th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2017) On Tuesday, the judges presiding over the International Monsanto Tribunal presented their legal opinion, delivering conclusions on the multinational corporation’s impact on issues ranging from human rights, food access, environmental health, to scientific research. In addition to Monsanto’s impact on human rights, the judges concluded that if ecocide were recognized as an international criminal law, the corporation would possibly be found guilty. According to the Organic Consumers Association’s press release, one of the organizing groups behind the creation of the Tribunal, “It is likely that the [legal] conclusions will lead to more liability cases against Monsanto and similar companies. This will shine a light on the true cost of production and will affect Monsanto (Bayer) shareholder value in the long run.” The international judges determined that, based on a legal analysis of the questions asked, Monsanto has engaged in practices that have negatively affected the right to a healthy environment, to food, and to health. In addition to these infringement of rights, Monsanto has had a negative effect on the right to freedom indispensable for scientific research with “conduct such as intimidation, discrediting independent scientific research, [and] suborning false research reports.” In the third part of its […]

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Environmental and Farm Groups Challenge Toxic Pesticides Used in Genetically Engineered Crops

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, March 22, 2017) Today, a coalition of farmers and environmental and public health organizations filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for approving agrochemical giant Dow Chemical’s toxic pesticide combo, Enlist Duo, among the newer more highly toxic pesticide mixtures used in genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-tolerant crops. Comprised of glyphosate and 2,4-D (50% of the mixture in the warfare defoliant Agent Orange), Enlist Duo is typically marketed alongside commercial crops like corn, cotton and soybeans that are engineered to withstand pesticide exposure, leading to problems of resistance and driving the evolution of super weeds. This is the third lawsuit challenging EPA approval of Enlist Duo by petitioners, which include Beyond Pesticides, National Family Farm Coalition, Family Farm Defenders, Pesticide Action Network North America, Center for Food Safety, and Center for Biological Diversity, represented jointly by legal counsel from Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety. The lawsuit charges that approval of Enlist Duo “will lead to sharply increased spraying of toxic pesticides, harming farmers, neighboring crops, and wildlife.” Specifically farmers’ health and financial positions stand to be heavily impacted by the approval of Enlist Duo, as increased use will result in increased pesticide drift, an alarming concern especially […]

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In Bayer-Monsanto Merger, Bayer Pledges Not to Push GE Crops on Europe

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, October 12, 2016) German chemical company Bayer said it would not introduce genetically engineered (GE) crops in Europe after its historic takeover of U.S. seed and pesticide producer Monsanto. The European Union (EU) has been skeptical of GE crops, with many countries refusing to approve certain varieties of them. However, in the U.S., where GE crops make up about half of the crops grown, the merger will probably have little to no effect on GE use. Last month, St. Louis-based agrichemical giant  Monsanto Co. agreed to sell the company  to German pharmaceutical and chemical conglomerate, Bayer, in  an unprecedented $66 billion dollar deal. This takeover of the U.S. firm is the biggest ever by a German company. The combination would create a global agricultural and chemical giant ””and bring Bayer together with a leading producer of genetically engineered seeds that are engineered to resist pesticides, particularly Monsanto’s flagship product, Roundup. Roundup, whose active ingredient is glyphosate, is used alongside various GE crops including corn and soybeans. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) released a landmark  report naming glyphosate as  “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Glyphosate’s EU license was set to expire this […]

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Two Chemical Companies Tied to Human and Environmental Atrocities, Bayer and Monsanto, Set to Merge

Monday, September 19th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides,  September 19, 2016) Last week, a  proposed Bayer-Monsanto merger was announced, as St. Louis-based agrichemical giant  Monsanto Co. agreed to sell the company  to German pharmaceutical and chemical conglomerate, Bayer, in  an unprecedented $66 billion dollar deal. It is the merger of two companies that have been tied to past atrocities against humanity, one whose chemical product was  used  to kill  concentration camp victims under Adolf Hitler and the other a producer of the  deadly defoliant, Agent Orange, which was sprayed by the U.S. government over Vietnam and left a legacy of health damage to the Vietnamese people and U.S. veterans of the armed forces. At the same time, these companies are currently embroiled in controversy on  some of the most hazardous pesticides, including glyphosate (RoundupTM) and neonicotinoids, used in food production and in communities and home gardens    —continuing a history of profiting from a technology that has adverse effects on human life and the environment, but has been shown to be unnecessary and unsustainable in food production and the management of lawns, landscapes, playing fields, and parks. In 1995, the Associated Press reported that the then-CEO of Bayer,  Helge Wehmeier, apologized to Elie Wiesel, Ph.D., holocaust […]

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International Case To Be Brought Against Monsanto for Health and Environmental Crimes

Monday, December 7th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, December 07, 2015) Monsanto will be put on trial for crimes against nature, humanity, and ecocide in The Hague, Netherlands, home to the United Nation’s International Court of Justice. The Organic Consumers Association (OCA), IFOAM International Organics, Navdanya, Regeneration International (RI), and Millions Against Monsanto, joined by dozens of global food, farming and environmental justice groups announced late last week that they will put the U.S.-based transnational corporation on trial next year on World Food Day, October 16, 2016. The announcement was made at a press conference held in conjunction with the COP21 United Nations Conference on Climate Change, November 30 — December 11, in Paris. Monsanto is the producer of Roundup, a widely-used herbicide that contains the active ingredient glyphosate, a chemical that was recently classified as a cancer-causing agent based on laboratory studies by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO). The corporation has developed and produced many other toxic chemicals, including: Lasso, an herbicide that is now banned in Europe; PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl), one of the 12 Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) that affect human and animal fertility; and 2,4,5 T (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid), a dioxin-containing […]

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Sound Waves Disrupt Mating of Pest in Orange Groves

Friday, November 13th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, November 13, 2015) Research finds that sound waves could combat the Asian citrus psyllid, an insect that has been devastating Florida orange groves, and possibly reduce the need for pesticides. The Asian citrus psyllid carries a bacteria that causes “citrus greening,” an incurable disease with symptoms that include yellow shoots, uneven discolored patches, and deficiencies with the production of chlorophyll, green pigment found within plants. To stem the spread of the disease  —which is responsible for an estimated $3.63 billion in lost revenue from orange juice for the state of Florida from 2006-2012— researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and University of Florida (UF) are developing vibration traps that hijack psyllid mating calls to locally bring their populations under control. “We’re trying hard to cut down on use of pesticides in orange groves, partly because we are worried they’ll build up resistance to pesticides, and that will make things even worse,” said Richard Mankin, Ph.D., a research entomologist with USDA. He presented  findings  on acoustic disruption at the meeting of the American Acoustical Society  last month in Jacksonville. When a male Asian psyllid is looking for a mate, he situates himself on a twig and alerts […]

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U.S. Senators to Advance Legislation to Stop States from Labeling GE Food

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2015) With increasing consumer concern about genetically engineered (GE) food, yesterday  the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing,  entitled Agriculture Biotechnology: a Look at Federal Regulation and Stakeholder Perspectives, that critics called lopsided. Most witnesses characterized GE food as safe or side-stepped the issue of safety, as government witnesses refused to distinguish GE from conventional food and opposed food labeling. “This is the first time in 10 years we’ve had a hearing on biotech. I guess we’re a little late, but we’re here,” said chair of the committee, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS). The ranking  minority member of the committee, Senator  Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)  said,  “Biotechnology is proven to be safe, beneficial, and I believe will play a major role in helping to solve these dual global challenges of climate change and global food security,” Central to the hearing is the the issue of labeling food products containing GE crops. Senator Stabenow called for the adoption of legislation on GE food labeling, presumably with language that will preempt the authority of states to adopt more stringent labeling standards. Senator Stabenow said that she wants labeling that “doesn’t stigmatize biotechnology.” The GE food […]

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Popular Weed Killer 2,4-D and Lice Treatment Lindane Classified as Carcinogens

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2015) The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has found that there is some evidence in experimental animals that the popular herbicide, 2,4-D, is linked to cancer and now classifies it as a Group 2B, “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” IARC also classified lindane, used commonly in the U.S. as a topical lice treatment, in Group 1,“carcinogenic to humans” based on sufficient evidence in humans with the onset of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). These latest cancer findings come just months after the agency classified the world’s most widely used herbicide, glyphosate (Roundup), as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” raising public concerns on the lack of action from U.S. regulators. This month, 26 experts from 13 countries met at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) IARC in Lyon, France to assess the carcinogenicity of the insecticide lindane, the herbicide 2,4-D, and insecticide DDT. The findings are published in the Lancet. The new IARC findings come months after the agency classified glyphosate, the ingredient in the popular Roundup weed killer, as a Group 2A “probable” carcinogen, citing sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity based on laboratory studies. This decision sparked renewed calls for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action on […]

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Air Force Veterans Who Used Agent Orange Contaminated Aircraft May Be Compensated

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2015) After years of denial and obstruction, Air Force and Air Force Reserve veterans now have the chance to receive compensation for their exposure to the highly toxic herbicide Agent Orange on contaminated aircraft used after the Vietnam War. Affected veteran’s health issues stem from their time spent on UC-123 transport planes, which during the war were outfitted with spray equipment in the American military’s attempt to eliminate forest cover for Vietcong fighters. After the war, these aircraft were returned to use in the United States for basic transport operations such as cargo shipping and medical evacuation missions. However, these planes never underwent any form of decontamination or testing before being repurposed. Though the Agent Orange Act of 1991 stipulated medical care and disability coverage for sick veterans who  served in the Vietnam War and were exposed to Agent Orange, those who flew in contaminated post-war planes were deemed ineligible. Prior to this recent announcement from the Department of Veteran’s affairs, government officials asserted that the “dried residues” of Agent Orange were not likely to pose a health threat to aircraft crew. However, a study published by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine in […]

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EPA’s Expansion of 2,4-D Enlist Duo Challenged

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2015) A coalition of conservation, food safety, and public health groups filed a motion Monday challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s decision to expand the use of “Enlist Duo” on genetically engineered (GE) corn and soybean crops to nine additional states: Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and North Dakota. Enlist Duo, which contains the toxic herbicide, 2,4-D, was approved by EPA to be used on 2,4-D-resistant crops, despite concerns for human and environmental contamination. The motion was filed in the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by Earthjustice and Center for Food Safety on behalf of Beyond Pesticides, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, Environmental Working Group, the National Family Farm Coalition, and Pesticide Action Network North America. This motion builds on the coalition’s earlier challenge of Enlist Duo, which already includes six Midwestern states where EPA previously first approved the herbicide’s use on GE corn and soybean crops. Another legal challenge cites EPA’s  failure to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regarding the impact of the herbicide on two endangered species —the whooping crane and the Indiana bat— with the approval of Enlist Duo for […]

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USDA Approves 2,4-D-Tolerant (GE) Crops

Friday, September 19th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2014) The pesticide treadmill continues to turn with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recent approval this week of three 2,4-D-tolerto ant corn and soybean crops, developed by Dow AgroSciences. Some growers have been pushing for the new Enlist crops in order to combat the rapid proliferation of glyphosate-resistant weeds. The use of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup formulation, on genetically-engineered (GE) crops has proven to be an abject failure due to widespread weed resistance. So widespread is this resistance that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has  granted an emergency use exemption  for fluridone, which does not have registered uses in agriculture.  More recently, Texas regulators requested the use of propazine to combat glyphosate-resistant Palmer amaranth, or pigweed, which EPA recently denied,  citing risks to drinking water and other hazards.   Even though the agency denied the emergency use application, it accepted the argument put forth by the Texas Department of Agriculture that  glyphosate-resistant weeds in three million acres of herbicide-tolerant cotton constituted an  “urgent non-routine situation.”  Beyond Pesticides argued to EPA that the weed resistance in  herbicide-tolerant cropping systems is very predictable and has become routine, thus disqualifying states from using the […]

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USDA Advances Biological Controls for Citrus Greening Disease

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2014) Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced  that it is broadening the use of tiny parasitic wasps, Tamarixia Radiata, to combat the rampant problem  of Huanglongbing, also known as citrus greening disease, which has killed thousands of orange trees in Florida. The citrus industry is valued at $2 billion dollars. Citrus greening is an incurable disease that is spread by the Asian citrus psyllid. Symptoms of this disease include yellow shoots, uneven discolored patches, and deficiencies with chlorophyll production. Chlorophyll is the green pigment found within plants. It is extremely important for photosynthesis, which allows plants to absorb energy from the sun. The disease is usually found in warmer climates like Asia, India and the Saudi Arabian Peninsula; however, it made its way to Florida in 1998 and is now endangering California’s citrus industry. USDA has already committed to provide $1.5 million dollars to the T. radiata  breeding and release program in California, Texas, and Florida. Congress has also allocated more than $125 million dollars over the next five years to fund more research on containing the spread of the Asian citrus psyllid. Although the psyllids do not directly kill citrus trees, they […]

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USDA Report Cites Concerns with GE Crops as the Agency Approves New Uses

Friday, February 28th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, February 28, 2014) A report released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) considers the trends of genetically engineered (GE) crops over the past 15 years, since they were first introduced. Responding to increasing GE use, USDA also points to major concerns such as increasing herbicide resistance and higher levels of herbicide use as major potential threats to human health and the environment. The report comes as USDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are poised to  approve  new forms of GE corn and soybeans designed to be resistant to 2,4-D products,  one of the active ingredients in Agent Orange and a known carcinogen. Released  by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) on February 20, the report not only details the trends in GE use but also the known and unknown threats that GE crops pose. The number of GE varieties approved by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) grew exponentially between 1984 and 2002, the report said. Today the majority of GE crops, corn and soy, are grown on the nation’s largest farms. In 2013, more than 169 million acres of GE crops were planted in the U.S., comprising half of all cropland. […]

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Health Risks Found from Exposure to Agent Orange Residues on Military Aircraft

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, February 25, 2014) During the Vietnam War, over 10 million pounds of the toxic herbicide Agent Orange were applied from military aircraft to defoliate forests and destroy civilian crops. Outfitted with spraying equipment, UC-123 transport planes played a major role in the American military’s campaign to eliminate forest cover for Vietcong fighters. After the war, these aircraft were returned to use in the United States for basic transport operations such as cargo shipping and medical evacuation missions. However, these planes never underwent any form of decontamination or testing before being repurposed for use back in the states. Although the U.S. Air Force and Department of Veteran Affairs have asserted that “dried residues” on these aircraft were not likely to pose a health threat to aircraft crew – a justification used to deny sickened veterans medical support, a new study from the journal Environmental Research finds strong evidence of health risks from residual exposure. The study, Post-Vietnam military herbicide exposures in UC-123 Agent Orange spray aircraft, modeled flight crew’s potential exposure to dioxin, a contaminant in Agent Orange and a  highly potent carcinogen. Scientists based their models on monitoring tests that found dioxin contamination in the mid-1990’s and late […]

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