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Exposure to Common Herbicide Glyphosate Increases Spontaneous Preterm Birth Incidents

Thursday, August 26th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2021) A recent study published in Environmental Research demonstrates that exposure to the herbicide glyphosate and its breakdown product reduces pregnancy length, increasing the risk of preterm birth. Preterm births occur when a fetus is born early or before 37 weeks of complete gestation. Premature births can result in chronic (long-term) illnesses among infants from lack of proper organ development and even death. Birth and reproductive complications are very common among individuals exposed to environmental toxicants, like pesticides. Considering the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports the preterm birth rate is increasing annually, studies like this can help government and health officials safeguard human health by assessing adverse health effects following prevalent chemical exposure. The study notes, “Given the prevalent and rising exposures to glyphosate and GBHs [glyphosate-based herbicides], confirmatory studies are needed to explore reproductive effects of glyphosate and GBHs to re-assess their safety on human health and to explore possible programming consequences to lifelong health.” GBHs are the most commonly used herbicides, readily contaminating soil, water, and food globally. Although GBHs’ ubiquitous nature has been linked to carcinogenic effects, specifically non-Hodgkin lymphoma, much less research considers exposure effects on reproductive health. The study’s scientists aimed to examine the relationship […]

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

Friday, August 20th, 2021

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

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Commentary: Are Children, Agricultural Workers, and the Food Supply Safe with EPA’s Chlorpyrifos Decision?

Thursday, August 19th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2021) Does a science-based, public health-oriented, occupational safety focused, children-concerned, ecologically protective society allow the use of toxic pesticides that are unnecessary to achieve land management, quality of life, and food productivity goals? Should victims of poisoning have to plead with regulators to protect them? Should organizations have to fight chemical-by-chemical to achieve basic levels of protection from individual neurotoxic, cancer causing, endocrine disrupting pesticides? Of course not. But, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement that it is stopping food uses of the insecticide chlorpyrifos after being registered 65 years ago provides us with an important opportunity for reflection, not just celebration. The collective effort to remove this one chemical is a tremendous feat in eliminating one exposure to a hazardous material for children. That is the point. The action we’re celebrating required an amazingly resource-intensive effort at a time in history when we are running against the clock in an urgent race to transition our society and global community away from the use of petroleum-based, toxic pesticides—to move to meaningful practices that sustain, nurture, and regenerate life. In this context, let’s put chlorpyrifos in perspective. EPA was forced into its decision by a court […]

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Tell EPA: It Must Ban Pesticides Unless Shown Not To Be Endocrine Disruptors

Monday, August 16th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 16, 2021) The failure of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to meet its statutory responsibility to protect people and wildlife from the dire consequences of exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals must end. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for EPA has issued a damning report on the agency’s progress in protecting the population from potentially damaging endocrine disruption impacts of exposures to synthetic chemical pesticides (and other chemicals of concern) that shows the situation to be even worse than previously reported. The OIG’s summary statement says, “Without the required testing and an effective system of internal controls, the EPA cannot make measurable progress toward complying with statutory requirements or safeguarding human health and the environment against risks from endocrine-disrupting chemicals.” As a result, according to the OIG, “we have yet to see EPA use endocrine disruption findings in pesticide registration decisions.” Tell EPA that pesticide use cannot continue without findings of no endocrine disruption. Over recent decades, evidence has mounted showing that many pesticides interfere with hormones—and are therefore endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). In 1996, the promise of screening pesticides for endocrine disruption generated support from environmentalists and public health advocates for the Food Quality Protection Act […]

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“Biopesticides,” with Broad Definition, Challenged as Unsustainable

Friday, August 13th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 13, 2021) Across the pond in the UK, two years of trials with spring and winter wheat varieties have shown, according to the Farmer Scientist Network (FSN), which conducted the study as Crop Health North, that so-called “biopesticides,” alone or in combination with conventional pesticides, can be useful in generating yield and grain quality comparable to those obtained through use of conventional “crop chemistry” (aka, synthetic chemical pesticides). According to Beyond Pesticides Executive Director Jay Feldman, biopesticides are a “mixed bag,” generally poorly understood, and defined differently by various entities and stakeholders. He notes that the term can be misleading and mixes contradictory approaches, adding that, “It’s troublesome when we continue to look for product replacements or substitutions for agricultural practices that are clearly ineffective, and in the process avoid the changes necessary to transition to organic practices,” which represent the real, long-term solution to the problems efforts such as these trials seek to remedy. The project was sponsored and supported by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society (YAS) through the European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI). YAS collaborated with universities, farmers, research institutes, agricultural organizations, and technology and food testing centers to conduct trials on three farms in the north of […]

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Commentary: Will Playing Fields, Parks, and Lawns Be Safe After Glyphosate in Roundup Residential Use Ends in 2023?

Friday, July 30th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, July 30, 2021) Bayer (Monsanto), the maker of the deadly herbicide glyphosate/Roundup, after hinting in May that it would end the weed killer’s residential uses in the U.S., made it official yesterday. With its announcement to shareholders, Bayer puts an end to residential uses beginning in 2023 and allocates $4.5 billion to cover “the company’s potential long-term exposure” from lawsuits by those harmed by the chemical. At the same time, the company announced it is seeking a U.S. Supreme Court hearing to reverse significant jury verdicts (from $289 million to $2 billion) for individuals who have suffered health damage they tie to glyphosate exposure. Bayer claims that it will argue that federal pesticide law preempts litigation against products that it has registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA). Similar arguments have been tried before, most notably in Bates v. Dow Agrosciences (2005), and the Supreme Court has found that federal pesticide law does not protect “manufacturers of poisonous substances.” (See more below.) Despite the extensive scientific review (see Pesticide Gateway) of glyphosate/Roundup and a “probable” cancer causing ranking by the World Health Organization/International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015, Bayer says, “This move is being made exclusively […]

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Take Action: Schools Must Provide and Encourage Organic Food

Monday, July 19th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2021) As yet another study, “Early life multiple exposures and child cognitive function: A multi-centric birth cohort study in six European countries,” draws attention to the benefits of organic food for the learning young mind, it is important that schools provide organic food to students. The study, conducted by Spanish researchers based at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, looks at a totality of all environmental hazards that children encounter, rather than individual lifestyle factors. As study co-author Jordi JĂșlvez, PhD, notes, “Healthy diets, including organic diets, are richer than fast food diets in nutrients necessary for the brain, such as fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants, which together may enhance cognitive function in childhood.” Tell your governor and USDA/Food and Nutrition Service to provide organic school lunches and information for parents. Researchers find that children who eat organic food display higher scores measuring fluid intelligence and working memory. Lower scores on fluid intelligence tests are associated with children’s fast food intake, house crowding, and exposure to tobacco smoke. Lower scores on working memory tests were associated with exposure to poor indoor air quality. This study adds to prior research finding that eating a conventional, chemical-intensive diet increases […]

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White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council Confronts Institutional Racism with Recommendations

Friday, June 25th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, June 25, 2021) A consequential report from the White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council (WHEJAC) sets out important and comprehensive recommendations that, if enacted, would put environmental justice on the front burner of national policy. The report spells out a multitude of challenges, and recommendations for addressing them, in service of advancing environmental justice (EJ) across federal agencies. Notably, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is called out for, among other things, poor protection of farmworkers and their families, who tend to be people of color, from pesticide risks. The report arises from President Biden’s late January 2021 Executive Orders (covered by Beyond Pesticides here) on: (1) tackling the climate crisis with a “whole of government” approach, with an explicit focus on EJ, and (2) recalibrating the functions of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to “forward health, racial equity, and environmental stewardship.” That early 2021 Executive Order (EO) on climate established the WHEJAC and the Justice40 Initiative, the latter of which aims to direct 40% of some categories of federal investment to historically under-served communities. Those investments, as reported by AgriPulse, would promote “clean energy and energy efficiency; clean transit; affordable and sustainable housing; training and workforce […]

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Switzerland to Hold Landmark Vote on Nationwide Ban of All Synthetic Pesticides June 13

Friday, June 11th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, June 11, 2021) On Sunday, June 13, Switzerland will hold a national vote on two landmark initiatives related to pesticide use (as well as several referenda). The vote on one initiative, dubbed by advocates “For a Switzerland Free of Synthetic Pesticides” (FSFSP), will determine whether or not the country will ban synthetic pesticides. If it does, it will become the first European nation to do so. The other initiative, which aims to eliminate direct subsidies of farmers who use synthetic pesticides or antibiotics for livestock, is focused on improving the quality of Switzerland’s drinking water and food supply. Beyond Pesticides covered the grassroots origin of the Swiss “no synthetic pesticides” initiative in 2018 and sees potential passage of both it and the water quality initiative as a watershed moment in the protection of health and the environment. These measures would go a long way to protecting and improving the health of humans and ecosystems, and the food supply, as well as protecting biodiversity in Switzerland. It could also — as advocates hope — encourage other European countries to follow suit. This vote has been scheduled, in part, as an outcome of a 2018 petition by the advocacy group, Future3, […]

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Women’s Exposure to Environmental Pollutants Prompts Infertility and Low Egg Count

Thursday, June 10th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2021) Exposure to toxic chemicals decreases egg count and increases infertility risk among women, according to a study published in Environment International. Since 2014, U.S. fertility rates have been decreasing, with many attributing the decline to older age pregnancies. However, several findings demonstrate that exposure to environmental pollutants, like persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from the industrial and agriculture industry, contributes to a decline in fertility rates. Scientists and health officials already associate exposure to POPs, like pesticides, with adverse impacts on male fertility, including reduced sperm count, quality, and abnormal sperm development. Therefore, it is essential to understand how exposure to toxic chemicals in the environment affects reproductive success, especially among women who can transfer contaminants to the fetus via the umbilical cord. The researchers note that these findings should urge government and health officials to reexamine chemical safety concerning reproductive health, and “strongly encourage [them] to study mechanisms behind POP-associated infertility in women in more detail.” Researchers examined ovarian egg reserve size in pregnant women directly by examining the density of follicles and immature eggs in ovarian tissue and indirectly via serum anti-MĂŒllerian hormone (AMH). Using AMH serum samples, researchers assessed concentration levels of 31 POPs: nine organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), ten polychlorinated […]

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Tell Home Depot and Lowe’s to Promote Herbicide Alternatives; Organic Is Focus of June 8 Forum

Monday, June 7th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2021) Beyond Pesticides and Friends of the Earth (FOE) collaborated to analyze herbicide products at two of the most popular home and garden retailers, Home Depot and Lowe’s. This new Commercial Herbicide Analysis highlights the adverse health and environmental effects of widely available toxic pesticides while encouraging retailers to expand on—and consumers to use—safer, least/nontoxic pesticide approaches. Tell Home Depot and Lowe’s to remove toxic herbicides from their shelves and replace them with products that promote least-toxic practices. According to Akayla Bracey, Beyond Pesticides’ science and regulatory manager and lead researcher on the review, “People generally aren’t aware that the pesticides widely available in garden retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s are a threat to health and the environment, and that there are safer approaches that are available and used in organic land management.”  When it comes to weeds, gardeners need good tools that enable them to control them with minimal effort and damage to their plants. Although gardeners differ in their preference for style of garden hoe, all must be sharp to operate efficiently, so files for sharpening should be located near the hoes, and customer service representatives should be prepared to demonstrate their use.  […]

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A Toxic-Free Future. Scientific Understanding. Systemic Change. Organic Transition. Collective Action.

Friday, May 21st, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2021) Do those ideas scratch your curiosity, science, policy, agriculture, and/or activist itch? Great — because the 2021 Annual National Pesticide Forum, Cultivating Healthy Communities: Confronting Health Threats, Climate Disasters, and Biodiversity Collapse with a Toxic-Free Future — begins very soon, so it is time to register! Cultivating Healthy Communities is a singular opportunity to learn from top experts and connect with kindred people from all over the U.S. (as well as with some international participants). During plenary sessions, presenters will share their understandings and ideas about the problems we face, and about urgently needed strategies and solutions to solve them. The workshop sessions will be interactive, providing attendees the chance to interact with one another and presenting experts. This annual National Pesticide Forum conference is convened, in 2021, by Beyond Pesticides and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai’s Institute for Exposomic Research. (“Exposomic” references the multitude of environmental factors to which an individual is exposed, and which can have effects on health.) If you are groaning or rolling your eyes at the thought of yet another conference, know that Cultivating Healthy Communities is not one of those events (think old school, boring, and expensive, […]

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Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Sustainable Agriculture Do Not Mix!

Thursday, April 29th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, April 29, 2021) Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) are incompatible with sustainable agriculture goals, according to a recent scientific literature analysis by scientists at Tufts University, Massachusetts. Glyphosate is the most commonly used pesticide active ingredient worldwide, appearing in many herbicide formulas, including Bayer’s (formerly Monsanto) RoundupTM. The use of this chemical has been increasing since the inception of crops genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate. However, studies demonstrate glyphosate is the main contributor to human, biotic, and ecosystem harms as toxicities from herbicides are now double what it was in 2004.  The National Academy of Sciences identifies four goals of sustainable agriculture—productivity, economics, environment, and social well-being for future generations. However, pesticides like glyphosate are ubiquitous in the environment, putting the health, economy, and food/resources for future generations at risk. Therefore, research like this is vital for understanding how chemical use can undermine sustainable agriculture goals to protect humans, animals, and environmental health. Researchers note, “[W]hether or not GBHs are viewed as essential or unessential to contemporary agriculture, and notwithstanding their role in non-tillage agriculture, this study shows that glyphosate-based herbicides do not reach the bar of agricultural sustainability, with respect to humans and the environment, making the system they are part of unsustainable.” Researchers thoroughly examined […]

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New York City Council Passes Landmark Law Eliminating the Use of Toxic Pesticides in City Parks and Playgrounds, Stipulates List of Allowed Materials

Friday, April 23rd, 2021

It all started with New York City public school teacher Paula Rogovin and her kindergarten class. They went down to city call, wrote letters, shared artwork, and got the attention of Council Member Ben Kallos, who sponsored reform legislation. (Beyond Pesticides, April 23, 2021) Yesterday, on Earth Day, the New York City Council passed landmark legislation to eliminate the use of toxic pesticides in parks and playgrounds. This new law eliminates the use of toxic pesticides, like glyphosate/Roundup, codifying a ban on pesticides with an allowance for only those permitted under federal organic standards. A few hours before passage of the bill, Intro. 1524 (see detailed factsheet below), the measure’s sponsor, Council Member Ben Kallos, and the Speaker of the Council, Corey Johnson,  were joined at a press conference by: Bertha Lewis, president of the Black Institute; those who began the movement for the legislation, retired teacher Paula Rogovin and some of her fomer students from Public School (PS) 290 in Manhattan; Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides; and, Patti and Doug  Wood, executive director and program director, respectively, of Grassroots Environmental Education. “Parks should be for playing not pesticides,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “All families should be […]

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Pesticide Pollution in Recreational Lakes Documented

Friday, April 16th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, April 16, 2021) Recent research, published in Environmental Pollution in late 2020, examines levels and persistence of pesticide pollution in recreational lakes. The study finds: (1) concentrations of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid at levels exceeding ecotoxicity limits for aquatic invertebrates in a recreational lake that receives predominately urban runoff, and (2) that pesticide residues persist in the studied lakes throughout the growing season. Based on their findings, the scientists emphasized the importance of stricter regulation of insecticide compounds, and of better education about their impacts. Beyond Pesticides maintains that neonicotinoid pesticides should be banned for several reasons, not least of which is the extreme damage they cause to pollinators. The goal of the study was to evaluate potential ecosystem exposure to pesticide contamination in Midwestern recreational lakes, as well as the persistence of pesticide residues in those water bodies over the course of the growing season. Study authors hypothesized that watersheds with significant agricultural land uses would have higher concentrations of pesticides compared to largely urban and herbaceous watersheds. This research, out of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the University of Kentucky, looked to evaluate the occurrence of neonicotinoid and organothiophosphate insecticides, and some fungicides, in three lakes with differing […]

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Invertebrates and Plants Face Increasing Threat from Pesticide Use, Despite Declining Chemical Use Patterns

Thursday, April 8th, 2021

Pesticide use threatens aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates and plants more than ever, despite declining chemical use and implementation of genetically engineered (GE) crops in the U.S., according to a University Koblenz-Landau, Germany study. Since the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), many environmental agencies have banned the use of pesticides like organochlorines, organophosphates, and carbamates for their devastating toxic—sometimes lethal—effects, particularly on vertebrates, including humans. However, this ban created a pathway for a new generation of pesticides (e.g., neonicotinoids, pyrethroids) to take hold. Although these pesticides are more target-specific, requiring lower chemical concentrations for effectiveness, they have over double the toxic effects on invertebrates, like pollinators.  Invertebrates and plants are vital for ecosystem function, offering various services, from decomposition to supporting the food web. Furthermore, invertebrates and plants can act as indicator species (bioindicators) that scientists can observe for the presence and impact of environmental changes and stressors. Therefore, reductions in invertebrate and plant life have implications for ecosystem health that can put human well-being at risk. Study lead author Ralf Schulz, PH.D., notes, “[This study] challenge[s] the claims of decreasing environmental impact of chemical pesticides in both conventional and GM [genetically modified or genetically engineered (GE)] crops and call for action to reduce the […]

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Ban Endocrine Disrupting Pesticides Now

Monday, April 5th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, April 5, 2021) The failure of EPA to meet its statutory responsibility to protect people and wildlife from the dire consequences of exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals must end. Over recent decades, evidence has mounted showing that many pesticides interfere with hormones—and are therefore endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). In 1996, the promise of screening pesticides for endocrine disruption generated support from environmentalists and public health advocates for the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA), which traded the absolute prohibition of carcinogens in food of the Delaney Clause for a risk assessment standard that is subject to manipulation and an underestimation of real-life hazards. And now, 25 years later, we have yet to see EPA use endocrine disruption findings in pesticide registration decisions. >>Tell EPA that pesticide use cannot continue without findings of no endocrine disruption. The endocrine system consists of a set of glands (thyroid, gonads, adrenal and pituitary) and the hormones they produce (thyroxine, estrogen, testosterone and adrenaline), which help guide the development, growth, reproduction, and behavior of animals, including humans. Hormones are signaling molecules, which travel through the bloodstream and elicit responses in other parts of the body. More than 50 pesticide active ingredients have been identified as […]

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Common Use Organophosphate Insecticides Pose a Greater Threat to Women’s Health

Thursday, March 18th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2021) A new study published in Environmental Toxicology and Pharmacology finds chronic (long-term) organophosphate (OP) pesticide exposure increases adverse health and cancer risk for U.S. women relative to men. Organophosphorus pesticides have a wide range of biological uses—from insecticides to flame retardants—that make these chemicals ubiquitous, significantly contributing to ecosystem contamination. Furthermore, while organophosphates have less bioaccumulation potential, residues are consistently present in human and animal blood, urine, tissues, and milk. Although research demonstrates that OPs are highly toxic, there remains an inadequate understanding of how OP exposure impacts the nonagricultural population in the U.S., especially women. Therefore, it is essential to investigate the sex-specific health effects chemical contaminants can produce to mitigate exposure among vulnerable populations. Study researchers note, “Given the higher burden of OP exposure and their significantly higher overall health risk, including cancer, reducing OP exposure in U.S. women needs to be prioritized.” To examine the relationship between OP exposure and health risks, researchers investigated the presence of commonly detected OP metabolite concentrations in urine using participants from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Urine samples measure OP metabolite as an indicator of OP exposure like previous agriculture-related population surveys. Study participants report health issues […]

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Ecosystem Health: Pesticide Use from Forest Management Practices Threatens Essential West Coast Marine Organisms

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, March 11, 2021) A Portland State University (PSU) study finds that pesticides from the forestry industry threaten clams, mussels, oysters (bivalves) along the Oregon state coast. Bivalves are excellent indicator species, signaling environmental contamination through their sedimentary, filter-feeding diet. However, continuous pesticide inputs—from various forestry management regimes—into watersheds along Oregon’s coastal zone endanger these species in downstream rivers and estuaries (river mouths). Although research demonstrates many forestry practices (e.g.., road building, planting, clearcutting, thinning) have cumulative effects on the ecosystem, there is a lack of studies addressing the overall impact of multiple chemical mixtures and application on watersheds and subsequent aquatic transport. Like agriculture, conventional forest management across the U.S. depends on the use of toxic pesticides to control pest populations. However, pesticide residues from application drift, runoff, and contamination continuously jeopardize the health and fitness of various non-target species, including humans. Marine ecosystem pollution is difficult to track and measure, and forestry pesticide regulations can invoke variations in water quality requirements through discrepancies in buffer zones and application concentrations. Therefore, studies like this can help guide future forest management practices to reduce the number of chemicals entering aquatic ecosystems. Researchers in the study note, “These findings highlight the need to […]

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Current and Projected Patterns of Global Pesticide and Fertilizer Use Are Not Sustainable, Says UN. . .Again

Friday, February 26th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, February 26, 2021) The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the environment arm of the highest-profile international organization (the UN), has issued a draft report whose top finding is this: “The global goal to minimize adverse impacts of chemicals and waste by 2020 has not been achieved for pesticides and fertilizers.” Increased use of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers — driven by rising demand for food, feed, fiber, fuel, and feedstock crops — is cited as causal, at least in part. Those factors no doubt contributed to the failure, but Beyond Pesticides asserts that such increased uses are symptomatic of the larger issue: in the U.S. and globally, chemical agriculture is a dangerous dead-end for public and environmental health. According to Beyond Pesticides: With this dominant system in place, “reductions” in use and impact are laudable but wholly insufficient. The whole system of petrochemical farming needs to be transitioned to organic, regenerative practices in agriculture, and in all land management. Such systems do not cause health and environmental harms, but are beneficent, viable, and profitable. The report warns that, going forward, “Business-as-usual is not an option.” The UNEP draft report was produced just ahead of the fifth session of the UN Environment […]

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

Thursday, February 25th, 2021

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

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Biden Executive Orders Set the Stage for Systemic Change, If Words Turn to Action

Friday, February 5th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2021) The American public has witnessed, in the barely launched tenure of President Joe Biden, a surge of Executive Orders (EOs). Based on the first flurry of orders, much of the Biden “reset” appears gauged to beat back Trump policies that worsened an already inadequate regulatory system, and to reconfigure federal operations and regulations so as to address and solve the biggest threats (beyond COVID) the country faces. Among the high-profile EOs already issued are three that stand out. One recalibrates the operations of the OMB (Office of Management and Budget) to forward health, racial equity, and environmental stewardship. A second and third seek, respectively, to restore scientific integrity and elevate the role of science across the federal government, and to tackle comprehensively the climate crisis with a “whole of government” approach. Beyond Pesticides welcomes these early efforts, and maintains that vigilance and robust advocacy will be necessary to achieve needed paradigmatic change across federal agencies, which exist to protect and support the American people. EOs are tools the President can wield to manage directly some operations of the federal government. They are seen as muscular and immediate means through which to change course, particularly in […]

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EPA Confirms Widespread PFAS Contamination of Pesticides, Announces “Investigation,” Stops Short of Action to Protect Public

Wednesday, January 20th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, January 20, 2021) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has confirmed that PFAS (per and polyfluorinated alykyl substances) ‘forever chemicals’ are contaminating containers that store pesticide products, and subsequently the products themselves. The confirmation comes after preliminary testing from the watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) found PFAS in the widely used mosquito pesticide Anvil 10+10. In response EPA announced further investigation and said, “EPA understands the need to provide guidance to states, tribes, and other users as they prepare to purchase mosquito control products for 2021 and will provide more information as it continues its investigation. EPA will update the following webpage with information as it becomes available: https://www.epa.gov/pesticides/pfas-packaging.” “EPA’s discovery has opened a Pandora’s Box of health risks,” stated PEER Science Policy Director Kyla Bennett, PhD, whose testing of the insecticide first raised the alarms, according to the EPA statement.  “Shipping containers may be a significant source of PFAS exposure through the entire U.S. agricultural sector.” According to EPA, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) containers used to store and transport pesticides are commonly treated with fluoride in order to create a “chemical barrier” that will “prevent changes in chemical composition.” The fluorinated container is supposed to be more stable, […]

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