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Massachusetts Regulators Restrict Consumer Use of Bee-Toxic Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, March 3, 2021) Earlier this week, pesticide regulators in the commonwealth of Massachusetts voted to restrict outdoor consumer uses of neonicotinoid insecticides. The move is the result of sustained advocacy from broad coalition of individuals and organizations focused on protecting pollinators and ecosystem health. While advocates are pleased that the Pesticide Board Subcommittee made Massachusetts the first state in the country to restrict neonicotinoids through a regulatory process, they note this is only the first step in eliminating these hazardous insecticides. “This marks an incremental victory which took us 6 years to land, and it only happened because of immense, ongoing grassroots action and legislative allies who are willing to hold state regulators accountable,” said Martin Dagoberto, Policy Director of the Northeast Organic Farming Association, Mass. Chapter in a press release. “We still have a monumental endeavor ahead if we are to reduce toxins and rein in the toxic influence of the chemical lobby,” Mr. Dagoberto added. Advocates had been pushing the legislature to pass An Act to protect Massachusetts Pollinators, sponsored by pollinator champion Representative Carolyn Dykema, since 2014. Following several failures by state lawmakers to bring the bill over the finish line, efforts in 2019 resulted […]

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Solitary Wild Bees Harmed by Neonicotinoid Pesticides Applied by Soil Drenching

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, March 2, 2021) Populations of solitary ground nesting bees decline after exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides, according to a study published in Scientific Reports late last month. In addition to ground-nesting bees, neonicotinoids have been shown to harm butterflies, hummingbirds, songbirds, aquatic species and mammals, including humans. As independent science continues to look beyond the effects of these systemic chemicals on honey and bumblebees, advocates maintain that it has become increasingly clear that the high hazards presented by neonicotinoids necessitate their complete elimination. “Farmers need to protect their crops from pests, but they also absolutely need to protect pollinators from the unintended effects of pesticides,” said study coauthor Susan Willis Chan, PhD. “The data on this particular [neonicotinoid] product are so clear that there’s really no question about what has to happen. We have to find something else.” Researchers focused their effort investigating how various systemic pesticides effect the hoary squash bee (Eucera pruinosa), a ground nesting bee found throughout North America that feeds entirely on pollen from cucurbits (including squash, cucumber, pumpkin, gourds, etc). The hoary squash bee provides essential pollinator services for these crops throughout the U.S. and Canada. Neonicotinoids and other systemic insecticides are often applied […]

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Hummingbirds Harmed by Pesticides Killing Off Bees, Butterflies, and Other Pollinators

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2021) The same pesticides implicated in the worldwide decline of insect pollinators also present significant risks to their avian counterparts, hummingbirds. Well known for their nectar-fueled hovering flight powered by wings beating over 50 times per second, hummingbirds display unique reactions to toxic pesticides. Research by scientists at the University of Toronto finds that hummingbirds exposed to systemic neonicotinoid insecticides for even a short period of time can disrupt the high-powered metabolism of this important and charismatic animal. Scientists began their experiment by trapping 23 wild ruby-throated hummingbirds and housing them in an animal care facility. One group of birds acted as a control and received no pesticide exposure, while the rest were assigned either low, middle, or high exposure (1 part per million [ppm], 2ppm, and 2.5ppm, respectively) to the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. Scientists determined these amounts based upon probable nectar contamination in the real world. The pesticide was incorporated into the sugar solution provided to the birds over the course of three days. Within two hours of exposure to the pesticides, hummingbird metabolism dropped significantly. While the control group increased energy expenditure between 1% to 7%, the low exposed group displayed a 6% average decline, […]

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Herbicide Use in “Regenerative” No-Till Contaminates Waterbodies

Friday, February 19th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, February 19, 2021) Governments and policy makers are feeling a lot of pressure to mount effective responses to the climate crisis and to extraordinary levels of pollution in our environment. Tackling any one problem without precautionary attention to potential consequences of a solution — before it is enacted — is the opposite of the holistic understandings and strategies needed to solve environmental crises. Piecemeal approaches often generate unintended consequences. To wit: Vermont Public Radio (VPR) reports on revelations from a retired state scientist, Nat Shambaugh, who finds that farmers’ efforts to reduce agricultural runoff from fields into waterbodies, by planting cover crops, has resulted in significant increases in the use of herbicides to kill off those crops. So as one kind of pollution is reduced, another has become intensified. In Vermont and elsewhere, there has been much attention paid to nutrient pollution of waterbodies and waterways from agricultural runoff, largely because phosphorous and nitrates from fertilizers lead to contaminated drinking water, as well as to blooms of algae (some of which have their own toxic byproducts) and hypoxic dead zones in water bodies. The most notorious of these dead zones in North America are at the mouth of […]

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Proposed Bayer/Monsanto Settlement for Roundup Victims Offers Payments and Challenges

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, February 9, 2021) Multinational agrichemical corporation Bayer/Monsanto released a proposal last week to provide up to $200,000 per claimant in compensation to future victims of its Roundup weed killer, according to Reuters. The proposed settlement, agreed to with lawyers representing victims, continues Bayer/Monsanto’s attempts to limit the spiraling cost Roundup lawsuits, which have awarded individual victims millions of dollars in damages. The company appears to consider the proposal a good investment, as it has announced no plans to stop sale and production of its carcinogenic weed killer. However, under the current proposal, plaintiffs would not be forced to go through a compensation fund, and could seek additional punitive damages through a separate suit. As the attorney for Roundup victims, Elizabeth Casbraser, of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, told the Wall Street Journal, “It’s really about options, and it’s really about choice. I think it’s a great option that offers predictability and transparency for people who don’t want to wait, who want to be compensated.” To stop the surge of cancer victims – comprising roughly 125,000 lawsuits – from further damaging the company financially, Bayer/Monsanto last year proposed a $10.9 billion settlement with current litigants. Unresolved future claims were […]

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Court Settlement Requires EPA to Review How Bee-Killing Pesticide Harms Endangered Species

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, February 2, 2021) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will evaluate the effect of the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid on endangered species, after an agreement was reached between the agency and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Imidacloprid is one of the most commonly used insecticides in the world today and, like other neonicotinoids in its chemical class, has been linked to a range of adverse impacts on wildlife and their habitat. While the agreement to the assess effects on endangered species is important, advocates note that EPA should already have conducted this review, and further, that imidacloprid and other neonicotinoids should already be banned. NRDC’s successful lawsuit follows a separate legal challenge by the Center for Food Safety, Beyond Pesticides, beekeepers, and other environmental organizations which was settled in 2019. The judge in that case, focused on the neonicotinoids clothianidin and thiamethoxam, did not order EPA to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (which is required when registering a pesticide in order to mitigate risks to endangered species). Instead, she directed the parties, including the plaintiffs, defendant EPA, and intervenor Bayer CropScience (the manufacturer of neonicotinoids), to move forward […]

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Ethanol Plant Processing Pesticide Coated Seeds Contaminates Nebraska Town

Wednesday, January 13th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, January 13, 2021) An ethanol processing plant located in the small village of Mead, Nebraska has been using seeds coated in bee-toxic chemicals as part of its production process, according to reporting published in The Guardian earlier this week. The plant, owned by a company called AltEn, may be the only plant in the U.S. producing biofuels with toxic seeds. There is a reason for that, and Mead residents are experiencing the adverse effects of EPA not regulating treated seeds. The prevalence of the use of seed coatings in chemical agriculture has increased over the last several decades, as the pesticide industry works to increase product sales by exploiting a loophole in federal pesticide law. Under FIFRA (the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act), a clause known as the “treated article exemption” permits seeds to be coated with highly toxic pesticides without any requirement for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess environmental or public health effects of their use. This allows hazardous pesticides (primarily insecticides and fungicides) to be used indiscriminately with no effective oversight. Research finds that over 150 million acres of farmland are planted with toxic seeds, including nearly four tons of bee-killing neonicotinoids […]

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Pesticides and Road Salt: A Toxic Mixture for Aquatic Communities

Thursday, January 7th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, January 7, 2021) Insecticides and road salts adversely interact to alter aquatic ecosystems, reducing organism abundance and size, according to a study in the journal Environmental Pollution. Pesticide use is ubiquitous, and contamination in rivers and streams is historically commonplace, containing at least one or more different chemicals. Although road salts can prevent hazardous ice formation during the colder months, the study raises critical issues regarding the adverse interaction between road salts and pervasive environmental pollutants that threaten human, animal, and environmental health and safety. Authors of the study note, “Our results highlight the importance of multiple-stressor research under natural conditions. As human activities continue to imperil freshwater systems, it is vital to move beyond single-stressor experiments that exclude potentially interactive effects of chemical contaminants.” To assess the impact of road salts and insecticides on aquatic communities, researchers created a mesocosm (controlled outdoor experimental area) to examines the natural environment under controlled conditions. These communities include zooplankton, phytoplankton, periphyton, and leopard frog (Rana pipiens) tadpoles. Researchers performed a toxicity evaluation of six insecticides from three chemical classes (neonicotinoids: thiamethoxam, imidacloprid; organophosphates: chlorpyrifos, malathion; pyrethroids: cypermethrin, permethrin). Additionally, researchers note the potentially interactive effects of these insecticides with three concentrations of […]

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Long-Term Roundup Exposure Found to Harm Keystone Wildlife Species

Wednesday, January 6th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2021) Long-term exposure to formulated Roundup and glyphosate results in significant harm to wildlife species that form the bottom of aquatic food chains, according to a study published in Microbiome by researchers at University of Birmingham, UK. The water flea Daphnia spp. often functions as a keystone species in lakes and ponds, and because of its ecological importance is frequently used as an indicator species in toxicity tests performed by pesticide regulators. Lead author Luisa Orsini, PhD, notes that most of this testing is flawed by limitations in its scope. “The problem is that much of the evidence is rooted in outdated toxicity tests which only look at the number of animals that die on exposure to extremely high concentrations of these chemicals,” Dr. Orsini said. “These tests also overlook the pathological effects arising from long-term exposure to low doses. What we’re proposing is that toxicity is measured by looking at what happens to the animal at a molecular and fitness level following long-term exposure, which encompasses the entire animal life cycle.” Dr. Orsini and her research team exposed populations of Daphnia magna to the maximum contaminant level (1 mg/L) of both the formulated product Roundup, […]

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Trump Administration Pushing Ahead with Two Toxic Pesticides during Transition

Thursday, December 3rd, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, December 3, 2020) As the Trump administration winds down, it appears that it will continue to push through decisions that build on its formidable record of weakening environmental and public health protection. Ignoring documented threats to pollinators, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could finalize its interim approval for flonicamid, a bee-toxic pesticide. Separately, EPA may reapprove the disinfectant ethylene oxide (EtO), despite concerns over carcinogenicity. NYU Law is tracking these and other last-minute federal environmental decisions on its webpage Midnight Watch. EPA proposed an interim reregistration decision for flonicamid in September 2020. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has been highly and publicly critical of the agency’s approach on this chemical. In a public comment, Becerra wrote that EPA did not collect data from required follow-up studies regarding the impact of flonicamid on pollinators. EPA’s own risk assessment states that a “full assessment of pollinator risk cannot be conducted until data are available.” AG Becerra stated, “The Trump Administration’s EPA is failing at one of its most basic jobs by plowing ahead with the registration process for flonicamid before receiving additional data on its impact to pollinators like bees.” He continued, “California relies on pollination from bees for agriculture, a driving force of our state’s economy. We cannot ignore the […]

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Flea Treatment Pesticides Found to Contaminate Waterways

Friday, November 20th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, November 20, 2020) Many pet owners likely do not consider what is actually in the flea treatments they administer to their animals. That should change, and recent research demonstrates why. Scientists sampling rivers in England found extreme contamination with two neurotoxic pesticides commonly used in flea products for dogs and cats: fipronil and the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. In many instances, the concentrations in the waterways were far higher than accepted “safe” levels. Though these compounds are banned for agricultural uses in the United Kingdom (UK), risk assessment for them, as used on animals, has been minimal because of the assumption that the amounts used for veterinary treatments would mean far-less-significant environmental impact than might be expected with agricultural-scale use. This research out of the University of Sussex voids that assumption, and the researchers recommend “re-evaluation of the environmental risks posed by pet parasite products, and a reappraisal of the risk assessments that these products undergo prior to regulatory approval.”   Apart from being an active ingredient in flea treatments for pets, fipronil is used in insect baits, and in turf management and agriculture in the U.S. It is highly toxic to insects, including bees, to birds, and to aquatic invertebrates. […]

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Environmental Poisoning by Pesticides—Household Chemical Products and Medications Impact Domestic Pet Populations

Thursday, November 12th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, November 12, 2020) A new report from the University of Milan and Poison Control Center (CVA) in Milan, Italy suggests that domestic animals experience frequent environmental poisoning by household toxicants. This research highlights the significance of investigating methods to classify diseases shared across multiple species to reduce the adverse effects of toxicant exposure. Researchers note, “These findings can provide useful information for the identification and monitoring of known and emerging toxicants, with positive repercussions on human, animal, and environmental health.” Veterinary toxicologists collaborated with the Poison Control Centre of Milan to analyze data related to animal poisoning episodes from January 2017 to March 2019. Evaluated data includes comprehensive information about animal species, potential poisoning agents, route of exposure, and clinical signs. Toxic chemicals (toxicants) considered include pesticides (insecticides, rodenticides, molluscicides, herbicides, and fungicides), drugs/medication (human and veterinary medicinal products, tobacco/nicotine, and drugs of abuse), household products (i.e., detergent, disinfectants), and other causative compounds. To analyze data results, researchers used IBM® SPSS® Statistics software and graphed findings using Prism by GraphPad. Researchers reported 442 animal poisoning episodes. Pesticides and medicine are the two major causes of domestic animal poisoning (34.1% and 33.5% of incidents, respectively). The remainder of animal poising incidents are from household […]

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Bees Lose Sleep Over Pesticides, Adding Stress and Increasing Risk of Death

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, November 11, 2020) Neonicotinoid insecticides inhibit honey bee sleep cycles, leading to stress and population declines, according to research from Vanderbilt University, published in Scientific Reports. Although there is already ample evidence of the dangers these systemic insecticides pose to pollinators – as evidenced by recent bans in the European Union and Canada – this new line of investigation add further detail to the ongoing crisis in the pollinator world. “I was thinking about honey bee disappearances and it clicked—if pesticides are killing bees indirectly but we don’t know exactly how, maybe it’s because they’re getting physically lost,” said study coauthor Michael Tackenberg, PhD.  Scientists conducted the experiment using honey bees located on Vanderbilt’s campus, which does not use neonicotinoid insecticides. After returning from pollen collection, forager bees were captured at their hive entrance and moved into monitoring tubes, which were subsequently transferred to the lab. In the lab, scientists were able to control light and dark cycles, and exposed bees to levels neonicotinoids they would likely experience if foraging on contaminated flowers. Foraging bees were first exposed to light/dark at 12/12 cycles, followed by four days of complete darkness, at which time some bees were provided neonics, […]

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Ecosystem-Killer Fipronil More Toxic Than Previously Thought, Found in Waterways Throughout the U.S.

Tuesday, October 27th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2020) The insecticide fipronil is more toxic to aquatic insects than previously thought, often present in U.S. waterways, and can trigger trophic cascades that disrupt entire aquatic ecosystems, finds new research published by the U.S. Geological  Survey (USGS). The data have important implications for waterways throughout the country, but particularly in the Southeast U.S. where the chemical was found at hazardous levels in over half of sampled steams. Despite the high quality of the findings by a U.S. government agency, pesticide regulators at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) do not adequately consider ecosystem-level effects when determining whether to register a pesticide. As a result, without public pressure on the agency, it is unlikely it will follow the science and take the action necessary to rein in use and safeguard the environment. Fipronil is a systemic pesticide that can travel through plant tissues and be expressed in its pollen, nectar, and dew droplets. Due to its systemic properties and similar toxicity profile, it is often targeted for restriction alongside the notorious neonicotinoid class of insecticides. Although fipronil is equally concerning, there is less data on the range of harm the chemical may cause. To better understand […]

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Combination of Pesticide Exposure, Limited Food Lead to Wild Bee Declines

Tuesday, October 20th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2020) The additive stress of pesticide exposure and food scarcity leads to significant declines in wild pollinator populations, according to research published by scientists at University of California, Davis. Although it is well known that insect and pollinators populations are at risk from multiple stressors related to industrial agriculture, comprehensive evaluations are a challenging scientific undertaking. “Just like humans, bees don’t face one single stress or threat,” said lead author Clara Stuligross, a PhD. candidate in ecology at UC Davis. “Understanding how multiple stressors interplay is really important, especially for bee populations in agricultural systems, where wild bees are commonly exposed to pesticides and food can be scarce.” To better understand the interplay between these two stressors, researchers designed a field study. Mason bee pollinators were provided cages to nest in, and each stressor was separated out. One set of bees were provided high levels of food availability, while another received scant floral resources. Certain cages within each food level were treated with the product Admire Pro, a Bayer Cropscience insecticide containing the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. Scientists found significant impacts on the factors that deal with mason bees’ reproductive success. This includes the likelihood that a female […]

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New Insecticides Escalate Indiscriminate Harm to All Organisms

Friday, October 9th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2020) A new study demonstrates that emerging “novel” insecticides can cause significant, sublethal harm to beneficial organisms at typical “real life” exposure levels. As neonicotinoid insecticides have come under fire for their terrible impacts on a broad variety of beneficial insects — including their major contributions to the decline of critical pollinators — more such “novel” pesticides are being brought to market in response. The study results, the co-authors say, “confirm that bans on neonicotinoid use will only protect beneficial insects if paired with significant changes to the agrochemical regulatory process. A failure to modify the regulatory process will result in a continued decline of beneficial insects and the ecosystem services on which global food production relies.” Beyond Pesticides would add that the study outcome points, yet again, to the grave recklessness of the pervasive “addiction” to chemical pesticides in agriculture. The solution to this chemical morass is known, doable, and scalable: a transition to organic, regenerative agricultural practices that get everyone off the “toxic treadmill.” Neonicotinoid pesticides (neonics) are the class of chemical pesticides most commonly used worldwide, both on crops and as seed treatments. They are systemic, meaning they infiltrate all tissues of a […]

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Court Rejects Case to Reinstate Environmental Protections on U.S. Wildlife Refuges, as Report Shows Increasing Pesticide Use

Thursday, October 1st, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, October 1, 2020) A federal judge on September 24, 2020 dismissed an  environmental lawsuit seeking to reinstate a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule, killed by the Trump Administration, which banned the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, genetically engineered (GE) crops, and adopted a precautionary approach to pest management. The decision comes on the heels of a Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) analysis that reports a 34% increase in the pesticide use on U.S. national wildlife refuge acres over a two year period from 2016-2018. This analysis is an update to CBD’s 2018 report, No Refuge, which is the first of its kind to offer comprehensive details of agricultural pesticide spraying in national wildlife refuges. Wildlife refuges act as a sanctuary, providing habitat and protection essential for the survival and recovery of species nationwide. However, pesticide spraying in or around wildlife refuges threatens the survivability and recovery of species that reside there as many of these pesticides are highly toxic to human and animal health. Analyses like these are significant, especially since the globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one million species of plants and animals at risk of extinction. In 2012, […]

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Neonicotinoid Insecticides Trigger Neurodegeneration and Can Blind Insects at Low Doses

Wednesday, September 30th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, September 30, 2020) Low doses of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides are known to disrupt insect learning and behavior, but new science is providing a better understanding of how these effects manifest at a cellular level. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this study finds that the neonic imidacloprid binds to brain receptors, triggering oxidative stress, reducing energy levels, and causing neurodegeneration. “Although many studies have shown that low doses of insecticides can affect insect behavior, they have not uncovered whether insecticides trigger changes at the cellular and molecular levels,” said lead author Felipe Martelli, PhD, of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia. “The goal of this work was to have a better understanding of the effects of low doses of the common insecticide imidacloprid at the cellular, physiological and behavioral levels.” Researchers used the fruit fly Drosophilia melanogaster, a common experimental organism, as it contains a number of nicotinic acetylchloline receptors, the primary site of action for imidaclorpid. The neonic binds to these receptors, which regulate a number of physiological processes, such muscle contraction. Binding closes these channels, leading to the range of harm researchers observed through their study. Larval fuit flies were exposed to imidacloprid […]

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Pesticide Drift from Greenhouses Adversely Affects Children Living Nearby

Friday, September 4th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, September 4, 2020) When pesticide drift is investigated, it is most often drift from agricultural fields that is examined. A new study shows that off-target drift of pesticides from greenhouses is also a reality. This research deduced such drift of organophosphate and carbamate pesticides from crop applications done in Ecuadoran floriculture greenhouses by evaluating the acetylcholinesterase enzyme (AChE) activity, necessary to the transmission of nerve impulses, in children residing nearby. The team finds that children living in homes near greenhouses in which these insecticides (widely recognized as cholinesterase inhibitors) are used exhibit reduced activity of this enzyme and abnormal functioning of the nervous system. Beyond Pesticides has monitored the pesticide drift issue intensively, and has long advocated for far better protections for farmworkers. This new information connects those issues, and expands the “drift” concerns to include risks to people working in greenhouses, and to those, especially children, who happen to live near greenhouse-type structures in which these toxic chemicals are used. The study evaluates data during three separate periods (2008, April 2016, and July–October 2016) on 623 children, aged 4–17, living in floricultural communities in Ecuador. The research is part of the study of the Secondary Exposure to Pesticides […]

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Neonicotinoids Harm Shrimp and Oyster Health, Decrease Nutritional Value

Wednesday, August 26th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2020) Neonicotinoid insecticides damage the health of shrimp and oysters, according to two (1, 2) new studies published by Australian researchers. Although this class of chemicals is best known for its hazardous impacts on pollinator populations, it is becoming increasingly clear that the entire food chain is at risk from continued neonicotinoid use. This study builds on an already established body of literature showing these systemic chemicals poison waterways. Researchers began by collecting samples of shrimp and oysters from growers along the coast, and acclimating the species to laboratory conditions. Both collections were separated into different test groups. Oysters where exposed in their tanks to various concentrations of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. Shrimp were exposed to imidacloprid through two methods: in their feed, and in their tanks. Each separate test group was further separated into high and low exposures. A control group that did not receive any pesticide exposure was also established in each experiment. For the oyster populations, scientists found a range of negative effects. Imidacloprid inhibits the proper functioning of the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, a well-known impact of many pesticides that results in damage to the nervous system. Detoxification mechanisms are activated, and changes are observed […]

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The Insect Apocalypse Moves Up the Food Chain: American Bird Populations in Rapid Decline Due to Pesticide Use

Tuesday, August 18th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, August 18, 2020) Ongoing declines in bird population and diversity are being accelerated by the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, according to research published in Nature Sustainability earlier this month. The paper comes on the heels of a groundbreaking study released last year, finding that the United States has lost 3 billion birds since 1970, a roughly 30% decrease from that time. This new research adds further detail to losses that have occurred within the last decade, as farming patterns have shifted increasingly to the use of pesticide-coated seeds that poison. Researchers used an extensive dataset from the North American Breeding Bird Survey, a project maintained by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). The project takes regular counts of bird species along 2,953 survey routes established throughout North America, accounting for dozens of both grassland and insectivorous birds, and over 630 non-grassland species. Pesticides were weighted for their toxicity to birds, and researchers produced an empirical analysis using regression models in order to establish a casual relationship between neonicotinoid use and bird populations. Using these models, researchers determined that for every 100kg (220 lbs) increase in the use of any neonicotinoid within a US county, grassland bird populations subsequently […]

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Take Action: Tell Lowe’s and Home Depot to Promote Organic Instead of Poisons

Monday, August 17th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2020) Once numbering in the millions, barely 29,000 western monarch butterflies were found in California at last count. Pesticides pack a one-two punch against monarchs. Insecticides—particularly neonicotinoids—poison the caterpillars and butterflies as they feed. Glyphosate—the active ingredient in Bayer-Monsanto’s Roundup® — is wiping out milkweed, the only food source for monarch caterpillars. This has contributed to monarchs’ 90% decline in the past 20 years alone. They could vanish within our lifetimes. Home and garden stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot can play a huge role in ending the use of this toxic pesticide in our backyards and across the country. Already, Lowe’s is removing neonicotinoid products from its live plant offerings and store shelves, and Home Depot is eliminating use of neonicotinoids in its live plant offerings. They could stop selling Roundup®. More importantly, they could encourage organic practices through their product offerings and consumer education. Ask Home Depot and Lowe’s to get Roundup® off their shelves and promote and educate on organic! Companies like Lowe’s and Home Depot could be leaders by removing products containing glyphosate/Roundup® from their physical stores and online—following the example of their competitor, Costco. This would send a powerful message to Bayer […]

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Study Shows Organic Food Diet Reduces Residues of Glyphosate in Body

Friday, August 14th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, August 13, 2020) Levels of the notorious herbicide compound glyphosate in the human body are reduced by 70% through a one-week switch to an organic diet, finds a new, peer-reviewed study published in August 2020 in the journal Environmental Research. This result emphasizes both the ubiquity of this compound in the human body, and diet as the primary source of exposure for most people. It also adds to the evidence for Beyond Pesticides’ assertions that: (1) chemical-intensive agriculture must be abandoned, for a variety of reasons that include human health, and (2) in the lead-up to a transition to organic and regenerative agriculture, consuming organic foods as much as is practicable is powerful protection from glyphosate, and from the assault of multiple chemical pesticides to which most people are exposed. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the popular weed killer RoundupTM, which has been used intensively in the U.S. and around the world, especially during the last couple of decades. It is very commonly used on crops grown from genetically engineered (GE) companion seeds for a variety of staple crops (e.g., soybeans, cotton, and corn). These GE seeds are glyphosate-tolerant, whose attribute has allowed growers to apply the herbicide and […]

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