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

Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

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

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Pollinator Health: Common Fungicide Linked to Changes in Honey Bees’ Brain through Oxidative Stress

Tuesday, August 29th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 29, 2023) A study published in Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology finds the widely used azole fungicide, tebuconazole, has damaging impacts on the redox homeostasis (the process of maintaining balance between oxidizing and reducing reactions) and fatty acid composition in honey bees’ brain via oxidative stress. Acute, field-realistic sublethal exposure to tebuconazole decreased the brain’s antioxidant capacity, key antioxidant defense systems, and oxidative degradation and alteration of lipids (fats) in the brain. Thus, this study adds to the scientific literature on the adverse effects of chemical exposure on pollinator health, especially in sublethal concentrations. Degenerating cognitive skills can threaten honey bee survivability, decreasing colony fitness and individual foraging success. Much research attributes the decline of insect pollinators (e.g., commercial and wild bees and monarch butterflies) over the last several decades to the interaction of multiple environmental stressors, from climate change to pesticide use, disease, habitat destruction, and other factors. Pollinator declines directly affect the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many plant species, both agricultural and nonagricultural, will decline or cease to exist, as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly among native wild bees, depress crop yields. In turn, the economy will take a hit, since much of the economy (65%) depends upon the […]

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Degradation of Color Discrimination Associated with Glyphosate Exposure Impairs Bees’ Foraging Ability

Friday, July 28th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2023) A study published in Science of the Total Environment finds glyphosate can adversely impact sensory and cognitive processes in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris). Glyphosate exposure impairs bees’ learning of aversive stimuli like electric shocks paired with specific color discrimination. Additionally, the pesticide reduces attraction to UV (ultraviolet) light, specifically the color blue, and temporarily impacts locomotion and phototaxis (movement in response to light). These impairments to sensory and cognitive processes render foraging difficult for these glyphosate-exposed pollinators and vulnerable to unavoidable predators. The study highlights that symptoms of widespread chemical exposure may reduce foraging efficiency and adversely affect ecosystems, especially those dependent on insect pollinators.  Pollinator decline directly affects the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many plant species, both agricultural and nonagricultural, will decline or cease to exist as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly among native wild bees, limit crop yields. In turn, the economy will take a hit, since much of the economy (65%) depends upon the strength of the agricultural sector. As the science shows, pesticides are one of the most significant stressors for pollinators. In a world where habitat loss and fragmentation show no sign of abating, scientists have concluded that the globe cannot afford to continue […]

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Study Confirms Continued Bird Decline as EPA Fails to Restrict Neonicotinoid Insecticides

Friday, July 21st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 21, 2023) A comprehensive and scathing report, “Neonicotinoid insecticides: Failing to come to grips with a predictable environmental disaster,” issued by American Bird Conservancy (ABC)in June, lays out the dire consequences of neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides’ continued use. The report is an update of an earlier review from 2013, which warned of the risks to birds, stating starkly: “A single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a songbird. Even a tiny grain of wheat or canola treated with the oldest neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, can poison a bird. As little as 1/10th of a corn seed per day during egg-laying season is all that is needed to affect reproduction with any of the neonicotinoids registered to date.” The story of neonic harm is one that has been repeated for generations with different pesticides. Pesticide manufacturers claim every new generation of their products is safer and more environmentally benign than the previous one. This is seldom true. There is ample evidence that pesticides pose threats to nearly every class of organism on Earth, from earthworms to elephants. The neonicotinoids, introduced in the early 1990s, have been marketed as safe for vertebrates, non-bioaccumulative, and, because of their flexible application methods […]

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

Thursday, July 20th, 2023

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

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Grassroots Power, Democratic Process, and Organic—Pillars of Transformative Change—under Threat

Monday, July 17th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 17, 2023) Students of environmental policy quickly learn that the most meaningful change to protect health and the environment begins with action in local communities. The challenge now is to preserve the rights of communities under federal law to restrict pesticides and advance local protections through the adoption of eco- and health-friendly, organic land management practices. As is known from history, with the leadership of local communities, the states and the federal government will follow. History of Action in Communities and States Major actions on the banning or restricting of specific pesticides over the last seven decades—from DDT (in Michigan and Wisconsin), 2,4,5-T [1/2 of Agent Orange] (in Oregon [read A Bitter Fog]), to chlordane (New York)—began with calls from the grassroots about dying wildlife to elevated cancer and miscarriage rates and other diseases. But, these chemical incidents (which continue to today with similar campaigns, but different chemical names like glyphosate, imidacloprid (neonicotinoids), and others), launched broader community-based efforts to curtail overall pesticide use—stop drift, runoff and other nontarget exposure—and require organic-compatible practices. Tracing the history—from Mendocino County, CA to Lincoln County, OR, to Casey, WI (upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court), to Montgomery County, MD, to […]

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Cultivating with Natural Predators Gets Farmers Off the Pesticide Treadmill, According to Study

Wednesday, July 12th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2023) A study by University of Delaware entomologist Thabu Mugala and colleagues finds that modifications to their farming methods can reduce slug damage when those changes also encourage natural slug predators, allowing farmers to avoid the endless cycle of pesticide dependency, pest resistance, genetically engineered crops, and synthetic fertilizers. With insects as the target for tens of millions of pounds of agricultural use, growers of the highest-production crops in the U.S., corn and soybeans, continue to find slugs to be a serious problem. Corn and soybean growers who have adopted no-till or conservation tillage and cover crops often think these practices worsen the problem by increasing moisture and decaying plant material in fields, which slugs love. But the cause-and-effect picture is more nuanced and requires strategies that nurture ecological balance. Slugs are the most damaging non-arthropod pest in no-till corn production in the U.S., and truly effective chemical deterrents do not exist at agricultural scale, as Beyond Pesticides noted here, although biological methods may be on the horizon, such as a parasitic nematode already used in Europe that shows promise. The most voracious natural slug hunters are ground beetles, but harvestmen (daddy longlegs), and wolf spiders […]

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Ecosystem Critical to All Pollinators: Popular and Unpopular Pollinator Guide

Friday, June 23rd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2023) Pollinators are especially important to the ecosystem. They pollinate plants by going from flower to flower and transferring pollen. Without pollinators, availability would be severely limited or cut off to many delicious foods, such as apples, almonds, cherries, blueberries, pumpkins, and many others. Many types of pollinators, like honey bees, bumble bees, and butterflies, are declining due to loss of habitat, widespread use of toxic pesticides, parasites, and disease. Help these important beneficial creatures by Not using toxic pesticides Planting pollinator habitats, like colorful flowers, gardens, and trees Telling your friends and family all about the importance of pollinators. Wild and Managed Bees Wild and managed bees play a crucial role in the global food system. About two-thirds of the world’s most important crops benefit from bee pollination, including coffee, cacao, and many fruits and vegetables. Wild pollination is becoming increasingly important with the growing instability of managed honey bee colonies. According to one study, wild bees’ agricultural value is now similar to that of honey bees, which are no longer considered wild in many regions due to their intense management. While many may prefer butterflies and birds to pay a visit to their gardens […]

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

Thursday, June 22nd, 2023

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

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A Reminder for Pollinator Week: Protect Pollinator and Habitat and Well-Being Against Dramatic Declines

Wednesday, June 21st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2023) Pollinators––bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other organisms––make a critical contribution to plant health, crop productivity, and the preservation of natural resources. However, pesticides consistently act as a key contributor to dramatic pollinator declines. Much research attributes the decline of insect pollinators over the last several decades to the interaction of multiple environmental stressors, from climate change to pesticide use, disease, habitat destruction, and other factors. Roughly a quarter of the global insect population has disappeared since 1990, according to research published in the journal Science. Monarchs are near extinction, and beekeepers continue to experience declines that are putting them out of business. We continue to lose mayflies, the foundation of many food chains, and fireflies, the foundation of many childhood summer memories. The declines in many bird species likely have close links to insect declines. Recent research finds that three billion birds, or 29% of bird abundance, have been lost since the 1970s. In a world where habitat loss and fragmentation show no sign of abating, scientists have concluded that the globe cannot afford to continue to subject its critically important wild insects to these combined threats.  Clean air, water, and healthy soils are integral to ecosystem function, interacting between Earth’s four main spheres (i.e., hydrosphere, […]

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

Tuesday, June 20th, 2023

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

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Take Action: With Butterfly Decline Mounting, EPA Allows Continued Pesticide Use that Causes Threat

Monday, June 5th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 5, 2023) Butterflies—the most attractive of our insect fauna—are disappearing at an appalling rate, largely due to pesticide use. Recent studies have documented declines of almost 50% from 1990 to 2011 in Europe (with trends continuing), of 58 percent between 2000 and 2009 in the U.K., and of 33% from 1996–2016 in the state of Ohio in the U.S. Even steeper declines have been documented for Monarch butterflies, with an 80 percent decline of Eastern monarchs and 99 percent decline of Western monarchs. Tell EPA to eliminate pesticides that threaten butterflies. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior to help bring back butterflies by eliminating the use of pesticides that threaten them. Tell Congress that EPA and other agencies need to do their job and protect our most charismatic insects. Last year, EPA admitted that three neonicotinoid pesticides are “likely to adversely affect from two-thirds to over three-fourths of America’s endangered species—1,225 to 1,445 species in all,” including many butterfly species. On May 5 of this year, EPA released new analyses of these neonics’ effects on endangered species. EPA’s analyses focus on the species most at risk of extinction, and the results represent […]

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New York City Parks Dept. and Advocates Announce Organic Demonstration Sites Following Passage of Law

Thursday, June 1st, 2023

Eco-Friendly Parks for All (EFPA)*, a coalition of environmental, public health and political action organizations, has teamed up with Beyond Pesticides, New York City Parks and Recreation Department, and Stonyfield Organic Yogurt to celebrate the success of pilot organic land management programs at eight sites across the five boroughs. 

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Take Action: Pesticide Restrictions Do Not Match EPA Rhetoric to Protect Endangered Species

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 30, 2023) On Endangered Species Day, May 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed an unfortunate degree of hypocrisy in its claims to protect endangered species from pesticides. Tell EPA and Congress that dwindling biodiversity is an existential crisis that requires removing serious threats posed by pesticides. EPA announced that it “is publishing a group of StoryMaps to raise public awareness about protecting endangered species from pesticides.” It continues, “Through its Vulnerable Species Pilot, EPA has been identifying endangered species that are vulnerable to pesticides, developing mitigations to protect them from pesticide exposure, and will apply the mitigations to many types of pesticides.” However, pesticide use is a major cause of declining biodiversity, which is manifested in extinctions, endangered species, and species vulnerable to environmental disturbances—including climate change, habitat fragmentation, and toxic chemicals. If EPA is serious about protecting biodiversity, it must look first at the ways it has created the crisis in the first place. Studies upon studies upon studies show that pesticides are a major contributor to the loss of insect biomass and diversity known as the “insect apocalypse,” particularly in combination with climate change. Insects are important as pollinators and as part of […]

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Study Shows 50% Decline in Butterfly Population Across the European Union, 1990-2011

Friday, May 26th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2023)The use of pesticides in agriculture, transportation, and domestic settings has created a disastrous conflict for the human species. Two irreconcilable facts confront humans as they try to adapt to the consequences of earlier choices: One, industrial civilization came to believe that because some insects, fungi, and other organisms like to eat the same plants humans eat, humans can kill them with impunity; two, because some insects and other organisms are necessary to the health and reproduction of plants, humans need to protect them. At no point in history have people acknowledged that it is very difficult to kill the “bad” actors while protecting the “good” ones. There are not really two sides to the biological fact; rather, pesticides and biodiversity meet each other on a single plane, like a Möbius strip. Among the most dire effects of pesticides are their ruination of pollinators. Bees spring to mind as our primary pollinators, but they are by no means the only ones. Butterflies, often regarded as mere ornamental additions to a landscape, are actually significant pollinators themselves. Monarchs pollinate many flowers, including calendula and yarrow. Other butterflies pollinate dill, celery, fennel, cilantro, lettuce, peas, and basil, among […]

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Beehive Products Contain Concentration of Pesticide Residues High Enough To Be a Risk to Consumer Health

Thursday, May 18th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 18, 2023) A study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology finds pesticide residues in beehive products pose a safety risk from dietary consumption. Beehive products (i.e., bee bread, propolis, beeswax, and royal jelly) from beekeeping or apiculture are said to have nutraceutical (health and medicinal benefits) properties. However, a wide range of pesticide residues (i.e., tau-fluvalinate, coumaphos, chlorfenvinphos, chlorpyrifos, and amitraz), especially acaricides for killing ticks and mites in hives, may accumulate in beehive products up to concentrations that pose a potential health risk. Environmental contaminants like pesticides are ubiquitous in the environment, with 90 percent of Americans having at least one pesticide compound in their body. Many of these chemical compounds remain in soils, water (solid and liquid), and the surrounding air at levels exceeding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. Therefore, individuals still encounter pesticide compounds at varying concentrations, adding to the toxic body burden of those harmful chemicals currently in use. The research methodology includes a review of the scientific literature on pesticide contamination in hive products and a dietary risk assessment. The risk assessment calculation uses scientific studies to determine the recommended daily intake values and concentration data. Researchers compare exposure values in products to health-based guidance, determining the potential acute and […]

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Colorado Limits Bee-Toxic Pesticide Use, as EPA Details Harm to Endangered Species

Tuesday, May 9th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 9, 2022) The Colorado legislature last week passed SB23-266, a bill limiting the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides in the state. The news comes as other states consider their own restrictions, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is publishing details on exactly which endangered species are set to be harmed by the ongoing use of these harmful insecticides. This latest news shows that protecting pollinators is possible, and urgently needed given growing understanding of the dangers these chemicals pose to the most vulnerable wildlife in the country.   The Colorado bill requires the state’s commissioner of agriculture to adopt rules designating neonicotinoid pesticides as ‘limited-use’ pesticides in the state. With this designation, only licensed pesticide dealers may sell products containing these chemicals. Per the state’s legal code, the “limited-use” designation means the same as a federal “restricted-use” pesticide, which permits sales and use only for certified applicators. Passage of this bill marks an important step forward for pollinator protection efforts in the state. It will help ensure that homeowners are not able to easily purchase this product at big box retailers, but will allow continued use in residential areas and in agriculture. Colorado’s bill fulfills guidance […]

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Take Action: Local Authority to Restrict Pesticides under Threat of Federal Preemption in Farm Bill

Monday, May 8th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 8, 2023) The Farm Bill in Congress covers many areas—ranging from the supplemental nutritional assistance program (SNAP) to trade—and the pesticide industry would like to insert a provision that takes away (preempts) local authority to restrict pesticide use—which would undercut the local democratic process to protect public health and safety. Even if communities are not now regulating toxic pesticides, we do not want to close the door on future action, as communities take on petrochemical pesticide and fertilizer use that is contributing to health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency.    Part 1: Tell your local officials to sign onto a letter opposing the preemption language. Part 2: Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to support communities by opposing anti-democratic preemption language in the 2023 Farm Bill.  As Congress drafts the 2023 Farm Bill, there is an opportunity for many topics—good and bad—to be introduced. Dating back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal of the 1930s, which addressed threats posed by the Great Depression and drought, the Farm Bill is an omnibus bill passed every five years. It is designed to secure a sufficient food supply, establish fair food prices for both farmers and consumers, and protect […]

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Nevada Assembly Votes Unanimously To Protect Pollinators, Recognizes Deficiencies of EPA Regulations

Thursday, April 27th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2023) The Nevada Assembly, by unanimous vote, took the state one step closer to banning the use of neonicotinoid insecticides used on plants, with a waiver for commercial agricultural purposes. Despite dramatic declines in bee populations linked to neonicotinoid pesticides and other toxic pesticides, the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) and state regulatory authorities have for the most part ignored beekeepers and the independent scientific literature by allowing widespread toxic pesticide use—forcing elected officials to take protective action. Portions of the bill would take effect upon passage or no later than January 1, 2024. Maine and New Jersey have adopted similar legislation. The failure to adequately regulate pesticides under federal law, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), and EPA inaction is viewed by environmentalists as the shocking disregard for the importance of biodiversity to sustaining life. The inadequate restriction of pesticides and slower than necessary transition to organic land management practices are viewed as major contributors to the “insect apocalypse.” The legislation (A.B. 162), led by Assemblywoman Michelle Gorelow and a group of nine other Assemblymembers, illustrates a growing trend of local and state legislative bodies asserting their authority to protect against health, biodiversity, and […]

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Protect Bees, Trees, You and Me This Earth Day 2023

Thursday, April 20th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2023) This Earth Day (Saturday, April 22, 2023), Beyond Pesticides urges individuals to spread awareness of the toxic pesticides that poison people and the environment and the safe alternatives that are available to safeguard communities and the surrounding environment. On Earth Day, reflecting on the beauty and wonder of the natural world highlights the importance of restoration and preservation to maintain the planet’s intricate web of life. However, the natural world on which life depends is under dire threat as the dependence on toxic chemicals (e.g., pesticides) enables ongoing environmental contamination. Mechanized and industrial human activity perpetuates ongoing toxic chemical contamination, resulting in massive die-offs of beneficial organisms, increased rates of autoimmune diseases, endocrine disrupting and transgenerational chemical effects, and widespread pollution of our air and waterways. Beyond Pesticides, has the tools needed to increase environmental awareness in your community. Therefore, this Earth Day, Beyond Pesticides continues to advocate for the adoption of organic practices and policies that alleviate threats to ecosystems and enhance biodiversity. Michigan State University professor Thomas Dietz, Ph.D. highlights, “Continuing the successes of environmentalism—an integration of science, a concern with human well-being and justice, and a recognition of the need to consider […]

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Two Pesticides Threaten Dozens of Endangered Species, EPA Proposes Failed Risk Mitigation Measures

Friday, April 14th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 14, 2023) In March, scientists at the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a draft Biological Opinion (BiOp) stating that carbaryl and methomyl — two commonly used carbamate insecticides — cause significant harm to dozens of already-endangered fish species in the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia, Willamette, and Snake rivers. The BiOp indicates that these toxic compounds, in wide use on orchards and field vegetables throughout the Willamette Valley, the Columbia River Gorge, and southeastern Washington, will likely threaten scores of species on the Endangered Species list: 37 species at risk from carbaryl and 30 from methomyl. In addition, the BiOp says, “both are likely to harm or destroy many areas designated as critical habitat for endangered species.” The mitigation measures proposed by NMFS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in light of this BiOp, are likely to be inadequate to the problem, given that both compounds can drift through air and/or migrate into groundwater and generate toxic runoff. These two neurotoxic insecticides, carbaryl and methomyl, are very toxic to bees, birds, fish, and other aquatic organisms. In addition, carbaryl is a likely human carcinogen and an endocrine disruptor, and has harmful impacts on multiple bodily systems. Methomyl is […]

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Spring into Action in 2023; Be the Best You can Be(e)

Wednesday, April 12th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2023) Spring represents a period of increased water, soil, and general ecosystem pollution, correlated with increased pesticide use and increased rainfall. Thus, April showers bring May flowers, and often pesticides. We offer this overview to share with friends, family, and your community in an effort to elevate the urgent need to eliminate pesticides and make the shift to organic land management. Pesticides are pervasive in the environment, affecting all ecosystems, including air, water, and soil. Like clean air and water, healthy soils are integral to ecosystem function, interacting between Earth’s four main spheres (i.e., hydrosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere) to support life. Pesticide use results in pervasive contamination of treated and nontarget sites. Even organic farmers and gardeners globally suffer from the widespread movement of pesticides through the air, water, and runoff from land. Attempts to protect property and ecosystems from pesticide use are a difficult, some say impossible, challenge. Efforts to prevent contamination become a large burden, with attempts to curtail pesticide drift with buffer zone areas and eliminate fertilizers or soil supplements with pesticide residues (e.g., manure and compost). Furthermore, the effects of climate change only exacerbate threats to ecosystem health, as studies show a […]

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Pesticides and the Climate Crisis: Bumble Bee Behavior Thwarted by Temperature and Chemical Exposure

Thursday, April 6th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 6, 2023) A study published in Global Change Biology adds to research demonstrating that climate change can exacerbate the adverse impacts of pesticide exposure on managed and wild bees. Temperature can alter the sublethal effect pesticides, particularly the neonicotinoid (neonic) imidacloprid and the sulfoximine sulfoxaflor, have on bumble bee behavior tied to fitness and pollination services. Both an increase and decrease in temperature can cause diverging thermal responses in bumble bee behavior. However, increasing temperature bares more severe behavior abnormalities than cooler temperatures. The pervasiveness of pesticide exposure combined with climate change threatens global species biodiversity. As has been widely reported, pollinators (such as bees, monarch butterflies, and bats) are a bellwether for environmental stress as individuals and as colonies. Pesticides intensify pollinators’ vulnerability to health risks (such as pathogens and parasites), with pesticide-contaminated conditions limiting colony productivity, growth, and survival. Now more than ever, people are changing their sentiment toward sustainability, with two-thirds of consumers stating the importance of limiting climate change impacts and 88 percent supporting greater pollution reduction. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one million species of plants and animals at risk. With the increasing rate of biodiversity loss, advocates say it is essential for […]

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