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Joining Together to Give Thanks As We Confront the Challenges Ahead

Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

  (Beyond Pesticides, November 24, 2021) On Thanksgiving, thank you for being a part of Beyond Pesticides and sharing and contributing to the vision necessary to protect the web and fragility of life. We believe that there is no time like Thanksgiving to think about how we can more effectively join together as families and communities across divisions and different points of view to find a common purpose in protecting the health of the environment and all that inhabit it. Unfortunately, there are a host of pesticides, genetically engineered materials, and others in conventional Thanksgiving foods that not only impact human health, but threaten the environment. With far too many adverse health and ecological effects associated with toxic chemicals, organic practices are viable solutions to mitigate pesticide contamination and subsequent exposure. Read on as we consider the range of challenges we must confront, and the solutions that can bring us all together. The Climate As climate impacts grow, an increase in uses of synthetic pesticides in agriculture is likely — because of waning efficacy (pesticide resistance) of these compounds, and mounting pest pressure (i.e., increasing insect population and metabolism). Production of pesticides contributes to greenhouse gas emissions gas (e.g., nitrous […]

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Go Organic this Thanksgiving and Keep the Toxic Turkey and Fixings Off Your Plate

Friday, November 19th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 19, 2021) Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for people to come together and give thanks for the bounty of an organic harvest. Unfortunately, many Thanksgiving meals are produced by chemical farming practices that utilize hazardous pesticides, genetically engineered (GE) crops, and petroleum-based synthetic fertilizers. These inputs, apart from being unnecessary, degrade ecosystems and affect the health of consumers and agricultural workers alike. It’s never too late to start a new tradition – for this year and into the future, make your Thanksgiving feast sustainable by going organic. Now, more than ever, it’s important to go organic: For Our Own Health Going organic drastically reduces the amount of pesticide in a person’s body. Although Thanksgiving is generally no time to think about dieting, we’ll aim to make it instructive: recent research finds that one of the biggest health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet comes when you go organic. Compared to individuals on a Mediterranean diet filled with chemically farmed foods, those that ate organic had 91% lower pesticide residue. This finding is backed up by a considerable body of prior research. A 2015 study based on self-reported food intake found that those who eat organic generally have much lower […]

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Organic Takes on Existential Health and Environmental Crises, While Some Critics Lack Context (Response to New Yorker piece)

Friday, November 12th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 12, 2021) Omnivorous readers may have encountered an article, in the November 15 issue of The New Yorker magazine, titled — at best misleadingly, and certainly sensationally — “The Great Organic-Food Fraud.” The subhead comports with the tone of the headline: “There’s no way to confirm that a crop was grown organically. Randy Constant exploited our trust in the labels — and made a fortune.” The piece, by Ian Parker, tells a complex tale of the machinations of dishonest and greedy people who saw, in the commerce in organic grains, an opportunity to misrepresent nonorganic crops as organic and make a boatload of money in doing so. What the article fails to do is render any comprehensive picture of how National Organic Program certification and inspection work, and the underlying principles, values, and standards in federal law (the Organic Foods Production Act), nor does it review either the benefits of organic agriculture broadly or the massive harmful impacts of conventional, chemical-intensive agriculture in the U.S. Beyond Pesticides provides ballast, in this Daily News Blog article, to the failings of the New Yorker article and the damage it might do to the organic movement. It is worth noting […]

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Secret Inert Ingredient in ‘Bee Safe’ Pesticide Found to Kill Bumblebees

Thursday, November 11th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 11, 2021) Evidence is building that so-called ‘inert’ ingredients in pesticide formulations are harming pollinators and undermining regulatory determinations that designate products as ‘bee-safe.’ According to a new study published in Scientific Reports, the fungicide Amistar causes lethal and sublethal effects that can be primarily attributed not to its active ingredient azoxystrobin, but to alcohol ethoxylates, a co-formulant, or inert ingredient intentionally added to a pesticide formulation. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) utilizes a ‘bee advisory box’ on pesticide labels to indicate danger to pollinators, results of this and previous studies on inert ingredients underline how EPA’s ‘cute little bee icon’ is little more than window dressing for massive regulatory failures and a pollinator crisis that has shown no signs of abating. Scientists at Royal Holloway University in London, UK began their study with three packaged colonies of Bombus terrestris, a European bumblebee often bred for commercial use in greenhouses throughout the world. In order to suss out differences in toxicity between the various ingredients in the formulated Amistar fungicide, bees were separated into multiple groups. One group acted as a positive control, and was dosed with dimethoate, a pesticide known to be highly toxic […]

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Aquatic Wildlife Populations Take A Nosedive after Neonicotinoid Exposure

Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 10, 2021) The diversity and abundance of freshwater aquatic insects plunges when commonly used neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides leach into waterways, finds research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this month. While this is the latest study exploring the effects of neonicotinoids in the field at real-world exposure levels, it is far from the first to show unacceptable hazards to wildlife and ecological health. As research on neonics piles up, advocates are watching in dismay as regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fail to respond to the science and allow indiscriminate poisoning to continue. To determine how neonicotinoids affect critical aquatic species near the bottom of the food chain, researchers created a series of 36 experimental ditches, split into four groups of nine. One group acted as a control and received no pesticide, and each other group received, 0.1, 1.0, or 10 parts per billion (ppb) of the thiacloprid, a neonic insecticide often cited by industry and regulators as having lower toxicity concerns than other neonicotinoids. Mimicking a pulse that may come from a nearby insecticide application, each group of ditches was dosed every two weeks for a period of three months. Scientists […]

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California Releases Strategy for Land Management Practices that Confronts Climate Crisis

Friday, November 5th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 5, 2021) Once again earning its environmental leadership reputation, California has released a draft strategy document designed to catalyze near- and long-term climate action through focused attention on the state’s natural and working lands, and on nature-based solutions. The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) announced the draft Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy in mid-October. In the announcement, CNRA asserts that the state’s 105 million acres can “sequester and store carbon emissions, limit future carbon emissions into the atmosphere, protect people and nature from the impacts of climate change, and build resilience to future climate risks.” The agency also notes that the plan would secure food and water supplies, improve public health and safety, and forward equity. It has invited public comment, and a coalition of California (and national) nonprofit advocates is delivering a letter that calls on the agency to include, in the plan, ambitious targets to move the state’s agricultural sector away from the use of harmful synthetic pesticides. Beyond Pesticides will sign on to the letter. This “natural and working lands” document will inform California’s 2021 State Adaptation Strategy and the 2022 Scoping Plan — master documents guiding the state’s climate action during […]

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EPA and Congress Must Act to Correct a Failed Pesticide Program

Monday, November 1st, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2021) Join with 37 environmental and health groups, farm organizations, and beekeeper councils, who have delivered a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) leaders seeking major reforms in the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP). They provided a comprehensive list of OPP’s major failures as the lead federal office for pesticide regulation and management, including: Allowing chlorpyrifos to stay registered for more than 14 years after health experts and affected farmworkers petitioned for its removal based on its known neurological danger, Allowing unlimited use of Roundup (glyphosate) long after it was shown to contribute to deadly non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in heavy users and it devastated the treasured monarch butterfly, now driven to near extinction in North America, Approving hundreds of neonicotinoid systemic insecticides, now the most widespread insecticide in the country where they are decimating honey and native bees and other key pollinators and beneficial species; and Registering dicamba in a highly volatile herbicide, a shocking blunder later overruled by a federal court ruling that stated OPP “not only substantially understated the risks …. It also entirely failed to acknowledge other risks, including those it was statutorily required to consider.” Take action: Tell EPA and Congress that the […]

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Glyphosate Kills Microorganisms Beneficial to Plants, Animals, and Humans

Thursday, October 28th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2021) A study published in Frontiers in Environmental Science finds the popular herbicide glyphosate negatively affects microbial communities, indirectly influencing plant, animal, and human health. Exposure to sublethal concentrations of glyphosate shifts microbial community composition, destroying beneficial microorganisms while preserving pathogenic organisms. Glyphosate is the most commonly used active ingredient worldwide, appearing in many herbicide formulas, including Bayer’s (formerly Monsanto) Roundup®. The use of this chemical has been increasing since the inception of crops genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate over two decades ago. The toxic herbicide readily contaminates the ecosystem with residues pervasive in both food and water commodities. In addition to this study, the scientific literature commonly associates glyphosate with human, biotic, and ecosystem harm, as a doubling of toxic effects on invertebrates, like pollinators, has been recorded since 2004. The authors caution, “[O]utbreaks of several animal and plant diseases have been related to glyphosate accumulation in the environment. Long-term glyphosate effects have been underreported, and new standards will be needed for residues in plant and animal products and the environment.” With an increasing number of reports on the relationship between glyphosate and human health, including potential effects on the human gut microbiome, advocates are calling on global leaders to eliminate chemical […]

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Global Pollinator Declines Threaten Plant Biodiversity

Wednesday, October 27th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2021) Declines in pollinator populations throughout the world may result in the loss of tens of thousands of wild flowering plants that rely on their services, according to research published this month in the journal Science Advances. “Our paper provides the first global estimate of how many plant species mostly or completely rely on animal pollinators to make seeds and thus to reproduce,” wrote author James Rodger, PhD, in an article in The Conversation. “We found that it’s about 175,000 plant species – half of all flowering plants. This means declines in pollinators could cause major disruptions in natural ecosystems, including loss of biodiversity.” Pollinators are being threatened with multiple interacting stressors, from climate change, to pesticide use, disease, habitat destruction, and other factors. In the US, an increasing number of pollinators, including iconic species like the American bumblebee and monarch butterfly, are being added or in consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Systemic neonicotinoid insecticides implicated for their earth-spanning hazards to pollinator populations themselves put 89% or more of U.S. endangered species at risk. Many are aware of the fact that pollinators help make available one in three bites of food. Research studies […]

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

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

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

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Protect Endangered Species: Comment by End of Today—Monday, October 25

Monday, October 25th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 25, 2021) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requesting public comments on its draft Biological Evaluations (BEs) for neonicotinoid insecticides imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam by 11:59 pm (EDT) on Monday, October 25, 2021. The BEs will factor into EPA’s registration review decisions on the three bee-toxic insecticides. Written comments must be submitted through Regulations.gov. Please feel free to cut and paste parts of  Beyond Pesticides’ comments (linked here) or cut and paste into Regulations.gov the suggested comment language at the very bottom of this alert.  Tell EPA to protect endangered species from pesticides. EPA’s Biological Evaluations for these highly toxic chemicals make no agency conclusion or recommendation that would trigger a request to initiate formal Endangered Species Act (ESA) §7(a)(2) consultations with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to determine a possible jeopardy finding for the listed species and requisite mandatory use restrictions of the relevant pesticide. This, despite the fact that for imidacloprid the agency’s draft Biological Evaluation made a May Affect determination for 89% of the 1821 species considered and 90% of the 791 critical habitats considered. Strikingly, a May Affect determination was made for 100% of amphibian and avian listed species and their […]

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Appeal Court Strikes Down Hazardous Statewide California Pesticide Spray Program

Friday, October 22nd, 2021

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

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American Bumblebee Considered for Endangered Status, But Will “Critical Habitat” Be Defined?

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 5, 2021) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will consider listing the American bumblebee (Bombus pensylvanicus) under the Endangered Species Act, according to a notice published in the Federal Register late last month. Earlier this year, the Bombus Pollinator Association of Law Students at Albany Law School and the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the agency to list the species. USFWS review of the petition indicates that it found “substantial scientific or commercial information indicating that the petitioned actions may be warranted,” and will determine over the next year whether final listing and further protective actions are warranted.  With the American bumblebee experiencing an 89% decline in its population over the last 20 years, scientists and advocates  believe it is critical for USFWS to take steps to protect what remains of this iconic species. At one time, the American bumblebee’s range extended from eastern Canada south through the United States into Florida, and as far west as California. Oregon is the only state in the continental US where the species has never been spotted. Declines are particularly pronounced in the northern part of its range, where recent sightings are nil, and assessments for states like New […]

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EPA Urged to Stop Use of Misbranded “Minimum Risk” Pesticides, Step Up Oversight and Enforcement

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2021) Health and environmental organizations are urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state pesticide regulators to immediately stop the use and sale of dangerous and misbranded Eco-MIGHT and W.O.W. (Whack Out Weeds!) products, falsely labeled as 25(b) minimum risk. Recent laboratory testing by the state of California found the presence of hazardous pesticides, including glyphosate, bifenthrin, permethrin, cypermethrin, and carbaryl in these products. “From organic farmers to municipal landscapers and home gardeners, consumers employing minimum risk products are working intentionally to avoid the dangers associated with toxic pesticide exposure,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “It is critical that EPA and state regulators coordinate to ensure the integrity of the minimum risk program.” Coordination is critical yet reports indicate that EPA is falling down on the job. The issue first came to light in late July, when the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) State Organic Program issued a Stop Use Notice to farmers alerting them to adultered Eco-MIGHT and W.O.W products. The products make a range of claims, marketed as “organic,” “natural,” “glyphosate-free,” and “non-toxic and safe.” As CDFA Secretary Karen Ross noted, “It is imperative that we alert California […]

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We Must End the Sixth Extinction

Monday, September 20th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, September 20, 2021) Scientists warn that humanity is causing the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history. A series of reports from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) highlights how human activities threaten the healthy functioning of ecosystems that produce food and water, as well as one million species now at risk of extinction. The UNEP report, Food System Impacts on Biodiversity Loss, identifies the global food system as the primary driver of biodiversity loss. The report points to the conversion of natural ecosystems to crop production and pasture, with concomitant use of toxic chemicals, monoculture, and production of greenhouse gases.  In view of the many steps that have been identified to stop both biodiversity loss and global climate change, it is beyond disappointing to see our “Environmental Protection Agency” continuing to allow use of chemicals that it recognizes will contribute to the problems. The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is the international legal instrument for “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.” It has been ratified by 196 nations—all the members of the United Nations […]

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Retailers Fail to Protect Pollinators…Badly

Friday, September 17th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, September 17, 2021) Against the backdrop of what The New York Times in 2018 called the “insect apocalypse,” and the dire plight of pollinators in particular, Friends of the Earth (FOE) recently issued its retailer scorecard, which benchmarks “25 of the largest U.S. grocery stores on pesticides, organic offerings and pollinator health”— with the vast majority of retailers failing to protect pollinators. FOE reporting shows some, but far too slow and anemic, progress by corporate actors in enacting pollinator- and bee-friendly policies across both retail sites and supply chains. Such policies, to be genuinely effective and protective of pollinators (and human health), would eliminate or at least dramatically reduce the presence of pesticides in the food supply. The path out of the chemical pesticide quagmire is organic: companies must do more to move suppliers to organic, regenerative production practices, and EPA should be pulling these toxic compounds from the market. Tracking the pollinator policies and enforcement activities of various huge companies yields a useful barometer in monitoring the travel of pesticides to the consumer. Yet the results in the FOE scorecard — e.g., only two of those 25 retailers scored even in the “B” range, and 21 scored […]

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Stamford, CT Passes Organic Land Ordinance Restricting Toxic Pesticide and Fertilizer Use on Public Property

Tuesday, September 14th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, September 14, 2021) Last week, Stamford, CT became the latest U.S. City to pass an organic community ordinance, restricting toxic pesticide use on public spaces in favor of safer, natural land care practices. The ordinance, championed by Nina Sherwood of the Stamford Board of Representatives with strong support from Stamford Mayor David Martin, is an outgrowth of years of research and coordination within city government. Advocates note that strong support from both national, state, and local groups like Pollinator Pathway Stamford helped make the case at public hearings. “By garnering support for the public hearing, many Stamford Pollinator Pathway members, Stamford residents and organizations from around the country let their voices be heard,” said Melanie Hollas, co-chair of Pollinator Pathway Stamford and a Stamford Parks and Recreation Commissioner. “Today, I am proud to be a Stamford resident and want to thank everyone, including Beyond Pesticides, for all their hard work to make this goal achievable.” Ms. Hollas describes the ordinance as, “a comprehensive easy to use system to help employees shift from long-term usage patterns of chemicals to products, and more importantly practices, that create a healthy ecosystem along with beautiful landscaping and usable sports fields.” The ordinance […]

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Global Review Identifies Key Drivers of Pollinator Decline, Threat for Humanity

Tuesday, August 17th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2021) “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.” This quote is often attributed to Albert Einstein (although its true origins are unknown), but it begs an important question: What are the consequences to humankind of a world where pollinators are rapidly declining? Modern-day scientists have begun to explore that question, and a group of 20 experts recently published a global-scale assessment of the risks associated with the ongoing worldwide decline of pollinator populations in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. While the study experts do not provide such a dire time frame, the message unfortunately is not too far off from the Einstein-attributed quote. “What happens to pollinators could have huge knock-on effects for humanity,” said lead study author Lynn Dicks, PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK. “These small creatures play central roles in the world’s ecosystems, including many that humans and other animals rely on for nutrition. If they go, we may be in serious trouble.” With a study objective of identifying the key drivers and implications for global pollinator decline, a group of 20 pollinator experts from throughout the world […]

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Of Multiple Stressors, Pesticides Are the Most Harmful to Bees by Acting Synergistically to Increase Mortality

Wednesday, August 11th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 11, 2021) Multiple stressors, including pesticides, parasites, and poor nutrition, act synergistically to increase the risk of bee mortality, according to a meta-analysis recently published in the journal Nature. The findings are yet another indictment of the U.S. pesticide regulatory system’s ability to protect pollinators, as the authors note that their results, “…demonstrate that the regulatory process in its current form does not protect bees from the unwanted consequences of complex agrochemical exposure.” As scientific community continues to confirm the dangers of pesticides and other anthropogenic stressors to pollinators, it remains up to advocates and other concerned residents to get regulators and policymakers to listen to and act on these critically important conclusions.   Scientists aimed to evaluate how combinations of multiple pesticides, parasites, and lack of floral resulted in bee death or subchronic effects that impacted overall fitness (reproductive ability, colony health, etc), behavior, parasite load, or immune response. The effects of multiple stressors can be characterized as antagonistic when stressors cancel themselves out, additive when the impacts seen are what would be predicted when summing the individual effects, and synergistic when the effects are multiple times more harmful than what would be predicted additively. To […]

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Biden EPA Reapproves Paraquat with Weaker Protections than Trump Administration Proposed

Tuesday, August 10th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 10, 2021) President Biden’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under Administrator Michael Regan, is set to reapprove the highly hazardous herbicide paraquat with fewer protections than those proposed by the Trump administration. Despite strong links to Parkinson’s, and bans on the herbicide in the European Union, China, Brazil, and many other countries, EPA’s press release inexplicably states, “No direct one-to-one alternatives to paraquat are available.” The move is part of a string of actions that have pesticide reform advocates increasingly concerned that the Biden Administration is not living up to his initial promises to improve health and environmental protections. Paraquat is the most toxic herbicide still on the market. As EPA readily admits, one small sip of paraquat can be fatal. Apart from its acute toxicity, chronic exposure to the herbicide is strongly linked to the development of Parkinson’s disease. But its association with Parkinson’s is merely the most well-known health concern – the chemical is a likely carcinogen, harms the reproductive system, and damages organs like the kidney and liver. It is hazardous to birds and bees, and prone to leaching into groundwater, where it disrupts the health of aquatic ecosystems. The Trump administration’s decision to reapprove […]

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Biden EPA Must Hold Pesticide Manufacturers Accountable for Poisoning

Monday, August 9th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2021) What’s going on at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? Last month, Bayer/Monsanto announced it would voluntarily cancel “residential lawn and garden” uses of glyphosate products, “exclusively to manage litigation risk and not because of any safety concerns.” EPA has done virtually nothing to restrict glyphosate/Roundup since the World Health Organization/International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2015 classified the chemical as probably carcinogenic. It is now expected, as with other voluntary cancellations, that EPA will make no health or environmental findings that could affect other uses (e.g., agricultural) of glyphosate, but will accept the action by Bayer/Monsanto. The company refers to its action as “risk mitigation”—that’s risk to the company’s profitability, economic viability, and shareholder investment, not public health or environmental protection. Voluntary actions by the companies are highly compromised and do not include agency determinations or findings—allowing false claims of safety, offering a shield from liability, and unencumbered international marketing. The Biden administration began with high hopes for the environment. Combating climate change is a priority. On his first day in office, President Biden issued an executive memorandum, Modernizing Regulatory Review, that appears to establish a new framework supporting healthy people and ecosystems, as it […]

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Typical Neonicotinoid Insecticides at Any Level Likely to Kill Off Wild Pollinators

Wednesday, August 4th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2021) Neonicotinoid insecticides applied to nursery plants sold at garden centers kill off wild, solitary pollinators regardless of the amount applied, according to research published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The news is unlikely a surprise for those tracking the science around pollinator declines, but nonetheless a stark reminder of the lack of progress from federal regulators to stop practices that contribute to the ongoing crisis. With new science consistently showing unacceptable hazards to pollinator populations, advocates are urging Congress to take up and pass the Saving America’s Pollinators Act. Since 2006, scientists and beekeepers have singled out neonicotinoids, a class of systemic insecticides, for their role in pollinator die-off and decline. Once applied onto a seed or sprayed on a plant, neonicotinoids distribute themselves throughout the plant’s structure. This causes soft-bodied sucking insects like aphids to be killed when they eat any part of the plant. However, neonicotinoids also make their way into the pollen and nectar the plant produces, as well as the dew drops plants will secrete and pollinators will often use to grab a quick drink. The use of these insecticides on native plants sold at nursery stores throughout […]

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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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