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Howard County, MD, Plans to Ban Neonics on Parklands

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 30, 2016) In a move that goes one step further than the recently passed state-wide bill restricting consumer sales of neonicotinoid (neonics) products, Howard County, Maryland has taken the initiative to restrict the use of neonicotinoids on parklands. The new policy, announced June 16, cites the growing number of studies linking neonicotinoid use to adverse effects on pollinator species. The Department of Recreation and  Parks (DRP) manages approximately 10,000 acres of parkland within Howard County. According to the new policy and procedure, DRP is restricting the use of neonicotinoids, “due to recent research suggesting that there is a link between pesticides that contain neonicotinoids negatively effecting populations of pollinator species, such as; honeybees, native bees, butterflies, moths and other insects.” Neonics were often used on parklands for grubs on turf, Japanese beetles on trees,  and aphids on flowers and are now prohibited on all County parkland, including sports fields, garden plots, golf course and open space. Exemptions exist for agricultural uses and invasive pest infestations. Read the new neonicotinoid policy. Just this past May, Maryland officially became the first state in the nation to pass legislation  against neonicotinoids. The state legislature passed the  Maryland Pollinator Protection Act […]

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Herbicide Use and Chemical Inputs Doubled on VT Dairy Farms with GE Crops

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 29, 2016) A new report published by Regeneration Vermont finds that herbicide and chemical fertilizer use on Vermont dairy farms nearly doubled from 2002 to 2012, increasing from 1.54 to 3.01 pounds of herbicide per acre, respectively. The report, Vermont’s GMO Legacy: Pesticides, Polluted Water & Climate Destruction, by Will Allen, Ph.D. of Regeneration Vermont and Cedar Circle Farm, focuses on the failed promises of genetically engineered (GE, or GMO) crops to reduce chemical inputs required for crop production. While Vermont leads the nation on the GE labeling front, with its  law set to go into effect on July 1, the report, which highlights the flawed exemption on dairy and meat products, is a sobering reminder that this is only a part of the solution to the effects of GE crops and chemical-intensive agriculture. “While the law will force mainstream food corporations to label GMOs in products like Cheetos and Spaghetti-os before coming into the state, it turns a blind eye to the GMO-derived dairy that is the primary ingredient in, for example, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Cabot’s cheddar cheese,” says Dr. Allen. “This is about more than the consumer’s right to know. It’s also […]

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Senate Strikes a DARK Deal on GMO Labeling

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 28, 2016) In an effort to block the impending implementation of Vermont’s genetically engineered (GE) food labeling law, Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MO) and Pat Roberts (R-KS) have struck a deal aimed at continuing to keep consumers in the dark about the ingredients in the food they eat. Vermont’s law, signed on May 8, 2014 by Governor Peter Shumlin (D), is set to go into effect on July 1, 2016. After the state defeated a legal challenge brought by the Grocery Manufacturers of American and other industrial food companies, opponents pivoted their efforts to Congress, where they pushed for the so-called DARK (Denying Americans the Right to Know) Act, which would have codified a voluntary labeling system nationwide and preempted Vermont’s law. The DARK Act was passed through the House, yet failed to secure enough votes in the Senate. Despite Senator Stabenow voting against the DARK Act earlier this year, she has now reached a DARK deal that, in effect, would continue to deny Americans important information about the presence of genetically engineered ingredients in the food we eat. While proponents this DARK deal say it will require a mandatory national labeling scheme, the Senate bill includes no […]

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Organic Seed Production Is Not Keeping Up With Demand

Monday, June 27th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2016) A new report released last  week by the Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) found that the supply of organic seeds is not keeping up with the rising demand for organic products. The organic sector grew 11 percent between 2014 and 2015, with sales last year totaling $43 billion. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s National Organic Program (NOP) does require the use of organic seed when commercially available, but because the organic seed sector was almost nonexistent when the program began, it is still working to meet demand. In cases where organic seeds are not commercial available, organic farmers are allowed to turn to conventional seed alternatives. According to OSA’s State of Organic Seed report, funded by the Clif Bar Family Foundation’s Seed Matters Initiative, the UNFI Foundation, and New Belgium Brewing Company, the biggest organic operations actually use a relatively small amount of organic seed. They found that vegetable farmers that grow on less than ten acres use, on average, 75 percent organic seed, while growers that farm over 480 acres use only 20 percent organic seed. The authors of the report surveyed 1,365 organic farms, 16 seed companies, 46 researchers and 22 accredited […]

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USDA Aligns with Chemical Industry for Pollinator Festival, Disinvites Environmentalists

Friday, June 24th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2016) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), during its Pollinator Week Festival at the “People’s Garden” on Friday, has shut out environmental public interest groups that are advocating pesticide restrictions to protect bees. Instead, the agriculture agency is teaming up with other federal agencies and chemical industry groups that advocates say have been tone deaf to beekeepers’ pleas for federal government action. This new controversy emerges in the midst of an escalating pollinator crisis with 44% bee colony losses in the last year. Advocates, who bring the voice of independent science and point to the dangers of bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides as a major contributor to the decline in pollinator populations, have been disinvited to the event. Meanwhile, the Pollinator Partnership, an organization closely affiliated with the chemical industry (Bayer, Syngenta, BASF, CropLife, have all been previously listed as sponsors) will be in attendance. Groups like Beyond Pesticides, which bridges environmental, consumer and farm interests, have participated for several years in the Festival. “The foundation for a constructive dialogue between federal agencies and the public regarding the decline of our critical pollinator populations rests upon the free exchange of information and viewpoints,” said Jay Feldman, executive director […]

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Millions of Dead Bees and Over 4 Million Signatures Presented to EPA to Protect Pollinators from Pesticides

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2016) A truck full of dead bees made its final stop yesterday at a rally outside the headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), culminating a coast-to-coast tour to raise awareness about recent massive declines in pollinators. While the millions of dead bees stayed on the truck, advocates and beekeepers, including Beyond Pesticides, delivered over 4 million signatures urging an immediate ban on bee-killing pesticides. “In the five years since I started keeping bees, I’ve seen many hives killed by pesticides,” said James Cook, a Minnesota-based beekeeper who has been driving the truck across the country since last Monday. “If some fundamental things don’t change, it’s going to be really hard for beekeepers to adapt to the environment around us.” Bees pollinate most of the world’s most common crops, including summer favorites like peaches and watermelon. But over 40 percent of U.S. honeybee hives die each year, costing the farming and beekeeping industry more than $2 billion annually. The most significant culprit in the bee die-off is the widely-used class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, or neonics. Last spring EPA began a process to assess four types of neonics and their impacts on pollinators. In January […]

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Federal Court Finds USDA Process for Allowing Pesticide-Contaminated Compost Improper and Stops Use

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2016) In a ruling that organic advocates say is critical to the integrity of the USDA organic label, a U.S. District Court judge found Monday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) violated public process when it decreed that pesticide-contaminated compost is allowed in organic production. Three groups that bridge environmental, consumer, and farmer interests sued USDA for ruling that green waste compost, which comes from lawn clippings and plants, may contain levels of the insecticide bifenthrin and other pesticides that have not been approved for use in organic systems through proper public hearing and comment procedures. The case focused principally on whether USDA, in failing to conduct a formal public review, was operating “at its whim.” The court found that is exactly what USDA did and ordered the agency to stop allowing the use of contaminated compost by August 22, 2016. U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley of the Northern District of California found that USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) operated without the required notice and comment. She explained, “the reach of the Agency’s  new rule stretches beyond bifenthrin and instead allows green waste or green waste compost used in organic production to contain any […]

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Europe Releases Weakened Criteria for Regulating Endocrine Disruptors

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2016) New regulations issued by the European Commission (EU) last week to regulate endocrine disruptors in pesticide products are being criticized by public interest groups and scientists as undermining the precautionary legal standard governing pesticide use in Europe. Previous  investigations and reports  have uncovered  industry’s attempt to quash efforts to enact robust protections from these harmful chemicals, despite their likely contribution to billions of dollars in lost revenue due to health effects. EC’s new rules endorse the World Health Organization’s definition of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC). The WHO defines an endocrine disruptor as “an exogenous substance or mixture that alters function(s) of the endocrine system and consequently causes adverse health effects in an intact organism, or its progeny, or (sub)populations,” However, the proposed regulations go little beyond defining the term. “The WHO definition is not a criteria, it is just a definition,” said Andreas Kortenkamp, PhD to The Guardian. “In effect, the commission has decided to place the burden of deciding how to regulate endocrine-disrupting chemicals onto the assessors on a case-by-case basis.” Of concern is the level to which the rules reflect a hazard or risk-based criteria. While EC asserts that its rules will follow […]

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Students Celebrate Pollinators by Spreading Bee and Butterfly Habitat

Monday, June 20th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides June 20, 2016) As the end of the school year approaches, two first grade classrooms at local District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) got to learn about the importance of pollinators firsthand when DC-based nonprofit Beyond Pesticides visited their school. In a lead up to National Pollinator Week, Beyond Pesticides teamed up with owner and founder of The Bees Waggle, Jessica Goldstrohm, to provide a fun, hands-on lesson about pollination, and why it is important to our food system. Students were given a lesson on biodiversity, soil health, and the negative effects of pesticides on pollinators before building some pollinator-friendly habitat for their schools and homes. The day of learning kicked off at Brightwood Education Campus, located in Northwest DC, where students listened to a lesson developed by Ms. Goldstrohm, who donned a set of bee wings for the event. After receiving some background on the role of pollinators in our food system, the children participated in several hands on activities that reiterated the key points within the curriculum. Six volunteers stepped to the front of the class to demonstrate the interconnectedness of all living organisms by participating in a biodiversity web simulation. Here, the scholars learned that […]

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Report Details Industry Efforts to Derail Pollinator Protections

Friday, June 17th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2016) The pesticide industry has weakened and delayed pesticide reforms and is shaping new state pollinator “protection” plans nationwide that do little to protect bees, according to a new Friends of the Earth report.  The report is being released in advance of  Pollinator Week (June 20-26, 2016), as people assemble to ask for improved protection for pollinators. The investigation, Buzz Kill: How the Pesticide Industry is Clipping the Wings of Bee Protection Efforts Across the U.S., reveals an array of pesticide industry tactics to slow urgently needed pollinator protection measures at federal and state levels. The report details how new state pollinator protection plans, many still unfinished, have been heavily influenced by pesticide industry interests. According to the report, industry is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying to delay state and federal action on the chemicals they manufacture. As a result, state pollinator protection plans across the U.S. are falling short in several ways, including: State pollinator protection plans currently provide more protections for pesticides and pesticide users than for bee keepers and bee colonies. Pesticide industry influence is pervasive throughout states’ legislative and regulatory planning efforts. Plans lack metrics to measure effectiveness, improvement […]

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Organic Agriculture Boosts Local Economies

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 16, 2016) New research links county-level economic health to agriculture, and finds that organic food and crop production, along with the business activities accompanying organic agriculture, creates real and long-lasting regional economic opportunities. The recently completed White Paper, U.S. Organic Hotspots and their Benefit to Local Economies, was prepared for the Organic Trade Association (OTA) by Penn State Agricultural Economist Edward Jaenicke, Ph.D. It finds organic hotspots —counties with high levels of organic agricultural activity whose neighboring counties also have high organic activity— boost median household incomes by an average of $2,000 and reduce poverty levels by an average of 1.3 percentage points. The research highlights the success of organic agriculture and demonstrates, yet again, that organic agriculture can and must feed the world. “This research systematically investigates the economic impacts of organic agriculture,” noted Dr. Jaenicke. “Its important findings show that organic contributes to the economic health of local economies. The growing market interest in organic agriculture can be leveraged into effective policy for economic development.” The White Paper summarizes and discusses three research papers that investigate organic agriculture hotspots in the U.S. and systematically assesses the impact of organic agriculture on local economies. It identifies […]

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Report Compiles Over 400 Carcinogens Found in People’s Bodies

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2016) A new report released yesterday by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has found that up to 420 known or likely carcinogens have been measured in a diverse array of populations, and that exposure to these carcinogens is not limited to on-the-job contact with industrial chemicals, including pesticides. According to the National Cancer Institute, an estimated 1.7 million new cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. in 2016. While some of these cases may be due to genetic makeup, others may be caused by substances in the air, soil, food and other materials in our environment. Through a review of scientific literature and publicly available biomonitoring studies, EWG compiled a comprehensive inventory of known or likely carcinogens that have been measured in people. According to the EWG report, data from the National Health and Nutrition Survey, or NHANES, conducted annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, confirms that many of these carcinogens are in the bodies of Americans not at risk of occupational exposure — indeed, at any given time some people may harbor dozens or hundreds of cancer-causing chemicals. Over half of the people tested had levels of arsenic and acrylamide in their […]

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Local Restaurants Launch Campaign to Protect Pollinators during National Pollinator Week

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2016) To celebrate National Pollinator Week, June 20-26, 2016, several Washington, DC restaurants have teamed up with Beyond Pesticides and the Center for Food Safety to launch a campaign, “Made by Pollinators,” to protect pollinators suffering steep declines. With one out of every three bites of food reliant on bees, the participating restaurants’ patrons will be treated to a special menu featuring pollinator-friendly food and provided with information on what they can do to help pollinators. The restaurants hope to increase public awareness on the importance of pollinators and steps that can be taken to reverse the decline. Participating  restaurants include Busboys and Poets, Founding Farmers, Lavagna, the Tabard Inn and Restaurant Nora. Of the 100 crop varieties that provide 90% of the world’s food, 71 are pollinated by bees. Honey bees alone pollinate 95 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables, such as apples, avocados, almonds, and cranberries. The value of pollination services to U.S. agriculture alone amounts to nearly $30 billion and about 80% of flowering plants require animal pollination. A recent government survey reports that U.S. beekeepers lost 44 percent of their colonies between spring 2015 and 2016 —the second highest loss to date. […]

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Court Says Law Allows Secrecy of Hazardous Pesticide Product Ingredients

Monday, June 13th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides June 13, 2016) A federal judge in California handed down a decision last week agreeing with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) that it has no responsibility under federal pesticide law to complete rulemaking on the disclosure of hazardous ingredients in pesticide products. That means that if the decision stands EPA will be allowed to keep the public in the dark on the full list of toxic ingredients in pesticides registered by the agency. A lawsuit filed by the Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides, and Physicians for Social Responsibility argues that EPA fails to protect consumers from “inert” ingredients found in pesticides. U.S. District Judge William Orrick stated in his ruling,“The EPA has no mandatory duty to require disclosure of “inert” ingredients in pesticides, even if those ingredients qualify as hazardous chemicals under separate statutes.” Advocates have said for decades that people and communities cannot make informed decisions on pesticide products without full disclosure of all product ingredients and that the stated proprietary interests of chemical manufacturers is bogus, given the burgeoning market of pesticide products exempt from registration under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) 25(b) provision, which are required to disclose all ingredients. An […]

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Glyphosate Approval in EU Up in the Air

Friday, June 10th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 10, 2016) A proposal for a temporary ‘technical extension’ of the EU approval of the herbicide glyphosate failed to secure the support of a majority of EU governments at a meeting of the EU standing committee on plants, animals, food and feed on Monday. This action may force the withdrawal of the herbicide, widely sold as Monsanto’s Roundup, from shelves if no decision is reached by the end of the month, when its license expires. After a proposal to renew the license for glyphosate for up to 15 years failed to win support in two meetings earlier this year, the EU executive offered a limited 12 to 18 month extension to allow time for further scientific study. Yet, despite this compromise, the proposal failed to win the support of member states representing at least 65% of the EU’s population, which is needed for adoption, an EU official told The Guardian. Seven member states abstained from Monday’s vote, 20 backed the proposal and one voted against, a German environment ministry spokeswoman said. According to the news source, Germany was among those that abstained from Monday’s vote. Of note is that Bayer, the German chemical company, recently offered to […]

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Congress Passes Toxic Chemical Reforms, but Limits More Protective State Laws

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2016) The U.S. Congress passed a bill Tuesday to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, the national law that regulates industrial chemicals, but in the process took away the right of state governments to adopt more stringent standards than the federal government. A Senate voice vote late Tuesday passed the bill, following a House vote in late May. The bill will now go to President Obama’s desk for signature or veto, but it is likely that he will sign it into law. Congress has taken steps to address the vast shortcomings of the law to protect human health and safety, and  in the process has created opportunities for serious delays and restrictions on states’ ability to enact their own toxic chemical regulations.  As the bill heads to President Obama, environmental advocates are concerned that they will lose an important tool in the fight for public protections —with the adoption of federal legislation that will  diminish the right of states and communities to establish protective laws, regulations, and standards in the face of involuntary toxic chemical exposure. Under  current TSCA law, around 64,000 chemicals are not subject to environmental testing or regulation by the […]

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Public Comment Needed to End Atrazine Use after EPA Confirms Threat to Wildlife

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2016) With years of data documenting the harmful impacts of the herbicide atrazine on aquatic organisms and other wildlife, a recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assessment now concludes that this widely used chemical poses risks to fish, amphibians, aquatic invertebrates, and even birds, reptiles and mammals. Atrazine is a potent endocrine disruptor with strong associations with birth defects, sex reversal and hermaphroditism in organisms, and whose risk to environmental and human health is exacerbated by pervasive surface, ground and drinking water contamination. Last week, EPA released its triazine ecological risk assessments for atrazine and its chemical cousins simazine, and propazine. The assessments evaluated risks to animals and plants including, amphibians, birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, aquatic invertebrates, aquatic plant communities, and terrestrial plants.  EPA is currently in the registration review process for these chemicals. For atrazine, EPA concludes, “aquatic plant communities are impacted in many areas where atrazine use is heaviest, and there is potential chronic risks to fish, amphibians, and aquatic invertebrate in these same locations. In the terrestrial environment, there are risk concerns for mammals, birds, reptiles, plants and plant communities across the country for many of the atrazine uses.” Levels of concerns were […]

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International Panel Calls for End to Industrial Agriculture, Shift to Diversified Systems

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2016) A wholesale change in agricultural practices is necessary to ensure protection of human health and the environment over the long-term, according to a wide-ranging report authored by the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES), “a fully independent panel, without financial or organizational ties to any corporations, governments or intergovernmental agencies.” The report, From Uniformity to Diversity, calls for a paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems. According to the report, diversified agroecology focuses on maintaining multiple sources of food production, and farming by applying ecological concepts and principles to the design and management of food systems. Industrial agriculture, on the other hand, requires highly-specialized production of a single food crop, and, through scale and task separation, focuses on increasing productivity through intensification. While monocultures and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are characteristic of industrial agriculture, agroecological practices embrace spatial and temporal diversification (through practices like crop rotation and intercropping), and focus on multiple outputs. Oliver De Schutter, Ph.D., former United National special rapporteur on food and co-chair of IPES, notes to The Guardian: “Many of the problems in food systems are linked specifically to the uniformity at the heart of […]

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EPA Judge Rejects Bayer’s Challenge to Keep Flubendiamide on Market after Agency Pulls Conditional Registration

Monday, June 6th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2016) Bayer CropScience’s appeal of the cancellation of their toxic pesticide flubendiamide by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was rejected by EPA’s Chief Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Susan Biro on Thursday, June 1. Judge Biro dismissed the complaints, saying that the agency was acting within its authority when it pulled its approval for the pesticide earlier this year after the two manufacturers, Bayer CropScience and Nichino America, failed to meet the terms laid out in a 2008 conditional registration. A startling number of pesticides, nearly 65% of the more than 16,000 pesticides now on the market, were first approved by the process of “conditional registration,” a loophole in which EPA allows new pesticides on the market without the full range of legally mandated toxicity tests for a full registration. Meanwhile, the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency finalized its  decision to discontinue granting new conditional registrations, also on June 1. In 2008, EPA granted Bayer a “conditional” registration for flubendiamide, a classification that allows a new pesticide to be registered and used in the field, despite outstanding data points on its toxicological impact. In this case, original data submitted to EPA by Bayer showed concern over […]

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Public Comment Needed on EPA’s Plans To Allow Bee-Toxic Sulfoxaflor despite Elevated Bee Losses

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 3, 2016) Despite recent reports of continuing bee losses across the U.S., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced plans to reevaluate the use of the bee-toxic insecticide sulfoxaflor, and is proposing an amended registration. Sulfoxaflor’s initial 2013 registration was challenged by beekeepers and subsequently vacated by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals due to overwhelming risks to bees and EPA’s inadequate review of the data. Last September, the  Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unequivocally rejected  EPA’s registration of sulfoxaflor. The Court concluded that EPA violated federal law when it approved sulfoxaflor without reliable studies regarding the impact that the insecticide may  have on honey bee colonies. The Court vacated EPA’s unconditional registration of the chemical, meaning that sulfoxaflor could no longer be used in the U.S. This decision was in response to a suit filed by beekeepers challenging EPA’s initial registration of sulfoxaflor, which cited the insecticide’s threat to bees and beekeeping. The case:  Pollinator Stewardship Council, American Honey Producers Association, National Honey Bee Advisory Board, American Beekeeping Federation, Thomas Smith, Bret Adee, Jeff Anderson v. U.S. EPA  (9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals,”¯No. 13-7234) According to the court decision, EPA skirted its own regulations […]

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Save the Date: National Pollinator Week Set for June 20-26, 2016

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides June 2, 2016) United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack recently released a Proclamation for National Pollinator Week, which is set to take place from June 20-26, 2016. National Pollinator Week began ten years ago when the U.S. Senate unanimously approved the designation of a week in June to address the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator week has since grown to be an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and all other pollinator species. While much remains to be done to combat contributing factors to pollinator declines, such as the use of neonicotinoid pesticides and disappearing pollinator habitat, National Pollinator Week is a chance to reflect and celebrate the achievements of the past year, while simultaneously raising awareness of the important role pollinators play in our daily lives. This year, to help increase education and bring awareness to the issue of pollinator declines, Beyond Pesticides and the Center for Food Safety are teaming up with several Washington, DC area restaurants to launch a “Made by Pollinators” campaign. Participating  restaurants, which include Founding Farmers, Lavagna, Tabard Inn and Restaurant Nora, will  educate the public on the importance of […]

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Study Finds Honey Bees Frequently Collect Contaminated Pollen from Non-Crop Plants

Wednesday, June 1st, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 1, 2016) A study  by researchers at Purdue University has concluded  that honey bees collect most of their pollen from non-crop plants that are frequently contaminated with agricultural and urban pesticides. The researchers found this to be true even in places where croplands dominate the area.  The study, which detected neonicotinoids, pyrethroids, fungicides, and others, highlights the large number of toxic pesticides to which bees are exposed to in the environment. Researchers collected pollen from Indiana honey bee hives at three sites over 16 weeks. The hives were placed in a variety of settings, such as an open meadow with wildflowers, woody shrubs and trees present (non-agricultural), the border of a corn field that was treated with the neonicotinoid clothianidin and three fungicides, and the border of a non-treated corn field. The pollen samples that were collected by the bees represented up to 30 plant families and contained residues from pesticides spanning nine chemical classes. The researchers found 29 pesticides in pollen from the meadow site, 29 pesticides in pollen from the treated cornfield, and 31 pesticides in pollen from the untreated cornfield. The most common chemical products found in pollen from each site were fungicides and […]

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TSCA Revisions Threaten State Power to Regulate Toxics

Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides May 31, 2016) Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a revised version of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), marking the first time since 1976 Congress has taken steps to address the vast shortcomings of the law to protect human health and safety. Their revisions miss the mark, however, as the changes create the potential for new hurdles, delays, and restrictions on states’ ability to enact their own toxic chemical regulations. This is a dangerous development, expecially given the bipartisan recognition and acknowledgement of the need for TSCA reform. As the bill heads to the Senate, environmental advocates who believe in the preservation of state and local power to regulate toxics more stringently than the federal government must act to prevent its passage. Public health advocates and environmentalists have argued for decades that the  1976 Toxic Substances Control Act  is outdated and riddled with gaps that leave Americans exposed to harmful chemicals. Under current law, around 64,000 chemicals are not subject to environmental testing or regulation. In absence of federal reform over the past 40 years, many states, including Washington, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Minnesota, New York and Vermont, have stepped up to fill the void, taking […]

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