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Vermont House Votes to Authorize State Regulation of “Treated Articles,” such as Neonic-Coated Seeds

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides March 23, 2016) Last week, the Vermont House of Representatives passed a bill that authorizes state  regulation of pesticide-treated products,  including  telephone poles and coated seeds, that are exempt from federal pesticide regulations. H.861 is the latest in a string of laws introduced this legislative session in Vermont to address the impact of harmful neonicotinoid insecticides  on Vermont’s ecology and agriculture, and symbolizes a concentrated effort by the legislature to reverse pollinator declines within the state. If passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, the bill will  allow the Secretary of Agriculture to regulate above and beyond current federal laws, which exempt treated articles from regulation completely, and write appropriate rules in response to recommendations from a state Pollinator Protection Committee. The bill, which passed with wide support in the House, gives the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets the authority to regulate “treated articles,” a term coined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to denote products treated with pesticides, such as utility poles, commercial crop seeds, and lumber. Traditionally, EPA gives rulemaking authority over pesticides to states, but that authority does not extend to products pre-treated with pesticides, which, until this point, has posed […]

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It’s Time to Protect Organic Integrity

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, March 22, 2016)  Make your voice heard! The public comment period has opened on National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) proposed recommendations affecting  organic standards, materials and policy. Comments are due by April 14, 2016 at 11:59 PM. As usual, there are many important issues that are under  NOSB consideration. Your voice is integral to maintaining organic integrity and the value of the USDA organic label. We have begun to analyze the numerous recommendations and are providing you with our positions that we hope you will use as the basis for your comments. We will provide positions on additional topics in the near future. Please feel free to develop your own comments or cut and paste ours from the following web page: Top Priority Issues. Unfortunately, the only way to make your voice heard is to submit your comments to regulations.gov. If you cut and paste our comments into regulations.gov on major issues before the NOSB (below), please put a personal note of concern in order to reflect the importance if these issues to you as an organic consumer, farmer. Some of the major issues before the spring 2016 National Organic Standards Board include: ”¢ Inerts Three items on […]

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Boulder County, Colorado to Phase Out GE Crops on Public Land

Monday, March 21st, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, March 21, 2016) Last Thursday, Boulder County (CO) commissioners directed staff to draft up a plan to phase out genetically engineered (GE) crops on all farmland owned  by the county. The county’s current policy, adopted in 2011, allows tenant farmers to grow certain types of GE corn and sugar beets on land leased through Boulder County, and will remain in effect at least until the end of the year. The five-year policy old has frequently come under fire from individuals and environmental groups that challenge the safety of GE crop production systems, and their effect on human health, water quality, soil health, and the overall environment. The Boulder County commissioners heard  recommendations from the county’s advisory committees, including the county’s Croplands Policy Advisory Group, the Food and Agriculture Policy Group, and the Parks and Open Space Advisory Group. A public hearing was held on Feb. 29  also provided public input on whether to continue or change the current approval in Section 6.1 of the Boulder County Parks & Open Space Cropland Policy that allows for the use of certain genetically engineered (GE) crops on Open Space land. That approval expires on December 20, 2016. More than 100 people […]

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World’s Largest Community Kitchen at India’s Golden Temple To Serve Organic Food

Friday, March 18th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2016) One of the world’s largest community kitchens, will soon be serving organic food. Guru Ramdas Langar Hall at Sri Harmandir Sahib (popularly known as the Golden Temple) in Amritsar, India feeds 100,000 people daily for free. Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), which administers the gurdwaras (places of worship for people of the Sikh faith) across the country, has decided to adopt organic farming, foregoing the use of use of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. “Organic farming is the new mission of SGPC to inspire farmers to cut down on the use of chemicals and pesticides and switch to sustainable agricultural practices,” an SGPC official said. Grains, fruits and vegetables like carrot, reddish, cauliflower, spinach and fenugreek are now being grown at farms in Patiala and Gurdwara Gurusar Satlani Sahib near Amritsar, the official said, adding that they have now started receiving supply of 10 quintals (about 2,200 pounds) of organic produce every 1-2 days which is being used to prepare nourishing vegetarian meals. While applauding this landmark decision, Dr. Rajwant Singh, founder and president of EcoSikh, a non-profit organization working to raise awareness about environmental issues and inspiring farmers to focus on producing food through […]

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Senate Blocks Vote on Bill To Stop GE Labeling

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2016)  Yesterday,  the U.S. Senate  voted to block a vote  on a food labeling bill that would eliminate consumers’ right to know whether genetically engineered (GE) ingredients are in the food they purchase. Senate Amendment  3450,  National Voluntary Bioengineered Food Labeling Standard, proposed by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), failed to garner the  60 votes necessary for cloture, which would have ended the debate and allowed a vote on the bill. The  vote of 48-49 effectively killed the Senate bill. The amendment is the Senate version of H.R. 1599, Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, sponsored by  Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS).  Opponents have dubbed the legislation the Deny Americans the Right to Know Act (DARK Act). The bill passed the House in July, 2015 on  a  vote of 275-150. In addition to  preempting the ability of all  states to impose mandatory labeling standards, the bill imposes a weak voluntary federal scheme in its place. Backed largely by House Republicans, the DARK Act makes it harder for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require mandatory national labeling of products containing GE ingredients, and safeguard current policies that allow companies to voluntarily decide whether to label foods containing […]

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Study Finds Bees’ Pollination Skills Impaired by Pesticides

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, March 16, 2016) Another study, this time from researchers at the University of Guelph, finds that at very low levels the neonicotinoid pesticide thiamethoxam affects  the foraging behavior of bumble bees, changing their floral preferences, hindering their ability to learn and extract nectar and pollen. This study is one of many that detail the negative effects of pesticides on bees’ learning behavior and ability to pollinate essential crops. Pesticides, like the neonicotinoid class of insecticides, have been implicated in the global decline of pollinator populations, while advocates call for  limiting pesticide exposures to reverse population declines. According to the authors of this Canadian study, “Chronic exposure to a neonicotinoid pesticide alters the interaction between bumblebees and wild plants, “published in  the journal Functional Ecology, it is the first to explore how pesticides may impact the ability of bumble bees to  forage from common wildflowers that have complex shapes such as white clover and bird’s foot trefoil. The researchers found that bumble bees exposed to environmental levels of thiamethoxam (10ppb) took longer to collect pollen than unexposed bees, as well as foraged from different flowers. Importantly, this study reports that bumble bees that were not exposed to thiamethoxam are […]

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GAO Report Finds USDA, EPA Not Doing Enough to Protect Pollinators

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2016) Executive agencies are falling short in their efforts to protect honey bees and other wild pollinators from catastrophic declines, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). GAO, an investigative agency that works on behalf of the U.S. Congress, was tasked by the Senate to evaluate the progress the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have made in their actions to address the multiple threats contributing to declining managed and wild pollinators. Since 2006, U.S. beekeepers have experienced unsustainable colony die-offs, averaging over 30% each year. Concurrent declines in wild and native pollinators are also occurring, though data on the magnitude of these losses have not undergone comprehensive scientific evaluation. While a range of factors, from habitat loss, to climate change, diseases, viruses, and parasites are all contributing to these declines, independent science has identified that pesticides, specifically a new class of systemic insecticides called neonicotinoids, are the major drivers of the crisis for both managed and wild bees. In fact, some studies show that the widespread exposure to neonicotinoids increases bees’ vulnerability to diseases, viruses, and mites. The GAO report recommends a number of action items […]

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Report Calls for Improved Pesticide Regulation and Assessment on Kauai, Hawai’i

Monday, March 14th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2016)  According to a draft version of a report commissioned by Hawaii and Kauai County, Hawaii should dramatically improve its regulation of pesticide use and study its impacts, which the state legislature has repeatedly refused to consider. Unsurprisingly, agrichemical companies that produce genetically engineered (GE) seeds criticized the new government report, saying it “raises unfounded and unsubstantiated fears about chronic exposure and chemicals in general.” Association members include Monsanto, Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer, Dow AgroSciences and BASF, multi-billion-dollar multinational agrochemical companies that farm thousands of acres in Hawaii and produce the state’s largest export crop, seed corn. The Joint Fact Finding (JFF) report was conducted by Peter Adler of the consulting firm Accord3.0. and eight participants, including two representatives of DuPont Pioneer and Dow AgroSciences. According to the study website, it was commissioned by the  Hawaii State Department of Agriculture (HDOA)  and Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho in order to conduct a joint fact finding project on the island of Kauai. The preliminary results were released after a year-long investigation into the impacts and regulation of pesticide use by Hawaii’s GE seed industry and Kauai Coffee.  The draft report is available for public comment until April 8, 2016. […]

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Colorado Rancher To Be Jailed for Pesticide Drift

Friday, March 11th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, March 11, 2016)  A judge found a Colorado rancher to be in violation of a court order that protected his neighbors, organic farmers Rosemary Bilchak and her husband Gordon MacAlpine, who suffers from leukemia, from sprayed pesticides that drifted onto their property. The decision in western Colorado’s North Fork Valley sets a precedent in protecting farmers and sensitive people from pesticides.  State Judge Jeff Herron sentenced Hopper to jail for two days ””and fined him $7,500 ”” ruling that his spraying until 2015  violated a 2012 court order  that protected his neighbors. Despite this court order, records say Mr. Hopper continued spraying through August 2015. Mr. Hopper had obtained a state license to spray pesticides in 2011 after his wife was diagnosed with West Nile virus, which is spread by mosquitoes. However, Mr. Hopper’s neighbors took him to court, claiming the pesticides were harmful to Mr. MacAlpine’s health and prevented them from expanding into organic vegetable production. The presiding judge at the time of the 2012 court ruling, Charles Greenacre, determined that an application of the insecticide, Fyfanon, a form of  malathion, had drifted, and thus trespassed, onto the neighboring organic farm of Rosemary Bilchak and her husband, […]

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“Muzzled” USDA Scientist to Speak at National Pesticide Forum

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2016) Jonathan Lundgren, Ph.D., a top U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) entomologist who received a prestigious national award for civic courage  for his work on neonicotinoids and pollinator decline in the face of agency attempts to suppress his work, will be speaking at Cultivating Community and Environmental Health, the 34th National Pesticide Forum, April 15-16, 2016 in Portland, ME. Dr. Lundgren will join other top scientists and leaders who have stood up to protect human and environmental health, despite facing industry backlash and scientific suppression. His story was recently featured in Sunday’s The Washington Post Magazine, Was a USDA Scientist Muzzled Because of His Bee Research, as censorship of federal scientists has grown. As a Senior Research Entomologist and Lab Supervisor for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in South Dakota, Dr. Lundgren had worked for USDA for eleven years with great success, with his research drawing national attention and international recognition. However, in October 2015, Dr. Lundgren, represented by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a whistleblower complaint charging the agency with suppression of research findings that challenged the safety and efficacy of a widely used class of pesticides, neonicotinoids. In April 2015, PEER filed […]

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Senate Democrats Introduce Bill Requiring GE Food Labeling, Includes Preemption of States

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides March 9, 2016) Last week, Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced legislation to  require  that consumer food packaging  displays genetically engineered (GE) ingredient labeling. The Senators’ legislation, the Biotechnology Food Labeling and Uniformity Act  (S.2621), presents an alternative to the primarily Republican-backed Biotechnology Labeling Solutions Bill that recently passed the Senate Agriculture Committee on a 14-6 vote. The Biotechnology Labeling Solutions Bill, which embodies several provisions of the much opposed DARK Act, will  hide ingredient information from consumers by overturning state GE labeling laws like that of Vermont’s. “Rather than blocking consumers’ access to information they want, the U.S. Senate should move forward with a solution that works for businesses and consumers alike,” said Senator Merkley. “There is a way to give consumers the information they are asking for without placing unfair or conflicting requirements on food producers. This legislation provides the common-sense pathway forward.” The  Biotechnology Food Labeling and Uniformity Act  will allow American consumers to see whether a food has been prepared with GE ingredients, while offering food manufacturers several options for including this information on or near the ingredients list. This framework meets the needs of […]

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Study Finds Majority of Germans Have Glyphosate in their Bodies

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, March 8, 2016) A vast majority of German citizens are contaminated with the herbicide glyphosate, according to a report from the Heinrich Boll Foundation. The findings come just one week after another environmental group in Germany, the Munich Environmental Institute, found traces of the popular weed killer in popular German beers. The results of this study add concern to EU-wide deliberations regarding the renewal of glyphosate’s registration. According to the study, 99.6% of the 2,009 German citizens monitored have some level of glyphosate found in their urine. Over 75% of these individuals have  concentrations that are higher than the EU’s legal level for glyphosate in drinking water. Further, children up to age 19 are found to exhibit  higher levels of urinary glyphosate than older adults. Individuals living near agricultural areas also show elevated concentrations compared to those that did not. Given recent data finding glyphosate to be the most widely used herbicide on the globe, it is not surprising that the chemical is near ubiquitous in human bodies. Similar results are expected in the United States. A pilot study conducted by the group Moms Across America in 2014 found that glyphosate may also bioaccumulate in the human body, […]

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UN Report Warns of Decline in Pollinators and Global Food Supplies

Monday, March 7th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, March 7, 2016) A United Nation’s report, released late last month, has warns the world that many species of wild bees, butterflies and other pollinators are on a dangerous path toward extinction, and that the  food supply will suffer if the causes of these declines, many of them human-made, are not stopped. The report is based on  many different scientific studies. The scientists who led the assessment pointed to pesticides as one of the leading causes of pollinator decline, specifically, a class of toxic chemicals called neonicotinoids, which adversely affect the nervous system of insects. According to their press release, the assessment,  Thematic Assessment of Pollinators, Pollination and Food Production, is the first ever issued by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem  Services (IPBES). IPBES was founded in 2012 with 124 member nations to “form a crucial intersection between international scientific understanding and public policy making.” Before its release, the assessment attracted some controversy for including two representatives from the agrochemical industry, including Bayer CropScience and Syngenta, as lead authors. Even though the IPBES requires all lead authors to complete conflict-of-interest statements, some scientists and environmentalists expressed concern. Given the roll of agrochemicals in pollinator decline, […]

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Chlorpyrifos Reduces Memory and Learning in Exposed Bees

Friday, March 4th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2016) Honey bees experience a learning and memory deficit after ingesting small doses of the insecticide  chlorpyrifos, potentially threatening their success and survival, according to a study in  New Zealand. Chlorpyrifos is a highly neurotoxic organophosphate pesticide used worldwide on crops to protect against insects and mites. The study,  Measurements of Chlorpyrifos Levels in Forager Bees and Comparison with Levels that Disrupt Honey Bee Odor-Mediated Learning Under Laboratory Conditions,  published in  Ecology, examines chlorpyrifos levels in  bees collected from 17 locations in Otago, New Zealand and compared doses of the pesticide that cause sub-lethal effects on learning performance under laboratory conditions with amounts of chlorpyrifos detected in bees in the field. Researchers found chlorpyrifos in 17% of the sites sampled and 12% of the colonies examined. Honey bees are found to experience harmful effects to smell memory and learning, and reduction in specificity of memory recall. Chlorpyrifos is just one of many pesticides that have frequently been detected in honey bees. According to a study conducted last year by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), 72% of bees tested positive for pesticide residues, raising concerns about  unintended pesticide exposures where land uses overlap or are in proximity […]

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Label Warning on Dangerous PCP-Treated Poles Deemed Unconstitutional

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, March 3, 2016) Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Arthur Spatt declared a dangerous wood preservative label ordinance unconstitutional, ending a three year battle between a New York town and Public Service Enterprise Group (PESG). In 2014, under the authority of the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), PESG installed thousands of hurricane-resistant utility poles containing the hazardous wood preservative pentachlorophenol (PCP or penta). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines pentachlorophenol as “extremely toxic” to humans even from short-term exposure and is listed as a “probable human carcinogen.” Judge Spatt cited the First Amendment doctrine of commercial speech, stating that, “In order to qualify as commercial speech, the message sought to be regulated must necessarily bear some discernible connection to the commercial interests of the speaker.” Because the utility poles are not intended to be sold to the public nor influence consumer behavior, PESG is not required to post “compelled warning signs” on their dangerous utility poles. In 2014, the Town of North Hempstead on Long Island New York passed a law requiring warning labels on the utility poles that are treated with PCP. At a town board meeting on September 9, a vote of 7-0 mandated the […]

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EPA Moves to Cancel Toxic Pesticide It Allowed without Complete Review, Manufacturer, Bayer, Reneges on Agreement to Take Product Off Market

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

(Washington, DC, March 1, 2016) After pesticide manufacturer Bayer CropScience would not voluntarily remove from the market the insecticide flubendiamide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formally issued a Notice of Intent to Cancel the insecticide, citing its high toxicity to aquatic organisms. Bayer is embroiled in controversy over its neonicotinoid insecticides because, as systemic pesticides, they move through the entire plant and express the poison through pollen and nectar, indiscriminately killing bees and other pollinators and polluting waterways. Flubendiamide, a benzenedicarboxamide pesticide, is “locally systemic” within the plant’s leaves. EPA’s action today may take years of regulatory review and legal action while the pesticide remains on the market. EPA used the controversial conditional registration provision of federal pesticide law, when in 2008 it allowed flubendiamide on the market, despite outstanding environmental data. At the time, it struck an agreement that, if unreasonable adverse effects on the environment were found, Bayer would withdraw the chemical’s registration. Today’s action serves to exemplify the consequences of allowing potentially harmful substances onto the market without all the information necessary to issue a complete finding of environmental and public safety. Because of EPA’s long cancellation process, unless it takes the rare action of finding […]

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Fish and Wildlife Service to Assess Harm from Glyphosate and Atrazine on Endangered Species

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2016) Under the terms of an agreement reached lasted month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will begin studying the effects of four commonly used herbicides on the health of 1,500 endangered species in the United States. Based on the terms of the settlement, the result of a series of lawsuits launched by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), FWS must develop a  plan to mitigate the effects of glyphosate, atrazine, and its chemical cousins propazine and simazine, on any threatened or endangered species. “This agreement will result in long-overdue protections for our country’s most endangered species,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at CBD. “Once the Fish and Wildlife Service completes its analysis, and the public finally learns just how toxic and deadly these pesticides are to endangered species, we hope that the government will ultimately take most of these products off the shelf.” Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is required to consult with FWS and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) on the impacts of pesticides on endangered species when it registers a chemical under federal pesticide law (the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, or […]

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Glyphosate Residues in Popular German Beers

Monday, February 29th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, February 29, 2016) Last Thursday, the Munich Environmental Institute stated that it had found traces of glyphosate, the widely used and controversial weed-killer, in 14 of Germany’s most popular beers. These findings are a potential blow to Germany’s Beer Purity Law, which is highly regarded in German beer culture. Industry and German government immediately sought to downplay the results, saying that the levels found did not pose a risk to humans. However, according to the study’s results, all levels found were above the glyphosate residue level allowed in drinking water. Consumers have a right to be worried about the findings, as glyphosate was classified in March 2015  as a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The results, published  in German, are broken down by beer and by micrograms per liter in picture format. The researchers cite the laboratory test results of the 14 beers, which found glyphosate levels  between 0.46 and 29.74 micrograms per liter. The highest reading is 300 times the legal limit for drinking water in Germany, which is 0.1 microgram per cubic meter. Hasseroeder, a beer brewed in Saxony-Anhalt in eastern Germany and owned by Anheuser Busch Inbev, contained the […]

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Feminine Hygiene Products Tainted with Glyphosate, Other Toxic Chemicals

Friday, February 26th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, February 25, 2016) Feminine care products sold in France may contain “potentially toxic residues,” according to a study conducted by 60 Millions de Consommateurs, a French consumer rights group. The study finds  traces of chemicals, such as dioxins and insecticides, in 5 of 11 products tested. A separate analysis conducted by Corman, a manufacturer of feminine care products, also finds  residues of the weedkiller glyphosate, which was classified in March 2015  as a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Researchers at 60 Millions  reported finidng traces of halogenated waste, a by-product related to the processing of raw materials, in Tampax Compak Active Regular Fresh tampons. The researchers also detected residues of organochlorine and pyrethroid pesticides, linked to a wide range of adverse health impacts, in some Always sanitary towels. Highly toxic dioxins, which can be cause cancer, reproductive and developmental problems and damage the immune system, according to the World Health Organization, were also found in products by OB and the European Nett brands. Corman, which makes Organyc panty liners, told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) news agency that it conducted its own analysis that confirmed the trace amounts of glyphosate, the active ingredient […]

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Irvine, CA Adopts Organic Management Policy for City Property

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, February 25, 2016)  On Tuesday, the City Council of Irvine, California, with a population of over 250,000 people, voted unanimously to stop the use of hazardous pesticides on city property. The Council adopted an  organic  management policy that limits  the use of synthetic pesticides on city property, which includes 570 acres of parks, more than 800 acres of right-of-way, 70,000 trees and nearly 1.5 million square feet of facilities. The policy permits pesticides   “only when deemed necessary to protect public health and economic impact.” The vote capped a campaign led by  the local advocacy group Non Toxic Irvine, which has been advocating that the city  nix synthetic pesticides in favor of better plant management and materials compatible with organic practices. The group is led by local mothers concerned about the synthetic pesticide health risks related to children.  Kathleen Hallal, a leader with Non Toxic Irvine, said, “It is not radical for a city to use organic methods. It’s radical to use toxic methods to control weeds and pests around our children.” According to the Orange County Register, in May 2015, the Irvine Unified School District (IUSD) agreed to end the use of glyphosate (RoundUp) on all school […]

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Colorado Legislature Considers Pesticide-Free Marijuana Bill

Wednesday, February 24th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides February 24, 2016) Last Friday, Colorado’s House Public Health Care and Human Services Committee heard a proposal to create a contaminant-free certification system for marijuana sold within the state. This program, intended to resemble the federal National Organic Program, was offered as a legislative response to protect consumers after the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) failed to implement meaningful regulations to keep marijuana users within the state safe from the harms associated with unregulated pesticides use on cannabis crops. If the proposal moves forward, Colorado will becomes the first state to establish and regulate an organic label in its marijuana  industry, paving the way for other states with legalized marijuana industries to follow suit. Massachusetts and New Hampshire require that cultivation practices are consistent with USDA national organic standards. “Consumers have a right to know what they’re putting in their body,” said Colorado Rep. Jonathan Singer, co-sponsor of HB16-1079, which requires that CDA set up an independent program to certify that cannabis sold in the state is pesticide-free. Companies that  meet the standard would then be able to use special labeling to alert consumers that their products are entirely pesticide-free. The program will  also attempt to address concerns […]

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California Health Advocates Continue Call for Increased Buffer Zones Near Schools

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2016) A coalition of local parents and community health groups from California’s Central Valley are calling on the state to set one mile buffer zones around schools in order to reduce children’s exposure to highly toxic pesticides. The request comes after research from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) found widely used fumigant pesticides in central California interact synergistically and increase health risks. Although California is subject to regressive pesticide preemption laws, county agricultural commissioners have the authority to regulate and enforce pesticide use at the local level. While the state currently sets minimum buffer zones around schools at 500 ft., certain California counties require increased levels of protection around these sensitive sites. However, activists charge that state standards and even locally wider buffer zones are not adequately protecting community health, and comprehensive statewide regulations are needed. In July of 2015, after years of pressure from activists, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) held a series of workshops to gather community input on new rules governing pesticide use near schools. According to The Desert Sun, CDPR is expected to release its first draft of the new regulations for public comment at the end of […]

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Scientists Express Concern Over Widespread Use of Glyphosate-Based Herbicides

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, February 22, 2016) A scientific review was released last week by a group of fourteen scientists in which they expressed concern over the widespread use of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs), the lack of understanding regarding human exposure, and the potential health impacts. Along with the reasons for concern, the scientific panel called for increased government scrutiny of glyphosate and further testing. In an excerpt from the review, the scientists’ state that,“A thorough and modern assessment of GBH toxicity will encompass potential endocrine disruption, impacts on the gut microbiome, carcinogenicity, and multigenerational effects looking at reproductive capability and frequency of birth defects.” The study, published in the journal Environmental Health, was authored by 14 health scientists mostly from universities. Pete Myers, founder and chief scientist at Environmental Health Sciences is the lead author of the report. “It’s time to call on the global science and regulatory community to step back and take a fresh look at glyphosate since everyone on the planet is or will be exposed,” said senior author Charles Benbrook, an agricultural economist and consultant at Benbrook Consulting Services. According to the report, federal health agencies, such as the U.S. National Toxicology Program, the U.S. Centers for Disease […]

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