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Maine Town Votes to Ban Lawn Pesticides on Public and Private Property, Becoming Second to Act in Last Year

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2014) [Eds. Note: Because of a procedural glitch in the ordinance, the Ogunquit pesticide ban ordinance was scheduled to be placed on the ballot again on November 4, 2014. The ordinance passed again, this time overwhelmingly.] In another key victory  for public health and the environment, last month residents in the small ocean-side community of Ogunquit, Maine (pop:~1,400) voted to become the first town in the state to prohibit the use of pesticides on public and private property for turf, landscape, and outdoor pest management activities. Ogunquit’s ordinance makes the town the second local jurisdiction in the United States in the last year  to ban pesticides on both public and private property, and the first to be passed by popular vote, 206 to 172. The ordinance, modeled in large part on the first private/public pesticide ban in Takoma Park, Maryland last year, was passed after a three-year education and awareness campaign, initiated by the town’s Conservation Commission. The law expands on  existing pesticide use restrictions on  town-owned property. The passage of this ordinance positions Ogunquit as a leader in the state for environmental sustainability and the protection of public health, and supports the Conservation Commission’s goals […]

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Tell EPA by End of Today: Don’t Bail Out Genetically Engineered Cotton with a Toxic Pesticide

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, July 3, 2014) It was predictable that genetically engineered (GE) cotton sprayed with the weedkiller glyphosate (Roundup) would create resistant superweeds. Now that it has, Texas GE cotton growers recently requested an emergency use of a chemical cousin to atrazine, the herbicide that is demasculinizing frogs by disrupting the endocrine system— on 3 million acres of cotton fields where the weeds have become resistant to the chemical of choice —glyphosate. Stop the GE Pesticide Treadmill! Use Beyond Pesticides’ sample comments for guidance. Help stop the GE treadmill and the use of hazardous pesticides. Join Beyond Pesticides in fighting this predictable “emergency” use because it exemplifies EPA’s practice of allowing increasing dependency on highly toxic pesticides in agricultural systems that are predictably unsustainable, harmful to people and the environment, and for which there are safe alternatives.  This situation is the same toxic treadmill and thinking that is ushering in new 2,4-D-tolerant corn to replace Roundup Ready corn. Emergency exemptions and the use of increasingly toxic herbicides must not be the norm for communities and our environment. Can you help us stop EPA from propping up the failed GE agricultural system?  Submit your comment by midnight July 3. Government does […]

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Report Finds Pesticide Residues in Hawaii’s Waterways

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2014) A statewide pilot pesticide sampling project has found over 20 different types of pesticides in Hawaiian waterways, some of which are no longer registered for use in Hawaii. State officials believe the pesticides, many detected in urban areas, are from residential and golf course applications. These preliminary findings help highlight the need for local oversight of pesticide use, currently a controversial issue in the state. Conducted in partnership with the Hawaiian Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Hawaiian Department of Health, the survey-study finds herbicides like glyphosate (Roundup) and atrazine, as well as a fungicide that is no longer registered for use in the state, contaminating the state’s waterways. The study measured pesticides in surface waters and in sediment at multiple locations in Hawaii. 25 herbicides, 11 insecticides and 6 fungicides were detected, with atrazine the most commonly found. This pilot survey responds to growing community concerns about the impacts of pesticides on local communities and ecosystems, and provides preliminary information on pesticide residues in state waterways. Recently, Kauai County passed an ordinance —Ordinance 960—  that requires public disclosure of pesticides used and the location of genetically engineered (GE) crops, as […]

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Town Asks MA Supreme Court to Affirm Right to Stop Private Pesticide Use in Sensitive Pond

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2014) The town of Chilmark located on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts is not backing down from its decision to challenge property owners and the local conservation commission’s attempts to introduce a toxic herbicide directly into the waters of the only enclosed, great pond of the well-known, destination island. While one might assume that the litigation centers around whether or not the herbicide proposed for use in the local water source poses as a danger, this issue is only a sideline debate. Instead, the central dispute highlights one of the greatest challenges facing local governments surrounding pesticide control and a locality’s authority to protect both its citizens and its local environment from the hazards that these chemicals bestow: preemption. Preemption is the ability of one level of government to override laws of a lower level. While local governments once had the ability to restrict the use of pesticides on all land within their jurisdictions, pressure from the chemical industry led many states to pass legislation that prohibits municipalities from adopting local pesticide ordinances affecting the use of pesticides on private property that are more restrictive than state policy. Unfortunately, Massachusetts is one of the many states that has […]

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Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals May Target Fish Hearts

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2014) According to a new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, chemical contaminants in waterways that mimic estrogen -endocrine disruptors- target developing heart valves in fish and impair the growth of fish hearts. The study illustrates that these hormone-mimicking compounds, which include some pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and other household chemicals often found in sewage effluent and runoff that flows into waterways, are being linked to mounting science that show serious human and environmental adverse effects. Researchers from the Fish Health Branch of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Carnegie Institution for Science exposed zebrafish embryos to water from 19 sites in the Susquehanna, Delaware, Allegheny and Shenandoah watersheds. Water from 16 of the sites triggered proteins in the fish that were estrogen receptors, indicating that the rivers contained endocrine disrupting chemicals. These receptors are attached to DNA, which turn genes on and off. While such activity is common in the liver, this is the first experiment to show estrogenic activity in heart valves. “This tells us that endocrine-disrupting chemicals could lead to improper heart development. We were quite surprised, since this is something that others hadn’t observed before,” said study co-author Luke Iwanowicz, PhD, and research […]

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Groups Call on Obama to Require National GE Labeling Laws

Friday, January 24th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2014) U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-OR) joined other members of Congress, along with more than 200 businesses and organizations, including Beyond Pesticides, in petitioning President Obama to adopt labeling requirements for genetically engineered (GE) foods. The letter encourages the president to fulfill his campaign pledge made in 2007 to require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to adopt a national mandatory labeling system. “It’s time the FDA’s policies reflected 21st century food technologies,” said Rep DeFazio in a press conference last Thursday. “After all, twenty years ago they didn’t have corn that could produce its own insecticides.” In April 2013, Rep. DeFazio and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced bipartisan legislation that requires FDA to label GE food, under the proposed Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act. The bill now has 50 cosponsors. “Two state legislatures have already approved GE labeling and more than 20 other states are considering GE labeling laws,” the letter reads, referring to the GE labeling laws passed in Connecticut and Maine. “Plain and simple, this is about consumer rights,” said Rep. DeFazio. “People should have the ability to make an informed choice about what they feed their family and we know it’s not […]

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Oregon Group Uses Mushrooms for Bioremediation

Thursday, January 23rd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, January 23, 2014) Putting ideas into action, an Oregon-based restoration nonprofit group, Ocean Blue Project, is harnessing the power of mushrooms to clean up pesticides and other pollutants that plague Oregon and national waterways. Yes, mushrooms. The test project launched Sunday, January 19 on the banks of Sequoia Creek, a tributary to the Willamette River. Using recycled burlap bags filled with used coffee grounds, straw, and yellow oyster mushroom spawn, the purpose of the unusual potpourri will be to harness the extremely effective filtering capabilities of mycelium. A kind of root system for fungi, mycelium demonstrate a wide variety of biological powers, from breaking down oil, pesticides, and harmful bacteria to acting as natural pesticides against some of the most problematic pests. Paul Stamets, a leading expert on the power of mushrooms and former speaker at Beyond Pesticides’ National Pesticide Forum in 2006, has a word for the natural properties of fungi to fight human-made pollution: mycorestoration. As Mr. Stamets explained to Discover Magazine in 2013, “Oyster mushrooms, for example, can digest the complex hydrocarbons in wood, so they can also be used to break down petroleum byproducts. Garden Giants use their mycelia to trap and eat bacteria, […]

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General Mills to Drop Genetically Engineered Ingredients in Original Cheerios

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, January 8, 2014) Last week, General Mills announced that the company will  eliminate genetically engineered (GE) ingredients from its mainstay original cereal Cheerios. The action  recognizes  the overwhelming consumer demand for GE-free products. The move was met with  a range of  reactions in the environmental community, from cheers of  victory for the GE-free movement to calls for broader action affecting General Mills’ product line, right-to-know labeling of all foods produced with GE ingredients, and compensation of farmers by patent holders of genetically engineered material that contaminates their crops.  The General Mills’ announcement does not apply to all of its Cheerio products, or its other products. “Did we change Cheerios? No. Not really,” says a blog post by Tom Forsythe, vice president of Global Communications for General Mills. “Why change anything at all? It’s simple. We did it because we think consumers may embrace it,” he continues. Some in the environmental community assert that this change is an attempt by the company to revive its image after spending millions of dollars to defeat state-level labeling initiatives in California in 2012, and Washington State in 2013. The ”˜new’ Cheerios will contain the label “Not Made with Genetically Modified Ingredients.”  General […]

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Unregulated Contaminants Found Widespread in U.S. Drinking Water

Friday, December 13th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2013) A recent survey conducted by researchers at the U.S. Geologic Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found traces of 18 unregulated chemicals in drinking water from more than one third of U.S. water utilities. Of the 21 total chemicals found, researchers discovered among them 11 perfluorinated chemicals, an herbicide, two solvents, caffeine, an antibacterial chemical, a metal and an antidepressant. Preliminary findings were presented by scientists at an annual toxicology conference held by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry last month in Nashville. Federal researchers took samples from 25 U.S. utilities from around the nation who voluntarily participated in the study, providing samples of treated and untreated water. Disturbingly, 18 of the chemicals found are not regulated under the Safe Water Drinking Act, meaning utility companies are not required to treat, limit, or even monitor for their presence. “The good news is the concentrations are generally pretty low,” said USGS research hydrologist Dana Kolpin, PhD. to Environmental Health News. “But,” he continued “there’s still the unknown. Are there long-term consequences of low-level exposure to these chemicals?” While there is a paucity of data on some of the contaminants, regulated chemicals such […]

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Settlement Will Safeguard Endangered California Frog from Harmful Pesticides

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, November 6, 2013) A federal district court approved a settlement Monday requiring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to better protect California red-legged frogs from seven common pesticides known to be highly toxic to amphibians. The settlement gives the agency two years to prepare “biological opinions” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to analyze pesticide use in and near the frog’s aquatic and upland habitats.   A 2006 legal settlement secured by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess pesticide impacts on red-legged frogs and to then formally consult with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) under the ESA. The EPA’s assessments found that widespread use of pesticides is likely harming red-legged frogs and the court ordered temporary pesticide use restrictions that remain in effect today. EPA determined that 64 other pesticides are “likely to adversely affect” or “may affect” red-legged frogs. Despite the EPA’s findings, however, FWS and EPA failed to complete the required consultation, resulting in the litigation by CBD that culminated in Monday’s settlement. The court order gives FWS two years to complete biological opinions for seven pesticides: glyphosate, malathion, simazine, pendimethalin, permethrin, methomyl and myclobutanil. This […]

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It’s Back! Provision that Undermines Clean Water Act Resurfaces in Congress

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, October 30, 2013) Once again, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators is urging Farm Bill conference committee members to accept a provision that would eliminate what they call a redundant permitting requirement for pesticide users. H.R. 935: Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2013 is similar to a previous piece of legislation that was passed in the U.S.  House of Representatives  in 2011 to eliminate the requirement that pesticide applicators obtain Clean Water Act (CWA) permits (known as National Pollutant Discharge Elimination  System (NPDES) permit)  for applications where pesticides could be discharged into water. A  bipartisan group of  Senators hope to use the Farm Bill to eliminate permitting requirement, continuing to believe the myth that permits burden farmers and applicators. The Senate and House are now in a conference committee to work out the details of a new Farm Bill to reauthorize the current law. A dozen Senators, led by Sen. Kay Hagan, D-N.C., have asked House and Senate negotiators to do away with the CWA regulation of pesticide discharges as they consider a compromise Farm Bill. Legislation eliminating the CWA permitting requirement last year passed the House, but the move to strip the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) […]

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Exposure to Atrazine in Combination with Fungus Increases Mortality of Frogs

Tuesday, October 29th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, October 29, 2013) Early-life exposure to the herbicide atrazine makes frogs more susceptible to death from chytrid (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis), a fungal disease implicated in amphibian declines across the globe. The research, Early-life exposure to a herbicide has enduring effects on pathogen-induced mortality, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B and led by University of South Florida (USF) biologist Jason Rohr, Ph.D, provides critical information for scientists hoping to stem the global demise of amphibian populations. “Understanding how stressors cause enduring health effects is important because these stressors might then be avoided or mitigated during formative developmental stages to prevent lasting increases in disease susceptibility,” Dr. Rohr explains. Researchers exposed tadpoles to atrazine at levels found in the environment for a period of  six days during the animal’s development, in combination with exposure to chytrid fungus (linked to worldwide amphibian decline), resulted in increased mortality 46 days later. According to the study, “[E]arly-life exposure to atrazine altered growth and development, which resulted in exposure to chytrid at more susceptible developmental stages and sizes, and reduced tolerance of infection, elevating mortality risk at an equivalent fungal burden to frogs unexposed to atrazine. Moreover, there was no evidence of […]

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Beyond Pesticides Launches The Fund for Independent Science

Friday, September 27th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, September 27, 2013) In an effort to ensure that the essential independent scientific research on pesticides is not thwarted by the chemical industry, Beyond Pesticides has launched The Fund for Independent Science. This fund, catalyzed by the recent announcement that Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D. has lost university funding for his laboratory and research, is set up and run by Beyond Pesticides. Our goal is to raise $150,000 to enable Dr. Hayes to keep his lab running for a year, and ultimately support the other work of independent researchers. Make a pledge today. There are few scientific research projects more important to protecting life and preventing its long-term demise than those conducted by Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D. And now this work is under threat. Dr. Hayes, a Harvard educated biologist and professor of Integrative Biology at the University of California, Berkeley, whose research finds that the herbicide atrazine feminizes male frogs, is one of the leading scientists critical of the pesticide industry and regulatory process.  This critical research is threatened while, as Dr. Hayes’ points out, amphibian species are in decline and they are disappearing. Read Protecting Life — From Research to Regulation: Disappearance of frogs, human health effects linked to […]

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Pesticides Contaminate Frogs in California National Parks

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, July 30, 2013) A recent study published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry found levels of pesticide contamination from agricultural drift in Pacific Tree frogs in remote mountain areas including national parks. The study supports past research on the pesticide transport through atmospheric dust and rain. To conduct the study, researchers collected Pacific Chorus frogs, as well as water and sediment samples, from seven ponds ranging from Lassen Volcanic National Park at the northern most location of Central Valley to the Giant Sequoia National Monument. The samples were tested for 98 types of pesticides, traces of which were found in frog tissues from all sites. Two fungicides, pyraclostrobin and tebuconazole, and one herbicide, simazine, were the most frequently detected compound. This was the first time these compounds have ever been reported in wild frog tissues. According to the study, chemical concentrations are often higher in the frog tissue than the environment. This happens as frogs store up small exposures over time, allowing pesticides to bioaccumulate in their bodies. Exposure to pesticides can decrease frog’s immune system and increase their risk of disease. Continual pesticide exposure has led to dramatic declines in amphibian populations. Amphibians are considered the most threatened […]

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Mixture of Arsenic and Estrogen Increases Risk of Prostate Cancer

Friday, July 12th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2013) New research concludes that exposure to a combination of both arsenic and estrogen, at levels U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers “safe” for humans, can cause cancer at elevated levels in prostate cells. Texas Tech University researchers revealed that humans exposed to a combination of both toxicants were almost twice as likely to develop cancerous cells in their prostate. The study is published in the peer-reviewed journal The Prostate. While it is established that both arsenic and estrogen can cause cancer, the research raises concerns about the dangers of chemicals in combination, and the efficacy of regulations that are established by testing one chemical at a time. Kamaleshwar Singh, PhD., is an assistant professor at the Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech. “The majority of cancers are caused by environmental influences,” Dr. Singh remarked to Texas Tech Today, “Only about 5 to 10 percent of cancers are due to genetic predisposition. Science has looked at these chemicals, such as arsenic, and tested them in a lab to find the amounts that may cause cancer. But that’s just a single chemical in a single test. In the real world, we are getting exposed […]

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Mixture of Arsenic and Estrogen Increases Risk of Prostate Cancer

Monday, July 1st, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2013) New research concludes that exposure to a combination of both arsenic and estrogen, at levels U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) considers ”safe” for humans, can cause cancer in prostate cells. Texas Tech University researchers revealed that humans exposed to a combination of both toxicants were almost twice as likely to develop cancerous cells in their prostate.   The study is published in the peer-reviewed journal The Prostate. While it is established that both arsenic and estrogen can cause cancer, the research raises concerns about the dangers of chemicals in combination, and the efficacy of regulations that are established by testing one chemical at a time. Kamaleshwar Singh, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at The Institute of Environmental and Human Health at Texas Tech. “The majority of cancers are caused by environmental influences,” Dr. Singh remarked to Texas Tech Today, “Only about 5 to 10 percent of cancers are due to genetic predisposition. Science has looked at these chemicals, such as arsenic, and tested them in a lab to find the amounts that may cause cancer. But that’s just a single chemical in a single test. In the real world, we are getting exposed to many […]

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EPA Acknowledges Low Dose Effects, Defends Its Current Testing Protocol

Friday, June 28th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, June 28, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a draft “State of the Science” report last week acknowledging that low dose responses “do occur in biological systems” while defending its current risk assessment procedures as adequate for evaluating low dose effects. This report comes after EPA’s long running failure to fully implement a 1996 Congressionally mandated program to evaluate endocrine disruptors, and heavy criticism last year from prominent scientists who said EPA’s testing procedures are outdated. In 1999 the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a lawsuit against the EPA for failing to meet a statutory deadline for implementation of the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) required under the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act, forcing the EPA to make a settlement agreement. As a result of  NRDC et al. v. EPA (No. C-99-03701 CAL) filed in the Northern District of California, EPA agreed to start requiring screening and testing of certain chemicals varying by date, using a tiered system. EPA’s two-tiered screening and testing system, requires that EPA will identify which chemicals are able to interact with the endocrine system in Tier 1. Tier 2 screening process was designed to go one step further, requiring EPA […]

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New Videos of 31st National Pesticide Forum Talks Support Action

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2013) Beyond Pesticides is pleased to announce the release of videos from Sustainable Families, Farms and Food, 31st National Pesticide Forum, held April 5-6, 2013 at the University of New Mexico (UNM) in Albuquerque, NM. The Forum, convened by Beyond Pesticides, La Montanita Co-op, and  UNM’s Sustainability Studies Program and co-sponsored by 13 local and state organizations in NM, included leaders in the fields of pesticide reform, public health, and organic agriculture, as well as many community leaders, local activists, and students. The videos span the range of topics that were discussed at the Forum and include keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops. You can access the playlist, which includes all of the available videos of the 2013 forum, on Beyond Pesticides’ YouTube page. Beyond Pesticides  believes that  the opportunity to get together and share information and strategy is vital to public health and environmental protection, and we are thankful for everyone who was a part of this important gathering. For those unable to attend, we hope that these videos will be useful public educational tools. As an organization, we strive to ensure that community and policy discussion addresses the science and effects of pesticides and […]

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USGS Documents Threat of Pesticides to Waterways; Farm Bill Amendment Undermines Clean Water Act

Monday, May 20th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2013) The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a national assessment that shows the distribution and trends of pesticide use from 1992-2009, providing visible evidence that contamination of pesticides in our nation’s water is clearly a continuing threat. Meanwhile, U.S. Senators are gearing up to put their version of the Farm   Bill on the table that would eliminate common sense protections from pesticide applications into our nation’s waterways. These highly controversial  amendments would undermine the Clean Water Act and put our health and the environment at risk. Tell your Senators to oppose any efforts to undermine the Clean Water Act. The USGS maps provide, for the first time, a visible depiction of the agricultural use of 459 pesticides for each year during 1992-2009. Maps were created by allocating county-level use estimates to agricultural land within each county. A graph accompanies each map, which shows annual national use by major crop for the mapped pesticide for each year during the period. These pesticide use estimates are suitable for evaluating national and regional patterns and trends of annual pesticide use. To see the maps, go to USGS’s Pesticide National Synthesis Project Page and click on a pesticide. The […]

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Manufacturer to Restrict Atrazine Sales, Use, and Distribution on Long Island

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2013) Recent public outcry over atrazine contamination of drinking water supplies on Long Island has pressured pesticide, herbicide, and fungicide manufacturer Makhteshim Agan of North America (MANA) to restrict the sale, use, and distribution of the toxic chemical. The move has been lauded by environmental advocacy groups, including Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE). “Atrazine is a dangerous chemical that poses an unacceptable risk to public health and the environment on Long Island,” said Adrienne Esposito, CCE Executive Director. “Removing this product from the shelves is an essential first step in protecting Long Island drinking water from unnecessary pesticide contamination. We are delighted by this news.” Unfortunately, stores will continue to sell its atrazine inventory until MANA implements the anticipated restriction date of spring of 2014. Atrazine is one of the most commonly used herbicides in the world and is used on most corn, sugarcane and sorghum acreage in the United States; and can also be used on golf courses and residential lawns. In the U.S. alone, 60-80 million pounds are used per year to stop pre- and post-emergent broadleaf and annual grassy weeds, and is generally applied in the spring. The herbicide is a common […]

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Take Action: Senators Work with Industry on Yet Another Bill to Strip Water Protections

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2013) Last week, U.S. Senator Kay Hagan, (D-NC), and Larry Wooten, president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau, announced new legislation that will be introduced to eliminate Clean Water Act permits required for certain applications of pesticides on or near waterways. The bill to be introduced by Sens. Hagan and Mike Crapo (R-ID) is called “The Sensible Environmental Protection Act (SEPA).” This is the latest in a string of attacks lobbied by industry to remove Clean Water Act protections for streams receiving pesticide discharges. Take Action: Urge your Senators Not to Support This Bill The bill, The Sensible Environmental Protection Act (S-EPA), announced last Monday by Senators Hagan and Crapo is said to be a bipartisan effort to remove so-called “redundant, unnecessary and costly regulation” on farmers and local governments.  According to Senator Hagan, the Clean Water Act does not provide any additional health benefits.  S-EPA, not to be confused with the School Environment Protection Act  (a real effort to protect children from pesticides),  will clarify that Clean Water Act permits are not required for pesticide applications in or near water. The bill also asks the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to report back to Congress […]

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Pesticides Found in Long Island Drinking Water

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, April 9, 2013) Last Wednesday, close to a hundred people attended a public hearing at the Riverhead campus of Suffolk County Community College, sponsored by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), to comment on the draft of the Long Island Pesticide Pollution Prevention Strategy. The strategy, which was released in January, is dramatically different than a draft plan DEC had released in 2011. The draft plan had initially received praise from environmental organizations for its “zero tolerance policy”   to ensure certain chemicals did not end up in Long Island’s drinking water. However, the revamped strategy fails to offer any meaningful protective measures or strong pesticide regulations. This is concerning, given trace amounts of metalaxyl, imidacloprid and atrazine have been repeatedly detected in test wells, along with 117 other pesticides detected in Long Island drinking water. State officials argued that pesticide levels in Long Island’s drinking water are far below federal standards. However, the pesticides that have been found in the drinking water have been linked to several health and environmental problems. Because of these health and environmental risks the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, a grassroots organization working in Long Island, has called for DEC to ban […]

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EPA Upholds Clean Water Act, Steps in to Add Impaired Streams to State List

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, March 27, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stepped in this week to revise a biennial report on impaired rivers and streams across West Virginia, after state officials, under pressure from industry interests, left more than 1,000 miles of polluted waterways off the list. EPA officials stated that the Clean Water Act does not allow the state to ignore evidence that streams are troubled. Water standards and plans for cleanup must be adopted for impaired waterways. EPA reprimanded West Virginia from shirking its responsibilities under the law to list all of the state’s impaired streams, in spite of industry interference. EPA Region  3 officials are now proposing to add an additional 255 waterway segments where aquatic life is impaired to the state’s 303(d) list, named for the section of the Clean Water Act that requires it be prepared. Section 303(d) requires a listing of impaired streams in the state, and the list is used for water standard development for subsequent cleanup plans and restoration of the impaired waterways. States are required to publish such lists every two years. West Virginia’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) submitted The West Virginia Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report   […]

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