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Choose Organic this Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, November 23, 2016)  With Thanksgiving just a day away, there is no better time to think about how we can more effectively join together as families and communities across divisions and different points of view to find a common purpose in protecting human health and the environment. Thanksgiving meals are commonly made with conventional agricultural products, which include a plethora of pesticides and genetically engineered (GE) ingredients that can affect  the health of consumers and agricultural workers alike. Read below to find out how you can combat the shortcomings of conventional agriculture with an organic Thanksgiving Day feast. Now, more than ever, it’s important to support organic and continue to demand agricultural practices that are protective of human and environmental health. According to GMO Inside, some common foods with GE ingredients purchased during Thanksgiving include: Campbell’s Tomato Soup, Wesson Canola Oil, Bruce’s Canned Yams, Hershey Milk Chocolate, Pepperidge Farm Crackers, Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing, Rice-a-Roni chicken flavored rice, Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce, and Kraft’s Stove Top Stuffing. Glyphosate, produced and sold as Roundup by Monsanto, is the most commonly used chemical in the U.S., primarily as a weedkiller in chemical-intensive agriculture. Glyphosate has been  found to cause changes […]

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United Nations Addresses the Alarming Rise of Antibiotic Resistance

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2016) Yesterday, the United Nations (UN) gathered to address the alarming rise of antibiotic resistance at a day-long meeting in New York. The UN General Assembly, made up of delegates from 193 countries, has only convened health-related meetings on three other issues: Ebola, HIV, and noncommunicable diseases. According to the World Health Organization, which collaborates with the UN on health-related priorities, “Antimicrobial resistance has become one of the biggest threats to global health, such as human development.” At this high-profile meeting, Heads of State and Heads of Delegations addressed the urgency of the situation and discussed multisectoral approaches to addressing antimicrobial resistance. This UN meeting elevated the discussion to a historic level and led to the approval of a declaration, but did not result in legally binding actions and failed to include language to eliminate excessive antibiotic use in animal agriculture. In an interview with Vox, Kevin Outterson, Professor of Law at Boston University, stated that “it has taken 15 years to get [antimicrobial resistance] back on the global agenda” since the UN last tried to take action in September 2001. Experts are warning that we may be entering or have already entered a post-antibiotic era […]

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FDA Deliberating Release of GE Mosquitoes in Florida Keys

Friday, May 27th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, May 27, 2016) Oxitec, a self-described pioneer in using advanced genetics to control target  insects, has petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to grant emergency approval of genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes to fight the spread of the Zika virus. Oxitec has proposed a trial to determine the efficacy of their self-limiting mosquitoes for the control of Aedes aegypti, a type of mosquito known to transmit the Zika virus, in Key Haven, Monroe County, Florida. However, some in the environmental community are concerned about the possible non-target effects of releasing these genetically modified mosquitoes into nature and urge additional research in the lab. The plan for a release of these GE mosquitoes has been in the works for a while. In February 2015, it was reported that the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) was working alongside Oxitec to release these GE mosquitoes, but, at the time, the plan had not yet been finalized. A change.org petition against the release garnered over 146,000 signatures and continues to grow, with numbers around 168,000 to this date. In February 2016, Oxitec submitted a draft environmental assessment to FDA, and a month later, FDA published a preliminary finding of no […]

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Home Depot Announces Phase Out of Bee-Toxic Pesticides

Friday, December 4th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, December 4, 2015) Home Depot, the world’s largest home-improvement chain, has announced that it will no longer use  neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides (which have emerged as the leading class of pesticides responsible for bee declines) in  80 percent of its flowering plants, and that it will complete its phase-out in plants by 2018. This follows the announcement made by Lowe’s earlier this year to phase out the sale of products containing neonicotinoid pesticides within 48 months. On its Eco Options gardening page, Home Depot says the following: “Our live goods suppliers have reduced the number of plants that they treat with neonicotinoids, so that now over 80% of our flowering plants are not treated HomeDepotWinBPwith neonicotinoids. We will continue this decrease unless,  1) it is required by state or federal regulation, or  2) undisputed science proves that the use of neonicotinoids on our live goods does not have a lethal or sub lethal effect on pollinators. Otherwise we will have a complete phase-out of neonicotinoid use on our live goods by the end of 2018.” “It’s important that retailers begin to make the switch toward safer products for bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects,” said Jay Feldman, executive director […]

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Skip the Toxic Turkey This Thanksgiving Season!

Thursday, November 19th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, November 19, 2015) Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for family and friends to eat, drink and be thankful for the bounty of the organic harvest. Unfortunately, conventional Thanksgiving meals are more common, which include a host of pesticides, genetically engineered foods, and can affect  the health of consumers and agricultural workers alike. Read below to find out why now, more than ever, it’s important to go organic, and how you can combat the shortcomings of conventional agriculture with an organic Thanksgiving Day feast. Now, more than ever, it’s important to go organic. The most widely used weedkiller, glyphosate, has been classified as a probable carcinogen to humans, based on laboratory animal studies. Glyphosate, produced and sold as Roundup by Monsanto, is touted as a “low toxicity” chemical and “safer” than other chemicals by EPA and industry and is widely used in food production and on lawns, gardens, parks, and children’s playing fields. However, IARC’s recent classification of glyphosate as a Group 2A “probable” carcinogen finds that glyphosate is anything but safe. According to IARC, Group 2A means that the chemical is probably carcinogenic to humans based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. The agency also notes that […]

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Cornell University Releases GE Moths without Thorough Evaluation of Risks

Friday, June 12th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 12, 2015) Without input from or notification to the public, Cornell University  has released genetically engineered (GE) diamondback moths at its  agricultural experiment station in Geneva, New York. The university is testing a new way to  control agricultural  pests, much to the dismay of environmentalists. The moths, which are engineered to be autocidal (self-killing), pose a possible threat to the certification of organic farmers and create environmental risks. Environmental groups such as Food and Water Watch, Center for Food Safety, and Friends of the Earth, among others, sent a letter expressing concern over the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s assessment process, which neglected to address  the possibility of moth movement past the trial area, and the impacts that diamondback moth declines will have on their natural predators and the larger ecosystem. These groups are recommending that  all outdoor trials be stopped until more information is available. Cornell has partnered with Oxitec, a self-described  pioneer in using advanced genetics to control target  insects. They plan on controlling the population growth of these GE moths through their genetic design that kills the moth  in the larval stage on plants. Normally, these larvae feed on crops such as broccoli and […]

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Common Herbicides Linked to Antibiotic Resistance

Monday, March 30th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, March 30, 2015) Last week, following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration that glyphosate is carcinogenic to humans  based on animal studies, a new study was published in the American Society of Microbiology’s journal, mBio, linking glyphosate, 2,4-D and dicamba to antibiotic resistance after testing the sub-lethal effects of these pesticides in certain bacteria. The new mBio study finds  that when bacteria, specifically Salmonella and E. coli, are exposed to the herbicides described above, they responded differently to the common antibiotics ampicillin, ciprofloxacin, chloramphenicol, kanamycin, and tetracycline. Researchers replicated real-world scenarios by purchasing weed killers from a local store and using the exact levels that are specified on the product label. This provided researchers with the opportunity to observe how the bacteria reacted when exposed to the herbicides at sublethal levels; that is, those that did n0t kill them. When the bacteria are exposed to the herbicides and the antibiotics at the same time, the exposure to the herbicides trigger a defense mechanism that otherwise would not have been triggered solely by the antibiotics. This defense mechanism seeks to rid the bacteria of toxins and is non-specific, which means while it builds resistance to the toxic effects of […]

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Changes to Canadian Aquaculture Rule Raises Pesticide Concerns

Friday, February 20th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2015) A broad-based coalition is urging Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper to put a stop to proposed changes to federal aquaculture regulations, citing damage to the environment and existing businesses. The proposed amendments to the federal Fisheries Act would exempt the aquaculture industry from provisions that “prohibit the release of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish.” Coalition members are worried that the changes will result in pesticides routinely being dumped into the Bay of Fundy,  located between the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, and remove Environment Canada’s role in aquaculture activities, said spokeswoman Maria Recchia, the executive director of the Fundy North Fishermen’s Association. Aquaculture, which refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of aquatic organisms such as fish, shellfish, and plants, provides half of the world’s seafood. According to  Food and Water Watch, offshore aquaculture follows an industrial agriculture model which grows thousands of animals in a confined environment. For fish, however, this confined space is in the ocean, meaning all of the waste products from the operation flow directly into the ocean. This includes excess feed and chemicals that are used, such as antibiotics and pesticides, to treat or prevent […]

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Florida Officials, FDA, Consider Release of Genetically Engineered Mosquitoes

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, February 3, 2015) Officials in the Florida Keys are seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to release a wave of mosquitoes that have been genetically engineered to produce offspring whose larvae are unable to survive. The plan to introduce these mosquitoes has been met with intense skepticism by local residents. A change.org petition against the release has garnered over 146,000 signatures to date. Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) officials have been planning the release alongside British biotechnology company Oxitec, which has already conducted similar experiments with the genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes in Brazil and the Cayman Islands. Websites for Oxitec and the FKMCD assert that the GE aedes aegypti mosquitoes will significantly lower the numbers of the disease spreading insects, and reduce the need to spray insecticides. Opponents counter that the introduction of the modified mosquitoes is unacceptably risky, as there has been little research on possible non-target effects of the novel insect, and current control methods and public education have been successful at controlling exotic diseases. Opportunity for public comment to FDA and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is likely to occur in the near future. Behind the Technology […]

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Iowa Farmers Group Asks for Improved Pesticide Drift Protections

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, January 22, 2015) The Iowa Farmers Union filed  a petition yesterday with  the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) for rulemaking to improve pesticide drift incident responses, penalties, and support to farmers harmed by pesticide drift. “Pesticide  drift from nearby fields is a very real problem for farmers in Iowa,” says Jordan Scheibel, a diversified vegetable farmer from Grinnell, Iowa. “Not only can pesticide drift delay or cause a farm to lose its organic certification, it results in products that farmers – certified organic or not – may not be able to sell legally, safely, or in good conscience, and it exposes the farmers and their workers to potentially harmful pesticides.” Pesticide drift is an inevitable problem in chemical-intensive pest management strategies that rely on spray and dust pesticide formulations.There are essentially two types of drift: particle drift (off-target movement during application) and vapor drift (off-target movement when a pesticide evaporates from a sprayed surface), also known as volatilization. Both forms of drift present serious problems to unaware farmers and surrounding communities. IDAL, which oversees pesticide application in the state, collects information about the location of farmers with sensitive crops, such as grapes, certain vegetables, organic […]

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Aerial Photos Show “Factory Farms” Certified Organic in Violation of Law

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, December 22, 2014) Stunning aerial photographs of certified  organic farms taken in an investigation launched by The Cornucopia Institute reveal industrial-scale operations housing thousands of animals in cramped conditions with no access to the outdoors. Access to pasture for ruminants like dairy cows is required under National Organic Program (NOP) regulations, and all livestock certified organic must have a means of reaching the outdoors year-round. “The vast majority of these massive, industrial-scale facilities, some managing 10,000-20,000 head of cattle, and upwards of 1 million laying hens, had 100% of their animals confined in giant buildings or feedlots,” said Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst at the Wisconsin-based Cornucopia Institute, which has filed a legal complaint against 14 livestock operations it alleges are illegally marketing themselves as organic. It is important to note that not all organic farms house their animals in conditions seen in the aerial photographs. “Many of our dairy farmer-members have animals, they truly care for, that have names, not numbers,” Kastel explained. However, environmental and consumer groups have been sounding an alarm over the increased dependency many larger industry-owned farms have developed  on synthetic inputs temporarily allowed in organic production. These practices undermine the values […]

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Organic Certification System Experiences Growing Pains

Friday, December 12th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, December 12, 2014) Bursting at the seams, the $35 billion organic food industry has tripled in size over the past decade, severely outpacing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ability to monitor the more than 25,000 farms and other organizations that sell organic crops and livestock. As a result, certifying agents, or USDA-accredited entities that inspect and certify organic farms and suppliers, have increasingly fallen out of compliance, according to a piece in the Wall Street Journal. Advocates point out that while improvements should be made  in the organic certification system, there is no equivalent inspection system in chemical-intensive agriculture, where inspections are mostly complaint-driven, infrequent, and conducted in most states by state departments of agriculture, which typically promote pesticides and have suffered declines in resources and inspectors. There are currently 81 accredited certifying agents, which include small nonprofit groups, state-run agencies, and large multinationals. However, according to an internal USDA report, of the 37 that had a complete review this year, 23 were cited for failing to correctly enforce certification requirements on farms in audits. These 23 firms did not manage to properly conduct onsite inspections or correctly review applications for organic certifications, among other things, the […]

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Nursery Stops Use of Neonic after Home Depot Adopts Labeling Requirement

Monday, December 8th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, December 8, 2014) In response to Home Depot’s decision to start requiring all nursery plants that have been treated with neonicotinoids to carry a label to inform customers, at least one nursery supplier has decided to change its management practices. J.Berry Nurseries, a company based out of Grand Saline, Texas, which supplies plants to over 1,000 Home Depot stores throughout Texas, surrounding states and the Midwest, says that since the issue has become publicly recognized for its impacts on bees and other pollinators, it will stop using neonics and start to look at alternative practices. This news provides testament to the power of consumer demand, and along with Beyond Pesticides’ Pollinator-Friendly Seeds and Nursery Directory, should encourage other growers to ditch the neonics in favor of better management practices. “We view it as the labeling of a plant with that tag is potentially creating customers’ perception that that plant should not be purchased,” Jim Berry, the president of J. Berry Nurseries, told Nursery Management Magazine. “Whether it’s a valid assumption or not, perception is reality. So you have to go with that. We certainly want consumers to be attracted to our plants instead of repelled by them.” The […]

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Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, November 26, 2014) On Thanksgiving, thank you for being a part of Beyond Pesticides and sharing and contributing to the vision necessary to protect the web and fragility of life. We believe that there is no time like Thanksgiving to think about how we can more effectively join together as families and communities across divisions and different points of view to find a common purpose in protecting the health of the environment and all that inhabit it. In this context, we at Beyond Pesticides are thankful for the energy, spirt, and vision of the people and organizations we work with. It confirms our belief that we will achieve the changes necessary to protect children, workers, pets, the environment, and the public at-large. Together, we affirm the right to (i) clean air, water, and land in our communities, (ii) toxic-free landscapes that are achieved cost-effectively without hazardous synthetic materials, (iii) safe places with reduced chemical threats where children grow up, and (iv) a healthy ecology where pollinators —bees, butterflies, and birds and the natural world— can flourish. Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for family and friends to eat, drink and be thankful for the bounty of the organic harvest. Unfortunately, […]

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EPA Launches Voluntary Rating Program on Pesticide Drift

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a new voluntary Drift Reduction Technology (DRT) program to encourage the use of spray technologies scientifically verified to significantly reduce pesticide drift. But with the recent approval of increased uses of toxic pesticides, such as 2,4-D, and the general lack of compliance with pesticide labels, many believe that this new program may not go far enough to protect non-target sites and vulnerable communities from drift until serious efforts to reduce widespread use of toxic, highly volatile pesticides are undertaken. Pesticide drift is an inevitable consequence of pesticide use, and has been a problem for communities adjacent to agricultural areas and non-target sites for decades. Many pesticide products are released as foliar sprays into the air, or volatilize from surfaces where particles can travel for miles from their application site. This means that on a windy day pesticide residues can drift far distances, affecting  downwind, vulnerable communities, organic farms and other environments. Legal action has been taken against the agency to protect communities from drift, but EPA has consistently failed to meaningfully address concerns. To address issues of drift, EPA’s new program will attempt to reduce drift by […]

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Increase in Use of Livestock Antibiotics Linked to Superbugs. . .Again

Monday, October 6th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, October 6, 2014) Two reports released last week add to the growing concerns surrounding the overuse of antibiotics in livestock and the corresponding public health and safety impacts of increases in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, known as superbugs. Researchers at the University of Texas investigated whether infections of a common and dangerous digestive tract infection, Clostridium difficile (CDI), increased during the period 2001 to 2010. The study, ”˜Deadly diarrhea’ rates nearly doubled in 10 years, examined data from the U.S. National Hospital Discharge Surveys (NHDS), which included 2.2 million CDI discharges. The analysis found that based on these data not only had CDI incidences increased, but they had nearly doubled from 4.5 percent to 8.2 percent. “Several factors may have contributed to the rise in CDI incidence in recent years,” said Kelly Reveles, PharmD, PhD, and lead author on the study. “Antibiotic exposure remains the most important risk factor for CDI.” While overuse of antibiotics in humans is a part of the equation, according to the study, reducing unnecessary use of antibiotics agriculture, including  conventional livestock production, has also been a primary target of concern. Because conventional livestock producers use antibiotics as growth stimulators as well as prophylactic, or subtherapeutic, […]

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Doctor Links Allergic Reaction to Antibiotics Used in Food Eaten by Child

Monday, September 8th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2014) It was quite a shock that a blueberry pie could give a 10-year old girl such a terrible allergic reaction that it led her to be taken to the hospital. She experienced facial flushes, hives and irregular breathing. Fortunately, she recovered in the hospital after they treated her with epinephrine. Even though the girl has asthma and allergies to milk and penicillin, it was not the pie she had the allergic reaction to, but the residue of an antibiotic found in the blueberries. In order to understand why she had those reactions, doctors tested her for allergies to ingredients within the pie and all came up negative. When they discovered that the blueberries had been contaminated with streptomycin, they gave her an allergy test. She had all the same reactions. Further research done by scientists solidified the fact that the blueberries had been contaminated with the antibiotic. While streptomycin is used to treat infections in people, it is also used in industrial agriculture, mixed with pesticides that are used on crops in attempts to stop bacteria and blight. According to the lead author of the study, Anne Des Roches MD, this is the first time […]

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Town Bans Land Application of Sewage Sludge, or Biosolids

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2014) The Town Board in Wheatfield, New York unanimously voted last month to amend its biosolids law to ban any application of sewage sludge and other similar materials from the treatment of municipal wastewater to any land in town, even for those who already have permits from the state. The law reasons that the potential contamination of groundwater, surface water, and soil, as well as the potential for air pollution, poses an unreasonable risk to town residents, public health, and the environment. Biosolids, otherwise known as sewage sludge, are composed of dried microbes previously used to process wastewater in treatment plants. The material is increasingly being used in conventional agriculture, but its application is explicitly forbidden in organic production. This is because the sludge can contain high concentrations of toxic contaminants, such as pesticides, detergents, estrogenic hormones, antibiotics, dioxins, PCBs, flame retardants, and heavy metals. A 2002 study revealed the material to be associated with an increased prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus infections, a condition known to cause skin rashes and respiratory problems, for people located in close proximity to biosolid application sites. More recently, new research adds to existing evidence of the hazards of sewage sludge […]

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Pesticides Linked to Drug-Resistant Fungal Infections in Humans

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2014) A recent rise in drug resistant human pathogenic fungi may be fueled by the use of fungicides (pesticides that kill fungi) on agricultural fields, according to research led by Manchester University in the United Kingdom. Aspergillus, the genus of common soil-dwelling fungi analyzed by researchers, include an incredibly diverse group of mold species. Although some provide important commercial uses (such as in the production of citric acid, for instance), many species are pathogenic in humans, and can result in life-threatening lung infections. The rise of cross-resistant fungi is a serious concern for sensitive individuals with weakened immune systems, such as transplant patients, asthmatics, and those with leukemia. In the study, Occurrence of azole-resistant species of Aspergillus in the UK environment, UK scientists collected hundreds of samples across the country. Although no resistant strains were found in inner city locations, 1.7% of samples from rural agricultural areas had markers for drug resistance. However, previous research conducted in India in 2012 found resistant isolates in a number of urban and agricultural sites, including the soil beneath cotton trees and rice paddy fields, but also in air samples from hospital wards and even in the soil from flower […]

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Beyond Pesticides Releases Pollinator-Friendly Seed Directory for Pollinator Week

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2014) Given that plant starts in many garden centers across the country are grown from seeds coated with bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides, or drenched with them, Beyond Pesticides has launched the Pollinator-Friendly Seed Directory, a comprehensive list of companies that sell organic seeds to the general public. Included in this directory are seeds for vegetables, flowers, and herbs. As bees suffer serious declines in their populations, we urge people and communities to plant habitat that supports pollinator populations, and have provided information to facilitate this in our BEE Protective Habitat Guide, as well as our how-to guide on managing landscapes with pollinators in mind. Unfortunately, plants are too often grown with hazardous pesticides that either harm pollinators in their cultivation or threaten bees as they pollinate or forage on treated plants. Last summer, a groundbreaking report revealed that many bee-friendly garden plants sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s contain neonicotinoid pesticides with no warning to consumers. Neonicotinoid residues were detected in seven out of thirteen samples (54 percent) of commercial nursery plants. In response to this report, Beyond Pesticides, along with Friends of the Earth and other allies, launched a campaign to tell major retailers to stop […]

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Minnesota Bans Hazardous Antibacterial (Triclosan) in Consumer Personal Care Cleaning Products

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2014) The highly toxic and controversial antibacterial/antimicrobial pesticide triclosan has been banned from consumer personal care cleaning products in the state of Minnesota by an act of the state legislature. This public health measure,  SF 2192, signed by  the Governor last week, states that “no person shall offer for retail sale in Minnesota any cleaning product that that contains triclosan and is used by consumers for sanitizing or hand and body cleansing.”  The ban, along with the growing number of companies voluntarily removing triclosan from their products, responds to the concerns that environmental groups, led by Beyond Pesticides, have expressed on the health and environmental impacts of triclosan, which includes cross-resistance to bacterial infections with antibiotics.  Over the last week the Minnesota legislature has been on a roll in defending the environment and human health from the toxic effects of synthetic pesticides, including the enactment of  labeling legislation,  HF 2798, which will inform consumers about bee-friendly plants.   The triclosan ban legislation, which will take effect on  January  1, 2017, was  signed by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton on May 16, 2014  after it had passed both the House and Senate the week previously. One of  the […]

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Take Back Organic: May 15 Deadline to Apply for Open Seats on the NOSB

Friday, May 9th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, May 9, 2014) Bring a strong voice to the Board that advises USDA on organic standards by filling one of the four open seats for the following stakeholders ””environmentalist, organic producer, organic handler, and retailer. The deadline for applying is May 15. In April, USDA’s National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) met to decide on a range of issues concerning allowable materials and practices in certified organic farming. The 15-member volunteer board represents the interests of the organic community, consisting of 4 farmers, 3 environmentalists, 3 consumers, 2 food processors, and one retailer, scientist and certifying agent, who vote to allow or prohibit substances and practices in certified organic food and farming. It is a board that is intended to bring together diverse interests and provide  recommendations to the National Organic Program (NOP) for adoption. USDA may not allow synthetic materials in organic production that are not recommended for use by the Board. The Board is in need of strong nominees  who will stand up for organic integrity  in the four categories (listed above), especially for the  environmental position  by May 15. In the past, the USDA has agribusiness executive to seats on the NOSB reserved for farmers, consumers, […]

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NOSB Upholds Phase Out of Antibiotics in Organic Production

Sunday, May 4th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2014) During the recent National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting in San Antonio, Texas, the board voted to uphold the phase out in apple and pear production of the antibiotic streptomycin, which is  set to expire on October 21, 2014. Since petitions to allow the use of all synthetic materials in organic production require a decisive, or 2/3’s, vote under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA),  the apple and pear industry’s petition to extend  was voted down with a vote of 8-7. This vote comes after a similar proposal to extend an exemption for oxytetracycline, another antibiotic used in apple and pear production, was rejected at the spring 2013 NOSB meeting. Beyond Pesticides, with other organizations,  has led the effort to remove antibiotics from apple and pear production because of  their contribution to antibiotic resistance, organic consumer expectation that antibiotics are not used in organic food production, and the availability of alternative practices and inputs. In April 2013, the NOSB discussed the problem of antibiotic resistance thoroughly and heard from numerous commenters concerning the problem of antibiotic resistance with respect to its use in orchards. At the Spring meeting, Glenn Morris, M.D, professor of infectious diseases […]

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