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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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Hazards Linked to Still Unregulated Pesticide Mixtures

Friday, February 19th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, February 19, 2016) Pesticide mixtures are more harmful than individual pesticides, according to a University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) study that focuses on three commonly used fumigants — chloropicrin, Telone, and metam salts. The study also concludes that, while California law requires the Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR) and county agricultural commissioners to assess these kinds of cumulative risks when regulating pesticides, they have so far failed to do so. The report, titled Exposure and Interaction — The Potential Health Impacts of Using Multiple Pesticides: A Case Study of Three Commonly Used Fumigants, was published by the Sustainable Technology and Policy Program, based in the UCLA School of Law and the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. The case study of the three fumigants, which are commonly applied together in California on high value crops, such as strawberries, tomatoes, tree nuts, and stone fruits, finds that: These pesticides may interact to increase the health risk for California farm workers and residents, Workers and residents are regularly exposed to two or more of these pesticides simultaneously, and DPR does not regulate the application of multiple pesticides to prevent or decrease risks to human health, despite having authority to […]

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With Zika Virus, Widespread Pesticide Spraying Not the Long-Term Solution, says Entomologist

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, February 3, 2016) Speaking to The Guardian, a leading Kenyan entomologist warns that spraying pesticides will fail to deal with the Zika virus. Just recently the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the virus a public health emergency over growing concerns that the virus is linked with microcephaly. Aerial and ground applications of pesticides have long been used for mosquito control, but many believe that these methods fail to sufficiently control mosquito populations, promote resistance and kill other species that would have acted as a natural predator to mosquitoes. Dino Martins, PhD, a Kenyan entomologist in an interview with The Guardian said that while pesticides can reduce the population of  flying adult mosquitoes that transmit the virus, they will fail to deal with the epidemic that threatens to become a global pandemic, and warns that spraying landscapes is extremely dangerous.  “It is a quick fix but you pay for it. You kill other species that would have predated on the mosquitoes. You also create a mosaic of sprayed and unsprayed low densities of chemicals that fosters the rapid evolution of resistance.” Mosquitoes have very short life cycle (a week or less), increasing the probability that each succeeding generation is […]

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Campbell Soup Says GE Food Is Safe, Endorses Mandatory GE Labeling to Preempt States with Weak Language

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, January 12, 2016) Late last week in a precedent-setting move, Campbell Soup Company announced its support for federal mandatory labeling of foods containing genetically engineered (GE) ingredients. If such labeling does not come soon, the company also indicated it is prepared to voluntarily label all products it produces that  contain GE ingredients. Agri-Pulse reported, “Campbell made clear that it still supported the use of genetic engineering in agriculture but said that there is a need for national labeling standards that would preempt state standards.” Campbell’s President and CEO Denise Morrison, ““I want to stress that we’re in no way disputing the science behind GMOs or their safety. The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence indicates that GMOs are safe and that foods derived from crops using genetically modified seedsare not nutritionally different from other foods,” Morrison wrote.” Ms. Morrison said that the company is against a patchwork of regulation across the states.  In its release Campbell issues a sample label, which states:  “Partially produced with genetic engineering. For more information about GMO ingredients visit WhatsinMyFood.com.” Prior to the announcement, Campbell Soup’s membership to the umbrella group the Grocery Manufacturers Association  pitted it against consumer, health, and environmental organizations, and […]

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U.S. Senators to Advance Legislation to Stop States from Labeling GE Food

Thursday, October 22nd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 22, 2015) With increasing consumer concern about genetically engineered (GE) food, yesterday  the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing,  entitled Agriculture Biotechnology: a Look at Federal Regulation and Stakeholder Perspectives, that critics called lopsided. Most witnesses characterized GE food as safe or side-stepped the issue of safety, as government witnesses refused to distinguish GE from conventional food and opposed food labeling. “This is the first time in 10 years we’ve had a hearing on biotech. I guess we’re a little late, but we’re here,” said chair of the committee, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS). The ranking  minority member of the committee, Senator  Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)  said,  “Biotechnology is proven to be safe, beneficial, and I believe will play a major role in helping to solve these dual global challenges of climate change and global food security,” Central to the hearing is the the issue of labeling food products containing GE crops. Senator Stabenow called for the adoption of legislation on GE food labeling, presumably with language that will preempt the authority of states to adopt more stringent labeling standards. Senator Stabenow said that she wants labeling that “doesn’t stigmatize biotechnology.” The GE food […]

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Mosquito Fogging Kills Hundreds of Bees

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2015) Local fogging for  mosquito control turned tragic for a Palo Alto, California beekeeper who lost hundreds of honey bees from his backyard hives. The beekeeper, who also produces organic honey, now fears his honey is contaminated. The fogging, which occurred last month, was in response to positive tests for West Nile virus in mosquito samples. Many mosquito control pesticides are toxic to honey bees and given the declining populations of pollinators, vector control officials are being asked to carefully consider the risks associated with pesticide spraying. According to the local NBC affiliate, beekeeper Rondolph Tsien believes he was not given sufficient time to protect his bees from the mosquito fogging and, despite trying to cover his hives with a tarp to protect his bees from drifting pesticides, many were lost. A mosquito sample tested positive for West Nile virus about one mile from Mr. Tsien’s home, putting his property in the catchment area for fogging. Mr. Tsien worries the surviving bees will produce contaminated honey that can no longer be labeled organic. A Santa Clara County Vector Control representative stated during an interview that the county uses  an “extremely low dose” of pesticides during fogging […]

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New Industry Hire Highlights Revolving Door at EPA

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, July 16, 2015) The latest former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) official to take advantage of the revolving door between EPA and the pesticide industry is Nader Elkassabany, PhD, former branch chief of the Risk Assessment and Science Support Branch in the Antimicrobial Division in the Office of Pesticide Programs. CropLife America announced last week that it has hired Dr. Elkassabany to serve as senior director of environmental policy, responsible for the pesticide trade group’s regulatory strategies on environmental policy. He will also help manage the company’s Environmental Risk Assessment Committee and its working groups. In a statement, CropLife America President and CEO Jay Vroom considers his expertise invaluable. This is no surprise, given that Dr. Elkassabany brings with him 15 years of experience working in  the registration and re-registration of pesticide active ingredients in the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) at EPA. This will undoubtedly be beneficial for the trade association, which represents major agricultural chemical manufactures like Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, and DuPont Crop Protection. According to a statement from CropLife, Dr. Elkassabany received three EPA Bronze Medals for Commendable Service. He left EPA in 2012 to work for another big name in consumer pesticides,  S.C. […]

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EPA at Odds with Scientists on Endocrine System Effects of Weedkillers Atrazine and 2,4-D

Monday, July 6th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, July 6, 2015) With the release of its  Tier 1 screening results  for the first 52 pesticide chemicals (active and inert ingredients) evaluated under  the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is at odds with a large body of scientific evidence worldwide that identifies many of these chemicals, most notably the herbicides  2,4-D  and  atrazine,  as interacting with the endocrine system or acting as endocrine disruptors. Independent scientific data has shown these chemicals to interfere with the hormone system. EPA’s EDSP is a multi-step process used to ensure that exposure to chemicals does not result in adverse human health and environmental effects that canoccur from the disruption of hormones. The two-tiered screening and testing system requires that EPA identify which chemicals are able to interact with the endocrine system, specifically with three hormonal pathways — estrogen, androgen, and thyroid — in Tier 1. Tier 2 is designed to go one step further, requiring EPA to determine endocrine effects across taxa (e.g. mammals, birds, amphibians, and invertebrates) as well as potential effects on non-endocrine systems (e.g. neurological, immunological, hepatic, and renal).  According to EPA, Tier 1 screening data are the best way to determine […]

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Atrazine and Glyphosate To Be Analyzed by EPA for Impacts on 1,500 Endangered Species

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 25, 2015) The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Tuesday that it will analyze the effects of two of the most commonly used pesticides in the United States, glyphosate and atrazine, along with atrazine chemical-cousins propazine and simazine, for their impacts on 1,500 endangered plants and animals. The announcement marks an agreement between EPA and Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) on a proposed settlement amending a 2010 court order that  established a schedule to complete effects determinations for 75 chemicals on 11 species in the San Francisco (SF) Bay Area. According to EPA, 59 of the 75 pesticides have been evaluated and subject to  effects determinations, however for the remaining 16 pesticides, EPA and CBD agreed that it would be more efficient and environmentally significant to complete nationwide effects determinations, rather than limit their focus to the SF bay area listed species. The agency has committed to completing the assessments by June 2020. The initial lawsuit was filed by CBD in May 2007 against EPA for violating the Endangered Species Act by registering and allowing the use of scores of toxic pesticides in habitats for 11 San Francisco Bay Area endangered species without determining whether the chemicals […]

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EU Regulators Bow to Pressure from American Trade Lobby on Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2015) The same day that trade representatives from United States met with Secretary-General Catherine Day of the European Commission (EC), she sent a letter to the EC’s Environment Director-General Karl Falkenberg telling him to scrap draft criteria that could have led to a ban on over 30 endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemical (EDCs) in the European Union (EU). As reported by The Guardian, with resources obtained by Pesticide Action Network- Europe (PAN-Europe), the U.S. Chambers of Commerce and European-based chemical manufacturers (including Dupont, Bayer, and BASF) pushed to change the EC’s criteria for evaluating EDCs because they fear it would impede EU-US negotiations on  the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Two regulations, one concerning “plant pest protectants” (EU 1107), and another on biocidal products (EU 528), should prohibit from use chemicals categorized as having endocrine disrupting properties that may cause adverse effects in humans. However, last year, when the EC released a roadmap for evaluating EDCs, recommendations fell far short of what health advocates assert that EU regulations require. Earlier this year, the Guardian reported that a scientific paper that would have adequately established ways to identify problematic EDCs was suppressed by EU officials at the […]

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Now Available: Forum Videos to Inspire a Just and Healthy Future

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2014) Beyond Pesticides is pleased to announce that videos from Agricultural Justice, Age of Organics, and Alligators: Protecting Health, biodiversity, and ecosystems, the 33rd National Pesticide Forum are now available! The videos cover the range of topics that were discussed at the Forum and include keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops. The themes central to this year’s conference were creating a fair and organic food system, and utilizing the science to create sound policy protective of human health and the environment. While there is no substitution for the actual energy that comes from bringing scientists, practitioners and activists together in the same room, we publish these videos with the goal of sharing the incredible knowledge of the experts with the broader public to help inspire and inform community action. Watch the videos here. You can access the playlist, which includes all of the available videos of the 2015 forum, as well as previous years, on Beyond Pesticides’ YouTube page. Notable presentations include: Sentinel Wildlife Species: What are they telling us about our health, by Louis Guillette, Ph.D. Dr. Guillette is a pioneer research scientist on endocrine disruption and reproductive health effects, who has studied the decline […]

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USDA Falls Short in Strategy to Mitigate Climate Change

Monday, April 27th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2015) Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced initiatives and energy programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sequestration, and expand renewable energy production in the agricultural and forestry sectors, but failed to stress the importance of moving away from chemical-intensive  agriculture toward organic methods. While the announcement doesn’t specifically mention “organic,” the meaning is still clear: chemical-based agricultural practices have contributed to climate change through heavy use of fossil fuels —both directly on the farm and in the manufacturing of pesticides and fertilizers— and through degradation of the soil, which releases carbon. Now, USDA is suggesting the use of conservation tilling, or no-till practices, along with cover cropping and natural management of organic inputs to the soil — in other words, organic agriculture. USDA outlined ten “building blocks” that aim to lead us away from climate change. The first two of these ten could, if interpreted from an organic practice perspective,  address the necessity to change  chemical-intensive agricultural practices. The first “building block” is soil health. The stated goal is to improve soil resilience, therefore increasing productivity, by promoting conservation tillage or no-till farming. The initiative suggests planting cover crops, planting […]

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Health Canada Mulls Label Changes to Monsanto’s Roundup and other Glyphosate Products

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, April 21, 2015) Last week, Health Canada opened public comments on its reevaluation decision for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. The agency chose to continue allowance of the herbicide, but include some changes to the label of glyphosate-containing products. The decision comes shortly after the International Agency for Research on Cancer determined that the chemical is a human carcinogen based on laboratory animal test data,  and a recent study revealed that glyphosate accelerates antibiotic resistance. Health Canada’s label changes include the following: A requirement for a statement indicating to apply only when the potential for drift to residential or populated areas is minimal. This includes houses, cottages, schools and recreational areas A restricted entry interval (REI) of 12 hours for agricultural uses to better protect agricultural workers; New environmental hazard statements to inform users that, at high enough doses, it can be toxic to non-target species; Recommended spray buffer zones to protect non-target terrestrial and aquatic habitats from unintended exposure; and, Precautionary statements to reduce the potential for run off of glyphosate to adjacent aquatic habitats, particularly when heavy rain is forecasted. This includes a recommendation to keep a strip of vegetation between the treatment […]

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33rd National Pesticide Forum Convenes in Orlando, FL

Friday, April 17th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, April 17, 2015) Beyond Pesticides’ 33rd National Pesticide Forum begins tonight at the Florida A&M University College of Law in Orlando, Florida,  bringing together scientists, policy makers, farmworkers, and public health and environmental advocates to interact and strategize on solutions that are protective of health, the environment and workers.  The forum  provides an opportunity to share current science and policy, and discuss local, state, and national issues surrounding pesticides, health, the environment and worker safety. The conference, including a tour of the Lake Apopka area in the afternoon, runs through the evening of  April 18.   This year’s conference will focus on  agricultural  justice, including the impact of pesticide use on human health and the environment, particularly as it relates to farmworker protections and organic  agriculture. Biodiversity, pollinator protection, and other relevant issues for Central Florida, including West Nile virus, pesticides in schools and hospitals, and genetic engineering will also be covered. >>Don’t miss the opportunity to engage with our amazing  lineup of speakers! This year’s highlights include:   Tyrone Hayes, PhD””trailblazing biologist whose research finds that the herbicide atrazine feminizes male frogs, is  one  of the leading scientists critical of the pesticide industry and regulatory process. He […]

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Bayer Attempt to Silence Critics of Its Bee-Poisonous Pesticides Rejected by Judge

Monday, March 16th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, March 16, 2015) Last week, a judge in Duesseldorf Regional Court ruled that the German branch of Friends of the Earth (BUND) has a right to speak out against chemical company giant Bayer CropScience’s neonicotinoid pesticide, thiacloprid, regarding its potential danger to bees. The court considered the allegations put forth by BUND to be a form of free speech, a protected right. Neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides, affect the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and eventual death. These pesticides have consistently been implicated as a key issue in pollinator declines, not only through immediate bee deaths, but also through sub-lethal exposure causing changes in bee reproduction, navigation and foraging. The science has become increasingly clear that pesticides, either working individually or synergistically, play a critical role in the ongoing decline of honey bees. Pesticide exposure can impair both detoxification mechanisms and immune responses, rendering bees more susceptible to viruses, parasites and other diseases, leading to devastating bee losses. Thiacloprid is one of the seven most commonly used neonicotinoids. It is used to control sucking and biting insects in cotton, rice, vegetables, pome fruit, sugar beet, potatoes and ornamentals. Low doses of neonicotinoids are considered highly […]

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Register Today for Early Bird Rate: 33rd National Pesticide Forum, Orlando, FL

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, February 18, 2015) Several new speakers, including cutting edge researchers bridging science and policy, have been added to the lineup of speakers at the 33rd National Pesticide Forum  in Orlando, Florida April 17-18,  Agricultural Justice, Age of Organics, and Alligators. And, right now we are running an early bird discount rate of $5 off the normal price through March 15. Register today!   The Forum, which will be held at Florida A&M University College of Law, is convened by Beyond Pesticides in collaboration with the Farmworker Association of Florida, FAMU Law School, Florida Organic Growers and Consumers, as well as local environmental and public health advocacy organizations.  The Forum provides an opportunity to share the current science and policy information and discuss local, state, and national issues, and  will focus on agricultural justice, particularly as it relates to farmworker protections and organic agriculture. Biodiversity, pollinator protection, and other relevant issues for central Florida, including mosquito management and genetic engineering will also be covered. Early Bird Registration Details:   We have a special early bird registration rate, which is  $5 off the normal price until March 15. After that date, general admission will be $45, and $25 for students […]

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2,4-D and Atrazine Effects on Endangered Species Focus of Another Lawsuit

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, February 17, 2015) The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit in federal court in California February 12 against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for failing to ensure that three widely used pesticides ””atrazine, 2,4-D and alachlor”” do not jeopardize the survival of two Bay Area endangered species, the delta smelt and Alameda whipsnake. FWS has yet to act on a request from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to determine whether measures are needed to protect the delta smelt and Alameda whipsnake from exposure to these pesticides. “These pesticides are known to harm wildlife even in miniscule amounts, so it’s long past time that we start taking commonsense steps to protect endangered species, our water and ourselves,” said Brett Hartl, endangered species policy director at the Center. “Putting off any analysis of the harms caused by pesticides for six years is simply unacceptable, and has set back the recovery of these two species substantially.” Scientific research has shown that atrazine can harm the development of amphibians at exposures of just a few parts per billion, is toxic to fish, reptiles, mammals and birds, and may elevate risks of birth defects in people. Up to 80 […]

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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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Study Shows Goats as Viable Control Agent for Opportunistic Wetland Reeds

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, October 7, 2014) Goat grazing to control opportunistic, unwanted, and poisonous plants has taken off across the country, as researchers continue to find new value in these personable animals. According to a study published last month by an international team of scientists in the journal PeerJ, goats have an outstanding potential to effectively control the opportunistic, or “invasive” reed Phragmites australis, and replace the unnecessary use of costly and dangerous herbicides. Although a native species of phragmites exist in the U.S.  (phragmites australis subspecies americanus), these plants do not form the dense monotypic stands characteristic of European phragmites (phragmites australis subspecies australis), which was introduced to the U.S. east coast in the early 1800s, and is currently found in wetlands throughout North America. The plant can grow up to 15 feet tall, and has been widely implicated in  reducing biodiversity and crowding out native species in wetlands. Land managers throughout the country are encountering phragmites and resorting to the use of toxic and expensive chemicals, usually combinations of the herbicide triclopyr and glyphosate, both of which have shown evidence of harm to aquatic species. A study published in 2013 in the journal Estuaries and Coasts found that between […]

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Study Finds EPA Favors Industry in Pesticide Safety Evaluations

Friday, September 5th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, September 5, 2014) A study published in a scientific journal finds that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) favors the chemical  industry when making determinations on pesticide safety. Under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA conducts  risk assessments to determine whether a new or existing chemical is eligible for registration or reregistration and therefore able to enter or remain on the market. The study’s conclusions raise serious concerns for both environmental and human health protection because of EPA’s practice of inviting bias and underestimating potential harm. The study, which will be in the October issue of BioScience, highlights the case of atrazine, an herbicide that has been linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, birth defects, and reproductive effects. In their study, Michelle Boone, Ph.D., of Miami University, and her colleagues find that most pesticide toxicity tests used in risk assessments are conducted by pesticide manufacturers themselves. The authors contend that this can result in conflicts of interest. Additionally, strict methodological criteria, such as the types of containers in which exposed specimens are raised, often mean that potentially relevant studies are barred from EPA’s assessment process. The agency reassessed atrazine  based on a sole, manufacturer-funded study, finding […]

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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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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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Roundup Resistance Spurs Texas Push for Emergency Use of Controversial Herbicide on GE Cotton

Friday, June 27th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides,  June 27, 2014) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering a  request  by Texas regulators to allow the use of a controversial herbicide, propazine, to battle Palmer amaranth, a glyphosate-resistant “super weed” that has been plaguing growers of genetically engineered (GE) herbicide-tolerant cotton in the state. Propazine, an active ingredient in Milo-Pro, would be sprayed on up to 3 million acres, which amounts to approximately half of the state’s estimated crop acreage for this season. As currently proposed, the maximum amount of product to be applied would be 70,314 gallons. The Texas Department of Agriculture, on behalf of  chemical-intensive GE cotton growers,  asked EPA last month for an exemption to permit growers to spray fields with the herbicide this summer in order to control this highly invasive plant, also known as pigweed. Pigweed can grow up to 3 inches a day and is one of many plant species that has developed a resistance to  glyphosate, a systemic herbicide found in Roundup that has become one of the most widely used pesticides on the market.  Public comments are due by July 3, 2014. The occurrence of super weeds coincides strongly with the use of toxic herbicides on genetically engineered […]

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