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Neonicotinoids Hinder Bee’s Ability to Smell Flowers

Monday, June 29th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 29, 2015) A recent study has provided supporting evidence to previous work showing that sublethal doses of imidicloprid, a toxic neonicotinoid insecticide, impairs olfactory learning in exposed honey bee workers. Since 2006, honey bees and other pollinators in the U.S. and throughout the world have experienced ongoing and rapid population declines. The science has become increasingly clear that pesticides (especially the neonicotinoid class of insecticides), either acting individually or synergistically, play a critical role in the ongoing decline of honey bees and wild pollinators. Neonicotinoids can be persistent in the environment, and have the ability to translocate into the pollen and nectar of treated plants. “Honeybees need to learn to associate nectar reward with floral odor. One of the main reasons why flowers produce odor is so that this odor can be learned by pollinators and used to repeatedly visit the same flower species. Without this repeat visitation, pollination does not occur. We showed that a neonicotinoid pesticide, at sublethal doses, harms this odor memory formation,”  Chinese Academy of Science’s Ken Tan, who led the study, told CBS News in an email interview. Published in Nature on June 18, 2015, the study finds that “adults that ingested […]

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Popular Weed Killer 2,4-D and Lice Treatment Lindane Classified as Carcinogens

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2015) The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has found that there is some evidence in experimental animals that the popular herbicide, 2,4-D, is linked to cancer and now classifies it as a Group 2B, “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” IARC also classified lindane, used commonly in the U.S. as a topical lice treatment, in Group 1,“carcinogenic to humans” based on sufficient evidence in humans with the onset of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). These latest cancer findings come just months after the agency classified the world’s most widely used herbicide, glyphosate (Roundup), as “probably carcinogenic to humans,” raising public concerns on the lack of action from U.S. regulators. This month, 26 experts from 13 countries met at the World Health Organization’s (WHO) IARC in Lyon, France to assess the carcinogenicity of the insecticide lindane, the herbicide 2,4-D, and insecticide DDT. The findings are published in the Lancet. The new IARC findings come months after the agency classified glyphosate, the ingredient in the popular Roundup weed killer, as a Group 2A “probable” carcinogen, citing sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity based on laboratory studies. This decision sparked renewed calls for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action on […]

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France Calls for Ban on Sale of Monsanto Herbicide Roundup in Nurseries

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 16, 2015) France’s Ecology Minister Segolene Royal announced Sunday a  call to  stop  the sale of the popular Monsanto herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) from garden centers. The announcement comes just a couple of  months after the active ingredient, glyphosate, was classified in March as “probably carcinogenic to humans” by the United Nation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). “France must be on the offensive with regards to the banning of pesticides,” Royal said on French television. “I have asked garden centers to stop putting Monsanto’s Roundup on sale” in self-service aisles, she added. The announcement comes after a request by French consumer association CLCV (Consumption, Housing and Environment – Consommation, Logement et Cadre de vie)  to French and European officials to stop selling glyphosate-based products to amateur gardeners. Royal also announced last week that from January 2018 onwards, phytosanitary products —used to control plant diseases— would only be available to amateur gardeners “through an intermediary or a certified vendor.” Glyphosate 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 new classification of […]

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EPA’s “New” Restrictions Fail to Protect Honey Bees as Promised

Monday, June 1st, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 1, 2015) Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposal intended to create “physical and temporal space” between bees and toxic pesticides. While touted as monumental progress on bee health by the agency, the reality is that the proposal will only result in modest changes to pesticide labels. EPA’s new rules contain only a temporary ban on foliar applications of acutely bee-toxic pesticide products, including neonicotinoid class insecticides, during bloom and when a beekeeper is on site and under contract. The proposal doesn’t address the widespread contamination and detrimental effects of these toxic, systemic (whole plant poisons) chemicals that will continue to occur even during the temporary prohibition. Media reports have generally overstated the implications of the proposal, applauding the “new” restrictions, and labeling the small portion of agricultural land that is affected  as “pesticide-free zones,” which couldn’t be further from the truth. The restrictions are not anything new — EPA pesticide labels already prohibit applications while in bloom where bees are foraging. Neal Bergman, a commercial beekeeper in Missouri, said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the proposal is “basically enforcing label guidelines,” further highlighting the fact that EPA has failed […]

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California Mom Successfully Gets Cancer-Causing Herbicide Eliminated from Community- You Can, Too!

Friday, May 1st, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2015)  A recent success in grassroots activism  comes through Tracy Madlener, a mother of two, who got  her neighborhood in Laguna Hills, California to eliminate the use of Roundup, a widely-used weedkiller. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organization (WHO) recently classified Roundup’s active ingredient, glyphosate, as carcinogenic in people based on animal studies. The classification is technically “probably carcinogenic to humans (Group 2A),”  sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity based on laboratory studies. Gravely concerned, Ms. Madlener began her mission to eliminate the use of toxic  Roundup in her neighborhood, with some help from Beyond Pesticides, sharing her progress on a new Facebook page ”˜How to Create a Toxic-Free Community’  along the way. Just five days in she posted a video blog about getting started: organizing, sending emails, making a to-do list, and making phone calls for research purposes. She also built up a network and informed  others in the area, contacted other moms doing similar work to ban harmful chemicals in their areas for advice, spoke with landscapers to  suggest healthier options, researched environmentally- and health-conscious alternatives to Roundup for local use, and made folders […]

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Research Finds Bees Prefer Foods Treated with Bee-Killing Insecticides

Friday, April 24th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2015) Two new studies reporting on the adverse effects of neonicotinoids on bees were published Wednesday in the journal Nature, adding to a growing body of scientific literature linking the controversial class of pesticides to the global decline in bee populations. The conclusions reached by the two studies find that not only does neonicotinoid exposure result in reduced bee density, nesting, colony growth, and reproduction, but also that bees in fact prefer foods containing neonicotinoid pesticides despite their adverse effects. Neonicotinoids 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 sublethal exposure that causes  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, and leading to devastating bee losses. In one study, “Seed coating with a neonicotinoid insecticide negatively affects wild bees,” Swedish scientists report that wild bees […]

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Portland, OR to Protect Pollinators, Bans Use of Bee-Toxic Pesticides

Monday, April 6th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, April 6, 2015) Last week, the city council of Portland, Oregon voted unanimously to ban the use of neonicotinoid insecticides on city-owned property because these pesticides are persistent in the environment, harmful to pollinators, and have been involved in acute bee kills in other areas of the state. Neonicotinoids 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 sublethal exposure that causes  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, and leading to devastating bee losses. Portland’s ordinance was spurred in part by the 2013 deaths of tens of thousands of bees as a result of the improper use of the neonicotinoids. Last month state officials banned  four   of the bee-killing insecticides, including   imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam and dinotefuran from  use on  Linden  trees. In addition to […]

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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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Over 4 Million People Press Obama to Protect Bees

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Congress heeds call to action and introduces legislation as pressure mounts on White House Task Force to issue meaningful recommendations March 4, 2015 (Washington, DC)””A coalition of beekeepers, farmers, business leaders, environmental and food safety advocates rallied in front of the White House and delivered more than 4 million petition signatures today calling on the Obama administration to put forth strong protections for bees and other pollinators. This action anticipates the Pollinator Health Task Force recommendations, expected later this month. The task force, announced by the White House this past June, is charged with improving pollinator health through new agency regulations and partnerships. The assembled groups demand that the recommendations include decisive action on rampant use of neonicotinoids, a class of systemic insecticides scientists say are a driving factor in bee declines. The rally coincided with both a D.C. metro ad campaign and Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and John Conyers’s (D-MI) reintroduction of the Saving America’s Pollinators Act, which would suspend the use of four of the most toxic neonicotinoids until the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducts a full review of their safety. Representative Blumenauer, said, “Pollinators are not only vital to a sustainable environment, but key to a stable […]

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Save the Date, April 17-18: Agricultural Justice, Age of Organics, and Alligators: Protecting health, biodiversity, and ecosystems

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, January 20, 2015) The 33rd National Pesticide Forum,  Agricultural Justice, Age of Organics, and Alligators: Protecting health, biodiversity, and ecosystems,  will be held April 17-18, 2015 (Friday afternoon and all day Saturday) at the Florida A&M University College of Law (FAMU) in Orlando, FL. The 2015 conference is convened by Beyond Pesticides, Farmworker Association of Florida, and FAMU. Co-sponsors include Agricultural Justice Project, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Florida A&M University Small Farms Program, Florida Organic Growers, Food and Water Watch Florida, Just Harvest USA, Orange Audubon Society, Youth & Young Adult Network (YAYA) of the National Farmworker Ministry. If your group is interested in joining as a co-sponsor, please feel free to email us. 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. The 33rd National Forum provides an opportunity to share the current science and policy information and discuss local, state, and national issues. The conference, including a tour in […]

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Ask Your Member of Congress to Join Actions for Pollinator Protection

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, September 16, 2014) In light of President Obama’s Memorandum directing federal agencies to take action on pollinator declines, groups and members of Congress are calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take meaningful steps to save our bees. In a letter to EPA, U.S.Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and John Conyers (D-MI) are urging the agency to follow the lead of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and revise pesticide regulations to protect pollinators from exposure to bee-toxic neonicointoids. >>Ask Your Representative to Join the Call: Urge Your Member of Congress to Sign-on to the Blumenauer-Conyers Letter to EPA! Pollinators, including honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies, and other insects, play a critical role in our agriculture systems. More than 70% of America’s food sources are pollinated by bees and the worldwide economic value of bee”pollinated crops is as high as $125 billion per year. Since 2006, however, beekeepers have lost more than 30% of their hives annually””a huge threat to the vitality of our farms. Pollinators are a critical driver of healthy, nutrient-dense foods. One in three bites of food depends on honey bees and other pollinators, and without them food prices are sure to rise and some […]

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California Passes Bill That Mandates Response to Bee Crisis, but Delays Action until 2020

Monday, August 25th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 22, 2014) In a blow to the adoption of urgently needed protections for pollinators, the California State Senate voted 35-1, after an earlier Assembly vote of 75-0,  to delay a requirement for action on bee-harming neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides until 2020. While advocates want mandates for  regulatory action to protect bees, the timeline in the bill ignores that ongoing crisis faced by bees, beekeepers, and agriculture dependent on bee pollination.  Assembly Bill 1789 provides the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CalDPR) another four years to reevaluate neonicotinoid pesticides, and an additional two years to implement any measures that would be needed to protect pollinator health. Given that CalDPR began its reevaluation of neonics in 2009, and existing law would have required a complete reevaluation within two years, the legislature’s new 2020 timeline has been met with strong criticism from beekeepers and environmental groups. The passage of AB 1789 sets the CalDPR on a track similar to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) timeline for neonic review. This timeline is widely seen as an unacceptable response to the pollinator crisis, given unsustainable declines of greater than 30% of managed honey bee colonies each year, and widespread adverse impacts on […]

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Midwest Waterways Contaminated with Persistent Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Friday, July 25th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, July 25, 2014) A new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) study published yesterday found neonicotinoid pesticides persistent and prevalent in streams throughout the Midwestern United States. The study is the first to investigate the presence of neonicotinoids on a wide-scale level in the Midwest. While neonicotinoid use has increased throughout the country, the Midwest in particular has seen a dramatic increase over the last decade. The use of clothianidin, one of the chemicals studied, on corn in Iowa alone has approximately doubled in just two years, from 2011 and 2013. Neonicotinoids are chemically similar to nicotine and are pesticides that are toxic to a broad range of insect pests. They are also known as systemic pesticides, which are pesticides that spread throughout the entire plant structure, making everything from roots to pollen toxic to organisms that come in contact with it. As a result, neonicotinoids have been linked to the global disappearance of honey bees and other nontarget organisms, such as earthworms, birds, and aquatic invertebrates. USGS scientist Kathryn Kuivila, Ph.D., stated, “Neonicotinoid insecticides are receiving increased attention by scientists as we explore the possible links between pesticides, nutrition, infectious disease, and other stress factors in the environment possibly […]

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Late Breaking News: Groups Challenge California’s Approval of Bee-Killing Pesticides

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

State rubber stamps expanded usage before determining effects on crop pollinators (Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2014) Today, environmental and food safety groups challenged California’s illegal practice of approving new agricultural uses for neonicotinoid pesticides despite mounting evidence that the pesticides are devastating honeybees. Pesticide Action Network, Center for Food Safety, and Beyond Pesticides, represented by Earthjustice, filed the legal challenge in the California Superior Court for the County of Alameda, urging the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to stop approving neonicotinoid pesticides pending its completion of a comprehensive scientific review of impacts to honeybees.   DPR began its scientific review in early 2009 after it received evidence that neonicotinoids are killing bees, but five years later, DPR has yet to take meaningful action to protect bees. Meanwhile, DPR has continued to allow increased use of neonicotinoids in California.   Today’s lawsuit challenges DPR’s June 13, 2014 decision to expand the use of two powerful neonicotinoid insecticides — sold under the trademarks Venom Insecticide and Dinotefuran 20SG — despite the agency’s still-pending review of impacts to pollinators.   The case underscores these larger problems with the DPR’s unwillingness to comply with laws enacted to ensure that pesticides do not threaten […]

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Pollinators More Important to Crop Yields than Fertilizers

Monday, June 16th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, June 16, 2014) As pollinator week begins, the critical importance of pollinators is exemplified in a recent study out of the University of California, Berkeley. Not only do pollinators help increase crop yields, they may be even more important than fertilizers,  according to  the study suggests. Ecologist Alexandra-Maria Klein, Ph.D. and her colleagues at UC Berkeley found that when there is a lack of pollination, via bees and other pollinators, there is a stronger reduction in harvest yields than when there is a lack of either fertilizer or sufficient water for the crops. Their results, which were published in the journals Plant Biology and PLoS ONE, found that when crops were pollinated, the plants bear more fruit along with a change in their nutrient content. Dr. Klein and her team observed the effects that different conditions and treatment combinations had on almond trees. The conditions involved: preventing bees from pollinating blossoms via cages, allowing the bees to pollinate the blossoms, or pollinating the blossoms by hand. Additionally, researchers combined these conditions with four different treatments: watering and fertilizing the trees according to local practices, reduced watering, no fertilization, or reduced watering with no fertilization. In the case of […]

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Multiple Accounts of Honey Bee Death and Damage Continue

Friday, April 25th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, April 24, 2014) Reports of honey bee deaths have been emerging around the nation: from bee deaths in California’s almond groves and ”˜mysterious’ road-side bee deaths in Oregon, to astronomical overwintering losses in Ohio. The reports are intensifying the ecological crises of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) ””a phenomenon typified by the mass abandonment of hives and bee die-off. CCD poses significant issues for many agricultural crops, such as almonds, apples, cherries and blueberries, that are almost completely reliant on honey bees for their pollination services. In California, a total of 80,000 dead or damaged bee hives were reported after pollinating almond trees in the San Joaquin Valley, a region that is known for its agricultural productivity. Beekeepers have pointed to pesticides as the primary culprit. Almond pollination in California requires an army of 1,300 commercial beekeepers from around the nation. However, this year beekeepers have seen higher damages to hives than usual. Damage to the honey bee hives this spring has been so pronounced that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) convened an impromptu meeting with beekeepers in Los Banos, California. The meeting brought together 75 beekeepers who testified that 75 percent of their hives showed severe damage […]

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Community Action on Earth Day -Eliminate Toxic Chemicals that Jeopardize the Natural World

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, April 22, 2014) As we reflect on the beauty and wonder of the natural world this Earth Day and seek to restore  and preserve  the intricate web of life on the planet, we face an urgent need to stop ongoing toxic chemical contamination.  The hard truth of our time is that the natural world on which life depends  is under grave threat from numerous toxic insults resulting from mechanized and industrial human activity. Massive die-offs of beneficial organisms, increased rates of autoimmune diseases, endocrine disrupting and transgenerational chemical effects, and widespread pollution of our air and waterways —all linked to pesticides and other toxic chemicals, establish the critical  need  to adopt organic standards in sync with ecosystems. This Earth Day we ask you to spread awareness of toxic chemicals that pollute the environment. Get active to safeguard your community and the surrounding environment from toxic insults: teach your neighbors how to maintain their land without toxic pesticides, protect honeybees from neonicotinoids insecticides, aquatic species from endocrine disrupting chemicals, and the streams, lakes, and rivers we all depend on from the widespread use of harmful synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Beyond Pesticides has the tools needed to increase environmental awareness […]

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USDA Seeks to Increase Pollinator Habitat without Focus on Pesticides and GE

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2014) The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently committed to providing financial assistance to farmers and ranchers in five Midwestern states to improve and create bee-friendly habitat. This project comes as American beekeepers have continued to experience rapid colony declines with losses over the winter over 30 percent per year. The creation of pollinator-friendly habitat is an important step to slowing pollinator losses, however this project does not challenge the expansion of agriculture into current pollinator habitat, the use of systemic pesticides that are linked to pollinator decline, or the widespread adoption of genetically engineered crops with elevated use of herbicides that kill habitat. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide $3 million in technical and financial assistance to farmers and ranchers to create and improve bee friendly habitat in five Midwestern states. Ranchers can qualify for assistance to reseed pastures with alfalfa, clover and other plants that bees forage.  NRCS will also assist ranchers in building fences, installing water tanks and other changes to better move cattle between pastures so as not to wear down vegetation. Farmers can also qualify for funds to plant cover crops, and bee friendly forage in boarders and […]

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Honey Bee Diseases Threaten Bumblebees; Late Breaking: EPA Announces New Protections for Farmworkers

Friday, February 21st, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2014) A new study published in the journal Nature investigating two infectious diseases ””deformed wing virus (DWV) and the fungal parasite Nosema ceranea”” finds that they could be spreading from honey bees to bumblebees, dramatically shortening the lifespan of the wild bumblebees. The study gives credence to recent research demonstrating that pesticide use compromises immune system functioning, dramatically raising their susceptibility to diseases. The study, Disease associations between honeybees and bumblebees as a threat to wild pollinators,  suggests that managed, highly-dense populations of honey bees, are breeding grounds for pathogens which may then be transmitted to bumblebee populations. But unlike honey bees, infected bumblebees are much more affected by the disease, with their lives shortened by  six full days. “To put it into context, in the field a bumblebee worker lives 21 days,” said co-author Mark Brown, PhD., of Royal Holloway, University of London. “For every bee that has this virus, you’re losing about a third or a quarter of all the food it would bring back to the nest to help the nest grow.” Additionally, while honey bee hives have tens of thousands of worker, bumblebee hives have only hundred at most. The study, underlines […]

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Large End-of-Year Penalty for Pesticide Violation Amid EPA’s Record of Few Enforcement Actions

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, January 2, 2014) Near the conclusion of 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a settlement agreement with a Florida-based pesticide producer and distributor, Harrell’s LLC. Alleging multiple violations of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), the agreement requires Harrell’s to pay a hefty civil penalty in the amount of $1,736,560. Under FIFRA, the nation’s primary law governing the manufacture, distribution, and use of pesticides, a pesticide product cannot enter the U.S. marketplace without EPA registration and an approved label that conveys to intended users of the product critical information about its contents, methods and areas of application, and potential hazards. Ideally, the purpose of FIFRA is to ensure that no pesticides are produced, imported, distributed, sold, or used in a manner that pose an “unreasonable risk” to human health or the environment. While there are a number of loopholes and weaknesses in this system, such as conditional registrations, that lead to toxic products entering the marketplace without a full understanding of the potential health hazards and environmental risks associated with those products, FIFRA’s protections are at their core dependent on diligent adherence to the registration and labeling rules. Any product that does not adhere […]

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Bee-Killing Pesticides Damage Children’s Brain and Nervous System, Says European Authority

Friday, December 20th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, December 20, 2013) The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced on Tuesday that pesticides linked to honey bee deaths worldwide may also damage human nervous systems ””in particular the brain, and recommended that the European Commission lower the guidance levels of acceptable exposure until more research is conducted. This new determination heightens the call to ban the use of these toxic chemicals in the U.S., following the lead of the European Union (EU). EFSA found that two commonly used chemicals “may adversely affect the development of neurons and brain structure associated with functions such as learning and memory” particularly of children. The recommendation focuses on two chemicals ””acetamiprid and imidacloprid”” in a relatively new class of insecticide called neonicotinoids. Three chemicals in this class were recently placed under a two-year ban in the European Union (EU) for uses on flowering crops known to attract honey bees. The move stems from a recent review of research on rats which found, “Neonicotinoids may adversely affect human health, especially the developing brain.” Researchers who exposed newborn rats to one of these chemicals ””imidacloprid”” found they suffered brain shrinkage, fewer nerve signals controlling movement, and weight loss. Another study on rats found […]

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A Time to BEE Thankful

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, November 27, 2013) You can almost taste it: the moist, tender turkey, the fluffy mashed potatoes, the creamy green bean casserole, the perfectly seasoned stuffing, the roasted brussel sprouts sprinkled with salty bacon, the sweet tang of the cranberry sauce, and the velvety bite of the pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving and all its bounty is almost here. Of course, the impending feast doesn’t magically appear. Whether you have merely observed the bustle of preparation, assisted with the pealing and chopping, or orchestrated the entire affair, it is well known that the hard work of many lies behind the tantalizing spread. And if your Thanksgiving tradition is like most gatherings across the nation, before you carve the turkey, scoop the mashed potatoes and stuffing, serve up the salad, and ladle the gravy all over your plate, there is a moment of pause. Be it in the form of prayer, song, or simple sharing, it is a moment honoring the purpose for this great celebration. It is a moment to stop and be grateful for the bounty before you and the friends surrounding you. It is a moment to give thanks for the hard work of those who prepared the great […]

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Bats Are Not the Real Threat This Halloween

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2013) Bats get a bad rap on Halloween with their image synonymous with blood-sucking vampires; however, the real scary thing about bats is that they are disappearing due to a myriad of threats, including pesticides, habitat destruction, and the horrible white-nose syndrome (WNS), a disease caused by the fungus Pseudogymnoascus (Geomyces) destructans. Researchers are reporting an even bleaker picture, finding very little evidence of what might stop the disease from spreading further and persisting indefinitely in bat caves. The new study, from researchers at the Illinois Natural History Survey at the University of Illinois, found that the fungus can make a meal out of just about any carbon source likely to be found in caves, said graduate student Daniel Raudabaugh, who led the research under the direction of survey mycologist Andrew Miller, Ph.D. The study, Nutritional Capability of and Substrate Suitability for Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the Causal Agent of Bat White-Nose Syndrome is published in PLOS One. “It can basically live on any complex carbon source, which encompasses insects, undigested insect parts in guano, wood, dead fungi and cave fish,” Mr. Raudabaugh said. “We looked at all the different nitrogen sources and found that basically it can […]

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