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Europe Releases Weakened Criteria for Regulating Endocrine Disruptors

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2016) New regulations issued by the European Commission (EU) last week to regulate endocrine disruptors in pesticide products are being criticized by public interest groups and scientists as undermining the precautionary legal standard governing pesticide use in Europe. Previous  investigations and reports  have uncovered  industry’s attempt to quash efforts to enact robust protections from these harmful chemicals, despite their likely contribution to billions of dollars in lost revenue due to health effects. EC’s new rules endorse the World Health Organization’s definition of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC). The WHO defines an endocrine disruptor as “an exogenous substance or mixture that alters function(s) of the endocrine system and consequently causes adverse health effects in an intact organism, or its progeny, or (sub)populations,” However, the proposed regulations go little beyond defining the term. “The WHO definition is not a criteria, it is just a definition,” said Andreas Kortenkamp, PhD to The Guardian. “In effect, the commission has decided to place the burden of deciding how to regulate endocrine-disrupting chemicals onto the assessors on a case-by-case basis.” Of concern is the level to which the rules reflect a hazard or risk-based criteria. While EC asserts that its rules will follow […]

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Exposure to Pesticides Linked to ALS Risk

Monday, May 16th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2016) Pesticide exposure may increase the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to a study entitled Association of Environmental Toxins With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, which was  published in JAMA Neurology. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. The study, which investigated a total of 122 persistent environmental pollutants, including organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), found that pesticide exposure increased ALS risk five-fold. Researchers conducting the study  looked at 156 patients with ALS and 128 without the disease. Participants were asked about occupational and residential exposure to environmental toxicants  and blood samples were taken to measure their concentrations. Researchers found that the organochlorine pesticides pentachlorobenzene and cis-chlordane increased ALS risk two-fold and nearly six-fold, respectively. This study does not prove that pesticides cause ALS, but it does build on an association suggested in previous research, study co-author Stephen Goutman, MD, told  HealthDay. Dr. Goutman recommends avoiding pesticides. This is especially wise for anyone with a family history of ALS, he added. The link between pesticide exposure and neurological damage has been studied extensively. In 2008, […]

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EPA Finds 97% of Endangered Species Threatened by Common Pesticides

Tuesday, April 12th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2016) Two commonly used pesticides are “likely to adversely affect” 97% of species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), according to a first of its kind national assessment by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The determination is part of a settlement reached by EPA and the Center for Biological Diversity, which requires the agency to complete a review of the impact of organophosphate pesticides chlorpyrifos, malathion, and diazinon by December 2017, and two carbamate class pesticides, methomyl and carbaryl, by the end of 2018. Under ESA Section 7, any agency action that it  authorizes, funds, or carries out must find that it  “is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of habitat.” Under ESA, EPA is required to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) when registering a pesticide, in order to mitigate risks to endangered species. However, EPA routinely disregards this requirement, and has been sued numerous times for failing to ensure adequate protections for endangered species. Although CBD’s original lawsuit targeted potential pesticide impacts on California’s threatened red-legged frog, […]

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Fungicides Linked to Autism and Alzheimer’s Disease

Friday, April 1st, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2016) A study published yesterday finds  that a certain class of fungicides, the strobilurins, causes genetic changes in the neurons of mice that are similar to genetic changes seen in humans with autism and Alzheimer’s disease. Since their introduction to the market over the past 20  years, these fungicides have been used increasingly on conventionally grown crops like cabbage, spinach, lettuce, kale, tomatoes, apples, pears and grapes. After exposing brain cells from mice to over 300 pesticides and fungicides, researchers found that the strobilurin class of fungicides produces patterns of genetic changes often seen in human neurodegenerative diseases. While the fungicides created autism-like signatures in the way the genes were expressed in mouse neurons, the results do not conclusively show that this class of fungicides causes autism or Alzheimer’s disease. Mark Zylka, Ph.D., lead scientist of the study and associate professor of cell biology and physiology at University of North Carolina, states,  “What this work provides is evidence that these chemicals are bad for neurons. They turn the same genes on or off that you see not only in autism brains, but also in neurodegeneration.” Strobilurins work by disrupting mitochondria, commonly known as the “powerhouse of […]

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

Friday, March 18th, 2016

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

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Chlorpyrifos Reduces Memory and Learning in Exposed Bees

Friday, March 4th, 2016

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

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Organic Dairy and Meat Higher in Essential Nutrients

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, February 17, 2016) After reviewing a prolific scientific database, researchers find that organic meat and milk have 50 percent more important nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids that are important in human nutrition. Organic meat has slightly lower concentrations of saturated fats, while organic milk contains 40 percent more linoleic acid, and carries slightly higher concentrations of iron, vitamin E and some carotenoids. While this new information certainly adds to the debate over the benefits of organic, it strengthens the argument that there is a nutritional advantage to eating organic that complements the  environmental benefit of    avoiding toxic pesticide use. The new findings, reported in two studies by scientists from the United Kingdom, Poland, Norway, Italy, Denmark, Switzerland, Greece and Turkey, “  Higher PUFA and omega-3 PUFA, CLA, a-tocopherol and iron, but lower iodine and selenium concentrations in organic milk: A Systematic Literature Review and Meta- and Redundancy Analyses” and “Composition differences between organic and conventional meat; a systematic literature review and meta-analysis,” both published in the British Journal of Nutrition, compare the compositional differences between organic and conventional (non-organic) milk and dairy, as well as organic and conventional meat.   The researchers reviewed 196 research studies of […]

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Montreal, Canada Proposes “Complete Ban on Neonics”

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, December 15, 2015) Last week Montreal, the largest city in Canada’s Quebec province, announced plans for an all-out ban on the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides. The new regulations represent the strongest move against this neurotoxic class of insecticides by any government entity to date. Environmental and health advocates are praising the ban as a sign that more and more localities in North America are finding these chemicals unnecessary to manage pest problems, and not worth the risk to pollinators and other wildlife. Montreal’s regulations provide for a complete ban, “without exception,” on the use of neonicotinoids outside of buildings on City land. Prior to the new rules, private citizens and businesses could obtain a temporary permit for the use of neonicotinoids in the  case  of an infestation, however, the permit will no longer be available and citizens will be encouraged to employ alternative practices or products. The ban will also apply to golf courses and properties in the City used for agricultural and horticultural purposes. “By adopting a regulation that prohibits the use of such pesticides in Montreal, our Administration places the health of its citizens, the quality of life of its neighborhoods and the preservation of […]

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Scientists Find Pesticide Exposure Decreases Lung Function in Children

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, December 8, 2015) Exposure to common agricultural pesticides in early life leads to a measurable decrease in children’s lung functioning, according to researchers from the University of California, Berkeley. Organophosphate pesticides, a relatively older generation of crop chemicals still widely used on farms in California, have been associated with a broad range of diseases in both children and adults. This latest study adds to calls from health and environmental advocates to eliminate these toxic pesticides in agriculture, and move towards safer, sustainable, and organic management practices. The higher the rate of organophosphate exposure, the smaller a child’s lung capacity would be, scientists found. The UC Berkeley study traces exposure by looking at pesticide metabolites in urine five  times over the course of childhood (6 months to 5 years). Participants were part of the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS), a longitudinal birth cohort study investigating the effects of pesticides and other environmental chemicals on the growth, health, and development of children in California’s Salinas Valley. For every 10-fold increase in pesticide metabolites measured in a child’s urine, an average of approximately 8% air function within the lungs was lost. “Researchers have described […]

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Pesticides Bound to Particles and Not Detectable in Water Harm Aquatic Organisms

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, November 23, 2015) Commonly-used pesticides can impact aquatic species over multiple weeks, even when chemicals are no longer detectable in water nor  monitored by regulators, according to new research. The study, titled A long-term assessment of pesticide mixture effects on aquatic invertebrate communities,  published in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, investigates the long-term effects on aquatic invertebrate communities of commonly-used insecticides: two pyrethroids (permethrin and lambda-cyhalothrin) and an organophosphate (chlorpyrifos). Pesticide applications were based on environmentally relevant concentrations and lethal concentrations (a concentration required to kill a certain percentage of animals tested) ranging from 10% (LC10) to 50% (LC50). Researchers made repeat applications in order to mimic runoff events in a multiple grower or homeowner watershed. The results indicate that insecticide mixtures continue to impact natural systems over multiple weeks, even when bound to particles and no longer detectable in water. Combinations of indirect and direct effects caused consequences across the food chain. Pyrethroids rapidly dissipated from the water column, whereas chlorpyrifos was detectable even six weeks after application. “The effects we observed indicate that many species were affected at a sublethal level,” said Simone Hasenbein, Ph.D., lead author of the study tells Phys.org. “Thus, populations exposed […]

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EPA Takes Long-Awaited Action to Eliminate Neurotoxic Chlorpyrifos in Agriculture

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, November 3, 2015) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to revoke all food tolerances for the organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos (also known as Dursban), a neurotoxic pesticide produced by Dow AgroSciences that poses particular risks to children and farmworkers. If EPA’s rule is finalized, chlorpyrifos would be effectively eliminated from use in agriculture 15 years after consumer uses were discontinued. However, other non-food uses, including golf courses, turf, green house and mosquito control are not affected by this decision and will remain. EPA’s proposed rule came on the day of a court-ordered deadline from the U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the Ninth Circuit, M. Margaret McKeown. In August of this year, Judge McKeown ordered EPA to respond to a petition filed by Pesticide Action Network North America and the Natural Resources Defense Council nearly nine years ago. The lawsuit called on the agency to ban all uses of the insecticide in light of scientific evidence and public comments ignored by the agency after its cumulative risk assessment for organophosphate insecticides. In 2012, EPA imposed “no-spray” buffer zones around public spaces, including recreational areas, schools, and homes to reduce bystander exposure risks. Earlier this year, the agency […]

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Inspector General Finds EPA Pesticide Petition Process Plagued by Delays

Friday, October 30th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 30, 2015) The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Program (OPP) needs policies and procedures to manage pesticide petitions in a transparent and efficient manner, according to new report  that  highlights inadequacies in the way the agency responds to petitioners. The report, published by EPA’s Office of Inspector General, an independent office within EPA that investigates agency compliance with laws governing its programs, concludes that the lack of transparency and efficiency “leaves petitioners unaware of petition status, which can result in unreasonable delay lawsuits costing the agency time and resources.” While the public has the right to submit pesticide petitions to EPA and the agency is required to respond to these petitions “within a reasonable time,” there are no set requirements for what constitutes a specific time frame. However, petitioners can file a lawsuit claiming unreasonable delay if the petitioner finds that EPA has not responded within what the petitioner considers a reasonable amount of time. Of the 40 public petitions received by OPP from Fiscal Year 2005 through 2014, nearly a quarter of them are  associated with unreasonable delay lawsuits. The specific issues contributing to these delays involve: Petition documentation not being readily accessible; Some […]

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Another Study Confirms Eating an Organic Diet Lowers Pesticide Levels in Children

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 14, 2015) New research from the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH) shows that children, especially those in low-income and agricultural families, who switched to an organic diet reduced their bodies’  level of pesticides. This California study is one of several that documents the benefits of eating an organic diet, especially for children who are especially vulnerable to pesticide exposures due to the developing bodies. The study, Effect of Organic Diet Intervention on Pesticide Exposures in Young Children Living in Low-Income Urban and Agricultural Communities  follows 40 children, 3-6 years old from low-income families living in urban and agricultural environments in Oakland and Salinas, California. The children alternated between a conventionally grown diet and organic, and urine samples were analyzed each day. The researchers measure 23 metabolites of several pesticides classes, including organophosphates (OP) and pyrethroid insecticides, and the herbicides 2,4-D and metolachlor. These pesticides are frequently detected (> 72%) in urine samples collected, with metabolites of 2,4-D detected 90 percent of the time, and pyrethroids 82 percent. Overall, among the most frequently detected pesticides, metabolites of OPs  decreases by nearly 50 percent when children are on an organic diet, and levels of 2,4-D falls […]

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EPA Seeks Public Opinion on Continued Use of Neurotoxic Organophosphate Pesticides

Friday, October 9th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2015) Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released preliminary human health and ecological risk assessments for seven organophosphate pesticides (OPs) and announced the public open comment period for those chemicals. These risk assessments come as a result of the required periodic registration review, as required by  the Federal Insecticide, Fungicides, and Rodenticide Act. In general, OPs are highly toxic and many have been voluntarily removed from the market, considerably restricted, or denied reregistration. Unfortunately, EPA continues to rely on risk mitigation for individual OPs instead of phasing them out altogether. Seven OPs ­ ­—dimethoate, dictrotophos, chloyrophos-methyl, tribufos, terbufos, profenofors, and ethoprop—are among the first wave of chemicals whose preliminary risk assessments have been completed under the registration review program. Each of these was found by EPA to inhibit the enzyme acetylcholine esterase (AchE), which ultimately leads to neurotoxic  central nervous system effects. This information is not new, however. In 2012, University College London found long-term low-level exposure to OPs produces lasting damage to neurological and cognitive functions. In 2013, at least 25 children died after eating school lunches contaminated by OPs. One OP in particular, chlorpyrifos, chlorpyrifos (Dursban), is currently under petition for the same […]

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Reproductive Health Experts Call for Action on Toxic Chemicals

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 6, 2015) Last week, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) released a statement encouraging broad-based policy measures that prevent exposure to toxic environmental chemicals. “The global health and economic burden related to toxic environmental chemicals is in excess of millions of deaths and billions of dollars every year,” the report unequivocally states. FIGO’s statement follows a similar call to action from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in 2013 and the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2012. The piece lays out broad themes surrounding exposure to toxic chemicals, including issues of environmental justice, prenatal exposure and subsequent health effects, and overall global health and economic burden. Based on these impacts, several recommendations are submitted for obstetricians, gynecologists, midwives, women’s health nurse practitioners, nurses, and other health professionals to follow to achieve a goal of “prevention for all.” FIGO highlights how people of low-income, particularly in poverty-stricken countries, bare a higher burden of toxic exposure than richer nations. “[A]t every stage of development, the consequences of exposure to toxic chemicals —including morbidity and mortality, loss of family income and productivity, and environmental degradation— are disproportionately borne by people with low incomes,” the piece states. FIGO […]

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Yale Study Links Prenatal Pesticide Exposure to Tremors in Children

Monday, October 5th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, October 05, 2015) According to a Yale University study, prenatal exposure to the widely used agricultural pesticide chlorpyrifos is linked to tremors — involuntary contraction or twitching of muscles — in childhood. Chlorpyrifos, a broad-spectrum chlorinated organophosphate insecticide also known as Dursban, may also affect the cardiovascular and respiratory systems and is acutely toxic to bees, birds, mammals, and aquatic life. The study, titled Prenatal exposure to the organophosphate pesticide chlorpyrifos and childhood tremor  and published in the journal Neurotoxicology, measured the presence of chlorpyrifos in umbilical cord blood samples in 263 low-income, inner-city minority children. In 2001, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned residential use of chlorpyrifos, which was prominent in urban areas at the time. However, the study participants  —263 minority mothers  and their children, all from low income  communities in New York  City— were assembled in 1997,  before the ban was imposed. In  1997, the initial measure of each  child’s prenatal exposure to CPF  was taken from umbilical cord  blood. The children were then followed until approximately 11 years of age, after which they underwent a neurophysical assessment, which included a short drawing test. Researchers found that compared to all other children, those who […]

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California to List Glyphosate (Roundup) as Cancer-Causing

Thursday, September 10th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, September 10, 2015) Last week, California Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) announced that it intended to list glyphosate (Roundup) and three other chemicals as cancer-causing chemicals under California’s  Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). Glyphosate  is a phosphanoglycine herbicide that inhibits an enzyme essential to plant growth. Under California law, Proposition 65 requires that certain substances identified by the International View postAgency for Research on Cancer (IARC) be listed as known cancer-causing chemicals. In March, a study by the IARC classified glyphosate as a Group 2A material, which means that the chemical is carcinogenic based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. The agency considered the findings from an EPA Scientific Advisory Panel report, along with several recent studies in making its conclusion. However, industry supporters of glyphosate all over the globe are conducting their own studies to attempt to prove that it is not a carcinogen. These studies, like one by German Federal Institute for Risk Assessments (BfR), are based almost solely on industry science and classified industry reports, each of which might not consider critical variables. With more glyphosate-focused studies being released, the growing evidence […]

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Back-to-School? Leave the Toxics Behind

Monday, August 24th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, August 24, 2015) At the start of the  school year, it is critical to check in with school administrators to make sure that students and teachers will not be exposed to hazardous pesticides used in the school’s buildings or on playing fields. Whether a parent, teacher, student, school administrator, landscaper or community advocate, there are steps that  can taken to make sure the school environment is a safe from  toxic chemicals, as the new  school year begins. For Parents and Teachers: Because children face unique hazards from pesticide exposure due to their small size and developing organ systems, using toxic chemicals to get rid of insects, germs, and weeds can harm students much more than it helps. Studies show children’s developing organs create “early windows of great vulnerability” during which exposure to pesticides can cause great damage. This is supported by the  findings of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) which concluded that, “Children encounter pesticides daily and have unique susceptibilities to their potential toxicity.”  The report also discusses how children  are exposed to pesticides every day in air, food, dust, and soil. Children also frequently come into contact with pesticide residue on pets and after lawn, garden, […]

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Lice Found Resistant to Common Insecticide Treatment

Thursday, August 20th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, August 20, 2015) Just as children go  back to school, research  finds that lice in 25 of 30 states in a  U.S. study have developed resistance to common over-the-counter treatments like permethrin, calling into questions the justification for exposing children to a neurotoxic and carcinogenic pesticide and elevating the need to consider nontoxic alternatives. The  research was presented Tuesday at the 250th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), by Kyong Yoon, Ph.D., of Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville. Classified as a synthetic pyrethroid insecticide, permethrin is “likely carcinogenic” and a suspected endocrine disruptor, immunotoxic, neurotoxic, and highly toxic to fish, aquatic animals, and bees. Dr. Yoon and his colleagues describe the threefold mutations that lice have developed over time due to the constant use of synthetic pyrethroid insecticides. This new finding builds on his team’s previous research, which found that 99.6% of lice are resistant to chemical treatment, adding weight to the fact that chemical treatments not only are unnecessary given effective least-toxic alternatives, but also are not able to provide the lice control that manufacturers claim. “We are the first group to collect lice samples from a large number of populations across the U.S.,” […]

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Sublethal Exposure to Pesticides Induces Personality Changes in Spiders

Friday, August 14th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14, 2015) Sublethal exposure to the organophosphate pesticide phosmet results in significant alterations in personality in individual spiders, according to a study published in the July print edition of the journal Functional Ecology. The study, titled “Under the influence: sublethal exposure to an insecticide affects personality expression in a jumping spider,” examines whether sublethal exposure to an organophosphate insecticide affects the consistency of individual behavior and disrupt behavioral correlations in the jumping spider Eris militaris (Araneae: Salticidae). Researchers measured the behavior of jumping spider adults by scoring them according to an open-field and a prey-capture assay, each conducted both before and after exposure to the insecticide phosmet. Researchers then measured the changes in repeatability, a measure of the extent of personality differences, and behavioral correlations between exposed and unexposed groups. Although there are no discernible effects on the population’s average behaviors, exposed individuals showed an average of 23 percent lower repeatability and the correlation between activity and prey capture is more strongly collapsed in females. “Bronze jumping spiders play an important role in orchards and fields, especially at the beginning of the agricultural season, by eating many of the pests like the oblique-banded leafroller, a moth that […]

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Court Ordered Deadline Mandates EPA Action on Toxic Insecticide Dursban

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, August 13, 2015) On Monday, a federal appeals court judge mandated that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) respond to a petition filed nearly nine years ago that seeks  to force the agency to restrict  the dangerous insecticide  chlorpyrifos (an organophosphate also known as Dursban). U.S. Court of Appeals Judge for the Ninth Circuit, M. Margaret McKeown,  delivered her opinion on August 10, stating that federal agencies should never practice the “venerable tradition” of putting off statutory requirements  when it comes to human health. The court issued the opinion and order in a lawsuit brought by Earthjustice on behalf of Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and gives EPA until October 31 to finally respond to the petition requesting to ban chlorpyrifos. EPA took a tentative step towards further regulating chlorpyrifos in a July 2015 announcement to ban remaining agricultural uses by April 2016 date. Unhappy with the uncertainty that EPA delivered, the court felt that a mandated deadline would expedite the process. On June 8, 2000, EPA administrator Carol Browner announced a voluntary agreement between the agency and industry leaders, including Dow AgroSciences, to ban all home and garden uses of Dursban, which […]

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Despite Known Hazards, EPA Waits Decades for Manufacturers to Withdraw Pesticide

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2015)  Last week, after decades of review and known toxic hazards, especially to children, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accepted a proposed cancellation for  a number of indoor uses (including food establishments) and tolerances of propoxur, a carbamate insecticide known for its toxic effects to  children. EPA has received a Section 6(f) request under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) from the registrant of propoxur to voluntarily cancel certain uses of the carbamate insecticide. The request from the manufacturer, Wellmark International, requests cancellation of  indoor aerosol, spray and liquid formulations of propoxur, indoor crack and crevice use, and all use in food-handling establishments.  EPA previously agreed to an April 1, 2016 phase out of propoxur in pet collars, but has continued to leave open these other avenues of exposure. The agency will begin accepting comments on its  proposal once it has been published in the Federal Register, which is expected to occur within 10 days of the prepublication signature date. It should be noted that EPA engages in lengthy negotiations with pesticide manufacturers, as is the case with propoxur (see recent announcement on chlorpyrifos), rather than pursuing rigorous regulatory standards through its cancellation or […]

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EPA Falters Again in Banning Remaining Uses of a Highly Toxic and Unnecessary Insecticide

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, July 7, 2015) In a sleight of hand,  the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans last week to cancel all remaining agricultural uses of the hazardous insecticide chlorpyrifos by April 2016, and then left the door open for negotiations with the chemical’s manufacturer, Dow AgroSciences, to adopt  risk mitigation measures that would avoid a ban. Environmental groups are reacting to EPA’s announcement with guarded optimism, encouraging the agency to move forward with its planned cancellation of a highly toxic chemical that has remained on the market for far long. In June 2000, EPA announced a negotiated voluntary cancellation  with Dow that removed residential uses of chlorpyrifos (Dursban) from the market because of the neurotoxic effects to children, but allowed most agricultural uses to continue. As early as January of this year, EPA released a revised human health risk assessment for chlorpyrifos, finding that the chemical poses risk to farmworkers, and the drinking water of small watersheds. The assessment was, in part, in response to a petition submitted by Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pesticide Action Network (PAN) in 2007, which called on the agency to ban all uses of the insecticide. Since the the 2000 cancellation, […]

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