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New Study Shows Reduction of Persistent Pollutants in Breast Milk, Though Concerns Remain

Thursday, October 20th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2016) Researchers at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and Murdoch University recently released a study whose findings show that levels of pesticides in breast milk have dropped significantly over the past forty years, though some major concerns remain. Published in the international journal Chemosphere, the research shows a 42-fold decrease in levels of pesticides detected in breast milk, and ties the reduction to government efforts to prohibit persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Australia, which has lead to decreased exposure over time. Led by UWA’s internationally renowned human lactation researcher Emeritus Professor Peter Hartmann, Dr. Donna Geddes and Murdoch’s Associate Professor Robert Trengove, the study is a testament to the positive impact banning pesticides can have on the health of individuals, especially vulnerable populations like infants, but also shows that there is a long way to go before our bodies are void of any bioaccumulated toxic residues. Researchers often study breast milk because it can bioconcentrate, or accumulate, persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Multiple studies on breast milk have been performed throughout the years, many of them confirming the fact that common toxic chemicals, such as glyphosate and triclosan, build up in our bodies over time. Most […]

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Miami-Dade County’s Aerial Spraying of Naled for Zika Virus Shown To Be Ineffective

Thursday, September 29th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2016) A study released last week shows that Miami-Dade County’s aerial spraying of naled for Zika virus produced little reduction on the female Aedes aegypti populations throughout the area. According to the study, Efficacy of Aedes aegypti population control methods in the first two mosquito-borne Zika transmission zones in Miami-Dade County, Florida, within three days of spraying, the mosquito population were virtually identical to the pre-spray levels. The author, Philip Stoddard, Ph.D., is a biology professer at Florida International University and mayor of South Miami. “Application of permethrin, a persistent pyrethroid adulticide, had no effect whatsoever on mosquito counts. Naled, a potent organophosphate adulticide applied aerially, produced a transitory suppression in Wynwood but lost efficacy after two or three applications,” said Dr. Stoddard. “In Miami Beach, aerial  application of naled produced no significant reduction of the Aedes aegypti population.” Naled is an organophosphate insecticide with the highest acute toxicity of any mosquitocide. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), naled can cause cholinesterase (an enzyme necessary to the transmission of nerve impulses) inhibition in humans, meaning that it can overstimulate the nervous system, causing nausea, dizziness, confusion, and, at very high exposures (e.g., accidents or […]

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EPA and CDC Mislead Local and State Officials and the Public on Safety of Mosquito Pesticides Used for Zika Virus

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

(Washington D.C. September 15, 2016)  Beyond Pesticides today urged the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to immediately alert local and state mosquito control officials, elected officials, and the public throughout the U.S. to the fact that EPA’s key data reviews on the safety of widely used mosquito control pesticides, including naled and synthetic pyrethroids, are  outdated and incomplete and the scientific literature raises safety concerns. In a letter to EPA, Beyond Pesticides said, “As local and state officials implement mosquito abatement programs to address the Zika virus, it is critical that they have complete transparent safety information that they are not currently getting from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).” Beyond Pesticides continues, “This information, specific to residential exposure to the insecticides naled and its main degradation product dichlorvos (DDVP), as well as synthetic pyrethroids, is necessary for officials on the ground to make fully informed decisions and for public right to know.” According to EPA documents, the agency did not meet a planned 2015 deadline for a final review decision evaluating residential exposure to naled, a neurotoxic organophosphate insecticide that is currently being used in community mosquito spraying, and its highly toxic breakdown product DDVP. In addition to the toxic […]

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Over Two Million Bees Killed after Aerial Mosquito Spraying in South Carolina

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, September 2, 2016) Last Sunday, beekeepers in Dorchester County, South Carolina emerged from their homes to find their yards and  farms, once full of busy buzzing, littered with the honey bees. The cause was no mystery — a massive bee-kill had occurred due to aerial spraying of Naled, a highly toxic  insecticide used primarily to control adult mosquitoes. The county announced plans to spray two days before the incident, when four travel-related cases of Zika virus were confirmed in the area by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. The spraying occurred between 6:30 and 8:30am. Naled is an organophosphate insecticide with the highest acute toxicity of any mosquitocide. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Naled can cause cholinesterase (an enzyme necessary to the transmission of nerve impulses) inhibition in humans, meaning that it can overstimulate the nervous system causing nausea, dizziness, confusion, and, at very high exposures (e.g., accidents or major spills), respiratory paralysis and death. Naled is highly toxic to honey bees. In Dorchester County, beekeepers say that the spray announcements did not come soon enough. Flowertown Bee Farm and Supply lost more than 2.3 million insects from 46 hives, according to co-owner Juanita […]

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Miami-Dade Stops Aerial Spraying on Weekdays to Reduce Exposure to Students

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, August 25, 2016) The County of Miami-Dade announced Tuesday that it will no longer conduct aerial sprayings on weekdays, to avoid exposing children and teachers. In an effort to control the spread of Zika, the county is consulting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Florida Department of Health (FDOH), to spray a neighborhood in the county, Wynwood, with Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (Bti) and Naled. Mosquito officials were conducting the spraying during the early hours of the morning, when fewer people were around, the first day of the school year in Miami-Dade started this week, putting teachers and students at risk of exposure at bus stops. The county’s move is encouraging, because as research has continuously shown, children and pesticides don’t mix.  Studies show children’s developing organs create “early windows of great vulnerability” during which exposure to pesticides can cause great damage. Childhood pesticide exposure has been linked to a range of adverse health endpoints, including cancer, asthma, impaired sexual development, ADHD and other learning disabilities. “We have adjusted our spraying schedule to avoid any inconvenience to our local school system, and the children, families, and teachers in our community,” the office of Mayor […]

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78 Commonly Used Agricultural Pesticides Linked to Wheezing

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, August 10, 2016) New research connects 78 pesticides commonly used by farmers with many adverse respiratory effects, including both allergic and non-allergic wheeze. The study, Pesticides Are Associated with Allergic and Non-Allergic Wheeze among Male Farmers, was led by NC State environmental epidemiologist, Jane Hoppin, ScD and colleagues from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), the National Cancer Institute, Westat and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). This is one of the most comprehensive evaluations of pesticides in relation to wheeze that has been evaluated to date, finding that several commonly used pesticides in both agriculture and residential settings can cause adverse respiratory effects. “Fifty-one of the pesticides we tested in this study had never been analyzed in terms of their effects on respiratory outcomes. And some of them, like glyphosate, 2,4-D and permethrin, aren’t just used on farms. They’re used residentially now to kill weeds or treat fleas on pets,” said Dr. Hoppin. “We believe it’s important information that will help people make decisions about pesticides.” Researchers used interview data from the 2005-2010 Agricultural Health Study (AHS) to assess the correlation between pesticide exposure and wheeze in male farmers. 22,134 farmers were […]

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Fighting Zika – Growing Concerns over Pesticide Resistance

Friday, August 5th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, August 5, 2016) Concerned health officials in Miami, Florida are investigating suspicions that Zika-spreading mosquitoes have become resistant to the pesticides commonly used synthetic pyrethroid insecticides used in mosquito control. As the region works to contain a Zika outbreak in northern Miami, officials are beginning to recognize that broadcast pesticide applications are not effective at controlling populations, and are looking into cases in the U.S.  and in other parts of the world of mosquitoes developing resistance to chemical controls, or whether other factors are at work. At the same, the broadcasting of the pesticides by truck and plane and the resulting exposure to people and the environment also raise serious health issues. The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which has the ability to live indoors and reproduce even in tiny pools of water, is the primary way the Zika virus is spread, although there are reports that the disease can also be transmitted through sexual contact. Zika virus has been linked to cases of microcephaly, in which babies are born with underdeveloped brains. The virus has been detected in several Latin American countries, including Brazil where the outbreak was first observed and linked to increased cases of microcephaly. However, locally […]

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Study Adds to Findings that Link Prenatal Pesticide Exposure to Lower IQs

Friday, July 29th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, July 29, 2016)  A study released earlier this week finds lower IQ (intelligence quotient) in children born to mothers who during their pregnancy were living in close proximity to chemical-intensive agricultural lands where organophosphate pesticides were used. This study adds to the body of scientific literature that links prenatal exposure to organophosphate pesticides with lower IQ’s in children. Organophosphate pesticides, a relatively older generation of highly neurotoxic pesticides still widely used on farms in California, have been associated with a  broad range of diseases  in both children and adults.  This  latest study  supports health and environmental advocates’ call to eliminate these toxic pesticides in agriculture and move toward safer, sustainable, and organic management practices. The study, titled  Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticide Use and IQ in 7-Year-Old Children, looks at 283 women and children from the agricultural Salinas Valley who are enrolled in the long-term Center for the Health of Mothers and Children in Salinas (CHAMACOS) study. Specifically, researchers looked at pregnant women living within one kilometer of agricultural fields where organophosphate pesticides were used. They found that at age 7, the children of those women had declines of approximately two IQ points and three verbal reasoning […]

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Common Pesticide Exposure Alters Behavior of Fish and Amphibians

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2016) Exposure to common pesticides at levels often found in the environment can have subtle but significant impacts on the behavioral health of fish, amphibians and other aquatic invertebrates. According to researchers at Northern Arizona University, who analyzed data from nearly 40 experiments to reach their conclusion, fish and amphibians swam 35% slower and were 72% less active after pesticide exposure. Chemical Class Type Example Pesticides Carbamates Insecticide Carbaryl, Aldicarb Organochlorine Insecticide DDT, Endosulfan, Chlordane Organophosphates Insecticide Diazinon, Chlorpyrifos Organotins Biocide Tributyltin Phosphonoglycines Herbicide Glyphosate, Glufosinate Pyrethroids Insecticide Permethrin, Bifenthrin, Esfenvalerate Triazines Herbicide Atrazine, Simazine The study, published in Science of the Total Environment, found that the overall effect on aquatic wildlife varied based on the chemical class the animals encountered. While pyrethroids, carbamates, and organophosphates resulted in a significant decrease in swim speed, triazines and phosphonoglycines showed no overall effect. Pyrethroids, carbamates, organophosphates, organochlorines, and organotins decreased activity, while phosphonoglycines had no overall effect, and triazines actually increased activity. “I didn’t think that we would see [an effect] across such a wide range of pesticides so consistently, but we did,” said study co-author, Catherine Propper, PhD to KNAU, “and that leads to some concerns about […]

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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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