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TAKE ACTION: Tell President-Elect Biden and Congress to Clean Up at EPA‚ÄĒ End the Era of Corporate Deception

Monday, January 11th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2021)¬†Treatment of chemical companies as clients rather than regulated entities is not new at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but corruption reached new highs during the Trump administration. With a new administration, it is time to end the rule of corporate deception at EPA. This goes beyond the use of the Congressional Review Act to reverse individual rules (adopted in the last six months) that defy scientific findings and compliance with environmental and public health standards. We can no longer rely on bad science and unscrupulous chemical manufacturers that put profits above concerns for the health of people and the environment. EPA must audit pesticide registrants for integrity to scientific process and set a moratorium on future pesticide registration until the agency can assure the public that their science is not corrupt, as it has been in the past. Tell President-elect Biden and Congress to clean up the corruption of science at EPA and set a moratorium on future pesticide registrations‚ÄĒuntil the agency can assure the public that the chemical manufacturers’ science supporting pesticide registrations is not corrupt. The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting published a story in early December on yet another example of the […]

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Stop EPA from Limiting State Pesticide Restrictions as Corporate Deception on Hazards Continues

Monday, December 21st, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, December 21, 2020) The toxic herbicide dicamba is once again at the center of a larger story about states’ authority to regulate pesticides more stringently federal dictates and a response to corporate corruption in the marketing of pesticide products. The Trump EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) has just made it much harder for state regulations to be more protective than federal rules. It did so via a footnote embedded in dozens of pages of regulatory documents related to EPA’s registration of three new dicamba products.¬† Tell the Biden transition team that EPA must respect states’ rights to protect people and property in their states. Meanwhile, a report by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found Monsanto and BASF, a German chemical company that worked with Monsanto to launch the system coupling dicamba with resistant crops, knew their dicamba herbicides would cause large-scale damage to fields across the U.S., but decided to push them on unsuspecting farmers anyway, in a bid to corner the soybean and cotton markets with their dicamba-resistant seeds. For nearly 30 years, state regulators have used Section 24 (‚ÄúSpecial Local Needs‚ÄĚ section) of FIFRA, the Federal, Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act‚ÄĒthe law that gives EPA […]

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Investigation on Weed Killer Dicamba Adds to Pattern of Corporate Deception on Pesticide Hazards

Friday, December 18th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, December 18, 2020)¬†The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting published a story in early December on yet another example of the corporate malfeasance that exalts profit far above concerns for safety, health, and ecosystems. The Midwest Center‚Äôs investigation finds that Monsanto and BASF, makers of the extremely problematic herbicide dicamba, engaged in a variety of deceitful, unethical, and possibly fraudulent practices to enable its use. The bottom line is that the companies knew, before they released dicamba, about the massive damage it would cause ‚ÄĒ and then put it on the market. Beyond Pesticides has reported on the corporate greed that fuels the downstream public health, environmental, and economic devastation these pesticides cause, and advocated for their removal from the market. Such unscrupulous behavior is not confined to these companies; Bayer (which now owns Monsanto) and Syngenta are also implicated in similar actions related to other pesticides: glyphosate and atrazine, respectively. Over the course of the past couple of decades, large agrochemical corporations have pursued not only extreme market penetration for their toxic products, but also, vertical integration that, in the case of Bayer/Monsanto, ‚Äúrepresents a near-monopoly on the agriculture supply chain.‚ÄĚ Corporate ownership of the patent on genetically […]

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After Court Rules Herbicide “Would Tear the Social Fabric of Farming Communities,” Dicamba in Genetically Engineered Crops Given Go-Ahead by EPA

Wednesday, November 4th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, November 4, 2020) Despite a recent court ruling voiding the registration of drift-prone dicamba herbicides on genetically engineered (GE) cotton and soybeans, EPA has renewed¬† the registration of these chemicals. The court‚Äôs ruling stated that EPA, ‚Äúsubstantially understated risks that it acknowledged and failed entirely to acknowledge other risks,‚ÄĚ in regards to the herbicides XtendiMax and Eugenia (dicamba), produced by agrichemical corporations Bayer and BASF for their genetically engineered (GE) crops. In announcing the decision, Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the agency made its decision ‚Äú[a]fter reviewing substantial amounts of new information, conducting scientific assessments based on the best available science, and carefully considering input from stakeholders.‚ÄĚ Yet, it is evident that the most important stakeholders for EPA continues to be chemical corporations. The history of dicamba‚Äôs use in GE agriculture reveal this to be the case. In the mid-2010s, Bayer‚Äôs Monsanto developed new dicamba-tolerant seeds and received approval to sell them from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. EPA had not yet approved its corresponding herbicide, but nonetheless, Bayer‚Äôs Monsanto urged farmers to plant its seed, claiming they would increase yields. The results of this were predictable: farmers began to use older, unapproved dicamba formulations on their new GE […]

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Consumer Reports Study Rates Foods with Pesticide Residues; Doesn’t Include Worker, Environmental Justice, Biodiversity Impacts

Friday, September 18th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, September 18, 2020)¬†In late August, Consumer Reports magazine (CR) issued a report titled, ‚ÄúStop Eating Pesticides,‚ÄĚ which offers consumers a rating system CR developed and employed to help them ‚Äúget the health benefits from fruits and vegetables while minimizing [the] risk from toxic chemicals.‚ÄĚ In addition to providing its analysis and ratings of the pesticide risk of a variety of produce items, CR recommends eating organically grown and raised foods whenever possible. It also makes a host of recommendations on federal pesticide policies and emphasizes the importance of maintaining the integrity of the National Organic Standards (of the USDA-housed National Organic Program). Beyond Pesticides appreciates that this mainstream publication has arrived at many shared, science-based assessments of the risks of pesticides. That said, a wholesale transition to organic and regenerative agriculture ‚ÄĒ rather than making the public figure out which fruits and vegetables are ‚Äúsafer‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúless safe‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ is the real answer to the health risks of pesticides in the food supply, according to Beyond Pesticides. The CR analysis used data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture‚Äôs (USDA‚Äôs) Pesticide Data Program for 2014‚Äď2018. Those pesticide residue data were compiled from tests of approximately 450 pesticides across 24,000 […]

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EPA Relied on Flawed Analysis to Allow Use of the Neurotoxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos

Friday, August 21st, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, August 21, 2020)¬†A foundational study of the toxic insecticide chlorpyrifos left critical data out of its analysis, resulting in decades of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ‚Äúsafe exposure limit‚ÄĚ that is flat out wrong, new research says. That 1972 study concluded that the amount of the chemical to which a human could be exposed before adverse effects showed up (the ‚Äúno observed adverse effect level,‚ÄĚ or NOAEL) was more than twice as high as should have been determined had the study not ignored critical data. In addition, the study points to the perennial ‚Äúfox and hen house‚ÄĚ issues at EPA, which include using research commissioned, funded, or even conducted by industry as any basis for regulation. For years, Beyond Pesticides has rung the alarm on this very dangerous pesticide, and advocated for its ban nationwide. News of this omission from the 1972 ‚ÄúCoulston Study‚ÄĚ comes from a team out of the University of Washington. The researchers re-analyzed that human intentional dosing study using both the original statistical methods and modern computational tools that did not exist in the 1970s. (An important side note: such a study is unethical by current research standards.) The new analysis finds two significant […]

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Study Shows Organic Food Diet Reduces Residues of Glyphosate in Body

Friday, August 14th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, August 13, 2020)¬†Levels of the notorious herbicide compound glyphosate in the human body are reduced by 70% through a one-week switch to an organic diet, finds a new, peer-reviewed study published in August 2020 in the journal Environmental Research. This result emphasizes both the ubiquity of this compound in the human body, and diet as the primary source of exposure for most people. It also adds to the evidence for Beyond Pesticides‚Äô assertions that: (1) chemical-intensive agriculture must be abandoned, for a variety of reasons that include human health, and (2) in the lead-up to a transition to organic and regenerative agriculture, consuming organic foods as much as is practicable is powerful protection from glyphosate, and from the assault of multiple chemical pesticides to which most people are exposed. Glyphosate is the active ingredient in the popular weed killer RoundupTM, which has been used intensively in the U.S. and around the world, especially during the last couple of decades. It is very commonly used on crops grown from genetically engineered (GE) companion seeds for a variety of staple crops (e.g., soybeans, cotton, and corn). These GE seeds are¬†glyphosate-tolerant, whose attribute has allowed growers to apply the herbicide and […]

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Court Decision Highlights Systemic Failure of Federal Pesticide Law to Protect Health and the Environment, Despite a Silver Lining and a Must-Read, Powerful Dissenting Opinion

Tuesday, August 11th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, August 11, 2020)¬†Petitioners who mounted a legal challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency‚Äôs (EPA‚Äôs) registration of Enlist Duo, a relatively new and highly toxic pesticide product, recently learned of a mixed decision from the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case. The good news is that Judge Ryan D. Nelson, writing the opinion for the court, found that EPA, in registering the herbicide Enlist Duo, had failed to protect monarch butterflies, which are under consideration as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). On the other and disturbing hand, the court concluded that EPA registration of the product was otherwise lawful ‚ÄĒ which means that this toxic compound will for now remain on the market. As one of the plaintiffs in the case, Beyond Pesticides is adamant that this product should not be registered for use by EPA. George Kimbrell, Legal Director of Center for Food Safety and Lead Counsel for the plaintiffs, commented on the decision in the organization‚Äôs July 22 press release on the decision: ‚ÄúThe panel majority’s unprecedented decision is contrary to controlling law and established science, and Center for Food Safety is analyzing all legal options, including seeking a full […]

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28 Pesticides Linked to Mammary Gland Cancer, Inadequately Reviewed by EPA

Friday, August 7th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2020) Research out of the Silent Spring Institute identifies 28 registered pesticides linked with development of mammary gland tumors in animal studies. Study authors Bethsaida Cardona and Ruthann Rudel also report that many of the pesticides they investigated behave as endocrine disruptors; breast cancers in humans are significantly influenced by hormones generated by the endocrine system. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acknowledges that nine of these 28 pesticide compounds cause mammary tumors, but dismisses the evidence of the other 19. The results of this research, published in the journal¬†Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, evince Beyond Pesticides‚Äô long-standing argument that the risk assessment process used by EPA for its pesticide registration process is substantially inadequate to protect human health. The co-authors cite, as the catalyst for this research project, a Cape Cod resident‚Äôs outreach to the Silent Spring Institute several years ago, asking for information about the herbicide triclopyr because utility companies wanted to spray it on vegetation below local power lines. (The compound has also been used by the logging industry in the Pacific Northwest.) They reviewed more than 400 EPA pesticide documents on the health impacts of many registered pesticides for this research, conducted as part […]

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New York State Legislature Bans Glyphosate (Roundup) in Public Parks, Bill Goes to Governor for Signature

Friday, July 31st, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, July 31, 2020)¬†On July 22, the New York State Legislature passed Senate 6502 / Assembly 732-B ‚ÄĒ a bill that would ban the use of all glyphosate-based herbicides on state properties. The bill now awaits Governor Andrew Cuomo‚Äôs signature, which would make it law effective December 31, 2021. Beyond Pesticides considers this a hopeful development in the glyphosate ‚Äúsaga‚ÄĚ and has urged the governor ought to sign it. Nevertheless, such piecemeal, locality-by-locality initiatives represent mere ‚Äúdrops‚ÄĚ of protection in an ocean of toxic chemical pesticides to which the U.S. public is exposed. A far more effective, protective solution is the much-needed transition from chemical-intensive agriculture and other kinds of land management to organic systems that do not use toxic pesticides. The bill ‚ÄĒ titled ‚ÄúAn Act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to prohibiting the use of glyphosate on state property‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ was introduced in 2019 and sponsored by New York State Assembly Member Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF-New York) and State Senator Jos√© Serrano. It would add a new subdivision to section 12 of the state‚Äôs environmental conservation law, proscribing ‚Äúany state department, agency, public benefit corporation or any pesticide applicator employed thereby as a contractor […]

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Health and Behavioral Development of Beneficial Black Garden Ants Stunted by Low Levels of Pesticide Exposure in Soils

Thursday, July 16th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, July 16, 2020) Long-term exposure to sublethal (low-level) concentrations of the neonicotinoid in soil negatively affects the health and behavioral development of black garden ants (Lasius niger) colonies, according to a study published in¬†Communications Biology¬†by scientists at the University of Bern, Switzerland. Ants are one of the most biologically significant insects in the soil ecosystem, acting as ecosystem engineers. Their burrowing behavior aerates the soil, allowing oxygen and water to penetrate down to plant roots. Additionally, ants increase soil nutrient levels by importing and accumulating organic material like food and feces, thus enhancing nutrient cycling. Like many other insects, ants are unfortunate victims of the¬†global insect apocalypse¬†or population decline, and much research attributes the recent decline to several, including pesticide exposure.¬†Broad-spectrum pesticides, like neonicotinoids, indiscriminately kill pests and nontarget organisms alike, as their ubiquitous use contaminates soils, even in untreated areas. This study highlights the necessity of rethinking chemical pest management, developing sustainable agricultural practices that reduce the use of agrochemicals, like pesticides, to prevent permanent environmental ecosystem damage. Researchers in the study note, ‚ÄúTo prevent irreparable damages to functioning ecosystems, [we] suggest to either fully incorporate long-term effects in risk assessment schemes, or to make a shift […]

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From Udder to Table: Toxic Pesticides Found in Conventional Milk, Not Organic Milk

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2020) Conventional U.S. milk contains growth hormones, antibiotics, and low to elevated levels of pesticides not found in organic milk, according to a study published in the journal of Public Health Nutrition by Emory University researchers. Milk can bioaccumulate certain organic pollutants, making it a valuable medium to assess what chemical we might be ingesting daily. With milk being one of the most consumed beverages in the U.S., in addition to its use in other popular drinks (i.e., coffee and tea), this study discloses widespread contamination and highlights the need for improved regulation. Researchers in the study note, ‚ÄúTo our knowledge, the present study is the first study to compare levels of pesticide in the U.S. milk supply by production method (conventional vs. organic). It is also the first in a decade to measure antibiotic and hormone levels and compare them by milk production type.‚Ä̬† The market for conventional milk, produced in chemical-intensive agriculture, is declining, but the demand for organic milk is increasing due to concerns over chemical contamination in consumer products from pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets limits for pesticide residues in food products, the agency […]

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U.S. and Brazil Trying to Force Thailand to Accept Food Coated in Hazardous Pesticides

Wednesday, July 1st, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, July 1, 2020) As the U.S. is subject to searing criticism for inadequately regulated hazardous pesticides domestically, administration officials are standing in the way as other countries’ work toward modest reforms. According to a report published in Reuters, the U.S. is standing alongside the corrupt Bolsonaro administration in Brazil to oppose Thailand‚Äôs efforts to protect its citizens from highly toxic pesticides used in food production. Both countries launched separate complaints to the World Trade Organization after Thailand announced it would ban imports of the brain-damaging insecticide chlorpyrifos and weedkiller paraquat, which has been strongly linked to Parkinson‚Äôs disease. On June 1, Thailand added paraquat and chlorpyrifos to its list of most hazardous substances. This listing initiated a follow-on regulation that banned the import of these substances on food, set to take effect in mid-July. Thailand has been feeling the brunt of U.S. diplomatic pressure since it first proposed restrictions on toxic chemicals late last year. By December, the U.S. was able to get Bangkok to remove glyphosate from its proposal, and delay the listing of paraquat and chlorpyrifos until June. But as the current situation shows, the U.S. had no plans to stop pressuring the Bangkok government after […]

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Tell USDA to Reject Bayer-Monsanto’s¬†Multi-Herbicide Tolerant Corn‚ÄĒPlease sign the petition by Monday, July 6, 4pm EDT

Monday, June 29th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 29, 2020) Bayer’s Monsanto¬†is requesting non-regulated status for corn that will increase the use of drift-prone and toxic herbicides. This means that the planting of a new genetically engineered (GE) variety of corn, which requires substantial weed killer use, will not be restricted in any way. The syndrome of ‘more-corn, more-pesticides, more-poisoning, more-contamination’ must stop‚ÄĒas we effect an urgent systemic transformation to productive and profitable organic production practices. Because USDA is proposing to allow a new herbicide-dependent crop under the Plant Protection Act, the agency must, but does not, consider the adverse impacts associated with the production practices on other plants and the effects on the soil in which they are grown. Business as usual is not an option for a livable future. Sign the petition. Tell USDA we don’t need more use of 2,4-D, Dicamba, and other toxic herbicides associated with the planting of new GE corn. Bayer-Monsanto has developed multi-herbicide tolerant MON 87429 maize, which is tolerant to the herbicides 2,4-D, dicamba, glyphosate, glufosinate, and aryloxyphenoxypropionate (AOPP) acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase (ACCase) inhibitors (so-called ‚ÄúFOP‚ÄĚ herbicides, such as quizalofop). Now the company wants this corn to be deregulated‚ÄĒallowing it to be planted and the herbicides […]

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Bayer-Monsanto Chalks Up Court Victory that Takes Cancer Warning Off Roundup™-Glyphosate in California, Makes Case for Fundamental Overhaul of Pesticide Law

Friday, June 26th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2020) A court decision in California, challenging a cancer warning on products containing the weed killer glyphosate, highlights the distinct  ways in which scientific findings are applied under regulatory standards, in toxic tort cases evaluated by juries, and by consumers in the marketplace. These differences came into focus as a U.S. court quashed California‚Äôs decision to require cancer warning labels on glyphosate products on June 22. The ruling, by Judge William Shubb of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, bars the state from requiring labeling that warns of potential carcinogenicity on such herbicides. The World Health Organization‚Äôs International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2015 classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. At this point, Monsanto began a worldwide campaign to challenge glyphosate‚Äôs cancer classification. The IARC finding spurred the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, in the same year, to announce that glyphosate would be listed as a probable cancer-causing chemical under California‚Äôs Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65). With that announcement came another: the state would mandate that cancer warning labels be applied to glyphosate-based products in the state when any of four […]

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Bayer-Monsanto, Committed to Continued Sales of Roundup™-Glyphosate, Announces $10.9 Billion Settlement with Cancer Victims, Protects Company from Future Trials by Jury

Thursday, June 25th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 25, 2020) Facing approximately 125,000 lawsuits on cancer caused by the weed killer Roundup™ (glyphosate), Bayer/Monsanto announced yesterday that it will pay up to $10.9 billion to resolve current and potential future litigation. According to Bayer, the settlement will ‚Äúbring closure‚ÄĚ to approximately 75% of current Roundup™ litigation. ‚ÄúThe company will make a payment of $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion to resolve the current Roundup™ litigation, including an allowance expected to cover unresolved claims, and $1.25 billion to support a separate class agreement to address potential future litigation,‚ÄĚ according to Bayer‚Äôs press release. At the same time the company announced a $400 million settlement with farmers whose crops have been damaged by the weed killer dicamba and $820 million for PCB water litigation. Bayer is a German multinational pharmaceutical and chemical company that purchased Monsanto for $63 billion in 2018. Bayer‚Äôs stock price increased by 2.5% after the news of the settlements. Bayer Settles, but Defends the Safety of Roundup™As expected, Bayer is not acknowledging any harm caused by glyphosate. According to chief executive officer of Bayer, Werner Baumann, ‚ÄúThe decision to resolve the Roundup™ litigation enables us to focus fully on the critical supply of healthcare […]

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Court Victory on Three Dicamba Weed Killers Underscores the Need to Reform Pesticide Law

Wednesday, June 17th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 17, 2020) The June 3 decision in a high-profile ‚Äúdicamba case‚ÄĚ ‚ÄĒ against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and for the plaintiffs, a coalition of conservation groups ‚ÄĒ was huge news in environmental advocacy, agriculture, and agrochemical circles. The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated EPA‚Äôs 2018 conditional registration of three dicamba weed killer products for use on an estimated 60 million acres of DT (dicamba-tolerant through genetic modification/engineering) soybeans and cotton. There is, however, a related issue that accompanies this and many other pesticide cases. When EPA decides to cancel or otherwise proscribe use of a pesticide (usually as a result of its demonstrated toxicity and/or damage during litigation), the agency will often allow pesticide manufacturers to continue to sell off ‚Äúexisting stocks‚ÄĚ of a pesticide, or growers and applicators to continue to use whatever stock they have or can procure. Beyond Pesticides has opposed, covered, and litigated against this practice. To greenlight predictable harm is a violation of any recognized moral code, never mind of the agency‚Äôs mission ‚ÄĒ ‚Äúto protect human health and the environment.‚ÄĚ According to Beyond Pesticides, EPA should never permit continued use of a dangerous pesticide once that compound‚Äôs […]

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Milkweed in Western Monarch Habitat Found to be Completely Contaminated with Pesticides

Friday, June 12th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 12, 2020) New research finds that western monarch milkweed habitat contains a ‚Äúubiquity of pesticides‚ÄĚ that are likely contributing to the decline of the iconic species. The research, published in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, provides a grim snapshot of a world awash in pesticides, and raises new questions about the U.S. regulatory process that continues to allow these toxic chemicals on to the market without adequate review and oversight. “We expected to find some pesticides in these plants, but we were rather surprised by the depth and extent of the contamination,” said Matt Forister, PhD, a butterfly expert, biology professor at the University of Nevada, Reno and co-author of the paper in a press release. “From roadsides, from yards, from wildlife refuges, even from plants bought at stores‚ÄĒdoesn’t matter from where‚ÄĒit’s all loaded with chemicals. We have previously suggested that pesticides are involved in the decline of low elevation butterflies in California, but the ubiquity and diversity of pesticides we found in these milkweeds was a surprise,” Dr. Forister said. The researchers collected over 200 milkweed samples from nearly 20 different sites across the Central Valley of California, as well as from retailers that sell milkweed […]

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Federal Court Halts Use of Drift-Prone Dicamba on Millions of Acres of GE Soy and Cotton

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2020) Use of the weed killer dicamba on genetically engineered (GE) cotton and soybeans is now prohibited after a federal court ruling against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week. A coalition of conservation groups filed suit in 2018 after EPA renewed a conditional registration for dicamba‚Äôs ‚Äėover the top‚Äô (OTT) use on GE cotton and soy developed to tolerate repeated sprayings of the herbicide. “For the thousands of farmers whose fields were damaged or destroyed by dicamba drift despite our warnings, the National Family Farm Coalition is pleased with today’s ruling,” said National Family Farm Coalition president Jim Goodman in a press release. First registered in the late 1960s, dicamba has been linked to cancer, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, birth defects, and kidney and liver damage. It is also toxic to birds, fish and other aquatic organisms, and known to leach into waterways after an application. It is a notoriously drift-prone herbicide. Studies and court filings show dicamba able to drift well over a mile off-site after an application. Bayer‚Äôs Monsanto thought they could solve this problem. The ‚ÄúRoundup Ready‚ÄĚ GE agricultural model the company developed, with crops engineered to tolerate recurrent applications of their […]

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EU Proposes 2030 Goal to Reduce Pesticide Use by 50% and Increase Arable Land in Organic Production by At Least 17%

Tuesday, May 26th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2020)¬†Across the pond, the European Commission (EC) has announced plans to protect biodiversity and build a more sustainable food system, and identified the reduction of pesticide use¬† and the expansion of organic agriculture as pillars of the scheme. The EC expects that the initiative, which will require EU member states‚Äô endorsement, will advance progress on the EU goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, given that 10% of emissions arise from the agricultural sector. The EC‚Äôs goals are important and laudable, but Beyond Pesticides is clear: reduction of pesticide use in service of them is not an adequate strategy to ensure long-term success. Genuine success requires the elimination of the use of synthetic chemical pesticides, fertilizers, and other toxic inputs, and the transition to agricultural and land management systems that work with nature, rather than fight against it. Regenerative, organic practices are the path to a livable future, according to Beyond Pesticides. The EC, which is the executive branch of the EU, expects its plan to reduce use of pesticides by 50% by 2030; reduce use of antimicrobial chemicals, including antibiotics, in fish and animal farming by 50%; dedicate a minimum of 25% of arable […]

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Study Finds an Association between Dicamba Use and Increased Risk of Developing Various Cancers

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2020) Use of the herbicide dicamba increases humans’ risk of various acute and chronic cancers, according to¬†research¬†published in the¬†International Journal of Epidemiology¬†by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Many pesticides are¬†‚Äúknown or probable‚Ä̬†carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), and their widespread use only amplifies chemical hazards, adversely affecting human health. However, past research lacks comprehensive information regarding human health effects associated with long-term pesticide use. This study highlights the significant role that long-term research plays in identifying potential health concerns surrounding registered pesticides, especially as¬†the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) plans to reaffirm¬†its decision to allow dicamba use on genetically engineered (GE) crops. Nathan Donley, Ph.D., a scientist with the environmental health program at the Center for Biological Diversity, comments: ‚ÄúThis sweeping study exposes the terrible human cost of the EPA‚Äôs reckless decision to expand the use of dicamba. [‚Ķ]For the EPA to approve widespread use of this poison across much of the country without assuring its safety to people and the environment is an absolute indictment of the agency‚Äôs persistent practice of rubber-stamping dangerous pesticides.‚ÄĚ Dicamba‚ÄĒa benzoic acid chemical that controls broadleaf weeds‚ÄĒis one of the most widely applied herbicides in corn production. As a result of¬†weed resistant to […]

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Animal Fodder – A Driver of the Global Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) Industry

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, April 30, 2020) Chemical-intensive farming of crops for animal fodder powers the global market for highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs), according to data analyzed by Unearthed,¬†and the Swiss NGO Public Eye. Animal fodder production not only intensifies global pollution, but it also increases pesticide exposure and degrades human, animal, and environmental health. This data analysis supports advocates advancing pesticide policies to eliminate HHPs by identifying which toxic chemicals lead global pesticide sales. However, it will take more than eliminating the worst chemicals to address the impending biodiversity collapse and the climate crisis, according to experts who point to the need for an urgent shift to organic land and agricultural management practices. United Nations‚Äô (UN) special rapporteur on toxic substances and human rights, Baskut Tuncak, says, ‚ÄúThere is nothing sustainable about the widespread use of highly hazardous pesticides for agriculture. Whether they poison workers, extinguish biodiversity, persist in the environment, or accumulate in a mother‚Äôs breast milk, these are unsustainable, cannot be used safely, and should have been phased out of use long ago.‚Ä̬† Unearthed¬†and Public Eye investigated over $23 billion in global pesticide market sales to determine the proportion of pesticides considered highly hazardous by the Pesticide Action Network‚Äôs […]

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Monarch Butterfly Larvae Adversely Affected by Pesticide Drift from Contiguous Soybean and Maize Crop Fields

Thursday, April 23rd, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, April 23, 2020) Pesticide spray drift from adjacent farmlands expose butterfly larvae to lethal pesticide concentrations, according to research published in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry by¬†Iowa State University (ISU). Lack of previous experimental pesticide toxicity data makes it unclear as to what degree insecticides impact monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) productivity in milkweed (Asclepias spp.) habitats near pesticide-treated pasture. This study adds weight to the idea that pesticides are playing a role in the ongoing decline of this iconic butterfly, as researchers find insecticide drift from adjacent fields to be strongly associated with larval mortality. Future monarch butterfly conservation efforts should consider risks stemming from pesticide exposure when developing butterfly rehabilitation efforts, according to advocates. As co-author Niranjana Krishnan (ISU graduate student) states, ‚ÄúIn order to make the best decisions about how and where to plant milkweed, we first need to find basic toxicity and exposure data.‚Ä̬† ISU researchers established monarch butterfly colonies by collecting larvae from roadside milkweeds, which they then reared in the laboratory for incubation. To analyze the relative toxicity of various insecticides on monarch butterflies, researchers applied normal field-application rates of each pesticide at different larval development stages. Scientists used a bioassay to measure the […]

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