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Successes of the Past Help Meet Challenges of the Future: Have a Healthy New Year

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, December 24, 2016) Beyond Pesticides thanks our members and supporters for being a part of a critical movement to advance sustainable and organic land and building management in 2016. As our Daily News takes a holiday break, returning Tuesday, January 3, 2017, we hope you will join us in reflecting on the progress made this year, and the critical challenges that lie ahead. The road ahead We are entering a period in our nation’s history with many serious concerns about the protection of public health and the environment. We have heard the President-elect’s rhetoric about the overreach of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the burden of regulatory compliance, and the need to dismantle environmental programs. The nominee for EPA Administrator is on record as challenging science and the value of environmental protection. In contrast, we have learned over the last several decades that protection of the environment contributes to a productive economy and healthier people. Beyond Pesticides’ databases track the scientific literature on pesticide hazards and alternatives, which clearly document the value of healthy ecosystems in providing ecosystem services that translate to reduced costs for farmers and land managers. Whether we’re talking about bees and other pollinators or predator insects, […]

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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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United Nations Addresses the Alarming Rise of Antibiotic Resistance

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2016) Yesterday, the United Nations (UN) gathered to address the alarming rise of antibiotic resistance at a day-long meeting in New York. The UN General Assembly, made up of delegates from 193 countries, has only convened health-related meetings on three other issues: Ebola, HIV, and noncommunicable diseases. According to the World Health Organization, which collaborates with the UN on health-related priorities, “Antimicrobial resistance has become one of the biggest threats to global health, such as human development.” At this high-profile meeting, Heads of State and Heads of Delegations addressed the urgency of the situation and discussed multisectoral approaches to addressing antimicrobial resistance. This UN meeting elevated the discussion to a historic level and led to the approval of a declaration, but did not result in legally binding actions and failed to include language to eliminate excessive antibiotic use in animal agriculture. In an interview with Vox, Kevin Outterson, Professor of Law at Boston University, stated that “it has taken 15 years to get [antimicrobial resistance] back on the global agenda” since the UN last tried to take action in September 2001. Experts are warning that we may be entering or have already entered a post-antibiotic era […]

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FDA Bans Antibacterial Pesticide Triclosan in Soaps, While EPA Allows Its Use in Common Household Products and Toys

Tuesday, September 6th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides,  September 6, 2016) “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) decision today to remove the antibacterial triclosan, found in liquid soaps (toothpaste use will remain), is a long time coming,” Jay Feldman, Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides, said today. He continued: “The agency’s failure to regulate triclosan for near two decades, as the law requires, put millions of people and the environment at unnecessary risk to toxic effects and elevated risk to other bacterial diseases. Now, FDA should remove it from toothpaste and EPA should immediately ban it from common household products from plastics to textiles.” Many companies had decided under consumer pressure to remove triclosan from its liquid soap products years ahead of the FDA decision today. FDA’s announcement today indicates that soaps containing the antibacterial ingredient triclosan do not have substantiated germ-killing health benefits. Beyond Pesticides raised concerns about the health effects of triclosan in 2004 in its piece The Ubiquitous Triclosan, and petitioned the agency to ban the chemical in 2005. In 2015, triclosan was banned in the European Union. For nearly two decades, scientific studies have disputed the need for the chemical and linked its widespread use to health and environmental effects and the development […]

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Walmart Takes Limited Step to Eliminate Toxic Ingredients in Products It Sells

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, July 22, 2016) This week, Walmart released the names of eight chemicals, including one pesticide,  classified as High Priority Chemicals (HPCs), which it has asked suppliers to remove from their products. The HPCs are a subset of Walmart’s list of Priority Chemicals (PCs), which is compiled from chemicals identified as hazardous by a number of state, national, and international authorities. In 2013, Walmart released a Sustainable Chemistry Policy and pledged to increase transparency of product ingredients, advance safer formulations of products, and to attain U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Safer Choice certification for Walmart’s own private brand products. After three years, Walmart has not hit the mark on many of its stated goals. The transparency provision of the Sustainable Chemistry Policy requires all suppliers to provide full online ingredient disclosure beginning January 2015 and Walmart Priority Chemicals on packaging beginning January 2018. Walmart says that 78% of suppliers responding reported disclosure for all products. For their goal of advancing safer formulations of products, Walmart focused on reducing the HPCs. Importantly, seven of the eight high priority chemicals are undisclosed so-called “inert” ingredients in pesticide products, which should be disclosed under the policy. However, the disclosure occurs through the […]

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NY State Senator Calls For Statewide Triclosan Ban

Friday, November 6th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, November 6, 2015) New York State Senator Tim Kennedy (D-NY) has called for a statewide ban on triclosan, one of the most prevalent antibacterial compounds found in common household products. Minnesota is the only state to have passed a triclosan  ban. If passed, the New York Bill (Bill S6070) would prohibit the sale of cleaning products containing triclosan, triclocarban, or derivatives of similar antibacterial compounds, and mark a clear victory for human health and safety interests within the state. Triclosan has been used for over 30 years in the U.S., mostly in a medical setting, but more recently in consumer products. Beyond Pesticides has generated extensive documentation  of the potential human and environmental health effects of triclosan and its cousin triclocarban, called on manufacturers to stop using triclosan in its products and retailers to stop carrying these products, and previously petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the cancellation of registered products that contain the antibacterial pesticide. In May 2015, EPA issued its long-awaited response to the Citizen Petition filed by Beyond Pesticides and Food & Water Watch, denying the request. When introduced to the market in 1972, triclosan was confined to hospital and health care settings. Since […]

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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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Safety Concerns Raised as California Turns to Synthetic Turf to Save Water

Monday, September 28th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, September 28, 2015) On September 4, in an attempt to curb the overuse of water on lawns, Governor Jerry Brown of California signed into law Bill (AB 349)  (effective immediately), which prohibits homeowner associations (HOAs) from barring the installation of synthetic turf. Artificial turf has become popular over the years, and is now widely used on athletic fields and lawns across the U.S. While praised as a solution for drought-stricken states, synthetic turf has fallen under scrutiny.  A NBC investigative report raised safety concerns regarding rubber infill in the turf. Parents and administrators are looking for alternatives to replace rubber infill beneath the turf, but unfortunately the available solutions do not address all the dangers associated with artificial turf. With all forms of synthetic turf, toxic pesticides and antimicrobials are still needed for maintenance, putting children and athletes in danger. Crumb rubber, the most common infill material used in synthetic turf systems, has, according to a recent report by Environment and Human Health, Inc., carcinogenic potential and poses a danger to the health of children and athletes. Now, parents and administrators are turning to organic infill as a replacement, which consists of coconut husks, fibers and cork. While […]

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Legislative Proposal for Voluntary Action Fails to Protect Great Lakes from Toxic Runoff

Monday, July 27th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, July 27, 2015) Two Michigan Representatives have introduced the Great Lakes Assurance Program Verification Act (HR 3120) in an effort to halt the pollution of the Great Lakes and other waterways by protecting them from agricultural run-off, which causes dangerous algae blooms ­. While the proposed legislation aims to reduce the effects of pesticides in water, the bill still allows the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers, and is only a voluntary measure, something that environmentalists says falls short. The bill is sponsored by Candice Miller (R-MI) and co-sponsored by Tim Walberg (R-MI). The bill aims to mimic the state program Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program (MAEAP). Adopted in 1999, the MAEAP is a voluntary three-phase program that provides “on-farm verification to ensure the farmer has implemented environmentally sound practices.” This raises two concerns: lack of incentive for farmers to join the program and ambiguous language defining what environmentally sound means. The results of MAEAP are the driving force in the fight for federal Great Lakes legislation, but those numbers do not necessarily speak for themselves. A major goal of the MAEAP is the Farmstead System which, “focuses primarily on protecting surface and ground water” through the safe […]

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Colgate-Palmolive Pays $2mil to Settle Litigation on Lack of Efficacy of Its Triclosan Soaps

Wednesday, July 1st, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, July 1, 2015) — SoftSoap manufacturer, Colgate-Palmolive Co., has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a class action suit that alleged  the company misled consumers into thinking its brand of Softsoap Antibacterial liquid hand soaps killed most common germs, when in fact they do not, according to documents filed in New Hampshire federal court. After years in court, Colgate Palmolive decided to settle “in order to avoid the cost and uncertainty of continued litigation.” Triclosan’s use in hand soap has been shown to be no more effective than regular soap and water. Its links to public health hazards, including endocrine disruption, antibacterial resistance, and water contamination, has raised the question of its necessity in over the counter consumer products, given the hazards. Triclosan, an antimicrobial pesticide used in many “antibacterial” hand soaps, as well as thousands of other consumer goods, such as toothpaste, cosmetics, and treated plastics and textiles, has been marketed as a ”˜germ killer.’ However, its efficacy has been called into question by several agencies and independent studies. In fact, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Advisory Committee, and the American Medical Association both find that there is no evidence that triclosan is effective […]

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EU To Ban Triclosan, While EPA and FDA Reject Calls for U.S. Ban

Friday, June 26th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, June 26, 2015) The agency responsible for chemical oversight in the European Union announced today that the antibacterial pesticide, triclosan, is toxic and bioaccumulative, and will be phased-out for hygienic uses and replaced by more suitable alternatives. According to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), “[N]o safe use could be demonstrated for the proposed use of Triclosan.” This decision has renewed calls for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove the chemical from the consumer market. EPA in May rejected a consumer petition that asked the agency to ban triclosan. “We applaud this step to protect public health and the environment,” said Jay Feldman, executive director, Beyond Pesticides. The ECHA opinion states that, “Risk was identified for both surface water and for the non-compartment specific effects relevant to the food chain (secondary poisoning).” ECHA believes that any further risk mitigation for triclosan is “not considered realistic.” Triclosan is an antimicrobial pesticide used in cosmetics, personal care products and treated plastics and textiles. It has been linked to hormone disrupting effects, bacterial and antibiotic resistance, cancer, and impacts on aquatic organisms. The chemical’s widespread consumer use raises concerns over necessity and efficacy. […]

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Groups’ Petition to Ban Harmful Antibacterial Pesticide Rejected by EPA

Friday, May 15th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, May 15, 2015) ­ ­ ­In a response that took over five years, yesterday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its long-awaited response to a Citizen Petition filed by Beyond Pesticides and Food & Water Watch, denying the request to cancel registered products that contain the antibacterial pesticide triclosan, often sold under the trade name microban. The decision allows this toxic substance to continue to be sold nationwide in common household products, from toys, cutting boards, hair brushes, sponges, computer keyboards to socks and undergarments. The agency did, however, grant one request, and will evaluate and conduct a biological assessment of the potential for effects on listed species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the ongoing triclosan registration review. The cosmetic uses of triclosan, such as toothpaste and liquid soaps, are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and subject to a separate petition for which there has been no response since its filing in 2005 and again in 2009. “Numerous studies have shown that antibacterial soaps cause more harm than any of their perceived benefits,” said Nichelle Harriott, science and regulatory director  at Beyond Pesticides. “For the protection of human health and the environment, we […]

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Healthy and Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, November 26, 2014) On Thanksgiving, thank you for being a part of Beyond Pesticides and sharing and contributing to the vision necessary to protect the web and fragility of life. We believe that there is no time like Thanksgiving to think about how we can more effectively join together as families and communities across divisions and different points of view to find a common purpose in protecting the health of the environment and all that inhabit it. In this context, we at Beyond Pesticides are thankful for the energy, spirt, and vision of the people and organizations we work with. It confirms our belief that we will achieve the changes necessary to protect children, workers, pets, the environment, and the public at-large. Together, we affirm the right to (i) clean air, water, and land in our communities, (ii) toxic-free landscapes that are achieved cost-effectively without hazardous synthetic materials, (iii) safe places with reduced chemical threats where children grow up, and (iv) a healthy ecology where pollinators —bees, butterflies, and birds and the natural world— can flourish. Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for family and friends to eat, drink and be thankful for the bounty of the organic harvest. Unfortunately, […]

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Crops Take Up Pesticides, Drugs from Treated Wastewater Irrigation

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, September 23, 2014) A new study finds that the increasingly common use of treated wastewater on food crops can result in contamination from chemicals like DEET, triclosan, and pharmaceutical drugs. The study, titled “Treated Wastewater Irrigation: Uptake of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products by Common Vegetables under Field Conditions” and published in Environmental Science & Technology,  measures levels of 19 commonly occurring pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) in eight  types of vegetables irrigated with treated wastewater under field conditions. The analytes studied include compounds that are commonly detected in treated wastewater, including 16 pharmaceuticals (acetaminophen, caffeine, meprobamate, atenolol, trimethoprim, carbamazepine, diazepam, gemfibrozil, and primidone) and three  personal care products (DEET, triclosan, and triclocarban). The vegetable species included in the  study are carrot, celery, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, cucumber, bell pepper, and tomato, which were included because they are often consumed raw by people and are also among the most important cash crops in arid and semi-arid regions, such as southern California, where there has been a rapid increase in irrigation with treated wastewater. The study points to water shortages in many parts of the world and the U.S. as factors contributing to the increase in use of recycled […]

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School’s Back in Session, Leave the Toxins Behind

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 28, 2014) It’s back to school time again, which for many of our readers and parents across the country means the unnerving possibility of hazardous pesticide exposure at school from well-intentioned but misguided attempts to create a germ and pest-free environment. Because children face unique hazards from pesticide exposure due to their small size and developing organ systems, using toxic chemicals to get rid of pests and germs harms students much more than it helps. Fortunately, parents and teachers have many options for safer techniques and strategies to implement a pest management program at schools without relying on these toxic chemicals. Additionally, schools can further their students’ education beyond the lessons of the text book by providing habitat for wildlife and growing organic food in a school garden.  By going organic, your child’s school can become a model for communities across the nation. Beyond Pesticides has put together this back-to-school checklist of programs and steps you can take to ensure that you are sending your kids back to a healthier and safer environment. Get Organized and Improve Your School’s Pest Management Program Whether you’re a parent, community activist, landscaper, school administrator or employee, use these steps to […]

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Antibacterial Soap Exposes Health Workers to High Triclosan Levels

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 21, 2014) In case there wasn’t enough news about the hazards of the ubiquitous antibacterial chemical triclosan in the past week, another study published Tuesday finds additional risks associated with exposure to the pesticide. The study, Health Care Worker Exposures to the Antibacterial Agent Triclosan, led by researchers at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) finds that washing hands with antibacterial soap exposes hospital workers to significant and potentially unsafe levels of triclosan. In the study, published in the August issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, researchers analyze urine samples from two groups of 38 doctors and nurses at two hospitals, identified as Hospital 1 and Hospital 2. Hospital 1 used an antibacterial soap containing 0.3 percent triclosan, while Hospital 2 used plain soap and water. Workers at Hospital 1 had significantly higher levels of triclosan in their urine than workers at Hospital 2. “Antimicrobial soaps can carry unknown risks, and triclosan is of particular concern,” said co-investigator Paul Blanc, MD, a professor of medicine at UCSF who holds the Endowed Chair in Occupational and Environmental Medicine. “Our study shows that people absorb this chemical at work and at home, depending on the products […]

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FDA Questioned Triclosan’s Safety in Colgate’s Total Toothpaste in 90’s

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2014) Newly released documents from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reveals that regulators expressed concerns over the safety of triclosan in Colgate Total toothpaste during the product’s registration in the mid-1990s. This information was provided to the public by FDA after a Freedom of Information Act request by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and was posted on the agency’s website after inquiries from Bloomberg News. In addition to health effects previously identified by Beyond Pesticides, these documents raise concerns about the use of triclosan as an anti-gingivitis agent in toothpaste; a use which is not currently under scrutiny as FDA conducts its long-awaited health review of the chemical. Although FDA is requiring manufacturers of triclosan-containing soaps to prove that their products are not hazardous to humans and more effective than regular soap and water, triclosan formulated in toothpaste was not subject to a similar requirement as FDA had indicated that the chemical is effective as an anti-gingivitis agent. Colgate Total is the only brand of toothpaste on the market that still contains triclosan; GlaxoSmithKline, producer of Aquafresh and Sensodyne, removed triclosan from its toothpaste in 2009. And a focus on safer products seems […]

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Triclosan Found in Pregnant Mothers’ Bodies Transfers to Fetus

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, August 12, 2014) The presence of triclosan in soaps and consumer products ranging from cutting boards to pencils means constant exposure to a chemical linked to a wide range of adverse health effects. New data to be presented at the 248th National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society, reveals that 100% of pregnant women in a multiethnic urban population in Brooklyn, New York tested positive for triclosan in their urine. In half of the pregnant women tested, the chemical also showed up in umbilical cord blood. “We looked at the exposure of pregnant women and their fetuses to triclosan and triclocarban, two of the most commonly used germ-killers in soaps and other everyday products,” says study co-author Benny Pycke, Ph.D at Arizona State University. “We found triclosan in all of the urine samples from the pregnant women that we screened. We also detected it in about half of the umbilical cord blood samples we took, which means it transfers to fetuses.” In 2004, Beyond Pesticides published The Ubiquitous Triclosan, sounding the alarm on the rising use of an antibacterial chemical never adequately evaluated for adverse effects by the U.S. Food and […]

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Assessment of Triclosan Hazards Supports Call for Canadian Ban

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, July 16, 2014) The Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA) and Clean Production Action (CPA) released a comprehensive assessment of the hazards posed by triclosan and its chemical cousin triclocarbon Thursday, calling on the Canadian Government to create a comprehensive phase-out plan for these harmful antibacterial chemicals. The report, which finds that the chemicals are accumulating in the waters of the Great Lakes, also suggests that the U.S. and all provinces and states bordering the Great Lakes should prohibit use of the chemicals. The two antibacterial chemicals are commonly used in consumer products ranging from liquid soaps and toothpaste to kitchen cutting boards, and have come under increased scrutiny amidst human health concerns and lack of efficacy. The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) has been calling for a ban on the household use of triclosan since 2009, and in 2012, the Canadian government declared triclosan as toxic to the environment. In the U.S., Beyond Pesticides has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its counterpart, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (which regulates non-cosmetic products with triclosan) for years to immediately ban triclosan from consumer products, citing endocrine disruption, and other human health concerns. Last December,  FDA announced  it […]

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Few Doctors Educate Pregnant Women on Dangers of Environmental Toxins

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, July 2, 2014) According to a new study, few obstetricians offer their pregnant  patients advice on how to avoid environmental toxins that might harm their babies, even though doctors recognize that exposure to chemicals like pesticides, bisphenol-A (BPA), and metals can affect  a pregnancy. The study recommends that the medical community improve medical education and training, develop recommendations for prevention and less toxic alternatives, as well as lend support to policy change. The first of its kind study of prenatal counselling, published in the journal  PLOS ONE, Counseling Patients on Preventing Prenatal Environmental Exposures – A Mixed-Methods Study of Obstetricians, found that U.S. obstetricians and gynaecologists feel they lack the medical education and training, and evidence-based guidelines and tools for communicating potential environmental risks to patients. Exposure to environmental toxins, the researchers from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) found, is rarely discussed with pregnant patients, even though a national survey shows that 80 percent of physicians agree they should play a part in reducing patients’ exposure to toxins. But, of the 2,500 respondents, only one in five routinely asked  their  patients about these exposures, and just one in 15 said they received training on the harmful […]

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Take Action: Tell FDA to Remove Triclosan from Consumer Products

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2014) Triclosan, the antibacterial pesticide found in numerous hand soaps, toothpastes, and other cosmetics, has had a ubiquitous presence on the consumer market for over 30 years. But due to public pressure led by Beyond Pesticides, our allies, and concerned supporters, many manufacturers have been washing their hands of triclosan. Now after years of inaction, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is going to require data to support triclosan’s claims of being “safe and effective.” The time is now to let the agency know that triclosan is NOT safe or effective for human and environmental health. Raise your voice with a unique public comment to FDA! Use the sample letter below for guidance. Rising Evidence Against Safety Beyond Pesticides has generated extensive documentation  of the potential human and environmental health effects of triclosan and its cousin triclocarban. Studies show that triclosan can interfere with thyroid and estrogen hormones, and may promote the progression of cancer cells. This is alarming given that the CDC has found that 75% of the U.S. population contain triclosan in their bodies, even in breast milk, and at levels that are rising. Triclosan is an endocrine disruptor and has been shown […]

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Minnesota Bans Hazardous Antibacterial (Triclosan) in Consumer Personal Care Cleaning Products

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2014) The highly toxic and controversial antibacterial/antimicrobial pesticide triclosan has been banned from consumer personal care cleaning products in the state of Minnesota by an act of the state legislature. This public health measure,  SF 2192, signed by  the Governor last week, states that “no person shall offer for retail sale in Minnesota any cleaning product that that contains triclosan and is used by consumers for sanitizing or hand and body cleansing.”  The ban, along with the growing number of companies voluntarily removing triclosan from their products, responds to the concerns that environmental groups, led by Beyond Pesticides, have expressed on the health and environmental impacts of triclosan, which includes cross-resistance to bacterial infections with antibiotics.  Over the last week the Minnesota legislature has been on a roll in defending the environment and human health from the toxic effects of synthetic pesticides, including the enactment of  labeling legislation,  HF 2798, which will inform consumers about bee-friendly plants.   The triclosan ban legislation, which will take effect on  January  1, 2017, was  signed by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton on May 16, 2014  after it had passed both the House and Senate the week previously. One of  the […]

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Sewage Sludge (Biosolids) Contaminants Move to Groundwater

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2014) New research conducted in Colorado by the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) that examines contaminant transport of biosolids ””otherwise known as sewage sludge”” in soils, has found that the toxic fertilizer can leave traces of household chemicals, antibacterial, and prescription drugs. The research adds to existing evidence of the hazards of sewage sludge fertilizer by demonstrating that chemical contaminants are sufficiently mobile and persistent that they can easily be transported to groundwater, with implication for local drinking water. The study, entitled Dissipation of Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Biosolids Applied to Nonirrigated Farmland in Eastern Colorado,  sampled  regional wheat fields treated with sewage sludge processed in a nearby sewage treatment plant in order to determine contaminant levels and transport in soils. Researchers tested for a total of 57 contaminants of emerging concerns””chemicals that are increasingly being discovered in waters. Tests found chemicals ranging from antibacterial soaps, chemical cleaners, cosmetics, fragrances, and prescription drugs, such as the antidepressant Prozac and the blood thinner Warfarin, which had migrated down the soil column. In fact, 10 of the chemicals examined migrated to depths of 7 to 50 inches over 18 months after treated sewage sludge was applied. “These compounds […]

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