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Acclaimed Scientists and Activists to Convene at 31st National Pesticide Forum

Friday, January 18th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2013) Joining the list  of speakers at Beyond Pesticides’ 31st National Pesticide Forum are Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D., the biologist best known for his research on the effects of atrazine on frogs, and Isaac N. Pessah, Ph.D., the  Chair of the Department of Molecular Biosciences at the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The conference will focus on cutting edge public health science, building resilience in our food system and communities, and bringing ecosystems back to balance, and will incorporate regional issues such as water and food sovereignty in the Southwest. The National Forum provides an opportunity for grassroots advocates, scientists, and policy makers to interact and strategize on solutions that are protective of health and the environment. The 31st National Pesticide Forum, Sustainable Families, Farms and Food: Resilient communities through organic practices, will be held April 5-6, 2013 (Friday afternoon and all day Saturday) at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM. Registration information can be found in our online store. The conference is convened by Beyond Pesticides, La Montanita Coop, and the University of New Mexico Sustainability Studies Program, and co-sponsored by local, state and regional public health and environmental organizations, including […]

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Happy New Year From Beyond Pesticides to You!

Friday, December 21st, 2012

Beyond Pesticides wishes our members and friends a happy, healthy, and organic New Year! Our Daily News is taking a holiday break and will return on Thursday, January 3, 2013 with renewed energy and vision to continue charging ahead. We look forward to working with you to make 2013 a fruitful, pesticide-free year for you, your family, your community and those most vulnerable. We are thankful for all our members and supporters who enable Beyond Pesticides to be a strong voice that works to protect our air, land, water, and food at home, in the workplace, and in local communities from policies that allow practices resulting in unnecessary and unsustainable poisoning and contamination. We hope you will consider a charitable donation to Beyond Pesticides. Whether you become a member, give the gift of membership, donate, or buy a gift from our online shop, your contribution can do a world of good. These unique gifts help protect human health and the environment from toxic pesticides, and will be enjoyed by your friends and loved ones throughout the New Year. As you reflect upon the passing year and contemplate your wishes for the next, we ask you to consider Beyond Pesticides vision […]

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Pesticide Exposure Linked to Rising Food Allergies in U.S

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, December 6, 2012) A study published in the December issue of Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology finds that exposure to dichlorophenols may be associated food allergies. Dichlorophenols are used as an intermediary in the manufacturing of some of the most commonly used pesticides, such as 2,4-D, and are also used to chlorinate drinking water. This study may help explain in part why food allergies are on the rise in the U.S. and already affect 15 million Americans. Lead researcher Dr. Elina Jerschow and her associates analyzed the urine of 10,348 Americans who were participants in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) of 2005-2006. Of the over 10,000 surveyed, 2,548 had detectable amounts of dichlorophenols in their urine, and 2,211 of those participants were included in the study. Out of these 2,211 people, 1,427 were found to have some form of either food or environmental allergy. Participants with higher levels of dichlorophenols are more likely to have allergies then those with low levels present in their urine. Researchers in this study argue that by consuming high levels of dichlorophenols individuals are altering the composition of bacteria in their stomachs. By over consuming dichlorophenols individuals are […]

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FDA Allows Lindane Use to Continue Despite Health Risks and Calls for a Ban

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, December 3, 2012) The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has denied a 2010 petition filed by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pesticide Action Network North America (PAN) to ban the insecticide lindane, which is harmful to human health and ineffective in controlling lice and scabies. Pressure had been mounting on FDA to halt the pharmaceutical use of lindane as, in addition to this petition, Congressman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), senior member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, asked FDA to stop the pharmaceutical use of lindane this past summer. Because of FDA’s decision, lindane is still an active ingredient in pharmaceutical insecticide products such as lice shampoos and lotions. Lindane was formerly used in agricultural insecticides until it was banned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use on crops in 2006. FDA regulates pharmaceuticals that contain insecticides and pesticides, such as triclosan, that are in cosmetics. Over 160 countries including the United States have signed on to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in 2001 which aims to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic polluntants. Lindane along with nine other chemcials was added to this list on May 9th […]

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Tips for an Organic, Least-Toxic Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, November 20, 2012) Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for family and friends to eat, drink and be thankful for the bounty of the organic harvest. Unfortunately, there are a host of pesticides, genetically engineered materials, and others in conventional Thanksgiving foods that not only impact human health, but threaten the environment. Read below for some easy tips and suggestions for a healthful Thanksgiving day feast. Organic, free-range, and local turkeys The turkey is the symbol of a traditional Thanksgiving meal. However, turkeys are often fed grains treated with pesticides, medicated with antibiotics, and engorged with steroids and hormones. Additionally, turkeys are often fed an inorganic arsenic, a known carcinogen, which is used to promote growth and for pigmentation. In order to avoid all these, your best bet is to invest in an organic free-range turkey (pictured right), which is free of hormones, steroids or antibiotics. Want to forgo the turkey altogether? Be sure to choose an organic meatless option. Avoid Genetically Engineered Food: Go Organic There are additionally, a number of Thanksgiving products that probably contain genetically-engineered (GE) ingredients (although the formulations are often considered proprietary trade secrets). According to GMO Inside, some common GE foods used during Thanksgiving […]

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Arctic Study Confirms Mother Whales Pass Contaminants To Fetus

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, November 7, 2012) Pregnant beluga whales pass to their fetus a portion of the persistent organic pollutants, PCBs and flame retardants, they carry in their bodies, report researchers who measured the chemicals in the animals’ blubber. The study is one of the first to show whales, like people, can transfer and expose their developing offspring to persistent contaminants, whose long-term health effects continue to remain unclear. A study of Arctic beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas) confirms that mothers can pass more than a tenth of their chemical burden of PBDE flame retardants and PCBs to their unborn calves. This study found that the mother whales transferred, on average, 11.4% (7.5”‰mg) and 11.1% (0.1”‰mg) of their polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) blubber burden to their near-term fetuses. Mammals transfer contaminants, usually persistent organic pollutants (POPs), during pregnancy to the developing fetus and during lactation when the baby is nursing. Lactation transfer has been well studied in marine mammals, but very little is known about the transfer of pollutants during pregnancy. POPs are resistant to environmental degradation through chemical, biological, and photolytic processes. Because of this, they have been observed to persist in the environment, to be capable […]

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Local Incidents Raise National Concerns Over Safety of Sewage Sludge as Fertilizer

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, October 9, 2012) Sewage sludge is big business in Channahon, IL, but many residents who live near fields treated with the fertilizer believe they’re the ones paying the price. Farms in the area began applying the “biosolids” in 2010, and residents say that’s when their health issues began, according to Morris Daily Herald. Biosolids, otherwise known as sewage sludge, are composed of dried microbes previously used to process wastewater in treatment plants. The material is increasingly being used in conventional agriculture, but its application is explicitly forbidden in organic production. This is because the sludge can contain high concentrations of toxic contaminants, such as pesticides, detergents, estrogenic hormones, antibiotics, dioxins, PCBs, flame retardants, and heavy metals. Past research gives credence to Channahon residents’ claims of adverse health effects as a result of living near sludge coated fields. A 2002 study revealed the material to be associated with an increased prevalence of Staphylococcus aureus infections, a condition known to cause skin rashes and respiratory problems, for people located in close proximity to biosolid application sites. “What they are doing is making a toxic dump of our area. It’s disgusting,” said Channahon resident Pat Budd in an interview with Kris […]

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CDC Releases Updated Tables for National Report on Human Exposure to Chemicals

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, October 4, 2012) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released updated tables for its Fourth National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, which was released in 2009. The new data includes updated tables for 119 chemicals and tables for 34 new chemicals, including updates for 2,4-D and triclosan and their metabolites. New metabolites of organophosphorous insecticides are added for the first time. Notably, the report found that concentrations of four metabolites of organophosphates generally increased among nearly all groups CDC measured, while levels for two generally decreased. Organophosphate pesticides, such as chlorpyrifos, are highly toxic to humans and the environment. Chlorpyrifos is a frequent water contaminant and a long range toxicant, exposing communities and polluting pristine areas far from where it was applied. Volatilization drift ””the evaporation of the pesticide after application”” is also part of the problem for chlorpyrifos. A 2009 study found the pesticide to have significant impacts on the growth and development of amphibians miles away from the site where it was first applied. A USGS study in 2007 concludes that the breakdown products of chlorpyrifos are up to 100 times more toxic than the original. The Updated Tables, September 2012, […]

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Johnson and Johnson to Phase Out Triclosan, Regulators Remain Unresponsive

Friday, August 17th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2012) Part of an increasing trend, health care and cosmetics giant Johnson and Johnson has announced that it will soon begin phasing out a number of potentially dangerous chemicals from its personal care brands, including the antibacterial triclosan. Beyond Pesticides and other groups, which have petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove triclosan from a vast array of consumer products, have urged companies like Johnson and Johnson to take action on the pesticide in the face of inadequate regulation to protect human health and the environment. Along with other chemicals such as formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane, the company cites consumer concern over the safety of triclosan as among its reasons for the alteration in its products. While the company downplayed any need for concern over the safety of triclosan, it also hinted that it was uncomfortable with growing body of science linking triclosan to a number of health concerns. The phase out is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2015. On a website the company developed specifically regarding the chemical phase out, it stated, in part, “In recent years, some questions have been raised […]

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Researchers Show Impaired Muscle Function from Antibacterial Chemical, Call on Regulators to Reconsider Consumer Uses

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, August 16, 2012) The antibacterial chemical triclosan, found in popular personal care products such as Colgate ® Total toothpaste and Dial ® Liquid Hand Soap, hinders muscle contractions at a cellular level, slows swimming in fish, and reduces muscular strength in mice, according to scientists at the University of California (UC) Davis, and the University of Colorado. UC Davis’s press release explains that the chemical’s effects are so striking that the study “provides strong evidence that triclosan could have effects on animal and human health at current levels of exposure.” The study, “Triclosan impairs excitation—contraction coupling and Ca2+ dynamics in striated muscle,” published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, enlarges a growing body of work linking triclosan to human and environmental health issues. In “test tube” experiments, triclosan impairs the ability of isolated heart muscle cells and skeletal muscle fibers to contract. Specifically, researchers evaluated the effects of triclosan on molecular channels in muscle cells that control the flow of calcium ions, creating muscle contractions. Normally, electrical stimulation (“excitation”) of isolated muscle fibers under experimental conditions evokes a muscle contraction, a phenomenon known as “excitation-contraction coupling” (ECC), the fundamental basis of any muscle movement, including […]

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Citing Lack of Efficacy, EPA Orders Hospital Disinfectant Removed from Market

Monday, April 30th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, April 30, 2012) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered the manufacturer of an antimicrobial disinfectant intended for use in hospitals to remove the product from sale. Citing a violation of the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA issued a Stop Sale, Use, or Removal Order (SSURO) on April 16 to Zep, Inc. for its product “ZEP Formula 165.” EPA determined through its Antimicrobial Testing Program (ATP) that this antimicrobial disinfectant was, contrary to label claims, ineffective against the debilitating and potentially fatal human pathogen Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (pictured right). EPA identified multiple FIFRA labeling violations after analyzing a sample of the product, which it collected on May 26, 2011. FIFRA requires a pesticide labeled as an antimicrobial pesticide to “disinfect, sanitize, reduce or mitigate growth or development of microbiological organisms.” When laboratory analysis established that “ZEP Formula 165” used in accordance with the label instructions was not effective against Mycobacterium Tuberculosis, the false label claim constituted a FIFRA violation. EPA cited the manufacturer for a second violation after determining that the sample it collected contained an amount of the active ingredient Para-tertiary-amyl phenyl that exceeded the upper certified limit that was established for that ingredient in […]

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University of Texas Students Vote to Ban Triclosan on Campus

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, April 19, 2012) The University of Texas (UT) Student Government body unanimously passed a resolution last month to ban soap containing the toxic antibacterial chemical triclosan throughout campus. If the ban is accepted by the University administration, UT would be the first university in the country to take an official stance against one of the most prevalent and dangerous antibacterial products available. Triclosan, which can be found in many personal care products, has been linked to numerous human and environmental health effects. Recently the Canadian government declared triclosan as an environmental toxin, proposing regulations to restrict its use. Student Government (SG) representative and public affairs graduate student Robert Love, who initiated the ban, says that officials in several different campus purchasing departments are open to phasing out antibacterial soap. For financial and environmental reasons, the University phased out the use of the triclosan-containing soap in restrooms across campus in 2008; however, it is still being used in other places on campus. According to a university spokeswoman, a campus-wide phase out would require an official decision. “What we’re saying is we need an outright ban on campus, and we need to kind of make a bold statement,” said urban […]

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EPA Publishes Human Health Benchmarks for Pesticides in Water

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, April 18, 2012) In the face of widespread pesticide contamination of U.S. waterways and the lack of drinking water standards for hundreds of pesticides, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced new health and environmental benchmarks for acute pesticide effects, postponing action on chronic effects to an unspecified future date. While a step forward in identifying hazards associated with pesticide use and exposure, benchmarks have been notoriously limited in fully assessing risks because of ongoing deficiencies in analyzing the complexities associated with chemical exposure, specifically a failure to evaluate the effects of chemical mixtures, synergistic effects, and health effects associated with consistent low-dose exposure. EPA notes in a newly released April 2012 factsheet, “Human Health Benchmarks for Pesticides,” that, “EPA has developed a table of human health benchmarks for approximately 350 pesticides that are currently registered for use on food crops. The benchmarks are for pesticides for which the agency has not previously issued a drinking water health advisory or set an enforceable federal drinking water standard. These benchmarks for pesticides will enable states, water systems and the public to better determine whether the detection of a pesticide in drinking water or source waters for drinking water […]

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Canada To Declare Triclosan Toxic to Environment

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, March 28, 2012) The Canadian government is set to declare the bacteria killer found in many toothpastes, mouthwashes and anti-bacterial soaps as toxic to the environment, a move which could see the use of the chemical curtailed sharply in Canada. Triclosan, the chemical in question, has been linked to numerous human and environmental health effects and has been the subject of petitions calling for its ban from consumer products. Health Canada has been probing the effects of triclosan on the body’s endocrine system and whether the antibacterial agent contributes to the development of antibiotic resistance along with the effect of widespread use on the environment. The draft risk assessment finds triclosan to be toxic to the environment but but does not find enough evidence to say it is hazardous to human health. The formal proposal to list the chemical as toxic to the environment will be published Friday. Triclosan exploded on to the marketplace in hundreds of consumer products ranging from antibacterial soaps, deodorants, toothpastes, cosmetics, fabrics, toys, and other household and personal care products. While antibacterial products are marketed as agents that protect and safeguard against potential harmful bacteria, studies conclude that antibacterial soaps show no health […]

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Landmark Court Decision Compels FDA to Act on Antibiotics in Livestock Feed

Monday, March 26th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, March 26, 2012) Organic and sustainable agriculture advocates achieved a milestone victory on March 23 when a federal judge ruled that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must act promptly to determine whether to ban subtherapeutic uses of antibiotics in livestock. The ruling is the latest step in a regulatory process that began in 1977 when FDA determined that feeding livestock certain antibiotics used in human medicine, including penicillin and tetracyclines, could promote antibiotic-resistant bacteria capable of infecting people. Despite its legal obligation to act, FDA has delayed taking action for over three decades and in late 2011 even terminated the original rulemaking process in an attempt to close the matter. In last week’s ruling, Judge Theodore Katz ordered FDA to notify drug manufacturers of its intention to revoke approval for uses of penicillin and tetracycline to promote growth in livestock. FDA must schedule hearings to let drug manufacturers make their case, and if the drug manufacturers cannot prove that the use of these antibiotics in livestock feed is safe, the agency must withdraw approval. The judge’s decision makes it clear that the voluntary approach FDA proposed last year when terminating the rulemaking process does not satisfy […]

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With Industry Objecting, EPA Sets Dioxin Exposure Limits for Acute Effects

Monday, February 27th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, February 27, 2012) For the first time since its initial evaluation almost 30 years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revised, despite objections from the chemical industry, its dioxin exposure assessment for acute human health risks –setting an “acceptable” level of 0.7 picograms per kilogram per day. Environmentalists said EPA’s estimated average exposure, currently at 0.5—3 picograms per kilogram per day, puts a portion of the population above the EPA danger threshold. Work on updating the health assessment began in 1991 and was partially completed with the February 12 release of the Final Non-Cancer Dioxin Science Assessment. While EPA characterized the findings as showing that “generally, over a person’s lifetime, current exposure to dioxins does not pose a significant health risk,” the Assessment establishes a daily “acceptable” exposure threshold, or reference dose, which the agency says is comparable to levels which people routinely experience. Beyond Pesticides reviewed the underlying chemistry and historical exposure patterns, including diet and human health effects of dioxins, in a recent Daily New blog entry leading up to the Assessment’s release. EPA’s decision to adopt its recommended reference dose of 0.7 picograms of dioxins per kilogram of body weight per day that […]

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FDA Backtracks on Removing Allowances for Antibiotics in Conventional Livestock Feed

Monday, January 9th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2012) The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on December 22, 2011 that it was terminating a rulemaking process begun in 1977 to reduce or potentially eliminate feeding low doses of certain antibiotics to healthy farm animals in conventional livestock operations. FDA had initiated the rulemaking and taken intermediate actions for more than thirty years in response to concerns that feeding livestock sub-therapeutic levels of antibiotics would spawn resistant microorganisms that could subsequently infect people. These concerns have been consistently validated by a substantial body of scientific evidence, including the emergence of bacterial strains resistant to many and sometimes all available antibiotic treatments. In announcing its decision to forgo binding regulatory action, FDA cited the potential for voluntary reforms imposed at the discretion of livestock producers and pharmaceutical makers to achieve an acceptable standard of public health protection. Dating to the 1940s, feeding sub-therapeutic doses of antibiotics such as penicillin and tetracycline to livestock has become so common that it accounts for upwards of 80% of those materials’ annual usage in the United States. The practice is chronic in the industrial-style production systems referred to as confined animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, in which the […]

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Happy Holidays from Beyond Pesticides!

Friday, December 23rd, 2011

Beyond Pesticides wishes our members and friends a healthy, happy and organic New Year! Beyond Pesticides’ Daily News is taking a holiday break and will return on Monday, January 3, 2012 with restored energy and vision to continue charging ahead. After three decades, we are in deep gratitude to our members for their continued support, as well as those who have joined us through online efforts to defend clean water from pesticides, get the antibacterial triclosan out of consumer products, or fight for strong organic standards as an alternative to pesticide-intensive and genetically engineered food. That’s why we’re reaching out to ask you, as we do twice a year, to support our work and make a donation this holiday season. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to Beyond Pesticides to help support work in these areas: ”¢ Children’s Health. Children are even more vulnerable to pesticides than adults. Studies link exposure to cancer, respiratory illness, neurological and immune system problems, ADHD, lower IQ and more. We fight to protect kids from pesticides at schools, in the community, and on the food they eat. ”¢ Organic Food. Pesticides pose a hazard to your family, as well as farmworkers and the environment. Our […]

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Report Highlights Risk From Antibacterial Chemicals In Clothing

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, December 21, 2011) The Swedish Chemicals Agency (Kemi) has published an analysis of the antibacterial chemicals triclosan, triclocarban and silver textile products that finds these antibacterial chemicals to significantly leach out of treated products after washing. In the case of triclosan and triclocarban, about half or more of the original content is washed out after ten washes. The report questions the necessity of antibacterial textiles and highlights concerns about the increasing use of antibacterial products, and the hazards these substances pose to waterways and human health. The antibacterial treatment is usually marketed and labeled with the stated purpose of preventing odors in textiles. The Swedish Chemicals Agency analyzed 30 textile articles (English summary on page 7), specifically three antibacterial agents incorporated into the fabric, including silver (nanosilver), triclosan, and triclocarban. Concentrations of the antibacterials in fabrics fell after washing. In the case of triclosan and triclocarban, about half or more of the original content was washed out after ten washes. In the case of silver, the original concentration and washed-out content varied to a large extent. After ten washes, 10-98 percent of the silver had been washed out of the textiles. After three washes, half of the silver […]

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Protect Kids’ Health, Bees and Clean Water in 2012

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, December 6, 2011) After three decades, we are in deep gratitude to our members for their continued support, as well as individuals who enjoy our online resources, like the Daily News Blog, or those who have joined us through online efforts to defend clean water from pesticides, get the antibacterial triclosan out of consumer products, or fight for strong organic standards as an alternative to pesticide-intensive and genetically engineered food. That’s why we’re reaching out to ask you, as we do twice a year, to support our work and make a donation this holiday season. Please consider a tax-deductible donation to Beyond Pesticides to help support work in these areas: — Children’s Health. Children are even more vulnerable to pesticides than adults. Studies link exposure to ADHD, lower IQ and more. We fight to protect kids from pesticides at schools, in the community, and on the food they eat. — Organic Food. Pesticides pose a hazard to your family, as well as farmworkers and the environment. Our work, including the online Eating with a Conscience guide, pushes for an end to chemical-intensive farming. — Protecting Pollinators. We need pollinators to grow many of the foods we eat. The […]

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Industry Study Touts ‘Safety’ of Triclosan Soaps, Dismissing Independent Adverse Effects Data

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, October 12, 2011) A new industry-funded study that claims to “Reaffirm Safe Use of Triclosan, Triclocarban in Antibacterial Soaps and Washes,” concludes that triclosan and triclocarban soaps do not facilitate antibiotic resistance and antibiotic cross-resistance. The study, sponsored by the American Cleaning Institute and the Personal Care Products Council, long supporters of the antibacterial pesticide triclosan, dismisses previous independent data that has identified triclosan as a promoter of antibacterial resistance and calls for precautionary measures against the unnecessary but widespread use of antibacterial agents. The study, “Investigation of Antibiotic and Antibacterial Susceptibility and Resistance In Staphylococcus From The Skin Of Users and Nonusers Of Antibacterial Wash Products In Home Environments,” found that there was no statistically significant difference in antibiotic resistance in the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus, exposed to triclosan and triclocarban soaps compared with those not exposed. The study collected swab samples from the forearms of participants that used triclosan, triclocarban, and a control group that used neither. The study’s conclusions are not surprising since this industry has been a vocal and active promoter of the antibacterial products they manufacture and represent. Beyond Pesticides has previously responded to the American Cleaning Institute’s (formerly the Soap and Detergent Association) […]

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EPA Fines Logitech for Antibacterial Claims, Consumers Are Misled by Marketing of Products with Antimicrobials

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, October 5, 2011) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered computer peripherals maker Logitech, Inc. to pay a fine of $261,000 for illegally advertising one of its keyboards as protecting users from bacteria and microbes. EPA found that the company made unsubstantiated public health claims about its keyboard, a violation of federal law. However, the widespread marketing of hundreds of products that are advertised as containing antibacterial ingredients (without a health claim), which EPA maintains is not technically illegal, underscores the misconception consumers have when purchasing products that incorporate ”˜antibacterials.’ Beyond Pesticides has ueged EPA to prohibit more broadly advertising references to these antibacterial ingredients, since they imply that public health protection extends to the user when in fact it does not. Logitech”˜s keyboard incorporates a pesticide- AgION silver -and then alleges protection from bacteria and other microbes. According to EPA, the company marketed the keyboard as protecting the user from bacteria and microbes. However, to promote the health benefits in this way, before products can be sold their product efficacy must be established in compliance with EPA guidelines under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Evidence found online and during an investigation in 2008 […]

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Triclosan Among Chemicals Detected in Narragansett Bay

Friday, September 30th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, 9-30-11) Researchers from the University of Rhode Island (URI) have detected the antimicrobial triclosan and other toxic chemicals in the waters of Narragansett Bay off the coast of Rhode Island. The chemicals are a group of hazardous compounds that are common in industrial processes and personal care products but are not typically monitored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Rainer Lohmann, Ph.D., associate professor of chemical oceanography, and graduate student Victoria Sacks, with the help of 40 volunteers, tested for the presence of the chemicals in 27 locations throughout the bay. The compounds were found at every site. “Being exposed to these compounds is the hidden cost of our lifestyle,” said Dr. Lohmann. “It’s frustrating that as we ban the use of some chemical compounds, industry is adding new ones that we don’t know are any better.” Although the chemicals were detected at very low levels, research has shown that many chemical compounds can still be quite toxic, even at low doses. Additionally, since triclosan is an antimicrobial agent, low concentrations provide the perfect environment in which to breed and select for bacteria that resist the effects of the chemical. “By themselves, none of these results makes […]

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