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Climate Crisis Unleashes Pesticide Contamination from Thawing Permafrost, Elevating Global Emergency

Thursday, June 8th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2023) A study published in Nature Communications finds that climate-induced thawing of permafrost (a ground that remains completely frozen for two or more years) threatens approximately 4,500 industrial sites in regions of the Arctic. These thousands of industrial sites used to store hazardous substances have an estimated 13,000 to 20,000 contaminated locations. Not only do these regions pose a grave ecological risk to the Arctic, but they threaten the entire globe. Many studies warn that thawing permafrost in the Arctic region can prompt the reemergence of greenhouse gases (e.g., methane and carbon dioxide), microbes, and hazardous chemicals (e.g., banned pesticides like DDT, heavy metals, etc.). Gases, microbes, and chemicals can drift near the poles, becoming entrapped in ice under the accumulating snowfall. As the global climate continues to rise and the climate crisis worsens, studies like this heed warning of potential adverse effects as ice encapsulating these toxic chemicals melt. Upon melting, some chemicals can volatilize back into the atmosphere, releasing toxicants into the air and aquatic systems, with the ensuing consequences. Microbes frozen for thousands to millions of years can also emerge from thawing permafrost, with unknown implications on human, animal, and ecosystem health. The melting permafrost is already […]

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Persistent Pesticides and Other Chemicals Have Made “Legacy” a Dirty Word as “Forever” Chemicals

Friday, May 12th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2023) With the growth of chemical-intensive land management over the last century, the world has been held captive by pesticide companies. For part of that time, it could be said the modern society has suffered from Stockholm Syndrome, a theory about abusive relationships in which one party exerts power over the other using threats, fear, and lies and the victim comes to depend on the perpetrator emotionally. During the so-called “Green Revolution” (circa 1945-1985), the world came to depend on vast amounts of fertilizers and herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. Many people believed that food, clothing, and shelter made from naturally-occurring materials such as fruit, flax and wood could not be provided to the world without pesticides. It seemed that science and commerce could indefinitely raise the standard of living around the world, perhaps leading to world peace. This is not what happened. Soon observers noticed the harmful effects of many pesticides, including their persistence in the environment, their tendency to accumulate in the bodies of humans and wildlife, and their influence on the risk of contracting many diseases, from cancer to asthma—not to mention the Darwinian inevitability of pest resistance. By the turn of the 20th […]

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Report Adds to Evidence of Widespread PFAS Contamination; Calls for Removal of Products

Thursday, May 4th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 4, 2023) One of the most widely used insecticides in California, Intrepid 2F, contains harmful levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), or “forever chemicals,” according to a report by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In fact, 40 percent of pesticide products in the report tested positive for high levels of PFAS. PFAS are common in non-stick cookware, cleaning/personal care products, food packaging, and other consumer products. However, these compounds are also in pesticide products. Despite evidence on the dangers of PFAS stretching as far back as the 1950s, federal agencies sat by the sidelines as the plastics industry continued adding the material to new products. From widespread presence in farm fields and sewage sludge to contaminated water bodies throughout the U.S., PFAS has made its way into the environment and our bodies. PFAS are even present in remote environments like the Arctic, Antarctica, and Eastern European Tibetan Plateau. A study published in 2020 identified PFAS as common products to which Americans are exposed daily. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that 98% of Americans have some level of PFAS in their bloodstream, with studies reporting PFAS compounds are detectable in infants, children, and pregnant women. With […]

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Protect Bees, Trees, You and Me This Earth Day 2023

Thursday, April 20th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2023) This Earth Day (Saturday, April 22, 2023), Beyond Pesticides urges individuals to spread awareness of the toxic pesticides that poison people and the environment and the safe alternatives that are available to safeguard communities and the surrounding environment. On Earth Day, reflecting on the beauty and wonder of the natural world highlights the importance of restoration and preservation to maintain the planet’s intricate web of life. However, the natural world on which life depends is under dire threat as the dependence on toxic chemicals (e.g., pesticides) enables ongoing environmental contamination. Mechanized and industrial human activity perpetuates ongoing toxic chemical contamination, resulting in massive die-offs of beneficial organisms, increased rates of autoimmune diseases, endocrine disrupting and transgenerational chemical effects, and widespread pollution of our air and waterways. Beyond Pesticides, has the tools needed to increase environmental awareness in your community. Therefore, this Earth Day, Beyond Pesticides continues to advocate for the adoption of organic practices and policies that alleviate threats to ecosystems and enhance biodiversity. Michigan State University professor Thomas Dietz, Ph.D. highlights, “Continuing the successes of environmentalism—an integration of science, a concern with human well-being and justice, and a recognition of the need to consider […]

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Spring into Action in 2023; Be the Best You can Be(e)

Wednesday, April 12th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2023) Spring represents a period of increased water, soil, and general ecosystem pollution, correlated with increased pesticide use and increased rainfall. Thus, April showers bring May flowers, and often pesticides. We offer this overview to share with friends, family, and your community in an effort to elevate the urgent need to eliminate pesticides and make the shift to organic land management. Pesticides are pervasive in the environment, affecting all ecosystems, including air, water, and soil. Like clean air and water, healthy soils are integral to ecosystem function, interacting between Earth’s four main spheres (i.e., hydrosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere) to support life. Pesticide use results in pervasive contamination of treated and nontarget sites. Even organic farmers and gardeners globally suffer from the widespread movement of pesticides through the air, water, and runoff from land. Attempts to protect property and ecosystems from pesticide use are a difficult, some say impossible, challenge. Efforts to prevent contamination become a large burden, with attempts to curtail pesticide drift with buffer zone areas and eliminate fertilizers or soil supplements with pesticide residues (e.g., manure and compost). Furthermore, the effects of climate change only exacerbate threats to ecosystem health, as studies show a […]

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Office of the Inspector General Slams EPA for Betraying Scientific Integrity. . . Again

Friday, March 31st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, March 31, 2023) A report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies the most recent event in the very long chronicle of EPA dysfunction that — put charitably — constitutes failures to enact its mission, and more accurately, sometimes crosses the line into malfeasance. In the report, OIG concludes that EPA’s 2021 PFBS Toxicity Assessment failed to “uphold the agency’s commitments to scientific integrity and information quality,” and that the agency’s actions “left the public vulnerable to potential negative impacts on human health.” As reported by The Guardian, “Trump administration appointees at . . . EPA meddled in agency science to weaken the toxicity assessment of a dangerous chemical.” Last year, Beyond Pesticide concerns about the myriad risks and harms of pesticides intersected with those about the PFAS (Per- and Polyfluorinated Substances) family of chemical compounds, of which PFBS is a member, when a study found very high levels of PFAS in multiple pesticide products. The EPA OIG explains why it undertook the evaluation that led to this report: “to determine whether the EPA followed applicable policies and procedures to develop and publish the January 19, 2021 perfluorobutane sulfonic acid […]

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Corporations Are Asked to Stand Up for Health and the Environment; Sell Organic Compatible Products

Monday, March 27th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, March 27, 2023) In a move labeled “risk mitigation”—that is, mitigation of the risk to its shareholders—Bayer-Monsanto announced in 2021 that it would phase out Roundup™ products containing glyphosate for the residential lawn and garden market as of January 2023. In taking this action, Bayer-Monsanto is making no admissions, and glyphosate products will still be available to farmers. However, Lowe’s and Home Depot are still selling the glyphosate-based lawn and garden products. Tell Lowe’s and Home Depot to eliminate Roundup™ and other toxic pesticides, promote organic practices, and sell organic compatible products.  In fact, since this is a voluntary reformulation, and Bayer-Monsanto has decided its own timing, the company cannot be held accountable to anything. The company could change its mind, and stores can continue to sell the glyphosate-based products as long as they want. And keep in mind that replacement versions of Roundup™ products are also toxic. RoundupÂź Dual Action, for example, contains the following active ingredients: triethylamine salt of triclopyr, fluazipop-P-butyl, diquat dibromide, and ammonium salt of imazapic. Thus, Bayer/Monsanto announces that it is changing the formulation of Roundup and moving away from glyphosate, while continuing to sell Roundup™ products formulated both with and without glyphosate—leaving consumers unaware of their risks. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has […]

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U.S. House Votes to Reverse Protection of Threatened Waterways; Will Senate Uphold Rule Set for March 20?

Friday, March 17th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2023) The U.S. House of Representatives’ Republican majority voted on March 9 to overturn a Biden administration rule that expands the definition of and protections for the “waters of the United States.” The rule, Revised Definition of Waters of the United States, clarifies that thousands of wetlands, smaller streams, and other kinds of waterways are included under the Clean Water Act’s protection provisions. The overturning resolution now goes to the Senate, and is expected to be taken up very soon; President Biden has said he will exercise his veto power if it reaches his desk. Were that veto overridden, this rollback would put at greater risk the nation’s waterways, from all sorts of pollution, including the more than 90% of the nation’s rivers and streams that are contaminated with five or more pesticides, according to Beyond Pesticides 2020 coverage. You can contact your U.S. Senators HERE to let them know you want them to support Clean Water by voting against legislation that undermines protection of our waterways. The rules promulgated by EPA and other federal agencies to protect the nation’s waters arise primarily from 1972’s Clean Water Act (amended in 1977 and 1987). That act, although […]

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Maui County, Hawai’i Leads Nation in Supporting Transition to Organic Agriculture with New Law

Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2023) In a move that will improve land access for MauiÊ»s organic farmers, Maui County Council passed Bill 160 (Kula Agricultural Park Phase I Expansion Area),  reserving 262 acres in the Kula Agricultural Park for practices that comply with the Organic Foods Production Act and USDA organic standards, and removing barriers in the application process in favor of emerging farmers. Councilmember Gabe Johnson, chair of the Agriculture, Diversification, Environment and Public Transportation Committee, sponsored the bill. “Regenerative agriculture is a forward-thinking system that works to nurture soil, protect water resources and biodiversity, and combat climate change,” said Mr. Johnson. “We need to create an environment that supports our farmers and agriculture economy.” Maui County currently has an operational 445 acre Agriculture Park, available for lease at the affordable rate of $100 per acre per month. All users of the current Agriculture Park practice chemical-intensive methods, making it an unsuitable area for organic farmers. In 2018, Maui County purchased an additional 262 acres to expand the Agriculture Park, and Bill 160 reserves the expansion area for organic practices, giving organic farmers the same opportunity for affordable land access. The Kula Agriculture Park expansion will be available for […]

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United Nations and White House Calls for Action to Protect the Oceans

Monday, March 13th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, March 13, 2023) The United Nations has just announced on March 4, 2023, an agreement on a new high seas treaty. The treaty, which must be adopted by member states and then ratified by at least 60 countries to take effect could be a critical development for meeting the UN’s COP15 “30 by 30” goal of protecting 30% of the world’s land and sea by 2030 to slow and arrest global biodiversity losses. The treaty represents a step toward implementation of President Biden’s “America the Beautiful Initiative” set in 2021, proclaiming “the first-ever national conservation goal” established by a President –a goal of conserving at least 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030.” However, he U.S. has a poor track record on approval of UN environmental treaties; approval requires a two-thirds majority affirmative vote in the Senate, and failure on that would block a Presidential signature and ratification. Meanwhile, a report just reissued by an international coalition of scientists led by Boston College’s Global Public Health Program and Global Observatory on Planetary Health and the Centre Scientifique de Monaco documents the widespread and growing pollution of the ocean. The full report, “Human Health and Ocean Pollution,” is […]

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193 Countries in the United Nations Approve Treaty to Stop the Oceans from Dying

Friday, March 10th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2023) Following years of discussions and negotiations, 193 United Nations member countries have just approved — for the first time — a draft treaty for protection of the globe’s “high seas” and their denizens. The March 4 adoption of the draft marks the achievement of a potential legal framework for such protections, but is also the beginning of “a long journey to ensure the world’s oceans are adequately protected for future generations,” according to coverage by NewScientist. As research out of Boston College identifies, our oceans are badly polluted by multiple substances — including pesticides and other agricultural runoff; industrial and petrochemical waste; and the synthetic chemicals embedded in plastics — that threaten human health. The treaty, which must be adopted by member states and then ratified by at least 60 countries to take effect could be a critical development for meeting the COP15 “30 by 30” goal of protecting 30% of the world’s land and sea by 2030 to slow and arrest global biodiversity losses. Beyond Pesticides has long covered the ecological harms of ocean pollution.  The treaty represents a step toward implementation of President Biden’s 2021 “America the Beautiful Initiative,” proclaiming “the first-ever national conservation goal” established […]

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Perennial Crops Identified as Tools to Fight Biodiversity Collapse

Friday, February 24th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 24, 2023) Among the solutions to the dire state of global biodiversity is, Civil Eats reports, perennial agriculture, which improves biodiversity both on- and off-farm. Increased adoption of perennial cropping provides critical on-farm habitat for many kinds of pollinators, insects, birds, and myriad additional creatures. Below ground, where plant roots remain active year-round, perennials create far-richer ecosystems for microbial communities and fungal networks. Planting annual crops — and often, the same ones year after year across huge swaths of acreage, as conventional agriculture generally does — leads to multiple bad outcomes: intensive synthetic pesticide and fertilizer use and the harms that flow from them; poor soils; erosion; inefficient holding and use of water; depleted carbon capacity; and a denuded above-soil landscape and diminished microbial, fungal, and nutrient environment below. Thus, perennial cropping boosts on-farm biodiversity as noted, and benefits off-farm biodiversity by reducing the unsavory impacts, on the broader environment, of traditional, chemically intensive, monoculture farming. Biodiversity loss has emerged in the past decade as yet another crisis humanity faces — one that continues to go unaddressed at the level the loss requires. Beyond Pesticides has written extensively about the crisis and the central solution of ending […]

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Toxic Train Derailment Raises Need for Systemic Change  

Tuesday, February 21st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2023) The recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, should be a reminder to all of us that problems with our reliance on toxic chemicals go beyond broadcasting them on fields. In order to get pesticides to their point of use, toxic precursors and ingredients must be transported. Toxic waste products are also delivered to a location where they may be burned or deposited in a landfill. In weighing the hazards of toxic pesticides, these ancillary hazards should also be considered. Tell EPA and Congress that all impacts of toxic chemicals—from cradle to grave—must be considered before allowing their use.      The freight train that derailed February 3, 2023 in East Palestine was carrying a number of toxic chemicals. EPA notified the railroad, “EPA has spent, or is considering spending, public funds to investigate and control releases of hazardous substances or potential releases of hazardous substances at the Site. Based on information presently available to EPA, EPA has determined that Norfolk Southern Railway Company (Norfolk Southern or “you”) may be responsible under CERCLA [Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act–Superfund] for cleanup of the Site or costs EPA has incurred in cleaning up the Site.” But […]

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Train Tragedy Highlights Law’s Failure to End Use of Needless Toxic Pesticides and Co-formulants

Friday, February 17th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 17, 2023) The February 3 derailment of a Norfolk Southern train in Ohio has been huge news. Less well known perhaps is that 20 of the 50 cars involved were carrying hazardous materials, defined by the National Transportation Safety Board as “cargo that could pose any kind of danger ‘including flammables, combustibles, or environmental risks.’” The incident resulted in a huge fire, evacuations, and worries about explosions and discharge of toxic chemical gases; on February 6, officials conducted “controlled releases” of some of the chemicals. Some of the toxic chemicals involved are precursors to production of synthetic pesticides. [Eds. Note: We are deeply concerned for the victims of this terrible crisis who are asking legitimate questions about contaminated drinking water and the effects of both the initial acute exposure after the derailment, resulting in the release of toxic chemicals, and long-term exposure to low levels of toxic residues in homes and the environment.] Among the compounds on board those 20 cars were “inert” pesticide ingredients (vinyl chloride, ethylhexyl acrylate, and isobutylene), an antimicrobial compound (ethylene glycol monobutyl ether [EGBE]), benzene (a carcinogenic solvent), and butyl acrylate. This event brings into high relief the cradle-to-grave issues that travel […]

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Estrogen-Mediated Cancers in Humans Have Links to Endocrine Disrupting Pesticides

Tuesday, December 13th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2022) Pesticides have a long history associated with hormone (endocrine)-disrupting properties that induce various molecular changes, prompting disease development. Adding to the science, a review published in Environmental Exposure, Biomonitoring and Exposure Assessment highlights how specific estrogen-mimicking pesticides increase the risk of disease, particularly hormone-related cancers among women (i.e., breast, ovarian, endometrial cancer) and men (i.e., testicular, prostate cancer). Like pesticides, endocrine disruptors are xenobiotic (i.e., chemical substances foreign to an organism or ecosystem). Many reports demonstrate that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can adversely affect human, animal—and thus environmental—health by altering the natural bodily hormones responsible for conventional reproductive, physical, and mental development. Endocrine disruption can lead to several health problems, including hormone-related cancer development (i.e., thyroid, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular), reproductive dysfunction, and diabetes/obesity that can span generations. Therefore, studies related to pesticides and endocrine disruption help scientists understand the underlying mechanisms that indirectly or directly cause cancer, among other health issues. Pesticides are one of the most potent xeno-estrogenic compounds, as estrogenic strength and environmental half-life exceed those of other xeno-estrogenic compounds. Focusing on organochlorine pesticides (OCs), the study evaluates the chemical effects on the physiological (anatomic) system to increase cancer risk. Using human studies, researchers assessed how estrogen-medicated cancer develops in women and men. […]

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Time Running Out To Save the Manatees, Effort Launched to Classify Them as Endangered

Monday, December 5th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 5, 2022) A petition filed last week with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) urges increased protections for the West Indian manatee after dramatic declines in its population over recent years. In 2017, USFWS downgraded the classification of the manatee from endangered—a category that broadly protects against “take,” defined as “to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct”—to threatened, for which an “acceptable” level of “take” is allowed. Following the downlisting of the species, manatee populations have declined dramatically. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to upgrade the Florida manatee to endangered and require protection from chemical pollution. Tell your Congressional Representative to cosponsor H.R. 4946 and your Senators to introduce identical legislation. Tell Florida’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to protect manatees. Florida manatees, a subspecies of the West Indian manatee (Trichechus manatus), can live as long as 60 years, weigh up to 1,200 lbs, and have no natural predators. The biggest threat to these peaceful marine mammals is human activity. Humans harm manatees directly through boat strikes and encounters with fishing equipment, canal locks, and other flood control structures, but the largest threat […]

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Glyphosate Induces Antibiotic Resistance in Deadly Hospital-Acquired Infection

Tuesday, November 8th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 8, 2022) Glyphosate weed killers induce antibiotic resistance in deadly hospital-acquired bacteria, according to a new study published late last month in the journal Scientific Reports. This is the latest finding connecting commonly used herbicides to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, with prior research showing glyphosate, 2,4-D, and dicamba able to create resistance in Salmonella and E. coli. While federal regulatory agencies continue ignore the role of pesticides in the development of antibiotic resistance, it is critical for states and localities to take action to protect their most vulnerable both from toxic exposure to these herbicides and the multitude of indirect effects caused by their use. This is all happening as antibiotic resistance is rising to dangerously high levels in all parts of the world, according to the World Health Organization. In the May 1, 2022 issues of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Samira Choudhury, PhD, et al. writes, “Often referred to as the silent pandemic, antimicrobial resistance claims the lives of over 700,000 people annually.” The authors continue, “A study suggests that if no actions are taken, antimicrobial resistance will cause 10 million deaths per year by 2050 and an economic impact of […]

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California Petition Seeks Removal of Hazardous Fumigant Linked to Climate Crisis

Thursday, November 3rd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 3, 2022) In a fight against global warming, environmental groups Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR) filed a formal legal petition in October 2022 urging the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to phase out the use of sulfuryl fluoride insecticides. Sulfuryl fluoride is a fluoride compound with various adverse health effects, including cancer, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity (reduced IQ), and reproductive damage. CARB added sulfuryl fluoride to its list of “short-lived climate pollutants,” being the only state to do so since 1990. However, California does not include sulfuryl fluoride in the list of GHG emissions to reduce by 2020 as researchers were unaware the chemical was a greenhouse gas (GHG) until 2008. These termite and food use insecticides are 4,800 times more potent GHG than carbon dioxide at trapping carbon in the atmosphere. Furthermore, sulfuryl fluoride has high global warming potential and can remain in the atmosphere for more than 36 years. The case of sulfuryl fluoride presents an all too familiar pattern of widespread chemical use without proper knowledge of health and environmental effects before implementation and a failure to take regulatory action on known hazards after allowed in commerce. Therefore, CBD’s […]

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Bill in Congress Will Pay for Treating Illness and Financial Impact Caused by PFAS

Friday, October 28th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2022) The Maine Congressional delegation — Senators Collins (R) and Angus King (I), and Representatives Chellie Pingree (D) and Jared Golden (D) — along with New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D), have introduced a bipartisan and bicameral bill — the Relief for Farmers Hit with PFAS Act — to help farmers who have been impacted by the scourge of PFAS (perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals. (The Senate version of the bill is available; the House version should be soon.) PFAS contamination has, as Beyond Pesticides documented in two Daily News Blog articles (here and here), become a huge, life-altering problem for agricultural producers in Maine and many other states. An early 2022 Safer States analysis of state-level legislation on PFAS demonstrated the extent of the problem via the response: more than 32 states have begun to act on the issue. Beyond Pesticides has covered the presence of PFAS in pesticides and pesticide containers, and in so-called “biosludge” or “biosolids”— realities that only reinforce the call for a rapid transition off of chemical-dependent agriculture and to regenerative organic agricultural practices that do not carry the enormous health and environmental risks of pesticide products and contaminated fertilizers. There […]

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While Allowing Indoor Pesticide Spray for Covid, EPA Seeks Advice on Improving Indoor Air Quality

Friday, October 21st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, October 21, 2022) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has just made two announcements, related to the quest for improved indoor air quality in buildings, that address mitigation of disease transmission — and that of COVID-19, in particular. Related to enactment of the National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, EPA issued guidance on the efficacy of antimicrobial products used on surfaces, and registered a new pesticide product the agency says can be used against influenza and corona viruses (some of the latter cause COVID-19 infections). In addition, EPA opened a 60-day public comment period “to solicit information and recommendations from a broad array of individuals and organizations with knowledge and expertise relating to the built environment and health, indoor air quality, epidemiology, disease transmission, social sciences and other disciplines.” Beyond Pesticides cannot help but note the irony of an intention to improve air quality that EPA couples with registration of a new, airborne pesticide for indoor use. EPA expands on its RFI (Request for Information) related to indoor air quality, saying that it is “seeking input from a diverse array of stakeholders . . . about actions, strategies, tools and approaches that support ventilation, filtration and air cleaning improvements, and […]

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Glyphosate Based Herbicides and Bee Health: The American Bumble Bee

Thursday, October 20th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticide, October 20,2022) Exposure to environmentally relevant levels of glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) weakens bumblebees’ (Bombus Terrestris) ability to distinguish between colors or fine-color discrimination. According to research published in Science of The Total Environment, a lack of fine-color discrimination skills can threaten bumble bee survivability through impact on colony fitness and individual foraging success. Much research attributes the decline of insect pollinators (e.g., commercial and wild bees and monarch butterflies) over the last several decades to the interaction of multiple environmental stressors, from climate change to pesticide use, disease, habitat destruction, and other factors. In the U.S., an increasing number of pollinators, including the American bumblebee and monarch butterfly, are being added or in consideration for listing under the Endangered Species Act, with specific chemical classes like systemic neonicotinoid insecticides putting 89% or more of U.S. endangered species at risk. Pollinator decline directly affects the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many plant species, both agricultural and nonagricultural, will decline or cease to exist as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly among native wild bees, limits crop yields. In turn, the economy will take a hit, as much of the economy (65%) depends upon the strength of the agricultural sector. As science shows, pesticides are one of the most significant stressors […]

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Washington DC Sues for Damages from Historical Pesticide Contamination, as Threats Persist

Tuesday, October 18th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, October 18, 2022) Washington, D.C. Attorney General (AG) Karl Racine is suing chemical manufacturer Velsicol to recover damages caused by the company’s production and promotion of the insecticide chlordane despite full knowledge of the extreme hazards posed by the pesticide. Over 30 years after it was banned, chlordane is still contaminating homes, schools, yards, private wells and waterways throughout the United States, including DC’s Anacostia and Potomac rivers. While the District’s focus on restitution and remediation for this highly hazardous, long-lived insecticide is laudable, many advocates say the city is not doing enough to stop pesticide contamination currently entering the city’s waterways. Despite passage of a strong pesticide bill in 2016 limiting toxic pesticide use on schools, child occupied facilities, and within 75ft of a waterbody, D.C. Department of Energy and Environment (DDOE) director Tommy Wells has failed to update regulations and enforce the law. Chlordane is an organochlorine insecticide, of the same class as DDT, and was likewise discussed extensively in Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Like other organochlorines, it is bioaccumulative, increasing contamination levels as it works its way up the food chain, and highly persistent, remaining in the environment for decades and perhaps even centuries, with breakdown […]

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EPA Asks Federal Court to Allow Reconsideration of Its Decision to Permit Paraquat’s Continued Use

Wednesday, October 12th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, October 12, 2022) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is asking a federal court for permission to go back and reconsider its decision to reapprove use of the highly hazardous herbicide paraquat, according to a filing submitted by the agency late last month. Advocates see the move as encouraging, since meaningful EPA action on this Parkinson’s-linked chemical is long overdue. Last year, advocates condemned the Biden Administration for its reapproval of the weed killer with fewer protections than those proposed by the Trump Administration, marking a deeply concerning sign for pesticide reform campaigners looking to the administration for positive change. EPA’s request is the result of a legal challenge brought by the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Earthjustice, Farmworker Association of Florida, Pesticide Action Network, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.  The groups argued that the agency’s decision to reregister paraquat was not legal based on substantial evidence that the chemical poses unreasonable risks to human health and the environment. While EPA made its initial decision to reapprove paraquat in the late days of the Trump Administration, it was under the Biden Administration that the agency reversed a proposed ban on aerial use, permitting broad-scale […]

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