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

Thursday, July 9th, 2020

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

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With 400,000 Malaria Deaths Worldwide, Insect Resistance to Mosquito Pesticides Calls for Urgent Need to Shift to Alternative Management Strategies

Wednesday, July 8th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, July 8, 2020) Efforts to control the transmission of malaria are encountering a big, though predictable, problem: the mosquitoes that transmit malaria are developing resistance to at least five of the insecticides that have been central to limiting transmission of the disease. A study released in late June reveals a dramatic increase in resistance to pyrethroid insecticides and DDT across sub-Saharan Africa. This signals the failure of a mainstay chemical approach to the spread of malarial mosquitoes; this same problem — resistance — is happening with chemical management of agricultural pests and weeds, and with antibiotics to treat human bacterial infections. This study underscores a point Beyond Pesticides has made repeatedly: resistance to pesticides (whether insecticides, herbicides, biocides, fungicides, or medical antibiotics) is nearly inevitable. The solution to containing the spread of malaria lies not in the use of more and different chemicals, but in nontoxic approaches that respect nature and ecological balance. Malaria is a sometimes deadly disease caused by female Anopheles mosquitoes infected with any of four varieties of the Plasmodium parasite. The disease kills roughly 400,000 people annually, with half that mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. sees approximately 2,000 cases of malaria annually, primarily in […]

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Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, Including Pesticides, Have a Multi-Generational Impact on Commercially Beneficial Inland Silverside Fish

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, July 2, 2020) Exposure to low levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonly in waterways, including pesticides, can impact future generations of major commercial fish, despite no direct exposure to the chemicals, according to research published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science by Oregon State University (OSU) researchers. Many studies assess the acute or chronic health implications associated with endocrine disruptors on a single generation but lack information on multi-generational impacts that can provide vital information on the fundamental survivability or fitness of many species. This study highlights the significance of understanding the implications of endocrine disruptors, even at low levels of exposure, as parental exposure can have adverse epigenetic consequences for future generations. Kaley Major, a Ph.D. fellow at Oregon State University (OSU) and lead research author, explains, “What t[his] gets at is something your grandparents may have come into contact within their environment can still be affecting the overall structure of your DNA in your life today.” Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotics (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem). Past research shows exposures to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can adversely impact human, animal—and thus environmental—health, by altering the natural hormones in the body responsible for […]

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Household Pesticide Exposure Associated with the Risk of Developing Depression Symptoms

Thursday, June 18th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 18, 2020) Residential exposure to household pesticide products increases the risk of developing symptoms associated with depression, according to a study published in Environmental Research by researchers at Medical College of Georgia—Augusta University, School of Medicine—Jinan University, and Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), China. Research on pesticide-induced diseases commonly investigates pesticide exposure concerning the development of various physical illnesses, and previous studies show there are occupational risks of developing depression, especially in agriculture where pesticide use is rampant. However, there is a lack of information connecting pesticide exposure to the subsequent psychological (psychiatric) effects on the general population. Additionally, household pesticide exposure varies from occupational exposure via exposure frequency, duration, intensity, and type. This research highlights the significance of researching potential mental health effects resulting from pesticide exposure, especially as society tends to rank mental health risks second to physical health. The study’s scientists note, “Our results highlight the importance of the cautious use of household pesticides because the chronic effects of poisoning may contribute to an elevated risk of depression.”  According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects 322 million people globally, with the number of diagnosed patients increasing by 18.4% from 2005 to 2015. Although the etiology of depression—and […]

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Dogs (Canis familiaris) – Research Tracks Dogs’ Exposure to Contaminants in the Home, Serves as Sentinel Species for Chemical-Induced Human Diseases

Thursday, June 11th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 11, 2020) Researchers at North Carolina State University (NC State) and Duke University found that dogs can potentially operate as a sentinel, or indicator, species for environmental contaminate exposure – and subsequent diseases – in humans using silicone monitoring devices (i.e., wristbands, collars, etc.), according to research published in Environmental Science & Technology. Although scientists commonly use silicone devices to gauge organic contaminant exposure levels in epidemiological studies, the identification of chronic human diseases from pollutants remains challenging. Anthropoid (human) diseases can take many years to develop, even after initial contaminant exposure. However, dogs can develop comparable anthropomorphic diseases from susceptibility to the same environmental contaminants, but at a much quicker pace. This research highlights the significance of researching disease identification methods, mutual amid multiple species, to mitigate challenges surrounding long disease latency periods. Matthew Breen, Ph.D., professor of comparative oncology genetics at NC State, asserts, “If we develop ways to correlate dog disease with their exposures over time, it may allow human-health professionals to mitigate these exposures for both species. This study reinforces the concept of One Health, demonstrating that in addition to being our closest animal companions, our dogs are truly a sentinel species for health.” As […]

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Occupational Exposure to Pesticides, and Other Environmental Chemicals Increase Risk of Developing ALS

Thursday, May 28th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, May 28, 2020) Exposure to agricultural and industrial pesticides, solvents (thinners), electromagnetic fields, and heavy metals predispose humans to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), according to an Italian research study, “Environmental and Occupational Risk Factors of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis: A Population-Based Case-Control Study,” published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Although research supports ALS’s genetic etiology, epidemiologic research associating ALS risks and to environmental, or work-related risk factors (i.e., pesticide use, pollutant exposure, heavy metal exposure, etc.) has been inconsistent and non-definitive. This research demonstrates the importance of assessing aggregate health risks associated with occupational pesticide exposure, especially when determining potential exposure routes in specific occupational sectors. In the study, researchers note, “In particular, having an occupation in the agricultural sector, especially with a long duration of the working activity as well as occupational exposure to some chemicals…might increase ALS risk.” While scientists extensively study the epidemiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)—a rare, yet fatal neurodegenerative disease—occupational and environmental hazards inducing random (sporadic) or hereditary ALS diagnoses remain vague. With researchers predicting a global ALS incidence increase of 69% by 2040, identifying ALS’s causal factors are important to future research. In this research, Italian researchers conducted a case-control, […]

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Take Action: Tell USDA to Crack Down on “Organic” Livestock Factories

Friday, May 22nd, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2020) For years, USDA has been looking the other way as giant corporate agribusinesses, primarily producing conventional eggs and poultry, have squeezed family-scale farmers out of the market and misled and defrauded consumers. Due to a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration on the scuttling of new rules that would make it harder for factory farms to qualify for organic status, USDA is seeking input on what was previously an error-filled and biased economic assessment of the rulemaking. Please sign the letter by noon on Tuesday, May 26, to include your voice in our response to the official proceedings. If you would prefer to write your own custom comment you can submit it on Regulations.gov. Letter to National Organic Program (Jenny Tucker, Ph.D. To the National Organic Program: Please include my comment below in evaluating the economic analysis report pursuant to the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rulemaking. Docket number: AMS-NOP-20-0037 Both the current and previous OLPP analyses include the following misstatements and omissions: It is a misconception to refer to, and judge, the economic impacts of the OLPP as if the requirement for outdoor access was a new and onerous regulation. In fact, from the beginning of the USDA organic […]

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DDT Metabolite (DDE) and Other Banned Pesticides Found in Blood Sample of African American Women in Detroit

Thursday, May 14th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, May 14, 2020) Four banned organochlorine pesticides (OCP) are present in over 60% of a cohort of reproductive-age, black women in Detroit, according to a study published in Environmental Research by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH). OCPs are lipophilic (fat combining/dissolving), environmentally steadfast chemicals linked to harmful health effects. This study stresses the importance of monitoring pesticide accumulation, particularly regarding environmentally persistent chemicals and their metabolization via indirect exposure routes. Lead author Olivia Orta, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Epidemiology at BUSPH, highlights the significance of water monitoring—especially in light of historically disproportionately high hazards for people of color (e.g., Flint, Michigan)—and testing sources prone to OCP contamination. She remarks, “The sources that we identified as potential OCP correlates should be tested for pesticide contamination,[…] especially drinking water.” Environmental contaminants, like organochlorine pesticides (OCP), can persist in the environment decades after use stops, as OCPs have greater chemical stability and gradual attenuation. Minority populations are at higher exposure risk of environmental contaminants (i.e., pesticide) exposure that can catalyze adverse health and birth effects, especially in metropolitan areas. Although black women endure higher body burdens than other U.S. populations, there remains a lack of research surrounding the association. Boston University researchers enrolled […]

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Pilot Study Links Celiac Disease to Long-Lived Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, like DDT, in the Environment

Wednesday, May 13th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, May 13, 2020) A pilot study at New York University (NYU) provides evidence of a direct relationship between increased risk for celiac disease (adverse immune response to eating gluten) and exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals, including DDE – a metabolite of the infamous, bird-killing pesticide DDT. Researchers at NYU set out to elucidate the connection between the autoimmune disease and persistent organic pollutants (POPs), also known as “forever chemicals” or “legacy chemicals” due to their persistence in nature and the human body. The new research, published in Environmental Science, highlights higher odds for celiac disease among participants with elevated POPs exposure and differing results among male and female participants. Considering the complexity of these initial results, researcher Leonardo Trasande, Ph.D. says, “It’s not as if these chemicals were designed with the human body in mind; These chemicals were designed with materials in mind.” [See video overview here] Celiac disease produces an immune-mediated inflammatory response to the consumption of gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. Risk for celiac disease has long been associated with genetic factors, but increased prevalence of the disease inspired further research. Considering previous studies on the deleterious impact of POPs on the immune […]

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Earth Day 2020: The Road to Recovery is Organic

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020

In 1962, Rachel Carson said we stood at a crossroads: “The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster. The other fork of the road — the one less traveled by — offers our last, our only chance to reach a destination that assures the preservation of the earth.” Eight years later, on April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day encouraged collective action for conservation. Now, in the midst of a pandemic and cascading environmental crises (arguably, down the road of disaster), forging a new path toward restoration will take courage and imagination. This Earth Day, Beyond Pesticides is putting forth a toolkit to abandon half measures and forge ahead with an organic approach for repairing human health and the environment. LISTEN TO SCIENCE Biodiversity is plummeting worldwide. The climate crisis looms even as COVID-19 grabs headlines. Environmental pollution is a predictor of coronavirus death. Never has it been more obvious that the global community is interconnected, and enforcing preventative measures is critical before it is too late. Meanwhile, the Trump Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ignores science, moving ahead with deregulation to […]

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Household Pesticide Use During Pregnancy Linked to Nephroblastoma Kidney Cancer

Wednesday, April 15th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, April 15, 2020) Home pesticide use during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of a child developing the kidney cancer nephroblastoma, or Wilms’ tumor, according to research published in Cancer Epidemiology by a team of French scientists. Wilms’ tumor is one of the most common childhood cancers but has an inscrutable etiology. This study adds weight to the theory that pesticides are a driver of the tumor’s development, as pesticide use was more strongly associated than other widely investigated causes, including parental smoking and alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Families enrolled in an ongoing nationwide French study were questioned by phone about their lifestyle, including smoking habits, mother’s alcohol consumption, and household pesticide use. Participants were further segmented by their frequency of these risk factors, and pesticide use was narrowed down by type, including herbicide, fungicide, and insecticide use, as well as where the chemicals were used (indoor/outdoor). Researchers ultimately enrolled 117 families whose children developed nephroblastoma, and included 1100 families as a control. A regression analysis found no association between either parent smoking and incidence of the disease. Similarly, no pattern was found in the relation between maternal alcohol consumption and Wilms’ tumor. However, use of any […]

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Washington Farmworkers Harmed by Pesticides Walk Out, Demand Justice

Thursday, March 12th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, March 12, 2020) Farmworkers walked out of an orchard in Sunnyside, Washington on Friday, March 6 to demand improved working conditions. Over a dozen individuals cited unacceptable issues, such as toxic pesticide exposure, unfair wages, and lack of paid breaks. Their employer, Evans Fruit, owns and farms over 8,000 acres in the state. These workers represent the ongoing fight against injustice perpetuated by the chemical-intensive agriculture industry. Evans Fruit workers said the company gives insufficient protective gear and training before requiring workers to spray pesticides for most of their 12 to 15-hour workdays. Jorge de los Santos, who has worked for Evans Fruit for five years, told the Yakima Herald, “My eyes (were) constantly irritating me.” “All we’re asking for is for fair wages and fair (working conditions),” said Rene Isidoro, another farmworker. Evans Fruit declined to comment, but worker representatives said the company has been unwilling to negotiate. “The company basically said it was their way or the highway,” said United Farm Workers (UFW) of America Pacific Northwest coordinator Victoria Ruddy. “We are good workers, responsible workers,” Ms. Isidoro said, “We like the work we do. We want to do better in our work. We’re here simply […]

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South Asian Immigrants Exposed to DDT at Higher Risk of Diabetes

Tuesday, December 17th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, December 17, 2019) South Asian immigrants to the U.S. may be at increased risk of diabetes due to prior exposure to high levels of DDT, research published by the University of California Davis earlier this month indicates. The study highlights a blind spot for health care in the U.S., researchers say. “Our findings evoke a new interpretation of Rachel Carson’s famous book Silent Spring, in that the high DDT exposures of South Asian immigrants in the U.S. currently fall on deaf ears in the U.S.,” said lead author Michele La Merrill, PhD an associate professor in the UC Davis Department of Environmental Toxicology. “Although DDT remains in use in other nations and migration globalizes these exposures, people in the U.S. often mistakenly regard DDT exposure as no longer relevant to our society due to its ban in this country nearly 50 years ago.” When compared to other race and ethnic groups, South Asian immigrants (individuals from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan), are at greater risk of developing diabetes, even when adjusting for potential confounders such as age and obesity. Authors of the study hypothesized that this was a result of past exposure to high levels […]

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Brexit Predicted to Lead to Regulatory Decline and Increased Hazards from Pesticides

Friday, November 22nd, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, November 22, 2019) The potential exit of the United Kingdom from the European Union (EU) — aka “Brexit” — may portend greater pesticide use and exposures, according to a report from the Soil Association and the Pesticide Action Network UK. As covered by The Guardian, the report’s prediction points to uncertainty, despite reassurances from the United Kingdom (UK) government, about what regulatory standards will actually be in effect if and when Brexit occurs. The report also highlights the under-regulated issue identified in the report’s title — The Cocktail Effect — synergistic impacts of exposures to multiple synthetic pesticide compounds. Beyond cessation of pesticide use, Beyond Pesticides advocates for more rigorous review of synergistic effects of pesticides in the U.S. In the UK, environmental and health advocates are voicing worries that the government’s reassurances that existing standards will be maintained after a Brexit is unconvincing. UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove insists that environmental standards would be enhanced following a UK exit from the EU. But advocates are concerned about potential loopholes that could allow farmers to use more pesticides on crops than the EU regulations permit, and could greenlight the import of foodstuffs with greater amounts of pesticide residue than […]

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U.S. Consumers Eating Pesticide Residues in Fruits and Vegetables, according to Government Report

Friday, November 1st, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2019) The recently published report Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program Fiscal Year 2017 Pesticide Report, from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), provides data on the levels of pesticide residues that show up on the foods U.S. consumers eat. The report adds fuel to public concern about contamination of the food supply, and to discussion in the scientific and advocacy communities about what is and is not safe for human health. It is also a sobering reminder of just how much chemical-intensive agriculture depends on pesticides, whether insecticides, herbicides, or fungicides. This FDA report has been prepared annually since 1987 and is based on the agency’s Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program, which evaluates both domestically produced and imported human food samples, including fruit, vegetable, and animal products. As the report notes, “Three federal government agencies share responsibility for the regulation and oversight of pesticide chemical residues in or on food. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registers (i.e., approves) the use of pesticides and establishes tolerances for pesticide chemical residues in or on food resulting from the use of the pesticides. Tolerances are the EPA-established maximum residue levels (MRLs) of a specific pesticide chemical that is permitted in […]

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Study Adds to Evidence that Organic Fruit Consumption Leads to Lowers Levels of Pesticide Contamination in Children, Pregnant Women

Thursday, October 24th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, October 24, 2019) Fish and fruit are undoubtedly healthy foods, but modern-day contamination is leading scientists to caution pregnant mothers and young children to stick within current dietary guidelines, or switch to organic, in order to avoid adverse health effects. This new public health message is based on research published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives by scientists from University of Southern California (USC) and several European Countries, finding that overconsumption of fish and fruits leads to higher levels of contamination with toxic persistent chemicals. “During gestation and early development, the fetus and the child, respectively, are vulnerable to the effects of environmental chemicals, said Lida Chatzi, MD, associate professor of preventive medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “A balanced diet during these periods is also critical for optimal nutritional status, but what to eat, and how much, are critical questions.” Scientists studied a cohort of 1,288 children (between 6 and 11 years) and 818 pregnant mothers from six European countries, who were provided questionnaires to assess their weekly diet. Blood levels of a range of environmental toxicants, including organochlorine compounds like PCB, PFHSs, PFOS, PFOA, pesticides like DDT and DDE, and heavy metals including […]

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Cardiovascular Disease Tied to Occupational Pesticide Exposure

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, October 2, 2019) New data gleaned from the Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program — a longitudinal study of men of Japanese descent living on Oahu — demonstrate that occupational exposure to high levels of pesticides can increase risks for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the forms of coronary heart disease (CHD) or stroke (CVA, or cerebrovascular accident). Further, researchers determined both that workers who experience high-level exposures may not experience such effects for years afterward, and that the maximum subsequent effects were seen within a decade of exposure. The study’s conclusion highlights the importance of pesticide applicator use of protective gear when handling toxic pesticides. These risks and harms could be eliminated through a transition to non-chemical means for pest control in agriculture, land management, and home and personal practices. The Kuakini Honolulu Heart Program, after enrolling more than 8,000 Japanese-American men, 45–68 years old and living on Oahu, Hawaii between 1965 and 1968, has continued to examine and interview these subjects, and document morbidity and mortality among them. This study, which performed statistical analyses on 7,557 of the subjects, is the longest longitudinal study of cardiovascular disease and any association with chronic occupational pesticide exposure, taking into account epidemiologic risk […]

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Study Finds Three Billion Birds Lost Since 1970: “Early mornings are strangely silent where once they were filled with the beauty of bird song”

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, September 24, 2019) “Over increasingly large areas of the United States, spring now comes unheralded by the return of the birds, and the early mornings are strangely silent where once they were filled with the beauty of bird song,” Rachel Carson wrote in Silent Spring in 1962. New research finds that quote has held true since it was written. Over three billion birds, or 29% of 1970s abundance have been lost in North America over the last 50 years. To make these dismal determinations, scientists drew from multiple long-term bird monitoring datasets, and a network of nearly 150 weather radars that pick up and thus have recorded the trajectory of migratory birds. Long-term surveys helped scientists determine the 3 billion bird decline, while satellite data found that migratory bird abundance has declined by 9.1% since 2007. In general, 57% of bird species are in decline, with showing the largest loss. Ninety percent of all declines were within 12 bird families: American sparrows, warblers, blackbirds, larks, Old world sparrows, swallows, nightjars, swifts, finches, flycatchers, starlings, and thrushes. Only waterfowl and wetland bird species showed any increase, 13% and 56%, respectively. Ducks, geese, and raptors all improved population levels more […]

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Hawai’i Agribusiness Development Corporation in Violation of Clean Water Act Due to Glyphosate Contamination

Wednesday, July 24th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, July 24, 2019) The U.S. District Court for the District of Hawai’i has found the state’s Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) guilty of violating the Clean Water Act. The case, brought by organizations including Surfrider Foundation, Pesticide Action Network North America, and others, represented by Earthjustice, accused ADC of dumping water contaminated with pesticides, including the cancer-causing herbicide glyphosate, into the Pacific Ocean off of West Kauai without a permit since 2015. Hawai’i bears the brunt of agribusiness wrongdoings, and Kauai in particular has faced past issues of pesticide injustice at the hands of the ADC. However, this new ruling marks a turn in past decisions that have favored agribusiness, as the judge found ADC violations. Advocates hope that this decision will highlight the need for government accountability, and increase transparency about what pesticides and chemicals are entering our oceans. The ADC system collects groundwater and storm water runoff through a series of canals, ditches, and pumps. The polluted water, full of toxic pesticides and chemicals, discharges into the Pacific Ocean along popular beaches that residents use for recreational activities, including surfing and fishing. The case brought against ADC accuses the department of dumping this water without a National […]

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State Court Upholds the Right of Local Governments in Maryland to Restrict Pesticides on All Lawns in Their Jurisdiction

Friday, May 3rd, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, May 3, 2019) A Maryland Court of Special Appeals yesterday ruled that Montgomery County, Maryland has the right to restrict pesticides, under a 2015 landmark law, on all lawns and landscaped property in its jurisdiction more stringently than the state. This decision reverses a lower Circuit Court decision and upholds local democratic decision making in the face of a challenge by the industry groups representing lawn care companies and chemical manufacturers. Nine organizations, including Beyond Pesticides, filed an Amicus brief in support of the county law. The chemical industry has fought for nearly three decades to suppress the right of local governments in the U.S. to protect public health and safety with pesticide law, having successfully lobbied 43 states to preempt their local political subdivisions’ authority. Seven states uphold local authority, including the state of Maryland, which has affirmed in its legislature the rights of localities by rejecting preemption legislation on numerous occasions. According to Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides, “This is an important win for the local organic land management movement sweeping the country, as local elected officials embrace practices that protect the health of people and the environment.” The attorneys for the county expect that industry groups […]

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Study Finds High Levels of Pesticide Exposure among Teenage Girls in California’s Salinas Valley

Friday, April 26th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2019) Research by the youth participatory action team of the CHAMACOS of the Salinas Evaluating Chemicals in Homes and Agriculture (COSECHA) reveals that teenagers in the Salinas Valley, California are routinely exposed to concerning levels of multiple toxic pesticides, several of them known endocrine disruptors. In an interview with Kion News, COSECHA research director Kimberly Parra remarked that the study is especially important because teenagers are in a stage of rapid reproductive development. As the study authors emphasize, it is their developmental stage that makes teenagers more vulnerable to the effects of endocrine disrupting pesticides, with potentially devastating consequences for lifelong health. The COSECHA study quantifies exposure to 72 pesticides, captured through volatile-trapping silicone wristbands, across 97 teenage girls living in various areas of the Salinas Valley region. Of the 72 pesticides analyzed, authors report that subjects are exposed to as many as 20 and an average of 8 pesticides over one week of routine indoor and outdoor activity. Given the well-documented dangers of pesticide co-exposures, these multiple-exposure findings are particularly concerning. Ranking the highest for prevalence among the studied pesticides is fipronil sulfide, a breakdown product of the insecticide fipronil, detected in 86.6% of the analyzed wristbands. […]

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Washington and California to Celebrate First Annual Dolores Huerta Day on April 10

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, April 10, 2019) Last month, the Washington State Senate unanimously passed HB 1906, designating April 10 as Dolores Huerta Day. In July of 2018, a similar California law proclaimed April 10 Dolores Huerta Day in that state. In an interview with Vida del Valle, Ms. Huerta stated, “I’m happy to hear that our young learners will have the opportunity to learn more about social justice and civil rights, because there is still a lot of work to do by the Dolores Huerta Foundation.” Following decades of leadership in the fight for farmworker justice, Ms. Huerta founded the Dolores Huerta Foundation in 2002, with a focus on grassroots organizing in Central Valley. According to its website, the Dolores Huerta Foundation trains low-income Central Valley residents “to advocate for parks, adequate public transportation, infrastructure improvements, the reduction of pesticide use, increased recreational opportunities, and culturally relevant services.” “We build leadership in low-income communities and organize people so that they can have a sense of their own voices and their own power,” Ms. Huerta said of her foundation in an interview with Civil Eats. “Once they understand this process and they have the power to change policy – and politicians – they […]

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DDT Exposure During Early Life Associated with Increased Risk of Breast Cancer

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2019) Women exposed to DDT during ‘early windows of susceptibility’ in their childhood are at increased risk of developing breast cancer, according to new research published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Nearly 75 years after the chemical was first used in the U.S., and 50 years after its ban, DDT is continuing to adversely affect the health of Americans. The data brings needed attention to the dangers of early-life pesticide exposure, and underlines the need to take a precautionary approach to the introduction of biocides in our environment so that future generations do not suffer from the same mistakes of the past. “What we have learned is that timing really matters. We know that if harmful exposures occur at times when breast tissue is rapidly changing, such as during puberty, they impact breast development in ways that can later result in cancer,” said lead author Barbara A. Cohn, PhD, of the Public Health Institute’s (PHI) Child Health and Development Studies. “The research published today suggests that DDT affects breast cancer as an endocrine disruptor, that the period of time between first exposure and cancer risk seems to be around 40 years–and that other […]

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