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New EPA Policy to Comply with Endangered Species Law Leaves Unanswered Questions for Pesticide Uses

Thursday, January 20th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, January 20, 2022) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it will follow the law and review the impact of pesticides on endangered species prior to authorizing a pesticide for use. While it is not usually news for a government agency to announce it will follow statutory requirements, the agency’s new policy reverses decades of violative practice, whereby the EPA allowed pesticides on to market without a complete understanding of how threatened and endangered species would fare. Advocates are responding favorably to this commonsense reform, but emphasize that this should only be the start, and more significant actions are necessary to fix the long-term failures in EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs. According to EPA, “There are over 1,300 endangered or threatened species in the United States today. Endangered species are those plants and animals that have become so rare they are in danger of becoming extinct.” Scientists warn that humanity is causing the sixth mass extinction in the planet’s history. A series of reports from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) highlights how human activities threaten the healthy functioning of ecosystems that produce food and water, as well as one million species now at risk of extinction. The UNEP report, Food System […]

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Words, “All life is interrelated,” and His Legacy Are Honored on MLK Day, Monday, Jan. 17

Friday, January 14th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, January 14, 2022) On the annual celebration of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.— MLK Day, Monday, January 17 — Beyond Pesticides honors his legacy by calling out ongoing environmental inequities, and calling on all of us to advance environmental justice. In his 1967 Christmas sermon, Dr. King famously noted, “It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” There may be no better description of what is at stake in environmental justice work — righting environmental wrongs that have disproportionate impacts on some groups of people. In its attention to the multitude of ways in which BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) populations face disproportionate risks and impacts, Beyond Pesticides works to ensure that all people are afforded circumstances that support their safety, health, and well-being. Rather than excavate the very long historical record of environmental injustice in the U.S., today’s Daily News Blog recalls several examples from the past year. It is impossible to begin that chronicle without first acknowledging that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has […]

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Common Home Fumigation Pesticide Associated with Increased Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Tuesday, January 11th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2022) A study finds that the pesticide sulfuryl fluoride, used for insect (i.e., termites, bedbugs, cockroaches, etc.) fumigation treatments, increases greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to the report, “Termite Fumigation in California Is Fueling the Rise of a Rare Greenhouse Gas.” Not only do most sulfuryl fluoride emissions in the U.S. occur in California, but a majority of global emissions also occur in California. When the use of methyl bromide for agricultural and structural fumigation was phased-out under the Montreal Protocol, sulfuryl fluoride became a replacement for fumigation treatments. However, researchers have identified concentrations of sulfuryl fluoride in the atmosphere due to the chemical’s long half-life and greenhouse warming potential (GWP). The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 does not list sulfuryl fluoride emissions as a GHG risk. Therefore, the researchers note, “This work emphasizes the importance of considering [sulfuryl fluoride] SO2F2 in state and national greenhouse gas inventories and emissions reduction strategies.” Researchers employed geostatistical inverse model (GIM)—commonly used to estimate GHG fluxes—alongside atmospheric measurements of sulfuryl fluoride to estimate emissions throughout the United States. Using programmable flask packages (PFPs), researchers examined atmospheric observational data from towers, observatories, and aircraft, measuring concentrations of sulfuryl fluoride via gas chromatography-mass […]

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Consumers Misled by USDA Genetically Engineered Food Ingredient Label; Will Congress Act

Monday, January 10th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2022) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now undermining full public disclosure of genetically engineered ingredients in our food, both through misrepresentation in labeling and through a definition that allows a large percentage of ingredients to go undisclosed. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Act, dubbed the Deny Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act by food safety advocates, establishes a national GMO (genetically modified organisms or genetically engineered GE) food labeling requirement that has led to deceptive messaging, preempts states from adopting stronger label language and standards, and excludes a large portion of the population without special cell phone technology (because information is accessed the QR codes on products). However, USDA regulations go further—creating loopholes and barriers to transparency that prohibit the use of the widely-known terms “GMO” and “GE” and prohibit retailers from providing more information to consumers. Tell USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to require USDA agencies to honestly disclose genetically engineered ingredients and carry out the goals of the Executive Memorandum, Modernizing Regulatory Review. Urge your U.S. Senators and Representative to ask Agriculture Committees to hold oversight hearings to ensure that USDA holds to those goals.    USDA is huge—encompassing 29 agencies and offices, with […]

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USDA Genetic Engineered Food Label Misleads Consumers, Took Effect January 1

Friday, January 7th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides. January 7, 2022) Unbeknownst to most Americans when they woke up on New Year’s Day 2022, a new labeling system for genetically modified-engineered foods— promulgated in 2019 — which does not mention genetically engineered or GMO ingredients, went into effect. Consumer, food, and environmental advocates say that the new label is misleading, insufficiently transparent, discriminatory, rife with loopholes, and confusing for consumers. The new labeling requirement mandates that genetically engineered foods bear labels that indicate that they have been “bioengineered” or that provide a text-messaging phone number or a QR code as avenues for further information. (“Additional options such as a phone number or web address are available to small food manufacturers or for small and very small packages.”) The new labeling rule from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) aims, according to the agency, to eliminate the crazy quilt of labels affixed to foods and ingredients that have been scientifically altered. According to an agency spokesperson, the rule is designed to “balance the need to provide information to consumers with the interest in minimizing costs to companies.” Genetically altered food items and ingredients have heretofore been called, and labeled as, “genetically engineered” (GE) or “genetically modified” (GM), […]

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Neonicotinoids Pass Through Aphids, Contaminating Honeydew and Killing off Pest Predators

Thursday, January 6th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, January 6, 2022) Seeds treated with neonicotinoid insecticides contaminate honeydew, often the biggest source of food for pest predators, according to recent research published in the journal Environmental Pollution. Concerned advocates for pollinators and pesticide reform are likely familiar with fact that neonicotinoids are systemic, and once applied to a seed or sprayed on a plant are taken up by the plant and distributed throughout the pollen, nectar and dew drops that a plant produces. But there is another systemic effect that is not included in that picture, and in monoculture crops, it could be the biggest source of carbohydrates for beneficial pest predators – honeydew. Honeydew is produced from phloem-feeding (sap sucking) pests like aphids, whiteflies, leafhoppers, and other hemipteran insects. The waste that these insects produce is liquid, and full of sugars. “This rich carbohydrate source is a common food for many beneficial insects, including pollinators, such as bees and flies, and some natural enemies of pests, such as ants, wasps and beetles,” said John Tooker, PhD, coauthor of a recent literature review published in Biological Reviews. “Honeydew often is more abundant than nectar in agroecosystems.” In 2019, a study published in the Proceedings of the […]

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Beyond Pesticides Wishes You A Healthy New Year

Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

**We’re taking a break for the holidays. Daily News will be back on January 3, 2022** (Beyond Pesticides, December 23, 2021) We at Beyond Pesticides wish our members, supporters, and collaborators all the best for the holiday season and new year. We look forward to working with you in the new year to meet the serious environmental and public health challenges with truly organic solutions. Our accomplishments are your victories. We are seeing the outcomes in communities across the country—the adoption of organic land management policies and practices that eliminate toxic pesticides, protect children, pets, and families, and protect the local ecology. With your support of Beyond Pesticides, we strive to reverse the destructive environmental and public health path that we’re on and advance the adoption of organic practices and policies that respect life. To view our accomplishments, see Beyond Pesticides’ 2021 Year in Review. Beyond Pesticides’ program supports a clear message: End toxic pesticide use and embrace organic practices and policies that respect the power of nature to heal— in the face of devastating and destructive toxic chemical-dependency. This past year has again elevated important public discourse on the threats that pesticides pose to health and the environment. Table […]

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It’s Time for Bayer/Monsanto to Leave Hawai’i after Pleading Guilty to Multiple Violations that Harm People and Environment of the State, Advocates Say

Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, December 15, 2021) Monsanto has pleaded guilty to multiple environmental crimes in Hawaiʻi for the second time in less than four years, and the island communities are left asking “when is enough enough?” In the most recent case, Monsanto will plead guilty to 30 environmental crimes in Hawaiʻi, related to pesticide use violations and putting field workers at risk.  In both cases, they admit that they knowingly violated pesticide law and put field workers in harmʻs way.  They will pay a $12 million fine this time, bringing their criminal fines and “community service payments” to a total of $22 million since 2019. At the center of these cases is the fact that the Monsanto field workers had to transport, apply, and suffer exposure to these toxic and banned pesticides as a part of their job. Autumn Ness, director of Beyond Pesticides’ Hawai’i organic land management program,  said: “In small island communities of Hawaiʻi, Monsanto workers are our friends and family. Folks live just downwind and next door to these fields.  We are concerned about their health, and those concerns are glaringly missing from news reports and in the distribution agreements for the community service payments.” There are two […]

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Court Steps In to Stop Pesticide Use Not Adequately Regulated, Protects Bees

Friday, December 10th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, December 10, 2021) In a win for pollinators, a California Superior Court has issued a ruling that sulfoxaflor, a systemic pesticide that is “field legal” but “bee lethal,” can no longer be used in the state. The suit was brought by the Pollinator Stewardship Council and the American Beekeeping Federation. The ruling of the Superior Court of the State of California for Alameda County finds that the argument of the petitioners — that sulfoxaflor approval decisions by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) — is valid. Eliminating this highly bee-toxic pesticide from use in the state is expected to protect not only native bees and other pollinators (including Monarch butterflies in early Spring), but also, the many millions of managed-colony bees that are transported to California for pollination of almond and other crops. The suit was filed against DPR, Corteva inc., Dow Agrosciences LLC, the Siskiyou County Department of Agriculture, and James E. Smith as Siskiyou County Agricultural Commissioner. Having found for the petitioners’ request for a Writ of Mandate (a court order requiring a lower court or public authority to perform its statutory duty), the court instructed the petitioners to […]

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The Expense of Pesticides Significantly Outweigh Economic Benefits

Thursday, December 9th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, December 9, 2021) The cost to maintain crops using conventional pesticides outweighs the economic benefits from crop production and yield, according to a report, Pesticides ‘cost double the amount they yield,’ by the French-based organization Bureau for the Appraisal of Social Impacts for Citizen Information (BASIC). Moreover, the annual cost of increasing organic farms three-fold by 2030 is less than the cost of pesticides to society (i.e., adverse health and ecological effects from pesticide use and contamination). However, the price to pay from pesticide use encompasses much more than the products themselves. Researchers point to the need for government and health officials to consider the billion-dollar costs associated with adverse health effects from pesticide use, especially as studies confirm that pesticides cause cancer, Parkinson’s, and other diseases that are increasing. Thus, this report adds to the growing body of research demonstrating the unsustainability of conventional, chemical-intensive agricultural practices. The National Academy of Sciences identifies four goals of sustainable agriculture—productivity, economics, environment, and social well-being for future generations. However, current chemical pesticide use threatens sustainable agriculture. Although the primary concerns about pesticide usage centers on health and ecological concerns, including food security, this report provides an economic assessment that offers an […]

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Banned Pesticides Associated with Endometriosis

Wednesday, December 1st, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, December 1, 2021) Women exposed to metabolites of the banned insecticide chlordane are over three times more likely to develop endometriosis, finds research published in the journal Environment International. The study is the latest to find links between persistent organic pollutants (POPs), still lingering in our environment and in our bodies, and chronic disease. According to an economic analysis conducted in 2016, exposure to endocrine (hormone) disrupting chemicals, often implicated in considerable damage to the body’s reproductive system, results in billions of dollars of health care costs from female reproductive disorders. Researchers set out to integrate two methodologies into their evaluation, combining analysis of POP biomarkers in blood with an analysis of biomarkers in that body that correspond with cell functioning, inflammation, and stress. A total of 87 women were enrolled in the study, half of whom had deep endometriosis, a quarter of whom also had the disease and sought surgical intervention, and a remaining quarter without reproductive concerns acted as a control. Twenty polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 30 organochlorine pesticide compounds were analyzed, as were various biomarkers and inflammatory cytokines. The analysis revealed two compounds to be positively associated with endometriosis – trans-nonachlor, a breakdown product of […]

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CA Supreme Court Upholds $87M Award in Glyphosate Damage Lawsuit, Bayer/Monsanto Challenge Fails

Tuesday, November 30th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 30, 2021) The chronicle of developments in the glyphosate saga has just grown longer: the California Supreme Court has rejected a request by Bayer AG for review of the August 2021 First District Court of Appeal (San Francisco) ruling, for the plaintiffs, that Monsanto knowingly marketed a product — Roundup — whose active ingredient (glyphosate) could be dangerous. The $87 million in damages awarded to the plaintiffs in the litigation, Alberta and Alva Pilliod, has thus survived Bayer’s challenge. This highest state court decision racks up another loss for Bayer (which now owns the Monsanto “Roundup” brand) — despite its dogged insistence, throughout multiple lawsuits (with many more still in the pipeline), that glyphosate is safe. Beyond Pesticides has covered the glyphosate saga extensively; see its litigation archives for multiple articles on glyphosate lawsuits. Glyphosate has been the subject of a great deal of public, advocacy, and regulatory attention, as well as the target of thousands of lawsuits — particularly since the 2015 declaration by the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) that the compound is a likely human carcinogen. In June 2020, facing approximately 125,000 suits for Roundup’s role in cancer outcomes, Bayer announced a $10 billion […]

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Joining Together to Give Thanks As We Confront the Challenges Ahead

Wednesday, November 24th, 2021

  (Beyond Pesticides, November 24, 2021) On Thanksgiving, thank you for being a part of Beyond Pesticides and sharing and contributing to the vision necessary to protect the web and fragility of life. We believe that there is no time like Thanksgiving to think about how we can more effectively join together as families and communities across divisions and different points of view to find a common purpose in protecting the health of the environment and all that inhabit it. 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. With far too many adverse health and ecological effects associated with toxic chemicals, organic practices are viable solutions to mitigate pesticide contamination and subsequent exposure. Read on as we consider the range of challenges we must confront, and the solutions that can bring us all together. The Climate As climate impacts grow, an increase in uses of synthetic pesticides in agriculture is likely — because of waning efficacy (pesticide resistance) of these compounds, and mounting pest pressure (i.e., increasing insect population and metabolism). Production of pesticides contributes to greenhouse gas emissions gas (e.g., nitrous […]

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Fungal Resistance to Antimicrobial Pesticides Leads to Deadly Infection

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 23, 2021) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced, in mid-October, a revision of its guidance on the evaluation of antimicrobial pesticides used against Candida auris (C. auris). This pathogen is a type of fungus (a yeast) that can cause serious infection, and can spread readily among patients and staff in hospitals and other congregate healthcare settings (such as nursing homes). C. auris has developed resistance to what used to be the therapeutic impacts of major antifungal medications. (Resistance is a major and growing problem in healthcare and in agriculture, with the latter exacerbating the former.) Another moving part in this unholy development of “chemical compounds no longer working” is EPA’s failure to assess the efficacy of any pesticides that are not used for public health purposes; for example, EPA evaluates the efficacy of only those antimicrobial compounds whose use patterns classify them as human-health-related. This failure to evaluate efficacy of all other pesticide products leaves many people in the dark about whether what they may be using actually works — never mind the potential risks associated with that use. The antifungal medications that have been used for many years to treat Candida infections often no longer work for C. auris; […]

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Go Organic this Thanksgiving and Keep the Toxic Turkey and Fixings Off Your Plate

Friday, November 19th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 19, 2021) Thanksgiving offers an opportunity for people to come together and give thanks for the bounty of an organic harvest. Unfortunately, many Thanksgiving meals are produced by chemical farming practices that utilize hazardous pesticides, genetically engineered (GE) crops, and petroleum-based synthetic fertilizers. These inputs, apart from being unnecessary, degrade ecosystems and affect the health of consumers and agricultural workers alike. It’s never too late to start a new tradition – for this year and into the future, make your Thanksgiving feast sustainable by going organic. Now, more than ever, it’s important to go organic: For Our Own Health Going organic drastically reduces the amount of pesticide in a person’s body. Although Thanksgiving is generally no time to think about dieting, we’ll aim to make it instructive: recent research finds that one of the biggest health benefits of the Mediterranean Diet comes when you go organic. Compared to individuals on a Mediterranean diet filled with chemically farmed foods, those that ate organic had 91% lower pesticide residue. This finding is backed up by a considerable body of prior research. A 2015 study based on self-reported food intake found that those who eat organic generally have much lower […]

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Call on USDA to Provide Organic School Lunches to Fight Childhood Obesity

Monday, November 15th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 15, 2021) A recent hearing in the U.S. Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Food and Nutrition, Specialty Crops, Organics, and Research, subcommittee chair Senator Cory Booker stressed the failures of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) food and nutrition programs, saying, “Our food system is not a “free market,” we are picking winners and losers, and it’s consumers, family farmers, and food workers who are losing.” Tell USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service to require organic school lunches. Experts at the hearing pointed out impacts of poor nutrition choices that are driven by USDA’s policies. Associate professor Angela Odoms-Young, PhD of Cornell University said, “People of color overall, and Black populations specifically, face higher rates of diet-related chronic conditions and have poorer dietary intakes as compared to whites. We did not get here by chance but through policy.” Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the U.S., leading to a host of health problems in childhood and later in life. Juvenile obesity is highest in Hispanic, African American, and lower income groups, which provides an opportunity for USDA’s school lunch program to have a positive impact. At the hearing, Donald Warne, MD, MPH of the University of North Dakota medical […]

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Organic Takes on Existential Health and Environmental Crises, While Some Critics Lack Context (Response to New Yorker piece)

Friday, November 12th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 12, 2021) Omnivorous readers may have encountered an article, in the November 15 issue of The New Yorker magazine, titled — at best misleadingly, and certainly sensationally — “The Great Organic-Food Fraud.” The subhead comports with the tone of the headline: “There’s no way to confirm that a crop was grown organically. Randy Constant exploited our trust in the labels — and made a fortune.” The piece, by Ian Parker, tells a complex tale of the machinations of dishonest and greedy people who saw, in the commerce in organic grains, an opportunity to misrepresent nonorganic crops as organic and make a boatload of money in doing so. What the article fails to do is render any comprehensive picture of how National Organic Program certification and inspection work, and the underlying principles, values, and standards in federal law (the Organic Foods Production Act), nor does it review either the benefits of organic agriculture broadly or the massive harmful impacts of conventional, chemical-intensive agriculture in the U.S. Beyond Pesticides provides ballast, in this Daily News Blog article, to the failings of the New Yorker article and the damage it might do to the organic movement. It is worth noting […]

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California Releases Strategy for Land Management Practices that Confronts Climate Crisis

Friday, November 5th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 5, 2021) Once again earning its environmental leadership reputation, California has released a draft strategy document designed to catalyze near- and long-term climate action through focused attention on the state’s natural and working lands, and on nature-based solutions. The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) announced the draft Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy in mid-October. In the announcement, CNRA asserts that the state’s 105 million acres can “sequester and store carbon emissions, limit future carbon emissions into the atmosphere, protect people and nature from the impacts of climate change, and build resilience to future climate risks.” The agency also notes that the plan would secure food and water supplies, improve public health and safety, and forward equity. It has invited public comment, and a coalition of California (and national) nonprofit advocates is delivering a letter that calls on the agency to include, in the plan, ambitious targets to move the state’s agricultural sector away from the use of harmful synthetic pesticides. Beyond Pesticides will sign on to the letter. This “natural and working lands” document will inform California’s 2021 State Adaptation Strategy and the 2022 Scoping Plan — master documents guiding the state’s climate action during […]

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45 Different Cancers Associated with Work-Related Pesticide Exposure

Thursday, November 4th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticide, November 4, 2021) A scientific literature analysis by the Federal University of Goias, Brazil, finds occupational (work-related) exposure to agricultural pesticides increases the risk for 45 different types of cancer. This analysis assesses studies from the last decade—2011 to 2020—to identify cancer risk associated with occupational exposure by country, pesticide type, and methods used to diagnose disease. Many pesticides are “known or probable” carcinogens (cancer-causing agents), and widespread uses only amplify chemical hazards, adversely affecting human health. However, research on cancer and pesticides lacks comprehensive information regarding human health effects associated with long-term chemical use. This study highlights the significant role that long-term research plays in identifying potential health concerns surrounding registered pesticides. The use of these xenobiotics (foreign chemical compounds) substances in agriculture are increasing. Thus, it is important those working with and around these toxicants have protection. The analysis notes, “Overall, then, the results of the present study emphasize the need to evaluate overuse of pesticides and the concomitant increase in the number of cancer cases. Future research should thus include active intervention in the correct use of pesticides by farmworkers and encourage adequate training and the use of PPEs [personal protective equipment], as well as routine periodic medical […]

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Cover Crops Attract Pest Predators which Reduce Pesticide Use

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 2, 2021) Cover crops create habitat that draw in pest predators and help mitigate crop injury, finds research published in the journals Agroecosystems and Biological Control from scientists at the University of Georgia. Expanded predator diversity can reduce pest pressure that drives conventional chemical farmers to apply toxic pesticides, and the authors of the study find the practice to be economically viable within these cropping systems. “There’s a motion of change going on where growers are thinking more about using natural systems instead of just using pesticides,” said co-author Jason Schmidt, PhD in a news release. “Producers must use all tools available to make a profit, so if they can promote beneficial insects in the system to aid in pest control,  fewer inputs are needed and that should lead to reduced costs of production. ” To determine how beneficial cover crops were to cotton production, researchers began with experimental crops established over two years in 2016 and 2017 in Georgia. Twelve cover crops plots were established with crimson clover and rye, while a plot not planted with cover crops was used as a control. Researchers planted the cover crop in early November after the previous cotton crop […]

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Climate Crisis, Soil, Pesticides, Fertilizers: Red alert! This is Not a Drill!

Friday, October 29th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 29, 2021) As more than 200 of the world’s countries convene, starting October 31 in Glasgow, Scotland, for the 26th U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26), it is important to sound the alarm unequivocally. We are in a climate emergency. This reality was confirmed, yet again, by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) August 2021 release of part of its sixth report, from Working Group I, Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. The other parts of the report, to be issued over the next few months, are new assessments from Working Group II on impacts, vulnerability, and adaptation, and from Working Group III on mitigation/averting further climate change. Below we address the urgent need to eliminate petroleum (fossil fuel)-based pesticides and fertilizers in agriculture and land management (parks, playing fields, rights-of-way, and open space) and put in place an urgent and strategic transition to organic practices without being distracted and diverted by claims of “regenerative” practices that do not meet the crisis in a meaningful way. Headline takeaways from this first report are that, failing immediate and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions: the planet’s climate will likely blow by the much-vaunted 1.5°C threshold (average global temperature increase over the pre-industrial […]

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Glyphosate Kills Microorganisms Beneficial to Plants, Animals, and Humans

Thursday, October 28th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2021) A study published in Frontiers in Environmental Science finds the popular herbicide glyphosate negatively affects microbial communities, indirectly influencing plant, animal, and human health. Exposure to sublethal concentrations of glyphosate shifts microbial community composition, destroying beneficial microorganisms while preserving pathogenic organisms. Glyphosate is the most commonly used active ingredient worldwide, appearing in many herbicide formulas, including Bayer’s (formerly Monsanto) Roundup®. The use of this chemical has been increasing since the inception of crops genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate over two decades ago. The toxic herbicide readily contaminates the ecosystem with residues pervasive in both food and water commodities. In addition to this study, the scientific literature commonly associates glyphosate with human, biotic, and ecosystem harm, as a doubling of toxic effects on invertebrates, like pollinators, has been recorded since 2004. The authors caution, “[O]utbreaks of several animal and plant diseases have been related to glyphosate accumulation in the environment. Long-term glyphosate effects have been underreported, and new standards will be needed for residues in plant and animal products and the environment.” With an increasing number of reports on the relationship between glyphosate and human health, including potential effects on the human gut microbiome, advocates are calling on global leaders to eliminate chemical […]

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IPM (Integrated Pest Management) Fails to Stop Toxic Pesticide Use

Friday, October 15th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 15, 2021) Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a 60-year-old approach to agricultural practice that, when first conceived and implemented, had among its goals a significant reduction of synthetic pesticide use, and the health, environmental, and ecosystemic benefits that would flow from that. However, as a study published earlier in 2021 concluded, IPM has overall been unsuccessful in achieving those goals. The researchers propose to replace IPM with “Agroecological Crop Protection [ACP],” the application of agroecology to protecting crops from damage (usually by insects or weeds). Beyond Pesticides has long embraced the foundations of ACP, which focus on cooperation with natural systems that keep all organisms in healthy, dynamic balance (and avoid overpopulation and trophic cascades). The research was conducted by scientists from France, Cambodia, and Vietnam; the research paper was published in Agronomy for Sustainable Development. The authors offer myriad reasons for their conclusion that, “More than half a century after its conception, IPM has not been adopted to a satisfactory extent and has largely failed to deliver on its promise. . . . Despite six decades of good intentions, harsh realities need to be faced for the future. . . . IPM has arguably reached its limits.” […]

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