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Corruption Problems Persist at EPA

Friday, May 20th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2022) Beyond Pesticides has long covered the various ways in which corruption related to pesticides, agriculture, and food — whether in industry or government — can result in harm to human and environmental health, including to a multiplicity of organisms, and their ecosystems and habitats. In this Daily News Blog entry, we will review the landscape of U.S. pesticide regulation, examples of corruption, and what can be done to counter it. A look at some recent instances provides unfortunate assurance that problems of corruption at EPA persist. A serious flaw in EPA’s registration (and periodic pesticide registration review) processes is their reliance on industry-provided data and research on safety of pesticide products, which does not reliably represent actual risks of harms. Agrochemical companies sometimes purchase research that yields biased or distorted findings, cherry pick results in their submissions to EPA, or try to suppress research findings. USRTK recently covered an instance in which Bayer (and other companies) funded a study on the impacts — of use of their neonicotinoid (neonic) corn seed treatments — on bees during planting season. Neonics have been widely implicated in the plummeting health, function, and populations of pollinators and in the so-called […]

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Environmental Pesticide Exposure Alters Gut Microbes, Increasing Urgency for Organic Transition

Thursday, May 12th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 12, 2022) A report published in Environmental Health finds that exposure to environmentally relevant concentrations of pesticides can alter gut microbial communities, as demonstrated through fecal samples. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood and urine samples. Ample evidence demonstrates that environmental contaminants, including pesticides, negatively affect the human mouth and gut microbes. However, fecal samples provide an accurate representation of the microbial community existing in the gut. These toxicants can alter hormone metabolism, which adversely affects health outcomes. Adverse health effects of environmental contaminants include reproductive and developmental defects, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, obesity, thyroid disorders, and improper immune operation. Although studies show how chemical exposures affect human health, more research is now questioning how these toxic chemicals influence gut health. Therefore, studies like these highlight the importance of evaluating how chemical contaminants deregulate normal bodily function through microbiome changes. The report notes, “Our results highlight the need for future dietary intervention studies to understand effects of pesticide exposure on the gut microbiome and possible health consequences.” Researchers examined dietary exposure to 186 common pesticide residues in the fecal excrement to determine impacts on the microbiome among 65 twins in the United Kingdom. […]

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Glyphosate Breakdown Product, Associated with Oxidative Stress and DNA Damage Among Children

Thursday, April 28th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, April 28, 2022) A study in Environmental Research finds that glyphosate’s primary metabolite (breakdown product), aminomethylphosphonic acid (AMPA), induces DNA damage through oxidative stress among subpopulations of primary school children. Although pyrethroid and chlorpyrifos metabolites can induce oxidative stress, this study is the first to investigate AMPA’s association with adverse health effects, rather than solely the effects of the active ingredient, glyphosate, in Roundup and other formulations. Glyphosate is the most commonly used active ingredient worldwide, appearing in many herbicide formulations, readily contaminating soil, water, food, and other resources. Chemical use has been increasing since the inception of crops genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate. However, studies demonstrate glyphosate is among the most prevalent pesticide contributors to human, biotic, and ecosystem harm. According to research, herbicide toxicity to invertebrates has doubled since 2004. Although research links glyphosate exposure to cancer, specifically non-Hodgkin lymphoma, much less research considers the effects that metabolites have on children who are more vulnerable to chemical exposure. Ecological and health risk assessments primarily focus on active ingredients in pesticide products, overlooking the potential impacts of metabolites. Thus, studies like these highlight the need to assess the implications of metabolite exposure to protect human, animal, and environmental health. The study notes, “Our […]

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Health Implications: Common Herbicide 2,4-D Threatens Most Species Health, Especially Vertebrates

Tuesday, April 5th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, April 5, 2022) A meta-analysis by the Federal University of Technology – Paranå finds the herbicide 2,4-D causes indiscriminate harm, increasing the mortality rate among exposed animals. The severity of chemical exposure relies on species sensitivity, exposure rate, and lifecycle stage. However, commercial formulations of 2,4-D, commonly used in the environment, prompt a higher species mortality rate than technical (pure) 2,4-D alone. Like many other common herbicides such as glyphosate, 2,4-D has global uses that allow the chemical to accumulate in the environment, including soils, waterways, and tissues of non-target species. Therefore, meta-analyses like this help local and government officials make holistic decisions regarding environmental contaminants that incorporate conclusions from various studies. Using the Web of Science and Scopus databases, researchers compiled various studies (or meta-analyses) on the lethality of 2,4-D in different animal species (e.g., vertebrates, invertebrates). Researchers evaluated each study regarding the mortality rate of control and experimental groups, animal sensitivity to chemical exposure during a specific life stage, chemical formulation (e.g., commercial or technical), and exposure routes causing mortality. The analysis demonstrates that vertebrates experience higher mortality rates from 2,4-D exposure, with fish and birds presenting the highest mortality rate. Regarding life stages, larval and adult […]

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Pesticide Drift or Chemical Trespass Continue Uncontrolled, Despite Successful Litigation

Friday, March 18th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2022) A 2020 lawsuit related to pesticide drift was resolved on March 8, 2022 in San Joaquin (California) Superior Court with the finding that Alpine Helicopter Services, which specializes in pesticide applications for government and tourism entities, had violated pesticide drift laws and endangered public health and safety. The court further found Alpine liable for damage related to its actions, though penalties in the case, brought by California state prosecutors and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), have yet to be determined. The case exposes a handful of the many instances of pesticide drift, also known as “chemical trespass,” that occur every year in the U.S. In 2004, Beyond Pesticides covered the issue with Getting the Drift on Chemical Trespass; its monitoring of drift issues is ongoing, as can be seen in its “Pesticide Drift” archives. The long history of nontarget exposure, contamination, and poisoning teaches that drift is a function of pesticide use, but not considered adequately by regulators who allow the marketing of poisons that are known to move through the environment uncontrolled. Cases like the Alpine case highlight a relentless problem associated with the daily use of pesticides. Pesticide drift is any airborne […]

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EPA Overlooks Glyphosate and Roundup Ingredients’ Cancer, DNA Damage, and Multigenerational Effects

Thursday, March 10th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, March 10, 2022) Glyphosate and glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH) like RoundupÂź induce DNA damage and alter biological mechanisms (gene regulatory microRNAs [miRNAs or miRs]) associated with cancer development. According to the study published in Toxicological Sciences, DNA damage mainly occurs through oxidative stress from GBH exposure. Moreover, DNA damage and other biological mechanisms that cause carcinogenicity (cancer) occur at doses assumed “safe” by pesticide regulators such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Glyphosate is the most commonly used active ingredient worldwide, appearing in many herbicide formulas, not just Bayer’s (formerly Monsanto) RoundupÂź. 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 food and water commodities. In addition to this study, literature proves time and time again that glyphosate has an association with cancer development, as well as human, biotic, and ecosystem harm.  Study lead author Michael Antoniou, Ph.D., cautions, “Our results are the first to simultaneously show glyphosate and Roundup toxicity in a whole mammalian animal model system and provide a mechanism – oxidative stress – by which DNA damage has been observed in other systems, such as mammalian […]

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Officials in New Jersey and New York Act to Protect Pollinators by Restricting Neonic Pesticides

Wednesday, January 26th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, January 26, 2022) Officials in New Jersey and New York are taking action to protect their states’ declining pollinator populations by restricting  outdoor uses of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides. In New York, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced it would make these pesticides “restricted use,” and only available to state certified applicators. In New Jersey, A2070/S1016, sponsored by state Senator Bob Smith and Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese, was signed by Governor Phil Murphy last week after years of advocacy from national, state, and local pollinator and environmental groups. “The law relies on the most up-to-date science to ban the largest uses of neonics in the state,” said Lucas Roads, staff attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This is great news for not just pollinators that are poisoned by neonics, but for all the farmers who depend on insect pollination and for all New Jerseyans that value thriving ecosystems.” A2070/S1016 provides for a targeted phase-out of outdoor uses of bee-toxic neonicotinoids, chemicals implicated not only in the decline of pollinators, but also the collapse of entire ecosystems. Beginning 12 months after passage, the bill requires state agencies classify neonicotinoids as “restricted use.” Under this designation, only certified pesticide applicators […]

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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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Banned Pesticides in Well Water Linked to Declines in Kidney Function

Wednesday, January 12th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, January 12, 2022) Well water in agricultural regions of Sri Lanka is contaminated with highly hazardous insecticides and associated with a decline in kidney function, according to research published in npj Clean Water this month. This finding is the latest piece in an ongoing ‘puzzle’ regarding the epidemic of chronic kidney disease of unknown origins in Sri Lanka and other developing countries in agricultural regions. Although the exact etiology of the disease has not been confirmed, a number of scientific studies have pointed the finger at industrial agriculture, increasingly finding evidence of chronic pesticide exposure in affected populations.   To better understand the connection between agrichemical exposure and kidney health, researchers enrolled 293 individuals from Wilgamuwa, Sri Lanka into a prospective study. Baseline data was retrieved on occupational and environmental exposure factors, focusing in on the water source individuals used at their homes. Samples of each participant’s household wells were taken and analyzed for the presence of pesticides. Of the wells sampled, 68% were found to contain pesticides. Further, every well where pesticides were detected had at least one pesticide recorded above global drinking water guidelines. The chemicals found were also some of the most toxic pesticides to […]

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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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Review Shows that Monsanto/Bayer Claims of Glyphosate Safety Not Supported by Credible Science 

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, December 21, 2021)  A research team undertaking a review of industry-conducted glyphosate safety studies submitted to EU (European Union) regulators shows that most of the research fails to meet current international standards for scientific validity. The researchers find that of the 11 reviewed studies, which were submitted to regulators by Bayer AG (now owner of the Monsanto “Roundup” brand of glyphosate herbicide) and several other chemical companies, only two are scientifically “reliable”; six others are deemed “partly reliable,” and the remaining three, “not reliable.” These results go, in part, to the age of some of the studies (see below); but they also underscore the point Beyond Pesticides has made for years. Regulators, whether in the UK, the U.S., or anywhere else, ought not be relying solely and without adequate auditing on industry-generated and -funded safety research in making safety determinations that underlie regulations impacting the well-being of millions of people (and other organisms), never mind the environment writ large. The report, from a team working out of the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) at the Medical University of Vienna, is timely: the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) are currently considering whether or not […]

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Community Pesticide Use Restrictions Expand; Organic Takes Root Across the Country

Friday, December 17th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, December 17, 2021) Los Alamos, New Mexico is the latest locality to act on some degree of protection of the community from pesticides. Its County Council passed a proposal on December 15 that will ban use of glyphosate-based herbicides on county properties, among other provisions (outlined below). Cities, towns, and counties (and occasionally, a state) across the U.S. are moving to protect their parks, playing fields, other green spaces, and the communities broadly from the harms of synthetic pesticide and fertilizer use. The approaches vary: sometimes comprehensive, though often piecemeal, i.e., tackling the problem one compound, one category of pesticide, or one or two kinds of properties at a time. Beyond Pesticides endorses comprehensive approaches that embrace the transition to organic land management. Because these can sometimes be more challenging for localities to enact, Beyond Pesticides has announced its program — Parks for a Sustainable Future — that helps localities learn about, secure training in, and benefit from the guidance of experts on, organic management. Synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are used widely in agriculture, but also, in a large variety of public spaces — on and in playgrounds, parks, and playing/recreational fields and courts; along roads, sidewalks, and […]

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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 HawaiÊ»i 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 HawaiÊ»i, 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 harmÊ»s 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 HawaiÊ»i, 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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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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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) RoundupÂź. 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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Groups Tell EPA’s Pesticide Program It’s a Failure, Call for Immediate Reforms

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 26, 2021) The Office of Pesticides Programs within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has become so captured by industry that it has lost sight of its health and environmental mission, according to a scathing critique issued today by 37 environmental, public health, and sustainable agriculture groups, including beekeeper councils. Led by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and Beyond Pesticides, the groups are urging the Biden administration to adopt reforms within OPP to ensure pesticide approval and use decisions are science-based. EPA’s OPP has registered more than 18,000 separate pesticide products — far more than any other country — and more than 2 billion pounds of pesticides are sold annually in the U.S. They are used annually over roughly 250 million acres of farmland, across millions of acres of urban and suburban lands, and inside millions of homes, schools, and other buildings.  The coalition letter points to employee reports that managers within  OPP – Push through “Yes packages” of pesticide approvals greased by industry lobbying; Suppress toxicological and other concerns raised by professional staff; and Engage in outrageous waivers of vital toxicity study requirements, instead relying on “conditional” registrations to allow pesticide uses, despite missing key data. Seeing […]

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EPA to Create Advisory Councils to Restore Scientific Integrity in Pesticide/Chemicals Division

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 20, 2021) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week plans to establish a new position and two advisory councils in order to enhance scientific integrity within the agency’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP). The move is being widely seen as a response to recent reporting over how EPA has allowed the chemical industry to distort and unduly influence its process for reviewing and approving toxic pesticides and other chemicals. “Scientific integrity is the backbone of the work we do to ensure the safety of chemicals used in our everyday lives,” said Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention Michal Freedhoff, PhD. “Strong, sound science underpins confidence in our decision-making among the public that we serve. Today’s announcements are the latest in a series of steps OCSPP is taking to reaffirm our commitment to scientific integrity and restore the public trust.” EPA will create a new internal advisory group called the OSCPP Science Policy Council “to provide advisory support and recommendations on science policy and scientific integrity issues that arise within its Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics and Office of Pesticide Programs.” The chair of this advisory group […]

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Ag Secretary Vilsack Pushes Petroleum Farming Inputs, Fights EU’s Climate-Friendly Organic “Farm to Fork’ Initiative

Friday, October 8th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 8, 2021) Taking a page from the playbook of Trump Administration Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the current secretary, Tom Vilsack, used a September G20 summit in Italy to target the European Union’s “Farm to Fork” (F2F) strategy, a part of its European Green Deal. Mr. Perdue had said that F2F is “more . . . ‘political science’ than demonstrated agricultural science”; Secretary Vilsack called it “a path very different from the one the U.S. is pursuing.” The F2F initiative aims to transition the EU to a sustainable food system such that it also achieves significant mitigation of climate change. But Mr. Vilsack chose to counter the F2F efforts by promoting an “alternative strategy” — under the moniker “Coalition for Productivity Growth” — through which “other nations pledge not to follow the European path on farm policy.” He has described this alternative, U.S.-led strategy as “a market-oriented, incentive-based, voluntary system [that] is effective” at slashing agricultural carbon emissions. Climate, pesticide, organics, and other environmental and health advocates, including Beyond Pesticides, are troubled by these actions. Mother Jones poses the central question in the headline of its September 30 article: Why is Secretary Vilsack So Afraid of a Plan to Cut […]

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Commonly Used Neurotoxic Pesticide Exposure Increases ALS Risk to Workers and Residents

Thursday, September 30th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, September 30, 2021) Individuals working or living in areas with frequent neurotoxic pesticide use experience more amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) incidences than the general population. The study, published in NeuroToxicology, finds a positive association between sporadic (non-genetic, spontaneous) ALS incidences among individuals exposed to neurotoxic pesticides.  Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (or Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. As many as 16,000 – 20,000 Americans live with this condition, which weakens muscle/motor function leading to loss of muscle control for walking, talking, eating/swallowing, and breathing. Severe ALS progression is fatal and has no current cure. Although research supports genetic factors play a role in disease etiology (cause), most ALS cases do not result from genetic inheritance. Several research studies demonstrate exposure to environmental or work-related toxicants (i.e., pesticides) predispose humans to the disease. With researchers predicting a global ALS incidence increase of 69% by 2040, identifying ALS’s causal factors are important to future research. Therefore, research like this showcases the importance of assessing aggregate health risks associated with toxic chemical exposure, especially for illnesses, which are not curable. In this study, the researchers note, “[W]e identified pesticides applied to crops in the area of […]

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Exposure to Common Herbicide Glyphosate Increases Spontaneous Preterm Birth Incidents

Thursday, August 26th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2021) A recent study published in Environmental Research demonstrates that exposure to the herbicide glyphosate and its breakdown product reduces pregnancy length, increasing the risk of preterm birth. Preterm births occur when a fetus is born early or before 37 weeks of complete gestation. Premature births can result in chronic (long-term) illnesses among infants from lack of proper organ development and even death. Birth and reproductive complications are very common among individuals exposed to environmental toxicants, like pesticides. Considering the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports the preterm birth rate is increasing annually, studies like this can help government and health officials safeguard human health by assessing adverse health effects following prevalent chemical exposure. The study notes, “Given the prevalent and rising exposures to glyphosate and GBHs [glyphosate-based herbicides], confirmatory studies are needed to explore reproductive effects of glyphosate and GBHs to re-assess their safety on human health and to explore possible programming consequences to lifelong health.” GBHs are the most commonly used herbicides, readily contaminating soil, water, and food globally. Although GBHs’ ubiquitous nature has been linked to carcinogenic effects, specifically non-Hodgkin lymphoma, much less research considers exposure effects on reproductive health. The study’s scientists aimed to examine the relationship […]

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