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Save Mayflies and the Ecosystems that Depend on Them

Monday, February 3rd, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, February 3, 2020) In more bad news from the insect world, recent research published in the¬†Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences¬†reveals a precipitous decline in numbers of mayflies where they have been historically abundant. The research finds that in the Northern Mississippi River Basin, seasonal emergence of burrowing mayfly (genus¬†Hexagenia) adults declined by 52% from 2012 to 2019; in the Western Lake Erie Basin, from 2015 to 2019, the reduction was a shocking 84%.¬†Neonicotinoid insecticides are a significant factor¬†in this decline because mayflies are extremely vulnerable to their impacts, even at very low exposure levels. Ask Congress to tell EPA, USDA, and the Department of Interior to develop a joint effort to ensure that its decisions and compliance with its authorizing statutes address the crisis of the threat to mayflies. Ephemeroptera to entomologists‚ÄĒ‚Äúmayflies‚ÄĚ to the rest of us‚ÄĒis an insect order comprising keystone species, on which other species in an ecosystem are very dependent, and without which, the ecosystem would undergo drastic change. The plummeting mayfly ‚Äúcount‚ÄĚ is especially alarming because mayflies are a critical, primary food source in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and provide an important ecological service. As the research study notes, ‚ÄúSeasonal animal movement […]


Documented Decline of Mayflies, a Keystone Species, Destabilizes Ecosystems

Tuesday, January 28th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2020) In more bad news from the insect world, recent research reveals a precipitous decline in numbers of mayflies in territories where they have been historically abundant. Reported by National Geographic and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research finds that in the Northern Mississippi River Basin, seasonal emergence of burrowing mayfly (genus Hexagenia) adults declined by 52% from 2012 to 2019; in the Western Lake Erie Basin, from 2015 to 2019, the reduction was a shocking 84%. Neonicotinoid insecticides are a significant factor in this decline because mayflies are exquisitely vulnerable to their impacts, even at very low exposure levels. Ephemeroptera to entomologists ‚ÄĒ and ‚Äúmayflies‚ÄĚ to the rest of us ‚ÄĒ are a keystone species, one on which other species in an ecosystem are very dependent, and without which, the ecosystem would undergo drastic change. The Latinate name is apt: mayflies are among the most short-lived organisms, with lifespans across the 2,000+ known species lasting from five minutes to one day to a few weeks. Like damselflies and dragonflies, members of an ancient group of insects, the 600 North American species, as do their global kin, make optimal reproductive […]


Giving Thanks: Indigenous Rights Tied to Global Biodiversity

Wednesday, November 27th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, November 27, 2019) This Thanksgiving, Beyond Pesticides is drawing attention to research which underscores the current value of Indigenous knowledge and rights in the global fight for environmental justice. We are also highlighting some inspiring Indigenous activists representing frontline communities. First, we offer our network a Thanksgiving message from the Native American Rights Fund, which published a few year’s back a Thanksgiving message and a poem¬† from their Mohawk relatives on the natural world (see below): “Native Americans are grateful for all that nature provides, and many of us celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in our own ways. Moreover, we give thanks every day as we greet the morning star in the eastern sky giving thanks to the Creator, our families, our ancestors, and our survival.” We, at Beyond Pesticides, wish our network a Happy Thanksgiving celebration of life and a path to a healthy future. A study published in the journal Environmental Science and Policy earlier this year found that vertebrate biodiversity on indigenous-managed lands in Australia, Brazil, and Canada is equal to or higher than protected areas. As the planet faces cascading disasters, such as mass extinction and the climate crisis, the authors state, ‚ÄúPartnerships with Indigenous […]


Ask Congress to Demand an Investigation into EPA’s Dismissal of Science

Monday, November 25th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, November 25, 2019) Continuing its marathon of deregulation to benefit the chemical industry, the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its proposal to increase the amount of the weed killer atrazine allowed in U.S. waterways by 50% during the chemical’s registration review‚ÄĒa stark reversal of previous proposals to significantly reduce atrazine levels in the environment. The atrazine proposal follows closely on the heels of a proposal to further weaken protections regarding 23 pyrethroid insecticides that have been repeatedly linked by peer-reviewed studies to neurological issues such as learning disabilities in children. Ask Congress to request an investigation into whether EPA is ignoring its statutory duty and regulatory requirements to use science in its proposals. EPA’s atrazine proposal comes after agrichemical giant Syngenta and the National Corn Growers Association requested that EPA dismiss independent research regarding the adverse impact of atrazine. Atrazine, a broadleaf herbicide, is linked to endocrine disruption, neuropathy, and cancer. It disrupts the sexual development of frogs at levels far below the current allowed concentrations by EPA. Studies by Tyrone Hayes, PhD, University of California, Berkeley, and others have shown that concentrations as low as 0.1 ppb turn tadpoles into hermaphrodites. A 2009 study linked birth defects like gastroschisis and choanal atresia to the relative concentrations of atrazine and other pesticides […]


Memo Released by EPA Proposes Increased Aquatic Allowances for Endocrine-Disrupting Atrazine

Wednesday, November 20th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, November 20, 2019) Continuing its marathon of deregulation to benefit the chemical industry, the Trump administration‚Äôs Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a memo announcing its proposal to increase the amount of the weed killer atrazine allowed in U.S. waterways by 50% during the chemical‚Äôs registration review‚ÄĒa stark reversal of previous proposals to significantly reduce atrazine levels in the environment. The proposal comes after agrichemical giant Syngenta and the National Corn Growers Association requested that EPA dismiss independent research regarding the adverse impact of atrazine.¬† Atrazine, a broadleaf herbicide, is linked to endocrine disruption, neuropathy, and cancer. It disrupts the sexual development of frogs at levels far below the current allowed concentrations by EPA. Studies by Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, and others have shown that concentrations as low as 0.1ppb interfere with mammary gland development in the breast of mammals. In 2009, a study linked birth defects like gastroschisis and choanal atresia to time of conception and the relative concentrations of atrazine and other pesticides in drinking water. The current Concentration Equivalent Level of Concern (CELOC), a measure in place to protect aquatic organisms, for atrazine is a 60-day average concentration of 10 ppb. EPA‚Äôs proposal […]


Threat of Pesticides to Endangered Species Continues

Friday, November 15th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, November 15, 2019) The Endangered Species Coalition has released its newest annual report on the 10 U.S. species most threatened by pesticide use, Poisoned: 10 American species imperiled by pesticides. Produced with seven of its member groups, the coalition introduces the report by noting, ‚ÄúOur world is awash in chemicals. We‚Äôre particularly addicted to pesticides.‚ÄĚ It points to well-known harms, and identifies the exacerbating factors of both climate change and the Trump administration, the latter of which ‚Äúdenies the reality of climate change and has dramatically changed how the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is implemented, leaving vulnerable species at far greater risk.‚ÄĚ The introduction ends on a somewhat encouraging tone, saying that previous administrations have supported record growth in organic farming ‚ÄĒ the solution to pesticides harms that Beyond Pesticides has long endorsed ‚ÄĒ and that ‚Äúany administration has the power to get us back on track and away from pesticides.‚ÄĚ Impacts on wildlife linked to pesticide exposures ‚ÄĒ including mammals, bees and other pollinators, fish and other aquatic organisms, birds, and the biota within soil ‚ÄĒ have been well documented by Beyond Pesticides, and include reproductive, neurological, renal, hepatic, endocrine disruptive, and developmental anomalies, as well as […]


Environmental Groups Are Victorious in Lawsuit that Pushes EPA to Protect Endangered Species

Thursday, October 31st, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2019) Last week the U.S. District Court in San Francisco ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must assess the risk eight toxic pesticides pose to protected organisms: atrazine, carbaryl, methomyl, and simazine as well as rodenticides brodifacoum, bromadiolone, warfarin and zinc phosphide. The plaintiffs, Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) and Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) asserted that EPA and its then administrator Scott Pruitt violated duties under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by not consulting with the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service in registering these pesticides. The history of this case extends over 8 years. Last year, the court rejected EPA‚Äôs attempts to dismiss the lawsuit. According to CBD‚Äôs press release, ‚ÄúUnder the agreement the agency must complete assessments of four pesticides, including atrazine, the nation‚Äôs second most-used pesticide, by 2021. Assessments of four rodenticides, including the widely used rat poison brodifacoum, must be finalized in 2024.‚ÄĚ Stephanie Parent, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said ‚ÄúThis important step is only the start. We still have work to do to make sure the EPA addresses the harms of all pesticides, as the law requires. EPA was created after […]


Agreement Protects Willapa Bay and the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge from Highly Toxic Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Friday, October 25th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, October 25, 2019) Washington State officials have approved an agreement that will prevent oyster growers farming in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor from spraying the neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticide, imidacloprid, on tidal flats to kill native burrowing shrimp. The development comes after years of discussion and dispute among the Washington State Department of Ecology, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Willapa Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association. Beyond Pesticides has advocated for protection of these relatively pristine estuary areas from toxic pesticides since 2002, when it worked for (ultimately successful) elimination of the use of the highly toxic carbaryl against the shrimp. More recently, it has reported and weighed in frequently on use of imidacloprid and efforts to eliminate its use, as well as on broad contamination of waterways by neonics. Neonics are well documented to be a huge threat to pollinators and other nontarget organisms, as well as to the environment at large. Imidacloprid is banned by the European Union for outdoor use, and Canada is scheduled to announce details by year‚Äôs end on its implementation of a phaseout of neonics. Washington State‚Äôs own risk assessment study found that use of imidacloprid on tidelands showed ‚Äúimmediate adverse, unavoidable […]


Common Fungicides’ Use Leads to Algae Blooms

Tuesday, October 1st, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, October 1, 2019) Commonly used fungicides induce trophic cascades that can lead to the overgrowth of algae, according to research published in the journal Chemosphere. While the current process for regulating pesticides in the U.S. focuses on the acute toxicity of pesticides, and may consider some chronic impacts, real world complexities as described in the current study are not reviewed. This gap in our assessment can lead to significant adverse effects not just on individual species, but entire ecosystems. Researchers investigated how fungal parasites known as chytrids control the growth of phytoplankton. While some strains of chytrids are notorious for their impact to frog species, some do in fact provide important stopgaps within ecosystems. “By infecting cyanobacteria, parasitic fungi limit their growth and thus reduce the occurrence and intensity of toxic algal blooms,” says IGB researcher Ramsy Agha, PhD, co-author the study. “Whereas we usually perceive disease as a negative phenomenon, parasites are very important for the normal functioning of aquatic ecosystems and can — as in this case — also have positive effects. Pollution by fungicides can interfere with this natural process,” the researcher adds. The agricultural fungicides tebuconazole and azoxystrobin were tested on chytrid-infected toxic bloom-forming […]


Protect Workers and the Public from Parkinson’s Disease: Support H.R. 3817

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, July 23, 2019)¬†Last week, U.S. Representative Nydia M. Velazquez introduced legislation to cancel all uses of the pesticide paraquat, which is acutely toxic and strongly linked to Parkinson’s disease. The move is supported by the Unified Parkinson’s Advocacy Council ‚Äď a group led by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research ‚Äď as well as other health and environmental groups such as Beyond Pesticides. Paraquat, which is a dangerous, fast-acting nonselective herbicide that kills by burning living tissues, is also unnecessary. Organic agriculture provides an alternative that does not depend on toxic chemicals like paraquat. Tell your U.S. Representative to support H.R. 3817 to cancel the use of paraquat. According to the EPA, ‚Äúone small sip [of paraquat] can be fatal, and there is no antidote.‚ÄĚ Advocates are pushing for its elimination from the American agriculture system for many reasons, including acute toxicity and organ failure by inhalation, oral intake and dermal absorption; chronic toxicity affecting the eyes, lungs, liver, kidneys and endocrine system; and a higher incidence of various cancers after exposure. The EPA characterizes paraquat as ‚Äúextremely biologically active and toxic to plants and animals.‚ÄĚ The agency has previously determined that exposure to this herbicide […]


Focus on Pesticide Bans Continues in U.S. and EU, While Toxic Pesticide Use Continues

Monday, April 8th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, April 8, 2019)¬†Officials in Europe and the U.S. focus on banning problem pesticides, raising concerns about their replacements in the face of pesticide-intensive management strategies, while organic advocates call for a systems change in land management. In reference to widespread community bans of Roundup/glyphosate, Cary Gillam, author of Whitewash, told last year‚Äôs Beyond Pesticides‚Äô Forum, ‚ÄúGlyphosate is the poster child for the bigger pesticide problem.‚ÄĚ She continues, ‚ÄúIf it goes away tomorrow, we are not okay.‚ÄĚ Because of this, Beyond Pesticides has strategically sought to transform our country‚Äôs approach to pest management, both agricultural and residential/structural, by eliminating a reliance on pesticides and advancing organic management practices that do not rely on toxic inputs. This Daily News Blog post offers updates on progress in the European Union (EU), in the U.S. Congress, and in communities and sates nationwide. The EU is poised to ban clorothalanil, a commonly used ‚ÄĒ and highly toxic ‚ÄĒ organochlorine fungicide, The Guardian reported, in mid-to-late May 2019. After a review by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), EU states voted to approve a ban. EFSA identified as a chief safety concern the possibility that breakdown products (metabolites) of the compound may cause damage […]


European Regulators Ban Carcinogenic, Frog-Killing Fungicide

Thursday, April 4th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2019) Contamination of drinking water with toxic breakdown products and risks to fish and and amphibians has led to a ban on the fungicide chlorothalonil in the European Union (EU). While the pesticide will be out of use in the EU next decade, tens of millions of pounds will continue to be sprayed throughout the U.S. unless regulators take action quickly. ‚ÄúThe [chlorothalonil ban] is based on [the European Food Safety Authority‚Äôs] EFSA‚Äôs scientific assessment which concluded that the approval criteria do not seem to be satisfied for a wide range of reasons,‚ÄĚ a spokeswoman for the European Commission told The Guardian. ‚ÄúGreat concerns are raised in relation to contamination of groundwater by metabolites of the substance.‚ÄĚ EFSA‚Äôs review of chlorothalonil categorized it as a 1B carcinogen, meaning it ‚Äúmay cause cancer,‚ÄĚ with the most significant risk found for kidney cancer based on laboratory animal studies. Further research was needed into many of the metabolites (break-down substances) created when chlorothalonil degrades. However, regulators determined enough data was present to conclude that these breakdown substances may be genotoxic, with the potential to damage DNA and lead to cancer. European regulators also identified a high acute risk to […]


Following a Finding that Roundup Caused Plaintiff’s Cancer, Jury Awards $80 Million in First Federal Case

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2019)¬† Following on its verdict that the herbicide Roundup caused plaintiff Edwin Hardeman’s¬† non-Hodgkin lymphoma¬†(NHL), the jury on March 27 issued an award of $80 million‚ÄĒ$5 million in compensatory damages and $75 million in punitive damages‚ÄĒfor improper labeling and negligence on the part of the manufacturer and defendant, Monsanto. The trial, the first federal Roundup cancer trial, marks the first of a multidistrict litigation against Monsanto, with more than 1,600 similar lawsuits pending in San Francisco‚Äôs federal court. The jury‚Äôs second verdict affirmed Mr. Hardeman‚Äôs allegations that Roundup‚Äôs design is defective and lacks sufficient warnings, and that Monsanto was negligent by not using reasonable care to warn about Roundup‚Äôs NHL risk. The Edwin Hardeman v. Monsanto Co. jury verdict marks the second multi-million dollar award to be granted in a landmark case against Bayer/Monsanto within the past year. Last August in San Francisco Superior Court, California groundskeeper Dewayne ‚ÄúLee‚ÄĚ Johnson was awarded $39 million in compensatory damages, and $250 million in punitive damages in the first case that linked his NHL to Monsanto‚Äôs glyphosate/Roundup. In October, the judge in the case upheld the verdict, but reduced the award to $78 million. Mr. Hardeman is represented by […]


A Second Jury Delivers Blow to Bayer/Monsanto’s Claim that Glyphosate/Roundup Is Safe

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, March 20, 2019)¬†In a second verdict against Bayer/Monsanto yesterday, a jury found unanimously that a California man‚Äôs non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) was substantially caused by the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup). The case being heard in federal court in San Francisco now moves to the damages phase. Last August in San Francisco Superior Court, a California groundskeeper was awarded $39 million in compensatory damages, and $250 million in punitive damages in a case that linked his NHL to Monsanto‚Äôs glyphosate/Roundup. In October, the judge in the case upheld the verdict, but reduced the award to $78 million. According to the Associated Press, the trial judge, U.S. Judge Vince Chhabira ‚Äúis overseeing hundreds of Roundup lawsuits and has deemed [this case] and two others ‚Äėbellwether trials.‚Äú The case was brought by Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, CA. He said he had been using Roundup since the 1980‚Äôs. During the trial, according to The Guardian, Judge Chhabria, ‚Äúapproved Monsanto‚Äôs request¬†to¬†prohibit¬†Hardeman‚Äôs attorneys from raising allegations about the corporation‚Äôs conduct, saying issues about its influence on science and government were a ‚Äėsignificant ‚Ķ distraction.‚Äô‚ÄĚ This set up a limitation that required the plaintiff‚Äôs attorneys to focus solely on studies linking the chemical to cancer […]


Study Predicts Demise of Insects within Decades if Pesticide Dependence Continues

Tuesday, February 12th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2019) A new systematic review of insect population studies worldwide reports on ‚Äúthe dreadful state of insect biodiversity in the world, as almost half of the species are rapidly declining and a third are being threatened with extinction.‚ÄĚ The study concludes with the dire prediction that insects as a whole will go extinct in the next few decades if patterns of intensive agriculture, in particular pesticide use, continue. The review, published in Biological Conservation, analyzes 73 insect population studies conducted within the past 40 years, filtered to include only those that quantitatively assess all insect species within a taxa over a span of 10 or more years. Researchers Francisco S√°nchez-Bayo, PhD and Kris A.G. Wyckhuys, PhD uncover the disturbing truth behind this mass of data: one in every three insect species monitored worldwide is threatened with extinction. Even more concerning is the finding that 41% of insect species worldwide are in decline, outpacing the more well-publicized vertebrate declines by 200%. Only a few species are expanding in range or occupying vacant niches ‚Äď not nearly enough to compensate for the massive losses. In 8% of the studies in the review, citizen science data is analyzed in […]


Drinking Water Contaminated with Neonicotinoid Insecticide Byproducts

Friday, February 8th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, February 8, 2019)¬†Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the University of Iowa (UI) have published worrisome news on the neonicotinoid front. The experts discovered two metabolites of imidacloprid (a neonicotinoid insecticide) residues that had not previously been identified in drinking water ‚ÄĒ desnitro-imidacloprid and imidacloprid-urea. The researchers note both that these metabolites have never been evaluated for their potential risks to human and environmental health, and that there may be potential risks of anthropogenic compounds that can be created when water with neonicotinoid residues, and thus, these metabolites, undergo typical water treatment (often chlorination and/or pH treatment). They note that, ‚ÄúThe mammalian toxicity of transformation products formed during water treatment processes remains unknown. It is possible that chlorination of neonicotinoids and their metabolites will . . . alter their bioactivity.‚ÄĚ The joint, federally funded collaboration investigated neonicotinoid pesticides (‚Äúneonics‚ÄĚ) in tap water to determine whether neonic metabolites are relevant to pesticide exposure through drinking water, and to identify any products of the chlorination of neonics and their metabolites. The scientists simulated realistic drinking water conditions in their research to demonstrate, in laboratory circumstances, that chlorinated disinfection byproduct chemicals are produced. The study, conducted by seven researchers […]


Endocrine Disrupting Herbicide, Atrazine, Exceeds Legal Limits in Midwest

Thursday, December 6th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, December 6, 2018)¬†A recent analysis of annual drinking water quality reports has revealed that many community drinking water systems in the Midwest have seasonal exceedances of the allowable limit for the herbicide atrazine. Atrazine, linked to endocrine disruption, neuropathy, and cancer, is the second most widely used pesticide in corn growing areas, with over 73 million pounds applied to agricultural fields each year. ¬†A¬†2009 study¬†by Paul Winchester, MD, professor of clinical pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine and a neonatologist at St. Francis Hospital in Indianapolis, linked¬†birth defects to time of conception, with the greatest impact on children conceived when concentrations of atrazine and other pesticides are highest in the local drinking water. (See Reproductive Effects Peak with Pesticide Exposure.) During peak use, atrazine levels in drinking water have been recorded at three to seven times above the legal limit. In addition to the well documented impact on the environment, recent ¬†studies have linked prolonged pesticide exposure to not only shortened gestation and preterm birth for women, but also neurodevelopment delays in children. Ultimately, these unreported seasonal peaks may result in persistent adverse health impacts in impacted communities. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), enacted in 1974, […]


Neonicotinoids Found to Change Frog Behavior

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, November 15, 2018) Neonicotinoids are widely known for their link to declining pollinator populations, but new research finds that the ill effects of these chemicals also extends to amphibian populations. In a study published late last month, scientists from the National Wildlife Research Center in Ottawa, Canada found that chronic exposure to real-world levels of the neonicotinoid imidacloprid limits the ability of juvenile wood frogs to escape a predator attack. This research adds additional evidence that neonicotinoids are harming aquatic food chains, and reinforces calls for U.S. regulators to follow the science and adequately restrict these toxic pesticides. Researchers investigated the impact of neonicotinoids on the post-tadpole life stage of wood frogs, which has been identified as critical to sustaining viable populations of the species. Rather than determine acute impacts that assess how lethal a pesticide is, scientists opted to observe how wood frog behavior changes as a result of chronic, real-world exposure scenarios. In particular, scientists sought to figure out whether exposure resulted in an altered behavioral response to the presence of a predator. As tadpoles, wood frogs were chronically exposed to real world levels of imidacloprid (1, 10, and 100 micrograms/liter), while others were left unexposed […]


Vermont Watershed Protected from Hazardous Pesticide Use

Friday, October 12th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, October 12, 2018)¬†For the first time in its history, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) denied a permit to apply toxic pesticides to a local waterbody, according to reports from the regional nonprofit organization Toxics Action Center. The DEC decision responded to an application from the Town of Williston, VT to use the herbicide SePRO Sonar AS¬ģ on Lake Iroquois, a 237 acre spring-fed body of water used for public recreation, in order to control Eurasian watermilfoil. DEC ruled that use of the herbicide posed risks to the holistic integrity of the lake waters, the Champlain watershed, and surrounding ecology. Sonar contains the active ingredient fluridone, which studies have linked to endocrine disruption, kidney/liver damage and toxicity to fish/aquatic organisms. It has also been identified as a potent groundwater contaminant. With this background, fluridone use has been the subject of public opposition. The permit application submitted by Williston city officials identified $350,000 in costs to apply the pesticide over the next five years, with 3-4 applications scheduled each summer. Milfoil typically takes over shallow coastal waters, out competes native aquatic plants for space and sunlight, reduces oxygen levels and harms fish habitat. Milfoil, like other invasive plants, […]


Tell U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Eliminate Pesticide Use on Refuges

Monday, May 21st, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, May 21, 2018)¬†¬†490,000 Pounds of Toxic Pesticides Sprayed on National Wildlife Refuges in 2016 The nation‚Äôs 562 national wildlife refuges play a critical role in protecting fish, plants, and other wildlife. They include forests, wetlands, and waterways vital to thousands of species of plants and animals, including 280 that are protected under the Endangered Species Act. However, private chemical-intensive commercial farming of crops like corn, soybeans, and sorghum has become common on refuge lands, with the increasing use of highly toxic pesticides that threaten the long-term health of sensitive habitats and the creatures who depend on them. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) estimates that 490,000 pounds of pesticides were applied to commodity crops like corn, soybeans, and sorghum grown in national wildlife refuges in 2016, the most recent year for which data are available. Tell FWS to take toxic pesticides out of wildlife refuges. The nearly half million pounds of pesticides used on wildlife refuges in 2016 include 2,4-D, dicamba, and paraquat, all of which are toxic to fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and other animals. Also included are 116,200 pounds of glyphosate, the herbicide that has caused widespread decreases in milkweed plants, helping to trigger the 80 percent […]


Action: Glyphosate/Roundup Must Be Removed from the Market

Monday, April 23rd, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, April 23, 2018) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting comments on its human health and environmental risk assessments of glyphosate (sold as Roundup™, Rodeo™, and many other products) until April 30. Evidence is mounting that glyphosate products cause cancer and many other human health and environmental problems. Sign the petition asking EPA to ban glyphosate. Despite the prevalent myth that this widely used herbicide is harmless, glyphosate is associated with a wide range of illnesses, including non-Hodgkin‚Äôs lymphoma, genetic damage, liver and kidney damage, and endocrine disruption, as well as environmental damage, including water contamination and harm to amphibians. Researchers have also determined that the ‚Äúinert‚ÄĚ ingredients in glyphosate products, especially polyethoxylated tallow amine or POEA ‚Äďa surfactant commonly used in glyphosate and other herbicidal products‚ÄĒ are even more toxic than glyphosate itself. Monsanto, manufacturer of glyphosate, formulates many products (such as Roundup™¬†and Rodeo™) and markets formulations exclusively used on genetically engineered (GE) crops. Glyphosate is one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, due in large part to the increased cultivation of GE crops that are tolerant of the herbicide. This petition summarizes the reasons glyphosate should be banned. More information can be […]


Victory! State Finds Imidacloprid Insecticide Too Risky for Use in Sensitive Willapa Bay

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2018) The request by shellfish growers in Washington State to apply the neonicotinoid insecticide, imidacloprid, on oyster and clams beds to control native burrowing shrimp was denied by the Department of Ecology (Ecology) after it determined ‚Äúenvironmental harm from this neonicotinoid pesticide would be too great.‚ÄĚ Concerned resident and environmental advocates have been opposed to the proposed use citing harms to aquatic life including fish habitat, and long-term ecological damage. Shellfish growers from Willapa-Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association requested a permit from the state to use the imidacloprid on burrowing shrimp that the growers said impede traditional shellfish cultivation. They sought a state National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to apply imidacloprid to 500 acres of shellfish beds within Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, over a period of five years. The growers first applied for a permit in 2015 to treat 2,000 acres of tidelands, but after a strong public outcry, they withdrew the request. In 2016, they applied for a new permit to treat less acreage and Ecology published a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) in 2017 on the potential impacts imidacloprid application would have to the bay. Now, Ecology, after thoroughly evaluating […]


Scientists Urge Action to Protect California Waterways from Neonicotinoid Insecticides

Thursday, March 15th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2018) On Tuesday, a group of 56 scientists studying the effects of neonicotinoids¬†sent a letter to California‚Äôs Department of Pesticide Regulation¬†(CDPR) highlighting the threat neonicotinoids pose to the health of California‚Äôs waterways. The scientists urge CDPR to take steps to reduce neonicotinoid contamination of the state‚Äôs streams and rivers. This comes as neonicotinoids were recently reported to be pervasive throughout the Great Lakes, and federal assessments confirm high risks to aquatic species. According to the letter, neonicotinoids are already found in California waterways at levels that exceed the freshwater invertebrate aquatic life benchmarks and could harm or kill many sensitive aquatic invertebrate species. Citing a 2016 study by the Xerces Society that found imidacloprid frequently in California‚Äôs rivers and streams at levels harmful to species such as mayflies and caddisflies. Imidacloprid samples in California from 2010-2015 showed that 42% (197 of 468) of detections exceeded the acute invertebrate benchmark and all of the detections exceeded the chronic invertebrate benchmark. In certain regions of the state, particularly agricultural areas, the imidacloprid benchmark for acute effects was more frequently exceeded. The scientists note these chemicals can ‚Äúhave consequences for broader ecosystems. Declines in aquatic invertebrates put other species […]