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Chemicals, including Pesticides, in Wastewater Discharge Contaminate Oysters in Pacific Northwest

Thursday, July 8th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, July 08, 2021) A Portland State University (PSU) study finds oysters of varying distances from wastewater discharge pipes along the Oregon and Washington state coast contain low levels of chemical contaminants. Although wastewater treatment facilities clean water draining from sinks and toilets, the process does not adequately remove all contaminants. The process can leave behind pharmaceutical drugs and personal care products (e. g., shampoos, make-up, deodorant) residues in treated water. PSU has already found that pesticides from the forestry industry threaten clams, mussels, oysters (bivalves) along the Oregon coast. Marine ecosystem pollution is difficult to track and measure, and pesticide regulations can invoke variations in water quality requirements through discrepancies in buffer zones and application concentrations. The combined presence of pesticides, medicine, and personal care products in aquatic environments has direct implications for species and ecosystem health and indirect consequences for human well-being. Therefore, studies like this can help government and health officials develop strategies to reduce the number of chemicals entering aquatic ecosystems, with researchers noting officials can “better understand whether contaminant exposure affects oyster condition.” Researchers wanted to evaluate how proximity to wastewater facilities affects variations in aquatic pollution. Thus, scientists transplanted one-week-old Pacific oysters along the Oregon and […]

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Tell EPA to Protect Farmworkers Now; Hear Directly from Farmworker Community Members

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, June 1, 2021) Farmworkers are at greatest risk from pesticides. EPA’s policies toward farmworkers comprise a blatant example of systemic racism. Although everyone suffers from pesticide poisoning, farmworkers and their families shoulder a disproportionate burden of the hazards.  Agricultural justice demands that we ensure a workplace with fair wages and benefits, no discrimination or coercion, and protection from hazards, such as harmful chemicals, including pesticides. Acknowledging, respecting, and sustaining the workers who plant, cultivate, and harvest our food is central to the basic values and principles that advance sustainable practices. Agricultural justice demands that we ensure a workplace with fair wages and benefits, no discrimination or coercion, and protection from hazards, such as harmful chemicals, including pesticides. Acknowledging, respecting, and sustaining the workers who plant, cultivate, and harvest our food is central to the basic values and principles that advance sustainable practices. Tell EPA to protect farmworkers from pesticides. Worker Protection Standards Are Inadequate to Protect Farmworkers Worker protection standards are set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). The original standard was developed after field hearings in which EPA heard from growers, but not farmworkers. With the threat […]

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Ecosystem Health: Pesticide Use from Forest Management Practices Threatens Essential West Coast Marine Organisms

Thursday, March 11th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, March 11, 2021) A Portland State University (PSU) study finds that pesticides from the forestry industry threaten clams, mussels, oysters (bivalves) along the Oregon state coast. Bivalves are excellent indicator species, signaling environmental contamination through their sedimentary, filter-feeding diet. However, continuous pesticide inputs—from various forestry management regimes—into watersheds along Oregon’s coastal zone endanger these species in downstream rivers and estuaries (river mouths). Although research demonstrates many forestry practices (e.g.., road building, planting, clearcutting, thinning) have cumulative effects on the ecosystem, there is a lack of studies addressing the overall impact of multiple chemical mixtures and application on watersheds and subsequent aquatic transport. Like agriculture, conventional forest management across the U.S. depends on the use of toxic pesticides to control pest populations. However, pesticide residues from application drift, runoff, and contamination continuously jeopardize the health and fitness of various non-target species, including humans. Marine ecosystem pollution is difficult to track and measure, and forestry pesticide regulations can invoke variations in water quality requirements through discrepancies in buffer zones and application concentrations. Therefore, studies like this can help guide future forest management practices to reduce the number of chemicals entering aquatic ecosystems. Researchers in the study note, “These findings highlight the need to […]

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GAO Report Identifies Need for Improving EPA Protection of Farmworkers

Friday, January 29th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2021) More oversight is needed to ensure farmworkers are protected from toxic pesticides, according to a report published this month by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) (the federal agency that provides auditing, evaluation, and investigative services for Congress). Revisions to the Worker Protection Standards (WPS) governing farmworker safety were updated by the Obama administration in 2015, but GAO identified a number of shortfalls in EPA’s administration of the changes. GAO focused its review on the implementation of the ‘designated representative’ provision, which grants farmworkers the ability to task an individual they designate to request information on toxic pesticides from their employers. Providing farmworkers with a designated representative allows for the access of pesticide application and hazard information, so that they may take proper precautions or seek medical care. A farmworker may use this provision when they are no longer near the farm they worked on, or if there are language barriers. Without this provision, the information farmworkers receive would be at the whim of employers, and past incidents show that lack of information can lead to hazardous, abusive conditions for workers. EPA officials, state officials, and stakeholders told GAO there was no evidence of such […]

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Federal Court Blocks EPA from Weakening Farmworker Protections

Tuesday, January 5th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, January 5, 2021) In the waning days of 2020, a federal court provided a hint of hope that farmworkers will retain basic buffer zone protections from toxic pesticides. The District Court for the Southern District of New York  issued in late December a temporary restraining order against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), prohibiting the agency from implementing industry-friendly rules that weaken application exclusion zones (AEZs) for farmworkers. The ruling, a result of a lawsuit brought by groups Farmworker Justice and Earthjustice, is likely to put the onus on the next administration to determine the fate of the rule. Application Exclusion Zones (AEZs) are buffer zones where individuals are not permitted to enter during a pesticide application, as doing so would put one at risk of dangerous exposure. EPA’s proposal,  pushed forward by Administrator Andrew Wheeler and finalized in October 2020, included a number of changes to the way AEZs would be managed. Chemical intensive farms would no longer be required to keep bystanders out of off-site spray areas, and pesticide applications could be restarted when an individual leaves an AEZ. Current rules require farms to keep individuals out of areas where pesticides are applied, both on and […]

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Lawsuit Launched Against EPA Approval of Toxic Herbicide Atrazine

Friday, November 6th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, November 6, 2020) Beyond Pesticides joined health and environmental groups suing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) late last month over its decision to reapprove the endocrine disrupting herbicide atrazine with fewer protections for children’s health. Despite the chemical being banned across much of the world, EPA continues to make decisions that benefit chemical industry executives. “EPA’s failure to remove atrazine represents a dramatic failure of a federal agency charged with safeguarding the health of people, wildlife, and the environment,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. “We seek to uphold the agency’s duty to act on the science, in the face of viable alternatives to this highly toxic weedkiller.” It is not hyperbole, but in fact scientifically documented, that atrazine exposure “chemically castrates” frogs, impairs fish reproduction, and can result in birth defects and cancer in humans. EPA decision comes on the heels of a rash of industry-friendly decisions. Within the last month, the agency has finalized rules weakening farmworker buffer zone protections, reapproving dicamba use on genetically engineered crops, and reregistering some of the most toxic pesticides on the market. The lawsuit, filed in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, contends that before reapproving atrazine, […]

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EPA Finalizes Industry Friendly Rules Weakening Pesticide Buffer Zones

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2020

Application Exclusion Zones (AEZs) are buffer zones where individuals are not permitted to enter during a pesticide application, as doing so would put one at risk of dangerous exposure. EPA proposed, and has now finalized, a number of changes to the way AEZs work. The agency is: i) removing responsibility for chemical-intensive farms to keep bystanders out of off-site spray areas; ii) allowing pesticide applications to stop and start when individuals enter and exit AEZs (rather than establish set safety requirements); iii) exempting on-farm families from AEZ protections, allowing dangerous pesticide applications to take place near buildings and other shelters where family members reside within an AEZ (“rather than compelling them to leave even when they feel safe remaining inside,” the agency notes in a disturbingly unscientific fashion), and; iv) “simplifies” or weakens criteria around determining the appropriate buffer size for an AEZ. Industry began pushing rollbacks to farmworker protections early in the current administration, starting with the 2017 announcement under former Administrator Pruitt that EPA would revise Worker Protection Standards initially agreed upon under the Obama Administration.  Not all of these efforts were successful, however, as 28 Senators pushed back in a 2018 letter opposing the agency’s revisions. “These […]

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Pesticide Drift from Greenhouses Adversely Affects Children Living Nearby

Friday, September 4th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, September 4, 2020) When pesticide drift is investigated, it is most often drift from agricultural fields that is examined. A new study shows that off-target drift of pesticides from greenhouses is also a reality. This research deduced such drift of organophosphate and carbamate pesticides from crop applications done in Ecuadoran floriculture greenhouses by evaluating the acetylcholinesterase enzyme (AChE) activity, necessary to the transmission of nerve impulses, in children residing nearby. The team finds that children living in homes near greenhouses in which these insecticides (widely recognized as cholinesterase inhibitors) are used exhibit reduced activity of this enzyme and abnormal functioning of the nervous system. Beyond Pesticides has monitored the pesticide drift issue intensively, and has long advocated for far better protections for farmworkers. This new information connects those issues, and expands the “drift” concerns to include risks to people working in greenhouses, and to those, especially children, who happen to live near greenhouse-type structures in which these toxic chemicals are used. The study evaluates data during three separate periods (2008, April 2016, and July–October 2016) on 623 children, aged 4–17, living in floricultural communities in Ecuador. The research is part of the study of the Secondary Exposure to Pesticides […]

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EPA Relied on Flawed Analysis to Allow Use of the Neurotoxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos

Friday, August 21st, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, August 21, 2020) A foundational study of the toxic insecticide chlorpyrifos left critical data out of its analysis, resulting in decades of an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “safe exposure limit” that is flat out wrong, new research says. That 1972 study concluded that the amount of the chemical to which a human could be exposed before adverse effects showed up (the “no observed adverse effect level,” or NOAEL) was more than twice as high as should have been determined had the study not ignored critical data. In addition, the study points to the perennial “fox and hen house” issues at EPA, which include using research commissioned, funded, or even conducted by industry as any basis for regulation. For years, Beyond Pesticides has rung the alarm on this very dangerous pesticide, and advocated for its ban nationwide. News of this omission from the 1972 “Coulston Study” comes from a team out of the University of Washington. The researchers re-analyzed that human intentional dosing study using both the original statistical methods and modern computational tools that did not exist in the 1970s. (An important side note: such a study is unethical by current research standards.) The new analysis finds two significant […]

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Tell USDA to Reject Bayer-Monsanto’s Multi-Herbicide Tolerant Corn—Please sign the petition by Monday, July 6, 4pm EDT

Monday, June 29th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 29, 2020) Bayer’s Monsanto is requesting non-regulated status for corn that will increase the use of drift-prone and toxic herbicides. This means that the planting of a new genetically engineered (GE) variety of corn, which requires substantial weed killer use, will not be restricted in any way. The syndrome of ‘more-corn, more-pesticides, more-poisoning, more-contamination’ must stop—as we effect an urgent systemic transformation to productive and profitable organic production practices. Because USDA is proposing to allow a new herbicide-dependent crop under the Plant Protection Act, the agency must, but does not, consider the adverse impacts associated with the production practices on other plants and the effects on the soil in which they are grown. Business as usual is not an option for a livable future. Sign the petition. Tell USDA we don’t need more use of 2,4-D, Dicamba, and other toxic herbicides associated with the planting of new GE corn. Bayer-Monsanto has developed multi-herbicide tolerant MON 87429 maize, which is tolerant to the herbicides 2,4-D, dicamba, glyphosate, glufosinate, and aryloxyphenoxypropionate (AOPP) acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase (ACCase) inhibitors (so-called “FOP” herbicides, such as quizalofop). Now the company wants this corn to be deregulated—allowing it to be planted and the herbicides […]

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Pollinator Week: We Protect People at Greatest Risk When We Protect Pollinators and the Environment from Toxic Pesticides

Monday, June 22nd, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2020) In the wake of the national groundswell for equity and justice in the face of rampant inequality and police brutality against people of color, we acknowledge, during Pollinator Week, holistic actions are needed to solve systemic societal problems that cause racial disparities. Those fighting for environmental justice understand that the harms inflicted by toxic chemical production and use cause disproportionate adverse effects on people of color—from fenceline communities near chemical production plants, to the hazardous and inhumane working conditions in agricultural fields, to the elevated risk factors for black and brown people from toxic pesticide exposure patterns.  Pollinator Week reminds us that we must nurture the ecosystem, which we depend on for life, with a fierce commitment to its inhabitants and a focus on those at highest risk. Therefore, this week is a time to renew our commitment to environmental justice and seek the adoption of policies and practices in our communities, and across the nation and the world, that recognize the urgency to address the disproportionate harm inflicted by toxic pesticide use.  TAKE ACTION! Here are three things you can do today. Protect Low-Income and People of Color Communities—As The Black Institute in New […]

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“Hey Farmer Farmer, Put Away that” Dicamba Weed Killer

Friday, February 14th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2020) The weed killer dicamba has been blamed for killing or damaging millions of acres of non–genetically modified crops and other plants that have no protection against the compound. Litigation, legislation, and manufacturer machination abound as dicamba damage mounts. The trial in a suit filed in 2016 by a Missouri peach farmer against dicamba manufacturers Bayer and BASF has just begun; an Indiana state laboratory struggles to keep up with demand to evaluate dicamba damage; Idaho lawmakers are poised to weaken rules that protect farmworkers who apply dicamba (and other pesticides) aerially; agricultural officials in Missouri are pressuring the state legislature to increase funding to handle the exploding numbers of dicamba complaints; and Indiana’s legislature is considering two bills aimed at curtailing dicamba drift that kills neighboring crops. This Daily News Blog will round up the plethora of recent news on dicamba — the toxic and destructive culprit behind each of these stories. In the face of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) failure to mitigate dicamba hazards, states have been scrambling to enact limits on when and how dicamba can be used, amend buffer zones around application sites, and in some cases, ban its use outright. […]

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EPA Set to Reapprove Cancer-Causing Glyphosate and Bee-Toxic Neonicotinoids

Tuesday, February 4th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, February 4, 2020) It was a good day for Bayer/Monsanto. The chemical company’s weed killer glyphosate and its neonicotinoid insecticides are set for reapproval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to interim decisions published last week. EPA reapproval of human carcinogens and chemicals contributing to the pollinator crisis is disappointing for health and environmental advocates, but not surprising to those watchdogging the agency during the current administration. “This is how a captured agency behaves,” said Beyond Pesticides community resource and policy director Drew Toher. “When EPA’s decision making repeatedly reflects the exact wishes of the chemical industry, public trust erodes, and we must look to new policy mechanisms that support the protection of health and the environment.”   On Glyphosate EPA’s glyphosate decision document glosses over the hazards of the chemical and is requiring very few new safety measures when using the herbicide. These measures are focused on agriculture, including minor label changes around drift, guidelines on resistance management, and a label advisory indicating the chemical is toxic to plants and may adversely impact pollinator foraging. The restrictions fail to match those proposed by Health Canada in 2015, which included buffer zones and restricted entry intervals. […]

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Stand Up for Those Who Harvest Our Food – Farmworkers

Monday, November 18th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, November 18, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing changes to the way farmworkers and bystanders are protected from toxic pesticide applications. Billed as “improvements” that will “reduce regulatory burdens for farmers,” the actions would instead significantly shrink Application Exclusion Zones (AEZs), buffer areas where individuals are not supposed to enter during a pesticide application, putting farmworkers and bystanders at risk. Tell your Congressional Representative and Senators that EPA must protect farmworkers. “Although the proposal is framed as a narrow revision, it would in fact eliminate, reduce, or weaken various AEZ provisions,” said Farmworker Justice attorney Iris Figueroa to Politico. “These changes threaten to increase exposure to toxic pesticide drift for farmworkers and their families.” EPA’s proposal, announced in a press release featuring the heads of industry associations like the American Farm Bureau, would do the following: Make AEZs applicable only to a farm owners’ property. Under the current rules, pesticide handlers are required to keep individuals out of an area where pesticides are applied both on and off site. Exempt on-farm family members from all aspects of the AEZ. EPA says this will allow farmers and their family “to decide whether to stay in their homes or…on […]

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Increased Risk of Skin Cancer Tied to Use of Weed Killers, as Researchers Call for a Precautionary Standard

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, November 5, 2019) Herbicide use is associated with an increased risk of developing cutaneous melanoma, a skin cancer, according to a meta-analysis published last month in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. For those working on farms and in other occupations with frequent exposure to herbicides, the risk is another in a long list of pesticide-induced diseases. Ultimately, researchers suggest, “A precautionary public health safety policy that includes preventive individual counselling and surveillance to workers exposed to pesticides may be advisable.” Authors of the study conducted a systematic review of the peer-reviewed literature on pesticide exposure and skin cancer, finding nine acceptable studies for analysis. These studies represent nearly 185,000 individuals, and included enough data to make a risk estimate and determine 95% confidence intervals. Although pesticides and insecticides in general were not associated with increased risk of skin cancer, general use of herbicides was (relative risk 1.85; 95% confidence interval, 1.01-3.36). Spouses whose partners work as pesticide applicators are also found to be at higher risk of developing cutaneous melanoma. As skin cancer has increased significantly over the past 50 years, many appropriately point to the link between sun exposure and development of […]

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EPA Moves to Weaken Pesticide Exclusion Zones Intended to Protect Farmworkers and Their Families

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, October 29, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing changes to the way farmworkers and bystanders are protected from toxic pesticide applications, per an announcement published on the agency’s website last week. Billed as “improvements” that will “reduce regulatory burdens for farmers,” the actions would instead significantly shrink Application Exclusion Zones (AEZs), buffer areas where individuals are not supposed to enter during a pesticide application. Health and justice advocates say the move will put farmworkers at risk. “Although the proposal is framed as a narrow revision, it would in fact eliminate, reduce or weaken various AEZ provisions,” said Farmworker Justice attorney Iris Figueroa to Politico. “These changes threaten to increase exposure to toxic pesticide drift for farmworkers and their families.” EPA’s proposal, announced in a press release featuring the heads of industry associations like the American Farm Bureau, would do the following: Make AEZs applicable only to a farm owners’ property. Under the current rules, pesticide handlers were required to keep individuals out of an area where pesticides were applied both on and off site. Exempt on-farm family members from all aspects of the AEZ. EPA says this will allow farmers and their family “to decide whether […]

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Dicamba Herbicide Poses Greater Threat of Drift when Mixed with Glyphosate

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2019) Pesticide products containing the weed killer dicamba become more volatile and drift-prone in hot conditions and when tank-mixed with glyphosate, according to a recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Tennessee. The findings help explain rampant complaints from farmers in the South and Midwest experiencing crop loss and economic hardship as a result of drift from new dicamba products, which are formulated with glyphosate for use on genetically engineered (GE) cotton and soy. While states have taken the lead in regulating the use of GE dicamba products, top political officials within Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s EPA overruled the findings from agency scientists urging larger buffer zones to protect neighboring crops and farm fields. During a 60-hour window, scientists applied various GE dicamba products (Clarity and XtendiMax) over a range of temperatures and took air samples. As temperatures increased, so did the volatilization and drift of dicamba, even in formulations touted as “low volatility.” Adding glyphosate to the mixture produced stark results, increasing concentrations of dicamba in the air up to nine times compared to dicamba alone. Tom Mueller, PhD, a professor in the UT Department of Plant Sciences, stated in a press release that […]

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Industrial Agriculture Practices Contribute to the Insect Apocalypse

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, June 18, 2019) As the New York Times wrote in November 2018, “The Insect Apocalypse is Here.” But can we reverse it? Pollinator Week this year is overshadowed by a greater, all-encompassing crisis that spans the entire insect world. Scientists and researchers have identified three broad contributors to the crisis: pesticide use, habitat destruction, and climate change. It is evident that multi-national agrichemical industries, companies like Bayer Monsanto, DowDupont, Syngenta, and the umbrella organization Croplife, that pervade our food system share much of the blame. But through public pressure and consumer choice, we can shift towards alternative products and practices, improve biodiversity, and begin to repair the damage done by industrial agriculture. Pesticide Use Industrial agricultural often places pesticide use as the first tool in the toolbox of possible fixes to pest problems. This leads to a range of deleterious impacts both up and down the food chain, as both prey and predator succumb to the effects of broad spectrum pesticides. Although it makes common sense that pesticides kill off more than their target insect, the scale of the problem was not realized until a study was published in PLOS One by German researchers. It found, after 27 […]

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New York Bans Chlorpyrifos, Pressuring EPA to Impose Country-Wide Protections Against Brain-Damaging Pesticide

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, May, 7, 2019) Last week, the New York State legislature voted to phase out and eventually ban the use of the neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyrifos. The vote, 44-18 in the state Senate and 94-50 in the Assembly, is still awaiting the Governor’s signature, who is expected to sign the measure. As evidence of harm continues to accumulate, scientists have called for a ban, and a legal case works its way through the courts, pressure is mounting on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to once and for all remove this harmful pesticide from use. New York’s legislation sets implementation dates that leapfrog a similar law banning chlorpyrifos that passed in Hawai’i last year. Although Hawai’i’s law takes effect beginning in July of this year, the state may provide temporary use permits for the chemical until December 2022. New York also phases in restrictions, first prohibiting aerial applications beginning January 2020, then prohibiting all use except on apple trees starting January 2021. The chemical will be completely banned for use in New York in December 2021. Chlorpyrifos is a highly toxic insecticide that has been linked to damaging and often irreversible health outcomes, particularly for pregnant mothers and their children, […]

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Continuing Pattern, Acting EPA Administrator Wheeler Ignores Science, Embraces Monsanto (Bayer), and Continues Dicamba Herbicide Use

Tuesday, November 27th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, November 27, 2018) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ignored the input of an expert weed scientist on the controversial herbicide dicamba, bending to Bayer’s Monsanto and the pesticide industry, according to emails obtained by the Arkansas Democrat and Chronicle (ADC) through a Freedom of Information Act request. The scandal centers on the recent re-approval of the pesticide, a highly volatile and drift-prone herbicide that has become a serious problem for many farmers and state regulators. As top-level EPA officials continue to work with industry to subvert their own agency’s scientific findings, more and more consumers are moving to organic products in order avoid the pesticide risks government regulators ask consumers to accept. Emails ADC received indicate that Jason Norsworthy, PhD, a weed scientist with the University of Arkansas, worked closely with Bayer’s Monsanto in conducting field trials this past summer, but found high volatility and drift of the company’s new dicamba-based herbicide XtendiMax. The product was developed in the face of widespread resistance to glyphosate-based herbicides in genetically engineered (GE) farm fields. However, recent accounts from farmers in the south and midwest indicate that, not only is the switch to dicamba unhelpful  in eliminating drift and reversing escalating weed resistance, its […]

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Ninety Percent of Iowa Schools at Risk of Pesticide Drift

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, July 3, 2018) Nearly ninety percent of public schools in Iowa are at risk of toxic pesticide drift, according to a team of investigative reporters based at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). A study conducted by Science in the Media, a UNI project, found that 9 out of 10 schools are located within 2,000 feet of an agricultural field, a proximity at which the risk of toxic pesticide exposure increases significantly. While the results have attracted the interest of lawmakers, media reports indicate legislative champions of this issue are having a difficult time gaining support for more protective measures. According to the data gathered, 444,669 students and teachers are within close range of agricultural pesticide use. However, the reporters found public school employees generally unaware of the dangers or of any measures they could take.  “As a teacher, I don’t know if there is anything sent out or part of any orientation to students or their parents, or anything like that,” said Louis Beck, an agriculture teacher at Union High School in La Porte City, IA to IowaWatch. “I have not been made aware of any protocol that we are supposed to have.” Buffer zone laws and […]

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Kroger Sets 2020 Phase-Out of Bee-Toxic Pesticides on Its Plants, Costco Encourages Suppliers to Change; Both Commit to Carry More Organic

Friday, June 29th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, June 29, 2018) It is widely known that pollinators are in trouble. In light of this, Kroger (which includes numerous other grocery chains, like Harris Teeter) announced in a press release last week — during National Pollinator Week —  a phase-out by 2020 of live garden plants treated with the insecticides most closely associated with the decline of bee populations, the neonicotinoids. In May, Costco updated its pollinator policy, which “encourages” its suppliers of garden plants, fruits, and vegetables to limit the use of bee-toxic pesticides and adopt ecological practices. The company in 2016 announced a policy to encourage suppliers to change their pesticides. In a statement that has broad implications for pollinator and environmental protection, Kroger included the following statement about organic food in its press release: “Kroger also offers one of the largest organic produce departments in America, which is desirable for customers looking to minimize potential exposure to synthetic pesticides. Representing nearly 20 percent of America’s annual organic produce business, Kroger sales reached $1 billion in 2017. A dedicated procurement team partners with more than 300 organic produce growers and suppliers every year to bring customers a growing selection of organic fruits and vegetables.” Costco is also […]

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Syngenta Gets Slap on the Wrist for Poisoning Workers

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2018) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) settled claims against pesticide giant, Syngenta, after dozens of workers in Kuai, Hawaii were exposed to the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos in 2016 and 2017. EPA backed away from the $4.8 million settlement that it was initially seeking from Syngenta and negotiated a civil penalty of $150,000. Nineteen workers were exposed to chlorpyrifos after Syngenta sprayed the insecticide on a field of genetically engineered (GE) corn at its Kekaha farm. According to the complaint, the workers were allowed to reenter the field before the reentry period expired and without protective equipment. Ten workers were taken to the hospital and three were held overnight. This incident occurred in 2016, however a second incident occurred in 2017 when Syngenta failed to post warnings for worker crews containing 42 employees after applying chlorpyrifos. At the time of the incident, an inspector from the Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) was present on the Syngenta farm, which triggered an immediate investigation from the state. Consequently, a civil administrative enforcement action was brought against Syngenta seeking $4.8 million for violating multiple federal statues including worker protection standards, allegedly affecting as many as 77 workers and leading […]

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