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Environmental Chemicals Are Stealing IQ Points from American Children and Costing Trillions to the U.S. Economy

Thursday, January 16th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2020) Exposure to environmental chemicals in the U.S. since the turn of the century has resulted in millions of lost IQ points, hundreds of thousands of cases of intellectual disability, and trillions of dollars of lost economic activity. This is according to a study led by a team of scientists at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine, published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology. “Although people argue against costly regulations, unrestricted use of these chemicals is far more expensive in the long run, with American children bearing the largest burden,” says senior study author Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP in a press release. Exposure to environmental chemicals can result in neurotoxic effects. Prenatal exposure represents a critical window when these effects can be particularly pronounced and result in lasting damage to a child. Researchers focused their study on contact with mercury, lead, organophosphate pesticides, and flame retardants in the womb. Biomonitoring data from a long-running Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study on environmental chemicals was used to determine exposure levels. Because each chemical results in differing levels of intellectual damage, each was assigned an IQ impact based on past research. For example, scientists indicated […]

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Exploratory Study Indicates Pesticide Exposure May Relate to Higher Risk for Endometriosis

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, January 15, 2019) A study published in the journal Environment International, Association of urinary metabolites of organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides, and phenoxy herbicides with endometriosis, is the first of its kind. Researchers considered the endocrine-disrupting properties of pesticides (such as reduced sperm counts) and investigated whether there might be a relationship between pesticide exposure and endometriosis. Endometriosis is an estrogen-dependent gynecologic disease that affects about 176 million women globally. It can cause extreme pain and infertility as well as increased risk for cancer and cardiovascular diseases. This study finds a positive correlation between some pesticide metabolites and endometriosis, though authors encourage further study to corroborate the findings. Researchers examined exposure to 11 “universal pesticides” and their metabolites and its relationship to endometriosis in 492 reproductive-age women recruited from 14 surgical centers in Utah and California from 2007-2009. The women at these clinics were scheduled for laparoscopy or laparotomy—the “gold standard” for identifying endometriosis is through these surgeries. The study compares results from the clinical cohort to a group of women in the same age bracket from areas surrounding the participating clinics. 619 urine samples were analyzed from the operative and population cohorts. This study detected six of the […]

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Best Wishes for a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season and New Year

Tuesday, December 24th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, December 24, 2019) The staff and board of Beyond Pesticides wish our members and network 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 and families, and protect the local ecology. Beyond Pesticides’ program responds to the urgent need to address the public health and environmental crises of our times—climate crisis, insect apocalypse, pesticide-induced illness, and the dramatic decline in biodiversity. With on-the-ground practices and local policies, we replace fossil fuel-based, toxic, synthetic pesticides and fertilizers with organic management strategies. TAKING A STAND 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. We see in the mainstream culture increased […]

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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’s 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’s registration review—a 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’s proposal […]

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Cardiovascular Disease Tied to Occupational Pesticide Exposure

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019

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

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Brain Function Damage from Exposure to Organophosphate Pesticides, including Chlorpyrifos, Documented with Imaging

Friday, August 30th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, August 30, 2019) The indictment of organophosphate pesticides gained more traction with the publication, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, of a new research study out of the University of California, Berkeley. The research, among the first to use advanced brain imaging to assess cortical activation, shows altered brain activity, during tasks that call on executive function, in teenagers from California’s Salinas Valley (the site of significant organophosphate use) whose mothers were exposed prenatally. The UC Berkeley study underscores the slow-motion calamity of the Trump administration Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) failure to ban the use of this class of pesticides, and of chlorpyrifos in particular, which compounds carry extreme risks for children. The effects of this prenatal exposure continue to unfold during children’s critical developmental periods. Researchers used fNIRS (functional near-infrared spectroscopy) imaging to monitor blood flow in the brains of the teens, 15–17, born and raised in the Salinas Valley. They used data from the California Pesticide Use Reporting program (which documents locations and times of pesticide spraying) to estimate the subjects’ mothers’ proximity to organophosphate (OP) applications during pregnancy. The subject adolescents — estimated to have relatively high levels of prenatal exposure to organophosphates — […]

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Triclosan Exposure Linked to Osteoporosis among U.S. Women

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, July 3, 2019) A disturbing association between urinary triclosan concentrations and osteoporosis has been identified in an epidemiological study. Drawing from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) results for 1,848 U.S. adult women, the authors conclude that higher concentrations of urinary triclosan are associated with lower bone mass density and higher prevalence of osteoporosis among U.S. adult women. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, adds weight to previous laboratory results, which showed that endocrine-disrupting chemicals such as triclosan can interfere with bone metabolism. Triclosan and its byproducts are known endocrine disruptors and have been shown in laboratory studies to interfere with collagen and bone structure. Taken together with previous findings, the new epidemiological results demonstrate that the ubiquitous endocrine disruptor triclosan “could lead to lower BMD [benchmark dose] and increased prevalence of osteoporosis in U.S. adult women.” Triclosan is used as an antimicrobial agent in products regulated by both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and cumulative exposure to triclosan registered by both agencies pose unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. Triclosan exposure has become so common that it has shown up in […]

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Act on EPA’s Failure to Regulate Endocrine Disruptors, which Threatens Public Health

Monday, July 1st, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, July 1, 2019) France made a decision in May to ban a widely-used fungicide because it damages the endocrine system. In contrast, there has been a stark failure to protect health in the U.S. Despite a Congressional mandate, EPA is not acting on endocrine disruptors linked to infertility and other reproductive disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and early puberty, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and childhood and adult cancers. This is a tragedy. Ask your elected members of Congress to demand that EPA tests and acts on regulatory endocrine disruptors as required by law. In 1998, following a mandate in the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) of 1996, EPA established a program to screen and test pesticides and other widespread chemical substances for endocrine disrupting effects. Despite operating for 21 years, the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) has made little progress in reviewing and regulating endocrine-disrupting pesticides.  As of 2019, the program has stalled entirely. To ensure appropriate follow-through, Congress gave EPA a timeline to: develop a peer-reviewed screening and testing plan with public input not later than two years after enactment (August 1998); implement screening and testing not later than three years after […]

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Study Documents Playgrounds Contaminated with Pesticides from Neighboring Chemical-Intensive Ag Land

Friday, June 7th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2019) Fruit orchards and vineyards endure some of the most intensive chemical management in all of agriculture. What has not been investigated — until now — is how pesticide drift from such agricultural sites may be affecting nearby public spaces. A recent, first-of-its-kind study out of northern Italy tested 71 public playgrounds near to apple orchards and vineyards in four valleys of the North Tyrol, and finds that 45% are contaminated with a single pesticide, and 24% by more than one. Study authors note that the playground contamination will likely grow worse over the course of the growing season. This would likely amplify the impacts of such chemical trespass on nearby public spaces, never mind the varieties of harm to the sites themselves and the food produced on them. Organic agriculture, of course, remedies all these concerns. The study randomly chose 71 public playgrounds in the four South Tyrolean regions, and analyzed grass samples for potential contamination by 315 different pesticides. Because pesticides applied to agricultural fields, orchards, and vineyards are easily volatized, carried aloft by wind, and/or washed by rain off of the target site, the study also evaluated the impacts of those (and other) factors […]

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Fulfilling Legal Settlement with Limited Scope, EPA Cancels Twelve Neonicotinoid Products

Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2019) On Monday in the conclusion of a lawsuit, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the final notices of cancellation on the registration of twelve neonicotinoid pesticide products in the Federal Register, each of which contains chlothianidin or thiamathoxam as an active ingredient. The decision to pull these products from the market was required as part of a legal settlement under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in December 2018 of a successful case, Ellis v. EPA, brought by beekeeper Steve Ellis and a coalition of other beekeepers and environmental groups, including Beyond Pesticides. The case establishes a legal precedent in which the court required action to address the bee-toxic effects of pesticides; however, the effect of the settlement and its impact on overall neonicotinoid and other systemic insecticide use is limited. For all but two of the twelve canceled products, a nearly identical surrogate remains actively registered. Furthermore, the fact remains that there are hundreds more products containing the active ingredients targeted by the lawsuit that have not been removed in any capacity – 106 products containing clothianidin and 95 containing thiamethoxam remain untouched on the market. Breaking down the impacts of the EPA ruling even […]

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Neonicotinoid Insecticide Residues in Food and Water on the Rise, According to USDA Data

Thursday, May 2nd, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, May 2, 2019) Researchers have documented an increase in food and drinking water residues of neonicotinoids, insecticides linked to breast cancer. Using the Pesticide Data Program (PDP), 1999-2015, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the researchers identified near-peak detection frequencies in 2015, after a decline from 2008-2013. Imidacloprid remains the most common neonicotinoid detected across imported commodities, while the neonicotinoids clothianidin, thiamethoxam, acetamiprid, and flonicamid are replacing imidacloprid in domestic production. Authors note that these newer neonicotinoids are potentially more toxic than imidacloprid, raising concerns for understudied human health and environmental impacts. The study, Trends in neonicotinoid pesticide residues in food and water in the United States, 1999–2015, published in the journal Environmental Health, finds the highest detection frequencies for neonicotinoids in drinking water, with 30% of treated drinking water turning out positive for imidacloprid in 2011. Certain fruits and vegetables are also frequently contaminated by neonicotinoids, with detection frequencies ranging from 20% to as high as 57% in the case of imidacloprid on cauliflower. While the study points to specific fruits and vegetables as posing higher risk, the main message reaches beyond individual commodity or individual neonicotinoid results. Authors uncover a systematic increase in detection of neonicotinoid […]

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

Friday, April 26th, 2019

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

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U.S. Health Agency Concurs with International Findings Linking Weed Killer Glyphosate to Cancer, while Inspector General Investigates Misconduct at EPA

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, April 23, 2019) “If I can kill this I should get a medal,” Jess Rowland, former Deputy Division Director of the Office of Pesticide Programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told Dan Jenkins, U.S. Agency Lead for Regulatory Affairs at Monsanto, in April 2015. The two were discussing the Monsanto officials’ desire to halt an impending investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) into the health risks that the weed killer glyphosate poses to the public. But despite the attempts of an apparently corrupt EPA official, earlier this month DHHS’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released its first draft on the Toxicological Profile for Glyphosate. Top-line findings appear consistent with conclusions made by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) on the carcinogenicity of glyphosate. Although not officially “killed,” Mr. Rowland’s cozy relationship with Monsanto did lead to a delay in ATSDR’s report, and prompted an EPA Inspector General investigation into potential misconduct. While Mr. Rowland’s acts were concerning, Monsanto’s attempts to quash this investigation did not stop there. Toxicologist Mary Manibusan is a prime example of the revolving door between industry and the agency that is […]

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Beyond Pesticides National Forum Reflects Movement Behind Strong Organic Standards that Have Integrity

Monday, April 15th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, April 15, 2019) Beyond Pesticides’ 37th National Forum, Organic Strategies for Community Environmental Health: Eliminating pesticides where we live, work, learn, and play, co-convened with the Children’s Environmental Health Center of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, brought together scientists, land and park managers, urban farmers, policy makers, and advocates to chart a course that takes on the big public health and environmental issues associated with chemical-intensive practices. The conference began with a tour of the organically managed Battery Park Conservancy (in lower Manhattan) and the urban farm at Wagner Houses (East Harlem) of the New York City Housing Authority and coordinated by Green City Force. The Forum brought together speakers who addressed the problems associated with pesticides use, cutting edge science, and solutions embodied in organic practices. The speaker line-up brought together leaders in their fields. Joan Dye Gussow, EdD, a leader of the organic and local food movement, kicked off the conference with a talk grounded in a history of pesticide contamination and poisoning issues that helped to launch mainstream organic agriculture, now subject to attacks that are undermining public trust in the standards and the organic label. Dr. Gussow was awarded Beyond Pesticides’ Dragonfly […]

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EPA Wants to Squelch State Authority to Adopt Pesticide Restrictions More Protective than the Fed

Friday, March 29th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a low-key announcement on March 19 suggesting that it may change its handling of requests from states to exert stricter controls on use of pesticides than the federal agency sets out in its registration of the compounds — by disapproving them. This is potentially a big deal because it signals that the agency will be less-kindly disposed to states’ desires to establish either somewhat different parameters of use based on local conditions and needs, or more-stringent regulations on pesticide use than those set out by federal regulators. This issue of preemption of localities’ desires to protect their populations and environment has become an increasingly dynamic frontier at the nexus of pesticide use, health, and environment. Beyond Pesticides has written more frequently about this issue in recent years as the tension between centralized, federal regulation and more-local regulation has risen; see more below. EPA appears distressed by some of the approximately 300 annual requests it gets to make some adjustment to the federal regulation. This can happen under Section 24(c) of FIFRA, which allows for a Special Local Need Label, which can be requested under a variety of conditions, including […]

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A Pesticide Distributor, an Insurance Company, a Major City, and a Scientific Study Nix Glyphosate (Roundup)

Friday, March 15th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2019) Beyond Pesticides and others have worked for many years to educate stakeholders and policy makers about the dangers of pesticides, and to transform pest management by eliminating a reliance on toxic pesticides and advancing organic management practices. Considerable focus has been on glyphosate, which is used in several herbicides, most notably in Bayer’s (then Monsanto’s, until its 2018 purchase by Bayer) Roundup. The compound has had a relatively high profile in the pesticide landscape, due in part to the ubiquity of its use, and in part to the tireless work of health and environmental advocates and scientists to expose its risks. With that profile, glyphosate has been a bit of a stand-in for the dangers of pesticides broadly. As journalist Carey Gillam said at Beyond Pesticides’ 36th National Pesticide Forum in 2018, “Glyphosate is the poster child for the bigger pesticide problem. . . . If it goes away tomorrow, we are [still] not okay.” The variety of risks this compound poses is broad, and pushback and risk evidence on its use come from multiple sides. This Daily News Blog focuses on recent developments on several of those fronts, all of which advanced knowledge and momentum, […]

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Study Finds Public Health Threatened by State Laws that Preempt Local Government Authority to Restrict Pesticides Community-wide

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, March 14, 2019) A study, supported by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture, finds that state pesticide preemption laws “compromise public health and economic well-being” by preventing localities from enacting pesticide use restrictions on private property that are more restrictive than their state’s regulations. In the words of the authors, “By eliminating the ability of local governments to enact ordinances to safeguard inhabitants from health risks posed by pesticides, state preemption laws denigrate public health protections.” The study, Anti-community state pesticide preemption laws prevent local governments from protecting people from harm, published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, reviews scientific and historical evidence of the failure of state and federal pesticide laws to protect localities from pesticide poisoning, and highlights the inability of localities to compensate for that failure under present laws. Communities seeking to protect their residents would typically issue community-wide restrictions to ensure protection of shared community resources, including air, land, and waterways, from pesticide drift, runoff, and other nontarget effects —as is the case with other community decisions on recycling, smoking, and zoning. The study’s authors document how industry influence led to the adoption of state laws that undermine the ability of localities […]

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$340 Billion in Annual Disease-Related Costs Associated with Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

Friday, March 1st, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2019) The costs of pesticide use extend far beyond the invoices farmers pay for purchase of the chemicals to use on their crops. The real costs related to pesticide use and exposure include those of health care, lost productivity and income, and environmental damage (loss of environmental services and biodiversity; compromised air, water, and soil quality). There has been relatively little research focused on those real and extensive costs; this Daily News Blog turns its attention to several that have made the attempt. January 2019 saw the publication of a new book, Sicker Fatter Poorer: The Urgent Threat of Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals to Our Health and Future … and What We Can Do About It, by Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP, which examines how some chemicals — including organophosphate and organochlorine pesticides — disrupt human endocrine (hormonal) function, and damage health, sometimes irreparably. The book further investigates the economic costs of associated diseases and other health problems to the U.S. economy — on the order of 2.3% of GDP (gross domestic product), or $340 billion, annually. As Dr. Trasande notes, “The reality is that policy predicts exposure, exposure predicts disease and disease ultimately costs our economy.” Dr. Trasande is […]

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Corroborating Earlier Studies, a Reduction in Pesticide Residues in Consumers Found after Switching to an Organic Diet

Friday, February 15th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2019) A study, published in January 2019 in the journal Environmental Health, demonstrates that consumption of organic foods reduces significantly the levels of synthetic pesticide residues in the bodies of U.S. children and adults. Pesticide residues are found four times as frequently in conventionally grown food as in organically produced foodstuffs. Although the number of subjects in this study was relatively small, the results point to the importance of organics, and add to the evidence that organic food production and consumption are key to protecting human health. Study subjects comprised members of racially diverse families — from Oakland, Minneapolis, Baltimore, and Atlanta — who did not typically consume an organic diet. Study participants, ages 4 to 52, ate their typical diet of conventionally grown foods for five days; for the following six days, they switched to a certified organic diet (provided by researchers) for consumption at home, work, school, or daycare, including all foods and beverages other than water. Urine samples were gathered prior to the “organic” days, and first thing on the morning after those six days. Fourteen different pesticides and metabolites were present in all participants’ urine in the “pre-organic” analysis; following the organic diet […]

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Tell USDA All Ingredients Used in Organic Must Be Reviewed

Tuesday, December 18th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, December 18, 2018) The ingredients not listed on a pesticide product are not fully reviewed for their adverse effects may be the most toxic chemicals in the formulation. Recent research, Toxicity of formulants and heavy metals in glyphosate-based herbicides and other pesticides (Toxicology Reports 5, 2018), by Defarge, de VendĂ´mois, and SĂ©ralini demonstrates the need to disclose and test all ingredients in pesticide products, as well as the full formulation that includes “inert” or nondisclosed ingredients. While glyphosate/Roundup is obviously not allowed to be used in organic production, this research reaffirms the need to evaluate full formulations of substances allowed for use in organic. The research on glyphosate tested the toxicity of the herbicide glyphosate, “inerts” in glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH), and the pesticide formulations–looking at toxicity to target organisms, toxicity to human cells, and endocrine-disrupting activity. In addition to the GBH products, the researchers studied a number of other pesticides. Tell NOP and USDA that “inerts” used in organic production must receive full review by the NOSB. “Inert” ingredients are allowed in pesticides used in organic production as well as those used in chemical-intensive production. The National Organic Program (NOP) allows “inerts,” permitted in conventional production and formerly listed […]

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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, […]

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Take Action: Tell the National Organic Program to Outlaw Fracking Wastewater in Organic Production

Monday, November 26th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, November 26, 2018) Organic consumers expect that the organic products they buy are grown without toxic chemical inputs. However, oil and gas wastewater (including fracking wastewater) is currently used to irrigate crops. Among the chemicals known to be present in oil and gas wastewater are heavy metals and other chemicals with carcinogenic, reproductive, developmental, endocrine-disrupting, and other toxic effects. When the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) was passed, and regulations adopted, there was no agricultural use of oil and gas wastewater, so the regulations did not address these hazards.  Tell USDA to Outlaw Fracking Wastewater in Organic Production!  The Cornucopia Institute has filed a petition for rulemaking, asking that oil and gas wastewater be ruled a prohibited substance in organic production. This issue should be put on the work agenda of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which advises the Secretary about issues concerning NOP. The petition from the Cornucopia Institute contains information that will serve as support for the work agenda item. Over the past several years, the NOSB has received many comments requesting them to address this issue Among the comments have been suggestions for guidance to farmers faced with contamination from oil and gas activities. The […]

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Scientists Call for Ban on Organophosphate Pesticides

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, November 2, 2018) A group of leading toxics experts, who published a paper in the journal PLOS Medicine on their research on organophosphate exposure during pregnancy and impacts on child development, are calling for a ban on organophosphate pesticides. The study evaluates current science on the risks of this class of compounds, produced by Corteva Agriscience (formerly Dow AgroSciences); its conclusions warn of the multitude of dangers of organophosphates for children, and makes recommendations for addressing these risks. The experts conclude that: (1) widespread use of organophosphate (OP) pesticides to control insects has resulted in ubiquitous human exposures; (2) acute exposures to OPs is responsible for poisonings and deaths, particularly in developing countries; and (3) evidence demonstrates that prenatal exposures, even at low levels, put children at risk for cognitive and behavioral deficits, and for neurodevelopmental disorders. Among the authors’ recommendations are these: Governments and subsidiary agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), should phase out chlorpyrifos and other organophosphate pesticides; ban non-agricultural uses of OP pesticides (including in household products); monitor watersheds and drinking water sources of human exposure; promote the use of integrated pest management (IPM) through incentives and training; and establish pesticide use and illness reporting […]

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