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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, “Partnerships with Indigenous […]

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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—a 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 […]

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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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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, “Our world is awash in chemicals. We’re particularly addicted to pesticides.” It points to well-known harms, and identifies the exacerbating factors of both climate change and the Trump administration, the latter of which “denies the reality of climate change and has dramatically changed how the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is implemented, leaving vulnerable species at far greater risk.” The introduction ends on a somewhat encouraging tone, saying that previous administrations have supported record growth in organic farming — the solution to pesticides harms that Beyond Pesticides has long endorsed — and that “any administration has the power to get us back on track and away from pesticides.” Impacts on wildlife linked to pesticide exposures — including mammals, bees and other pollinators, fish and other aquatic organisms, birds, and the biota within soil — have been well documented by Beyond Pesticides, and include reproductive, neurological, renal, hepatic, endocrine disruptive, and developmental anomalies, as well as […]

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Minneapolis Park Board Investigates Pesticide Contamination; On Nov. 11, Attend Film and Join with Advocates to Advance Organic

Thursday, November 7th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, November 7, 2018) A former employee of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board claims that other staff members misused and disposed of pesticides in protected areas next to Lake Harriet. The controversy comes at a pivotal moment for Minneapolis, as Minneapolis Public School District and the Park and Recreation Board are beginning a demonstration organic land management project on a number of properties. Advocates are pushing for organic land management as an alternative to chemical-intensive practices. Minneapolis gardener Angee Ohmah Siegal says she was at the Lyndale Park Peace Garden when she saw parks staff spraying herbicides on a windy day. According to Russ Henry, a local advocate who she told her story to, Siegal had to head to the hospital due to “uncontrollable vomiting.” What more, Siegal claims that the same employees would dump unused or leftover pesticides into a pond beside the Roberts Bird Sanctuary. Mr. Henry and Ms. Siegal issued their complaint with Park Board commissioners on October 2, carrying a large poster of a mutated frog with six legs that Ms. Siegal says she had photographed near the area. Commissioners are investigating further into the allegations but say they need more specific evidence. Volunteers […]

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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’s attempts to dismiss the lawsuit. According to CBD’s press release, “Under the agreement the agency must complete assessments of four pesticides, including atrazine, the nation’s second most-used pesticide, by 2021. Assessments of four rodenticides, including the widely used rat poison brodifacoum, must be finalized in 2024.” Stephanie Parent, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said “This 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 […]

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US Government Opposes Toxic Chemical Bans in Thailand

Wednesday, October 30th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, October 30th, 2019) This month, the Thai government moved to ban some toxic chemicals out of concern for the health of its residents and environment. In response, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary Ted McKinney sent a document to Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha pushing back on their plan. As the Thai government makes changes to protect the health and represent the will of the people, the U.S. acts on behalf of its allegiance to agrichemical companies on an international stage. After powerful and sustained activism from local advocacy groups such as BioThai, the Thai government decided to upgrade glyphosate, chlorpyrifos, and paraquat from Type 3 toxic substances to Type 4, meaning these chemicals will no longer be allowed to be produced, imported, or possessed in the country. Witoon Lianchamroon, director of BioThai, says glyphosate and paraquat “contaminate our water, the soil, and some species like crab or fish or frog. These two main herbicides cover around half of the total pesticide use in the country and they cause a lot of problems.” The ban was approved by the National Hazardous Substances Committee, made up of 29 experts in the field, on October 22. Beginning December 1, the ban […]

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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 […]

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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 – a group led by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research – 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, “one small sip [of paraquat] can be fatal, and there is no antidote.” 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 “extremely biologically active and toxic to plants and animals.” The agency has previously determined that exposure to this herbicide […]

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EPA Allows Continued Use of Neurotoxic Insecticide Chlorpyrifos on American Food

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, July 22, 2019) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will permit the continued use of a known neurotoxic insecticide on the food the Americans eat, the agency announced yesterday in response to a lawsuit filed by public health groups. Health advocates say the move to continue chlorpyrifos use is the latest example of the agency working to protect the profits of industry over the health of Americans. “By allowing chlorpyrifos to stay in our fruits and vegetables, Trump’s EPA is breaking the law and neglecting the overwhelming scientific evidence that this pesticide harms children’s brains,” said Patti Goldman, an attorney for Earthjustice. “It is a tragedy that this administration sides with corporations instead of children’s health.” Under a lawsuit filed in the 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals, EPA had 90 days to provide a justification for why the pesticide should remain on the market. EPA denied the petition yesterday, and rather than providing positive justification for continued use of the chemical, attacked the sound science claimants urged the agency to consider as “not…valid, complete, and reliable.” In the absence of EPA action, several states are leading in the protection of their residents by rejecting the agency’s determination regarding […]

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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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Despite Safety Claims, Insecticide Flupyradifurone Is Bee-Toxic on Its Own and Worse in Combination

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, April 17, 2019)  A neurotoxic pesticide labeled “bee-safe” has been found to be harmful to bees, according to a new study. Flupyradifurone (FPF), the subject of the study, is a novel chemical that was hastily registered in the wake of public awareness about the impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on bees. A systemic insecticide and a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) agonist, it functions in the same way as a neonicotinoid, though it is in the butanolide family. “Lethal and sublethal synergistic effects of a new systemic pesticide, flupyradifurone (Sivanto®), on honeybees,” not only debunks the myth that FPF is safe on its own, it also delves into the FPF’s synergistic effects with a commonly used fungicide propiconazole (PRO). PRO, on its own, has no impact on bee mortality. A rarely studied realm of pesticides, the study defines a synergistic effect as, “when combined exposure to two factors results in an effect that is significantly greater than the sum of individual effects.” Researchers manipulated six healthy honey bee (Apis mellifera ligutica) colonies and observed the impact of varying amounts of pesticide exposure, including both individual and synergistic effects, on behavior and mortality. They recorded data over seasons and between worker […]

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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. “The [chlorothalonil ban] is based on [the European Food Safety Authority’s] EFSA’s scientific assessment which concluded that the approval criteria do not seem to be satisfied for a wide range of reasons,” a spokeswoman for the European Commission told The Guardian. “Great concerns are raised in relation to contamination of groundwater by metabolites of the substance.” EFSA’s review of chlorothalonil categorized it as a 1B carcinogen, meaning it “may cause cancer,” 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 […]

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Release of GE Mosquitoes Canceled by Cayman Islands Officials

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, November 29, 2018) The British Cayman Islands will no longer fund the release of genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes, as reports indicate that the program failed to achieve its intended goals.  The government is formally terminating its contract with the UK-based company Oxitec, which marketed GE mosquitoes as a sort of silver bullet for the management of diseases such as Zika, yellow fever, malaria, and dengue. Advocates opposed to the GE mosquito program are continuing to encourage a focus on education and source reduction as the best method to address mosquito-borne diseases. Oxitec first began introducing its line of GE mosquitoes earlier in the decade, at a variety of locations including India, Brazil, Malaysia, and the Florida Keys. Public opposition to the release has been consistently strong. In the Florida Keys, over 230,000 people signed a change.org petition opposing the release. In the Cayman Islands, residents launched a number of lawsuits. In each instance the company was granted free reign to initiate its program. GE mosquitoes aim to ‘gene drive’ mosquito populations out of existence, a process intended to propagate a particular set of genes in a species. The company developed GE mosquitoes in a laboratory, injecting a gene […]

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Beekeepers at Risk of Losing Hives after Mosquito Insecticide Spraying

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, November 21, 2018) A study published last month in the Journal of Apicultural Research finds significant numbers of U.S. honey bees at risk after exposure to hazardous synthetic pesticides intended to control mosquitoes. With many beekeepers rarely given warning of insecticide spraying, researchers say the risk of losing colonies could increase. Advocates say fear of Zika and other mosquito-borne illnesses could result in counterproductive and reactionary insecticide spraying that will add further stress to managed and native pollinators already undergoing significant declines. Researchers aimed to determine whether neighboring honey bee colonies could be similarly affected by aerial insecticide spraying. To calculate the percentage of colonies that could be affected, density of honey bee colonies by county was compared with projections of conditions thought to be prone to regional Zika virus outbreaks. Researchers found 13 percent of U.S. beekeepers at risk of losing colonies from Zika spraying. In addition, it was determined that many regions of the U.S. best suited for beekeeping are also those with favorable conditions for Zika-prone mosquitoes to proliferate. These regions include the southeast, the Gulf Coast, and California’s Central Valley. “[Considering] all the threats facing bees,” says study lead author Lewis Bartlett of the […]

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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 […]

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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® 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, […]

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Atrazine Exposure Leads to Fewer Male, More Female Frogs

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, October 19, 2017) Exposure to the second most commonly used herbicide in the U.S., atrazine, results in a lower proportion of male frogs in populations of Blanchard’s cricket frogs, according to researchers from Ohio’s Miami University. While it may be ostensibly easy to dismiss the results of this study as limited to a single frog species, the Blanchard cricket frog, with its populations concentrated in heavily farmed Midwestern states, is likely an important indicator of broader ecological impacts. Ultimately, only a transition away from toxic herbicides and towards integrated organic systems will successfully address the ongoing effects of industrial agrichemicals on amphibians. Miami researchers exposed frogs to varying concentrations of atrazine, 0.1, 1, and 10 μg/L, in the laboratory, in order to investigate sex ratios and potential effects on survival of the population. Although no significant effects were seen on survival rate during the course of the study, sex ratios were significantly altered at the 0.1 and 10 μg/L exposure concentrations. At these levels, populations developed 51 and 55% fewer males respectively than control frogs. Researchers point out that such significant results seen at such low concentrations likely indicates that sex ratios are also skewed in the wild. […]

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Herbicide Atrazine Found to Affect Health Across Multiple Generations

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, September 27, 2017) Adverse health effects caused by exposure to the widely used herbicide atrazine pass down from parents to their children through multiple generations, according to new research published by scientists at Washington State University. This burgeoning area of study on ‘transgenerational’ impacts calls into question the current methodology for assessing toxicity and risk from chemical exposure. With the current U.S. regulatory system permitting food and communities to be awash in toxic pesticides, the results of the study have grave implications for future generations. Scientists began their research by exposing rats to atrazine while still in the womb. The parents of these rats were the F0 generation, while their atrazine exposed offspring were F1. Rats in the F1 generation did not exhibit any incidence of disease or adverse health, however they had lower weights than F1 rats in the control group that were not exposed to atrazine. F1 rats were then bred to produce the F2 generation. Although rats in the F2 generation were never exposed to atrazine, they displayed a range of diseases. Males exhibited early onset puberty, diseases of the testis, and mammary tumors. Females exhibited mammary tumors and decreased body weight when compared to […]

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A Healthy Wetland Shown To Be an Important Tool in Mosquito Management

Friday, September 8th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2017) Wetlands are important habitats for many creatures, and provide critical environmental services that impact human, economic, and social activity and mosquito management. Wetlands improve water quality, sequester carbon, remove or neutralize pollutants, control flooding, protect adjacent areas from erosion, and host a multitude of beneficial plant and animal species — not to mention their recreational and aesthetic value.As recently reported in The Louisville, Kentucky Courier-Journal, a federally funded project underscores the importance of wetlands in controlling mosquito populations. The Courier-Journal article highlights the construction of 12,000 square feet of new wetlands and marshlands in Louisville. The project was funded with a $9,500 grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and arose from the partnership of the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District, the Sheltowee Environmental Education Coalition, and a local nonprofit, the Passionist Earth & Spirit Center. Thomas Biebighauser, a wildlife and wetlands biologist, designed the project, which also involved engineering students from the University of Louisville. Impetus for the initiative was in part educational, and in part, a response to the facts that as far back as the 1980s, the area had lost more than 70% of its original wetlands to agriculture and development, and stretches of the nearby […]

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Glyphosate Stresses Tadpoles to Produce More Venom

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2017) Common toad tadpoles express more venom when chronically exposed to glyphosate herbicides, a study published last month in Proceedings of the Royal Society B indicates. Glyphosate, an increasingly controversial chemical found in Roundup brand herbicides produced by Monsanto, has been linked to a range of adverse impacts in both wildlife and people. The results of this research indicate a need to reduce the use of glyphosate in our environment to ease chronic stressors to sensitive wildlife like amphibians. Scientists tested the effects of formulated glyphosate products on toad tadpoles through experiments in a laboratory setting, as well as a mesocosm, a controlled outdoor environment that replicates natural conditions. Tadpoles in the lab were split into a series of groups which were each exposed to varying levels of glyphosate, some for the duration of the experiment, and others for 9 day periods during different stages in their development. For mesocosm tadpoles, researchers set up large plastic tubs and created small self-sustaining ecosystems with pond water and beech leaves. Glyphosate herbicides were added to certain tubs at either low or high concentrations. Both lab and mesocosm experiments had control tadpoles not exposed to any glyphosate herbicides. Tadpoles […]

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Infected Mosquito Trial Launched Against Zika and Other Mosquito-Borne Diseases

Monday, May 1st, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, May 1, 2017) The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District released 20,000 male mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria near Key West, as a trial strategy to manage mosquitoes that carry Zika and other viruses. The district and others have been exploring new ways to suppress infected Aedes aegypti mosquito populations, which thrive in urban environments and can spread Zika, dengue fever, and chikungunya. It is unclear what impacts, if any, these infected mosquitoes will have on non-target organisms or public health. The trial is the second U.S. test conducted with the naturally occurring Wolbachia bacteria in Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, developed by the Kentucky-based company MosquitoMate. The first test occurred in Clovis, California, last year. In September 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which registers mosquito control products, approved and expanded an experimental use permit (EUP) for Wolbachia pipientis-infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (not to be confused with genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes).  According to the agency, Wolbachia are naturally occurring bacteria commonly found in most insect species, but not in the Aedes aegypti. This strain of Wolbachia is extracted from Aedes albopictus embryos and microinjected into Aedes aegypti embryos. Male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are shipped to testing sites where they are released and mate with wild-type Aedes aegypti females that do not carry Wolbachia. After mating, the […]

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Study Finds Neonicotinoids in Water Straight from the Tap

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, April 5, 2017) A new study, Occurrence of Neonicotinoid Insecticides in Finished Drinking Water and Fate during Drinking Water Treatment, has detected neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides known for their detrimental effects on bees, in treated drinking water. This marks the first time that these insecticides have been found in water sourced straight from the tap. Federal regulators have not yet addressed safe levels of neonicotinoids in drinking water, so at this point, any detection of these chemicals is cause for concern. The study authors “report for the first time the presence of three neonicotinoids in finished drinking water and demonstrate their general persistence during conventional water treatment.” Drinking water samples “collected along the University of Iowa treatment train” over a seven week period, May through July, 2016 directly after corn and soy planting, find three neonicotinoids, clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam at levels ranging from 0.24 to 57.3 ng/L (nanogams per liter). The University of Iowa tap water is run through a water treatment plant that uses conventional treatment methods.  In contrast, the Iowa City water treatment methods (granular activated carbon filtration) result in substantially lower levels of the neonicotinoids. Additionally, the researchers found that extensive transformation of clothianidin […]

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