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States Need to Adopt a Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy

Monday, November 8th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 8, 2021)¬†California state agencies, led by the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA), released a draft Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy to guide and accelerate near- and long-term climate action across key California landscapes. All states need such strategies, and to be effective, they must be backed by ambitious targets focused on reduction of pesticides and support for organic agriculture. Tell your state legislators and governor to adopt a Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy that supports organic agriculture and land management.¬†(CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS: Please use this form.) A Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy will identify our natural and working lands as a critical yet currently underutilized sector in the fight against climate change. These lands can sequester and store carbon emissions, limit future carbon emissions into the atmosphere, protect people and nature from the impacts of climate change, and build resilience to future climate risks. Climate smart management of our natural and working lands also improves public health and safety, secures our food and water supplies, and increases equity. The strategy should define the state‚Äôs natural and working landscapes; describe how these lands can deliver on climate change goals; highlight priority nature-based climate […]

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California Releases Strategy for Land Management Practices that Confronts Climate Crisis

Friday, November 5th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 5, 2021) Once again earning its environmental leadership reputation, California has released a draft strategy document designed to catalyze near- and long-term climate action through focused attention on the state‚Äôs natural and working lands, and on nature-based solutions. The California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) announced the draft Natural and Working Lands Climate Smart Strategy in mid-October. In the announcement, CNRA asserts that the state‚Äôs 105 million acres can ‚Äúsequester and store carbon emissions, limit future carbon emissions into the atmosphere, protect people and nature from the impacts of climate change, and build resilience to future climate risks.‚ÄĚ The agency also notes that the plan would secure food and water supplies, improve public health and safety, and forward equity. It has invited public comment, and a coalition of California (and national) nonprofit advocates is delivering a letter that calls on the agency to include, in the plan, ambitious targets to move the state‚Äôs agricultural sector away from the use of harmful synthetic pesticides. Beyond Pesticides will sign on to the letter. This ‚Äúnatural and working lands‚ÄĚ document will inform California‚Äôs 2021 State Adaptation Strategy and the 2022 Scoping Plan ‚ÄĒ master documents guiding the state‚Äôs climate action during […]

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Advocates Call for Ban of Toxic Pesticides Linked to Deaths from Chemical Suicides

Thursday, May 13th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, May 13, 2021) Scientists are advocating for stricter pesticide bans to lower deaths from deliberate pesticide ingestion. The request for this toxic pesticide ban follows a University of South Australia¬†study¬†detailing discrepancies in World Health Organization (WHO) classifications of pesticide hazards that rely on animal rather than human data. Previous¬†studies¬†demonstrate an increased risk of developing depression, especially among agricultural workers and landscapers who use pesticides. Acute exposure to chemicals, including organophosphate and carbamate pesticides, tends to put farmers at¬†greater risk¬†of suicide than the general population. This research highlights the significance of assessing pesticide toxicity and health effects using human data rather than animals to understand health effects resulting from pesticide exposure. Society tends to rank mental health risks second to physical health. However, pesticide poisonings account for one in five suicides globally. Therefore, it is vital to address the accessibility and necessity of conventional pesticide use to safeguard human well-being, especially in countries lacking adequate chemical regulations. The study‚Äôs scientists note, ‚ÄúThe human data for acute toxicity of pesticides should drive hazard classifications and regulation. We believe that a global benchmark for registration of pesticides should include a less than 5% case fatality after self-poisoning, which could prevent many […]

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Eliminating Pesticides Increases Crop Yields, Debunking Myth of Pesticide Benefits

Friday, February 12th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, February 12, 2021) Being many decades down the path of chemical-intensive agriculture, growers and other land managers (and all the industries that influence them) have come largely to ignore the efficacy of healthy, functioning natural systems to maintain ecological equilibrium, i.e., not letting any one pest or disease proliferate. Recent research points to an example of such ecosystem efficacy. The study, by researchers in California and China, sought to evaluate whether increased population densities of fungi might be suppressing nematode populations in California production fields frequently planted with the cole crops (such as brussels sprouts and broccoli) they favor. The research finds that a diverse population of fungi in soils is highly likely to be effectively killing nematodes that threaten such crops. This is not the first time Beyond Pesticides has covered the potential of fungi as an effective control for agricultural pests. Thirty years ago, these nematodes were dealt with by application of soil fumigants and nematicides, because at sufficient population levels, the nematodes can destroy cole crops. During the following three decades, state-mandated monitoring showed that use of those chemical controls was diminishing and, by 2014, had been eliminated ‚ÄĒ even as yields rose. The co-authors […]

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Literature Review: Pesticides Exposure Highly Correlated with Respiratory Diseases

Thursday, October 15th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, October 15, 2020) A¬†review of scientific literature¬†on the correlation between respiratory diseases and pesticides exposure‚ÄĒpublished in the journal¬†Annals of Agricultural and Environmental Medicine (AAEM), ‚ÄúInfluence of pesticides on respiratory pathology‚ÄĒa literature review‚ÄĚ‚ÄĒfinds that exposure to pesticides increases incidents of respiratory pathologies (i.e., asthma, lung cancer, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD]‚ÄĒor chronic bronchitis). The review by researchers at the Iuliu Hatieganu‚Äô University of Medicine and Pharmacy Cluj-Napoca, Cluj-Napoca, Romania, looks at how pesticide exposure adversely propagates and reinforces respiratory diseases in humans. This review highlights the significance of evaluating how pesticide exposure impacts respiratory function, especially since contact with pesticides can happen at any point in the production, transportation preparation, or application treatment process. Researchers in the study note, ‚ÄúKnowing and recognizing these respiratory health problems of farmers and their families, and also of [pesticide] manipulators/retailers, are essential for early diagnosis, appropriate treatment, and preventive measures.‚ÄĚ This study results are critically important at a time when exposure to respiratory toxicants increases vulnerability to Covid-19, which attacks the respiratory system, among other organic systems. The respiratory system is essential to human survival, regulating gas exchange (oxygen-carbon dioxide) in the body to balance acid and base tissue cells for normal […]

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Household Pesticide Exposure Associated with the Risk of Developing Depression Symptoms

Thursday, June 18th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 18, 2020) Residential exposure to household pesticide products increases the risk of developing symptoms associated with depression, according to a study published in¬†Environmental Research¬†by researchers at Medical College of Georgia‚ÄĒAugusta University, School of Medicine‚ÄĒJinan University, and Guangzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), China. Research on pesticide-induced diseases commonly investigates pesticide exposure concerning the development of various¬†physical¬†illnesses, and previous studies show there are occupational risks of developing depression, especially in agriculture where pesticide use is rampant. However, there is a lack of information connecting pesticide exposure to the subsequent psychological (psychiatric) effects on the general population. Additionally, household pesticide exposure¬†varies¬†from occupational exposure via exposure frequency, duration, intensity, and type.¬†This research highlights the significance of researching potential mental health effects resulting from pesticide exposure, especially as society tends to rank mental health risks second to physical health. The study‚Äôs scientists note, ‚ÄúOur results highlight the importance of the cautious use of household pesticides because the chronic effects of poisoning may contribute to an elevated risk of depression.‚Ä̬† According to the¬†World Health Organization (WHO), depression affects 322 million people globally, with the number of diagnosed patients increasing by 18.4% from 2005 to 2015. Although the etiology of depression‚ÄĒand […]

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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 ‚ÄĒ a longitudinal study of men of Japanese descent living on Oahu ‚ÄĒ 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‚Äôs 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‚Äď68 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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Pesticide Exposure Associated with Depression in Teenagers

Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2019) Teens and adolescents living in agricultural areas and exposed to organophosphate insecticides are at higher risk of depression, according to the findings of a new study in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health. As rates of depression and suicide rise for teenagers in the US and throughout the world, public health researchers are working to find out why by investigating potential triggers. Toxic pesticide use represents a risk that can be addressed head on, protecting children and their families from a range of diseases that threaten public health. Jose R. Suarez-Lopez, MD, PhD, at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, has been studying children living in the Ecuadorian Andes since 2008. His team assessed 529 individuals aged between 11 and 17 for their blood levels of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme necessary for the proper functioning of nerves in the body. Exposure to organophosphate insecticides like chlorpyrifos and malathion have been shown to lower levels of AChE in the body. An assessment was also given to the children to fill out, in order to determine the severity of depressive symptoms or anxiety. Results showed that children with lower levels of AChE […]

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Organic Farming Curbs the Spread of Foodborne Pathogens, According to Study

Thursday, April 18th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, April 18, 2019) Organic farming promotes natural resistance to common foodborne human pathogens, according to a study that evaluates the benefit of soil organisms. By protecting valuable species of dung beetles and soil bacteria, organic farming systems naturally act to clean up and decompose potentially pathogen-bearing animal feces. While these natural systems suppr ess pathogens on organic farms, coventional chemical-intensive farms are left with higher levels of fecal residues and are therefore significantly more likely to yield produce carrying such foodborne pathogens as E. coli. The authors emphasize that curbing the spread of common foodborne pathogens could save thousands of lives and prevent millions of illnesses each year. The study, “Organic farming promotes biotic resistance to foodborne¬†human pathogens,” published in the Journal of Applied Ecology, compares dung beetle populations, soil bacteria diversity, and feces removal rates on 70 organic and conventional broccoli farm fields across the west coast of the U.S. In addition to studying field conditions, authors conducted additional microcosm studies to directly test the effects of dung beetles and soil microbes on the suppression of introduced E. coli. Results from field analyses show that organic management practices lead to greater biodiversity among dung beetles and soil […]

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Adverse Impacts of Pesticide Drift in Pineapple Production

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, December 12, 2018)¬† Costa Rica is currently experiencing exponential growth in its banana and pineapple farming industries and with it an increase in intensive pesticide applications. Recent studies in Costa Rica identified evidence of increasing fur discoloration in black mantled howler monkeys ((Alouatta palliata) as a result of their exposure to sulfur-based pesticides. Coloration in Howler monkeys are limited to black, gray, and dark brown, but researchers found several monkeys with yellow patches on their tails and legs. The change in pigmentation is directly correlated to the consumption of plants inadvertently exposed to sulfur-based pesticides sprayed at (and drifting from) nearby farms. The use of pesticides is not only hazardous to nearby wildlife, but communities as well. It is an issue that seems to play out repeatedly both in Costa Rica and in the U.S. The use of pesticides, and more importantly pesticide drift, continues to be a pervasive issue with severe human and environmental health consequences. Pesticide drift occurs in the form of mist, particles, or vapor (gas) and are usually carried by air (and oftentimes water) currents. Typically, fumigants (gaseous pesticides) are most likely to drift.¬† When used, pesticides regularly spread further than the established application […]

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Military Base Has Legacy of Pesticide and Other Toxic Chemical Exposure and Harm

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2018)¬†‚Äú‚ÄėDon‚Äôt get pregnant at George Air Force Base‚Äô‚ÄĚ was the advice imparted from one female Air Force member to another in 1975 at that base, located 100+ miles north of San Diego and used as an active military site from 1941‚Äď1992. From the start of their service at George AFB, both parties to this conversation came to be familiar with the shared horror stories of repeated infections, vaginal bleeding, ovarian cysts, uterine tumors, birth defects, and miscarriages among female Air Force members at the site. Many women who served at George AFB in the 1970s, ‚Äė80s, and ‚Äė90s suffered, but did not know what was causing, such health issues, which were frequent enough that even base doctors would sometimes privately warn women off of getting pregnant while serving there. Among the many contaminants found at George AFB and other military sites are organochlorine-based pesticides (OCPs), such as DDT, dieldrin/aldrin, heptachlor, lindane, endrin, chlordane, mirex, toxaphene, hexachlorobenzene, chlordane, and others. (A comprehensive list of OCPs is available here.) Most of these compounds were used on military bases for decades for vegetation control, as building pesticides or fumigants, or for personal pesticide treatments for lice and scabies, and […]

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Pesticide Residues in Cannabis Threaten Medical Use Market, According to Industry Insider

Friday, September 7th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, September 7, 2018)¬†As the marijuana industry gears up for exploding markets created by the increasing number of states that permit medical and/or recreational cannabis use, the quality of marijuana products is emerging as an important issue for patients and consumers. Beyond Pesticides identified this concern back in the winter of 2014‚Äď2015, and pointed to the importance of organic production practices for the emerging industry. As of July 1, California‚Äôs mandated testing of cannabis became effective, and initial results are in. New Frontier Data CEO Giadha Aguirre de Carcer¬†is pointing to those results as a threat to the medicinal cannabis market. She notes that 84% of 2016 product batches tested were found to harbor pesticide residue; and that in the recent California round of assays, 20% failed established standards due to contamination from pesticides, bacteria, or processing chemicals, and in some cases, inaccurate labeling. Ms. de Carcer, speaking to attendees at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Toronto recently, said that cannabis producers must reduce the pesticide contamination in their products, at the very least because of consumer concerns that will translate to the marketplace. At that conference, she said, ‚ÄúThose are troublesome figures. . . . When we […]

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Two Hundred Million Pounds of Toxic Pesticides Used in California, According to 2016 Annual Data

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, May 22, 2018)¬† A¬†staggering 209 million pounds of pesticides were used in California in 2016, according to the latest data released by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). This figure refers only to applied “active” pesticide ingredients and not “inerts,” which often account for 80 to 99 percent of pesticide products and can be equally hazardous to human health and the environment. Even though pesticide use in the state has dropped by 1.4 percent from the previous year, pesticide use in 2016 was still the third highest in recorded history, since the inception of DPR‚Äôs comprehensive data collection program in 1990. In fact, the total pesticide use was only six million pounds shy of the highest amount ever recorded ‚Äď 215 million pounds in 1998. The land area treated with carcinogens is as large as the size of New Jersey and Connecticut combined. Nearly 102 million cumulative acres of land were treated with pesticides in the state, ranging in toxicity from low to high risk. Each time an acre is pesticide-treated in a given year, DPR adds the acre to its cumulative list, even if the treatment is repeated on the same land. The 2016 figure represents an […]

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Research Assesses Ability of Rodent Poisons to Act as a ‚ÄúSuper-Predator‚ÄĚ in Ecosystems

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, May 10, 2018) Rodenticides like bromadiolone, used to kill vole populations on farms, act like ‚Äúsuper-predators‚ÄĚ that imperil ecosystem health, according to preliminary results published by researchers working for the European Union. ‚ÄúControlling voles with bromadiolone reduces the amount of food available to predators and increases their risk of secondary poisoning when they eat the contaminated rodents,‚ÄĚ project researcher Javier Fernandez de Simon, PhD, said in a press release. The study provides a model that may alleviate the impact of rodenticide use and provide a balance between on-farm pest management and sustainability. There are several types of rodenticides available on the market, including acute poisons like strychnine, fumigants like phosphine gas, and anti-coagulants such as warfarin and bromadiolone. Anti-coagulants, the focus of the present study, work by blocking the ability of the body to form blood clots. Animals exposed to bromodialone and other anti-coagulants experience ruptured blood vessels, hair loss and skin damage, nosebleeds, and bleeding gums prior to death. These pesticides are generally applied through secured bait boxes that only allow rodent pests to feed, however secondary poisoning is a common occurrence, leading researchers to dub these rodenticides, in effect, as ‚Äúsuper-predators.‚ÄĚ Rodents that ingest anti-coagulant pesticides […]

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Federal Indictment Issued in Poisoning of Family with Banned Home Use of a Pesticide

Tuesday, April 17th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, April 17, 2018) In a case that appalled the nation, the U.S. Justice Department finally last week secured an indictment against an applicator who illegally applied a fumigant at a U.S. Virgin Island resort, causing devastating and long-term health effects to a family on vacation. Terminex has already been fined and paid a multi-million dollar settlement with the poisoned family.¬†Jose Rivera, 59, was indicted last Thursday by a federal grand jury for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). According to the indictment, Mr. Rivera illegally applied fumigants containing methyl bromide in multiple residential locations in the U.S. Virgin Islands, including the condominium resort complex in St. John, where a family of four fell seriously ill in March 2015, announced Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Environment and Natural Resources Division and U.S. Attorney Gretchen C.F. Shappert for the District of the Virgin Islands.¬†¬† The indictment alleges that Mr. Rivera knowingly applied restricted-use fumigants at the Sirenusa resort in St. John for the purpose of exterminating household pests on or about Oct. 20, 2014, and on or about March 18, 2015.¬† The defendant was also charged with applying the restricted-use pesticide in eight residential […]

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Action Needed: Last Chance to Comment on National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Fall Issues

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, October 10, 2017)¬†The comment period closes Wednesday, October 11 at 11:59 pm EDT for the Fall 2017 National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) meeting. In addition to the other priorities in our previous alert (hydroponics, marine materials, and ‚Äúinerts‚ÄĚ), we focus attention here on eliminating the incentive to convert native ecosystems into organic crop production, strengthening and clarifying the requirements for the use of organic seed, exempt/uncertified handler and brokers, and the need for a comprehensive review of sanitizers used in organic. New to Regulations.gov? See our two-minute tutorial. Comment now! Beyond Pesticides provides you with our positions, which you can use as the basis for your comments. If you have limited time, you can use the sample comments on priority issues below. If you have more time, please use the information on our website to develop your own comments. If you paste our comments into regulations.gov, please first put a personal note of concern in order to reflect the importance of these issues to you as an organic consumer, farmer, or other concerned party. Some major issues being considered at the Fall meeting are: Eliminating the Incentive to Convert Native Ecosystems into Organic Crop Production The proposal must […]

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Chemical Companies Knowingly Allowed Carcinogenic Contaminant in Common Pesticide

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2017) Multinational chemical companies Dow Chemical Company and Shell Chemical Company knowingly sold and marketed fumigants contaminated with a cancer-causing chemical that had a strong propensity to leach into and remain in groundwater, according to a¬†recent report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and a lawsuit against the companies. The contaminant of concern, 1,2,3-trichloropropene (TCP), was a manufacturing by-product found in Dow‚Äôs Telone¬†and Shell‚Äôs D-D fumigant pesticide products with the active ingredient 1,3-Dichloropropene. The products, used to kill soil-dwelling nematodes, are toxic in their own right, but contained TCP in their formulation from the 1940s until the mid-1980s. EWG‚Äôs report details widespread contamination of drinking water in California‚Äôs agricultural regions, with detections found in 562 wells, and 94 public water systems identifying TCP above legal limits. Thirty-seven additional public water systems serving nearly 4 million U.S. residents throughout the country were also found to contain TCP. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has never set maximum contaminant levels for TCP in drinking water, but requires public reporting above the infinitesimally small amount of 30 parts per trillion, roughly six times higher than what the state of California requires. However, even proposed limits of 5 parts per trillion […]

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California Regulators Sued for Allowing Increased Use of Toxic Fumigant without Public Input

Monday, February 6th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, February 6, 2017) California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) rules that allow greater use of the highly toxic fumigant Telone, while decreasing protections for the public, have been challenged in California court. On January 31, attorneys representing Juana Vasquez, a farmworker in Ventura County, along with Californians for Pesticide Reform (CPR) and Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), filed suit in the Superior Court of California against the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR). The suit claims that CDPR failed to follow required public procedures in developing new rules for 1,3-Dicholopropene (1,3-D), which is an active ingredient in the product Telone and has many documented health risks, including cancer and kidney and liver damage. In October 2016, CDPR released new rules that allow the continued use of Telone and decrease protections for public health by permitting increased usage. CDPR and many news outlets reported the rule change as a tightening of the restrictions, but in reality, the new rules increase the previous annual cap from 90,250 pounds to 136,000 pounds per township, a defined area of 6√ó6 miles. These new rules went into effect on January 1, 2017, allowing for 1,3-D‚Äôs continued use in strawberry fields, vineyards, almond […]

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Death of Four Texas Children Linked to Inadequately Regulated Pesticide, Follows Other Deaths

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides,¬†January 4, 2017) The New Year saw its first pesticide-related tragedy yesterday when four children, ranging in age from 7-17, died from a toxic pesticide treatment on their house in Amarillo, Texas. The pesticide at issue, aluminum phosphide, was illegally applied under a mobile home where at least ten people were living. The chemical, classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a restricted use pesticide (RUP), is restricted for use by¬†certified applicators (and those under their supervision) and it is a violation to¬†use it within 100 feet of residential structures. CNN reports that a family member used water to try and wash away the pesticide after it was applied, and the combination of water and aluminum phosphide increased the release of¬†toxic phosphine gas. The incident demonstrates the deficiency of managing risks of highly toxic chemicals by labeling them ‚Äúrestricted use.‚Ä̬†It has been Beyond Pesticides’ position that chemicals with aluminum phosphide’s level of toxicity should not be available on the market, even with restrictions. In making regulatory determinations on pesticide allowances, advocates have urged EPA to calculate the reality of misuse and accidents, instead of assuming 100% compliance with product label instructions. With this approach, the agency would […]

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EPA To Investigate Pesticide Misuse in Hawaii by Terminix and Monsanto

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, November 16, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently began an investigation of the agrochemical company Monsanto and home pest control giant Terminix for pesticide law violations in Hawaii. Scott Enright, director of the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture (HDOA), said that cases are often referred to EPA when they involve federal jurisdiction, repeat violations, or serious allegations. According to him, the Terminix case was referred to EPA because the complaint included multiple allegations, but he refused to share information about the details of the Monsanto case, citing policies against commenting on ongoing investigations. A third case against Wonder Farm has also been referred to EPA, making for a total of five pesticide-related cases in Hawaii the federal agency has worked on this year. The number of cases referred to EPA is not surprising, as Hawaii has long struggled to keep up with the demands of enforcing pesticide laws within the state. In the wake of these shortcomings, this past summer, Earthjustice sent a letter to EPA requesting that the agency notify the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture of its chronic failure to meet statutory duties for pesticides regulation and enforcement under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and […]

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California Regulators Allow an Increase in Toxic Fumigant Use, Failing to Protect Public and Farmworker Health

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, October 13, 2016) Last week, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (CDPR) released new rules that allow for continued use of the toxic fumigant Telone and reduce public health protection by permitting increased usage. One of the active ingredients in the product Telone, ¬†1,3-Dicholorpropene (1,3-D), has many documented health risks, including cancer and kidney and liver damage. While CDPR and many news outlets reported the rule change as a tightening of the restrictions, the new rules effectively increase the previous annual cap from 90,250 pounds to 136,000 pounds per township, a defined area of 6×6 miles. According to CDPR documents, the primary revisions include: increasing the annual limit to 136,000 pounds within each pesticide township, eliminating ‚Äúrollover‚ÄĚ of unused pesticide allotments from prior years, and banning use of Telone in December, when weather conditions are especially problematic for air pollution. These new rules, which go into effect January 1, will allow for 1,3-D‚Äôs continued use in strawberry fields, vineyards, almond orchards, and other crops around California. CDPR has been characterizing ¬†its changes in management of 1,3-D as increasingly protective of public health in the state. In making these revisions to the rules, CDPR completed an updated risk assessment […]

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Public Health Watchdog Sues Dow Chemical in California Over Air Pollution Caused by Toxic Pesticide

Monday, September 26th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides September 26, 2016) Last week, the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) filed a lawsuit against Dow Agrosciences LLC, also known as Dow Chemical, charging ¬†that the ‚Äúchemical manufacturing giant‚ÄĚ fails to warn communities across California about the dangers associated with wide use of the chemical Telone. A trade name for the chemical 1,3-Dicholoropropene, or 1,3-D, Telone is a known carcinogen and is the third most heavily used pesticide in the state. The case focuses on the air pollution caused by the pesticide, as it has been found to linger in the air for multiple days after application, disproportionately impacting the rural communities, often with large minority populations, that live in the immediate vicinity. The case was filed in the State of California Alameda County Superior Court, and Dow has yet to comment or release a statement addressing the allegations against the company. Routinely applied to strawberry fields, almond orchards, vineyards, and an array of other crops, 1,3-D is a restricted use soil ¬†fumigant, used to kill nematodes, insects, and weeds that has strong links ¬†to cancer and other serious health issues. The use of the chemical in the production of strawberries came into prominence with the forced reduction […]

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Judge Orders Release of Terminix Documents in Methyl Bromide Poisoning of Family

Friday, August 26th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2016) Virgin Islands Superior Court Judge, Harold Willocks denied a request made by Terminix to stop a subpoena for Terminix documents in the methyl bromide poisoning case ¬†issued ¬†by Attorney General Claude Earl Walker, according to The Virgin Islands Consortium. The paper reported that the subpoena ordered the pest control company to provide documents and information relating to an ongoing investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ). This follows two settlement agreements made by Terminix; one to pay $10 million to DOJ and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for violating the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, and another to pay $87 million to the Esmond family, poisoned by the misuse of a neurotoxic pesticide fumigant, methyl bromide, when they vacationed in the Virgin Islands in the spring of 2015. According to the Virgin Islands Consortium, DOJ launched ¬†another investigation into Terminix after the Esmonds were poisoned to determine if there had been a violation of the Criminally Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (CICO). Attorney General Walker issued the original subpoena on April 28, requesting that Terminix surrender all information related to the purchase, use and import of methyl bromide obtained within the past three years. […]

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