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Study Finds Women Near Pesticide-Treated Fields Have Lower Weight Babies

Friday, September 20th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, September 20, 2013) A study of women in Northern California farm towns finds that those living within three miles of strawberries fields treated with methyl bromide gave birth to smaller, lighter babies. Methyl bromides, a fumigant pesticide injected into soils to eliminate soil-borne pests, can volatize into the air exposing nearby neighborhoods. The U.S. and other developed countries have banned the use of methyl bromide under an international treaty that recognized the role of chemicals like methyl bromide to deplete the ozone layer. However, some farmers continue to use the fumigant on strawberries and other crops due to the “critical use exemption” (CUE) stipulation of the laws, which allows the chemical to continue to be used when there are no feasible alternatives. The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, examined the health of babies born to 442 pregnant women living in Salinas Valley, CA in 1999 and 2000, when methyl bromide was widely used.   Utilizing data from California’s Pesticide Use Reporting System, the study was able to identify residences that were within 5 kilometers of methyl bromide application. Researchers find that women exposed to the chemical during their second trimester have babies that are  four ounces lighter […]


Parents Sue EPA for Continuing Failure to Protect Kids from Pesticides

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, September 4, 2013) More than a decade after Latino parents filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) detailing the dangerous levels of pesticides at Latino public schools throughout California, the parents are suing the agency for its continuing failure to protect Latino  students. The schools are near crop fields where methyl bromide and other fumigants are sprayed. In August 2011, EPA found that California’s Latino school children suffer disproportionately from exposure to pesticides due to spraying near their schools, but EPA has yet to remedy these exposures. In attempts to finally force EPA to protect civil rights of hundreds of Latino children, Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment (CRPE), California Rural Legal Assistance Inc., Farmworker Justice, and The City Project filed a lawsuit on behalf of the original plaintiffs, the Garcia family, and multiple generations of Latino school children who still do not have substantive protection from the EPA. In 1999, the Garcia family alleged that their children and other Latino children were being exposed to dangerous levels of pesticides at their public schools, which are directly adjacent to several strawberry fields where methyl bromide and other fumigants are sprayed. The complaint […]


State Finds Toxic Insecticide in Air Samples

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2013) California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has detected the highly toxic pesticide chlorpyrifos in nearly 30% of air tests that are being conducted in three high risk communities surrounded by intensive agriculture. This result is part of DPR’s  2012 results from its  air-monitoring network (AMN)  sampling near the towns of  Ripon, Salinas and Shafter, in Kern County.  The state has been running tests for air particles from methyl bromide and 32 other pesticides and breakdown products and measuring the results against screening levels established by DPR. No state or federal agency has set health standards for pesticides in air. While the state believes the levels found present an acceptable risk, critics maintain that the state’s sampling is not representative of peak agricultural exposures and question whether any level of a toxicant in air is reasonable under the law, given the viability of alternative agricultural practices that do not rely on these chemicals. DPR said no residues were detected in 94.5 percent of the samples it collected, and the levels in the rest were well below thresholds for protecting people from pesticide-related illnesses. The communities in the study were selected from a list of 226 communities […]


Appropriations Bill Would Prohibit EPA’s Phase-Out of Sulfuryl Fluoride

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2013) The House of Representatives Appropriations Interior and Environmental subcommittee voted Tuesday 7-4 to approve an appropriations bill that would cut the budget of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by nearly a third, and includes language that would prevent the agency from enforcing its decision to phase out the use of the neurotoxic fumigant sulfuryl fluoride in our food. The full Appropriations Committee began markups on Wednesday, and, if it passes it will move to a House vote. This is an outrageous attempt to circumvent a basic risk assessment calculation that EPA acknowledges puts the public at risk, given current exposure patterns, to a chemical that is especially hazardous to children. In response to this egregious attempt to stop EPA from doing its job, Beyond Pesticides, along with Environmental Working Group and Fluoride Action Network submitted a letter to the House Appropriation Committee Chairman and Ranking members: Dear Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Lowey: On behalf of our members and supporters we urge you to strike section 449 from the House Fiscal Year 2014 Interior and Environment Appropriations Act. This section will prohibit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from fulfilling its decision to phase-out sulfuryl […]


Take Action: House Bill Will Prohibit EPA Ban on Sulfuryl Fluoride

Friday, July 26th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, July 26, 2013) Thousands of people from across the country took action last month to prevent Dow AgroSciences from using its influence to insert Farm Bill language that would allow the food uses of the pesticide sulfuryl fluoride to continue, despite a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal to phase it out. Dow’s latest attempt to keep this neurotoxic fumigant in our food is to defund EPA’s ability to regulate its use. Language inserted into the 2014 Interior and Environment House Appropriations Bill will prevent EPA from enforcing its previous decision to phase out the use of sulfuryl fluoride. Tell Your Representative Today: Remove Section 449 from the House Appropriations Bill. According to Section 449 on sulfuryl fluoride, none of the funds made available in the appropriations bill may be used by EPA “that in any way removes, withdraws, revokes, or stays tolerances for the pesticide chemical sulfuryl fluoride if that final order takes into consideration aggregate or cumulative exposure to other substances related to sulfuryl fluoride or its metabolites or degradates.” This will essentially prevent EPA from doing the job Congress assigned to the agency under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which requires that EPA […]


California Regulators Propose Restrictions of Soil Fumigant

Friday, May 17th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, May 17, 2013) California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) have proposed restrictions on the use of chloropicrin, a fumigant commonly applied to strawberries, peppers, tomatoes, raspberries, and blackberries. The proposed rule would not only increase buffer zones around application sites, but also restrict application acreage, impose notification requirements, enhance emergency preparedness requirements, and prolong the time that chloropicrin-applied fields must remain covered. Public comments will be accepted until July 31. The move is in response to recent data released by the California DPR, which indicates pesticide use in California has risen, causing 1,015 cases of illness between 1992 and 2007 for chloropicrin exposure alone. In total, more than 173 million pounds of pesticides were reported applied statewide, an increase of nearly 15 million pounds —or 9.5 percent— from 2009. For chloropicrin, injuries ranged from eye or respiratory problems to skin irritation, rashes, and burns. Additional evidence from a 2010 report released by the Pesticide Action Network of North American and local community members of Sisquoc, California, reveals that chloropicrin contaminated half of the 57 air samples collected, with average levels of exposure over the 19-day period at 23 to 151 times higher than acceptable cancer risks. Fumigant pesticides, […]


California Plan Falls Short of Reducing Soil Fumigants

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, April 11, 2013) A report released Tuesday by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) lays out an “Action Plan” to reduce farmer’s reliance on toxic soil fumigants. The plan was created by the Nonfumigant Strawberry Production Working Group, which was made up of scientists, growers, and other specialists. The working group was assembled in April 2012 because of the health and environmental concerns posed by the continued use of soil fumigants in strawberry production. The working group was asked to develop an action plan of research priorities for developing nonfumigant management strategies. However, even as the working group acknowledged the health and environmental risks posed by the continued use of fumigants, the plan remained conservative in its recommendations; it concluded that, “Even with full commitment to implement this action plan, the strawberry industry will need to continue its use of fumigants for years to remain viable in California,” even though growing strawberries organically without the use of fumigants has been shown to be effective. The working group was most concerned about the continued use of methyl bromide. Historically methyl bromide has been used as a fumigant to eliminate the threat of soil borne pests. Methyl bromide has […]


Chlorpyrifos Preliminary Volatilization Assessment Finds Risks to Children; EPA Requests Comment to Address Uncertainties

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, February 21, 2013) On February 6, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its preliminary volatilization assessment for the registration review of chlorpyrifos, finding that vapor phase chlorpyrifos may be emitted from treated fields at levels resulting in exposure to children and others who live, work, attend school, or otherwise spend time nearby.  In some circumstances, these bystanders may be exposed to chlorpyrifos and/or the transformation product chlorpyrifos-oxon at concentrations that could cause adverse effects. Citing uncertainties, the agency is requesting comments by March 8, 2013 on the potential risks to children and other bystanders from volatilization of chlorpyrifos from treated crops. EPA’s preliminary volatilization assessment is also in response to a petition filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Pesticide Action Network North America (PAN) in 2007, which requested that the agency revoke all tolerances and cancel all registrations for chlorpyrifos. In a letter to NRDC and to PAN dated January 25, 2013, updating these groups on EPA’s response to their September 12, 2007 joint petition regarding chlorpyrifos, EPA stated that, “This assessment represents a significant advancement in the evaluation of pesticide risks, as it will be the first probabilistic assessment of the risks […]


Methyl Iodide Uses To Formally End in the U.S.

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, November 28, 2012) Earlier this year the maker of the fumigant methyl iodide indicated it would stop producing the toxic chemical. Now, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the registrant, Arysta LifeScience North America, LLC have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to formally terminate all agricultural use of methyl iodide in the U.S. by the end of 2012 and ultimately remove all methyl iodide products from the U.S. market. EPA is opening a 30-day comment period for Arysta’s request for voluntary cancellation of all of the company’s methyl iodide product registrations, as stipulated in the agreement. Methyl iodide, or iodomethane, has been registered since 2007 for use as a pre-plant soil fumigant to control pests in soil where fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, and turf are to be grown. In March 2012, Arysta, the sole registrant, announced its plans to immediately suspend all sales of its methyl iodide MIDAS ® products in the U.S. Under the recently signed agreement and the voluntary cancellation request, all of Arysta’s existing methyl iodide end-use product registrations will be cancelled and use of existing stocks in the U.S. will be prohibited effective December 31, 2012. Further distribution and sale of methyl […]


Pesticide Use in California Increases after Four-Year Decline

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

(Beyond Pesticides, January 4, 2012) Pesticide use in California rose in 2010 after declining for four consecutive years, according to data released by the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). More than 173 million pounds of pesticides were reported applied statewide, an increase of nearly 15 million pounds — or 9.5 percent — from 2009. Overall, most of the growth in pesticide use was in production agriculture, where applications increased by 12 million pounds. California’s DPR, which has the most extensive pesticide use reporting system in the United States and oversees one of the most comprehensive pesticide regulatory programs in the world, published its pesticide usage data for the state last week. Along with increases in agricultural pesticide use which reflects a 15 percent jump in acres treated with pesticides, post-harvest treatments went up by 657,000 pounds, structural pest control by 760,000 and landscape maintenance by 374,000 pounds. Reports are mandatory for agricultural and pest control business applications, while most home, industrial and institutional uses are exempt. Pesticides with the greatest increase include 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D). commonly known as Telone, a fumigant whose use went up by 2.4 million pounds, or 37 percent. It is used on strawberries, almonds, sweet potatoes, carrots, […]


Will Sulfuryl Fluoride Phase-Out Shift Market Away from Toxic Fumigants?

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2011) Following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) denial of Dow AgroSciences’ request for an administrative hearing to keep sulfuryl fluoride on the market, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sent a letter to the agency on June 29, 2011 opposing EPA’s phase-out of the toxic fumigant pesticide, which is marketed as a substitute for the outdated, ozone-depleting methyl bromide. According to its letter, the environmental group believes that the “proposed action will imperil EPA’s ability to complete the long-overdue phase-out of methyl bromide, leading to prolonged and increased depletion of the ozone layer, higher levels of ultraviolet radiation, and higher risks of cancer, cataracts, and immunological disorders.” Under pressure from a 2006 petition submitted by Fluoride Action Network (FAN), Beyond Pesticides, and Environmental Working Group (EWG), EPA announced its plan to cancel all allowable pesticide residue levels (tolerances) for sulfuryl fluoride over three years, effectively banning its use in January 2014. The agency found that when residues on food products are combined with fluoridated drinking water and toothpaste, aggregate exposure levels are too high. Beyond Pesticides has repeatedly pointed to non-toxic practices that have eliminated the need for either hazardous fumigant throughout the process. Manufactured by […]


NIOSH Study Confirms Pesticide Drift Hazards Posed by Conventional Agriculture

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2011) A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and state agency partners finds that pesticide drift from conventional, chemical-intensive farming has poisoned thousands of farmworkers and rural residents in recent years. According to the authors, agricultural workers and residents in agricultural regions were found to have the highest rate of pesticide poisoning from drift exposure, and soil fumigations were a major hazard causing large drift incidents. The study, “Acute Pesticide Illnesses Associated with Off-Target Pesticide Drift from Agricultural Applications ”” 11 States, 1998—2006,” was published June 6, 2011 in the online edition of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Using data from NIOSH’s Sentinel Event Notification System for Occupational Risks (SENSOR) – Pesticides Program and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation, the study identifies 2,945 cases of pesticide poisoning associated with agricultural pesticide drift in 11 states. While the study focuses on top agriculture producing states, it provides only a snapshot of the poisoning of farmworkers and other rural residents nationally and around the world. Advocates also point out that pesticide poisoning is often underreported by farmworkers. According to the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, only […]


California to Monitor Air for Pesticide Content

Friday, March 4th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2011) California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) has begun a program to monitor air in areas of intense agricultural production in order to assess the effects of long-term exposure to pesticides. To expand the department’s knowledge of pesticides’ potential health risks, it has set up machines to monitor air quality in three California communities: Shafter in Kern County, Salinas in Monterey County and Ripon in San Joaquin County. The program will not measure concentrations of all pesticides that are used in the state. DPR has developed a list of certain pesticides that will be monitored based on amount of use and potential health risks associated with them. In all, there will be 34 pesticides evaluated, along with breakdown products for several of them. The list includes 11 organophosphates, such as acephate, chlorpyrifos, diazinon, dichlorvos (DDVP), and malathion. Six soil fumigants will also be monitored, including methyl bromide, methyl iodide, and metam sodium. The full list is available from the DPR website. According to Mary-Ann Warmerdam, Director of DPR, “The air monitoring network is the first of its kind in the nation.” The department’s intent, she said, “is to make more accurate estimates of health risks based […]


EPA Report Shows Modest Decrease in U.S. Pesticide Use

Friday, February 25th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, February 25, 2011) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a new report detailing sales and usage of pesticides in the U.S. for the years 2006 and 2007 and showing a modest decrease in pesticide use. The report compiles data from EPA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and other sources in order to track pesticide trends and monitor usage. Previous industry use reports had been published every two years between 1994 and 2001; however, the last report was published ten years ago, in 2001, leaving a gap in the data. In one of the more promising findings, the report shows that pesticide use in the country did decrease throughout most of the last decade. Use of conventional pesticides, measured in pounds applied, decreased about 3% from 2002 to 2007 and 11% from 1997 to 2007. However, the total pounds of pesticide use decreased only by approximately 8% — from 1.2 to 1.1 billion pounds — during the years from 2000 to 2007. While any decrease in the use of toxic chemicals is a hopeful sign, this marginal reduction does not go far enough. The fact that chemicals which are known to adversely affect human health and […]


California’s Pesticide Use Declined Again, Yet Millions of Toxic Pesticides Continue To Be Used

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2010) Pesticide use declined in California for a fourth consecutive year in 2009 according to the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), yet despite the viability of organic agriculture, millions of pounds of highly toxic pesticides continue to be used unnecessarily throughout the state. The Summary of Pesticide Use Report Data 2009 estimates that approximately 162 million pounds of reported pesticides were applied statewide, a decrease of nearly 8 million pounds or 5 percent from 2008. Pesticide use in production agriculture fell by 5.1 million pounds and in most other categories as well, including post-harvest treatments, structural pest control and landscape maintenance. Reports are mandatory for agricultural and pest control business application, however most home, industrial and institutional uses are exempt. California also leads with the most certified organic cropland, with over 430,000 acres, largely used for fruit and vegetable production according to updated data posted by USDA and an averaged 15 percent certified organic cropland acreage annual growth between 2002 and 2008. DPR Director Mary-Ann Warmerdam emphasized that pesticide use varies from year to year depending on a number of factors, including weather, pest problems, economics and types of crops planted. Increases and decreases in […]


Washington State Denies State Registration of Methyl Iodide

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, July 20, 2010) Washington state has denied approval of the highly toxic fumigant-based pesticide methyl iodide, and environmentalists hope other regulators follow its lead. Citing unreasonable adverse effects on human health and the environment, the Washington Department of Agriculture requested that Arysta LifeScience withdraw its application for the registration of methyl iodide on July 15, 2010. Beyond Pesticides encourages its California members and allies to contact the Governor’s office and ask that California, which is expected to make its final decision on the pesticide this month, follow Washington’s lead. All are encouraged to contact the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and ask that it reevaluate its decision to register methyl iodide. Find instructions for contacting the governor and EPA below. In a letter to Arysta LifeScience, Erik Johansen, Special Pesticide Registration Program Coordinator for the Washington Department of Agriculture stated, “WSDA is concerned that the proposed use of Midas products labeled in Washington could cause unreasonable adverse effects on human health and the environment.” Specific concerns stated in the letter include: potential for groundwater contamination; lack of data related to the pesticide’s ability to damage brain development; and cancer risk. Methyl iodide is promoted by the pesticide industry […]


New Report Documents Dangers of Drifting Fumigant Pesticides

Monday, June 28th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, June 28, 2010) A new report documents high levels of pesticide drift in the California community of Sisquoc. Poison Gases in the Field: Pesticides put California families in danger, released by Pesticide Action Network North America and local community members, presents results of community air monitoring for fumigant pesticides in the central coast area of California, in Santa Barbara County. Using a simple monitoring device called the Drift Catcher, community members measured levels of a fumigant pesticide above the California Department of Pesticide Regulation’s (DPR) “level of concern” — even when all application rules were followed and no equipment failure occurred. “While we were monitoring the air, there were no violations of the County’s permit – and yet we found we were still breathing chloropicrin at high levels,” says Deby DeWeese, one of the community members who collected air samples. “Clearly the rules and regulations do not protect our families.” The Sisquoc monitoring, conducted during and after a soil fumigation in April 2008, found the pesticide chloropicrin in about half of the 57 air samples collected. Two samples had chloropicrin levels higher than DPR’s 24-hour level of concern for children, and the 19-day average level at one sampling […]


Violations Filed Against Utah Pest Control Company After Children’s Death

Monday, June 7th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2010) With thousands of violations cited, the pest control company and applicator responsible for the deaths of two young children are only fined several tens of thousands of dollars, a mere slap on the hand. The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food’s (UDAF) Division of Plant Industry has finally filed multiple charges of violations against Bugman Pest and Lawn, Inc. of Bountiful, Utah, and employee Cole Nocks associated with the February 5, 2010 application of the pesticide Fumitoxin (active ingredient: aluminum phosphide) at the residence of Nathan and Brenda Toone of Layton, Utah that lead to the death of their two daughters ages 15-months and 4 years. In addition to the Layton incident, investigators discovered additional violations of the Utah Pesticide Control Act by the company and other employees. The UDAF seeks to revoke Mr. Nocks’s applicator license and has issued him a $27,000 fine, while Bugman Pest and Lawn, Inc. is fined $32,000. Under law, the UDAF is only allowed to file civil penalties. Investigators determined that on February 5, 2010 applicator Cole Nocks operated in a faulty, careless or negligent manner by misapplying the highly toxic and restricted use pesticide, Fumitoxin. Mr. Nocks’s improper […]


Public Comments Needed: California Proposes to Register Hazardous Fumigant Methyl Iodide

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, May 4, 2010) On April 30, 2010, despite significant cancer and reproductive health risk, especially to farmworkers and people living near agricultural fields, the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) proposed the use of a new and highly toxic pesticide, methyl iodide, for widespread agricultural use in California. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered methyl iodide in 2007 as a replacement for the ozone-depleting pesticide, methyl bromide. Environmental and public health advocates believe that blocking methyl iodide registration in California will prevent its use elsewhere, since the state will account for the vast majority usage and profitability nationwide. Public comments may be sent to mei_comments@cdpr.ca.gov. If registered, methyl iodide will be used primarily to fumigate and sterilize the California’s strawberry fields, although the pesticide will also be used in nurseries and nut tree production. DPR’s proposal does not require neighbor notification before use of this extremely toxic chemical. As evidenced by California’s thriving organic industry, alternatives to fumigants exist and are in use in California. In a hearing on February 8, 2010, before the California Senate Committee on Food and Agriculture, two panels of California growers and researchers discussed a number of safe and effective alternatives to […]


EPA Sets New Restrictions on Phosphine Fumigants to Reduce Poisonings

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, April 8, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is requiring new restrictions on aluminum and magnesium phosphide products in an attempt to better protect people, especially children, from dangerous exposures. The new restrictions prohibit all uses of the products around residential areas and increase buffer zones for treatment around non-residential buildings that could be occupied by people or animals from 15 feet to 100 feet. Human exposure to these toxic chemicals, though slightly minimized, would nevertheless continue because of their continued availability for use on athletic fields and playgrounds, around non-residential buildings, and in agricultural production. Phosphide fumigants are known to be highly acutely toxic when ingested or inhaled. Symptoms of mild to moderate acute exposure include nausea, abdominal pain, tightness in chest, excitement, restlessness, agitation and chills. Symptoms of more severe exposure include diarrhea, cyanosis, difficulty breathing, pulmonary edema, respiratory failure, tachycardia (rapid pulse) and hypotension (low blood pressure), dizziness and/or death. Aluminum and magnesium phosphide fumigants are used primarily to control insects in stored grain and other agricultural commodities. They also are used to control burrowing rodents in outdoor agricultural and other non-domestic areas. The fumigants are restricted to use by specially trained pesticide applicators. […]


Inadequately Restricted Pesticide Implicated in Children’s Deaths

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2010) Investigators are tying the deaths of 4-year and 15-month old sisters in Layton, Utah to a pesticide that was used to kill voles, small burrowing rodents, in their family’s front yard. The 4-year-old, Rebecca Toone, died Saturday and her sister Rachel died on Tuesday after the family was hospitalized with flu-like symptoms then discharged. The girls went back to the hospital when they fell ill again after returning home. The cause of the deaths has not yet been determined, according to the Utah Medical Examiner’s Office, and toxicology tests are expected to take up to eight weeks to complete. However, investigators say that the chemical may have wafted into the family’s home after an exterminator dropped Fumitoxin, aluminum phosphide, pellets in burrow holes in the lawn on Friday. Upon exposure to moisture in the air, the pellets immediately decompose to phosphine gas. The death of these children and the poisoning of the family raise serious issues about the adequacy of the pesticide’s label restrictions, approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and their enforceability. In the case of aluminum phosphide, EPA has allowed the use that led to these avoidable deaths after proposing to […]


California’s Pesticide Use Declined, Yet Millions of Pounds of Toxic Pesticides Continue

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010

(Beyond Pesticides, January 26, 2010) Pesticide use declined in California for a third consecutive year in 2008, according to the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR). Approximately 162 million pounds of reported pesticides were applied statewide, a decrease of nearly 10 million pounds – or 6 percent – from 2007. Pesticide use in production agriculture fell by 9.6 million pounds and in most other categories as well, including structural pest control and landscape maintenance. Reports are mandatory for agricultural and pest control business applications, while most home, industrial and institutional uses are exempt. DPR Director Mary-Ann Warmerdam emphasized that pesticide use varies from year to year depending on a number of factors, including weather, pest problems, economics and types of crops planted. Increases and decreases in pesticide use from one year to the next or in the span of a few years do not necessarily indicate a general trend. “California experienced another dry winter and spring in 2008, which helps explain why fungicides showed the greatest decrease in use by both pounds and acres treated,” Ms. Warmerdam said. “Herbicide use also fell by pounds and acres treated, indicating fewer weeds.” Sulfur was again the most highly used pesticide in 2008 […]


Study Links Rhinitis to Pesticide Exposure

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

(Beyond Pesticides, December 1, 2009) A new study published in the November 2009 issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, adds rhinitis, the inflammation of the mucous lining of the nose, to the long list of ailments linked to pesticide exposure. “Rhinitis associated with pesticide exposure among commercial pesticide applicators in the Agricultural Health Study,” examined data from 2,245 Iowa commercial pesticide applicators and evaluated the association between rhinitis and 34 pesticides used in the past year. Seventy-four percent of commercial pesticide applicators in the study reported at least one episode of rhinitis in the past year (current rhinitis), compared with about 20-30% of the general population. Pesticide exposure and rhinitis were assessed at enrollment using two self-administered questionnaires. The first, completed at enrollment, obtained detailed information on use of pesticides on the market at the time of enrolment as well as smoking history, current agricultural activity and demographics. The second questionnaire, sent one month later, more detailed information on the pesticides, as well as medical history, including rhinitis, conjunctivitis, sinusitis and asthma. Respondents reported using 16 herbicides, 11 insecticides, five fungicides and two fumigants in the past year. Five of the pesticides were significantly positively associated with current rhinitis: the […]