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Bill Seeks to Eliminate Inequities for Child Farmworkers, But Leaves Weak EPA Pesticide Standards in Place

Friday, March 29th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2024) Last week during National Agriculture Week, U.S. Senator Ben Ray LujĂĄn (D-NM) introduced S.4038, the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety (CARE), aiming to elevate labor standards for young workers in the agricultural sector, as protection from pesticides remains weak. Currently, agriculture stands as the sole industry that permits children—as young as 12 years old—to work without significant limits on their hours of employment outside of school time. This scenario is a reality for hundreds of thousands of children across the U.S., who undertake the demanding tasks of planting, harvesting, processing, and packaging the food produced nationwide. The CARE Act proposes to align the age and working hour criteria for underage workers in agriculture with those enforced in other sectors. Additionally, the legislation seeks to toughen both civil and criminal penalties for violations of child labor laws and to enhance safeguards for children against the risks of pesticide exposure. It is important to note, however, that the CARE Act would exempt farm-owning families, allowing their children to work on the family farm under the current guidelines. Exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) currently allow children to work unlimited hours, outside of school  hours, […]

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Oregon Is the Latest State to Step In and Ban Widely Used Neurotoxic Pesticide, Chlorpyrifos, as EPA Stalls

Thursday, February 29th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 29, 2024)  In the face of federal inaction, an Oregon regulation banning the agricultural uses of the highly toxic chlorpyrifos took effect on January 1, 2024. Chlorpyrifos was voluntarily withdrawn from the market in 2000 for most residential uses by its manufacturer, Dow Chemical, and has been the subject of extensive litigation. At that time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowed most agricultural uses to continue. Oregon joins four other states that have acted to ban chlorpyrifos, including Hawai’i, New York, California, and Maryland.   Central to state action are nervous system and brain effects in children, especially farmworker children. Chlorpyrifos is banned in 39 countries, including the European Union (see here for more Beyond Pesticides coverage). State action has become important since the November 2023 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, which overturned the EPA rule revoking all food tolerances for chlorpyrifos, an effective ban on chlorpyrifos use. The final EPA rule, issued in August 2021, came in response to a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found the agency’s inaction on chlorpyrifos unlawful. The case was filed by Earthjustice, on behalf of public health, labor, and disability organizations.  The […]

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Group Says Broader Biological Evaluation of Rodenticides Needed to Protect Endangered Species

Monday, January 29th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2024) With its draft Biological Evaluation of the impacts of rodenticides open for public comment until February 13, advocates are warning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that its inadequate review is unconscionable in view of the looming biodiversity collapse. “This is not a moment for business as usual and weak reviews that lead to wholly inadequate regulations in a time of crisis,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides. Beyond Pesticides has tracked the scientific literature on the threat of rodenticides to wildlife, including an important study on contamination of eagles with rodenticides. Central to the concern about the deficiencies in EPA’s biological evaluation is the inadequate focus on secondary poisoning of listed endangered species fish and aquatic reptiles associated with predation of animals poisoned with rodenticides. In 2020, California passed the California Ecosystems Protection Act, AB 1788, which mostly bans on state lands rodenticides associated with secondary poisonings and initiated a broader review. Tell EPA to improve its protection of endangered species from rodenticides. In announcing the  2022 COP15 conference — the United Nation’s (UN’s) Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the UN Development Programme set out the context for […]

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U.S. House Again Trying to Kill Controls for Pesticides Getting into Waterways

Monday, November 27th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, November 27, 2023) The waters of the United States are again under attack by the U.S. Congress. After the chemical industry and pesticide users won a major victory in the U.S. Supreme Court that limits the definition of protected waterways in May, 2023, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation that would ease restrictions of pesticides that could contaminate the remaining waterways protected under the Clean Water Act. Capitol Hill watchers expect the bill’s supporters will try to attach it to the 2023 Farm Bill. The legislation, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, HR 5089, was introduced in the House of by Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC) in July. It would reverse a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirement to obtain a permit before spraying pesticides on or near waterways. This is a repeat of HR 953, which passed the House and failed to pass the Senate in 2017. The House had passed similar legislation in 2011 amending the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) to eliminate provisions requiring pesticide applicators to obtain a permit to allow pesticides or their residues to enter waterways. CWA was adopted “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological […]

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Celebrated 2021 Ag Ban of Deadly Pesticide, Chlorpyrifos, Reversed by Court Despite Decades of Review and Litigation

Tuesday, November 14th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, November 14, 2023) One of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) strongest tools for avoiding responsibility is delay—a tactic that kept cancellation of the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos at bay for 21 years—until May 2021, when a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, responded to a petition filed in 2007 by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Pesticide Action Network, and numerous other groups. The Ninth Circuit ordered the agency to quit lollygagging and acknowledge chlorpyrifos’s threat to human health, something the agency had acknowledged already. The Ninth Circuit instructed EPA to either revoke the “safe” tolerances the agency had set for chlorpyrifos’s residue in various foods or demonstrate that they are actually safe. Finally capitulating, EPA issued a final rule in August 2021 revoking all food tolerances for the neurotoxicant. Tell your governor and mayor to adopt policies that support organic land management.  This looked like progress until February 2022, when a different set of petitioners—pesticide companies, U.S. farmer groups, and other countries’ agricultural interests—filed an action in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. On November 3 of this year, a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit reversed EPA’s decision, thereby neutralizing the Ninth Circuit’s opinion. Chlorpyrifos, […]

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Illness Tied to Petrochemicals’ Impact on Body’s Essential Mast Cells (immune system regulators), Study Finds

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2023

A recently completed study (available in preprint before peer review) identifies the development of what the authors term Toxicant-Induced Loss of Tolerance (TILT), the constellation of symptoms associated with chemical exposures.

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[REFLECTION] The Lies about Maui’s Largest Wildfires: There is Nothing “Natural” about the Disaster on Maui and the Flames Fueled by Biodiversity Collapse, Climate Change, and Colonization

Thursday, August 17th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 17, 2023) Governor Josh Green of Hawai’i declares the recent Maui wildfires as the largest natural disaster in the state’s history, yet advocates say the tragedy is anything but “natural.” As of Wednesday, the death toll has risen to over 100 lives lost and more than 2,200 structures in Lāhainā — the original capital of the Hawaiian Kingdom have burned to ash. With so much loss, many people are asking who is responsible and how another disaster can be prevented. The answer to who is to blame is not simple. The initial reports of the fire repeated a trope that Lāhainā is a dry area on Maui and is prone to wildfire, yet in recent days, the news stories have shifted to reveal the area’s ecological history as a wetland. Lāhainā was historically known for its aquatic landscape, with common images of boats around Waiola Church, and the Hawaiian fish pond systems. People in Hawai’i lament Lahaina’s devastation, mourning the loss of its Native Hawaiian history and culture, while also bracing for the lasting impact this tragedy might have on their communities. Kaniela Ing, the national director of the Green New Deal Network, shared his perspective in […]

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Hawaii Officials Prepare to Release Wasp as Biocontrol to Protect Coffee Crops

Tuesday, June 6th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2023) Government agencies in Hawaii are making preparations to release a small parasitoid in an attempt to control infestations of coffee berry borer (CBB) in the state, according to a release published by the University of Hawaii.  “This biological control agent has the potential to make significant positive economic impacts in the HawaiÊ»i coffee industry, and offers an environmentally safe way to manage CBB,” says Mark Wright, PhD, professor at UH. “The HawaiÊ»i coffee industry is economically and culturally significant, and we hope that this work will improve the lives of many people associated with the industry.” The planned release comes at a time of increasing interest in nontoxic biological pest management as a means of reducing the harmful effects of industrially produced pesticides. As early as fall 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service (USDA ARS) and UH’s Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Services plan to release thousands of parasitic wasps throughout coffee growing areas in Maui, O’ahu and the Big Island. The parasitoid in question is Phymastichus coffea, a wasp that lays its eggs in the abdomen of coffee berry borers. According to researchers, the wasp becomes attracted to the coffee […]

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Organophosphate (OP) Pesticides in Agricultural Area Residents’ Urine Year Round

Friday, April 28th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 28, 2023) A study published in Science of The Total Environment finds agricultural communities encounter chronic and measurable pesticide exposure regardless of seasonal pesticide applications. Several biomonitoring studies demonstrate people living adjacent to or within agricultural areas often experience elevated levels of organophosphate (OP) insecticides, even while not working directly with OPs. Six dialkyl phosphate (DAP) metabolites (breakdown products) of OPs persist in urine during the spraying and non-spraying seasons. Despite 75 percent of OPs metabolizing into one or more of the six DAPs and excreting within six to 24 hours after exposure, the consistent levels of DAPs in urine highlight continuous exposure beyond regular seasonal pesticide applications. OP compounds have a global distribution, with evaporation and precipitation facilitating long-range atmospheric transport, deposition, and bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in the environment. OPs are highly toxic and, as this study shows, residues are consistently present in human and animal urine, as well as blood, tissues, and milk. Considering 90 percent of Americans have at least one pesticide compound in their body, primarily stemming from dietary exposure, including food and drinking water, advocates maintain that current restrictions on their use must adequately detect and assess total chemical contaminants. The study notes, “We suggest that among agricultural communities that experience […]

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Mayan Beekeepers Implicating Bayer/Monsanto in Die-Off of 300,000+ Bees, Harming Their Livelihood

Wednesday, April 5th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 5, 2023) A collective of Mayan beekeepers (Colectivo de Comunidades Mayas) in Mexico are implicating chemical industry giant Bayer/Monsanto in a massive die-off of more than 300,000 bees among their combined apiaries. According to Mexico News Daily, the total value of losses represent a staggering $663,000 U.S. dollars (12 million pesos). The incident is the latest instance of the pesticide  and agrichemical industry setting up shop in a local community and wrecking the health of the local ecology. Mayan beekeepers explain that Bayer/Monsanto recently started operations on a ranch near Crucero OxĂĄ in the southern Mexican state of Campeche. A local businessman placed the 50 hectare ranch on loan to the company. Since that arrangement, the company has aerially sprayed row crops like corn and soy with undisclosed chemicals. “One of Bayer’s engineers or technicians allowed us to take samples from one of their crops after the bees started to die,” said beekeeper JosĂ© Manuel Poot Chan, to the newspaper La Jornada Maya. “We are exhausting all possible legal instances, while members of the Welfare Ministry already came to offer humanitarian social aid to cover part of the damages.” Beekeepers suspect that the company is using the […]

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Maui County, Hawai’i Leads Nation in Supporting Transition to Organic Agriculture with New Law

Wednesday, March 15th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, March 15, 2023) In a move that will improve land access for MauiÊ»s organic farmers, Maui County Council passed Bill 160 (Kula Agricultural Park Phase I Expansion Area),  reserving 262 acres in the Kula Agricultural Park for practices that comply with the Organic Foods Production Act and USDA organic standards, and removing barriers in the application process in favor of emerging farmers. Councilmember Gabe Johnson, chair of the Agriculture, Diversification, Environment and Public Transportation Committee, sponsored the bill. “Regenerative agriculture is a forward-thinking system that works to nurture soil, protect water resources and biodiversity, and combat climate change,” said Mr. Johnson. “We need to create an environment that supports our farmers and agriculture economy.” Maui County currently has an operational 445 acre Agriculture Park, available for lease at the affordable rate of $100 per acre per month. All users of the current Agriculture Park practice chemical-intensive methods, making it an unsuitable area for organic farmers. In 2018, Maui County purchased an additional 262 acres to expand the Agriculture Park, and Bill 160 reserves the expansion area for organic practices, giving organic farmers the same opportunity for affordable land access. The Kula Agriculture Park expansion will be available for […]

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Local Authority to Restrict Pesticides Would Be Codified by Federal Reform Bill

Monday, February 13th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2023) As more and more communities across the country outlaw pesticides on their public land, parks, and playing fields, most states prohibit (or preempt) localities from restricting hazardous use on private property. As a result, pesticides used on landscapes—uses that can be replaced by organic management practices—result in chemical drift and runoff, putting the community in harms way and people involuntarily exposed. The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2023 (PACTPA), S.269, includes a provision that grants communities under federal pesticide law (the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act—FIFRA) local authority to restrict pesticides on all property, public and private, within their jurisdiction. While the U.S. Supreme Court (in Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier) in 1991 found that FIFRA does not preempt local governments’ authority to restrict pesticide use in their town, cities, or counties, state governments have taken that authority away in 44 states at the behest of the pesticide lobby. Urge your Senators to co-sponsor PACTPA and reforms to the toxic core of FIFRA, including upholding the right of local governments to restrict pesticides. As local governments debate the hazards associated with pesticide use in their communities, many have decided to transition their […]

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Ending Fossil Fuel-Based Pesticides and Fertilizers Central to National Forum and Legislation

Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, September 6, 2022) Beyond Pesticides is holding its National Forum series, Health, Biodiversity, and Climate: A Path for a Livable Future, beginning on September 15. The National Pesticide Forum has undergone tremendous change in the format, giving participants easier access to timely, bite-sized, and provocative learning experiences and empowering action to fuel change. This year, it focuses on meeting the health, biodiversity, and climate crises with a path for a livable future. We examine both the existential problems associated with current public health and environmental crises and chart a course for a future that solves these urgent problems—public health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate emergency. The first seminar launches September 15, the second on October 12, and a third will be announced for November. Register for free! The Forum will address both the science that defines the problems associated with the threats and the solutions, some of which are contained in legislation such as the Zero Food Waste Act and the Compost Act. Two ways of helping to reduce agricultural carbon emissions and reduce hunger are addressed in these two bills—by maximizing the amount of food that is eaten and ensuring that food waste is composted to build soil […]

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Two Common-Use Organophosphate Pesticides in Drinking Water Put Nearly Everyone at Cancer Risk

Thursday, July 28th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2022) A report published in Chemosphere finds organophosphate (OP) insecticides readily contaminate drinking water resources, threatening human, animal, and ecological health. OPs have a wide range of biological uses—from insecticides to flame retardants—that make these chemicals ubiquitous, significantly contributing to ecosystem contamination. These compounds have a global distribution, with evaporation and precipitation facilitating long-range atmospheric transport, deposition, and bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in the environment. OPs are highly toxic, and residues are consistently present in human and animal blood, urine, tissues, and milk. Considering 90 percent of Americans have at least one pesticide compound in their body, primarily stemming from dietary exposure, including food and drinking water, advocates maintain that current restrictions on their use must adequately detect and assess total chemical contaminants.  Water is the most abundant and crucial chemical compound on earth, essential to survival, and the main component of all living things. Less than three percent of that water is freshwater, and only a fraction of that freshwater is groundwater (30.1%) or surface water (0.3%) readily available for consumption. However, ubiquitous pesticide use threatens to reduce the amount of available freshwater as pesticide runoff, recharge, and improper disposal tends to contaminate adjacent waterways, like rivers, streams, lakes, or underground watersheds. With rivers and streams only accounting […]

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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Words, “All life is interrelated,” and His Legacy Are Honored on MLK Day, Monday, Jan. 17

Friday, January 14th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, January 14, 2022) On the annual celebration of the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.— MLK Day, Monday, January 17 — Beyond Pesticides honors his legacy by calling out ongoing environmental inequities, and calling on all of us to advance environmental justice. In his 1967 Christmas sermon, Dr. King famously noted, “It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” There may be no better description of what is at stake in environmental justice work — righting environmental wrongs that have disproportionate impacts on some groups of people. In its attention to the multitude of ways in which BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) populations face disproportionate risks and impacts, Beyond Pesticides works to ensure that all people are afforded circumstances that support their safety, health, and well-being. Rather than excavate the very long historical record of environmental injustice in the U.S., today’s Daily News Blog recalls several examples from the past year. It is impossible to begin that chronicle without first acknowledging that the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has […]

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Beyond Pesticides Wishes You A Healthy New Year

Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

**We’re taking a break for the holidays. Daily News will be back on January 3, 2022** (Beyond Pesticides, December 23, 2021) We at Beyond Pesticides wish our members, supporters, and collaborators all the best for the holiday season and new year. We look forward to working with you in the new year to meet the serious environmental and public health challenges with truly organic solutions. Our accomplishments are your victories. We are seeing the outcomes in communities across the country—the adoption of organic land management policies and practices that eliminate toxic pesticides, protect children, pets, and families, and protect the local ecology. With your support of Beyond Pesticides, we strive to reverse the destructive environmental and public health path that we’re on and advance the adoption of organic practices and policies that respect life. To view our accomplishments, see Beyond Pesticides’ 2021 Year in Review. Beyond Pesticides’ program supports a clear message: End toxic pesticide use and embrace organic practices and policies that respect the power of nature to heal— in the face of devastating and destructive toxic chemical-dependency. This past year has again elevated important public discourse on the threats that pesticides pose to health and the environment. Table […]

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It’s Time for Bayer/Monsanto to Leave Hawai’i after Pleading Guilty to Multiple Violations that Harm People and Environment of the State, Advocates Say

Wednesday, December 15th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, December 15, 2021) Monsanto has pleaded guilty to multiple environmental crimes in HawaiÊ»i for the second time in less than four years, and the island communities are left asking “when is enough enough?” In the most recent case, Monsanto will plead guilty to 30 environmental crimes in HawaiÊ»i, related to pesticide use violations and putting field workers at risk.  In both cases, they admit that they knowingly violated pesticide law and put field workers in harmÊ»s way.  They will pay a $12 million fine this time, bringing their criminal fines and “community service payments” to a total of $22 million since 2019. At the center of these cases is the fact that the Monsanto field workers had to transport, apply, and suffer exposure to these toxic and banned pesticides as a part of their job. Autumn Ness, director of Beyond Pesticides’ Hawai’i organic land management program,  said: “In small island communities of HawaiÊ»i, Monsanto workers are our friends and family. Folks live just downwind and next door to these fields.  We are concerned about their health, and those concerns are glaringly missing from news reports and in the distribution agreements for the community service payments.” There are two […]

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Aerial Drop of Rodenticides on Farallon Islands in California Threatens Ecosystem, Comments Due

Monday, November 29th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, November 29, 2021) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) is reviving its proposal to aerially apply (by helicopter) the toxic rodenticide brodifacoum to kill house mice on the Farallon Islands National Wildlife Refuge off the Northern California coast. Globally significant wildlife populations inhabit the Farallones, including hundreds of thousands of seabirds and thousands of seals and sea lions. According to FWS, these include: thirteen species seabird species that nest on the islands including Leach’s Storm-petrel, Ashy Storm-petrel, Fork-tailed Storm-petrel, Double-crested Cormorant, Brandt’s Cormorant, Pelagic Cormorant, Black Oystercatcher, Western Gull, Common Murre, Pigeon Guillemot, Cassin’s Auklet, Rhinocerous Auklet, and Tufted Puffin; pinnipeds including Northern fur seals, Steller sea lions, California sea lions, harbor seals, and northern elephant seals that breed or haul-out onto Farallon Refuge; and endemic species including white sharks, hoary bats, and arboreal salamanders. Tell the California Coastal Commission to deny the proposed aerial dispersal of the highly toxic rodenticide brodifacoum on the Farallon Islands. Brodifacoum is a “second generation anticoagulant rodenticide” (SGAR) that is highly toxic to birds, mammals, and fish. It also poses a secondary poisoning risk to predators. The California Department of Pesticide Regulation quotes the FWS: “Secondary exposure to SGARs is particularly […]

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Groups Tell EPA’s Pesticide Program It’s a Failure, Call for Immediate Reforms

Tuesday, October 26th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 26, 2021) The Office of Pesticides Programs within the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has become so captured by industry that it has lost sight of its health and environmental mission, according to a scathing critique issued today by 37 environmental, public health, and sustainable agriculture groups, including beekeeper councils. Led by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and Beyond Pesticides, the groups are urging the Biden administration to adopt reforms within OPP to ensure pesticide approval and use decisions are science-based. EPA’s OPP has registered more than 18,000 separate pesticide products — far more than any other country — and more than 2 billion pounds of pesticides are sold annually in the U.S. They are used annually over roughly 250 million acres of farmland, across millions of acres of urban and suburban lands, and inside millions of homes, schools, and other buildings.  The coalition letter points to employee reports that managers within  OPP – Push through “Yes packages” of pesticide approvals greased by industry lobbying; Suppress toxicological and other concerns raised by professional staff; and Engage in outrageous waivers of vital toxicity study requirements, instead relying on “conditional” registrations to allow pesticide uses, despite missing key data. Seeing […]

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Maui Prohibits Toxic Pesticides and Fertilizers on County Land, Allows Only Organic-Compatible Materials

Friday, August 27th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 27, 2021) On August 24, as reported by The Maui News, the Maui (Hawai’i) County Council approved legislation that will stop use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers in county land management practices, allowing only those materials permitted under federal organic law. The approach set out in the bill is the creation of a comprehensive list of such materials that will be either allowed or prohibited for use, as the legislation indicates, on “any County highway, drainageway, sidewalk, right-of-way, park, building, community center, or other facility.” This decision comes on the heels of years of grassroots work and advocacy, including that of Beyond Pesticides Director of Hawai’i Organic Land Management Program Autumn Ness. The legislation (CR 21-56), which passed with a vote of 8–0 (with one member excused), will regulate pesticide and fertilizer use on county properties broadly, but will not affect property managed by the state or private owners, county agricultural parks, or county property used for agricultural purposes. The new ordinance will take effect for most county parcels one year from the August 24 approval date; the effective date for Maui’s War Memorial Stadium Complex and Ichiro “Iron” Maehara Baseball Stadium is two years from approval, and for the […]

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Commentary: Are Children, Agricultural Workers, and the Food Supply Safe with EPA’s Chlorpyrifos Decision?

Thursday, August 19th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 19, 2021) Does a science-based, public health-oriented, occupational safety focused, children-concerned, ecologically protective society allow the use of toxic pesticides that are unnecessary to achieve land management, quality of life, and food productivity goals? Should victims of poisoning have to plead with regulators to protect them? Should organizations have to fight chemical-by-chemical to achieve basic levels of protection from individual neurotoxic, cancer causing, endocrine disrupting pesticides? Of course not. But, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement that it is stopping food uses of the insecticide chlorpyrifos after being registered 65 years ago provides us with an important opportunity for reflection, not just celebration. The collective effort to remove this one chemical is a tremendous feat in eliminating one exposure to a hazardous material for children. That is the point. The action we’re celebrating required an amazingly resource-intensive effort at a time in history when we are running against the clock in an urgent race to transition our society and global community away from the use of petroleum-based, toxic pesticides—to move to meaningful practices that sustain, nurture, and regenerate life. In this context, let’s put chlorpyrifos in perspective. EPA was forced into its decision by a court […]

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Parents of Harmed Children Sue Manufacturer of Brain-Damaging Insecticide Chlorpyrifos

Wednesday, July 14th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, July 14, 2021) Corteva (formerly DowDupont) is facing a potential class-action lawsuit after several California families filed suit claiming that the use of the insecticide chlorpyrifos around their homes resulted in birth defects, brain damage, and developmental problems in their children. Chlorpyrifos is an organophosphate insecticide that has been linked to a range of health ailments, posing significant hazards particularly for pregnant mothers and their children. The lawsuits come as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approaches a court-imposed 60-day deadline to decide the fate of the pesticide’s registration. Attorneys for the court cases, filed on behalf of individuals located in four California communities (Fresno, Kings, Medera, and Tulare counties), indicate they intend to pursue class-action status, which would allow additional injured parties to join the lawsuit. The plaintiffs argue that the effects of chlorpyrifos exposure lingers in the agricultural communities where they reside. “We have found it in the houses, we have found it in carpet, in upholstered furniture, we found it in a teddy bear, and we found it on the walls and surfaces,” said Stuart Calwell, lead attorney for the plantiffs. “Then a little child picks up a teddy bear and holds on to it.” […]

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EPA Agenda Undermined by Its Embrace of Industry Influence, Article Documents

Friday, July 9th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, July 9, 2021) The investigative online publication The Intercept has turned its attention to the current and historical role of industry in distorting, undermining, and outright suppressing the protective function of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with regard to pesticide exposures. The subsequent reporting — “The Department of Yes: How Pesticide Companies Corrupted the EPA and Poisoned America” — is a devastating chronicle of the theme and particulars that Beyond Pesticides has covered for years. That is, that EPA has repeatedly disregarded its charge to protect human and environmental health in favor of enabling industry to continue its chemical experimentation on the populace and on the nation’s multiple natural resources. This pattern must change if the agency is to enact its mission and the public is to be protected. The Intercept interviewed more than 24 people with expertise on the regulation of pesticides, including 14 who have worked in EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP). The chief takeaway from those interviews, as written by reporter Sharon Lerner, is that EPA “is often unable to stand up to the intense pressures from powerful agrochemical companies, which spend tens of millions of dollars on lobbying each year and employ many […]

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