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Presence of Weed Killer Glyphosate in Human Sperm Elevates Debate on Pesticide Threats to Human Survival 

Tuesday, June 4th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, June 4, 2024) A study published in the most recent edition of the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety documents for the first time the presence of the herbicide glyphosate in human sperm. The study looked at 128 French men with an average age of 36 years who tested positive for glyphosate in their blood. Seventy-three out of the 128 men were found to also have glyphosate in their seminal plasma. Not only that, the amount of glyphosate in seminal plasma was nearly four times higher than what was detected in the blood.   Methods  The study involved a population of 128 infertile French men from whom seminal and blood plasma samples were collected. The study was conducted at the “Pole Santé Léonard de Vinci” medical center, located centrally near Tours, France. This region is recognized for its urban characteristics as well as being a major agricultural hub, particularly for grain and wine production. The study authors note, “This area reflects the common herbicide exposure in France” and the district ranks third highest in terms of pesticide purchases. While additional qualitative data was collected, only 47 of 128 participants fully completed a questionnaire about their profession, diet (organic or […]

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EPA Proposes to Stop Most Uses of Highly Toxic Insecticide in Food and Water, But Open to Negotiating

Wednesday, May 8th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, May 8, 2024) In an unexpected turnaround, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced at the end of April a Proposed Interim Decision (PID) to discontinue all but one application of the insecticide acephate. Acephate is an organophosphate pesticide, a well-known neurotoxicant, widely banned globally, including in the European Union. Under the proposal, all uses would end except for the injection of trees that do not produce fruit or nuts. In its proposed action, EPA asks the manufacturer to offer the agency a voluntary settlement, a process that typically compromises the health of the public, workers, and the environment. Acephate, an organophosphate (OP) pesticide, is approved for use in both agricultural settings, including crops like cotton and soybeans, and nonagricultural applications, such as injections for forestry trees. Acephate affects the nervous system by inhibiting the acetylcholinesterase (AChE) enzyme. Importantly, chronic, low levels of exposure can cause a range of adverse human health outcomes, from cancer to birth defects, reproductive and developmental problems, and learning disabilities. While the proposed April interim decision, if it comes to pass, is welcomed by advocates, some are concerned that EPA’s proposal does not fully critique the scientific documents and conclusions on risk that […]

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Wide Range of Harmful Effects of Pesticides Documented in Literature Review

Thursday, April 25th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, April 25, 2024) In a study from earlier this year, “Pesticides: An alarming detrimental to health and environment,” scientists compiled research from 154 articles regarding pesticide use and the adverse effects they have on the environment and human health. Among the effects of the harmful pesticides described is genotoxicity—the alteration of genetic material that results in the mutations in DNA that cause cancer.  The authors state that “genotoxins are mutagenic chemicals, and exposure to them increases the risk of developing tumors, hormonal changes, DNA damage, and changes in the ovaries and eggs, all of which leading to cancers… The risk of DNA damage surges with increased genotoxicity in people exposed to pesticides.” In addition, the National Institute of Health states that all “pesticides are highly biologically active chemicals. They may interact with DNA and damage its structure.” Despite these documented risks, pesticide use continues to surge.  While phased out to a considerable extent after being widely used in agriculture and residential areas, organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) or its breakdown compound dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) continue to show up as residues in the environment and food supply. Symptoms in humans that have been exposed to these chemicals include: seizures, […]

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“Forever Chemical” PFAS Drinking Water Rules Issued, Urgency to Shift from Petrochemicals Pesticides

Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, April 17, 2024) With headlines drawing public attention to the contamination of drinking water after years of federal government neglect, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on April 10 new standards to reduce public exposure to PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” because of their persistence. EPA has finalized a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) for six PFAS, including PFOA and PFOS, which EPA has recognized have no safe level of exposure, regulating new chemicals for the first time since the 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). PFAS persistence and bioaccumulation in humans, wildlife, and the environment is due to the strength of a resulting fluorine–carbon atom bond. PFAS contamination of drinking water, surface and groundwater, waterways, soils, and the food supply—among other resources—is ubiquitous worldwide. PFAS is used in everyday products, including cookware, clothes, carpets, as an anti-sticking and anti-stain agent, in plastics, machinery, and as a pesticide. The action was welcomed by environmentalists and public health advocates as an important step but left many concerned that any level of exposure to these chemicals is unacceptable and critical of EPA’s ongoing failure to act despite years […]

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Study of Chemical Mixtures at Low Concentrations Again Finds Adverse Health Effects

Wednesday, April 10th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, April 10, 2024) Researchers in a 2024 Chemosphere study find synergistic relationships in certain chemical mixtures, particularly heptachlor and triallate and trifluralin and lindane at lower concentrations, respectively. “Investigators should consider additional binary data for acute toxicity and potential chronic health impacts on these mixture…which showed synergism at low levels,” the researchers conclude. “According to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) assessment, more than 50 pesticides are detected in blood or urine samples from the US population,” Researchers point to a cause for concern. The findings come as no surprise to advocates who have urged an assessment of the potential synergistic impacts of pesticide mixtures in the regulation of pesticides. Researchers “used the exposure data from a complex operating site with legacy pesticide pollution to evaluate if Inhalation of pesticide mixtures released from such contaminated sites could pose a risk to human health, The component-based risk assessment approaches that rely on additivity can predict the actual risk of pesticides in a mixture, and The legacy organochlorine pesticides banned many years ago interact with registered and supposedly safe herbicides in a mixture.” The study site is “a pesticide packaging and handling facility” contaminated with the following pesticides (“historical and […]

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Advocates Seek To Keep Organic on the Cutting Edge of Change for a Sustainable Future

Monday, April 1st, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2024) Comments are due 11:59 pm EDT, Wednesday, April 3. For the public comment period—deadline Wednesday, April 3—in the lead up to the National Organic Standard Board (NOSB) meeting, advocates have identified the following priority issues: Getting plastics our of organic; Removing endocrine disrupting nonylphenols (NPs) and nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) iodine from dairy production and replace with available alternatives; and Continuing to improve the science supporting ongoing decisions of the NOSB. (See below for details and opportunity to submit comments on these with one click!) Previously, Beyond Pesticides has reported on three additional priority issues, including; Reject the petition to allow unspecified “compostable materials” in compost allowed in organic production; Eliminate nonorganic ingredients in processed organic foods as a part of the Board’s sunset review of allowed materials; and  Ensure that so-called “inert” ingredients in the products used in organic production meet the criteria in OFPA with an NOSB assessment.  (Please see the prior action on these issues and submit comments, if not done previously.) Beyond Pesticides asks the public to join in commenting on priority issues that protect health and the environment as part of the upcoming NOSB meeting. The NOSB is receiving written comments from the […]

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Mexico Ban on Genetically Engineered Corn Imports Spurs Challenge from U.S. and Canada under Trade Agreement

Wednesday, March 20th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, March 20, 2024) A report by CBAN unpacks the ecosystem and wildlife health impacts of genetically engineered (GE) corn in the context of Mexico’s 2023 decision to stop its importation into the country. The phase out of genetically modified (GM) corn imports into Mexico was immediately challenged by the U.S. and Canadian governments as a trade violation under the 2020 U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which replaced the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as the primary vehicle for North American trade policy. In August 2023, the U.S. Trade Representative set up a dispute settlement panel under USMCA to stop Mexico from going forward with its ban. There has been no public update from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as of this writing. The CBAN report highlights the scientific rationale underpinning Mexico’s decision to “safeguard the integrity of native corn from GM contamination and to protect human health” with this ban. In 2020, Mexico announced a four-year phase-out of the weed killer glyphosate, which along with other petrochemical herbicides is integral to GM corn production. When Mexico’s Minister of the Environment announced the phase-out, he said it is part of an effort to transform the country’s food system […]

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Getting Toxics Out of Food Production and Communities Requires Strong Organic Standards

Monday, March 18th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, March 18, 2024) Comments are due by 11:59 pm EDT on April 3, 2024. Organic standard setting provides for democratic input, full transparency, and continuous improvement. The current public comment period is an important opportunity for the public to engage with the organic rulemaking process to ensure that the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and the USDA National Organic Program uphold the values and principles set forth in the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). With the threats to health, biodiversity, and climate associated with petrochemical pesticide and fertilizer use in chemical-intensive land management, advocates stress that this is critical time to keep organic strong and continually improving. Organic maintains a unique place in the food system because of its high standards, public input, inspection system, and enforcement mechanism. But, organic will only grow stronger if the public participates in voicing positions on key issues to the NOSB, a stakeholder advisory board. Beyond Pesticides has identified key issues for the upcoming NOSB meeting below! The NOSB is receiving written comments from the public on key issues through April 3, 2024. This precedes the upcoming public comment webinar on April 23 and 25 and the deliberative hearing on April 29 through […]

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Take Action: Chemical Mixture Issues in Pesticide Products Elevated by the EPA Inspector General

Monday, March 11th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, March 11, 2024) Inside a recent disagreement between the Office of the Inspector (OIG) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) on the agency’s review of pet flea and tick collars—leading to thousands of deaths and poisonings—is a basic question of the adequacy of pesticide regulation. The disagreement is over the cause of 105,354 incident reports, including 3,000 pet deaths and nearly 900 reports of human injury, and the February 2025 OIG report’s conclusion that “[EPA] has not provided assurance that they can be used without posing unreasonable adverse effects to the environment, including pets.” While the disagreement focuses on a number of EPA process failures, Beyond Pesticides urges that the findings advance the need for the agency to address a key element of chemical mixtures in pesticide products not currently evaluated, potential synergistic effects—the increased toxic potency created by pesticide and chemical combinations not captured by assessing product ingredients individually.  Key to the dispute is what many see as a foundational failure of EPA to evaluate the effect of pesticide mixtures and full formulations of pesticide end products, a longstanding criticism of the agency’s pesticide registration process, which focuses on pesticide products’ active […]

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Inspector General Finds Widely Used Flea Collars Still Not Fully Evaluated by EPA 

Wednesday, March 6th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, March 6, 2024) With over 2,500 pet deaths and 900 reports of adverse effects to people, an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report, published on February 29, 2024, reveals multiple systemic failures by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP), citing inadequate safety reviews of Seresto pet collars. The report, The EPA Needs to Determine Whether Seresto Pet Collars Pose an Unreasonable Risk to Pet Health, concludes, “The EPA’s response to reported pesticide incidents involving Seresto pet collars has not provided assurance that they can be used without posing unreasonable adverse effects to the environment, including pets.” At the time the animal effects made headlines in 2021, the agency defended the product’s registration, telling the media that, despite these incidents, EPA deemed Seresto collars “‘eligible for continued registration’ based on best available science, including incident data… No pesticide is completely without harm, but EPA ensures that there are measures on the product label that reduce risk.” Despite the scathing criticism, EPA maintains the position that it conducted an adequate review of the two active insecticide ingredients in the pet collars—the neurotoxic insecticide flumethrin, and the notorious neonicotinoid imidacloprid—proven to have adverse effects on the endocrine system as […]

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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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Amid Damning Criticism of Its Scientific Integrity, EPA Takes Public Comments on Updated Policy

Monday, February 12th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 12, 2024) Public Comments Due February 23, 2024. As the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA) takes public comments on its updated scientific integrity policy (until February 23, 2024), Beyond Pesticides issued an action and reminds the agency that when it fails to carry out its mission to protect health and the environment—by allowing use of pesticides that are known to be hazardous and not fairly and scientifically evaluated, it is responsible for a toxic tragedy that has debilitating and deadly consequences for people and the ecosystems critical to sustaining life. Key to the recommendations Beyond Pesticides is urging EPA to consider are the following: (i) incorporate independent and emerging science into its chemical reviews; (ii) Update protocol to keep pace with new science; (iii) address vulnerabilities of those at highest risk, including those with preexisting health conditions; (iv) consider safer alternatives in calculating unreasonable risk; (v) disclose uncertainties associated with agency science or data gaps, and (vi) establish criminal penalties for EPA staff integrity violations. In the wake of intense criticism of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) scientific integrity, the agency has announced updates to its scientific integrity guidelines. As the agency acknowledges in its 2012 Scientific Integrity Policy: […]

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EPA’s Proposed Endocrine Disrupting Pesticide Review Called Deficient

Monday, February 5th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 5, 2024) Public Comment Period Ends February 26, 2024. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) never completed protocol for testing pesticides that disrupt the fundamental functioning of organisms, including humans, causing a range of chronic adverse health effects that defy the common misconception that dose makes the poison (“a little bit won’t hurt you”)—when, in fact, minuscule doses (exposure) wreak havoc with biological systems. After a nearly two decade defiance of a federal mandate to institute pesticide registration requirements for endocrine disruptors, EPA has now opened a public comment period ending February 26, 2024 and advocates are criticizing the agency’s proposed evaluation as too narrow. A detailed examination of EPA’s proposal can be found in draft comments by Beyond Pesticides.  Endocrine disruption as a phenomenon affecting humans and other species has been critically reviewed by many authors. Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can, even at extremely low exposure levels, disrupt normal hormonal (endocrine) function. Such endocrine disrupting compounds (EDC) include many pesticides, exposures to which have been linked to infertility and other reproductive disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and early puberty, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and childhood and adult cancers. EPA […]

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Field Study of Bumble Bees Finds Exposure to Chemical Mixtures, High Hazard, Flawed Regulation

Tuesday, January 9th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 9, 2024) A “landscape-level” study finds that typical risk assessment studies used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and European regulators fail to “safeguard bees and other pollinators that support agricultural production and wild plant pollination.” The study, published in Nature (November 2023), evaluates the health of bumble bees (Bombus terrestris) as a sentinel species placed in 106 agricultural landscapes across Europe. The authors’ conclusions challenge “the current assumption of pesticide regulation—that chemicals that individually pass laboratory tests and semifield trials are considered environmentally benign”—calling into question EPA’s persistent failure to adequately regulate mixtures of chemicals to which organisms are exposed in the real world. This study adds to the body of science on pesticide mixtures adversely affecting bee and pollinator health. See here, here, and here. The failure to capture real-world exposure to pesticide mixtures in its regulatory assessments extends to EPA’s systemic failure to evaluate a range of serious adverse impacts, as noted by the agency’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) report. And, aquatic environments also have documented mixtures of pesticides, with the U.S. Geological Survey finding 90 percent of water samples containing at least five or more different pesticides. “We can take no comfort […]

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Commentary: New Year Calls for Transformational Change Starting with Chemical Use Rejection

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 2, 2024) [photo credit: Alessandro Marongui, Bhopal Medical Appeal, Bhopal, 2009] The new year begins with numerous critical decisions before the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its Office of Pesticide Programs, along with other federal agencies and the U.S. Congress, that determine whether the agency will continue to erode its leadership position in meeting the existential crises that threaten health, biodiversity, and climate. Given these crises, EPA under its current authority could take the action necessary to advance a transition away from the use of petrochemical pesticides, since under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) the hazards associated with pesticides are “unreasonable”—given the availability and viability of organic systems that do not utilize toxic pesticides. As EPA fails to meet the catastrophic environmental and health challenges of the day, communities and states across the U.S. are increasingly exercising their authority to restrict pesticides more stringently than the federal government. FIFRA, as affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier (1991), does not prohibit or preempt local municipalities from adopting more stringent pesticide restrictions throughout their jurisdictions than the federal government. The U.S. Congress over the next several weeks will continue […]

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Groups Petition EPA to Remove from the Market the Weed Killer Glyphosate

Tuesday, December 19th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2023) Last week, farmworker organizations and Beyond Pesticides, represented by the Center for Food Safety, filed a petition with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging that the weed killer glyphosate be removed from the market. The petition cites 200 studies, which represent a fraction of the independent scientific literature on the hazards of glyphosate and formulation ingredients of glyphosate products. This action follows previous litigation in 2022 in which a federal court of appeals struck down EPA’s human health assessment, finding that the agency wrongfully dismissed glyphosate’s cancer risk. The farmworker groups petitioning include Farmworker Association of Florida, Organización en California de Lideres Campesinas, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, and the Rural Coalition.   Meanwhile, verdicts against glyphosate’s manufacturer, Bayer, continue to pile up with a December jury verdict in Pennsylvania awarding $3.5 million and a November jury in Missouri ordering $1.56 billion to be paid to four plaintiffs. All link their cancer to use of the Roundup. Bayer has lost almost all of the cases filed against it for compensation and punitive damages associated with plaintiffs’ charge that its product (previously manufactured by Monsanto) caused them harm.  The petition summarizes its purpose and justification as […]

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Scientific Literature Review Again Identifies Pesticide Disruption of Bee Gut Microbiota

Tuesday, December 12th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, December 12, 2023) A review published in Nature Reviews Microbiology finds pesticides can disrupt honeybee (Apis mellifera) microbiota (bacteria) in their gut, altering the immune system, metabolism, behavior, and development. Many studies emphasize chemical-driven agricultural systems dependent upon pollinators and products that harm or kill off these sensitive species. Previous studies have linked adverse impacts to bee microbiome to pesticide exposure. Toxic (manufactured poison) pesticides readily contaminate the ecosystem with residues pervasive in food and water commodities. In addition to this study, the scientific literature commonly associates pesticides with human, biotic, and ecosystem harm, as a doubling of toxic effects on invertebrates, like pollinators, has been recorded since 2004.  Pollinator declines directly affect the environment, society, and the economy. Many agricultural and nonagricultural plant species will decline or cease to exist without pollinators. In turn, the economy will take a hit, since much of the economy (65%) depends upon the strength of the agricultural sector. As the science shows, pesticides are one of the most significant stressors for pollinators. Additionally, pesticides have a devastating impact on bees and other pollinators and the larger context of what has been called by scientists as the “insect apocalypse.” In a world where habitat loss and fragmentation show no sign […]

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Hidden Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in Indoor Air Cause Adverse Effects

Tuesday, October 31st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 31, 2023) With cooler weather setting in and people heading indoors and closing windows, the issue of COVID-19 transmission escalates, as do concerns about toxic chemicals filling the indoor ambient air. As a recent segment of 60 Minutes (October 29, 2023) stresses, COVID-19 spreads elevated public concern and understanding about the importance of ventilation, filtration, and air exchange to indoor air quality. Unfortunately, the concerns about indoor air are not limited to COVID-19 as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) invade most spaces where people live and work. These invisible toxic substances can be found in common household products, furniture, mattresses, and more, including pesticides in and around the house. Recognizing the risks associated with VOCs and the potentially hazardous off-gassing process is crucial for protecting public health.  VOCs are a group of chemicals that can easily vaporize into the air at room temperature. These compounds are found in many everyday items, including furniture, cleaning products, pesticides, cosmetics, and even air fresheners. Some household products, particularly pesticides, can introduce their own set of risks in addition to the risks they pose due to their VOC content. VOCs can range from harmless to harmful, and their presence can have a […]

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EPA Rejects Petition Seeking Review of Complete Ingredients in Pesticide Products

Monday, October 16th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 16, 2023) After six years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally responded to a citizen petition requesting that the agency evaluate complete formulations of pesticide products, not just the ingredients the manufacturer claims attack the target pest (so-called “active” ingredients). EPA’s response: No. Nowhere in EPA’s denial of the need for a more robust toxicological analysis is the problem more evident than in its refusal to require analyses of the so-called “inert ingredients” or “adjuvants” included in various formulations of pesticide products. The citizen petition [see more background] was followed by a lawsuit for the same purpose in 2022. Inerts and formulants are substances that enhance the distribution or adhesion of the active ingredient; adjuvants enhance the effectiveness of the active ingredient. These terms suggest that those chemicals have no effect on anything in the area where the pesticide is applied—a wildly inaccurate implication. At least as early as 1987, EPA had recognized that some inerts and adjuvants were “of toxicological concern,” yet it still requires very few toxicological tests of whole-formula pesticides or their purportedly inactive components. EPA responded to the petition as follows: “[T]he Agency appropriately assesses, as part of its review, the impacts to […]

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Take Action: Organic Integrity on the Agenda of Upcoming USDA Meeting

Monday, September 25th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 25, 2023) It happens twice a year. The transparent process of a stakeholder board of farmers, consumers, environmentalists, a scientist, retailer, and certifier get together as members of the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) and vote on allowable materials and standards in organic agriculture. This Congressionally mandated board has authorities not often given to people outside of government—authorities to determine what should be allowed in organic food production, under assessments of synthetic and natural substances. And the underlying law that makes this happen, the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), stipulates that the Secretary of Agriculture may not allow synthetic and prohibited natural materials unless they are recommended by the NOSB. The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is receiving written comments from the public, which must be submitted by September 28, 2023. The values and principles embedded in OFPA far exceed the standards of health and environmental protection of any other health and environmental laws, which establish risk mitigation measures to determine allowable harm, under a set of guiding standards that require the board to (i) protect health (from production of inputs to their disposal), (ii) ensure compatibility with organic systems (with determinations that inputs do not hurt […]

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Standards Now Open to Public Comments To Protect the Integrity of the USDA Organic Label—Due by Sept 28!

Monday, September 18th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 18, 2023) Advocates for organic have consistently maintained that public engagement with the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) is critical to protecting the values and principles embedded in the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). While the NOSB is a stakeholder board that reflects the sectors of the organic community—from consumers, farmers, processors, certifiers, retailers, and scientists—public interaction with the board offers critical input to the NOSB’s decision-making process. Ultimately, Board authority over the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances and its advisor relationship to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture have a direct effect on the underlying decisions that determine the credibility of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic label that is now widely found on products in virtually all grocery stores. A major issue that continues to plague label integrity is the Board’s review of so-called “inert” ingredients in materials allowed in organic. These are potentially toxic ingredients that should be reviewed by the Board, substances not disclosed on labels of products that may be used in organic production or processing. The NOSB has access to the complete list of “inerts” used in organic materials, and advocates are urging the Board to begin immediately its […]

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Pollinator Health: The Climate Crisis Weakens Bees’ Ability to Withstand Pesticide Exposure

Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2023) A study published in Global Change Biology finds climate change increases bees’ sensitivity to pesticide exposure, impairing the pollinators’ ability to respond to light (Ultra-Violet [UV] stimuli), reducing floral syrup consumption, and lessening longevity (length of life) up to 70 percent. Notably, the reduction in floral syrup consumption indicates nutritional stress that further impacts bee species’ fecundity (productiveness), driving bee declines. Unless more is done to combat the climate crisis, the current global warming scenario increasing bees’ sensitivity to pesticide exposure will continue to threaten all pollinator health. The pervasiveness of pesticide exposure, combined with climate change, threatens global species biodiversity. As has been widely reported, pollinators (such as bees, monarch butterflies, and bats) are a bellwether for environmental stress as individuals and as colonies. Pesticides intensify pollinators’ vulnerability to health risks (such as pathogens and parasites), with pesticide-contaminated conditions limiting colony productivity, growth, and survival. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one million species of plants and animals at risk, including pollinators. Pollinator declines directly affect the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many agricultural and nonagricultural plant species will decline or cease to exist as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly […]

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EPA’s Failure to Assess Multiple Chemical Exposure Threat Creates Environmental Injustice, Says Inspector General

Wednesday, September 6th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 6, 2023) In late August, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a report concluding that EPA “took a siloed approach” to the cumulative impacts of chemical exposures and the disproportionate nature of those exposures. This approach keeps different parts of the EPA from coordinating their efforts and hinders understanding of the breadth and depth of chemical exposures. OIG reached this disturbing finding despite the issuance of several executive orders by President Biden requiring EPA to develop policies and actions to assess cumulative impacts of chemical exposures across departments, laws, and environmental media (air, water, bodies, food etc.) and to pay more attention to environmental justice. Beyond Pesticides has stressed that the whole constellation of chemical exposures and effects should be considered when governments set public policies and regulations. Just last March, Daily News covered another OIG report castigating EPA for betraying its mission by failing to address the fact that very high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds known as “forever chemicals” have been found in some common pesticides. OIG also berated EPA for succumbing to Donald Trump’s interference with setting toxicity values for the “forever chemical” perfluorobutane […]

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