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Garden Pesticide Use Harms Local Bird Populations, Study Authors Say “We Should Simply Ban These Poisons”

Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 8, 2023) Spraying pesticides around one’s garden negatively impacts local bird populations, according to research published by scientists at the University of Sussex, UK in Science of the Total Environment. Although this reasoning sounds common sense to those versed in the works of Rachel Carson, it underscores the immense importance of carrying on the legacy of her work and continuing to educate the public about the ongoing dangers posed by modern pesticides. As the study authors write, “Overall, our study shows that garden bird abundance and richness is strongly influenced by both extrinsic and intrinsic factors, and suggests that garden management, particularly regarding pesticide use, has a significant effect on bird life.” Researchers collected data by partnering with the British Trust for Ornithology, which conducts annual citizen-science counts of bird populations in UK gardens. Nearly 24,000 residents participate in the survey, which also includes information about the urbanization level surrounding their gardens, and other habitat characteristics. A group of these volunteers were provided with a questionnaire about their pesticide practices between 2020-2021, recording information on how often the pesticides were applied, as well as the pesticide brand name. After removing incomplete or unusable data, 615 individual gardens […]

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Pesticide Reform Bill Reintroduced in U.S. Senate, Advocates Call Changes Major But Not Systemic Ones Needed

Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 7, 2023) U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) reintroduced legislation last week to increase protections against exposure to toxic pesticides. The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2023 (PACTPA) addresses many of the controversial issues with the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which governs the registration and use of pesticides in the U.S. This major reform legislation tackles some of the documented deficiencies in the regulation of pesticides and removes a number of loopholes in the law. The legislation, introduced with Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bernie Sanders (D-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Brian Schatz (D-HI), also includes a ban on all organophosphate and neonicotinoid insecticides, as well as  the weed killer paraquat, which is known to cause Parkinson’s disease and lung fibrosis. Despite these reform provisions, the legislation does not touch the core of FIFRA’s pesticide registration process and chart a path for the systemic, transformative change that Beyond Pesticides says is essential to meet the existential challenges of current times—devastating health threats, biodiversity collapse, and the climate crisis. FIFRA, which is under the jurisdiction of the agriculture committees of Congress, has long been criticized for failing to protect the public and workers because […]

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Study on National Pollinator Declines Blames Pesticides, Pests, and Extreme Weather

Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, February 1, 2023) Honey bee declines in the United States are “primarily related” to pesticide exposure, parasitic mites, and extreme weather conditions, research published by Penn State scientists have determined. Publishing the results in Scientific Reports, the researchers aim to provide a national overview of the range of factors harming bee colonies. “Some previous studies have explored several potential stressors related to colony loss in a detailed way but are limited to narrow, regional areas,” said study co-author Luca Insolia, PhD. “The one study that we know of at the national level in the United States explored only a single potential stressor. For this study, we integrated many large datasets at different spatial and temporal resolutions and used new, sophisticated statistical methods to assess several potential stressors associated with colony collapse across the U.S.” The results reinforce calls from bee health advocates in the U.S. and around the world: eliminate toxic pesticide use, the lowest hanging fruit contributing to pollinator declines. In order to create a more comprehensive national overview, geographers, entomologists, and statisticians all participated in the study, reviewing publicly available data on colony health, land use, weather, and other environmental factors over a five-year period from […]

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Common Fungicide Adds to Growing List of Pesticides Linked to Gastrointestinal and Microbiome Damage

Thursday, January 26th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 26, 2023) A study published in Food Safety and Toxicology finds that the widely used fungicide azoxystrobin (AZO), used in food production and turf management, can disrupt the function of the intestinal (colonic) barrier responsible for the absorption of nutrients and defense against harmful substances. This and other similar data are important because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), with its required pesticide testing protocol, says that the chemical has “low acute and chronic toxicity to humans, birds, mammals, and bees,” and speaks to the need for the agency to modernize its registration requirements. [The agency does note that AZO is “is highly toxic to freshwater fish, freshwater invertebrates, and estuarine/marine fish, and very highly toxic to estuarine/marine invertebrates.] AZO is a broad-spectrum chemical used in wheat, barley, oats, rye, soya, cotton, rice, strawberry, peas, beans, onions, and a long list of other vegetables, as well as on lawns and golf courses, on a range of fungal diseases. The intestinal (colonic) barrier prevents the internal environment from damage caused by exogenous toxins to ensure internal homeostasis, impeding incidences of systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS), sepsis, and multiple organ dysfunction syndrome (MODS). The intestines host a group of microorganisms that form […]

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Western Bumblebee Declines a Result of Pesticides and Climate Change, No End in Sight

Wednesday, January 25th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2023) Populations of the western bumblebee are in free fall, with 57% declines across the species’ historical range, finds new research led by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey. These data are in line with trends for other once common bumblebees in the United States, like the rusty patched and American, of which the former is now listed as endangered and the latter is under consideration. Most critically, the study authors did not simply generalize the most likely and common reasons, but instead establish the contribution that pesticide use, climate change, and land use changes have on western bumblebee declines. As the study shows, both the drivers and solutions to pollinators declines are in human hands, necessitating a broad rethinking of the nation’s approach to energy use and food production. The western bumblebee has been under considerable stress for decades. In the 1990s, there were attempts to commercialize the species as a greenhouse pollinator. This industrial approach resulted in the spread of a fungal disease called Vairimorpha bombi, and captive rearing of the western bumblebee was eventually halted and deemed untenable. These dislocations resulted in local declines of the species in certain regions of U.S. Northwest […]

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Legal Case Opens To Stop Antibiotics in Citrus and Advance Organic, Given Resistant Bacteria Crisis

Tuesday, January 24th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 24, 2023) Oral arguments begin this week in a lawsuit challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) approval of the antibiotic streptomycin as a pesticide on citrus crops. Brought forth by a coalition of farmworker, health, and environmental groups, the lawsuit aims to stop the use of a critical medical treatment for agricultural purposes. “Humanity’s dwindling supply of medically effective antibiotics is not worth sacrificing for an industry that has safer alternatives available,” said Drew Toher, community resource and policy director at Beyond Pesticides. “Despite the challenges, we know from the elimination of this material in organic production that we don’t need antibiotics in order to produce a glass of orange juice.”  In 2020, the Lancet published an article that identifies several of the multiple and interacting crises the U.S. and world face, with a focus on another “looming potential pandemic . . . [a] rise in multidrug-resistant bacterial infections that are undetected, undiagnosed, and increasingly untreatable, [whose rise] threatens the health of people in the USA and globally.” It calls on leaders in the U.S. and beyond, asking that even as they address the current coronavirus pandemic, they also attend to the antimicrobial resistance (AMR) problem, […]

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Apology Issued for Testing Pesticides on Humans

Friday, January 20th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 20, 2023) In late December 2022, the University of California San Francisco made a public apology for the unethical actions of two School of Medicine faculty members who conducted experiments in the 1960s and 1970s on some 2,600 prisoners held at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville. The connection to the work of Beyond Pesticides? The experiments involved exposing male prisoners, by dermal application and via injection, to insecticides and herbicides; this continued until 1977, when the State of California banned all human subject research at state prisons. The investigation and apology — which arose through the work of the UCSF Program for Historical Reconciliation — surface multiple issues surrounding scientific research on human subjects, including ethics and regulations related to consent and to risk of harm. Beyond Pesticides has assiduously chronicled the huge variety of health harms that pesticide use can cause, has reported on many studies evidencing the presence of pesticide residues in human bodies, and in the mid-2000s weighed in on the then-vociferous ethics and regulations controversies surrounding research practices (see more below). UCSF investigated the case of two dermatology professors who, the university learned, had failed to secure consent from the prisoners — […]

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Neonicotinoid Insecticides Adversely Affect Nervous System Health, According to Study

Thursday, January 19th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 19, 2023) Research published in Environmental Health Perspectives finds the presence of nine various neonicotinoids (neonics) and six neonic metabolites within human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). CSF is an essential part of the central nervous system (CNS), especially for CNS development. Specific chemical biomarkers (measurable indicators of biological state), like pesticides, found in CSF are useful for diagnosing and evaluating numerous neurological diseases. The nervous system is an integral part of the human body and includes the brain, spinal cord, a vast network of nerves and neurons, all of which are responsible for many of our bodily functions—from sensed to movement. However, mounting evidence over the past years shows that chronic exposure to sublethal (low) levels of pesticides can cause neurotoxic effects or exacerbate preexisting chemical damage to the nervous system. The impacts of pesticides on the nervous system, including the brain, are hazardous, especially for chronically exposed individuals (e.g., farmworkers) or during critical windows of vulnerability and development (e.g., childhood, pregnancy). Researchers identify the role agricultural chemicals play in CNS impacts causing neurological diseases, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease, dementia-like diseases such as Alzheimer’s, and other effects on cognitive function. Over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood […]

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Growing Sunflowers Near Honey Bee Colonies Helps Reduce Mite Problems

Wednesday, January 18th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2023) Sunflower plantings have the potential to significantly reduce mite infestations in nearby honey bee colonies, according to research recently published in the Journal of Economic Entomology by researchers with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). With pollinators under threat from pesticides, climate change, loss of habitat, and the spread of disease and parasites, sustainable methods that address multiple factors at once are needed. This study points to a way to address destructive Varroa mites, while reducing the need for in-hive use of miticides that can likewise harm colony health. “If sunflowers are as big of a factor in mite infestation as indicated by our landscape-level correlations … having a few more acres of sunflower within a mile or two of apiaries could bring colonies below the infestation levels that require treatment of hives with acaracides (i.e., mite-controlling chemicals),” said lead author Evan Palmer-Young, PhD, of USDA’s Bee Research Lab in Beltsville, MD. Prior research has pointed to sunflower pollen as a potential benefit for a number of common bee diseases and infestations, including the Varroa mite, the fungal parasites Nosema spp, and various viruses. Investigations went through four different experiments aimed at characterizing any potential […]

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Study Connects Neonicotinoids to Liver Damage Ignored by EPA

Wednesday, January 11th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2022) Neonicotinoid insecticides can have detrimental effects on liver health, according to research published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials. While this is the first study to investigate how these chemicals harm the liver, there is increasing evidence that neonicotinoids, otherwise notorious for their effects on pollinators and aquatic life, can cause direct harm to human health. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to protect the pesticide industry from any measure of meaningful regulation around these hazardous products, the job falls to advocates to place pressure on elected officials to make the changes necessary to safeguard long-term health and well-being. Scientists postulated that neonicotinoids are neither metabolized by the liver nor excreted by urine. To test that hypothesis, 201 individuals from a hospital in China were enrolled into a study. Of the enrolled,  81 were cancer patients, and 120 were not. These individuals underwent a procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography whereby samples of their bile, a fluid produced in the liver, were retrieved and analyzed. Researchers also performed a series of blood tests, measuring a range of biomarkers, including cholesterol, bilirubin, bile acids, white blood cells, platelets, and others. Lastly, scientists determined the amount […]

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Neonicotinoid Insecticides Add to the Growing List of Chemicals that Transfer between Mother and Fetus

Wednesday, January 4th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, January 4, 2022) A study published in Environmental Science and Technology finds neonicotinoids (neonics) and their breakdown products (metabolites), like other chemical pesticide compounds, can readily transfer from mother to fetus. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) finds U.S. pregnant women experience frequent exposure to environmental pollutants that pose serious health risks to both mother and newborn. Many known pollutants (i.e., heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyl, and pesticides) are chemicals that can move from the mother to the developing fetus at higher exposure rates. Hence, prenatal exposure to these chemicals may increase the prevalence of birth-related health consequences like natal abnormalities and learning/developmental disabilities. Children are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of pesticide exposure as their developing bodies cannot adequately combat exposure effects. Moreover, a mother’s pesticide exposure can have a stronger association with health disorders than childhood exposure, and a newborn can still encounter pesticides. Therefore, it is essential to understand how pesticides impact the health and well-being of individuals during critical developmental periods. Beyond Pesticides has covered a variety of pregnancy risks from pesticides and other toxic chemicals, including these in just the last three years: pesticides and children’s sleep disorders; prenatal exposures to a multitude of chemicals; insecticides and childhood leukemia; insecticides and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. The study […]

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In New Congress, Republican-Led Legislation Would Prevent Local Governments from Protecting Health and Safety

Monday, December 19th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 19, 2022) As the new 118th Congress convenes on January 3, 2023, one of the key issues on the agenda led by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives is preemption of local authority to restrict pesticide use—undercutting the local democratic process to protect public health and safety. In the 117th Congress, H.R. 7266 was introduced to prohibit local governments from adopting pesticide laws that are more protective than federal and state rules. If H.R. 7266 were to pass or be incorporated into the 2023 Farm Bill, as the pesticide industry and proponents of the legislation plan to do, this bill would overturn decades of precedent as well as prevent local governments from protecting their residents from hazardous chemicals in their environment.   This is a direct assault on nearly 200 communities across the country that have passed their own policies to restrict the use of toxic pesticides. Communities must maintain the right to restrict pesticides linked to cancer, water-contamination, and the decline of pollinators to protect their resident’s health and unique local ecosystems.   Take action today and tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to support communities by opposing H.R. 7266 (and successor legislation in the new Congress) […]

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Estrogen-Mediated Cancers in Humans Have Links to Endocrine Disrupting Pesticides

Tuesday, December 13th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 13, 2022) Pesticides have a long history associated with hormone (endocrine)-disrupting properties that induce various molecular changes, prompting disease development. Adding to the science, a review published in Environmental Exposure, Biomonitoring and Exposure Assessment highlights how specific estrogen-mimicking pesticides increase the risk of disease, particularly hormone-related cancers among women (i.e., breast, ovarian, endometrial cancer) and men (i.e., testicular, prostate cancer). Like pesticides, endocrine disruptors are xenobiotic (i.e., chemical substances foreign to an organism or ecosystem). Many reports demonstrate that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can adversely affect human, animal—and thus environmental—health by altering the natural bodily hormones responsible for conventional reproductive, physical, and mental development. Endocrine disruption can lead to several health problems, including hormone-related cancer development (i.e., thyroid, breast, ovarian, prostate, testicular), reproductive dysfunction, and diabetes/obesity that can span generations. Therefore, studies related to pesticides and endocrine disruption help scientists understand the underlying mechanisms that indirectly or directly cause cancer, among other health issues. Pesticides are one of the most potent xeno-estrogenic compounds, as estrogenic strength and environmental half-life exceed those of other xeno-estrogenic compounds. Focusing on organochlorine pesticides (OCs), the study evaluates the chemical effects on the physiological (anatomic) system to increase cancer risk. Using human studies, researchers assessed how estrogen-medicated cancer develops in women and men. […]

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Ocean Health: Environmental Pollutants Threaten Humpback Whale Reproduction and Offspring

Tuesday, December 6th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 6, 2022) Persistent organic pollutants (POPs)—including banned pesticides—present a health risk to humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), according to a study published in Environmental Pollution. Regarding female humpback whales, levels of POPs in blubber are higher in juveniles and subadults than in adults, primarily from the transference of contaminants from the mother to her calf.  Organochlorine compounds (OCs), such as organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), are well-known persistent organic pollutants. The international Stockholm Convention treaty (signed by 152 countries, but not the U.S.) banned these primary pollutants of concern (UNEP, 2009) in 2001 (taking effect in 2004) because of their persistence, toxicity, and adverse effects on environmental and biological health. These pollutants have a global distribution, with evaporation and precipitation facilitating long-range atmospheric transport, deposition, and bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in the environment. However, these chemicals can remain in the environment for decades and interact with various current-use pesticides, including organophosphates, neonicotinoids, and pyrethroids. Although various studies demonstrate the volatile, toxic nature of POPs, much less research evaluates the impact POPs have on maternal offloading or transfer of contaminates to offspring and respective health consequences. The globe is currently going through the Holocene Extinction, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, with one […]

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Federal Court Sets Deadline for EPA to Implement Endangered Species Protections from Toxic Insecticide

Thursday, December 1st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, December 1, 2022) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must put measures in place to protect endangered species from the hazardous insecticide cyantraniliprole before September 2023. The requirements stems from a recent federal appeals court ruling that found EPA in violation of its statutory obligations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency originally lost its legal case on this chemical in 2017, but has since done nothing to fulfill the initial court order, necessitating further litigation by conservation groups. “It’s outrageous that the EPA is thumbing its nose at a federal court order even as cyantraniliprole wreaks havoc on our most endangered wildlife,” said Jonathan Evans, environmental health legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The EPA has acknowledged that this pesticide is incredibly toxic to bees and other invertebrates, but the agency is so accustomed to putting the profits of the pesticide industry ahead of its duty to protect human health and our environment that for years it simply ignored a direct court order.” Cyantraniliprole is a systemic insecticide registered for use in 2014. It presents similar risks to pollinators and wildlife as other widely used systemics, such as the neonicotinoid class of chemicals. Its […]

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Hormone Mimicking Properties of Glyphosate Weed Killer and Related Compounds Increase Breast Cancer Risk

Friday, November 25th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 25, 2022) A study published in Chemosphere adds to the growing body of research demonstrating the endocrine (hormone) disrupting effects of glyphosate play in breast cancer development. Exposure to the herbicide glyphosate and other glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) at high concentrations mimics the estrogen-like cellular effects of 17β-estradiol (E2), altering binding activity to estrogen receptor α (ERα) sites, thus causing fundamental changes in breast cancer cell proliferation (abundance).  Glyphosate is the most commonly used active ingredient worldwide, appearing in many herbicide formulas, not just Bayer’s (formerly Monsanto) Roundup®. The use of this chemical has been increasing since the inception of crops genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate over two decades ago. The toxic herbicide readily contaminates the ecosystem with residues pervasive in food and water commodities. In addition to this study, literature proves time and time again that glyphosate has an association with cancer development, as well as human, biotic, and ecosystem harm. Therefore, advocates point to the need for national policies to reassess hazards associated with disease development and diagnosis upon exposure to chemical pollutants. The researchers note, “The results obtained in this study are of toxicological relevance since they indicate that glyphosate could be a potential endocrine disruptor in the mammalian system. Additionally, […]

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Joining Together to Give Thanks as We Confront the Challenges Ahead

Thursday, November 24th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 24, 2021) On Thanksgiving, thank you for being a part of Beyond Pesticides and sharing and contributing to the vision necessary to protect the web and the fragility of life. We believe that there is no time like Thanksgiving to think about how we can more effectively join together as families and communities across divisions and different points of view to find a common purpose in protecting the health of the environment and all that inhabit it. Unfortunately, a host of pesticides, genetically engineered materials, and others in conventional Thanksgiving foods impact human health and threaten the environment. With far too many adverse health and ecological effects associated with toxic chemicals, organic practices are viable solutions to mitigate pesticide contamination and subsequent exposure. Read on as we consider the range of challenges we must confront and the solutions that can bring us all together. Additionally, you can help Beyond Pesticides in educating and building a movement that will bring long-needed protection to humans, animals, and the entire environment by attending the third seminar on November 29 on Climate during the 2022 National Forum Series, Health, Biodiversity, and Climate: A Path for a Livable Future. The National Forum […]

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Study Finds that Pollinators, Not Pesticides, Are More Important to Higher Crop Yields

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 23, 2022) A new study throws into question the value of the pest management concept of setting action levels around pest infestations. In the course of watermelon production over a span of two years, pollination, not pest levels, was the key determining factor for yield. “These data advocate for a reprioritization of management, to conserve and protect wild bee pollination, which could be more critical than avoiding pest damage for ensuring high yields,” the study, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, indicates. Action levels are considered an important aspect of an integrated pest management (IPM) approach in agriculture, whereby a pest infestation reaches levels considered economically unacceptable, leading to a decision to engage in pest control. The concept of IPM however has been influenced by the chemical industry over the decades since its original definition and recent data indicates that it has failed to stop toxic pesticide use. The original intent of IPM was the adoption of preventive practices and utilization of nonchemical tools, placing pesticide use as a last resort when pest control is warranted. However, farms that self-identify as IPM operations use pesticides, sometimes as the first line of defense, while attempting to […]

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EPA’s Deficient Pesticide Analysis Contributes to Ecological Decline

Monday, November 21st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 21, 2022) Once again, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered a new pesticide without performing a thorough review of its impacts on biodiversity as well as threatened and endangered species. Inpyrfluxam was registered in 2020 and only after being sued by the Center for Biological Diversity for failure to comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA) did EPA commit to completing draft effects determinations by Fall 2022. Once again, EPA’s draft biological evaluation is incomplete and inadequate. EPA is accepting comments on its draft biological evaluation at Regulations.gov.  Tell EPA and Congress that Pesticide Registrations Require Complete Science. The Review of Inpyrfluxam is Incomplete and Inadequate.  The agency’s draft effects assessment is flawed and incomplete. We share the details because it shows that EPA is out of step with the science and its regulatory responsibility when it comes a thorough review for ecosystem effects of pesticides.   The agency used fish early life stage (ELS) tests to estimate chronic fish toxicity. This is inappropriate. The fish ELS is a sub-chronic test of sensitive life stages. Although it is often used as a surrogate or predictor of chronic toxicity, it does not adequately address potential adverse effects on reproduction or transfer of the test chemical to eggs/offspring […]

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Synthetic Fertilizers and Pesticides Make Plants Less Attractive to Bumblebees, Research Shows

Tuesday, November 15th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 15, 2022) Spraying a flowering plant with synthetic fertilizers makes it less attractive to bumblebees, according to research published this month in PNAS Nexus.  “A big issue is thus—agrochemical application can distort floral cues and modify behaviour in pollinators like bees,” said study author Ellard Hunting, PhD, of the University of Bristol, UK. The findings underscore the limited understanding that proponents of chemical agriculture have for the complex processes that food production relies upon and reinforce calls for a broad scale transition to regenerative, organic farming practices. Scientists began with the knowledge that spray applications of various agrichemicals affect the visitation patterns of bumblebees and other pollinators through a range of different processes. Past research finds that notorious bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides not only kill bees outright, but also result in a range of complex damage, including their ability to impede bees’ olfactory senses and adversely affect their vision and flying ability. Other chemicals like glyphosate weaken bees’ ability to distinguish between colors.   A growing area of research is investigating the ways in which pollinators use static electric fields surrounding flowers to find food sources. A 2013 study found that bumblebees use floral electrical fields to discriminate […]

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Pesticide Mixtures Reduce Life Span of Honey Bees, Damage Gut Microbiome

Tuesday, November 1st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2022) Honey bees exposed to a combination of multiple pesticides suffer a reduced lifespan and experience adverse changes to their gut microbiome, increasing susceptibility to pathogens and disease. This finding comes from a study published recently in Science of the Total Environment, which examines the interactions between the insecticides flupyradifurone and sulfoxaflor and the fungicide azoxystrobin on honey bee health. Both insecticides studied are considered substitutes for notorious bee-killing neonicotinoid insecticides, which move through the vascular system of the plant and contaminates its pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets. As declines in pollinator and insect life continue throughout the world, it is critical not only to understand and restrict widely used chemicals like neonicotinoids, but also the regrettable and deleterious substitutions the agrichemical industry has developed to replace them. As the present study reveals, pesticide risk assessments do not inadequately capture the range of harm that can result when pesticides are combined, necessitating a shift toward safer, alternative, and regenerative organic farming systems that do not use these dangerous chemicals. To better understand the impacts of combined pesticide exposure on honey bees, researchers employed three colonies located in Germany’s Martin Luther University that were inspected and free […]

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Breast Cancer Month: Neonicotinoid Insecticides and Breast Cancer Risk (Triple Negative Breast Cancer)

Thursday, October 27th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, October 27, 2022) A study published in Environment International adds to the growing body of research evaluating the association between neonicotinoid insecticides (neonics/NIs) and breast cancer. Past studies suggest neonics act as endocrine disruptors, affecting the development and regulation of estrogen hormones that promote breast cancer. However, this study is one of the few to evaluate the toxicological and molecular mechanisms involved in initiating breast cancer events. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), breast cancer is a disease that causes breast cells to grow out of control, with the type of breast cancer depending on the cells themselves. Most common forms of breast cancer have receptors on the cell surface that can increase cancer growth when activated by estrogen, progesterone, or too much of the protein called HER2. One in ten women will receive a breast cancer diagnosis, and genetics can only account for five to ten percent of cases. When a cancer cell lacks receptors for these molecules, G protein-coupled estrogen receptors (GPERs) are an essential biological target of estrogen and plays a role in hormone-dependent cancer development. GPERs regulate estrogen through non-genetic cellular pathways, forgoing attachment to standard molecular receptors, leading to triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Although past […]

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Advocates Urge Elimination of Toxic Pesticide Use to Prevent Breast Cancer

Monday, October 24th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, October 24, 2022) We need prevention of the causes of breast cancer, not just awareness. In 1985, Imperial Chemical Industries and the American Cancer Society declared October “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” as part of a campaign to promote mammograms for the early detection of breast cancer. Unfortunately, most of us are all too aware of breast cancer. Detection and treatment of cancers do not solve the problem. Tell EPA to evaluate and ban endocrine-disrupting pesticides, and make organic food production and land management the standard that legally establishes toxic pesticide use as “unreasonable.”  Next to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, causing the second most cancer-related deaths in the United States. Genetic factors only play a minor role in breast cancer incidence, while exposure to external environmental factors such as pesticides plays a more notable role. For breast cancer, one in eight women will receive a diagnosis, and genetics can only account for five to ten percent of cases. Therefore, it is essential to understand how environmental exposure to chemicals like pesticides can drive breast cancer development. Several studies and reports, including U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data, identify hundreds of chemicals as influential factors associated with breast cancer […]

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