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EPA Reverses on Decision to Ban Flea Collars with Toxic Pesticide, Leaving Children at Risk

Friday, September 29th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 29, 2023) In unsurprising news, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reversed itself and decided not to ban a dangerous pesticide: tetrachlorovenphos (TCVP) used in pet flea collars and other flea products. This is despite its own earlier decision to ban TCVP in pet collars and scathing criticism of its methods and conclusions by the courts. First registered in 1966, TCVP belongs to the notoriously toxic organophosphate chemical family and is classified by the World Health Organization as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” It was originally registered to Shell Chemical, then to E.I. duPont de Nemours, then to Hartz Mountain Corporation and Fermenta Animal Health Company.  Early on, it was registered for use on food crops and livestock, but the crop uses were voluntarily de-registered in 1987. It is still widely used on pets and farm animals. In 1995, EPA issued the opinion that “all uses of tetrachlorvinphos, with the exception of oral feed-through larvicide treatment to livestock intended for food use, will not cause unreasonable risk to humans or the environment.” Since then, the agency has contorted itself repeatedly to allow TCVP to remain on the market. There is little research available on TCVP’s human health effects; the […]

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Metabolic Diseases, Including Diabetes and Obesity, Driven by Pesticide Exposure

Wednesday, September 27th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 27, 2023) A study published in Pesticide Biochemistry and Physiology finds organophosphate (OP), organochlorine (OC), and pyrethroid (PYR) pesticides have links to insulin resistance (IR) associated with metabolic disorders like diabetes, obesity, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and hypertension. Metabolic disorders are among the leading causes of morbidity and mortality, with over 11 percent (>37 million) of individuals in the U.S. having diabetes, and cases are growing by millions annually. Additionally, there is a rise in metabolic disorders among young people. Studies even find low levels of pesticide exposure during pregnancy or childhood cause adverse health effects, including metabolic disorders tied to gut microbiome disruption (dysbiosis). With increasing rates of diabetes and obesity, the two most prominent metabolic diseases in the study, cases among the global population, studies like these highlight the importance of evaluating how chemical contaminants deregulate normal bodily function through metabolic changes.  To investigate the association between pesticide exposure and insulin-related metabolic disorders in humans, researchers searched the PubMed database for articles, performing a systematic review. The study notes, “IR is defined as a pathological state in which a higher-than-normal level of insulin is required to produce the optimal response in cells.” The search generated 4,051 articles related to the topic. However, after excluding duplicates and […]

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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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Pollinator Health: Common Fungicide Linked to Changes in Honey Bees’ Brain through Oxidative Stress

Tuesday, August 29th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 29, 2023) A study published in Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology finds the widely used azole fungicide, tebuconazole, has damaging impacts on the redox homeostasis (the process of maintaining balance between oxidizing and reducing reactions) and fatty acid composition in honey bees’ brain via oxidative stress. Acute, field-realistic sublethal exposure to tebuconazole decreased the brain’s antioxidant capacity, key antioxidant defense systems, and oxidative degradation and alteration of lipids (fats) in the brain. Thus, this study adds to the scientific literature on the adverse effects of chemical exposure on pollinator health, especially in sublethal concentrations. Degenerating cognitive skills can threaten honey bee survivability, decreasing colony fitness and individual foraging success. Much research attributes the decline of insect pollinators (e.g., commercial and wild bees and monarch butterflies) over the last several decades to the interaction of multiple environmental stressors, from climate change to pesticide use, disease, habitat destruction, and other factors. Pollinator declines directly affect the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many plant species, both agricultural and nonagricultural, will decline or cease to exist, as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly among native wild bees, depress crop yields. In turn, the economy will take a hit, since much of the economy (65%) depends upon the […]

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Serious Water Contamination from Pesticides Used on Pets, Ignored by Regulators, Again Confirmed

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 23, 2023) The use of pesticides on pets for fleas and ticks (parasiticides) has been traced to environmental contamination in a study that confirms earlier work both by the authors and internationally, according to researchers Rosemary Perkins, a veterinary surgeon, and David Goulson, PhD at the University of Sussex. The results are published in their recent study, “To flea or not to flea: survey of UK companion animal ectoparasiticide usage and activities affecting pathways to the environment,” which concludes that, “[T]he potential cumulative impact of parasiticide emissions [into the environment] from many millions of pets treated multiple times each year is of serious concern.” The UK provides an opportunity to pinpoint water contamination from pet use for ectoparasites (e.g., fleas and ticks) of hazardous pesticides since, unlike in the U.S., the country has banned outdoor use of those chemicals commonly detected—the insecticides fipronil and imidacloprid (the same neonicotinoid bug killer tied to devastating losses of bees and other organisms). These findings confirm the historical peer reviewed scientific literature and defy the assumption of regulators that home or veterinary use of pesticides do not reach levels of concern for environmental contamination, either through exposure from down-the-drain (DTD) contamination […]

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Legislation Upholds Local Authority to Restrict Pesticide Use, Advances Other Reforms

Monday, August 14th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 14 2023) The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act of 2023 (PACTPA), introduced on July 28, 2023 in the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 5085) and previously introduced on February 2, 2023 in the U.S. Senate (S.269), seeks to improve federal pesticide law. Many advocates, while endorsing the Congressional effort, maintain that the law (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act—FIFRA) is structurally flawed in not requiring restrictions and the elimination of pesticides for which there are safer alternative practices and products. A key provision in the legislation includes language that affirms local authority to restrict pesticides. Both the House and Senate bills retain the basic structure of FIFRA, while strengthening various aspects of the current risk assessment-based approach to pesticide restrictions. Risk assessment in the current policy context assumes that pesticides are necessary and sets allowable levels of harm based on inadequate information on chemical effects—and margins of safety that allow for numerous uncertainties and disproportionate effects to vulnerable population groups. Importantly, the legislation does include a provision that grants communities local authority to restrict pesticides on all property, public and private, within their jurisdiction, allowing towns, cities, and counties to move society away from pesticide dependency and […]

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Transport of Pesticides through Waterways Raises Serious Contamination Problems

Friday, August 4th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 4, 2023) The results of an Australian study published in Nature strike a contrast between land and water contamination with pesticide active substances (PAS), highlighting contamination as pesticides are transported through waterways.  The study results on water transport raise serious contamination issues. Only about one percent of the pesticides entering rivers degrade, so that long stretches of waterways and the oceans suffer the direct impact of a pesticide’s active ingredient. The lack of degradation also means that water organisms are being exposed to levels of pesticides exceeding many of the regulatory threshold limits set by governments. Although observation data are highly variable, the authors note that measured concentrations of pesticides in some river reaches of North America, East Asia and Europe exceed one or more regulatory threshold limits “at least once a year.” Further, the pesticides can bioaccumulate at each level of the aquatic food web, which can multiply concentrations by a thousand or more in the highest trophic levels, according to the study authors. The study finds that more than four-fifths of PAS are degraded in the soil, leaving about 10 percent of the original chemical in the soil as residue. Nearly half of that residues […]

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EPA Releases Ten Years of Data on How Pesticides Impact Humans, Pets, Wildlife, and More

Tuesday, August 1st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2023) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it is publishing a decade’s worth of pesticide incident data in a searchable database that will be updated on a monthly basis. The Incident Data System (IDS), with poisoning reports generated mostly from chemical manufacturers, states, a national hotline, and poison control centers, offers information on reported pesticide exposures from accidental poisoning of pets, wildlife, and humans, to pesticide drift, noncompliance, and other pesticide incidents that may be associated with product uses in compliance with label instructions. Tracking this incident data is essential to understanding the risks and damages associated with pesticide use.   The bulk of the data on incidents is from consumer reports to chemical manufacturers. Chemical companies are required under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), Section 6(a)(2) to report incidents: “If at any time after the registration of a pesticide the registrant has additional factual information regarding unreasonable adverse effects on the environment of the pesticide, the registrant shall submit such information to the Administrator.” The determine of threshold number of incidents required to be reported as a pattern of “unreasonable adverse effects” is left to the manufacturers to determine. Through […]

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Degradation of Color Discrimination Associated with Glyphosate Exposure Impairs Bees’ Foraging Ability

Friday, July 28th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2023) A study published in Science of the Total Environment finds glyphosate can adversely impact sensory and cognitive processes in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris). Glyphosate exposure impairs bees’ learning of aversive stimuli like electric shocks paired with specific color discrimination. Additionally, the pesticide reduces attraction to UV (ultraviolet) light, specifically the color blue, and temporarily impacts locomotion and phototaxis (movement in response to light). These impairments to sensory and cognitive processes render foraging difficult for these glyphosate-exposed pollinators and vulnerable to unavoidable predators. The study highlights that symptoms of widespread chemical exposure may reduce foraging efficiency and adversely affect ecosystems, especially those dependent on insect pollinators.  Pollinator decline directly affects the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many plant species, both agricultural and nonagricultural, will decline or cease to exist as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly among native wild bees, limit crop yields. 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. In a world where habitat loss and fragmentation show no sign of abating, scientists have concluded that the globe cannot afford to continue […]

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Study Confirms Continued Bird Decline as EPA Fails to Restrict Neonicotinoid Insecticides

Friday, July 21st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 21, 2023) A comprehensive and scathing report, “Neonicotinoid insecticides: Failing to come to grips with a predictable environmental disaster,” issued by American Bird Conservancy (ABC)in June, lays out the dire consequences of neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides’ continued use. The report is an update of an earlier review from 2013, which warned of the risks to birds, stating starkly: “A single corn kernel coated with a neonicotinoid can kill a songbird. Even a tiny grain of wheat or canola treated with the oldest neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, can poison a bird. As little as 1/10th of a corn seed per day during egg-laying season is all that is needed to affect reproduction with any of the neonicotinoids registered to date.” The story of neonic harm is one that has been repeated for generations with different pesticides. Pesticide manufacturers claim every new generation of their products is safer and more environmentally benign than the previous one. This is seldom true. There is ample evidence that pesticides pose threats to nearly every class of organism on Earth, from earthworms to elephants. The neonicotinoids, introduced in the early 1990s, have been marketed as safe for vertebrates, non-bioaccumulative, and, because of their flexible application methods […]

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Despite Nearly 1,700 Pet Deaths from Seresto Pet Collars, Pesticide Product Remains on Market

Thursday, July 20th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 20, 2023) Despite evidence of toxicity to pets from Seresto pet collars (manufactured with the neurotoxic insecticide flumethrin, as well as the notorious neonicotinoid imidacloprid), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) has announced that the popular flea and tick collars will remain on the market, but with new mitigation measures. However, advocates say that these measures will do little to protect people and pets from chemical exposure using these collars. The agency will require Elanco — the manufacturer of Seresto — to conduct enhanced reporting for various factors, including adverse symptoms, veterinary community outreach, and warnings on the product’s label. Seresto, developed by Bayer and sold by Elanco, has been linked to nearly 1,700 pet deaths, injuries to tens of thousands of animals, and harm to hundreds of people. There are nontoxic ways to protect pets from fleas and other pests while protecting human family members. Children Ignored by the Agency EPA has a history of ignoring the exposure patterns to children who come into close contact with pets and their flea collars and the potential adverse health threats, opting for warnings instead of regulatory action. In 2017, EPA issued a warning for tetrachlorvinphos (TCVP) flea collars that advised: “not […]

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Funds Support Compliance with International Treaty To Save the Oceans and Biodiversity, Combat Climate Threats

Tuesday, July 18th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2023) The Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council, the governing body for the world’s largest source of multilateral funding for biodiversity loss and climate change, has authorized $34 million USD to support the new high seas treaty agreement announced on March 4. The move marks a significant step toward safeguarding the delicate ecosystems of the world’s oceans and promoting sustainable practices on a global scale. The oceans suffer from severe pollution caused by various substances, including pesticides, agricultural runoff, industrial and petrochemical waste, and synthetic chemicals found in plastics. These pollutants pose a significant threat to human health. The ecological consequences of ocean pollution have long been highlighted by Beyond Pesticides. The March draft agreement was approved by 193 countries under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). Then in June, the BBNJ agreement was adopted by consensus at the United Nations meeting in New York. The agreement will be open for countries to sign on September 20, 2023, after the Sustainable Development Goal Summit. In order for the treaty to be entered into force, sixty countries must […]

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Grassroots Power, Democratic Process, and Organic—Pillars of Transformative Change—under Threat

Monday, July 17th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 17, 2023) Students of environmental policy quickly learn that the most meaningful change to protect health and the environment begins with action in local communities. The challenge now is to preserve the rights of communities under federal law to restrict pesticides and advance local protections through the adoption of eco- and health-friendly, organic land management practices. As is known from history, with the leadership of local communities, the states and the federal government will follow. History of Action in Communities and States Major actions on the banning or restricting of specific pesticides over the last seven decades—from DDT (in Michigan and Wisconsin), 2,4,5-T [1/2 of Agent Orange] (in Oregon [read A Bitter Fog]), to chlordane (New York)—began with calls from the grassroots about dying wildlife to elevated cancer and miscarriage rates and other diseases. But, these chemical incidents (which continue to today with similar campaigns, but different chemical names like glyphosate, imidacloprid (neonicotinoids), and others), launched broader community-based efforts to curtail overall pesticide use—stop drift, runoff and other nontarget exposure—and require organic-compatible practices. Tracing the history—from Mendocino County, CA to Lincoln County, OR, to Casey, WI (upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court), to Montgomery County, MD, to […]

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Cultivating with Natural Predators Gets Farmers Off the Pesticide Treadmill, According to Study

Wednesday, July 12th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2023) A study by University of Delaware entomologist Thabu Mugala and colleagues finds that modifications to their farming methods can reduce slug damage when those changes also encourage natural slug predators, allowing farmers to avoid the endless cycle of pesticide dependency, pest resistance, genetically engineered crops, and synthetic fertilizers. With insects as the target for tens of millions of pounds of agricultural use, growers of the highest-production crops in the U.S., corn and soybeans, continue to find slugs to be a serious problem. Corn and soybean growers who have adopted no-till or conservation tillage and cover crops often think these practices worsen the problem by increasing moisture and decaying plant material in fields, which slugs love. But the cause-and-effect picture is more nuanced and requires strategies that nurture ecological balance. Slugs are the most damaging non-arthropod pest in no-till corn production in the U.S., and truly effective chemical deterrents do not exist at agricultural scale, as Beyond Pesticides noted here, although biological methods may be on the horizon, such as a parasitic nematode already used in Europe that shows promise. The most voracious natural slug hunters are ground beetles, but harvestmen (daddy longlegs), and wolf spiders […]

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Study Elevates the Connection Between Pesticides, the Gut-Brain Axis, and Disease

Tuesday, June 27th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2023) Pesticides interfere with biological processes. This is their purpose. Unfortunately, they nearly always have unintended consequences, many of which have been ignored by their manufacturers. A new review article by Irish and Dutch researchers in the ISME Journal adds to the emerging scientific literature examining how pesticides affect the relationship between the human gut and the human brain (the “gut-brain axis”). Often called the “second brain” because it houses nerve cells and produces neurotransmitters, the gut-brain axis may be the most important locus where microbes and pesticides meet. The human gut plays host to a variety of microorganisms, ranging from bacteria and archaea to fungi, viruses and yeasts.[1] In a healthy person these microbes remain in balance and often cooperate both with each other and with human cells. The gut and the brain are deeply integrated through the vagus nerve and the neuroendocrine system. The vagus nerve is a treelike bundle of fibers extending from the lower part of the brain to nearly every body organ, but particularly the heart, lungs and digestive tract. The neuroendocrine system comprises specialized cells inhabiting nearly all the organs of the body that respond to signals from the brain […]

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Ecosystem Critical to All Pollinators: Popular and Unpopular Pollinator Guide

Friday, June 23rd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2023) Pollinators are especially important to the ecosystem. They pollinate plants by going from flower to flower and transferring pollen. Without pollinators, availability would be severely limited or cut off to many delicious foods, such as apples, almonds, cherries, blueberries, pumpkins, and many others. Many types of pollinators, like honey bees, bumble bees, and butterflies, are declining due to loss of habitat, widespread use of toxic pesticides, parasites, and disease. Help these important beneficial creatures by Not using toxic pesticides Planting pollinator habitats, like colorful flowers, gardens, and trees Telling your friends and family all about the importance of pollinators. Wild and Managed Bees Wild and managed bees play a crucial role in the global food system. About two-thirds of the world’s most important crops benefit from bee pollination, including coffee, cacao, and many fruits and vegetables. Wild pollination is becoming increasingly important with the growing instability of managed honey bee colonies. According to one study, wild bees’ agricultural value is now similar to that of honey bees, which are no longer considered wild in many regions due to their intense management. While many may prefer butterflies and birds to pay a visit to their gardens […]

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Pesticide Threat to Pollinators Decreases Agricultural and Economic Productivity, and Food Security

Thursday, June 22nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2023) Since the early twentieth century, ‘migratory’ beekeepers have provided a critical service to U.S. agriculture by moving their hives seasonally to pollinate a variety of crops. Annually, commercial beekeeping adds between $15 and $20 billion in economic value to agriculture, which is a major industry in the United States, with 21.1 million full- and part-time jobs related to the agricultural and food sectors—10.5 percent of total U.S. employment. Before insects and pollinators like bees evolved to pollinate, pollination occurred through the wind, scattering the pollen from the plants and landing on other flowers that could reproduce. However, commercial pollination services contribute to increased yields. Without commercial pollination, food prices would rise, the farm sector would suffer globally, and the security and variety of the food supply would diminish. With the wild insect pollinator populations already in serious decline, commercial, migratory beekeeping is more than ever a vital piece of the agricultural economy. With pollinator decline, as an integral part of worldwide biodiversity collapse and the “insect apocalypse,” commercial beekeepers face collapse as well. The United Nations states that 80 percent of the 115 top global food crops depend on insect pollination, with one-third of all U.S. crops depending on pollinators, according to the U.S. […]

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A Reminder for Pollinator Week: Protect Pollinator and Habitat and Well-Being Against Dramatic Declines

Wednesday, June 21st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2023) Pollinators––bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other organisms––make a critical contribution to plant health, crop productivity, and the preservation of natural resources. However, pesticides consistently act as a key contributor to dramatic pollinator declines. Much research attributes the decline of insect pollinators over the last several decades to the interaction of multiple environmental stressors, from climate change to pesticide use, disease, habitat destruction, and other factors. Roughly a quarter of the global insect population has disappeared since 1990, according to research published in the journal Science. Monarchs are near extinction, and beekeepers continue to experience declines that are putting them out of business. We continue to lose mayflies, the foundation of many food chains, and fireflies, the foundation of many childhood summer memories. The declines in many bird species likely have close links to insect declines. Recent research finds that three billion birds, or 29% of bird abundance, have been lost since the 1970s. In a world where habitat loss and fragmentation show no sign of abating, scientists have concluded that the globe cannot afford to continue to subject its critically important wild insects to these combined threats.  Clean air, water, and healthy soils are integral to ecosystem function, interacting between Earth’s four main spheres (i.e., hydrosphere, […]

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National Pollinator Week 2023—Preserve and “BEE-Protective” of Pollinators!

Tuesday, June 20th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 20, 2023) Welcome to National Pollinator Week, during which time we recognize—and take action to protect—this important ecosystem link. Pollinators—bees, butterflies, birds, bats, and other organisms—make a critical contribution to plant health, crop productivity, and the preservation of natural resources, but their existence is threatened by their pesticide-contaminated habitat.   Check out this week’s calendar of activities and actions below! On social media, we will be featuring Pollinator Artwork submitted by the community, as well as the numerous cute (and “not so cute!”) pollinators that live in the world around us!  Also, check out our live Pollinator Poll! Follow us and like our page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn!  Monday: Juneteenth and Environmental Justice  As Pollinator Week launches with the celebration of Juneteenth, it is time to renew our commitment to environmental justice while seeking the adoption of transformational policies and practices that recognize the urgency to address disproportionate harm inflicted by toxic pesticide use.   Those fighting for environmental justice understand that the harms inflicted by toxic chemical production and use cause disproportionate adverse effects on people of color—from fenceline communities near chemical production plants to the hazardous and inhumane working conditions in agricultural fields, to […]

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Take Action: With Butterfly Decline Mounting, EPA Allows Continued Pesticide Use that Causes Threat

Monday, June 5th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 5, 2023) Butterflies—the most attractive of our insect fauna—are disappearing at an appalling rate, largely due to pesticide use. Recent studies have documented declines of almost 50% from 1990 to 2011 in Europe (with trends continuing), of 58 percent between 2000 and 2009 in the U.K., and of 33% from 1996–2016 in the state of Ohio in the U.S. Even steeper declines have been documented for Monarch butterflies, with an 80 percent decline of Eastern monarchs and 99 percent decline of Western monarchs. Tell EPA to eliminate pesticides that threaten butterflies. Tell the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior to help bring back butterflies by eliminating the use of pesticides that threaten them. Tell Congress that EPA and other agencies need to do their job and protect our most charismatic insects. Last year, EPA admitted that three neonicotinoid pesticides are “likely to adversely affect from two-thirds to over three-fourths of America’s endangered species—1,225 to 1,445 species in all,” including many butterfly species. On May 5 of this year, EPA released new analyses of these neonics’ effects on endangered species. EPA’s analyses focus on the species most at risk of extinction, and the results represent […]

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New York City Parks Dept. and Advocates Announce Organic Demonstration Sites Following Passage of Law

Thursday, June 1st, 2023

Eco-Friendly Parks for All (EFPA)*, a coalition of environmental, public health and political action organizations, has teamed up with Beyond Pesticides, New York City Parks and Recreation Department, and Stonyfield Organic Yogurt to celebrate the success of pilot organic land management programs at eight sites across the five boroughs. 

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Take Action: Pesticide Restrictions Do Not Match EPA Rhetoric to Protect Endangered Species

Tuesday, May 30th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 30, 2023) On Endangered Species Day, May 19, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed an unfortunate degree of hypocrisy in its claims to protect endangered species from pesticides. Tell EPA and Congress that dwindling biodiversity is an existential crisis that requires removing serious threats posed by pesticides. EPA announced that it “is publishing a group of StoryMaps to raise public awareness about protecting endangered species from pesticides.” It continues, “Through its Vulnerable Species Pilot, EPA has been identifying endangered species that are vulnerable to pesticides, developing mitigations to protect them from pesticide exposure, and will apply the mitigations to many types of pesticides.” However, pesticide use is a major cause of declining biodiversity, which is manifested in extinctions, endangered species, and species vulnerable to environmental disturbances—including climate change, habitat fragmentation, and toxic chemicals. If EPA is serious about protecting biodiversity, it must look first at the ways it has created the crisis in the first place. Studies upon studies upon studies show that pesticides are a major contributor to the loss of insect biomass and diversity known as the “insect apocalypse,” particularly in combination with climate change. Insects are important as pollinators and as part of […]

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Study Shows 50% Decline in Butterfly Population Across the European Union, 1990-2011

Friday, May 26th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 26, 2023)The use of pesticides in agriculture, transportation, and domestic settings has created a disastrous conflict for the human species. Two irreconcilable facts confront humans as they try to adapt to the consequences of earlier choices: One, industrial civilization came to believe that because some insects, fungi, and other organisms like to eat the same plants humans eat, humans can kill them with impunity; two, because some insects and other organisms are necessary to the health and reproduction of plants, humans need to protect them. At no point in history have people acknowledged that it is very difficult to kill the “bad” actors while protecting the “good” ones. There are not really two sides to the biological fact; rather, pesticides and biodiversity meet each other on a single plane, like a Möbius strip. Among the most dire effects of pesticides are their ruination of pollinators. Bees spring to mind as our primary pollinators, but they are by no means the only ones. Butterflies, often regarded as mere ornamental additions to a landscape, are actually significant pollinators themselves. Monarchs pollinate many flowers, including calendula and yarrow. Other butterflies pollinate dill, celery, fennel, cilantro, lettuce, peas, and basil, among […]

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