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Bumblebees Shown to Suffer Reproductive Failure after Pesticide Exposure

Thursday, November 1st, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, November 1, 2018) A new study offers fresh evidence that wild bumblebee pollinators are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides, finding that exposure to these compounds interferes with mating success and population stability. Researchers from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, measuring real-world harms of neonicotinoids, indicate that the impacts they found to bumblebee “reproducers,” namely queen and drone (male) bees, does not bode well for the array of plant species that relies on them. Though advocates warn that destabilizing managed pollinators could threaten U.S. food production and exports, with food prices increasing as cost of bringing pollinators to farms increases, the study’s authors and advocates insist that the impacts of such widespread poisoning of wild bees could be felt well beyond agriculture. Researchers in the lab compare behavioral and psychological responses of virgin queens, workers, and male Bombus impatiens from multiple colonies to field-realistic doses of the neonicotinoid clothianidin. While every bee was given a replenishing supply of pollen based on body weight and energy demands, four distinct concentrations of diluted analytical-grade (pure) clothianidin (including a control with no pesticide added) were mixed into a nectar-like solution and fed to the bumblebees orally for 5 […]

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Bees’ Medicine Chest Should Include Sunflower Pollen, Study Finds

Thursday, October 25th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, October 25, 2018) A study published last month in Scientific Reports finds that eating sunflower pollen significantly reduces protozoan infection in bumblebees. Studying ecosystem services and what she calls “floral rewards,” evolutionary ecologist Lynn Adler, Ph.D. at the University of Massachusetts Amherst says sunflowers may provide a long sought after solution for improving bees’ immune system response to both disease and parasites. The researchers studied the protozoan Crithidia bombi, a common parasitic infection of bumble bees, known to impair learning and foraging, shorten lifespan and destabilize colony hierarchies by impacting queen bee behavior. From the outset of the study, Dr. Adler says, “the more sunflowers were grown at the farm, the lower the Crithidia load for the bees at that farm.” Knowing pollinators eat pollen as a source of protein and healthy fats, Dr. Adler hypothesized that both pollen and nectar might have medicinal effects against disease and parasites. However, her experiment did not show consistent results with nectar. After bees in the lab were starved for 4-6 hours, researchers fed individual worker bees from small colonies a drop of fructose fluid containing 6,000 Crithidia cells, being the approximate concentration bees may encounter in the wild while foraging. After […]

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EPA Considers 300,000-Acre Expansion of Bee-Toxic Pesticide

Friday, October 19th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, October 19, 2018) Pollinator advocates and the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) are imploring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to deny Bayer CropScience’s application for use of “Sivanto,”a pesticide product with the active ingredient flupyradifurone, a chemical the company claims is safer for bees, but poses the same risks at the notorious bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides. If approved, Sivanto would be sprayed in tobacco-growing states along 300,000 acres in the southeast U.S., areas home to more than three dozen species protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Bayer’s proposal for expanded uses comes after EPA’s own assessment indicated risks to endangered species, and despite the fact that the agency has not undergone an ESA mandated consultation with federal wildlife agencies. For the countless flying insects, birds, and bats already under significant threat from neonicotinoids, adding another systemic insecticide to the mix will only make the situation worse. Bayer AG is characterizing flupyradifurone as being harmless to honeybees. However, flupyradifurone, being a systemic pesticide, can negatively impact many non-target species.  In fact, flupyradifurone impacts honey bee brains in a similar way to neonicotinoids, as it impairs learning, memory and the honey bees’ affinity for nectar rewards. Advocates worry that growing […]

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Take Action: Tell Kroger to Stop Selling Food Grown with Toxic Pesticides

Monday, October 15th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, October 15, 2018) As a leader in organic sales, it is critical that Kroger take additional expedited steps to increase the market share of organic food and eliminate the use of toxic pesticides harmful to public health and the environment. Kroger is among the major food retailers that sells food that has been grown with toxic pesticides, such as the extremely hazardous insecticide chlorpyrifos which causes neurological and brain damage in children. Kroger should immediately end its misleading and fraudulent advertising and labeling of food products as “natural” and replace these with certified organic products. In fact, by misleading consumers with “natural” labeling and advertising of food, Kroger supports chemical-intensive agriculture that poisons children, causes cancer, and threatens biodiversity through the use of toxic chemicals like chlorpyrifos, glyphosate, and neonicotinoids. This is unnecessary and unacceptable. Tell Kroger to stop selling food grown with toxic pesticides. Chlorpyrifos  is a highly neurotoxic organophosphate pesticide that is linked to neurologic developmental disorders in children. Exposure to even low levels of organophosphates like chlorpyrifos during pregnancy impairs learning, changes brain function, and alters thyroid levels of offspring into adulthood. EPA’s own assessment finds that children exposed to high levels of chlorpyrifos have developmental delays, attention problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder […]

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Shareholders Urge General Mills to Stop Pesticide Use in Its Supply Chain, Popular Products

Wednesday, October 10th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, October 10, 2018) Nearly one-third of General Mills shareholders called on the company last month to improve product stewardship and eliminate pesticides like bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides or the probable carcinogenic weed killer glyphosate from its supply chain. The proposal was put forward by nonprofit organization As You Sow, and Green Century Equity Fund (GCEF), a mutual fund. This is the latest public shareholder action GCEF has made in regards to corporate pesticide reform, with the company previously putting pressure on the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group for its allowance of pesticides within its supply chain. While the actions are encouraging, some advocates are urging shareholder groups to go beyond increased accountability and transparency and push companies to focus on sourcing organic to ensure that no pesticides make their way into food products. The shareholder proposal ultimately garnered support from 31% of General Mills shareholders. “Shareholders believe the company can, and should, do more to protect the health of their supply chain and the public from toxic pesticides,” said Christy Spees, environmental health program manager at As You Sow to the StarTribune. The proposal states, “While the company asserts that it is currently ‘document[ing] continuous improvement’ concerning environmental impacts from its supply […]

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Over 60 Local Officials Call on Congress to Protect Local Authority to Restrict Toxic Pesticides in the Farm Bill

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2018) House proposal would wipe out communities’ power to restrict pesticides. In an effort to protect the rights of communities nationwide, over 60 local officials from across the country sent a letter to Congress today opposing a farm bill provision that takes away local governments’ authority to restrict hazardous pesticides. The signatories are urging the farm bill conference committee to reject a “poison pill” rider that will preempt local governments, making the entire legislation unacceptable. Section 9101 of the House version of the farm bill will institute federal preemption of local pesticide policies, a move that will overturn a decades-old Supreme Court decision and prevent communities from adopting protective laws that meet the needs of their residents or unique local environment. The letter urges the conference committee to reach an agreement on a final 2018 farm bill that does not include this rider. It was signed by over 60 local officials in 39 communities from 15 different states, ranging from North Miami, FL to South Euclid, OH, West Hollywood, CA and Maui, HI. The County Council of Montgomery County, MD, which passed a landmark policy on toxic pesticides, also sent a letter to the farm bill conference committee. […]

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Amsterdam Leads Bee Recovery Efforts by Banning Bee-Toxic Pesticides, Improving Habitat

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, September 12, 2018) The city of Amsterdam, Netherlands is leading global bee recovery efforts by increasing its diversity of wild pollinator species, according to reporting and an analysis by NBC News. A new map published by the city identified 21 bee species not found in an earlier 1998 survey recorded by Amsterdam officials. The increase has been attributed to a range of pollinator-protective measures, including a ban on bee-toxic pesticides and the planting of native flowers, prioritized by the city government since the turn of the century. Local communities throughout the world can look to Amsterdam for policies and practices that will safeguard their own unique pollinator populations. The NBC News report notes several initiatives undertaken by the Amsterdam government. Many of these measures come out of a $38.5 million fund aimed at broadly improving environmental sustainability. “Insects are very important because they’re the start of the food chain,” said Geert Timmermans, an Amsterdam ecologist to NBC News. “When it goes well with the insects, it also goes well with the birds and mammals.” Insect and bee hotels are often installed in conjunction with the development of green roofs, which are encouraged for all new buildings. And parks […]

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Study Finds Bumblebees Increasingly Attracted to the Pesticides that Kill Them

Friday, August 31st, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, August 31, 2018) Given the choice to forage on untreated or pesticide-contaminated food sources, bees will increasingly choose the pesticide, according to research published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B in late August. The data indicate that risks to pollinators grow, rather than wane, over time, making improved regulation over bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides even more climacteric. In essence, the study indicates that bees may be undertaking the human equivalent of chain-smoking themselves to death. Authors of the study note that numerous studies have been performed that subject bees to neonicotinoid-treated food, however this research generally allows pollinators to only forage on contaminated sources. While this provides important information on hazard criteria, it does not indicate risk of exposure. Positing the idea that pollinators may eventually seek to avoid neonicotinoid-contaminated nectar, researchers provided bumblebee colonies with a choice over the course of 10 days. At the start, the bees exhibited no discernable preference between toxic and nontoxic food. However, as time went on more and more bees fed from nectar laced with thiamethoxam, a widely used neonicotinoid. By the end of the experiment, food containing 2 parts per billion of the pesticide was eaten 10% more than in […]

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Pesticides Contribute to Bird Declines, Threatening Forests, Crops, and Ecological Balance

Monday, August 27th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, August 27, 2018) Beyond the visual and audial charms of some bird species, insect-eating birds play a significant role in controlling pests that can ruin crops or ravage forests. A meta-study by Martin Nyffeler, Ph.D. of the University of Basel in Switzerland finds that globally, birds annually consume 400-plus million metric tons of various insects, including moths, aphids, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, and other arthropods (invertebrate organisms with exoskeletons, paired and jointed appendages, and segmented bodies, such as insects, crustaceans, and spiders). This research reviews 103 studies that examine the volume of insects consumed by various birds in seven of the world’s major biomes. In consuming such volumes of insects that can inflict damage on crops, trees, and other plants on which organisms may feed or otherwise depend, birds provide significant services to ecosystems, to denizens of habitats, and to human food system and economic interests; they also keep local ecosystems in balance. Threats to birds — and thus, to those ecosystem services — include those from pesticide use. Of the 10,700 known bird species distributed across the planet, more than 6,000 are primarily insectivorous. The study indicates that forest-dwelling birds consume the majority of insects (approximately 300 million metric […]

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Canada Proposes to Phase-out Pesticides Linked to Bee Decline, Aquatic Risks

Monday, August 20th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, August, 20, 2018) Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) has announced a plan to phase out the outdoor use of two neonicotinoid insecticides — thiamethoxam and clothianidin — over three to five years, due to concerns about their effects on aquatic invertebrates. This comes after their 2016 proposal to phase out another neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, for the same concerns, but the proposal has not been finalized. In April, the European Union (EU) voted to ban the most widely used neonicotinoids, citing risks to bees. Earlier this year, PMRA proposed to phase out a number of uses of neonicotinoids in order to mitigate risks to pollinators. And now, after the Canadian agency initiated a special review based on a preliminary analysis of available information on the concentrations and frequency of detection of clothianidin in aquatic environment, the agency has proposed another round of phase-outs. The agency’s review focused on assessing potential risk to aquatic invertebrates exposed to clothianidin applied as a seed, foliar or soil treatment. The assessment finds that, in aquatic environments in Canada, clothianidin and thiamethoxam are both being measured at concentrations that are harmful to aquatic insects. These insects, according to the agency, are an important part of […]

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Massachusetts Pollinator Advocates Vow to Advance Protections after Legislature Fails to Restrict Neonicotinoids

Thursday, August 9th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2018) Last week, the Massachusetts legislature failed to pass legislation that would have restricted the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in the state in order to protect sensitive pollinators, but advocates vow to campaign for a victory in the next legislative session. H. 4041, would have restricted neonicotinoid uses to certified applicators only. Massachusetts beekeepers lost 65 percent of honey bee hives this year, a rate 25 percent higher than the national average. H. 4041, An Act to Protect Massachusetts Pollinators, introduced in 2017, failed to make it to the floor before the end of the legislative session, which ended July 31. The bill gained the support of more than 100 Massachusetts scientists and academics who sent a letter to the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture in support. Over 180 scientists, businesses, beekeepers, farmers, and conservationists formally endorsed this bill to restrict neonicotinoid use to licensed applicators. The Massachusetts County Beekeepers Association worked to organize an extensive grassroots advocacy movement in support of the bill. H.4041 would have placed “common-sense” restrictions on unlicensed use of neonicotinoids. It would require neonicotinoids to be used by licensed or certified applicators, and would also limit the use […]

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Trump Administration Reverses Ban of Bee-Toxic Pesticides on National Wildlife Refuges, as California Confirms Neonicotinoid Pesticides Harm Bees

Tuesday, August 7th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, August 7, 2018) At the same time that a new analysis by California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR), current neonicotinoid uses in the state expose bees to residue levels known to cause harm, the Trump administration has reversed a 2014 U.S. Fish and Wildlife (FWS) decision to ban neonicotinoids on National Wildlife Refuges. In 2014, newly passed state legislation required DPR to study the impacts of neonicotinoids (imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, clothianidin, and dinotefuran) and adopt control measures to protect sensitive pollinator health within two years. In its report, released last month, DPR finds the highest risk to bees is posed by use of two neonicotinoids, thiamethoxam and clothianidin, on cereal grains like corn, wheat, rice, and barley. The seeds of these crops are typically coated with neonicotinoids before planting, where residues persist in the pollen and nectar. Although these findings are not surprising and have been documented in the scientific literature, California’s analysis indicates neonicotinoids can cause much broader harm, including to pollinators commonly found on many types of vegetables, cereal grains, tree nuts, fruits and tobacco. Shortly after a decision in the Pacific Region, FWS announced that all National Wildlife Refuges would join in the phase-out of neonics (while also phasing out genetically engineered […]

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Suburban Bees Still Vulnerable to Neonicotinoids Despite EU Ban

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, August 1, 2018) According to new research from the University of Sussex, bees living in suburban habitats are still being exposed to high levels of neonicotinoid pesticides. Even though there is a European Union (EU) ban on these chemicals, the ban focuses on agricultural and not residential applications. The study’s authors are urging gardeners to forgo the use of these pesticides in favor of more holistic, pesticide-free approaches. The authors of the study say it is the first of its kind to highlight the risk to bees in urban areas posed by garden use of pesticides. Entitled Monitoring neonicotinoid exposure for bees in rural and peri-urban areas of the UK during the transition from pre- to post-moratorium, the study sampled pollen and nectar from bumblebee colonies in rural and peri-urban habitats in three UK regions–Stirlingshire, Hertfordshire, and Sussex over three years. Sampling began prior to the ban (2013), during the initial implementation when some seed-treated winter-sown oilseed rape was still grown (2014), and following the ban (2015). Honey bee colonies in rural habitats were also sampled to compare species-level differences between bumblebees and honey bees. Not surprisingly, the researchers find pesticide contamination in more than 50 percent of the samples, […]

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Presence of Neonic Insecticides in Wild Turkeys Highlights Widespread Contamination of the Environment

Thursday, July 12th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2018) Neonicotinoid insecticides have become notorious for their impacts to insect pollinators like bees and butterflies, but research finding the presence of these chemicals in wild turkeys is raising new concerns about the ubiquitous nature of these chemicals once released into the environment. Published in Environmental Science and Pollution Research by a team from the University of Guelph (UG), this new study highlights the broader effects of neonicotinoids on wildlife, and underlines calls to restrict the use of these products in favor of a more sustainable pest management approach. Looking at roughly 40 wild turkeys in southern Ontario, researchers found 10 that contained pesticide residue in their livers. Claire Jardine, PhD, pathobiology professor and study co-author notes that wild turkeys in agricultural regions are more likely to be contaminated. “Wild turkeys supplement their diet with seeds from farm fields,” she indicated in a press release. The agrichemical industry coats a majority of corn and soybean seeds with neonicotinoids prior to planting. Because of their systemic nature, neonicotinoids are incorporated the seedlings as they grow, with the promise by the industry that this will alleviate pest pressure. However, a significant body of research, including EPA studies, have […]

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Kroger Sets 2020 Phase-Out of Bee-Toxic Pesticides on Its Plants, Costco Encourages Suppliers to Change; Both Commit to Carry More Organic

Friday, June 29th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, June 29, 2018) It is widely known that pollinators are in trouble. In light of this, Kroger (which includes numerous other grocery chains, like Harris Teeter) announced in a press release last week — during National Pollinator Week —  a phase-out by 2020 of live garden plants treated with the insecticides most closely associated with the decline of bee populations, the neonicotinoids. In May, Costco updated its pollinator policy, which “encourages” its suppliers of garden plants, fruits, and vegetables to limit the use of bee-toxic pesticides and adopt ecological practices. The company in 2016 announced a policy to encourage suppliers to change their pesticides. In a statement that has broad implications for pollinator and environmental protection, Kroger included the following statement about organic food in its press release: “Kroger also offers one of the largest organic produce departments in America, which is desirable for customers looking to minimize potential exposure to synthetic pesticides. Representing nearly 20 percent of America’s annual organic produce business, Kroger sales reached $1 billion in 2017. A dedicated procurement team partners with more than 300 organic produce growers and suppliers every year to bring customers a growing selection of organic fruits and vegetables.” Costco is also […]

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New Research Finds Neonics Kill-Off Bumblebee Queens During Nest-Building Period

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, June 20, 2018) Bumblebee queens that wake up from hibernation to a neonicotinoid-contaminated, monofloral landscape take longer to set up their nest and die-off at higher rates, according to new research from the University of California, Riverside (UCR) published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.  While this is the first study to evaluate multiple stressors – pesticide exposure and a monotypic diet – on bumblebee pollinators as they initiate a new colony, it is far from the first to conclude that the neonicotinoid class of insecticides result in unacceptable adverse impacts to insect pollinators. With Pollinator Week 2018 underway, advocates say it is time that the U.S. catches up to the European Union and Canada and starts to ban the use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid insecticides. Bumblebee queens only live long enough to produce one colony. After establishing a colony over the spring and summer months, by fall a new queen hatches and the old queen dies. The new queen leaves the nest and mates, then goes underground to seek shelter and hibernate over the winter. If she makes it through the winter, the single queen will then emerge in spring to begin her own colony […]

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New Video, Seeds that Poison, Explains Pesticide Link to Pollinator Decline, Cites Organic Solution

Monday, June 18th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, June 18, 2018) At the start of National Pollinator Week, Beyond Pesticides today released its new video, Seeds that Poison –to broaden public understanding of the devastating adverse effects of pesticides on the health of pollinators (bees, birds, butterflies, and other organisms), and the solution in the organic management of agriculture, parks, playing fields, gardens, and lawns. Hazardous pesticides tied to the decline of honey bees and native bees are not permitted in certified organic food production and numerous policies adopted by local governments across the U.S. The accumulated studies and data have found that honey bees and other pollinators, such as native bees, butterflies and birds, are in decline. Scientists studying the issue have identified several factors that are contributing to bee decline, including pesticides, parasites, improper nutrition, stress, and habitat loss. (See Beyond Pesticides’ What the Science Shows.) Pesticides have been identified in the independent scientific literature as a major contributing factor. Pesticides in the neonicotinoid (neonic) chemical class have been singled out as major suspects due to their widespread use as seed coatings, high toxicity to bees, “systemic” nature –neonic chemicals move through the plant’s vascular system and are expressed in pollen, nectar, and guttation droplets– […]

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Bayer Ditches Monsanto Name in Merger

Friday, June 8th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2018) In the wake of U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) approval of the buyout of Monsanto by Bayer, the new mega-corporation — now the world’s largest agrochemical and seed company — has announced that it will drop the “Monsanto” name, possibly as soon as late summer, when the acquisition is expected to be completed. Bayer first needs to sell off $9 billion in assets to German chemical giant BASF in compliance with a DOJ antitrust agreement that will permit the merger. The union of these two corporations, which joins Bayer’s pesticide business with Monsanto’s genetically engineered (GE) seed operations, faced vigorous opposition from health and environment advocates both in the U.S. and abroad. Fortune magazine has pointed out that dropping a well-known name is unusual, but given that Monsanto is one of the world’s most-hated companies, perhaps the move is understandable. Ditching the “Monsanto” moniker is reportedly one aspect of a coming Bayer campaign to regain public trust and make efforts to engage with critics, according to Bayer spokespeople. Liam Condon, president of Bayer’s Crop Science Division, has said, “Just changing the name doesn’t do so much — we’ve got to explain to farmers and ultimately to […]

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Health Canada Proposing to Phase Out Certain Uses of Neonicotinoids

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2018) Health Canada is proposing to phase out a number of uses of neonicotinoids in order to mitigate risks to pollinators. The agency has completed its review of clothianidin and thiamethoxam — two neonicotinoids that have been linked to pollinator decline and finds risks of concern for bees. However, these measures do not go as far as those recently made in the European Union, but further than label restrictions issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Health Canada concluded its Pollinator Re-evaluation for clothianidin and thiamethoxam after examining hundreds of laboratory and outdoor field studies that examined the possible effects on bees from wide-ranging situations. The agency finds that uses of these neonicotinoids have “varying degrees of effects on bees,” and that some uses “may pose a risk of concern to bees.” However, instead of a complete ban of the neonicotinoids, the agency is proposing mitigation measures to minimize potential exposure to bees, which includes the phase-out of many uses and certain additional product label statements. Clothianidin will see a phase-out of the following uses: Foliar application to orchard trees and strawberries, and Foliar application to municipal, industrial and residential turf sites. There will also […]

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EU’s Highest Court Upholds Ban of the Three Top Bee-Killing Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Wednesday, June 6th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, June 6, 2018) By the close of 2018, three top neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides, linked to the worldwide decline in bee populations, will be banned for outdoor use in the European Union (EU), based on the General Court of the European Union’s (GCEU) ruling last month. The GCEU, the equivalent of the U.S. Supreme Court, ruled in favor of taking precautionary action to protect pollinators from clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam. This ruling allows for the limited use of neonic-treated seeds grown in permanent greenhouses where contact with bees is not expected. In its lawsuit, multinational seed and chemical companies, Syngenta and Bayer –manufacturers of the neonics in question– argued unsuccessfully that the pesticides do not necessarily harm bees if farmers use them according to label instructions. Syngenta also sought compensation of approximately $435 million to offset market losses resulting from the ban, but that, too, was denied. In rejecting the arguments of Syngenta and Bayer, the high court aligned itself with the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and its assessment of the harm caused by the widely used pesticides. EFSA’s updated assessment, released in February of this year, provided convincing evidence that neonics represent a risk to wild bees and […]

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Switzerland to Vote on Country-wide Pesticide Ban

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, June 5, 2018) After more than 100,000 Swiss citizens signed a petition calling for a ban on pesticides, Switzerland will soon have to vote on a complete ban on the use of synthetic pesticides. The ban would apply to farmers, industries, and imported goods, and advocates hope this measure would cause other EU nations to follow. Switzerland, home of the world’s largest pesticide manufacturer, Syngenta, has been engaged in the debate raging across the European Union (EU) about the future use of pesticides. Recently, the EU reapproved glyphosate (Roundup) after months of deadlock, while certain countries like France have indicated that it will ban the chemical within three years. Now, the Swiss initiative, according to the BBC, will make it the first country in Europe to ban all synthetic pesticides, and the second in the world after Bhutan imposed a ban in 2013. Swiss group, Future3, advocated for a ban and began collecting signatures in a crowd-funded initiative. More than 100,000 signatures have been collected, and on May 25, the details of the signatures will be checked and transferred to the Federal Council – the Swiss federal cabinet – which has one year to give recommendations to parliament. […]

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Lawsuit Seeks to Restore Protections for Migratory Birds

Wednesday, May 30th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, May 30, 2018) Six environmental groups have sued the Trump Administration for reversing a long standing interpretation of the Migratory Bird Treat Act (MBTA) that provides migratory bird protections from incidental killing or “taking” caused by industrial activities. The lawsuit, National Audubon Society v. Department of the Interior, was filed May 24, 2018 in the Southern District of New York, challenging as “unlawful and arbitrary and capricious the December 22, 2017 Solicitor’s Memorandum M-37050, which was issued by the office of the Solicitor of the Department of the Interior (“DOI”) and reverses Defendants DOI’s and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (“FWS” or “Service”) longstanding interpretation and implementation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.” The Act’s prohibition on the killing or “taking” of migratory birds has long been understood to extend to incidental take from industrial activities — meaning unintentional but predictable and avoidable killing. Last year, the Trump Administration issued a Memorandum gutting federal protections for migratory birds under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). The plaintiffs, including American Bird Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, are seeking to protect waterfowl, […]

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State Agency Criticized for Failing to Protect Highest At-Risk Communities

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, May 24, 2018) California’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) is falling short of protecting vulnerable communities in the state, especially low-income and communities of color. This, according to a new report by California Environmental Justice Alliance (CEJA), which assesses state agencies on eight environmental justice principles. The poor showing by DPR comes at the forefront of reports that the state’s pesticide use has increased, nearing record highs. The findings are from California Environmental Justice Alliance’s (CEJA) 2017 Environmental Justice Agency Assessment, which provides full assessments of nine key agencies in the state including, California Air Resources Board, Department of Pesticide Regulation, and the Department of Toxic Substances Control, and lists an additional six agencies to monitor. The assessment gave the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) poor grades for its persistent failure to prioritize community health over industry profits. The agencies were judged on eight environmental justice principles, with a score of good, fair or poor for each. DPR’s scores were evenly divided between “fair” and “poor.” Specifically, the report concludes, “Many state agencies are not successfully integrating [environmental justice] into their decision-making. Overall, many state agencies still make decisions that actively harm [environmental justice] communities and fail to […]

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