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Stop Chemical and Service Industry from Restricting Local Authority to Protect Health and Local Ecosystems

Monday, August 8th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2022) The pesticide industry has selected August as Anti-Democracy Month, as it launches a month-long campaign to undermine local control over pesticides. The National Pest Management Association is encouraging members to lobby members of Congress in August to support H.R. 7266, to “prohibit local regulations relating to the sale, distribution, labeling, application, or use of any pesticide or device” subject to state or federal regulation under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Beyond Pesticides urges you to make August Preserve Local Democracy Month by participating in actions in support of allowing communities to protect themselves from chemical exposure when state and federal regulation is inadequate. Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to support communities by opposing H.R. 7266 and supporting the Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA), which contains a provision affirming local authority to restrict pesticides. The fight to defend the authority of local governments to protect people and the environment has been ongoing for decades, reaching the U.S. Supreme Court in 1991. The Court specifically upheld the authority of local governments to restrict pesticides throughout their jurisdictions under federal pesticide law. In Wisconsin Public Intervenor v. Mortier, the Court ruled that federal […]

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U.S. Senators Urge Fish and Wildlife Service to Phase Out Pesticide Use in America’s Wildlife Refuges

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, August 2, 2022) Members of the United States Senate are calling on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to phase out the use of toxic pesticides in National Wildlife Refuges in order to protect declining wildlife species and the country’s unique natural resources. Led by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), the senators sent a letter to FWS Director Martha Williams urging FWS to “expeditiously begin a rulemaking process to phase out the use of agricultural pesticides on National Wildlife Refuges.” The move comes at a time when native wildlife and the ecosystems humans rely upon are under greater threats than ever before from climate change, habitat destruction, and the indiscriminate use of toxic pesticides. “The Refuge System was established to provide sanctuary for listed threatened and endangered species, migratory birds, and other wildlife,” wrote the senators in a letter to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Director Martha Williams. “The Refuges’ migratory sanctuary and breeding grounds are especially critical for North American birds, as they have faced precipitous population declines; there are 3 billion fewer breeding birds in North America than there were in 1970. Unfortunately these birds and other threatened species are being put at risk by pesticide use […]

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Four Out of Five People in U.S. Contaminated with Glyphosate

Tuesday, July 12th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, July 12, 2022) More than four out of five U.S. children and adults over the age of six have detectable levels of glyphosate in their bodies, according to data recently published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With strong evidence implicating this chemical as a carcinogen, and emerging data associating it with adverse birth outcomes, the findings raise broad concerns for public health. As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to permit widespread public exposure to toxic chemicals based on obscure economic arguments over the claimed benefits of pesticides, advocates say it is time for a change that embraces health and the environment over the profits of pesticide manufacturers. CDC’s testing data was developed as part of its National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a long-running program that began in the early 1960s and has since become a continuous program focused on American health and nutrition measurements. Data from this program are subsequently analyzed to help inform the prevalence of disease in the U.S. population and are used to develop public health policies. A total of 2,310 urine samples retained from studies conducted in 2013-2014 were analyzed by NHANES researchers for the presence […]

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After Court Finds EPA Inaction Unlawful, It’s Time for the Agency to Ban Glyphosate

Monday, June 27th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 27, 2022) It is now—more than ever—up to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to recognize glyphosate (Roundup and other products) as a carcinogen and remove it from the market. As the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals voided EPA’s “interim registration review” decision approving continued use of glyphosate, issued in early 2020 saying, “EPA did not adequately consider whether glyphosate causes cancer and shirked its duties under the Endangered Species Act (ESA),” and the Supreme Court refused to consider (deny certiorari) a Bayer petition to save the company from being held accountable to those diagnosed with cancer after using glyphosate herbicides, EPA’s failure to act speaks to the capture of the agency by the industry it is supposed to regulate. Tell the EPA to ban glyphosate immediately. Tell Congress to ensure that EPA performs its job as required by law.  The Ninth Circuit court held that EPA unlawfully concluded that glyphosate does not pose a cancer risk. Despite overwhelming evidence and high profile lawsuits against Bayer—with jury verdicts against the company in the tens of millions of dollars—EPA came to “no conclusion” on glyphosate’s connection to non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Notably, the agency did not assess how much glyphosate […]

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Court Order Leads to EPA Finding that Neonicotinoid Pesticides Are a Serious Threat

Friday, June 24th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 24, 2022) As reported by the Center for Food Safety (CFS), on June 16 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released final Biological Evaluations, for three neonicotinoid insecticides, that indicate that these pesticides are “likely to adversely affect” the vast majority of endangered or threatened species and/or their designated critical habitats. These evaluations for imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam have been a long time coming, and represent, according to the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), the first time EPA “has completed biological evaluations of any neonicotinoids’ harms to the nation’s most imperiled plants and animals.” These evaluations evidence what CFS, CBD, Beyond Pesticides, and others have maintained for years: that neonicotinoid compounds are very serious threats to the survival and well-being of myriad organisms and habitats. A Biological Evaluation (BE) is an EPA analysis of potential harmful impacts of a registered pesticide on any species federally listed, per the Endangered Species Act, as endangered or threatened, or on their critical habitats. EPA was legally required to issue the determinations by the June 2022 deadline, per CFS litigation and a subsequent 2019 legal settlement. EPA was the defendant in 2017 litigation brought by CFS, with Beyond Pesticides, several beekeepers, and the Center for Environmental […]

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Disappearance of California Bumble Bees Calls for Urgent Protection of Pollinators Nationwide

Thursday, June 23rd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 23, 2022) In the first California statewide bumble bee census in 40 years, a University of California—Riverside (UCR) study, published in Ecology and Evolution, reveals that once common bumble bee species in California are disappearing from the ecosystem. Wild pollinators like bumble bees provide pollination to billions of dollars worth of crops each year as these insects can flourish in cooler habitats and lower light levels than commercial honey bees. However, pollinators (such as bees, monarch butterflies, and bats) are a bellwether for environmental stress as individuals and as colonies. Both wild and commercial bees and other pollinators encounter multiple stressors, including pesticides, parasites, and poor nutrition, that act together to increase the risk of bee mortality. Therefore, studies like these highlight the need to establish monitoring and conservation frameworks incorporating varying habitats and species to assess fluctuations in biodiversity. The study notes, “Specifically, our study shows that greater monitoring of the diverse bumble bees of California is needed in order to better understand the drivers of biodiversity and decline in this genus, and to more effectively manage bumble bee conservation in the state.”  Researchers compared data on bumble bee populations in California in 1980 and 2020. After collecting bumble […]

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Supreme Court Permits Large Jury Verdicts on Roundup, Appeals Court Finds EPA Registration Unlawful

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2022) Bad news is piling up for Bayer (Monsanto) and its carcinogenic flagship weed killer, glyphosate (Roundup). Last week, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit handed down a ruling that held the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2020 approval of its notorious weed killer glyphosate unlawful. Then, yesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider (deny certiorari) Bayer’s “Hail Mary” petition attempt to save the company from being held accountable to those diagnosed with cancer after using Roundup (glyphosate) herbicides. In both cases, the courts are acting as a check on a company, while EPA regulators charged with stopping this behavior continue to rubber stamp the agrichemical industry’s dangerous decisions. This is not the first time that the Supreme Court has upheld the rights of victims of the pesticide industry. In 2004, Bates v. Dow Agrosciences (U.S. Supreme Court, No. 03-388), the court found: “The long history of tort litigation against manufacturers of poisonous substances adds force to the basic presump­tion against pre-emption. If Congress had intended to deprive injured parties of a long available form of compen­sation, it surely would have expressed that intent more clearly. See Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee Corp., 464 U. […]

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Pollinators Still Need Help; Act for Pollinator Week

Tuesday, June 21st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 21, 2022) June 20-24 is Pollinator Week, during which 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. Pesticides have consistently been implicated as a key contributor to dramatic pollinator declines. Of the 100 crop varieties that provide 90% of the world’s food, 71 are pollinated by bees. Honey bees alone pollinate 95 kinds of fruits, nuts and vegetables, such as apples, avocados, almonds, and cranberries. Take action to protect pollinators. Providing protection for pollinators also protects the ecosystem in which they live. That protection requires eliminating harm as well as providing safe habitats where they can live and reproduce.  Provide organic habitat on your own property and encourage your town to go organic. Since plant starts in many garden centers across the country are grown from seeds coated with bee-toxic neonicotinoid pesticides, or drenched with them, Beyond Pesticides has compiled a comprehensive directory of companies and organizations that sell organic seeds and plants to the general public. Included in this directory are seeds for vegetables, flowers, and herbs, as well as […]

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Highlighting the Connection Environmental Racism and the Agricultural Industry Through History

Thursday, June 9th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2022) A report from the Organic Center finds that people in U.S. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities endure a significant disproportionate risk of exposure to pesticides and subsequent harms. The report also contains a lesson plan that informs young activists on how to improve the food system. Many communities of color and low-socioeconomic backgrounds experience an unequal number of hazards, including nearby toxic waste plants, garbage dumps, and other sources of environmental pollution and odors that lower the quality of life. Therefore, these populations experience greater exposure to harmful chemicals and suffer from health outcomes that affect their ability to learn and work. Doctoral candidate at Northwestern University and author of the report and lesson plan, Jayson Maurice Porter, notes, “Urban planning and city policy considers certain people in certain communities more or less disposable and puts them in harm’s way, giving them an uneven burden of experiencing and dealing with things like pollutants.”  The father of environmental justice, Robert Bullard, Ph.D., defines environmental racism as any policy or practice that unequally affects or disadvantages individuals, groups, or communities based on their race. Dr. Bullard stated that, until the 1980s, environmentalism and pollution were separate. During the Jim […]

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Glyphosate Weed Killer Disrupts Bumblebees’ Nest Temperature, Leading to Colony Failure

Tuesday, June 7th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, June 7, 2022) Bumblebee colonies exposed to low levels of the weed killer glyphosate are unable to adequately regulate nest temperature, imperiling the next generation of bumblebees and long-term colony growth and survival. This latest finding, published this month in the journal Science, is a stark reminder that a pesticide does not have to kill an animal outright in order to create effects that ultimately result in death and population declines. “Sublethal effects, i.e. effects on organisms that are not lethal but can be seen, for example, in the animals’ physiology or behaviour, can have a significant negative impact and should be taken into account when pesticides are approved in future,” said Anja WeidenmĂźller, PhD, of the University of Konstanz, Germany. With regulators at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refusing to adequately account for sublethal impacts, and myopically focused on the acute effects of pesticide exposure, bumblebee populations in the United States are in free fall and require urgent protective action. To better understand how glyphosate exposure affects bumblebee colony growth and brood (young larval bee) development, researchers first split colonies in two. One side of the colony was fed sugar water containing 5mg/liter of glyphosate, while […]

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Broadscale Devastating Ecological and Health Effects Associated with Herbicide Indaziflam; Ask To Go Organic

Monday, May 23rd, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2022)  The climate change-induced increase in wildfire frequency and intensity has lent new urgency to efforts to manage so-called “invasive” plants. Unfortunately, the herbicide-based approach favored by many is both counterproductive and hazardous. It must be replaced by an organic system, incorporating biological control agents like goats and establishing a more resilient ecology.    Tell your county/city officials to replace herbicides with organic vegetation management. Tell EPA and Congress that herbicides must be evaluated in the context of the availability of organic systems. Use of the herbicide indaziflam is an example of the ineffectiveness of management based on herbicides. While indaziflam is considered a “selective” herbicide, it actually kills and prevents germination of a wide range of broad-leaved plants and grasses and comes close to being a soil sterilant. The action on seedlings is long-lasting, thus inhibiting the growth and establishment of a resilient plant community that is resistant to invasion. Given its persistence and nonselective action and the extent of the damage it causes to native soil seed banks and plant biodiversity, indaziflam could contribute to the eventual ecological collapse of ecosystems where it’s applied, similar to the cascading impacts of the systemic insecticides, fipronil and […]

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Corruption Problems Persist at EPA

Friday, May 20th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 20, 2022) Beyond Pesticides has long covered the various ways in which corruption related to pesticides, agriculture, and food — whether in industry or government — can result in harm to human and environmental health, including to a multiplicity of organisms, and their ecosystems and habitats. In this Daily News Blog entry, we will review the landscape of U.S. pesticide regulation, examples of corruption, and what can be done to counter it. A look at some recent instances provides unfortunate assurance that problems of corruption at EPA persist. A serious flaw in EPA’s registration (and periodic pesticide registration review) processes is their reliance on industry-provided data and research on safety of pesticide products, which does not reliably represent actual risks of harms. Agrochemical companies sometimes purchase research that yields biased or distorted findings, cherry pick results in their submissions to EPA, or try to suppress research findings. USRTK recently covered an instance in which Bayer (and other companies) funded a study on the impacts — of use of their neonicotinoid (neonic) corn seed treatments — on bees during planting season. Neonics have been widely implicated in the plummeting health, function, and populations of pollinators and in the so-called […]

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With Decision on Insecticide, EPA Betrays Protection of Pollinators. . .Again

Monday, May 9th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 9, 2022) While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated its guidelines for pollinator risk assessments in 2014, the agency continues to either fail to conduct full assessments, or dismiss concerning data it receives. EPA appears to discount threats like the insect apocalypse, evidenced by a 75% decline in insect abundance, which threatens not only global ecosystems, but also food production that depends on animal pollination. As pesticides move through the food web, birds are also at risk. Bird numbers are down 29% since Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring in 1962. Tell EPA To Protect Against Other Threats to Pollinators. Tell Congress To Insist that EPA Does Its Job. The problem is highlighted by EPA’s recent Interim Decision on fenbuconazole, in which the agency notes that, “For larval bees, RQs (risk quotients) exceed the LOC (level of concern) for all pollinator attractive uses including when assessed at the lowest application rate of 0.0938 lb a.i./Acre (RQ = 1.1).” Yet in the same document, the agency declares that “…the benefits of fenbuconazole (e.g., efficacy in management of fungal pathogens) outweigh any remaining risk and that continuing to register fenbuconazole provides significant benefits, including its ability to increase crop […]

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First Report of Environmental Pollutant Risk Among Tropical Mammals Across the Globe

Thursday, May 5th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, May 5, 2022) A report published in Biological Conservation finds environmental pollutants, including pesticides, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and particulate matter, adversely affect tropical terrestrial wildlife. Specifically, these contaminants can interact with one another, altering the chemical landscape of the ecosystem, and causing changes in the endocrine and microbiome systems of mammals. Since the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962), global attention to the danger of pesticides has increased, with environmental agencies banning the use of legacy pesticides like organochlorines for their devastating toxic—sometimes lethal—effects. However, these chemicals can remain in the environment for decades and interact with various current-use pesticides, including organophosphates, neonicotinoids, and pyrethroids. Although many studies demonstrate that environmental pollution plays a significant role in premature deaths among humans, there is a lack of research on how environmental pollution directly affects tropical species mortality. Considering human and wildlife habitats tend to overlap, and chemical pollutants can drift from chemically treated areas, wildlife populations are more likely to experience similar health effects. With the number of chemicals in the ecosystem growing, studies like these highlight the need for pesticide policies that protect human health in addition to the integrity of the chemical landscapes accommodating wildlife. The researchers note, “Using […]

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Pesticide Concentration through Metamorphosis Contaminates Birds and Bats

Wednesday, April 27th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, April 27, 2022) Pesticides can accumulate in aquatic fly larvae, be retained through metamorphosis, and represent a source of chronic pesticide exposure to birds and bats, according to research published in Environmental Science and Technology earlier this month. As population declines among these critical wildlife continue to mount, findings like these highlight the complex ways in which human activities are further stressing natural systems. Pesticide reviews conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are limited to an outdated set of studies conducted by the pesticide industry, and generally reject and dismiss emerging science from independent literature. This myopic focus on industry studies has brought widespread contamination to the natural world that necessitates wholescale changes at EPA through Congressional action. With widespread acknowledgement that older pesticide chemistries, such as organochlorines like DDT and aldrin, bioconcentrate in living organisms, researchers aimed their study at present use fungicides and herbicides that have not yet undergone similar scrutiny. This includes seven fungicides—azoxystrobin, boscalid, cyflufenamid, fluopyram, tebuconazole, pyrimethanil, and trifloxystrobin—and two herbicides—napropamide and propyzamide. The study notes that formulated end use products, rather than technical grade active ingredients, were used in order to best mimic real world exposure conditions. Larvae of the […]

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Literature Review Adds to the Growing Evidence that Inert Ingredients Are Toxic to Pollinators

Thursday, April 21st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, April 21, 2022) A literature review published in Royal Society finds that ‘inert’ ingredients’ in pesticide formulations adversely affect the health of bees and other wild pollinators. Inert ingredients, also known as “other” ingredients, and not disclosed by name on pesticide product labels, facilitate the action of active ingredients targeting a specific pest. Although both ingredients have chemical and biological activity, most studies on agricultural chemical toxicity focus on the active ingredient, assuming that inert ingredients are “nontoxic.” The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in regulating pesticides, assesses the toxicity of individual active ingredients on bees through various testing methods. However, there are no requirements for EPA to test inert ingredients to the same degree, despite evidence demonstrating these chemicals harm pollinators. Moreover, EPA does not require pesticide manufacturers to disclose the inert ingredients used in any product as the information is confidential. Both wild and commercial bees and other pollinators encounter multiple stressors, including pesticides, parasites, and poor nutrition, that act together to increase the risk of bee mortality. Therefore, reviews like these highlight the need for pesticide testing to consider the effects of all product ingredients, regardless of perceived toxicity. The researchers caution, “We argue that ‘inert’ ingredients […]

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Industry, Money, and Politics Drive Legislation to Squelch Local Pesticide Restrictions

Thursday, April 7th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, April 7, 2022) Legislation introduced by U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-IL) last week would roll back, preempt, and prohibit local jurisdictions from enacting policies that protect resident health and a community’s unique local environments from hazardous pesticides. The bill, H.R.7266, is a direct attack on the scores of local communities that have enacted common sense safeguards from toxic pesticides, and represents the pesticide industry’s response to the growing momentum of the pesticide reform movement. Health and environmental advocates are expecting Rep. Davis and his partners in the agrichemical industry to attempt to work the provisions of the legislation into the upcoming 2023 farm bill. The industry had previously attempted to work federal preemption into the 2018 farm bill, an effort that ultimately failed after massive pushback from health advocates, local officials, and Congressional allies. Rep. Davis’ press release for the bill, in which he was joined with quotes from a range of agrichemical industry leaders, is titled “Davis Introduces Legislation to Prevent Liberal Local Governments from Banning or Restricting Pesticide Use,” striking a partisan tone. Caring about public and environmental health is typically not viewed as a liberal or conservative, Democratic or Republican issue. Those monitoring local governments […]

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EPA Considers Future of Bee-Toxic Neonic Insecticides as Scientific Evidence Supports Ban

Monday, April 4th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, April 4, 2022) Recent actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) highlight the urgent need to prevent pesticides from further endangering crucial pollinators, including birds, bees, and bats. Tell EPA To Ban Neonics and Protect Against Other Threats to Pollinators. Tell Congress To Insist that EPA Does Its Job. Despite EPA’s own findings of evidence of serious threats posed by neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides to pollinators, aquatic invertebrates, and other wildlife, it issued interim decisions on these neonics in January 2020 that disregard the science on the pesticides’ impacts and it appears that the agency is prepared to finalize these registrations late in 2022. This would, barring further action, extend the use of these harmful compounds for 15 years. Now is the time to let EPA know that continued use of neonicotinoids is unacceptable. Furthermore, building on a history of unenforceable and impractical pesticide label restrictions resulting in EPA findings of ludicrously small or no risk, the agency spun its approval of the continued use of the deadly organophosphate insecticide malathion as “protecting threatened and endangered species.” As the nation and world sit on the brink of biodiversity collapse and deadly pesticide-induced diseases, EPA actions continue to protect pesticide […]

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Coverup of Dog Deaths at EPA, According to Internal Emails on Seresto Flea and Tick Collars

Friday, April 1st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, April 1, 2022) According to reporting by E&E’s Greenwire, internal emails at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that career scientists at the agency expressed worry about pesticide-laced pet collars, such as the notorious Seresto flea and tick collars, but that EPA managers “instructed them to avoid documenting those worries in publicly accessible records.” The emails were released pursuant to a 2021 FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) lawsuit, brought by the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), that sought records of internal communications. The documents evidence staff concern about the collars that has not been a part of EPA’s public communications on the subject. EPA staff, in the emails, expressed a range of degrees of outrage at managers’ behavior and at the very registration of the product, given the significant harms. Seresto collars are plastic pet collars embedded with pesticides designed to kill fleas, ticks, and lice; they contain the active ingredients flumethrin and imidacloprid. Flumethrin, a chemical in the pyrethroid class of synthetic neurotoxic insecticides, has been linked repeatedly to neurological issues, such as seizures and learning disabilities in children, to gastrointestinal distress, and to damage to nontarget invertebrates, according to EPA’s own analysis. Imidacloprid is a commonly used pesticide linked to […]

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Environmentalists Outraged at Probability that EPA Will Allow Continued Use of Deadly Pesticides, the Neonicotinoids

Friday, March 25th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, March 25, 2022) Recent coverage by The Guardian of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) plan — to extend the registration of several demonstrably harmful neonicotinoid insecticides — compels Beyond Pesticides to identify, once again, the agency’s failures to enact its core mission. That mission is “to protect human health and the environment,” and to ensure that “national efforts to reduce environmental risks are based on the best available scientific information.” EPA has undertaken a review of the registration of several members of the neonicotinoid (neonic) family of pesticides and, despite the agency’s own findings of evidence of serious threats to pollinators, aquatic invertebrates, and other wildlife, it issued interim decisions on these neonics in January 2020 that disregard the science on the pesticides’ impacts. EPA appears to be prepared to finalize these registrations late in 2022; this would, barring further action, extend the use of these harmful compounds for 15 years. Neonics are used widely in the U.S., both on crops to kill sucking insects, and as seed treatments with the same goal for the developing plant. These insecticides are systemic compounds, meaning that once applied, they travel to all parts of a plant through the vascular […]

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Pesticide Use on Crops for Meat and Dairy Feed Further Threatens Endangered Species

Tuesday, March 1st, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, March 1, 2022) A report by the Independent finds chemical-intensive farming of crops for animal feed puts thousands of endangered species at risk. U.S. farmlands use more than 235 million pounds of pesticide (i.e., herbicides and insecticides) solely for animal feed production, many of which are highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs). Several HHP hazard categories include acutely toxic, chronic health hazards, and environmental hazards. Therefore, animal feed production intensifies global pollution, increases pesticide exposure, and degrades human, animal, and ecological health.  Although the report demonstrates a need to eliminate toxic pesticide use for the sake of human, animal, and ecosystem health, it will take more than eliminating the worst chemicals to address the impending biodiversity collapse and the climate crisis. Experts highlight the need for an urgent shift to organic land and agricultural management practices. The study notes, “These pesticides are taking a toll on our environment and biodiversity. Endangered species like the highly imperiled whooping crane, monarch butterflies, all species of salmon, the rusty-patched bumble bee, the San Joaquin kit fox, and the northern long-eared bat, as examples, all face significant threats from industrial agricultural operations and the chemicals applied. In order to conserve biodiversity and better protect vulnerable species and their habitats, […]

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USDA Food Pesticide Residue Survey Raises Alarm, while Pesticide Industry and EPA Mislead Public

Friday, February 4th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, February 4, 2022) In January, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued its 30th Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary report (which evaluates each year the presence of pesticide residues on produce) and misleads the public on the safety of food and agricultural practices. This 2020 report concludes that more than 99% of the produce samples tested showed residues below established U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) benchmark levels. At first blush, this sounds very reassuring, but Beyond Pesticides maintains that there is (always) more to the “safety” story, not least of which are serious deficiencies in EPA’s establishment of those “tolerances.” Those flaws include a lack of risk assessment for vulnerable sub-populations, such as farmworkers, people with compromised health, children, and perhaps, cultural/ethnic and regional sub-groups of the general population, and a failure to fully assess serious health outcomes such as disruption of the endocrine system (which contributes to numerous serious diseases). For everyone, Beyond Pesticides recommends choosing organic produce whenever possible — the vast majority of which does not contain synthetic pesticide residues. The PDP report asserts that “the data . . . illustrate that residues found in agricultural products sampled are at levels that do not pose […]

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Officials in New Jersey and New York Act to Protect Pollinators by Restricting Neonic Pesticides

Wednesday, January 26th, 2022

(Beyond Pesticides, January 26, 2022) Officials in New Jersey and New York are taking action to protect their states’ declining pollinator populations by restricting  outdoor uses of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides. In New York, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced it would make these pesticides “restricted use,” and only available to state certified applicators. In New Jersey, A2070/S1016, sponsored by state Senator Bob Smith and Assemblyman Clinton Calabrese, was signed by Governor Phil Murphy last week after years of advocacy from national, state, and local pollinator and environmental groups. “The law relies on the most up-to-date science to ban the largest uses of neonics in the state,” said Lucas Roads, staff attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This is great news for not just pollinators that are poisoned by neonics, but for all the farmers who depend on insect pollination and for all New Jerseyans that value thriving ecosystems.” A2070/S1016 provides for a targeted phase-out of outdoor uses of bee-toxic neonicotinoids, chemicals implicated not only in the decline of pollinators, but also the collapse of entire ecosystems. Beginning 12 months after passage, the bill requires state agencies classify neonicotinoids as “restricted use.” Under this designation, only certified pesticide applicators […]

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