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Study Identifies Developmental Effects from Neonicotinoid Insecticides that Harm Biodiversity

Thursday, May 16th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, May 16, 2024) In a recent study at the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Ulm University in Germany, published in Current Research in Toxicology, scientists exposed embryos of South African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis) to three neonicotinoids (NEOs), which led to developmental effects down to a molecular level. These frogs are a well-established model species often used in ecotoxicology studies as bioindicators for overall environmental and ecosystem health. When amphibian species like Xenopus laevis are exposed to contaminants in the water, it leads to negative impacts in the food chain and harms biodiversity. The study concludes that exposure to NEOs directly or through contaminated water leaves entire ecosystems vulnerable.    The NEOs that the embryos were subjected to include imidacloprid (IMD), thiamethoxam (TMX), and its metabolite clothianidin (CLO). NEOs are a class of insecticides that target the central nervous system of insects and lead to death. These insecticides pose a potential hazard to nontarget organisms, such as animals and humans, since they are persistent in the environment and “are found in natural waters as well as in tap water and human urine in regions where NEOs are widely used,” this study states. The authors continue by […]

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Prenatal, Childhood Exposure to Toxic Pesticides Linked to Neurodevelopment Issues

Monday, May 13th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, May 13, 2024) A study published in Environmental Research finds that “early life organophosphate pesticide exposure has been linked with poorer neurodevelopment from infancy to adolescence.” Researchers in this study acknowledge that there is still much more to be done in furthering understanding of “neural mechanisms underlying these associations,” and yet there is “notable consistency” in their Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) birth cohort study. This study’s findings are consistent with decades of substantial, peer-reviewed scientific literature documenting the adverse health impacts of organophosphate pesticides on public and ecological health. Organic advocates believe that a transition away from chemical-intensive agriculture and land management is the most viable solution to avoid adverse health impacts and end reliance on toxic chemicals in households and communities. The researchers for this study are based at the University of California, Berkley (Center for Environmental Research and Community Health as well as Center for Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Research), Department of Public Health at University of California, Merced, and Stanford University (Departments of Radiology and Pediatrics in the School of Medicine). “We have reported associations of prenatal [organophosphate] exposure with poorer cognitive function and executive function, and more attention and […]

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More Data Finds Long-Term Exposure to Toxic Pesticides Alters Human Gut Microbiome and Metabolism

Friday, April 26th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, April 26, 2024) Researchers build on existing research when assessing the relationship between long-term exposure to organophosphorus pesticides—widely used in food production and homes and gardens—and the human gut microbiome. In a new study published in Environmental Health, an interdisciplinary research team from University of California, Los Angeles determined, “that exposure to [organophosphorus pesticides] is associated with changes in the abundance of several bacterial groups and differential functional capacity in metabolic pathways supported by the human gut microbiome.” The study draws upon data from a “Parkinson’s, Environment and Gene study (PEG)” in which 190 participants were asked to submit fecal samples and answer interview questions. “[The study] was initially designed to investigate the etiology of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and participants were recruited in two study waves [‘over the full 10-year exposure window’]: 2001–2007 and 2012–2017. At baseline, [Parkinson’s disease] patients were diagnosed within the past 5 years and randomly selected community controls were also recruited,” the research team shares in their Methodology section. “Since 2017, we invited previous study participants who could be contacted to enroll in a pilot study of the gut microbiome. In addition, we invited a household or community member of [Parkinson’s] patients to participate.” […]

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Bill Seeks to Eliminate Inequities for Child Farmworkers, But Leaves Weak EPA Pesticide Standards in Place

Friday, March 29th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, March 29, 2024) Last week during National Agriculture Week, U.S. Senator Ben Ray LujĂĄn (D-NM) introduced S.4038, the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment and Farm Safety (CARE), aiming to elevate labor standards for young workers in the agricultural sector, as protection from pesticides remains weak. Currently, agriculture stands as the sole industry that permits children—as young as 12 years old—to work without significant limits on their hours of employment outside of school time. This scenario is a reality for hundreds of thousands of children across the U.S., who undertake the demanding tasks of planting, harvesting, processing, and packaging the food produced nationwide. The CARE Act proposes to align the age and working hour criteria for underage workers in agriculture with those enforced in other sectors. Additionally, the legislation seeks to toughen both civil and criminal penalties for violations of child labor laws and to enhance safeguards for children against the risks of pesticide exposure. It is important to note, however, that the CARE Act would exempt farm-owning families, allowing their children to work on the family farm under the current guidelines. Exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) currently allow children to work unlimited hours, outside of school  hours, […]

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

Monday, March 11th, 2024

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

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Study Provides First Combined Assessment of Multiple Classes of Pesticides in Human Blood

Friday, March 8th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, March 8, 2024) A major problem has vexed pesticide regulators and researchers for decades: Humans and other organisms almost always have multiple pesticides in their bodies, but techniques for assessing their combined effects, or cumulative body burden from multiple chemical classes are not typically available. A new study from Chinese and British researchers provides the first combined assessment of multiple classes of pesticides in human blood. The authors believe they are the first to develop a way to quantify multiple types of pesticides in human serum (clear liquid part of blood) as opposed to urine or from other sample collection methods. This is a tool that authors say is a more accurate way of assessing the real world exposure and ultimately the adverse impact of pesticide use on human health. The researchers had a small sample of 31 men and 34 pregnant women in Wuxi, China. They chose 73 pesticides and a few of their breakdown products to identify from three categories: fungicides, neonicotinoid insecticides, and triazine herbicides. Their testing protocol confirms their expectation that food—primarily produce—is the major source of pesticide exposures. This result reinforces Beyond Pesticides’ mission of supporting the shift in agriculture to pesticide-free methods […]

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Oregon Is the Latest State to Step In and Ban Widely Used Neurotoxic Pesticide, Chlorpyrifos, as EPA Stalls

Thursday, February 29th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 29, 2024)  In the face of federal inaction, an Oregon regulation banning the agricultural uses of the highly toxic chlorpyrifos took effect on January 1, 2024. Chlorpyrifos was voluntarily withdrawn from the market in 2000 for most residential uses by its manufacturer, Dow Chemical, and has been the subject of extensive litigation. At that time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allowed most agricultural uses to continue. Oregon joins four other states that have acted to ban chlorpyrifos, including Hawai’i, New York, California, and Maryland.   Central to state action are nervous system and brain effects in children, especially farmworker children. Chlorpyrifos is banned in 39 countries, including the European Union (see here for more Beyond Pesticides coverage). State action has become important since the November 2023 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, which overturned the EPA rule revoking all food tolerances for chlorpyrifos, an effective ban on chlorpyrifos use. The final EPA rule, issued in August 2021, came in response to a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that found the agency’s inaction on chlorpyrifos unlawful. The case was filed by Earthjustice, on behalf of public health, labor, and disability organizations.  The […]

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Attack on Vulnerable Species Pilot Project: Opportunities to Engage with EPA on Endangered Species

Wednesday, February 28th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 28, 2024) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is putting on hold its Vulnerable Species Project (VSP) after vociferous comments from the petrochemical pesticide industry to instead, “create a narrow, tailored policy rather than a sweeping, burdensome one,” according to a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal. Upon heavy pushback from the petrochemical pesticide industry and agribusiness, EPA is hosting a variety of workshops and openings for the public to provide feedback not just on VSP, but the Endangered Species Act (ESA) Workplan the Biden Administration originally introduced in 2021 in its entirety. Advocates are calling for the strengthening of pesticide regulation given the impending decisions that may shape the fate of ESA-FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act) compliance for years to come. As EPA continues through its pesticide registration program to advance continued dependency on pesticides through its interpretation of FIFRA, despite the availability of nontoxic alternatives, endangered species extinction and biodiversity collapse has never been a high priority. While EPA has initiated efforts to address a significant backlog of pesticide evaluations, Civil Eats has reported that the agency faces a task so extensive that it may require several additional decades to fully catch up. EPA officials stated, “Even if EPA completed […]

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Bayer/Monsanto in Roundup/Glyphosate Case Stung with Largest Multi-Billion Dollar Jury Award, Asks States to Stop Litigation

Friday, February 23rd, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 23, 2024) The latest string of billion-dollar plaintiff judgments against Bayer/Monsanto, the maker of Roundup™ with active ingredient glyphosate, does not yet signal a capitulation by Bayer or a win for public health or the environment in the United States. A jury award of $2.25 billion, the largest to-date, was handed down in Philadelphia in January. As Beyond Pesticides reported previously, Monsanto has a long history of challenging scientific findings on Roundup/glyphosate and evidence of harm to human health, the environment, and crops themselves (see resistant super weeds here and here), as it seeks to avoid liability claims by those suffering from cancer.  Bayer Looking to State Legislatures for Protection from Lawsuits  As result of its failure in quash lawsuits, Bayer has moved its case to state legislatures, where it is seeking the adoption of statutes that preempt liability claims by damaged parties.  As reported by Beyond Pesticides, a rash of state legislation has been introduced in Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, and Florida, which would block plaintiff liability claims when pesticide products, like Roundup, cause harm. The chemical industry pushes the notion that the registration of its pesticide products with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is a […]

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USDA Pesticide Data Program Continues to Mislead the Public on Pesticide Residue Exposure

Thursday, February 15th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 15, 2024) The latest U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) pesticide residue report, the 32nd Pesticide Data Program (PDP) Annual Summary report, released in January, finds that over 72 percent of tested commodities contain pesticide residues (27.6 percent have no detectable residues), mostly below the level the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set for tolerances (allowable residues) whose safety standards have been called into question by advocates. USDA spins its report findings as a positive safety finding because, as the Department says, “[m]ore than 99 percent of the products sampled through PDP had residues below the established EPA tolerances.” USDA continues, “Ultimately, if EPA determines a pesticide use is not safe for human consumption, EPA will mitigate exposure to the pesticide through actions such as amending the pesticide label instructions, changing or revoking a pesticide residue tolerance, or not registering a new use.” As Beyond Pesticides reminds the public annually when USDA uses the report to extol the safety of pesticide-laden food, the tolerance setting process has been criticized as highly deficient because of a lack of adequate risk assessments for vulnerable subpopulations, such as farmworkers, people with compromised health or preexisting health conditions, children, and perhaps, […]

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Take Action: EPA Accepting Public Comments on Seeds and Paint that Contain Pesticides

Friday, February 9th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, February 9, 2024) EPA is accepting public comments through today, Friday February 9, on its long-held policy of exempting “treated objects,” including seeds and paint, from pesticide registration. Although EPA does not ask the most important question—“Should pesticide-treated seeds and paint be exempt from the scrutiny given pesticide products?”—this comment period offers an opportunity to respond to EPA’s questions and express concern about hazards associated with chemical use and product ingredients. Despite exposure patterns associated with the use of pesticides in treated objects that are linked to environmental contamination and human poisoning, EPA is focused on labeling and not regulation. Instead of focusing on the exposure and harm associated with the object’s use—whether treated seeds poison pollinators, soil, and water or whether paint treated with fungicides poisons people exposed to the paint—EPA takes the position that unless the manufacturer makes a pesticidal claim, the object is not regulated as a pesticide for its pesticidal effects.  Beyond Pesticides states: At the very least, if EPA deems the hazards associated with the use of the pesticide in the treated article acceptable, then the agency should disclose the chemical used in the treatment (of the seed or the paint) and require […]

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Bill to Protect Birds and Bees in New York Raises Political Challenges to Addressing Ecosystem Collapse

Thursday, January 25th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 25, 2024) Legislative efforts to curtail some life-threatening pesticides associated with birds and bees (and other pollinators) decline were weakened in New York State at the end of December 2023 as the governor negotiated and stripped elements of a bill relating to agriculture that had passed the legislature—again illustrating the grip of the agrichemical industry on public policy intended to begin to address the crisis in ecosystem collapse. (See “Study Cites Insect Extinction and Ecological Collapse.”) In passing the Birds and Bees Protection Act, New York joined New Jersey, Nevada, and Maine in banning most nonagricultural uses of neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides, but, in last-minute changes to avoid the governor’s veto, failed to phase out corn, soybean, and wheat seeds coated with these chemicals. [Pointing to an exemption in federal law that has been challenged by advocates, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not regulate treated or coated seeds as pesticides despite their toxic pesticidal properties.] In New York State, the governor can, in consultation with the leadership of the legislative branch, negotiate language changes (called Chapter Amendments) in legislature-passed legislation (originally enacted) before deciding to sign it into law or can simply choose to veto the legislation. […]

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Take Action: EPA Challenged for Not Assessing Claimed Pesticide “Benefits,” Opens Public Comment Period

Tuesday, January 16th, 2024

(Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2024) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has long been criticized for its failure to evaluate the effectiveness (or efficacy) of all the pesticides it registers. A petition, for which there is now an open public comment period (submit comments by January 22, 2024), challenges what advocates call a basic failure of the agency to evaluate the claimed benefits of pesticides. Because of this long-standing situation, those who purchase pesticides do not know that the pesticides they buy will meet expectations for control. For farmers, that means that EPA has not evaluated whether the pesticide’s use actually increases productivity of the treated crops and/or whether over time the target pest (weed, insect, fungus) will become resistant. For consumers, it also means that there is not an independent analysis of whether the pesticide products work. As EPA implements the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), not only is there no agency assessment of whether the pesticide’s use will achieve its intended purpose, there is not a determination as to whether there is a less toxic way of achieving the pest management goal. As Beyond Pesticides cited last year, a piece published in the Proceedings of the […]

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

Tuesday, December 19th, 2023

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

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U.S. House Again Trying to Kill Controls for Pesticides Getting into Waterways

Monday, November 27th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, November 27, 2023) The waters of the United States are again under attack by the U.S. Congress. After the chemical industry and pesticide users won a major victory in the U.S. Supreme Court that limits the definition of protected waterways in May, 2023, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced legislation that would ease restrictions of pesticides that could contaminate the remaining waterways protected under the Clean Water Act. Capitol Hill watchers expect the bill’s supporters will try to attach it to the 2023 Farm Bill. The legislation, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, HR 5089, was introduced in the House of by Rep. David Rouzer (R-NC) in July. It would reverse a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirement to obtain a permit before spraying pesticides on or near waterways. This is a repeat of HR 953, which passed the House and failed to pass the Senate in 2017. The House had passed similar legislation in 2011 amending the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Clean Water Act (CWA) to eliminate provisions requiring pesticide applicators to obtain a permit to allow pesticides or their residues to enter waterways. CWA was adopted “to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological […]

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States Step In to Restrict Bee-Toxic Pesticides, California the Latest in Absence of EPA Action

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, November 3, 2023) California joined 10 other states that have laws partially restricting use of bee-toxic neonicotinoid (neonic) insecticides with the enactment of CA AB 363 into law in October, 2023.  California’s new law will ban over-the-counter sales of lawn and garden neonics by 2025, limiting their use to licensed pesticide applicators. The legislation gives the state’s Department of Pesticide Regulation (CA EPA) until June 30, 2029 to take broader action on neonics, if it determines restrictions are necessary. CA 363 will take neonics out of the hands of homeowners, while allowing lawn care companies to continue use. The California law falls short of the strongest state laws in Nevada, New Jersey, and Maine that eliminate all outdoor (nonagricultural) uses of these chemicals, even by lawn care companies. In June, 2023 Nevada became the third state to ban lawn and garden uses of neonics, while Colorado prohibited homeowner use of land and garden neonic products, similar to laws in Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont.  Minnesota recently banned neonic use on state lands and granted its home-rule subdivisions the authority to ban “pollinator-lethal pesticides” (those with bee warning labels) under its state law preempting local authority […]

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Paris’s Worrying Bed Bug Surge Linked to Insecticide-Resistance

Tuesday, October 17th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 17, 2023) In the past month, Paris, France has witnessed a surge in bed bug populations. From public transportation to hotels, hostels, and movie theatres, bed bugs are posing a threat to the city’s two million residents and potentially a broader global population as the infestation spreads.   This resurgence of bed bugs in Paris is not unique. For centuries, these pests have been both adaptable and persistent, presenting an enduring challenge to pest control. However, the current surge in bed bug infestations is not merely a revival of a longstanding problem; it is a complex issue intertwined with the development of resistance to insecticides, mainly through a mechanism known as knockdown resistance. This mechanism, along with three other main resistance mechanisms, has enabled these insects to defy chemical-intensive control methods  Knockdown resistance is a significant factor contributing to the resistance exhibited by bed bugs to insecticides, especially pyrethroids. The mechanism plays a central role in countering the action of these insecticides, which target the nervous system of bed bugs, causing paralysis and eventual death. Knockdown resistance provides the genetic adaptation that provides bed bug populations with resistance to insecticides. It inhibits the effectiveness of certain insecticides. Bed […]

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Confronting Dramatic Biodiversity Loss on 50th Anniversary of Endangered Species Act

Monday, October 2nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, October 2, 2023) On the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), statements out of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raise concerns about the agency’s ability to meet the challenge of evaluating pesticides for their adverse impact on threatened and endangered species. While EPA has initiated efforts to address a significant backlog of pesticide evaluations, the agency faces a task so extensive that it may require several additional decades to fully catch up. EPA officials stated, “Even if EPA completed this work for all of the pesticides that are currently subject to court decisions and/or ongoing litigation, that work would take until the 2040s, and even then, would represent only 5 percent of EPA’s ESA obligations.”   As part of a “whole of government” approach, EPA must redirect its pesticide program to protecting all species and their habitats.   The speed and depth of biodiversity loss has reached crisis proportions. A 1,500-page report in 2019 by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES )—Global Assessment Summary for Policymakers, the most comprehensive look to date at the biodiversity crisis and its implications for human civilization, makes the following finding: “Since 1970, trends in agricultural production, fish harvest, […]

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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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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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