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Glyphosate Kills Microorganisms Beneficial to Plants, Animals, and Humans

Thursday, October 28th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, October 28, 2021) A study published in Frontiers in Environmental Science finds the popular herbicide glyphosate negatively affects microbial communities, indirectly influencing plant, animal, and human health. Exposure to sublethal concentrations of glyphosate shifts microbial community composition, destroying beneficial microorganisms while preserving pathogenic organisms. Glyphosate is the most commonly used active ingredient worldwide, appearing in many herbicide formulas, including Bayer’s (formerly Monsanto) RoundupÂŽ. The use of this chemical has been increasing since the inception of crops genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate over two decades ago. The toxic herbicide readily contaminates the ecosystem with residues pervasive in both food and water commodities. In addition to this study, the scientific literature commonly associates glyphosate with human, biotic, and ecosystem harm, as a doubling of toxic effects on invertebrates, like pollinators, has been recorded since 2004. The authors caution, “[O]utbreaks of several animal and plant diseases have been related to glyphosate accumulation in the environment. Long-term glyphosate effects have been underreported, and new standards will be needed for residues in plant and animal products and the environment.” With an increasing number of reports on the relationship between glyphosate and human health, including potential effects on the human gut microbiome, advocates are calling on global leaders to eliminate chemical […]

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Study Underscores Chemical-Intensive Farming Hazards and Need to Shift to Regenerative Organic Models

Tuesday, August 31st, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 31 2021) To ensure long-term ecological, human health, and socioeconomic benefits, food production, distribution and consumption must transition from conventional to regenerative, organic food value chains, as outlined in research published in the journal Productions and Operations Management. “We are paying a high price for a lack of transparency in our food supply and realize that taking shortcuts, or efficiencies, is not sustainable,” said Aleda Roth, PhD, study coauthor and professor in the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business at Clemson University. “We need to look at multiple performance outcomes, and in doing so, it will become evident that a regenerative, socially responsible approach to agriculture is imperative to a sustainable food supply, but it also extends across other business sectors.” This research is the latest to underscore the importance of revamping the U.S. food system towards a focus on organic practices that account for externalities and provide multiple add-on benefits for society at large.   To make the case, Dr. Roth and her co-author Yanchong Zheng, PhD, an associate professor in the Sloan School of Management at MIT, define and contrast conventional and regenerative, organic food value chains, with an eye toward “quadruple aim […]

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Exposure to Common Herbicide Glyphosate Increases Spontaneous Preterm Birth Incidents

Thursday, August 26th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 26, 2021) A recent study published in Environmental Research demonstrates that exposure to the herbicide glyphosate and its breakdown product reduces pregnancy length, increasing the risk of preterm birth. Preterm births occur when a fetus is born early or before 37 weeks of complete gestation. Premature births can result in chronic (long-term) illnesses among infants from lack of proper organ development and even death. Birth and reproductive complications are very common among individuals exposed to environmental toxicants, like pesticides. Considering the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports the preterm birth rate is increasing annually, studies like this can help government and health officials safeguard human health by assessing adverse health effects following prevalent chemical exposure. The study notes, “Given the prevalent and rising exposures to glyphosate and GBHs [glyphosate-based herbicides], confirmatory studies are needed to explore reproductive effects of glyphosate and GBHs to re-assess their safety on human health and to explore possible programming consequences to lifelong health.” GBHs are the most commonly used herbicides, readily contaminating soil, water, and food globally. Although GBHs’ ubiquitous nature has been linked to carcinogenic effects, specifically non-Hodgkin lymphoma, much less research considers exposure effects on reproductive health. The study’s scientists aimed to examine the relationship […]

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Debilitating Ear Blisters Plague Long Island Turtle Populations from Pesticide Use

Thursday, August 5th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, August 5, 2021) A recent report by Turtle Rescue of the Hamptons finds Long Island, New York turtles are experiencing higher rates of deadly aural abscesses or ear blisters from pesticide use. Previous research documents the role chemical exposure from environmental toxicants play in inner ear abscess formation among turtles. However, synergism (collaboration) between viral infection and toxic chemical exposure increases aural abscess instances. Considering these infections are taking a toll on the Long Island turtle population, government and wildlife officials must assess how chemical exposure promotes disease development to safeguard human, animal, and environmental health. Karen Testa, executive director of Turtle Rescue of the Hamptons, cautions, “I’m urging Long Islanders to think about how these pesticides are negatively impacting the natural world. Is your perfect green lawn worth the life of a turtle?” Aural abscesses are painful ear blisters that can grow as big as a golf ball. Medical intervention is necessary to remove abscesses from turtles and treat them with an antibiotic regimen to prevent death. Turtle Rescue facility workers report a staggering 50 percent of turtles currently within their care to have aural abscesses. The percentage of turtles with this diagnosis is much higher than in past years. […]

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Researchers Develop Pesticide-Free, Mosquito-Proof Clothing

Tuesday, July 27th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, July 27, 2021) Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed pesticide-free clothing able to prevent 100% of mosquito bites for the wearer, and published proof of the garment’s effectiveness in a study in the journal Insects. If able to be scaled at a commercial level, the fabrics have the potential to transform personal protective measures for mosquitoes, which often includes in well-meaning consumers spraying toxic pesticides like DEET and permethrin on their body and clothing. “The fabric is proven to work – that’s the great thing we discovered,” said study co-author Andre West, associate professor of fashion and textile design at NC State and director of Zeis Textiles Extension for Economic Development in a press release. “To me, that’s revolutionary. We found we can prevent the mosquito from pushing through the fabric, while others were thick enough to prevent it from reaching the skin.” To create the mosquito-proof fabric, scientists turned to physics and mathematical models, rather than looking for new killer chemistries. “Our premise here is: why do we need an insecticide-treated textile when you can do it, now that you know a mathematical formula, without chemistry?” said Michael Roe, PhD, an N.C. State professor of entomology […]

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Disease Carrying Mosquitoes Developing Resistance to Widely Used Mosquito Control Pesticides

Thursday, July 1st, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, July 1, 2021) Yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) are evolving resistance to the pyrethroid insecticide permethrin, according to a study published by Colorado State University, highlighting the need to adopt ecologically-based mosquito management. Widespread, intensive use of the pesticide in mosquito control has allowed genetic mutations to persist among these mosquito populations, causing subsequent resistance to permethrin. Pyrethroids are one of the few remaining classes of insecticides available to control yellow fever mosquitos, and resistance threatens the ability to prevent disease outbreaks with chemical-intensive methods. Yellow fever mosquitoes are a vector for numerous untreatable diseases in humans, including dengue, chikungunya fever, and Zika viruses. Hence, this study highlights the significance of addressing pest resistance to pesticide control, particularly to mitigate disease exposure and effects. The researchers note, “This knowledge can help scientists understand how mosquitoes have evolved resistance and when a population can no longer be controlled with permethrin. This understanding will be necessary to develop tools to support future insecticide management strategies.” Researchers sequenced the genome of resistant and knockdown (either recovered or dead) mosquitoes after permethrin exposure using a bottle bioassay. The aim was to identify genomic variants/biomarkers associated with specific resistance mechanisms. Two common pyrethroid resistance mechanisms occur among […]

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Glyphosate-Based Herbicides and Sustainable Agriculture Do Not Mix!

Thursday, April 29th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, April 29, 2021) Glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs) are incompatible with sustainable agriculture goals, according to a recent scientific literature analysis by scientists at Tufts University, Massachusetts. Glyphosate is the most commonly used pesticide active ingredient worldwide, appearing in many herbicide formulas, including Bayer’s (formerly Monsanto) RoundupTM. The use of this chemical has been increasing since the inception of crops genetically modified to tolerate glyphosate. However, studies demonstrate glyphosate is the main contributor to human, biotic, and ecosystem harms as toxicities from herbicides are now double what it was in 2004.  The National Academy of Sciences identifies four goals of sustainable agriculture—productivity, economics, environment, and social well-being for future generations. However, pesticides like glyphosate are ubiquitous in the environment, putting the health, economy, and food/resources for future generations at risk. Therefore, research like this is vital for understanding how chemical use can undermine sustainable agriculture goals to protect humans, animals, and environmental health. Researchers note, “[W]hether or not GBHs are viewed as essential or unessential to contemporary agriculture, and notwithstanding their role in non-tillage agriculture, this study shows that glyphosate-based herbicides do not reach the bar of agricultural sustainability, with respect to humans and the environment, making the system they are part of unsustainable.” Researchers thoroughly examined […]

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Exposure to PFAS—the “Forever” chemical—During Pregnancy Results an Increase in Heart and Metabolic Problems Among Adolescence

Thursday, April 15th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, April 15, 2021) Gestational (during pregnancy) and childhood exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) increase cardiometabolic risk, or the risk of heart diseases and metabolic disorders, later in life, according to a Brown University study published in Environment International. Past studies associate exposure to chemical pollutants with increased susceptibility to adverse health effects during critical fetal and childhood developmental periods. Some of these health effects are cardiometabolic risk factors, including obesity, insulin issues, abnormal blood pressure, that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) and metabolic disorders (e.g., type 2 diabetes). PFAS are of particular concern as these endocrine-disrupting chemicals are common in non-stick cookware, cleaning/personal care products, food packaging, and other consumer products. They are now being found in pesticide products. Because of their ubiquitous use in many products, studies report that PFAS compounds are detectable in infants, children, and pregnant women. Furthermore, pregnant women can readily transfer compounds to the developing fetus through the placenta. Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are among the leading causes of death globally. Additionally, heart conditions are one leading cause of disability in the U.S., as research demonstrates environmental pollutant exposure can increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including stroke, heart attack, heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and cardiac […]

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Implications for Human Health: Glyphosate-Related Soil Erosion Re-Releases Toxic Pesticides from Soil

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2021) A new study finds glyphosate use stimulates soil erosion responsible for releasing banned, toxic pesticide chlordecone (Kepone), which was used in banana production. For years, an unknown pollution source continuously contaminated water surrounding islands in the French West Indies (Martinique and Guadeloupe). However, researchers from the University of Savoie Mont Blanc in France have found that chlordecone—extensively used on banana farms from 1972 to 1993—is the contamination culprit. Glyphosate is the most popular herbicide in the world, thus ubiquitous in the environment. Therefore, it is vital to understand the implication glyphosate use has on soil health and the potential re-release of soil-bound, toxic contaminants into the surrounding environment to safeguard human health. Researchers note, “[Chlordecone] fluxes drastically increased when glyphosate use began, leading to widespread ecosystem contamination. As glyphosate is used globally, ecotoxicological risk management strategies should consider how its application affects persistent pesticide storage in soils, transfer dynamics, and widespread contamination.” Conventional pesticide use contaminates soil and their respective Critical Zone (CZ) compartments. These CZ compartments interact between the four main spheres (i.e., hydrosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere) of the Earth to support life. Recent decades demonstrate an increase in soil erosion due to sediment changes […]

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TAKE ACTION: Tell President-Elect Biden and Congress to Clean Up at EPA— End the Era of Corporate Deception

Monday, January 11th, 2021

(Beyond Pesticides, January 11, 2021) Treatment of chemical companies as clients rather than regulated entities is not new at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but corruption reached new highs during the Trump administration. With a new administration, it is time to end the rule of corporate deception at EPA. This goes beyond the use of the Congressional Review Act to reverse individual rules (adopted in the last six months) that defy scientific findings and compliance with environmental and public health standards. We can no longer rely on bad science and unscrupulous chemical manufacturers that put profits above concerns for the health of people and the environment. EPA must audit pesticide registrants for integrity to scientific process and set a moratorium on future pesticide registration until the agency can assure the public that their science is not corrupt, as it has been in the past. Tell President-elect Biden and Congress to clean up the corruption of science at EPA and set a moratorium on future pesticide registrations—until the agency can assure the public that the chemical manufacturers’ science supporting pesticide registrations is not corrupt. The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting published a story in early December on yet another example of the […]

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Investigation on Weed Killer Dicamba Adds to Pattern of Corporate Deception on Pesticide Hazards

Friday, December 18th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, December 18, 2020) The Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting published a story in early December on yet another example of the corporate malfeasance that exalts profit far above concerns for safety, health, and ecosystems. The Midwest Center’s investigation finds that Monsanto and BASF, makers of the extremely problematic herbicide dicamba, engaged in a variety of deceitful, unethical, and possibly fraudulent practices to enable its use. The bottom line is that the companies knew, before they released dicamba, about the massive damage it would cause — and then put it on the market. Beyond Pesticides has reported on the corporate greed that fuels the downstream public health, environmental, and economic devastation these pesticides cause, and advocated for their removal from the market. Such unscrupulous behavior is not confined to these companies; Bayer (which now owns Monsanto) and Syngenta are also implicated in similar actions related to other pesticides: glyphosate and atrazine, respectively. Over the course of the past couple of decades, large agrochemical corporations have pursued not only extreme market penetration for their toxic products, but also, vertical integration that, in the case of Bayer/Monsanto, “represents a near-monopoly on the agriculture supply chain.” Corporate ownership of the patent on genetically […]

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PFAS ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in Mosquito Pesticide, Raising Concerns Over Widespread Contamination

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, December 2, 2020) PFAS (per and polyfluorinated alykyl substances) ‘forever chemicals’ are being detected in a commonly used mosquito pesticide known as Anvil 10+10, according to reporting from the Boston Globe based on independent testing from a watchdog group and state regulators. PFAS are a large family of nearly 5,000 chemicals that may never break down in the environment and have been linked to cancer, liver damage, birth and developmental problems, reduced fertility, and asthma. The chemicals already disproportionately contaminate people of color communities, and there is evidence they reduce the efficacy of vaccines. While many may be familiar with PFAS for its use in nonstick cookware, electrical wire insulation, personal care products, food packaging, textiles, and other consumer goods, its presence within an already toxic pesticide is alarming. Perhaps most concerning, neither the manufacturer nor regulators have a good understanding of how exactly PFAS chemicals made their way into pesticide products. “This is an issue that cuts to the core of what’s wrong with our federal system for regulating pesticides,” said Drew Toher, community resource and policy director at Beyond Pesticides. “The finding makes it imperative that EPA review and disclose full pesticide formulations before allowing the […]

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Safer Disinfectants for Coronavirus Response and Reversing Racial Disparities in Managing Public Parks—Topics included in Beyond Pesticides Journal, Pesticides and You

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 22, 2020) In the latest issue of Pesticides and You, the quarterly journal of Beyond Pesticides, articles focus on the key issues of the day—a safe response to novel coronavirus (Covid-19) without toxic disinfectants, and confronting environmental racism in communities with campaigns to take toxic pesticides out of public parks. A Critical Moment in History In introducing the issue, Beyond Pesticides executive director, Jay Feldman, writes: “Nurturing and sustaining life is at the core of the environmental work going on in communities across the country. However, as the events of the past months have illustrated, if we are to ensure that our society and planet are sustainable, it will require the protection of those facing the greatest hazards and attention to the underlying disparities behind them.” “Stopping Systemic Environmental Racism in New York City Parks” Lead article, “Stopping Systemic Environmental Racism in New York City Parks,” focuses on the  report, Poison Parks, written by The Black Institute in January, documents New York City public spaces in low-income people of color neighborhoods being sprayed with the weed killer glyphosate (Roundup) at significantly higher rates than other parts of the city. The report notes, “Minority and low-income communities suffer […]

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Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, Including Pesticides, Have a Multi-Generational Impact on Commercially Beneficial Inland Silverside Fish

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, July 2, 2020) Exposure to low levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonly in waterways, including pesticides, can impact future generations of major commercial fish, despite no direct exposure to the chemicals, according to research published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science by Oregon State University (OSU) researchers. Many studies assess the acute or chronic health implications associated with endocrine disruptors on a single generation but lack information on multi-generational impacts that can provide vital information on the fundamental survivability or fitness of many species. This study highlights the significance of understanding the implications of endocrine disruptors, even at low levels of exposure, as parental exposure can have adverse epigenetic consequences for future generations. Kaley Major, a Ph.D. fellow at Oregon State University (OSU) and lead research author, explains, “What t[his] gets at is something your grandparents may have come into contact within their environment can still be affecting the overall structure of your DNA in your life today.” Endocrine disruptors are xenobiotics (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem). Past research shows exposures to endocrine-disrupting chemicals can adversely impact human, animal—and thus environmental—health, by altering the natural hormones in the body responsible for […]

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Implications for Human Health: Pesticides and Other Environmental Contaminants Alter Gut Microbiome

Tuesday, June 30th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 30, 2020) A review of scientific literature on the toxic effect of environmental contaminants—including pesticides—published in the journal Toxicological Science, “The Impact of Environmental Chemicals on the Gut Microbiome,” associates these chemicals to changes in the gut microbiome and other adverse health implications. The review, by researchers at the University of Illinois, looks at how environmental contaminants adversely effects and reinforce chemical disruption of the gut microbiome. It highlights the importance of evaluating how environmental contaminants, like pesticides, impact body regulation by gut microbiota. The study has significant implications for considerations that should be, but are not currently, a part of pesticide review and registration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Gut microbiota plays a crucial role in lifelong digestion, immune, and central nervous system regulation, as wells as other bodily functions. Through the gut biome, pesticide exposure can enhance or exacerbate, the adverse effects of additional environmental toxicants on the body. Since the gut microbiome shapes metabolism, it can mediate some toxic effects of environmental chemicals. However, with prolonged exposure to various environmental contaminants, critical chemical-induced changes may occur in the gut microbes, influencing adverse health outcomes. Karen Chiu, Ph.D., a graduate research fellow at the […]

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Federal Court Halts Use of Drift-Prone Dicamba on Millions of Acres of GE Soy and Cotton

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 9, 2020) Use of the weed killer dicamba on genetically engineered (GE) cotton and soybeans is now prohibited after a federal court ruling against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week. A coalition of conservation groups filed suit in 2018 after EPA renewed a conditional registration for dicamba’s ‘over the top’ (OTT) use on GE cotton and soy developed to tolerate repeated sprayings of the herbicide. “For the thousands of farmers whose fields were damaged or destroyed by dicamba drift despite our warnings, the National Family Farm Coalition is pleased with today’s ruling,” said National Family Farm Coalition president Jim Goodman in a press release. First registered in the late 1960s, dicamba has been linked to cancer, reproductive effects, neurotoxicity, birth defects, and kidney and liver damage. It is also toxic to birds, fish and other aquatic organisms, and known to leach into waterways after an application. It is a notoriously drift-prone herbicide. Studies and court filings show dicamba able to drift well over a mile off-site after an application. Bayer’s Monsanto thought they could solve this problem. The “Roundup Ready” GE agricultural model the company developed, with crops engineered to tolerate recurrent applications of their […]

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Face Masks that Contain Toxic Pesticide Distributed in Tennessee for Coronavirus then Recalled

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, June 3, 2020) While wearing a mask is an important practice to help reduce the chance of Covid-19 infection, a mask produced with pesticide-laden material for Tennessee residents has been identified as elevating the virus’ health risks. The state of Tennessee began last week and then stopped this week providing residents with free face masks made from sock fabric incorporated with antimicrobial silver pesticide. The investigative unit of NewsChannel 5 Nashville uncovered that the masks contain a toxic antimicrobial pesticide. Because of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) interpretation of federal pesticide law, textiles and other materials, typically plastics, infused with toxic antimicrobial substances are not evaluated by the agency for the wide range of exposure patterns associated with the use of these toxic products. In addition, the silver product in the sock material, Silvadur 930 Flex, states on its label that over 99% of product ingredients are “other ingredients” and provides no disclosure on their potential hazards. Beyond Pesticides’ board member Warren Porter, PhD, environmental toxicology professor at University of Wisconsin at Madison, in an interview with NewsChannel 5, assessed the situation bluntly. Dr. Porter told reporters over a Zoom interview, “I wouldn’t wear one,” after explaining […]

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Take Action: EPA Must Evaluate the Effects of Multiple Pesticide Ingredient Use and Exposure

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, October 15, 2019) EPA is requesting comment on its proposal to require data that will help it determine synergistic effects of some pesticides. EPA has received on a pressure on a number of fronts, including a report by the Center for Biological Diversity, a report by its own Inspector General, a letter from 35 Congressional Representatives, and research pointing to the unavoidability of synergistic effects—the chemical combinations that cause greater effects when mixed together than the sum of the individual chemical effects. Despite all of the evidence that synergism is the rule rather than the exception, EPA’s consideration focuses on a narrow range of cases in which pesticide product patents make claims of synergy. Tell EPA to always investigate synergy and to determine need for pesticides. One such product is Dow’s Enlist Duo, which combines glyphosate and 2,4-D in an attempt to overcome weed resistance. The focus on products and tank mixes where synergism is a selling point brings to light the fact that as a rule, EPA does not request efficacy data in registering pesticides not intended to protect public health. Thus, although required by law to weigh pesticide risks and benefits, EPA rarely has data to make […]

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In Response to a Lawsuit, EPA Proposes Review Process for Evaluating the Effects of Multiple Pesticide Ingredients on Nontarget Organisms

Friday, October 11th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, October 11, 2019) The Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking public comment on a document that describes an “interim process” being used to assess potential synergistic effects of admixtures of pesticide active ingredients on non-target organisms. This interim risk assessment process was catalyzed in part by a 2015 lawsuit brought by a group of non-governmental organizations; that suit cited EPA’s failure to evaluate appropriately the impacts of a new herbicide, Enlist Duo, on non-target species, including some endangered species. EPA’s inattention to synergistic impacts on non-target species has long been a deficiency of EPA’s pesticide review and regulation and a focus for Beyond Pesticides’ work to factor in uncertainties, or unknowns, in registering pesticides under a precautionary approach. Although EPA recognizes that pesticide exposures occur in combinations, it evaluates a very limited number of such interactions. Manufactured by Dow AgroSciences, Enlist Duo combines glyphosate and 2,4-D. Increasingly, manufacturers create and market such “twofer” products as responses to the burgeoning issue of plant resistance to individual pesticides. As insects, fungi, weeds, or other “pests” inevitably develop resistance to pesticide, herbicide, fungicide, or insecticide compounds, the efficacy of the chemical treatment obviously plummets. […]

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Germany Moves to Phase-Out Glyphosate/Roundup; EPA Unmoved

Wednesday, September 11th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, September 11, 2019) Germany is the latest entity to take action on getting glyphosate-based pesticides out of the marketplace. Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced that, beginning in 2020, the country will phase out herbicides that contain glyphosate by the end of 2023. The phase-out will occur through a series of scheduled reductions in amounts allowed for use, with a goal of a 75% reduction over the next four years. The announcement comes after “nation-wide protests and demands from [Merkel’s] junior coalition partner, the Social Democrats, for more decisive action on environmental issues.” This action stands in telling contrast to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) repeated failures to protect people, ecosystems, and our food supply, from this toxic compound. The German government also plans to oppose any European Union (EU) request for renewal of licensing of these herbicides, according to the environment ministry. Bayer AG, maker of glyphosate-based herbicides and owner of original manufacturer Monsanto, has pushed back, saying that the government is “getting ahead of itself” by banning glyphosate-based herbicides prior to any decision by the relevant EU authority, and that EU laws disallow unilateral decisions by member states. (Pesticide licensing decisions lie with EU governance in Brussels, […]

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Take Action: What’s In the Bottle, Bag, or Box Is Not Tested Fully for Adverse Effects

Sunday, March 17th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, March 17, 2019) Forget about single-pesticide issues: this affects every single one of them. EPA is allowing massive data gaps to persist for each and every pesticide product it registers by conducting the bulk of its health and environmental risk assessments using active ingredients alone. With its current practices, EPA is failing its federal mandate to protect public health and the environment and misleading the public about what is “safe.” Tell your Congressional delegation that EPA must assess the real risks of pesticide use, not rely on false representations of risk based on tests of isolated ingredients. When pesticides are sprayed on our crops, lawns, and roadsides, and enter into our waterways, groundwater and drinking water, we are exposed to whole formulations, whole tank mixtures, and whole pesticide combinations, not just active ingredients (those that the manufacturer claims are the only ingredients that attack the target pest). It is the whole formulation that makes the poison, and that whole formulation must be regulated. Active ingredients are far from the whole story of pesticide poisoning. Despite their name, “inert” ingredients are very often not chemically, biologically, nor toxicologically inert or innocuous. According to a peer-reviewed study, as of 2006, more […]

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Release of GE Mosquitoes Canceled by Cayman Islands Officials

Thursday, November 29th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, November 29, 2018) The British Cayman Islands will no longer fund the release of genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes, as reports indicate that the program failed to achieve its intended goals.  The government is formally terminating its contract with the UK-based company Oxitec, which marketed GE mosquitoes as a sort of silver bullet for the management of diseases such as Zika, yellow fever, malaria, and dengue. Advocates opposed to the GE mosquito program are continuing to encourage a focus on education and source reduction as the best method to address mosquito-borne diseases. Oxitec first began introducing its line of GE mosquitoes earlier in the decade, at a variety of locations including India, Brazil, Malaysia, and the Florida Keys. Public opposition to the release has been consistently strong. In the Florida Keys, over 230,000 people signed a change.org petition opposing the release. In the Cayman Islands, residents launched a number of lawsuits. In each instance the company was granted free reign to initiate its program. GE mosquitoes aim to ‘gene drive’ mosquito populations out of existence, a process intended to propagate a particular set of genes in a species. The company developed GE mosquitoes in a laboratory, injecting a gene […]

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Coconut-Derived Insect Repellent More Effective than the Hazardous DEET

Tuesday, November 6th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, November 6, 2018) Scientists working for USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Lincoln, Nebraska have discovered natural compounds derived from coconut oil that are more effective than DEET at repelling mosquitoes, ticks, biting flies, bed bugs and other insects. Given the long-lasting efficacy of the compounds researchers tested, commercialization could make the regular use of toxic insect repellents, like DEET, obsolete. Advocates are praising USDA researchers for the results, indicating that this is exactly the type of research government agencies should be funding and promoting. It is important to note that USDA scientists did not find coconut oil itself to be an effective repellent. Lab equipment was used to analyze and isolate medium chain fatty acids within coconut oil for their repellent properties. Scientists zeroed in on a blend of C8 (caprylic acid), C10 (capric acid), and C12 (lauric acid) fatty acids as the most effective repellent mixture. Individually, only C12 exhibited anywhere near the same efficacy as the specific blend identified. The study indicates that more research is needed to understand why coconut oil itself was ineffective, and how the synergy between the fatty acid combinations resulted in such effective repellency. To verify their hypothesis on the efficacy […]

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