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Second Session of National Forum on Environmental Justice; Recording of Forum Talks by Dave Goulson and André Leu Released

Friday, September 22nd, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 22, 2022) Beyond Pesticides today announced the second session of the National Forum, Forging a Future with Nature: The existential challenge to end petrochemical pesticide and fertilizer use, scheduled for October 24, 2:00pm EDT. The hard-hitting talks of Dave Goulson, PhD, and AndrĂ© Leu, DSc. are now available as recordings on the Beyond Pesticides website.  Beyond Pesticides introduces the Forum: A future supported by the natural environment depends on our effective involvement in decisions in our homes, communities, states, and at the federal level to ensure that we are taking the steps necessary to protect against existential threats to health, biodiversity, and climate. The Forum is an important opportunity to hear from those working as scientists, advocates, land managers (from gardens, parks, play fields to farms), and public decisionmakers about steps being taken and action needed to prevent catastrophic collapse of the natural systems that sustain life. A key part of this conversation, according to Beyond Pesticides, is addressing inequities associated with elevated rates of poisoning, contamination, and diseases in people of color communities. In introducing the importance of environmental justice and addressing the disproportionate risk from toxic pollution to people of color communities as a key […]

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Bayer’s Use of EU-Forbidden Pesticides Ignites Protest in South Africa 

Tuesday, September 19th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 19, 2023) Farmworkers in Paarl, South Africa took to the streets on Friday, September 8, demanding an end to the indiscriminate importation and use of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides containing substances prohibited by the European Union (EU). This protest is part of a broader global trend of outcry against systemic issues of environmental racism that disproportionately burden communities with environmental and health risks.   Organized by the Women on Farms Project, the protesters marched to the headquarters of Bayer. The German pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and pesticide company, responsible for producing and exporting agrochemicals known to be toxic to ecosystem and human health, has previously faced multiple lawsuits, including a multimillion-dollar one linking their glyphosate weed killer products (RoundupÂź) to non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. At the Bayer office, the protesters presented a memorandum demanding an end to the importation and use of EU-prohibited substances.    Protesters sought to expose the hypocritical tactics European agrochemical companies use to sell products in developing nations, even when those products are deemed unsafe in their home countries. Numerous farmworkers, like victim-turned-activist Antie Dina, spoke out about their health issues from petrochemical exposure. In her talk, Dina emphasizes that, “… enough is enough, we do not want any […]

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Of Note During Organic Month, Study Finds Organic Diet and Location Affect Pesticide Residues in the Body

Thursday, September 7th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 7, 2023) During Organic Month, the importance of organic practices is brought into sharp focus by a study published in July in Environmental Health Perspectives, which emphasizes the importance of an organic diet and location to residues of pesticides in the body. The study finds urinary levels of the weed killer glyphosate significantly decrease through an organic diet for pregnant individuals living further than 0.5km (~1640ft) from an agricultural field. However, the study finds that adopting an organic diet among pregnant individuals living closer than 0.5km to an agricultural area does not significantly decrease glyphosate levels, indicating alternative sources of contamination outside of diet. Although past studies prove time and time again that an organic diet can reduce the levels of pesticides in the body, far too few studies investigate how the intervention of the organic diet can alter glyphosate levels among pregnant individuals living near or far from agricultural fields on which the herbicide is used. Furthermore, pesticides’ presence in the body affects human health, especially during vulnerable life stages like childhood, puberty, pregnancy, and old age. The study raises the complexity of fully tracking multiple exposures to glyphosate and other pesticides and the need for […]

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“Legalized Poisoning of 5,500 People” Message Highlights Controversy Over Aerial Pesticide Spray in Oregon

Tuesday, September 5th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, September 5, 2023) Lincoln County, Oregon  community members are fighting a plan announced by a private landowner to aerially spray 473 acres of clear-cut forest over the Beaver Creek watershed with a pesticide mixture containing carcinogenic glyphosate (commonly found in Roundup).  The aerial spraying is slated to take place approximately one mile from a water intake at Seal Rock Water District, which supplies water to 5,500 residents. Beyond the risks to human health, residents are concerned about the impacts on wildlife in the creek valley. Local advocates describe the area to include native wetland plants, birds, and fish, including the federally protected Coho Salmon and Marbled Murrelet, beaver, river otter, and roaming elk herds. Beavercreek is also a protected state natural area, where families paddle and walk along the state park marshlands.  Neighbors of Beaver Creek and the surrounding community are organizing phone banking, public art displays, and a petition urging Governor Tina Kotek to put a moratorium on the spray operation. One of the efforts displays the message “legalized poisoning of 5,500 people” through lights projected onto a basalt rock formation at Seal Rock State Park. The community has gathered over 2,000 petition signatures and over 100 […]

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

Monday, August 14th, 2023

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

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Feds To Evaluate Endangered Species Impacts under Clean Water Act’s General Pesticide Permits

Wednesday, August 9th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 9, 2023) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have agreed to assess the harms of applying pesticides in waterways to threatened and endangered wildlife under a legal agreement with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). Under the Clean Water Act, a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) permit is needed when pollutants are discharged from a point source (an identifiable source) into the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS), but federal authorities, in their general permitting process, have long failed to assess effects to threatened and endangered species. According to the terms of the settlement agreement, FWS must complete consultations required under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to prevent harm to protected species such as bull trout, pallid sturgeon, Oregon spotted frogs, and other threatened aquatic organisms.  The agreement is a step in implementing the 1973 ESA, a law that is saving numerous species from extinction, facilitating the recovery of hundreds more, and enabling the preservation of habitats. The humpback whale, bald eagle, and snail darter are among the species that have been saved thanks to the ESA. For years, Beyond Pesticides has reported on decades of neglecting to fully implement and fund […]

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Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Origins Linked to Indoor Pesticide Use, Disproportionally Affecting Women

Tuesday, August 8th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, August 8, 2023) A study published in PLOS ONE finds a pointed, positive association between chronic kidney disease (CKD) of unknown origins (CKDu) and the use of indoor pesticides. Longer exposure times have an especially detrimental impact on kidney function, even among individuals without underlying diseases like diabetes mellitus and hypertension. The innovation of this study’s purpose highlights the lack of exposure-related studies on kidney health outcomes associated with indoor pesticide use. Although CKD risk increases with age and is associated with other health factors like smoking, heart disease, and diabetes, cases without clear causes are increasingly common, indicating that environmental factors are likely playing a role. Over six million people in the U.S. have kidney disease (i.e., nephritis [kidney inflammation], nephrotic syndrome [improper protein filtration], and nephrosis). Although many studies find an association between exposure to outdoor environmental contaminants like pesticides and CKD, the association between CKDu and indoor pesticides—whose uses are more commonly concentrated in homes— remains unclear. Therefore, studies like this highlight the need for comprehensive information regarding co-occurring exposure patterns and disease prevalence that can have global implications.  The study notes, “Previous research has highlighted the potential harm of pesticides on kidney function, particularly in outdoor uses. Our findings raise […]

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

Tuesday, August 1st, 2023

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

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

Friday, July 28th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 28, 2023) A study published in Science of the Total Environment finds glyphosate can adversely impact sensory and cognitive processes in bumblebees (Bombus terrestris). Glyphosate exposure impairs bees’ learning of aversive stimuli like electric shocks paired with specific color discrimination. Additionally, the pesticide reduces attraction to UV (ultraviolet) light, specifically the color blue, and temporarily impacts locomotion and phototaxis (movement in response to light). These impairments to sensory and cognitive processes render foraging difficult for these glyphosate-exposed pollinators and vulnerable to unavoidable predators. The study highlights that symptoms of widespread chemical exposure may reduce foraging efficiency and adversely affect ecosystems, especially those dependent on insect pollinators.  Pollinator decline directly affects the environment, society, and the economy. Without pollinators, many plant species, both agricultural and nonagricultural, will decline or cease to exist as U.S. pollinator declines, particularly among native wild bees, limit crop yields. In turn, the economy will take a hit, since much of the economy (65%) depends upon the strength of the agricultural sector. As the science shows, pesticides are one of the most significant stressors for pollinators. In a world where habitat loss and fragmentation show no sign of abating, scientists have concluded that the globe cannot afford to continue […]

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Insufficient Scientific Evidence on Mitigation Measures to Protect Pollinators from Pesticides, Study Finds

Thursday, July 27th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 27, 2023) A study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology calls into question the scientific literature on protecting bees from pesticides. The study analyzes actions taken by pesticide users to reduce the risk of pesticides on nontarget organisms, known as “mitigation measures.” Ultimately, the study finds that there is insufficient evidence to support the effectiveness of bee-protecting mitigation measures.    “Almost all research was centered around protecting honey bees. However, honey bees are a managed species that is not endangered,” Edward Straw, Ph.D., a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Agriculture and Food Science at University College Dublin in Ireland and lead author on the study, says, “When we try to protect bees, we really want to be protecting wild, unmanaged bee species, as these are the species which are in decline.”  The study includes a chart of mitigation methods that have been tested in the scientific literature. The mitigation measures under evaluation include: restricting pesticide application to certain times of day, restricting the application of pesticides during weather events, removing flowering weeds that attract pollinators, applying repellents to deter pollinators, and more. The researchers find that there are few empirical tests on the most widely used […]

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

Monday, July 17th, 2023

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

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High Frequency of Household Pesticide Exposure Can Double the Risk of Parkinson’s Disease Among the General Population

Tuesday, July 11th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, July 11, 2023) A study published in Parkinsonism & Related Disorders finds high exposure to household pesticides increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease (PD) two-fold. There is a multitude of epidemiologic research on Parkinson’s disease demonstrating several risk factors, including specific genetic mutations and external/environmental triggers (i.e., pesticide use, pollutant exposure, etc.). However, several studies find exposure to chemical toxicants, like pesticides, has neurotoxic effects or exacerbates preexisting chemical damage to the nervous system. Past studies suggest neurological damage from oxidative stress, cell dysfunction, and synapse impairment, among others, can increase the incidence of PD following pesticide exposure. Despite the widespread commercialized use of household pesticides among the general population, few epidemiologic studies examine the influence household pesticides have on the risk of PD, although many studies demonstrate the association between PD onset via occupational (work-related) pesticide exposure patterns. Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, with at least one million Americans living with PD and about 50,000 new diagnoses annually. Alzheimer’s ranks first. The disease affects 50 percent more men than women, and individuals with PD have a variety of symptoms, including loss of muscle control and trembling, anxiety and depression, constipation and urinary difficulties, dementia, and […]

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Deaths from Building Fumigation Raise Long-standing Health Concerns, Calls for Ban and Adoption of Alternatives

Wednesday, June 28th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 28, 2023) An autopsy report from the Broward County Medical Examiner’s office in Florida found that acute exposure to the fumigant sulfuryl fluoride resulted in the death of two pest control workers from Pompano Beach. After the fumigation of a Pompano Beach warehouse in April, three workers fell ill, and two died after pesticide application. The highly toxic chemical can be used by the chemical pest control industry for killing termites, powder post beetles, old house borers, bedbugs, carpet beetles, moths, cockroaches, rats, and mice. In addition to being highly acutely toxic, sulfuryl fluoride, as a fluoride compound, can cause various chronic adverse health effects, including cancer, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity (reduced IQ), and reproductive damage. This case represents the broader issue of how toxic chemical compounds can enter the body, causing physiological damage. In fact, just last March 2023, a case report article published in Frontier in Public Health confirms one of the first reported deaths from inhalation of the fumigant 1,3-dichloropropene (1,3-D or Telone) during work, resulting in acute renal (kidney) failure, hyperkalemia (high potassium levels in the blood), and brain edema (swelling). Considering over 300 environmental contaminants and their byproducts, including pesticides, are chemicals commonly present in human blood and urine samples, toxicity risk increases when entering the […]

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

Wednesday, June 21st, 2023

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

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Study Links Recurring Pregnancy Loss (RPL) with Pesticide Exposure

Wednesday, June 14th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 14, 2023) A study published in Scientific Reports finds a link between pesticide exposure and recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) through oxidative stress and apoptosis (cell death) in the placenta. Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is the loss of three or more successive pregnancies before 24 weeks of gestation (pregnancy) and signifies an underlying reproductive health issue. The study highlights that pesticides’ endocrine-disrupting (ED) properties can have varying adverse impacts on biological processes, including immunology, metabolism, and reproduction. Pregnant women experience frequent exposure to environmental pollutants that pose serious health risks to both mother and newborn. Many known pollutants (e.g., heavy metals, polychlorinated biphenyl, and pesticides) are chemicals with ED properties that can move from the mother to the developing fetus at higher exposure rates. Additionally, pregnant women are experiencing exposure to an increasing number of dangerous industrial chemicals. With a range of scientific data highlighting chemical exposures during pregnancy as a critical window of vulnerability, public awareness of these threats is growing. The study notes, “They are associated with an increasing placental OS [oxidative stress] and placental apoptosis. Specific measures should be taken to decrease maternal exposure to these pollutants’ sources, especially in underdeveloped and developing countries.” For RPL, the research investigated pesticide components in blood plasma, […]

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Climate Crisis Unleashes Pesticide Contamination from Thawing Permafrost, Elevating Global Emergency

Thursday, June 8th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, June 8, 2023) A study published in Nature Communications finds that climate-induced thawing of permafrost (a ground that remains completely frozen for two or more years) threatens approximately 4,500 industrial sites in regions of the Arctic. These thousands of industrial sites used to store hazardous substances have an estimated 13,000 to 20,000 contaminated locations. Not only do these regions pose a grave ecological risk to the Arctic, but they threaten the entire globe. Many studies warn that thawing permafrost in the Arctic region can prompt the reemergence of greenhouse gases (e.g., methane and carbon dioxide), microbes, and hazardous chemicals (e.g., banned pesticides like DDT, heavy metals, etc.). Gases, microbes, and chemicals can drift near the poles, becoming entrapped in ice under the accumulating snowfall. As the global climate continues to rise and the climate crisis worsens, studies like this heed warning of potential adverse effects as ice encapsulating these toxic chemicals melt. Upon melting, some chemicals can volatilize back into the atmosphere, releasing toxicants into the air and aquatic systems, with the ensuing consequences. Microbes frozen for thousands to millions of years can also emerge from thawing permafrost, with unknown implications on human, animal, and ecosystem health. The melting permafrost is already […]

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Residential Areas and Early Postnatal Complications for Pregnant Women Tied to Banned and Current Pesticides

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 31, 2023) A study published in Chemosphere supports accumulating scientific research confirming that prohibited and current use pesticides are readily detectable in the human placenta. All pregnant women experience exposure to a mixture of complex pesticides like DDT (prohibited organochlorine pesticide [OCP]) and chlorpyrifos (current use organophosphate [OP]), with concentrations high enough to increase possible adverse health risks to the fetus through a placental transfer of chemicals. Prenatal development in the intrauterine environment is one of the most vulnerable periods of exposure, as the fetus is most susceptible to the harmful effects of chemical contaminants. Many studies indicate that prenatal and early-life exposure to environmental toxicants increases susceptibility to diseases, from learning and developmental disabilities to cancer. Given the over 1,300 research studies that demonstrate the link between pesticide exposure and general health effects, studies like this can help government and health officials identify how pesticides’ impact on the body elevates health concerns, especially for future and developing generations. The authors note, “This study highlights the urgent requirement for implementing alternative pest-control methods in agriculture, involving a reduction of chemical pesticides application. Due to the vital role of the placenta in fetal development and its non-invasive sampling, this kind of […]

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

Friday, May 26th, 2023

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

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Scientists Develop Nontoxic Method To Deter Rodents from Eating Planted Seeds in Crop Production

Wednesday, May 24th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 23, 2023) Scientists have developed a nontoxic method to deter rodents from feeding on freshly planted seeds, publishing the approach in the journal Nature Sustainability this month. The new tactic, which confuses mice through olfactory misinformation, has the potential to significantly reduce the use of hazardous rodenticides in farming operations. The approach comes at a time of increased scrutiny around rat poisons, specifically second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides (SGARs), which can result in the secondary poisoning of predators that eat poisoned rodents. Researchers set out with the intent of finding a safe alternative to rodenticides that can effectively reduce pest damage without the need for hazardous interventions. “A simpler approach to pest damage is to manipulate decisions making by problem animals and disrupt their ability to find at-risk foods,” the study indicates. Contrary to the promises of the pesticide industry that its products are ‘silver bullets’ for pest management, the authors propose weaponizing misinformation over brute force by fooling mice into thinking their sought-out food source is not there. Mice and other rodent foragers most often rely on scent and odor to determine where food is located. In the context of this study, farmers plant wheat seeds along rows, […]

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Beehive Products Contain Concentration of Pesticide Residues High Enough To Be a Risk to Consumer Health

Thursday, May 18th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, May 18, 2023) A study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology finds pesticide residues in beehive products pose a safety risk from dietary consumption. Beehive products (i.e., bee bread, propolis, beeswax, and royal jelly) from beekeeping or apiculture are said to have nutraceutical (health and medicinal benefits) properties. However, a wide range of pesticide residues (i.e., tau-fluvalinate, coumaphos, chlorfenvinphos, chlorpyrifos, and amitraz), especially acaricides for killing ticks and mites in hives, may accumulate in beehive products up to concentrations that pose a potential health risk. Environmental contaminants like pesticides are ubiquitous in the environment, with 90 percent of Americans having at least one pesticide compound in their body. Many of these chemical compounds remain in soils, water (solid and liquid), and the surrounding air at levels exceeding U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards. Therefore, individuals still encounter pesticide compounds at varying concentrations, adding to the toxic body burden of those harmful chemicals currently in use. The research methodology includes a review of the scientific literature on pesticide contamination in hive products and a dietary risk assessment. The risk assessment calculation uses scientific studies to determine the recommended daily intake values and concentration data. Researchers compare exposure values in products to health-based guidance, determining the potential acute and […]

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Organophosphate (OP) Pesticides in Agricultural Area Residents’ Urine Year Round

Friday, April 28th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 28, 2023) A study published in Science of The Total Environment finds agricultural communities encounter chronic and measurable pesticide exposure regardless of seasonal pesticide applications. Several biomonitoring studies demonstrate people living adjacent to or within agricultural areas often experience elevated levels of organophosphate (OP) insecticides, even while not working directly with OPs. Six dialkyl phosphate (DAP) metabolites (breakdown products) of OPs persist in urine during the spraying and non-spraying seasons. Despite 75 percent of OPs metabolizing into one or more of the six DAPs and excreting within six to 24 hours after exposure, the consistent levels of DAPs in urine highlight continuous exposure beyond regular seasonal pesticide applications. OP compounds have a global distribution, with evaporation and precipitation facilitating long-range atmospheric transport, deposition, and bioaccumulation of hazardous chemicals in the environment. OPs are highly toxic and, as this study shows, residues are consistently present in human and animal urine, as well as blood, tissues, and milk. Considering 90 percent of Americans have at least one pesticide compound in their body, primarily stemming from dietary exposure, including food and drinking water, advocates maintain that current restrictions on their use must adequately detect and assess total chemical contaminants. The study notes, “We suggest that among agricultural communities that experience […]

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Protect Bees, Trees, You and Me This Earth Day 2023

Thursday, April 20th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 20, 2023) This Earth Day (Saturday, April 22, 2023), Beyond Pesticides urges individuals to spread awareness of the toxic pesticides that poison people and the environment and the safe alternatives that are available to safeguard communities and the surrounding environment. On Earth Day, reflecting on the beauty and wonder of the natural world highlights the importance of restoration and preservation to maintain the planet’s intricate web of life. However, the natural world on which life depends is under dire threat as the dependence on toxic chemicals (e.g., pesticides) enables ongoing environmental contamination. Mechanized and industrial human activity perpetuates ongoing toxic chemical contamination, resulting in massive die-offs of beneficial organisms, increased rates of autoimmune diseases, endocrine disrupting and transgenerational chemical effects, and widespread pollution of our air and waterways. Beyond Pesticides, has the tools needed to increase environmental awareness in your community. Therefore, this Earth Day, Beyond Pesticides continues to advocate for the adoption of organic practices and policies that alleviate threats to ecosystems and enhance biodiversity. Michigan State University professor Thomas Dietz, Ph.D. highlights, “Continuing the successes of environmentalism—an integration of science, a concern with human well-being and justice, and a recognition of the need to consider […]

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Two Pesticides Threaten Dozens of Endangered Species, EPA Proposes Failed Risk Mitigation Measures

Friday, April 14th, 2023

(Beyond Pesticides, April 14, 2023) In March, scientists at the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) issued a draft Biological Opinion (BiOp) stating that carbaryl and methomyl — two commonly used carbamate insecticides — cause significant harm to dozens of already-endangered fish species in the Pacific Northwest’s Columbia, Willamette, and Snake rivers. The BiOp indicates that these toxic compounds, in wide use on orchards and field vegetables throughout the Willamette Valley, the Columbia River Gorge, and southeastern Washington, will likely threaten scores of species on the Endangered Species list: 37 species at risk from carbaryl and 30 from methomyl. In addition, the BiOp says, “both are likely to harm or destroy many areas designated as critical habitat for endangered species.” The mitigation measures proposed by NMFS and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in light of this BiOp, are likely to be inadequate to the problem, given that both compounds can drift through air and/or migrate into groundwater and generate toxic runoff. These two neurotoxic insecticides, carbaryl and methomyl, are very toxic to bees, birds, fish, and other aquatic organisms. In addition, carbaryl is a likely human carcinogen and an endocrine disruptor, and has harmful impacts on multiple bodily systems. Methomyl is […]

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