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Farmworkers and Conservationists Ask Court to Remove Monsanto’s Roundup from the Market

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, December 22, 2020) Opening arguments and evidence were filed by a coalition of farmworkers, farmers, and conservationists last week in litigation challenging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) re-approval of glyphosate, best known as the active ingredient in Monsanto’s “Roundup” pesticides. The lawsuit charges that the Trump Administration unlawfully ignored cancer risks and ecological damage of glyphosate.  Represented by the Center for Food Safety (CFS), plaintiffs, including the Rural Coalition, Farmworker Association of Florida, OrganizaciĂłn en California de Lideres Campesinas, and Beyond Pesticides, filed the federal lawsuit in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in March. The groups seek to have the pesticide prohibited from use or sale because of its unlawful approval. “Farmworkers are on the frontlines of nearly every health and environmental crisis, from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change, and are particularly at risk of health impacts from pesticide spraying,” said Amy van Saun, senior attorney at CFS. “EPA failed these essential workers. It rejected evidence that glyphosate causes cancer and entirely failed to assess the main way people are exposed at work, through their skin.” The court filing includes volumes of evidence showing how EPA ignored glyphosate’s health risks, including cancer risks, to farmworkers and farmers exposed during spraying. The evidence […]

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Animal Fodder – A Driver of the Global Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) Industry

Thursday, April 30th, 2020

(Beyond Pesticides, April 30, 2020) Chemical-intensive farming of crops for animal fodder powers the global market for highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs), according to data analyzed by Unearthed, and the Swiss NGO Public Eye. Animal fodder production not only intensifies global pollution, but it also increases pesticide exposure and degrades human, animal, and environmental health. This data analysis supports advocates advancing pesticide policies to eliminate HHPs by identifying which toxic chemicals lead global pesticide sales. However, it will take more than eliminating the worst chemicals to address the impending biodiversity collapse and the climate crisis, according to experts who point to the need for an urgent shift to organic land and agricultural management practices. United Nations’ (UN) special rapporteur on toxic substances and human rights, Baskut Tuncak, says, “There is nothing sustainable about the widespread use of highly hazardous pesticides for agriculture. Whether they poison workers, extinguish biodiversity, persist in the environment, or accumulate in a mother’s breast milk, these are unsustainable, cannot be used safely, and should have been phased out of use long ago.”  Unearthed and Public Eye investigated over $23 billion in global pesticide market sales to determine the proportion of pesticides considered highly hazardous by the Pesticide Action Network’s […]

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Herbicide Drift from Agricultural Use Found to Harm Bird Habitat

Friday, September 13th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, September 13, 2019) A study on the use of the herbicide dicamba’s off-target effects finds broad impacts, in both geographic spread and the variety of affected species, with use of the weed killer on Arkansas cropland putting birds at risk in agricultural landscapes. Audubon of Arkansas is reporting results of its community science dicamba monitoring project, conducted under the direction of Bird Conservation Director Dan Scheiman, PhD, and launched in late spring 2019. The project monitored dicamba symptomology in species on municipal, state, and federal lands, where dicamba was not applied, but where its impacts were nonetheless detected. Arkansas Audubon “predicts that in a landscape full of GMO crops [genetically modified organisms] (on which dicamba is typically used), the atmospheric loading of volatile dicamba could be enough to cause landscape scale damage to our state natural areas, wildlife management areas, national wildlife refuges, family farms, and the wildlife they harbor.” Dicamba herbicides are volatile compounds used to control broadleaf weeds — especially on fields of GMO soybean and cotton crops that have been genetically engineered for resistance to dicamba. These herbicides damage non-GMO crops and native plants well beyond intended application areas. (In 2017, more than 3 million acres of […]

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Dicamba Herbicide Poses Greater Threat of Drift when Mixed with Glyphosate

Thursday, July 18th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, July 18, 2019) Pesticide products containing the weed killer dicamba become more volatile and drift-prone in hot conditions and when tank-mixed with glyphosate, according to a recent study conducted by scientists at the University of Tennessee. The findings help explain rampant complaints from farmers in the South and Midwest experiencing crop loss and economic hardship as a result of drift from new dicamba products, which are formulated with glyphosate for use on genetically engineered (GE) cotton and soy. While states have taken the lead in regulating the use of GE dicamba products, top political officials within Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s EPA overruled the findings from agency scientists urging larger buffer zones to protect neighboring crops and farm fields. During a 60-hour window, scientists applied various GE dicamba products (Clarity and XtendiMax) over a range of temperatures and took air samples. As temperatures increased, so did the volatilization and drift of dicamba, even in formulations touted as “low volatility.” Adding glyphosate to the mixture produced stark results, increasing concentrations of dicamba in the air up to nine times compared to dicamba alone. Tom Mueller, PhD, a professor in the UT Department of Plant Sciences, stated in a press release that […]

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Take Action: USDA Must Offer Basic Protection from Genetically Engineered Organisms

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, July 16, 2019) USDA’s proposed new rules on genetically engineered (GE) crops exempt almost all GE crops from regulation and allow the company that makes them to decide whether they are safe. The rules proposed by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) benefit companies like Monsanto/Bayer and Dow, but fail to protect farmers, consumers, and the environment. Please tell APHIS to abandon its proposal and support a regulatory system that is consistent with modern science. Tell USDA not to allow companies to approve their own GE crops. The rules would govern USDA’s role in the outdated and fatally flawed “Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology.” The Framework fails to account for the unique risks of genetic engineering, using existing laws like the Plant Protection Act to address issues for which they were not designed. This proposal weakens the APHIS regulations even more. All genetically engineered (GE) organisms—plants, animals, or microorganisms—should be subjected to systematic assessments of human and environmental effects and indirect economic effects (such as contamination of organic or non-GE crops leading to rejection in foreign markets, spread of resistant pests, etc.) before being allowed on the market. These assessments must be made available to the public […]

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Fish and Wildlife Service Sued for Failure to Disclose Use of Bee-Toxic Pesticides and GMO Crops in Wildlife Refuges

Friday, April 12th, 2019

(Beyond Pesticides, April 12, 2019) The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) announced on April 3 that it is suing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) for its failure to release public records, despite multiple FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests, that would reveal on-the-ground impacts of FWS allowing use of neonicotinoids and genetically engineered (GE) crops in wildlife refuges. Last August, in yet another rollback of protections for wildlife, the environment, and public health, the Trump administration reversed a 2014 FWS decision to ban the use of neonicotinoids and GE crops in National Wildlife Refuges. If successful, the CBE lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, would compel the agency to provide the requested documents. This would allow the public, largely through the work of NGO (non-governmental organization) watchdogs, such as CBD and Beyond Pesticides, to understand what harms are being caused on the nation’s protected public lands by the administration’s reversal of the 2014 ban. Hannah Connor, a CBD senior attorney, said, “The goal of the lawsuit is to get them to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and produce the records that have been requested. . . . We aren’t asking them to […]

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Scotts-Monsanto Genetically Engineered Experimental Bentgrass Threatens Oregon Environment, Waterways, and Seed Industry

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

(Beyond Pesticides, July 19, 2018) A variety of bentgrass, genetically engineered by Scotts Miracle-Gro and Monsanto to tolerate the glyphosate herbicide Roundup, escaped from an experimental field planting in Eastern Oregon 15 years ago, and continues to plague area farmers. Bentgrass is prized by those who maintain golf course greens because of its fine texture and habit of spreading in even, horizontal mats. But the genetically engineered (GE) version has become a giant annoyance for farmers and other growers who battle its spread through the irrigation systems of Malheur County in eastern Oregon. The escape of this GE version of Agrostis stolonifera is especially alarming in Oregon, the grass seed capital of the world. The GE grass showed up after crossing the Snake River from where it had been planted in seed fields in Idaho, despite the fact that the USDA had not approved its release into the seed market. By 2010, farmers and others found it spreading in mats across most of the irrigation canals and ditches that snake across Malheur County. It is now found in Jefferson County, Oregon, and Canyon County, Idaho, as well. The growth habit of the perennial grass is what greenskeepers love, but its persistent […]

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EPA Ignores Risks and Expands Uses of Toxic Herbicide Enlist Duo

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

(Beyond Pesticides, January 18, 2017) Despite science affirming its hazards, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has expanded the registration of the toxic herbicide mixture, Enlist Duo, which contains 2,4-D and glyphosate, for use on genetically engineered (GE) cotton and extended its use on GE corn, soybean, and cotton from 15 to 34 states. This approval late last week comes at a time when widespread chemical use is threatening public health and the environment and weed resistance continues to grow, threatening farmers’ productivity and profitability. Over 600 public comments were submitted to EPA on this issue, with many comments vehemently opposing the current uses and the proposed expansion of uses. In its decision, EPA stated that Enlist Duo “meets the safety standard for the public, agricultural workers, and non-target plants and animal species.” However, as Beyond Pesticides stated in comments to the agency, EPA has not fully considered all the environmental costs, including the cost of tackling increased 2,4-D resistant weeds, crop and non-target damages from uncontrolled drift, as well as unanswered questions regarding synergistic chemical effects in non-plant species. Advocates predict weed resistance to Enlist Duo and have urged EPA to reject its continued use and incentive sustainable organic practices. Additionally, […]

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Report Says Farmers Illegally Use Herbicide Dicamba on Glyphosate/Roundup-Resistant Weeds in Genetically Engineered Crop

Wednesday, October 26th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, October 26, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a criminal investigation at several locations in Missouri into the illegal spraying this summer of the herbicide dicamba. EPA’s investigation is ongoing and stems from widespread complaints of damage to various crops across Missouri and several other states in the Midwest and Southeast. Dicamba, a widely used herbicide, has had frequent problems with drift and subsequent crop injury. Many suspect that  farmers who planted the new dicamba-tolerant genetically engineered (GE) seeds in the region, when faced with a proliferation of pigweed this year, illegally sprayed dicamba across their fields, leading to drift and off-site crop damage to other farmers. While USDA has deregulated (approved) dicamba-tolerant crops, EPA is expected to but has not yet registered a formulations of dicamba for use on GE crops. Dicamba is highly volatile and prone to drift. In a statement to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, EPA’s Region 7 office said the Missouri Department of Agriculture received more than 100 complaints since June 22, 2016. The complaints allege damage to more than 41,000 acres of soybeans, and other crops including peaches, tomatoes, watermelons, cantaloupe, rice, purple-hull peas, peanuts, cotton and alfalfa; as well as […]

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GE Crops Lead to Increase in Toxic Herbicide Use

Thursday, September 8th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, September 8, 2016)  According to  a study  published last week by scientists at Iowa State, genetically engineered (GE) crops have not lived up to their promise to reduce pesticide use, and have instead led to an increase in toxic herbicide usage. The research, led by Edward Perry, Ph.D., found “clear evidence of increasing herbicide use by [GE] variety adopters over time for both soybeans and maize,” a finding that they credited partly to the emergence of weed resistance. The detailed dataset analyzed came from the company, GfK Kynetec, which conducts surveys of randomly selected farmers to assess decisions about pesticide and seed choices. The farm-level dataset that the researchers used was collected over the years 1998-2011 and includes a yearly average of 5,424 corn farmers and 5,029 soybean farmers. One striking trend that was noted since 1998 was the increase in the use of  glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup. As of 2011, glyphosate was the primary herbicide used on soybeans, with just over 80% of total herbicide applied, and in corn it made up 40% of herbicide use, representing close to a 20-fold increase since 1998. Marketed as Roundup and other trade names,  glyphosate  is a […]

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Majority of Europeans Want Glyphosate Banned, Use Continues

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

(Beyond Pesticides, April 14, 2016) Two-thirds of Europeans support a ban on glyphosate, the  most widely used agricultural chemical in the world, according to a new poll. This as Germany plans to formally support a European Union (EU) plan to re-license the use of the chemical. Monsanto’s glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular weedkiller, Roundup, has been classified as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), is detected in food, breast milk, and urine, and is increasingly used on genetically engineered (GE) crops, leading to the proliferation of resistant “superweeds” and environmental contamination. The poll conducted by Yougov, an international internet-based market research firm, surveyed more than 7,000 people across the EU’s five biggest countries and find  three-quarters of Italians, 70% of Germans, 60% of French and 56% of Britons support a ban on glyphosate. Despite this, the EU is moving forward on whether to approve a European Commission proposal to extend the authorization of glyphosate for another 15 years until 2031. The existing authorization is due to lapse in June 2016. The decision was delayed after the IARC classified glyphosate as a  Group 2a “probable” human carcinogen  based on […]

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Sublethal Glyphosate (Roundup) Exposure Harms Bees

Friday, September 18th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, September 18, 2015) Glyphosate’s harmful effects continue to accumulate, this time with evidence pointing to toxic and sublethal effects on bees. According to a new study conducted by German and Argentinian researchers, honey bees exposed to low levels of glyphosate have a hard time returning home. Glyphosate, the  controversial and toxic active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, is an herbicide widely used on genetically-engineered (GE) crops as well as on parks and golf courses, for control of weeds and grasses. Along with neonicotinoids, which have been linked to worldwide bee decline by a growing body of science, glyphosate is just another chemical in the toxic mixture that bees and other non-target organisms are constantly exposed to in the environment. In the study, titled “Effects of sublethal doses of glyphosate on honeybee navigation” and published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, researchers evaluate the effects of recommended concentrations of glyphosate used in agricultural settings on honey bee navigation and found that a single exposure to a concentration of glyphosate within this range delays the return of the foraging honey bee to the hive. Flight trajectories were also affected after successive exposure to the herbicide, suggesting that the spatial learning process […]

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Medical Journal Article Identifies Hazards of Pesticides in GE Crops

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

(Beyond Pesticides, August 27, 2015) Last week, Philip J. Landrigan, M.D., and Charles Benbrook, Ph.D., released a perspective article, GMOs, Herbicides, and Public Health, in the New England Journal of Medicine  that outlines  the hazards associated with food residues of  elevated pesticide use in the production  of genetically engineered (GE) crops. While mainstream media continuously misses the central issue  in the GE debate by asserting that these crops are merely an extension of selective breeding and effect a reduction in pesticide use, the authors  focus on  the significance of the actual increase in herbicide use and weed resistance in herbicide-tolerant crops. Drs. Landrigan and Benbrook offer two main recommendations in their article: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should delay implementation of its decision to permit the use of Enlist Duo (the 2,4-D herbicide used with  Monsanto-engineered GE herbicide-tolerant  crop), and  the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should  require labeling of GE foods and couple it with adequately funded, long-term postmarketing surveillance. Dr. Landrigan, Dean for Global Health at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, is an epidemiologist and pediatrician and one of the world’s leading advocates of children’s and environmental health. Dr. Benbrook is a research professor at the […]

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The Touch, the Feel, of GE Cotton?

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, October 8, 2014) After headliners like genetically engineered (GE) Roundup-Ready corn and soybeans failed to deliver on claims of decreased pesticide use and environmental sustainability, instead leading to the rise of “superweeds,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved more dangerous, 2,4-D-resistent versions   shortly after. Now after the predictable failure of Roundup-Ready cotton, USDA is set to approve dicamba-tolerant GE cotton, coming soon to a t-shirt near you.   Feeling a bit itchy now? Join us in telling USDA the solution to “superweeds” is NOT more GE crops and increased herbicide use! Act by October 10, at midnight! USDA’s proposal to deregulate and allow into the environment yet another GE variety will inevitably lead to damaging effects on non-GE crops, native plant species, and environmental biodiversity. USDA acknowledges that the purpose of dicamba-tolerant cotton “is to provide growers with an additional in-crop weed management option to manage [glyphosate resistant] broadleaf weed species,” but introducing crops resistant to other chemical technologies like dicamba may provide short-term relief from resistant weeds, but is not a long-term, sustainable solution to burgeoning weed resistance. This current proposal also includes dicamba-tolerant soybean, as well as a stacked tolerance to the herbicide glufosinate. Contrary […]

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EPA Denies Hazardous Pesticide Use on 3 Million Acres of Texas Cotton Fields

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, July 24, 2014) Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied an emergency application to use a hazardous pesticide, propazine, on 3 million acres of Texas cotton fields, after groups representing environmental, public health, and organic farm interests urged the agency to reject the request based on environmental effects and the predictable nature of the weed resistance to currently used chemicals. Despite determining “that an urgent and non-routine condition exists for Texas growers” when certain weed-densities are reached, EPA’s primary reasons for denying the application focused on health and environmental concerns of the pesticide. As EPA explained, “When conducting human health risk assessment for new use the Agency must first consider the risk profile for currently registered uses and determine if an additional use can be added to the cup.” This aggregate risk assessment is required under the Food Quality Protection Actand in the case of propazine, EPA found that “drinking water estimates suggest that risks from drinking water alone may lead to unacceptable risks . . . .” “While we disagree with the EPA that this meets any of the criteria for emergency exemption, we applaud the EPA for putting the health of people and the […]

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Tell EPA by End of Today: Don’t Bail Out Genetically Engineered Cotton with a Toxic Pesticide

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, July 3, 2014) It was predictable that genetically engineered (GE) cotton sprayed with the weedkiller glyphosate (Roundup) would create resistant superweeds. Now that it has, Texas GE cotton growers recently requested an emergency use of a chemical cousin to atrazine, the herbicide that is demasculinizing frogs by disrupting the endocrine system— on 3 million acres of cotton fields where the weeds have become resistant to the chemical of choice —glyphosate. Stop the GE Pesticide Treadmill! Use Beyond Pesticides’ sample comments for guidance. Help stop the GE treadmill and the use of hazardous pesticides. Join Beyond Pesticides in fighting this predictable “emergency” use because it exemplifies EPA’s practice of allowing increasing dependency on highly toxic pesticides in agricultural systems that are predictably unsustainable, harmful to people and the environment, and for which there are safe alternatives.  This situation is the same toxic treadmill and thinking that is ushering in new 2,4-D-tolerant corn to replace Roundup Ready corn. Emergency exemptions and the use of increasingly toxic herbicides must not be the norm for communities and our environment. Can you help us stop EPA from propping up the failed GE agricultural system?  Submit your comment by midnight July 3. Government does […]

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Petition Seeks Nationwide Refuge Ban of GE Crops and Neonicotinoid Pesticides

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, February 27, 2014) Beyond Pesticides joined Center for Food Safety (CFS), Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), and Center for Biological Diversityearlier this week in filing a formal petition for rulemaking with the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI). The petition demands that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the DOI bureau tasked with managing and regulating the system of National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) across this country, establish better protections for wildlife and their habitat by prohibiting the use of genetically engineered (GE) crops and neonicotinoid pesticides in NWRs as well as other necessary policy changes. The petition asserts that the allowed cultivation of GE crops and use of neonicotinoid pesticides on lands designated as NWRs violates not only the purpose and protective standards of the National Wildlife Refuge Act (NWRA), which seeks to conserve, manage and restore fish wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats for the present and future generations, but also threatens endangered species by resulting in destruction of critical habitat protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Specifically, pollen from GE crops drift and contaminate related wild plants and natural crops. There is also the problem that GE crops are overwhelmingly engineered for […]

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State Bill to Overturn Local GE and Pesticide Limits Introduced in Hawaii

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2014) In the latest attempt to suppress the voice of local communities and scuttle the implementation of laws to protect health and the environment, last week a bill was introduced in the Hawaii State House of Representatives that will preempt (block) local governments from restricting the use of hazardous pesticides and genetically engineered (GE) crops. Though House Bill 2506 is being promoted as the expansion of the state’s “Right-to-Farm Act,” the bill will prevent the implementation of new laws recently passed in Kauai and Hawaii County. Kauai Councilman Gary Hooser explained to The Garden Island, “Both of these bills take away 100 percent of the authority of the county to regulate agriculture, which includes pesticides. It is without question an attempt to nullify Ordinance 960 (formerly Bill 2491), as well as the ordinance passed on the Big Island.” Local communities in the Hawaiian Islands fought a number of hard-won battles last year against intrusions by agrichemical companies spraying pesticides and planting GE crops near where they work, live, and go to school. After massive outpourings of public support, numerous late-night council sessions, and overcoming a mayoral veto, Kauai County passed Bill 2491. Kauai’s Ordinance 960 requires […]

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Supreme Court Denies Family Farmers the Right to Self-Defense from Monsanto Suits

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

(Beyond Pesticides, January 15, 2013) The U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision on Monday  in the landmark federal lawsuit Organic Seed Growers and Trade Association et al v. Monsanto, limiting the ability of farmers to protect themselves from genetic drift. An earlier Appeals Court decision in the case acknowledged genetic drift as inevitable and evoked a public  commitment from Monsanto that it would not sue farmers faced with contamination of crops containing “trace amounts” of the company’s patented genes.  In the past, Monsanto has claimed that farmers were responsible and liable for its genetic property being found on land farmed by farmers who did not pay to cultivate the company’s genetically engineered crop. The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal and reinstate the suit, denying farmers the right to argue their case in court and gain greater protection from potential abuse by the agrichemical and genetic engineering giant, Monsanto. Additionally, the high court decision dashes the hopes of family farmers who sought the opportunity to prove in court Monsanto’s genetically engineered seed patents are invalid. The case, originally filed on behalf of several plaintiffs on March 29, 2011, Organic Seed Growers & Trade Association, et al. v. Monsanto, challenges […]

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The Planting of Genetically Engineered Corn Stopped by a Mexican Court

Friday, October 18th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, October 18, 2013) On October 10, a judge in Mexico issued an injunction against  the planting and selling of genetically engineered (GE) corn seed, effective immediately,  within the country’s borders. The decision comes nearly two years after the Mexican government temporarily rejected the expansion of GE corn testing, citing the need for more research. The decision prohibits agrichemical biotech companies, including Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, PHI Mexico, and Dow AgroSciences, from planting or selling GE corn seed in Mexico, though imports of GE food will still be allowed. This move follows the filing of a class action lawsuit on July  5 by farmers, beekeepers, environmentalists, and scientists, in total representing 53 citizens and 20 civil associations. “The action encompasses what we have been calling for over the past fifteen years: the protection of maize as the staple food of Mexicans and the preservation of our country, free of transgenic crops”¦” said Adelita San Vicente, representing seed interest group FundaciĂłn Semillas de Vida A.C. The injunction was granted by Judge Jaime Eduardo Verdugo J. of the Twelfth District Court for Civil Matters of Mexico City, who cited “the risk of imminent harm to the environment” due to GE crops. […]

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USDA Refuses to Investigate GE Alfalfa Contamination

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, September 25, 2013) Five days after genetically engineered (GE) alfalfa was confirmed to have contaminated non-GE alfalfa in Washington State, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced it would not investigate the incident. Conventional and organic farmers have long been concerned with the economic impacts of GE adulteration, and this incident represents the latest in a long string of contamination events that have brought a global spotlight on the United States’ loose regulatory structure for these controversial crops. GE alfalfa is engineered by Monsanto to be resistant to glyphosate, or “Roundup Ready,” and is the first engineered perennial crop. The contamination could either be a result of cross-pollination or direct contamination of purchased seed. Cross- contamination is highly likely as alfalfa is pollinated by bees that can fly and cross-pollinate between fields and wild sources miles apart. According to a December 2011 report by Stephanie Greene, a Ph.D. geneticist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), after Roundup Ready alfalfa was first deregulated in 2005 industry testing of conventional seed lots found levels of contamination as high as  two percent. USDA claims the contamination is a “commercial issue” and should be addressed by the marketplace and not the […]

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Monsanto Promises Not to Sue for GE Contamination

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, June 12, 2013) A three-judge panel  of the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Monday that a group of organic and otherwise non-GE farmer and seed company plaintiffs are not entitled to bring a lawsuit to protect themselves from Monsanto’s transgenic seed patents after Monsanto made binding assurances that it will not take legal action against growers whose crops might inadvertently be contaminated with traces of Monsanto biotech genes. Organic farmers and others have worried for years that they will be sued by Monsanto for patent infringement if their crops get contaminated with Monsanto genetically engineered (GE) material from GE crops. Organic and non-GE farms get contaminated when pollen or seed migrate from neighboring GE farms. Even though wind or insect transfer of pollen is a natural process, Monsanto has been suing farmers for infringing on their patents if contamination is found on their farms. Monsanto’s history of aggressive investigations and lawsuits brought against farmers is a major source of concern for organic and non-GE agricultural producers since Monsanto’s first lawsuit brought against a farmer in the mid-”˜90s. As of 2012, Monsanto has filed 142 alleged seed patent infringement lawsuits involving 410 farmers and 56 small […]

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Protesters March Worldwide Against Monsanto

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

(Beyond Pesticides, May 29, 2013) Last weekend across the world thousands of protesters rallied in dozens of cities against industry giant Monsanto and its genetically engineered (GE) products. “March Against Monsanto,” a coordinated day of action and protest, was held in 52 countries and 436 cities, including Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles, even after Congress voted against allowing states to require labeling of GE foods. The organizers of the May 25 rally call for labeling of GE foods and further scientific research on the health effects of GE foods. Demonstrators hoped to raise awareness of the issue and waved signs that read “Real Food 4 Real People” and “Label GMOs, It’s Our Right to Know.” They also urge supporters to “vote with their dollar” by buying only organic products and boycotting Monsanto-owned companies. Protesters in the U.S. urged opposition to the so-called “Monsanto Protection Act” which takes away the authority of federal courts to halt the sale or production of GE crops, undermining the courts’ ability to protect farmers and the environment from potentially hazardous GE crops. “We’re marching to raise awareness,” said Dorothy Muehlmann, 30, of Corona, who organized the L.A. march with help from groups such as Occupy […]

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