A Year in Review—2021
Beyond Pesticides wishes our supporters all the best for the holiday season and new year. We look forward to working with you in the new year to meet the serious environmental and public health challenges with truly organic solutions.
With your support of Beyond Pesticides this year, our goal to reverse the destructive environmental and public health path that we’re on is more likely than ever, as we advance the adoption of organic practices and policies that respect life. Our accomplishments are your victories. We are seeing the outcomes in communities across the country—the adoption of organic land management policies and practices that eliminate toxic pesticides, protect children, pets, and families, and protect the local ecology.
With a 40-year track record of successfully advancing systemic change, we know that the solutions are within our grasp. We are honored to work collaboratively to make this happen . . . now and for future generations.
Here are some highlights of how our supporters have helped us this year:
Read Our Entire Message Below
For over four decades, Beyond Pesticides has worked with tens of thousands of people in the United States and globally to fight for healthy air, water, land, and food. We forge ties with nonprofit and volunteer organizations, local governments, and forward-thinking corporations. We work with people who understand the importance of vibrant ecosystems on which all life depends. Our collaborators bridge all affected communities—from urban to rural, parents and youth to medical practitioners, scientists to policymakers, farmworkers to farmers, and gardeners to landscapers. They understand the urgent need to end toxic pesticide use and adopt healthy practices.
Our Vision. Beyond Pesticides shares the vision of people and communities in seeking to ensure a future that protects health and sustains life. We are facing existential crises—the climate crisis, biodiversity collapse, and severe public health threats—from cancer to neurological, reproductive, and endocrine system effects, including brain and behavioral impacts. To reverse these threats, we advance model organic solutions that eliminate billions of pounds of fossil-fuel-based pesticides and synthetic fertilizers and nurture biological systems that take dangerous pollutants out of our environment.
Awards: Organic Pioneers Award ceremony, Rodale Institute. This year, our founder and executive director, Jay Feldman, was awarded the Rodale Institute’s Organic Pioneer Award, an honor that is shared by a long line of farmers, scientists, and activists. With a 40-year history of working with communities nationwide to educate on toxic hazards and organic solutions (policies and practices), addressing agricultural, lawn and landscape management practices that maintain ecological balance, enhance biodiversity and eliminate toxic chemical use, Jay has successfully fought to remove from the market hazardous pesticides and helped draft pivotal local, state and federal organic law. In 2010, he was appointed to the National Organic Standards Board where he served as chair of the Crops Committee. Jay is a past chair and board member of Earth Share, and currently serves on the standards board of the Real Organic Project and the executive committee of the National Organic Coalition. Prior to his founding Beyond Pesticides in 1981, he served as the Health Programs Director of Rural America, an advocacy group for rural areas and small towns. (See a summary of his remarks below.; Please watch this 3½ minute video reflection from Jay Feldman: 40 Years Beyond Pesticides.)
MEETING THE CHALLENGES AHEAD
Beyond Pesticides is working toward the societal transition to practices and policies that eliminate toxic pesticide use. This work intersects with daily decisions made in households, school districts, and municipal and state governments, as well as at the federal level, on crucial issues relating to the health of children, families, and workers, the climate crisis, and biodiversity. Our work helps to inform practices and policies that go to the core of public health protection and the sustainability of ecosystems. Beyond Pesticides has a vibrant program of information services, policy advocacy, and hands-on support to communities, local organizations, and people, as we advocate and teach organic practices.
During these challenging times, as the pandemic continues, we have keyed into timely practical issues of safe management of buildings and land (with a new webpage and factsheets on the 40 most common chemicals used on lawns) that protect without exacerbating effects on human health—respiratory, neurological, and immunological illnesses. At the same time, we participate in virtual community hearings and meetings to advance organic land management that protects people and communities. This work aligns with our work to assist with informed decision- making, ensuring the accessibility of important scientific findings through our databases (Gateway on Pesticide Hazards and Safe Pest Management and Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database), and Daily News tracking of information that is a tool for effective action.
Our broader strategic work continues, as we went virtual with our community-based program across the country to transition land management to organic practices. Our information and community support continue to be an important source of independent scientific and practical information to inform the transition away from toxic pesticides in the face of dramatic declines in environmental quality, the climate crisis, and biodiversity collapse. We will continue to advocate for community policies and practices that embrace transparent decision-making with public participation, and organic compatible materials for land and building management.
At this pivotal time in our country’s history, we are working to not only reverse bad decisions that have ignored science from 2017 to 2021, but to institute broader changes that effect a shift, in both policy and practice, away from pesticide use and to organic land management. We are committed to advancing this vision with the Biden administration. Outside of the opportunities for more protective decisions at the federal level, in the next year we will continue to seek the adoption of model, local, organic land management policies and/or practices in at least a dozen new communities, adding to the 41 communities in 22 states where we are currently working across the country—as we strive to see these models expand to every community in the nation.
Our program bridges policy and practice—reframing strategies that simply go after the endless list of toxic chemicals—and advances a holistic approach that recognizes complex biological communities, the importance of soil microbiota, trophic effects, and ecosystem services in the context of broader human health and environmental protection. This is the framework we adopt as we work at the local, state, and federal level in advancing policy reform. It is especially important as national attention is focused on meaningful systemic change that addresses disproportionate risk to people of color communities and workers, from landscapers to farmworkers.
TAKING A STAND
Beyond Pesticides’ program supports a clear message: End toxic pesticide use and embrace organic practices and policies that respect the power of nature to heal—in the face of devastating and destructive toxic chemical-dependency. This past year has again elevated important public discourse on the threats that pesticides pose to health and the environment. We see in the mainstream culture increased understanding that pesticides threaten health, wreak havoc with ecosystems, create imbalances in nature that escalate threats—and are not needed for cost-effective land and building management. Also, reinforced in the last year, is a deep appreciation for the reality that local advocacy drives the changes that are critical to a livable future—scientific facts coupled with action to advance the adoption of solutions that are within our reach.
Beyond Pesticides thanks all of our donors and supporters for their contributions over the year. Without your help, our mission would not be possible.
Members and Donors. It's a fact. Your support makes our work possible. We provide up-to-the-minute information about the health and environmental hazards of pesticides, pesticide regulation and policy, pesticide alternatives, and cutting-edge science—free of charge to the public. We can't do it without the generosity of people like you. Your donation helps us have the resources we need to continue our important work to protect people and the planet. Please donate a gift today!
Natural Grocers Campaign. We are moving forward with a collaboration with Natural Grocers, which operates in 161 stores in 20 western, southwestern, and Midwest states. For the second year, Natural Grocers is helping to underwrite this work with fundraising campaigns in the stores. This collaboration offers Beyond Pesticides an expanded opportunity to not only raise the resources for our cornerstone work to advance a transition to organic land management nationwide but to leverage the reach of a local retail market as a point of education and outreach.
After years of keeping the training program close to our vest, our partnership with Natural Grocers, and our work with Stonyfield Organic, and our desire to highlight and grow the training program led to the launching of a new webpage –Parks for a Sustainable Future–that provides an overview of our training program and an opportunity for advocates to engage. The webpage includes the ‘nuts and bolts’ process we follow to implement the project, financial arrangements, and background on the organic approach. These resources will be plowed back into our community work to grow the transition to organic land management!
From a public health and environmental protection perspective, these are challenging times. Amid the attack on institutions and laws established to protect children, families, and the environment under the previous federal administration, with many actions and positions still to be reversed, there is an incredibly positive groundswell of activity seeking to achieve these protections in communities across the U.S. We are inspired by the level of effective advocacy and changes in practices that are moving forward nationwide.
Beyond Pesticides continued to work closely with The Black Institute, as we successfully pushed forward with a city ordinance to ban toxic pesticides on the city’s parks and playgrounds. The legislation to allow only pest management materials permitted in organic land management under federal law was passed on Earth Day 2011. Before passage that day, we held a press conference with the sponsor of the bill in a park in front of a public housing project. This collaboration highlights the importance of calling out environmental racism and the disproportionate impact that pesticide use has on people of color communities. In addition, the vast majority of city workers handling and applying pesticides are people of color, resulting in higher exposure patterns and risk of illness. We published a piece, “Stopping Systemic Environmental Racism in New York City Parks,” which is a review of The Black Institute’s report, Poison Parks.
Why We Give Focus to Biodiversity. A vast amount of research demonstrates the importance of protecting complex biological communities. The interrelationship and interdependency of organisms are critical to ecological balance and human survival. With broad-spectrum pesticide use and indiscriminate poisoning with systemic pesticides, an ecological imbalance is created, sacrificing the benefits of nature and escalating pest problems.
In her book, Silent Spring, Rachel Carson alerted the public and government regulators to the importance of protecting complex biological communities. The interrelationship and interdependency of organisms is critical to ecological balance and human survival. With broad spectrum pesticide use, and indiscriminate poisoning with systemic pesticides, an ecological imbalance is created, sacrificing the benefits of nature and escalating pest problems. By focusing, as we do, on the lives of all organisms in the environment and the ecosystem balance that sustains human life, we gain a clearer picture about the crude instrument used to define safety under national and state pesticide law.
Over the last year, we brought focus to several organisms like mosses. Mosses are a fascinating and beautiful part of local ecosystems, filling an important niche, and serving as habitat for literally thousands of microscopic organisms that work in concert with nature. Similarly, our piece on slime molds explains that they eat bacteria and decaying plants, contributing to the recycling of organic matter. They are food for many insects and other arthropods, nematodes, fungi, and bacteria. Additionally, we track the science, with this past year recording the second highest honey bee loss in 15 years. For the “winter” period of October 1, 2020 through April 1, 2021, approximately 32% of managed bee colonies in the U.S. were lost. This represents an increase of 9.6% over the prior year’s winter loss and is roughly 4% higher than the previous 14-year average rate of loss. For the period April 1, 2020 to April 1, 2021, colony loss was 45.5%.
Our work highlights organic farming/ gardening and soil as inextricably linked. As discussed in a workshop at our National Forum by author and research scientist at the School of Integrative Biology at the University of Illinois, James Nardi, PhD, the macro- and microorganisms in healthy soils interact in a symbiotic manner with plant roots, strengthening plants, enabling them to resist diseases, and facilitating water and mineral uptake. In alignment with Dr. Nardi’s work, we see the “wisdom of the weeds”—what we can learn from them, and their contributions, including preventing erosion; conserving nutrients; building soil structure, organic matter, and mineral content; supporting soil biology; sequestering carbon; and encouraging biodiversity.
Outdated chemical-intensive practices are tied to the belief that parks, playing fields, home lawns, and agriculture require toxic chemicals and synthetic fertilizers to meet expectations. So, an approach that recognizes the importance of soil biology in cycling nutrients naturally to feed plants is often new to many land managers who have not evaluated and nurtured the web of microorganisms living in the soil. This attention to the soil systems has been foundational to the success of organic agriculture worldwide. Those critics, who often have a vested economic interest or history in pesticide use and proclaim that organic does not work, are, in effect, challenging the underlying principles of soil management that have enabled the exponential growth of the organic agricultural sector— now a $60 billion industry and the fastest-growing part of the agricultural economy.
Meeting the Challenges with a Transformative Strategy
Our efforts focus on shifting communities’ approach to land and building management to address critical health and environmental issues. To move this goal forward, we carry out activities that advance a holistic awareness of the complex adverse effects and unknowns associated with pesticide-dependent management practices and policies. On a daily basis, we bring attention to and broader understanding of the actual hands-on practices that are protective of health and in sync with nature.
Organic consumers and farmers have invested in the notion that we care not only about land stewardship and what we feed our children and families, but stopping farmworker exposure to hazardous materials and ending the hazards to the fenceline communities where the toxic chemicals used in conventional agriculture are produced. The organic law, of course, requires the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) to consider the cradle-to-grave effects of materials when protecting against adverse effects. We comment on all the issues before the NOSB, which affect the integrity of organic standards and the USDA organic label.
National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). The 15-member board, consisting of four farmers, three environmentalists, three consumers, two food processors, and one retailer, scientist, and certifying agent, votes to allow or prohibit substances and practices in certified organic food and farming. The NOSB acts as a sounding board within the federal government for the organic community, as it considers input from you, the public—the concerned citizens and consumers upon whom organic integrity depends. Our Keeping Organic Strong webpage provides the public with Beyond Pesticides' comments on the issues before the board and instructs people on how to make their voices heard as the NOSB deliberates.
Stonyfield PlayFree and Organic Transition Program. As a result of a large influx of new training sites from the Stonyfield PlayFree and Organic Community Land Management Program, staff have expanded the reach of its community-based work throughout the country. We evaluate management practices and soil biology and then develop a plan for organic practices and compatible products. The program offers training of city and private landscapers and provides ongoing consultative services to ensure successful implementation of the plan. We partner with community organizations to form a collaborative effort to keep the program on track to protect public health and the local ecology.
Local land management and ordinances across the country are just as much about preventing hazards and filling an increasing gap in protection from regulators as it is about recognizing the viability of sound land management practices. These practices do not use toxic chemicals and result in a healthier and more resilient plant life that stands up to stress and is less reliant on limited water resources.
Creating model communities
We are well-positioned to effect changes in communities that serve as a model for other communities. We continue to develop the informational tools that support change agents, whether they are advocates or elected officials. We are also able to provide the technical skills to land managers, which ensure effective implementation of policies and plans for sustainable and organic land management.
The Maui Food Hub
The Maui (food) Hub started as a partnership between Beyond Pesticides, Common Ground Collective and the Haleakala Chapter of the Hawai’i Farmers Union. It was put together quickly as a response to the challenges facing our local farmers due to the COVI-19 crisis, but continues to expand to support the long-term success of our local organic farmers and the gross increase in the amount of organic agriculture on Maui. The Maui Hub recently became an independent 501(c)3 organization, and our Hawaii director of organic land management is the Vice-President of the Board of Directors. As the Maui Hub grows, Beyond Pesticides is committed to ensuring it stays true to its mission to support small organic farmers expand production, and compete against corporate chemical intensive agricultural interests in our local market.
Supporting Small Farmer
Micro Grants for Farmers. In 2020, Beyond Pesticides led the campaign to create a new fund to support Mauiʻs farmers through the Covid-19 shutdowns, with an eye to actually increasing the amount of food grown and produced in the County of Maui. In a historic move, the County Council moved $2.5 million out of the fund that promotes tourism in Maui, into a microgrant fund for our local farmers. We carefully crafted the proviso language to favor small organic farms. Applications for the fund became available in the fall of 2020. Even though the budget language was written to favor organic, Hawaiian and women farmers, the agency that was in charge of distribution is so entrenched in large corporate agriculture, they botched the application process. Many of these operations have never qualified for any agriculture grant funding from the state or federal government before, because their annual sales do not meet the minimum threshold, so building out plans and getting paperwork in was a challenge.
We are currently starting to see the fruits of this initiative. Irrigation systems, seeding tables, tractors, industrial mills, logo/branding/packing support services, greenhouses, various grant-funded projects are happening all over Maui, and it is overwhelmingly organic farms who are expanding because of this funding. We successfully lobbied for another $1.5 million into the FY 2022 budget, with similar language, and were able to fix some of the kinks in the system for this next round of funding.
Other General Small Farm Assistance. With the struggles of Covid-19, and through our work with the Maui Food Hub, we have built solid relationships with both established and up-and-coming farmers. Most of them are either certified organic, or follow native Hawaiian farming methods, which use no synthetic inputs at all. There is amazing potential for the rapid expansion of organic agriculture in Maui if we support these farmers now and into the future. Building trust with these producers and lending support to them in ways that help them grow has been the single biggest blessing of Covid.
The Action of the Week (AOTW) provides our network with one concrete action that can be taken each week to have our collective voice heard to stop governmental actions that adversely affect public, worker, and environmental health, increase overall pesticide use or undermine the advancement of organic, sustainable, and regenerative practices and policies. With almost 18,000 subscribers, the actions generate between 2,000 and 4,000+ participants weekly.
The top five AOTWs with the most contributions include:
- Tell EPA Not to Allow Unnecessary Pesticide Risks (7/22/2021)
- Tell USDA to Ensure that Organic Farming Protects Ecosystems (8/02/2021)
- Biden EPA Must Hold Pesticide Manufacturers Accountable for Poisoning (8/09/2021)
- Tell EPA to Finish the Job in Banning Chlorpyrifos (8/29/2021)
- Tell EPA That the Failed Pesticide Program Needs a New Start (11/06/2021)
Beyond Pesticides issues unique reports to support local activism to move changes in practices and policies that eliminate pesticide use. With this information and the model policy that we have created, local people nationwide have successfully moved change.
Providing a Framework for Advancing Transformative Change
Beyond Pesticides issues unique reports to support local activism to move changes in practices and policies that eliminate pesticide use. With this information and the model policy that we have created, local people nationwide have successfully moved change.
Beyond Pesticides is about building a groundswell of action that drives the necessary changes—changes that take place in people’s homes and gardens, in their purchasing decisions, in their local communities, park districts, school districts, and in management decisions throughout the community. The models we establish in partnership with local communities can be replicated in communities across the country. And since we will not achieve a sustainable, socially just society and world by simply banning or restricting one chemical after the other, we are advancing systemic changes that start at the community level, but intersect with state, national, and international policy and corporate accountability.
Local Chemical Bans. Campaigns to ban specific chemicals are still popular at the local and in some cases the state level. While it is an entry point for bringing public attention to the pesticide problem, it can, if not carefully orchestrated, leave the public impression that the pesticide problem is fixed, while we strategize to change underlying practices, not substitute other toxic chemicals. In this context, we have assisted dozens of communities across the country interested in restricting the hazardous herbicide glyphosate (Roundup), and neonicotinoid insecticides tied to pollinator decline. For example, New York State specifically banned glyphosate in state parks last year, effective December 31, 2021, with no apparent change in practices, which is why we advocate for a holistic approach.
- Pentachlorophenol and Wood Preservatives. After we alerted South Carolina media that the last North American manufacturer of the wood preservative pentachlorophenol, one of the most hazardous pesticides, was moving its production plant to a low-income, majority African American community, a grassroots uproar stopped the move and ultimately production completely. The international Stockholm Convention (U.S. is not a party) forced the manufacturer out of Mexico. With production ceased, EPA stepped in and proposed canceling the pesticide, citing Beyond Pesticides as a source. While EPA’s Office of Pesticide Programs does not like to take regulatory action against a pesticide without manufacturer and user community agreement, the world is moving away from chlorinated hydrocarbons and our work to bring the U.S. along has been a long time coming.
- End-Use of Glyphosate and Chlorpyrifos.Over the last year, we have critiqued EPA and corporate decisions to restrict chemical uses. Bayer (Monsanto) announced that it was withdrawing from the market the residential uses of the cancer-causing weed killer Roundup/glyphosate, and EPA announced that it was cancelling the food uses of the brain-damaging insecticide chlorpyrifos. EPA was forced into its decision to stop remaining agricultural uses by a court order that was precipitated by an agency decision to reverse course after ignoring a decision in 2017 to stop food uses of chlorpyrifos. Beyond Pesticides and others campaigned to remove Dursban/chlorpyrifos from the market because of indoor ambient air contamination of homes and buildings and lawn and landscape exposure. Beyond Pesticides is working to stop the pesticide treadmill, with the next insecticide, bifenthrin. It too is a neurotoxic, cancer-causing, endocrine disrupting pesticide.
- PFAS Work. Through connections within a Massachusetts mosquito coalition, Beyond Pesticides worked with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) on issues related to the presence of PFAS chemicals (perfluorinated compounds) contaminating pesticide products. PEER staff relentlessly pursued the issue –finding a way to test the product and discovering that their hunch about contamination was correct. We provided background information on the deficiencies of the pesticide registration process that would allow this sort of contamination to occur. This collaboration resulted in Beyond Pesticides being interviewed for an article on the issue published in E&E news: EPA-linked consultant undercuts agency's PFAS concerns. This issue has the potential to become huge because it highlights the interconnected problems associated with toxic chemical dependency, the interrelationship of contaminants in the pesticide production process, hazardous inerts and other unknown ingredients, and other related issues that increase both the known and yet to be fully understood hazards. We continue to engage with this issue through a building coalition of a range of state and national groups, including Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA), Toxic Free North Carolina, Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), and Center for Food Safety, and others. This group has been meeting every other month to plan potential actions of collaborations around legislation to restrict pesticides and PFAS, particularly in the context of recent legislation passed in Maine over the summer requiring state tests on pesticide products to ensure no PFAS is present.
Pesticides and You. We published The Coronavirus Chronicles, a 72-page issue of Pesticides and You that conveys issues that have emerged during the pandemic. These issues are directly relevant to our mission and the transition as a society away from toxic chemical dependency. The breadth and depth of the issues span specific hazardous materials (such as those in disinfectants, despite the availability of alternatives), new food systems that support local and organic farmers (food hubs), the importance of sound science to decision-making, and addressing disproportionate risk to people of color communities (essential workers, farmworkers, and landscapers). Additionally, with the new administration, we put together strategies and issues of importance for federal agencies. Whether addressing agriculture or the management of parks, playing fields, rights-of-way, and residential areas, policies that allow continued reliance on synthetic toxic pesticide promote ecological imbalances that are at the heart of the escalating deterioration of ecosystems and life that depends on them. The policies and practices that we have advanced address this. In addition, to this end and because the interrelationship and interdependency of organisms are critical to ecological balance and human survival, we continued our series on tracking biodiversity.
The Path Moving Forward: Organic. Beyond Pesticides has taken a holistic approach to advancing sustainable, organic practices and policies to solve the pesticide poisoning and contamination problem and the range of existential adverse effects. This framework provides the foundation for ending pesticide dependency in all aspects of use, agricultural and nonagricultural. Our implementation of organic land management is a partnership with local community groups and local governments. We collaborate with groups, such as Protect South Portland and Portland Protectors (ME), Eco-Friendly Parks NYC, Toxic Free Philly, Bee Safe Minneapolis, and Toxic Free Pima County (AZ). This collaboration extends to municipal parks departments through which we conduct a robust program to: 1. Educate on holistic organic management, its importance to health and the environment; 2. Evaluate soil and management practices; 3. Produce an organic transition plan; 4. Assist with implementation. Nationally, we have teamed up with Stonyfield Organic, and throughout the west, we are working with Natural Grocers, which has 162 stores in 20 states.
38th Natural Pesticide Forum. Cultivating Healthy Communities: Confronting health threats, climate disasters, and biodiversity collapse with a toxic-free future, was co-convened by Beyond Pesticides and the Institute for Exposomic Research, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai. The affiliation with a medical institution that understands and teaches the relationship between toxic chemical exposure, environmental hazards, and public health is critical to solving the existential threats associated with toxic pesticide use. The medical institution’s involvement with the conference is not only important in bringing medical practitioners and scientists to the discussion, but it serves as a model for other medical institutions to engage with the issues. Over four weeks in May-June 2021, this Forum brought together over 600 people and organizations from 15 countries and is now being offered for free on the conference platform through our website. Look forward to our 2022 conference.
Check out the 2021 Forum session and listen to the amazing speakers.
Beyond Pesticides' website serves as a hub for a range of regulatory and policy advocacy, information services to people nationwide and around the globe, networking through coalition work and the convening of our National Forum, and on-site training on organic land management in communities that are collaborating with Beyond Pesticides on demonstration parks and playing fields.
New and Updated Webpages
Beyond Pesticides' website serves as a hub for a range of regulatory and policy advocacy, information services to people nationwide and around the globe, networking through coalition work and the convening of our National Forum, and on-site training on organic land management in communities that are collaborating with Beyond Pesticides on demonstration parks and playing fields.
New and Updated Webpages
The information we provide performs the unique function of providing hands-on information and strategy. We are working daily with grassroots people, volunteer and nonprofit organizations, and those in policy, decision-making, and land and facilities management positions to address issues on the hazards of pesticide use, safe and organic alternative strategies that eliminate toxic pesticides, and local and state policies that embrace the adoption of ecological approaches to land and building management.
Some of our new or updated (*) webpages include:
- Commercial Herbicide Analysis
- 40 Common Chemicals Used on Lawns and Landscapes
- Gateway on Pesticide Hazards and Safe Pest Management*
- Parks for a Sustainable Future
- Safer Disinfectants and Sanitizers*
Regulatory Action and Comments
We create a public record on scientific decisions that are being undermined by poor public policy that allows hazardous pesticide use, despite the availability of alternatives. We commented on key issues on paraquat and Parkinson’s disease, the environmental impact of herbicide use in Lake Tahoe and broader implications for aquatic weed management, neonicotinoid insecticide effects to pollinators and ecosystems, EPA interim decisions and mitigation proposals on widely used synthetic pyrethroid insecticides, among others.
Policy and Action
FIFRA Reform: Protect America's Children from Toxic Pesticides Act (PACTPA). Beyond Pesticides continues to engage with efforts to enact comprehensive FIFRA (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and the Rodenticide Act) Reform. The Protect America’s Children from Toxic Pesticides Act was jointly introduced by retired U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO). Beyond Pesticides signed on in support, but noted that the bill did not represent the sort of comprehensive, systemic reform that is necessary to truly impact the way pesticides are approved in the U.S. We are working up a document and additional material that will further support our position, as well as present reasonable amendments to this bill that would improve its impact and further energize the grassroots. Conceptually, much of our perspective is contained in our piece “Advancing Foundational Change” in the Coronavirus issue of Pesticides and You. While much can be achieved administratively, legislation is needed to codify the principles we are advancing so we can institutionalize change and not be subject to the discretion of different administrations. If we cannot convince either Rep. Neguse or whomever will be the new Senate sponsor [Senator Corey Booker] to add these changes, we will look towards other elected officials. We are glad that important conversations are occurring around FIFRA reform.
Save America’s Pollinators Act (SAPA) 2021. We continue to advocate for the passage of SAPA, which was reintroduced by U.S. Representatives Blumenauer (D-OR) and McGovern (D-MA) during Pollinator Week. We collaborated with NRDC to update the legislation in anticipation for a potential Senate version, but have yet to receive word on this due to coronavirus delays. Our updates made were incorporated into this latest version of the House Bill. The newest bill language improves the standard to which the proposed Pollinator Protection Board (PPB) regulates toxic pesticides, making determinations on whether the pesticide presents a hazard, based upon the potential to cause harm, including injury, illness, or damage to honey bees, and other pollinators, or pollinator habitat. This language would set pesticide regulation more in line with the precautionary approach taken by the European Union and other international bodies. We participated in a virtual lobby day with Friends of the Earth, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety, and regional organizations. We are urging the new chair of the House Agriculture Committee to schedule a hearing on the bill.
Saving New Hampshire’s Pollinator’s Act – HB646. Beyond Pesticides continues to fight for the passage of HB646. We remain in close contact with State Rep. Sofitikus (D), who has championed this and other progressive legislation in New Hampshire. The bill was assigned to a member of the Agriculture Committee to conduct its study session over last summer, however, the Covid crisis resulted in postponement. With Republications in the majority, a straight party-line at the end of September resulted in a decision not to move the legislation in the 2021 session. While waiting for possible movement after the next election, there is interest from other members of the Ag committee to make changes to the structure of that state’s pesticide review board.
Rhode Island Neonic Bill. The Rhode Island Audubon contact Beyond Pesticides after they heard our testimony at a Massachusetts' Pesticide Board hearing on neonicotinoids. We did provide input and our vision for strong comprehensive state pesticide legislation. The initial bill included a broad and a complete outdoor ban on neonicotinoid insecticides, but was amended in committee to a consumer ban and was recently voted out favorably and is set for a floor vote.
New Mexico Neonic Bill. As part of our efforts to work in New Mexico, we connected with friendly NGOs at Xerces and Defenders of Wildlife who are working on legislation to protect pollinators in the state. The NM bill would have been the strongest pollinator act in the country as it would ban the use of neonics on any flowering, pollinator-dependent crops. The legislation, pushed forward by the Senate President, made it through several rounds of committee hearings, which Beyond Pesticides testified in support of, and made it to the Senate floor. Unfortunately, the bill was defeated by a narrow margin—18-20. This is unlikely to be the end, however, as there is now a strong coalition in the state that will continue to push the legislature toward safer practices for New Mexico’s unique and threatened desert pollinators.
Nevada Neonic Bill. Our opportunity to weigh in on a pollinator bill in Nevada came about through our relationship with the Toyabe chapter of the Sierra Club. They were in contact with a lawmaker, who we provided our model policy to. Ultimately, the bill had long odds, but lawmakers failed to take a strong stance by fighting for broader protections, and the bill died in committee in any case. Although Nevada is a relatively liberal state, there will need to be significant efforts put into changing minds of state legislators in order improve pollinators protections.
Virginia Neonic Bill. Virginia’s pollinator legislation is an interesting case for a state where liberal lawmakers have control of the legislature for the first time in decades. The draft version of this legislation would have required some limited restrictions around neonic use, and neighbor notification procedures, but also included a provision rolling back state pesticide preemption by affirming local authority for communities to restrict pollinator-toxic pesticides on private property. We suggested an amendment that would allow communities to restrict more pesticides than just neonics, as a broad range of pesticides are toxic to pollinators. Although that amendment was accepted into the original introduced version, it was struck down soon after the lawmaker took a meeting with industry stakeholders. The bill was subsequently weakened into a study bill, that was to be run by industry. Then, this version of the bill was ultimately voted down in an extended session in the state Senate. We are pleased that this weaker version was voted down, and hope to return to these efforts in VA during the next legislative session, where we will continue to push lawmakers around the angle of pesticide preemption, given the opening provided with the originally introduced version.
Maine Neonic Bill. Beyond Pesticides has worked to engage with as many pieces of pollinator protection legislation introduced. In Maine, advocates at the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) identified the need for a landscaper to highlight how neonics were not necessary. Beyond Pesticides board member Chip Osborne provided expert testimony to Maine lawmakers about the hazards associated with neonic use in grub control, and the benefits of alternative management practices. Maine ultimately passed, and the Gov signed, what is now the strongest neonic restrictions of any state – eliminating all outdoor uses, with exemptions for agriculture and invasive species.
Massachusetts Neonic Bill. Legislation banning retail neonic sales has been in limbo for years due to the Massachusetts Speaker of the House determination that because it did not have unanimous support, it would not receive a vote. This year, the bill received more cosponsors than it did the previous year, boding well for the effort. Beyond Pesticides testified in favor of the legislation, and it did make its way through its first committee, but was ultimately voted down. However, the issue was revived through the MA Department of Agriculture and Pesticide Board and, as a result of significant public pressure, MA became the first state in the country to make neonics restricted use through a regulatory process. This effort is a testament to the strong coalition of advocates that are actively engaged in efforts to reform pesticide use in MA. Despite constantly coming up against roadblocks and delays, Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA)-MA can still find ways to pack meeting rooms and zoom calls with passionate advocates.
Sulfoxaflor Litigation. Beyond Pesticides has joined with Center for Food Safety and Conservation Law Foundation in a suit aimed at cancelling uses of sulfoxaflor, after legal action failed to stop the Trump administration from registering this bee-toxic pesticide. Unfortunately, this case remains in the courts because the Biden administration has decided to defend the previous administration’s allowance to use this next-generation, bee-toxic neonicotinoid.
Massachusetts Mosquito Legislation and Coalition. The organization has been substantively engaged in efforts to reform state mosquito control laws in Massachusetts. As a result of the coalition’s work, we were able to achieve significant improvements to accountability and transparency, establishing a ‘21st century mosquito task force’ that we will monitor with the coalition. The MA mosquito coalition continues to meet on a bi-weekly basis to discuss the latest with mosquito control in the state and has begun to take a broader look at other pesticide-related issues and bills that are under consideration by state lawmakers. We have also worked on cutting edge stories, like PFAS contamination in pesticide products throughout the supply chain. We believe that this broad coalition of roughly a dozen groups can be a force for systemic change in the state, as it we advocate for stronger pesticide reform laws in the MA legislature.
Model Mosquito Policy. As a part of the compromised mosquito legislation in Massachusetts, local communities are required to establish their own mosquito plan in order to be allowed to opt-out of state spraying. Although state regulators are tasked with providing guidance to local communities on this issue, we are not waiting on that in order to move forward. To that end, Beyond Pesticides has put together a model mosquito management policy for communities. Two versions of the policy were created—one that allows adulticiding, but provides opportunity for a community-led task force to disapprove a planned application, and another that charges that same task force with determining whether adulticiding is appropriate in the first place. A section-by-section analysis was produced for each document. Our goal is to have communities in MA adopt these policies as an opt-out from state spraying. As we continue to update our mosquito webpage, we will publish this policy as part of our new content.
Maui County Pesticide Bill. The Maui County Council passed our organic land management bill on February 2021. The law prohibits the use of all synthetic pesticides and fertilizers on all county property, including parks, roadways and the county golf course. This will affect all three islands in Maui County; Maui, Lānaʻi and Molokai. Two votes in front of full council are required for it to become law, and it is expected to pass with a veto-proof majority. The ordinance takes effect one year from passage, with an exception for the golf course, which has three years to transition. Beyond Pesticides spent years building support for this bill, educating the departments on organic land management practices and pesticide alternatives useful for roadsides, such as steam machines, mechanical mowing equipment, weed mats, etc. The bill was widely supported by environmental groups, marine scientists, and the Hawaiʻi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Hawaiʻi County Glyphosate Bill. In 2019, Hawaiʻi County Council passed a bill prohibiting the use of all synthetic herbicides on county-owned lands, including parks and roadways. The bill was vetoed by the mayor and failed the vote to overturn the veto. In 2020, Beyond Pesticides staff and board members visited Hawaiʻi County to conduct organic land management training for the Parks Department and demonstrate the use of steam equipment for weed management along roadways. This council session, Council Member Villegas is introducing a bill that would prohibit the use of glyphosate products on county-owned lands, as this may be more politically viable. We have worked with the (new) Parks Director to ensure that funding for herbicide alternatives is included in the coming budget, and to get this matter referred to the Climate committee as well so we can use this as a springboard for more holistic land management discussions.
Washington State Sewage Sludge Legislation. Beyond Pesticides worked with Darlene Schanfald of Sewage Sludge Free WA/Sierra Club WA on a draft of policy approaches to address the use of sewage sludge in composts. Darlene received word from her local Congresswoman of interest in drafting a scoping document outlining various policy positions that could be worked up for future legislation. We recommend a law that prohibits using the term natural/organic/ecofriendly on fertilizer labels, and include a warning label on products that contain sewage sludge. We also provide a proposal to prohibit the use of sewage sludge on all food crops. Corollary proposals would ban all consumer sales of sludge and prohibit all sludge applications on arable land.
Regulatory Comments and Oversight
Atrazine, Simazine, and Propazine Registration Review; Draft Endangered Species Act Biological Evaluations [EPA-HQ-OPP-2020-0514] – February 18, 2021
The Draft Endangered Species Act Biological Evaluations each for atrazine, simazine, and propazine released for comments comprehensively assess potential risks that all registered uses for the respective chemical may pose to an individual of a listed species or designated critical habitat. The Biological Evaluations encompass the review of all the registered uses and any agreed-upon changes from the technical registrants, and the approved product labels and mitigation measures for all pesticide products containing the specified chemical. However, we note that the evaluations do not consider potential risks of combined or additive exposures for a given chlorotriazine herbicide with other chlorotriazines or pesticide products in nearby or overlapping treatments or possible tank mixes. Such combined exposures with possible additive or synergistic toxicities could substantially elevate the likelihood of adverse effects to a given listed species and/or critical habitat. Therefore, we urged the agency to move swiftly to complete its final registration review decision and revoke the registration of these compounds due to the high-risk findings and demonstrated adverse impacts as reported in the completed Interim Registration Review Decisions.
Glyphosate Registration Review; Draft Endangered Species Act Biological Evaluations [EPA-HQ-OPP-2020- 0585]—March 21, 2021
Glyphosate is the world’s most widely used herbicide, and according to EPA, 281 million pounds of glyphosate are used just in US agriculture, and glyphosate is sprayed on 298 million acres of crop land each year. The Draft Endangered Species Act Biological Evaluation for glyphosate identifies virtually all listed species and critical habitats as likely adversely affected by its use, mostly from the non-agricultural uses. ESA §7(a)(2) consultations with the Services are therefore mandated to confirm whether listed species are indeed in jeopardy from continued use of glyphosate containing products. We urged the agency to move swiftly to complete its final registration review decision and severely restrict the registration of glyphosate products due to the high-risk findings and likely adverse impacts to listed species.
Pesticide Registration Review: Proposed Interim Decision for Pentachlorophenol, Case 2505 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0653]— May 18, 2021
In this Proposed Interim Decision, the agency recommended the cancellation and phase-out of all registered products containing pentachlorophenol. We supported this long overdue action that will now bring the U.S. into conformance with the Stockholm Convention banning pentachlorophenol and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) joined by over 150 countries but never ratified by the U.S. We further recommend that the “phase-out” be immediate rather than unnecessarily protracted. There is one troubling aspect to the agency’s decision as stated in the PID, namely the supporting factor listed for the agency’s decision being based on the “uncertain future of pentachlorophenol production”. Whether a manufacturer or proponent for continued registration of a chemical exists should be irrelevant to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) statutory requirement for registration that evidence exists to demonstrate the chemical will not pose an unreasonable risk. The available evidence for pentachlorophenol in contrast clearly demonstrates the opposite, the continued use of this chemical does pose unreasonable risks and should not be registered. We not that it ss fine if a registrant voluntarily requests cancellation of their registration, but it is the responsibility of the agency to move forward with cancellation after due diligence if the registrant has failed in their burden to satisfactorily demonstrate such registration will not pose an unreasonable risk of adverse effects.
Pesticide Registration Review: Proposed Interim Decision for Creosote, Case 0139 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0823]; Chromated Arsenicals, Case 0132 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0349]; and Dichromic Acid, Case 5012 [EPA-HQ-OPP-2010-0243]—May 18, 2021
These comments recommend that the agency immediately suspend the registrations of creosote, CCA-C, and dichromic acid until the numerous ecological effects and exposure monitoring data requirements identified have been submitted and fully assessed. We note that there is a lack of data pertaining to risks posed by these chemicals weighed against the purported benefits are reasonable given the many existing alternatives. Further, we urge the agency to immediately cancel the registrations of the two chromated arsenicals ACZA and ACC. Data within the proposed interim decision (PID) for these chemicals indicate almost no use of ACZA and ACC was recently withdrawn from the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) Book of Standards for use as a preservative. The PID also lacked consideration of adverse effect risks for these compounds. We concluded that, under the statutory requirements of the Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act (FIFRA, it is unreasonable to continue the registrations of ACZA and ACC. Similarly, we recommended the agency cancel creosote oil and coal tar registrations because these active ingredients were not assessed in the creosote PID and there are no currently active product registrations containing these ingredients.
Proposed Interim Decisions on amicarbazone (EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0400), aminopyralid (EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0749), endothall and its salts (EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0591), fluoxastrobin (EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0295), ipoconazole (EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0590), metconazole (EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0013), prometon (EPA-HQ-OPP-2013-0068), pronamide (EPA-HQ-OPP-2009-0326), propargite (EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0131), prothioconazole (EPA-HQ-OPP-2015-0474), pyrasulfotole (EPA-HQ-OPP-2016-0391), and spiromesifen (EPA-HQ-OPP-2014-0263)—June 22, 2021
The Propose Interim Decisions (PIDs) and our comments outline many serious adverse effects caused by the 12 pesticide compounds within the decision. In deciding the reasonableness of the risks, we suggested EPA must balance them against risks presented by other systems. We note that it is possible to raise the crops in question without toxic pesticides because organic farmers do. We conclude that the serious adverse effects identified in these PIDs are therefore unreasonable unless EPA’s mitigation measures will eliminate them. The mitigation measures proposed in the PIDs are inadequate, as they impact human, animal, and environmental health.
Proposed Section 3 registrations for new products containing the active ingredients Bacillus velezensis strain RTI301 and/or Bacillus subtilis strain RTI477 – July 12, 2021.
EPA proposed a review of new products containing the active ingredients Bacillus velezensis strain RTI301 and/or Bacillus subtilis strain RTI477.The database concerning the active ingredients and the products containing them is not complete. One of the proposed end-use products contains the insecticide bifenthrin. Even if the risks to these products are relatively low, as claimed by EPA and the registrant, they are greater than the known alternative, organic production. In deciding the reasonableness of the risks, EPA must balance them against risks presented by other systems. We know that it is possible to raise the crops in question without toxic pesticides because organic farmers do it. The adverse effects identified in this proposal are therefore unreasonable unless EPA can eliminate them. Inaddition, we also note the lack of endocrine disruption screening, thus overlooking associated health concerns.
Public Participation for Ipflufenoquin, new active ingredient for use on pome fruit and almond –July 12, 2021
EPA proposed registration for the new active ingredient ipflufenoquin. We note in the comments to EPA that ipflufenoquin’s relation to quinoline compounds demonstrates the potential toxicity of the chemical. Furthermore, the chemical is a fungicide and we asked EPA to consider that fungicides have greater association with latent diseases, such as cancer, and exposure to quinoline compounds can induce carcinogenic tumors. Thus, ipflufenoquin has the potential act similarly. Therefore, we suggested EPA should reject and prohibit registration of ipflufenoquin for fungicide use. An adequate assessment must include an evaluation of the potential adverse effects cited in this document in relation to underlying conditions and comorbidities that exist in these communities, with specific attention to each potential health outcome and its potential disproportionate effect on people of color.
Pesticide Registration Review: Proposed Interim Decision for Pentachlorophenol, Case 2505 –August 27, 2021
Beyond Pesticides and the Ecological Rights Foundation commented on the Proposed Interim Decision (“PID”) for pentachlorophenol (“PCP” or “penta”). Although the comments were past due, there were a number of other commenters in this Docket have submitted comments beyond the comment deadline, which have apparently been accepted by EPA as part of this Docket. The sampling data submitted in this comment letter has not been provided by any other commenter in this Docket and therefore will be beneficial toEPA in considering the issues involved in the PID, primarily the human health and the environmental impacts of PCP. This letter provides field data on the actual discharge of contaminants from treated wood utility poles treated with PCP. This data was gathered during site inspections of Pacific Gas & Electric (“PG&E”) and other utility service centers that house stacks of new penta-treated wooden utility poles, and bins for penta-treated wood waste, in outdoor areas where they are exposed to stormwater. Dioxins, PCP, and various metals (copper, arsenic, iron, and zinc) are discharged from penta-treated utility poles when they are exposed to stormwater.
EPA Draft Biological Evaluations for Imidacloprid, Clothianidin, and Thiamethoxam –October 25, 2021
EPA proposed Interim Registration Review Decisions for the neonicotinoid insecticides imidacloprid, clothianidin, and thiamethoxam issued in 2020. However, the agency made no final endangered species finding nor human health or environmental safety findings associated with the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program. Furthermore, we note that EPA recognized the many serious health and ecological risks of concern associated with the uses of these neonicotinoids, but asserted the remaining serious risks after the adoption of all proposed mitigation measures are outweighed by the benefits of their use. We ardently disagree with this assertion as the benefits are overstated and improperly considered. We also urge the agency to move swiftly to complete its final registration review decision and revoke the registration of these compounds due to findings of high risk and demonstrated adverse impacts as reported in the draft Interim Registration Review Decisions.
Resources Page. The resources page is a user-friendly information tool, displaying easy-to-read boxes highlighting the featured resources under our “Resources” tab, with descriptions. This page allows users to navigate through the plethora of information on our website as the box description can direct users to the resources they are looking for. The descriptions are especially helpful as users will now spend less time searching through our website to find the location of specific information. In addition, the resources page may also encourage users to explore the site further, sparking curiosity in the information we offer. New resources include easy access to the pesticide-free policies/communities across the U.S., as well as a link to the 40 most used lawn chemicals webpage.
Daily News Blog. These information-rich articles are posted every business day on the Beyond Pesticides website. Between regular readers and traffic driven by google news results and social media, the blog has tremendous reach. In fact, thanks to YOU, the total number of reads this year surpassed 355,000, with an average of over 2,500 readers per blog post.
Top 5 Daily News of 2021
- Danone (Horizon Organic) Threatens the Backbone of Organic Dairy—Family Farms and Their Consumer Supporters (16,455)
- Proposed Bayer/Monsanto Settlement for Roundup Victims Offers Payments and Challenges (12,003)
- Roundup Shown to Kill Bees—But Not How You Might Expect (10,740)
- Kids Who Eat Organic Food Score Higher on Cognitive Tests, Study Finds. (8,841)
Top Daily News Per Month
- January: New York State Bans Glyphosate/Roundup on State Land, While Advocates Push for Organic Land Management.
- February: Proposed Bayer/Monsanto Settlement for Roundup Victims Offers Payments and Challenges.
- March: Court Rules Soil-less Hydroponics Allowed Under Organic Standards, Organic Farmers/Consumers Say No.
- April: Roundup Shown to Kill Bees—But Not How You Might Expect.
- May: Breakdown Products (Metabolites) from Pesticides May Be More Toxic than Parent Compound, Study Finds.
- June: Vineyard Pesticides Linked to Parkinson’s.
- July: Kids Who Eat Organic Food Score Higher on Cognitive Tests, Study Finds.
- August: Maui Prohibits Toxic Pesticides and Fertilizers on County Land, Allows Only Organic-Compatible Materials.
- September: Danone (Horizon Organic) Threatens the Backbone of Organic Dairy—Family Farms and Their Consumer Supporters.
- October: Glyphosate Kills Microorganisms Beneficial to Plants, Animals, and Humans.
- November: CA Supreme Court Upholds $87M Award in Glyphosate Damage Lawsuit, Bayer/Monsanto Challenge Fails.
- December: Court Steps In to Stop Pesticide Use Not Adequately Regulated, Protects Bees.
ManageSafe Database. Our hands-on information through ManageSafe, our database of practical solutions to pest issues, is a central clearinghouse of information on eliminating hazardous pesticides in land and building management. Our neighbor-to-neighbor program distributed 400 Pesticide-Free Zone signs (ladybug, bee, and organic landscape) and in 33 states, the District of Columbia, and four Canadian provinces, 1,500 doorknob hangers on safe lawns and mosquito management in 19 states, and the District of Columbia.
Map of U.S. Pesticide Reform Policies. Beyond Pesticides’ map of U.S. Pesticide Reform Policies now includes 18 pesticide-free park policies, 47 with restrictions that protect pollinators, 103 that apply to public spaces, and 27 that extend restrictions to private land, and has been viewed 74,100 times.
Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database (PIDD). Beyond Pesticides updated the website to incorporate more recent scientific studies to the Pesticide-Induced Diseases Database (PIDD). Many of the studies available in PIDD challenge the effectiveness of risk‐assessment‐based regulation which is intended to manage adverse disease outcomes. We developed a relational search engine to enable a search for multiple diseases, some of which can be co-occurring. This search engine is helpful to medical professionals, academic scholars, lawncare/landscape workers, and laypeople alike, as its ease of use allows users to find over 1,174 studies related to pesticide exposure and over 75+ diseases. Additionally, the “and”/“or” function of the search engine allows users to find articles related to pesticide exposure and multiple diseases at once.
Pesticide Gateway. The Gateway is an expanding database of over 300 pesticides containing information about specific pesticide environmental and health effects, regulatory action, and uses. Recent additions to the Gateway include a section on how to find the active ingredients on the label. We occasionally receive information requests regarding specific pesticide products. However, with over 20,000 registered pesticides, it’s nearly impossible to include all products. Thus, the section encourages users to identify the active ingredient in pesticide products. The Gateway provides valuable information about pesticides that anyone can access.
Safer Disinfectants and Sanitizers. With the increase in the use of sanitizers and disinfectants during Covid-19, we continued to build out our Covid-19 Pandemic webpages, including up-to-date information on safe hand sanitizers and disinfectants, and a Q&A style factsheet on Answering Questions about Toxic Sanitizers and Disinfectants. We produced a factsheet, on the hazards of quaternary ammonium compounds, also known as “quats” or “QACs,” which are in many cleansers and increase the risk of asthma and adverse reproductive effects.
Access the information on disinfectants and sanitizers: Disinfectants and Sanitizers to Protect Against Covid-19.
40 Common Chemicals Used on Lawns and Landscapes. Beyond Pesticides recently launched the 40 Common Lawn Pesticides factsheets for both the health and environmental effect of the most common pesticides used on lawns and landscape, with an accompanying webpage. (This updates our popular 30 Common Lawn Pesticides factsheet.) The factsheets include information from the updated pesticide data usage for EPA (2020), as well as other agencies, institution, or organizational research. An infographic pamphlet was also made to give a brief overview of the findings, including the top 10 most concerning chemicals for ecological and human health. The charts show, based on government sources, that the majority of pesticides in wide use can cause cancer, neurological and respiratory effects, reproductive harm and bird defects, and are toxic to waterways, wildlife, bees and pollinators, and birds and fish.
Access the Full Factsheets and Infographic: 40 Common Lawn and Landscape Chemicals.
Consumer Herbicide Analysis. Beyond Pesticides and Friends of the Earth (FOE) collaborated to provide an easy-to-read spreadsheet detailing health hazards associated with weed killers commonly found at the most popular home and garden retailers, Home Depot and Lowe’s. This analysis highlights the adverse health and environmental effects of widely available toxic pesticides, while encouraging retailers to expand on—and consumers to use—safer, least/nontoxic pesticide products. We analyzed chemical components in over 91 different herbicides. Out of the 91 products, only 28 are classifiable as least toxic/organic.
Access the full analysis: Herbicide Analysis.
Many Shades of Green Podcast. The environmentally conscious podcast “The Many Shades of Green” interviewed Beyond Pesticides’ science and regulatory manager on the health and environmental impacts of pesticides that the general population may not be aware of.
Access the full podcast interview: Beyond Pesticides with Guest Akayla Bracey – The Many Shades of Green.
Happy Sprout article: “The pesticides market is now worth $11 billion; that’s a huge problem.” The article provided a wide-ranging interview with the Happy Sprout website about the growth of the pesticide industry, focused on what Beyond Pesticide does, pollinator protection, biodiversity and food security, climate change, public health, safer alternatives to toxic pesticides, what folks can do.
Access the full article: Toxic Pesticide Use Harms Public Health and the Environment | HappySprout.
Endangered Species Coalition – Environmental Justice Presentation. On March 28, 2021, Beyond Pesticides gave a 40-minute presentation relating the environmental justice movement, environmental racism, and pesticide use. The presentation begins by detailing how widespread pesticide use is, the health and environmental implications of pesticide use, and connects to how these widespread uses disproportionately impact communities of color. The presentation follows-up by demonstrating how the environmental justice movement stemmed by increasing cases of environmental racisms post-Jim Crow. The presentation ends by relating disproportionate risk to pesticides (mainly disinfectants) in communities of color and the impact of the Covid-19 crisis. Additionally, a summation of the presentation was shown as the 2021 National Pesticide Forum.
Beyond Pesticides sues companies—with legal assistance from Richman Law and Policy—that mislead the public through their labeling and advertising. We have successfully sued, for example, TruGreen and General Mills, for including false statements about safety or production practices. This year Beyond Pesticides sued Sargento for falsely claiming that no antibiotics are used in the production of their cheese products. A settlement resulted in Sargento changing its labeling claim. Beyond Pesticides joined with a coalition of public interest groups to sue the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its approval of the medically important antibiotic streptomycin for use on citrus trees. This is a transformative moment when we are working to shift society, starting with our communities and local decision makers and individuals, to eliminate toxic fossil fuel-based pesticides and fertilizers.
The Case Against ExxonMobil [Continued]. Our case against Exxon-Mobil for the company’s destructive fossil fuel-related impacts on climate (including their contribution to petroleum-based fertilizer production and use) was put on hold as a result of emergency legislation passed in the District of Columbia that preempts cases where the District’s Attorney General is also litigating on the issue. The AG is suing Exxon-Mobil, and while the case does not have the exact focus of our litigation, it is close enough and could encompass our claim, enabling them to exercise preemption. We are troubled by any law that takes away the citizen suit provision or private right of action because it enhances the ability of to seek justice. We plan to discuss this matter with members of the DC Council, who have historically been committed to the value and importance of action by public interest organizations and individuals to stop misleading and fraudulent corporate behavior. Exxon and tried and failed several times to get the case removed to federal court from the DC Superior Court, where consumer protection provides us with standing to challenge misleading claims.
Lawsuit Against EPA for Registration of Antibiotic of Streptomycin for Use in Citrus The Case Against EPA. Beyond Pesticides joined a lawsuit in March with NRDC, Earthjustice, Center for Biological Diversity, and others against EPA for its registration of streptomycin for use in citrus. The litigation challenges EPA’s final registration decision for the new uses of streptomycin sulfate on citrus crops. We had previously submitted comments to EPA challenging this decision. The litigation brings claims under both the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The lawyers are continuing to evaluate potential claims, but expect to make at least the following arguments. Under ESA, EPA failed to consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, despite EPA’s finding that registration of streptomycin as a pesticide may affect threatened or endangered mammals; and EPA failed to determine whether the registration may also affect the critical habitat of these species. This lawsuit is an important action to reverse the previous administration’s decision to ignore the science and allow expanded use of an antibiotic in agriculture.
The challenges ahead require that we redouble our efforts. Beyond Pesticides’ collaboration with people and communities in every state is providing the energy and enthusiasm to embrace the changes necessary to stop toxic pesticide use and embrace organic practices and policies. We know it can be done if we join together to protect health and the environment with science, policy, and activism. The solutions are within our reach. We look forward to working with you—with the required sense of urgency—to ensure that change happens.
Best wishes for a healthy new year.