• Link to SK Organic Resources
  • Weeds Can Be Managed Without Chemical Pesticides
  • LIving Near Fields Increases Pesticide Exposure
  • SNAP Display at Event
  • Learn About Pesticides in Foods
  • Driving Near Recently Sprayed Fields Exposes People to Pesticides
  • Learn To Manage Weeds Without Chemical Pesticides
  • Learn About Colony Collapse Disorder and How to Protect Bees
  • Learn to Keep Insects Out of your Crops
  • SNAP Tour of Organic Vegetable Garden

Archives for 2020

Friday, March 6, 2020

Soil-Based Organic Agriculture Takes on the Climate Crisis, Economic Insecurity, and Health Inequity

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Soil-Based Organic Agriculture Takes on the Climate Crisis, Economic Insecurity, and Health Inequity (Beyond Pesticides, March 4, 2020) 

'California produces the most food of any state in the U.S. – more than half of all domestic fruits and vegetables – but only 4% of its agriculture is organic. After releasing a report on the benefits of organic agriculture last year, the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) Foundation is continuing to offer a “Roadmap to an Organic California” with an extensive policy report. The document proposes a wealth of concrete strategies for California lawmakers to employ. Organic agriculture, the authors skillfully reason, can respond to three pressing issues in California: climate resilience, economic security, and health equity.'

filded under organics/ Economy

Friday, March 6, 2020

New picloram page added

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Friday, March 6, 2020

Chemical-Intensive Agriculture Increases Pregnant Mother’s Risk of Her Child Developing Leukemia

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Chemical-Intensive Agriculture Increases Pregnant Mother’s Risk of Her Child Developing Leukemia   (Beyond Pesticides, March 3, 2020) 

'The findings are based on a review of pesticide use data in rural, agricultural areas of California, where many minority, low-income and farmworking communities live. Under current laws, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) permits the use of cancer-causing pesticides with an expectation that a certain number of cancers (anywhere from 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,000,000, based on the pesticide in question) should be considered ‘acceptable risk.’

"A statistical analysis conducted by researchers found that use of any carcinogenic pesticides within 4,000m (~2.5 miles)" (or 4 km for Canadians) "during a mother’s pregnancy increases the odds of the child developing acute lymphoblastic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia nearly two-fold and three-fold, respectively. Urea-based herbicides, such as diuron and linuron, are found to be particularly troubling, substantially increasing the risk of childhood cancer.

Scientists also considered the cancer connection for several pesticides not considered carcinogenic by EPA, but widely used in California. Among those, glyphosate and and paraquat dichloride were both found to increase the risk of leukemia.'

filed under cancer/ link to individual pesticides and cancer. 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Glyphosate Causes Biodiversity Loss in Freshwater Ecosystems, According to Study

Experimental ponds in Gault Nature Reserve

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Glyphosate Causes Biodiversity Loss in Freshwater Ecosystems, According to Study  Experimental ponds in Gault Nature Reserve. Photo credit: Vincent Fugère (Beyond Pesticides, March 5, 2020)

'Researchers found that algae can develop resistance to contamination, but surviving phytoplankton communities are much less diverse. Diversity loss is cause for concern as it could hinder adaptation to other potential stressors, such as climate change.

Using experimental ponds, researchers first exposed some phytoplankton communities to low levels of Roundup over time, then dosed the ponds with a lethal amount. Groups that had been given low doses survived the lethal phase whereas unpolluted, control ponds did not. Researchers observed “community rescue,” where genetic changes avert population collapse in a lethal environment. In fact, glyphosate eventually became a fertilizer in resistant ponds as it is a significant source of phosphorus. Other studies, too, have noted that phosphorous loading is an overlooked impact of glyphosate contamination.    The resulting damage to genetic diversity causes concern. Andrew Gonzalez, Ph.D., says, “We observed significant loss of biodiversity in communities contaminated with glyphosate. This could have a profound impact on the proper functioning of ecosystems and lower the chance that they can adapt to new pollutants or stressors.'

filed under water/algae blooms 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Baby Bees’ Brain Growth Adversely Affected by Neonicotinoid Insecticides

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 Baby Bees’ Brain Growth Adversely Affected by Neonicotinoid Insecticides

(Beyond Pesticides, March 6, 2020) 
This research, however, examines how exposure to the neonicotinoid imidacloprid, through consumption of contaminated nectar and pollen during the larval stage, affects bumblebees (Bombus terrestris audax). It finds that these exposures cause abnormal brain growth in some parts of the bees’ brains, and significantly impairs learning ability compared to bees who were not exposed....The brains of nearly 100 bees were examined, and the team found that an important part of the bee brain involved with learning — the mushroom body — was smaller in those exposed to the neonics. Smaller mushroom body volume is correlated with poorer performance in learning tasks. Bees fed with contaminated food in the larval stage show significantly impaired learning ability compared to those that are not.

Further, bee larvae have been shown to be vulnerable not only to a single pesticide, but also, to synergistic effects of the plethora of pesticides that may end up in the colony’s hive, plus the so-called “inert” ingredients in pesticide compounds. Researchers in one study noted, “One hundred and twenty-one different pesticides and metabolites were identified in the hive with an average of seven pesticides per pollen sample, including miticides, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and insect growth regulators.”

'The amount of pesticide residue present inside colonies following exposure appears to be an important measure for assessing the impact on a colony’s health in the future.”'

SNAP Comment: In my view, if it is affecting the development of bumblebee's brains, there is no reason it can't affect humans.

filed under neonicotinoids and wildlife/insects

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Report Finds Top Chemical Companies Making Billions Off Poisoning the Earth

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Report Finds Top Chemical Companies Making Billions Off Poisoning the Earth

(Beyond Pesticides, February 27, 2020) A new report finds that as birds and pollinators continue to decline, and chronic diseases remain on the rise, the global agrichemical industry is raking in billions of dollars from hazardous pesticides that contribute to these crises. A joint investigation from Unearthed and Public Eye finds that 35% of pesticide sales from the largest agrichemical corporations are made from the most toxic pesticides on the market

Saturday, February 29, 2020

The World of Organic Agriculture Keeps Growing

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The World of Organic Agriculture Keeps Growing  (Organic Without Boundaries, February 20, 2020)

'The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) published its latest statistical yearbook “The World of Organic Agriculture“ featuring global data on organic farming worldwide from 2018. As we took a closer look at the figures, we remain optimistic about what the future of organic holds for us all.'

filed under organic/farming


The Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) published its latest statistical yearbook “The World of Organic Agriculture“ featuring global data on organic farming worldwide from 2018. As we took a closer look at the figures, we remain optimistic about what the future of organic holds for us all.

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Longest Field Trials Show Organic Practices Yield Higher Returns than Chemical-Intensive Agriculture

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Longest Field Trials Show Organic Practices Yield Higher Returns than Chemical-Intensive Agriculture  (Beyond Pesticides, February 24, 2019)

 nearly 40-year research project are these:

  • after a five-year transition period, organic yields are competitive with conventional yields
  • in drought years, organic yields are as much as 40% higher than conventional yields
  • farm profits are 3–6 times higher for products from organically managed systems
  • organic management systems use 45% less energy than conventional, and release 40% fewer carbon emissions into the atmosphere
  • organic systems leach no toxic chemicals into waterways
  • organic systems build, rather than deplete, organic matter in soil, improving soil health

filed under organic/farming

Monday, February 24, 2020

Experts Identify Fireflies as the Latest Victim of the Ongoing Insect Apocalypse

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Experts Identify Fireflies as the Latest Victim of the Ongoing Insect Apocalypse  (Beyond Pesticides, February 19, 2020) 

'In an article published this month, “A Global Perspective on Firefly Extinction Threats,” experts are sounding the alarm over declines in fireflies attributed to habitat loss, light pollution, and indiscriminate pesticide use.

Pesticide use is particularly pernicious in the context of firefly ecology. While direct contact with pesticide sprays is a concern, exposure in soil and water represent greater hazards. This is because many firefly species lay their eggs in soil, and many spend the first years of their life in aquatic habitats like mangroves and other riparian vegetation (vegetation along the banks of waterways). Pesticides, like the neonicotinoid class of insecticides also implicated in pollinator declines, are known to drift once applied, and persist in soil and waterways.'

filed under wildlife/insects

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Major Manufacturer of Chlorpyrifos Drops Out of Market, But EPA Continues to Allow Use

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Major Manufacturer of Chlorpyrifos Drops Out of Market, But EPA Continues to Allow Use

(Beyond Pesticides, February 12, 2020) 'Corteva, a company spun-off from DowDupont, will stop producing chlorpyrifos by the end of this year as a result of declining sales. Despite the move being in the interest of public health, the company is earning little praise from health advocates for what amounts to simply a shrewd financial decision.

At odds is the difference between halting production of chlorpyrifos and cancelling its EPA registration. While Corteva has the ability to voluntarily stop producing its own product, EPA registration permits other generic manufacturers to continue to producing the product. And, over the years, there would be nothing to stop Corteva from reintroducing “new” chlorpyrifos products back onto the market.

The removal of Corteva (DowDupont) from the chlorpyrifos marketplace is indicative of a pattern within the current administration that puts profit at all cost above the health of the American people, and American children in particular, according to advocates. Decisions regarding public health should not be determined by the dictates of the marketplace, but by the sound science in states like NY, CA, and HI, the EU and other countries are following for the benefit of their residents.

filed under chlorpyrifos

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Hey Farmer Farmer, Put Away that Dicamba Weed Killer

A round up the plethora of recent news on dicamba — the toxic and destructive culprit behind each of these stories.

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“Hey Farmer Farmer, Put Away that” Dicamba Weed Killer

(Beyond Pesticides, February 14, 2020) US story. 'The weed killer dicamba has been blamed for killing or damaging millions of acres of non–genetically modified crops and other plants that have no protection against the compound.

This article 'round(s) up the plethora of recent news on dicamba': regulations, complaints, law suits, history, health effects.'

'Originally developed in the 1950s, dicamba is a benzoic acid herbicide that, when absorbed by plant tissue, ultimately causes the plant to outgrow its nutrient supply and die. Plants poisoned by dicamba typically exhibit curled, cup-shaped leaves, and often, stunted growth. Dicamba’s health effects on animal organisms can manifest as developmental, reproductive, neurological, hepatic, or renal harms. It also is a particular threat to birds, insects, fish, and aquatic organisms, as well as to non-target plants.'

'Dr. Ford Baldwin (a herbicide damage expert) who has previously testified on behalf of Monsanto and BASF), testified that “air in parts of the Midwest and South has become so contaminated with the weed killer dicamba that it has caused widespread damage to soybeans and other crops... It didn’t just come from one field.’” This happens because everyone sprays around the same time, dicamba evaporates, and there is an inversion, keeping the chemical near the ground overnight.

 State agencies and laboratories cannot cope with the mumber of complaints and “meanwhile, because they’re fully occupied with dicamba complaints, inspectors don’t have time for all their other work, such as routine inspections of pesticide use at schools, golf courses or businesses. (NPR)  'The volume of complaints and losses associated with dicamba use has not moved the current EPA to address the compound’s toxicity in any significant way... But the EPA actually extended its approval of dicamba just a year ago, before the 2019 growing season. The agency decided the problems could be addressed with a few new restrictions on how and where dicamba can be sprayed, along with more training for people who use it... Those changes did not fix the problem, Reed says. ‘As a matter of fact, the complaint numbers went up’ in Indiana and several other states.”'

The 'EPA made a low-key announcement on March 19 suggesting that it may change its handling of requests from states to exert stricter controls on use of pesticides than the federal agency sets out in its registration of the compounds — by disapproving them. This issue of preemption of localities’ desires to protect their populations and environment has become an increasingly dynamic frontier at the nexus of pesticide use, health, and environment.'

SNAP Comment: It seems like the US EPA is treating dicamba like a public relations problem rather than a chemical one. Dicamba is volatile, period. The new regulations in place for spraying have not changed the number of complaints. If anything they are going up. So, the EPA's answer is to make it impossible for states to set up more stringent regulations? Really? This alone indicates an out of touch regulatory system. How can one trust a regulatory system that attempts to suppress evidence rather than taking into consideration in regulation? Keep that in mind when industry uses registration of a particular pesticide to imply safety.

filed under dicamba

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

EPA Fails to Follow Congressional Mandate to Protect Children from Pesticide Exposure

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EPA Fails to Follow Congressional Mandate to Protect Children from Pesticide Exposure

(Beyond Pesticides, February 13, 2020) Congress unanimously passed the Food Quality Protection Act (FQPA) in 1996 to increase protections for children from pesticide exposure. Unfortunately, according to a new study published in Environmental Health, the law is not being employed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to its full capacity. For most of the 59 pesticides reviewed by the study, EPA did not apply an additional FQPA safety factor and thereby missed an opportunity to protect children’s health. In fact, FQPA solidified EPA’s reliance on risk assessment calculations and mitigation measures that consistently fall short of adequate levels of protection because of serious data gaps, a failure to consider exposure to mixtures and synergistic effects, and a bias against consideration of alternatives (alternatives assessment)  that show toxic pesticides to be unnecessary. 

SNAP Comment: Does anyone know whether Canada is supposed to apply an additional safety factor for children in pesticide registration?

filed under safety of pesticides and children

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Victory for Farmers as Jury Awards Grower $265 Million in Damages From Drift of Monsanto s Dicamba

"This verdict is just the tip of the iceberg."

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'Victory for Farmers' as Jury Awards Grower $265 Million in Damages From Drift of Monsanto's Dicamba  (by Andrea Germanos, staff writer, Common Dreams, 17 February 2020)   also see Bader Farms Wins $265 Million in Lawsuit Against Bayer’s Monsanto, BASF   (Beyond Pesticides, February 20, 2020)

'The jury sided with Bader Farms on Friday and awarded them $15 million in damages, as St. Louis Public Radio reported:

Monsanto and BASF were found liable for negligent design of the products and negligent failure to warn regarding the products. The jury also found that the two companies created a joint venture to manufacture and sell dicamba-resistant seed and low-volatility herbicides, and that they conspired to create an "ecological disaster" to increase profits.
Pesticide Action Network welcomed the development as well.

"This verdict is just the tip of the iceberg — there is a long queue of farmers who have been impacted by dicamba drift and deserve their day in court," said Linda Wells, Pesticide Action Network organizing director. "The internal Monsanto (now Bayer) documents uncovered in this case show that the company released a highly destructive and intentionally untested product onto the market, and used its influence to cheat the regulatory system."

"While farmers who don't use the Xtend system are hit with crop damage and yield loss from dicamba drift, Bayer and BASF are reaping the financial gains of an increase in acreage planted to dicamba resistant soybeans, and an increase in use of dicamba formulations," Wells continued. "Bader Farms' victory in this case signals a turning tide, and opens opportunities for farmers to hold Bayer and BASF legally accountable for the dicamba drift crisis more broadly."

filed under dicamba and legal/litigation

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Glyphosate and Roundup disrupt gut microbiome, contradicting regulator’s assumptions, study says

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Glyphosate and Roundup disrupt gut microbiome, contradicting regulator’s assumptions, study says (GM Watch,:December 11 2019) with link to original paper.

'The study in rats by an international team of scientists... has found that Roundup herbicide and its active ingredient glyphosate cause a dramatic increase in the levels of two substances, shikimic acid and 3-dehydroshikimic acid, in the gut, which are a direct indication that the EPSPS enzyme of the shikimic acid pathway has been severely inhibited.

In addition, the researchers found that both Roundup and glyphosate affected the microbiome at all dose levels tested, causing shifts in bacterial populations.

For the study, female rats (12 per group) were fed a daily dose of either glyphosate or a Roundup formulation approved in Europe, called MON 52276. Glyphosate and Roundup were administered via drinking water to give a glyphosate daily intake of 0.5 mg, 50 mg and 175 mg/kg body weight per day (mg/kg bw/day), which respectively represent the EU acceptable daily intake (ADI), the EU no-observed adverse effect level (NOAEL), and the US NOAEL.

The study found certain adverse effects at all doses tested, disproving regulators’ assumptions that these levels have no adverse effect.

Dr Antoniou said that the study has broken new ground in identifying the first ever biomarker of glyphosate exposure, which could be relevant to humans.

The study also revealed that Roundup, and to a lesser extent glyphosate, damaged the liver and kidneys of the rats, even over the relatively short study period of 90 days.' However, these changes were not reflected in blood chemistry.

''Thus far, regulators have not incorporated these methods into the risk assessment process.'

SNAP COMMENT: Note the large difference between the EU and US no-observed adverse effect level (NOAEL). It illustrates the role of interpretation and lack of rigorous science when the US (and likely Canada) can have a 3 1/2 times higher NOAEL the the EU, presumably from the same background studies. And now, this study provides evidence that serious effects occur at those levels anyways,further illustrating.the severe limitations of basing approval of pesticides on regulatory studies only.

filed under health./digestive tract/microbiome

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Toxic Herbicide Atrazine Causes Wasp Gut Microbiome to Develop Pesticide Resistance Across Generations

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Toxic Herbicide Atrazine Causes Wasp Gut Microbiome to Develop Pesticide Resistance Across Generations  (Beyond Pesticides, February 11, 2020)

 This study not only represents one of the first evolutionary studies on symbiont-mediated pesticide resistance, it also provides fodder for future research regarding the implications of exposure to xenobiotics (i.e., chemical substances like toxic pesticides foreign to an organism or ecosystem) for other gut bacteria hosts – such as honey bees and humans.

Early generations of wasps in the study received a field-realistic dose of atrazine (300 ppb) or a subtoxic dose (30 ppb); exposed individuals showed a gut flora composition significantly different from the control group. The shift in microbiome composition persists across subsequent generations.

After the 8th generation of sublethal dosing, there was a significant increase in tolerance to atrazine. LC50 increased in later generations of the atrazine-exposed population, indicating pesticide resistance. The paper reads, “Our study is one of the few cases to experimentally evolve cooperation between a host animal and rare members of the microbiome to derive new fitness traits within the population.”

Even when wasps are switched to an atrazine-free diet for six generations, the bacterial composition was similar to that of the exposed parents. Overall, researchers observed an increase in microbiota diversity and bacterial load.'

filed under atrazine and wildlife/insects and digestive tract/microbiome

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Farmer Takes Bayer/Monsanto to Court for Crop Damage Caused by the Herbicide Dicamba

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Farmer Takes Bayer/Monsanto to Court for Crop Damage Caused by the Herbicide Dicamba  (Beyond Pesticides, February 6, 2020)

'Mr. Bader says that not only did he lose over 30,000 trees, his remaining peaches are now smaller and his trees are less productive. According to Bader, the damage has cost him $20.9 million for which he seeks restitution. The case is claiming that Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, and German partner company BASF knew that the sale of their products would result in crop damage due to drift, but sold dicamba-resistant cotton and soybean seeds anyway. The companies deny the claims.

“The damage occurring was part of the plan,” said plaintiff attorney Billy Randles in an opening statement. “The damage was an essential element of selling this product.” Randles said that Monsanto could not control the product in their own greenhouse pointed to internal company discussions where the defendants “so thoroughly anticipated the problem” that they came up with a term for those who were impacted: “driftees.”

Steve Smith, the director of agriculture at world’s largest canned tomato processor, Red Gold Inc., testified at the trial that Monsanto had many warnings regarding the risk dicamba posed to farmers. Mr. Smith was a member of an advisory council to Monsanto on dicamba. “We told them (Monsanto) over and over again it was not a good idea,” said Smith in an interview with Sierra, “They keep saying it’s a matter of educating the growers. But the problem is not education; the problem is chemistry.”'

filed under Legal/Litigation and dicamba

Monday, February 3, 2020

Pesticide Use Harming Key Species Ripples through the Ecosystem

good literature review article

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Pesticide Use Harming Key Species Ripples through the Ecosystem (Pesticides and You, summer 2018)
'Halstead et al. (2017) incorporated these data into epidemiological models to determine the risk of disease transmission in real world scenarios. It was determined that while atrazine
caused a 28% increase in schistosomiasis transmission risk by indirectly increasing snail populations, the loss of crayfish and water bug predators were catastrophic for human health,
leading to a 10-fold expected increase in parasitic infection.
On the other hand, in healthy mesocosms unexposed to either pesticide, predator populations were able to adequately
maintain snail numbers below thresholds for disease transmission.

In both still and fast-moving aquatic environments, pesticides act powerfully on the foundational levels of the food web. Although algae blooms are usually considered the result of excess nutrient input, it could also be the case that a recent insecticide application eliminated all of the herbivorous grazing macroinvertebrates. Likewise, declines in threatened predators like otters could be related to impacts two steps down the food chain, if the fish on which they rely have declined due to pesticide-induced reductions in their prey.

During the first month after seed treatment (with neonics) in a soybean field, slug predation was reduced by 33%, slug activity increased by nearly 70%, and, over the course of the season, soybean yields were down 19%. '

The EPA and PMRA agencies must develop a “No Observed Adverse Effect Level” for ecosystems. Many other examples presented in the article.

filed under Wildlife and Legislation/regulatory

Monday, February 3, 2020

Croplands’ Toxicity to Pollinators Has Skyrocketed Since the Turn of the Century

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Croplands’ Toxicity to Pollinators Has Skyrocketed Since the Turn of the Century

(Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2020) 'Findings indicate that from 1997-2012, contact bee toxic load remained steady, while oral bee toxic load increased nine times, despite significant declines in the overall weight of insecticides applied during that time period.

The trend is particularly pronounced in the U.S. Midwest. According to the study, the widespread use of neonicotinoid seed treatments increased oral bee toxic load by 121 times. Worse yet, there is little to no evidence that these seed treatments are actually managing pest problems.

filed under Bee Die-Off and neonicotinoids

Monday, February 3, 2020

Documented Decline of Mayflies, a Keystone Species, Destabilizes Ecosystems

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Documented Decline of Mayflies, a Keystone Species, Destabilizes Ecosystems (Beyond Pesticides, January 28, 2020)

In more bad news from the insect world, recent research reveals a precipitous decline in numbers of mayflies in territories where they have been historically abundant.  Neonicotinoid insecticides are a significant factor in this decline because mayflies are exquisitely vulnerable to their impacts, even at very low exposure levels.

The plummeting mayfly “count” is especially alarming because mayflies are a critical, primary food source in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and provide an important ecological service.

Three phenomena account for most of this dive in mayfly populations: (1) dramatically increased use of neonicotinoid pesticides in recent years in these regions; (2) algal blooms, especially in Lake Erie, caused primarily by runoff of agricultural fertilizers and other nutrient-dense pollutants; and (3) the warming impacts of the climate crisis, which include higher water temperatures that can cause havoc with the development of these tiny creatures...

 Neonics in Great Lakes tributaries, for example, have registered at levels 40 times those established as protective by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Aquatic Life Benchmarkaccording to a 2018 study.

also see  In a Pesticides and You article, “Pesticide Use Harming Key Species Ripples through the Ecosystem,

filed under wildlife/aquatic organsims

Monday, February 3, 2020

Rate of Male Breast Cancer on the Rise in Scotland, Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Suspected

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Rate of Male Breast Cancer on the Rise in Scotland, Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals Suspected

(Beyond Pesticides, January 29, 2020) A study of male breast cancer (MBC) in Scotland reports an alarming, increasing trend of this rare disease – especially in agricultural areas. While only accounting for 1% of diagnosed breast cancer, MBC forms in the breast tissue of men and is often fatal because of delayed diagnosis and lack of research on male-specific treatment.

Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that can, even at low exposure levels, disrupt normal hormonal (endocrine) function. EDCs include many pesticides, exposures to which have been linked to infertility and other reproductive disorders, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and early puberty, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and childhood and adult cancers.

EDCs represent an under-researched and under-regulated threat to human health. Beyond Pesticides wrote on the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s stalled analysis of the risk these chemicals pose, “A persistent critique of EPA’s toxicological assumptions has to do with the “dose makes the poison” concept that underlies conventional toxicology. In fact, researchers have discovered that this concept—that the more exposure, the more extreme the impacts—is not consistently the case across exposures to chemical compounds such as pesticides. Additionally, even very low-level exposures (aka “doses”) can, in some instances, cause more extreme health impacts.

 A 2017 European study shows that costs of disease burden and health care related to chemical environmental exposures, writ large, may constitute a figure somewhere north of 10% of global gross domestic product (GDP).

filed under cancer and endocrine disruption

Monday, February 3, 2020

Can Eating Organic Lower Your Exposure to Pesticides?

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Can Eating Organic Lower Your Exposure to Pesticides?  (Civil Eats, 11 February 2019) 

'While the study reaffirms previous research, it also breaks new ground by testing for newer classes of pesticides that are now the most widely used in the U.S. today to kill insects, namely neonicotinoids and pyrethroids. Previous organic diet studies focused primarily on organophosphates, such as chlorpyrifos, an older class of pesticides with enough well-documented human toxicity results that some scientists recently called for a ban on all of them.
Organophosphates dropped the most, with a 70 percent overall reduction. Chlorpyrifos—which has been linked to increased rates of autism, learning disabilities, and reduced IQ in children—dropped 61 percent in participants, and malathion, a probable human carcinogen, dropped 95 percent... 2,4-D, dropped by 37 percent in the post-organic urine samples...Among the newer classes of pesticides studied, pyrethroid levels dropped overall by about 50 percent and the one neonicotinoid detected (out of two researchers set out to study) dropped by 84 percent. The other neonicotinoid wasn’t found in the urine samples.

SNAP Comment: Industry either doesn't comment, or answers that rules are followed. Let's face it, mandatory regulatory studies are done with high amount and do not measure the amount of a pesticide excreted by the body or the body accumulation and, essentially, industry and government do not look at low dose effects because positive results would invalidate the current NA regulatory model of 'the dose makes the poison".

already under Exposure to pesticides  scroll to April 2019

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Regulatory Capture: USDA’s Organic Governance Board Dominated by Affiliates of Industry’s Corporate Lobby

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Regulatory Capture: USDA’s Organic Governance Board Dominated by Affiliates of Industry’s Corporate Lobby   (Beyond Pesticides, January 24, 2019)

'Continuing a trend well established by prior Republican and Democratic administrations, the five new members recently appointed by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) all have a current or past relationship with the industry’s major lobby group, the Organic Trade Association (OTA). 

Over the past decade, Big Food has consolidated ownership of most of the largest and best-known organic brands. At the same time, many have criticized USDA for “stacking” the board, which is charged with guiding the regulatory oversight of organic farming and food production, with members from, or friendly to, corporate agribusiness interests.

“After serving five years on the National Organic Standards Board myself,” said Jay Feldman, Executive Director of Beyond Pesticides, “I have witnessed how cards are stacked against independent voices. OrganicEye’s research is designed to empower industry stakeholders, so we can put pressure on our governmental officials and on brands that betray true organic values in the marketplace.”'

filed under industry shenanigans/regulatory and legal

Friday, January 17, 2020

Study Links Pyrethroid Insecticides to Cardiovascular Disease and Other Health Hazards

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Study Links Pyrethroid Insecticides to Cardiovascular Disease and Other Health Hazards   (Beyond Pesticides, January 10, 2020)

'A new study... demonstrates that greater exposure to pyrethroid insecticides is associated with higher risks of death from all causes and from cardiovascular diseaseThese compounds can be inhaled, ingested, or absorbed through the skin; they are highly neurotoxic, and have also been linked to certain cancers, endocrine disruption, and suppression of the immune system, as well as respiratory and reproductive impacts.

The co-authors report that subjects with the highest levels of metabolites had a 56% higher risk of death during the follow-up period than did subjects with the lowest exposure levels. In addition, “those in the highest exposure group had three times the cardiovascular mortality risk of those in the lowest exposure group.

Pyrethroids account for 30% of global pesticide use, and have been generally regarded as effective against insects with few short-term risks to human health.

 “Other than cigarette smoking, few, if any, chemical exposures are known to trigger a threefold increase in the risk of death from heart disease, especially in people younger than 60 years.” They conclude that immediate further investigation of pyrethroid health impacts is warranted.

the EPA) is now apparently welcoming the recommendations of industry — from, in this case, the Pyrethroid Working Group, a consortium of pesticide companies — to continue stripping away regulations designed to protect human and environmental health.

filed under cardiovascular and pyrethrins

Friday, January 17, 2020

Exploratory Study Indicates Pesticide Exposure May Relate to Higher Risk for Endometriosis

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Exploratory Study Indicates Pesticide Exposure May Relate to Higher Risk for Endometriosis   (Beyond Pesticides, January 15, 2019)

Researchers examined exposure to 11 “universal pesticides” and their metabolites and its relationship to endometriosis...This study detected six of the pesticides or their metabolites in ≥95% of urine samples — including organophosphates and 2-4,D. Pyrethroids and their metabolites were detected in 47–80% of the samples. The odds ratios, or measure of association between exposure and an outcome, are significant for two organophosphate metabolites: 2-Isopropyl-4-methyl-6-hydroxypyrimidine (IMPY) and 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridinol (TCPY). The authors conclude, “Our results suggest that exposure to elevated concentrations of diazinon (the parent compound of IMPY) and chlorpyrifos and chlorpyrifos-methyl (parent compounds of TCPY) may be associated with endometriosis.” However, the authors emphasize the small sample size and need for further studies. “Our findings should be considered as exploratory,” they state.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are far under-studied and under-regulated.' 

filed under reproductive health and endocrine disruption 

Friday, January 17, 2020

European Union Bans Neonicotinoid Insecticide, Citing Health and Environmental Concerns

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European Union Bans Neonicotinoid Insecticide, Citing Health and Environmental Concerns   (Beyond Pesticides, January 17, 2020)

about the neonicotinoid Thiacloprid.

“There are environmental concerns related to the use of this pesticide, particularly its impact on groundwater, but also related to human health, in reproductive toxicity.”

One commercial product in Canada: 
Calypso 480 SC Insecticide is a locally systemic and translaminar insecticide which provides
control of insect pests in pome fruit. Calypso 480 SC Insecticide controls insect pests by contact action and by ingestion of the treated plant tissue. '

Pome fruits are apple type fruits and a systemic insecticide that can't be washed off is used on them. I don't believe thiacloprid is covered in the neonicotinoids that Canada will ban in a few years.

filed under legislation and neonicotinoids

Friday, January 17, 2020

New Method of Lyme Disease Prevention Promising, But Not Ready to Replace Personal Protective Measures

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New Method of Lyme Disease Prevention Promising, But Not Ready to Replace Personal Protective Measures   (Beyond Pesticides, January 14, 2020)

'...incorporating Lyme vaccines into pelletized mouse food had the effect of reducing levels of Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, in both mice and ticks in a certain location.

“So, the idea here is to vaccinate the mice,” study author Kirby Stafford, PhD told WBUR. “What we’ve done is incorporate a Lyme disease vaccine in an oral bait that would immunize them. That would prevent ticks feeding on those animals from becoming infected and then ultimately turn around and infect you.”'

filed under alternatives/ disease

Friday, January 17, 2020

Environmental Chemicals Are Stealing IQ Points from American Children and Costing Trillions to the U.S. Economy

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Environmental Chemicals Are Stealing IQ Points from American Children and Costing Trillions to the U.S. Economy  (Beyond Pesticides, January 16, 2020) 

' “Although people argue against costly regulations, unrestricted use of these chemicals is far more expensive in the long run, with American children bearing the largest burden,” says senior study author Leonardo Trasande, MD, MPP in a press release.'

Despite modest declines in organophosphate pesticide use over the study period, the impacts of organophosate exposure appear roughly on par with lead exposure. Pesticides were estimated to result in over 26 million lost IQ points and over 110,000 cases of intellectual disability, totaling roughly $735 billion in economic costs.

filed under nervous system effects

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Soaking up Australias drought

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Soaking up Australia's drought (ABC News, 3 December 2018)

I hadn't heard of them but they found a method that works.

'Is Natural Sequence Farming the secret to restoring our water-starved continent? For more than a decade, two farmers have shown that parched landscapes can be revived. And finally Canberra's listening.

Two years ago, The Mulloon Institute was recognised by the United Nations as one of only five case studies globally to demonstrate landscape-scale sustainable agriculture.'

more on organics and regenerative farming 

Sunday, January 5, 2020

University of Iowa research ties pesticides to heart-disease deaths

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University of Iowa research ties pesticides to heart-disease deaths
'We're in some ways ground zero for a lot of these pesticides'

Use Raid anyone? or mosquito coils? clothing or mosquito nets treated with pyrethroids?

About synthetic pyrethroids, which have replaced more toxic insecticides on the home and general market. In spite of pyrethroids having been known to cause allergies and a variety of other health problems, widespread contamination,.as well as being the number one group of pesticides reported to the EPA as causing adverse health effects, they are generally considered by regulatory agencies as safe.
'“There is very little out there where people have actually looked at the cardiovascular system as a target of toxicity for these kind of compounds”. This study correlates urine levels with death occurrence. As many more people have heart disease than die from it, the proportion of people affected by pyrethroids is likely a lot more than 'three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those with low or no exposure.'
'New University of Iowa research out this week associates higher exposure to commonly used insecticides — including those in use across Iowa — with an increased risk of death from all causes, specifically cardiovascular disease — even as the market share of that potentially deadly pesticide grows.
That swell in use, according to UI assistant professor of epidemiology and study author Wei Bao, means the rate of deaths related to the chemical exposure likely has increased as well — although he urged more investigation.'

filed under pyrethroids and cardiovascular

Friday, January 3, 2020

Study Highlights Lasting Benefits of Organic Practices on Soil Health and Crop Productivity

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Study Highlights Lasting Benefits of Organic Practices on Soil Health and Crop Productivity (Beyond Pesticides, January 2, 2020)

The research, published by scientists at Cornell University, underlines the important role soil-dwelling organisms (SDOs) must play in a sustainable agricultural future... “Really, we need to be optimizing these biotic processes in our soil and focusing more on biotic measurements,” Ms. Jernigan said.  

For instance, sorghum planted on the enhanced weed management plot, where the soil was frequently plowed, had fewer weeds, but the SDOs soil-dwelling organisms present are those better able to handle disturbances, and less likely to significantly enhance soil health. This contrasts with the reduced tillage plot, which contained an abundance SDOs that enhance microbial activity in the soil and facilitate nutrient cycling. Despite the higher level of weed biomass in the reduced tillage plot when compared to the weed management plot, weeds problems were not overwhelming, and crop productivity was higher with reduced tillage.

...“The study is important because unsustainable farming practices are depleting soils of biological activity and nutrients, leading to widespread concern about farmers’ ability to grow enough food to keep up with global population growth.”

Thus, this research underscores the importance of a frequently overlooked “limiting factor” in crop productivity – soil health.

filed under organics