Tag Archives: pesticides

EJ Victory: EPA agrees to expand neurotoxin ban to agriculture after court order

Farm worker Olivia Flores
Florida farm worker Olivia Flores. Foto courtesy Dave Getzschman for EarthJustice

15 years after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned chlorpyrifos from residential use, the agency has agreed to expand the neurotoxic pesticide ban to agricultural fields as well. Exposure to to this health and memory harming drug has continued for farmworkers, their children and rural residents. Field workers have direct contact with the pesticide drug when they are forced to return to recently sprayed fields … it drifts easily into neighboring yards and farms … and over time, it has entered water sources from which local dwellers drink. Drinking water contamination is particularly harmful to infants.

The announcement was a response to an EarthJustice petition. Calling EPA’s delay in regulating chlorpyrifos “egregious,” the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the agency to take meaningful action by October 30 2015 on the 2007 legal petition to ban the chemical. The EPA had postponed the agriculture ban because of a flawed study by its manufacturer, Dow Agrosciences, which argued that the chemical was not toxic in agriculture environments.

“This is what we have been seeking for years. EPA’s and other independent findings show that chlorpyrifos causes brain damage to children and poisons workers and bystanders,” said Patti Goldman, the Earthjustice attorney handling the case. “At long last, the agency is signaling its intention to protect children, workers and their families by banning this hazardous pesticide. It is imperative that EPA move quickly to protect workers and children by finalizing this important rule.”

“Given the incredibly strong science on the health harms of this pesticide, it’s absurd that EPA has taken so long to act,” said Dr. Margaret Reeves, Senior Scientist at PAN. “A ban will finally ensure that children, workers and families in rural communities are safe from this drift-prone, bad actor pesticide.”

In December 2014, EPA acknowledged the extensive body of peer-reviewed science correlating chlorpyrifos exposure with brain damage to children, including reduced IQ, delayed development, and loss of working memory.

Ordered by a court to take regulatory action based on its scientific reviews, EPA is now proposing to completely ban chlorpyrifos. This would end all uses of chlorpyrifos that result in residues on food, contamination of drinking water, or drift to schools, homes, and other places people are located.

“It’s a step forward on the path to environmental justice,” said Virginia Ruiz of Farmworker Justice. “Farmworkers and their families, who are predominantly poor and majority people of color, bear the brunt of poisonings from pesticides and pesticide drift.”

If you would like to support Earthjustice’s work please make a donation.

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GMO apples will begin the end of real food. Tell Feds NO.

wicked witch says trust me GMO apple is safeSubmit your comment to the US federal government saying why you stand against the approval of GMO apples. The time to act is now! Here’s some scientific background on GMO apples are so bad, even McDonalds and Gerber doesn’t want them. After you post your comment, please share it with us. Here’s mine:

Private companies cannot be allowed to put in claims to own nature or our food supply. It’s time to radically head off manufacturers of GMOs from attempts to take over society by stopping them from selling their products, ever. The US government must act immediately to make the GMO process and the sale of GMO seeds, illegal.

GMO products and patented seeds, are responsible for the killing of bees, natural ecosystems, and ring the death knoll for small farms around the world.

Our food system relies on bees for pollination. Ecosystems rely on a diversity of plant and animal life to thrive, much in the same way that human bodies do. Small farms are being seized and eradicated by GMO distributors through a variety of nefarious and underhanded moves.

GMO producers are dishonest and extremely dangerous.

You cannot allow them to continue harming the earth, our food supply and the people of the United States. GMO incursion is bad for people and the natural world that God created, which it is the fundamental and inalienable right of US citizens and all people, to enjoy.

The myth is being sold by self-serving producers of mono-culture crops that our societies will be better, or safer, if we allow them to take over the growing process, beginning with seed alteration and patenting, but this is the reverse of true. Mono-cultures are exactly the opposite of good, and the results GMO companies bring into the world are disastrous over both the long and short terms.

The approval of GMO apple seeds will open the door to other varieties of patented seeds being brought into the food supply chain. In the short run, family farmers and small farms will be ruined. In the long term, GMO producers want to make sure that only their eco-system destroying apples can be planted and sold. They want to make natural seeds illegal and own the growing process from start to finish.

GMO crops which contain pesticides also produce pesticides resistant super-insects that cannot be controlled by normal strength pesticides. The GMO crops are directly responsible for the super-insects wiping out natural crops (grown by family/small farmers) in regions where the GMO crops that create them are grown. We can only imagine how bad the pesticide-based crops will reveal themselves to be for human health.

GMO companies seek to replace good, healthy food grown by loving hands which shares a beneficial, symbiotic exchange with nature … with chemically altered food that destroys nature, ecosystems, the natural pollination process (and bees), health, family farms and world society as we know it.

They cannot be allowed to continue to operate in society. There must be NO place for them at all. Please, cast a vote for the wellbeing of United States residents and the world at large, by banning GMO seeds from entering the world.

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Videos teach environmental and health impact of GMOs

farm fresh foodWhat could be wrong with family farming? Family farms, also known as traditional or small farms, produce good food with little or no pesticides … The farming methods they use keep both farm animals and the people eating the vegetables, dairy and meats produced on them, healthy and strong.

There’s the problem! For Big $, Big Ag, health insurance companies and Big Pharma, family farming is bad bad bad: because it leads to less need for hospitalization, insurance, pharmaceutics and erases the need for factory produced pesticides, fertilizers or seeds: in other words, major corporations can’t make a profit from family farming. So, they want to ban it. But for the real people of the world, people like you and me, family farming is good good good and we want more of it.

Check out the brilliant Food Revolution Europe video showing why GMOs and mono-crops are so bad for both people and the environment. Learn why we must say NO to GMOs, help spread the word about how bad they are and demand that governments halt their use.

We must also protect the family farmers of our world. Big Ag is using GMO crops to force small farmers out of business and steal their land, and we need to stop them. Their wellbeing and our health are irrevocably tied together.

In another video, Physicist Vandana Shiva tells why GMOs are the world’s death knell. OK, maybe Dr. Shiva is a bit serious, but she’s speaking relevant truths that all people should know. She also speaks as a native of India, where close to 300,000 cotton farmers have committed suicide because GMO seeds from Monsanto have bankrupted their farms, destroyed their families’ living and broken ties to land and homes they owned for generations.

A Truthout article shares more ugly facts about Monsanto:

Given Monsanto’s legacy as a producer of the lethal defoliant Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, Southeast Asian agriculture would presumably beg to differ with this characterization.

Sustainability is also not the first word that comes to mind when contemplating Monsanto’s policy of sowing the earth with genetically modified seeds that destroy soil and are designed with nonrenewable traits so as to require constant repurchase as well as acquisition of a variety of other company products like fertilizers and pesticides.

Nor would the term appear to define a situation in which nearly 300,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since 1995 after being driven into insurmountable debt by neoliberal economics and the conquest of Indian farmland by Monsanto’s Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) cotton.

In tragic irony, many kill themselves by imbibing pesticides intended for their crops.

As for Monsanto’s shameless claim that one of its primary objectives is “to improve lives,” we might similarly conclude that butchers aim to improve the lives of cows and pigs and that two plus two is 86.

Lawns and unsustainable urban buildout are destroying water, bees and us

Two important community issues involving water are the environmental dangers of lawns and the importance of storm drain stewardship.

Storm Drain Stewardship

Jersey City drains to your river
Jersey City storm drain marker drains to your river
Because storm drains in most communities carry stormwater out to natural bodies of water, it’s important to keep as much pollution as possible from entering them. Storm drain marker programs have been established in New Jersey and across the country to help make local residents aware of the environmental value of protecting storm drains and the waterways they are linked with.

What flows into storm drains doesn’t come only from roadway surfaces, though. Water runoff from buildings, walk and driveways and lawns washes into storm drains and watershed areas too and from them – right out into our rivers, streams lakes, estuaries and eventually, our oceans. The Milwaukee Riverkeeper defines watershed as, “…simply the area of land that catches rain and snow and drains or seeps into a marsh, stream, river, lake or groundwater.”

Lawn pesticides and fertilizers: A great health hazard

pesticide free zone ladybug signThe enormous quantity of pesticides and over-application of fertilizers on lawns makes them one of the great waterway – and therefor personal – health issues of our time. The Bayshore Regional Watershed Council has a 2007 newspaper article posted on its site cautioning about the health hazards of perfect lawns.

The shimmering green of the finely groomed Long Island lawn may trigger an owner’s pride and neighborhood envy, but it also could pose a serious health risk … Karen Joy Miller, founder of the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, said pesticides are particularly dangerous for small children who are low to the ground, often barefoot and likely to put things in their mouths. Miller, a breast cancer survivor, said she suspects her sickness was caused in part by exposure to pesticides.

Natural lawn walk
Natural lawn walk
Beyond Pesticides, an environmental education group, tells us about the hazards of pesticides in landscapes and lawns.

Of 30 commonly used lawn pesticides 19 have studies pointing toward carcinogens, 13 are linked with birth defects, 21 with reproductive effects, 15 with neurotoxicity, 26 with liver or kidney damage, 27 are sensitizers and/or irritants, and 11 have the potential to disrupt the endocrine (hormonal) system … A 2004 national survey reveals that 5 million homeowners use only organic lawn practices and products and 35 million people use both toxic and non-toxic materials.

Beyond Pesticides offers a toolkit for organizing your community against pesticides and tips for beginning to eliminate pesticides locally and offers this advice:

A growing body of evidence in scientific literature shows that pesticide exposure can adversely affect a child’s neurological, respiratory, immune, and endocrine system, even at low levels. Young children are particularly susceptible because of their rapid growth and decreased ability to detoxify toxins. Fortunately, there are proven safe, effective, and affordable ways to maintain attractive lawns and playable fields without the use of toxic pesticides.

The EPA also offers pesticide reduction tips. Their tips include recommendations to compost and use native plants.
bee pollinating flower

Food supply is being threatened by bee death due to pesticides

Pesticides are dangerous for a number of environmental and health reasons which include the death of bees which society needs to pollinate and grow fruits and vegetables. For the first time this year in California, there were not enough bees on site to pollinate the entire crop of almonds. Weakened immune systems and outright death of bees is being attributed to overuse of pesticides and the reduction of open growth areas in favor of manicured lawns and unsustainably planned cities.

Fertilizers: another big health hazard and their partial ban in New Jersey

Rutgers fertilizer restriction FAQWaterway health depends on the conservation of a delicately balanced ecosystem that must support aquatic plants, fish, seafood and insects as well as the watershed and beach areas surrounding them and the birds and wildlife they support. Over-fertilization of lawns with nitrogen and phosphorous has led to the destruction of waterway health around the country and in New Jersey, some of the nation’s toughest lawn fertilizer laws have been enacted. Rutgers University summarizes the laws in this FAQ. An nj.com article summarizes the reasons behind the laws.

Nitrogen and phosphorus, while important for plant growth, are harmful to the environment if they wind up in the water. Nitrogen is a greater threat to coastal water, while phosphorous is more harmful in fresh water. Nitrogen causes algae blooms that deprive water of oxygen and kill marine life, and in New Jersey, environmentalists and scientists said that nitrogen was the primary reason for the slow death of salt water bodies, especially the Barnegat Bay.

Fertilizers in New Jersey may no longer contain phosphorus, except in special circumstances when a soil test indicates need, or when establishing or re-establishing turf …

We Need Honey Bees – Don’t Kill Them!

greenpeacebeesIf you find honeybees in your backyard or near your business and want to get rid of them, think a minute before picking up the phone to call an exterminator. Call a beekeeper instead! Some beekeepers will remove beehives in order to save those bees.

We need honeybees to pollinate plants so the food we eat will grow, but thanks to mass poisoning by pesticides and habitat destruction there are less bees available for this job than ever before. Fortunately, there is a growing community of local beekeepers who treasure these creatures and want to protect them.

Don’t try removing the hive yourself, as this can be dangerous.

Here are tips for finding a beekeeper who can remove your hive:

  • Do an internet search or check the Yellow Pages for Beekeeper or honey.
  • Contact your County’s Agricultural Extension Service. Although the Extension Services are affiliated with state agricultural universities, Extension offices are typically housed within a county building or park.
  • Ask your fire, police or health department. They may have lists of beekeepers who will take unwanted bees.

In the New York/New Jersey area, find registered beekeepers through:

Resources
American Beekeeping Federation: