Tag Archives: EPA

Farmer and Eco Groups Sue EPA over Re-Approval of Glyphosate Herbicides

Sustainable Pulse – Mar 20, 2020

On Friday, Center for Food Safety (CFS) on behalf of a broad coalition of farmworkers, farmers, and conservationists, filed a federal lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over its January 2020 re-approval of the herbicide glyphosate, best known as the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide. The suing organizations are CFS, Beyond Pesticides, the Rural Coalition, Organización en California de Lideres Campesinas, and the Farmworker Association of Florida.

While EPA defends glyphosate, juries in several cases have found it to cause cancer, ruling in favor of those impacted by exposure. Glyphosate formulations like Roundup are also well-established as having numerous damaging environmental impacts. After a registration review process spanning over a decade, EPA allowed the continued marketing of the pesticide despite the agency’s failure to fully assess glyphosate’s hormone-disrupting potential or its effects on threatened and endangered species. The review began in 2009, has already taken 11 years, without a full assessment of the widespread harmful impacts on people and the environment in that time period.

“EPA’s half-completed, biased, and unlawful approval sacrifices the health of farmworkers and endangered species at the altar of Monsanto profits,” said George Kimbrell, legal director for CFS and counsel for the coalition. “The reckoning for Roundup is coming.”

While EPA has declared that glyphosate does not cause cancer, the world’s foremost cancer authorities with the World Health Organization declared glyphosate to be ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ in 2015. Over 40,000 lawsuits have been filed against the Monsanto (recently acquired by Bayer) by cancer victims asserting that exposure to Roundup caused them or their loved ones to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, including many farmworkers. Plaintiffs have prevailed in the three cases decided thus far, with victims awarded roughly $80 million in each case.

“Contrary to the Trump EPA’s claims, both regulatory and independent scientific studies demonstrate that glyphosate herbicides are carcinogenic and have adverse effects on internal organs,” said Bill Freese, science policy analyst at CFS. “Far from consulting the ‘best available science,’ as EPA claims, the agency has relied almost entirely on Monsanto studies, cherry-picking the data that suits its purpose and dismissing the rest,” added Freese. “EPA’s glyphosate decision shows the same hostility to science that we’ve come to expect from this administration, whether the issue is climate change or environmental health.”

EPA judged glyphosate far more critically in the 1980s, when the agency designated it a possible carcinogen and identified harmful effects on the liver, kidney, and reproductive systems. Thanks to pressure from Monsanto/Bayer, EPA has since dismissed these harms and illegitimately raised the safety threshold – the daily amount of glyphosate regarded as safe over a lifetime – by 20 times.

“The farmworkers and farmers we serve are the backbone of our food system. Their families are the first – but are not the last – to bear the huge costs of EPA’s irresponsible decision, while corporate shareholders of Monsanto-Bayer benefit,” said Lorette Picciano, executive director of the Rural Coalition.

EPA has also failed to collect basic data on how much glyphosate is taken into human bodies via skin contact or inhalation of spray droplets. These exposure routes are particularly significant for farmworkers and others who work around and/or use Roundup, the very people who are at greatest risk of cancer and other health harms.

“How many more farmworkers have to suffer health impacts to themselves and their families before EPA “sees” them – the “invisible people” – and takes action?” said Jeannie Economos of the Farmworker Association of Florida. “EPA must protect human health before one more person suffers acute or chronic illness from exposure.”

“Farmworkers are on the front lines of the pesticide exposure crisis providing vital food for American families,” said Suguet Lopez of the Organización en California de Lideres Campesinas. “They deserve a duty of care from the government which it has failed to provide.”

Glyphosate herbicides also threaten numerous species, including fish, amphibians, and aquatic as well as terrestrial plants. EPA discounts these risks by low-balling exposure estimates and ignoring critical studies showing glyphosate’s potency, and by relying on ineffective and toothless changes to the language on glyphosate herbicide product labels to “mitigate” risks. Even worse, despite again registering the pesticide, EPA failed to complete any assessment of its impacts on thousands of potentially harmed endangered species, delaying it until a future decision.

“EPA failed to consider if Roundup disrupts the balance of nature and ecosystem health, critical to the survival of a vast number of organisms on which life depends – from beneficial insects, such as parasitoid wasps, lacewings, ladybugs, and endangered bumblebees, monarch butterflies, to fish, small mammals, and amphibians,” said Jay Feldman, executive director of Beyond Pesticides.

To give just one example, the massive use of glyphosate has nearly eradicated milkweed, the monarch butterfly’s host plant, from Midwest farmers’ fields, a major factor in the catastrophic decline in monarchs over the past two decades. Even though monarchs are under consideration for protection under the Endangered Species Act, EPA’s registration decision contains no effective measures to protect milkweed and monarchs from still more glyphosate damage.

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Dr. Paul Connett on the Historic Trial That Could End Water Fluoridation – Video 29 min

The Conscious Resistance – Feb 24, 2020 – Video 29 min

Journalist Derrick Broze interviews Dr. Paul Connett

Journalist Derrick Broze interview Dr. Paul Connett of the Fluoride Action Network regarding the upcoming trial between FAN and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This trial could spell the end of the practice of water fluoridation. www.fluoridealert.org

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US EPA Continues Glyphosate Cancer Cover Up with Regulatory Review Publication

Sustainable Pulse – Jan 31, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has continued its glyphosate cover-up by announcing Thursday that they have finished and published their regulatory review and found that glyphosate is ‘not a carcinogen’.

In a statement released Thursday the agency said; “EPA has concluded that there are no risks of concern to human health when glyphosate is used according to the label and that it is not a carcinogen.”

The EPA’s findings contradict the findings of a working group of 17 experts from 11 countries from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), who in 2015 classified glyphosate as a ‘Probable Human Carcinogen’.

Also in 2015 Sustainable Pulse uncovered a 30 year cover up by Monsanto and the EPA, related to the probable carcinogenicty of glyphosate, the World’s most used herbicide and according to Sustainable Pulse Director, Henry Rowlands, “as expected the cover-up simply continues.”

Rowlands continued “One thing that helps the EPA continue to assist companies such as Bayer/Monsanto to harm public health, is the fact that there are a lack of independent comprehensive studies out there on the harm being caused globally by glyphosate-based herbicides, due to a lack of available funding. This is something that the Global Glyphosate Study is trying to put right.”

Bayer / Monsanto, which produces the glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup, is currently facing more than 75,000 court cases in the U.S., some of which have already proven that Roundup is carcinogenic and specifically that it causes non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Dr. Charles Benbrook, Project Coordinator of the Heartland Study, reacted to the EPA’s announcement; “I am flabbergasted at this decision. There is NOTHING — ZERO — in the EPA decision to reduce worker exposures and risks.

How can the EPA ignore the thousands of comments highlighting the need for EPA to recover its spine and require Bayer/Monsanto and other registrants to take out the high-risk surfactants in glyphosate-based herbicides (GBHs), so the GBHs sold in the US are as safe as the reformulated products now sold in Europe?

And why did the EPA not require registrants to add onto labels a requirement for mixer-loaders and applicators to wear gloves, long sleeve pants, chemical-resistant shoes (aka  rubber boots), especially for applicators using hand-held equipment and spraying a GBH for several hours per day, over many days per year, as part of their job, or in keeping up with weeds on their rural property, homestead, or farm?

This irresponsible action by the EPA sets the stage for a concerted campaign by activists and public health advocates to ban all uses of GBHs. For obvious reasons, their prime target won’t be this EPA, and will instead focus on major food companies.”

Food companies are already reacting in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe by signing up to The Detox Project’s Glyphosate Residue Free certification for their products, which is now one of the fastest growing certifications in North America.

“It is time for consumers to show our industry-supporting government regulators that it really doesn’t matter if they try to hide the truth, we can all make a difference by forcing change at the check-out,” Rowlands concluded.

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The Playbook for Poisoning the earth

The Intercept – Jan 8, 2020 – Lee Fang

Dennis vanEngelsdorp.
Photo: David Yellen

In September 2009, over 3,000 bee enthusiasts from around the world descended on the city of Montpellier in southern France for Apimondia — a festive beekeeper conference filled with scientific lectures, hobbyist demonstrations, and commercial beekeepers hawking honey. But that year, a cloud loomed over the event: bee colonies across the globe were collapsing, and billions of bees were dying.

Bee declines have been observed throughout recorded history, but the sudden, persistent and abnormally high annual hive losses had gotten so bad that the U.S. Department of Agriculture had commissioned two of the world’s most well-known entomologists — Dennis vanEngelsdorp, a chief apiary inspector in Pennsylvania, then studying at Penn State University, and Jeffrey Pettis, then working as a government scientist — to study the mysterious decline. They posited that there must be an underlying factor weakening bees’ immune systems.

At Le Corum, a conference center and opera house, the pair discussed their findings. They had fed bees with extremely small amounts of neonicotinoids, or neonics, the most commonly used class of insecticides in the world. Neonics are, of course, meant to kill insects, but they are marketed as safe for insects that aren’t being directly targeted. VanEngelsdorp and Pettis found that even at nonlethal doses, the bees in the trial became much more vulnerable to fungal infection. Bees carrying an infection will often fly off to die, a virtuous form of suicide designed to protect the larger hive from contagion.

“We exposed whole colonies to very low levels of neonicotinoids in this case, and then challenged bees from those colonies with Nosema, a pathogen, a gut pathogen,” said Pettis, speaking to filmmaker Mark Daniels in his documentary, “The Strange Disappearance of the Bees,” at Apimondia. “And we saw an increase, even if we fed the pesticide at very low levels — an increase in Nosema levels — in direct response to the low-level feeding of neonicotinoids.”

The dosages of the pesticide were so miniscule, said vanEngelsdorp, that it was “below the limit of detection.” The only reason they knew the bees had consumed the neonicotinoids, he added, was “because we exposed them.”

Bee health depends on a variety of synergistic factors, the scientists were careful to note. But in this study, Pettis said, they were able to isolate “one pesticide and one pathogen and we clearly see the interaction.”

The evidence was mounting. Shortly after vanEngelsdorp and Pettis revealed their findings, a number of French researchers produced a nearly identical study, feeding minute amounts of the same pesticide to bees, along with a control group. The study produced results that echoed what the Americans had found.

Drifting clouds of neonicotinoid dust from planting operations caused a series of massive bee die-offs in northern Italy and the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany. Studies have shown neonicotinoids impaired bees’ ability to navigate and forage for food, weakened bee colonies, and made them prone to infestation by parasitic mites.

In 2013, the European Union called for a temporary suspension of the most commonly used neonicotinoid-based products on flowering plants, citing the danger posed to bees — an effort that resulted in a permanent ban in 2018.

In the U.S., however, industry dug in, seeking not only to discredit the research but to cast pesticide companies as a solution to the problem. Lobbying documents and emails, many of which were obtained through open records requests, show a sophisticated effort over the last decade by the pesticide industry to obstruct any effort to restrict the use of neonicotinoids. Bayer and Syngenta, the largest manufacturers of neonics, and Monsanto, one of the leading producers of seeds pretreated with neonics, cultivated ties with prominent academics, including vanEngelsdorp, and other scientists who had once called for a greater focus on the threat posed by pesticides.

The companies also sought influence with beekeepers and regulators, and went to great lengths to shape public opinion. Pesticide firms launched new coalitions and seeded foundations with cash to focus on nonpesticide factors in pollinator decline.

“Position the industry as an active promoter of bee health, and advance best management practices which emphasize bee safety,” noted an internal planning memo from CropLife America, the lobby group for the largest pesticide companies in America, including Bayer and Syngenta. The ultimate goal of the bee health project, the document noted, was to ensure that member companies maintained market access for neonic products and other systemic pesticides.

The planning memo, helmed in part by Syngenta regulatory official John Abbott, charts a variety of strategies for advancing the pesticide industry’s interests, such as, “Challenge EPA on the size and breadth of the pollinator testing program.” CropLife America officials were also tapped to “proactively shape the conversation in the new media realm with respect to pollinators” and “minimize negative association of crop protection products with effects on pollinators.” The document, dated June 2014, calls for “outreach to university researchers who could be independent validators.”

The pesticide companies have used a variety of strategies to shift the public discourse.

“America’s Heartland,” a PBS series shown on affiliates throughout the country and underwritten by CropLife America, portrayed the pollinator declines as a mystery. One segment from early 2013 on the crisis made no mention of pesticides, with the host simply declaring that “experts aren’t sure why” bees and butterflies were disappearing.

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‘A Total Disgrace’: Outrage as Trump EPA Says It Won’t Ban Pesticide Linked to Brain Damage in Children

Common Dreams – Jul 19, 2019 – Jake Johnson

“The EPA is endangering the lives of children to protect pesticide industry profits.”

Environmental Protection Agency chief Andrew Wheeler speaking in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

In a move environmentalists denounced as yet another case of the Trump administration putting industry profits over public health, the Environmental Protection Agency announced on Thursday that it will not ban chlorpyrifos, a pesticide linked to brain damage in children.

“By allowing chlorpyrifos to stay in our fruits and vegetables, Trump’s EPA is breaking the law and neglecting the overwhelming scientific evidence that this pesticide harms children’s brains,” Patti Goldman, attorney with Earthjustice said in a statement. “It is a tragedy that this administration sides with corporations instead of children’s health.”

EPA chief Andrew Wheeler’s decision to reject a petition by environmental groups calling for a ban on the neurotoxic chemical ignores the assessments of his agency’s own scientists, saidTiffany Finck-Haynes, pesticides and pollinators program manager for Friends of the Earth.

“The EPA’s refusal to ban chlorpyrifos ignores decades of science showing that this pesticide has irrevocable effects on human health and the environment,” said Finck-Haynes. “The EPA is endangering the lives of children to protect pesticide industry profits.”

Chlorpyrifos has been banned for household use since 2000, but the pesticide is still used by farmers on “more than 50 fruit, nut, cereal, and vegetable crops,” according tothe New York Times.

“In 2016,” the Times reported, “more than 640,000 acres were treated with chlorpyrifos in California alone.”

The Obama administration in 2015 proposed banning use of the pesticide on food crops, but former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt authorized its continued use in 2017.

“This is a total disgrace,” Rep. Mike Levin (D-Calif.) tweeted in response to the EPA’s decision on Thursday.

Finck-Haynes of Friends of the Earth said that as the federal government continues to work on behalf of chemical interests, states must take immediate action to protect the public and the environment.

“While the federal government refuses to act, we urge states to step in, ban chlorpyrifos, and demonstrate that they will safeguard public health and the environment,” said Finck-Haynes. “We call on [New York] Governor [Andrew] Cuomo to sign the chlorpyrifos ban bill sitting on his desk and protect New Yorkers from this toxic pesticide.”

In a statement on Thursday, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) highlighted the Trump administration’s ties to Dow Chemical, the largest producer of chlorpyrifos in the United States.

“The relationship between President Trump and Dow Chemical… has been called into question,” the group said. “Among other things, the chemical manufacturing giant reportedly donated $1 million for Trump’s inauguration, and its CEO previously played a chief advisory role to the president, heading up his now defunct American Manufacturing Council.”

Erik Olson, senior director of health and food at NRDC, said the effort to achieve a ban on chlorpyrifos will continue.

“Until EPA gets this stuff out of our fields and off our food,” said Olson, “this fight is not over.”

SOURCE

Pesticide Ruling Is Latest Embarrassing Setback for Trump

Truthout.org – Aug 11, 2018

A federal appeals court in California ruled on Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision to ditch a proposed ban on a pesticide linked to brain damage in unborn babies and young children violated federal law.

The ruling generated embarrassing headlines for the Trump administration as it rolled out a number of attention-grabbing proposals that are also expected to face serious legal and legislative hurdles.

Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s disgraced former EPA chief, signed an order shortly after taking office in March 2017 that reversed steps by the Obama administration to ban the decades-old pesticide chlorpyrifos on farms. The insect-killing chemical was banned for household use in 2000, and advocates have petitioned to remove it from the food supply for more than a decade amid mounting evidence that chlorpyrifos can harm developing brains.

In a ruling that scolded the agency for ignoring its congressional mandate to protect the public from dangerous chemicals, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the EPA on Friday to finalize a ban on chlorpyrifos within 60 days. The court said there was “no justification” for Pruitt’s decision to reverse course on banning the pesticide because the EPA had scientific evidence showing that chlorpyrifos residue on food causes neurodevelopmental damage to children.

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