Lawsuit Challenges TruGreen Chemical Lawn Care Company for Deceptive Safety Claims; Pesticide Applications Stopped by Some States During COVID-19 Crisis as Nonessential

Beyond Pesticides, 3/30/20

NOTICE: Beyond Pesticides urges Governors to stop the use of lawn pesticides during the COVID-19 crisis because the toxic chemicals used are typically immune and respiratory system toxicants, elevating key risk factors for those vulnerable to coronavirus hazards. Contact your Governor to classify chemical lawn care as non-essential.

(Beyond Pesticides, March 30, 2020) Last week, Beyond Pesticides sued TruGreen, the national chemical landscaping company, for misrepresenting the safety of the toxic chemicals that it uses to treat lawns. The case is Beyond Pesticides v. TruGreen (DC Superior Court, Case No. 2020CA001973B, March, 20, 2020). At the same time, the organization is urging all states to prohibit toxic chemical spraying in neighborhoods as non-essential and hazardous. Widespread exposure to lawn pesticides, which are immune system and respiratory toxicants, can elevate serious risk factors associated with COVID-19 (coronavirus).

As part of its marketing, TruGreen tells consumers that it offers environmentally friendly, sustainable lawn care services that use no chemicals that may cause cancer, allergic reactions, or other health or environmental harms. These claims, according to Beyond Pesticides’ complaint, are false and deceptive and illegal under the laws of the District of Columbia….

read more at Beyond Pesticides

The colorful lawn

A lawn never subjected to chemicals can exhibit a broad and attractive range of plants, here featuring purple and white wild violets (and, in the middle distance, an area of meadow hyacinths that will soon bloom in purple and white):

Finding a toad is also a good sign, as amphibians like toads and salamanders are very sensitive to chemical poisoning. From the base of a tree just off the above photo, this is a well-camouflaged Eastern American toad:

Toads breed in water and that one must have hopped safely across 500 feet and 2 streets to get here, some time in the past 30 years (their life span, under good circumstances.

Here is a salamander from about 25 feet away in the same back yard, found under a flat stone (which, here pictured on the left side, of course was carefully replaced so as not to disturb the wildlife, which if you look carefully includes 2 snails near the salamander’s tail). Although only about an inch long, it must be a northern slimy salamander (which grows up to 8 inches long!) lives in just this environment and breeds on land.

It’s Farmer v. Monsanto in Court Fight Over Dicamba Herbicide

Sierra magazine, 2/3/20

Bader Farms claims Monsanto induces farmers to buy dicamba-tolerant seeds

Update: and farmer won! See “Missouri Farmer Wins $265 Million Verdict Against Monsanto” in Sierra magazine, Feb. 25, 2020.

A showdown is underway in the Midwest as the owner of a large Missouri peach farm seeks to hold the former Monsanto Co. accountable for millions of dollars in damage to his crops—losses the farmer claims resulted from a corporate strategy to induce farmers to buy high-priced specialty seeds and chemicals.

The trial got underway on January 27 in US District Court in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Farmer Bill Bader, who has grown peaches in Missouri’s “Bootheel” region for 40 years, is seeking more than $20 million. The lawsuit alleges that Bader Farms lost more than 30,000 trees due to Monsanto’s actions, in collaboration with German chemical giant BASF, to profit from a new cropping system involving genetically engineered seeds designed to tolerate dousing of the herbicide dicamba.

Bader claims Monsanto sold GMO dicamba-tolerant soybean and cotton seeds despite knowing the actions would trigger chemical damage to farm fields that were not planted with the new seeds. The intent, the Bader Farms’ lawsuit alleges, was to induce farmers to buy the specialty seeds as a means to prevent crop damage from herbicide drift coming from neighboring farmers who were planting the GMO crops and spraying them with dicamba.

Testing showed that leaves of his dying peach trees carried traces of dicamba. The 5,000-acre family farm, which produced 5 million to 6 million pounds of peaches annually along with corn, soybeans, various berries, apples, and tomatoes, is now struggling to survive, according to Bader.

Monsanto, which was bought by Bayer AG in 2018, and BASF, which initially developed dicamba in the 1950s, have claimed that other factors are to blame for Bader’s problems on his farm, including a soil fungus. The companies deny they have any liability for his losses. 

But among the evidence introduced at the Bader Farms trial are internal Monsanto documents showing that the company predicted thousands of drift complaints would occur after its new seed product launch.

Bader is only one of a large and growing group of US farmers who say they are the victims of a clearly foreseen chemical catastrophe many years in the making that has ruined crops covering millions of acres of farmland….

read more at Sierra

Photo by Bacsica/iStockBy Carey Gillam

Glyphosate exposure in pregnancy and shortened gestational length: a prospective Indiana birth cohort study

Environmental Health, volume 17, Article number: 23 (2018)

[short version: 93% of the pregnant women in the study had detectable levels of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, and “these levels correlated significantly with shortened pregnancy lengths.”]

Background

Glyphosate (GLY) is the most heavily used herbicide worldwide but the extent of exposure in human pregnancy remains unknown. Its residues are found in the environment, major crops, and food items that humans, including pregnant women, consume daily. Since GLY exposure in pregnancy may also increase fetal exposure risk, we designed a birth-cohort study to determine exposure frequency, potential exposure pathways, and associations with fetal growth indicators and pregnancy length….

keep reading at Environmental Health

Impossible Burger Attacks Moms for Publishing Pesticide Results

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola, 6/4/19

Story at-a-glance

  • When tested by consumer advocacy group Moms Across America (MAA), concerning levels of the herbicide glyphosate were found in the Impossible Burger
  • The total result of glyphosate and AMPA, the main metabolite of glyphosate, in the Impossible Burger was 11.3 parts per billion (ppb)
  • The Impossible Burger is made mostly of genetically engineered (GE) soy protein, a highly-processed ingredient that’s not real food…

Keep reading at Dr. Joseph Mercola, and for even worse news:

Tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed the highest glyphosate level — 2,837 ppb — was found in Quaker Oatmeal Squares breakfast cereal,14 a level that makes Impossible Burger’s glyphosate level seem good by comparison — but that’s precisely the sad point….

Tests commissioned by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed the highest glyphosate level — 2,837 ppb — was found in Quaker Oatmeal Squares breakfast cereal,14 a level that makes Impossible Burger’s glyphosate level seem good by comparison — but that’s precisely the sad point.

West Chester Area School District policy

The following WCASD policy on pests and weeds was circulated in August, 2019. Download the pdf here: Pesticide Ltr-Eng 8.2019. Compare “PA Public School Code sections on pesticide notification” on our site (note that the law defines “pesticide” to include “herbicide”). We support the IPM approach; for the sake of children, staff and the environment, we hope that every school in the system will conform scrupulously to it and that no spraying will be considered necessary. The unwelcome use of herbicides at one school is documented in the photo below from summer 2019.

The West Chester Area School District uses an integrated pest management (IPM) approach for managing insects, rodents and weeds. Our goal is to protect every student for pesticide exposure by using an IPM approach to pest management. Our IPM approach focuses on making the school building and grounds an unfavorable habitat for these pests by removing food and water sources and eliminating their hiding and breeding places. We accomplish this through routine cleaning and maintenance. We routinely monitor the school building and grounds to detect any pests that are present. The pest monitoring team consists of our building maintenance, office and teaching staffs and includes our students. Pest sightings are reported to our IPM coordinator who evaluates the pest problem and determines the appropriate pest management techniques to address the problem. The techniques can include increases sanitation, modifying storage practice, sealing entry points, physically removing the pests, etc.

From time to time it may be necessary to use chemicals to manage a pest problem. Chemicals will only be used when necessary and will not be routinely applied. When chemicals are used the school will try to use the least toxic products when possible. Applications will be made only when non-authorized persons do not have access to the area(s) being treated. Notices will be posted in the areas 72 hours prior to application and for two days following the applications.

Parents or guardians of students enrolled in the school may request prior notification of specific pesticide applications made at the school. To receive notification, you must be placed on the school’s notification registry. If you would like to be placed on the registry, please complete the online form on the district website, under Departments, Facilities & Operations, IPM Notification Request form. This request must be made annually. If you do not have internet access, please call the Facilities Receptionist at 484-266-1252, to request notification.

If a chemical application must be made to control an emergency pest problem, notice will be provided by email to any parent or guardian who has requested such notification. Exemptions to the notification include disinfectants and antimicrobial products; self-containerized baits placed in areas not accessible to students, and gel-type baits placed in cracks, crevices or voids.

Countries That Banned Glyphosate Weedkiller

By Michael Bennett, Weed Killer Crisis, November 8, 2018 [Needs updating: Ontario banned most uses of rounded several years ago, and Germany just banned it effective 2023]

Glyphosate is the most used herbicide or pesticide in the world, with hundreds of millions of pounds being used every year across the globe. While the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that glyphosate is probably a cancer-causing agent in humans, the chemical remains in widespread use.

Still, several countries around the world have taken steps to limit glyphosate use or ban it altogether. The legal status of glyphosate and Roundup is ever-evolving, so check back frequently for updates to this page.

see the list at Weed Killer Crisis

Schools and parks in West Chester Borough

Don’t Spray Me! believes pesticides and herbicides should not be sprayed on any sort of educational institution or in parks where the public, including children, may go unawares shortly after spraying. The PA School Code requires notification of families and employees of public schools before spraying occurs–but not of private, independent and religious schools. This limitation is particularly upsetting because the youngest and therefore most vulnerable children, those in day schools and pre-schools, are specifically not protected by the law.

The map below, by Paige Vermeulen, shows schools (from day cares to university) in yellow, parks in green, and a 300 foot buffer zone in orange. Why 300 feet? Because spray drifts, and Bayer says its product DeltaGard kills mosquitoes at 300 feet (see more here).

Study suggests Roundup’s adverse effects on future generations

A recent study about rats could have implications for humans. It shows that even when exposure to the herbicide glyphosate (the main active ingredient in Roundup, but also used in other products since the patent US expired in 2000) is low enough not to do evident damage to individual rats, their offspring in the 2nd and 3rd generations may suffer epigenetic effects, meaning that although DNA sequences are not affected, the way the body instructs genes to act may be affected, notably in sperm cells.

Thus, even apart from any effects on the exposed individual humans (witness the recent large court judgments about Bayer-Monsanto), grandchildren and great grand-children may suffer adverse health conditions. Since glyphosate entered the market 43 years ago, children whose grandparents used the product may soon, unfortunately, be observed as test cases.

If this follows the route of tobacco and opioids, after decades of human suffering, government will suddenly find itself “shocked” and start trying to hold companies responsible–with little help for the humans affected, and small impact on the companies’ bottom line or executive leaders.

Below is the official summary of an article in Scientific Reports, volume 9, Article number: 6372 (2019)l read the full article there. See more background on harmful effects of Roundup in “Take Action by September 3 to Ban This Cancer-Causing Weedkiller!” at Organic Consumers Association (accompanying photo is from there).

Assessment of Glyphosate Induced Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Pathologies and Sperm Epimutations: Generational Toxicology

Abstract

Ancestral environmental exposures to a variety of factors and toxicants have been shown to promote the epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of adult onset disease. One of the most widely used agricultural pesticides worldwide is the herbicide glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine), commonly known as Roundup. There are an increasing number of conflicting reports regarding the direct exposure toxicity (risk) of glyphosate, but no rigorous investigations on the generational actions. The current study using a transient exposure of gestating F0 generation female rats found negligible impacts of glyphosate on the directly exposed F0 generation, or F1 generation offspring pathology. In contrast, dramatic increases in pathologies in the F2 generation grand-offspring, and F3 transgenerational great-grand-offspring were observed. The transgenerational pathologies observed include prostate disease, obesity, kidney disease, ovarian disease, and parturition (birth) abnormalities. Epigenetic analysis of the F1, F2 and F3 generation sperm identified differential DNA methylation regions (DMRs). A number of DMR associated genes were identified and previously shown to be involved in pathologies. Therefore, we propose glyphosate can induce the transgenerational inheritance of disease and germline (e.g. sperm) epimutations. Observations suggest the generational toxicology of glyphosate needs to be considered in the disease etiology of future generations.

Monsanto And The EPA

from PennPIRG

So far, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and many other decision-makers have largely been taking Monsanto at its word when it claims its product is safe. But Monsanto has not been transparent about the potential health effects of Roundup. In 2017, Monsanto was caught ghost-writing studies for “independent scientists” to show that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, is safe, and in late 2017, newly unsealed court documents showed Monsanto has had an influence on U.S. regulators in the EPA for years, while suppressing scientific information about the potential dangers of its widely used pesticide, Roundup.

Even without these deceptive actions, there is enough evidence to indicate that we shouldn’t be needlessly exposing ourselves to something that has the potential to cause such serious harm. But that is exactly what we are doing, and in a big way. …

read more at PennPIRG