FRANCE PLEDGES TO BAN TOXIC WEEDKILLER GLYPHOSATE

email from Environmental Working Group, 12/2/17

EWG wants to expand its work on pesticides in 2018 and we need your feedback.

Take EWG’s quick survey and tell us YOUR thoughts on pesticide use in the United States.

France just committed to banning the pesticide glyphosate, the main ingredient used in Monsanto’s Roundup, despite the opposition from multiple European countries that want to keep using this toxic pesticide. France plans to ban it in the next three years.

France took this step after glyphosate was declared a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization.

In the U.S., Scott Pruitt and the Environmental Protection Agency are doing the opposite. They are kowtowing to Monsanto and the pesticide lobby – but EWG is not backing down. We are ramping up our advocacy work on toxic pesticides like glyphosate, chlorpyrifos and dicamba, and expanding our work on pesticides so that you can protect yourself and your family.

We are finalizing our program plans for 2018 and urgently need you to weigh in.

Should the U.S. follow France’s lead and pledge to ban glyphosate?
YES / NO

Thanks for your input,

Advertisements

Neonicotinoids: don’t use them!

Why should we not use neonicotinoid insecticides? Because they kill or weaken many beneficial species of insects, including bees. And without bees, we’ll have to do without a lot of fruits and vegetables. Bayer and other manufacturers may not care, but we do.

Friends of the Earth has provided a list of neonicotinoid insecticide brands so that you can to avoid them:

(From the download “A Guide to Saving Bees” at Friends of the Earth.)

It’s almost as if the manufacturers were trying to mask their lethal products under fancy names, isn’t it? Rather than reading microscopic labels or carrying the list around with you, just avoid using pesticides and herbicides. There are many natural ways to protect your flowers and vegetables.

But if you are willing to print and carry the list around, next time you’re in a hardware or garden store, check to see if these objectionable products are on the shelf, and if so, complain to the management!

A Pesticide and the E.P.A.

Letter, New York Times, 11/1/17

Re “Trump’s Legacy: Damaged Brains,” by Nicholas Kristof (column, Oct. 29):

Pediatricians are alarmed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s recent decision to allow the continued use of chlorpyrifos, a toxic pesticide. Mr. Kristof explains in compelling detail the special interests that influenced the E.P.A.’s decision and why it should concern us all.

Extensive epidemiologic studies associate pesticide exposure with adverse birth and developmental outcomes, including preterm birth, low birth weight, congenital abnormalities, pediatric cancers, neurobehavioral and cognitive deficits, and asthma. The evidence is especially strong linking certain pesticide exposure with pediatric cancers and permanent neurological damage.

The agency’s own calculations suggest that babies, children and pregnant women all eat much more chlorpyrifos than is safe. In fact, the E.P.A. has estimated that “typical” exposures for babies are probably five times greater than its proposed “safe” intake, and 11 to 15 times higher for toddlers and older children.

This chemical is unambiguously dangerous and should be banned from use. We urge the E.P.A. to reverse its decision and protect child health.

FERNANDO STEIN, HOUSTON

The writer is president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dangerous pesticide chlorpyrifos not to be banned after all

From all we can tell, the pesticide chlorpyrifos is very dangerous. Search for info online and see also “Add your name to demand the EPA stop Dow Chemical from poisoning our children!” on our site.

Nicholas Kristof in “Trump’s Legacy: Damaged Brains,” New York Times, 10/29/17, brings out its unsavory history:

“The pesticide, which belongs to a class of chemicals developed as a nerve gas made by Nazi Germany, is now found in food, air and drinking water. Human and animal studies show that it damages the brain and reduces I.Q.s while causing tremors among children. It has also been linked to lung cancer and Parkinson’s disease in adults.”

The EPA’s decision to ban all uses of chlorpyrifos has just been reversed, even though:

“Kids are told to eat fruits and vegetables, but E.P.A. scientists found levels of this pesticide on such foods at up to 140 times the limits deemed safe.”

We are surrounded by damaging chemicals, because the US government has been so slow to regulate them and so susceptible to the influences of manufacturers. Kristof compares to another recent scandal:

“Remember the brain-damaging lead that was ignored in drinking water in Flint, Mich.? What’s happening under the Trump administration is a nationwide echo of what was permitted in Flint: Officials are turning a blind eye to the spread of a number of toxic substances, including those linked to cancer and brain damage.”

We all have the duty now to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities. Don’t Spray Me! is part of a movement on many levels to assure a healthy future for human and environmental health. Others, for example, are promoting uncontaminated foods, fighting back gas pipelines, and cutting greenhouse gas consumption.

It’s a priority for our time, a necessity for the future.

Read Kristof’s full article (including alarming drops in sperm counts) at New York Times.

Non-toxic weed-killers save taxpayer money, protect health

Letter from Ted Jankowski, seacoastonline (Portsmouth NH), Aug 20, 2017

The city of Portsmouth claims it’s too expensive to kill sidewalk weeds in a way that doesn’t endanger our health. I disagree.

Simple math shows that the city is shelling out 13 times more of our tax dollars to spread expensive, potentially carcinogenic toxins to kill weeds on our sidewalks and public places than it cost us for a simple homegrown vinegar-based natural alternative! And using an off the shelf organic product would cost about the same as the city is spending now – not 10 times more as the city has claimed.

Here’s the detail: In an April 2017 report to the City Council, our city public works department claimed that it tried the organic herbicide Avenger, but that a “major drawback” was that it cost “up to 10 times” the price of conventional herbicides like Roundup or Rodeo.

This got my financial brain working – 10 times more expensive? After four outrageously time-consuming Right-to-Know law requests – that made me wonder why I couldn’t easily get this information online on the city website – I finally found out in April the city used Roundup Pro Max to kill weeds in our public places. An online check of Walmart retail prices showed that this costs $45.53 a gallon. Meanwhile, a gallon of the organic weed-killer Avenger costs $51.30 – about $6 or just 13 percent more – but its application doesn’t require expensive licensed chemical folks, so using it would save money or break even – not cost 10 times more. So what gives?

Then I decided to compare the cost of the weed-killer the city is using on our sidewalks and public places with the homegrown “weed-killer” we (and many others) use to kill weeds on our brick patio and gravel driveway. We use a mix of one gallon of white vinegar, two cups of Epsom salts, and quarter-cup of dish detergent, which I used just last Sunday. Three days later, even with a little rain in-between, all the weeds were dead down to the roots! The Walmart online cost for this very effective weed-killer? Only $3.29 per gallon versus $45.53 per gallon for Roundup Pro. The city has also stated that Roundup only needs to be used twice a year, so it’s a better deal. Guess what? We only need to use our vinegar-based remedy twice a year too!

So the basic math? The city is spending at least 13 times more ($45.53 per gallon for Roundup, roughly the same as the organic product if you factor in application savings for that versus $3.39 per gallon for a simple vinegar-based method) – to spread dangerous toxins to kill weeds in our public places – when a simple natural alternative costs 13 times less. (And none of this even considers the potential health costs of any adverse effects of human or canine exposure to toxic weed-killers).

Now the real question is why haven’t eight of our nine city councilors done this basic math? I encourage the City Council to look at the overwhelming scientific data on the dangers of toxic weed-killers and the real costs of using them.

Please follow the lead of many U.S. cities and other countries and vote for the city to immediately stop using toxic synthetic chemicals on public property, encourage toxin-free property maintenance, and educate property-owners in safe, organic ways to care for our property. Let’s switch immediately to proven, safe, organic, sustainable ways to kill weeds.

Please help us protect our kids, our pets, and our taxpayers’ wallets by making Portsmouth a non-toxic community!

Ted Jankowski is a former Portsmouth deputy city manager and Portsmouth resident.

Pesticide Hypersensitivity Registry and Application

Public and commercial spray operators are required to give advance notice of spraying to registered individuals. In addition, the Chester County Health Department grants registered hypersensitive individuals an exclusion zone around their residence to spare them from chemical exposure.

To register, download the form at the Penn State Extensionsite, print, fill out, and get physician’s signed approval.

Background info at Penn State Extension includes:

“The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) maintains a registry of individuals hypersensitive to pesticides. It is a listing of locations for people who have been verified by a physician to be excessively or abnormally sensitive to pesticides. These hypersensitive individuals may request to have listings of their home, place of employment, school (if a student), and vacation home placed in the Registry. A person will not be considered included in the Registry unless their name appears in the current published Registry.”

Add your name to demand the EPA stop Dow Chemical from poisoning our children!

Sign the petition here. Background there:

Public health advocates and the EPA have been pushing to ban the use of the harmful pesticide chlorpyrifos for years. But even with substantial evidence that chlorpyrifos can interfere with children’s brain development and expose farmworkers to serious health risks, Dow Chemical – a company that sells these harmful pesticides regardless of the dangerous consequences – has been pushing the Trump administration to ignore the facts and let this poisoning continue unchecked.

Now, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is siding with Dow instead of the American people, reversing a proposed ban to prevent the use of this hazardous chemical on our food. We can’t stand idly by as Dow Chemical buys its way into the ear of Donald Trump to keep destroying our people and our planet with these highly toxic chemicals.

Scientists agree this pesticide shouldn’t be anywhere near the foods we eat, and even doctors are speaking out against this dangerous decision. The EPA exists to protect Americans – but under Scott Pruitt, all it’s doing is protecting the profits of corporations like Dow at the expense of everyone else. We need 100,000 people to speak out and show the EPA that we won’t stand for this dangerous scheme.

Add your name to demand the EPA stop Dow Chemical from poisoning our children!

Sponsors:
Chispa
Daily Kos
Environmental Working Group
Friends of the Earth
League of Conservation Voters
Organic Consumers Association
Sierra Club
The Nation

Environmental Film Series: “Unacceptable Levels”

“Unacceptable Levels” (which should lead us all to scrutinize anew the pesticide residues in what we eat, drink, and breathe) was shown on Sept. 14, 2017, sponsored by the Sierra Club, Don’t Spray Me!, the WCU Sustainability Program, the WCU Geography & Planning Club, and 4CP, in memory of Graham Hudgings.

Included were an Introduction by State Rep. Carolyn Comitta and Q&A led by Dr. Joan Welch of WCU, as well as food and granting of awards by Dianne Herrin, chair of the West Chester Sustainability Advisory Committee. Photos by Taka Nagai:

Lincoln County, OR, Adopts First-in-Nation Ban of Aerial Pesticide Spray


OREGON: The election results from Lincoln County, OR, are in: Lincoln residents adopted the first-in-the nation countywide Freedom from Aerial Sprayed Pesticides ordinance by 61 votes. Lincoln residents are the first in Oregon to secure people’s environmental and democratic rights, challenging the claimed “rights” of corporations. They are also the first to secure the rights of nature to exist and flourish, joining a growing number of communities across the U.S. and globally who are recognizing ecosystem rights. Measure 21-177 bans aerial sprayed pesticides as a violation of those rights.

The measure was ahead by 27 votes in the ballot count on election night (May 16th). However, there were 100 unsigned ballots that could still be counted towards the total. Those voters had until May 30th to sign their ballots, which were then added to the final count and secured the win.

Lincoln County residents have faced decades of toxic aerial pesticide spraying by the industrial timber industry. Timber corporations repeatedly aerial spray toxic pesticides on clearcuts to kill off “competing” vegetation and animals that threaten newly planted and young commodity crop trees. Residents have been working with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) since 2013 to protect themselves from the dangerous practice. …

read more at CELDF

 

It’s not just about the pesticides

Since 2015, with many others, I have been part of the West Chester PA activist group Don’t Spray Me, whose immediate purpose is to cut down on both mosquitoes and the pesticides sprayed to kill them.

The Don’t Spray Me effort is not “just” about mosquitoes and even not “just” about pesticides.

The short version is that if we, as individuals, organizations, and municipalities, can prevent mosquitoes from breeding in standing water, then we won’t be threatened with toxic air-borne spraying that has less lasting negative impact on mosquito populations than on many other vulnerable species, including but not limited to hypersensitive humans, beneficial insects like bees, and some other species.

Many things we believe in are under assault today. Americans have become very skeptical of trusting the status quo, and we rightly worry what could happen next if we aren’t vigilant.

When I have the mosquito conversation with anyone who grew up in the 1950s and 60s, they usually recall being exposed to DDT in their neighborhoods, when that chemical was being sprayed liberally in a futile attempt to save elm trees from Dutch Elm Disease. Many of us recall basking in the cooling DDT mist as it drifted down from the treetops….

read more at Politics, A View from West Chester