Save the pollinators!

email from Friends of the Earth, 3/9/18. [N.b. Bayer also manufactures permanone, one of today’s mosquito sprays of choice. And, believe it or not, “In 1898, the Bayer pharmaceutical company began an aggressive marketing campaign to sell its commercial preparation of Heroin” (Narcanon; and search other sources). Who would trust such a company with our health and environment?]

Bayer the Bee-Slayer and Monsanto the Butterfly Killer are trying to merge into one giant pesticide corporation.

This would be a disaster for pollinators, people and the environment. Farmers overwhelmingly think this mega-merger is a bad idea — a new poll found 93 percent of farmers surveyed oppose it. Over 1 million Americans have called on the Justice Department to stop it. And there are investigations in both the EU and the U.S.

We need to make sure the Department of Justice doesn’t let this merger move forward. But we need your help to urge it to act.

Tell the Department of Justice to stop the Bayer-Monsanto merger!

If this merger goes through, the new company would be the world’s largest vegetable seed company. It would control seeds for many of the crops we eat regularly — including broccoli, carrots and onions.

It would also be the largest manufacturer and seller of herbicides. It would double down on making toxic chemicals like glyphosate (a.k.a. Roundup®) — which is a key culprit in monarch butterfly declines and is a probable human carcinogen.

What’s more, this merger threatens the development of a sustainable and just food system. It will hurt independent family farmers and rural economies and will encourage farmers to ramp up the chemically intensive agricultural system that Bayer and Monsanto promote.

In short, we’d be giving a single corporation unprecedented control of our food supply. We can’t let the future of our food system be handed over to Bayer and Monsanto.

The Department of Justice has the power to stop the proposed merger — but it won’t act unless you speak up.

sign the petition here


Tell your members of Congress to ban chlorpyrifos!

Friends of the Earth, 3/6/18, text of petition:

Dear legislator,

I am writing to urge you to cosponsor S.6124 / H.R. 3380, which would ban chlorpyrifos, a highly toxic nerve agent pesticide known to cause brain damage in children.

Chlorpyrifos is so dangerous that, after years of study,, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), based on the weight of the scientific evidence, was set to ban all uses of this pesticide in 2015. However, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed the proposed ban.

Donald Trump’s administration has failed on this issue. The agency reversed its proposed ban on chlopryrifos after Dow delivered $1 million to Donald Trump’s inaugural committee. In addition, Trump picked Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris to head the American Manufacturing Council. I’m also alarmed that the White House just announced that Trump plans to nominate Dow’s lawyer to lead EPA’s office of solid waste. That means a former Dow employee will be in charge of overseeing the toxic waste sites of his former employer.

The actions of the Trump administration signal that they are more concerned about protecting the interests of the pesticide industry than the American public. As your constituent I urge you to take leadership on this issue.

The science is clear: there are no safe uses of chlorpyrifos. Prenatal exposures to this chemical are associated with reduced IQ, loss of working memory, attention disorders and delayed motor development. Whenever chlorpyrifos is sprayed, it can cause immediate and long-term health harms to kids, farmers, farmworkers and others who are exposed.

In its latest risk assessment of chlorpyrifos, your agency’s scientists determined that:

• All food exposures exceed safe levels, with children ages 1-2 exposed to levels of chlorpyrifos that are 140 times what the EPA deems safe.
• There is no safe level of chlorpyrifos in drinking water.
• Chlorpyrifos is found at unsafe levels in the air at schools and homes in communities in agricultural areas.
• All workers who mix and apply chlorpyrifos are exposed to unsafe levels of the pesticide, even with maximum personal protective equipment and engineering controls.

There are effective alternatives for pest management that won’t poison our children.

We must protect ourselves and our children from this dangerous chemical.

Please cosponsor S.6124 / H.R. 3380 to demonstrate that you prioritize the interests of the American public over Dow’s corporate profits.

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.

If you feel you qualify, to register you can download the form here: Pesticide Hypersensitivity Application Form(2). Then print and fill it out, get a physician’s signed approval, and submit it.

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.”

Note that you can register not just your home address but up to 4 locations.

Trump’s EPA could allow teenage workers to handle dangerous pesticides

by Doris Cellarius, Sierra Club Grassroots Network, 1/11/18, from Huffington Post. See both sites for links to more info.

If the Environmental Protection Agency follows through with a reform now under consideration, teenage farmworkers and other working minors would once again be allowed to handle dangerous pesticides while on the job.

The EPA is now reevaluating a 2015 rule that tightened safety standards for farmworkers. In particular, the agency is considering changing or scrapping the requirement that anyone working with pesticides in agriculture be at least 18 years old.

Doctors had called for those restrictions to be put in place because pesticides can increase the risk of cancer or impact brain development in children.

The EPA may also tweak or do away with the age requirements of another recent rule, which spells out who can be certified to be an applicator of the chemicals that the EPA classifies as the most toxic. That could make it legal for minors to work with what are known as “restricted-use” pesticides, like arsenic and methyl bromide, in a host of industries beyond just agriculture, such as landscaping and pest control.

Restricted-use pesticides are not sold to the public for general use because of how dangerous they can be to people and the environment.

Travels with Charley, a smart dog

American novelist John Steinbeck was obviously a smart guy. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962. That same year, he published “Travels with Charley,” an account of driving across the country and back with his faithful but sometimes ailing canine companion.

However, in one respect Charley acts smarter than the writer. Somewhere in Ohio, Steinbeck pulls the camper for the night into a place infested with flies. “For the first time i got out the bug bomb and sprayed heavily, and Charley broke into a sneezing attack so violent and prolonged that I had finally to carry him out in my arms. ” The same thing happened again in the morning. “I never saw such a severe allergy,” Steinbeck concludes.

Charley was smart enough to sense that he was being poisoned by a pesticide and he wanted out. That was in an era when elms were still being sprayed to try to save them from Dutch Elm Disease and kids ran along in the spray.

1962 was also the year that Rachel Carson published “Silent Spring.” If Steinbeck had had a chance to read that epoch-making warning about pesticides before writing “Travels with Charley,” he would have recognized a toxic chemical spray when he saw one. And if he had read Carson before his trip in 1960, he probably wouldn’t have sprayed around poor Charley at all. He did learn that on his own, though, because whenever he sprayed thereafter, “I had to close Charley out and air out the house or cab after the pests were dead.”

All that spraying probably wasn’t too good for Steinbeck either; he died in 1968 at the age of 66.

EPA to Consider Approving Spraying of Bee-killing Pesticide on 165 Million Acres of U.S. Farmland

by Lori Ann Burd, Center for Biological Diversity, 12/19/17

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will consider allowing the bee-killing pesticide thiamethoxam to be sprayed on the most widely grown crops in the United States. The application, if approved, would allow the highly toxic pesticide to be sprayed directly on 165 million acres of wheat, barley, corn, sorghum, alfalfa, rice and potato.

The proposal by the agrochemical giant Syngenta to dramatically escalate use of the harmful neonicotinoid pesticide came last Friday, on the same day the EPA released new assessments of the extensive dangers posed by neonicotinoids, including thiamethoxam.

“If the EPA grants Syngenta’s wish, it will spur catastrophic declines of aquatic invertebrates and pollinator populations that are already in serious trouble,” said Lori Ann Burd, director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s environmental health program. “You know the pesticide-approval process is broken when the EPA announces it will consider expanding the use of this dangerous pesticide on the same day its own scientists reveal that the chemical kills birds and aquatic invertebrates.”

Neonicotinoids have long been known to pose serious harm to bee populations. But the new EPA assessments found the commonly used pesticides can kill and harm birds of all sizes and pose significant dangers to aquatic invertebrates.

Thiamethoxam is currently widely used as a seed coating for these crops. This application would allow it to be sprayed directly on the crops, greatly increasing the amount of pesticide that could be used.

The just-released aquatic and non-pollinator risk assessment found that the majority of uses of the neonicotinoid on currently registered crops resulted in risks to freshwater invertebrates that exceeded levels of concern — the threshold at which harm is known to occur….

read more and see links at Center for Biological Diversity


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?

Thanks for your input,

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.


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.