One more poison to fight!

“The EPA Says Farmers Can Keep Using Weedkiller Blamed For Vast Crop Damage, by Dan Charles, NPR, November 1, 2018

For months, farmers from Mississippi to Minnesota have been waiting for the Environmental Protection Agency to make up its mind about a controversial weedkiller called dicamba. Some farmers love the chemical; other farmers, along with some environmentalists, consider it a menace, because it’s prone to drifting in the wind, damaging nearby crops and wild vegetation.

This week, on Halloween evening, the EPA finally announced its decision. Calling dicamba “a valuable pest control tool,” it gave farmers a green light to keep spraying the chemical on new varieties of soybeans and cotton that have been genetically modified to tolerate dicamba.

A coalition of environmental groups that had filed a lawsuit against the EPA’s original approval of dicamba blasted the decision to keep it on the market. Paul Achitoff from Earthjustice said in a statement that “EPA’s disregard of both the law and the welfare of … species at risk of extinction is unconscionable.”…

read more at NPR

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Court Orders E.P.A. to Ban Chlorpyrifos, Pesticide Tied to Children’s Health Problems

By Eric Lipton, New York Times, Aug. 9, 2018

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday to bar within 60 days a widely used pesticide associated with developmental disabilities and other health problems in children, dealing the industry a major blow after it had successfully lobbied the Trump administration to reject a ban.

The order by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit came after a decade-long effort by environmental and public health groups to get the pesticide, chlorpyrifos, removed from the market. The product is used in more than 50 fruit, nut, cereal and vegetable crops including apples, almonds, oranges and broccoli, with more than 640,000 acres treated in California alone in 2016, the most recent year data is available.

In March 2017, just a month after he was confirmed as the agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt rejected a petition by the health and environmental groups to ban the pesticide. He did so even though the agency’s own staff scientists had recommended that chlorpyrifos be removed from the market, based on health studies that had suggested it was harming children, particularly among farmworker families.

A three-judge panel, on a 2-to-1 vote, gave the agency two months to finalize the ban on the product, whose leading manufacturer is DowDuPont….

read more at New York Times

Stop the attack on industrial safety rules that protect millions of Americans from chemical disasters

email from BlueGreen Alliance. We need to remember that all these chemicals floating around through our air, and pipelines are manufactured somewhere, including in Chester County, and the risks to the public and first responders must be minimized.

The EPA finalized a new Chemical Disaster Rule in January 2017, four years after an industrial explosion in West, Texas, killed 13 firefighters and two residents and leveled much of the town. The rule included new requirements for companies to prevent chemical releases, fires, and explosions, and required that companies work with first responders to improve emergency preparedness and coordination. Millions of Americans live close enough to an industrial facility to be affected by a chemical disaster.

The EPA put the new rule on hold last year, and now the agency is proposing to gut the rule, eliminating basic provisions that would protect workers and the communities around these facilities.

Tell the EPA to stop playing with fire. We need a strong Chemical Disaster Rule that will better protect millions of American workers and communities.

Roughly 177 million Americans live close enough to an industrial facility to be affected by a chemical accident, and that risk falls disproportionately on low-income and minority communities. One-in-three schoolchildren attend a school in the vulnerability zone for an industrial chemical accident, meaning they are potentially in the path of a lethal industrial chemical release. Workers are at greatest risk of injury or death, alongside first responders, who often have to put their lives on the line responding to the industrial fires, explosions, and chemical releases that continue to occur 150 times each year across the nation.

The EPA has shown that serious chemical accidents can be prevented if companies implement updated safety precautions. Submit your comment to the EPA today supporting a strong Chemical Disaster Rule.

The Chemical Disaster Rule will protect millions of residents and workers and must be implemented in its January 2017 form, not weakened or delayed as proposed by the administration.

Help make sure they get the message. Send your comment now.

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Dr. Mike Wilson
National Director for Occupational and Environmental Health

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.

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

Michael Dourson: A Toxic Choice for Our Health and Safety

by Genna Reed, science and policy analyst, Center for Science and Democracy, at Union of Concerned Scientists, October 19, 2017

Update (December 14, 2017): Michael Dourson has withdrawn his nomination to head the EPA’s division of chemical safety. Read the statement from UCS President Ken Kimmell, Dourson’s Withdrawal a Victory for Science, Health.

When it comes to conflicts of interest, few nominations can top that of Michael Dourson to lead the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. Time after time, Dourson has worked for industries and against the public interest, actively downplaying the risks of a series of chemicals and pushing for less stringent policies that threaten our safety.

In short, Dourson pushes counterfeit science, is unfit to protect us from dangerous chemicals, and is a toxic choice for our health and safety….

read more at at Union of Concerned Scientists to see how lucky we are not to have this chemical industry apologist in charge of regulating that very industry!

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

EPA: Pesticide Environmental Stewardship

Managed by the US EPA, “The Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) is a voluntary membership program that promotes the adoption of innovative, alternative pest control practices such as Integrated Pest Management (IPM). In becoming a PESP member, you join more than 250 nationally-recognized organizations committed to reducing the human health and environmental risks associated with pesticide use.”

From the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program Application Form:

By completing this application for membership in PESP, we affirm our commitment to the following:

We believe that environmental stewardship is an integral part of pest management practices and will continue to work toward pest management practices that reduce the risks to humans and the environment. As part of our voluntary participation in the Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program, this organization will develop a Strategic Approach to pesticide risk reduction and implement annual Activities that fall within this Strategic Approach.

We understand that in return, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will seek to foster, fund and promote, through research, education, and other means, the adoption of alternative pest management technologies and practices that enhance pest management and reduce pesticide risk.

The Chester County Health Department is a member of PESP.

Pesticide Environmental Stewardship

We applaud the Chester County Health Department and US Environmental Protection Agency for their commitment to reducing pesticide risks:

“The Chester County Health Department is a member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program. This program requires participants to affirm that environmental stewardship is an integral part of their integrated pest management (IPM) practice, use current, comprehensive information regarding the life cycle of mosquitoes within their IPM program, educate the community on the benefits of IPM, and demonstrate a commitment to pesticide risk reduction activities.”

(Wording from the County’s 5/19/16 release under the heading “Make your home a Mosquito-FREE zone” at CHESTER COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT).

Congress Cites Zika Virus in Effort to Attack Water Protections

Beyond Pesticides, May 19, 2016

Using fear without facts, Congress is yet again attempting to gut Clean Water Act (CWA) provisions that protect waterways and communities from excessive pesticide pollution. In a move that was blasted by House Democrats this week, HR 897 (which was introduced as the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2015) was renamed the Zika Vector Control Act, despite the fact that the bill does not actually do anything to address the threat of Zika. The legislation was defeated Tuesday on a suspension vote, 262-159, however the bill will be going to the Rules Committee on Monday, with anticipated House floor activity on Tuesday, May 24. (Take action: urge your representative to oppose HR 897.)

spraypond“In a brazenly political act, the Republican leadership is trying to mask gutting the Clean Water Act as having something to do with fighting Zika,” Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), said in a statement to The Hill. “This bill has nothing to do with Zika and everything to do with Republicans’ relentless special interest attacks on the Clean Water Act,” he said. “It will do nothing to stem the growing threat of the Zika virus.”

The bill reverses a 2009 federal court decision in National Cotton Council v. EPA that directed EPA to require permits from applicators who spray over “navigable waters,” as outlined in the CWA. It also follows years of failed attempts to repeal the Pesticide General Permit and allow pesticides to be discharged into bodies of water without federal oversight….

read more and follow links at Beyond Pesticides