Analysis: 490,000 Pounds of Toxic Pesticides Sprayed on National Wildlife Refuges

Press release from Center for Biological Diversity, May, 10, 2018

WASHINGTON— America’s national wildlife refuges are being doused with hundreds of thousands of pounds of dangerous agricultural pesticides every year, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity.

The Center report, No Refuge, reveals that an estimated 490,000 pounds of pesticides were dumped on commodity crops like corn, soybeans and sorghum grown in national wildlife refuges in 2016, the most recent year for which data are available. The analysis was conducted with records obtained by the Center under the Freedom of Information Act.

“These refuges are supposed to be a safe haven for wildlife, but they’re becoming a dumping ground for poisonous pesticides,” said Hannah Connor, a senior attorney at the Center who authored the analysis. “Americans assume these public lands are protected and I think most people would be appalled that so many pesticides are being used to serve private, intensive agricultural operations.” …

keep reading and download the full report at Center for Biological Diversity

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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 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

When We Fumigate Flies and Mosquitoes, Are We Poisoning Ourselves?

By Maryam Henein, Truthout. 10/11/15

We arrived at the Las Manos border between Honduras and Nicaragua at nightfall. Our 24-person permaculture group had already been sitting in a van for nearly 24 hours, cruising the Pan-American Highway – the world’s longest “motorable road” – from Guatemala.

As we slowed to a stop behind a long row of cars, we spotted a man with a handkerchief over his face and scant other protective gear. He was curved forward, holding a metal hose and spraying the lower parts of each passing vehicle.

“Poisonous Gases Fumigation Area” was written in Spanish on a looming billboard.
My eyes stung and I began to cough. Whatever had been sprayed was drifting in the air, invisible but poisonous.

Questions flooded into my mind: Why wasn’t the man wearing proper safety equipment like an oxygen mask, overalls, boots and gloves? What were they spraying on the vehicles, specifically the wheels? Did insects really hitch rides on tires? If so, which ones?

As someone who suffers from an autoimmune condition and is extremely sensitive to chemicals, this site freaked me out; it all seemed dangerous and foolish….

read more at Truthout

Please do not expand mosquito spraying due to Zika panic

by 18watt_fan, PolkMoms, February 8, 2016

Poison is not the answer.

Long term, it always makes the problem much worse. Not only does it contribute to selection-pressure which leads to the breeding of more virulent/robust pathogens and ‘pests’, it also kills-off natural predators to the mosquito or whichever ‘pest’ that is being poisoned.

In addition, all of this spraying is very harmful to beneficial species, such as honeybees, various fish, birds and yes, even humans.

Here’s an excerpt from a petition that’s circulating in Dallas TX concerning this issue:

“The city of Dallas sprays the poison Permethrin, a deadly poison to MANY insects. That includes beneficial insects such as honeybees and ladybugs as well as natural mosquito predators such as dragonflies. Many beekeepers around Dallas have reported their bees have been killed. In addition, fish, some of which eat mosquito larvae, are killed by this poison. There is also other wildlife to consider such as bats, birds, and geckos, which all prey on mosquitoes but are harmed by the spraying….”

Read more at PolkMomsand also watch the video “West Nile Spraying Puts Dallas Bees in Peril.”

Pesticides & birds, from RI Audubon

Rhode Island Audubon Society Facebook page, 5/28/15

So, I was checking my voicemail this morning and there was one from a caller who said that she had her trees sprayed for caterpillars – trees occupied by three …bird feeders – and now, she is upset that there are no birds at all for her to watch. She wonders if the spray could possibly have something to do with it. (Yes, spraying pesticides on your trees will have an effect on the songbirds.)

It is not uncommon for us to get inquiries such as these, and it is with great frustration and sadness that we often are faced with educating people after the damage has been done. So, please let me take a moment to reach out to our Facebook friends and family and be proactive about this topic. All pesticides are designed to kill. Some are very targeted, such as B. T. (Bacillus thuringiensis) which primarily affects Lepidopterans (moths and butterflies), but most pesticides are broad and indiscriminate. When you make the choice to treat your house or landscape with rodenticides or grub treatment or mosquito foggers or any other pesticide treatment, you have an intent of ridding yourself of a specific creature that you find distasteful.

Dead birds

However, nothing in nature exists in a vacuum. Everything is connected. When you affect one population, it has a ripple effect across the populations that depend upon and coexist with it. When you spray insecticide, for instance, it does not just kill the ‘bugs’ you don’t like, but kills all insects, including honeybees, butterflies and ladybugs. Likewise, when you spray, the insects do not simply disappear off the face of the earth. Many live a short time before they perish. In this time, they may be consumed by natural predators, like songbirds, small mammals and other insects. Pesticides may have a direct toxicity to these animals or may build up in their fat or blood and cause illness or death over time. Even so-called “green” chemicals are still intended to kill, and though they may be derived from natural sources or biodegrade quickly, they are still highly toxic to you and other organisms.

Friends, it is so very important in this day and age, with the steady decline of bird populations and the utter devastation of pollinator populations that we humans take a serious, proactive look at the choices we make and the practices we support — either directly or indirectly. It is vital that we not go blindly into the world, but make ourselves informed and educated about products and practices and about science, industry and nature. Here at the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, we very much want to help people become educated and able to make informed choices. We are here to answer your questions and point you in the direction of reliable and scientifically accurate information. But we also encourage you to think and question BEFORE you act. Your actions have consequences.

Tell Bayer to save the honeybee

Petition for League of Conservation Voters members:

TELL BAYER TO SAVE OUR NUMBER ONE FOOD SECURITY GUARD — THE HONEYBEE!

Thank you for taking our quick survey. We at LCV agree that we need Bayer to stop manufacturing their bee-killing chemicals and find safer alternatives. But they will only change their ways if we speak out now.

Please join thousands of LCV members in sending a message to Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers and tell him to stop producing chemicals that are killing our bees!

Your Message

Protect our nation’s food security — stop producing chemicals that kill our bees

Dear Marijn Dekkers,

I am writing to urge you to stop producing the neonicotinoids that are killing our honeybees across the globe.

Honeybees may sound easy to dismiss, but they are directly responsible for pollinating nearly 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables, including produce like almonds, cranberries, avocados, and apples. In the U.S. alone honeybees pollinate more than one-third of the entire food supply and help to generate more than $15 billion in agricultural production each year!

A Q&A with Margaret Hudgings

By Nathaniel Smith, Columnist, The Times of Chester County, September 29, 2015

An interview with leader of local group questioning mosquito spraying

My opinion piece “Mosquito spraying: why doesn’t the county want to talk about it?” in the Times of Chester County, August 31, asked many questions. Since then I’ve found many answers, including from talking with the County Health Department, and many new questions too. One thing I’ve learned is how complex this subject is, since it depends on the always lively interaction of the human and the scientific.

I think West Chester has a good opportunity now, as this year’s mosquito season trails off, for cooperation between citizens, the Health Department, and the Borough government (and the same could apply in other municipalities.

For now, I have written up an interview with Margaret Hudgings, who has been leading the citizens group (of which I have been part) that is dialoguing with the Health Department and the Borough in an effort to avoid public insecticide spraying if at all possible.

How did you get interested in the issue of mosquito control?

MH: I became interested in mosquito control in 2012, when I realized that the Borough was about to be sprayed with permanone, whose active element permethrin is listed among toxic chemicals in Greenpeace’s “Black List of Pesticides.” Our son became sensitive to chemicals in his early 20’s and so we as a family have become very aware of the chemicals in our environment.

When did you become an activist in this area?

MH: I became an activist this past summer when we realized that once again the County planned to spray in the Borough. After the last dose in 2012, our son became so ill he could not return to his home near Everhart Park for months. After consulting Mayor Comitta, I decided to create a petition and go out in the Borough to talk to our neighbors about their feelings on the County’s pesticide spraying….

read more at The Times of Chester County