Recent Articles About Pesticides

“It takes two million individual blossoms to produce a pound of honey,” explains Zac Browning, owner of Browning’s Honey Company in Jamestown, North Dakota. On a June morning, his hives are humming. The little sacs on the bees’ hind legs are bright yellow with pollen from dandelion, clover, and other wild plants blooming around the apiary.

In early summer, North Dakota’s grasslands are full of wildflowers. As Clint Otto, research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, says, this is when “the magic happens on the landscape and there’s nectar all over the place.” Read more

What do grizzly bears, gray wolves, California condors, and coho salmon have in common? All are protected by the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and all are likely to be harmed by three commonly used pesticides, according to a new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In fact, these three pesticides—chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion—are likely to harm 97 percent of the plants and animals listed under the ESA.  Read more

Beekeepers in Maryland have had a devastating few years. Last year, they lost nearly 61 percent of their bees; the year before it was nearly 50 percent.

Pointing to a growing consensus in the scientific community about pesticides’ impacts on honey bees and other pollinators, beekeepers in the state have worked with environmental groups to effect local policy. Last week, the Maryland state legislature passed the Pollinator Protection Act, which would ban consumers from buying pesticides that contain “neonics” beginning in 2018. Read more

Monarch butterflies are in serious trouble. Perhaps the most iconic insect in the United States, this butterfly has existed for countless millennia and, every year, it accomplishes the longest known migration of any insect in the world.

Monarch butterflies have been decimated over the past 20 years due to the loss of milkweed in the Midwest. This once common plant is the only food the butterflies’ larvae eat, and as milkweed goes, so go the monarchs. What’s worse, is the fact that these butterflies’ main summer mating grounds are smack in the middle of the U.S. Corn Belt, where milkweed has been almost eliminated due to the large-scale use of glyphosate (or Roundup) herbicide on genetically engineered corn and soybeans. Read more

Most scientists, farmers, and regulators usually consider the health effects of pesticides one at a time. But that’s not always how they’re used.

A new report by researchers at the University of California Los Angeles’s Sustainable Technology & Policy Program (STPP) took a rare look at several pesticides—all fumigants—that are often applied in combination, chloropicrin1,3-dichloropropene, and metam salts. It found that when mixed together, the chemicals can interact and become more toxic, endangering and leaving farmworkers, neighbors, and schoolchildren without adequate protection.

“We know these are being applied on purpose together,” and some have similar health effects, including cancer, says report co-author Susan Kegley, principal, and CEO of the California-based Pesticide Research Institute.

Millions of pounds of these three pesticides are commonly used in combination to grow strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, grapes, nuts, and other crops. All together about 30 million pounds were used on California farm fields in 2013 alone and together they account for about a fifth of all pesticides used in the state.

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