Previous Pesticides and Chemicals News 2015-2020

2015     2016     2017     2018     2019     2020

Philly parks are going organic with ban on synthetic weed-killers 12-03-20

Synthetic weed-killers will soon be a substance non-grata in Philadelphia parks and public spaces. Read more at WHYY/PBS

Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ Were Dropped Over Millions of Acres via Aerial Pesticide, Tests Reveal 12-02-20

A national nonprofit revealed Tuesday that testing commissioned by the group as well as separate analysis conducted by Massachusetts officials show samples of an aerially sprayed pesticide used by the commonwealth and at least 25 other states to control mosquito-borne illnesses contain toxic substances that critics call “forever chemicals.” Read more at EcoWatch

Long-banned Toxics Are Still Accumulating in Great Lakes Birds—As New Chemical Threats Emerge 09-22-20

We’re “at the mercy of a shifting chemical landscape.” Read more at Environmental Health News

America’s Killer Lawns  05-18-20

Homeowners use up 10 times more pesticide per acre than farmers do. But we can change what we do in our own yards. Read more at The New York Times

Revealed: Monsanto predicted crop system would damage US farms 03-30-20

The US agriculture giant Monsanto and the German chemical giant BASF were aware for years that their plan to introduce a new agricultural seed and chemical system would probably lead to damage on many US farms, internal documents seen by the Guardian show. Read more at The Guardian

DDT’s toxic legacy could span three generations 03-18-20

Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane. Not a name that rolls easily off the tongue. But in the mid-20th century, the chemical was considered a “miracle” insecticide. Read more at Grist

Trump has kept this controversial pesticide on the market. Now its biggest manufacturer is stopping production. 02-06-20

Chlorpyrifos is widely used by farmers but has been linked to health problems, including neurological damage in children. Read more at The Washington Post 

The Playbook for Poisoning the Earth 01-18-20

Many seeds in the U.S. come precoated with neonicotinoids, one of the most common insecticides in the world. Read more at The Intercept


Common Pesticides Linked to Heart Disease Risks in New Study 12-31-19

Pyrethroids, a type of pesticide commonly used in consumer products such as lice treatments and on conventionally grown crops, are associated with an increased risk of death, according to a new study in the journal JAMA Internal MedicineRead more at Consumer Reports

A changing lawnscape: As environmentalism goes mainstream, America’s obsession with the lawn is cooling 09-25-19

It’s a warm summer afternoon in the suburbs, and the lush, verdant grass in everyone’s front yards seems to stretch on for miles. Underfoot of the barking dogs and running children is a thick mat of green wrapped around each house, pleasing to the eye and even better to walk on barefoot. Read more at the Chesterfield Observer

A Big New Study Finds Bee-Killing Pesticides Aren’t Even Worth it for Soybean Farmers 09-14-19

The science suggests the chemicals cripple a whole host of pollinators—and offer very little economic benefit. Read more at Mother Jones

Virginia’s Toxic Military Legacy 09-09-19

Over 100 wells on and near military bases in Virginia exceeded federal safety guidelines for contamination by toxic, firefighting chemicals used widely in Navy and Air Force training, according to military documents. Read more at Virginia Center for Investigative Journalism

With Regenerative Agriculture Booming, the Question of Pesticide Use Looms Large 09-05-19

Regenerative practitioners say that healthy soil eventually leads to reducing synthetic chemicals. But some advocates say those chemicals have damaging effects and should be addressed. Read more at Civil Eats

General Mills Releases Plan for Pesticide Use Reduction at Advocates’ Request 08-18-19

Shareholder advocacy organization As You Sow has withdrawn a resolution it filed in April, which called for General Mills to disclose evidence of efforts to reduce pesticide use. Read more a Twin Cities Business

Alarming Decline of Insect Population Linked to Toxic Pesticides in U.S. Agriculture 08-07-19

The rapid and dangerous decline of the insect population in the United States — often called an “insect apocalypse” by scientists — has largely been driven by an increase in the toxicity of U.S. agriculture caused by the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, according to a study published Tuesday in the journal PLOS One. Read more at EcoWatch

Trump’s EPA just gave a controversial pesticide the green light 07-18-19

When the pesticide DDT was finally banned in 1972 (thanks, Rachel Carson!), chlorpyrifos took its place. But one environmental win gave way to another public health problem: Studies showed that the new pesticide, used on crops like corn, soybeans, fruits, and also things like golf courses, was linked to cognitive problems in children. Read more at Grist

Mothers in California are leading efforts to ban harmful pesticides 06-30-19

Elisa Rivera’s face swelled up, her eyes watered, and soon she was struggling to breathe.

The 39-year-old first started to feel ill when the smell of pesticides drifted from nearby Fresno county fruit orchards on a recent afternoon: “We experience this all the time. People get used to it.”Read more at Grist

Trump EPA OKs ‘Emergency’ Use of Bee-Killing Pesticide on 13.9 Million Acres 06-25-19

More than 40 percent of insects could go extinct globally in the next few decades. So why did the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week OK the ’emergency’ use of the bee-killing pesticidesulfoxaflor on 13.9 million acres? Read more at EcoWatch

Roundup’s Other Problem: Glyphosate is Sourced from Controversial Mines 06-24-19

As concern over the health and environmental risks of the most-used herbicide mount, the ecological impact of its sourcing from phosphate mines are equally problematic. Read more at Civil Eats

U.S. Annually Uses 388 Million Pounds of Potentially Fatal Pesticides Banned in the EU, China and Brazil 06-12-19

When it comes to banning harmful pesticides, the U.S. lags behind the European Union (E.U.), China and Brazil, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Health. Read more at EcoWatch

Third Jury Rules Roundup Caused Cancer, Orders Bayer to Pay $2 Billion 05-14-19

A third jury ruled that Monsanto‘s Roundup weedkiller caused cancer Monday, awarding a California couple more than $2 billion in damages. Not only is it the largest award in a Roundup trial to date, it is also the largest U.S. jury award this year and the eighth-largest product-defect award ever, Bloomberg reported. Read more at EcoWatch

To Save The Planet, Apply Poison 05-06-19

True change can only be driven by revolutionary action and long-term radical organizing — not chemical collusion and compromise. Read more at Earth Island Journal

Trump EPA OKs ‘Emergency’ to Dump Bee-Killing Pesticide on 16 Million Acres 02-18-19

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported last week that in 2018 it issued so-called “emergency” approvals to spray sulfoxaflor—an insecticide the agency considers “very highly toxic” to bees—on more than 16 million acres of crops known to attract bees. Read more at EcoWatch

Even 40 years after exposure, DDT linked to breast cancer 02-15-19

According to a new study published this week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, women exposed to the pesticide DDT are still at risk for developing breast cancer four decades later. Read more at Grist

Weedkiller ‘raises risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma by 41%’ 02-14-19

Study says evidence ‘supports link’ between exposure to glyphosate and increased risk. Read more at The Guardian

Health Canada ‘dead wrong’ to OK weed killer glyphosate, American lawyers say 01-30-19

American lawyers who successfully sued the makers of the glyphosate-based weed killer Roundup on behalf of a man dying of cancer say Canada is “dead wrong” to allow it to be widely used here. Read more at The Star

Bees face yet another lethal threat in dicamba, a drift-prone pesticide 01-28-19

California almond orchard in bloom with beehives. The shortage of beehives due to mite infestation and infection have doubled the price paid by orchardists to rent beehives to aid in orchard pollination. Read more at Grist


California recommends restrictions for popular pesticide 11-15-18

California regulators recommended new restrictions Thursday on a widely used pesticide blamed for harming the brains of babies. Read more at ABC News

Hormone-Disrupting Weed Killer Taints Tap Water for Millions in Corn Belt 11-14-18

Seasonal spikes of atrazine–a weed killer that can disrupt hormones and harm developing fetuses–contaminate drinking water in corn-growing areas of the Midwest and beyond, according to an analysis of federal records by the Environmental Working Group (EWG). Read more at EcoWatch

Scientists warned this weed killer would destroy crops. EPA approved it anyway 11-13-18

Every August, Andrew Joyce used to hunker down in the field beside his house, picking juicy, ripe tomatoes in the blazing sun. But now, he has nothing to sell. Read more at Reveal News

Entire Pesticide Class Must Be Banned to Save Children’s Health, Landmark Study Says 10-25-18

A first-of-its-kind study has reviewed the data and concluded that an entire class of pesticides should be banned because of its impact on children’s healthThe Huffington Post reported. Read more at EcoWatch

Another round of tests finds weedkiller widespread in popular cereals and snack bars 10-24-18

Glyphosate is in a bunch of popular cereals and oatmeals—but at levels below federal health standards. Experts say it’s difficult to estimate risk from the levels found but the report is still worrisome since children are consistently exposed.

Glyphosate— the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller—was found in all 28 samples of different cereals, oatmeal and snack bars tested by a lab for Environmental Working Group, according to a report released today. Read more at Environmental Health News

Farm Bill: House proposal could wipe out communities’ power to prohibit pesticides 09-05-18

58 of those communities have adopted more comprehensive policies that prohibit the use of glyphosate

As lawmakers convene on Capitol Hill to finalize the latest federal Farm Bill, environmental advocates warn that a House proposal could put public health at risk by rolling back restrictions on pesticides in 155 communities nationwide. Read more at Environmental Health News

Low Doses of Pesticides Make It Harder for Bees to Find Flowers 07-12-18

A review of a decade of research of the impact of pesticides on bees found that even low doses commonly used in agriculture hurt the bees’ learning and memory, a Royal Holloway, University of London press release reported. Read more at EcoWatch

Tests Reveal Popular Beer and Wine Brands Contaminated With Monsanto’s Weedkiller 07-05-18

The past few years have revealed some disturbing news for the alcohol industry. In 2015, CBS news broke the announcement of a lawsuit against 31 brands of wines for high levels of inorganic arsenic. In 2016, beer testing in Germany also revealed residues of glyphosate in every single sample tested, even independent beers. Read more at RealFarmacy

Weedkiller products more toxic than their active ingredient, tests show 05-08-18

After more than 40 years of widespread use, new scientific tests show formulated weedkillers have higher rates of toxicity to human cells

US government researchers have uncovered evidence that some popular weedkilling products, like Monsanto’s widely-used Roundup, are potentially more toxic to human cells than their active ingredient is by itself. Read more at the Guardian

Native Shrimp Must Be Saved From Neonics, Washington State Rules 04-10-18

Monday, the Washington Department of Ecology sided with Center for Food Safety and numerous other community and conservation groups, and denied shellfish growers a permit to spray imidacloprid, a neonicotinoid, on shellfish beds on Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, in southwest Washington. Read more at EcoWatch

New Science Shows Bee-Killing Pesticides Are Unnecessary on Most Farms 03-28-18

Alternatives are available for neonicotinoid insecticide seed coatings, saving farmers money and better protecting the environment.

Conventional corn farmers—who grow the ubiquitous grain on 90 million acres in the U.S.—are struggling. Since 2014, these farmers have been spending more to produce corn than they can earn by selling it. Read more at Civil Eats

Monsanto says its pesticides are safe. Now, a court wants to see the proof 03-05-18

On Monday, a federal court hearing in San Francisco will turn a public spotlight on to the science surrounding the safety of one of the world’s most widely used pesticides, a weedkilling chemical called glyphosate that has been linked to cancer and is commonly found in our food and water, even in our own bodily fluidsRead more at The Guardian

EU expected to vote on pesticide ban after major scientific review 02-28-18

Survey of more than 1,500 studies concludes that neonicotinoids harm bees.

In a long-awaited assessment, the European Union’s food-safety agency has concluded that three controversial neonicotinoid insecticides pose a high risk to wild bees and honeybees. Read more at Nature

California says weed-killer used in LA River is carcinogenic, Rep. Adam Schiff calls for ban 01-29-18

Federal workers are spraying a weed-killer in the Los Angeles River a state agency recently labeled as carcinogenic.

At issue is the chemical glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, an herbicide used frequently in agriculture and as well as by homeowners, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank said. Last summer, the state placed glyphosate on a list of chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects. Read more at Pasadena Star-News

Honey Bees Attracted to Glyphosate and a Common Fungicide 01-12-18

All species evolve over time to have distinct preferences for survival. But with rapidly changing synthetic chemicals, sometimes animals don’t have a chance to develop a beneficial aversion to something harmful. Read more at EcoWatch


A Clue in the Bee Death Mystery 11-29-17

Insecticides are often blamed, but new signs point to another chemical.

Domesticated honeybees get all the buzz, but wild bumble bees are in decline too, both globally and here in the United States. What gives? It’s an important question, because while managed honeybees provide half of the pollination required by US crops, bumble and other wild bees deliver the other half. Read more at Mother Jones

California Cracks Down On Weed Killer As Lawsuits Abound 11-8-17

Jack McCall was a fixture at the local farmers market, where he sold avocados and other fruits he grew on his 20-acre ranch in Cambria, on California’s Central Coast. Read more at Kaiser Health News

California Cracks Down On Weed Killer As Lawsuits Abound 11-8-17

Jack McCall was a fixture at the local farmers market, where he sold avocados and other fruits he grew on his 20-acre ranch in Cambria, on California’s Central Coast.

The U.S. postal worker and Little League coach was “very environmentally friendly,” said Teri McCall, his wife of 41 years. He avoided chemicals, using only his tractor-mower to root out the thistle and other weeds that continually sprouted on the flat areas of the ranch. Read more at Kaiser Health News

Complaints surge about weed killer dicamba’s damage to oak trees 10-9-17

As soybean and cotton farmers across the Midwest and South continue to see their crops ravaged from the weed killer dicamba, new complaints have pointed to the herbicide as a factor in widespread damage to oak trees. Read more at Investigate Midwest

U.S. Air Force Is Spraying 6 Million Acres With Chemicals in Response to Harvey 9-12-17

Amid statewide efforts to clean up the aftermath left by the historic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, the Pentagon announced last week that it had dispatched C-130H Sprayers from the Air Force Reserve’s 910th Airlift Wing in order to “assist with recovery efforts in eastern Texas.” Read more at EcoWatch

Queen bees less likely to lay eggs, start colony after insecticide exposure 08-14-17

If queens don’t produce eggs or start new colonies, it is possible that bumblebees could die out.

Some queen bumblebees exposed to a common insecticide may never lay eggs or start colonies, which would lead to their extinction, researchers say. Read more at CBC News

The Poison Papers: Secret Concerns of Industry and Regulators on the Hazards of Pesticides and Other Chemicals 07-27-17

The Bioscience Resource Project and the Center for Media and Democracy released a trove of rediscovered and newly digitized chemical industry and regulatory agency documents Wednesday stretching back to the 1920s. The documents are available hereRead more at EcoWatch

What Happens When Organic Farms are Forced to Spray Conventional Pesticides? 06-21-17

One Oregon farm’s viral plea shines a national spotlight on what is usually a local debate about mandatory pesticide applications.

The plea for help from Azure Standard, a large organic farm in Central Oregon, was bound to go viral. or the government may do it for them, using the legal authority granted by local pest and weed control ordinances. Read more at Civil Eats

E.P.A. Chief, Rejecting Agency’s Science, Chooses Not to Ban Insecticide 03-29-17

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, moved late on Wednesday to reject the scientific conclusion of the agency’s own chemical safety experts. Read more at The New York Times

Will Trump’s EPA Greenlight a Pesticide Known to Damage Kids’ Brains? 03-27-17

By Friday, President Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency will have to make a momentous decision: whether to protect kids from a widely used pesticide that’s known to harm their brains—or protect the interests of the chemical’s maker, Dow AgroSciences. Read more at Mother Jones

Debunking ‘Alternative Facts’ About Pesticides and Organic Farming 03-01-17

With the growing demand for organic foods in the U.S., there has been a backlash from agribusiness groups, companies and individuals who see organic as a threat to their interests. These critics accuse the organic industry of using deceptive marketing practices to get consumers to pay more money for organic food. Read more at EcoWatch

Target’s new chemicals policy hits a bullseye 02-10-17

Starting in 2017, Target’s new chemicals strategy promises to cleanse its shelves, and the brands along its value chain, of toxic chemicals. If enacted properly, the fallout of the policy and its implementation can have lasting, positive repercussions. Read more on Green Biz

Researchers find pesticide spills, accidents may alter farmworkers’ DNA 02-16-17

Study of Iowa, North Carolina farmworkers finds high doses of pesticides can potentially impact DNA, triggering cancers later in life. Read more on Environmental Health News

‘It’s Outrageous’: EPA Acknowledges Proven Dangers of Bee-Killing Pesticides But Refuses to Restrict Them 01-13-17

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acknowledged for the first time on Thursday that three of the nation’s most-used neonicotinoid pesticides pose significant risks to commercial honey bees. Read more on EcoWatch

Texas winegrowers fear new herbicides will wipe out industry 01-02-17

Competing against millions of acres of cotton, winegrowers fear federal approval of new herbicides to be used on genetically modified cotton seeds will wipe out the wine industry in the Texas High Plains. Read more on The Texas Tribune


Shocking Number of Top Retailers Sell Food Produced With Pesticides Toxic to Bees 10-25-16

Four of the top food retailers—Albertsons, Costco, Target and Whole Foods—have adopted a publicly available company commitment to increase offerings of certified organic food or to disclose data on the current percentage of organic offerings or organic sales. Read more on EcoWatch

FDA Finds Glyphosate in Honey 9-15-15

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has found residues of the weed killer glyphosate in samples of U.S. honey, according to documents obtained by the consumer advocacy group U.S. Right to Know through a Freedom of Information Act request. Some samples showed residue levels double the legally allowed limit in the European Union. Read more on EcoWatch

‘Like it’s been nuked’: Millions of bees dead after South Carolina sprays for Zika mosquitoes 9-1-16

On Sunday morning, the South Carolina honey bees began to die in massive numbers.

Death came suddenly to Dorchester County, S.C. Stressed insects tried to flee their nests, only to surrender in little clumps at hive entrances. The dead worker bees littering the farms suggested that colony collapse disorder was not the culprit — in that odd phenomenon, workers vanish as though raptured, leaving a living queen and young bees behind. Read more on The Washington Post

Bee-harming pesticides are declining at plant nurseries, report shows 8-17-16

Retailers appear to be selling fewer ornamental plants laced with pesticides linked to bee population declines, according to a new report. Read more on Los Angeles Times

Demanding Ban on Deadly Pesticides, Advocates Drop Millions of Dead Bees on EPA Doorstep 6-22-16

‘What’s happening today to pollinators is no different than what happened 50 years ago with the  collapse of the bald eagle due to the use of DDT’

“If we stop keeping bees, who’s going to pollinate your fruits and vegetables? This can’t go on.”

—Roger Williams, Central Maryland Beekeepers Association. Read more on Commondreams


Banned Pesticides Pose A Greater Risk to Bees Than Thought, EU Experts Warn 8-26-15

New Study by the European Food and Safety Authority (Efsa) finds ‘high risk’ to bees from neonicotinoid pesticide sprays prompting calls for extending ban

Already proscribed for seed treatments and soil applications, the Efsa analysis states that clothianidin, imidacloprid and thismethoxam also pose a ‘high risk’ to bees when sprayed on leaves. Use of the prohibited substances has been linked to dramatic declines in bee populations …Full article

Demanding Ban on Deadly Pesticides, Advocates Drop Millions of Dead Bees on EPA Doorstep 6-22-16

“In the five years since I started keeping bees, I’ve seen many hives killed by pesticides,” said James Cook, a beekeeper who drove the truck filled with dead bees from Sacramento, Calif., to Washington, D.C.

‘What’s happening today to pollinators is no different than what happened 50 years ago with the  collapse of the bald eagle due to the use of DDT’ Read more on Commondreams

Bees May Become Addicted to Nicotine-like Pesticides 4-22-15

Recent study finds bees have a preference for sugar solutions laced with pesticides, scientists say, as a separate landmark field trial show neonicitinoids harm bee population.

In a study published in the journal Nature, scientists from Newcastle University showed that bees have a preference for sugar solutions that are laced with the pesticides imidacloprid and thiamethoxam, possibly indicating they can become hooked on the chemicals in much the same way smokers are hooked on tobacco …Full article

Lawsuit Launched Over US EPS’s Approval of a New Pesticide 3-18-15

The Center for Biological Diversity, the Center for Food Safety and the Defenders of Wildlife sent a formal notice of intent to sue the EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy claiming that by approving the insecticide flupyradifurone the agency is in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Approved as an alternative to neonicitinoids, flurpyradifurone is registered for a number of crops including citrus, cotton and potatoes. While most pesticides stay on the surface of plants, flupyradifurone, like neonicitinoids, works by infiltrating all plant tissues …Full article