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  • ! After three years of vigorous advocacy by all of us, the Portland City Council is scheduled to vote Monday, Nov. 20 on one of the strongest organic land care ordinances in the country. And we need a

    After three years of vigorous advocacy by all of us, the Portland City Council is scheduled to vote Monday, Nov. 20 on one of the strongest organic land care ordinances in the country. And we need a big show of support!

    In 2014, kindergarteners from PS 290 asked their Councilmember to introduce a bill to ban toxic pesticides. In 2015, INTRO 0800 was introduced. In 2017, the children, area residents, and environmental activists testified at a hearing of the City Council Committee on Health.

    Now, let’s help the children fulfill their dream – please!

    Letter Writing and Phone Call Campaign

    We need 17 more Councilmembers to co-sponsor INTRO 0800.
    The 9 co-sponsors of INTRO 0800 - 2015 are listed in green.
    Help turn at least 17 City Council from red to green. Ask them to co-sponsor INTRO 0800.
    Email your Councilmember today. If he or she is a co-sponsor, you ll send them a thank you for their support. If they have not yet co-sponsored INTRO 088, your email will urge them to co-sponsort INTRO 0800 and protect  the children and all of the families who use the parks, playgrounds and other public spaces of New York City.

  • Help Stop Glyposate (Roundup) Use and Support Safe Parks in NYC!

    While NYC passed a pesticide reduction policy in 2005, there is growing recognition that the law has not done enough to stop the use of toxic chemicals that endanger human health.
     
    In 2014, NYC Public School teacher Paula Rogovin’s kindergarten class, after learning about the dangers of chemical pesticides, wrote their Councilmember Ben Kallos, asking him to “Make a Law!” and stop the use of harmful insecticides and herbicides in City parks and public spaces. And Councilmember Kallos did just that -introducing Intro 800 in 2015. However, that law now needs your support to pass through the NYC Committee on Health.

    NYC has an opportunity to significantly improve the health and safety of its residents, particularly children that play in City parks and public spaces. The law will also protect pets from unnecessary pesticide exposure, and will limit the introduction of toxic chemicals in our water and air.

    Please take the time to urge your City Councilmember to pass Intro 800, and consider following up with a phone call to their office to show that you’re serious.

  • AOTW Organic in the Next Farm Bill

    AOTW: Tell Your U.S. Representative to Support Organic in the Next Farm Bill

    The next Farm Bill will be up for negotiation soon. Bi-partisan legislation has been introduced to address two issues that are important for organic agriculture –increasing funding for organic research and strengthening enforcement of the organic standards:

    1.    The Organic Agriculture Research Act (H.R. 2436) will provide $50 million in funding annually for the USDA’s flagship organic research program, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI).
    2.    The Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act of 2017 will improve oversight of organic imports.

    >>Ask your U.S. Representative to support organic in the next Farm Bill by co-sponsoring these two bills. If your Representative is already a co-sponsor, send a thank you.

    Organic is one of the fastest growing sectors in U.S. agriculture. The bi-partisan Organic Agriculture Research Act (H.R. 2436) introduced by Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) will help more farmers transition to organic production in response to growing demand in the marketplace.  Organic research helps farmers become more productive, efficient, and profitable and leads to the development of new agricultural practices that can be used by conventional and organic farmers alike. Unfortunately, over the past five years, while overall funding for agricultural research has grown significantly, funding for organic research has stagnated. This bill would go a long way towards closing that gap. The Organic Agriculture Research Act has 50 co-sponsors, and the list is growing.

    The Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 3871) introduced by Congressman John Faso (R-NY) is needed to strengthen oversight of the $47 billion organic industry. Strengthening enforcement of the organic standards, especially for imported organic products, is critical to safeguard the integrity of the organic label and to ensure consumer trust. A recent Washington Post investigation and USDA’s own investigations have shown that some imported organic products have been fraudulently labeled. A report from the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) revealed areas that need to be improved in the oversight of international organic trade and the enforcement of organic standards for imported organic products. Organic farms and operations that comply with the stringent organic standards are undercut when they are forced to compete with fraudulent products in the marketplace. The Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act has 20 co-sponsors, and the list is growing.

    >>Ask your U.S. Representative to support organic in the next Farm Bill by co-sponsoring these two bills. If your Representative is already a co-sponsor, send a thank you.

    Please note that the menu of choices for "title" is dictated by the recipients of these letters, and letters without a title will not be delivered. We suggest that those who would like a gender-neutral title award themselves an honorary doctorate. Thank you.

  • Tell Your U.S. Representative to Support Organic in the Next Farm Bill

    The next Farm Bill will be up for negotiation soon. Bi-partisan legislation to address two issues that are important for organic agriculture –increasing funding for organic research and strengthening enforcement of the organic standards:

    1.    The Organic Agriculture Research Act (H.R. 2436) will provide $50 million in funding annually for the USDA’s flagship organic research program, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI).
    2.    The Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act of 2017 will improve oversight of organic imports.

    This action will allow you to send messages to Representatives requesting that they co-sponsor the bills or thanking them if they are already co-sponsors.

    >>Ask your representative to support organic in the next Farm Bill by co-sponsoring these two bills. If your representative is already a co-sponsor, thank them.

    Organic is one of the fastest growing sectors in U.S. agriculture. The bi-partisan Organic Agriculture Research Act (H.R. 2436) introduced by Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) will help more farmers transition to organic production in response to growing demand in the marketplace.  Organic research helps farmers become more productive, efficient, and profitable and leads to the development of new agricultural practices that can be used by conventional and organic farmers alike. Unfortunately, over the past five years, while overall funding for agricultural research has grown significantly, funding for organic research has stagnated. This bill would go a long way towards closing that gap. The Organic Agriculture Research Act has 39 co-sponsors, and the list is growing.

    The Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 3871) introduced by Congressman John Faso (R-NY) is needed to strengthen oversight of the $47 billion organic industry. Strengthening enforcement of the organic standards, especially for imported organic products, is critical to safeguard the integrity of the organic label and to ensure consumer trust. A recent Washington Post investigation and USDA’s own investigations have shown that some imported organic products have been fraudulently labeled. A report from the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) revealed areas that need to be improved in the oversight of international organic trade and the enforcement of organic standards for imported organic products. Organic farms and operations that comply with the stringent organic standards are undercut when they are forced to compete with fraudulent products in the marketplace. The Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act has 20 co-sponsors, and the list is growing.

    >>Ask your representative to support organic in the next Farm Bill by co-sponsoring these two bills. If your representative is already a co-sponsor, thank them.

    H.R. 2436
    If your Representative is in this list (alphabetical by state), go here to send a thank you. Otherwise, go here to request them to cosponsor the bill.

    Rep. Brownley, Julia [D-CA-26]
    Rep. Carbajal, Salud O. [D-CA-24]
    Rep. Cardenas, Tony [D-CA-29]
    Rep. Costa, Jim [D-CA-16]
    Rep. Huffman, Jared [D-CA-2]
    Rep. Lee, Barbara [D-CA-13]
    Rep. Lieu, Ted [D-CA-33]
    Rep. Lofgren, Zoe [D-CA-19]
    Rep. Panetta, Jimmy [D-CA-20]
    Rep. Peters, Scott H. [D-CA-52]
    Rep. Roybal-Allard, Lucille [D-CA-40]
    Rep. Valadao, David G. [R-CA-21]
    Rep. Polis, Jared [D-CO-2]
    Rep. Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC-At Large]
    Rep. Lawson, Al, Jr. [D-FL-5]
    Rep. Soto, Darren [D-FL-9]
    Rep. Bishop, Sanford D., Jr. [D-GA-2]
    Rep. Rush, Bobby L. [D-IL-1]
    Rep. Loebsack, David [D-IA-2]
    Rep. Young, David [R-IA-3]
    Rep. Pingree, Chellie [D-ME-1] (Sponsor)
    Rep. McGovern, James P. [D-MA-2]
    Rep. Tsongas, Niki [D-MA-3]
    Rep. Ellison, Keith [D-MN-5]
    Rep. Nolan, Richard M. [D-MN-8]
    Rep. Kuster, Ann M. [D-NH-2]
    Rep. Shea-Porter, Carol [D-NH-1]
    Rep. Lujan Grisham, Michelle [D-NM-1]
    Rep. Faso, John J. [R-NY-19]
    Rep. Maloney, Sean Patrick [D-NY-18]
    Rep. Meng, Grace [D-NY-6]
    Rep. Nadler, Jerrold [D-NY-10]
    Rep. Adams, Alma S. [D-NC-12]
    Rep. Price, David E. [D-NC-4]
    Rep. Beatty, Joyce [D-OH-3]
    Rep. Fudge, Marcia L. [D-OH-11]
    Rep. Ryan, Tim [D-OH-13]
    Rep. Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR-3]
    Rep. Bonamici, Suzanne [D-OR-1]
    Rep. DeFazio, Peter A. [D-OR-4]
    Rep. Schrader, Kurt [D-OR-5]
    Rep. Costello, Ryan A. [R-PA-6]
    Rep. Evans, Dwight [D-PA-2]
    Rep. Cohen, Steve [D-TN-9]
    Rep. Veasey, Marc A. [D-TX-33]
    Rep. Welch, Peter [D-VT-At Large]
    Rep. McEachin, A. Donald [D-VA-4]
    Rep. Kilmer, Derek [D-WA-6]
    Rep. Newhouse, Dan [R-WA-4]
    Rep. Smith, Adam [D-WA-9]
    Rep. Kind, Ron [D-WI-3]


    H.R. 3871
    If your Representative is in this list (alphabetical by state), go here to send a thank you. Otherwise, go here to request them to cosponsor the bill.

    Rep. Carbajal, Salud O. [D-CA-24]
    Rep. Huffman, Jared [D-CA-2]
    Rep. Blunt Rochester, Lisa [D-DE-At Large]
    Rep. Norton, Eleanor Holmes [D-DC-At Large]
    Rep. Soto, Darren [D-FL-9]
    Rep. Hanabusa, Colleen [D-HI-1]
    Rep. Davis, Rodney [R-IL-13]
    Rep. Loebsack, David [D-IA-2]
    Rep. Nolan, Richard M. [D-MN-8]
    Rep. Walz, Timothy J. [D-MN-1]
    Rep. Kuster, Ann M. [D-NH-2]
    Rep. Lujan Grisham, Michelle [D-NM-1]
    Rep. Maloney, Sean Patrick [D-NY-18]
    Rep. Nadler, Jerrold [D-NY-10]
    Rep. Faso, John J. [R-NY-19] (Sponsor)
    Rep. Tenney, Claudia [R-NY-22]
    Rep. Adams, Alma S. [D-NC-12]
    Rep. Blumenauer, Earl [D-OR-3]
    Rep. DeFazio, Peter A. [D-OR-4]
    Rep. Cohen, Steve [D-TN-9]
    Rep. Grothman, Glenn [R-WI-6]

    Please Co-Sponsor HR 2436

    Go to H.R. 3871

    Thank You for Co-Sponsoring HR 2436

    Go to H.R. 3871

    Please Co-Sponsor HR 3871

    Thank You for Co-Sponsoring HR 3871

  • AOTW Organic in the Next Farm Bill

    AOTW: Tell Your U.S. Representative to Support Organic in the Next Farm Bill

    The next Farm Bill will be up for negotiation soon. Bi-partisan legislation has been introduced to address two issues that are important for organic agriculture –increasing funding for organic research and strengthening enforcement of the organic standards:

    1.    The Organic Agriculture Research Act (H.R. 2436) will provide $50 million in funding annually for the USDA’s flagship organic research program, the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI).
    2.    The Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act of 2017 will improve oversight of organic imports.

    >>Ask your U.S. Representative to support organic in the next Farm Bill by co-sponsoring these two bills. If your Representative is already a co-sponsor, send a thank you.

    Organic is one of the fastest growing sectors in U.S. agriculture. The bi-partisan Organic Agriculture Research Act (H.R. 2436) introduced by Representative Chellie Pingree (D-ME) will help more farmers transition to organic production in response to growing demand in the marketplace.  Organic research helps farmers become more productive, efficient, and profitable and leads to the development of new agricultural practices that can be used by conventional and organic farmers alike. Unfortunately, over the past five years, while overall funding for agricultural research has grown significantly, funding for organic research has stagnated. This bill would go a long way towards closing that gap. The Organic Agriculture Research Act has 39 co-sponsors, and the list is growing.

    The Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act (H.R. 3871) introduced by Congressman John Faso (R-NY) is needed to strengthen oversight of the $47 billion organic industry. Strengthening enforcement of the organic standards, especially for imported organic products, is critical to safeguard the integrity of the organic label and to ensure consumer trust. A recent Washington Post investigation and USDA’s own investigations have shown that some imported organic products have been fraudulently labeled. A report from the USDA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) revealed areas that need to be improved in the oversight of international organic trade and the enforcement of organic standards for imported organic products. Organic farms and operations that comply with the stringent organic standards are undercut when they are forced to compete with fraudulent products in the marketplace. The Organic Farmer and Consumer Protection Act has 20 co-sponsors, and the list is growing.

    >>Ask your U.S. Representative to support organic in the next Farm Bill by co-sponsoring these two bills. If your Representative is already a co-sponsor, send a thank you.

  • Action of the Week Save a National Treasure --Willapa Bay

    Your Comments Are Needed, Again, to Save a National Treasure --Willapa Bay

    Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, with a number of unique ecosystems, and among the most important estuaries in the U.S, are once more in danger of being sprayed with the toxic neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid. A draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) produced by the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) considers two options for spraying imidacloprid and one no-action alternative. Imidacloprid would be sprayed to kill the native burrowing shrimp in beds of commercial Japanese oysters.

    >>Tell Ecology to restore the bays instead of spraying them!

    Ecology’s summary highlights:
    ⦁    Immediate adverse, unavoidable impacts to juvenile worms, crustaceans, and shellfish in the areas treated with imidacloprid and the nearby areas covered by incoming tides.
    ⦁    Limited impacts bay-wide, but significant uncertainty about the cumulative impacts and other unknown impacts, including those to other marine invertebrates and lifecycles.
    ⦁    Little direct risk to fish, birds, marine mammals, and human health.
    ⦁    Potential indirect impacts to fish and birds if food sources are disrupted.
    ⦁    Continued knowledge gaps about imidacloprid. Further research is needed.

    The SEIS fails to give adequate weight to the “knowledge gaps” it identifies, in some cases indicating that monitoring during use of imidacloprid could be used to reduce uncertainty. In order to protect the bays, facts need to be established before permitting the use of another toxic chemical in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor.

    Among the knowledge gaps found by Ecology are uncertainties over whether imidacloprid is effective for its stated purpose. These uncertainties are crucial, since no spraying can be justified if it is not effective.

    The SEIS finds a number of uncertainties concerning the direct effects of spraying imidacloprid, including accumulation in sediments, long-term toxic impacts, impacts on zooplankton, sub-lethal effects, impacts on vegetation, impacts of degradation products, and the area that would be affected.

    The SEIS does not evaluate synergistic impacts of imidacloprid combined with other chemicals (“inert” ingredients, other chemicals used in the bays, and other pollutants) or other stressors. Among the organisms known to be at risk is the commercially important Dungeness crab, which has been shown to be susceptible to the effects of imidacloprid, and whose populations experience large natural fluctuations, putting them at risk of extinction.

    Given the systemic mode of action of imidacloprid in crop plants, the failure to account for impacts on non-target animals consuming vegetation in treated areas is not acceptable.

    Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor have been affected by human activity over the past century that has contributed to problems experience by all who use the bays. Of the three alternatives presented, the "No Action" option is the best. However, what is truly necessary to address these problems is an alternative that was not considered in the SEIS –a plan to restore the habitat by removing stressors from streams flowing into the bays.

    >>Please adapt and press "Submit" to send the letter below to Washington State Department of Ecology.

  • Action of the Week: Oppose Dourson EPA Appointment

    Tell Your Senators to Vote Against EPA Nominee with Chemical Industry Ties

    Tell your U.S. Senators to oppose the Trump Administration’s nominee for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Michael L. Dourson, Ph.D., who has spent a good deal of his career helping chemical companies resist restrictions on their toxic compounds. The U.S. Senate’s August 20 hearing on Dr. Dourson’s nomination, was abruptly postponed on August 19, with no reason offered, but later held on October 4 under a cloud of controversy.

    >>Write your Senators now!

    Critics, including former EPA officials, Congressional Democrats, and public health scientists say that Dr. Dourson’s close ties to the chemical industry should disqualify him from becoming the country’s chief regulator of toxic chemicals.http://action.beyondpesticides.org/images/money%20dance.jpg

    U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) said, “Dr. Dourson’s consistent endorsement of chemical safety standards that not only match industry’s views, but are also significantly less protective than EPA and other regulators have recommended, raises serious doubts about his ability to lead those efforts. This is the first time anyone with such clear and extensive ties to the chemical industry has been [nominated] to regulate that industry.”

    Dr. Dourson’s professional history provides important context for considering his nomination. He did a turn at EPA from 1980 to 1994, starting as a staff toxicologist, and then leading a pesticide and toxics group that supports EPA’s regulatory work. However, in 1995, Dr. Dourson started the consulting group, Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment (TERA), which has done contract work for chemical companies, producing research and reports that often “downplayed the health risks posed by their compounds.”

    TERA’s clients have included Dow Chemical Company, Koch Industries Inc., Monsanto, Chevron Corporation, and the industry lobby group, the American Chemistry Council –companies that make pesticides, processed foods, cigarettes, plastics, and other chemical products. The Associated Press reports that Dr. Dourson has, for some time, received payments for his critical assessments of peer-reviewed studies that identified concerns with the safety of his clients’ products. Examples of the kinds of “industry shielding” work TERA did can be reviewed here.

    >>Write your Senators now!

    According to the New York Times, Adam Finkel, executive director of the Penn Program on Regulation at University of Pennsylvania Law School, who worked as a partner on a project with Dr. Dourson, said, “Most of what he has done over time is to rush headlong to exonerate chemicals.” Four controversial toxic chemicals –1,4-dioxane1-bromopropane, trichloroethylene and chlorpyrifos– currently under EPA review are manufactured by Dow, a company that Dr. Dourson represented. If confirmed, he would oversee the regulation of these chemicals, which are associated with severe health issues, including cancer, birth defects, and developmental problems in children.

    The Associated Press cites the example of Dr. Dourson’s Dow-sponsored review of chlorpyrifos (a neurotoxic pesticide that harms children’s brains, even at very low exposure levels), which claimed flaws in peer-reviewed studies linking delays in fetal development with exposure to the chemical. The credibility of EPA’s regulation of chlorpyrifos is already in question due to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s decision to overrule the recommendation of agency scientists that would have banned the chemical. Mr. Pruitt claims the science is “unresolved” and has delayed a decision on chlorpyrifos until 2022.

    Dr. Dourson is a recent example of the “revolving door” phenomenon –the movement of people between roles as agency regulators or legislators, and positions in the industries that are regulated by those government roles. The door revolves in both directions, with regulators leaving government to join industry, and vice versa. This ready switching of roles creates unavoidable conflicts of interest. Indeed, ethics experts say that, if confirmed, Dr. Dourson’s work on behalf of industry could constitute significant conflicts of interest.

    Industry has a long history of using the revolving door. When people are allowed to move from industry to regulatory agency (or the reverse) without constraint, the resultant conflicts of interest not only unduly shape policy or ratchet up industry influence, but cast huge doubt on the individual’s ability to act independent of industry’s interests, and in the best interest of the public and an agency’s charge.


     

  • Insist that USDA Require On-Package Labeling for GE Foods in View of USDA Study

    A congressionally mandated study belatedly released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) questions the feasibility of electronic disclosures as a means of providing consumers with information on genetically engineered (GE) food ingredients, but leaves the door open for USDA to continue with the system, based on improving technology. The study confirms concerns held by many that “electronic and digital disclosures” (QR codes) will pose technological challenges for consumers, limiting access to food information.

    The study was required by the 2016 Federal Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standards Act (the “GE Labeling Act”) to help inform the establishment of federal standards for labeling by July 2018. The labeling law allows USDA to consider several options: on-package text, a GE symbol on packages, or “electronic or digital disclosures,” which would require shoppers to use a smart phone to scan packages to access a website or call a 1-800 number for every single product to find out if it was produced with genetic engineering

    The study is crucial in analyzing whether QR codes will make the information accessible or not, based on several factors. The study found that the proposed food labeling measures will not serve consumers who do not have access to technology. Specifically, the researchers found key technological challenges that prevented nearly all participants from obtaining the information through electronic or digital disclosure methods:
    ⦁    Technological challenges disproportionately impact low-income earners, rural residents, and Americans over the age of 65.
    ⦁    Consumers are unfamiliar with QR codes or do not know that digital links contain food information.
    ⦁    Many of the more than 100 apps on the market that scan QR codes are not intuitive to use and include pop-up ads, causing consumer confusion.
    ⦁    Consumers may not have equipment capable of scanning digital links on their own, and in most cases there is not a viable alternative provided by retailers.
    ⦁    Consumers without phones are unlikely to find in-store scanners available and landlines do not provide a practical way of getting the information.
    ⦁    Consumers may be unable to connect to broadband, or connect at a speed that is so slow that they cannot load information, particularly rural and low-income consumers.
    ⦁    In-store scanners may be cost prohibitive for small and rural retailers and provide limited benefit due to limited consumer understanding and rapidly changing technology.
    ⦁    The study also concluded that “offline alternatives are necessary for consumers who lack access to a scanning device or broadband.

    According to the study, 53 percent of adults say they care about the issue of GE food, with a third of that group caring a great deal. Half of all shoppers would likely be sensitive to labeling changes, as evidenced by increased consumer desire for food information which is pervasive across region, age, income, and gender.

    It is unclear how USDA plans to comply with the federal law’s other mandates for the study, including that the public be given the right to comment on it.  The labeling option that makes sense is on-package labeling which is quick, simple and effective, but the study keeps the door open for electronic options by concluding, “Education for consumers and retailers around electronic and digital disclosure links and bioengineered foods will improve access and understanding.” The study also concludes, “Developing or endorsing user-friendly scanner apps will ease the consumer experience.”

    U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and your Congressional delegation need to hear from you in view of this study showing the challenges of the electronic option. Please send the letters below to Secretary Perdue, your Representative, and your Senators.

  • Tell California to ban chlorpyrifos, a dangerous developmental poison!

    Ask California to ban the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos that’s on the food we eat from California –since the administrator of EPA refused to take the action agency scientists said is necessary to protect children.

    In view of EPA’s retraction of its proposal to revoke food residue tolerances of the highly neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyrifos, despite its own assessment that the chemical is too toxic to children, it is especially important that California take action to ban the chemical. California, the home of the largest agriculture industry in the country, used over 1 million pounds of chlorpyrifos on over a million acres in 2012. EPA’s assessment is also support for the classification of chlorpyrifos as a developmental toxicant, an issue being considered on a parallel track by California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), which oversees the “Prop 65” list.

    EPA’s assessment, which incorporates recommendations from a 2016 Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP), finds that children exposed to high levels of chlorpyrifos have mental development delays, attention problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder problems, and pervasive developmental disorders. The SAP agreed with EPA that there is an association between chlorpyrifos prenatal exposure and neurodevelopmental outcomes in children. In 2016, EPA concluded that there is “sufficient evidence” that there are neurodevelopmental effects at low levels, and that current approaches for evaluating chlorpyrifos’s neurological impact are “not sufficiently health protective.”

    As stated by U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) in introducing S. 1624 to ban chlorpyrifos, “The science linking chlorpyrifos to brain damage and neurodevelopmental disorders in children is undeniable. The EPA's own scientists have established that chlorpyrifos on food and in groundwater is a threat to public health and should be banned."

    Epidemiological data also points to subpopulations that are disproportionately affected by chlorpyrifos exposures. Low-income African-American and Latino families, including farmworker families, continue to suffer the most, and this disproportionate impact creates an environmental justice problem that the state cannot continue to ignore.

  • Help Stop Glyposate (Roundup) Use and Support Safe Parks in NYC!

    While NYC passed a pesticide reduction policy in 2005, there is growing recognition that the law has not done enough to stop the use of toxic chemicals that endanger human health.
     
    In 2014, NYC Public School teacher Paula Rogovin’s kindergarten class, after learning about the dangers of chemical pesticides, wrote their Councilmember Ben Kallos, asking him to “Make a Law!” and stop the use of harmful insecticides and herbicides in City parks and public spaces. And Councilmember Kallos did just that -introducing Intro 800 in 2015. However, that law now needs your support to pass through the NYC Committee on Health.

    NYC has an opportunity to significantly improve the health and safety of its residents, particularly children that play in City parks and public spaces. The law will also protect pets from unnecessary pesticide exposure, and will limit the introduction of toxic chemicals in our water and air.

    Please take the time to urge your City Councilmember to pass Intro 800, and consider following up with a phone call to their office to show that you’re serious.

  • Tell Ben & Jerry's CEO: Get pesticides out of your ice cream!

    Think about it: Ten of 11 samples of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream tested positive for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s dangerous Roundup herbicide.

    The ice cream brand claims its social mission “seeks to meet human needs and eliminate the injustices in our local, national and international communities,” and that its focus is “on children and families, the environment and sustainable agriculture on family farms.”

    Behind the iconic ice cream brand’s greenwashed façade is an unfortunate truth: its ice cream relies on a dairy industry that produces contaminated food, poisons Vermont’s waterways, abuses animals, exploits workers, bankrupts farmers, and contributes to climate change.

    Unless Ben & Jerry's goes organic, its practices are responsible for:
    •    Running Vermont family farms out of business.
    •    Polluting Vermont’s waterways.
    •    Abusing animals.
    •    Exploiting farmworkers.
    •    Contributing to climate change.
    •    Putting human health at risk. In addition to the above problems, pesticides like Roundup, atrazine, and metolachlor —all carcinogens and endocrine disruptors— have devastating effects on human health. And they're in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

    Yet, the Vermont brand that has used the image of cows grazing on endless pastures to sell their products now buys milk from ‘confined animal feeding operations’ or CAFOs, where cows graze on concrete with a diet rich in GMO corn and pesticides.

    This is greenwashing. It’s time for Ben & Jerry’s to come clean.

    If Ben and Jerry’s wants to live up to its image, it needs to go organic –like Alden’s Organic, Julie’s Organic and Three Twins --all of which tested negative for glyphosate.

    Sign the petition below to Ben and Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim –to truly protect the environment, children, and workers, and support sustainable agriculture, Ben and Jerry’s must go 100% organic.

  • Tell Ben & Jerry's CEO: Get pesticides out of your ice cream!

    Think about it: Ten of 11 samples of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream tested positive for glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s dangerous Roundup herbicide.

    The ice cream brand claims its social mission “seeks to meet human needs and eliminate the injustices in our local, national and international communities,” and that its focus is “on children and families, the environment and sustainable agriculture on family farms.”

    Behind the iconic ice cream brand’s greenwashed façade is an unfortunate truth: its ice cream relies on a dairy industry that produces contaminated food, poisons Vermont’s waterways, abuses animals, exploits workers, bankrupts farmers, and contributes to climate change.

    Unless Ben & Jerry's goes organic, its practices are responsible for:
    •    Running Vermont family farms out of business.
    •    Polluting Vermont’s waterways.
    •    Abusing animals.
    •    Exploiting farmworkers.
    •    Contributing to climate change.
    •    Putting human health at risk. In addition to the above problems, pesticides like Roundup, atrazine, and metolachlor —all carcinogens and endocrine disruptors— have devastating effects on human health. And they're in Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

    Yet the Vermont brand that has used the image of cows grazing on endless pastures to sell their products now buys milk from ‘confined animal feeding operations’ or CAFOs, where cows graze on concrete with a diet rich in GMO corn and pesticides.

    This is greenwashing. It’s time for Ben & Jerry’s to come clean.

    If Ben and Jerry’s wants to live up to its image, it needs to go organic –like Alden’s Organic, Julie’s Organic and Three Twins --all of which tested negative for glyphosate.

    Send the letter below to Ben and Jerry’s CEO Jostein Solheim –to truly protect the environment, children, and workers, and support sustainable agriculture, Ben and Jerry’s must go 100% organic.

  • Tell Your Governor to Stop Monsanto’s False Safety Claims that Hurt Workers this Labor Day

    Tell your Governor to stop Monsanto from making false and deceptive claims about glyphosate (Roundup) –a pesticide that hurts workers. Because of its wide use by workers in parks, along utility and railroad rights-of-way, and on farms, use of Monsanto’s glyphosate results in more exposure than any other pesticide. Monsanto has developed and continues to grow its market for this product with false claims of the safety of the toxic chemical. Glyphosate is listed as a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (World Health Organization) and disrupts a pathway in humans necessary for healthy functioning of the gut microbiome. Meanwhile, Monsanto actively advertises and promotes its Roundup products as targeting an enzyme “found in plants but not in people or pets.”

    Although EPA considers glyphosate to be “of relatively low oral and dermal acute toxicity,” symptoms workers could experience following exposure to glyphosate formulations include: swollen eyes, face and joints; facial numbness; burning and/or itching skin; blisters; rapid heart rate; elevated blood pressure; chest pains, congestion; coughing; headache; and nausea.

    Ingredients in Roundup can be more toxic than glyphosate alone, resulting in a number of chronic, developmental, and endocrine-disrupting effects. The “inert” (non-disclosed) ingredients in Roundup formulations kill human cells at very low concentrations. At least some glyphosate-based products are genotoxic.

    Because glyphosate disrupts the shikimate pathway, crucial for manufacturing aromatic amino acids in plants but not animals, Monsanto claims that it does not harm humans. However, many beneficial bacteria use the shikimate pathway, and glyphosate, in fact, is a patented antibiotic. Glyphosate destroys bacteria in the human gut and, therefore, is a major contributor to disease. Disturbing the microbiota can contribute to a whole host of “21st century diseases,” including diabetes, obesity, food allergies, heart disease, antibiotic-resistant infections, cancer, asthma, autism, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and more. The rise in these same diseases is tightly correlated with the use of glyphosate herbicides, and glyphosate exposure can result in the inflammation that is at the root of these diseases.  Glyphosate appears to have more negative impacts on beneficial bacteria, allowing pathogens to flourish and enhancing antibiotic resistance.

    Although consumers are at risk from Monsanto’s glyphosate products, the workers who apply it and work in fields and parks, and along rights-of-way where it is used are at greatest risk.

    There is precedent for states acting on false claims by manufacturers. Massachusetts sued Bayer for false and deceptive claims on the label for its neonicotinoid products that harm bees. Every state can seek to protect against a false and deceptive claim under consumer protection and truth in advertising law.

    Please urge your Governor to act on false claims by Monsanto by sending this letter today.

  • This Labor Day, Tell Your Governor to Stop Monsanto’s False Safety Claims that Hurt Workers

    Tell your Governor to stop Monsanto from making false and deceptive claims about glyphosate (Roundup) –a pesticide that hurts workers. Because of its wide use by workers in parks, along utility and railroad rights-of-way, and on farms, use of Monsanto’s glyphosate results in more exposure than any other pesticide. Monsanto has developed and continues to grow its market for this product with false claims of the safety of the toxic chemical. Glyphosate is listed as a probable carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (of the World Health Organization) and disrupts a pathway in humans necessary for healthy functioning of the gut microbiome. Meanwhile, Monsanto actively advertises and promotes its Roundup products as targeting an enzyme “found in plants but not in people or pets.”

    Although EPA considers glyphosate to be “of relatively low oral and dermal acute toxicity,” symptoms workers could experience following exposure to glyphosate formulations include: swollen eyes, face, and joints; facial numbness; burning and/or itching skin; blisters; rapid heart rate; elevated blood pressure; chest pains, congestion; coughing; headache; and nausea.

    The additional ingredients in Roundup can be more toxic than glyphosate alone, resulting in a number of chronic, developmental, and endocrine-disrupting effects. The “inert” (non-disclosed) ingredients in Roundup formulations kill human cells at very low concentrations. At least some glyphosate-based products are genotoxic.

    Because glyphosate disrupts the shikimate pathway, crucial for manufacturing aromatic amino acids in plants but not animals, Monsanto claims that it does not harm humans. However, many beneficial bacteria use the shikimate pathway, and glyphosate, in fact, is a patented antibiotic. Glyphosate destroys bacteria in the human gut and, therefore, is a major contributor to disease. Disturbing the microbiota can contribute to a whole host of “21st century diseases,” including diabetes, obesity, food allergies, heart disease, antibiotic-resistant infections, cancer, asthma, autism, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and more. The rise in these same diseases is tightly correlated with the use of glyphosate herbicides, and glyphosate exposure can result in the inflammation that is at the root of these diseases. Glyphosate appears to have more negative impacts on beneficial bacteria, allowing pathogens to flourish and enhancing antibiotic resistance.

    Although consumers are at risk from Monsanto’s glyphosate products, the workers who apply it and work in fields and parks, and along rights-of-way where it is used are at greatest risk.

    There is precedent for states acting on false claims by manufacturers. Massachusetts sued Bayer for false and deceptive claims on the label for its neonicotinoid products that harm bees. Every state can seek to protect against a false and deceptive claim under consumer protection and truth-in-advertising law.

    Please urge your Governor to act on false claims by Monsanto by sending this letter today.

  • Action of the Week: Back to School

    Back-to-School? Stop the Toxic Pesticide Use

    School policies must protect children from pesticides by adopting organic land and building management policies and serving organic food in cafeterias. At the start of the school year, it is critical for school administrators to make sure that students and teachers are learning and teaching in an environment where no hazardous pesticides are used in the school’s buildings or on playing fields. It is also essential that children have access to organic food in food programs and manage school gardens organically.

    Jump to Submit.

    In addition, there are other things you can do:

    Whether a parent, teacher, student, school administrator, landscaper or community advocate, there are steps that should be taken to make sure the school environment is a safe from toxic chemicals, as the new school year begins.

    For Parents and Teachers:

    Because children face unique hazards from pesticide exposure due to their smaller size and developing organ systems, using toxic pesticides to get control insects, germs, and weeds can harm students much more than it helps. The good news is that these poisons are unnecessary, given the availability of practices and green materials that do not poison people or the environment.

    Studies show children’s developing organs create “early windows of great vulnerability” during which exposure to pesticides can cause great damage. This is supported by the findings of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which concluded, “Children encounter pesticides daily and have unique susceptibilities to their potential toxicity.” You can help to eliminate children’s exposure to toxic chemicals by urging school administrators to implement organic management practices that use cultural, mechanical, and biological management strategies, and, as a last resort, defined least-toxic pesticides. See Beyond Pesticides ManageSafeTM database for managing all insects and weeds without toxic pesticides.

    Find Out About Your School’s Pest Management Program
    One way to protect children is to find out whether the school has a pest management policy in place already, and identify key allies to improve it. Since toxic pesticides are not necessary to effective pest management, it is important that schools and school districts have a written organic pest management program. This will ensure that the program is institutionalized and will continue to flourish over time. See here for more details and practical steps on how to get organized and improve a school’s pest management program. For additional information, see Beyond Pesticides’ School Organizing Guide.

    Non-Toxic Lice Management

    Children going back to school may face challenges with head lice, and research has found that lice in 25 of 30 states in a U.S. study have developed resistance to common over-the-counter treatments like the insecticide permethrin, which therefore are not effective. Utilizing non-toxic approaches and products is critical, especially since lice are not a vector for insect-borne disease, and typical pesticide products used to treat them can be neurotoxic or carcinogenic. Fortunately, this nuisance insect can be managed utilizing a number of alternative lice treatment methods that do not include the use of toxic chemicals. One method for eliminating head lice is the use of hot air, which desiccates the insects and eggs, killing them. Lice and their eggs (or nits) can be combed and handpicked, and then destroyed in soapy water. Beyond Pesticide’s ManageSafe Database has a comprehensive webpage dedicated to safe management of lice, in addition to preventive practices.

    Pack Organic Lunches or Start an Organic Garden
    Organic foods have been shown to reduce dietary pesticide exposure. Children who eat a conventional diet of food produced with chemical-intensive practices carry residues of neurotoxic organophosphate pesticides that are reduced or eliminated when they switch to an organic diet.  The effects of pesticide exposure have been well documented, particularly for vulnerable segments of the population like children and pregnant women. In 2012, AAP weighed in on the organic food debate, recognizing that lower pesticide residues in organic foods may be significant for children. In addition to direct health effects, the Academy also noted that choosing organic is based on broad environmental and public health concerns, including pollution and global climate change —a position that is supported by Beyond Pesticides. Ask the school to adopt an organic lunch program, starting with organic produce, milk or juice. See School Lunches Go Organic for more information.

    In addition to serving organic food in the cafeteria, it can be both helpful and a valuable part of the lesson plan to grow food in an organic school garden. For more information, The Organic School Garden (or Grow Your Own Organic Food for technical advice). School gardens teach children where food comes from and establishes healthy relationships with food and the natural world.

    Promote Biodiversity with Organic Landscapes and Turf
    Biodiversity helps bees and other pollinators; diverse plants produce a supply of nectar throughout the growing season, and biodiversity of soil organisms promotes healthy plants that grow well without the introduction of poisonous pesticides.

    Playing fields that are intensively managed with chemicals are at greater risk for disease and weed infestation (leading to a dependence on chemical inputs), compared with practices that build healthy, balanced soil. Similarly, chemically-managed fields are generally harder and more compacted due to a loss of natural soil biology, while organic management focuses on cultural practices, such as aeration, that alleviate compaction, improve moisture retention, and provide a softer, better playing surface. See the factsheet, Pesticides and Playing Fields, for more information.

    Protect biodiversity through organic turf, playing fields and landscape policies. Encourage the school to plant pollinator-attractive plants in its garden as part of its biology class. If the school does not have a garden, request one be integrated into the curriculum. Wildflowers, native plant and grass species should be encouraged on school grounds. For more information on attractive flowers, see the BEE Protective Habitat Guide. Also see the Do-It-Yourself Biodiversity factsheet and Managing Landscapes with Pollinators in Mind for resources on building and protecting biodiversity.

    For College Students:

    On college campuses nationwide, grounds crews and landscapers often maintain the land with toxic pesticides, even though safer alternatives exist. College students across the country want their campuses to be a safe and healthy environment. To assist with college studies, Beyond Pesticides has developed the BEE Protective Ambassador Program.

    BEE Protective College Ambassador Program

    The widespread use of systemic pesticides in agriculture and landscaping, specifically, a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids (neonics), has been implicated in causing poor pollinator health and widespread bee deaths. Therefore, a key focus of the program is to eliminate the use of neonics on college campuses.  A critical part of being a BEE Protective Ambassador is to engage with college administrators in the creation of a pollinator-friendly campus.
    “BEE” prepared: you may get some pushback about phasing out toxic pesticides on campus. But contrary to what some administrators and groundskeepers may tell you, a college campus can be maintained successfully without toxic, systemic pesticides!

    With the fall semester rapidly approaching, now is a great time to take the BEE Protective Ambassador Pledge. With assistance from Beyond Pesticides, BEE ambassadors will be given  educational information to with college  administrators. Students who are interested in joining the movement to protect pollinators and save the bees, can become a Bee Protective Ambassador and sign the pledge!

  • Action of the Week: Back to School

    Back-to-School? Stop the Toxic Pesticide Use

    School policies must protect children from pesticides by adopting organic land and building management policies and serving organic food in cafeterias. At the start of the school year, it is critical for school administrators to make sure that students and teachers are learning and teaching in an environment where no hazardous pesticides are used in the school’s buildings or on playing fields. It is also essential that children have access to organic food in food programs and manage school gardens organically.

    Jump to Submit.

    In addition, there are other things you can do:

    Whether a parent, teacher, student, school administrator, landscaper or community advocate, there are steps that should be taken to make sure the school environment is a safe from toxic chemicals, as the new school year begins.

    For Parents and Teachers:

    Because children face unique hazards from pesticide exposure due to their smaller size and developing organ systems, using toxic pesticides to get control insects, germs, and weeds can harm students much more than it helps. The good news is that these poisons are unnecessary, given the availability of practices and green materials that do not poison people or the environment.

    Studies show children’s developing organs create “early windows of great vulnerability” during which exposure to pesticides can cause great damage. This is supported by the findings of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which concluded, “Children encounter pesticides daily and have unique susceptibilities to their potential toxicity.” You can help to eliminate children’s exposure to toxic chemicals by urging school administrators to implement organic management practices that use cultural, mechanical, and biological management strategies, and, as a last resort, defined least-toxic pesticides. See Beyond Pesticides ManageSafeTM database for managing all insects and weeds without toxic pesticides.

    Find Out About Your School’s Pest Management Program
    One way to protect children is to find out whether the school has a pest management policy in place already, and identify key allies to improve it. Since toxic pesticides are not necessary to effective pest management, it is important that schools and school districts have a written organic pest management program. This will ensure that the program is institutionalized and will continue to flourish over time. See here for more details and practical steps on how to get organized and improve a school’s pest management program. For additional information, see Beyond Pesticides’ School Organizing Guide.

    Non-Toxic Lice Management

    Children going back to school may face challenges with head lice, and research has found that lice in 25 of 30 states in a U.S. study have developed resistance to common over-the-counter treatments like the insecticide permethrin, which therefore are not effective. Utilizing non-toxic approaches and products is critical, especially since lice are not a vector for insect-borne disease, and typical pesticide products used to treat them can be neurotoxic or carcinogenic. Fortunately, this nuisance insect can be managed utilizing a number of alternative lice treatment methods that do not include the use of toxic chemicals. One method for eliminating head lice is the use of hot air, which desiccates the insects and eggs, killing them. Lice and their eggs (or nits) can be combed and handpicked, and then destroyed in soapy water. Beyond Pesticide’s ManageSafe Database has a comprehensive webpage dedicated to safe management of lice, in addition to preventive practices.

    Pack Organic Lunches or Start an Organic Garden
    Organic foods have been shown to reduce dietary pesticide exposure. Children who eat a conventional diet of food produced with chemical-intensive practices carry residues of neurotoxic organophosphate pesticides that are reduced or eliminated when they switch to an organic diet.  The effects of pesticide exposure have been well documented, particularly for vulnerable segments of the population like children and pregnant women. In 2012, AAP weighed in on the organic food debate, recognizing that lower pesticide residues in organic foods may be significant for children. In addition to direct health effects, the Academy also noted that choosing organic is based on broad environmental and public health concerns, including pollution and global climate change —a position that is supported by Beyond Pesticides. Ask the school to adopt an organic lunch program, starting with organic produce, milk or juice. See School Lunches Go Organic for more information.

    In addition to serving organic food in the cafeteria, it can be both helpful and a valuable part of the lesson plan to grow food in an organic school garden. For more information, The Organic School Garden (or Grow Your Own Organic Food for technical advice). School gardens teach children where food comes from and establishes healthy relationships with food and the natural world.

    Promote Biodiversity with Organic Landscapes and Turf
    Biodiversity helps bees and other pollinators; diverse plants produce a supply of nectar throughout the growing season, and biodiversity of soil organisms promotes healthy plants that grow well without the introduction of poisonous pesticides.

    Playing fields that are intensively managed with chemicals are at greater risk for disease and weed infestation (leading to a dependence on chemical inputs), compared with practices that build healthy, balanced soil. Similarly, chemically-managed fields are generally harder and more compacted due to a loss of natural soil biology, while organic management focuses on cultural practices, such as aeration, that alleviate compaction, improve moisture retention, and provide a softer, better playing surface. See the factsheet, Pesticides and Playing Fields, for more information.

    Protect biodiversity through organic turf, playing fields and landscape policies. Encourage the school to plant pollinator-attractive plants in its garden as part of its biology class. If the school does not have a garden, request one be integrated into the curriculum. Wildflowers, native plant and grass species should be encouraged on school grounds. For more information on attractive flowers, see the BEE Protective Habitat Guide. Also see the Do-It-Yourself Biodiversity factsheet and Managing Landscapes with Pollinators in Mind for resources on building and protecting biodiversity.

    For College Students:

    On college campuses nationwide, grounds crews and landscapers often maintain the land with toxic pesticides, even though safer alternatives exist. College students across the country want their campuses to be a safe and healthy environment. To assist with college studies, Beyond Pesticides has developed the BEE Protective Ambassador Program.

    BEE Protective College Ambassador Program

    The widespread use of systemic pesticides in agriculture and landscaping, specifically, a class of insecticides known as neonicotinoids (neonics), has been implicated in causing poor pollinator health and widespread bee deaths. Therefore, a key focus of the program is to eliminate the use of neonics on college campuses.  A critical part of being a BEE Protective Ambassador is to engage with college administrators in the creation of a pollinator-friendly campus.
    “BEE” prepared: you may get some pushback about phasing out toxic pesticides on campus. But contrary to what some administrators and groundskeepers may tell you, a college campus can be maintained successfully without toxic, systemic pesticides!

    With the fall semester rapidly approaching, now is a great time to take the BEE Protective Ambassador Pledge. With assistance from Beyond Pesticides, BEE ambassadors will be given  educational information to with college  administrators. Students who are interested in joining the movement to protect pollinators and save the bees, can become a Bee Protective Ambassador and sign the pledge!

  • Insist that the organic label be regulated on the basis of law, not whim!

    Consumers of organic food expect a clear set of production standards that are enforced with a rigorous system of inspection and certification. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) is currently undermining this central organic principle. During a National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) webinar, NOP Deputy Administrator Miles McEvoy extolled the new “flexibility” of his program in allowing organic certification of operations not permitted by regulations. Although the webinar focused on the program’s allowance of hydroponics, Mr. McEvoy’s comments apply to a wide variety of permitted practices for which USDA has yet to approve standards.

    Some NOSB members pointed out the problems with NOP’s arbitrary approach to standards –that the criteria for approving them have not gone through the transparent public review process required by law; that problems of health and environmental impacts and consistency with organic principles may be discovered during the public process; that consumers expect certification to be based on uniform standards enforced consistently; and that once such practices are allowed, it is extremely difficult to prohibit them. Other NOSB members appeared to approve of NOP’s “flexible” (arbitrary) procedures.

    NOSB member Harriet Behar put the matter succinctly: “Without clear, consistent standards, the integrity of the entire label is at risk. It is not acceptable to allow different certifiers to interpret the regulations in lots of different ways. This is the whole reason for the label - consumer trust that stems from uniform standards, enforced in a consistent way, and backed by good process.”

    This action allows you to send letters to Deputy Administrator McEvoy and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and your Congressional delegation, and will take you to Regulations.gov, where you can enter a comment for the NOSB. See some suggested language below.

    Suggested comment to NOSB:

    Dear NOSB members:

    During the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) webinar on August 14, National Organic Program (NOP) Deputy Administrator Miles McEvoy applauded the “flexibility” of his program in allowing organic certification of operations not permitted by regulations. Although the webinar was focused on hydroponics, Mr. McEvoy’s comments applied to a wide variety of production areas where USDA has yet to approve standards. In accordance with your responsibilities under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) to advise the Secretary on implementation of the act, please tell NOP to correct this statement through a policy memo that explains the necessity of developing standards before allowing certification. Regardless of your feelings about the hydroponics issue, please let NOP know that it must follow the rule of law, rather than arbitrarily allowing certification decisions to be made in the hodge-podge of actions that OFPA was designed to avoid.

    The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) provides requirements for the organic label in law, and regulations. These legal standards are developed through a transparent public process that ensures that they are not arbitrary, but meet the needs of organic producers and consumers. The law and the standards are public documents, which keep certifiers accountable. The purposes of OFPA are stated in §6501:

    It is the purpose of this chapter—
    (1) to establish national standards governing the marketing of certain agricultural products as organically produced products;
    (2) to assure consumers that organically produced products meet a consistent standard; and
    (3) to facilitate interstate commerce in fresh and processed food that is organically produced.

    To suggest that organic is “flexible” enough to certify products for which there are no standards is a dangerous mistake. This sort of thinking has landed us in the predicament in which we currently find ourselves with hydroponics –where some certifiers certify hydroponic operations as organic, while others do not.

    Certifiers interpret and consistently apply standards through the certification process and are held accountable through NOP accreditation. We cannot expect certifiers to uphold the integrity of the label in the absence of clear, applicable standards.  The standards must come first, created through a public process, with the certified products following.

    NOP must correct this statement through a policy memo that explains the necessity of developing standards before allowing certification.

    Thank you for your attention to this urgent issue.

    Sincerely,

  • Insist that the organic label be regulated on the basis of law, not whim!

    Consumers of organic food expect a clear set of production standards that are enforced with a rigorous system of inspection and certification. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) is currently undermining this central organic principle.

    Two-Part Action

    In Part 1, you will send a letter to USDA and your Congressional delegation. After you hit “Submit,” you will be taken to the Regulations.gov page so that you can also submit a comment to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). As you may know, to submit a comment through regs.gov, you need to fill in text on the government website. You can copy the language below (before hitting "Submit") and paste the language into the form at Regulations.gov. We apologize that it is not easier to submit a comment to the government, but this is the system, and much more effective than signing your name to a petition. Jump to "Submit" for Part 1. Jump to Part 2.

    Part 1. Letter to USDA and your Congressional delegation

    During a National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) webinar, NOP Deputy Administrator Miles McEvoy extolled the new “flexibility” of his program in allowing organic certification of operations not permitted by regulations. Although the webinar focused on the program’s allowance of hydroponics, Mr. McEvoy’s comments apply to a wide variety of permitted practices for which USDA has yet to approve standards.

    Some NOSB members pointed out the problems with NOP’s arbitrary approach to standards –that the criteria for approving them have not gone through the transparent public review process required by law; that problems of health and environmental impacts and consistency with organic principles may be discovered during the public process; that consumers expect certification to be based on uniform standards enforced consistently; and that once such practices are allowed, it is extremely difficult to prohibit them. Other NOSB members appeared to approve of NOP’s “flexible” (arbitrary) procedures.

    NOSB member Harriet Behar put the matter succinctly: “Without clear, consistent standards, the integrity of the entire label is at risk. It is not acceptable to allow different certifiers to interpret the regulations in lots of different ways. This is the whole reason for the label - consumer trust that stems from uniform standards, enforced in a consistent way, and backed by good process.”

    This action allows you to send letters to Deputy Administrator McEvoy and Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and your Congressional delegation, and will take you to Regulations.gov, where you can enter a comment for the NOSB. See some suggested language below.

    Jump to "Submit" for Part 1.

    Part 2. Letter to NOSB on the regs.gov website.

    Suggested comment to NOSB:

    Dear NOSB members:

    During the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) webinar on August 14, National Organic Program (NOP) Deputy Administrator Miles McEvoy applauded the “flexibility” of his program in allowing organic certification of operations not permitted by regulations. Although the webinar was focused on hydroponics, Mr. McEvoy’s comments applied to a wide variety of production areas where USDA has yet to approve standards. In accordance with your responsibilities under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) to advise the Secretary on implementation of the act, please tell NOP to correct this statement through a policy memo that explains the necessity of developing standards before allowing certification. Regardless of your feelings about the hydroponics issue, please let NOP know that it must follow the rule of law, rather than arbitrarily allowing certification decisions to be made in the hodge-podge of actions that OFPA was designed to avoid.

    The Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) provides requirements for the organic label in law, and regulations. These legal standards are developed through a transparent public process that ensures that they are not arbitrary, but meet the needs of organic producers and consumers. The law and the standards are public documents, which keep certifiers accountable. The purposes of OFPA are stated in §6501:

    It is the purpose of this chapter—
    (1) to establish national standards governing the marketing of certain agricultural products as organically produced products;
    (2) to assure consumers that organically produced products meet a consistent standard; and
    (3) to facilitate interstate commerce in fresh and processed food that is organically produced.

    To suggest that organic is “flexible” enough to certify products for which there are no standards is a dangerous mistake. This sort of thinking has landed us in the predicament in which we currently find ourselves with hydroponics –where some certifiers certify hydroponic operations as organic, while others do not.

    Certifiers interpret and consistently apply standards through the certification process and are held accountable through NOP accreditation. We cannot expect certifiers to uphold the integrity of the label in the absence of clear, applicable standards.  The standards must come first, created through a public process, with the certified products following.

    NOP must correct this statement through a policy memo that explains the necessity of developing standards before allowing certification.

    Thank you for your attention to this urgent issue.

    Sincerely,

  • Support Senate Bill to Ban Chlorpyrifos, the Neurotoxic Pesticide that Harms Children’s Brains

    In March 2017, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed a 2015 proposal to revoke food residue tolerances of the highly neurotoxic insecticide, chlorpyrifos, despite EPA’s own assessment that the chemical is too toxic to children. A revocation of chlorpyrifos tolerances would have effectively banned the chemical from use in agriculture. Instead, Administrator Pruitt’s decision indicated the agency will continue to study chlorpyrifos and would not take any action until 2022.

    EPA’s assessment, which incorporates recommendations from a 2016 Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP), finds that children exposed to high levels of chlorpyrifos have mental development delays, attention problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder problems, and pervasive developmental disorders. The SAP agreed with EPA that there is an association between chlorpyrifos prenatal exposure and neurodevelopmental outcomes in children. In 2016, EPA concluded that there is “sufficient evidence” that there are neurodevelopmental effects at low levels, and that current approaches for evaluating chlorpyrifos’ neurological impact are “not sufficiently health protective.”

    Epidemiological data also points to subpopulations that are disproportionately affected by chlorpyrifos exposures. Low-income African-American and Latino families, including farmworker families, continue to suffer the most, and this disproportionate impact creates an environmental justice problem that the agency cannot continue to ignore.

    Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) have introduced a bill that would ban use of chlorpyrifos. The bill, “Protect Children, Farmers and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act,” S. 1624, amends the U.S. Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) that oversees pesticide food exposures to prohibit all chlorpyrifos use. In addition, the bill directs EPA to partner with the National Research Council to assess the neurodevelopmental and other low-dose effects of exposure to organophosphate pesticides to agricultural workers and children.

    "Congress must act because Administrator Pruitt has shown that he won’t. There is no question chlorpyrifos needs to come off the market. The science linking chlorpyrifos to brain damage and neurodevelopmental disorders in children is undeniable. The EPA's own scientists have established that chlorpyrifos on food and in groundwater is a threat to public health and should be banned." Sen. Udall said. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

  • Ask Your Senators to Co-Sponsor Bill to Ban Chlorpyrifos, the Neurotoxic Pesticide that Harms Children—After EPA Reversal

    Ask your U.S. Senators to co-sponsor legislation to ban the neurotoxic insecticide chlorpyrifos after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt reversed the previous administration’s proposal to discontinue its food uses. [The bill is currently co-sponsored by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).]

    With EPA’s own  assessment that the chemical is too toxic to children, it is time for Congress to intervene to get this highly toxic pesticide off the market.


    In March 2017, Mr. Pruitt reversed a 2015 proposal to revoke food residue tolerances of chlorpyrifos. A revocation of chlorpyrifos tolerances would have effectively banned the chemical from use in agriculture. Instead, Administrator Pruitt’s decision indicated the agency will continue to study chlorpyrifos and would not take any action until 2022.

    EPA’s assessment, which incorporates recommendations from a 2016 Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP), finds that children exposed to high levels of chlorpyrifos have developmental delays, attention problems, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder problems, and pervasive developmental disorders. The SAP agreed with EPA that there is an association between chlorpyrifos prenatal exposure and neurodevelopmental outcomes in children. In 2016, EPA concluded that there is “sufficient evidence” that there are neurodevelopmental effects at low levels, and that current approaches for evaluating chlorpyrifos’s neurological impact are “not sufficiently health protective.”

    Epidemiological data also points to subpopulations that are disproportionately affected by chlorpyrifos exposures. Low-income African-American and Latino families, including farmworker families, continue to suffer the most, and this disproportionate impact creates an environmental justice problem that the agency cannot continue to ignore.

    U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the bill to ban the use of chlorpyrifos. The bill, “Protect Children, Farmers and Farmworkers from Nerve Agent Pesticides Act,” S. 1624, amends the U.S. Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) that oversees pesticide food exposures to prohibit all chlorpyrifos use. In addition, the bill directs EPA to partner with the National Research Council to assess the neurodevelopmental and other low-dose effects of exposure to organophosphate pesticides to agricultural workers and children.

    "Congress must act because Administrator Pruitt has shown that he won’t. There is no question chlorpyrifos needs to come off the market. The science linking chlorpyrifos to brain damage and neurodevelopmental disorders in children is undeniable. The EPA's own scientists have established that chlorpyrifos on food and in groundwater is a threat to public health and should be banned," Senator Udall said.

  • Tell Your Councilmember to Defend the Healthy Lawns Act!

    A state circuit court judge on August 3, 2017 overturned Montgomery County’s landmark bill restricting toxic pesticide use on private property. Help protect people, pets, and pollinators with your action!

    The fight is far from over. We need you to urge the Council to file an appeal before the 30 day deadline is up on September 2nd.

    By passing the Healthy Lawns Act, the Montgomery County Council acknowledged growing demand within the community for natural and organic lawn care practices and compatible products. These cost-effective lawn care methods have been shown to eliminate the need for toxic pesticide use through improvements in soil biology that support more resilient plants. But now, the court’s decision puts over one million residents at continued risk of hazardous pesticide exposure.

    While this ruling doesn’t affect aspects of the Act that ban toxic pesticides used on county-owned public land, it does strike down key provisions that stop unnecessary pesticide use on private property. We know that when pesticides are used in the community, they drift and run-off the target site, polluting the entire community’s air, water, and soil. And, they are not needed for a beautiful lawn and landscape.

    Health and environmental advocates indicate Judge McGann’s ruling ignores historical precedent set by Maryland counties in leading the way on health and environmental laws, including bans on plastic bags and coal-tar sealants. At times, the Judge’s written opinion is dismissive of the danger posed by pesticide use, including an aside opining “…why neighborhood children sell lemonade on the street corner and not pesticides.”

    Over 150 communities in 23 states restrict chemical pesticide use, according to Beyond Pesticides’ Map of U.S. Pesticide Reform Policies. Many local governments in Maryland and throughout the United States will be watching Montgomery County’s response.

    Please help us send a message to the lead plaintiff, Complete Lawn Care, and Scotts, TruGreen and the lawn chemical industry that communities should be able to set higher standards to restrict toxic pesticide use, especially when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state are not providing adequate protection. Urge the County Council to continue to defend the Healthy Lawns Act by appealing the recent court decision by September 2nd!

  • Tell Your Councilmember to Defend the Healthy Lawns Act!

    A state circuit court judge on August 3, 2017 overturned Montgomery County’s landmark bill restricting toxic pesticide use on private property. Help protect people, pets, and pollinators with your action!

    The fight is far from over. We need you to urge the Council to file an appeal before the 30 day deadline is up on September 30th.

    By passing the Healthy Lawns Act, the Montgomery County Council acknowledged growing demand within the community for natural and organic lawn care practices and compatible products. These cost-effective lawn care methods have been shown to eliminate the need for toxic pesticide use through improvements in soil biology that support more resilient plants. But now, the court’s decision puts over one million residents at continued risk of hazardous pesticide exposure.

    While this ruling doesn’t affect aspects of the Act that ban toxic pesticides used on county-owned public land, it does strike down key provisions that stop unnecessary pesticide use on private property. We know that when pesticides are used in the community, they drift and run-off the target site, polluting the entire community’s air, water, and soil. And, they are not needed for a beautiful lawn and landscape.

    Health and environmental advocates indicate Judge McGann’s ruling ignores historical precedent set by Maryland counties in leading the way on health and environmental laws, including bans on plastic bags and coal-tar sealants. At times, the Judge’s written opinion is dismissive of the danger posed by pesticide use, including an aside opining “…why neighborhood children sell lemonade on the street corner and not pesticides.”

    Send a letter to your Councilmember urging that they appeal Judge McGann's ruling!

    Over 150 communities in 23 states restrict chemical pesticide use, according to Beyond Pesticides’ Map of U.S. Pesticide Reform Policies. Many local governments in Maryland and throughout the United States will be watching Montgomery County’s response.

    Please help us send a message to the lead plaintiff, Complete Lawn Care, and Scotts, TruGreen and the lawn chemical industry that communities should be able to set higher standards to restrict toxic pesticide use, especially when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state are not providing adequate protection. Urge the County Council to continue to defend the Healthy Lawns Act by appealing the recent court decision by September 2nd!

  • Contact Montgomery County Council Members to Appeal Court Decision On Healthy Lawns Act!

    Lower Court judge overturns Healthy Lawns Act, denying residents in Montgomery County, MD the right to protect ourselves from harmful lawn pesticides.
     
    WE NEED YOU to Call/Email the councilmembers and urge them to file an appeal before the 30 day deadline runs out (Sept 2).
     
    We are urging our Council to appeal and defend the county from state preemption.
    We know we have a strong case, but this has been a David v. Goliath situation from Day 1.

     
    You have been steadfast in your support for our campaign for safer lawns in Montgomery County.  In 2015 the Mo Co Council passed the Healthy Lawns Act, 52-14, to restrict the cosmetic use of lawn pesticides on public & private property. Our parks are now safer for kids and pets (and grownups) because of this law BUT the pesticide lobbysists and some local lawn care companies, along with Scotts & TruGreen, challenged the private property provision. The lower court judge, Terrence McGann, agreed with them, and denied the county the right to pass a law that offers more protections for residents and environmental health than the state.  Now a million residents will be negatively impacted by one judge's decision.
     
    Contact information for each councilmember is below and a brief message you can use:

  • AOTW - Oppose Release of Genetically Engineered Moth in NY

    Following a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on Cornell University’s proposed release of genetically engineered diamondback moths (DBMs), there is a need to ensure that the state of New York addresses issues that APHIS failed to consider. These include  concerns that are based on problems with possible contamination of organic crops with illegal GE residues, as well as others raised by scientists at the Center for Food Safety, Food and Water Watch, and GeneWatch UK.

    The FONSI absolves APHIS from the duty to perform an in-depth environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) points out that this is the first use of this particular kind of GE technology –using a genetically engineered male to produce inviable female offspring— and, as such, deserves the full investigation of an EIS, rather than the more cursory evaluation of the environmental assessment that led to the FONSI.

    Besides NEPA, New York state law requires that all "discretionary" decisions of an agency to approve, fund, or directly undertake an action which may affect the environment are subject to review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR). We believe that Cornell must receive a permit under New York Environmental Conservation Law §11-0507 in order to release the insects from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), as it did for the release of caged insects in the past. However, DEC has denied responsibility for permitting the action. As a state university, Cornell is subject to SEQR. If Cornell or DEC does not perform the required EIS, enforcement is up to citizens. According to the DEC website, “[C]itizens or groups who can demonstrate that they may be harmed by this failure may take legal action... Project approvals may be rescinded by a court and a new review required under SEQR. New York State's court system has consistently ruled in favor of strong compliance with the provisions of SEQR.” NOFA-NY has made a strong showing that organic growers may be harmed by this release.

    This is an issue that affects all of us –not just New Yorkers— because the moths do not respect state boundaries, and this action would set a precedent for other states.

    Organic growers may be harmed if the moths escape from the research plots. The engineered trait is designed to leave behind dead moth larvae and pupae resulting from the mating of the engineered males with wild females. These residues, if left on organic crops (cabbage, broccoli, and other brassica plants) would be prohibited under the “excluded methods” regulation of the National Organic Program. In addition, there are plausible scenarios that would result in release of viable DBMs, which could increase damage to crops.

    In general, the cursory EA performed by APHIS ignored a number of important issues, including: contamination of crops with GE dead insects; the impacts on the ecological balance of native brassicas; the lack of research on the migration of DBMs from site to site; impacts in the future if engineered DBMs are released in commercial agriculture; other alternatives besides “no action,” such as the systems approach used by organic growers; the lack of adequate monitoring and buffer zones; food safety; impacts on predators; antibiotic resistance as a result from the use of tetracycline in breeding the moths; other ecological effects; and movement of the DBM across international borders.

    Voice your opposition to the release of genetically engineered DBMs to Cornell University (which proposes to release the moths), DEC (which is responsible for state permits of releases of wild animals), and Governor Cuomo (who is responsible for ensuring that state agencies meet their responsibilities.)

  • AOTW - Oppose Release of Genetically Engineered Moth in NY

    Help stop a dangerous plan hatched in New York to control a caterpillar in cabbage. Under the plan, up to 10,000 genetically engineered (GE) male diamondback moths (DBMs) will be released each week during the cabbage planting cycle (which runs about three to four months). According to USDA, “The males are genetically engineered with a lethal gene that they pass on to females when they mate.”Related image

    Because of the widespread release, this plan –a first of its kind in food crops– will contaminate organic farms with genetically engineered material. And, this is all being done based on a cursory environmental assessment without an in-depth environmental impact assessment.

    This is an issue that affects all of us –not just New Yorkers–because the moths do not respect state boundaries, and this action would set a precedent for other states.

    Following a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on Cornell University’s proposed release, there is an urgent need to ensure that the state of New York addresses contamination issues that APHIS failed to consider. At the top of the list is possible contamination of organic crops, which could threaten the standing of organic products with consumers and holds the threat of decertification. Other  contamination concerns are  raised by scientists at the Center for Food Safety, Food and Water Watch, and GeneWatch UK.

    The FONSI absolves APHIS from the duty to perform an in-depth environmental impact statement (EIS) under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY) points out that this is the first food use of this particular kind of GE technology –using a genetically engineered male to produce inviable female offspring— and, as such, deserves the full investigation of an EIS, rather than the more cursory evaluation of the environmental assessment that led to the FONSI.

    In addition to NEPA, New York state law requires a state agency to conduct a review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) . when it uses its "discretionary" authority to approve, fund, or directly undertake an action that may affect the environment. In order to release the insects, Cornell must receive a permit under New York Environmental Conservation Law §11-0507 from the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), as it did for the release of caged insects in the past. However, DEC has denied responsibility for permitting the action. As a university with a state extension service, Cornell is subject to SEQR. If Cornell or DEC does not perform the required EIS, enforcement is up to citizens. According to the DEC website, “[C]itizens or groups who can demonstrate that they may be harmed by this failure may take legal action. . . . Project approvals may be rescinded by a court and a new review required under SEQR. New York State's court system has consistently ruled in favor of strong compliance with the provisions of SEQR.” NOFA-NY has made a strong showing that organic growers may be harmed by this release.

    Organic growers may be harmed if the moths escape from the research plots. The engineered trait is designed to leave behind dead moth larvae and pupae resulting from the mating of the engineered males with wild females. These residues, if left on organic crops (cabbage, broccoli, and other brassica plants), could threaten the standing of organic products with consumers and threaten decertification. In addition, there are plausible scenarios that would result in release of viable DBMs, which could increase damage to crops.

    In general, the environmental assessment performed by APHIS ignored a number of important issues, including: contamination of crops with GE dead insects; the impacts on the ecological balance of native brassicas; the lack of research on the migration of DBMs from site to site; impacts in the future if engineered DBMs are released in commercial agriculture; other alternatives besides “no action,” such as the systems approach used by organic growers; the lack of adequate monitoring and buffer zones; food safety; impacts on predators; antibiotic resistance as a result from the use of tetracycline in breeding the moths; other ecological effects; and movement of the DBM across international borders.

    Voice your opposition to the release of genetically engineered DBMs to Cornell University (which proposes to release the moths), DEC (which is responsible for state permits of releases of wild animals), and Governor Cuomo (who is responsible for ensuring that state agencies meet their responsibilities.)

  • Protect organic farmers and consumers from fraudulent imports

    At a time when the U.S. market demands more organic corn and soybeans than are supplied by domestic organic growers, those same growers are threatened by the flooding of the market with cheaper fraudulent grains. The resulting impacts of eliminating market opportunities while at the same time threatening the value of the organic label hurt organic farmers in this country.

    The National Organic Program (NOP) must take action to protect the organic label.

    According to the Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM), the U.S. currently produces only about 60% of the organic corn and 10-30% of the organic soybeans the market demands, while demand is increasing by about 14% per year. Meanwhile, the U.S. market is being flooded with fraudulent “organic” corn and soybeans. In May, the Washington Post documented three large shipments –totaling 7 percent of annual organic corn imports and 4 percent of organic soybean imports— originating from questionable overseas certification and fraud.

    OFARM says, “For over two years, organic grain producers have seen their prices, market opportunities and bottom-lines on their farms decline due to fraudulent imports. The losses to the twelve Midwestern state organic grain producers (ND, SD, NE, KS, MO, IL, IA, WI, IN, MI, MN, OH) totals over $150 million in lost income for the crop years 2015 and 2016 and if all 48 states and 2017 income losses are included, it is over $250 million. This situation is unsustainable and will not grow the domestic supply of organic grain.”

    USDA must exercise its authority to enforce existing regulations and develop additional stringent regulatory oversight procedures to fulfill its obligations under the Organic Foods Production Act and safeguard the integrity of the USDA organic seal. USDA must immediately:
    ⦁    Enforce the currently enacted regulations to ensure imports comply with the U.S. organic standards;
    ⦁    Implement additional regulations to deter and prevent the import of fraudulent organic products; and
    ⦁    Regulate third-party certifiers and equivalent agencies in other countries administering USDA organic standards.

    If you are a farmer who has been harmed by import fraud, please add your story to the letter.

  • Protect organic farmers and consumers from fraudulent imports

    At a time when the U.S. market demands more organic corn and soybeans than are supplied by domestic organic growers, those same growers are threatened by the flooding of the market with cheaper fraudulent grains. The resulting impacts of eliminating market opportunities while at the same time threatening the value of the organic label hurt organic farmers in this country.

    The National Organic Program (NOP) must take action to protect the organic label.

    According to the Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM), the U.S. currently produces only about 60% of the organic corn and 10-30% of the organic soybeans the market demands, while demand is increasing by about 14% per year. Meanwhile, the U.S. market is being flooded with fraudulent “organic” corn and soybeans. In May, the Washington Post documented three large shipments –totaling 7 percent of annual organic corn imports and 4 percent of organic soybean imports— originating from questionable overseas certification and fraud.

    OFARM says, “For over two years, organic grain producers have seen their prices, market opportunities and bottom-lines on their farms decline due to fraudulent imports. The losses to the twelve Midwestern state organic grain producers (ND, SD, NE, KS, MO, IL, IA, WI, IN, MI, MN, OH) totals over $150 million in lost income for the crop years 2015 and 2016 and if all 48 states and 2017 income losses are included, it is over $250 million. This situation is unsustainable and will not grow the domestic supply of organic grain.”

    USDA must exercise its authority to enforce existing regulations and develop additional stringent regulatory oversight procedures to fulfill its obligations under the Organic Foods Production Act and safeguard the integrity of the USDA organic seal. USDA must immediately:
    ⦁    Enforce the currently enacted regulations to ensure imports comply with the U.S. organic standards;
    ⦁    Implement additional regulations to deter and prevent the import of fraudulent organic products; and
    ⦁    Regulate third-party certifiers and equivalent agencies in other countries administering USDA organic standards.

    If you are a farmer who has been harmed by import fraud, please add your story to the letter.

  • Protect the organic label from fraudulent imports!

    At a time when the U.S. market demands more organic corn and soybeans than are supplied by domestic organic growers, those same growers are threatened by the flooding of the market with cheaper fraudulent grains. The resulting impacts of eliminating market opportunities while at the same time threatening the value of the organic label hurt organic farmers in this country.

    The National Organic Program (NOP) must take action to protect the organic label.

    According to the Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM), the U.S. currently produces only about 60% of the organic corn and 10-30% of the organic soybeans the market demands, while demand is increasing by about 14% per year. Meanwhile, the U.S. market is being flooded with fraudulent “organic” corn and soybeans. In May, the Washington Post documented three large shipments –totaling 7 percent of annual organic corn imports and 4 percent of organic soybean imports— originating from questionable overseas certification and fraud.

    OFARM says, “For over two years, organic grain producers have seen their prices, market opportunities and bottom-lines on their farms decline due to fraudulent imports. The losses to the twelve Midwestern state organic grain producers (ND, SD, NE, KS, MO, IL, IA, WI, IN, MI, MN, OH) totals over $150 million in lost income for the crop years 2015 and 2016 and if all 48 states and 2017 income losses are included, it is over $250 million. This situation is unsustainable and will not grow the domestic supply of organic grain.”

    USDA must exercise its authority to enforce existing regulations and develop additional stringent regulatory oversight procedures to fulfill its obligations under the Organic Foods Production Act and safeguard the integrity of the USDA organic seal. USDA must immediately:
    ⦁    Enforce the currently enacted regulations to ensure imports comply with the U.S. organic standards;
    ⦁    Implement additional regulations to deter and prevent the import of fraudulent organic products; and
    ⦁    Regulate third-party certifiers and equivalent agencies in other countries administering USDA organic standards.

    If you are a farmer who has been harmed by import fraud, please add your story to the letter.


    At a time when the U.S. market demands more organic corn and soybeans than are supplied by domestic organic growers, those same growers are threatened by the flooding of the market with cheaper fraudulent grains. The resulting impacts of eliminating market opportunities while at the same time threatening the value of the organic label hurt organic farmers in this country.

    The National Organic Program (NOP) must take action to protect the organic label.

    According to the Organic Farmers’ Agency for Relationship Marketing (OFARM), the U.S. currently produces only about 60% of the organic corn and 10-30% of the organic soybeans the market demands, while demand is increasing by about 14% per year. Meanwhile, the U.S. market is being flooded with fraudulent “organic” corn and soybeans. In May, the Washington Post documented three large shipments –totaling 7 percent of annual organic corn imports and 4 percent of organic soybean imports— originating from questionable overseas certification and fraud.

    OFARM says, “For over two years, organic grain producers have seen their prices, market opportunities and bottom-lines on their farms decline due to fraudulent imports. The losses to the twelve Midwestern state organic grain producers (ND, SD, NE, KS, MO, IL, IA, WI, IN, MI, MN, OH) totals over $150 million in lost income for the crop years 2015 and 2016 and if all 48 states and 2017 income losses are included, it is over $250 million. This situation is unsustainable and will not grow the domestic supply of organic grain.”

    USDA must exercise its authority to enforce existing regulations and develop additional stringent regulatory oversight procedures to fulfill its obligations under the Organic Foods Production Act and safeguard the integrity of the USDA organic seal. USDA must immediately:
    ⦁    Enforce the currently enacted regulations to ensure imports comply with the U.S. organic standards;
    ⦁    Implement additional regulations to deter and prevent the import of fraudulent organic products; and
    ⦁    Regulate third-party certifiers and equivalent agencies in other countries administering USDA organic standards.

    If you are a farmer who has been harmed by import fraud, please add your story to the letter.


    Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and John Conyers (D-MI) have re-introduced the Saving America’s Pollinators Act, which calls for a suspension of neonicotinoids (neonics), a class of pollinator-toxic pesticides, and requires a full review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before re-entry of these products into the market.

    The Saving America’s Pollinators Act requires the Administrator of EPA to suspend the use of neonicotinoid insecticides, including imidacloprid, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, until the agency can review the registration and declare that such insecticides do not cause adverse effects on honey bees and other pollinators. It also requires the Secretary of the Interior, in coordination with the Administrator of the EPA, to monitor the health of native bee populations and to identify and publicly report the likely causes of bee kills.

    With one in three bites of food reliant on bees and other beneficial species for pollination, the decline of honey bees and other pollinators demands swift action. Mounting scientific evidence, along with unprecedented annual colony losses in the last few years, demonstrate the impacts that the pesticides are having on these fragile species. Neonics are pervasive and widely used across our agricultural system in the form of seed coatings, soil drenches, and sprays. These pesticides have been found by a growing body of scientific literature to be linked to pollinator decline in general. Neonics are associated with decreased foraging and navigational ability, as well as increased vulnerability to pathogens and parasites as a result of suppressed bee immune systems.

    A 2015 study from the American Bird Conservancy (ABC) and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, reveals neonics to be present in nearly all the food sold in Congressional cafeterias. Tell your member of Congress to act today!

    Thanks for taking action to protect pollinators and support a shift away from the use of these toxic pesticides in exchange for organic land management practices.

  • Tell Kroger to stop selling food grown with bee-toxic pesticides!


    Bee-toxic neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides are being widely used in food production, putting bees and other pollinators in danger. One out of every three bites of food requires pollination. Without pollinators, grocery stores would not be able to carry many products consumers love –such as strawberries, almonds, and apples.

    Neonics are pervasive and widely used across our agricultural system in the form of seed coatings, soil drenches, and sprays, from which they are incorporated into plant tissues, including pollen and nectar. These pesticides have been found by a growing body of scientific literature to be linked to pollinator decline in general. Neonics are associated with decreased foraging and navigational ability, as well as increased vulnerability to pathogens and parasites as a result of suppressed bee immune systems.

    If we want to get neonics out of our food supply, our grocery stores need to stop selling food grown with these toxic pesticides. Let your voice be heard and tell Kroger, the second largest food retailer in the U.S., to protect pollinators and our food supply by eliminating products grown with these pesticides and carrying more USDA certified organic food!

  • Contact your members of Congress and tell them to support the Organic Agriculture Research Act!

    Last week, Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), and Jimmy Panetta (D-CA) introduced the Organic Agriculture Research Act to increase support for the rapidly growing organic agriculture and food industry. The bill increases funding for the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) from $20 million to $50 million annually as well as extending the program’s authorization to 2023. OREI is a program that funds research, education, and extension projects for organic growers and processors.

    According to Abby Youngblood, executive director of the National Organic Coalition, “This is a critical piece of legislation at a critical time. As consumer demand for organic continues to skyrocket, our domestic production of organic food and fiber is growing at a much slower pace, forcing us to rely on more imports to meet that demand. More funding for organic research is one of the critical tools needed to help address production challenges faced by organic farmers, so that we can better meet demand with crops and products grown here in the United States.”

    Organic agriculture is a systems approach that promotes healthy, biologically active soils to support plant and animal life and provide critical environmental benefits, such as improved water infiltration, pest suppression, and carbon storage. It is through this soil-based systems approach that we will eliminate toxic chemicals in land management, which is a driver in soil contamination and loss of microbial and faunal diversity. Chemical-intensive agriculture also relies on synthetic chemical fertilizers that reduce soil fauna, flora, and organic matter, and contaminate waterways.

    Please personalize the letter below before sending.

    Thank you for taking action. As a constituent, your voice, joined by others around the country, will make a difference!

  • Oppose the corporate influence of Dow Chemical over the Trump Administration!

    Last week, reports came out about the corporate influence of Dow Chemical over the Trump Administration and its work to undermine science across multiple federal agencies. After contributing $1 million to Donald Trump’s presidential festivities, pesticide maker Dow Chemical is asking the Administration to set aside previous findings of federal scientists across multiple agencies that confirm the risks that organophosphate pesticides pose to about 1,800 critically threatened or endangered species.

    According to the Associated Press, “lawyers representing Dow, whose CEO is a close adviser to Trump, and two other manufacturers of organophosphates sent letters last week to the heads of three of Trump's Cabinet agencies. The companies asked them "to set aside" the results of government studies the companies contend are fundamentally flawed.” The agencies being targeted are the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, and the National Marine Fisheries Service, which have compiled more than 10,000 pages on official record about chlorpyrifos, diazinon, and malathion, indicating that these pesticides pose a risk to almost every endangered species being assessed.

    While these agencies are not without flaws in their regulatory practices, the clear attacks on public health and the environment by the Trump Administration through corporate collusion demands urgent action. We must ensure that the public health and environmental protections that we depend upon for clean water, clean air, and healthy natural resources are not undermined by the new administration and the corporations which have the ear of Trump and his agency heads.

    As a constituent, your voice, joined by others around the country, will make a difference!

  • Send a message to EPA - publish neonicotinoid assessments immediately!

    With new findings of neonicotinoid (neonics) insecticides in waterways and in drinking water, it is imperative that action be taken to restrict the contamination of our waters by these persistent chemicals.

    As pollinators nationwide suffer severe declines tied to widespread exposure to neonics, a new report released last week by Beyond Pesticides details the chemicals’ dramatic impacts on aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity. This report coincides with findings of neonicotinoids in drinking water.

    An early 2017 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) preliminary risk assessment on one of the most widely used neonics, imidacloprid, reports levels in streams, rivers, lakes and drainage canals that routinely exceed acute and chronic toxicity endpoints derived for freshwater invertebrates. EPA has not released the risk assessment for public comment as planned, as planned.

    Given the threat that imidacloprid and other neonicotinoids pose to the aquatic food web, it is critical that EPA moves ahead with its assessments. Use your voice to help ensure the use of neonics are adequately restricted by sending a message to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

  • Send a message to your governor - suspend use of neonicotinoids!

    With new findings of neonicotinoid (neonics) insecticides in waterways and in drinking water, it is imperative that action be taken to restrict the contamination of our waters by these persistent chemicals.

    As pollinators nationwide suffer severe declines tied to widespread exposure to neonics, a new report released last week by Beyond Pesticides details the chemicals’ dramatic impacts on aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity. This report coincides with findings of neonicotinoids in drinking water.

    An early 2017 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) preliminary risk assessment on one of the most widely used neonics, imidacloprid, reports levels in streams, rivers, lakes and drainage canals that routinely exceed acute and chronic toxicity endpoints derived for freshwater invertebrates. EPA has not released the risk assessment for public comment as planned, as planned.

    Given the threat that imidacloprid and other neonicotinoids pose to the aquatic food web, it is critical that restrictions occur at the state level. Use your voice to help ensure the use of neonics are adequately restricted by sending a message to your state governor.

  • Call on Governor Hogan to Sign Maryland's New Pollinator-Friendly Habitat Bill!

    The Pollinator Habitat Plans- Plan Contents- Requirements and Prohibition Act (SB 386/HB830) passed the Maryland Legislature this week with solid bi-partisan support. This bill is necessary to ensure that bee-toxic pesticides are not being used on state managed pollinator habitat.

    Pollinators in Maryland urgently need pesticide-free habitat. Last year alone, Maryland beekeepers lost 56 percent of their hives, which follows a 61 percent loss in 2015. Experts say annual losses beyond 15 percent are unsustainable for beekeepers. Since 2006, beekeepers have lost an average of 30 percent of their hives. We sent a strong clear message to our elected officials that we, and our birds, butterflies and bees need urgent help.

    Tell Governor Hogan to follow the lead of the Maryland legislature and protect pollinators by sending a message today!

  • Tell Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos to Protect Pollinators by Removing Neonicotinoid Products from its Website!

    On March 30, Beyond Pesticides and over 30 environmental and public health groups, joined by several environmentally responsible businesses, sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, urging him to remove products linked to pollinator declines from the retailer’s website. Citing federal inertia that has allowed pollinator declines to continue at alarming rates, the groups pointed to the need for action from private companies to combat known threats to pollinators, in this case a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids.

    Neonicotinoid pesticides are found in many home and garden products, and have been determined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to be highly toxic to bees. According to the letter, “Independent scientific literature associates the use of bee-toxic pesticides, particularly neonicotinoids, with impaired pollinator health and decline, including reduced populations of native bees, butterflies and other beneficial organisms.”

    The groups call on Amazon “to use its influence as the largest online retailer in the U.S. to lead marketplace change and protect pollinators by prohibiting the sale of pollinator-toxic neonicotinoid pesticide products, educating consumers on the availability of safer, pollinator friendly” alternatives.”

    Thank you for sending a message of concern to Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos!

  • Tell EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to Protect Human Health and the Environment over Corporate Interests!

    This past Wednesday, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, Scott Pruitt, rejected the conclusions of EPA scientists and independent scientific literature, and reversed a proposed decision from 2015 that would have effectively banned chlorpyrifos from agriculture. Mr. Pruitt’s decision allows continued neurotoxic dangers for humans, especially children, who have been shown to be particularly vulnerable to chlorpyrifos.

    Let your voice be heard on this. It is not a waste of our energy to continue to communicate with federal agencies that are not upholding their responsibility to protect people and the environment. Our communications against decisions like this will be noticed, just as our failure to communicate will be viewed as an indicator of support. 

    Chlorpyrifos is part of the organophosphate (OPs) class of pesticides, which were used in World War II as nerve agents. As potent neurotoxicants, organophosphates are extremely harmful to the nervous system, given that they are cholinesterase inhibitors and bind irreversibly to the active site of an enzyme essential for normal nerve impulse transmission. The scientific evidence of neurotoxic dangers associated with chlorpyrifos exposure is extensive and consistent. 

  • Protect the rusty patched bumblebee!

    On March 21, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) officially listed the rusty patched bumblebee under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), after months of turmoil due to the Trump Administration’s temporary freeze on federal regulations adopted at the end of the Obama Administration. This historic protection comes at a critical moment for this important pollinator, which has vanished from 90 percent of its range since the 1990s.

    According to FWS, “Causes of the decline in rusty patched bumble bee populations are believed to be loss of habitat; disease and parasites; use of pesticides that directly or indirectly kill the bees; climate change, which can affect the availability of the flowers they depend on; and extremely small population size. Most likely, a combination of these factors has caused the decline in rusty patched bumble bees.” There is substantial research demonstrating that neonicotinoid insecticides, working either individually or synergistically, play a critical role in the ongoing decline of bees and other pollinators.

    Although there may be weaknesses in the ultimate protection, environmental groups and other concerned parties can unify around strenuously enforcing this decision. As EPA makes decisions on allowable pesticide use, it must ensure that the approved pesticide uses do not “take” or “harm” the listed species. Groups will keep a lookout for new lawsuits coming from industry to challenge this decision. While attacks against ESA listings are likely to become more frequent over the next several years, the importance of wild pollinators, both to agricultural productivity and for their intrinsic value, has become more widely understood, as domesticated and native bees suffer dramatic declines in their population.

    Sign the petition below to send a message of support to FWS officials! 

  • Contact your Members of Congress and Tell Them to Oppose Proposed Cuts to EPA Funding!

    Help make sure the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the funds to operate effectively and address critical issues of health in our community.

    As an often fierce critic of many EPA policies that fall short of the actions that Beyond Pesticides advocates, we feel strongly that EPA must function to protect health and the environment against polluters. Therefore, we strenuously oppose the undermining EPA’s authorities or dismantling its programs. EPA plays a critical role in evaluating scientific findings and issuing rules that protect human health and the environment. 

    But, EPA does not have a chance to accomplish what it should without a reasonable budget. Your members of Congress have a direct role in the final budget level, as they will have a vote on the funding levels in the coming weeks through the federal appropriations process. 

    While EPA is not without flaws in the way it regulates pesticides, the clear attacks on public health and the environment through proposed budget cuts by the Trump administration and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt demands urgent action. We must ensure that the public health and environmental protections that we depend upon for clean water, clean air, and healthy natural resources are not slashed under the new administration.

    According to the Washington Post, the proposed plan created by the Trump administration would slash staff from 15,000 to 12,000 and cut state grants and air and water program funding by 30 percent. EPA was established in 1970 by President Nixon and has made significant strides in cleaning up common-pool resources like air and water since its inception. It has much more work to do in protecting American citizens from toxic pesticides, air pollution, and water contamination, and will not be able to carry out these important roles if its budget is slashed.

    As a constituent, your voice, joined by others throughout the state, will make a difference!

  • Maryland Residents: Tell your Delegate to only vote for a strong pollinator bill when it comes up this afternoon! Reject weakening amendments!

    This afternoon, a bill is before the House of Delegates that will stop the sale of neonicotinoid pesticides at major retailers in Maryland. These pesticides are a central factor in the decline of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and birds. And the pesticides are not needed.

    Using the form below, please send an email asking your MD state delegate to:

    • Reject any amendments that weaken the bill.

    • Support the Pollinator Protection Act voted out of the Environment and Transportation Committee (E&T) yesterday – House Bill 211: Neonicotinoid Pesticides – Labeling, Signage, and Restrictions on Sales and Use (Pollinator Protection Act of 2016)

  • Educate Your U.S. Senators: Tell Them to Protect Our Nation's Waterways from Pesticides

    Yet again, a select few members of Congress are attempting to rush through the deceptively named  "Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2017" (HR953), which would in fact eliminate critical Clean Water Act protections for our nation's waterways. The bill has passed the House of Representatives and is on its way to the Senate.

    This bill would:
    (1) undermine federal authority to protect U.S. waters under the Clean Water Act,
    (2) allow spraying of toxic chemicals into waterways without local and state oversight,
    (3) not reduce claimed burdens to farmers since there is no burden as there is no real economic cost and agricultural activities are exempt, and
    (4) contaminate drinking water sources and harm aquatic life.

    Already nearly 2,000 waterways are impaired for pesticide contamination, and likely many more have not been tested. We cannnot allow a regressive slide away from public health and environmental safety for our nation's waterways.

    After you've sent a letter to your U.S. Senator, take further action by giving them a call. (Once you input your zip code, your U.S. Senator's phone number should show up.)

  • Tell your Members of Congress to Protect EPA’s Mission and Uphold Scientific Integrity!

    The Trump Administration continues to undermine scientific integrity and agency oversight by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Send a message to your U.S. Representative and Senators by signing the letter below!

    EPA plays a critical role in reviewing independent science and issuing rules that protect human health and the environment. While they are not without flaw in the way they regulate pesticides, a fact Beyond Pesticides continues to critique, the clear attacks on this agency’s mission through stifling of science-based communications over the past two weeks demands urgent action. We must ensure that public health and environmental protections that we depend upon for clean water, clean air, and healthy natural resources are not immediately slashed under the new administration.

    Facts:

    According the NPR, the Trump administration’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team stated on Tuesday, January 24 that scientists will now face “an unspecified vetting process before sharing their work outside the agency.” However, this kind of review is at odds with EPA’s own scientific integrity policy, which “prohibits all EPA employees, including scientists, managers, and other Agency leadership, from suppressing, altering, or otherwise impeding the timely release of scientific findings or conclusions.”

    This comes on the heels of an announcement by the administration several days after Trump was sworn in issuing scientific grant and hiring freezes at EPA nationwide, along with effectively banning science communications through social media platforms. These grant freezes have since been walked back on.

    Action:

    If suppressing public communication of science-based information continues, it will further politicize and degrade the vital role of EPA. Please let your elected representatives in Congress know that the Trump administration’s silencing of EPA will not be tolerated and you demand transparency and science-based standards going forward. Urge your elected representatives to oppose any efforts by the Trump administration to weaken environmental standards and undercut science communications.

    Send a message to your U.S. Representative and Senators by signing the letter below!

  • Tell your Representative to Stop the Roll Back of Health and Environmental Protections

    Voting may happen this week. Send a message to your U.S. Representative and Senators by signing the petition below! Tell them to uphold procedural integrity.
     
    This week Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives began an effort to roll back health and environmental regulations enacted under the Obama Administration by invoking the Congressional Review Act (CRA). Use of this act to undo safety regulations will not only have detrimental effects on health and the environment, but will be a clear violation of the procedural rights afforded U.S. citizens through the notice and comment process. This glaring disregard for the public process guiding agency action is alarming. Congress should not use CRA to nullify regulations adopted to improve health and environmental protections.

  • Protect New Hampshire Kids From Toxic Pesticides Where They Play!

    Kids deserve to play in a toxic-free environment! Please join with health and environmental advocates in New Hampshire who are rallying support behind HB399, a bill that would restrict toxic pesticide use on school grounds, athletic fields, day care centers, and playgrounds. This common sense measure aims to replace the use of toxic pesticides linked to adverse health outcomes like cancer, learning disabilities and behavioral problems, with non and least-toxic alternative products and practices.

  • Put Portland on Cutting Edge of Pesticide Reform!

    The Portland Pesticide Task Force is in the process of drafting a pesticide ordinance that will be sent to the City Council. The Task Force is currently debating two versions of an ordinance, one version that would do little to address unncessary toxic pesticide use, and another, based on South Portland's successful landmark policy, which would put the city on the cutting edge of pesticide reform.

    In order to provide input to this important process, please consider sending a letter to the Task Force today!
    This is our ONLY chance for public comment at the task force level.
    Use the form below to send you letter, and please personalize it to reflect your unique connection to this important issue!

  • Tell DC Councilmembers to Bring Pesticide Reforms Over the Finish Line!

    This past Tuesday, the Washington D.C. City Council passed the first reading of critical reforms to the city's pesticide law. Introduced by Councilmember Mary Cheh, the amendment to the city's current pesticide policy would clarify its intent to protect children and the environment by restricting and requiring reporting of toxic pesticides near schools, child-occupied facilities, waterbody-contingent property, and District property.

    The final reading of the bill is scheduled for December 20th. In order to ensure its passage, and the protection of children and the District's water supply from toxic pesticides, Councilmembers need to hear from you!
    Please send a letter to your legislator by signing your name below.

  • Urge County Executive Leggett and Montgomery County Councilmembers to Defend the Healthy Lawns Act!

    Montgomery County's Healthy Lawns Act is under a legal attack led by pesticide industry lobbyists. Residents and workers need this law to protect against serious health threats posed by nonessential lawn pesticide use -- most significantly affecting children, pregnant women, and immune-compromised individuals. We need to fight back.

    Please join us in urging County Executive Leggett and Montgomery County Councilmembers to ensure a strong and robust defense of this historic legislation.

  • Stand with Farmers: Organic Food Should Grow in Organic Soil

    In late October, Organic farmers from New England rallied in East Thetford, VT to protest the eroding of organic standards. A recent decision by USDA's National Organic Program allowing hydroponically grown crops to be certified organic, despite a 2010 vote against such an allowance by the indepdendent stakeholder National Organic Standards Board, has galvanized the organic farming community. Organic farmers are saying no to hydroponic crops displaying the organic label. As federal organic law, the Organic Foods Production Act, states unequivocally, "An organic plan shall contain provisions designed to foster soil fertility, primarily through the management of organic content of the soil through proper tillage, crop rotation, and manuring.”

    The U.S. government is alone among developed countries in granting the much-desired “organic” label to hydroponic growing.  Hydroponic production is a soil-less process that has long been the norm in conventional greenhouse production. Now, it is fast becoming the norm in organic certification for several major crops, such as tomatoes and berries. Hydro plants are fed via fertilized irrigation water. This process has been embraced by conventional, chemical-intensive greenhouse producers for its simplicity, high yields, and low costs. Experts say the explosive growth in hydroponic imports labeled organic may force some organic farmers out of business in as little as five years.

    If you agree that organic without soil is like democracy without the people, stand with us in support of real organic farmers.

    Let the Agriculture Secretary Tim Vilsack know how you feel about the foundational importance of soil in organic production by sending a letter today!

  • Tell us you’re ready to fight for a pesticide-free community! Sign the petition today!

    The Map of U.S. Pesticide Reform Policies released by Beyond Pesticides and Organic Consumers Association shows strong demand in the United States for pesticide policies that eliminate hazardous pesticides from public and private spaces.

    Is there a pesticide reform policy in your community? Let’s work together to fill the map with local laws that protect health and the environment in favor of safer, organic practices. If you’re interested in getting active in your local government around pesticide reform, sign the petition below.

    As the map reveals, this is a fight we can win. Take the passage of Montgomery County’s (Maryland) lawn care Bill 52-14, and a similar law passed in South Portland, Maine, in both cases pushed forward by a grassroots coalition of business leaders, and local and national health and environmental advocates. These broad alliances succeeded in creating the largest communities in the country to stop hazardous pesticide use on public and private property, and advance organic alternative practices and products in its place.

    This is an important moment. Chemical industry lobbyists fear that growing recognition of pesticide hazards, and the availability of organic alternatives will inspire other localities to enact similar legislation. There is no question that a transition to ecologically friendly land management is taking hold.

    Let's work together to help make the conversion to organic lawn care spread to localities throughout the U.S. If you want to see similar pesticide reform policy enacted in your community, let us know by signing your name below!

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  • Ban Atrazine: EPA Must Protect Wildlife!

    The hormone-disrupting pesticide atrazine is turning male frogs into females and is putting millions of Americans at risk from food and water contamination. A recent report by EPA found that there is enough evidence to conclude that this chemical, the second most widely used herbicide in the U.S., poses unacceptable risks to many animals, including fish, amphibians, birds and mammals.  

     

    Atrazine causes abnormal sexual development in amphibians and chemically castrates male frogs by lowering their ability to reproduce, according to research by University of California, Berkeley scientist, Tyrone Hayes, Ph.D., and many other researchers. EPA must listen to its own science and #banatrazine!

     

    Syngenta, soon to be bought by ChemChina, is poisoning our country’s food and water supply with its production and sale of atrazine. This company, steeped in corporate manipulation and public deception, professes the need for its chemicals to feed a growing population, even though data on productivity, chemical costs, pest resistance, and pollution impacts find that chemical-dependency is not sustainable.

     

    Sign the petition below to urge EPA to end the use of atrazine. In order to protect human and ecological health, the agency should take immediate action to eliminate this chemical from our environment!

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  • Tell Massachusetts Lawmakers Pollinators Need Their Help Now!

    Massachusetts' legislative session ends July 31st — but state representatives still haven’t passed the bill to protect bees from toxic pesticides. In order to convince them to stop stalling and save bees, we need your help now!

    Tell your legislators it's time to protect Masachusetts' pollinators from toxic pesticides.

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  • Stop the Senate From Denying Your Right to Know

    A procedural vote in the Senate meant to gauge the level of support for a GMO labeling "compromise" bill reached last week passed by a vote of 68-29.
    This is concerning news, as the DARK deal reached by Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) will preempt existing strong state labeling laws for foods derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The Senate could now vote on the full bill next week. If your Senators voted yes, act now to urge them to change their vote. If they voted no, thank them for their work and urge them to keep the pressure up!

    Use the form below to find out how your Senators voted!

    If your Senator voted no, please follow up with a call to their office TODAY!
    The bill will be voted on tomorrow morning, so they need to hear from you NOW!


  • Senate Making Last-Ditch Attempt to Suppress GE Labeling

    This In what can only be described as a catastrophic industry sell-out, new legislation - falsely spun as a "compromise" - released yesterday by Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) would preempt existing strong state labeling laws for foods derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). If passed, the bill would create a toothless, national charade and instantly extinguish forever the strong GMO labeling laws passed overwhelmingly in recent years across New England.

    Please take immediate action and tell your Senators to support federally mandated GE labeling by sending a letter using the form below!

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    Send a letter to the Norfolk County Mosquito Control board to request to have your home put on a "No Spray" list for weekly mosquito pesticide applications.

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  • EPA Must Act to Keep Our Hives Alive

    It was 10 years ago that commercial beekeepers first reported widespread, unsustainable winter losses of their honey bee colonies. A decade after the alarm was first sounded on pollinator declines, results of the 2015-16 Colony Loss Survey show no sign of the crisis abating.

    Beekeepers lost even more hives than last year - an average of 44% of their colonies. And more and more evidence is showing wild, native pollinators are in decline too.

    We know that the crisis is no longer a big mystery - toxic neonicotinoid pesticides are playing a critical role in these unprecedented declines.

    Tell the EPA to ACT on bee-killing pesticides Now! Not wait for more industry-funded data - but ACT NOW!

    This June beekeepers, farmers, and people like you are coming together to organize the “Keep the Hives Alive Tour.We’ll be driving around the country with a truck full of dead bees in order to raise awareness about the plight of pollinators and how toxic pesticides contribute to their decline,

    The tour will end in Washington, DC on June 22nd with a big rally in front of EPA to urge the agency to take action on toxic pesticides and support sustainable agriculture.

    We must ramp up pressure on the EPA to act NOW. Beyond Pesticides and our allies are aiming to reach 2 million petition signatures by June 22nd, but we need your help to reach our goal!

    Help us reach 2 million signatures: urge EPA to step up and protect bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

  • EPA Must Act to Keep Our Hives Alive

    It was now 10 years ago that commercial beekeepers first reported widespread, unsustainable winter losses of their honey bee colonies. A decade after the alarm was first sounded on pollinator declines, results of the 2015-16 Colony Loss Survey show no sign the crisis of abating.

    Beekeepers lost even more hives that last year - an average of 44% of their colonies. And more and more evidence is showing wild, native pollinators are in decline too.

    We know that the crisis is no longer a big mystery - toxic neonicotinoid pesticides are playing a critical role in these unprecedented declines.

    Tell the EPA to ACT on bee-killing pesticides Now! Not wait for more industry-funded data - but ACT NOW!

    This June beekeepers, farmers, and people like you are coming together to organize the “Keep the Hives Alive Tour.We’ll be driving around the country with a truck full of dead bees in order to raise awareness about the plight of pollinators and how toxic pesticides contribute to their decline

    The tour will end in Washington, DC on June 22nd with a big rally in front of EPA to urge the agency to take action on toxic pesticides and support sustainable agriculture.

    We must ramp up pressure on the EPA to act NOW. Beyond Pesticides and our allies are aiming to reach 2 million petition signatures by June 22nd, but we need your help to reach our goal!

    Help us reach 2 million signatures: urge EPA to step up and protect bees, butterflies, and other pollinators.

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  • Don't Give in to Fear: Tell Your Representative to Protect Our Nation's Waterways from Pesticides

    Yet again, a select few members of Congress are attempting to push through HR 897, Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2015, which has been deceptively renamed as the Zika Vector Control Act. However, despite the name, this legislation does nothing to control Zika or reduce regulatory burdens, but instead would eliminate critical Clean Water Act protections for our nation's waterways.

    This bill would:
    (1) undermine federal authority to protect U.S. waters under the Clean Water Act,
    (2) allow spraying of toxic chemicals into waterways without local and state oversight,
    (3) not reduce claimed burdens to farmers since there is no burden as there is no real economic cost and agricultural activities are exempt, and
    (4) contaminate drinking water sources and harm aquatic life.

    Already nearly 2,000 waterways are impaired for pesticide contamination, and likely many more have simply not been tested.We can't allow a regressive slide away from public health and environmental safety for our nation's waterways.

    After you've sent a letter to your U.S. Representative, take further action by giving them a call. (Once you input your zip code, your U.S. Represenative's phone number should show up. There will also be a link to find their number on the Thank You page.)

  • Call on Governor Hogan to Sign the Pollinator Protection Act into Law

    The Pollinator Protection Act (SB 198/HB211) passed the Maryland Legislature with solid bi-partisan support. However, there is a chance that Governor Hogan will veto the bill. If this happens, the bill will go back to the lesislators for an override vote, which will take place in early 2017.

    But we can't wait any longer. Last year, Maryland beekeepers lost a staggering 61 percent of their hives - about twice the national average and far more than in a typical year. Since 2006, beekeepers have lost an average of 30 percent of their hives. We sent a strong clear message to our elected officials that we, and our birds, butterflies and bees need urgent help.

    Tell Governor Hogan to follow the lead of the Maryland legislature and protect pollinators by sending a message today!

  • Maryland Residents: Tell your Delegate to only vote for a strong pollinator bill when it comes up this afternoon! Reject weakening amendments!

    This afternoon, a bill is before the House of Delegates that will stop the sale of neonicotinoid pesticides at major retailers in Maryland. These pesticides are a central factor in the decline of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and birds. And the pesticides are not needed.

    Using the form below, please send an email asking your MD state delegate to:

    • Reject any amendments that weaken the bill.

    • Support the Pollinator Protection Act voted out of the Environment and Transportation Committee (E&T) yesterday – House Bill 211: Neonicotinoid Pesticides – Labeling, Signage, and Restrictions on Sales and Use (Pollinator Protection Act of 2016)

  • Stop the DARK Act!


    Earlier this month, the Senate Agriculture Committee approved a bill that would preempt states from passing laws that let Americans know if genetically engineered ingredients are in the food we consume.

    Agrichemical companies have hired high-priced lobbyists in an attempt to move the bill quickly through Congress, and prevent the public from speaking out against the Act. So it's critical you urge your Senators to reject any legislation that would deny your right to know!

    Please take immediate action and tell your Senators you oppose the DARK Act!
    Send a letter to your Senators now by filling out the form below.

  • URGENT: Tell Maryland Lawmakers Pollinators Need Protection Now!

    Earlier today (2/24/16), the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) urged lawmakers to wait for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before moving forward with important legislation that would protect dwindling pollinator populations.

    We simply can't wait for EPA to complete its risk assessment for toxic neonicotinoid pesticides. The science is clear: honey bees and other pollinator need protection now.

    Use the form below to contact Maryland representatives TODAY and urge them to pass the 2016 Pollinator Protection Act!

    Given the urgency of this issue, please consider following up with a phone call!

  • Protect Maryland's Pollinators!

    It's time for the state of Maryland to take action to protect pollinators from toxic pesticide exposure. The 2016 Pollinator Protection Act (HB 211 and SB 198) will require nurseries in the state to display a disclosure statement on plants and seeds that are treated with neonicotinoid insecticides and phase-out their over-the-counter sales to retail consumers.

    This legislation is critical to the health of the Maryland's pollinators because, unfortunately, the state cannot rely on the federal regulatory system to protect these critical species. Over the past three years, Maryland's beekeepers have consistently lost over 50% of their hives - well over the already unsustainable national average of 20-30%. During the last year on record, 2014-2015, Maryland bekeepers experienced colony loss rates of 60.9%.

    The simple steps that are advanced through the bill will help to reverse the decline of pollinators. Please use the form below to urge your Maryland state lawmakers to protect our pollinators!

  • Tell USDA to Listen to Scientists, Not Suppress Their Research

    Earlier this year, one of the top entomologists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Jonathan Lundgren filed a whistleblower complaint against the federal agency, citing unprofessional retaliation following the publication of a study linking neonicotinoid insecticides to the decline of monarch butterflies.

    Until recently, Dr. Lundgren worked for USDA for eleven years with great success, and his cutting edge research has drawn national attention and international recognition. In April of this year, Dr. Lundgren published a study in The Science of Nature (pdf) that shows that clothianidin, a neonicotinoid seed treatment, kills monarch butterfly larvae in the laboratory. On August 3, 2015, USDA imposed a 14-day suspension against Dr. Lundgren for submitting the study and for a paperwork error in his travel authorization for his invited presentation about his research to a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as to a USDA stakeholder group, the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance. The suspension was cut to 14 days from 30 after Dr. Lundgren filed an appeal.

    With independent science both in and outside of the U.S. pointing to a growing list of impacts from pesticides and genetically engineered (GE) crops, ranging from the decline of bees to the carcinogenicity of the widely used herbicide glyphosate, it is critical that federal scientific agencies tasked with protecting human and environmental health be able to inform the public without repercussions from an industry whose only interest is in protecting profits.

    Help us stop the suppression of science within USDA! Sign your support for reforms now!

  • Protect Massachusetts Pollinators!

    Your support is needed to make Massachusetts a leader in protecting bees from toxic neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides!
     
    The legislature is considering H.655, a bill which could significantly curtail to use of these chemicals for both residential and agricultural use. At the same time, the state Department of Agricultural Resources has an opportunity to adopt one of the strongest pollinator protection plans in the country. 

    Tell your legislator to protect bees by supporting the Massachusetts Pollinator Protection Act and urging the Department of Agriculture to Adopt the Eight County Beekeepers Pollinator Protection Plan Framework.

    Sign below to take action today!

  • Stop The Dark Act!


    Earlier this week, Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) introduced a bill that would preempt states from passing laws that let Americans know if genetically engineered ingredients are in the food we consume.

    Agrichemical companies have hired high-priced lobbyists in attempts to move the bill quickly through Congress, and prevent the public from speaking out against the Act. So it's critical you urge your Senators to reject any legislation that would deny your right to know!

    The “Denying Americans the Right-to-Know” (DARK) Act would.

    • Preempt states from regulating GMO crops to protect public health and the environment.
    • Virtually eliminate FDA’s ability to craft a national GMO labeling system.
    • Codify the current, broken voluntary labeling system.
    • Create a GMO “safety” review system based on industry science.
    •  Allow “natural” foods to contain GMO ingredients and preempt state efforts to end misleading “natural” claims.

    We need you to take immediate action and tell your Senators you oppose the DARK Act and support federally mandated GMO labeling!
    Send a letter to your Senators now by filling out the form below.

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  • Tell County Executive Leggett to Sign Healthy Lawns Bill 52-14 into Law!

    On October 6th, Montgomery County Council passed a historic Bill 52-14 to protect public health.
    Please urge Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett to sign Bill 52-14 into law as soon as possible.

  • Sign Your Support for a Pesticide-Free Community

    History was made in Montgomery County, Maryland on October 6, 2015 when a grassroots coalition of moms, progressive businesses, and local and national health and environmental advocates stopped hazardous pesticide use on public and private property throughout the county. 

    This is an important moment. Chemical industry lobbyists fear that this ordinance will inspire other localities to enact similar legislation. There is no question that a transition to ecologically friendly land management is taking hold.

    Let's work together to help make the conversion to organic lawn care spread to localities throughout the U.S. If you support the ordinance passed by Montgomery County and want to see similar legislation enacted in your community, let us know by signing your name below!

  • Please Thank Montgomery County Councilmembers for passage of Healthy Lawns Bill 52-14!

    Montgomery County, MD:

    Please help us thank the 6 brave lawmakers who stood up to intense industry pressure and voted to to protect the health of people, kids, workers, pets, and our environment as a priority by stop toxic lawn pesticide use in our communities.

    It is important to lawmakers that you add a comment to personalize your letter and make it unique. 

    Please share this action page with friends and family in Montgomery County!

  • Stop The DARK Act in Its Tracks!

    Representatives Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G. K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) have introduced legislation aimed at protecting Monsanto and other agrichemical corporations by keeping the public in the DARK about genetically engineered ingredients in the food we eat. Consumer, health, and environmental groups are calling it the “Deny Americans the Right-to-Know” Act (DARK Act) (HR 1599), and it just passed the House.

    Agrichemical companies have hired high-priced lobbyists in attempts to move the bill quickly through Congress, and prevent the public from speaking out against the Act.

    The “Denying Americans the Right-to-Know” (DARK) Act would.

    • Preempt states from regulating GMO crops to protect public health and the environment.
    • Virtually eliminate FDA’s ability to craft a national GMO labeling system.
    • Codify the current, broken voluntary labeling system.
    • Create a GMO “safety” review system based on industry science.
    •  Allow “natural” foods to contain GMO ingredients and preempt state efforts to end misleading “natural” claims.

    We need you to take immediate action and tell Congress you oppose the DARK Act and support federally mandated GMO labeling!
    Send a letter to your Congressmembers now by filling out the form below.

  • EPA Must Get Serious About Protecting Bees From Toxic Pesticides

    Bee numbers continue to decline at an unprecedented rate. Within just the last year more than 42 percent of managed honeybee colonies were lost. With one in three bites of food depending on bee pollination, this rate is unsustainable for both the beekeeping industry and our food supply. The research is clear, and it’s no longer a mystery why bees are dying: The use of toxic insecticides called neonicotinoids (neonics) is having a devastating impact on both wild pollinators and managed honeybees. These chemicals are systemic and persistent, meaning once applied they make the entire plant poisonous to bees, and they can remain in the environment for months or even years.

    EPA, through the president’s National Pollinator Health Strategy, has acknowledged that pesticides are a problem. The agency has stopped allowing any new neonic products and proposed slight changes to the labels of these pesticides. But while EPA says it’s continuing to study how these pesticides hurt bees, products still remain on the market, and “temporary pesticide free zones” won’t do enough to address persistent and systemic neonics.

    Bees need real protections from toxic pesticides now. It’s time for EPA to get serious about protecting bees by suspending neonics all together as the agency continues to gather data.

    Please join us in calling on EPA to “Save Our Bees” by suspending bee-toxic neonic pesticides.

  • All Major Hardware Stores Must Phase-Out Neonics! Tell Ace and True Value to Act Now!

    As a result of your letters and phone calls, the Valentine's and Halloween cards you delivered to store managers, and the rallies you supported at your local store, Lowe's announced a public commitment to phase out neonics within 4 years, and focus on providing more organic options to its customers.

    Now that Lowe’s is making progress, we need to turn up the heat on their competitors to join them in protecting bees, not pesticide industry profits.

    True Value and Ace pride themselves in being leaders in customer satisfaction, so we need to show them that their customers don’t want neonics in their products and on their plants.

    There are no more excuses -- we know it’s possible to get these pesticides off their shelves. It’s time for True Value and Ace to join their competitors and eliminate neonics.

  • "Fast Tracking" Trade Bills Threatens Local Democracy, Environmental Protections

    Congress is set to take up legislation that would rush trade deals through the U.S. House without any chance for oversight, debate, or amendments.

    If the Obama Administration gets Fast Track, the plan is to ram through two trade deals currently under negotiation, including the TransPacific Partnership (an agreement with Pacific Rim countries, which is closer to being done), and the TransArlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP, an agreement with the EU, which is in earlier stages).

    These trade deals would have widespread impacts on chemical policy in the U.S. and Europe. It's likely they'll include language which has the potential to roll back state and local restrictions on neonicotinoids and cosmetic pesticide use.

    The stakes are too high. Use the box below to craft a letter to your Congressmember asking him or her to reject Fast Track trade legislation.

  • Tell Agriculture Secretary Vilsack to Resore Organic's Public Process

    Join us in telling Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to do the right thing for the burgeoning organic industry and restore the public's trust in the organic decision-making process.

    In September 2013, USDA changed --without public hearing and comment-- the process of implementing the organic law’s “sunset provision,” which since its origins has required all listed materials to cycle off the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances every five years unless the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) votes by a two-thirds majority to relist them.

    Tell Secretary Vilsack to restore organic's public process. Click below to send your letter today!

  • Tell EPA and USDA: Stop Glyphosate Use Now!

    A recent report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogencity for glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular Roundup herbicide, based on scientific analysis. Glyphosate is touted as a “low-toxicity” chemical and “safer” than other chemicals by industry and EPA. However, IARC’s new classification of glyphosate as a Group 2A probable carcinogen, meaning that it is carcinogenic in humans based on laboratory animal studies, shows that the chemical is anything but safe.

    Given that there are numerous alternatives to the use of glyphosate through organic agriculture and lawn care, it’s time that the federal government take action to protect public health.

    Sign the petition to urge EPA to stop the use of glyphosate and take immediate action to reevaluate its widespread use and registration status.

  • Urge Your State Senator to Strengthen the Colorado Pesticide Applicators' Act

    Beyond Pesticides and our friends at the People and Pollinators Action Network ask you to contact your State Senator as soon as possible to tell them you want the Pesticide Applicators Act strengthened to protect human and pollinator health. This year is the sunset review of the law that regulates people who apply pesticides - tree companies, landscapers, agricultural workers, indoor pest control, etc - and it is currently only reviewed by the Colorado legislature every 9 years.

    The bill has been passed by the Senate Agriculture committee, but no amendments were made to try to strengthen it. It will be voted on by the full Senate within the next week, before it moves over to the House. Please personalize the email below by adding your own concerns, and follow up with a phone call asking your State Senator to strengthen the bill.

  • Tell your Arizona Representative: Parents Need Written Notification of Pesticides Used at Their Child's School

    Arizona House Bill 2181 would strike the state's long-standing model notificaiton system for letting parents know when pesticide applications are planned at their child's school.

    Oral notification to students and school employees does not provide parents with the information they need to take appropriate precautions for their child's health.

    Whether you currently have a child in Arizona schools or not, please take action below to protect children's health by sending a letter to your elected Arizona House Representative today.

  • Tell lawmakers to protect human health and the environment - Pass a strong Bill 52-14

    Montgomery County, MD

    Toxic pesticides
    used on lawns and turf exposes neighbors, communities and the environment to serious hazards. They drift, pollute our air, run-off into our waterways and drinking water source, and find their way into our homes.

    Bill 52-14 calls for restrictions in the non-essential use of certain lawn pesticides in Montgomery County - those that are deemed harmful to human health.

    To ensure its passage, the
    County Council needs to hear your
    support for the bill.

    Please personalize your letters stating why this is important to you.

    Please also share this action page with friends and family!

  • Come Support Change! Join Us Before the Public Hearing, Thursday, February 12, 2015 from 6-7PM!

    We need your help to reduce harmful lawn pesticides in our communities, because people, pets and the environment matter.

    Safe Grow Montgomery will be hosting a rally and pizza party prior to the public hearing on Healthy Lawns Act, Bill 52-14, and we need you to attend! This Montgomery County bill aims to protect health by reduced people's exposure to harmful lawn pesticides where we live, work and play.

    Lawmakers need to see that you support the bill! Bring your kids, too!

    Event is open to all in the Maryland, DC, and Virginia area. We will provide stickers and signs.

    When: Thursday, February 12, 2015
               6:00pm Rally/Pizza and Letter Writing (Cafeteria - 2nd floor)
               7:30pm Public Hearing (Hearing Room - 3rd floor)

    Where: Montgomery County Council Building, 100 Maryland Ave, Rockville, MD (Map/Directions)

  • Tell lawmakers to protect human health and the environment - Pass a strong Bill 52-14

    Montgomery County, MD. Harmful pesticides used on lawns and turf can expose neighbors, communities and the environment. They drift, pollute our air, run-off into our waterways and drinking water source, and find their way into our homes.

    Bill 52-14 calls for restrictions in the non-essential use of certain lawn pesticides in Montgomery County - those that are deemed harmful to human health.

    To ensure its passage, the
    County Council needs to hear your
    support for the bill.

    Please personalize your letters stati
    ng why this is important to you. For your comments/support to be considered by the legislative committee, last day to submit comments is MARCH 11, 2015.

    Please also share this action page with friends and family!

  • The Montgomery County Council Needs to Hear Your Support for Pesticide Restrictions!

    In late October the Montgomery County Council introduced a landmark ordinance to prohibit the use of toxic landscape pesticides on public and private property. This ordinance will create a safe space for those most sensitive to toxic chemicals, such pregnant women, children, and the elderly, and protect our natural environment, honey bees and other pollinators, our drinking water, and the Chesapeake Bay from toxic insult. To ensure its passage, the Council needs to hear from residents throughout Maryland that support these critical protections for human and environmental health.

    The chemical industry and other opponents of the ordinance have come out in full force. The unique voices of concerned residents will be critical to prevent the ordinance from being watered-down by industry.

    Help Make Montgomery County a Model for Pesticide Legislation Across the Country.

    Please personalize your letter to the Council in order to reflect the importance of this legislation in your own life. Share your experiences with the Council. Have you been poisoned by pesticides before? Are you concerned about your children's health? The health of your pets? The decline of pollinators and wildlife biodiversity? Do you want to protect your drinking water and the Chesapeake Bay from toxic pesticides? Or do you simply understand from experience that hazardous pesticides are not necessary to maintain a healthy lawn? Let the Council know!

  • Tell the Montgomery County Council: For Human Health and the Environment, Please Pass Bill 52-14

    Montgomery County, MD. Harmful pesticides used on lawns and turf can expose neighbors, communities and the environment. They drift, pollute our air, run-off into our waterways and drinking water source, and find their way into our homes.

    Bill 52-14 calls for restrictions in the non-essential use of certain lawn pesticides in Montgomery County - those that are deemed harmful to human health.

    To ensure its passage, the
    County Council needs to hear your
    support for the bill.

    Please personalize your letters stati
    ng why this is important to you. For your comments/support to be considered by the legislative committee, last day to submit comments is MARCH 11, 2015.

    Please also share this action page with friends and family!

  • Tell Lowe's: Bees Need Treats, Not Tricks!

    SOMETHING BUGGY HERE: These jack o'lanterns cast an eerie glow: a butterfly, honey bee and a dragonfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)Join thousands of people across the U.S. and Canada and help us deliver Halloween cards asking Lowe's to give bees treats, not tricks and stop selling bee-killing pesticides.

    Sign up now and closer to the date we'll send you a Halloween card and a step-by-step guide.

  • Urge Your Representative to Protect Pollinators!

    Photo Credit: Sierra Castillio, Santa Rose, CAIn light of President Obama's Memorandum directing federal agencies to take action on pollinator declines, groups and members of Congress are calling on EPA to take meaningful steps to save our bees. In a letter to EPA, Representatives Earl Blumenauer and John Conyers are urging the agency to follow the lead of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and revise pesticide regulations to protect pollinators from exposure to bee-toxic neonicointoids.

    Pollinators, including honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies, and other insects, play a critical role in our agriculture systems. More than 70% of America’s food sources are pollinated by bees and the worldwide economic value of bee‐pollinated crops is as high as $125 billion per year. Since 2006, however, beekeepers have lost more than 30% of their hives annually—a huge threat to the vitality of our farms.

    Pollinators are a critical driver of healthy, nutrient-dense foods. One in three bites of food depends on honey bees and other pollinators, and without them food prices are sure to rise and some of our favorite foods may become unavailable. To be certain, continued declines of these essential species are unacceptable in light of policy actions that can be taken by EPA now.

    We need to put public pressure on our elected members of Congress. Have them join Representative Conyers and Blumenauer in telling EPA to follow the lead of FWS and take the right steps to forward pollinator health. 

    Fill our the form below to send an email to your elected Representative. After you're finished, you can call the number next to your Representative's name, or the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected with your member of Congress. This follow up will make sure they've got the message.

  • Urge the President to #BeeKindObama and Take Meaningful Action to Protect Bees

    At the close of Pollinator Week 2014, President Obama announced a new federal task force to "promote the health of honey bees and other pollinators." We need to follow up and make sure that real, long lasting protections for our critical pollinators come from the President's announcement.

    Put Pressure on the President to Protect Pollinators!

    We know that the bee crisis is No Longer A BIG Mystery. The widespread use of systemic neonicotinoid (or neonic) pesticides is impairing bee brain function, suppressing immunity to common pathogens, and disrupting bees' ability to gather food, even at "near infinitesimal" doses, according to researchers. Given the success of organic alternatives, these chemicals aren't even necessary to produce food.

    Based on the growing body of evidence, including a newly released worldwide assessment of the impact of neonics, scientists around the globe are calling for immediate action to restrict the use of neonics.

    Let's make sure @BarackObama and the @WhiteHouse  #BeeKindObama and take action to #SaveOurBees - sign the petition below!

  • Educate Your U.S. Representative: Tell Them to Protect Our Nation's Waterways from Pesticides

    Yet again, a select few members of Congress are attempting to rush through the deceptively named  "Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act of 2015" (HR897), which would in fact eliminate critical Clean Water Act protections for our nation's waterways.

    This bill would:
    (1) undermine federal authority to protect U.S. waters under the Clean Water Act,
    (2) allow spraying of toxic chemicals into waterways without local and state oversight,
    (3) not reduce claimed burdens to farmers since there is no burden as there is no real economic cost and agricultural activities are exempt, and
    (4) contaminate drinking water sources and harm aquatic life.

    Already nearly 2,000 waterways are impaired for pesticide contamination, and likely many more have simply not been tested.We can't allow a regressive slide away from public health and environmental safety for our nation's waterways.

    After you've sent a letter to your U.S. Representative, take further action by giving them a call. (Once you input your zip code, your U.S. Represenative's phone number should show up. There will also be a link to find their number on the Thank You page.)

  • Tell Your Member of Congress to Help Stop 2,4-D Crops

    The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) public comment period on the approval of the use of toxic 2,4-D specifically for Dow’s GE corn and soybeans has closed to the public, and over 500,000 people around the country wrote to EPA telling it not to approve this toxic product.

    In response, Representatives Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and Chellie Pingree (D-ME) have written a Congressional sign-on letter urging EPA and USDA to deny approval of 2,4-D crops and this new version of Dow’s 2,4-D herbicide. Ask your Representative to sign onto this letter!

    EPA is timing their approval process with that of USDA, with both agencies proposing approval of the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) 2,4-D corn and soybean despite the inevitable dangers increased use of the herbicide 2,4-D will inflict on farmworkers, public health and the environment. 2,4-D is associated with increased cancer risks, especially for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is also a potent neurotoxin and hormone-disruptor. Studies report that exposure to 2,4-D is associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, reduced sperm counts, and birth defects.

    Despite over 500,000 objections from consumer, farmworker and environmental groups, as well as medical professionals, USDA and EPA is gearing up to allow 2,4-D-tolerant GE crops. We should be eliminating the use of this chemical, not increasing our dependency on it in food production - especially given the success of organic production systems

    Tell your representative to sign onto the DeFazio/Pingree letter urging EPA and USDA to reject Dow Chemical’s “Agent Orange” crops and the toxic chemicals they rely on!

  • Declare Your Independence from the Bee-Killer in Your Backyard: Buy Organic Seeds!

    Are bee-killers lurking in your backyard?

    Gardeners Beware FB - R3If you purchased garden plants from big box stores or local garden centers, there's a good chance they're contaminated with bee-killing pesticides. So it's important to ask about how these plants were produced. We tested “bee-friendly” garden plants from Home Depot, Lowe's and Walmart in 18 cities across the U.S. and Canada and found more than half of the plant samples tested contained neonicotinoid (neonic) pesticides at levels that could harm or kill bees--with no warning to consumers.

    So, instead of helping bees in our gardens, we may be unknowingly poisoning them.

    Thousands of people across the country have signed petitions, sent letters and taken to the streets asking retailers including Home Depot and Lowe’s to stop selling neonic pesticides. While we are making some progress and are in dialogue, these and other garden retail giants have yet to publicly commit to getting neonics off their shelves.

    Fortunately, your voices are being heard. Nearly a dozen landscaping companies and retailers are taking steps towards eliminating neonic pesticides from their garden plants and stores, including BJ’s Wholesale Club, with more than 200 stores in 15 states!

    The European Union has put a moratorium on neonics, the UK’s top retailers stopped selling them, and a growing number of responsible U.S. retailers have opted to be part of the solution. It’s time for other top retailers to step up to the plate and commit to getting neonics out of their plants and off their shelves.

    Find a Directory of Pollinator Friendly Seed Companies!Declare your independence from bee-killing pesticides and pledge to only purchase neonic-free, organic garden plants and seeds. Find a list of organic retailers by using Beyond Pesticides' Pollinator-Friendly Seed Directory!

    We’ll deliver these pledges to Lowe’s, Home Depot and other top retailers and demand that they listen to sound science and their customers and give bees a chance!

  • Thank Rep. DeFazio and Sen. Leahy for Protecting Organic Integrity

    Last month we reached out to you with concerning news: The U.S. Department of Agriculture made changes that would weaken the public's trust in the organic food label. In response, Beyond Pesticides launched the Save Our Organic campaign with the aim of activating consumer might to influence elected officials and USDA.

    Representative DeFazio and Senator Leahy have not only heard your calls to defend organic integrity, they have acted on them. Right before last month's heated National Organic Standards Board meeting, these organic champions sent a letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack concerning the agency’s unilateral changes to the Organic Foods Production Act sunset review policy and process.

    Please join us in thanking these organic champions by sending a letter today!

  • Thank Rep. DeFazio for Defending Organic Integrity

    Last month we reached out to you with concerning news: The U.S. Department of Agriculture made changes that would weaken the public's trust in the organic food label. In response, Beyond Pesticides launched the Save Our Organic campaign with the aim of activating consumer might to influence elected officials and USDA.

    Representative DeFazio and Senator Leahy have not only heard your calls to defend organic integrity, they have acted upon them. Right before last month's heated National Organic Standards Board meeting, these organic champions sent a letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack concerning the agency’s unilateral changes to the Organic Foods Production Act sunset review policy and process.

    Please join us in thanking these organic champions by sending a letter today!

  • Connecticut Residents: Take Action to Stop Genetically Engineered (GE) Grass and Expand Pesticide Protections!

    A vote to expand Connecticut's pesticide protections and ban genetically engineered grass seed is heading for the State Senate! It's imperative that we take action today!

    Tell your Senator to support legislation that expands Connecticut's robust pesticide laws and bans the sale or use of "Roundup Ready" GE grass and other GE landscaping plants.

    Take Action!
    Enter your 9 digit zip code or zip and street address (required to match you up to your specific Senator) below in order to:
    Call and Email your state Senator! You can use the language from the email in your call, or feel free to speak from the heart.

    This bill is expected to be voted on as early as next Wednesday, April 9th.  
    However, Senators will be meeting this Friday to discuss their position on the legislation.

    These bills will be voted on any day, so please do not wait to let your voice be heard.  Keep chemicals and products engineered for the sole purpose of using more chemicals away from our children and out of Connecticut.  

    Please call and e-mail your Senators until you have a commitment from them to support this extremely important legislation!

  • Take Action to Save Our Organic!

    Join Beyond Pesticides in telling Congress and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to protect public trust in the organic food label and help keep the alternative to toxic food production alive and growing!

    Background:

    On April 8, 2015 organic stakeholders filed a lawsuit in federal court, (Case No. 15-cv-01590-HSG) maintaining that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) violated the federal rulemaking process when it changed established procedures for reviewing the potential hazards and need for allowed synthetic and prohibited natural substances used in producing organic food. On Thursday, September 8, a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California rejected USDA's motion to dismiss the federal lawsuit. Read More about this decision here.

    While the courts are understanding that recent actions by USDA violate the federal organic law, the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA), it is critical that the public lets their elected members of Congress (U.S. Representative and Senators) how important organic integrity is and the importance of a strong standard in accordance with the law. 

  • Tell EPA: Clean up the Toxins in the Chesapeake Bay!

    Intersex fish, birds with thinning eggshells, and seafood unfit for human consumption. Seventy-two percent of the Bay's tidal-water segments are fully or partially impaired due to the presence of toxic contaminants. That's what a December 2012 technical report on toxins in the Chesapeake Bay discovered.

    Despite this report and a 2009 Executive Order mandating that Chesapeake Bay States and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must establish toxic contaminant reduction goals, the latest rendition of the Draft Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement makes no mention of goals to improve or address toxic contamination in the Bay.

    We have a real chance to make a difference during this critical public comment period. Use the form below to send an email to the Chesapeake Bay Program telling them to fully implement President Obama's Executive Order to establish toxic contaminant reduction goals for pesticides, mercury, pharmaceuticals, PAHs and PCBs.

    The Bay is a national treasure, and should be fishable and swimmable for all residents of the Mid-Atlantic! Thank you for joining these important efforts!

  • Take Action to Protect Connecticut Kids From Lawn Pesticides!

    Attend the Public Hearing for SB-46 on Thursday March 6, 2014 at 12 PM in Room 2B of the CT Legislative Office Building (click here for directions).

    SB-46, An Act Concerning Pesticides on School Grounds will extend Connecticut's ban on the use of lawn chemicals in schools to include all high schools in the state. (The current ban extends to K-8.)

    Your participation in the legislative process is critical to pass this bill.
    Please consider attending the pubic hearing and providing a statement either in person or through email (below).

    Kids of all ages are vulnerable to the effects of toxic pesticide exposure, and lawn care products are of particular concern given the high chance of both acute and chronic exposure when used regularly on school grounds.

    The chemicals typically used have been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, birth defects, endocrine disruption, and developmental disabilities such as ADHD. It's clear from the science that Children and Pesticides Don't Mix.

    Below is a sample statement  to send to the Committee on Children. Please consider crafting the statement to reflect your own thoughts, experiences, and concerns.

  • Support Maryland's Need to Know GE Legislation!

    Take Action! If you believe that you and your family should know whether or not your food contains genetically-engineered (GE) ingredients, then you can help!

    Maryland Senate Bill 0778 and its partner legislation, House Bill 1191, sponsored by State Senator Karen Montgomery and State Delegate Adriana Kelly will require manufactures to label food that contains GE ingredients. Testimony for these bills will be heard by the House Health and Government Operations Committee and the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs committee on March 11th at 1 PM.  

    Please show your support for this important legislation by coming to Annapolis and urging your legislators to give you the right to know!

    IMPORTANT NOTE: Testimony for the House and Senate committees will be happening simultaneously at 1 PM in different locations.  The testimony will be heard by the House committee in Room 241, House Office Building Annapolis, MD 21401. The testimony will be heard by Senate committee at 2 West Miller Senate Building, 11 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD 21401-1991.

    If you can’t attend please submit your own written testimony! If you need help writing to the committee, please review Beyond Pesticides draft testimony.

    IMPORTANT NOTE: written testimony must be submitted by 12:00 Noon on the day of the hearing for distribution prior to the hearing and you must submit 25 hard copies to the committee staff.  The address for the committees are:

    Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs committee:
    2 West Miller Senate Building,
    11 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD 21401-1991

    House Health and Government Operations Committee:
    House committee at Room 241,
    House Office Building Annapolis, MD 21401

    Help further our efforts by sending an email to the chairs of these committees urging them to support this historic legislation.

  • Agent Orange Ingredient in Your Corn? Tell USDA - "Not on My Plate!"


    Note: If you haven't already, please consider providing a public comment directly to USDA.

    You can copy/paste the petition language below directly into the USDA docket, or utilize Beyond Pesticides 2,4-D corn fact sheet or our full draft comments to provide a more detailed comment to the agency.


    USDA is set to allow the cultivation of genetically engineered (GE) 2,4-D corn and soybean despite the inevitable dangers increased use of the herbicide 2,4-D will inflict on farmworkers, public health and the environment. As one half of the deadly defoliant Agent Orange, which decimated Vietnam’s forest ecosystems, and forever scarred  Vietnam war veterans, 2,4-D is associated with increased cancer risks, especially for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is also a potent neurotoxin and hormone-disruptor. Studies report that exposure to 2,4-D
    is associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, reduced sperm counts, and birth defects.


    We should be eliminating the use of this chemical, not increasing our dependency on it in food production - especially given the success of organic production systems.



    Dow AgroSciences, the company behind 2,4-D corn and soybean, is hoping to profit from the failures of Monsanto’s GE Roundup Ready crops, which have spawned a new generation of herbicide-resistant weeds throughout the country, making them more and more difficult for farmers to control. Industry advocates are now marketing 2,4-D crops as the solution to this epidemic in hopes 2,4-D would control these Roundup-resistant weeds.

    Despite objections from consumer, farmworker and environmental groups, as well as medical professionals, USDA, as with other GE decisions, is gearing up to deregulate 2,4-D crops.

    This would allow these herbicide-ready crops to be planted in communities across the United States without taking into account several scientifically-validated environmental concerns, such as:

    Indiscriminate GE gene contamination, especially of organic crops;
    Damaging 2,4-D drift;
    Impacts on endangered species and non-target crops;
    Dioxin contamination;
    Heavy reliance on faulty data with high degree of uncertainties regarding human health and environmental impacts.

    For additional data and science to help you craft your comments to USDA, click here for Beyond Pesticides' fact sheet on 2,4-D crops.

    USDA is currently taking public comment on its draft Environmental Impact Statement for 2,4-D corn and soybean.

    Comments can be submitted until midnight on March 11, 2014.


    Beyond Pesticides encourages you to provide a public comment directly to USDA.
    You can copy/paste the petition language below directly into the USDA docket.

    However, if you're having trouble with the docket, you can sign on to Beyond Pesticides comments, summarized below.
    To view a draft of our comments in their entirety, click here.

  • Join the National Swarm the week of Valentine's Day!

    This Valentine's Day, BEE Protective of honey bees and other pollinators and join thousands of people coast-to-coast to swarm Home Depot and Lowe’s stores the week of Valentine’s Day (February 10th-16th).

    We're excited to deliver valentines and ask retailers to “show bees some love” and stop selling bee-killing pesticides and garden plants poisoned with these harmful chemicals. Thanks for doing something sweet for pollinators and creating a "buzz" by taking this simple action!

    If you haven't already signed up to deliver your Valentine, click here or scroll to the bottom to add your name!

    Delivering a Valentine is easy!
    Below are some helpful tips and talking points you can use when you deliver your Valentine.

    I. Instructions for Valentine's Deliveries
    II. Talking points and Tips
    III. Other Ways to Take Action
    VI. Group Actions/Protests at Major Cities 

    I. Instructions for Valentine's Deliveries

    1. Pick a day and time between February 10th-16th to deliver your valentine.
    2. Find a Home Depot or Lowe’s store near you by entering your zip code on one of the websites below.
    3. Download, print and sign the Valentine! Print in color or there is a black and white version if you want to get crafty and color it yourself—or it could be a fun kid activity!
    4. Bring valentine to the store and ask to speak to the store manager.
    5. Politely deliver valentine to the store manager using the simple script and talking below.
    6. After you deliver your Valentine to the store manager, take a photo outside the store with you holding your Valentine and post it on our Facebook page or Tweet it to us @bpncamp!

    II. Talking Points and Tips

    • Sample Conversation:
      • “Hi, my name is _______ and I’m a concerned ______ (Lowe’s or Home Depot) customer. I am here today to urge you to stop selling bee-killing neonic pesticides, as well as plants pre-treated with these pesticides to protect honey bees and other pollinators essential to our food supply and the environment. I purchase garden supplies from _____ (Lowe’s or Home Depot), but I’m very disappointed to learn that many of the “bee-friendly” seedlings and plants sold to unsuspecting consumers in your stores have been pre-treated with neonics. Please pass this valentine and my concerns to your corporate headquarters.”
    • Key Talking Points
      • One out of every three bites of food depends on honey bees and other pollinators.
      • A growing body of science has implicated neonicotinoids – the most widely used class of insecticides in the world -- as a significant factor in recent global bee declines.
      • A pilot study released last summer found that many bee-friendly garden plants sold at Home Depot and Lowe's contain neonicotinod pesticides - without any warning to consumers.
      • The EU suspended the use a many neonicotinoid pesticides last year, and the majority of the UK's big home improvement retailers are refusing to sell them at their stores. Home Depot and Lowe's should follow suit.
      • To be leaders in sustainability and pollinator protection, Lowe's and Home Depot should stop selling plants poisoned with neonicotinoids and stock their shelves with "bee friendly" certified organic starts and plants.
    • Discuss why pollinators matter to you, personally, and remember to BEE friendly and have fun!

    III. Other Ways to Take Action

    • Swarm the phone lines! Call Lowe's and Home Depot's Corporate Headquarters to deliver the same message using the script above.
    • Spread the Buzz on Social Media
      • Facebook: Post onto Lowe's and Home Depot's Facebook wall asking them to show bees some love!
      • Twitter: Send a tweet to Lowe's and Home Depot's Twitter accounts telling them you delivered a Valentine to their store!

    IV. Group Actions/Protests at Major Cities

    City
    Date Start Time Meeting Location Action Location Important Details? Host
    Point Person(s)
    Washington, D.C. Wed, Feb 12 11:00AM Chipotle by Rhode Island Avenue Metro:
    2300 Washington Pl NE 101S
    Washington, DC 20018
    Home Depot Wear black to the action - Bee costumes will be provided!! Beyond Pesticides, Friends of the Earth (FOE), Pesticide Action Network (PAN), Organic Consumer's Association (OCA) Tiffany, FOE (tfinckhaynes@foe.org) and Alexis, OCA (alexis@organicconsumers.org)
    Berkeley, CA Wed, Feb 12 11:00AM Starbucks Coffee:
    3839 Emery St #800
    Emeryville, CA 94608
    Home Depot TBA FOE, PAN Stacy, Friends of the Earth (stacydmalkan@gmail.com) and Paul, PAN (ptowers@panna.org)
    Minneapolis, MN Wed, Feb 12 11:30AM Caribou Coffee at 11:15am:
    1730 New Brighton Blvd (in the shame shopping center on the side closer to 18th)
    Home Depot<