The Illinois Department of Agriculture was warned a year ago about the potential crop damage that could be caused by the herbicide dicamba if the department didn’t tighten regulations on its use, says a report by the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting.
A 2015 update of the EPA’s Agricultural Worker Protection Standard required that farmworkers who handle or apply pesticides be at least 18 years old. The EPA now says it “has initiated a process to revise certain requirements in the WPS.”
The EPA is considering changes to a 2015 rule that requires pesticide handlers to be at least 18 years old and bars the application of pesticides if farmworkers are nearby, said Bloomberg.
Research by the University of Saskatchewan provides “the first direct evidence that neonicotinoids can harm songbirds and their migration,” said the Guardian, by causing the birds to lose weight and their sense of direction.
State officials should set a cut-off date for spraying dicamba on genetically engineered soybeans as well as a temperature cut-off of 85 degrees to reduce greatly the chance of damage to neighboring crops, says a task force of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association. The state restrictions would be in addition to the more stringent rules recently adopted by the EPA.
On the heels of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s eleventh-hour reversal last March of an Obama-era ban on chlorpyrifos — an insecticide that can permanently damage a child’s developing brain, according to the EPA’s own scientists — the agency is evaluating yet another family of controversial pesticides possibly linked to attention deficit disorders, cognitive problems, and autism.
After users complained of skin irritation, including rashes, Monsanto is delaying until further notice the launch of NemaStrike — a new farm chemical used to kill worms on corn, soybeans and cotton. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did extensive evaluations of the product before approving it for use, according to Monsanto, which has described NemaStrike as ‘blockbuster technology,’” reports Reuters. Monsanto argues that some of its field testers may have been using the spray incorrectly or not wearing the proper protection.
Mexican drug cartels, operating illegal marijuana farms on public lands, are polluting forests and saddling the federal government with millions of dollars in clean-up costs. Trespass marijuana farms are thought to number in the hundreds of thousands in California alone. The sites “wreak havoc on the land, leaving behind hundreds of thousands of pounds of garbage, leaching caustic chemicals, polluting watersheds, and damaging the habitat of endangered and at-risk species,” reports High Country News.
Seventy-five percent of honey samples taken from around the world contained traces of neonicotinoids — a class of insecticides harmful to honeybees, says a study published in the journal Science.