| è Atrazine review: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has launched a comprehensive new evaluation of the pesticide atrazine to determine its effects on humans. One of the most widely used agricultural pesticides by U.S. non-organic producers, atrazine can be applied before and after planting to control broadleaf and grassy weeds. EPA will evaluate the pesticide’s potential cancer and non-cancer effects on humans,including its potential association with birth defects, low birth weight, and premature births.
èDDT in oceans: Using a three-dimensional atmosphere-ocean global circulation model to track the movement of DDT,researchers Irene Stemmler and Gerhard Lammel say findings suggest that in parts of the ocean, DDT may have accumulated in large enough amounts to over-saturate the surface waters and be re-emitted into the atmosphere. According to their analysis, the western North Atlantic Ocean has been re-emitting DDT for more than three decades. They note that the distribution of the pesticide has been creeping northwards despite DDT bans in the northern high and mid-latitudes, according to a news article in the Jan. 7, 2010, issue of Nature.
è Impact of low pesticide exposure: An animal study conducted by University of Wisconsin Department of Zoology researchers confirmed that chlorpyrifos levels significantly below “toxic”thresholds can impair learning, change brain function and alter thyroid levels into adulthood for tested mice. The paper was published Oct. 29, 2009, in Reproductive Toxicology. Chlorpyrifos is not allowed in organic production.
èNon-compliance: The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in November 2009 issued a new report entitled “Complacency on the Farm: Significant Non-compliance with EPA’s Refuge Requirements Threatens the Future Effectiveness of Genetically Engineered (GE) Pest-protected Corn.” According to the report, approximately 25 percent of U.S. farmers growing GE corn are failing to comply with federal regulations designed to keep pesticide-resistant bugs from damaging crops. As a result, CSPI called on EPA to not renew registrations of the GE corn varieties unless compliance rates improve.
è GE crops increase pesticide use: The overall impact of GE crops on pesticide use in the United States over 13 years has been an increase of 318.4 million pounds, or about seven percent,according to The Organic Center report, “Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years,”written by Charles Benbrook. The report, released in November 2009, is posted online at http://www.organic-center.org/science.pest.php?action=view&report_id=159.