Category Archives: Pesticides

How Do You Assess if a Chemical Causes Cancer?

It’s been revealed that International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) scientists had removed findings from studies that concluded glyphosate to be noncarcinogenic before publishing their final report claiming that it is a likely carcinogen.  Years of testing glyphosate, the most widely used herbicide in the world, has shown us that the chemical is not carcinogenic. Why can’t the public believe it?

Can anyone make sense of the debate over glyphosate, the active molecule in the most widely used herbicide in the world? According to a study by University of California–San Diego researchers published last year, urine samples from a group of 100 southern California residents showed that levels of glyphosate and its metabolite, aminomethylphosphonic acid have increased fifteenfold between 1993 and 2016.

Unsurprisingly, the publication of this research added considerable fuel to the regulatory fire sweeping Brussels and Washington alike over the use of the chemical, even though the study is limited in scope and has no bearing on the weed killer’s health effects. On Nov. 27, the European Commission agreed to renew the molecule’s market reauthorization for five years, after serious opposition from member states. EU members still retain the right to ban the chemical domestically if they so wish. Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, lawmakers from the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology have opened an investigation into the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization that receives U.S. funding, because the agency stands accused of editing its findings to support a 2015 decision that glyphosate is probably carcinogenic.

Several things are going on here that are worth untangling. At the heart of the problem is the messy fact that when scientists and policymakers carelessly substitute risk for hazard, flawed conclusions are drawn.

We are generally bad at understanding risk. Determining the carcinogenicity of any foreign bodies that ends up in our ecosystems involves assessing degrees of uncertainty. Unlike with pharmaceutical trials, it is impossible to carry out a randomized clinical trial with glyphosate or any other weed killer.

It goes without saying that weed killers should be toxic to their intended target and benign to humans. Animal studies can be a tool for gauging a biocide’s carcinogenic potential, but they can only provide hazard signals, as multiple studies have shown that simply extrapolating research conducted on rodents to humans rarely produces accurate results. Animal testing therefore has limited value in determining carcinogenicity, because it does not necessarily allow researchers to draw conclusions of causation between a given substance and the occurrence of cancer in test animals, let alone in humans.

Differentiating between absolute risk in the lab and true risk for human health is essential.

This is an important factor to consider with regards to the glyphosate debate. When IARC announced in June 2015 that glyphosate was “probably carcinogenic” to humans, Kate Guyton, a toxicologist and lead author of the IARC monograph, stated that “because the evidence in laboratory animals was sufficient and the evidence in humans was limited, this places [glyphosate] in Group 2A [of probable carcinogens].” It was later revealed that IARC scientists had removed findings from studies that concluded glyphosate to be noncarcinogenic before publishing the final version. The edits were made in the monograph’s chapter on animal studies, which crucially informed IARC’s assessment that glyphosate causes cancer.

The debate sparked by IARC’s evaluation highlights why human studies are so essential. Indeed, one key study—whose initial findings were not included in IARC’s literature review due to their internal prohibition on considering unpublished data—is the Agricultural Health Study, a long-term observational analysis of the health effects of herbicides on 89,000 farmers and their families in Iowa and North Carolina. Running since 1993, the AHS has consistently failed to find that glyphosate use is linked with increased risk of cancer. Parts of the study, whose failure to find any evidence of glyphosate’s carcinogenicity was already well-known among IARC staff, were finally published earlier in November.

These findings have been backed up by other studies as well.
Last year, the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization presented a joint review report on pesticide residue in indirectly exposed persons, including farming and production workers’ families, as well as consumers. The report did not find any evidence of increased risk of cancer from glyphosate exposure. Instead, after having examined the epidemiological evidence of occupational exposures, the report concluded, “Glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic risk to humans by food intake.”

 

Glyphosate risk, and What “Probably Causes Cancer” Means – Video

Get a better understanding of what the IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer) term “probably causes cancer” really means and how it relates in practical terms to products we use in our everyday lives.

Bayer Responds to Recent Glyphosate Judgement

Dear Industry Partners,

I’m connecting again with an important update on the litigation concerning our glyphosate-based products, and with some important resources to ensure you are able to share the most up-to-date information.

Update on Ongoing Trial

A California jury has ruled against Bayer and in favor of the plaintiffs, Alva and Alberta Pilliod, in the latest glyphosate trial. The jury of citizens determined that Monsanto is liable for the plaintiffs’ non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer and has awarded the plaintiff damages.

We are disappointed with the jury decision and will appeal the verdict, which is in stark contrast to the conclusion of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which re-stated recently its classification of glyphosate as “not likely to be carcinogenic to humans,” the agency’s most favorable classification. The EPA conclusion is consistent with the determinations of leading global health regulators over more than 40 years.

Bayer will challenge the verdict and damages on appeal. It is important in product liability litigation like this to assess these cases over the long term, as there will be a number of trials and verdicts, as well as appeals to be decided before verdicts become final. This process will take some years before we reach a clear outcome for the litigation, which we are confident will be driven by the extensive body of science that supports the safety of these products.

What You Can Do: Resources

In light of the jury’s decision and an expected increase in media attention, we wanted to provide some resources to help ensure that the conversation surrounding the trial is based on sound science:

These resources speak to the safety and/or importance of Roundup, and we encourage you to use them in whatever ways are most useful to you and your stakeholders.

As ever, we appreciate your time and energy. Please let us know if you have any questions or feedback.

 

Kimberly OBrien
Director, Government Affairs
Bayer U.S. LLC – Crop Science
Tel:          +1 617.608.7288
E-mail:     kimberly.obrien@bayer.com
Web:       http://www.bayer.com

FDA Finds No Glyphosate Residue in Food

FDA testing of glyphosate residues in food found no detectable amounts of the herbicide in over half of commodities tested and minimal amounts in corn and soybean samples, the agency said today.

Those results were included in the FDA’s 2016 Pesticide Residue Monitoring Program, which tested for 711 pesticides across 7,413 samples. The annual survey found that more than 99 percent of domestic and 90 percent of imported food samples were in compliance with federal pesticide standards, which the agency said “were consistent with previous years’ findings.”

“The findings in this report demonstrate that overall levels of pesticide chemical residues measured by the FDA are below EPA’s tolerances, and therefore at levels that are not concerning for public health,” the agency said in a news release.

The study marked the first time glyphosate and glufosinate were tested by the FDA. Researchers examined the presence of the chemical in corn, soybeans, milk and eggs. The agency discovered that more than 53 percent of samples had no detectable pesticide residues, and all the residues found in the corn and soybean samples were below the tolerance levels set by EPA. No amounts of glyphosate or glufosinate were found in milk or eggs.

Glyphosate, a chemical herbicide found in the popular weedkiller Roundup, has received heightened public scrutiny from some advocacy groups after the World Health Organization’s cancer research institute issued a finding that glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” The EPA and other international regulatory bodies, however, contend that the chemical is safe for human use.

EPA’s conclusions vary from a controversial report from the Environmental Working Group that revealed glyphosate residue on popular foods such as cereal and granola bars, but the threshold for detecting pesticides was much lower than the standard employed by EPA. EWG followed up with the report by asking EPA to reduce the tolerance level for glyphosate in oats.

Article by Politicopro.com

Importance of Glyphosate to Soil Health – One Farmer’s Mission

“They wanted to cart me off to the funny farm.”

Andrew Ward, a farmer in Lincolnshire, England made a surprising decision back in 2002. He adopted a practice known as conservation tillage. This meant no more breaking up the soil or disturbing underground microbial life to remove weeds. Instead, he would allow organic matter left after the harvest to provide a protective layer for the soil. His fellow farmers looked on with skepticism—to this day, cultivation remains a traditional practice for controlling weeds. Andrew on the other hand, saw limitations in tillage.

THE OPTICAL ILLUSION OF TILLAGE

In Andrew’s view, the process of tilling fields to control weeds is visually misleading. On the surface, you see a nicely manicured field with rows of soil ready for planting. But what is happening underneath is another matter.

Every soil disturbance can elicit an array of consequences: carbon stored in the soil is released into the atmosphere, local insects and microbial life are affected, the soil loses moisture and seedlings of weeds can spread, which only compounds the weed problem. Nearly two decades ago, Andrew was ready to test a less invasive approach.

To read the full article by Modernag.org/soil-health, Click Here

Trump admin appeals ruling ordering EPA to ban chlorpyrifos

The Trump administration is appealing a federal court ruling ordering the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos.

Justice Department attorneys said that the San Francisco-based Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit violated both Supreme Court precedent and the underlying law when it ruled that former EPA head Scott Pruitt improperly rejected a petition in 2017 to ban a pesticide that has been linked to developmental and neurological disorders.

The administration is asking the full 22-judge court to rehear the case and overturn the ruling that came from a three-judge panel.

The August ruling was a major victory for environmentalists and food safety advocates, who have been pushing for years for the EPA to crack down on chlorpyrifos. The Obama administration proposed banning use of it on food products, but Pruitt reversed course.

While it was one of a growing list of environmental policy court losses for the Trump administration, the Ninth Circuit’s decision was nonetheless aggressive in ordering EPA to completely ban the substance.

Instead of ordering the EPA to ban chlorpyrifos, the court should have overturned the EPA’s decision and sent it back for reconsideration, attorneys said in their Monday filing.

Further, under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, the court’s finding that there is no safe level of exposure to chlorpyrifos via food should not have necessitated that the EPA ban the substance, attorneys said.

“The important thing here is that courts are not supposed to operate this way,” EPA spokesman Michael Abboud said in a statement.

“This opinion nullifies the FIFRA process, violating a congressionally mandated statute. EPA takes science and health issues very seriously, but we must work within the legal process established by Congress.”

The ruling “conflicts with Supreme Court precedent holding that where an agency’s order is not sustainable on the record, a court should vacate the underlying decision and remand for further consideration by the agency, rather than directing specific action.”

Further, under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, the court’s finding that there is no safe level of exposure to chlorpyrifos via food should not have necessitated that the EPA ban the substance, attorneys said.

Attorneys also argued that the Ninth Circuit did not have the authority to rule in the case, and that it should have gone to a lower district court first.

Dozens of agriculture groups and companies sent letters to the EPA asking it to appeal, saying a chlorpyrifos ban would be detrimental to growing crops including cotton, soybeans and sugarbeets.

If the Ninth Circuit either rejects the Monday request for a full-court rehearing — known as “en banc” — or the full court agrees with the previous ruling, the Trump administration could appeal to the Supreme Court.

—Updated at 7:30 p.m.

This article was written by: BY TIMOTHY CAMA – 09/24/18 06:03 PM EDT

It was posted on  “The Hill” website, Click Here 

Glyphosate One of the Most Effective Herbicides in the World

In the last few weeks it’s received lots of media coverage following a legal case in California, USA where the jury found Monsanto liable in a lawsuit filed by a man who alleged the company’s Glyphosate products caused his cancer. The media coverage of this case has raised lots of questions, so we hope that the following information and brief video helps you to understand glyphosate and the issues around it. 

 There have been lots of headlines about Glyphosate causing cancer and calls to ban glyphosate, does this mean it is not safe to use?

Let’s look at the facts; There isn’t a single regulatory authority around the world that has banned glyphosate for agricultural use.  Glyphosate has been around for more than 40 years, and it has been widely studied and approved as safe to use by many regulatory authorities around the world who have strict safety approval standards.  The regulators also review registrations on a regular basis.  In short, if it doesn’t meet these stringent standards it will not be approved for sale and use.

So why do people think it might cause cancer?

In 2015 one of the World Health Organization’s agencies, The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) published a monograph which stated that Glyphosate was ‘probably’ carcinogenic to humans. For context, other compounds and activities that fall into this category include drinking very hot beverages, frying, hairdressing and red meat.

IARC is not saying that Glyphosate causes cancer, it is saying that it is probably carcinogenic. The conclusions of more than 800 scientific studies, regulatory agencies around the world and the World Health Organization (WHO) Joint Meeting on Pesticide Residues (JMPR) none of whom have found that Glyphosate is carcinogenic when used in accordance with the manufacturers safety instructions.

Will there be any more court cases like the one in California?

We believe that there will be more court cases, and some are already scheduled to start, however we don’t necessarily think that the outcomes of the other cases will be the same as the recent case in California. The recent case in California is not finalized and we expect there to be further legal processes and reviews related to this case.

Will Glyphosate still be sold?  

Yes, Glyphosate will still be sold. It is registered for use by regulatory authorities and there are a variety of manufacturers that have EPA registrations allowing them to actively sell it.  The industry will continue to work with regulatory authorities around the world to maintain the scientific database for Glyphosate at the level required by the regulators. The manufacturers of Glyphosate are confident that the weight of existing scientific evidence will continue to be recognized by regulators around the world to keep the registrations for Glyphosate products.

Where can I find more information?

As one of Glyphosate’s major manufacturers, Nufarm has put together a Glyphosate factsheet which is available here ​along with links to more information about Glyphosate.

More Information on Glyphosate

You can find more information about the World Health Organization (WHO), regulatory authorities positions on glyphosate and other information and reports below.

USA (Environmental Protection Agency)

Investigation showing that IARC participant was paid £120,000 by cancer lawyers: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/weedkiller-scientist-was-paid-120-000-by-cancer-lawyers-v0qggbrk6

Reuters investigation on non-carcinogenic findings “edited out” by IARC: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/who-iarc-glyphosate/

Investigation into concealment of draft 2013 Agricultural Health Study findings by IARC chair:https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/glyphosate-cancer-data/

Links to reviews by regulators around the world since IARChttps://monsanto.com/company/media/statements/glyphosate-report-response/

Agricultural Health Study Background — largest epidemiological study ever on pesticides and cancer: https://aghealth.nih.gov/about/

2018 Agricultural Health Study In Journal of the National Cancer Institute showing no link between glyphosate and cancer :https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/29136183/

 

NJGIC POLLINATOR AND INDUSTRY ISSUES SUMMIT

OCTOBER 17, 2017
7:30 am – 4:00 pm

National Conference Center
399 Monmouth Street
East Windsor, New Jersey

  • Great Opportunity For Recertification Credits
  • 1A Plant: 5 credits
  • 3A Ornamentals: 5 credits
  • 3B Turf: 5 credits
  • 7A General and Household Pests: 3 credits
  • CORE: 2 credits
  • PPE: Private Applicator: 5 credits
  • 8B Mosquito Control: 2 credits
  • PA and DE credits offered

Registration Fee $85.00

Outstanding Topics and Presenters!

For full details, Click Here

NJGIC Pesticides Task Force

The Task Force monitors all regulations and legislation relative to pesticides. Pesticide Task force members: John Buechner (Lawn Doctor), Brian Feldman (TruGreen), Aaron Hobbs (RISE), Ed Waters (SSA), Hal Bozarth (SSA), Len Douglen (NJPMA), Marney Dorsey (Dow AgroSciences), Michael Cavanaugh (NJPMA), Nancy Sadlon (NJGIC), Todd Milsom (NJPMA).

Safe Playing Fields Act Coalition members: John Buechner (Lawn Doctor), Brian Feldman (TruGreen), Michael O’Brien (RISE), Ed Waters (SSA), Hal Bozarth (SSA), Len Douglen (NJPMA), Marney Dorsey (Dow AgroSciences), Michael Cavanaugh (NJPMA), Nancy Sadlon (NJGIC), Todd Milsom (NJPMA), Keith Kubik (NJTA), Don Savared (NJSFMA), Mickey Stachowski (GCSANJ), David Pease (GCSANJ), Matt Sweatlock (NJCA), Inid Torok (NJPRA), Dominick Mondi (NJNLA), Michael Kukol (NJLCA).

Progress Report:

December 5, 2011

Safe Playing Fields Act (A.3782/A. 3621-Amended) & Silver Flag Pesticide Notification Act (A.4158

The Assembly Environment & Sold Waste Committee passed the following pesticide bills out of committee:

  • ASSMBLY No. 3782 AND 3621: ‘Safe Playing Fields Act’
  • ASSEMBLY No. 4158: ‘Silver Flag Pesticide Notification Act’

As expected, the bills were passed out of committee. While NJGIC is not pleased to see movement of these bills, it is important to note that there is only one more scheduled legislative voting session this year in which these bills can be posted for a vote and passed. They will need to be passed by both the full Senate and the full Assembly and signed by the governor before Jan. 9, 2011.

The bottom line positive to report is:

* The “Safe Playing Fields Act” bill was amended to apply to only playgrounds, K-8 schools and day care centers. The bill no longer applies to recreations fields – so golf courses, minor league ball fields, county parks used for recreation fields and high school sports fields will not be impacted by this bill.

The bottom line negatives to report are:

* Inclusion of K-8 in the amended Safe Playing Fields Act” essentially nullifies the Current School IPM Act, and essentially rejects the principles of IPM. It disregards the balanced consideration of all options to controlling a pest that has the least impact to people and the environment.

* The amended “Safe Playing Fields Act” passed today takes the decision making of whether a pest needs to be controlled and how best to control the problem out of the hands of a trained professional applicator and into the hands of the untrained school official and health officer.

* The movement of both these bills (Safe Playing Fields Act” and Silver Flag Bill) presents continued concern by NJGIC and the industry. Perception that traditional pesticides must be banned and that schools and playgrounds are not currently safe with existing NJDEP regulations and School IPM programs is our biggest concern!

June 2011:

June 14, 2011: The “Safe Playing Fields Act” – S-2610 (Turner / Gordon) was heard at the Thursday’s Senate Budget Committee Agenda. The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee and passed out of committee with 2 minor amendments.

June 6, 2011: The NJ Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee took up initial discussions on S. 2610, but ended up holding the bill at the request of the sponsor. The bill was held before committee members could hear testimony and vote on NJGIC’s proposed amendments which were being offered by the Republican members of the Committee. Our opponents were allowed to offer testimony, but once it was clear that there were not enough votes to pass the bill as written, the bill was held without the committee hearing testimony from NJGIC coalition members or others opposed to the bill.

March 2011 – Stakeholder group called to discuss the Safe Playing Fields Act. NJGIC an active member of this stakeholder group.

February 2011 – Senate and Assembly Environment Committees reviewinng bills. Senate passed out of cmmittee S. 2610

January 2011 – There are three (3) pesticide bills that were re-introduced in January 2011 session. These are bills we have seen before and NJGIC will continue to monitor and voice our concerns relative to these bills.

Current Pesticide Related Legislation

“Safe Playing Fields Act” – Bill S.2610 (Turner)

February 2011 -passed unanamously out of Senate committee – This bill would impose a complete ban on the use of all pesticides at schools, child care centers and municipal recreational fields. The law would only allow “Low Impact” pesticides as defined by NJDEP school IPM law definition (See bill details)

(See bill details – link to Senate bill)

“Playing Fields Act”- Bill A.3621 (Quijano) Restricts use of lawn care pesticides at schools, child care centers and recreational fields.
(See bill details – llink to Assembly bill)

The “Pesticide Use Reduction Recognition Act” – A.3671 (Gusciorra/McKeon)
(See bill details– link to Assembly bill)

Next Steps:

We need to make our voice louder via grass roots letters and outreach to legislators. We also need to address this proposed legislation with more detailed facts about products. Both our conventional product testing and safety, as well as the ineffectiveness of the low impact products (the only ones that will remain as allowable products) and the unintended risks to our children that passage of this bill will create. We will be providing you with requests for help through ‘NJGIC call to action.” notifications. Time is of the essence. If we do not voice our concerns now the bill could pass through the process quickly. It has the feel good “protect the children” momentum.

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