Building on years of research that shows links between agricultural chemicals and cancer, researchers say they have found fresh evidence tying certain pesticides to cancers in children and adults in 11 western U.S. states.
Analyzing federal pesticide data and state health registries, the research team reported a close association between the use of pesticides called fumigants and the development of cancers in people living in the states analyzed.
The study, published last month in the journal GeoHealth, is the first to analyze the geospatial distribution of cancer incidence with pesticide use in the Western United States. The authors are three researchers from the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute at the University of Idaho and three researchers from Northern Arizona University.
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday to significantly limit the power of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate power plant greenhouse gases, a decision that environmental advocates fear will not only contribute to more harmful climate change, but also restrict other environmental regulation needed to protect health.
In its opinion in West Virginia v. EPA, the court’s 6-3 conservative majority said the EPA erred in claiming “unheralded” authority from an EPA rule finalized during President Barack Obama’s administration. That rule sought to shift the energy sector from coal-fired power plants to lower-emitting sources such as natural gas or other more environmentally friendly options, such as solar. Although the agency finalized the rule, it was prevented from going into effect.
For decades, the Mechanicville hydroelectric plant generated power from New York’s Hudson River, converting the flowing waters into energy that fueled General Electric. But last year, the long brick building became the home of a crypto mining operation, forging a very different role as part of a vast network of sites around the world pumping out algorithms that make virtual currency viable.
Opened in 1898, the antiquated hydroelectric plant was an unlikely candidate to combine with the modern technology that is the cryptocurrency industry. And after less than a year in operation, the crypto mining work there has been halted amid turmoil and controversy roiling the cryptocurrency market and higher prices for electricity.
The announcement this month that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will provide $300 million in funding to support farmers transitioning from conventional agriculture to organic farming does not go far enough, according to organic industry advocates.
“For so many years consumers have driven the growth of organic, yet the dollars that our government deployed were insignificant in comparison to the support of traditional farming systems,” said Pam Marrone, who develops organic plant protection products referred to as “biopesticides.”
Marrone and other industry players said that while the funding is a step in the right direction, the dollar amount will do little to shift farmers away from a system that uses roughly 450,000 tons of pesticides on 390 million acres of conventional farms each year. “This equates to approximately 2.5-5 pounds of pesticides on every applied acre,” she said, adding that pesticides amount to about five percent of farm expenditures.
Advocates also say the U.S. must transition to organic faster for many more reasons: decreasing reliance on fossil fuel and synthetic fertilizer and getting away from depending on increasingly fragile foreign supply chains.
Earlier this month, a court decision about a chemical called glyphosate garnered headlines in newspapers across the country. And rightly so: glyphosate is the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup weedkiller. The pesticide is sprayed on roughly 285 million U.S. acres, and is so popular globally that it is the world’s most widely used herbicide.
For decades, Monsanto and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have assured us that glyphosate herbicides are safe. But those assurances have increasingly come under challenge by evolving science.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday dealt another blow to Bayer AG’s effort to defend itself against ongoing litigation over allegations that Roundup herbicide causes cancer, denying the company’s request for a review of a California trial loss.
In declining to take up the case, the court let stand an $87 million award won by Alva and Alberta Pilliod. The jury originally ordered more than $2 billion in damages for the married couple, but the award was later cut by the court. Each of the Pilliods alleged they developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma after extensive use of Monsanto’s Roundup products.
By Lena Beck
It was almost two years ago – the morning of September 8, 2020 – when Clea Arthur started her day with a five-mile run along the Pacific Crest Trail where it crosses Mount Ashland in southern Oregon.
When the explosions shook her North Carolina home, Jazmine Webster wasted no time racing outside to investigate the series of loud booms that rattled her Winston-Salem neighborhood one late January evening.
The billowing smoke Webster witnessed pointed clearly to the culprit – the Winston Weaver Co., Inc. fertilizer plant a few blocks from her home was on fire. Along with the smoke, Webster could smell something unusual in the air, “definitely a chemical,” she recalled in a recent interview.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to follow established guidelines for determining cancer risk, ignored important studies, and discounted expert advice from a scientific advisory panel in officially declaring that the weed killer glyphosate was “not likely to be carcinogenic,” a federal appeals court ruled Friday.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion saying the agency’s 2020 assessment of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, was flawed in many ways. The EPA applied “inconsistent reasoning” in finding that the chemical does not pose “any reasonable risk to man or the environment,” the panel determined.
The court vacated the human health portion of the EPA’s glyphosate assessment and said the agency needed to apply “further consideration” to evidence. The 9th Circuit also said the agency violated the Endangered Species Act in its assessment.
Countering its critics, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is defending the release of much stricter drinking water health advisories for two notorious “forever chemicals” known as PFAS before a key science advisory panel finishes reviewing studies of the chemicals.
The agency on June 15 issued updated interim lifetime health advisories (LHAs) for the forever chemicals PFOA and PFOS, alongside final LHAs for PFBS and GenX. The PFOS advisory is 0.02 parts per trillion (ppt) and the PFOA advisory is 0.004 ppt, both dramatically lower than the prior EPA advisory, set in 2016, established at 70 ppt for combined PFOA and PFOS.