The Poison Papers – Documenting the history of pesticide hazards in the United States

GR: Many of the documents uncovered by the Poison Papers project have yet to be read. Here’s your chance to become an investigative reporter. Follow the link below to have direct access to the papers.

“The Poison Papers are a diverse set of internal memos, court depositions, and other documents detailing pesticide and chemical safety concerns of companies, government regulators, and their employees.” –PoisonPapers.Org.

Source: The Poison Papers – Documenting the history of pesticide hazards in the United States

Poison Papers: Monsanto Knew PCBs Were Toxic for Years But Sold Them Anyway

GR:  Monsanto is facing enormous financial penalties for their continued production and sale of toxic chemicals. This post (and earlier stories) discusses PCBs. Other reports describe similar indefensible production and sale of ecosystem destroying and cancer causing herbicides. I guess that once the company directors decided that profits were more important than the health and life of people and natural systems, they would sell any profitable chemical they could produce. The company strategy includes controlling government regulations and regulators.

“Washington could have an ace up its sleeve in its major lawsuit against Monsanto over PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) contamination throughout the state.

“Before switching operations to agriculture, Monsanto was the primary manufacturer of PCBs, which was used for paints, electrical equipment and other products, from 1935 until 1977. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned PCBs in 1979 due to its link to birth defects and cancer in laboratory animals. PCBs can have adverse skin and liver effects in humans and can also linger in the environment for many decades.

“But according to documents published by The Poison Papers project, a new online archive of more than 20,000 documents obtained from federal agencies and chemical manufacturers, Monsanto possibly knew as early as the 1960s—at least a decade before the federal ban—that PCBs were harmful to public health and the environment but continued to manufacture and sell the widely used product anyway.

“Washington assistant attorney general Bill Sherman told the Guardian that the archive contained information the state was previously unaware of.

“If authentic, these records confirm that Monsanto knew that their PCBs were harmful and pervasive in the environment, and kept selling them in spite of that fact,” he said. “They knew the dangers, but hid them from the public in order to profit.”

“Sherman cited a particular Monsanto pollution abatement plan from October 1969 that was published in the Poison Papers archive. A section of the plan titled, the “damage to the ecological system by contamination from PCBs,” states: “The evidence proving the persistence of these compounds and their universal presence in the environment is beyond questioning.”

“Further, the document says that “direct lawsuits are possible” because “customers using the products have not been officially notified about known effects nor [do] our labels carry this information.” –Lorraine Chow (Continue: Poison Papers: Monsanto Knew PCBs Were Toxic for Years But Sold Them Anyway).

EPA Chief Met With Dow Chemical CEO Before Deciding Not to Ban Toxic Pesticide

GR: Our government believes its responsibility is to corporations and not to citizens. We really need to find and elect politicians that do not hold this belief. Pesticides are destroying pollinators and all the plants and animals that depend upon them. How can an “environmental protection agency” approve their use? What this shows is how easily corporations buy our president and his minions.

Dow CEO Andrew Liveris and President Donald Trump in February.

“U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Scott Pruitt met with Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris before deciding to reverse an earlier EPA decision to ban the company’s toxic and widely used pesticide, chlorpyrifos.

“According to records obtained by the Associated Press, the EPA boss met with Liveris for about 30 minutes at a Houston hotel on March 9. Later that month, Pruitt announced that he would no longer pursue a ban on chlorpyrifos from being used on food, ignoring his agency’s own review that even small amounts of the pesticide could impact fetus and infant brain development.

“But EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman insisted to the AP that Pruitt and Liveris were only “briefly introduced” at the energy industry conference where both men were featured speakers.

“They did not discuss chlorpyrifos,” the spokeswoman said. “During the same trip he also met with the Canadian minister of natural resources, and CEOs and executives from other companies attending the trade show.”

[GR: Lying perhaps, but never mind; the pesticide needs to be banned.]

“According to the AP, Pruitt also attended a larger group meeting with two other Dow executives, but Bowman said they did not discuss the pesticide.

“The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC), Pesticide Action Network and Earthjustice sued the EPA just days after Pruitt’s decision to reverse the EPA’s proposed ban on chlorpyrifos.

“The move adds to the Trump administration’s growing roster of decisions informed by ‘alternative facts,'” the NRDC’s Nicole Greenfield wrote in a blog post about the lawsuit. “Nearly two decades’ worth of scientific studies—including analyses by Pruitt’s own agency—have documented the numerous risks this bug-killer poses to children and pregnant women.”

“The American Academy of Pediatrics also sent a letter to Pruitt on Tuesday, urging the EPA to ban the pesticide and called the agency’s decision to allow its use a threat to children’s health.

“A lot has been reported about Dow’s seemingly close ties with Trump. The company donated $1 million to the presidential inauguration. Additionally, Liveris leads President Trump’s advisory council on manufacturing. In February, Liveris received Trump’s pen after he signed the “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda” executive order aimed at eliminating regulations that the administration claims are damaging to the U.S. economy, but some worry that the measure will roll back critical environmental protections.” –Lorraine Chow (EPA Chief Met With Dow Chemical CEO Before Deciding Not to Ban Toxic Pesticide)

Pesticides impair honey bee flying abilities

GR: More evidence on pesticide impact on bees. Pesticides are toxic to many more animals than bees. The economic importance of bees, however, has served us all by focusing attention on the dangers of pesticides. Perhaps Monsanto’s next genetic breakthrough (after herbicide resistant GMOs) will be self-pollinating crops. Thus, pesticide use expands, wildlife declines, and Earth becomes more of a biological wasteland of mile-long rows of corn and beans tended by GPS guided artificial intelligences. Where is the farmer? He’s in the shadows shielded from the intense radiation pouring through the ozone free atmosphere.

“The evidence keeps mounting that pesticides are the main driver of honey bee declines. In a new study, scientists with the University of California San Diego showed that a commonly used neonicotinoid pesticide (thiamethoxam) can significantly impair the ability of otherwise healthy honey bees to fly, raising concerns about how pesticides affect their capacity to pollinate and the long-term effects on the health of honey bee colonies.

“Previous research has shown that foraging honey bees that ingested neonicotinoid pesticides, crop insecticides that are commonly used in agriculture, were less likely to return to their home nest, leading to a decrease in foragers.

“Thiamethoxam is used in crops such as corn, soybeans and cotton. To test the hypothesis that the pesticide impairs flight ability, the researchers designed and constructed a flight mill (a bee flight-testing instrument) from scratch. This allowed them to fly bees under consistent and controlled conditions. The study was published April 26 in Scientific Reports.

“The testing showed that nonlethal levels of neonicotinoid exposure — which bees could experience when foraging on agricultural crops–but below lethal levels — resulted in substantial damage to the honey bee’s ability to fly.

“Our results provide the first demonstration that field-realistic exposure to this pesticide alone, in otherwise healthy colonies, can alter the ability of bees to fly, specifically impairing flight distance, duration and velocity” said Tosi. “Honey bee survival depends on its ability to fly, because that’s the only way they can collect food. Their flight ability is also crucial to guarantee crop and wild plant pollination.” –Staff Report, Summit County Citizens Voice (Pesticides impair honey bee flying abilities – Summit County Citizens Voice).