Above is the only picture of food I took this week (the rest of the photos will be sycophants and pesticides). But, the above, is Rigatoni alla Burrata, and it was delicious. It’s also proof that my pledge to go dairy free can’t withstand a good Italian restaurant.
On to pesticides…
In the final weeks of the Obama administration, the EPA, released a “flurry” of reports on some of the country’s most widely used pesticides: atrazine, chlorpyrifos, glyphosate, malathion, and the insecticides known as neonicotinoids.
In its last few legs, the Obama administration proposed new pesticide regulations, which would mandate more training and safeguards for people using the most toxic pesticides. These have been delayed by the new and declined Trump-era EPA.
The now differed, Certification and Training of Pesticide Applicators (C&T), would have:
- established a minimum age for handling restricted use pesticides (RUPs)
- required more training and certification for 1 million applicators
- tightened overall controls over insecticides, pesticides, etc.
The EPA however, is “going back to basics” in a new effort to “enhance economic growth.”
Scott Pruit (pictured above), the new EPA administrator said this, ““In order to achieve both environmental protection and economic prosperity, we must give the regulated community, which includes farmers and ranchers, adequate time to come into compliance with regulations.”
Be that as it may, the proposal had a five year transition period, a three year period for certification plan revision, and a two year period for EPA review.
The five pesticides listed in the beginning of this post all fall within the RUP category. Below is a short summary of their usage and health and environmental impacts.
Atrazine is considered the second most widely used pesticides the U.S., and is primarily used on corn and sugarcane. It has been linked to adverse developmental, hormonal, and reproductive effects and potentialy to certain cancers. Atrazine can easily run off fields and contaminate groundwater. Senior analyst at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Sonya Lunder, says, “There’s a lot of atrazine in the drinking water in the Midwest.”
Chlorpyrifos is used on corn, fruit and vegetable crops, and in nurseries and greenhouses across the country. It to has been found extensively in surface water.
It’s part of a group of insecticides called organophosphates, which kill insects by attacking their nervous systems. There is concern that its neurotoxicity, when exposed to children, may cause irreversible changes in the brain.
Glyphosate is more commonly known as Round Up: the most widely used pesticide in around the world. A majority of the corn and soy in the US.. is treated with Glyphosate; but it’s also used on wheat, rice, and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
In 2015 the World Health Organization’s, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as a “probable human carcinogen.” In addition, glyphosate has been linked to adverse health effects such as, “renal tubule carcinoma, haemangiosarcoma, pancreatic islet cell adenoma, and/or skin tumors.”
Malathion is s used on a wide variety of food crops and livestock feed. The most intensive use is in California’s Central Valley, Florida, parts of Kansas, and the Pacific Northwest. Malathion was also used to control mosquitos with recent efforts to curtail the spread of the zika virus.
Like chlorpyrifos, malathion is an organophosphate. It can be absorbed by the skin and inhaled and can “adversely affect the digestive, respiratory, nervous, and cardiovascular systems.” It’s been found in surface water and can move with air and fog.
Neonicotinoids, were First approved for use in the U.S. in the 1990s. They are now considered the world’s most widely used and fastest growing type of pesticide.
Neonicotinoids are used on corn, soy, wheat, grapes, citrus, and nut orchards. They have been implicated in bee die-offs across the country and have inspired many environmental campaigns (see picture above) to limit or stop their use. Their human health impacts have just begun to be investigated.