Ban Bee-Killing Pesticides

A SMALL POLLINATOR, A BIG PROBLEM — Millions of bees are dying off every year, and scientists point to a widely used class of pesticides as one of the main causes.

Our Food Supply Relies On Bees

We have to stop the bee die-off and help this vitally important species recover, for the sake of our food, the environment and our economy. 

Bees are dying in the United States and around the world, and it’s a major problem. We rely on bees to pollinate 71 of the 100 crops that provide 90 percent of the world’s food. In the U.S. alone, honey bees pollinate an estimated $15 billion worth of crops every year.

We rely on bees to pollinate everything from strawberries to broccoli to the alfalfa used to feed dairy cows. Imagine no almonds, less coffee and chocolate, fewer apples and strawberries, less ice cream and milk … the list goes on.

The bottom line: without bees, we don’t have food.

OUR FAVORITE FOODS — Bees play an important role in pollinating some of our favorite foods, from strawberries and apples to almonds and coffee.

10,000 Times More Toxic To Bees Than DDT 

Scientists point to pesticides as one of the main factors causing bees to die off in alarming numbers, in particular a class of bee-killing insecticides known as neonicotinoids (or neonics). 

When seeds are treated with neonics, the chemicals work their way into the pollen and nectar of the plants — which, of course, is bad news for bees and other pollinators. 

Worse, neonics are at least 5,000-10,000 times more toxic to bees than DDT. 

Just one example: After a nearby farm planted corn seeds coated with neonics in 2013, farmer Dave Schuit lost 37 million of his bees. “Once the corn started to get planted, our bees died by the millions,” said Schuit. 

UNPRECEDENTED LOSSES — In recent years, beekeepers report they’re losing an average 30 percent of all honey bee colonies each winter, twice the amount considered sustainable.

We Can Eliminate These Pesticides

Given the consequences for our farms and our food, you’d think we’d be doing all we can to protect bees and other pollinators from neonics. 

Scientists say that we don’t even need to spray these chemicals, since we have commonsense alternatives like altering the time of planting and watering, and planting more native species. 

Yet big agrichemical companies like Monsanto, Dow Chemical, Bayer and Syngenta are fighting to prevent bans. Syngenta has even asked federal regulators for permission to use even larger quantities of these pesticides — as much as 400 times more than currently allowed. 

Alarmed by the role these chemicals are playing in the decline of bee populations, the European Union has banned several of them; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has committed to phasing them out on the public lands they manage; and cities like Seattle and states like Maryland have taken action as well. 

Still, even with evidence showing that neonics need to be banned, we continue to spray about 46 million pounds of these pesticides on our homes, gardens and public spaces every year. 

NO SAFE PLACE FOR A BEE TO EXIST — According to a recent study, about three quarters of all honey worldwide is contaminated with pesticides known to harm bees.

It’s Time For States To Take Action

For the past several years, PIRG and other groups have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ban these pesticides nationwide, and they have failed to do so. We’re not waiting on the EPA any longer. Now, to protect bees and our food supply, we're calling on states to act. 

In order to restore bee populations to health and save our food supply, we need states to ban the sale of bee-killing pesticides for our homes, parks and gardens and ensure that they are not used on state property. 

If enough states take action, we will eliminate the use of more than 40 percent of insecticides used in this country. That’s a lot of bees that we can save — bees that will pollinate our food. 

That kind of collective action will be a strong signal to large chemical companies and the federal government that we want them to stop poisoning our parks, homes and food with these products. 

Right now, we’re spraying chemicals that are known to kill bees just as we’re in the midst of an unsustainable die-off in bee populations. That has to change — now. 

Join us in calling on Gov. Brown to take action to protect bees and our food. 

Issue updates

Blog Post | Public Health

Study finds weed killer in beer and wine

The last thing you want to think about when you pour yourself a glass of wine or a cold beer is whether it contains even small levels of a potentially carcinogenic weed killer.

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News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

FDA FINDS ASBESTOS IN CLAIRE’S MAKEUP SOLD TO CHILDREN, CONFIRMING CALPIRG TEST RESULTS

Nearly a year after a CALPIRG study showed that U.S.-based retailer Claire’s has been selling makeup contaminated with carcinogenic asbestos, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has confirmed our test results. Both CALPIRG and the FDA found asbestos contamination in some of Claire’s makeup products marketed to children.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Popular weed killer from Roundup found in top beer and wine brands

Many brands of beer and wine sold in the U.S. contain the weed killer glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, according to a new report by CALPIRG Education Fund. In Glyphosate Pesticide in Beer and Wine, CALPIRG tested 20 beers, wines and hard cider, including several organic brands, for glyphosate/Roundup and found that all but one contained the harmful chemical.

This revelation comes on the same day a San Francisco court begins hearing arguments in the first federal civil case over whether Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer causes cancer.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Glyphosate pesticide in beer and wine

To explore how much Roundup we’re drinking, U.S. PIRG tested beer and wine for glyphosate/Roundup. As we’ve confirmed in this study, Roundup is found in beer and wine. This confirms past studies on the topic, which found that glyphosate is found in almost all adult beverages. For example, in 2016, beer testing in Germany also revealed residues of glyphosate in every single sample tested, even in independent beers. After that study was released, German brewers managed to severely limit the amount of glyphosate used in brewing, and saw marked improvement in a 2017 follow-up study.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Popular weed killer from Roundup found in top beer and wine brands

Many brands of beer and wine sold in the U.S. contain the weed killer glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, according to a new report by CALPIRG Education Fund. In Glyphosate Pesticide in Beer and Wine, CALPIRG tested 20 beers, wines and hard cider, including several organic brands, for glyphosate/Roundup and found that all but one contained the harmful chemical.

This revelation comes on the same day a San Francisco court begins hearing arguments in the first federal civil case over whether Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer causes cancer.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

New car seats made without toxic flame-retardant chemicals

Car seats are supposed to keep our youngest children safe. But though they may protect infants and toddlers during accidents, car seats have a history of containing toxic flame-retardant chemicals.

That’s finally changing.

Today, a coalition of groups including U.S. PIRG Education Fund and the Ecology Center’s “Healthy Stuff” program released test results on car seats in a new report, Hidden Hazards:Flame Retardants and PFAS in Children’s Car Seats. The authors collaborated with researchers from Indiana University and the University of Notre Dame.

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Lead Found In Water in Half of San Francisco Unified District Schools

Today CALPIRG Education Fund released an analysis of San Francisco lead testing results from the last school year in a new interactive map, finding that half of San Francisco Unified district schools found some lead in the drinking water. “Given that even low levels of lead exposure can cause irreversible loss of IQ, San Francisco Unified School District should take action to get the lead out wherever it is getting into drinking water,” said Laura Deehan, Public Health Advocate with CALPIRG Education Fund.  

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News Release | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Lead in School Drinking Water a Pervasive Problem

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News Release | CALPIRG | Public Health

Bill to Require Child Care Centers to Test for Lead in Drinking Water Heads to Governor’s Desk

“Day care providers work day in and day out to keep children safe, but many may be unwittingly exposing kids to lead in their tap water,” said Laura Deehan, Public Health Advocate with CALPIRG. “There is no safe level of lead, especially for the littlest Californians, who are the most vulnerable to any lead exposure.”

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Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Chain Reaction III

The third annual Chain Reaction report, which grades companies on their antibiotics policies and practices, found that 14 out of the top 25 restaurants in the U.S. have taken steps to restrict the routine use of antibiotics in the production of the chicken they serve, up from nine just one year ago. While restaurant chains made great progress on chicken, the groups who authored the report found that there were no new commitments to limit antibiotic use in beef and pork.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Get the Lead Out

Our children need safe drinking water – especially at school where they go to learn and play each day.  Unfortunately, lead is contaminating drinking water at schools and pre-schools across the country.  As our report shows, states including California are so far failing to make the grade when it comes to keeping lead out of drinking water at school. 

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Consumer Protection

Getting Personal with Chemicals

We should be able to trust that the products we buy are safe — especially the ones our families use every day, directly on our bodies. However, we looked into common ingredients in popular personal care products, and found that when we use these products, like shampoo, baby wipes, deodorant, shaving gel, or perfume, we are often dosing our bodies with chemicals that can disrupt our hormones, cause developmental problems, cause cancer, and more. This consumer guide describes the results of our investigation of 10 popular personal care products that contain chemicals of concern.

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Report | CALPIRG and Consumers Union | Public Health

Prescription For Change

Our September 2014 survey of physicians paints a grim picture of the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant infections. The overwhelming majority of surveyed doctors reported that one or more of their patients had been diagnosed with a presumed or confirmed case of a multi-drug resistant bacterial infection in the past twelve months. They also expressed concern about the use of antibiotics in livestock production facilities on healthy animals in order to promote growth and prevent disease.

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Report | CALPIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Weak Medicine

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria infect more than 2 million people per year in the United States, causing more than 23,000 deaths. State governments, the FDA and other branches of the federal government should take steps to protect human health from the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that can develop on factory farms.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Which stores make the grade for getting toxic chemicals off the shelves?

Out of the 40 largest retailers in North America, 19 lack any public policy to address toxic chemicals in the products found on their shelves.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Chlorpyrifos: Too Toxic for California | Laura Deehan

Today, CALPIRG joined Californians for Pesticide Reform and 116 other groups strongly supporting the Department of Pesticide Regulation proposal to designate chlorpyrifos as a toxic air contaminant. But the state must not stop there; protecting the public from risks posed by chlorpyrifos means preventing its use completely. The Dept Pesticide Regulation should also cancel all registrations of chlorpyrifos, and immediately suspend current registration of chlorpyrifos containing products. 

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Blog Post | Public Health

Water in half of San Francisco Unified School District tested positive for lead

We've visualized the lead problem in San Francisco schools, and the picture is an alarming one.

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Blog Post | Public Health

California protects its youngest: Law requires day care centers to test for lead in water

The lives and futures of more than 600,000 California children will soon get a little healthier.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Toxic triclosan in toothpaste? | Dev Gowda

A recent article in the LA Times revealed that a new study found that the toxic compound triclosan, which is commonly found in toothpaste as well as other consumer products such as cosmetics, children’s toys, and yoga mats, “could cause adverse effects on colonic inflammation and colon cancer.”

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Blog Post | Public Health

California protects its youngest: Law requires day care centers to test for lead in water

The lives and futures of more than 600,000 California children will soon get a little healthier.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Henry Avocado Corporation is recalling avocados potentially contaminated with the deadly listeria bacteria. Adam Garber, U.S. PIRG said in a statement: “We are barely getting a chance to breath between recalls."

News Release | U.S. PIRG Education Fund

Just seven weeks after Tyson Foods recalled chicken nuggets that could contain rubber, the poultry giant is recalling chicken strips that might contain metal. 

Report | CALPIRG Education Fund

Our children need safe drinking water – especially at school where they go to learn and play each day.  Unfortunately, lead is contaminating drinking water at schools and pre-schools across the country. As our report shows, states are failing to make the grade when it comes to keeping lead out of drinking water at school.  Instead of waiting for more testing, we need to proactively remove the lead pipes and plumbing at the root of this toxic hazard for our children.

News Release | CALPIRG

Los Angeles – Reacting to pervasive lead contamination in schools’ drinking water, CALPIRG gave California a C+ grade today for addressing the problem, according to a new national report. In the second edition of CALPIRG Education Fund’s Get The Lead Out study, the state showed some progress since its F grade on a similar report card in 2017. The American Academy of Pediatrics, California State PTA, and Compton Unified School district all joined CALPIRG in calling for swift action to ensure lead-free water in California’s schools and daycares.

News Release | CALPIRG

Landmark legislation introduced today would impose a statewide ban on cosmetics that include any of 20 highly toxic chemicals known to cause cancer, reproductive harm or hormone disruption. Assembly Bill 495, authored by Assembly members Al Muratsuchi (Torrance) and Buffy Wicks (Oakland), halts the sale of cosmetics products containing toxic chemicals like mercury, lead, phthalates, formaldehyde, triclosan and the fluorinated compounds known as PFAS in California. The legislation is sponsored by CALPIRG and Environmental Working Group.

Public Health | U.S. PIRG

Glyphosate in beer and wine

Research shows that beer and wine are contaminated with glyphosate, the main ingredient in the weed killer Roundup.

 

Public Health

How safe is our food?

Our latest report examines recent food safety trends, case studies of national recalls, what they mean for our health, and what we should do about it. 

 
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