This article was originally published by Michigan State University. The full story and link can be found at the bottom.
An online search for “GMO” returns more than 88 million results — a tangled mess of frightening images, dense data, skepticism, insulting comments and conflicting claims and counterclaims. For the average consumer, separating reputable sources from propaganda is tough, if not impossible.
What is a genetically modified organism, or GMO?
Even the answer to the question can be controversial.
At its most basic, genetic modification is the process by which changes occur in an organism’s genome. Nature is perpetually modifying the genetics of every organism in an effort to help the organism adapt to its changing environment.
“It’s important to understand that all organisms — not just those that are the basis of foods — are genetically modified in some way, shape or form,” says Brad Day, a professor and associate department chair for research in Michigan State University’s Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences. “They are genetically modified by persisting in the environment. Radiation from the sun can induce changes in the genome, for example…”
Read the full article here
WASHINGTON (November 7, 2018) — Applications are now being accepted for the 2018 President’s Environmental Youth Award (PEYA).
The PEYA program recognizes outstanding environmental stewardship projects by K-12 youth, promoting awareness of our nation’s natural resources and encouraging positive community involvement. The PEYA program celebrates student leadership in service projects to protect the environment and keep our global community healthy. Winners of this year’s awards will be invited to a ceremony in Washington, D.C. in mid-2019, and have their project mentioned on EPA’s website.
EPA will select up to two winners in each of EPA’s 10 Regions – one regional winner for Grades K-5 and one regional winner for Grades 6-12.
All student projects must be sponsored by at least one adult over the age of 21. The application and eligibility information are available at: https://www.epa.gov/education/presidents-environmental-youth-award.
Applications are due February 1, 2019.
PEYA is an annual award administered by the Office of Environmental Education at EPA. Since 1971, EPA has recognized young people for protecting our nation’s air, water, land, and ecology. Each year the PEYA program honors a wide variety of projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness. Through environmental education and stewardship activities, students develop the critical thinking skills experience to make informed decisions and take responsible actions to address difficult environmental issues.
For more information, please contact PEYA@epa.gov.
For information on recent winners, visit: https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-honors-award-winning-environmental-education-teachers-and-students
The original article comes from Vegetable Growers News. The original link can be found here
Chlorpyrifos – sold under the trade name Lorsban – should be legal to use in fruits and vegetables for 2019. This insecticide is the main or only option for controlling key pests in crops including apples, asparagus, cabbage, cherries, transplanted onions, peaches, radishes, rutabagas, and turnips. Growers have expressed concern given a recent ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that, if it stands, will require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to begin a Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) process to revoke all label uses of this product.
In our recent communications with colleagues at the United States Department of Agriculture(USDA) and Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), we learned that chlorpyrifos will remain available to use until legal proceedings are finished. This is expected to take time, especially since the EPA has asked for a rehearing of the case before all judges of the 9th Circuit Court.
Dave Epstein of USDA noted, “The 9th Circuit Court has not yet responded, and has given no indication when it will. I see no scenario where Lorsban will not be available for use in 2019, as any cancellation would have to undergo a FIFRA review, and that takes time.”
A contact at MDARD also noted that “even if the 9th Circuit decides not to rehear the case, it’s anticipated that the (Trump) administration will file an appeal with the Supreme Court. I don’t anticipate that this issue will be settled for some time and even if it is, I believe there will be a phase-out process rather than an [immediate] ban.”
It is, of course, impossible to predict exactly what will happen, but the best indications are that chlorpyrifos purchased this winter and spring will be available to use for 2019. We encourage you to keep updated at EPA’s chlorpyrifos website.
This article is by Ben Phillips and Craig Anderson, Michigan State University.
The Worker Protection Standard (WPS) is a regulation designed to protect farm workers from dangerous exposure to pesticides. A recent update in 2015 has aligned the WPS with most of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) provisions for using respirators. The revised WPS includes specific requirements for the use of respirators when using pesticide products under the Agricultural Use Requirements that requires the use of a respirator. This revision requires all those who mix, load and apply pesticides (including self-employed pesticide handlers) to have a medical evaluation, and annual fit-tests for each type of respirator required by the pesticide product label and annual training regarding the proper use of each respirator to be used by the handler. The medical evaluation must occur before the employee is fit tested or required to use the respirator in the workplace.
When using a pesticide for uses other than those covered in the Agricultural Use Requirements section of the label, the worker exposure is subject to the requirements of the OSHA Hazard Communication Standard, and either MIOSHA Part 700 or Part 451, including the need for respiratory protection. The Safety Data Sheet for a pesticide would indicate if you need a respirator for non-agricultural uses.
At this years’ Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable, Farm Market and Greenhouse Growers EXPO, in Grand Rapids, MI, MSU Extension has invited the Great Lakes Bay Health Centers to perform these medical evaluations for growers and their employees who may need to use respirators, free of charge. In addition, Tom Smith, of the National Pesticide Safety and Education Center will be sharing space with the medical team to offer growers all of the resources they need to comply with the revised Worker Protection Standard. Respirator fit-testing will not be provided on site.
The EPA-approved medical evaluation forms are questionnaires that employees must fill out for a physician or other licensed health care professional (PLHCP) to review. The forms are available in English and Spanish. Forms will be provided on-site at EXPO, or can be downloaded and printed from the links above and brought to the EXPO. There will be two licensed health care professionals and two assistants on site to review the forms and provide medical clearances.
Sections 1 and 2 of Part A of the form are required by the law, and must be completed in private by the employee during normal working hours or at a time and place that is convenient for them. While the regulation does not require all of the following information, the employer must complete the following information for the health care provider:
*Not required, but the questions can be found in Part B, Section 2 of the medical form.
The health care provider may determine that additional questions about the respirator activities is necessary and/or a physical examination. These could include the questions in Part B, Section 1, a pulmonary function test (PFT), or electrocardiogram (ECG). However, the health providers at the Great Lakes EXPO will not be able to perform these tests on site. The most that may happen at EXPO is listening to lungs with a stethoscope and some discussion about the evaluation answers in Part A Sections 1 and 2. Employees may be recommended to seek physical examinations elsewhere.
The health care provider will give the employer and the employee a written medical determination (medical release) of the medical evaluation results. An employee cannot use a respirator until this written medical determination is received allowing such use. The determination will include the following information:
Once complete, employers must keep records of the medical determination listed above. It should not include any completed medical questionnaires or detailed notes from any additional medical examinations. That information is confidential and should not be in the possession of the employer.
For more information see:
From Mike Wierda, PSEP Director at Utah State University and NPSEC Treasurer.
This is a reminder of how PERC product sales through the NPSEC Store can benefit your PSEP
Note: These discounts are not mutually exclusive!
Thus, you can purchase PERC supplies at 5% off for your program(s) and then receive 5% of your total purchase back in your Revenue Sharing Check!
NPSEC tracks sales state by state and sends out Revenue Sharing Checks quarterly to PSEPs whose 5% revenue sharing total is ³ $100. Revenue Sharing Checks are sent as gifts! You don’t have to do anything to receive this money.
If you would like to help promote these products to encourage purchases in your state, you can add information and links to your sites or social media accounts. Below are a couple examples from Colorado PSEP:
The NPSEC Store includes descriptions of all products. Feel free to use this wording on your own pages if you wish. The current PERC products available are:
Feel free to contact NPSEC with any questions or concerns! Email: email@example.com
Michael R Wierda
Utah PSEP / NPSEC Treasurer
The original press release came from the EPA and can be found here. The following is copied over from that original press release date 10/31/2018.
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is extending the registration of dicamba for two years for “over-the-top” use (application to growing plants) to control weeds in fields for cotton and soybean plants genetically engineered to resist dicamba. This action was informed by input from and extensive collaboration between EPA, state regulators, farmers, academic researchers, pesticide manufacturers, and other stakeholders.
“EPA understands that dicamba is a valuable pest control tool for America’s farmers,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “By extending the registration for another two years with important new label updates that place additional restrictions on the product, we are providing certainty to all stakeholders for the upcoming growing season.”
The following label changes were made to ensure that these products can continue to be used effectively while addressing potential concerns to surrounding crops and plants:
The registration for all dicamba products will automatically expire on December 20, 2020, unless EPA further extends it.
EPA has reviewed substantial amounts of new information and concluded that the continued registration of these dicamba products meets FIFRA’s registration standards. The Agency has also determined that extending these registrations with the new safety measures will not affect endangered species.
National Pesticide Safety Education Center
PO Box 1391
Okemos, MI 48805, USA