Authorities Crack Down on Illegal Pesticide Trade in Europe

An investigation from the EU Observer finds that the black market pesticide trade in Europe is a multi-million dollar illegal industry that carries big potential and low risk.

Journalist Staffan Dahllöf says sellers first purchase cheap, black-listed compounds from China then jack up the price when they sell to European buyers.

“A single shipment of 160 tons generates €11.2m. Tax-free and almost completely risk-free,” writes Dahllöf.

European authorities are aware of the operations and are now cracking down. Europol calls their efforts to do so “operation Silver Axe.”

In 2020, 32 countries coordinated efforts to carry out the fifth edition of the mission. Between January to April 2020, Europol seized more than 1.3 tons of illegal pesticides, enough to fill 458 Olympic-sized swimming pools. The worth is roughly valued at more than €94 million.

“Law enforcement authorities carried out inspections on land and sea borders, inland marketplaces and parcel deliveries, checking more than 3,000 tons of pesticides,” said Europol’s press release.

Highlights of this year’s mission include interceptions of non-labeled products in Poland, counterfeit pesticides in Italy, and illegal compounds headed towards Cyprus.

Europol cites studies that show as much as 14% of Europe’s entire pesticide sphere is affected by trafficked, illegal pesticides.

“Some of the organized crime groups trafficking pesticides are also involved in other illegal activities such as trafficking counterfeited cigarettes and illegally trading pharmaceuticals,” says Europol’s release.

The director of the European Crop Protection Association says these products are a risk to human and environmental health.

“This is not just an issue for our companies, whose products are being counterfeited, but more significantly poses a risk to health and the environment,” said Geraldine Kutas in the release.

Since Operation Silver Axe started in 2015, agents have recovered more than 2.5 tons of illegal or counterfeit pesticides.


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Washington State Entomologists Working to Eradicate Invasive Murder Hornets and Gypsy Moths

Just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get worse, an insect known as the “Murder Hornet” has been spotted in the United States.

Entomologists in Washington state have spotted them in at least two areas.

Native to Asia, the Asian Giant Hornet is a staggering two inches long and can deliver nasty, painful stings that can cause death in humans. Unlike bees, they can sting multiple times and an attack releases pheromones that attract other hornets to come attack as well.

In Japan, dozens of people die of stings every year.

But the hornet is not on a mission to attack people. Scientists say that only happens when they’re provoked, or if an unlucky hiker nears their nest. What’s more terrifying is that the “Murder Hornet” does kill bees. Some reports show that the nasty bug rips off the heads of honeybees.

Honeybees are threatened and their population is declining world-wide. Now, scientists are working to get a grip on any predator that could decimate their numbers even more.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture is asking anyone in the public to report sightings immediately.

The department has been busy this season, as reports began to surface that invasive Gypsy Moths had also descended on the Pacific Northwest. The bug is a major threat to local crops.

The moths can fly long distances and defoliate trees and shrubs. That process weakens them and makes them more susceptible to disease.

It’s such a problem that Washington state governor Jay Inslee issued an emergency proclamation in May, saying that there is “imminent danger of an infestation…[which] seriously endangers the agricultural and horticultural industries…and threatens the economic well-being and quality of life of state residents.”

Newsweek reports that Washington state will drop more than 655 gallons of insecticide “to coincide with the Gypsy Moth caterpillar’s emergence in the spring.”

Entomologists in Washington will begin a trapping process to control the hornet’s queen population, as well.


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Journalists Discover Tennessee Officials Distributed Facemasks Treated with Dangerous Pesticide

Many pesticides come with a long warning label, advising customers and applicators to take caution when handling them. Touching, swallowing or inhaling the chemical compounds could have serious health consequences.

Now, Hamilton County Health Department officials in Tennessee are back tracking after investigative journalists discovered that they were giving out face masks treated with the chemical Silvadur.

Reporters at NewsChannel5 in Nashville uncovered documents from the Environmental Protection Agency that state that the product is, in fact, very “harmful if inhaled,” and people should “avoid breathing vapor or spray mist.”

The product is also toxic to fish.

Health officials were giving out the treated masks for free, and the covering was marketed as a “non-toxic silver antimicrobial.”

Dupont manufactures the pesticide, and says silver is a known antimicrobial agent.

“[Silver] has been shown to have a very broad spectrum of activity. Silver ions are extremely effective at controlling the growth of both Gram + and Gram – bacteria. With the controlled release of silver ions found only in the SILVADUR™ antimicrobial polymer system, all bacteria and fungi are extremely susceptible to this technology.”

NewsChannel5 says the state contracted with a North Carolina manufacturer to buy 5 million of them and they had plans to give them out at regular intervals.

WRCBtv obtained a statement from the Hamilton County Health Department, and a representative said “only trace amounts of Silvadur are applied to the fabric and that amount will continually diminish with each wash. Until more data is made available…the public is asked to refrain from using and distributing the masks.”

NewsChannel 5 interviewed a board member of Beyond Pesticides, who shared his skepticism about the face mask product.

"I wouldn't wear one,” said Dr. Warren Porter. "Nobody wants to breathe in COVID, but I wouldn't want to be breathing in something that I also knew could be poisoning my body in a relatively short period of time and might be having multi-year effects on my health."


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India Phasing Out Use of Highly Toxic Pesticides

The Indian Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers is taking steps to stop using highly toxic chemicals including pesticides and insecticides.

The list of potentially banned substances includes Captan, Oxyfluorfen, Deltamethrin, Pendimethalin and others.

Many of the substances have known health effects and have been banned by countries around the world, but some nations continue to use them for widespread applications, leading to the direct and indirect health consequences.

Let’s break down why some of these chemicals are so dangerous:

  • Captan
    • Use: Controlling plant disease, improving appearance of some fruits and vegetables
    • Health Effects: The EPA classifies it as a carcinogen
    • Is it used in the U.S.?: Yes, it is used to control fungal diseases like downy mildew
  • Oxyfluorfen
    • Use: Can be used to grow rice, peanuts, vegetables and more
    • Health Effects: Inhalation at high doses can cause irritation; it’s also likely to bioaccumulate in the body
    • Is it used in the U.S.?: Yes, it is still used for many broad-leaf plants
  • Deltamethrin
    • Use: It is a broad-spectrum insecticide
    • Health Effects: The NPIC says it is low in toxicity when “touched or breathed in” but could cause gastrointestinal damage in high doses
    • Is it used in the U.S.?: Yes, it is used in many public spaces like golf courses to keep greens beautified and tidy

Phys.Org reports that India uses some of these compounds in high-volume situations, and there are also problems with runoff, which leads to human health hazards.

"Given that pesticide poisonings, accidental or deliberate, account for an average of 20,000 annual deaths in this country, the government notification of a plan to phase out 27 extremely or highly hazardous farm chemicals should be welcomed by all," says Devinder Sharma, to Phys.Org.

The article further explains that in India, banning dangerous chemicals has been a long time coming, because the decision-makers need to consider other ways farmers could eliminate disease and pests while still doing it affordably if some pesticides were to become banned.


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India Mounts Massive Pesticide Attack on Destructive Locust Swarms

Locusts are on their way to India after devastating vegetation and villages in Africa and Pakistan.

The country has already had to battle them this year, with Fortune reporting that a January attack killed more than 61,000 acres of vegetation including fields of potatoes and cumin. It was apparently one of the worst swarms in more than 25 years.

Now, officials are spraying pesticides in at least four provinces spanning more than 100,000 acres.

The Hindustan Times reports that they’re spraying Malathion 96 and Chlorpyrifos, which are organophosphate pesticides. Both are very powerful, the former is considered carcinogenic and has been associated with lymphoma diagnoses, while the latter can cause weakness, vomiting, and even paralysis.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says the influx of locusts could be declared a plague if it reaches certain levels.

Their movements are “associated with strong westerly winds from Cyclone Amphan in the Bay of Bengal…several successive waves of invasions can be expected until July.”

Officials are bringing out the big-guns so to speak because it’s the only effective way to eradicate them. In an interview with the times, one officials says there are consequences to their application:

“These pesticides will drift and residue will remain. They will definitely disturb the ecological balance of the area and kill natural enemies—pests which can counter other crop pests. So, we can expect outbreak of other pests,” said the executive director at the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.

He added that the locusts have a short life cycle but they can return to their breeding sites because they can fly long distances.

The FAO adds that locust invasions in East Africa, including Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia, are an “unprecedented threat to food security and livelihoods.” Ground and aerial operations continue in those areas.


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Big IPM Changes for Idaho City

The city of Boise, Idaho is committing to a series of tests for the potential overhaul of their Integrated Pest Management guidelines. The Pesticide Reduction Pilot Program has been set up to strategically test alternative and emerging methods of pest control within strategic park sites throughout the city.

The stated goal of the program is to “use a variety of methods to manage grass, soil, tree wells and other landscaped areas while studying the effects of a reduction in synthetic chemical use. … The city will also be monitoring how these methods affect maintenance standards and resource management.”

Pilot sites were chosen with a “set of criteria needed to gather a variety of data on pesticide reduction tactics, study park maintenance impacts and monitor department resource management.”

The city provided details of the plans for each pilot site which describe the new methods that will be used at each site. The plans also provide the public with information on what they can expect as a result of the changes.

Two of the primary implementations will be raised mower height and less frequent mowing, and discontinuance or reduced glyphosate use around tree wells and mulched areas. As such, the most visible results for citizens will be longer grass and greater plant diversity.

Some sites will implement more trial-based methods of pest control. Corn Gluten Meal will be used at one site, while another will use Chelated Iron, both as tests for Broadleaf control. One site will be partnering with the Sheriff’s Inmate Labor Detail for manual maintenance of mulch beds, while another site will use torches to spot treat turf.

Every site has the goal of reducing glyphosate use (a non-selective herbicide), and some sites are also trying to reduce Broadleaf selective herbicide use as well.

For further reading we recommend visiting the Pesticide Reduction Pilot Program page. If you are interested in learning more about Integrated Pest Management or Cultural Practices for Turf we recommend checking out your state page (see menu below) to view our course offerings on these and other topics.

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Nevada Certified Applicator FAQ’s

Nevada and federal laws require that only certified applicators apply or supervise the application of Restricted-Use Pesticides (RUP). Nevada Certified Pesticide Applicators (RUP certificate holders) must recertify every four years from the date of initial certification. The following are frequently asked questions regarding Nevada Certified Pesticide Applicators:

How do I become a Nevada Certified Applicator?

To become certified in Nevada applicators must pass an exam which is administered by the Department of Agriculture.

How do I schedule an exam to become a Nevada Certified Applicator?

Exams may be scheduled by contacting any Nevada Department of Agriculture office.

What should I study to be prepared for my exam?

The Nevada Department of Agriculture recommends studying the National Core and National Soil Fumigation manuals. We offer an online exam prep program based on the National Core manual that includes practice exam questions to help you gauge your test readiness.

I’ve passed my exam, what now?

Once you pass your exam, you should fill out the application for restricted use pesticide certification (find it under the Applications section). Once complete, submit and any required fees to your local Department of Agriculture office.

How do I renew my Nevada applicator certification?

Each four year renewal cycle you will need to complete one of two activities—either take and pass another exam, or complete 12 hours of state approved continuing education.

Do the 12 CEU’s need to be on specific topics?

Yes, at least 2 of the CEU’s must be on topics regarding pesticide laws. The rest may be on laws or more general topics relating to the application of pesticides.

Who can I contact with further questions?

Contact the Nevada Department of Agriculture. Their main phone number is (775) 353-3601.

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International Year of Plant Health

The UN has declared 2020 the International Year of Plant Health.

The goal of this year long celebration is to raise public awareness on “how protecting plant health can help end hunger, reduce poverty, protect the environment, and boost economic development.” The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that “up to 40% of food crops are lost to plant pests and diseases annually.”

The following list is based on the FAO’s suggestions for helping to raise awareness for plant health across the globe, and we’ve added a couple of our own suggestions as well.

  1. Be careful when bringing plants and plant products across borders
    Speak with your vendors and suppliers about whether they are taking steps to mitigate the spread of undesirable contaminants. Being aware of the policies others have in place can help you to take steps to protect your investments as well.
  2. Comply with local and federal plant health standards
    Complying with guidelines and laws helps protect you AND your plants.
  3. Consider implementing Integrated Pest Management practices
    Research is emerging daily on environmentally friendly ways to manage pests, and these IPM strategies could help you save the environment as well as your crops.
  4. Reach out to policy makers
    Not everyone is aware of the issues surrounding plant health, and policy makers are no exception. Consider asking for a public awareness campaign, suggest changes to local policies, or ask them to invest in innovative plant research. Every little bit helps.
  5. Implement (or re-evaluate) plant monitoring policies
    Early detection is often key to controlling the spread. If you don’t already, consider implementing plant monitoring policies. Or if you do have these policies, perhaps re-evaluate them to see if improvements can be made.
  6. Research and share locally
    If you are on social media, talk to your audience about these issues. Point them to local resources like the DNR or your state’s Department of Agriculture to find out more about what they can do to help the cause. If you’re not on social media, consider talking to people at networking or other social events about the issues.

The FAO has also provided a list of resources and strategies to help raise public awareness, and if you are interested in spreading the word, we suggest checking that out too. There is a ton of information free to share with people, and resources to help you get the word out.

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Instructor Opportunity for an Agricultural Crop Pest Management Specialist

Certified Training Institute is looking for an agricultural crop pest management specialist to create and teach online courses. Online video training is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, with more individuals and businesses choosing courses that will fit their busy schedules. This is a significant opportunity for a talented pesticide safety instructor.

How it works:

  • You will write a course on a topic of your choosing.
  • We will review your materials and suggest any necessary changes.
  • Once course materials are finalized, you will come to our recording studio in Traverse City, Michigan for a one-day filming session.
  • You will receive a lump cash payment for your course material and presentation.

Certified Training Institute is a proven leader in online license and certification training. Our school has been providing trades-based training since 1999 and currently offers nationwide HD video courses for contractors, architects, real estate agents, plumbers, engineers and agricultural workers. All of our courses are created by industry leaders and tailored to the specific needs of the licensees. We produce pre-license and exam prep training that helps people begin their careers and continuing education on interesting and industry relevant topics. Now we are looking to expand our course catalog and we need YOU!

If you would like to learn more about this opportunity, please call 1 (800) 727-7104 and ask for Sarah R. or simply fill out the form and we will be in touch with you.

 

 


Online Pesticide Professional Continuing Education

State-approved video continuing education courses are available 24/7.

1-800-727-7104

 

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Instructor Opportunity for a Wood Preservation Specialist

Certified Training Institute is looking for a wood preservation specialist to join our successful online pesticide exam prep training & continuing education department. Online video training is one of the fastest growing industries in the country, with more individuals and businesses choosing courses that will fit their busy schedules. This is a significant opportunity for a talented pesticide safety instructor.

How it works:

  • You will write a course on a topic of your choosing.
  • We will review your materials and suggest any necessary changes.
  • Once course materials are finalized, you will come to our recording studio in Traverse City, Michigan for a one-day filming session.
  • You will receive a lump cash payment for your course material and presentation.

Certified Training Institute is a proven leader in online license and certification training. Our school has been providing trades-based training since 1999 and currently offers nationwide HD video courses for contractors, architects, real estate agents, plumbers, engineers and agricultural workers. All of our courses are created by industry leaders and tailored to the specific needs of the licensees. We produce pre-license and exam prep training that helps people begin their careers and continuing education on interesting and industry relevant topics. Now we are looking to expand our course catalog and we need YOU!

If you would like to learn more about this opportunity, please call 1 (800) 727-7104 and ask for Sarah R.

 

 

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